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Harvard student receives United Methodist grant

Oct. 12, 2009 | NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS)

Tiffany Stanley

A Harvard University student will receive a $6,000 tuition grant from United Methodist Communications to continue her pursuit of a career in religion journalism.

Tiffany Stanley, a master of divinity student at Harvard University, will receive the annual Stoody-West Fellowship from The United Methodist Church’s communications agency.

“The church needs people who can tell its story,” said the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications. “Tomorrow’s communicators are in our pews, and it’s our duty to identify and encourage them.”

Stanley, 26, discovered her Christian faith as a teenager at Red Bank United Methodist Church in Lexington, S.C. With passions for both faith and writing, she did not know whether to choose a career in ministry or journalism.

“At the close of college, I felt torn about the seemingly divergent paths that lay before me,” she wrote in her application essay. “I could either be the journalist that I had always felt called to be, or I could serve in ministry, which I was feeling more called to do.”

But when Stanley began serving in missions, including The United Methodist Church’s US-2 Missionary Program for Young Adults, she discovered that religion and communication can go hand in hand.

“The more I discovered about religious journalism, the more I realized that this path blended my callings, allowing me to live out my faith and work in a field I love,” she wrote. “That discovery nudged me to pursue further education at Harvard Divinity School, where I could supplement my journalism degree with an education in religion, exploring my faith and the faiths of others.”

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Stanley is currently the editorial intern at Harvard Magazine. Previously, she interned at Religion News Service in Washington. Her articles appeared online in USA Today, Christianity Today, Beliefnet, Pew Forum, as well as in print in The Times-Picayune (New Orleans), Salt Lake Tribune, Houston Chronicle, The Oklahoman, Star Tribune (Minneapolis), Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal, Mobile (Ala.) Press-Register and others. She has also written for United Methodist Women’s Response magazine.

Stanley plans to continue covering religion in both faith-based publications and secular media after she graduates in June 2010.

The Stoody-West Fellowship is named for Ralph Stoody and Arthur West, who were leaders in public relations and information services in The United Methodist Church. The grant assists one United Methodist student who intends to pursue a career in religion journalism and is in post-graduate study at an accredited U.S. college or university.

News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.  

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