Alina Sayre Skujins, a California native now living in South Carolina, is a teacher and writer who was drawn to the “convergence of art and faith,” but she didn’t quite know at first how to weave her various strands together.
“I was an English major as an undergrad, and I wasn’t opposed to the idea of graduate school. I just hadn’t found the right program,” she remembers.
After attending a conference on the topic “evolving faith,” she decided to search the internet for graduate programs that combine creative writing and theology. The top result: Bethany.
Now a student in the Certificate in Theopoetics and Theological Imagination program, Sayre Skujins says that she is really enjoying the program and is inspired by her classmates.
“It’s been an adjustment getting used to being a student again, but I’m in a class that includes some students who are twice my age. They are taking on the challenge, so they give me the confidence that I can adapt to new challenges, too,” she says.
“I feel really connected to other students in the class, even though I am at a great distance. I think the professors at Bethany and ESR do a great job of making space for students to participate in discussions, whether they are in the classroom on campus or joining via Zoom. It feels like a real class experience.”
Sayre Skujins is the author of the “Voyages of the Legend” series of fantasy novels intended for readers aged 9-14 years. She also teaches and tutors students in 1st-12th grades online under the auspices of Pacific Preparatory School, based in San Francisco, focusing on creative writing, language, and executive function.
As a student in the MATW program, Sayre Skukins plans to explore a variety of genres, including non-fiction spiritual writing, and short pieces inspired by her own experiences that she terms “autofiction.”
“Bethany students and faculty really give one another a lot of grace, and I appreciate that,” she says. “I feel that I am thriving in this environment.”