Eliza Stucker is currently seeking a dual Masters degree from IPS. From the beginning, she has welcomed and embraced the new challenges and experiences that higher education brings. Find out more about Eliza and her future goals below:
Hometown: Irmo, SC
A favorite hobby: Cooking – Italian cuisine in particular
A favorite quote:
“Perhaps everything terrible is, in its deepest being, something that needs our love.” -Rainer Maria Rilke
What is your previous education?
Furman University, Bachelors in Chemistry and Bachelors in Biology (2012).
What were you doing before beginning your IPS journey?
I was in college, doubling in Chemistry and Biology, planning on applying to veterinary school.
What made you decide to come to Loyola IPS?
I began by realizing that religion is often used as a weapon to judge, demean, or harm others as opposed to being a source of healing. I have experienced God as One who heals, and I wanted to learn more to be able to be a source of healing and counter this trend in our world. I also wanted to work with people and became intrigued by the idea of psychotherapy. IPS’s dual degree in Divinity and Pastoral Counseling matched my interests, and I applied!
What are your studies focused on?
I am in the dual Masters program, getting my Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling degrees. I like to describe the MDiv as a degree focused on how religion/theology play out in the world at large, on the ground. This degree teaches me how to stand beside people as God would and how to be a resource for those who are on their own personal journey and are in need of a companion.
My MAPC degree is a bit more specific to the mind. Pastoral counseling is essentially psychotherapy with a pastoral lens, and it is a unique approach to the psychological issues many people in our society face daily. This degree teaches me about basic psychology, yes. More than that, though, it teaches me how to attune to others, to truly listen and to help someone find his/her own answers. One of the most healing techniques I have found is how to be able to be a calm, supportive person for someone as they face their own suffering, becoming a witness to the life of another. This is not something many feel comfortable doing; we are almost wired to move away from suffering. My field and vocation, however, asks me to stand my ground and face the suffering of life alongside those who need me as a witness and support.
What are you most looking forward to accomplishing during your time here at Loyola IPS and how does that relate to your future goals?
I am looking forward now to my clinical internship in counseling that will begin either this summer or next fall. It will be my first opportunity to act in a psychotherapeutic role, and I’m very excited for this real-world, hands on experience. Thus far, I am most proud of my completed CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) unit I just completed this past summer. I learned so many things about ministry and chaplaincy, met some amazing people and learned a lot about myself.
Do you have a favorite class or one you look forward to taking?
Hebrew I and II were my favorite classes that I’ve taken at Loyola as a graduate student. Within IPS, though (Hebrew is in the Theology department), my favorite class has been either Human Relations Skills or Psychopathology…I can’t decide! Both are pastoral counseling classes. I’m looking forward to Testing and Measurement and, as aforementioned, Internship.
Do you see any challenges you will have to overcome during your time here? If so, what is one of them?
I feel as though education always comes with its challenges, and in my 2.5 years at IPS I can say I have underwent some challenges. For the future, though, I cannot predict what will happen next. I rest in the fact that I can come to IPS staff to help me with whatever issues I may come across for the remainder of my time here.
Do you have any recommendations for future students?
I recommend that students come to a class in the program(s) they are interested in and speak to the students about their experiences. While I enjoy what I do, the reality of my programs are very different from what I had imagined going in; it’s hard to understand a program through paper. Since we all have 20/20 hindsight, I think talking to some students about the programs would be very informative for prospective students!
In what way will you go forth to “change the world?”
My hope is to be able to provide therapy for all different kinds of individuals that will improve their body, mind and spiritual health.
Are you currently working on any interesting project(s) that you wish to share?
Well, a final paper for a class that I’m currently finishing up has me researching/writing about the impact of a female victimization narrative on the recovery of battered women. I am weaving together feminist theology with social context and a bit of psychology to speak to how this large, societal problem (domestic violence) can be understood through lenses that can be harmful or unproductive.
What is a fun fact or story about you?
I think one of the funniest facts about me in the context of IPS is that many of my MDiv classmates thought I was Jewish my first year in the program because of how often I cite the First Testament and/or Hebrew!
Connect with Eliza:
Prospective students are welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if they have further questions or comments for me!