The University of St. Thomas

Meet Graduate Students Stephani Atkins and Dominic Bruno

Meet Graduate Students Stephani Atkins and Dominic Bruno

STEPHANI ATKINS

What is your background?

I grew up in Woodbury, Minnesota, and I attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. I graduated with a BA in history. My husband Wayne and I have four children: Allie, age 15; Hannah, age 14; Jack, 12; and Emma 9. 

 

Stephani Atkins

Why did you choose to do the Masters program? 

I never planned to pursue a Master of Arts in Theology. My interest always lay in psychology, but I had begun to research the early Church, and I was amazed by the wisdom of the early Church Fathers about the human person and the emphasis placed on the healing of body and soul. I was humbled that this knowledge preceded the findings of neuroscience by almost 2000 years, and I was hooked! My friend Anna was a student in the MAT program, and her studies sounded so interesting that I knew it was something I wanted to do. She suggested I talk to Dr. Cory, which I did. A month later I began taking the prerequisites required to pursue my Masters at the seminary. 

 

What are your plans after graduation?

Having grown up a Protestant girl who planned to study psychology and ended up an Orthodox convert pursuing theology at a Catholic seminary, I joke that “Who am I to know where God will place me next?” I never expected to have Him place me here! That said, studying at the seminary has been a huge blessing in my life and a re-affirmation that God really does know what's best. After graduation I hope to pursue a Ph.D. I'd like to study, write, and teach about the early Church. In particular, I want to learn more about our Great Physician and how the Church in the first four centuries healed, nurtured and reintegrated the human soul and body of its members as it incorporated them into the Body of Christ.


DOMINIC BRUNO

What is your background?

My hometown is Cottonwood, Idaho, a farming town of less than a 1,000 folks in north central Idaho.  I received a BA in psychology from Gonzaga University.  I’ve worked in social services, youth and camping ministry, and currently campus ministry. 

Dominic Bruno

 

Why did you choose The Saint Paul Seminary’s graduate program?

I ended up in Minnesota as I was looking for work in campus ministry, and UST offered me a position as a residence hall chaplain.  The possibility of taking classes at The Saint Paul Seminary seemed like a benefit.  I guessed that I would be involved in ministry, either formally or informally, for the rest of my life, so I decided to pursue education in this field.  The Master of Arts in Theology program seemed too academic for my tastes, but the Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry provided the right balance of pastoral and academic work. Coming from the sticks, I don’t have much tolerance for driving in traffic or searching for parking, so I love working, living, and going to school all in the same place.

 

What are your plans after graduation?

Post-graduation, I will pursue full-time work in campus ministry.