A Professor with All the Answers
Elizabeth Krajewski of Sutton, N.H., known as Beth around campus, holds two positions at Colby-Sawyer College: she is an adjunct assistant professor in Humanities and a reference librarian. As a professor, Krajewski teaches classes like The Meaning of Life; The Meaning of Death; and Comparative Religion. Her combination of jobs makes her all the more available to students.
Krajewski grew up in Newton, Mass., and earned a bachelor's degree in Music Education from University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She then went for a master's degree in Divinity from Seabury Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., and soon she will finish her Ph.D. in Theology at the University of Wales in the United Kingdom. Krajewski's interest in education began early, inspired by her mother, and she started teaching in the classrooms of Brookline, Mass.
Ten years later she was finally able to fulfill a lifelong dream of attending seminary and became an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church. After serving in western Massachusetts, Krajewski moved to New Hampshire to work for the Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice as a spiritual caregiver for those in mourning. When the opportunity to teach as an adjunct faculty member at Colby-Sawyer arose in 2003, she took it, and that expanded to include the position of reference librarian.
Teaching is the most exciting profession I have had every day there is the potential for students to discover something new that engages their interest, says Krajewski. And for me, teaching Religious Studies means introducing students to the belief systems that have shaped human experience for millennia, and continue to do so to this day. Though no longer associated with the VNA, Krajewski does work with Colby-Sawyer's Nursing Department around learning opportunities involving death and dying, grief and bereavement.
Currently Krajewski is enrolled at the University of Wales to obtain her Ph.D. and visits the campus every year. Writing her doctoral dissertation takes up all the free time not reserved for family. My faculty mentors are just terrific. A husband and wife team supervise my dissertation, which is on the seventh-century story of a Welsh saint named Samson who lived in the fifth century, says Krajewski.
I am doing research, just as the Colby-Sawyer students are doing research. I need to find books and articles that discuss various aspects of sainthood, or the history of Wales and Brittany, or the meanings of folklore and religious motifs that appear in the story. Although my project goes into more depth than an undergraduate paper would, the research process is much the same. So I have great empathy, because I am on both sides of the process right now, she says of her most recent academic adventure.
It is always good to come home, though, and it's not just the small town feeling of New London that Krajewski loves the atmosphere of Colby-Sawyer keeps her coming back. Being part of a small college gives her a connection to students that would not be available on a larger campus. And, because the classes she teaches are electives, she knows people are taking them because they want to expand their knowledge.
Although she doesn't know what the future holds, Krajewski hopes to continue teaching and plans to explore religious sites around the world, including the famous monastery at Kildare, Ireland, where she will attend an academic conference on Celtic Studies this summer.
-Lisa Stanulonis '13