Students, Faculty, Staff attend Science vs. Religion Panel

Posted On: 2022-03-16

Source: Hendrickson Institute for Ethical Leadership (Dr. Chris Bobier, Dr. Matthew Gerlach, and Br. Robert Smith)

On Wednesday, March 9th, thirty-two Saint Mary’s students and eighteen faculty, staff and guests attended a lively panel discussion in the Toner Lounge on the Winona campus on the topic “Science & Religion: Friends or Foes?” The event was sponsored by the Biology Club in collaboration with the Hendrickson Institute for Ethical Leadership. Panelists shared how they think about the proper relationship between science and religion and why they think both scientists and religious people should care about this. While all four panelists came from a different background, a consensus view was that science and religion should be held to be distinct but not necessarily conflicting fields of thought, complementary to one another rather than competing. 

Panelists included: Saint Mary’s very own Dr. Megan Girtman, one of our biology professors who does cancer research; Father Kevin Stolt, IVE, our Winona Campus Ministry Chaplain, who studied computer science at MIT before ordination; Saint Mary’s alum Mr. Brendon Panke (‘05), who supports scientific research at the Center for Healthy Minds, UW-Madison, a research center inspired by Buddhist traditions; and Dr. David Ronderos, a neuro-scientist from University of Mary, Bismarck, ND, who has been doing research on the compatibility between theories of biological evolution and Catholicism.

Dr. Chris Bobier, associate director of the Hendrickson Institute and assistant professor of philosophy, moderated the interactive dialogue.

Funding for this panel was made possible in part by a grant provided by Interfaith Youth Core and American Association of Colleges and Universities, member organizations of the Institute on Teaching and Learning for Campus-wide Interfaith Excellence (IIE). The goals behind this grant are to foster interfaith understanding and cooperation at Saint Mary’s and to promote the practice of the virtue of the tolerance of diversity of conscience on our campus, and beyond.

Due to several requests by those unable to attend in person, Hendrickson staff are considering requests to livestream and/or record such events in the future. Thank you for the feedback. 

If you have suggestions for future student-faculty events related to pressing topics of today, please be sure to let us know at