One path does not fit all.
November 2020 – Drew Theological School alumni were featured during the Religion, Theology and Ministry Launch Community Panel Discussion on October 29, 2020. The virtual event was a part of the 2020 Drew University Launch Communities Expo, designed to help students, faculty, staff, alums and other community members build professional networks, and guide towards immersive experiences that resonate with interests and purpose.
The alumni participants, mostly second career predominately from communications backgrounds, took the virtual attendees through their individual stepping stones leading them to Drew as the start of their unpredictable paths to follow their calling.
The event was moderated by Associate Dean for Vocation and Formation and University Chaplain Tanya Linn Bennett, who also shared her journey to Drew.
Olivia DiAgostino T’19
Transformation Program Coordinator, United Methodist Women
Olivia DiAgostino is currently the Transformation Program Coordinator at United Methodist Women, where she works on leadership development and transformative education programs designed to put faith, hope and love into action—with a focus on women, children and youth. DiAgostino’s work focuses on transformative education, running the mission education program and equipping the 9,000 United Method members to study spiritual growth, social justice and global ministry issues. “One thing I’ve learned about having gone to seminary, you are always called upon to do a wide variety of different things in the workforce.”
DiAgostino realized she found her calling when she came to Drew, but she was not called to ministry. An internship in the communications department at United Methodist Women, a Drew placement, led to DiAgostino’s employment in her current position. “I’m grateful that my time at Drew prepared me to engage my passions and core values in a career where I can use all of them all, every single day,” said DiAgostino.
The Rev. James Lee T’19
Lead Pastor, Wesley United Methodist Church
James Lee has had two loves since early childhood—the church and media—and he has been able to integrate these passions throughout his journey. Coming from a mono-ethnic Korean church, Lee found value in the diversity at Drew. “I was always surrounded by folks who were from all different backgrounds, ages and experiences,” said Lee. “That was so valuable to me when I went into the workforce and was running my business.” Lee focused on his visual arts career until learning of a video opportunity at United Methodist Conference of Greater New Jersey, bringing Lee back to the church and giving him the opportunity to blend his skill for video storytelling into the church.
Lee shared his personal mission statement, “I exist to cultivate a divine spark in people around me, to give them voice, to share their stories with the world either through the pulpit or through the lens of a camera.”
Now, the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed Lee to bring his video passion to his congregation at Wesley United Methodist Church through his online sermons as lead pastor.
Teresita Matos-Post T’14
Executive Director, Beth-El Farmworker Ministry
The vocational journey for Teresita Matos-Post was not always following a clear path. “My vocational journey is a mixture of an obstacle course combined with a train that make a lot of stops,” said Matos-Post. “I knew I had a lot in me to share, I just didn’t know the pathway.” As a newly-divorced single mom with two young girls, Matos-Post found and fell in love with the Methodist church. After volunteering at her congregation, Matos-Post found herself looking for more, leading her to find her path to seminary and enrolling at Drew as a Master of Divinity student. “If you don’t do it, who’s going to do it? Do it for those that can’t,” said Matos-Post of her decision to come to Drew. After a few twists and turns, Matos-Post has found her home as executive director of Beth-El Farmworker Ministry, a position that was presented to her by a contact at Drew.
The Rev. Dr. Kevin D. Miller T’03,’08
Executive Director of Graduate Admissions, Drew University
Kevin Miller started his career in sports communication. In a high-stress position that required up to 46 weeks of travel each year, Miller pleaded with God for change. “I had to give up so much of myself in order to be successful in the journey,” said Miller. After landing a promotion that took Miller off the road, he was able to become involved in a congregation in which he felt at home. This was “a transformative experience that led to my close relationship with God, and brought me to this calling to ministry at Drew.” Miller earned his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry at Drew, leading him to continue in the Forest as the executive director of graduate admissions. “God is always operating in a place of preparation for us,” said Miller of his path to Drew.
The Rev. Donna Olivia Owusu-Ansah T’10
Chaplain, JFK Medical Center | Associate Minister, New Hope Baptist Church
“I really bloomed in the Forest and Drew holds a special place in my heart,” said Donna Olivia Owusu-Ansah. Leaving a teaching career to pursue her calling to ministry, Owusu-Ansah’s pastoral journey has been “exhilarating, exciting and exhausting.” After graduating from Drew, she found a path to Clinical Pastoral Education, leading to her current role at JFK Medical Center. While balancing motherhood and her roles as a chaplain and minister, Owusu-Anasah felt she still “wasn’t doing all that God called her to do.” Expanding her ministry, creating a virtual space and writing a book are just a few accomplishments to help Owusu-Ansah state “I’m here now.”
The Drew community is encouraged to participate in Drew Connect, an easy-to-use platform for networking, mentoring, information-sharing, volunteering and more. Through Launch, Drew provides access to mentors for advice and guidance on career pathways and continued education to any Drew student or alum.