Gwendolyn Gillson is a PhD candidate in Religious Studies. She received her B.A. in Religion from Gustavus Adolphus College, M.L.I.S in Archives from the University of Oklahoma, and M.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Iowa. As a Presidential Graduate Research Fellow, her research focuses on Japanese religions, particularly Pure Land Buddhism. She is interested in the connections and relationships among religion, culture, and society. For her dissertation research, she is utilizing a transnational feminist lens to study women’s grassroots social activism in the Japanese Jōdo Pure Land Buddhist sect. She has helped organize the Religion, Literature, and the Arts Conference, the 2015 Careers Outside the Academy Conference, and the first 3 Minute Thesis Competition at the University of Iowa. She currently serves as the Graduate Student Director of the Upper Midwest Region of the American Academy of Religion.