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Allison Delcalzo-Berens ’06

Posted in: Alumni Profiles

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Allison Delcalzo-Berens 2006 – Major: Religious Studies; Minors: English; Women’s Studies M.A., in Religion, Drew University Theological School
HIV Counselor and Tester, Morristown Medical Center

What led you to study Religion at Montclair State?
I started my college career at American University in Washington, DC as a Political Science major. But I quickly discovered that poli-sci and I were not a good match. So, I started taking a variety of courses to determine my next steps. One was a religious thought course, which highlighted numinous experiences and different types of mysticism. I was hooked.

I then transferred to Montclair and started taking more Religion courses – everything from Dr. Kogan’s texts classes to Dr. Eller’s course on Wicca and Neopaganism. Of course, I took as many of Dr. Johnson’s sociology of religion-themed courses as possible.

How has your study of Religion helped you in your “life after Montclair State”?
Studying religion has increased my level of cultural competence and has given me a larger insight into the sociological, economic, and political systems in the world. The progressive and pluralistic environ- ment of the Montclair State Religious Studies program prepared me well for my graduate work at the Drew University Theological School. These experiences have shaped my own theological perspective through gaining a greater respect for the cosmos. My graduate studies at Drew focused mainly on faith- based social change and sociology of religion.

Ok, here’s the Big Question: What are you doing now?
After nearly four years at a faith-based non-profit organization managing several social programs, I have begun the next step in my career. I am now a counselor in the Atlantic Health System, working with the HIV-positive and at-risk populations where I focus both on grassroots action and on larger public health planning issues. The work I’ve done in these settings – focusing on both the micro and the macro levels, demonstrating compassion for my patients, and coordinating with stakeholders – is a direct result of my liberal arts education.