Religion Major Capstone Projects

All Religion majors complete a major research project. Recent capstone projects completed by Religion majors are listed below.


Jenise Cavness, Hesed (Lovingkindness) in the Book of Ruth

Yina Finch, Out of the Branches: A Study of American Buddhist Identities at the Tacoma Buddhist Temple

Raj Kumar, Justifying power through engineered faith:  Monarchical leadership and prophetic Integrity in 1 Kings 22

Peanina Porter, Womanist Hope

Kate Schneider, Words Have Power: Inclusive language in Lutheran hymnody


Haley Bridgewater, Paul’s Eschatology in 1 Cor 15: The Implications of Jesus’s Resurrection

Samuel Manders, Vocation in Roman Catholicism and Lutheranism: The Path to Salvation

Hannah Triggs, From Saving Grace to Costly Grace: Luther & Bonhoeffer


Elizabeth Henderson, The Mystical Motivation of Catherine of Siena

Jessica Ho, Genesis 2-3 on Trial

Theodore Miller, The Dialectic Dance with Death

Michaela Myers, Why Sex Education Matters to Evangelicals

Aron Roberts, Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Discovering the Arcane Discipline


Wayne DixonThe Gerasene Demoniac: A Case Study for Social Transformation

Haley GredvigAmina Wadud: A Female-led Change in the Conception of Islam

Amanda HassonThe Language of Faith and Liberation: Deutero-Isaiah and the Universality of the Second Exodus

Nikki HrachFrom Columbus to Collaboration:  The Reclamation of Native American Self-Identity through the Repatriation Movement

Meron TadesseFailed Promise:  A Theological Critique of Liberation Theology


Andrew Allen, Seeking Economic Justice Through American Congregations: An Analysis of the Influence and Promise of the ELCA Social Statement on Economic Life

Hannah Anderson, Lutheran Responses to Injustice: A New Theology to Combat Gender-based Violence in Southern Africa

Jacob Brock, Subduing the Earth Responsibly: Giving “Priority of Labor over Capital” in Laborem Exercens’ Environmental Consideration

Louise Buckles, The Gospel of John’s Community: A Group of Outsiders

Christina Erikson, Journey Through the Veil: Exploring Issues Surrounding Muslim American Women

Terrell Hawkins, The Sacrifice of Meat for the Sacrifice of Christ: Understanding Christian Community Principles

Ruthie Kovanen, A Sin to Be a Self?: Feminism, Selfhood, and Reimagining Kenosis for an Empowered Future

Andrew Larsen, “You Must Forgive Him or Die”: The Power of Forgiveness in the Development of Northern Irish Identity

Andrew Morris, Primitive Christian Morals: Diverse Amish Perspectives on Religious Ethics

Savannah Phelan, Building Bridges Through Ritual: Creating Space for Native Christian Identity within the Sweat Lodge

Ashley Piehl, Religiously Whaling: The Ritual, Tradition, and Identity of the Makah

Nicole Plastino, “There is No God Where I Am”: Thelema as a Case Study for Legitimizing Esoteric American Religiosity

Connor Rowell, The Asymptotic Theology of Israel: Near Approaches to Monotheism in Israelite Thought

Sarah Smith, Joseph and Aseneth: Redefining Jewish Identity Through Conversion and Rebirth

Shaun Spurlock, Jesus the Existentialist

Erika Tobin, Sacrificial Atonement or Covenantal Community? Understanding Paul’s Theology Surrounding Jesus’ Death

Laree Winer, Gender, Power, and Prophecy in 1 Cor 14:33b-36

Asia B. Wolfe, The Cult of Isis and the Status of Women in the Ancient World


Jessica Dexter, “Dropping the Crystal Goblet: Evangelical Complementarian Responses to Domestic Abuse”

Trevor Hamilton, “From Human Eros to Divine Agape: Tradition, Marriage, and Homosexuality in the Eastern Orthodox Church” ”

Lucas Kulhanek, “‘You Fool!’: A Postcolonial Biblical Analysis of the Parable of the Rich Fool”

Michael McMullen, “Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Anti-Semitism, and Martin Luther”

Erin Parks, “Dropping the Crystal Goblet: Evangelical Complementarian Responses to Domestic Abuse”

Glenroy Sandy, “The Old Rugged Cross”

Connor Scott, “Matthew’s Use of Allegory to Challenge Jewish Leaders”


Tyler Bieker, When the Saints Go Marching In: The Political and Religious Outcomes of Zion’s Camp

Clayton Bracht, In the Huddle for Heaven: Tim Tebow, Sports, and American Christianity

Megan Corbi, The Sins of the Innocent: Infant Baptism in Third Century North Africa

Nicolas Alexander Crosby, The Balinese and their Blades: Keris and Locality

Thomas Haines, Evolving the Creationist Debate: A Detailed Analysis of the Evolution/Creationism Debate

Mark David Herzfeldt-Kamprath, Wining and Dining with Luke: Social Aspects of the Banquet Motif in the Lucan Narrative

Nicole Claire Johnson, Orientalism in a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Stereotypical Portrayals of Asian Religions in Star Wars

Callie Rae Moothart, “To Be Contained and Restrained” – American Evangelicals and Sexual Abstinence

David Olivas, The Secret to Success: Soka Gakkai International Buddhism

Karen Riede, The Contributions of Three Women to the Protestant Reformation

Maddie Schneider, The Command of Queen Esther: An Analysis of a Jewish Woman as Leader in a Persian Patriarchal Society

Ruben Edvard Skålevik, Christ is Right Around the Corner…Again: The Belief in Biblical Prophecy in the Context of Israel


Alexandre Alm-Plouff, “The Beloved Disciple as a Model of Virtue”

Bethany (Fenton) Butler, “Embodied Harmony: The Implications of Taoist Interconnectivity”

Jordan Cockle, “Rebel with a Cause: The deviance of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew”

Seth Daniel, “Emperors and Priests: Scholarly Disagreements on the Causes of the Maccabean Revolt”

Robert Denning, “The Birth of Wahhabism and the Formation of the First Saudi State in the 18th Century”

Amanda Davis, “The Critiques Behind the Criticism: A Look at the Controversy Surrounding the Holocaust’s Pope”

Emily (Akira) Ibarra, “Praying to the Divine Pillar: Asherah, Ancient Judaism, and Private Religion”

Maryn Johnston, “One True Religion? The influence of History and Politics on Karl Barth’s Theology”

Kristen Lee, “Bonhoeffer and Birth Control: Ecclesiological Insights for Contemporary Discourse”

Loriel Miller, “Gregory’s Rome: From Wealth Disparity to Social Welfare”

Jessica Reiter, “Prophetess or Pariah? The implications of interpreting the Miriam narratives”

Anna Stewart, “Christianity and Animal Abuse: How can Christians defend animal rights?”

Trina Togafau, “The Greatest of These is Love: Paul’s Use of Love in Response to the Problem of Spiritual Gifts”

Thomas Voelp, “Heresy and Harmony: Cyprians ‘De Unitate’ as a Defense Against Schism”


Alison Burchett, How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds But Do We Really Need Him? Rethinking the Role of Jesus in Modern Christology

Erin Bugge, Can Icons Save Our Planet? Eastern Orthodox Christianity’s Sacramental Stewardship and John Chryssavgis’ Consideration of the Earth as an Icon of God

Anna Duke, Redemptive Sacrifice: Honoring the Humanity of Women

Benjamin Fox, Islamic Medicine: Unity in Practice and Belief

Lauren Frerichs, They Will Know That We Are Lutheran by Our Lives . . . of Service, Vocation, and Critical Faithfulness: Examining Luther s Core Values in Lutheran Colleges and Universities

Taylor Hagbo, Death before Death in Sufism and Theravada Buddhism: The Transformation of Self Annihilation

Brett Haugen, Duty or Fidelity: The Development of Søren Kierkegaard’s and Gabriel Marcel’s Concepts of the Self and its Relation to the Other

Ashley LaMagna, Two Sides to Every Story: The Inside Views on Polygamy and Women’s Subordination by Mormon Women

Caleb Mattson, Sirach as the Root of Modern Christian Patriarchy

Priyanka Mehan, When Heroes Fall and Shadows Rise: Paul Tillich The E! True Hollywood Story

A’Toya Mercer, From Sinner to Saint: Feminist and Womanist Perspectives on the First Lady Eve

Katie Nagle, Kristallnacht: A Shift in the Scriptural, Political, and Theological Thought of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Joe Natwick, JesusCare: The Third Century Christian Response of Free, Mobile, and Accessible Healing for All during the Plague of Cyprian

Kyle Sinclair, The Leap of Doubt: Skepticism as a Productive Function of Faith

Jason Sipe, Nails, Bullets, and Needles: The Scars of Public Execution across History

Bryan Stiles, Proposing a Theology of Language: A Response to Contemporary Issues of the Vernacular in Greek Orthodox Liturgy

Luke Terwilliger, I’m Going to Die . . . I Know, I’ll Start a Journal!: Examining Perpetua’s Actions Before Martyrdom


Justin Boyett, Jewish ‘Thought-Form’ in the First Century Jesus Movement

Dustin Dixon, Truth in Religion: Experience as Common Ground Among Differing Faiths

Tyler Gubsch, The Overture of the Redactor: An Investigation into the Authorship of the Johannine Prologue

Kelsey Hauge, Feminist Theodicy: the Social Consequences of Oppression and the Relationship of Women and God

Annie Kilgore, Converting Christians to Christianity: Toward an Ecclesiology of Praxis in a World of Destitution and Injustice

Allison Low, Nature, Red in Tooth and Claw: A Tillichian Evolutionary Theodicy Affirming the Goodness of God in Light of Evolution’s Harsh Realities

Joe Maki, Wellhausen’s Dilemma and the Shifts in 20th Century Biblical Studies: From a Theo-Centric to Anthro-Centric Approach Languages and Literatures

Erin Milliren, Egyptian Monks and Ethiopian Demons: A Story of Ethno-Political Other-ing in the Writings of the Desert Fathers

Whitney Morean, All You Need is Love: The Pivotal Role of Love in Reconciling the Christian-Evolution Debate

Lucia ‘Lucy’ Myers, Approaches to Scripture Relating to Homosexuality and the Formulation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Social Statement ‘Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust’

Anella Olbertz, The Christian Message Versus the American Dream: A Tillichian Analysis of Christian Self-Help Literature

Sean Parshall, Using Q to Unlock John: How Q and Other Early Christian Sources Connect to the Gospel of John

Katie Schinnell, When Church Became Cheap: A Contextual Study of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Theology of Grace Religion

Erica ‘Aerii’ Smith, Christian Revivalism in the 1960s: A Call to Action

Grant Stanaway, Agar, Habermas, and Tillich: on the Eugenic Question and Radical Acceptance

Kendra Steiner, Breaking the Mold of Patriarchy: Jesus, the Original Ladies Man

Jamie Williams, Romans 1:26-27: Reading an Ancient Text in the Modern World