Meet an Alum: Matt Jackson-McCabe

Matt Jackson-McCabeClass of 1989

B.A., Miami University (religion)
M.A., Ph.D., University of Chicago (New Testament and early Christian literature)

Current home: Westlake, Ohio

Current profession: Professor of comparative religion, Cleveland State University


"[I learned] to formulate productive, 'out of the box' questions and to conduct research leading to balanced, nuanced, and intellectually responsible answers."

Why did you decide to major in religion?

I changed majors in each of my first four semesters at Miami before I finally settled into religion with a minor in anthropology.

I chose the religion major because of how much I enjoyed the work: critical, open-ended thinking; reading texts closely; analyzing others' arguments; and trying to formulate sound arguments of my own in conversation with others. I found these skills rewarding in and of themselves—and all the more exhilarating when religion is the subject.

What were your best experiences in the major?

I valued the close, personal interaction with dedicated professors and peers that went along with a major that wasn't overcrowded with students. My professors took an active, ongoing interest in me and my work. That was directly responsible for my decision to go to graduate school, which set me on a career path I have enjoyed immensely.

How did studying religion prepare you for your career?

In my case, the religion major prepared me quite directly for a career as a professor in this field.

If I had gone another route, however, I received expert training in skills that would have been transferable to, and highly valued in, any number of professions: the ability to formulate productive, "out of the box" questions and to conduct research leading to balanced, nuanced, and intellectually responsible answers to those questions.

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