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Center for Spirituality, Dialogue, and Service Executive Staff

Alexander Levering Kern

Executive Director

617.373.4931

a.kern@northeastern.edu

Thank you for visiting us online! I relish opportunities  to meet with students, connect with colleagues, welcome visitors to our Center, and build community – across campus and around the  globe. Below is a bit about my background and interests. Do email me at a.kern@northeastern.edu to arrange a time to chat. Hope to see you soon!

Alexander Levering Kern is a Quaker, ecumenical and interfaith leader, widely-published poet and writer, educator, and chaplain.  Alex serves as the first Executive Director of the Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service (CSDS) at Northeastern University in Boston, leading the school’s campus ministries and developing new models of campus dialogue and global citizenship formation. Northeastern’s pioneering work has been recognized by the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) and White House Interfaith and Community Service Challenge.

Prior to coming to Northeastern, Alex served as Executive Director of Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries (CMM), greater Boston’s oldest interfaith social justice network, and as Protestant chaplain at Brandeis University. Alex co-founded the Interfaith Youth Initiative (IFYI) – a dynamic peacemaking and leadership program for high school, college, and graduate theological students. As an educator, Alex has served as an adjunct faculty member, speaker, panelist, or consultant at institutions including Harvard Divinity School and Pluralism Project, Brandeis University, Pendle Hill Quaker Center, Andover Newton Theological School, Hebrew College, Boston University School of Theology, the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), and Merrimack College’s Center for Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations.

Editor of the anthology Becoming Fire: Spiritual Writing from Rising Generations, Alex’s poems, essays, and articles appear in Spiritusthe African American ReviewHuffington Post, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Georgetown ReviewCaribbean WriterIbbetson Street, and many other publications.  His writing and organizing work engages issues of contemplative and engaged spirituality, religion and the arts, Quakerism, and the interfaith quest for peace, justice, and ecological sustainability.  His volunteer professional work has been covered by the Washington PostBoston GlobeHarvard Gazette, and other media.

A product of Quaker education at Sidwell Friends School, Pendle Hill, and Guilford College, where he earned his BA in Religious Studies, History, and African-American Studies, Alex also studied at Vassar College and received his MDiv. from Andover Newton Theological School and a graduate certificate in ecumenism from the Boston Theological Institute. He has represented Quakers at gatherings of the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Harare, Zimbabwe and Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Alex has traveled, studied, and worked in post-earthquake Haiti, post-apartheid Southern Africa, Cold War Europe, the Middle East, Hiroshima, Brazil, rural Honduras, and with Northeastern students on interfaith pilgrimage from Selma to St. Louis and Ferguson in the age of #BlackLivesMatter. In 2009, he traveled to Nigeria with a U.S. State Department-supported delegation, training young civil society leaders to address interethnic and interreligious conflict. Born in Washington, DC, he now lives in Somerville, Massachusetts with his wife Rebecca Grunko, and their children, Elias and Ruthanna. His interests include hiking in the outdoors, travel, live music, collecting books, volunteering, and chaperoning field trips with his kids’ classmates and friends!

 

Sagar Rajpal

Project Manager, Senior Assistant Director

617.543.2056

s.rajpal@northeastern.edu

Sagar Rajpal is originally from Mumbai (erstwhile Bombay), India, and graduated from Northeastern University with a Master of Science in Engineering Management in December 2017. He has been involved with spiritual and community service centers in Bombay since 2010 and in Boston since 2015. As the Sr. Assistant Director of Spiritual Life at a global institution like Northeastern University, he strives to make resources of spirituality, dialogue, and social action accessible on digital and virtual platforms for students, faculty, and staff across Northeastern’s global campus network. With operations in over 40 different cities across the world, Sagar works with a team of 70+ Spiritual Advisors and Affiliates to help the NU community become engaged citizens, peacebuilders, and leaders equipped to tackle pressing global problems.

Soo Laski

Assistant Director

617.373.2728

s.laski@northeastern.edu

Soo Laski was born in Korea and has spent the majority of her life in the Boston area. She graduated from Brandeis University’s Heller School with both an MA in Sustainable International Development and an MS in Global Health Policy and Management. Her interest in global health and international development came from her experiences on service trips to Nicaragua with the Union Church in Waban (an interdenominational Protestant Christian church affiliated with the United Church of Christ), and her study abroad experience in Central America while a student at Clark University. At Clark, she majored in Political Science with a minor in International Development and Social Change. As part of the Nicaragua team, she has co-led intergenerational service trips to the Pacific coast of Nicaragua where church members partner and work alongside local community members to provide clean water, refurbish schools, and plant fruit trees. She is also heavily involved in leadership with Agape Spiritual Community, a UCC church plant in Waltham, and is an alumna of the Interfaith Youth Initiative (IFYI). In her free time, she enjoys reading, playing board games, and engaging in community service. She also loves all things Harry Potter and was sorted into Hufflepuff House.

Christina Richardson

Program Associate for Campus Ministries

ccrich20@bu.edu

Christina is a Liberian American from Providence, RI. In 2014, Christina received her B.A. in Psychology and Music from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. At the college, she spent a lot of her time being involved in the spiritual life office, which fostered her desire to one day become a college or university chaplain like the ones who supported her during her four years. Right after graduation, she worked for two years with various alumni in the Office of Alumni Relations at Holy Cross. Christina is currently a second-year Master of Divinity student at Boston University School of Theology and is interning as CSDS’ Graduate Assistant for the 2017-2018 academic year. She is Pentecostal and works as a co-teacher for the Kids Bible Study at her home church in Providence. She enjoys listening to Christian/Gospel music and the stories of others, singing, dancing, spending time with family and friends, and exploring Boston.

 

Dola Haque

Pensive Journal Co-Editor

haque.d@northeastern.edu

Dola Haque was born in Bangladesh, grew up in Nevada, and currently lives in Massachusetts. She holds one Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology and one in English and is now pursuing her Master of Arts in English. She hopes to build a career in something related to immigration policy and rhetoric. She is an avid reader of many genres of literature, fantasy, and historical fiction being two of her favorites. She is an aspiring writer and hopes to become a well-known author of stories that represent the lives of South Asian women in their various forms and pluralities. She is married to Sam Haque with whom she celebrates and battles all the turbulence of life and the uncertainties of living in two cultures. Dola loves to sing, cook, and declutter to keep only those things that spark joy.

Rajprit Singh Saluja

Web Master

saluja.r@husky.neu.edu

Rajprit Singh Saluja is originally from Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, in the central part of India. He is pursuing his undergraduate degree from Northeastern University in Information Technology and attended East Boston High School. He has been engaged with the CSDS community since 2017 and is from the Sikh religious tradition. Besides pursuing his undergraduate degree, Rajprit is a professional DJ and loves making songs in his spare time. Rajprit follows and believes that “One should work on the same thing until they shine like a star, no one came perfect, and we should always be eager to learn new things from people.”