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Drew Theological School Student Tsz Him Lai T’25 Earns Doctoral Fellowship

The Theological School’s 20th FTE fellow since 2007

June 2024 – Drew Theological School Religion & Society PhD candidate Tsz Him Lai T’25 is among just four national recipients of the Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE) Fellowship for Latino/a, Asian, and First Nations Doctoral Students.

The fellowship provides financial support for doctoral students of color through graduate school and into a vocation of teaching and scholarship.

As part of the fellowship award, Lai will also have the opportunity to attend FTE’s 2024 Forum for Theological Educators. In addition, FTE provides opportunities for networking, professional growth, vocational exploration, and mentorship.

Lai also received the prestigious award in 2022. “Reflecting on my journey, I am deeply grateful for the opportunities at the Theological School,” said Lai, whose dissertation is titled “Political Mourning as Resistance: Constructing a Decolonial Ethics of Grief for Democracy.” 

“I thank my academic advisor, Dr. Traci West [James W. Pearsall Professor of Christian Ethics and African American Studies], for her unwavering support and trust in my work,” said Lai.

“We are thrilled for this amazing opportunity for Tsz Him, whose dissertation research is timely and well deserving of this significant recognition,” said Meredith Hoxie Schol, director of doctoral studies at the Theological School. “FTE continues to be an invaluable partner with us as we support and advance the scholarship of Drew students like Tsz Him and other scholarship of color over the years.”

“I am thrilled that Tsz Him’s creative and pathbreaking Christian social ethics research on decolonial activism and public mourning has received this very competitive FTE dissertation fellowship,” said West, who is Hai’s advisor and mentor at Drew. 

Lai has presented papers many conferences, including the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Christian Ethics. His articles and book chapters have been published in English and translated into German and Japanese. His article, “Christian Activism in the Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Movement: A History from 1984 to 2019,” has been recently published in the Review of Religion and Chinese Society.

Since 2007, 20 Drew students have received 28 fellowships from FTE, with seven earning more than one (see the full list below).

2022
Tsz Him Lai

2021
Julian Cook

2020
Lisa Asedillo Pratt

2019
Simeiqi He
Nikki Hoskins
Lisa Asedillo Pratt
Eric Thomas

2018
Elyse Ambrose
Ericka Dunbar
Nikki Hoskins
June Hee Yoon

2017
Nikki Hoskins

2016
Ericka Dunbar
Erica Ramirez
Eric Thomas

2015
Dong Hyeon Jeong

2014
Erica Ramirez

2012
Jennifer Kaalund
Robert Wafula

2011
Tejai Beulah
Shanell Smith
Peter Mena

2010
David Evans

2009
Shanell Smith

2007
Lynne Darden
Shanell Smith
Sakena Young-Scaggs

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