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Now at Harvard, Oregon State online grad still “over the moon” with religious studies

Monique Lanier can’t shake Oregon State.

Not that she wants to, of course. She’s a graduate of Oregon State’s religious studies online bachelor’s program, and the experience profoundly impacted her — academically and in myriad other ways.

She’s regularly reminded of that impact now as she works her way through the Harvard Divinity School’s master’s program in theological studies. That’s what the undergraduate experience is partly designed to do, by the way — prepare a person for an advanced course of study, increased rigor and a new set of challenges.

Lanier embraces all of that at Harvard, and she says her alma mater helped pave her path to one of the world’s most prestigious institutions.

Headshot of Monique Lanier, an Oregon State University Ecampus religious studies student

Monique Lanier is a graduate of Oregon State’s religious studies online bachelor’s program. Read a first-person account of her academic experiences.

“The religious studies program at Oregon State is excellent,” she says. “I often find myself wanting to send emails to my OSU professors thanking them for the material they curated for their classes. I’ve cited it many times in my graduate work.”

Enrolling in a graduate program at Harvard has helped satiate Lanier’s thirst for knowledge as a lifelong learner. She’s grateful for the opportunity, particularly because a stroke and resulting chronic health issues disrupted her life and academic aspirations for nearly 20 years.

Not only does she find religion “beyond fascinating,” but she also considers now to be the ideal time to continue her studies.

“I am more convinced than ever that the study of religion is essential,” Lanier says. “It is not the study of doctrine or theology, exclusively, but the study of our relationship to the sacred; both secular and divine. That includes pretty much everything. What could be more essential than that? There is so much at stake.

“The study of religion is also fundamental as a tool of insight to the real-world challenges we are facing. There is so much to learn and so many amazing scholars to learn from. I’m always over the moon with it all.”

While earning her bachelor’s degree with Oregon State Ecampus, Lanier was part of an engaging, tight-knit group of online learners and religious studies faculty members. The connections gave her — and her Ecampus classmates — an authentic sense of community despite learning from a distance.

Oregon State served as the foundation of a remarkable journey, one that led Lanier out of a prolonged dark period to Harvard and the many places that await.

“Without a doubt, it changed my life. It’s not an exaggeration to say it most likely saved my life,” she says. “I sincerely believe that education changes lives and often saves them. Add that to the gift of being in the presence of incredibly kind and deeply good people and, well, we can save the world.”


Learn more about Oregon State’s religious studies online bachelor’s program and how it can empower you to pursue your passion.

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