Madelyn Gaines’ spiritual journey leads to Morocco

Autumn Layton, Features Editor

Madelyn Gaines

Religious studies and psychology major Madelyn Gaines is the recipient of the Outstanding undergraduate award for Religious Studies. This came with much hard work since the Fall of 2019, which is when Gaines started college.  

 Being a religious studies major you would assume that she would be very religious but Gaines is more interested in studying different religions. Growing up she wasn’t raised in a religious household. Gaines finds herself to be more spiritual and believes in a higher God.  

 “I say I’m lucky because I didn’t grow up in a religious household, so I had a neutral and unbiased opinion on religion,” says Gaines.  

 Originally wanting to major in biology in hopes of going to med school, Gaines quickly switched to Psychology. Then after being advised by Dr. Steve Campagna

-Pinto to take a religious studies course, she eventually made it her major as well. 

 The reason she stuck with psychology and religious studies was because of the connection that they had on a mental level. The main thing that she learned throughout most of her classes is that Most major religions advocate for the same thing such as equality, freedom, and peace. When asked why she chose religious studies and psychology Gaines says,  

 “I really found out that psychology and religious studies are connected on so many levels. I’m really interested in understanding how religion specifically plays a role in social thinking and behavior then also individually and on a social level.”  

 Gaines’ four years here at CSU Bakersfield have been nothing but great with the staff, students, and faculty. There have been multiple opportunities that she has taken to further her education. Last summer she went to Paris for 10 days on a Beaver Scholarship and before going she had to take a French class. Gaines really appreciated the experience. Now she has a job opportunity to travel to Morocco after graduation.  

 “Steve Campagna Pinto encouraged me to apply for the Peace Corps and I did so now. I’m actually going to Morocco for 2 years after I graduate to work in youth development,” says Gaines.  

  Now that the semester is coming to an end, looking back, Gaines’ biggest accomplishment is “just who I have become as a person through my college education.” Getting involved and finding what she wanted to do early on was beneficial to her during college.  

 Receiving this award makes Gaines feel humble but also grateful that she was chosen among so many other amazing students. The next two years of her life will be full of learning opportunities when leaving the country to teach in Morocco.  

 Don’t be afraid to be yourself and put yourself out there.” – Gaines