Duke Divinity School is pleased to announce that Aminah Al-Attas Bradford was selected to receive a 2020 fellowship to support doctoral work past the coursework stage from the Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE).

FTE awarded its doctoral fellowships to 16 students of color to support their Ph.D. or Th.D. program in religion, theological, or biblical studies. Students will either receive the Fellowship for Doctoral Students of African Descent or the Fellowship for Latino/a, Asian and First Nations Doctoral Students. Each Fellow will receive a living stipend up to $25,000 to help further their studies beyond the coursework stage.

“We received a record number of applications making this year’s selection process the most competitive year-to-date,” said Patrick B. Reyes, FTE senior director of learning design. “The work being done by each fellow in the 2020 class is exactly what we need during these uncertain times. Their collective projects honor their communities of accountability and cast a vision for an academy that cares deeply about the world we all hope to inhabit.”

As part of the fellowship award, fellows will have the opportunity to attend the 2020 FTE Forum for Theological Educators, held Nov. 18–20, in Boston, Mass., prior to the annual meetings of the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature. The forum will provide opportunities for networking, professional development, vocational exploration, and mentoring.

Aminah Al-Attas Bradford
Aminah Al-Attas Bradford

Bradford is a Th.D. candidate whose work on human entanglement with microbial lives (such as viruses, fungi, pathogenic and friendly bacteria) challenges the church and academy to reimagine the significance of nonhuman life in the economy of God. Her dissertation uses the science of the human microbiome to re-envision doctrines of God and creation to question racial categories and foster ecological empathy.

“I have to say in this unpredictable time I am incredibly grateful for FTE's support,” said Bradford. “I received the fellowship two years ago as well, and it's hard to imagine where I'd be without the financial funds and personal encouragement I've received from FTE.” She chose to study at Duke Divinity because of the Th.D. program's emphasis on church and practice and its openness to interdisciplinary research.

In addition to its fellowships for dissertation stage doctoral students, FTE provides professional development opportunities for Ph.D. and Th.D. students in the first two years of their studies. FTE developed these doctoral initiatives to help accelerate the completion of doctoral degrees among students of color and to foster diversity across the academy in North America. Since 1999, FTE has awarded more than 550 fellowships to students of color and has maintained a 97 percent retention rate among its doctoral fellows.