Home » IFYC Alumni » Alumni Speakers & Trainers Bureau

IFYC Alumni Speakers Bureau

IFYC’s Alumni Speakers Bureau is a nationwide network of diverse religious and non-religious leaders who have completed intensive interfaith leadership training and are excited to spread the message of interfaith cooperation. Alumni speakers are eager to address the intersections of interfaith engagement and race, healthcare, business, and education. Our Alumni are available to speak at panel discussions, conferences, fundraisers, book clubs, school assemblies, and more.

Keryn Wouden Anderson
Keryn Wouden Anderson

Keryn Wouden Anderson is a professional harpist and loves using art and music as a platform for collaboration and interfaith awareness. She completed her Bachelor’s of Music at Chapman University (CA), where she first developed a passion for...

read more

read less

Keryn Wouden Anderson is a professional harpist and loves using art and music as a platform for collaboration and interfaith awareness. She completed her Bachelor’s 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 harpist, Keryn is a seasoned and reviewed artist. She has performed regularly with various groups and is a founding member of Strung Up, a classical based harp and guitar duo that was featured on Wisconsin radio in 2014, released their first album in 2017, and was highlighted internationally on WFMT radio in 2018. In addition to her music career, Keryn has worked as a facilitator and spokesman for the importance of interfaith dialogue. As a member of Northwestern’s Interfaith Advocates, she helped organize interfaith events, including: “Feel Better Together” (mental health campaign) and “Word Against Violence” (a poetry slam promoting reduced gun violence). She has presented on IFYC’s podcast “Common Knowledge”: Mormonism and Interfaith and has been a member of the IFYC Speaker’s Bureau since 2014. In 2019, she had the sweet pleasure of returning to Kansas City to facilitate an interfaith workshop for 40 youth as part of the 7 Days Go Day. From 2018 to 2019, she joined the Interfaith Innovation Fellows and developed a home-supported interfaith curriculum for preschools. As a soloist, an orchestral musician, and a licensed Kindermusik educator, Keryn works in many environments with various ages, ethnicities, and religions. She loves to travel, rock climb, and play games with her family. Keryn is currently based out of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Suraj Arshanapally
Suraj Arshanapally

Suraj Arshanapally is fascinated by the social impact that communication can have on global health. As a Health Communication Specialist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he has managed various communication efforts – digital...

read more

read less

Suraj Arshanapally is fascinated by the social impact that communication can have on global health. As a Health Communication Specialist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he has managed various communication efforts – digital strategy, marketing, content creation, and analytics – to disseminate public health information. He earned his MPH from Yale University School of Public Health where he worked on projects with the World Health Organization and the United Nations. As an interfaith activist and Hindu, Suraj uses similar communication tactics to promote interfaith cooperation. He has facilitated interfaith dialogues on social justice as the president of his college’s interfaith organization and on masculinity as an IFYC Interfaith Innovation Fellow. He has also served as an IFYC Better Together Coach and presented at the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge.

Parth Bhansali

Parth is a first-generation Indian-American who identifies with the Hindu faith. He currently works at Groupon as a Regional Head of Sales on their Getaways team. He has spoken about the intersection of business and interfaith work at various...

read more

read less

Parth is a first-generation Indian-American who identifies with the Hindu faith. He currently works at Groupon as a Regional Head of Sales on their Getaways team. He has spoken about the intersection of business and interfaith work at various events, including the Parliament of the World's Religions and ACWAY Youth Forum. Inspired by his experiences from visiting over 35 countries, he aims to bring people together by sharing cultural and religious experiences. Working in a corporate business environment, Parth aspires to help transform interfaith conversation and cooperation into something that transcends the faith-based community.

Tyler Coles
Tyler Coles

Tyler (they/he) is native of Roanoke, VA, and the only child of Monica and Terry. Inspired by the wisdom of their Unitarian Universalist and Wiccan traditions, Tyler believes the best of our individual tasks are in working for collective...

read more

read less

Tyler (they/he) is native of Roanoke, VA, and the only child of Monica and Terry. Inspired by the wisdom of their Unitarian Universalist and Wiccan traditions, Tyler believes the best of our individual tasks are in working for collective liberation. They engage this mandate through multi-racial organizing, supporting young adults, and movement chaplaincy. Tyler currently serves as a staff member of the Unitarian Universalist Association where they support faithful leadership across the American South.

Sabriya Dobbins

Sabriya Dobbins, Founder of Project Passport and Life Discovery Expert, graduated from North Carolina State University with dual Bachelor’s degrees in Animal Science and Social Work and is a Christian. After experiencing severe anxiety and...

read more

read less

Sabriya Dobbins, Founder of Project Passport and Life Discovery Expert, graduated from North Carolina State University with dual Bachelor’s degrees in Animal Science and Social Work and is a Christian. After experiencing severe anxiety and panic attacks, she realized there needed to be a sacred space to help people with the “little things” before they become big things that result in breakdowns. As a Master Life Coach and Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Candidate, she adopted a unique style of serving clients based in experimentation and interactive wellness. She launched Project Passport, a proactive mental wellness company, with the dream of providing transformational experiences that focus more on supporting the participants and their mental well-being before things get hard. After achieving success serving companies all over the nation and women all over the world in supporting their mental wellbeing through preventative measures and tools, she now aims to spread her unique proactive mental health message into every single workplace and to every single woman by the year 2025.

Janice D’souza
Janice D’souza

Janice D’souza was born and raised in South India and belongs to the Roman Catholic faith tradition. She is a mixed-methods researcher with a focus on sexual reproductive health, religion, and Water, Sanitation & Hygiene. Her prior...

read more

read less

Janice D’souza was born and raised in South India and belongs to the Roman Catholic faith tradition. She is a mixed-methods researcher with a focus on sexual reproductive health, religion, and Water, Sanitation & Hygiene. Her prior experience includes conducting policy reviews at the CDC, help train abortion referrers in Kentucky, and across Appalachia, as well as conducting field research for a girl's education project across India. She has a Masters of Public Health from Emory University and a BA from Berea College. Faith is a lens through which she views her public health work and is eager to learn with and from you.

Jacob Greenstein
Jacob Greenstein

Born and raised in Sacramento in both a household and a city full of integrated diversity, Jacob has been curating the necessary skills and passion for intercultural and interfaith work from a young age. As a young adult, Jacob put these skills...

read more

read less

Born and raised in Sacramento in both a household and a city full of integrated diversity, Jacob has been curating the necessary skills and passion for intercultural and interfaith work from a young age. As a young adult, Jacob put these skills to the test in Texas, where he earned his BA in International Politics from Texas Christian University. In Texas, Jacob had first-hand experiences with ethnic and religious prejudice and segregation, pushing him to dedicate his undergraduate career to improving his campus and community to be more accepting and understanding of all people. In honor of his work, he received the TCU Religious Life Leadership Award for leading his community towards increased mutual appreciation and understanding. Since graduating, Jacob has worked with and for several political and interfaith groups including the United Religions Initiative, California Interfaith Power and Light, and the California State Legislature. He currently serves the California Medical Association as their Communications Specialist where he manages many of their public affairs efforts and is involved in multiple community efforts to turn the tides towards equity and understanding while giving people a seat at the table.

Becca Hirsch
Becca Hirsch

Becca Hirsch is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Certified Sex Therapist (CST).  Becca was first introduced to IFYC during her senior year of college at Santa Clara University in 2010.  As the president of the Jewish...

read more

read less

Becca Hirsch is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Certified Sex Therapist (CST).  Becca was first introduced to IFYC during her senior year of college at Santa Clara University in 2010.  As the president of the Jewish Student Union on a Jesuit Campus as well as a double-major in Psychology and Religious Studies, Becca became interested in interfaith dialogue and cooperation and how spirituality can impact relationships, healing, and resilience.  Becca interned at IFYC when she graduated college and then went on to work for the Jewish Theological Seminary's Midwest development office.  A few years later, and after launching a blog about online dating, Becca pursued her passion to become a relationship and sex therapist and started graduate school at University of San Diego (2013-2015) in the Marital and Family Therapy program.   Since graduating with her MFT, Becca has worked in private practice with individuals and couples who are looking to address their relationship and sexual health.  Becca finds it especially meaningful to use her interfaith skills with couples therapy who are in interfaith and interracial relationships. She also is passionate about working with clients on making sense of their spiritual identity and their sexual values and helping clients hold space for both parts of themselves.  Becca now lives in Seattle and started her own practice, Becca Hirsch Therapy, where she continues to do telehealth as well as online workshops about dating and how to improve self-care.

Aamir Hussain

Dr. Aamir Hussain is originally from Farmington, CT, and attended Georgetown University for undergrad where he studied Government and Theology. He received his Master of Public Policy degree and medical degree from the University of Chicago. He...

read more

read less

Dr. Aamir Hussain is originally from Farmington, CT, and attended Georgetown University for undergrad where he studied Government and Theology. He received his Master of Public Policy degree and medical degree from the University of Chicago. He is currently a resident physician specializing in dermatology at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. As a practicing Muslim, he has been involved with interfaith work for many years, and has participated in many Interfaith Leadership Institutes, as well as the Better Together Coach program through Interfaith Youth Core. Dr. Hussain writes frequently about health policy, medical education, and the intersections between health care and spirituality. He has been interviewed by the New York Times, Al Jazeera, and PBS, and his writings have been featured in medical journals and several online outlets including prominent physician blog Kevin MD, the Religion News Service and the Huffington Post.

Iqra Iftikhar

Iqra Iftikhar received her B.S. in health science from Merrimack College and Master’s in Public Health from Tufts University School of Medicine. She currently works for a health plan where she helps coordinates care for populations struggling...

read more

read less

Iqra Iftikhar received her B.S. in health science from Merrimack College and Master’s in Public Health from Tufts University School of Medicine. She currently works for a health plan where she helps coordinates care for populations struggling with substance abuse disorders and mental health issues. While at Merrimack College, she identified a desire to build bridges between her own identity as a Muslim and her fellow students. She co-founded and presided as the first president of an Interfaith Alliance and helped to establish the campus es first common prayer space. She loves reading books, hiking, and volunteering in her community. Iqra aims to provide patient-centered, culturally competent care to people, regardless of what field of healthcare she is in.

Elaine Krebs

Elaine Krebs is a Roman Catholic Christian currently living in Los Angeles, CA. She graduated from the University of Southern California (USC) with a Masters Degree in Marine and Environmental Biology, and now works as both a science teacher at...

read more

read less

Elaine Krebs is a Roman Catholic Christian currently living in Los Angeles, CA. She graduated from the University of Southern California (USC) with a Masters Degree in Marine and Environmental Biology, and now works as both a science teacher at a local museum, as well as Confirmation Coordinator at her local parish. Elaine was first introduced to interfaith work as a member of USC's Interfaith Council, and continues to be involved, especially surrounding the intersection of science and religion. She also enjoys studying and experiencing diversity within religions, especially the different rites within Catholicism. In her free time, Elaine enjoys swing dancing, SCUBA diving, and traveling the world.

Amar Peterman
Amar Peterman

Amar D. Peterman is Director of the Ideos Center for Empathy in Christian and Public Life. He is also a graduate student at Princeton Theological Seminary where he studies American religious history and serves as Vice-President of the Asian...

read more

read less

Amar D. Peterman is Director of the Ideos Center for Empathy in Christian and Public Life. He is also a graduate student at Princeton Theological Seminary where he studies American religious history and serves as Vice-President of the Asian Association there. Amar’s writing and research have been featured in Christianity Today, The Christian Century, Sojourners, Georgetown University’s Berkley Center Forum, and more. He has won numerous grants for his work in racial justice, peacebuilding, and multifaith engagement. He has also worked closely with leading organizations such as the Interfaith Youth Core and the Aspen Institute, as well as leading scholars in the fields of religious pluralism and American history. Before studying at Princeton, Amar earned BA in Theology from Moody Bible Institute in downtown Chicago.

Tahil Sharma
Tahil Sharma

Tahil Sharma is an interfaith activist based in Los Angeles who was born to a Hindu father and a Sikh mother. Following the Oak Creek, WI shooting of a Sikh temple in 2012, Tahil became involved in efforts for interfaith literacy and social...

read more

read less

Tahil Sharma is an interfaith activist based in Los Angeles who was born to a Hindu father and a Sikh mother. Following the Oak Creek, WI shooting of a Sikh temple in 2012, Tahil became involved in efforts for interfaith literacy and social justice and has been doing this work professionally for the past seven years. Tahil serves as one of three Interfaith Ministers in Residence for the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and as the Los Angeles Coordinator for Sadhana: A Coalition of Progressive Hindus. Tahil also serves various organizations in different capacities to educate, engage, and serve various communities that promote interfaith cooperation and ethical pluralism and social and productive norms in society including the Interfaith Youth Core, the Parliament of the World’s Religions, The Guibord Center, and The Interreligious Council of Southern California. Tahil previously worked as the Faith Outreach Manager for Brave New Films, a social justice documentary organization based in Los Angeles that empowers communities and teaches civic participation through new media, facilitation, and strategies for action. He is also a contributing author to books including Co-Human Harmony: Using Our Shared Humanity To Bridge Divides, Hindu Approaches to Spiritual Care: Chaplaincy in Theory and Practice, and Acting on Faith: Stories of Courage, Activism, and Hope Across Religions.

Avi Smolen
Avi Smolen

Avi Smolen is an experienced project manager at the intersection of human rights and philanthropy. Avi works at the Open Society Foundations as a Project Officer leading the implementation of a suite of workforce initiatives to improve the...

read more

read less

Avi Smolen is an experienced project manager at the intersection of human rights and philanthropy. Avi works at the Open Society Foundations as a Project Officer leading the implementation of a suite of workforce initiatives to improve the employee experience and better advance organizational goals. He previously supported the Foundation’s grantmaking initiatives expanding access to health interventions for marginalized groups. Earlier, he worked as Communications Manager for Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice, a domestic social justice organization. Avi’s Jewish commitment to social justice and love of community inspires him in both his professional life and in his interfaith involvement. Avi is a longtime member of the IFYC Alumni Speakers Bureau and has also served as lead facilitator of the New York Interfaith Public Health Roundtable. Avi has 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 lives in Maplewood, NJ with his partner and their two young children.