Meet a Major: Brandon Mueller

Brandon Mueller in uniformHometown: St. Louis, Missouri
Double major: Religion; diplomacy and global politics
Graduation: May 2017

After graduation: Will work in the U.S. military

"I plan to be an officer in the military... Religion is the backbone to so many conflicts around the world."

Why did you decide to major in religion?

I choose the religion major because I plan to be an officer in the military, and I wanted to have a better understanding of the world around me. Religion is the backbone to so many conflicts around the world. Having a solid undergraduate education that focused on the intersections of religion, economics, politics, and society will be beneficial to me.

What have been your best experiences in the major?

I went on two study abroad programs with the Department of Comparative Religion--the first to Oman in 2015, and the second to Oman and UAE in 2016. Those trips were incredibly beneficial because they synthesized every aspect of my undergraduate education. Political science, economics, Arabic, religion, culture, and history were all emphasized on those trips.

Dr. Johnson's methods course (REL 201, "Methods for the Study of Religion") was beneficial because I'd never really a course that dealt so much with theory and abstract ideas. Dr. Johnson spent a lot of time in class and during office hours talking about how theories we studied in the course tie together with life.

How has studying religion prepared you for a career?

My other major is diplomacy and global politics, with minors in Middle Eastern and Islamic studies and in naval science. My sub-concentrations were in Arabic language and international business. After I studied abroad and began taking 300/400 level classes, I was able to really appreciate how all those subjects are interconnected, and the role that religion plays in our modern global society.

Since religion is not a widely studied academic field, I now have a unique perspective to bring to the table.