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DU Religious Studies Student Pursues Future in Public Health

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Kaity Young

Kaity Young Portrait

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DU campus

DU graduating student Christopher Kiley says that his college career has been like his side project of pickling: “The marrying very different ingredients to make one greater product.” As an international and religious studies double major with a minor in biology and involvement with DU’s Roosevelt — a public policy think tank — Kiley has his hands in a little bit of everything.

“I want my resume to confuse people,” Kiley joked. “Although all of my involvements seem different, they’re really all united under my passion for human connection.”

After taking the freshman seminar (FSEM) The Bible and Social Justice with Alison Schofield, Kiley fell in love with the deep personal connection that religious studies could teach him.  

“It was a very emotional experience for me to listen to people speak and share their faith,” he said. “There was an openness of people’s ideas and emotions that I hadn’t experienced before.”

Channeling what he learned in his religious studies courses, Kiley studied abroad in Salzburg, Austria, where he focused on listening to different cultures, religions and histories.

“Studying abroad helped me navigate how to talk about hard subjects and histories with people from different cultures. I was able to travel to Croatia, where I learned about the war in the Balkans from a local family I stayed with. It changed my experience entirely,” Kiley said.

After graduation, Kiley plans to turn his passion into action by working for AmeriCorps in Denver, where he was just hired as a Contract Tracer. He’s applying to the Peace Corps as well and hopes these experiences will bolster his ability to work alongside low-income, minority and underserved communities, since his ultimate goal is to get his master’s in public health.

“I want to continue to learn the small things that can drastically improve how people live,” he said. “Whether it’s water or pharmaceutical access, health infrastructure is at the core of where I want my impact to be seen.”

The COVID-19 pandemic — as well as secondhand experience from his mother, an ER doctor — has further called on Kiley to apply his studies to public health.

“My classes at DU have taught me empathy. I think right now especially, we all need a little empathy.”

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