Amalia Duncan - Past College Intern
Religion/Belief System: Secular Humanist
School/Year: Harvard University 2015
Academic Interests: Pre-Med in accompaniment with either Human Evolutionary Biology, Romance Languages and Literature, or Women and Gender Studies
Extra-curricular Involvement: Director of Training Services for Harvard Red Cross, Board Member of Harvard Interfaith Council
Why Interested in Interfaith Movement: I come from an ethnically diverse background and have advocated for respect and understanding for those who are different, however, I realized that diversity goes beyond the scope of race or ethnicity. Religious diversity is an important aspect of culture that needs to be considered because religion plays a crucial role in shaping who we are and how we act. In order to really seek understanding and respect among all peoples, I felt I had to join the pluralist movement to further education about other religions, faith traditions, and belief systems.
Favorite Moment of KCIYA: My favorite moment with KCIYA was a service project with the Kansas City Urban Youth Center. I was being read to by a fifth grader. She was a phenomenal reader and at the end of the book, she told me she read 40 books a day. She was trying to win the prize of the student who had read the most books in a month. She was proud of herself, and I was proud of her determination and joy of learning. She continues to inspire me to do my best and aim high.
Katie Healy -Past College Intern
Religion/Belief System: Roman Catholic
School/Year: Saint Louis University 2015
Academic Interests: Civil Engineering major, Meteorology and Math minors
Extra-curricular Involvement: Alpha Phi Omega (Service Fraternity), Contemplatives in Action, Civil Engineering Club, Elevation Irish Dance, Habitat for Humanity
Why Interested in Interfaith Movement: I became interested in the interfaith movement during high school when I realized how little I knew of other faiths, having come from a strongly Catholic background. I learned the basics of many faiths in World Religions class freshman year, but I wanted to truly understand how others lived out their beliefs. As I became more aware of other faith traditions, I began to feel that religion in modern times has all too often been scorned as the root of extremism and terror, yet so many of my heroes and inspirations had a strong faith to back them up. The concept of bringing the common value of service to the forefront of interreligious discussion sparked my interest as a way in which to transform this negative connotation and introduce a more informed perspective.
Favorite Moment of KCIYA: One of my favorite memories of KCIYA was at one of our Home Hospitality meetings, during which we braided our own challah bread. We had a blast making it, and it was absolutely delicious, no matter how terrible our braids ended up looking. In fact, when I took my gigantic piece home, my brothers ate almost all of it, leaving me with nothing but a small corner.
Teresa Butel - Past College Intern
Religion/Belief System: Roman Catholic
School/Year: College of Wooster 2015
Academic Interests: Sociology major, Urban Studies and Political Science minors
Extra-curricular Involvement: Circle K (Kiwanis Service Club), Interfaith Scholars, WOODs Outdoors Club, Peace by Peace Organization
Why Interested in Interfaith Movement: It may be difficult for many people to imagine, but in truth it was my own Catholic roots that prompted my interest in pluralism. The experiences I had of the Catholic Church growing up, from my private, Catholic grade school to my volunteer work, all emphasized the message of "loving thy neighbor as thyself". My expression of my religion has always largely been dependent on service work because that was my family's way of living out Catholic social justice teaching. I believe the opportunity to do volunteer work in an interfaith context combines these two elements of my Catholic faith. I believe that such collaboration itself is holy because by working together for the common good we celebrate the value of all human life.
Favorite Moment of KCIYA: While it's difficult to choose a favorite memory, becoming a part of the movement itself was a powerful experience. I remember traveling to the Interfaith Youth Core Conference at Northwestern University in 2009 with three peers. Simply being surrounded by hundreds of other passionate activists from all faith traditions and diverse backgrounds, who had all gathered with a single goal of learning to work together, was such an amazing feeling. It was also the first time I heard Eboo Patel speak and let me tell you that guy knows how to give a speech. He somehow concisely summarized everything I would have said about my understanding of interfaith relations, and with more eloquence. Afterward we were able to go up and shake his hand; I thought I was going to pass out. That faintness aside, it was one of the best moments not just of my involvement with KCIYA but of my life.
Avanthi Chatrathi - College Intern
Religion/Belief System: Hinduism
School/Year: Northwestern University 2015
Academic Interests: Cognitive Science Major, Global Health Minor
Extra-curricular Involvement: Northwestern University Interfaith Initiative, NU Mirch Fusion Dance Team, Volunteer at Illinois Masonic Hospital
Why Interested in Interfaith Movement: As a Hindu in a Catholic high school, I experienced what it was like to have my own faith grow as a result of interfaith reactions. Having to explain my faith to others made me grow stronger in my own faith, and learning about other faiths made me find the similarities of Hinduism and different faiths. After hearing Eboo Patel speak in 2009, it convinced me even more to join in the interfaith movement.
Favorite Moment of KCIYA: My favorite moment of KCIYA is seeing the first Peace Walk occur after months of planning.
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