Hank Fellowships in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition

Hank Fellowships for Research in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition for Graduate Students

The Hank Center administers yearly fellowships for graduate students working on topics in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition.

Funded by a generous grant from Loyola University Chicago’s Jesuit Community, these awards support graduate students who have demonstrated superior academic achievement and offer promise as scholars, teachers, and authors who will contribute to the dynamic life of the Catholic intellectual tradition. The Hank Center selects the fellowship recipients and administers the awards.

The fellowships encourage and support graduate students in their exploration of the Catholic intellectual tradition in its many disciplinary and creative forms—in theology and philosophy, literature and the arts, natural and social sciences, social movements and culture, pedagogy and pastoral life. Several awards of $5,000 are available annually and may be used for expenses such as research-related travel, data work/collection, and supplies. These awards by and large are meant to support the writing of doctoral dissertations, but a percentage of MFA work will be funded as well. Awards may not be used to pay tuition or academic fees. 

Eligibility requirements:

  • Students must be enrolled in a U.S. graduate school doctoral or MFA program for the fellowship year.
  • All pre-dissertation requirements (or equivalent, for MFA) and general examinations must be completed before the start of the fellowship year.
  • Applicants must be writing on issues that focus prominently on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition.

The applicant must complete an online application including the following components:

  • Current curriculum vitae
  • A letter of interest that outlines the ways the applicant's work approaches and relates to the Catholic intellectual tradition (no more than 1500 words)
  • Dissertation or MFA prospectus (no more than 3500 words)

The following forms should be emailed (not from the applicant) to hankcenter@luc.edu:

  • A progress toward degree report signed by the director of graduate studies or an academic dean from the student’s graduate institution
  • Official graduate transcripts
  • Two confidential letters of recommendation, including one from the applicant’s dissertation advisor

Applications and supplemental materials are due in March. Applications are reviewed by committee, and applicants are notified of decisions in May.

Upon completion of the funding year, Fellows are required to write a short report disclosing how the award was utilized. In addition, Fellows will share completed dissertations or MFA projects upon their completion in order to build-out the Hank Fellowship/ Catholic Intellectual Tradition Archive.

Summer 2021 Fellows

Ricardo Alvarez Pimentel is a Ph.D. candidate in Modern Latin American History who is in his sixth year of study at Yale University. He received a B.A. in History from the University of Chicago (2012) and an M.A. from Yale (2017) in the same field. Ricardo’s dissertation, “From Secret War to Cold War: Anti-Revolutionary Catholicism and the (Un)Makings of Counterrevolutionary Mexico, 1910-1946”, traces the political and intellectual trajectory of young Catholic women in Mexico’s middle and upper classes during the Mexican Revolution and Mexico’s nascent Cold War (roughly, between 1910 and 1946). His dissertation outlines how Catholic women’s activism transitioned from “secret war” to Cold War by documenting crucial transformations in católicas’ political ideologies, their perceptions of Catholicism, and their ambitious—yet ultimately flawed—projects of moral uplift, spiritual regeneration, and national religious restoration.
Emily Davis is a PhD Candidate in Public History/American History at Loyola University of Chicago. She received her MA in Public History from Duquesne University after attending Saint Vincent College as an undergraduate history and theology student. Emily’s dissertation “Enshrining Memory” combines her interest in American Catholicism with public history. Museums and historic sites teach visitors about a shared past and allow visitors to grapple with their experiences of that past. For Catholics, the rise of American saints in the twentieth century produced new shrine complexes that included a museum. This research examines how American Catholics understand their national and local identity through their interpretation of saints at shrines. Visitor interaction with these sites shape the shrines’ histories as well, demonstrating the fluid nature of Catholic memory.
Kristin M. Hass is a doctoral candidate in Systematic Theology at the University of Notre Dame. Haas completed a Master of Theological Studies at Boston College and a Master of Arts in Theology through the Echo: Faith Formation Leadership Program at the University of Notre Dame. She received her undergraduate degree magna cum laude through Notre Dame’s Glynn Family Honors Program in the Program of Liberal Studies and International Peace Studies. Her research investigates the significance of the natural world in the Catholic theological tradition and in philosophical modernity, with particular attention to contemporary debates in ecological theology, eschatology, and Trinitarian theology. Haas’s dissertation, “The Ecological Significance of Louis Bouyer’s Historical and Eschatological Theology,” makes a Catholic intervention in these debates through a retrieval of the work of the French theologian Louis Bouyer of the Oratory (1913-2004).
Simeiqi He is a Catholic laywoman from China. She is a doctoral candidate at Drew University Theological School. She has earned a Master of Arts in Theology and Ministry from Brite Divinity School, a Master of Social Work and a Graduate Certificate in Women and Gender Studies from Texas Christian University, and a Bachelor of Science in Material Physics from Sichuan University. He's dissertation is titled, “The Song of Songs, The Affect of Love, And Spiritual-Moral Formation of Marriage: A Post-Critical Catholic Moral Theology of Marriage in the Spirit of Carmel.” By drawing from the rich Carmelite spiritual tradition and engaging a transdisciplinary conversation with recent scholarship in moral theology, phenomenology, biblical studies, and affect studies, He presents her knowledge that the affect of love conceived in the Song of Songs and its Carmelite reception is the passage of marital spiritual-moral formation toward union with God and for the transformation of the world.
Christopher Krall, S.J. is a Jesuit Priest and doctoral student in systematic theology and neuroscience at Marquette University. He has prior degrees from Oxford University, Boston College, and the University of Toronto. He is currently a co-principle investigator on a grant-sponsored project called the Marquette Irenaeus Project exploring the psychological and neurological effects of Christian contemplative prayer traditions. Along with his colleagues, Chris is now working toward applying for a Templeton Grant where they can expand their project in a number of key dimensions. These dimensions include facilitating more participants, using more advanced technology, creating an app to interact with and collect data from the participants, and collaboration with experts in the fields of neuroscience, psychology, biomedical engineering, historical theology, and systematic theology. 
Jason Paone is a fifth-year doctoral student of historical and systematic theology and a graduate fellow of the Institute for Human Ecology at The Catholic University of America. He holds a Master of Theological Studies from Duke University and a Bachelor of Arts in the Classics and Philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin. Under the direction of Reinhard Huetter, his doctoral research examines the role of the will in the act of faith in the teaching of the Vatican councils. His research examines the voluntary character of the act of faith as asserted by the Vatican councils (and the virtually unanimous voice of the tradition) in light of the work of recent philosophers of epistemology who have argued that the idea of voluntary belief is conceptually or logically absurd. Jason is exploring the work of a lesser-known German theologian from the 19th century named Matthias Joseph Scheeben and arguing that his construal of faith escapes this "problem of doxastic voluntarism," as identified by contemporary philosophers, without compromising the voluntariness of faith.
Deepan Rajaratnam is currently a PhD Candidate at Saint Louis University where he was selected as the 2019-2020 Religion & Public Life Fellow for the Lived Religion in the Digital Age project. Previously, he studied at Boston College where he earned a Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.). A scholar of constructive theology, Rajaratnam studies the intersection of ecclesiology and pneumatology with a particular interest in the laity. Specifically, he researches the sensus fidelium, or sense of the faithful, in relation to local church. This interest and Rajaratnam's approach to scholarship have been shaped through the numerous insights he gained through his breadth of professional ministry experience at the parish, university, and diocesan levels. Consequently, Rajaratnam employs ethnographic fieldwork to engage the broader faithful in his research and consider Catholicism as it is lived in his study of the sensus fidelium. Such an approach also enables Rajaratnam to emphasize public scholarship and to address multiple publics - ecclesial, academic, and lay.
Samantha Slaubaugh is a PhD candidate in the Department of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. Her area of concentration is Liturgical Studies. She received her M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary and her B.A. in Theology and English from the University of Sioux Falls. She is interested broadly in medieval liturgy, sacramental theology, mysticism, and hagiography.Samantha's dissertation centers around the fourteenth-century hagiography for Douceline of Digne. This text recounts not only the holiness of Douceline, including her frequent ecstatic raptures, but also the founding and growth of the beguine communities in Provence, the Ladies of Roubaud. By utilizing this text in conjunction with contemporary devotional and liturgical materials, Samantha's work seeks to better understand the liturgical leadership and practices within these beguine communities, the relationship between liturgy and ecstasy in the text, and the description of orthopraxy as a literary tool for legitimization during times of suspicion and potential threat. 
Jane Sloan Peters holds a B.A., M.Ed., and M.A. in Theology from the University of Notre Dame and an M.T.S. from the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. She is writing her dissertation under the direction of Marcus Plested at Marquette University. Jane’s dissertation focuses on Thomas Aquinas's reception of Greek patristic and Byzantine exegesis in the Expositio Continua in Quator Evangelia, popularly known as the Catena aurea, which Pope Urban IV commissioned in 1262/3. She situates the Catena aurea in its historical context and demonstrate concretely Weisheipl’s claim that the project marked "a turning point" in Thomistic theology, particularly as Byzantine sources enriched Aquinas's interpretation of the literal sense of Scripture. Jane focuses especially on three of the most frequently cited Greeks therein: John Chrysostom, Theophylact of Ochrid, and Cyril of Alexandria, and their redeployment in the Lectura Super Ioannem and the Tertia Pars. Given the far-reaching influence of this little-studied work, Jane hopes to shed light on a key text of the Catholic intellectual tradition.
Corey Stephan is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Theology at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He holds a Master of Theological Studies from the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry and a Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude with majors in Theology and Classical Languages and a minor in Spanish from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. Corey Stephan's project, Maximus the Confessor in Aquinas's Christology, is a historical theology -- that is, a journey through one strand of the Catholic intellectual tradition. The dissertation's core is the narrative of the transmission of Maximus’s thought to Aquinas and an analysis of Aquinas's reception of that thought. Stephan frames the project by defining Maximianism as fundamentally about proper devotion to Christ.