Presentations & Conferences

Happy seniors after their presentations.

Happy seniors after their presentations.

Seniors  presented the results of their capstone research projects on Wednesday, November 30, 2016. Topics included

Jessie St. Clair – “Biblical Outcasts and the Mentally Ill”

Brooke Westphalen – “Reclaiming Rahab: a Positive Role Model for Sex Workers?”

Virginia Atwell – “Eroticism and Suffering in Medieval Mysticism: Love Hurts”

Michelle Beving – “Rape Laws in Deuteronomy”

Hot cider and other refreshments added a festive note to the presentations.

Four seniors presented at the 2016 MUCH conference in November. We heard a great plenary talk and had a chance to eat some tasty Dutch letters before heading home from Pella. Kudos to librarian Steve Duffy for driving over, too!


Each year religion majors travel with faculty members to a regional meeting of our professional aarsbl2016 organizations, American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature . Seniors Brian Williams and Jacob McLain presented papers in an undergraduate session in April 2016. We encourage current students to submit paper proposals for the undergraduate sessions of the meeting in St. Paul, MN and for Simpson’s annual Undergraduate Honors Symposium scheduled this year for April 20, 2017. Often students revise papers they have worked on in a religion class. The 2017 regional meeting will occur Friday, March 31 – Saturday, April 1 at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Each year the department hosts the Matthew Simpson Lecture in Religion, bringing a nationally known speaker to campus for a public lecture and interaction with religion students.

In October 2016, we welcomed David Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and Executive Director of the Center for Faith and Public Life at Mercer University. Gushee is also President-Elect of the American Academy of Religion.  Dr. Gushee spoke on “Election 2016: What in God’s Name is Going On?” We are in the process of inviting our 2017 speaker, so check back for information here.