This news release describes past events and should be used for historical purposes only. Please note date of release.

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
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Professional Journal Publishes
Former UW-Eau Claire Student’s Paper
MAILED: July 31, 2001

         EAU CLAIRE — As many as 60,000 people all over the world may read a research paper written by a University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire alumnus.
         Scott Niedfeldt, Germantown, a recent comparative studies in religion graduate, was the first student in the department of philosophy and religious studies to have an essay written for a course at the university accepted for publication in a professional journal.
         The paper was written for Psychology of Eastern Religions, a capstone course taught last fall by Dr. Edward Beach, assistant professor of philosophy and religious studies.
         “I almost gave up,” Niedfeldt said. “It was a lot of work. I told Dr. Beach I was going to give up.”
         But Beach e-mailed Niedfeldt to encourage him to write his paper. “Beach was really supportive,” Niedfeldt said. “He helped me in the beginning, content-wise. A lot of credit goes to Dr. Beach for his support.”
         With Beach’s help, Niedfeldt continued writing his paper, which was then reedited in a spring course, Writing and Research in Religious Studies, taught by Dr. James Brummer, department chair of philosophy and religious studies.
         Niedfeldt, who didn’t really have a thesis for his paper before the class, said Brummer helped him a lot with structure. “Dr. Brummer made the paper what it is.”
         Niedfeldt said he and his classmates loved the class and all thought it should be mandatory for philosophy and religious studies majors and minors. “I grew a lot in my writing,” Niedfeldt said. “It was the best class on earth.”
         Niedfeldt said he had come across The Vedanta Kesari, an 88-year-old English monthly journal from Chennai, India, while searching the Internet, and decided to send them his paper.
         “I didn’t even expect them to respond,” Niedfeldt said. “I just wanted their opinion to see if I’d gotten the philosophy right.”
         Several days later the journal did respond, saying they liked the paper and wanted to publish it in their July edition.
         Niedfeldt’s paper, “I Love to Eat Sugar, I Don’t Want to Become Sugar — Sri Ramakrishna,” examines the life of Sri Ramakrishna, a revered saint in modern Bengal history.
         The paper’s title reflects Sri Ramakrishna’s habit of quoting the words of the poet Ramprasad to express his desire to combine his love of God with his love of humankind.
         The Vedanta Kesari, one of the oldest religious and philosophy journals in India, is a practical guide to successful living for the entire family. Through the years many learned monks have been editors, which has given the journal a good reputation for authenticity and scholarship.
         “The magazine disseminates the liberal view of Sri Ramakrishna, and it has a universal and non-sectarian approach to values, culture and spirituality,” the manager of The Vedanta Kesari said, noting that the magazine receives many articles from writers in America, where readership is about 1,000.
         “The paper meant so much to me,” Niedfeldt said, adding that it was important to him not only to gain the respect of the professors in the department, but also to prove that as a Christian he could be open-minded and serious about studying other religions. “I may not agree with them, but I still have respect for them.”
         In the fall Niedfeldt will be starting graduate school at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Ill. “I want to teach Judaism, Christianity or Islam,” Niedfeldt said. “As much as I love Hinduism, the philosophy is difficult.”
         Niedfeldt also submitted his paper for publication in the UW-Eau Claire philosophy and religion department’s annual undergraduate journal, Prism.

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Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
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Updated: July 31, 2001