The Center for Religious Wisdom & World Affairs is pleased to announce that it has selected its 2017-2018 Graduate Student Affiliates. At the start of this academic year, it is wonderfully fitting to now have School of Theology & Ministry students directly involved in the Center’s work around faith-based responses to pressing social problems, such as homelessness and affordable housing. They are:
- Ms. Haley Ballast, Master of Divinity program
- Rev. Jan Bolerjack, Doctor of Ministry program
- Ms. Shannon Britton, Master of Arts in Transformational Leadership program
- Ms. Donna Cheesebrough, Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies program
- Mr. John Cowan, Master of Arts in Transformational Leadership program
- Ms. Amber Larkin, Master of Arts in Transformational Leadership program
These six students bring a wide range of professional experience – from careers developing operational and technology solutions for Fortune 100 companies and designing and implementing multi-stakeholder initiatives for sustainable development in Asia-Pacific, to present ministries marked by concerns for racial and environmental justice, and the provision of pastoral care and shelter to poor and homeless neighbors.
Over the course of the next year, these students will be in conversation with members of the Puget Sound Interfaith Network for Public Theology and with Center scholars. They will participate in Network discussions around capacity building for more effective faith-based action; engage the ongoing research projects of Center scholars through videoconference and Canvas sessions; and contribute to the Center’s second symposium on homelessness, which will bring scholars, the Network and community partners together at Seattle University in April of 2018.
Graduate Student Affiliates will also participate in periodic lunch seminars with their cohort, select faculty and community partners. During these sessions they will examine new research on faith-based community development and grapple with the theological underpinnings of justice work as well as explore synergies between the Center’s initiatives and their own professional experience and coursework.
“Have a look at their bio blurbs,” said the Center Director, Dr. Manuel Mejido. “These six students have deep experience in a variety of fields – from faith-based justice work and environmental management, to the corporate sector and multi-stakeholder initiatives. “They exemplify the changing landscape of theological education and ministry. They will enrich the innovative conversations about faith-based community development and public theology that the Center is all about.”