Julia Johnson ’18 M.Div.


Before coming to Yale Divinity School, I attended Michigan State University, where I received a B.A. in Religious Studies, a concentration in Nonprofit Leadership, and a specialization in Environmental Public Policy. While pursuing my M.Div. at YDS, I focused specifically on animal theology, applied ethics, and homiletics. 

During my time at Yale, attending daily worship in Marquand Chapel spiritually fed me and established my faith in Christ. Because of the ecumenical worship style, I was able to simultaneously stretch my beliefs and feel at home in God. I also loved my preaching and ethics classes, where professors pushed me to think outside of the box and challenge my traditional epistemologies.
I felt particularly accomplished when delivering my Senior Sermon in Marquand Chapel, where I displayed my trash from nine months to educate congregants about our current waste problem and how Christians are called to care for God’s earth and God’s animals. What an extraordinarily humbling and honoring experience it was for me to receive a university-wide award in sustainability for outstanding recognition due to my efforts to make YDS a more sustainable campus.
After Yale, I begin my new position at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) as the Manager of the Farm Animal Welfare team. I will be working with farmers, companies, and customers to help improve farm animal welfare and advocate for American farmers. I will also be working to receive an M.S. in Anthrozoology from Canisius College, where I will look specifically at the human-animal relationship through a scientific lens.
A proponent of interdisciplinary thinking, I hope to combine my training in both the humanities and sciences to advocate for improved welfare for farm animals, educating consumers about our food system and reforming current farming practices. I am aspiring to engage in an interdisciplinary dialogue of applied theological ethics, food studies, agriculture policy, and animal welfare as a way of promoting ecological protection and humane farming. My hope is to inspire others to think critically about their relationship with animals and their food. Wherever I go, I knows that God will lead me where I am meant to be in order to fulfill my destiny to help God’s animals.
May 1, 2018