Mentoring at the RSC

Student Section


The Religious Studies Center (RSC) has a solid reputation for mentoring student employees. Research assistants are given opportunities for growth and real-world experience as they work with faculty and staff. The RSC typically employs around a dozen research assistants and half a dozen editing interns.

Kipp Muir, a junior majoring in economics from Irvine, California, helps organize and oversee progress for projects like the upcoming book on Lorenzo Snow. “I think that part of mentoring is gaining an appreciation for learning and scholarship,” Kipp said. He works closely with the RSC publications director, Dr. Richard Neitzel Holzapfel, and feels that he has been taught by example. “I respect that he is able to dedicate himself to something. Part of what I’ve learned here is the importance of having a passion for something.”

Bethany Malouf has had the opportunity to transcribe some of Joseph Smith’s journal entries and has found a passion for her own work. “I have learned a lot from the projects I’ve worked on; I have progressed spiritually and even socially.” As a senior biology major from Dallas, Bethany feels that her job has enhanced her education by cultivating skills. She says her writing and communication capacities have increased as she has conducted interviews with religion professors and written blog entries for the RSC.

Research assistants work closely with RSC staff to complete assignments. Bethany explained, “The people on staff are so talented and are always willing to give of their time and knowledge. Whenever I have an editing question, I know I can ask Devan Jensen and he will be thrilled to help.” Working with professionals at the RSC gives students like Bethany opportunities to step outside of their comfort zones and gain confidence.

Not only do research assistants at the RSC gain confidence, they get firsthand experience with the research and publication process. Ben Tingey is a junior majoring in American studies from Carmel, Indiana, and he says that working at the RSC has helped him in his own research for school. “Because of work, I know how to search and understand the historical context of statements and information. I understand the research process much better.” He also found value working in real-world situations. “I love to see finished versions of the subject matter in book or article form. There is definitely value in being able to see our work transformed into something real and tangible.”

Ben says he learns a great deal just by observing staff members and how they work with other people, how they balance different projects, and how they budget their time. Ben says he really feels he is benefitting from the mentoring that takes place at the RSC. He says that research assistants here are given a lot of free reign to pursue projects that interest them, and he is preparing to coauthor an article with Dr. Holzapfel. “Working here has really given me opportunities for personal growth, and Dr. Holzapfel is always helping and guiding me along in that pursuit.” Ultimately, each student at the RSC works closely with professionals and fosters valuable career and personal skills.