Manny Fassihi

Manny Fassihi

Graduation Year

Why did you major in Religious Studies?

Coming into Stanford, I had my eyes set on Management Science and Engineering. By my second year, however, I became disenchanted with the future this major promised. Having had exposure to Buddhism through a Sophomore IntroSem (Buddhist Political and Social Theory) I sought to deepen my understanding of Buddhist philosophy and other mystical traditions. I wanted to learn, essentially, about the groundlessness I felt and see how I could find meaning in it.

Tell us about your senior capstone research or a favorite research project in Religious Studies.

My senior thesis explored teachers' experience of a mindfulness-based intervention in schools. Through this, I learned a lot more about how spiritual traditions evolve to meet modern needs, and developed a deeper appreciation for how applied ethnography could enrich the study of religion in society.

Where are you today, and how has your degree in Religious Studies shaped your future path?

I'm now a design consultant based in Singapore. My degree really enriched my way of thinking and helped foster a greater understanding for how people make sense of their place in the world. I feel that it's also helped sharpen my own faith and devotion in the Buddhist path.

Why should students today consider Religious Studies today?

Religion and religious experiences are woven into the fabric of daily life - and often in ways that we can't immediately recognise. Whether it's through our political rituals, the stories we tell through our literature, they permeate just about everything. Religious studies helps us discern these 'texts in context' and cultivate a curiosity and appreciation of the 'other'. It's a deeply humbling experience that every student should go through.