theology matters: Celebrating Our Seniors

Elizabeth Bonau is a senior theology major and classical Greek minor. She discovered her passion for theology late in her academic career, initially pursuing a major in music performance on the saxophone and then a double major in biology and environmental science. The beginning of her junior year proved to be a turning point in her college career, which was set in motion when she took part in an Old Testament course with Dr. Kelly Wilson. The class provided her with new insight into the biblical narratives and the historical and cultural richness within the text captured her intellectual imagination. She decided she wanted to know more and officially became a theology major in the spring of her junior year. She graduates this coming January and plans to take time off to work, hoping to return to school in the vein of pursuing a career that combines theology, the arts, and public health. In regard to her personal life, Elizabeth was raised in Merrifield, MN, a small town in which her family owned Train Bell Resort. She has two brothers and two sisters and recently inherited a fun-loving Pomeranian. She enjoys attending rock concerts in her free time and aspires to travel the world.

Dylan Coyer is a senior student completing a double major in computer science and theology. He started out as just a student of computer science, but then decided to go for a theology minor, as well, since he had enough time in his schedule and since theology is his second favorite subject. Then, just last year, he  discovered that he could shift around his schedule to work in a theology major, so he decided to do that. Within theology, Dylan is interested in biblical studies, specifically Old Testament; he also wants to study other religions. With his degrees, he plans to be a network security analyst who studies theology in his free time. As far as his personal life goes, he is from Hudson, Wisconsin. He enjoys listening to music. His favorite food is spaghetti. He has a brother in the sixth grade and a sister who is a first-year student in college. He has a fiance with whom he enjoys travel, and his favorite sport is hockey.

Kelley Deshler is graduating this December with a double major in theology with a ministry emphasis and family studies. She feels called to work with young people, and her current plan entails working in a parish as a youth minister. She works for a Christian summer camp called Summer Festival, and is also currently working part time at St. Joan of Arc in Minneapolis in their youth ministry department. Kelley loves ministering to junior high and high school students, building trusting relationships with students, as well as being a spiritual support for those who are seeking guidance.

Kirsten Gorman is from St. Paul. She is the only child in her family. She decided to become a theology major after having Dr. Anthony as her advisor, and after taking classes from other wonderful professors. She is most interested in learning about other religions in relation to Catholicism. Her major will help her relate to those who are not practicing the same religion, or who are not coming from the same culture or background.

Krista Graff is from a small town in Minnesota. She grew up with her nearest neighbor being a mile away. Her father owns his own business and her mother is a social worker/therapist. She has one older sister, who also attended St.Thomas, and two dogs. Her family is very important to her, and she says she wouldn’t be the woman she is today without them. She actually came into St. Thomas as a business major, but decided to switch to theology because she fell in love with her theology classes. She saw that having a major in theology would help her not only with her future career, but to become a better person. Her favorite area to study within theology is historical theology. She loves learning about the history of the church and how this can be applied to today’s culture. Krista is planning on going back to school to become a therapist. She feels that theology gave her a greater understanding of the world, and now she would like to apply this to the individual lives she will be working with.

William Moore, OFS has been a Third Order Franciscan for 21 years. His daughter is attending UST as a psychology major. Because of this, he was able to take classes tuition free through the Parents-on-Campus Program, to the tune of two four-credit courses every fall and spring semester. He has a BA in psychology from the U of M and an associate degree in registered nursing from Inver Hills Community College. He worked 35 years as an RN, the last 25 years with elderly veterans and their spouses. His concentration is in lay ministry. He retired in September of 2012 and started at UST the next day. He hopes to continue volunteering at his parish as a pastoral minister and serving his parish however God calls him. In the future, he hopes to finish his training to become a spiritual assistant to Third Order Franciscan fraternities and, if deemed worthy, to be appointed by our head Provincial Friar as a spiritual assistant to one of the local fraternities.

Kellie Serena was born and raised in Babbitt, Minnesota. She is the youngest of seven children. She is a practicing Catholic after her conversion as a young child. Kellie decided to pursue a double major in theology and Catholic studies because of a desire to understand the role of the Catholic Church in today’s society. However, with the help of Dr. Boyle, she realized that it was not just an understanding of the Catholic Church she desired, but rather a deeper understanding of the human person in relation to the divine. Dr. Paul Wojda’s course in moral theology enabled her to understand that it is the morality of humanity that fascinates her the most. Kellie hopes to pursue advanced degrees in moral theology or perhaps even canon law.

Corey Stephan was born on Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, but he and his family have spent the last decade living in Duluth, Minnesota. His father Kevin is a physician specializing in infectious diseases, and his mother Deb teaches public speaking and interpersonal communication to college students as well as global and linguistic studies to elementary students. His brother Jeremy hopes to major in biochemistry when he begins university studies next fall. Corey is engaged to be married to a lovely, compassionate aspiring elementary school teacher named Olivia. He decided to study theology because he believes that the studies, commentaries, and debates throughout history surrounding the incarnation, life, passion, and resurrection of our Savior compose the most provocative, inspiring, and existentially central thread of humankind’s great conversation.

From "theology matters," a newsletter of the Department of Theology. Subscribe here.