2012 Young Religious Leaders Fellows
I am a rising Sophomore at Bucknell University where I am an intended Classics and English double major. I lived in the city of Belflower all of my life until I moved to attend college in Pennsylvania. At Bucknell, I am involved in the Organization for Hispanic and Latin American Students, am a Multicultural Student Services Ambassador, sing in a Concert Choir, and participate in many social justice and community service oriented events on campus. Along with that, I will be working 3 jobs next semester, including serving as a Junior Fellow for one of the school’s freshman “Living and Learning Communities”, the Humanities Residential College. It’s great being home for the summer, and I look forward to interning with CLUE and getting as much out of the experience as possible!
Originally from Allendale, New Jersey, Sarah Fichera moved to Providence, Rhode Island three years ago to study at Providence College. She is currently majoring in Public and Community Service with a concentration in environmental biology. She is interested in the well- being of all humanity and how communities foster growth and development. Sarah is a woman of the Lutheran faith tradition and attends a Catholic private college. Through volunteering at an after school program in an urban setting, she has witnessed working parents of varying socio-economic backgrounds provide stability, support, and love for their children. Sarah is looking forward to working alongside CLUE. community organizers to make positive social change in order to ensure what is right and just in today’s ever changing world.
My name is Marjan Goudarzi and I am an undergraduate student at UCLA. I am currently studying Political Science and Public Policy and will be entering my last year at UCLA in the fall. I was born and raised in Seattle, WA by my wonderful mom and dad. My dad grew up in Iran and was raised Muslim and my mom grew up in Phoenix, AZ and was raised in an Irish Catholic household. My parents chose to raise my siblings and I as Muslims but also chose to place us in Catholic school for thirteen years of our education. That being said, religious diversity has always been an integral part of my upbringing, education, and who I am today. After graduating from UCLA, I hope to go on to receive a masters in Social Welfare or Public Policy and begin work in the non-profit field around issues of social justice. I am extremely excited and grateful to be a intern with CLUE LA and I can’t wait for a great summer of hard work, faith, and growth.
Katey Hobkirk has a passion for mission service. She enjoys direct contact with the change she is creating. For her, it isn’t so much about helping people as it is about being a decent human being. Katey thrives in environments where she is able to use a wide variety of skills and is enthused to work with CLUE. For her, economic justice should be a given, and helping to make a world where that is true excites her. She is outgoing and passionate, hard-working and driven, and eager to begin her summer of leadership.
Tommy Nunan is a Religion major and Environmental Studies minor at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio. At Oberlin he is an HIV Peer Tester and Educator, a Student Senator, and a leader of a student-led service organization called Immerse Yourself in Service. These activities have inspired him to pursue a vision of community organizing that empowers community members to become leaders, creating change from within the community. He believes that his own personal spirituality plays a crucial role in upholding these values. Raised a Unitarian Universalist, Tommy finds that his UU religious values affirm this deep commitment to the empowerment of individuals and communities. He is excited for his summer with CLUE, and hopes to more fully explore the link between faith and community organizing, while learning everything he can from the experiences of others.
Rachel O’Leary is a Los Angeles native, currently studying Environmental Science and Photography and Social Change at the University of Southern California. Her experience last summer as an interfaith and food justice intern for the Community of Living Traditions inspired her to pursue environmental justice and explore faith-based social justice activism more intensely. Rachel was raised with a fusion of Catholic and Jewish values, and learned from her family the powerful bond between grassroots social justice activism and faith in challenging social and economic inequality on a local level. She is excited to explore this connection more deeply this summer with CLUE.
Elly is a recent graduate from Claremont School of Theology where she received her M.Div degree in May 2012. She is a 1.5 generation Korean American, and her experience as an immigrant largely influenced the way she understands economic and racial justice issues and how they are interrelated. Since she came to America, she spent most of her time in the San Francisco Bay Area where she left her heart! While she was an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley, Elly got involved in Asian Pacific Islander student activism and eventually became interested in community organizing. She also learned the basics of community organizing from her time as an intern at Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance. She decided to study theology in an inter-religious institution because she wanted to better integrate her Christian faith/ heritage with her passion for justice while learning from those in other religious traditions. Elly hopes that through CLUE internship, she would learn how to better serve those who are struggling to bring about justice and to communicate their causes with others. In her downtime, she enjoys laughs and good food with those who she loves.
My name is Stephanie Ruiz and I am a current MSW (Masters of Social Work) student at USC. I just completed my first year and thus far it has been a life changing experience. I am from San Jose, California and completed my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Spanish last year from San Diego State University. My goal and passion is to change lives and positively impact communities and those whom I come in contact with. In my free time I enjoy cycling, hiking, kickboxing and spin classes at the gym. I enjoy working in a team atmosphere and know that each person has valuable knowledge and input that I can learn from. God and my family are always close to my heart and a part of my lifedaily. Without God I would not be who I am today and am so thankful to know him. I love to laugh and meeting new people daily.
My name is Alma Sanchez-Miranda. I grew up in Koreatown, Los Angeles. I currently attend the University of La Verne and will be starting my Junior year this upcoming Fall of 2012. I am majoring in Criminology with a minor in Art. I am very involved on campus, as a member of the Latino Student Forum, Interfaith Council, Multi-Cultural Club Council, and the Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology Clubs, as well as the Phi Sigma Sigma Sorority. I enjoy learning new things, especially how to develop better leadership skills. I am very committed, nice and sincere and those are a few traits that describe the person I am.
I am an undergraduate at UCLA planning to major in International Development Studies. I was born in Mexico but raised in the city of North Hollywood. I became a Catechist in my local parish, St. Patrick’s Church, and since then have fallen in love with teaching young children the importance of faith in the midst of a corrupting world. My renewed faith has made me committed towards helping my community in any possible way. Being a Mexican immigrant has allowed me to witness the injustices against low-income and underrepresented communities, which is why I’m very excited to be working with CLUE this summer. I am passionate for my Catholic faith, and for justice in society, education, and the economy. I hope that working in CLUE I will expand my knowledge and network so that my voice may represent my people struggling in the labor workforce and lower ranks of the social ladder. Also, I’m very interested in learning how to interact with diverse religions other than my own. I feel that working with CLUE will help me grow spiritually, mentally, and socially.
Daniel Zaldaña was born in Los Angeles, CA and grew up in the nearby city of Pasadena, where he has attended the First Foursquare Church of Pasadena for all but the first year of his life. Daniel grew up in the broken system of the Pasadena Unified School District, where he became interested in music from a very young age. Daniel cultivated and supplemented his interest in music by taking lessons at the Pasadena Conservatory and participating in a city orchestra, which prepared him for a nine-week volunteer teaching position at his local middle school in late 2009. This teaching position, along with the frequent cuts to the Arts budget in Pasadena opened Daniel’s eyes to the toils of the Public Education system. Daniel is currently a rising sophomore at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA, where he is working on his B.M. in Music Education, in the hopes of becoming a High School Music Teacher and getting involved in making the Public Education system more effective and appreciated.