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Zoe Boyle

Zoe Boyle is a high-achieving student, with a thirst for learning and a desire to connect theology to all aspects of life.
She has been a fulltime student since 2014, where she launched into a Bachelor of Journalism degree with the high hopes of ‘learning to write’. After being bitterly disappointed with the course, Zoe transferred into International Studies which she found more open ended. While fully emersed in study,  Zoe felt a call to explore theology and in 2015 enrolled in the NEXT program at Whitley – a program that paired theology alongside community and embodied faith. The units she undertook inspired her to complete a Diploma of Theology. 
After deep reflection on the way that religion and faith was underestimated in her International Studies program, Zoe began to think about the intersection of theology and politics. From this, she went on to complete a Master of Theological Studies at Whitley and completely found a home in theology. To supplement her Masters, she decided to travel to Belgium to complete a one-year Masters in Theology and Religious Studies at KU Leuven.
“I am knee-deep in study!” Zoe says. “The course content at KU Leuven is quite demanding: a 20,000-word thesis while simultaneously taking four subjects. At this point, I’ve developed some good study habits and basically treat my time like I have a full-time job. I’m at my desk from 9-5 if I’m not in class or enjoying this beautiful medieval city. As well as completing coursework, I have also spent an enormous amount of time applying for PhD funding positions, so hopefully something will be successful. I would love to continue further study to continue the path of academic work. I am open to becoming ordained, but it doesn’t feel right at this moment in time.”
When Zoe reflects on her time at Whitley, she speaks of the transformative impact it had on her. “I am someone whose emotional life is entangled with her intellectual life, so theological questions have always gripped me with force. I arrived at Whitley with a preconceived notion that theology was stuffy and disengaged with the contemporary world, and yet my mentors and lecturers blew me away with how rich the content was. Studying theology has felt like a sort of therapy for me.”
Having previously studied at very large public universities, Zoe says that Whitley’s ability to know her by name made things so comfortable. The NEXT program was a transformative experience of what communal faith could look like. It was during this time that Zoe made lifelong friends. “We basically did everything together for a whole year. Considering I spent most of my masters studying during lockdown, my experience was richer in terms of academic engagement and reflection.”
Zoe is immensely proud of her recent achievement, where in June she presented at a conference at the Washington University on Simone Weil and political theology. Zoe shared the content of her Masters thesis completed at Whitley in 2022. 
When Zoe isn’t studying, she likes to offset the sedentary aspect of study with her love for running. She’s also a self-described aesthete and spends many hours thinking about vintage fashion and textiles.
Of her family life, Zoe shares that both sides of her family emigrated from Europe in the mid-twentieth century, with her paternal grandfather travelling from Ireland and her maternal grandmother from Malta. Despite this Catholic heritage, she grew up in Pentecostal/Baptist churches. “My father was a Pentecostal minister at a cosy community church in the Macedon ranges for a long time. My mum is an artist. I have two older brothers, a younger sister and my best friend is my 3-year-old niece.”
When asked what advice she would give someone thinking about studying theology, Zoe says, “Approach theology as if it is full of paradoxes and ‘middles’: the need to hold together the grounding of the local church at the same time as remembering that the tradition goes far beyond it; the life and death of Christ; the world as locus of revelation and revelation as that which points beyond the world. In other words, there are no easy answers. But this is precisely what makes it so exciting.”
We are very proud that Zoe is a part of our valued Alumni community, and we look forward to hearing of her future achievements, of which we know will be many.