Having been raised by a minister in a religious home, Kara has had a fascination with what it means to be both spiritual and religious. Her Methodist Christian upbringing has led her to seek out intellectual sources and religious scholars enamored with the issues of religions around the world, the benefits and negative effects of both religious and spiritual practices, and the political and global issues relating to religious organizations. Kara researched a local Zen Center while attending U.C. Berkeley and wrote an 85-page ethnographic thesis on the beliefs, practices, and lives of the individuals in attendance. The thesis involved interviews with the attendees, integration into the center as an attendee, research pertaining to the historical significance and foundation of their particular religious/spiritual center, as well as book reviews of anthropological writers having written similar works to Kara's research. In conjunction with writing, researching, and participating in this spiritual experience, Kara was in constant contact with a professor who provided feedback which then was utilized in a self-editing process. While this thesis was localized to a specific place and the individual spiritual experiences of a close-knit group of people, Kara has also researched religious practices and spiritual understandings of various cultures and times (modern day Muslim practices, notions of secularism, ancient Buddhism, and the introduction of Christianity).