Rachel Wagner

Associate Professor, Religion

Rachel Wagner and her cat.

Name: Rachel Wagner

Affiliated departments you share connections to: Women's and Gender Studies; Innovation Scholars Program; Exploratory Program; Honors Program.

What was your undergraduate major? Humanities.

What did you study in graduate school? Religion.

Why do you teach in the Exploratory Program? I really enjoy getting to know students as they are becoming oriented at college, and learning more about who they are and discovering who they want to be.

What are your interests outside of school? I have too many pets. I play Irish flute (often with others in open jams). I am an advocate for mental health supports for people coping with serious mental health challenges. I like to write poetry, but I usually keep it private.

Why did you choose Ithaca College? Ithaca College chose me. But here's a story. When I was around twelve, I used to buy an occasional copy of the Utne Reader when I could afford it. This is a left-leaning journal (now just digital) with articles on politics, the environment, and issues of public concern. Yes, I was a little intellectual. I lived in rural Arkansas, so getting a copy of this magazine was so great in giving me a window on a bigger world. In one of the magazines there was an ad in the back, I recall, for Ithaca College. Just a little blurb about their political values and commitment to making a difference, something like that. And I remember thinking how incredible it would be someday to live in Ithaca, a place so different from where I grew up, and which I hoped would give me the sense of belonging I then lacked. And here I am.

What is one fun thing people do not know about you? I once won a prize in a flash fiction contest. I wrote a sci-fi story about how the ordinary objects we take for granted now may someday be precious antiques on some spaceship somewhere.