Student Stories

Garrett-Evangelical Student, Gina A. S. Robinson, Awarded Forum for Theological Exploration Doctoral Fellowship

Gina Robinson

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is proud to announce Gina A. S. Robinson has been selected to receive a 2020 Doctoral Fellowship from the Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE) for a second year in a row. Robinson is studying in the Christian education and congregational studies field of Garrett-Evangelical’s doctor of philosophy program. Her doctoral research seeks to expand the academic canon by cultivating womanist epistemologies and imagining curated alternative spaces for the thriving of Black girls and their community.

FTE awarded its Doctoral Fellowships to 16 students of color to support their PhD or ThD program in religion, theological, or biblical studies. Students will either receive the Fellowship for Doctoral Students of African Descent or the Fellowship for Latino/a, Asian, and First Nations Doctoral Students. Each Fellow will receive a living stipend up to $25,000 to help further their studies beyond the coursework stage.

“We received a record number of applications making this year’s selection process the most competitive year-to-date,” said Dr. Patrick B. Reyes, FTE senior director of learning design. “The work being done by each Fellow in the 2020 class is exactly what we need during these uncertain times. Their collective projects honor their communities of accountability and cast a vision for an academy that cares deeply about the world we all hope to inhabit.”

As part of the fellowship award, Fellows will have the opportunity to attend the 2020 FTE Forum for Theological Educators, held November 18-20, in Boston, Massachusetts, prior to the annual meetings of the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature. The Forum will provide opportunities for networking, professional development, vocational exploration, and mentoring.

“My heart burst with gratitude when I received notification about being an FTE Fellowship awardee,” said Robinson. “Knowing Garrett’s professors, particularly in the Christian Education department, and scholars connected to FTE believe in my interests in nurturing the spiritual development of Black girls brings my great joy. I am encouraged to continue my own work in, as Alice Walker names it, ‘our mother’s garden.’”

Robinson holds a bachelor of arts from Emory University in African American studies and political science. She completed a master of divinity from Candler School of Theology and a master of sacred theology from Yale Divinity School prior to beginning her studies at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Robinson has spent a significant amount of her theological career engaging in the praxis of Christian education as a youth chaplain for the Bay View Association, a Chautauqua in Michigan; the administrator for the Greenhouse Youth Ministry of Elizabeth Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia; and an intern at the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church also in Atlanta, Georgia. She currently serves Cathedral of Grace | St. John AME church in Aurora, Illinois, as the youth and young adult minister.

Robinson’s dissertation will examine the lived experiences of suburban black Christian girls to determine how womanist theology can inform a pedagogy that nurtures their womanish sensibilities and helps them to thrive in the 21st century. Broadly, Robinson’s interests lie at the intersections of womanist theology, liberatory education, and identity formation.

Since 1999, FTE has awarded more than 550 fellowships to students of color and has maintained a 97 percent retention rate among its Doctoral Fellows. For a full list of FTE’s 2020 Doctoral Fellows, visit https://fteleaders.org/press/fte-awards-16-scholars-of-color-doctoral-fellowships.

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, a graduate school of theology related to The United Methodist Church, was founded in 1853. Located on the campus of Northwestern University, the seminary serves more than 450 students from various denominations and cultural backgrounds, fostering an atmosphere of ecumenical interaction. Garrett-Evangelical creates bold leaders through master of divinity, master of arts, master of theological studies, doctor of philosophy, and doctor of ministry degrees. Its 4,500 living alumni serve church and society around the world.