So you have the skills to bring people together across lines of difference, and you speak the language of religious pluralism. What now?

Whether you’re graduating soon or well along in your post-college life, the IFYC Alumni Network lets you stay connected to the interfaith movement and the people who are living it out every day across the country.

Every day, IFYC Alumni are involved in helping to build a better, more interconnected society by advocating for interfaith cooperation on the job and in their communities, mentoring young leaders, leading important projects, and helping to lead the wider interfaith movement.

When you join them, you’re joining a passionate community of local and national leaders and continuing a commitment to the goal of interfaith cooperation. Sign up today.

Update Your Alumni Profile


Alumni Benefits & Resources

See how you can access unique opportunities to grow as a professional and interfaith leader as part of the Alumni Network.

Graduating soon?

Get in touch about joining the network and continuing your interfaith work.

Meet the Alumni Team


Emerging Interfaith Trends: What College Students Are Saying About Religious Diversity

- Emerging Interfaith Trends read more read less
Emerging Interfaith Trends

The first release of findings from the Interfaith Diversity Experiences & Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS), provides an overview of the initial survey administered to first-year students across 122 campuses as they started college. This report provides insights into students’ behaviors and perspectives on interfaith engagement prior to college and outlines recommendations for higher education professionals to better meet their needs. Read it here.


Closer Look: Incoming Evangelical Students

- Evangelical Narrative Report read more read less
Evangelical Narrative Report

A deep dive into the experiences and attitudes related to worldview diversity held by incoming evangelical Christian first-years. Compiled from the findings of the first administration of the Interfaith Diversity Experiences & Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS). Read it here.


Closer Look: Incoming Muslim Students

- Muslim Narrative Report read more read less
Muslim Narrative Report

An in-depth look at how first-year Muslim students perceive worldview diversity and engage with other worldviews prior to college. Taken from the findings of the first administration of the Interfaith Diversity Experiences & Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS). Read it here.


Anusha Abbas

- Anusha Abbas / Arizona State University Class of 2015 and Medical Student at Western University of Health Sciences read more read less
Anusha Abbas / Arizona State University Class of 2015 and Medical Student at Western University of Health Sciences

Being a part of IFYC has served as one of the most defining and transformative experiences in my character development. I was born in Pakistan, raised in America and come from a minority sect in Islam. As a Shia Muslim and an immigrant, I have always had to face the feeling of being "different" and it wasn't until my time with IFYC that I learned how to use that as a strength and advantage. IFYC became a catalyst to bring interfaith leadership to the forefront of my passions and tie them all together, leading to one step after another in the right direction towards my vision. I attended an ILI my sophomore year in college which ultimately led me to starting a Better Together movement at Arizona State University known as "Sun Devils Are Better Together" with my colleagues and mentors. Quickly, the student organization we started gained momentum and our passion for interfaith spread like wildfire. It was extremely challenging but teamwork and a shared common ground helped us thrive as interfaith leaders while inspiring others to be the same.

As a Better Together Coach, I was trained in various skills ranging from public speaking, conflict management, healthy communication, community mobilizing, religious and cultural competency (and the list goes on). Not only did the training I received from my mentors at IFYC make me a better interfaith leader, they made me a more successful person in all my pursuits. I took those lessons with me in all the opportunity I've had since IFYC including my journey towards becoming an Osteopathic Physician and attending medical school.

Our society is taught to see difference of opinion as "conflict" and we are often taught from a very young age to shy away from difficult conversations that may cause "tension." Yet, IFYC taught me to see the beauty in our differences in a way that brings us closer as humanity, regardless of our race, religion, or personal beliefs. It taught me how to express the diversity of my own identity without suffocating that of others. It taught me how to be an authentic human being, how to work better in a team, how to handle difficult people and many other challenges that come with growing into who we are as individuals. I have been passionate about interfaith, humanity, medicine and social justice since as early as I can remember - but IFYC gave me a platform to cultivate the skills it takes to become a leader in those goals of mine while giving me a safe space to share my voice. It helped me realize I am not alone, and that together we can go very far.

Through IFYC, I learned that the power we hold as individuals to create our own positive narrative is much louder than any negative rhetoric out there that is set to divide us and leave us feeling "othered". It is up to us to shift our perspectives, have real conversations and bridge the gaps in our communities towards our common ground. For each negative news headline we see, there is a thousand personal stories of love, interfaith and humanity that we never hear of. IFYC is a great way to hold onto your faith in humanity, and wake up to our power together in a world where it's becoming increasingly harder to do that.


Prerna Abbi-Scanlon

- Prerna Abbi-Scanlon / Alumni Relations Manager read more read less
Prerna Abbi-Scanlon / Alumni Relations Manager

Prerna Abbi-Scanlon, Alumni Relations Manager, works with college graduates who have completed an IFYC program. After earning her BA at Syracuse University, she served two terms as an AmeriCorps member with Habitat for Humanity, organizing faith communities and students around affordable housing. Now Prerna supports the work of IFYC Alumni to grow interfaith cooperation in their personal and professional endeavors. She enjoys podcasts, cooking with her spouse, and watching too many hours of tv in one sitting. Through her work with Alt*Div, a liberatory learning program, Prerna is exploring the physical impact of appropriation, exotification, and lack of representation, and what it means to reclaim Hindu practices for herself. As a first generation queer woman of color, she is driven to make space for all identities, especially those that don’t fit neatly into check boxes.


Tahera Ahmad

- Tahera Ahmad / Associate Chaplain & Director of Interfaith Engagement at Northwestern University read more read less
Tahera Ahmad / Associate Chaplain & Director of Interfaith Engagement at Northwestern University

Chaplain Tahera Ahmad is a dynamic Muslim “scholar-practitioner” who was raised in Morton Grove, IL and graduated from Niles West High School where she played Varsity basketball. Ahmad studied classical Arabic and traditional Islamic Sciences at Al-Diwan and Al-Azhar in Cairo, Egypt and in Department of Islamic Studies and Christian Muslim Relations and Islamic Chaplaincy at Hartford Theological Seminary in Connecticut. During Women’s History Month 2014, Chaplain Ahmad was honored at the White House as a leading Muslim female in the United States and recognized among top ten good Muslim stories of 2013. Ahmad serves on the board of ACURA (Association of College and University Religious Affairs) and is the co-president of the ACMC (Association of College Muslim Chaplains).


Brian Anderson

- Brian Anderson / IFYC Student Leadership Team read more read less
Brian Anderson / IFYC Student Leadership Team

“Peace is only found in yes.” - Anthony de Mello, SJ

Brian Anderson, Student Leadership Manager, oversees the Interfaith Leadership Institutes, the grant process for our Interfaith Leadership Labs, and the hiring of our Interfaith Coaches. Brian has a B.A. in Religious Studies and Psychology from Butler University, an M.A. in Student Development Administration from Seattle University, and an M.A. in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University Chicago. Brian comes to IFYC having worked in Higher Education in a variety of capacities for the past 10 years; most recently as an Interfaith Campus Minister. He is excited to bring a wealth of knowledge to share with our campus partners. When not at IFYC, Brian is involved with bringing arts and culture programs to his community. You can also find him spending time with his family or in his garden.


mesha arant

Mesha Arant

- Mesha Arant / Campus Relations Manager read more read less
Mesha Arant / Campus Relations Manager

Mesha Arant, Campus Relations Manager, designs and manages Eboo Patel’s college and university programming and speaking engagements; she also manages evaluation for IFYC’s Campus Innovation Grants. Mesha received her B.A. in Religion from Wofford College in 2012 and her Master of Divinity from Yale in 2015. Although she now considers herself to be Agnostic and Humanist, she credits her Christian upbringing for her interest in religion. She is dedicated to making interfaith cooperation a social norm, which largely results from her desire to make the world more equitable and inclusive. Mesha, who is also a singer/songwriter, spends her time away from IFYC writing, recording, performing around Chicago.


Nasser Asif

- Nasser Asif / Senior Director of Marketing & Communications read more read less
Nasser Asif / Senior Director of Marketing & Communications

Nasser Asif, Senior Director of Marketing & Communications, oversees outreach to new campuses and IFYC's engagement with the public. Nasser comes to the interfaith movement from a career in brand marketing, advertising, and nonprofit communications consulting. Most days you'll find him planning campaigns, managing creative projects, and thinking about the storytelling IFYC can use to inspire new leaders. On his own time, you'll usually find him reading about various obscurities and oddities on Wikipedia, cooking something spicy, and listening to vintage country music; often simultaneously. Nasser believes that America is more dynamic and diverse than ever before, and he sees the interfaith movement as an essential actor in shaping a civil society that is just, vibrant, and geared towards progress.


Rose Aslan

- Rose Aslan / Ph.D. in Religious Studies, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill read more read less
Rose Aslan / Ph.D. in Religious Studies, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
About Rose

Rose Aslan (Ph.D. in Religious Studies, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at California Lutheran University (Thousand Oaks, CA). At Cal Lutheran, Rose teaches courses on global religions, the Abrahamic traditions, and Islam, and is an active voice for interfaith issues on campus. Rose’s specialties include Islam and Muslim societies, ritual practices, sacred space and pilgrimage, and Interfaith and Interreligious Studies.

Rose’s Connections with IFYC

Rose began working with IFYC in 2015, when she applied for and was subsequently selected to attend a faculty development seminar called “Teaching Interfaith Understanding,” a program that IFYC and the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) have co-hosted each summer since 2014. After the seminar, Rose worked to revise her introductory Religious Studies course, titled “Religion, Identity, and Vocation”, in an effort to enhance interfaith themes. The course focused the most on Christianity, and Rose expanded her syllabus to consider core values of Lutheran higher education such as pluralism and interfaith cooperation. Rose revised this course with support from a Curriculum Development Grant from IFYC during the summer of 2016. Alongside this curricular revision work, Rose helped to execute a conference co-hosted by IFYC and Cal Lutheran called “Interfaith Studies: Curricular Programs and Core Competencies”, which took place on Cal Lutheran’s campus during the spring of 2016 and involved about 125 scholars from more than 60 institutions.

Rose’s Current Interfaith Projects: Course Work, Research, and Scholarship

A number of Rose’s current courses at Cal Lutheran focus on interfaith competencies, or include a module/section that engages interfaith topics. Rose often structures courses with engaged or experiential learning elements, one such example being her “Park 51 Role Playing Activity”. Rose developed this role playing activity for use in her courses as a way to help make real for students moments of interfaith encounter, tension, conflict, or cooperation - in this case, around the development of Park 51 in New York City shortly after 9/11. You can find this assignment activity (and others like it) in IFYC and CIC’s Teaching Interfaith Understanding resource library.

Outside of the classroom, Rose is actively researching and writing on a number of topics that intersect with Interfaith and Interreligious Studies, her most current research project focuses on the ritual practice of Muslims in post-9/11 United States. Her research interests include the construction of sacred space, ritual, and pilgrimage in medieval and contemporary Islamic contexts, as well as the material culture of Islam. With her own institutional context in mind, she has published an article in a (forthcoming) volume of  The Muslim World called “Vocation and Identity Through the Study of Islam: Finding Pluralism at a Lutheran University,” which discusses the dynamics of teaching about Islam and pluralism at an ELCA institution that is rapidly responding to the realities of a changing student body and increasingly diverse campus community.


Jennifer Bailey

Jennifer Bailey

- Jennifer Bailey (African Methodist Episcopal) / Nashville, TN / read more / read less
Jennifer Bailey (African Methodist Episcopal) / Nashville, TN

Named one of 15 Faith Leaders to Watch by the Center for American Progress, Rev. Jennifer Bailey is an ordained minister, public theologian, and emerging national leader in multi-faith movement for justice. She is the founding executive director of the Faith Matters Network and a Public Voices Fellow of The OpEd Project. Jennifer comes to this work with nearly a decade of experience at nonprofits combatting intergenerational poverty. An Ashoka and Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellow, Jennifer earned degrees from Tufts University and Vanderbilt University Divinity School. She writes regularly for a number of publications including Sojourners and the Huffington Post. Her first book, tentatively titled Confessions of a #Millennial #Minister is currently under contract with Chalice Press. Rev. Bailey is an ordained itinerant elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. When she's not catching up on cheesy reality television shows, you can find her and her husband Ira embracing their inner foodies at new restaurants around the country.


Brett Banks

- Brett Banks / Senior at McMurry University, Christian Ministry major read more read less
Brett Banks / Senior at McMurry University, Christian Ministry major

Brett Banks is a student at McMurry University. He studies Christian Ministry and plans to go into the Episcopal priesthood. Since he was a small child he has had a passion for helping the marginalized and being gay made him realize how important work for the oppressed really was. He loves to play video games, and can't stop binge-watching Netflix shows. His exploration of interfaith work began when he realized that the same people that hated him for being gay were the ones that hated others for holding different beliefs, and so from then on he has spent his time working with people that feel hurt by society. Brett now continues that work by working with the local interfaith council and the interfaith group he helped found at his small liberal arts university. He loves making students feel welcome and has helped do so with the interfaith council, interfaith university group, and serving as the President of the LGBTQ+ student group. Further, he helps students feel welcome by serving as a peer leader for incoming new students.

"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."  John 13:35 


tony banout

Tony Banout

- Tony Banout / Vice President of Institutional Advancement read more read less
Tony Banout / Vice President of Institutional Advancement

Tony Banout serves as the Vice President of Institutional Advancement, nurturing IFYC's philanthropic partnerships, leading a team responsible for revenue, and stewarding the Board of Directors. He has over 15 years of social sector leadership experience in fields such as human services, civil rights, and health care. Tony holds a Ph.D. in Religion from the Divinity School at the University of Chicago for a dissertation treating democracy and religious freedom. He also engaged Islamic Studies and Arabic, and was a Provost Dissertation fellow and junior fellow of the Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion. His B.A. is in Business from St. John's University, where he developed a love for business strategy and found that the Vincentians of the Catholic tradition nourished his roots in the Coptic Orthodox faith of his birth, while shaping his belief in the socially transformative power of religion.


Katie Bringman Baxter

- Katie Bringman Baxter / Vice President of Program Strategy read more read less
Katie Bringman Baxter / Vice President of Program Strategy

Katie Bringman Baxter, Vice President of Program Strategy, guides IFYC’s programmatic initiatives to cultivate campus environments, develop interfaith leaders, and produce a knowledgebase for religious pluralism in higher education. Katie has been published in the Journal of College and Character and Liberal Education, and presents regularly to higher education audiences. Her interest in religion and her professional background in higher ed are rooted in an MA in College Student Personnel (BGSU) and a BA in Religion (Wittenberg University). Beyond IFYC, Katie enjoys venturing around Chicago with her family and serving on the board at her Lutheran church. Both her work experience helping students learn from those who are different and her personal religious convictions motivate Katie to work for a world where people of different backgrounds can live, work, and build community together.


Berea College

- Berea College read more read less
Berea College

IFYC and Berea partnered on an extended partnership developing capacity building sessions for student paraprofessionals across campus.  Over a series of several months, Berea and IFYC co-developed curriculum for student “peer educators,” implemented these trainings, and refined the curriculum to be utilized by Berea staff into the future.  IFYC also supported the development of evaluation mechanisms to gauge the success of these trainings in achieving their stated learning outcomes.  


elliot besmann

Elliot Besmann

- Elliot Besmann / Marketing & Communications Associate read more read less
Elliot Besmann / Marketing & Communications Associate

Elliot Besmann, Marketing & Communications Associate, coordinates the digital marketing of IFYC's many projects and initiatives. He holds a Master's of Arts in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago, and has published a cyberpsychology paper based on his research with social cognition in video games. Elliot's mission is to help IFYC's resources reach a wider audience and spread awareness of interfaith cooperation through IFYC's email and social media networks. He performs as a stand-up storyteller at numerous live lit shows around Chicago, covering themes of feminism, identity, and social critique.


Parth Bhansali

- Parth Bhansali (Hindu) / Chicago, IL / Read More / Read Less
Parth Bhansali (Hindu) / Chicago, IL

Parth is a first generation Indian-American and currently works at Groupon as a sales manager on their international strategic partnerships team. Parth joined the IFYC family while he was earning his undergraduate degree at Benedictine University, where he co-founded MOSAIC (Movement of Students Achieving Interfaith Cooperation) and was a board member and eventually President of the Hindu Students Association. Parth represented Viacom's social responsibility branch, Viacommunity, on the red carpet at the 2013 MTV VMAs, and has spoken about interfaith related topics at various events over the past few years. He has visited over 25 countries, and traveling is one of his biggest passions. Working in a corporate business environment, Parth aspires to transform interfaith conversation and cooperation into something that transcends the faith-based community and continues in other industries.


Closer Look: Incoming Black Protestant Students

- Black Protestant Narrative Report read more read less
Black Protestant Narrative Report

An in-depth look at how first-year Black Protestant students perceive worldview diversity and engage with other worldviews prior to college. Taken from the findings of the first administration of the Interfaith Diversity Experiences & Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS). Read it here.


esther boyd

Esther Boyd

- Esther Boyd / Manager of Curriculum Development read more read less
Esther Boyd / Manager of Curriculum Development

Esther Boyd, Manager of Curriculum Development, supports faculty working to develop courses and programs related to the emerging field of Interfaith Studies. She also manages the online curriculum Introduction to Interfaith Leadership, and works on other Academic Initiatives programs such as the annual Teaching Interfaith Understanding seminars and IFYC's presence at the American Academy of Religion annual meeting. Esther holds an MA in Religion and Literature from Yale where she began exploring the role of storytelling in identity formation. When she isn't working, she loves to be outside, make music, and laugh. As a Secular Humanist, Esther is a firm believer in the service mantra "What I can, where I am, with what I have", and strives to apply that to her own interfaith and justice work.


Becca Brady

- Becca Brady / Senior at Meredith College, English and Religious and Ethical Studies double major read more read less
Becca Brady / Senior at Meredith College, English and Religious and Ethical Studies double major

Becca Brady is a senior at Meredith College; she is double majoring in English and Religious and Ethical Studies, and this will be her third official year of interfaith work! Like many North Carolinians, Becca grew up in a small, frankly homogeneous town that did not throw around words such as "pluralism" or "interfaith." However, because of IFYC and interfaith initiatives at Meredith, her social circle and worldview have grown exponentially, sparking the flint for a fiery passion in this field. In her spare time, Becca enjoys playing gigs, watching The Office, and exploring the outdoors. She is insanely stoked about being a coach for IFYC this year and is anxiously awaiting the awesome strides in interfaith cooperation that are going to take place in 2017-2018.

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." - Virginia Woolf


Tim Brauhn

Tim Brauhn

- Tim Brauhn (Catholic) / Denver, CO / Read More / Read Less
Tim Brauhn (Catholic) / Denver, CO

Tim is the Communications Manager at Islamic Networks Group (ING), an organization that pursues peace through education and interreligious engagement and pushes back on discrimination against American Muslims by teaching about their traditions in the context of America’s history. Tim completed a BA in English Language and Literature from Aurora University, and continued there as a resident interfaith fellow. He earned a graduate degree in International Studies from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. Tim served as a member of the Faiths Act Fellowship, an international interfaith program aimed at eradicating malaria deaths. Tim’s engagement with American religious pluralism helped him reconnect to his religion, and he views interfaith dialogue as an important step in everyone’s religious/ethical formation. He is often called upon to explain how to argue effectively but respectfully, to explain complex geopolitical problems with stick figures, and to explain whatever oddball passion he’s pursuing this month. In short, he enjoys explaining things.


Katie Brick

- Katie Brick / Director of the Office of Religious Diversity, DePaul University read more read less
Katie Brick / Director of the Office of Religious Diversity, DePaul University

Katie Brick has worked in Religious Diversity at DePaul since 2005 and currently serves as Director of the Office of Religious Diversity (ORD). Past DePaul experience includes being Assistant Director and serving as a Loop Chaplain. Katie has led the DePaul Interfaith Scholars program and is passionate about interfaith engagement. Prior to joining DePaul, Katie's diverse work experience included marketing, organizational development consulting, non-profit management, and hospital chaplaincy.

She received a BA in history from Northwestern, an MBA from Northwestern and an MDiv degree from Catholic Theological Union.

 


Julia Burkley

- Julia Burkley / Senior at Davidson College, Religious Studies major, Gender and Sexuality Studies minor read more read less
Julia Burkley / Senior at Davidson College, Religious Studies major, Gender and Sexuality Studies minor

Julia Burkley is a senior at Davidson College majoring in Religious Studies and minoring in Gender and Sexuality Studies. Julia came to the Coach program after forming friendships with the incredible staff and coaches at ILIs. On campus Julia spends most of her time between the coffee shop and the Chaplains’ Office. She is involved with a variety of leadership roles in religious life, from Ukirk (PCUSA) fellowship, to Canterbury Episcopal Fellowship and of course Davidson’s chapter of Better Together. Julia’s superlative would be “most likely to befriend a random stranger” because being around people brings her so much joy and happiness. Julia tries to bring social justice and friendly connection into every place she enters, and loves creating spaces for people to ask difficult questions. Her passion for social justice has influenced many projects, most notably in The Visibility Project: an initiative she co-created to bring visibility to LGBTQIA+ and Allies who identify within different faith perspectives.

“But you know, happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

― Dumbledore


Nic Cable

Nic Cable

- Nic Cable (Unitarian Universalist) / Columbus, IN / Read More / Read Less
Nic Cable (Unitarian Universalist) / Columbus, IN

Nic is the Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbus, IN. He graduated summa cum laude from both DePaul University (2011) where he double majored in Religious Studies and Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies, and Chicago Theological Seminary (2014) where he received a fellowship from the Forum for Theological Exploration. Nic began working with Interfaith Youth Core as a fellow in 2010 and has been a longstanding member of the Speakers Bureau. Additional interfaith leadership experiences include peace building trips in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan (2010) and Israel and Palestine (2013). His interfaith commitments spring from his Unitarian Universalist faith, which calls him into true relationship and partnership with people across lines of religious difference in order to shape progressive social transformation. Beyond interfaith work, Nic and his wife Hattie enjoy the Green Bay Packers, cheese, and other Wisconsin stereotypes.


william campbell

William Campbell

- William Campbell / Senior Director of Student Leadership read more read less
William Campbell / Senior Director of Student Leadership

William Campbell, Senior Director of Student Leadership, oversees the strategy for supporting student leaders. William comes to the interfaith movement from a career in Christian identity development, student leadership, and LGBTQ social action. Joining IFYC in 2012, he has held a number of positions but currently oversees the pipeline of students to alumni. He spends most of his time leading a creative team of staff that provide the training, networking, and support for students who are passionate about interfaith cooperation. Outside the office, William can be found writing about leadership and organizational culture, speculative fiction, or the influence of geek culture. William identifies as a Christian, a creative, and an ally to student leaders.


Closer Look: Incoming Catholic Christian Students

- Catholic Narrative Report read more read less
Catholic Narrative Report

An in-depth look at how first-year Catholic students perceive worldview diversity and engage with other worldviews prior to college. Taken from the findings of the first administration of the Interfaith Diversity Experiences & Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS). Read it here.


Colorado State University

- Colorado State University / University read more read less
Colorado State University / University

Colorado State University, located in Fort Collins, Colorado, serves a diverse population of 33,000 students. An instructor in the Communications Department, Elizabeth Sink, inspired by her research into the communication styles of religious and non-religious individuals, piloted a small living-learning community during the 2015-2016 school year. This community allowed a small number of students from multiple faith and philosophical backgrounds to live together and take courses dedicated to understanding interfaith civic relationships.

After attending an IFYC-sponsored faculty convening where she connected to peers doing similar work at their institutions, Sink realized there was an exciting opportunity to further develop her ideas for interfaith engagement at CSU. At the same time, Assistant Dean of Students, John Henderson, was leading CSU’s participation in the IFYC-supported IDEALS survey. Noticing an area of possible collaboration between different areas of the university with similar goals, IFYC coaches invited Sink to review the survey data in partnership with Assistant Dean Henderson.

As they dove into findings and the implications together, Sink and Henderson became more aware of, and inspired by,each other’s interfaith work and start to identify areas where they could mutually support each other’s goals.  Just as the survey itself looked at questions involving the whole campus, the involvement of representatives from the academic and student affairs areas of CSU’s campus sparked fresh insights and led to greater momentum for interfaith efforts. As a result of this collaboration, a new student-run Multifaith & Belief Council has been established and CSU has offered a Faith and Belief fair for students interested in learning more about the backgrounds of their peers on campus. In addition, the living-learning community has received continued support and has grown significantly.  

Through the relationships built between different campus areas, the data provided by comprehensive assessment tools, and increased support for student projects—all with the support of their IFYC coach—Colorado State has positioned itself as a model for how to smartly expand interfaith cooperation across campus.


conway

J.M. Conway

- J.M. Conway / Campus Stewardship Manager read more read less
J.M. Conway / Campus Stewardship Manager

Conway, Campus Stewardship Manager, has served as a higher education administrator in both student and professional roles for nearly 15 years. With experience in peer mentorship, leadership development, advising and diversity and inclusion, they bring a variety of resources and experiences to their coaching partnerships. Conway is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago’s Master’s program in Higher Education and a current student in Chicago Theological Seminary’s Religious Leadership for Social Transformation program. Since beginning their tenure at IFYC, Conway has been an on-campus consultant, content trainer and facilitator and a remote coach; helping campus partners assess and reflect upon their interfaith engagement and consider ways they might use their existing assets to plan well for the future. They are happy to connect with IFYC’s growing network of educators to promote engagement and leadership at both the individual and campus-wide levels.


Shannon Copp

- Shannon Copp / IFYC Student Leadership Team read more read less
Shannon Copp / IFYC Student Leadership Team

“Only the curious have something to find.” Sean Watkins

Shannon Copp, Student Leadership Manager, works on all things Better Together, from social media and communications to student leadership development. Shannon graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in East Asian Religions and her graduate work at the University of Chicago Divinity School focused on interfaith peacebuilding. Her mission as part of the student leadership team is to help interfaith conversations turn into action outside of the classroom. Outside of IFYC, Shannon's personal mission is to find the perfect board game for each person she meets.


ben correia-harker

Ben Correia-Harker

- Ben Correia-Harker / Director of Assessment & Research read more read less
Ben Correia-Harker / Director of Assessment & Research

Ben Correia-Harker, Director of Assessment & Research, oversees the development of interfaith assessment services and resources, consults with campus partners on assessment practices, and manages research efforts and findings dissemenation. Ben has a B.A. in Religious Studies from the College of Idaho, an M.S.Ed. in Student Affairs Administration from Indiana University, and a Ph.D. in Higher Education from Loyola University Chicago; and he continues to conduct research on and teach about college student leadership development. Having held various professional roles in higher education administration, it is his commitment to fostering student leadership development, creating inclusive communities, and addressing society's most complex problems through collaborative endeavors that fuel Ben’s interest in advancing interfaith cooperation.


Bri Crumbley

- Bri Crumbley / IFYC Student Leadership Team read more read less
Bri Crumbley / IFYC Student Leadership Team

 "Sometimes, the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up." - Brené Brown

Bri Crumbley, Student Leadership Associate, supports and energizes students as they build and sustain the interfaith movement across the country. A graduate of Meredith College, Bri is especially proud to have harmonized her passions for interfaith cooperation and female empowerment with her studies in Religion, Ethics, and Sociology, as a student and Better Together coach. It was as a student leader herself, that Bri found a desire to see students become the strongest versions of themselves possible, which was evident in her involvement with Cross Culture Student Ministries as an administrator, events coordinator and small group leader. As a social introvert who is fascinated by people and society, INFJ-Bri enjoys consuming media in the form of books, blogs and podcasts, and enjoys doing so with a cup of hot tea or an iced coffee, weather permitting.


Janice D'souza

- Janice D'souza (Roman Catholic) / Lexington, KY / Read More / Read Less
Janice D'souza (Roman Catholic) / Lexington, KY

Janice grew up in the Mangalorean Catholic community in South India. A first-generation college student, she moved to the U.S. in 2010 to attend Berea College, a tuition-free school where her studies focused on social justice and gender. She recently served as a Clinton Fellow in India, travelling across the country to identify and address the issues affecting girls' retention in schools. Janice’s unique perspective as an interfaith leader helped her to identify interreligious dynamics as a common theme that had gone unnoticed by her colleagues. Janice is also publishing a bilingual children's book on menstruation for girls in rural India, addressing taboos and myths. Janice is a volunteer rape crisis counselor and hospital advocate, and works in the field of abortion access in the southern United States. Janice also hosts a radio show where each episode features songs from around the world focused on central theme like wedding songs, group singing, and songs about fishing.


I’m an evangelical Christian committed to advancing interfaith cooperation in the media and my community.

- Greg Damhorst / Student at Texas Christian University and Writer for Christiannews.com / read more about Greg / read less about Greg
Greg Damhorst / Student at Texas Christian University and Writer for Christiannews.com

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kristi del vecchio

Kristi Del Vecchio

- Kristi Del Vecchio / Academic Initiatives Manager read more read less
Kristi Del Vecchio / Academic Initiatives Manager

Kristi Del Vecchio, Academic Initiatives Manager, supports scholars and educators across the U.S. who are building the field of interfaith and interreligious studies. She holds an M.A. in Theology with a concentration in Interreligious Dialogue from Catholic Theological Union (Chicago, IL), and B.A.s in Biology and Religion from Concordia College (Moorhead, MN). Kristi joined the IFYC team in 2013, and spends most of her time stewarding grant programs, managing faculty development seminars, and curating online educational materials. An interest in service and volunteerism throughout college led Kristi to the world of interfaith cooperation; she continues this work today by pursuing environmental projects with diverse groups of people in Chicago. In her spare time, you may find Kristi training – slowly but surely – for her next triathlon.


Aminata Diallo

- Aminata Diallo / Susquehanna University Class of 2019 read more read less
Aminata Diallo / Susquehanna University Class of 2019

It was my first year in college, and as one of the few Muslims at my Lutheran university, I had a hard time navigating and finding a supportive community. It was also that year I had the privilege of attending an Interfaith Leadership Institute (ILI). I immediately jumped at the opportunity not really knowing what to expect. Not to mention, I had no previous knowledge of the interfaith movement, or even knew that there was such a thing as an interfaith leader. Looking back at it now, it was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life!

From the second I walked into my first ILI, I just felt this incredible energy in the air. The environment was lively and just filled with eager, happiness, and genuine smiles. Truth be told, the exciting and welcoming energy was quite contagious. After my first ten minutes of being there, I completely forgot that I was clueless and nervous. I spent so much time hearing stories from individuals who were just starting their interfaith journey, and people who’ve been involved in the interfaith movement for decades. I was moved by all of the different ways in which interfaith leaders engaged within and outside of their respective faith communities.

At the end of the ILI, I walked away with three things. First and foremost, I made connections and friendships that I know will last a lifetime. Secondly, I walked away very informed and resourceful about the movement and how incredibly imperative it is; especially at a time where many groups feel divided. Last but certainly not least, I came to the realization that interfaith cooperation is all around us, and there isn’t one singular way of being an interfaith leader. You do not have to be the president of an organization, or know every single thing about the interfaith movement in order to be a change agent. The ILI thought me that although there are many interfaith heroes we admire and learn from, interfaith leadership can take many forms.

To share a little bit more about my interfaith journey post-ILI, I was one of the founders of the Better Together Club on my campus. However, my interfaith leadership style was more visible outside of our Better Together Club. I was inspired to use my position and platform in our student government to push for a more inclusive and interfaith community not only on the student level, but on a faculty and administrative level.


Engaging Worldview: A Snapshot of Religious & Spiritual Campus Climate

- Engaging Worldview: Part I read more read less
Engaging Worldview: Part I

Part I of a two-part report examining how features of campus environments and student perceptions influence students’ abilities to engage across religious and worldview differences. Compiled from the collected findings of the Campus Religious & Spiritual Climate Survey (CRSCS) administered to 8,463 undergraduate students attending 38 U.S. colleges and universities. Read it here.


Karin Firoza

- Karin Firoza / Boston, MA, Muslim read more read less
Karin Firoza / Boston, MA, Muslim

Interfaith cooperation has been a theme through Karin's whole career. She got her feet wet with interfaith organizing work as an undergrad at Wellesley College, which led her to her first job as a labor organizer with a public sector union in Maryland. From there she channeled her love for leadership development and joined Interfaith Action, a Boston-based youth organization committed to bringing high schoolers together across faith lines to work together on skill building, interfaith leadership, and social action. She used that experience to co-found Roots and Wings Training and Consultation, a practice dedicated to working with schools, community groups, and houses of worship to provide training to support diversity and inclusion efforts. Now, her career path has brought her to supporting interfaith work on a college campus as the Senior Assistant Director at the Center for Spirituality, Dialogue, and Service at Northeastern University. When it comes to channeling interfaith leadership skills into a career, Karin's got it down. 


Frank Fredericks

Addressing issues of religious violence and poverty

- Frank Fredericks (Christian) / New York, NY read more read less
Frank Fredericks (Christian) / New York, NY

BIO: Frank Fredericks is the founder of World Faith, a global movement to end religious violence, and Mean Communications, a digital agency for social good. After working in the music industry where he managed artists such as Lady Gaga, Frank founded World Faith with the mission to end religious violence. World Faith has expanded to 11 countries and mobilized 5,000 volunteers in over 250,000 hours of service. Frank has contributed to the Huffington Post, Washington Post, and Sojourners, and has been interviewed on Good Morning America, NPR, and New York Magazine. He is a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum, and is a fellow alumnus of Leading for Impact at Oxford’s Skoll Centre, AMENDS at Stanford, IFYC, Soliya, Ariane de Rothschild, and YouthActionNet. He did his BM at NYU and his MBA at Oxford Said as a Global Shaper Scholar from the World Economic Forum.

PROJECT: Frank’s project is to facilitate sustainability as well as monitoring and evaluation for an existing World Faith program, POWER, in Lahore, Pakistan. The POWER program is designed to address the interconnected issues of religious violence and poverty by teaching women of religiously diverse backgrounds basic reading, writing, and business skills, and connecting them with micro-credit organizations to start their own small businesses. For three years, POWER teachers and students have practiced meaningful interfaith cooperation while addressing the immediate ills of the community, each year increasing the number of women served and improving the curriculum employed. This year, Frank will work to take POWER to the next level by securing a permanent physical home for the program, and increasing longitudinal analysis of the program’s impact.


Exploring questions about the intersection of religious identity and civic life

- Adam Garner (Atheist) / New York, NY read more read less
Adam Garner (Atheist) / New York, NY

BIO: Adam Garner is a Campaigns Manager at DoSomething.org where he runs national youth volunteerism campaigns for their 5.4 million members. Previous to that, he worked at Interfaith Youth Core where he helped build the student interfaith movement on college campuses across the country. He’s interested in digital community building and using the Internet for good, and is deeply committed to the idea that the only way the world will get better is if we work together. In his free time he watches way too much YouTube, dreams of one day owning at least five dogs, and skateboards…poorly. He graduated from the University of Illinois: Urbana-Champaign with a degree in Philosophy and serves as a board member for the Yale Humanist Community.

PROJECT: Following the lead of content creators like The Crash Course, NerdWriter1, and Zach Anner’s Have a Little Faith, Adam’s project is to develop a series of short video essays that focus on exploring common questions about the intersection of religious identity and civic life in a way that is shareable, interesting, and (most importantly) accurate. Each video will focus on answering a question (ex: Why do we assume terrorists are Muslim?) or exploring an idea (ex: The War on Christmas) in a way that leaves the viewer with a more nuanced understanding of an issue and a piece of knowledge that they can apply directly to their life as they navigate our diverse democracy. After a year, the goal is to have a budding digital community of people who are interested in deeply engaging with these questions and a catalog of videos that answer and explore a range of ideas about religion in the 21st century.


Usra Ghazi

- Usra Ghazi (Muslim) / Washington, DC / Read More / Read Less
Usra Ghazi (Muslim) / Washington, DC

Usra Ghazi is an interfaith leader, public servant, and aspiring diplomat with over a decade of experience in interreligious youth work in the non-profit sector, including time as an IFYC staff member, during which she managed a strong partnership with the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge. She has served as a policy advisor and Franklin Fellow at the U.S. Secretary of State’s Office of Religion and Global Affairs and as a policy fellow for the City of Boston in the Mayor's Office for Immigrant Advancement where she influenced new policies and programs that effectively engage faith communities. She holds a master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School in Religion and Politics and currently serves as a strategic designer at The Collaboratory – the design and innovation hub of the U.S. Department of State’s Education and Cultural Affairs Bureau.


Jonathan Golden

- Jonathan Golden / Ph.D. in Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 1998 read more read less
Jonathan Golden / Ph.D. in Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 1998
About Jonathan

Jonathan Golden (Ph.D. in Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 1998) is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Comparative Religion at Drew University (Madison, NJ). At Drew, Jonathan also serves as the Director of Drew’s Center on Religion, Culture and Conflict, an interdisciplinary center that focuses on interfaith leadership and global peacebuilding. Jonathan specializes in the study of ancient and modern cultures of the Middle East, and his current research interests include religious and ethnic conflict, terrorism, and Interfaith Studies. Alongside this scholarly work, Jonathan holds several certificates in conflict resolution and works closely with interfaith and peace-building organizations both locally and internationally.  Jonathan is an observant Jew who draws inspiration from great Jewish thinkers from Rambam and Hillel to AJ Heschel and Joachim Prinz in both his personal and professional life.

Jonathan’s Connections with IFYC

Jonathan began working with IFYC in 2014, when he applied for and was subsequently selected to attend a faculty development seminar called “Teaching Interfaith Understanding,” a program that IFYC and the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) have co-hosted each summer since 2014. After attending the seminar, Jonathan became a faculty leader on campus in regards to interfaith initiatives and curricula. Over the years, Jonathan has partnered with IFYC to execute two curricularly-focused grant projects (generously funded by the Teagle Foundation and the James F. Kemper Foundation), helping to shape interfaith-focused academic courses and programs at his institution. Jonathan also serves as a mentor for student leaders interested in interfaith work, and regularly recruits cohorts of students to be trained at IFYC’s Interfaith Leadership Institutes. Jonathan continues to participate IFYC’s programs in this way, and connects with IFYC staff regularly in person (at conferences such as the American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting), over the phone, or via email.

Jonathan’s Current Interfaith Projects: Course Work, Research, Scholarship, and Community Engagement

Jonathan teaches in the Departments of Religious Studies and Anthropology, the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies, and the Theology School at Drew University. Many of Jonathan’s undergraduate courses directly address interfaith topics, one of which being a first-year seminar called “Global Peacebuilding and Interfaith Leadership”. This course seeks to teach students the qualities, skills, and knowledge base of interfaith leadership, and will serve as the first course students are expected to take in the Drew’s forthcoming Global Peace and Interfaith Scholars Program. To teach this course, Jonathan draws upon learning modules available in the “Introduction to Interfaith Leadership” curriculum, a free curricular resource created by IFYC and Dominican University and has used IFYC-founder Eboo Patel’s books as course texts.

Alongside his course work, Jonathan is currently conducting research and writing a book that engages interfaith themes. Jonathan’s forthcoming book is called Turning Point, which highlights the experiences of ex-combatants, victims, and survivors of ethno-religious conflict. For this project, Jonathan interviews ex-combatants and survivors who have all experienced a “turning point” towards becoming peace activists in conflict-ridden areas, namely in Israel/Palestine, Northern Ireland, Nigeria, and across the U.S. For this work, Jonathan’s anthropological background is key, as he draws upon social contexts and personal interaction/storytelling to research and write this text.

Over the years, Jonathan has also become a mentor for student-led interfaith initiatives at Drew. Alongside his teaching and writing, Jonathan is helping students plan and execute a tutoring project with new refugees called the “New Neighbors School Success Program.” Many refugee families have recently resettled in New Jersey near Drew’s campus, and the University’s Center on Religion, Culture and Conflict together with the Center for Civic Engagement are coordinating a community-wide effort to help to address their need for supplementary educational services. The New Neighbors School offers tutoring services to complement new students’ public-school experiences, while providing badly needed educational materials school supplies. This service program also seeks to also build community relationships, bringing together both Drew student volunteers with partners from the local community. In November of 2017, Drew will be hosting an interfaith conference with the theme of “Welcoming the Stranger”, funded by a grant from IFYC.


josh simon goldman

Josh Simon Goldman

- Josh Simon Goldman / Institutional Advancement Manager read more read less
Josh Simon Goldman / Institutional Advancement Manager

Josh Simon Goldman, Institutional Advancement Manager, steward’s IFYC’s community of supporters, offering opportunities for them to make interfaith cooperation the norm. A graduate of Denison University, he conducted research at the intersection of communication, education, and leadership studies, working with organizations such as Ashoka. Josh designs multi-channel storytelling campaigns, oversees collaborations with IFYC’s Alumni Relations, Communications and Marketing, and Information Technology teams, and sits down for in depth conversations about interfaith cooperation with supporters across the country. Interests in community service, democratic practice, and compassionate friendships get Josh going in the morning. The possibility of building durable and supportive communities keeps him building bridges throughout the day.


Ayan Goran

- Ayan Goran / Junior at Villanova University, Political Science and Communication double major, concentration in Peace & Justice read more read less
Ayan Goran / Junior at Villanova University, Political Science and Communication double major, concentration in Peace & Justice

Ayan, is a Junior at Villanova University, majoring in both Political Science and Communication with a concentration in Peace & Justice. She identifies as a Sunni Muslim, and is very proud and open about that --she loves answering questions about her faith and dispelling the unfortunate amount of toxic misconceptions floating around. She is West Philadelphia born and raised, but has lived in the suburbs since the seventh grade. In her free time, Ayan enjoys autumn weather, iced chai lattes, and in-depth discourse about the pros and cons of the modern capitalistic society! She is heading into her second year serving as president of her campus's Muslim Student Association, as well as her second year serving as a College Senator on the Student Government Association and is very enthusiastic about interfaith work, and despite her experience, is very aware that she still has a lot to learn!


Katie Gordon

Katie Gordon

- Katie Gordon (Agnostic "None") / Boston, MA / Read More / Read Less
Katie Gordon (Agnostic "None") / Boston, MA

Katie is a Master of Theological Studies student at Harvard Divinity School with a focus on Religion, Ethics, and Politics. She holds a BA in Religious Studies and Political Science from Alma College and an MA of Interfaith Action from Claremont Lincoln University. For four years, she worked for the Kaufman Interfaith Institute at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she developed inclusion-focused religious diversity initiatives, interfaith leadership programs for various colleges and universities, and an interfaith service initiative for community partners. Additionally, Katie speaks publicly about her passions in interfaith organizing for social change, media as a tool for strategic storytelling, and secular/spiritual community building outside of religious institutions. As a millennial “None,” she finds greatest community in a gathering called “Nuns & Nones,” an inter-generational space that explores the intersections of questioning and faith, spirituality and social justice, and ancient wisdom with emerging trends.


Jacob Greenstein

Jacob Greenstein

- Jacob Greenstein (Seeking, Agnostic) / Sacramento, CA / Read More / Read Less
Jacob Greenstein (Seeking, Agnostic) / Sacramento, CA

Born and raised in Sacramento, a city recognized for integrated diversity, Jacob was exposed to interfaith work and its imperativeness after his first-hand experiences with religious prejudice and segregation in Texas where he earned his BA in International Politics from Texas Christian University.  After these experiences, Jacob dedicated his undergraduate career to improving his campus to make it more accepting of all people. At TCU, Jacob was asked to speak at a number of planning events including for the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee. In honor of all of his work, he received the TCU Religious Life Leadership Award for leading his community to mutual understanding. After graduating, Jacob cut his teeth on several opportunities with different political and interfaith groups before settling in at the California State Capitol. Disheartened by the political climate, Jacob seeks to breathe new hope into his communities by giving people a seat at the table.


amber hacker

Amber Hacker

- Amber Hacker / Vice President for Operations and Communications read more read less
Amber Hacker / Vice President for Operations and Communications

Amber Jean Hacker, Vice President for Operations and Communications, oversees projects ranging from accounting, IT, and talent development to IFYC thought leadership, branding, and messaging. A leader on the IFYC team since 2007, Amber stewarded a variety of key programs prior to stepping into her current role, including the IFYC Alumni program, Days of Interfaith Youth Service, Fellows Alliance, Bridge-builders Network, and IFYC’s conferences. Amber also serves as Treasurer, working closely with the Board of Directors to ensure accurate and efficient financial processes. Outside of IFYC, Amber is pursuing her MBA to explore ways to apply best practices in business to nonprofit work, and maintains a passion for productivity tips. Amber and her husband Jason live with their three-year-old son Erik in Chicago. Amber’s commitment to interfaith cooperation is inspired by Jesus’ call to love to our neighbor.


Marcella Hall

- Dr. Marcella Hall / Dean of Students at Mount Holyoke College read more read less
Dr. Marcella Hall / Dean of Students at Mount Holyoke College

Marcella Runell Hall became dean of students at Mount Holyoke in 2014, moving to the Pioneer Valley from Brooklyn, New York. She is a social justice scholar and accomplished author. She recently spent seven years at New York University, where she was the founding co-director for the Of Many Institute for Multifaith Leadership under the leadership of Chelsea Clinton, and a clinical faculty member in the Silver School of Social Work. For her accomplishments in the field, Hall has received numerous teaching and programmatic awards, including the Association of American Colleges and Universities K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award. She was honored by inclusion in the JFK 50th Anniversary Legacy Gallery along with other luminaries such as Madeleine Albright and Harry Belafonte. She is also a former fellow for the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding.


Hamilton College

- Hamilton College / College read more read less
Hamilton College / College

“IFYC has been a crucial resource for our campus’ efforts to sustain interfaith community life. Student leadership development through ILI is a key factor in our program. Their invitation to join an interfaith/worldview panel at the Ashoka U Exchange conference was a breakthrough for us, as it helped our chaplaincy join forces with our campus social innovation team.” Jeff McArn, Chaplain, Hamilton College

Hamilton College is a small, private, secular school in Clinton, NY. Over the years, Hamilton has sent student delegations to IFYC’s Interfaith Leadership Institute [ifyc.org/ili], where participants trained together, planned new projects, and returned to campus energized to see them through.  Yet even with this training and energy, these students were having a hard time getting their peers to participate in new interfaith projects and engage in real dialogue. Simultaneously, Hamilton’s administration of the (Interfaith Diversity Experiences & Attitudes Longitudinal Survey) [ifyc.org/ideals] revealed that Hamilton’s student body mirrors that of many similar institutions where the climate is typically liberal-leaning and conservative and Evangelical identities are in the minority. The survey showed that Hamilton students tend to identify more with their political identity than their religious/spiritual identity, at least publicly, often at the cost of missed opportunities for meaningful engagement with religious and worldview difference while in college.

Hamilton’s Chaplain,Jeff McArn, is a strong advocate for interfaith cooperation, but was unsure of the right strategy to make it an enriching part of the Hamilton experience in light of the survey findings. Sensing a need for guidance, he partnered with IFYC Coach Becca Hartman-Pickerill to explore the possibilities. Their conversations explored the survey findings, Hamilton’s larger approach to student engagement, and the parallels to similar institutions that Becca and the IFYC team have worked with. In short order, they zeroed in on a key opportunity to dovetail interfaith engagement with an existing campus priority.

Social innovation is important to Hamilton College and a commitment to fostering empathy was already part of a first-year requirement, thanks to the Ashoka Changemaker leads on campus working through the Levitt Public Affairs Center. Jeff and two senior chaplaincy fellows (undergraduates) started a conversation across offices and departments about how to collaborate in mutually beneficial ways to embed interfaith engagement into this thriving campus-wide initiative.

The senior chaplaincy fellows modified an empathy building tool used by the Levitt Center, Narrative4, to incorporate questions that would land well with their campus culture and facilitate new conversations; they asked about doubt and commitment, the miraculous, and an experience of wonder or the experience of being centered. The fellow facilitated these dialogues with groups on campus and in the broader Clinton community. Right away, they got more people talking about worldview identity and building empathy. They engaged proactively with the community and generated a unique set of prompts to be be reintegrated back into the first-year experience. The two senior chaplaincy fellows even joined the chaplain in presenting their innovative work, alongside IFYC, at the Ashoka U Changemakers national conference, sharing their insights with the wider field. Today, Hamilton students are having more, and more positive conversations about worldview identity, empathy, and difference than ever before; and with Becca’s continued support, Jeff and his team are exploring even more ways to build on this success.


Carr Harkrader

Carr Harkrader

- Carr Harkrader / Educational Resources Manager read more read less
Carr Harkrader / Educational Resources Manager

Carr Harkrader, Educational Resources Manager, writes and designs educational resources and materials for IFYC. Carr earned a BA in political science and history from UNC-Chapel Hill and a M.Ed from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Carr creates and develops many of IFYC's educational materials, everything from book discussion texts to training facilitation guides. He also co-hosts and produces "Common Knowledge," IFYC's podcast focusing on interfaith literacy. While he supports all campuses during work hours, he roots exclusively for his Carolina Tar Heels outside of the office. As an educator, Carr's interest in interfaith cooperation comes directly from his belief in the power of students, faculty, and education professionals to affect enourmous in the world around them.


becca hartman-pickerill

Becca Hartman-Pickerill

- Becca Hartman-Pickerill / Campus Stewardship Manager read more read less
Becca Hartman-Pickerill / Campus Stewardship Manager

Becca Hartman-Pickerill, Campus Stewardship Manager, liaises with college and university partners to vision, plan and evaluate their interfaith work on campus. Becca has a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Northwestern University and a Masters in Forced Migration from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. At IFYC Becca spends much of her time communicating with people leading the interfaith work on their campuses, brainstorming, sharing stories, and communicating promising practices to a network of diverse schools and higher education networks. Outside of work you will find Becca running with her toddler by Lake Michigan or enjoying a delicious meal. Inspired by the world’s diversity, Jesus’ radically simple abundant love, and the American Baptist commitment to freedom of and from religion, Becca feels blessed to pursue interfaith work as a career.


Becca Hirsch

Becca Hirsch

- Becca Hirsch (Jewish Agnostic) / Chicago, IL / Read More / Read Less
Becca Hirsch (Jewish Agnostic) / Chicago, IL

Becca is a Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in individual, couple, and sex therapy.  Before becoming a MFT, Becca completed her undergrad at Santa Clara University and double majored in Psychology and Religious Studies.  While at SCU, she was the president of the Jewish Student Union and started a committee to create an interfaith space on campus.  She then moved to Chicago and interned for IFYC.  Becca later completed her Master’s in Marital and Family Therapy at the University of San Diego, where she learned how to bridge her love for interfaith dialogue and therapy.  Becca now works with interfaith and intercultural couples and provides a space for them to dialogue about their spiritual and religious beliefs. She is passionate about teaching other healthcare professionals how to inquire about religion and spirituality to provide the best care for their patients. In her free time, Becca enjoys blogging about modern dating and finding the “purrfect” filter for her cat’s Instagram.


Miranda Hovemeyer

Miranda Hovemeyer

- Miranda Hovemeyer (Secular Humanist) / Washington, DC / Read More / Read Less
Miranda Hovemeyer (Secular Humanist) / Washington, DC

Miranda currently lives in Washington, D.C. and works as the Program Coordinator for the Interfaith Families Project. She is also on the organization team for the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington’s Young Adult Interfaith Leadership Summit.  She completed her undergraduate degree in English Literature at Colorado State University and has earned her M.A. in Religion from Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago, Illinois. She is an alumna of IFYC’s “One Chicago: One Nation” program. Miranda is also certified in Interfaith Conflict Resolution by the United States Institute of Peace, and is currently an active member of Odyssey Networks and the United Religions Initiative. As a Secular Humanist, she is constantly working on creating new ways for those who don’t identify as religious to be involved in interfaith cooperation.


Aamir Hussain

Aamir Hussain

- Aamir Hussain (Muslim) / Chicago, IL / Read More / Read Less
Aamir Hussain (Muslim) / Chicago, IL

Aamir is currently a medical student at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, pursuing a joint degree in medicine and public policy. He has been involved with IFYC since 2010, when he attended the first Interfaith Leadership Institute. As an undergraduate at Georgetown University he was President of the Interfaith Council and piloted Shanti and Salaam, the university’s first-ever Hindu-Muslim interfaith dialogue. He is interested in the intersections between Islam, interfaith dialogue, healthcare, and public policy, and has been interviewed by the New York Times, Al Jazeera, and PBS. Aamir’s writings have been featured in medical journals, the prominent medical blog Kevin MD, Religion News Service, and the Huffington Post. In 2014, he was awarded the $5000 Germanacos Fellowship to develop a religion and medicine curriculum, and was later granted the Bridge Builder Award from the University of Chicago for forging connections with diverse student groups. He has written a guide to engaging religious identity through healthcare and was invited to deliver a lecture on this topic at a social work education seminar at Pennsylvania State University in 2015. Aamir’s nickname is The Pun-isher because of his penchant for making (bad) puns, and he recently performed a 5-minute monologue of medical puns for the medical school talent show.


jem Jebbia

- jem Jebbia (Zen Buddhist) / jem Jebbia / Read More / Read Less
jem Jebbia (Zen Buddhist) / jem Jebbia

jem is a PhD student in Religious Studies at Stanford University and a Writing Fellow for the Revolutionary Love Project, founded by Sikh-American activist Valarie Kaur. She has worked on several campuses as a student interfaith activist and chaplain over the past ten years, including at University of Southern California, the University of Chicago, and most recently at Northeastern University. jem studies interfaith communities' formations of values and norms amidst conflict, focusing specifically on the various models campus interfaith communities use to sustain and grow. Growing up in Los Angeles, jem quickly found use in studying other languages and has studied seven since high school. She is currently working on a memoir about her Buddhist faith, and writes for various platforms including her own weekly blog called The Practivist. When she is not reading or practicing Arabic vocabulary, jem loves baking, running half-marathons, finding independent bookstores, and repurposing vintage clothing.


Closer Look: Incoming Jewish Students

- Jewish Narrative Report read more read less
Jewish Narrative Report

A deep dive into the experiences and attitudes related to worldview diversity held by Jewish first-year students. Compiled from the findings of the first administration of the Interfaith Diversity Experiences & Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS). Read it here.


megan hughes johnson

Megan Hughes Johnson

- Megan Hughes Johnson / Senior Director read more read less
Megan Hughes Johnson / Senior Director

Megan Johnson, Senior Director for Campus Engagement, works closely with campus partners to develop and implement sustainable leadership practices for interfaith cooperation. Megan’s undergraduate work in culture and politics at Georgetown University and her graduate work in religion and conflict at the University of Chicago Divinity School sparked her interest in bridge-building and youth activism. Prior to IFYC, Megan worked for five years for Seeds of Peace where she developed leadership programs for young people from conflict zones. When not at IFYC, Megan spends time playing trains with her two kids and exploring new green spaces in Cincinnati. Megan’s commitment to religious pluralism stems from witnessing first-hand the cost of religious division and her experience building connections across lines of difference.


Hannah Kardon

- Hannah Kardon (United Methodist) / Chicago, IL / Read More / Read Less
Hannah Kardon (United Methodist) / Chicago, IL

Hannah Kardon is Pastor of Urban Village Church, an inclusive evangelical community in Chicago. She is ordained in the United Methodist tradition, and like many millennials grew up a 'none' with friends of all faiths. She has spoken and facilitated interfaith trainings at Yale University, University of Delhi, and the University of Illinois as well as dozens of other community organizations and higher educational institutions seeking to grow their interfaith practice. As a former staff member at IFYC she helped administer the first federally funded interfaith service program, Inspired to Serve. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago where she received the Howell Murray Alumni Award for contributions to the community, and her Master's in Divinity from Harvard, where she was a Hopkins Shareholder, the oldest honor in the U.S. for ministerial excellence.


michael kendricks

Michael Kendricks

- Michael Kendricks / Director of Salesforce and IT read more read less
Michael Kendricks / Director of Salesforce and IT

Michael Kendricks, Director of Salesforce and IT, administers Salesforce for IFYC and performs work on other IT projects. Michael graduated from Purdue University with a B.S. in Computer Technology. Prior to IFYC he worked in IT in the financial sector. In his current position, he manages IFYC's implementation of Salesforce and partners with IFYC leaders to improve operation and add features. He also performs project management for various IT initiatives at IFYC. In his free time, he enjoys listening to any new music he can find, sports, spending time with family, and engaging in city-focused discussion. Michael believes that IFYC's mission is of key importance to our growing multi-cultural society and higher education is an optimal place to reach and engage with future leaders.


Kinza Khan

- Kinza Khan (Muslim) / Chicago, IL / Read More / Read Less
Kinza Khan (Muslim) / Chicago, IL

Kinza Khan is a native Chicagoan, born and raised.  She works as an attorney at Life Span, an organization committed to helping survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. She also serves as an educator and trainer for Heart Women & Girls, an organization that provides education about and advocacy for issues of sexual health and sexual violence in Muslim American communities. Kinza completed her undergraduate studies in International Studies from University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, and then went on to receive her Juris Doctorate at DePaul University College of Law. She has worked in issues of child welfare, women's rights, and domestic violence, and is passionate about these causes as well as interfaith work and community development. As much as she enjoys speaking in court, Kinza prefers speaking in panels and workshops, and about her own experiences, interfaith identities, and today's societal issues.


Maham Khan

- Maham Khan (Muslim) / Chicago, IL / Read More / Read Less
Maham Khan (Muslim) / Chicago, IL

A Native Chicagoan, Maham Khan has been serving her community as an interfaith activist since her earliest days in college, where she served as president of the Muslim Student Association in the immediate wake of 9/11. Her work, writing, and speaking on issues like being a secular Muslim, American-Muslim Patriotism, Islamic feminism, pluralism, and interfaith cooperation has led her to speak with diverse audiences across the world in countries like Jordan, Egypt, Pakistan, and France while addressing dignitaries like the Coptic Pope and Former President Barack Obama. In 2017, Maham served as PR chair for the Asian American Coalition of Chicago, spearheading the year’s theme of One World, Our World, to promote cohesion and common ground following a polarizing election year. After working a few years as a producer for NPR’s Chicago affiliate WBEZ, Maham currently works as a freelance journalist, communications consultant, and college communications professor. 


andy kirschner

Andy Kirschner

- Andy Kirschner / Director of Alumni Relations read more read less
Andy Kirschner / Director of Alumni Relations

Andy Kirschner, Director of Alumni Relations, oversees strategy for engaging alumni of IFYC programs and supporting them as interfaith leaders in their careers. He brings years of experience helping individuals change the world through coaching, community organizing and social entrepreneurship. Andy is responsible for making sure the Alumni Network has access to a variety of leadership and professional development opportunities by building partnerships with graduate schools and providing direct support through IFYC Alumni programs. Outside of work, he enjoys traveling with family to new destinations and long runs through the diverse Chicago neighborhoods. After years of involvement in the Jewish community, Andy feels called to interfaith leadership as a way to lift up his religious and civic values as a Jewish American.


Claire Kotarski

- Claire Kotarski / Senior at Oberlin College, Religion major read more read less
Claire Kotarski / Senior at Oberlin College, Religion major

Claire Kotarski is a senior at Oberlin College majoring in Religion. Originally hailing from Los Angeles, Claire was raised in a reform Jewish household. A huge Jewish summer camp kid, Claire has never been shy in religious spaces. In high school, Claire dabbled in many Jewish renewal spaces merging ritual, song, Jewish farming, and social justice. In the fall of 2016, Claire had the privilege of attending the Antioch Buddhist Studies program in India, and continue to be fascinated about the intersections between Jews and Buddhists. On a regular basis, you can find Claire cooking a meal with plenty of garlic at Oberlin’s co-op, giving a tour to perspective students, biking with no hands, day-dreaming about owning an animal sanctuary full of puppies, or eating a home-cooked meal at the chaplain’s house. Claire serves as the co-chair of the Jewish Voice for Peace chapter on Oberlin’s campus and has been a member of the Oberlin Interfaith Student Council for around three years. Claire is currently working on a year long capstone about Buddhists in America, and is looking to pursue chaplaincy programs or an international fellowship after college.

“Live life in radical amazement…everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.” –Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel


Elaine Krebs

- Elaine Krebs (Roman Catholic) / Los Angeles, CA / Read More / Read Less
Elaine Krebs (Roman Catholic) / Los Angeles, CA

Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Elaine attended the University of Southern California where she was active in both Catholic and Interfaith communities. When she wasn’t practicing or competing on the Division I Women’s Rowing Team, she was working to build bridges across religious groups through education and collaboration. Her work took her to Israel where she experienced first-hand the beauty and complexity of religious diversity. Upon graduating from USC, Elaine combined her passion for education with her Master’s degree in Marine and Environmental Biology to pursue a career in science education. She currently works at the California Science Center as an informal educator, communicating complex topics through fun, engaging curriculum. In her free time, Elaine teaches Confirmation Classes at her local parish, and continues to apply her interfaith expertise building bridges – this time among athletes and dancers, as she competes on both an ultimate frisbee team and swing dance team.


latanya lane

LaTanya Lane

- LaTanya Lane / Campus Stewardship Manager read more read less
LaTanya Lane / Campus Stewardship Manager

LaTanya Lane, Campus Stewardship Manager, coaches campuses in their efforts to create opportunities for interfaith cooperation and builds infrastructure for her team to do the same. A graduate of Chicago Theological Seminary, LaTanya brings her experience as a community organizer and extensive work in non-profits to her work at IFYC. When not at IFYC LaTanya spends her time finding good stories to listen to, read, or write. LaTanya believes that most problems are best solved together and working with IFYC to bring folks together across differences for the common good is essential to building the kind of world she wants to live in.


Christy Lohr Sapp

- Christy Lohr Sapp / Associate Dean for Religious Life Duke University read more read less
Christy Lohr Sapp / Associate Dean for Religious Life Duke University

Duke University’s participation in IFYC ILIs is all about community – building community both within Duke and with partner schools. The ILIs have provided a ready-made interfaith retreat for Duke student leadership that has been better than anything I could have organized alone. Nothing builds camaraderie like a road trip, and I have been grateful to have been able to drive students to the ILIs for several years. This has allowed for participation from a greater number of students which, in turn, has also helped to create a sense of community among those looking to engage in interfaith collaboration on our campus. Students deepen friendships on a long van ride where they also have time to explore personal stories of shared commitment and action. On these trips, they also encounter students from a variety of backgrounds who are interested in connecting across lines of difference, and this inspires them to draw the interfaith circle even larger when we return home.

ILIs have inspired my students such that they have come back to campus ready to enact change and build bridges. One year, participation prompted a name change to the student group that organizes interfaith service. Students brainstormed new names for their club on the seven-hour ride home, and finally settled on Voices for Interfaith Action (VIA). This simple name change helped the students better articulate what their interfaith endeavors on campus and the community were all about – amplifying their voices for common action around shared values. 

Pedagogically, ILIs have also helped to underscore the theme of service. By introducing inspired social justice heroes and heroines throughout the leadership institutes, students who have taken my courses on the ethic of service have had the course themes reinforced at an ILI. Others have been inspired to take my courses thanks to ILI “prompts”. In my experiences, students have become even more excited about interfaith engagement when it connects directly to their course curriculum.


Wendy Low

- Wendy Low (Conservative Jewish) / Washington, DC / Read More / Read Less
Wendy Low (Conservative Jewish) / Washington, DC

Wendy works as a consultant for the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement in their Informal Science Education Division. After earning her BS from the University of Denver, Wendy served a year with Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps, organizing young adults in service-learning with Yachad, a non-profit that does home repair for families in need of assistance. Wendy is passionate about informal education and has previously worked at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the International Spy Museum, and the National Museum of Natural History.  Wendy loves to run workshops on storytelling for social change, having values-based conversations, and interfaith leadership on college campuses. In her free time, Wendy can be found nerding out in museums, or scaling the walls at her local rock climbing gym. As an Agnostic Jew, Wendy is passionate about the intersection of faith communities and social justice issues.


Christopher MacDonald-Dennis

- Dr. Christopher MacDonald-Dennis / Dean of Multicultural Life, Macalester College read more read less
Dr. Christopher MacDonald-Dennis / Dean of Multicultural Life, Macalester College

Chris has served as Dean of Multicultural Life since July 2011. Born and raised in Boston, Chris received his Bachelor's degree in Sociology from Framingham State University, his Masters degree in College Student Development & Counseling from Northeastern University and his Doctorate in Social Justice Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Chris has worked in numerous student affairs areas, including service learning, residence life and multicultural affairs. He has worked at the University of Michigan, New England College, the University of Detroit Mercy, and most recently at Bryn Mawr College. In his role as Dean, Chris helps Macalester actualize its commitment to multiculturalism.


"And if the word interfaith means anything, this is what it means: that we, with love, shall force our brothers and sisters to see themselves as they are, to cease fleeing from reality and begin to change it."

- Sable Manson / Ph.D, Souljourners Program Director, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA read more read less
Sable Manson / Ph.D, Souljourners Program Director, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA

In his book Fire Next Time, James Baldwin writes " And if the word integration means anything, this is what it means: that we, with love, shall force our brothers to see themselves as they are, to cease fleeing from reality and begin to change it. For this is your home, my friend, do not be driven from it; great men have done great things here, and will again, and we can make America what America must become."

Sable Manson has integrated interfaith cooperation into both her scholarship and work with students at the University of Southern California. As director of the Souljourners program within USC’s Office of Religious Life, Sable has actively incorporated interfaith cooperation into the co-curricular experiences of her students. In addition, Sable’s doctoral research involved working with students in USC’s business school to explore how interfaith cooperation and religious literacy are integral in navigating diversity within the business world.

Sable serves as NASPA’s Spirituality and Religion in Higher Education Knowledge Community research coordinator and has worked in partnership with IFYC around projects ranging from conference panel presentations to webinar presentations and educational resources. Sable publishes frequently around themes of religious identity, diversity, and engagement. And on the local level, serves on the Interreligious Council of Southern California and the Future50 Cohort to promote interfaith work in the Los Angeles area.

"And if the word interfaith means anything, this is what it means: that we, with love, shall force our brothers and sisters to see themselves as they are, to cease fleeing from reality and begin to change it"

 

Dr. Matt Mayhew

- Dr. Matt Mayhew / Co-Principle Investigator, William Ray and Marie Adamson Flesher Professor of Educational Administration with a focus on Higher Education and Student Affairs at The Ohio State University. read more read less
Dr. Matt Mayhew / Co-Principle Investigator, William Ray and Marie Adamson Flesher Professor of Educational Administration with a focus on Higher Education and Student Affairs at The Ohio State University.

Matthew Mayhew is the William Ray and Marie Adamson Flesher Professor of Educational Administration with a focus on Higher Education and Student Affairs at The Ohio State University. Dr. Mayhew is interested in how collegiate conditions, educational practices, and student experiences influence learning and democratic outcomes ranging from moral reasoning to high-risk drinking behaviors.

Mayhew has published articles in Research in Higher Education, Journal of Higher Education, Review of Higher Education, the NASPA Journal, the Journal of College Student Development, Ethics and Behavior, and Journal of Moral Education. He has co- authored a chapter in Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research. Mayhew has also received several grants for exploring the impact of college on student outcomes, including, but not limited to, moral reasoning, spirituality, high-risk drinking, and innovative entrepreneurship. He earned his doctorate in higher education administration with a focus on research, evaluation, and assessment from the University of Michigan in 2004.

https://u.osu.edu/coil/associated-faculty/


Rachael McNeal

Rachael McNeal

- Rachael McNeal (Episcopalian) / St. Augustine, FL / Read More / Read less
Rachael McNeal (Episcopalian) / St. Augustine, FL

Rachael McNeal is the Director of Youth Ministries at Christ Episcopal Church – one of the largest Episcopal churches in the country. After receiving her B.A. in Religion/Philosophy and Youth Ministry from Flagler College, Rachael attended Princeton Theological Seminary where she earned her Master of Divinity. Rachael has previously worked as the coordinator of the Interfaith Center at University of North Florida where she organized student interfaith dialogues and service opportunities, hosted large-scale interfaith community events, and developed an interfaith student leadership program. She has written about the intersection of evangelical identity and interfaith cooperation for Huffington Post, IFYC, Sojourners, and On Faith. Rachael received the Student Affairs Award in Excellence for Community Engagement at University of North Florida and appeared on IFYC’s podcast Common Knowledge. On the side Rachael likes to pursue her other passions – binge-watching old episodes of Friends and creating elaborate tent forts for her children.


"Students understand the importance of giving back no matter what language they speak. Faith is something students aren’t always comfortable talking about. Service often provides a safe space to talk about that part of identity."

- Lynne Meyer / Director of Spiritual Life and Diversity. Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago IL read more read less
Lynne Meyer / Director of Spiritual Life and Diversity. Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago IL

For nearly ten years, Lynne Meyer has forwarded the cause of interfaith cooperation at Illinois Tech, making clear connections between the technical proficiency needed in the STEM fields and the interpersonal ability that interfaith cooperation helps to build. In her work with a student body that boasts a large amount of diversity-including religious and worldview identity—Lynne has made the case that science and religious identity do not have to be at odds with one another. As a graduate of Harvard Divinity School and a practicing Unitarian Universalist, Lynne’s focus on the interpersonal aspects of interfaith cooperation center on service learning.

By drawing upon the values and history of Illinois Tech as an institute of learning for the people, the case for engaging with the religious diversity in the South Side of Chicago around campus has become an essential element of Lynne’s interfaith programming. By partnering with neighboring Catholic parishes, Muslim mosques, and local non-profit organizations, Lynne’s efforts have exemplified IFYC’s methodology of building relationships through direct service around issues of shared concern. Lynne often partners with IFYC staff to present at conferences, speak on webinars, and lends her advice for new programs.


Cassie Meyer

Cassie Meyer

- Cassie Meyer / Faculty Partnerships Consultant read more read less
Cassie Meyer / Faculty Partnerships Consultant

Cassie Meyer, Faculty Partnerships Consultant, works with faculty engaging interfaith in the classroom. She develops online resources for the classroom, manages IFYC's Teaching Interfaith Understanding Seminars (in partnership with the Council of Independent Colleges), supports faculty developing courses and curricula in interfaith studies, and manages IFYC's work with the American Academy of Religion. She has an MA from the University of Chicago Divinity School and has taught at several universities and seminaries; she regularly writes about interfaith and higher education and is a contributing editor for the Journal of College and Character. Cassie lives with her family on top of a mountain in Sewanee, Tennessee; she is committed to interfaith work as a way to follow Jesus's commandment to love our neighbors.


kait miller balsewicz

Kait Miller Balsewicz

- Kait Miller Balsewicz / Foundations Relations Manager read more read less
Kait Miller Balsewicz / Foundations Relations Manager

Kait Miller, Foundation Relations Manager, stewards relationships with foundations. Kait has a B.A. from St. Norbert College in Peace & Justice and Religious Studies. She spends her time at IFYC communicating with foundations, writing compelling grants and reports, and managing the foundation project timeline. Away from IFYC, you can find Kait cycling around Chicagoland, cheering for the Chicago Cubs, and drinking excessive amounts of tea. Kait grounds her passion for interfaith work in the values of communio and radical hospitality professed by the Norbertine tradition.


Younus Mirza

- Younus Mirza / Ph. D. in Arabic and Islamic Studies, Georgetown University, 2012 read more read less
Younus Mirza / Ph. D. in Arabic and Islamic Studies, Georgetown University, 2012
About Younus

Younus Y. Mirza (Ph. D. in Arabic and Islamic Studies, Georgetown University, 2012) is an Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies at Allegheny College. A major thrust of Younus’ research has been to question the current narrative that Medieval Muslims only engaged the Bible and other religions for polemical purposes. He shows that Medieval Muslim scholars actively read the Bible through Arabic translations to better understand Judaism and Christianity and to explain sections of the Qur’an that have biblical allusions.  This “intertextuality” or reading the Qur’an and Bible together has unfortunately declined in modern times with the onslaught of colonialism.  Younus hopes that his research can be an inspiration for peaceful co-existence between Islam and other faiths by seeing the Qur’an as part of the biblical heritage.

Younus’ Connections with IFYC

Younus began working with IFYC in 2014, when he applied for and was subsequently selected to attend a faculty development seminar called “Teaching Interfaith Understanding,” a program that IFYC and the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) have co-hosted each summer since 2014. After the seminar, Younus worked to revise a course he frequently taught, called “Islam and Other Religions.” While this course continues to examine historical and contemporary interactions between Muslims and non-Muslims, Younus adapted his syllabus to explore interfaith efforts in the Muslim American community. During the spring of 2016, Younus revised this course with support from a Curriculum Development Grant from IFYC. In this way, Younus continues to participate in IFYC’s programs, and connects with IFYC staff regularly in person (at conferences such as the American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting), over the phone, or via email.

Younus’ Current Interfaith Projects: Course Work, Scholarship, and Community Engagement

A number of Younus’ courses at Allegheny focus on interfaith competencies, or include a module/section that engages interfaith topics. When revising his “Islam and Other Religions” course, Younus worked to forge deeper connections with Muslim communities in his area. Erie, Pennsylvania (about 50 minutes away from Allegheny in Meadville, PA) is home to Muslim refugees from across the world, namely Iraq, Bosnia, and Somalia. Learning this, Younus decided to integrate an experiential learning module about Muslim immigrants within this course, allowing students to have direct encounters with immigrating Muslims through service projects at Erie’s refugee relocation center.

Reflecting upon this community-focused activity, Younus wrote an article called “From Religious Literacy to Social Action: How I Discuss the Global Refugee Crisis Within Our Classes,” in which he states, “My goal is to use the challenge of refugee resettlement as a living case study to teach interreligious engagement and democratic participation." Among students, the trip was considered a great success. Many expressed a greater understanding of the current refugee crisis, and how challenges around immigration are exacerbated by the rise of Islamophobia in a post-9/11 context. Several students and faculty members have since sought additional ways to bring refugee issues to the fore on campus, be it through prolonged community engagement or through curriculum revision.

Off-campus, Younus is an active participant in other national and scholarly endeavors that focus on interfaith topics. Younus partook in a Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE) working group on “Vocational Exploration in Multi-Faith Contexts,” which provided a space for scholars to think deeply about vocational discernment and vocation-related practices in multi-faith settings. He has also written scholarly articles that focus on theological interreligious connections, such as “Jews, Christians, and Muslims: People of the Book” (Anselm Companions to the Bible, ed. Corrine L. Carvalho, pages 100-118). He is also a co-author of the forthcoming book “The Bible and the Qur’an: Biblical Figures in the Islamic Tradition”.  


joe morrow

Joe Morrow

- Joe Morrow / Campus Engagement Manager read more read less
Joe Morrow / Campus Engagement Manager

Joe Morrow, Campus Engagements Manager, grows and stewards relationships with campus stakeholders in order to foster model campus environments of interfaith cooperation. Joe comes to IFYC with professional experience in Christian ministry, higher education, non-profit organizations and corporate settings. An ordained Presbyterian pastor (PCUSA), he understands his interfaith work as part of the ministry of reconciliation. Joe received his MDiv from North Park Theological Seminary and BSFS from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. When not at IFYC, you'll find Joe preaching, writing, parenting, and enjoying food.


Leah Nadel

- Leah Nadel / Senior at Drew University, Biology major, Public Health and Leadership for Social Action double minor read more read less
Leah Nadel / Senior at Drew University, Biology major, Public Health and Leadership for Social Action double minor

Leah Nadel is a Senior at Drew University, majoring in Biology, and minoring in Public Health and Leadership for Social Action with the intention to pursue a career in health care law and health policy. Born and raised in Houston, TX, Leah has served as a leader in her school’s Jewish, interfaith, and community service spheres. Her work in interfaith and her passion to serve others led her to the Interfaith Youth Core Coach Program. Leah has engaged with organizations such as the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding in NYC, the International Rescue Committee in Elizabeth, NJ, and the international Sisterhood for Salaam Shalom in her interfaith efforts in college. Leah takes joy in making other people laugh, whether at her own expense or with an awful pun. When she isn’t working or in class, Leah can be found on a run or exploring her beautiful surroundings in Northern New Jersey. Leah hopes to utilize her backgrounds in biology, the law, and interfaith understanding to bring more humanity to the end-of-life process in America. She takes joy in talking about her research and passions to anybody who will listen.

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right—for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do and damned if you don’t."  -Eleanor Roosevelt


Samantha Nichols

Samantha Nichols

- Samantha Nichols (Lutheran) / Chicago, IL / Read More / Read Less
Samantha Nichols (Lutheran) / Chicago, IL

Samantha Nichols is a seminarian at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and the Lead Organizer of Seminarians for Justice, an ecumenical group of seminarians who organize for social justice in and around Chicago. After attending one of IFYC’s Interfaith Leadership Institutes, Samantha founded an interfaith student group on her campus while a student at Missouri State University. She is pursuing ordination in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She sees her call to ministry as building collective power to work towards collective liberation. Samantha recently led the faith outreach and marched in the 200-mile March to Springfield for a People and Planet First Budget in Illinois. Samantha has spoken in front of thousands of people about gender oppression, economic justice, and her faith. In 2015, she received the Mike J. Hammer Interfaith Leadership Award. Samantha can often be found cheering for the Kansas City Royals or spending quality time with her garden, “Gertrude.”


J. Cody Nielsen

- J. Cody Nielsen / Executive Director, Wesley Foundation, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities read more read less
J. Cody Nielsen / Executive Director, Wesley Foundation, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Rev. J. Cody Nielsen is a United Methodist pastor now in his 10th year on staff at a campus ministry.  A product of the University of Northern Iowa Wesley Foundation, Cody has worked at UNI, American University, and now at the U of Minnesota. Cody enters this 5th year at the U of M with great hopes and ambitions to help college students explore deeply their own sense of religious and spiritual identity, no matter who they are. He is the president of the National Campus Ministry Association and NASPA Expert in Residence for Religious, Secular, and Spiritual Initiatives.


Eboo Patel

- Eboo Patel / Founder and President of Interfaith Youth Core read more read less
Eboo Patel / Founder and President of Interfaith Youth Core

Eboo Patel is a leading voice in the movement for interfaith cooperation and the Founder and President of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), a national nonprofit working to make interfaith cooperation a social norm. He is the author of Acts of Faith, Sacred Ground and the recent Interfaith Leadership: A Primer. Named by US News & World Report as one of America’s Best Leaders of 2009, Eboo served on President Obama’s Inaugural Faith Council. He is a regular contributor to the public conversation around religion in America and a frequent speaker on the topic of religious pluralism. He holds a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University, where he studied on a Rhodes scholarship. For over fifteen years, Eboo has worked with governments, social sector organizations, and college and university campuses to help realize a future where religion is a bridge of cooperation rather than a barrier of division.


Gretchen Person

- Gretchen Person / Associate University Chaplain and Associate of Director Religious Life at Vanderbilt University read more read less
Gretchen Person / Associate University Chaplain and Associate of Director Religious Life at Vanderbilt University

Gretchen Person, Associate University Chaplain and Associate Director of Religious Life, previously served as Director of Spiritual Life at DePauw University. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree from St. Olaf College, studied music in Copenhagen, Denmark, and worked at the International Church of Copenhagen. She began her M.Div. studies at Harvard University, graduated from Luther Seminary, and received the Master of Sacred Theology degree from Yale University. She has also studied at the Goethe Institute in Murnau, Germany, and at Valparaiso University. She completed internships in both the San Diego and San Francisco areas of California, and has served as a pastor of congregations in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Tennessee. An ordained pastor in the Lutheran (ELCA) church, she has also served as a hospice and hospital chaplain and as Associate Campus Pastor of a private liberal arts college.


slavica petrovic

Slavica Petrovic

- Slavica Petrovic / Accounting and Advancement Administrator read more read less
Slavica Petrovic / Accounting and Advancement Administrator

Slavica Petrovic, Accounting and Advancement Administrator, oversees daily bookkeeping activities of the organization and is also assisting Institutional Advancement Team with donor stewardship and fundraising activities. Slavica has worked in the nonprofit sector for six and a half years, focusing on accounting. Slavica graduated from Loyola University Chicago with B.S. in Anthropology and still maintains her love for history and different cultures by traveling and often visiting museums. She strongly believes in the beauty of a multi-cultural society and feels an interfaith cooperation is a key step to achieving it.


Sara Rahim

- Sara Rahim (Muslim) / Chicago, IL / Read More / Read Less
Sara Rahim (Muslim) / Chicago, IL

Sara Rahim is a Youth Representative to the United Nations for Parliament of the World’s Religions. She sits on the advisory boards of One America Movement, the UK-based Grassroot Diplomat, and the Sanctuaries, a spiritually diverse arts collective in Washington, D.C. She has spoken prominently about the role of interfaith cooperation to institutions across the United States and Europe, including at the United Nations. After earning a bachelor's degree in Public Health from Saint Louis University, Sara spent time working in international development, and she has implemented programs in women’s health, youth education, and interfaith engagement in Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Germany, and Italy. As a Muslim American, Sara is driven to shift the narrative around faith towards being a disruptive force for good. Sara is currently a Master of Public Policy candidate at the University of Chicago, specializing in international policy and inclusive development.


janett c ramos

Janett C. Ramos

- Janett C. Ramos / Co-Curricular Partnerships Manager read more read less
Janett C. Ramos / Co-Curricular Partnerships Manager

Janett C. Ramos, Co-Curricular Partnerships Manager, equips and empowers campus professional staff to be interfaith leaders. Prior to joining the IFYC team, Janett worked in higher education for thirteen years, serving various roles including student support services, such as residence life and crisis response, as well as in academic initiatives with first-year seminars, orientation, and senior experience courses. Currently, Janett is working on her doctorate in Ethical Leadership and researching the influence of spiritual experiences on first-generation college students' peserverance. In her spare time, she volunteers with Chicago Scholars, the Food Pantry, Catholic Charities, and at her place of worship City Community Church.


Jacob Ratliff

- Jacob Ratliff / Junior at Warren Wilson College, English Literature and Religion double major read more read less
Jacob Ratliff / Junior at Warren Wilson College, English Literature and Religion double major

Jacob Ratliff is a junior at Warren Wilson College, where he studies English Literature and Religion. Over the past years, Jacob has been an active participant in Warren Wilson’s Office of Spiritual Life, where he has organized campus-wide events including bringing guest speakers to campus, Better Together Day programming, and interfaith organizing for social justice. Jacob is especially interested in intersections between spiritual and religious identities and LGBTQ+ identities, and he considers this to be a key component of his interfaith work. Academically, Jacob recently returned to the United States after a six-week summer class in both Ireland and Jordan that focused on peace and conflict studies in the wake of the troubles in Northern Ireland and amidst the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict in Jordan. Additionally, Jacob has worked closely with faculty on campus to help lead “Interfaith Dialogue,” a semester-long first year seminar that focused on deconstructing and analyzing interfaith engagement and the different models that are often used for interfaith work. In the fall, Jacob will be returning to Warren Wilson, where he will begin work on his Honors Thesis and help to lead a first year seminar titled, “The Music of Poetry and the Poetry of Music.

"Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy." –Jack Kerouac, Belief & Technique For Modern Prose


Closer Look: Incoming Atheist Students

- Atheist Narrative Report read more read less
Atheist Narrative Report

A deep dive into the experiences and attitudes related to worldview diversity held by atheist first-year students. Compiled from the findings of the first administration of the Interfaith Diversity Experiences & Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS). Read it here.


Kyle Reyes

- Dr. Kyle Reyes / Special Assistant to the President for Inclusion at Utah Valley University (UVU) read more read less
Dr. Kyle Reyes / Special Assistant to the President for Inclusion at Utah Valley University (UVU)

As UVU’s Chief Diversity Officer, Kyle has championed initiatives to improve outcomes and opportunities for students from various underrepresented backgrounds including low-income, first-generation college bound students as well as students from Pacific Islander, Latino, and Native American backgrounds.  He leads UVU's Strategic Inclusion Plan including over 30 action steps focused on creating a more inclusive campus.  From 2009-2014, he served as Special Assistant to the President at UVU and before that, he dedicated 6 years to programs and services for underrepresented students and communities including TRIO/Upward Bound, GEAR UP, and Multicultural Student Services.  Kyle received his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of Utah and was the recipient of the Elmo R. & Frances Bennion Morgan Fellowship. 


Kyle Reyes

- Dr. Kyle Reyes / Special Assistant to the President for Inclusion at Utah Valley University (UVU) read more read less
Dr. Kyle Reyes / Special Assistant to the President for Inclusion at Utah Valley University (UVU)

As UVU’s Chief Diversity Officer, Kyle has championed initiatives to improve outcomes and opportunities for students from various underrepresented backgrounds including low-income, first-generation college bound students as well as students from Pacific Islander, Latino, and Native American backgrounds.  He leads UVU's Strategic Inclusion Plan including over 30 action steps focused on creating a more inclusive campus.  From 2009-2014, he served as Special Assistant to the President at UVU and before that, he dedicated 6 years to programs and services for underrepresented students and communities including TRIO/Upward Bound, GEAR UP, and Multicultural Student Services.  Kyle received his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of Utah and was the recipient of the Elmo R. & Frances Bennion Morgan Fellowship. 


Danny Richmond

Danny Richmond

- Danny Richmond (Jewish) / Toronto, Canada / Read More / Read Less
Danny Richmond (Jewish) / Toronto, Canada

Danny Richmond has worked and volunteered on 5 different continents. As Director of Community Engagement at Ve'ahavta, he mobilizes the Jewish community towards an inclusive and just world. Previously, Danny served as Campaign Manager for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, mobilizing thousands of volunteers across the world to tackle malaria by building bridges across faith communities. With over a decade of experience in youth leadership, community mobilization, interfaith engagement and international development – Danny has a passion to demonstrate the power of communities working together to be a force of social change.  He shares that passion as a frequent public speaker, including on the TEDx stage. Danny studied in the Faculty of Religion at University of Toronto and received his M.A. from Regents University, London. In 2006, Danny accompanied the Rt. Hon. Michaëlle Jean, former Governor General of Canada, on her State Visits to five African nations. Danny has received several honors and fellowships including the Faiths Act Fellowship and Adrianne de Rothshild Fellowship. He has a strong passion for all things chocolate.


Dr. Alyssa Rockenbach

- Dr. Alyssa Rockenbach / Co-Principle Investigator, Professor of Higher Education, North Carolina State University read more read less
Dr. Alyssa Rockenbach / Co-Principle Investigator, Professor of Higher Education, North Carolina State University

Alyssa Rockenbach is Professor of Higher Education at North Carolina State University. Her research focuses on the impact of college on students, with particular attention to spiritual development, religious and worldview diversity in colleges and universities, campus climate, community service engagement, and gendered dimensions of the college student experience.

Rockenbach’s research has been featured in a number of higher education and interdisciplinary journals, including Research in Higher Education, Journal of Higher Education, Journal of College Student Development, Gender and Education, and Religion and Education. In 2012, Dr. Rockenbach co-edited Spirituality in College Students' Lives: Translating Research into Practice with Dr. Matt Mayhew. She has been honored with national awards, including the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Emerging Scholar Award, the Annuit Coeptis Emerging Professional Award, and the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Religion & Education SIG Emerging Scholar Award. Dr. Rockenbach earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University of California, Los Angeles and her B.A. in Psychology from California State University, Long Beach.  

https://ced.ncsu.edu/people/anbryan2/


Carolyn Roncolato

Carolyn Roncolato

- Carolyn Roncolato / Campus Engagement Manager read more read less
Carolyn Roncolato / Campus Engagement Manager

As campus engagement manager, Carolyn works with college and universities to increase campus wide commitment to interfaith cooperation. Carolyn has a doctorate in theology from Chicago Theological Seminary and has taught and wrote for a number of academic and religious organizations. In addition to consulting with campuses, Carolyn works on the IFYC knowledge base by studying, curating and cultivating interfaith resources. When not working, Carolyn is hanging out with her husband and son, enjoying the lake, playing in the park, and eating delicious Chicago food. Carolyn’s Christian faith calls her to work for healing, peace, and justice and she has found that one of the most powerful ways to do this is to build relationships with and work alongside those from different religious and non-religious traditions who share these same values.


aubrey rose

A Google search launched me into interfaith leadership in high school.

- Aubrey Rose / Student at University of Michigan / read more about Aubrey / read less about Aubrey
Aubrey Rose / Student at University of Michigan

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Seán Rose

Seán Rose

- Seán Rose (Christian - Catholic) / Santa Cruz, CA / Read More / Read Less
Seán Rose (Christian - Catholic) / Santa Cruz, CA

Seán is an experienced interfaith and intercultural educator, speaker, and trainer who has worked on several impactful nonprofit programs in the US and Europe. Seán was selected for the inaugural cohort of IFYC’s prestigious Faiths Act Fellowship, where his work was recognized with a community engagement award. Working with London-based 3FF (also known as Three Faiths Forum) he delivered tailored trainings in the US and across Europe, and facilitated award-winning education programs for 5,000+ students. He has presented to diverse audiences in Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, and Kosovo. He is currently a Dialogue Facilitator for Tony Blair Institute’s Generation Global program, connecting students worldwide through video-conference dialogue, and is an Advanced Facilitator for Soliya’s Connect program. He is passionate about education, religious literacy, and social justice. He also works on the administrative staff of a United Church of Christ congregation. Seán holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Geography and International Development from the University of East Anglia.


Rebekka Rosen

- Rebekka Rosen / Junior at Susquehanna University, Music Education major with an emphasis in voice, Judaic Studies minor read more read less
Rebekka Rosen / Junior at Susquehanna University, Music Education major with an emphasis in voice, Judaic Studies minor

Rebekka Rosen is a rising junior at Susquehanna University where she is a music education major with an emphasis in voice and a minor in Judaic Studies. Being a true vocalist, she spends her time either practicing in the music building or projecting her voice throughout the greater Susquehanna community. Rebekka loves being a part of Sigma Alpha Iota, the international women’s music fraternity, and cannot wait to serve in the capacity of corresponding secretary next year. Striving to spread her love for music Rebekka will also serve as the Sergeant At Arms for NAFMEc, the professional development organization for music education. This fall, Rebekka will finish out her term as President of Hillel. With the help of some very devoted peers and mentors, she is proud of how far SU’s chapter of Better Together has come in only a year, she currently serves as their founding president. Rebekka just completed her time as a member of the National Organizing Team where she gained both incredible skills and the most amazing friendships. Her passions for music and faith are both immense, she looks forward to finding ways to combine these two passions in her future. In the meantime, Rebekka could not be more excited to help others find their passions as a member of the coach team this summer.

“It's a wonderful thought knowing that some of the best days of our lives are yet to come.”


rebecca russo

Rebecca Russo

- Rebecca Russo / Director of Campus Stewardship read more read less
Rebecca Russo / Director of Campus Stewardship

Rebecca Russo, Director of Campus Stewardship, supports and builds relationships with campus partners who want to prioritize interfaith cooperation in various aspects of campus life. Rebecca comes to IFYC with professional experience in Hillel, student leadership training, organizational development, and non-profit management. Rebecca graduated from Brown Unversity with a B.A. in Middle East Studies and is an MBA candidate at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. In her free time, Rebecca loves singing, traveling, hiking, cooking, and spending time with her family. Rebecca's interfaith experiences while living in Morocco and Israel inspired her to join the interfaith movement, seeing religious and nonreligious identity as a basis for common understanding and action.


"Sharing your religious or spiritual identity with someone may feel uncomfortable but it’s important in order combat ignorance and fear and encourage interfaith cooperation."

- Steven Sajkich / Resident Director, Miami University, Oxford OH read more read less
Steven Sajkich / Resident Director, Miami University, Oxford OH

Steven Sajkich grew up in a family that valued faith and togetherness. As an Orthodox Christian, Steven’s journey to understand his faith has in many ways influenced his desire to include topics of interfaith cooperation and spiritual development in his work with students and colleagues. As a part of his experience in Residence Life, Steven has many stories of both conflict and cooperation between students of different religious and worldviews. He often reflects that his own robust training to engage many different forms of diversity was largely missing mention of religion. In order to help meet the need for more active engagement of religious diversity, Steven works to add interfaith projects into his professional life.

In addition to his responsibilities as a Residence Director at Miami University, he serves as a member of the Religious, Spiritual, and Secular Initiatives Coordinating Committee on campus and incorporates training around interfaith engagement into programs for Resident Assistants and his fellow Student Affairs colleagues. Steven is an active member of ACPA’s Commission for Spirituality, Faith, Religion & Meaning and has partnered with IFYC over the years to host webinars and present at conferences about interfaith cooperation in Student Affairs.

 


Nadia Salam

- Nadia Salam / Accounting Manager read more read less
Nadia Salam / Accounting Manager

Nadia Salam, Accounting Manager, oversees accounting and budgeting, tracks revenues and expenses, and prepares financial reports to ensure compliance and transparency. She comes to IFYC with 22 years of accounting experience at various nonprofit organizations. She earned her M.Phil degree in Economics from Quaid-i-Azam University, and she is pursuing her Master’s Degree in Accounting and Financial Management from DeVry University. She lives in Carol Stream with her husband and a son. Interfaith work is Nadia’s personal passion. Being a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Nadia fully recognizes the importance of religious pluralism, religious freedom and the strength of interfaith knowledge. Nadia is also a cake decorator who enjoys baking and decorating cakes for weddings, birthdays, baby showers, and all occasions.


rachel sanson

My work has taken me around the world, to the intersection of the interfaith and atheist movements.

- Rachel Sanson / read more about Rachel / read less about Rachel
Rachel Sanson

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"Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur."

- Jill Seiden / Alumna of SUNY New Paltz, Class of 2009 / read more about Jill / read less about Jill
Jill Seiden / Alumna of SUNY New Paltz, Class of 2009

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Adah Shair

- Adah Shair / University of North Florida Class of 2015 read more read less
Adah Shair / University of North Florida Class of 2015

How a single event stands out in the course of one’s life – a well known cliché yet still holds true for me.

Attending my first ILI in Atlanta in 2014 shaped up my current interfaith life. It is there I realized the importance of interfaith work and the resources available should I choose to pursue it. It is there I realized how deeply affected I was by the ongoing crisis over religious differences and what I could do on my part to counteract. It were the little things at ILI that got to me- as I walked to get some lunch from the buffet and read the sign ‘Chicken (Halal)’, I welled up a little. That was the first time I had seen Halal food at a place other than designated Halal restaurants. The sessions I attended provided hands on strategies for organizing fellow college students towards creating an inclusive and pluralistic campus. I went back to University of North Florida with newly found leadership skills and successfully organized interfaith events and dialogue on campus.

I continued my relationship with Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) and joined the Better Together Coach program. The week long intensive training I had with IFYC in Chicago to this day reminds me of who I intend to be – a conscious leader. My work with IFYC not only facilitated development of skills like leadership and public speaking, it helped me become a person who strives to understand and engage constructively. I have since been a part of interfaith efforts being held in synagogues and temples, participated in their services and with an unwavering belief that these experiences don’t take me away from my own faith; instead they have brought me closer to my true identity.

Even after graduation and joining the ‘real world’, I have continued my commitment to interfaith work and now lead the Young Professionals Interfaith council in my city. Even to this day, IFYC continues to help me with my current endeavors through their Alumni network.  All the successes and experiences I have had as an interfaith activist began with that ILI in Atlanta; it was my gateway to the world of all things interfaith and am I glad that I decided to join the UNF delegation to ILI on that rainy day In January.


Adah Shair

- Adah Shair (Muslim) / Jacksonville, FL / Read More / Read Less
Adah Shair (Muslim) / Jacksonville, FL

Born and raised in the Kashmir valley, Adah moved to the United States to pursue a Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering. During her time at the University of Northern Florida, she became involved with the Interfaith Center on campus and the campus chapter of Muslim Students Association. Based on her leadership with interfaith work on campus, Adah was selected to participate in IFYC’s Coach program, one of IFYC’s most prestigious leadership opportunities, mentoring other students across the country. She currently works with HDR Inc. as a bridge engineer and intends to specialize in the field of sustainable engineering. Despite the technical nature of her work, she remains inseparable from interfaith work and dialogue. Adah currently presides as the chair of the Atlantic Institute Young Professionals council and envisions interfaith cooperation to become the very fabric of her home city of Jacksonville.


Tahil Sharma

Building bridges of acceptance and compassion with other communities

- Tahil Sharma (Hindu and Sikh) / Claremont, CA read more read less
Tahil Sharma (Hindu and Sikh) / Claremont, CA

BIO: Tahil Sharma is the Hope Not Hate Campaign and Generation 7 Coordinator for AMP Global Youth, a project of Americans for Informed Democracy. Having served as one of two Youth Representatives to the UN DPi-NGO for the Parliament of the World’s Religions, Tahil is dedicated to the global impact of religion and humanism on the world and current events. He has worked on a variety of initiatives that have brought interfaith work to the intersection of topics such as food security, gender equality, and youth mobility in the realm of social justice. Having studied Spanish and International Studies at the University of La Verne, Tahil found his knack for interfaith work as a complement to his passions for language and culture, not to mention a keen love for coffee and chocolate. As a Hindu and Sikh, he is literally living out the values of an interfaith world and is working to promote diversity and pluralism as key foundations for a stable society.

PROJECT: It can be a challenge for new generations of youth to understand the role of their worldview in their daily lives, especially during a time when racism and bigotry seem to become a daily routine. Tahil’s project will focus on working with University of Southern California’s Office of Religious Life and Sadhana: the Coalition for Progressive Hindus to mobilize Hindu and other Dharmic communities in Southern California to understand topics in interfaith cooperation and social justice and to build bridges of acceptance and compassion with other communities. The project will include dialogues and workshops with student groups about the intersections of daily life with their religious or secular backgrounds, as well as the hosting of conferences and community projects that allow for the expression of shared values through shared service. These opportunities will also include the opportunity to discuss topics that are considered taboo among religious and cultural communities through brave spaces that allow for an open exchange of ideas and perspectives.


Tahil Sharma

- Tahil Sharma / Claremont, CA, Hindu and Sikh read more read less
Tahil Sharma / Claremont, CA, Hindu and Sikh

With interfaith cooperation on the brain, Tahil Sharma is pretty much never bored. He is dedicated to the positive impact of religion and humanism on the world and current events, and that has led him to work on lots of initiatives at the intersection of interfaith cooperation, social justice, and youth empowerment. Tahil says that as a person who identifies as both Hindu and Sikh, he is literally living out the values of an interfaith world on a daily basis, and studying Spanish and International Studies as an undergraduate at the University of LaVerne only solidified his passion, so now he is working to promote diversity and pluralism as key foundations for a stable society in every way he can. He splits his time between several projects, working with AMP Global Youth, the University of Southern California’s Office of Religious Life, and Sadhana: the Coalition for Progressive Hindus. No matter where or with whom, one thing is always true – Tahil prides himself on finding a way to bring interfaith cooperation to any project.


Tahil Sharma

Tahil Sharma

- Tahil Sharma (Hindu and Sikh) / Claremont, CA / Read More / Read More
Tahil Sharma (Hindu and Sikh) / Claremont, CA

Tahil Sharma is a nationally recognized leader promoting religious and secular pluralism and social justice. He worked as the Hope Not Hate Campaign and Culturama Coordinator for AMP Global Youth, a project of Americans for Informed Democracy, to promote interfaith cooperation and an intercultural virtual exchange between students in the United States and the Middle East. He currently serves as a UN DPI-NGO Youth Representative for the Parliament of the World’s Religions and the Interfaith Liaison for Sadhana: The Coalition for Progressive Hindus. Tahil also serves as a Religious Director for the Office of Religious Life at the University of Southern California, where he is working on local initiatives to promote inter-religious dialogue and community engagement and service. He also serves as the Vice Chair for the Committee on Human Relations for the city of Claremont.


Noah Silverman

- Noah Silverman / Senior Director of Learning and Partnerships read more read less
Noah Silverman / Senior Director of Learning and Partnerships

Noah Silverman, Senior Director of Learning and Partnerships, works with faculty and senior administrators to think holistically about interfaith cooperation across their campuses. He holds an MA in religious studies from New York University and has been professionally involved in interfaith work for over a decade on three continents. In conversation with campus partners, Noah spends his time at IFYC exploring the contours and implications of the academic study of interfaith cooperation. When not at work or improvising his way through new parenthood, Noah loves going to the theatre, traveling, and rethinking Jewish communal education. Noah became interested in the fields of young adult leadership, interfaith understanding, and conflict resolution while living in Jerusalem.


Supporting a leadership retreat for South Asian youth who want to grow as change-makers

- Aditi Singh (Christian) / Chicago, IL read more read less
Aditi Singh (Christian) / Chicago, IL

BIO: Aditi Singh is a Staff Attorney at the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law where she works to promote and protect access to education for young people in the Chicago area. She earned her B.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law. She serves on the Board of the South Asian American Policy & Research Institute and the Associate Board of the Indo-American Center, and is a Collective Member of Chicago Desi Youth Rising, a leadership retreat for South Asian youth who want to grow as change-makers. Her Christian faith encouraged her to pursue a career working towards racial, economic, and social justice. She spends most of her free time reading and planning for the day when she will hopefully finally get a dog.

PROJECT: Faith can be a powerful way to mobilize young people to address a social issue. Aditi’s project will consist of supporting the participants of Chicago Desi Youth Rising, a leadership retreat for South Asian youth who want to grow as change-makers, to create a toolkit on how to facilitate conversations within the South Asian community about racial justice through the lenses of religion, philosophy, and interfaith cooperation. Participants will shape the format and content of the toolkit in youth-led workshop seminar throughout the year, with guidance from leaders trained in facilitation, organizing and storytelling.


Maneshwar Singh

- Maneshwar Singh (Sikh) / Chicago, IL / Read More / Read Less
Maneshwar Singh (Sikh) / Chicago, IL

Maneshwar is a healthcare professional with a passion for Sikhism, interfaith cooperation, and music.  He currently coordinates quality assurance for a healthcare company. He holds a BA in Philosophy and a BS in Health Systems Management. Beyond healthcare, Maneshwar has been intimately involved with his local Sikh community, helping to organize and teach at various Sikh religious camps both locally and nationally. One of his biggest passions is engaging other communities for interfaith efforts. He started with demonstrations of Sikh devotional music at interfaith gatherings 10 years ago, and now represents the Sikh Religious Society of Chicago at interfaith events. His current project is helping to organize and speaking at “Get to Know Your Sikh Neighbor” events around the Chicago suburbs. When he’s not writing interfaith speeches, you can find him writing songs and performing with his band.


Dr. Rahuldeep Singh Gill

- Dr. Rahuldeep Singh Gill / Associate Professor of Religion, California Lutheran University read more read less
Dr. Rahuldeep Singh Gill / Associate Professor of Religion, California Lutheran University

Dr. Gill is Cal Lutheran's Campus Interfaith Strategist, who launched CLU's Asian Studies Minor, served as Associate Director for CLU’s Center for Equality and Justice, and has served as the Center's Director since in 2014. In addition to offerings in Christianity, global religions, and Indian thought, he teaches a yearly course on Sikh tradition and has twice won Diversity Professor of the Year since he joined the faculty in 2009. Dr. Gill also teaches at Berkeley's Graduate Theological Union as Visiting Associate Professor of Sikh Studies.


Dr. Jenny Small

- Dr. Jenny Small / Adjunct Instructor at Boston College, Former Chair of the ACPA Commission for Spirituality, Faith, Religion and Meaning read more read less
Dr. Jenny Small / Adjunct Instructor at Boston College, Former Chair of the ACPA Commission for Spirituality, Faith, Religion and Meaning

Jenny L. Small is a graduate of the University of Michigan, receiving a Ph.D. from the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education. Her research has focused on the spiritual lives and faith identities of religiously diverse college students, how college students use language to define these elements of their identities, and how religiously diverse students interact. Dr. Small's book, entitled Understanding College Students' Spiritual Identities: Different Faiths, Varied Worldviews, is now available from Hampton Press. Her work has also appeared in Research in Higher Education, About Campus, Religion & Education, and Multicultural Perspectives. She is a recipient of a research grant from the Spirituality in Higher Education Project at UCLA, for a project entitled "Spirituality and Well-Being among Religiously Privileged and Religiously Marginalized College Students."


julia smith

Julia Smith

- Julia Smith / Director of Online Content & Community read more read less
Julia Smith / Director of Online Content & Community

Julia Smith, Director of Online Content & Community, manages projects and cultivates relationships with new-to-IFYC campuses, leaders, and networks. She has experience in community organizing, writing, events, and education, having worked with Idealist.org, NTEN, Pipeline Fellowship, 826DC, and others. If you’re brand new to IFYC, odds are you’ll chat with Julia; she'll ask to hear your story first, as she's endlessly inspired by the leaders whose hard work IFYC lifts up. Still need an icebreaker? Ask about her hometown, nieces, or social media lightbulb moments. Julia believes that colleges are uniquely positioned to make positive change, and feels lucky to work with a team that creates spaces for folks on campuses to ask big questions, build skills, leverage privilege, share food and laughter, and work for peace and justice.


Avi Smolen

- Avi Smolen (Jewish) / New York, NY / Read More / Read Less
Avi Smolen (Jewish) / New York, NY

Avi is an organizer committed to social justice and human rights. Avi works at the Open Society Foundations’ Public Health Program, where he supports grantmaking initiatives expanding access to health interventions for marginalized groups. Previously, he worked as Communications Manager for Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice, a domestic social justice organization. He spent a year as a Faiths Act Fellow in Washington DC at the Malaria Policy Center, where he focused on engaging college students in multi-faith global health activism. Avi holds an MPA in International Policy and Development from the NYU Wagner School and graduated summa cum laude from Rutgers University with a BA in Political Science. He serves as a board member of the international interfaith peace-building organization World Faith, and is a past Global Justice Fellow with American Jewish World Service. In his spare time you can find Avi cooking creative vegetarian dishes and talking about his love of mass transit.


Rachel Sondgeroth

- Rachel Sondgeroth / Junior at Arizona State University, Religious Studies and Global Studies double major read more read less
Rachel Sondgeroth / Junior at Arizona State University, Religious Studies and Global Studies double major

Rachel Sondgeroth is a junior double majoring in Religious Studies and Global Studies at Arizona State University. Once an angry freshman arguing with hate preachers across barricades, Rachel has come a long, long way.  Her greatest passion is to build bridges of understanding across deep divides of difference, be it religious, ideological, or political. The daughter of a strong, outspoken Latina and an unyielding ex-sergeant in the military, she understands that finding shared values can sometimes take a lot of digging. She’s constantly  excited by opportunities to encourage others take on this journey to dig for themselves.  Rachel spends most of her time organizing events that sharpen her communities skills to express empathy, compassion and respect as the communications/outreach coordinator at ASU Project Humanities and the President of Sun Devils Are Better Together. She hopes to expand the skills she is gaining through her interfaith work to cultivate a stronger culture of acceptance into her own community of evangelical christians, and -- one day -- the world. Outside of her interfaith activities, Rachel enjoys reading, writing spoken word poetry, and searching the city of Tempe for the best cup of chai. 

‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” — Mister Rogers


Bringing religiously diverse teens together for an interfaith leadership launch workshop

- Andrew Spektor (Jewish) / Tulsa, OK read more read less
Andrew Spektor (Jewish) / Tulsa, OK

BIO: Andrew is a co-founder of Tulsa Changemakers, a youth leadership program that empowers young people to make meaningful change in their communities. Andrew’s desire to develop future generations of changemakers stems from his current experience as a Teach For America corps member in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He also serves as a Hillel Fellow at the Hillel of Northeastern Oklahoma. While studying at the Honors College at College of Charleston, Andrew explored Jewish and Buddhist spirituality through the Klaper Fellowship in Jewish Studies, which in turn led him to found the Religious Life Exchange, College of Charleston’s first interfaith program. He received College of Charleston’s highest honor, the Bishop Robert Smith Award, for his leadership and academic excellence. Andrew’s leadership and community involvement in Tulsa is a continuation of his passion for religious pluralism. In his free time he likes to cook and write poetry. 

PROJECT: Andrew’s project will bring together teens from different religious and philosophical backgrounds for an interfaith leadership launch workshop. At the daylong training, the young leaders will be introduced to key concepts in design thinking and work together to ideate solutions to problems they see in their schools and communities. Each interfaith leader will leave the workshop with a community engagement project idea, action steps, and ongoing support. Andrew hopes that the program will enable the teens to not only drive change in Tulsa, but also build bridges of understanding through their interfaith cooperation. His project will create and enhance relationships between different faith and philosophical communities and will provide foundational skills for value-driven leadership now and in the future. 


Andrew Spektor

Andrew Spektor

- Andrew Spektor (Jewish) / Tulsa, OK / Read More / Read Less
Andrew Spektor (Jewish) / Tulsa, OK

Andrew is a Co-Founder of Tulsa Changemakers, a youth leadership development and action program, and a Program Manager at Leadership Tulsa, an organization that identifies, develops, and connects diverse leaders who impact the community through service. Andrew is launching the Act Now Fellowship to mobilize high schoolers to take action in service of pluralistic leadership, intersectional understanding, and respect for all people. Andrew is a 2015 Teach For America Greater Tulsa alumnus and a graduate of the Honors College at College of Charleston. While an undergraduate, Andrew founded Religious Life Exchange, an interfaith dialogue and ambassador training program. In 2015, Andrew was awarded the Bishop Robert Smith Award, College of Charleston's highest honor, given for demonstrated leadership and academic excellence. Andrew is actively engaged in Tulsa's thriving Jewish community where he currently serves as a Hillel Fellow at the Hillel of Northeastern Oklahoma. 


Clare Stern

- Clare Stern / University of North Florida Class of 2016 and former Better Together coach read more read less
Clare Stern / University of North Florida Class of 2016 and former Better Together coach

My first ILI was June of 2012 and I was really excited for it. I heard pockets of conversations that had my introverted heart soaring. I finally found my tribe. People who wanted to have complex conversations and were not afraid to state what they thought with the understanding that others around them my not share the same idea. The creativity, the dialogue, the exchange of ideas was amazing! I came back saying that while the ILI is very high energy and can be tiring to an introvert it was better than Disney World! Parts of the ILI required me to dig deeper into why I believed and acted on certain things.

After transferring to another school I become very involved with the Better Together chapter as a way to make friends at my new school and continue my journey as an emerging leader. Little did I know that getting involved would change my life so much. After being involved with the UNF campaign, I decided I wanted to tackle leadership studies and added a Leadership minor onto my degree. This minor helped me think critically about what it means to be a leader and how I could serve more effectively as a resource, mentor, and most importantly a learner to those in the interfaith movement. It also helped me recognize that despite my growth areas in public speaking and my more introverted nature, I could still be an a strong leader. Which lead me to apply to be a Coach. Through interfaith work I found a voice and courage because of this very important notion of “respecting the spectrum of story.” I realize that no one can take my story from me and I cannot take their story from them. Once I realized that I started daring greatly and found both my passion and purpose, to be involved in interfaith cooperation, service, and education.

I recently graduated in December of 2016 and have recently been hired by the Faith Always Wins Foundation, LLC. as their Director of Interfaith Youth Engagement. I will be working with high school students on starting the interfaith conversation of values, action and education. I am a firm believer that the more we invest in our youth in both education and leadership development the stronger their voice will be in college and later on the work force. As President John F. Kennedy once said, “our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource.” This is why I want to teach and be an activist. To empower them to believe in themselves the way my mentors at IFYC did for me and continue to do.

 


Dr. Dafina-Lazarus Stewart

- Dr. Dafina-Lazarus Stewart / Professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs, Bowling Green State University read more read less
Dr. Dafina-Lazarus Stewart / Professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs, Bowling Green State University

Dr. Stewart completed a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in 2001 and joined the HESA Faculty at Bowling Green State in 2005. D-L’s scholarly interests focus on issues of diversity and social justice, particularly through the lenses of race and ethnicity, sexuality and gender, and religion and faith as they are related to identity, student outcomes, and institutional transformation informed by an intersectional perspective. Currently, D-L is studying the experiences of Black Americans who attended college at private, liberal arts colleges in the Great Lakes Region between 1945 and 1965 through the use of archival data and oral history. My goal is to understand and describe these students’ motivations, persistence, and social integration on campus, as well as the institutional and local cultural climates’ effect on these factors to inform current understandings of issues of diversity, inclusion, and recruitment and integration of new student populations in U.S. higher education institutions.


Kiki Sykes

- Kiki Sykes / Minneapolis, MN, Protestant Christian read more read less
Kiki Sykes / Minneapolis, MN, Protestant Christian

One of the life experiences that inspired Kiki Sykes most was traveling to Israel and Palestine. After seeing all of the physical and mental walls being built, she returned passionate about interfaith community organizing as a way to build bridges of peace and to promote healing.  Back on campus at St. Olaf College, she established a campus interfaith group which hosted weekly dinner dialogues and planned events to promote interfaith literacy and understanding. After graduating, Kiki knew that she wasn’t done with interfaith work, and went on to participate in a year of service while living in an intentional multi-faith community with other young women working at nonprofits in the same area. Kiki says that she feels the Divine through service and relationships, and one of the ways she has lived into that has been by organizing events with other IFYC Alumni in her area, working to establish strong ties that will help to create spaces where all may be seen and heard, and all may trust that their and their neighbors’ lives matter.


Hannah Trawick

Hannah Trawick

- Hannah Trawick (Protestant Christian, Presbyterian Church, USA) / Atlanta, GA / Read More / Read Less
Hannah Trawick (Protestant Christian, Presbyterian Church, USA) / Atlanta, GA

Hannah is a graduate student at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology where she is pursuing her Master’s of Divinity. Before starting graduate school, Hannah worked at her alma mater, Queens University of Charlotte, as Assistant Chaplain. There, she strived to increase student involvement in interfaith development and support emerging interfaith initiatives.  Hannah often speaks publicly about her passion for interfaith understanding at fundraisers, campus events, and camps and conferences. She has developed interfaith workshops, spoken about her experiences in Israel/Palestine, and shared stories from her travels in Cameroon and passion for clean water in developing countries. As a protestant Christian in the Presbyterian Church, USA, Hannah feels called to bring interfaith understanding to homogenous faith communities, embracing people of all identities to work for justice. When she isn’t speaking or studying, Hannah embraces her “inner grandma” and enjoys knitting, sewing and weaving, contributing a small amount to our shared creation.


Tarah Trueblood

- Tarah Trueblood / Director, Interfaith Center at the University of North Florida read more read less
Tarah Trueblood / Director, Interfaith Center at the University of North Florida

Tarah Trueblood earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Nebraska (Lincoln), a Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts from the Graduate Theological Union’s Pacific School of Religion (Berkeley), and her Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Kentucky (Lexington). Prior to joining UNF, she worked as an attorney and then served as the Executive Director of the Wesley Foundation at University of California- Berkeley.  For Tarah, community engagement is the common value that we can all rally around. Service to others is what gives students a sense of meaning, purpose, and fulfillment in life and allows them to overcome ideological differences as they work towards a common goal.


University of California – Los Angeles

- University of California – Los Angeles read more read less
University of California – Los Angeles

Following national news attention related to religious tensions on campus, UCLA invited IFYC to campus to facilitate student trainings and staff focus groups. Trainings involved participation from student leaders including student government and religious and cultural organizations.  These trainings focused on relationship building across these groups.  Staff sessions invited reflection on challenges and opportunities related to religious identity and diversity on campus.  Following these sessions, IFYC delivered an analysis, detailing key themes heard on campus and outlining action steps for UCLA campus leaders.


University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

- University of Michigan – Ann Arbor read more read less
University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

The University of Michigan – Ann Arbor Multicultural Center hosted IFYC on campus to facilitate skills-based trainings for a cross-section of campus staff, including representatives from Residential Education, Counseling and Psychological Services, Campus Ministry, Service-Learning, and Recreational Sports.


Christian Van Dyke

- Christian Van Dyke / Senior at Utah Valley University, English Literature and Religious Studies double major read more read less
Christian Van Dyke / Senior at Utah Valley University, English Literature and Religious Studies double major

Christian Van Dyke is a Senior at Utah Valley University studying English Literature and Religious Studies. After being named the first co-president of UVU’s Interfaith Student Council he attended an ILI in Chicago and has been heavily involved with IFYC ever since. He was a member of the National Leadership team, the National Organizing Team, and is thrilled to be a Coach. Christian is passionate about the issues surrounding diversity, language, and the intersections of society and religion. When he isn’t doing interfaith work you can find him hiking with his wife, Emily, in the gym, or playing any number of sports. He tries to live his life by these words by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “The heights of great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.


Christian Van Dyke

- Christian Van Dyke / Utah Valley University read more read less
Christian Van Dyke / Utah Valley University

I have just finished sitting as one of the co-presidents of our Interfaith Student Council, and during that time I had the privilege of attending two ILI’s. My biggest take away from each of them was that my campus is not facing unique challenges. It was amazing to be able to sit down with students from around the nation that were just as passionate, if not more, as I was and put our heads together to hasten the progress of Interfaith work. As the world continues to become more polarized interfaith cooperation provides a meaningful skill set in navigating issues students face.

Not only did the ILI allow me to make meaningful connections with students from across the nation, I have access to variety of resources that have been helpful in our interfaith events at UVU. Two of the most popular events we run on campus, talk-better-together and speed faithing, came from our participation in an ILI. Something our campus is trying to do is make our events more organic and less intense, because of the grassroots nature of IFYC they are a perfect example to look to in creating an environment at an event that is organic and non-intrusive while maintaining a serious attitude that can create genuine connections between students from different religious/non-religious worldviews and be the catalyst for meaningful change. Attending an ILI has been incredibly impactful in shaping my future as a student and as an interfaith leader, for the reasons I’ve listed and many more.  


Susan Vernon

- Susan Vernon / Director of Foundation Relations read more read less
Susan Vernon / Director of Foundation Relations

Susan Vernon, Director of Foundation Relations, oversees all aspects of IFYC’s relationships with foundations and their funding. She leads her team in strategic planning, identifying, cultivating and securing funding from foundations to support all of IFYC’s crucial programs and wonderful teams. Susan holds a BS in social work from the State University of New York – College at Buffalo and MSSW from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She brings with her years of experience in social service programming and fundraising in the nonprofit sector, plus business skills from her work with major corporations. A former thespian, she enjoys going to plays, movies and dance performances, and music and writing are her creative outlets. Walks in nature and meditation bring her back to Spirit and the wonders of the Universe. Susan strongly believes that pluralism is what makes America great and that interfaith cooperation is the path to peace.


Sydney Watson

- Sydney Watson / Junior at Grand Valley State University, Special Education major read more read less
Sydney Watson / Junior at Grand Valley State University, Special Education major

Sydney Watson is a junior at Grand Valley State University majoring in Special Education. Originally from Grand Haven, Michigan, Sydney has been very involved in Grand Valley's student life. Her introduction to Interfaith at Aquinas College transferred with her to GVSU where she was able to revamp the Better Together program. From a leadership position in the campus' Better Together group to being the Interfaith Intern at GVSU, Sydney is rarely off campus. Her interfaith journey has taken her amazing places, where she know identifies as agnostic. When she is off campus, you can find her working with children at the local YMCA or volunteering at schools all around West Michigan. In her free time, Sydney enjoys reading, hanging out with friends and visiting family whenever possible.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."  -Martin Luther King Jr


Anne Marie (Roderick) Witchger

- Anne Marie (Roderick) Witchger (Christian) / New York, NY / Read More / Read Less
Anne Marie (Roderick) Witchger (Christian) / New York, NY

Anne Marie Witchger is a candidate for ordination in the Episcopal Church. She received a B.A. in Religion from Earlham College, a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary, and will complete a Master of Arts in Ministry from General Theological Seminary in 2018. Anne Marie currently works on the Outreach ministries of Church of the Heavenly Rest in Manhattan, where she helps to coordinate programs related to prison reentry and food insecurity. Anne Marie's passion for interfaith cooperation began in college and continues to inform her faith and ministry today. As a devoted Christian leader, she believes she is called to follow in the footsteps of Christ by seeking peace, cooperation, and unity in her community and in the world. Anne Marie is committed to engaging the tough theological questions that interfaith cooperation demands. In her free time, Anne Marie loves to bake, ride her bike, and brew kombucha with her husband, Joshua.


Wofford College

- Wofford College read more read less
Wofford College

Wofford College invited IFYC to campus to build capacity among their orientation leaders for facilitating interfaith dialogue following a campus-wide service event.  IFYC staff provided orientation leaders with frameworks for setting safe space in interfaith contexts, skills for facilitating productive conversation, and information on the methodological approach for interfaith dialogue in the context of reflection on service.


Engaging Worldview: Part II

- Engaging Worldview: Part II read more read less
Engaging Worldview: Part II

In Part II of the Engaging Worldview series, attention shifts to students’ attitudes toward other worldviews and religious pluralism. This report explores students' appreciative attitudes toward other worldviews, their levels of positive orientation toward pluralism, and how these factors vary across different student populations. Read it here.


Keryn Wouden

- Keryn Wouden (Latter-day Saint (Mormon)) / Evanston, IL / Read More / Read Less
Keryn Wouden (Latter-day Saint (Mormon)) / Evanston, IL

Keryn Wouden is a professional harpist belonging to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and loves using art and music as a platform for collaboration and interfaith awareness. She completed her Bachelors of Music at Chapman University (CA) where she first developed a passion for interfaith work, and somehow survived the Chicago cold to graduate with a Masters of Music from Northwestern University (IL). As a member of Northwestern’s Interfaith Advocates, she helped organized interfaith events including “Feel Better Together” (a mental health campaign) and “Word Against Violence” (a poetry slam promoting reduced gun violence). Within her faith community, she currently volunteers as the regional music director. As a soloist, an orchestral musician, and a professor at Lake Forest College, Keryn works in many environments and is often performing in religious (and non-religious) settings different from her own. Like any good musician, she also has a part time job. She enjoys working for Steve Hagerty, Mayor of Evanston (IL), where she is constantly using her interfaith skills.


Vanessa Zoltan

- Vanessa Zoltan / Co-host of Harry Potter & the Sacred Text, Research Assistant at Harvard Divinity School read more read less
Vanessa Zoltan / Co-host of Harry Potter & the Sacred Text, Research Assistant at Harvard Divinity School

Vanessa Zoltan is the co-host of the podcast, Harry Potter & the Sacred Text. She is also a research assistant at Harvard Divinity School. She graduated with her BA in English Literature and Writing from Washington University in St. Louis, her MS in Nonprofit Management from the University of Pennsylvania and her MDiv from Harvard Divinity School in 2015. She is working on a book about treating Harry Potter as a sacred text. Her work with Jane Eyre and Harry Potter has been written about in The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly and other outlets and covered on CNN. Vanessa blogs for the Huffington Post and has written for several other outlets. She lives with 24 Harvard freshmen and her dog, in Cambridge, MA.


angela zonderman

Angela Zonderman

- Angela Zonderman / Director of Human Resources read more read less
Angela Zonderman / Director of Human Resources

Angela Zonderman, Director of Human Resources, supports IFYC and its dedicated staff in all realms of HR. Angela graduated from University of Michigan and has since honed her operations and human resources skills in national and international organizations in the US and abroad. She spends most of her time looking for qualified candidates who are passionate about IFYC's mission and supporting the day-to-day needs of IFYC’s current staff. Angela considers herself to be ‘crafty’ and dabbles in photography and knitting. Angela is honored to be contributing to IFYC’s work as she sees the interfaith movement as the foundation for building peace in the world.