A Reflection from Student Volunteers
A Reflection from Santa Clara University Student Inters
By Tannaz Azimi, Eva Kennar, Saachi Sikaria, Emmett Moore, Catherine Li, Marcella Hollero, Ally Jeffers and Hayley Burcher
In January, Michelle Mueller, former WATER intern and Professor of Religious Studies at Santa Clara university, and Kim Carfore, Adjunct Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at University of San Francisco, reached out to WATER about directing students virtually in their feminist theology classes. Looking at it as an experiment in what WATER can do, especially in a pandemic, we welcomed six students from SCU and two from USFCA.
Below are excerpts from their reflections on their WATER experience. We thank them for their flexibility, intuition and hard, helpful work. We wish them the best.
Interning at WATER has been such an amazing experience! For the Meditation Project, Emmett and I gauged our understanding on the best new way to share the collection of WATERmeditations which are currently shared trough audio recordings. We worked to transform these pieces into mock-up book. We learned more about the importance and effectiveness of meditation.
I attended a WATERmeditation and a WATERritual and got to hear from people who are from different walks of life. Growing up, my experience with rituals was that a priest would do the readings and we would do the actions. At WATER, people were assigned to read as part of the ritual. I got to read, and it made me feel like I was deeply involved instead of going through the motions.
I attended a WATERtalk and WATERmeditation; after which I made a social media post about what I realized: gender inequality in religion is more than just in leadership positions; it is perpetuated in every aspect of society. I was unaware that even women’s theological work could be distracted or ignores. I appreciate nonprofit organizations and their hard work.
I had such a great experience interning with WATER this quarter and learned so much about what feminist theology looks like around the world. I now have a better understanding of WATER’s history and all the work they have accomplished and I have learned of the importance of women taking charge and writing their own religious narratives.
As an engineering student, I have really come to value exposure to topics outside of my major that help shape me into a whole person. Through WATER, I received a new understanding of what religion can mean to me as a young adult woman. WATER fulfills a need of this rich community of religious women across the world who empower each other to make an impact through their religious beliefs.
I had very little experience or knowledge on women within religion, or even what this subject could encompass, having grown up in a rathe secular household. WATER was quite the introduction to religion as a whole and has taught me to always seek underrepresented viewpoints and ideologies.
My time working with WATER was brief but so meaningful to me. Mary, Diann, and Anali truly inspire me with their passion for the work that they do. I am so grateful for this opportunity to work behind the scenes for WATER, in researching grants and putting together social media and fundraising plans. I am glad I’ve been able to contribute to the WATER community.
I updated an article about the origins and growth of WATER, FaithTrust Institute, and Resource Center for Women and Ministry in the South. Through Mary’s insight and guidance, I have learned so much about the vast network of feminist theologians. The passion the women of WATER imbue into everything they do is palpable from hundreds of miles away.