News from Lay Centre alumna Samantha Lin in Chicago

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News from Lay Centre alumna Samantha Lin in Chicago

By Heather Walker

Samantha Lin is the associate director for school growth and student recruitment with the Cristo Rey Network, headquartered in Chicago. The 38 Cristo Rey Network schools across the United States are dedicated to providing Catholic, college preparatory education to low-income students. Samantha and her husband, Tommaso, met at The Lay Centre and moved to Chicago last September.  


Since your wedding in July last year, you moved back to the United States. In addition to settling in, you have been completing your STL in Judaic Studies. Could you tell us something about this?

I was really excited to be able to finish my STL from the United States. I finished all my course requirements last spring and have been working on my thesis and preparing for the final exam since then. My thesis adviser and I worked closely together for the past month, going back and forth with edits and thoughts. I am so grateful to Rabbi Meyer for his guidance. I wrote about post-Shoah theology in Judaism and on modern Hebrew literature that incorporates some aspects of this theology. Rabbi Meyer pushed me to really tighten and strengthen my argument and I was able to write a thesis I'm very proud of and hope to publish one day. I started as a guest student at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rabbi Meyer's class in 2016 when I was a Russell Berrie Fellow at the Angelicum and living at The Lay Centre. It is really cool to come full circle and get to finish my STL with Rabbi Meyer now. 

What are you planning to do now? 

I just started as the associate director of school growth and student recruitment at the Cristo Rey Network — a network of college preparatory faith-based high schools for students with limited economic resources across 24 states throughout the U.S. In my new role, I will be working with the admissions teams in our 38 high schools to strengthen their recruitment programs and with new areas of growth, where schools are being founded, like in Orange County, California, and Miami, Florida. 

What inspired you to accept this role?

I am motivated by the mission of Cristo Rey to provide quality Catholic education to young people with limited economic means. I have been blessed to attend Catholic schools, including a Catholic university, Georgetown, and the Pontifical Gregorian University, but think that Catholic education should be available to anyone, regardless of their socioeconomic background. I'm excited to work for an organization that has a strong mission to serve students in this way. 

You have an interesting academic background and work experience, too. How will this help you in your new role as associate director for school growth in the Cristo Rey Network?

I think my academic background has given me insight into how important it is to engage with faith in all aspects and academic subjects. Faith is a huge motivator for so many people and I think it's important to be able to understand and talk about faith, which doesn't happen in every school. In the Cristo Rey Network, the schools serve students from all faith (or no faith) backgrounds, but they provide a Catholic education where students take religion classes. Talking to students, I've come to understand that no matter their background, they enjoy engaging with big existential questions from various points of view, including from a faith perspective. 


Photo courtesy Samantha Lin

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