Michael James Cutlip, Jr., is a senior and a religious studies major at IUP. In fall 2015, he was elected president of the Religious Studies Club. Under his leadership we have seen a major improvement in student involvement and participation. He believes that the club enables students like him to partake in social activities beyond the contours of religious studies.
Michael was nominated and became the first recipient of our Student of the Month Award for November 2015. He has worked hard for and, therefore, deserves this award. He has attended all the major events that both our department and the community at large at IUP have planned. He has done a great job attending and documenting many of the Department of Religious Studies’ events with his video camera. He filmed and photographed them because he did not want to miss and forget those amazing opportunities and experiences.
Michael also helped to plan the visit of the Tibetan monks in late October 2015, which was a weeklong event. He played a major role in planning for the Day of the Dead festivities at IUP. He also worked with the advisor of the Religious Studies Club and his classmates to create a Religious Studies’ Day of the Dead altar, which won first place.
Michael is fascinated with studying and learning about different religious traditions, cultures, and histories of peoples around the world. He believes once we have a better understanding of other people’s religions and cultures, our fears, biases, and misconceptions will eventually be challenged. According to him, “Knowledge takes up that space in our mind where fear and ignorance once made a home.”
Michael was speechless when he found out that he was selected to receive the Student of the Month Award. Michael holds his professors in high regard. He is grateful for what they have taught him during his tenure at IUP. He hopes to take this academic experience with him wherever the future takes him. For him, it is an honor that he has been recognized for his leadership involvement and hard work.