Majors Advisory Council
The Majors Advisory Council is comprised of current Theology majors and minors who have been chosen based on their engagement with the program to serve as an advisory board for faculty and staff regarding the direction of the undergraduate program. MAC members are also great sources of information for current students who may have questions about academic direction, extracurricular activities, and general college life.
Members of the 2017-18 Majors Advisory Council are:
Colleen Halpin, Class of 2018, Theology and Mathematics Major from Omaha, Nebraska
"My name is Colleen Halpin and I am a Theology and Math major with an Education, Schooling and Society minor from Omaha, Nebraska. My love for theology began to grow after taking Professor John Betz's course on Christian Spirituality. I particularly loved the writings of the mystics, including Teresa of Avila, Therese of Lisieux, and Elizabeth of the Trinity. For me, the purpose and joy of studying theology is to absorb the truth and beauty expressed in the writings of the saints and other Church leaders, and allow this to transform my understanding of God's nature, the dignity of the human person, the state of the world, and the varied expressions of personal and communal sanctity. Last spring, I was able to take Professor Peter Casarella's Beauty and Justice class, which sparked my interest in theological aesthetics, expressions of popular piety, and God's particular love and concern for the poor. After graduation, I hope to go to graduate school in Education, become a high school math teacher, and continue serving as a liturgical musician."
Ryan Mas, Class of 2018, Theology and German Major from West Bend, Wisconsin
"My name is Ryan Mas and I am a junior Theology and German double major. I am originally from West Bend, Wisconsin but I call Carroll Hall my home on campus. I wasn't always a theology major—I came to Notre Dame undecided in my field of study, but after my first Foundations class with Michael Hahn, I knew I was in love with theology. I really enjoyed my class on Christian Spirituality with Prof. John Betz my sophomore year, especially looking at different expressions of spirituality in both Eastern and Western traditions. Prof. Betz boldly stated at the beginning of the course that it would be a 'life-changing' theology class, and he was right—his class inspired both a re-examination of my personal spirituality and a new interest in asceticism, mystics, and systematic theology. In the coming year, I hope to combine my interests in theology and German in some form of theological research in Germany before writing a theology thesis my senior year."
Jarek Jankowski, Class of 2019, Theology Minor from Fremont, California
My name is Jarek Jankowski, and I am a Program of Liberal Studies (Great Books) and Philosophy Major, with a Theology Minor, originally from Fremont, CA. This year, in addition to serving on the MAC, I am also honored to be a co-President of the Theology Club of Notre Dame. During my Foundations course in my Freshman year with Prof. Gary Anderson, my interest in the subject grew substantially, and I decided I needed to study theology in more depth. Another class which was deepened my love for theology was The Bible and Liturgy, which I took in Spring of my Sophomore year, with Drs. Tim O'Malley and David Gura. This class inspired me to look at liturgy in a more intentional light, and to meditate with an eye towards the history of Church teaching and practice every time I pray the Mass or the Liturgy of the Hours. In the future, I hope to explore the relationship between theology and philosophy and the role of the arts, especially sacred music, in liturgical practice and formation.
Jenna Streich, Class of 2019, Theology and Pre-Health Major from Aurora, Illinois
My name is Jenna Streich, I am from Aurora, IL, and I am a double major in theology and environmental science with a minor in peace studies. On campus, I live in Walsh Hall and am very involved in all things band, as well as Campus Ministry and Camp Kesem. I fell in love with theology as a sophomore in high school, and I am majoring in theology because I am passionate about asking deep, fundamental questions about God, my faith, and the world and using the fruits of my pondering as fuel for my desire to serve others. I love theology because it is, in a way, the study of love. Majoring in theology has given me a framework to not only ponder and seek the Truth, but also discover how to best live my life in love and in accordance with who God is calling me to be. My favorite theology class at Notre Dame thus far was Theology of the Person with Professor Alexis Torrance. I hope to eventually teach either science or theology at the high school level, ideally after teaching in Notre Dame’s ACE program after graduation.
Caroline Sherry, Class of 2018, Science Pre-Professional and Theology Major from Oklahoma
Hello fellow theologians! My name is Caroline and I’m a Science Preprofessional and Theology major from Oklahoma with a minor in Science, Technology, and Values. Like many people on their first visit to Notre Dame, I was initially struck by the faith-focused community—at once in love with the religious and spiritual presence that grace Notre Dame in tradition and community. At first, the emblems and sacred spaces that permeate Notre Dame, especially the Word of Life mural (colloquially known as “Touchdown Jesus”), Basilica, and Grotto served simply as a comforting reminder of God’s presence. However, my experiences studying theology at Notre Dame have profoundly changed my understanding, appreciation, and perspective of Biblical study, the sacred mysteries, and encountering Jesus in everyday life.
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Tierney Vrdolyak, Class of 2018, Program of Liberal Studies and Theology Major
It’s at once whimsical and wonderful how God manifests His unyielding love through the working of the Spirit and wisdom of the Word. I have always been fascinated by all things outdoor and art - especially in the forms of running, biking, playing baseball with my dad, sous-cheffing under my older sister, singing, drawing, creative writing, and performing in musicals. As it does, the time came to choose one or two fields to study in college. In this state of utter indecision, I pursued the Program of Liberal Studies, reading and posing questions alongside my small but mighty seminar-ians like, “what does it mean to be human?” and “how, if at all, do we attain that which we seek?". It was not until I began reading poetry, especially Solomon's Song of Songs, Donne’s Holy Sonnets, and Eliot’s Four Quartets that I took the leap of faith towards understanding Him as true love beyond the written word. I attribute so much of my growth as a theology student to Professor Betz and Professor Fagerberg. Under their guidance, I have studied many viable images that have sparked the Christian imagination for both curious children and mystic minds from age to age, especially in Teresa of Avila's Interior Castle and C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia.
Although I know not what path God has in store for me to be his love to the world - whether it’s a high school teacher in theology, English poetry, or children’s literature or a writer/marketer of the faith on the inter-webs - I trust he’s got one in mind. I look forward to walking with you along your whimsy- and wonder-filled journey, too!
“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going...I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you” - T. Merton