New PhD student receives WomenLead Scholarship September 12, 2017

The Rev. S. Helen Chukka, a new doctor of philosophy student at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) has received a WomenLead Scholarship from the InFaith Community Foundation. The scholarship “seeks to propel the extraordinary leadership of diverse women of faith to lead change by using their talents to teach, advocate and activate.”

Chukka is the youngest ordained woman in the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church (AELC) in India and one of the very few Dalit women from AELC who made it to pursue PhD. She served for four years as the Executive Secretary of the Commission on Youth of the National Council of Churches in India. She is the first woman youth secretary in the organization’s 100-year history.

“My faith taught me to stand in solidarity with the vulnerable communities,” Chukka wrote in her scholarship application. “The atrocities that have happened around me have awakened me to question my faith, but I gathered hope that change is possible. The person and work of Christ inspires me to turn the tables upside down.”

In 2017, Chukka earned a master of sacred theology degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York. At LSTC, she is a student of Hebrew Scripture. She would like to be a professor at a theological college in India to nurture, empower, motivate and inspire young theological students, especially women, to consciously engage in transformation. In addition to her studies, Chukka also is serving as the assistant to the director of worship at LSTC.

Learn more about the WomenLead Scholarship at


R. Scott Chalmers                                                      
Dean of Student Services                                

Jan Boden
Director of Communication and Marketing

The Lutheran School of Theology (LSTC) is dedicated to bearing witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. Based in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, it is the leading urban Lutheran seminary training students for purposeful vocations in the global community. Aligned with its Lutheran heritage and built on a foundation of intellectual rigor, LSTC’s innovative, nationally recognized curriculum gives students skills for visionary Christian leadership in the public sphere.

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