profile pic

Serena S

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at Yale University


Medieval history, early modern history, history of religion, women's history, European intellectual history, history of rhetoric and communication


I'm a second-year doctoral student in Yale's History Department studying media and the communication of theology in medieval and early modern Europe, especially German-speaking areas. My research focuses communication strategies in sermons and devotional literature, including rhetorical and technological devices designed to spread theological ideas and make these abstract claims relatable and comprehensible. My interests include how allegory and metaphor were used in sermons, how Renaissance humanists adapted and adopted classical rhetoric, and how medieval women participated in religious spaces. In my free time, I like to care for my houseplants, enjoy science fiction and historical fiction, and cook with my housemates. I've loved tutoring in the past, and I've benefitted so much from my research mentors. I'm thrilled to have an opportunity now to mentor up-and-coming scholars as they learn how to discover and synthesize new knowledge for themselves.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Print, Polemic, and Poetry

How did the invention of the printing press coupled with the Reformation catapult different genres of religious literature into everyone's hands? Literate and nonliterate people alike spent their hard-earned cash to see some spicy takes on figures like the pope (vicar of Christ or anti-Christ?) and Martin Luther (liberator of the conscience or arch-heretic?)—why?

Languages I know




University of Chicago
BA Bachelor of Arts
Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities, Germanic Studies
Yale University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate

Interested in working with expert mentors like Serena?

Apply now