Melanie Kampen, PhD

Emmanuel College Graduating Student Q&A: Melanie Kampen, PhD

Melanie is the first graduate of the conjoint PhD program

Can you tell us a bit about your studies at Emmanuel College? What inspired you to apply?

I applied for the PhD program at Emmanuel College because I wanted a PhD in Theology and I wanted to study in Canada. After comparing several different programs, I decided that the program at Emmanuel College would be the best fit for me. I specifically applied in order to study under the direction of Dr. Marilyn Legge and her feminist and decolonizing approaches to Christian ethics.

What did you like about studying in Toronto?

The libraries and the food! The resources that were available to me through UofT’s extensive library system were invaluable. And I believe that good and accessible food is key in supporting learning, reading,and writing.

Did you complete your undergraduate/graduate studies here at U of T?

I completed my B.A. at Canadian Mennonite University, my Masters of Theological Studies at Conrad Grebel University College at the University of Waterloo, and my PhD at UofT.

What was it like to be a PhD student at Emmanuel?

I’m an introvert so I didn’t participate in many social activities or events, but one of my favourite things was the opportunity I had to work as a Research Fellow for Dr. Marilyn Legge. I learned a lot of valuable pedagogical skills from Dr. Legge and thoroughly enjoyed facilitating learning for students regarding their own moral formation and how to locate themselves in the field of Christian ethics whether in their homes, workplaces, community centers, or places of worship.

What influence has your time at Emmanuel had on your life, education and career?

It confirmed for me my vocation of teaching Christian ethics and theology.

What have you learned about yourself, and even about others?

I’ve definitely gained confidence as an educator as well as in my ability to express my ideas clearly and effectively to others. I also learned that being full-time faculty is a lot more work than any professors let on to their students.

What does your time with Emmanuel College mean to you?

My time at Emmanuel College really centers around my work with my supervisor Dr. Marilyn Legge. Her mentorship, guidance, challenges, and encouragement are the most memorable part of my time at Emmanuel.

Where do you hope your degree will take you now that you are graduating?

I hope to do some part-time teaching at the post-secondary level. I’m also working on developing workshops on a variety of topics in theology and ethics for churches, bible study groups, church retreats, etc. I will also try to get my dissertation published. And, of course, there is always more learning to do as I plan to apply for several post-docs.

What advice would you have for prospective and current students? Any words of wisdom?

You will spend a lot of time reading. Then you’ll spend a lot of time writing. There will be pressures, both overt, such as deadlines and word count requirements, as well as covert, such as the infamous “impostor syndrome,” but these do not define you. Amidst all of this, remember to make friends and always take time to rest and play.

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