IPS Student Spotlight Series: Reflections on Being an IPS Student
This series of blog posts will feature six IPS students. Read their thoughts on their degree programs, why they chose IPS, and what they hope to do after IPS.
Ramona N. Gant
Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling/ Master of Divinity
I came to IPS after being enrolled in two different graduate programs. I guess you could say I was searching and when I heard about IPS I set up an interview with the Enrollment Advisor. After hearing about the Pastoral Counseling program, I knew that this was the place, and the best fit for me. I choose the Pastoral Counseling program because it was a clinical program that had spiritual undertones in its foundational structure. It’s nice to learn in an academic environment where God language is not left out of the classroom. Recently, I added on the M. Div. My bachelor’s degree is in Youth Ministry and it has always been the case that I would pursue a M. Div. The timing finally felt right. My hope upon completion of graduate school is to pursue my LPC while I continue to work as a part-time Youth Director at University Church in Hyde Park, as well as land a position in a counseling center where I can work towards obtaining my 2,000 for my LCPC.
DukhNiwaran Kaur Khalsa
Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling
I heard of Loyola’s IPS when I moved to Chicago in 1988. I had it on my back burner as I pursued my career in therapeutic massage and Kundalini Yoga. As my spiritual life expanded and as I found myself doing as much “counseling” as bodywork, I decided to merge these interests. I hope to serve people as they experience the challenges in their lives with a holistic – body, mind and spirit – approach with Pastoral Counseling. I was happy to find a Masters Program that would prepare me to be a licensed therapist and delve into spirituality as well as psychology. I hope to serve people who are struggling with their relationship to spirituality – people of all faith traditions and particularly people with no faith tradition. I hope to do this in private practice or at the treatment center I currently work at – or both! As a Sikh Minister, I also hope to serve my spiritual community both as a therapist and in leadership roles that can be informed by the depth of presence the skills and scholarship are giving me. The community of students I study with! I have made connections with people that start off in a deeper more meaningful place than most friendships do. We also have a broad ethnic diversity in our student population that inspires me.
Fr. Bruno Kaharuza Tibamwenda
Master of Arts in Christian Spirituality
Hometown: Mbarara Archdiocese, Uganda, Africa.
I came specifically to be trained in the skills of spirituality and spiritual direction. In fact, my story is a bit long though I may be brief, I was here in 2010 -2013 specifically for Pastoral counseling which was of great necessity in my home area as it is elsewhere on the globe. I have been in ministry as a priest for 20 years and I felt my ministry was no longer as effective as it should be. In sharing with my ordinary who had good knowledge of what Loyola is, he directed me to this school majorly because of her excellence in formation and education. It is a school that is well renowned on the globe for her excellence in training and forming her students in matters of discipline and academic excellence. I can now tell from my personal experience as an alumni, what I picked here helped me to have a positive impact on the ground. I could move the masses, people were healed and impacted psychologically. From their yearning and testimonies what came clearly upfront was a desire to be filled in matters of spirituality. As this was observed by many, my ordinary recommended that I come back to specialize in spirituality and spiritual direction so as to be able to help people who are in need in our diocese. After my graduation, I hope to be going back home to my home diocese to continue to address that pastoral need on the ground to be of benefit to my people. I love Loyola University for her dedication to her career of teaching and learning of her students, Loyola gives a lot of care to her students and aims at being relevant to needs of the time. This goal has had a great impact on her students and thus relevant to the modern world.
Destiny K. Mitchell
Master of Arts in Social Justice
Hometown: So. Chicago Heights
I chose to study social justice because I have always felt a call to serve others, especially underprivileged, muted groups. I chose to study IPS because I felt it would be a perfect integration of my passion for people, and the call for Christian stewardship. The factors that were most important for me when choosing a graduate degree were that I loved the subject material, and that I felt called to not only the field of study, but the program itself. Although I am unsure where I will ultimately end up career wise, I’d like to think I’ll be doing something with advocacy journalism or working in communication with a nonprofit post-graduation. One of the things I love most about IPS are my incredible peers who all have a great level of social consciousness and genuine care for other people.
Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling
When I moved to Chicago for work I did so knowing that there were several universities in the area and many options for me to continue my studies. Having coming from another Jesuit university for my masters in theology I knew that Loyola and particularly the IPS would be a good fit for me to pursue the integration of my two passions, psychology and theology/spirituality. I contacted the program advisor for Pastoral Counseling and found that we had a lot in common. He made me feel comfortable with being able to complete the program while working full-time as teacher, and once I enrolled he helped me become part of the community at IPS. I came for the strong academics and the personal and pastoral approach to learning. What I love most about IPS is that the community is made up of a variety of faiths, ethnicities and cultures, ages, and life experiences. My time here has been enriched by all of this. After I complete this degree I hope to pursue a doctoral degree and study the integration of psychology and spirituality, while also continuing my licensure process and practicing clinical therapy.
Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling/Master of Divinity
I learned about IPS through a recommendation from my mentor. In was in search of a program that would prepare me to be licensed counselor as well as further allow me to participate in the study of my faith. This is why I decided to pursue the dual degree of Masters of Pastoral Counseling and Masters of Divinity. The most important factors for me in choosing a graduate degree were the strength of the reputation of the faculty and quality of ministerial opportunities outside of the classroom. Upon graduation from IPS my professional goal is to combine my education and faith into a career as a counselor. I hope to one day open a community center where I can offer services to contribute to the healing of the mind, body, and spirit of each client. My personal and more immediate goal is to help to provide a place in the Catholic Churches of Chicago where Young Adults can feel accepted and inspired by their faith through a ministry entitled ReCiL (Reclaiming Christ in Life). I love IPS because of the community of faculty, staff, and students. The quality of what we learn in the classroom is superb but what sets IPS apart for me are the amazing people at IPS. The community is the perfect balance of supporting and challenging. I feel that IPS gives me all the tools I need to achieve my goals.