One Drew Theological School Degree is Not Enough for Gonzalo Alers T’18,’24

The STM alum returned to earn his PhD

July 2023 – Drew Theological School student Gonzalo Alers T’18,’24 had earned a Master of Divinity from a seminary in his native Puerto Rico.

In his quest to further his theological education, he was accepted into Drew’s Master of Sacred Theology (STM) program.

While his first choice was to enter into Drew’s PhD program, the STM program gave Alers the space to overcome a language and cultural barrier from his move from Puerto Rico to the U.S.

“When I chose Drew as my primary choice to earn my doctorate degree, I was looking for strong, elite faculty—people who enlighten me with their wisdom—that’s what I found at Drew,” said Alers. “I applied to other schools, but I always knew I wanted to study at Drew. This is the faculty I would like to work with. My first choice was to focus and stay at Drew.”

Alers used his STM degree as a pathway to obtain his ultimate goal, to earn a PhD under the guidance of Dr. Stephen Moore, Edmund S. Janes Professor of New Testament Studies.

“The Drew faculty are great scholars who are available to us,” said Alers. “Their wisdom and the way they push me is unbelievable. I’ve grown so much with them, especially with Dr. Stephen Moore.”

Now, Alers is in the home stretch of his PhD program, soon to be a two-time Drew alum. He hopes to be able to take his learnings back to Puerto Rico and become a professor.

“I’ve always seen myself teaching, I have no other plans,” he said. “Hopefully by fall 2024, I will be working full-time locally in a seminary in Puerto Rico. Ideally, at least to start, I would like to stay in Puerto Rico and contribute here.”

“My degrees from Drew are aligning me to receive the offers I’m hopeful for. The satisfaction of studying at Drew and the kind of education I received from the faculty completely surpassed my expectations.”

Earning a PhD is a challenging and life-altering dream soon to come true for Alers. “There has been difficulty and disappointment along the way, but the overall sense of satisfaction is far greater.”

“Drew is small but strong!” he said.


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