K.C. McConnell is a first year MTS candidate at Harvard Divinity School. She was born in Los Angeles, but grew up in the suburbs surrounding Philadelphia. She graduated summa cum laude from Bryn Mawr College in 2016 with a BA in Religion and a concentration in Gender and Sexuality Studies. Her senior thesis examined notions of empowerment and identity formation among Jain ascetic women living in Jaipur, India. After graduating from Bryn Mawr, K.C. was awarded a Critical Language Scholarship in Hindi for the summer of 2016.
At HDS, K.C. hopes to continue to study contemporary Jain beliefs, practices, and identities. She is particularly interested in how religious identity influences interreligious interactions in India and throughout the world. She intends to combine her training in the study of religion with coursework in diplomacy and foreign relations in order to discover how the U.S. government can best understand and respect the complexity of religiosity as it appears in South Asia, around the world, and within our own communities. K.C. also hopes to examine the roles that women, LGBTQ people, and animals play in the formation of religious identity—how are these populations included or excluded in the formation of religious communities, and how does this affect the boundaries of these communities? Ideally, K.C. would like to study everything.
When she is not immersed in coursework, K.C. enjoys exploring Cambridge, researching how to be a better vegetarian, listening to music, going on long walks with no particular direction, and (re)watching Twin Peaks. She loves all animals but especially her rabbit, Beast. She also works as a Graduate Admissions Assistant at HDS.
For more about K.C.'s work, read An Interview with K.C. McConnell.