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Abigail Nye '19

Theological study leads to meaningful discoveries

For Abigail Nye '19, a double major in psychology and theology, theological study has been meaningful on multiple levels. It has both enriched her understanding of psychology and her personal faith.

"I chose to major in theology because I wasn't satisfied with my level of understanding of the Christian tradition," Nye says. "It was important to me to have a base from which I could effectively do biblical study after I graduate. However, I have gained more knowledge from the theology field than I expected that has largely contributed to how I understand major psychological concepts."

Nye hopes to work in the educational psychology field, implementing programs in schools that provide children with equal educational opportunities.

"Although I will be pursuing a psychology-based career, I have learned so much about societal changes, theories and expectations through my theology major," Nye says.

Part of this knowledge comes from her women's & gender studies concentration within the theology major. This course of study has allowed her to explore what it means to be a Christian today and to think differently about women, gender and female biblical characters.

"I never realized how many women of prominence and women called to leadership there are in the Bible," Nye says. "Most of the women in the Bible display a strong passion and drive for justice and equality in the Kingdom of God. My concentration has exposed me to the biblical truth of women’s representation in the Kingdom."

Nye was encouraged by Professor of Theology Karin Heller to present her personal research on important women in Christianity at the Spokane Intercollegiate Research Conference. Her first two presentations were on Hildegard of Bingen and Mary of Nazareth. This spring, she received the Best Oral Speaker award for her presentation on Eve.

"Doing personal research has allowed me to explore specific stories of women that aren’t heard as loudly in the church," she says. "I’m grateful for the opportunity I have to take the stories of biblical women with me on the rest of my life’s faith journey."

Nye is also grateful for Heller, who has been her most influential mentor at Whitworth.

"It is important to me that there is a woman who has gone ahead of me and has helped me navigate my own way through challenging biblical themes and the state of women in the church today," Nye says. "Dr. Heller has given me the opportunity to look at challenges from a different perspective, and instead of avoiding them, to dive in as deep as I can in dissecting them until I find the truth."

As Nye graduates and looks for opportunities to serve women and children, she carries with her a stronger faith.

"My faith has become more refined and personal through the exposure of this major to all aspects of the Christian tradition and how we all fit into the Kingdom here on earth," she says.

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