"My Scholarship and My Faith": Why I Chose Yale - Rachel Malinowski M.Div '15

Greetings!  Every year we feature short essays from YDS students explaining why they chose to attend Yale.

Today’s comes from Rachel Malinowski MDiv '15, who came to us from Fordham University.  Rachel is a wonderful, energetic presence on campus.  She leads our Roman Catholic Fellowship, and shares here her reasons for choosing Yale, and how YDS turned out to lead her on an entirely different path than she imagined.  Thanks Rachel!

Picture of Rachel

World-class faculty; access to innumerable resources; and, as much as I hate to admit it, “the name”—these are all reasons I chose to attend Yale Divinity School. I matriculated in 2012 as an M.A.R. in Bible with high hopes of using all that Yale had to offer in order to become a New Testament scholar. Indeed, my expectations about the scholarly resources available to me at Yale have been both met and surpassed during my time here.

The myriad of scholarly resources, however, was neither the sole factor in my decision to attend YDS, nor the most transformative aspect of my studies.  I wanted to enhance my scholarship and my faith in a community of people with diverse denominational and faith identities who came to divinity school with a variety of goals, from working in the academy to ethical consulting to ordination and working in non-profit organizations. When I was trying to decide where to undertake my Master’s work, I was seriously considering a well-respected program at a theology department rooted in my own Roman Catholic tradition. I ultimately chose Yale, though, because in addition to offering academic resources that few other schools could rival, Yale provided the opportunity to enrich my studies and my faith within its ecumenical community.

I can happily report that during my time at YDS I have indeed learned a great deal about other Christian denominations, both inside and outside the classroom. What I had not expected, and what has turned out to be perhaps the most transformative aspect of my decision to enroll at YDS, is the impact that its ecumenical community has had on my understanding and appreciation of my own Catholic faith. Through countless conversations with friends and colleagues at YDS, I came to realize what I appreciate most about my Catholic faith and discerned a call to serve the Church through lay ministry.

I sit here at the end of my final year at YDS as a different person than I came in: an M.Div. rather than an M.A.R.; a more ecumenically-minded Christian; and a Catholic woman with a strong sense of call to minister at the intersection of the Catholic social tradition and faith formation. I am deeply grateful for the way that the YDS community has accompanied, challenged, and supported me, and I invite you to make this wonderful community a part of your own journey.