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Student Profile: Shannon Hoffman, '16, Religious Studies

An Enlightened Education

Morristown, N.J. (January 22, 2016) – Religious Studies major Shannon Hoffman, '16, knew from a young age that she wanted to turn her love for the Catholic faith into a profession. CSE's religious studies program is making that hope a reality.

A Bayonne, New Jersey, resident, Shannon grew up in the Roman Catholic faith. She is an active member at her home parish, St. Henry's Church, teaching a second-grade Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) class with her mother. Shannon went to a large high school, so when looking for a college, she sought one where she could get the individualized attention she craved.

"I fell in love with CSE once I walked onto campus," she said.

Along with the other students in the religious studies program, Shannon is taught by both the Sisters of Charity and lay professors who are, as she described, "endless fountains of knowledge." Not only do the students learn about Catholicism, but they also are taught about other religions, such as: Judaism, Islam and Buddhism.

"I have always been intrigued by various religions," she explained, "and I get to find out why the followers of other religions love their faith as much as I love mine."

The program's introspective approach to teaching opened Shannon's eyes to a more enlightened way of looking at the world, and has inspired her to go deeper in both her religious studies and her other scholastic pursuits.

Shannon is also a leadership minor, and applies what she learns in the classroom to her role as Student Government Association (SGA) President.

"Looking back, I never thought I would have this role in a million years," she recalled. "I was so shy coming in as a freshman, but CSE helped me make that jump into leadership. I couldn't be happier."

She is an active member in both Campus Ministry and College Activities Board (CAB), and she works for the Office of Student Engagement.

"My time at the College has been a transformative experience; CSE gave me a voice I wouldn't have found if I went anywhere else."

After graduation, Shannon wants to pursue a career in higher education, either as a professor of theology or as a campus minister.

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Founded in 1899 by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, the College of Saint Elizabeth has a strong tradition of concern for the poor, for developing leadership in a spirit of service and social responsibility, and a commitment to the promotion of women as full partners in society.

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