The Scholar

Jermaine graduated from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) at the University of Virginia with a Bachelors of Science degree in Computer Science. The most impactful class Jermaine took at UVa was Technology, Culture, and Communication (now Science, Technology, and Society), led by Professor Rosalyn Berne, where he discovered his passion for ethical deliberation on the common good.

While working as a software engineer for Computer Sciences Corporation, Jermaine entered the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union (STVU) to earn his Masters of Divinity. Jermaine excelled at STVU, winning the S. Leon Witney Scholarship in 2005 and forging a path towards an advanced degree in Christian Ethics.

Upon graduating from STVU, Jermaine was invited to teach two sections of Philosophy 101 at Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton, VA. He found the experience of teaching philosophy to college students, many of whom had little interest in the subject matter, to be an exhilarating challenge. Jermaine also sought to earn four (4) units of Clinical Pastoral Education in hospital settings, reasoning that concrete experience as a hospital chaplain would inform his ethical insights on inequities and inefficiencies in the U.S. healthcare system. These two experiences solidified Jermaine’s desire to pursue the tri-vocational call of scholar-educator-minister.

In 2008, Jermaine began doctoral studies in the Ethics and Society course of study in the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University in Atlanta. As a doctoral student, Jermaine has published one book review with another pending, presented two conference papers, facilitated the student-faculty colloquy of the Ethics and Society course of study, served as the teaching initiative coordinator for the New Orleans Research Collaborative, served as production editor and managing editor of Practical Matters Journal, and was voted national student caucus representative of the Society of Christian Ethics (SCE). He also connected his scholarship with his ministerial vocation by serving as an exploratory leader for the Interdenominational Theological Center’s Youth Hope Builders Academy (YHBA) and the Youth Theological Initiative (YTI) sponsored by the Candler School of Theology. In October 2011, Jermaine successfully defended his dissertation proposal, becoming a Doctoral Candidate able to solely concentrate on his dissertation.

Jermaine’s commitment to a vocational identity of teaching and scholarship inspires him to develop a pedagogical outlook that will address some of the issues he has faced as minority student in his own life. First, Jermaine places “canonical” sources in conversation with other non-normative sources when engaging topics in both the classroom and research setting. This allows him to further maintain the interest of a diverse student population, show underrepresented minorities that there is a place in academia for the issues that affect their own populations, and broaden the knowledge of all students regardless of their personal backgrounds. Second, Jermaine incorporates a variety of learning styles, source types, activities, and assignments in his courses in order to facilitate a learning environment that caters to everyone despite their particular preferred method of learning. This varying of the teaching method and sources from session to session keeps the material fresh and engage the students diversely throughout the entire term. Finally, Jermaine attaches the theoretical principles taught in the classroom to the praxis of the community. One of the biggest issues facing the study of religion is its disconnect from the religious practice on the ground. If, to paraphrase a well-known biblical reference, “faith without works is dead”, then ethics without practice is meaningless. Thus, throughout the academic term, Jermaine invites students to consider what the application of the theory looks like in their own contexts. To facilitate this conversation, Jermaine shares from his own context as an African-American Baptist minister in an urban community.

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