Prior to beginning the PhD program in the Women's Spirituality department, Vanessa Soriano had received her BA and MA in Religious Studies at the California State University of Long Beach. She focused her coursework on women's spiritual experiences, sacred feminine spirituality, and social justice issues. When she discovered that the Women's Spirituality program at CIIS significantly covered these topics, she enrolled as a student and has continuously received an outstanding education. The diverse curriculum in her courses has enriched her mind, body, and spirit. Learning about religion, philosophy, ecofeminism, sacred feminine traditions, indigenous knowledge, social justice, gender studies, and multicultural perspectives in feminist discourse has brought tremendous awareness and value to Vanessa. Her academic experience at CIIS has forever altered the way she relates to the world.
When asked about what she most appreciates in the Women's Spirituality program, she responded:
"I am grateful that I am getting an education that seeks to bring justice into this world; that is committed to uncovering the stories of the marginalized and oppressed; that validates women's diverse experiences and experiences from other genders as well; that honors indigenous wisdom and customs, and that recovers the sacred feminine. I appreciate all aspects of the Women's Spirituality program. Everything I learn is invaluable."
Vanessa plans to graduate with her PhD in 2016 and wants to pursue a teaching and writing career in the fields of Women/Gender Studies and Religious Studies. She feels that her education at CIIS has prepared her well for her professional goals.