Noelle Van Straten
My name is Noelle Van Straten and I am from Appleton, WI. I am a sophomore at UW-Madison studying political science and public policy. I was raised in a catholic family. I attended church on Sunday and religious classes on Wednesday nights and went through the sacraments. All along I never felt connected to the religion I was raised with and I resisted following the church every step of the way. When I reached high school, my mother gave me the option to be religious in whatever capacity I wanted and prompted me to explore other religions. I took her up on this offer, but I have yet to find any religion that I identify with or would like to practice. I currently consider myself an atheist, but I struggle with this because I think society associates negativity with atheists. Therefore, I am excited to take part in interfaith dialogue and discuss what others’ experiences with religion are like. I want to grow confident in my religious identity as well as better understand other religions.