Susan Chang Saridakis T’22, G’26 Takes Full Advantage of Drew’s Graduate Offering

The Drew Theological School alum is pursuing a DLitt

February 2024 – Susan Chang Saridakis T’22, G’26 recently retired from careers in finance, information technology, and agriculture.

Most recently, she operated an indoor hydroponic basil growing operation with her husband in Burlington, New Jersey. The operation circulated tens of thousands of gallons of nutrient solution around the clock; water is both powerful and malleable, which made it challenging at times.

“The most personally satisfying part of the business is that we participated for years in local high schools’ programs for differently abled students,” she said. “Our staff did a great job helping the students with work and social skills, and the students in turn taught us about flexibility, understanding, and caring for others. That’s what I miss most, besides an unlimited supply of leafy greens.”

Pursuing a calling to seminary, Chang Saridakis entered Drew Theological School to earn her Master of Divinity degree.

But her academic career at Drew was not complete. She entered Drew’s Caspersen School of Graduate Studies to earn her Doctor of Letters (DLitt) degree. Now, she has completed her course requirements and is moving into the dissertation phase of her degree. She credits her dissertation committee and Drew faculty for providing the support needed to get her to this final stage.

“It’s truly a privilege to be a doctoral student: I’m starting to work on my dissertation,” said Chang Saridakis. “It’s rewarding to go deeply into a subject—the Gospel of Mark—and to work with faculty who are both talented and supportive.”

Read on to learn about Chang Saridakis’ journey across both the Theological School and Caspersen.

What brought you to Drew Theological School?
Since we were running a business, I needed a seminary within driving distance of home and work. The Theological School impressed me right away as a place of purpose and energy, and thoughtful and progressive direction. Students are passionate and focused, and I’ve made great friendships.

The faculty very thoughtfully bring themselves and their scholarship into the classroom, while ensuring there is a lot of room for students to also steer the discussion.

Why did you continue to earn your DLitt at Caspersen?
Part of it was to be a writer, something that runs in my family. On a deeper level, I just wasn’t done with either Drew or biblical scholarship (my concentrations are Writing Arts and Religious Studies). Some people don’t understand why I’m still going to school, but we all have our own timeframes.

What do you hope your Drew degrees will help you achieve?
Drew has given me qualifications and skills that are respected beyond The Forest. It has also taught me to want more, and to become, if possible, even more outspoken. (Wink 😉 )

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