Publication is sugar sweet for recent alum

“I love to Eat Sugar, I Don’t Want to Become Sugar – Sri Ramakrishna” -is the title of UW-Eau Claire alumnus Scott Niedfeldt’s paper, which was written for psychology of eastern religions, a capstone course taught last fall.

The paper made Niedfeldt the first UW-Eau Claire student in the department of philosophy and religious studies to have an essay written for a course at the university accepted for publication in a professional journal.

To fulfill his capstone, Niedfeldt submitted his paper to be published by Prism, the UW-Eau Claire philosophy and religion department’s annual undergraduate journal.

Shortly thereafter, Niedfeldt said that while surfing the Internet, he came across “The Vedanta Kesari,” an 88-year-old English monthly journal from Chennai, India. Niedfeldt decided to send them a copy of his paper.

“I really just wanted their opinion,” he said. “I was just looking for feedback.”

The journal responded several days later, saying they were impressed with the paper and that they would like to publish it in their July 2001 edition.

Niedfeldt, now a graduate student studying biblical studies at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Ill., said the paper’s title reflects Sri Ramakrishna’s lifelong endeavor to achieve an ideal relationship to the Divine Mother (i.e. God). He came to believe that everything is a manifestation of God. Niedfeldt found a parallel in that Ramakrishna loved God, or “Sugar,” but didn’t want to become God.

Edward Beach, assistant professor of philosophy and religious studies, was Niedfeldt’s professor for this paper and said he remembered thinking that (Niedfeldt) was going to give up on the paper while taking his class last fall.

“He was so overburdened with other things,” Beach said. “I asked him for a copy because I valued the paper and Scott thought that was a big deal…so he pressed on.”

Niedfeldt was gracious for the help that Beach provided, especially with the content of his paper.

“I didn’t have a thesis before I came to him,” Niedfeldt said. “(Beach) helped me find more of a direction for my paper.”