Meet Aquinas Scholar Olivia Walter


Olivia Walter is dedicated to working on the margins.

“I believe that my willingness to listen to and to affirm the experiences of others has allowed me to connect with those on the margins of society. I am interested in centering these stories as a way of opening up space for healing and restoration.”

Olivia, one of five new Aquinas Scholars at AI, majored in Women’s and Gender Studies and minored in Psychology and Middle East and North African Studies as an undergraduate at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania. She then continued her studies at Saint Louis University, where she earned a Master of Social Work degree.

She decided to apply to the Aquinas Institute of Theology because she was looking for an established faith community that valued dialogue among lay and religious leaders of the Church. “There is a richness in the sharing that can occur across diverse experiences and perspectives, which is what drew me to the program at Aquinas.”

Olivia is pursuing a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies in order to gain greater theological perspective and a fuller understanding of how theology can be applied to the lived experience of people. “I am interested in the MAPS program at Aquinas because I see it as a way to cultivate and sustain spiritual growth and just action within the context of my Catholic identity.”

The Aquinas Scholar Award is a merit-based award that provides multiple full-tuition scholarships including a housing stipend, a book award, and work-study opportunities for full-time, residential students in select master’s programs.