New ISM Student Life Video Series

December 10, 2020

By Mark Roosien, Interim ISM admissions coordinator


What is it like to be a student at the ISM? What makes the ISM a unique place to study? We set out to answer these questions by asking current students to talk about their experiences on film. Check out the videos at the ISM admissions home page. We’re releasing a new video each week.

As our director Martin Jean said recently, one of the main goals of the ISM is to bring people together. This commitment is baked into our structure, as we host students both from Yale Divinity School and from Yale School of Music.

Many of the students we talked to underscored the value of working side by side with students from other disciplines. Throughout the year, ISM students intermingle in courses, services at Marquand Chapel, and especially the weekly ISM Colloquium. Even though the Colloquium series has been held online this year due to the pandemic, speakers and presenters have found ways to generate meaningful discussions.

In their interview, Haven Herrin (M.Div. ’22) talked about the various topics of our Colloquium series this year and the value of community discussions around these important issues:

“The conversations have included grief work, racism in health care, homelessness, beauty as a human right, and restoration through creation. I feel so grateful to be fed by the wisdom of the presenters each week and to be in community with folks at the ISM who are unravelling a lot of the same knots.”

Students come to the ISM to advance in their fields, and rightfully so. The Yale Divinity School and Yale School of Music are two of the country’s best professional schools in their disciplines.

But the ISM also shapes students in ways that go beyond mere professionalization. In her video, Carolyn Craig (M.M. organ ’21) said, “The ISM has shaped me into more of a citizen-artist, by giving me the permission to think about how my art relates to the world.” Carolyn then mentioned a collaborative project on women composers that she and an ISM/YSM alum are creating with support from an ISM grant.

The ISM exposes students to a variety of perspectives and voices that impact their intellectual and social lives. “The ISM is forming me to be a more careful and attentive listener … I’m more conscious all the time of the ways that we’re dependent upon our communities and the people around us for the insights we do have,” said Kyler Schubkegel (M.A.R. religion and literature ’21).

The ISM prides itself on being a hub for interdisciplinary work. Our graduates receive a Certificate of Interdisciplinary Studies from the ISM in addition to their graduate degrees from Yale Divinity School or Yale School of Music.

Interdisciplinarity takes shape through coursework especially. In her video, Phoenix Gonzalez (M.A.R. liturgical studies ’21) vividly described a class study trip she took (pre-pandemic) to the UK for a course on the music and worship of the English Church in the Middle Ages. She said, “For me, interdisciplinarity means discovering new ways of thinking through the intersection of theater and liturgy, or the ritual practices of the Christian church.”

We hope the Student Life video series provides a window into the ethos and uniqueness of the ISM. The application deadline for Divinity School students is coming up soon, on January 15, 2021. Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to speak more about our programs!