Cameron Williams found United online as he was looking for a seminary, following a spiritual pull he’d been feeling for a couple of years. Originally he considered selling everything he had and becoming a monk, but eventually he realized his calling was to academic work in subjects that are rarely taught.
Cameron’s love for theology and academic settings led him to pursue a concentration in Religion and Theology in preparation for doctoral work in the areas of mysticism and ritual magic. While he happily studies these subjects on his own, he finds that an academic setting provides important elements that hadn’t been present in his personal studies.“My classes give a contextual understanding to my personal experiences,” he said. “What I read for class puts a frame around these experiences. And being in a classroom environment with fellow students and a professor helps me connect what I’ve experienced to a bigger picture.”
He decided to pursue an MDiv in order to have enough time to thoroughly explore his concentration, as well as to have the ability to pursue chaplaincy. (In addition to his interest in academic subjects, Cameron has a flair for counseling others.) Cameron feels a definite call to an academic career but, knowing that currently there isn’t a lot of demand for professors, he sees the ability to pursue a career as a chaplain as something to fall back on.
More importantly, the skills Cameron will gain from preparation for chaplaincy will give him real-world experience that can make him a better professor. Few people consider combining chaplaincy skills and an academic career, unless they are thinking of training chaplains. But Cameron see the combination as one that can provide both the spiritual fulfillment of helping people with the enjoyable challenge of continual growth through academic study and research. “Simply
pursuing chaplaincy would be the easy route for me,” he said. “But that’s not what I want.”
A recipient of the Sims scholarship, Cameron says that having his tuition covered during his first year of study allowed him to attend classes full-time while minimizing the debt he needed to take on to be a full-time student. “I would not be able to have the experience I am having now without the scholarship,” he said.