Savannah Finver, 2016

Major: English And Philosophy/Religious Studies
Hometown: Fair Lawn, NJ

“STAC was absolutely the best decision I ever made."

Savannah Finver is an “And” person. She earned a double major in English And Philosophy/Religious Studies. And she worked full-time while attending STAC. And she graduated in four years at summa cum laude. It is no surprise, therefore, that when she applied to the University of Alabama’s MA Program in Religious Studies, the University awarded Savannah the highest scholarship they offer to incoming graduate students: full tuition coverage And a stipend. Ever the “And” person, Savannah asked that she be able to teach in addition. And Alabama complied.

Yet Savannah’s studies at STAC, which have brought her to this stellar moment post-degree, did not begin in Philosophy/Religious Studies. “As part of the Honors program, I had to take a series of classes in different fields and the History class I originally wanted to take didn’t work with my schedule that semester. The course that did that fit into my schedule was ‘Politics, Religion, and Political Philosophy’ with Dr. Martin.” That scheduling quirk propelled Savannah into a new major and a new view of where she wanted to go after STAC.

“It was a class where I felt truly challenged every day. It was exciting for me as a student to find something where I could engage and had to engage because it was all so new to me.” The course also exemplified what makes attending STAC so special. As Savannah describes, “There is so much individual attention at STAC that classes are able to move in tandem with where the students are at and how they are developing.” After that class, Savannah says, she dropped her original major, switched to Philosophy/Religious Studies, and with Dr. Craig Martin’s guidance and mentoring, pursued a major that has now prepared Savannah for Alabama.

“Because the Religious Studies department is so small, I got a lot of one on one time” with Dr. Martin, who recognized Savannah’s talents as suitable for graduate school and began helping her gear up for the next step. “Being able to have all of that individual attention eventually led to me attending conferences and immersing myself in the scholarly circle of Religious Studies, as opposed to just learning about the field second hand from a classroom.”

Savannah knows that as she heads off to Alabama, she will be taking with her the relationships with her professors and unique classroom experiences from STAC.

“STAC was absolutely the best decision I ever made. The small class sizes, the fact that you have access to your professors and administrators, all of whom teach, that personal attention that tells you everyone is invested in you as a student is going to help you grow not just academically but as a human being. My professors were so invested in me and cared about me achieving not just my academic goals, but they also cared very much about me as a person.”