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 Patricia Krupinski ’16: Academic journey inspires curiosity, growth

Arts and Sciences; Commencement 2016; Honors; Humanities; ResearchStandard
Art history and English double major says small class sizes, extracurricular opportunities changed her life.

​​​​​​​​​​​In many ways, Patricia Krupinski ’16 (Elizabeth, N.J.) and Providence College were destined for a perfect union. 

The hope is that every PC student learns to see the value in the pursuit of truth; to address crucial questions of human existence; and to understand the importance of moral reasoning, aesthetic appreciation, and diverse traditions — values that are laid out in the College’s Mission Statement. Well before she arrived at PC, Krupinski checked all those boxes.

Digging deeper in the pursuit of knowledge — by devouring and by doing — has always mattered to Krupinski, an art history and English double major with a 3.95 GPA. Fueled by boundless intellect, curiosity, and grit, this is a student who learned to read Latin at a young age and chose to learn French during the summers of her high school years. This also is a student who came to PC open to every opportunity and is leaving having taken advantage of every one that was presented to her.

Krupinski, who attended Catholic schools throughout her life and serves as a cantor in her New Jersey parish, has always valued her faith life. For as long as she can remember, she has had a deep and abiding love for literature. PC’s strong Catholic tradition, coupled with its rigorous Liberal Arts Honors Program curriculum and faculty members who were active in their fields, easily won Krupinski over four years ago. 

“I wanted an education that was very academic with small classes that could be more in-depth,” Krupinski explained. “When I was researching colleges, I loved that PC was Catholic and that the faculty were still making connections. I really liked that the people here were passionate about what they do.”

That passion, which she found in the faculty and other members of the community, inspired Krupinski to think more broadly about her PC experience — to be open to unexpected lessons that began in Development of Western Civilization classes, continued with her journey to grow her faith, and culminated in extracurricular experiences that have changed her life. ​

A deeper look within leads to Rome

The way Krupinski explains it, she didn’t have much knowledge of the relationships that existed among the largest world religions. She knew that followers of different religions prayed to a single God, but she had questions about some of the big differences. These questions led her on a quest for understanding. 

“If I wanted to be comfortable talking about my faith with others, I wanted to at least understand theirs,” she said.

A part of that journey took place during her junior year when she enrolled in an independent study led by Dr. Joan R. Branham, professor of art history and associate dean of the School of Arts & Sciences. The study focused on late antique Jewish and Christian sites. One of those sites was the mosaic representations of “Ecclesia ex circumcisione” (Church out of the Circumcision) and “Ecclesia ex gentibus” (Church out of the Gentiles) that flank the entranceway of the fifth-century Roman church of Santa Sabina, which is the world headquarters of the Order of Preachers. Branham explained that these mosaic images raise questions about the relationship between Judaism and Christianity in Rome — speaking directly to Krupinski’s interest in the history of religions. 

“I really wanted to see it (Santa Sabina) because there weren’t any good pictures!” Krupinski said. “The experience was incredible, and it was very growing to do something on my own.”

Early Christian research and​ the power of the arts

Prior to her time in Rome, Krupinski had an impressive history of diving into important research projects with faculty members. She tagged and wrote descriptions of images of early Christian art and architecture for a digital archive that was compiled by Dr. Arthur Urbano, associate professor of theology. She also served as a research assistant to Dr. Deborah Johnson, professor of art, who co-authored a report on the value of the arts to Rhode Island, and served as an assistant to the W.F. Albright Institute’s fellowship committee.

Lastly, along with two classmates, Krupinski proposed a special topics literature course that focuses on female writers from the medieval period.

Taken as a whole, her academic, spiritual, and student life experiences have Krupinski confident that she made the best college choice four years ago.

“These have been a wonderful four years,” she said. “I can’t imagine my college career without the opportunities that I’ve had. They all have taught me to look at things differently. That speaks well about Providence College.”

More about Patricia Krupinski

• Recipient of the Paul van K. Thomson Award for excellence in English Literature

• Recipient of the Kapstein Family Scholarship Award for promoting interfaith relations

• Member of the National Society for Collegiate Scholars and the Sigma Tau Delta (English) Honor Society 

• Co-editor of the Providence College Art Journal

• Seasonal museum educator at the Liberty Hall Museum (N.J.)​

(Photos by Justin James Muir) ​


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