NAIN received over 30 applications for young adult scholarships this year. We extended our budget to offer schoalrships to 12 exceptional candidates. One was stranded in India. The remaining 11 were integral parts of the Connect programming. Six participated in a panel. Others took part in other presentations.
- Erin Bilir, high school senior at Colorado Academy, published journalist, award-winning playwright, and president and founder of ETHOS (Ethics, Theology, Humanity, Oneness, and Society) a student interfaith club. Erin is a member of Colorado Friends of the Harvard Women’s Studies in Religion program and researcher for the Pluralism Project. She is investigating online spirituality.
- Kaitlin Hasseler, Program Specialist, Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital where she develops programs and curriculum relating to youth empowerment, gender equity, and interfaith and religious topics. Kaitlin is a participant in the Washington Interfaith Network and a graduate of Ithaca College with a degree in Journalism and double minors in Religious Studies and in Politics. She is very involved in helping Girls Scouts develop inner reflection and a sense of shared humanity.
- Michelle Jackson, is the Tannenbaum Inter-religious Fellow at Vassar College and advisor to the Interreligious Student Council where she creates and implements campus-wide programming. Michelle has a B.A. degree in the Study of Religion from UCLA and a Masters of Divinity from the Harvard Divinity School. Michelle challenged us to the reality that interfaith needs to be more racially diverse and to reach out to conservatives.
- Hillary Kaell, doctoral candidate in American Studies at Harvard University specializing in the history and practice of North American Christianity. Hillary has taught undergraduate courses in interfaith conflict, worked on the Pluralism Project’s World Religions Project in Boston, and is a paid consultant for the PBS series Religion in America. Hillary suggests a way to participate in interfaith when living in a homogeneous society is to use Internet resources, such as pen pals. She indicates that media imposed narrative arcs, with a neat beginning-middle- end, do not reflect reality and can lead to quoting out of context.
- Dawinder Sidhu, author and civil rights attorney with an interest in the aftermath effect of 9/11 on religious communities. “Dave” has a BA in Philosophy from the U. of Penn., an MA in Government from Johns Hopkins, and a JD from the George Washington University Law School. He has held fellowship and/or research posts at Harvard, Stanford, and Georgetown. His post 9/11 self-imposed role of protecting his father, who looks the traditional Sikh and therefor was in danger, led him to study law and engage in civil rights and justice. He criticizes just talking about belief systems without action towards a just society.
- Wm. Andrew Schwartz, a Ph.D. student in Philosophy of Religion and Theology at Claremont Graduate University. He is a licensed minister in the Church of the Nazarene and holds BA degrees in Religion and Missions from Northwest Nazarene University and an MA in Theological Studies from Nazarene Theological Seminary. Andrew comes from an interfaith family. His father is Jewish and his mother Christian. His study abroad program in the Middle East raised awareness.