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Drew Theological Students Land Jobs Through Internships

Real-world learning leads to real-world positions.

December 2019 – Drew Theological School is rooted in the belief that real-world experiences are essential to a relevant, applicable theological education. 

Through Supervised Ministry internship placements, students gain experience beyond the classroom, in a site placement that resonates with their vocational call and professional aspirations. 

We talked to three theological school students in chaplaincy, faith-based nonprofit, and ministry placements who found employment directly from their internships, with the institutions where they served—true success stories of real-world learning.

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Ryan Pitt T'20

Ryan Pitt T’20, Master of Divinity
Internship to Employment: Chaplain, Seaman’s Church Institute, Port Newark

Responsibilities:
“As a chaplain at the Seamen’s Church Institute, my job is to visit ships in the Port of New York and New Jersey, providing a personal point of contact with international and domestic seafarers. I assess the needs of the crew and provide practical, emotional, spiritual and religious support where needed. Regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender I visit ships as a ministry of presence to listen to stories, concerns and joys of all those aboard.”

What I learned:
“U.S. society is dependent on products imported through our ports. We (U.S. citizens) are unaware of the individuals producing and transporting these goods around the world. This puts heavy pressure on shipping companies and their seafarers. Consequently, seafarers work tirelessly to stay on schedule. In doing so, seafarers are seen as part of the ship, a ‘piston’ more than as a ‘person’ with physical, spiritual, intellectual and emotional needs. Chaplains are in a unique position to address these in a variety of ways and spaces.”

"Just as God can be experienced in churches or sanctuaries, God emerges through taking care of one another."

How my internship prepared me for the future:
“My Supervised Ministry experience prepared me for future chaplaincy contexts by illustrating how God works beyond the walls of traditional ministry settings. Just as God can be experienced in churches or sanctuaries, God emerges through taking care of one another. I have realized this is not a unilateral, one-way relationship; rather it is a communal journey built on hospitality, mutuality and love.”

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Brinna Kolitz T'20

Brinna Kolitz T’20, Master of Divinity
Internship to Employment: Chaplain, Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital, Parsippany, NJ

Responsibilities:
As a chaplain at Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital, I am a member of the treatment team for the patients on the unit(s) I am assigned to. I provide both one-on-one and small group opportunities to help with the spiritual care needs of patients on their journey towards recovery. As a chaplain, I am also on call to respond to emergencies.

What I learned:
“Coming into my theological education and becoming a chaplain was not on my radar, nevermind a chaplain at a psychiatric hospital. Through conversations with faculty at Drew and mentors in my life, I explored the aspects of ‘church work’ that just didn’t feel authentic to who I am, and then the pieces that I absolutely loved and felt right. It was then that chaplaincy was introduced to discern if that was a better path for me in ministry.” 

How my internship prepared me for the future:
“My internship year at Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital has turned into my career. I have found a home in ministry where I can live into my calling to be a presence of hope and spiritual care in the lives of an incredibly marginalized and stigmatized community. I have learned more about what ministry can be and who I am in ministry through this opportunity. I look forward to many more years serving at Greystone.” 

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Olivia Cunningham DiAgostino T’19

Olivia Cunningham DiAgostino T’19, Master of Divinity Internship to Employment: Transformation Program Coordinator, United Methodist Women, New York, NY

Responsibilities:
During my Supervised Ministry placement with United Methodist Women (UMW), I worked in the communications department, helping to research and write content for print, the website and social media. One of my favorite memories is searching the United Methodist Archives at Drew for stories of bold women from our history. After I completed the supervised ministry placement, my supervisor connected me to the director of transformative education, who was looking for some assistance with UMW’s mission education programming. I worked closely with her during my last year at Drew, and began working full time as a program coordinator after graduation.

"I’ve found a place where my passions for writing, theology and education can intersect.”

What I learned:
One of the things I most appreciate about UMW is that it highlights the work of laywomen in the church in areas like education, theology, spiritual growth and justice. I’ve always known I didn’t want to be ordained, but I followed a call to seminary anyway, not knowing where this would lead. I’m so thankful I was able to make this connection to the largest denominational organization of laywomen, where I can work to put faith, hope and love into action. I’ve found a place where my passions for writing, theology and education can intersect.”

How my internship prepared me for the future:
One of the most important things that I learned during my internship time, both in the workplace and during our seminar class, was that while I like working in communications, it was not an ideal fit for me. This time of intentional discernment allowed me to explore other strengths, and eventually led to a job that combines my skills and interests. While I’m still figuring it all out, I am grateful that Drew equipped me to take the next most faithful step in my journey.