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Spiritual Advisors

Najiba Akbar

Muslim Spiritual Advisor

n.akbar@northeastern.edu

Najiba is a Chaplain and Life Coach who has been serving the Greater Boston Muslim community in various capacities since 2001. She received her B.A. in Peace and Justice Studies from Wellesley College and her Masters in Social Work from Boston College. During her undergraduate years, she served as the first Assistant to the Director of Outreach for the Islamic Society of Boston in Cambridge. During the difficult post 9-11 climate in the U.S., she helped create programs to educate youth and adults about Islam and coordinated opportunities for interfaith engagement and dialogue in schools and houses of worship across Boston. From 2007-2009 she served as Co-Facilitator of the Pathways Interfaith Dialogue program at Tufts University, and from 2008-2012 she served as the Muslim Advisor at Wellesley College. She is certified as an Integral Coach with Integral Coaching Canada, and uses a methodology that blends adult development theory, spirituality, and psychology to help individuals chart their own personal growth path. She also leads the Family Matters Committee at the Islamic Center of Boston in Wayland. She currently resides in Wayland, MA with her husband and three children. In her spare time she enjoys reading, walks in nature, kettlebell workouts, and listening to Enneagram, spirituality, and psychology podcasts.

Partha Biswas

Hindu Spiritual Advisor

partha.biswas@gmail.com

Partha is currently a technical development manager at Mathworks and a visiting faculty at the Tufts University.  He got his Bachelors from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), and his PhD from the University of California, Irvine. Despite having high-profile responsibilities under his belt, he strives to live a very simple and humble life of devotion towards God. He believes that when we take upon responsibilities of life as a service to God, we can tangibly experience God’s presence even in so-called mundane affairs of life.

His deep faith in spiritual principles is a result of seeds that were sown when he was 10 years old. Since then, he has inculcated habits of regularly reading scriptures and practicing meditation.  His practices and realizations matured as he got opportunities to receive directions from various qualified teachers. As an offering of gratitude to his teachers, he founded Meditation clubs in various universities over the last 13 years to share his knowledge of how to live scriptural principles in contemporary settings.  He serves as a spiritual trainer in the lives of many spiritual aspirants coming from all walks of life.

Anjum Biswas

Hindu Spiritual Advisor

anjum.rs@gmail.com

Anjum did her Masters in Computer Science from the University of California, Irvine. After working for a few years as a computer scientist, she took a break to fully devote her time in studying Vedic scriptures.  Thereafter, she earned a Bhakti Shastri degree from the Vrindavan Institute for Higher Education. She has been visiting many universities over the last 13 years to interact with students who want to develop their spiritual dimensions and support their spiritual journeys in multifarious ways. Apart from mentoring many spiritual aspirants, she takes special interest in bringing the messages of ancient scriptures alive through stories, drama, puppetry, art, music and through a strong practice in her own life.

She volunteers her computer engineering skills to design websites and portfolios for charity organizations. As an experienced cook of karma-free diet, she has been conducting cooking classes at the Northeastern University. She lives in Wayland and has been serving the NEU community in collaboration with her better half – Partha Biswas. Along with their two children, Radha and Visakha, the entire family shares a common enthusiasm and passion for increasing their devotion to God and sharing their experience with others. Anjum can be reached at anjum.rs@gmail.com.

 

Joyce DeGreeff

Lutheran Spiritual Advisor

j.degreeff@northeastern.edu

Joyce joined Northeastern in the fall of 1997 as a Lutheran campus minister and university spiritual adviser. A 1999 graduate of Harvard Divinity School, Joyce has a particular interest in helping students link faith and spirituality with community service and social justice. She is the youth coordinator at West Concord Union Church in Concord, Massachusetts, and has previously coached and taught in Connecticut and Maine. In her spare time, Joyce enjoys listening to jazz and gospel music, coaching basketball, hiking, cross-country skiing, and spending time with her husband and children.

Donna Hakimian

Bahá'í Spiritual Advisior

donna_hakimian@mail.harvard.edu

Donna Hakimian is an educator, human rights advocate, and artist. She works to create spaces of interfaith dialogue and understanding, creative collaboration, and cross-disciplinary alliance building. Donna currently serves as the Bahá’í Representative to the Harvard University Chaplaincy and the Bahá’í Spiritual Advisor at Northeastern University. From 2012-2015, she served as the Representative for Gender Equality and the Advancement of Women at the U.S. Bahá’í Office of Public Affairs in Washington D.C. Ms. Hakimian holds an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, a M.A. in Women & Gender Studies from the University of Toronto and a B.A. from McGill University. Donna enjoys spending time in nature, painting, writing, exploring new recipes, and making friends with people from around the world.

Lindsay Hicks

Sojourn Collegiate Ministry Spiritual Advisor

lindsay@sojourncollegiate.com

Lindsay’s passion for the faith journey blossomed while she was a college student herself. While she grew up in a Christian home with her own personal faith, living out her faith in college was a surprising challenge. She had never met nor experienced so many people, cultures, ideologies, faith expressions or ideals as she did during her time at Georgia Tech. It was there, however, where she experienced a faith community that didn’t expect her to have her life together or know all the right answers. Instead, that faith community asked her deep, significant questions, challenging her to consider why she believed what she did in the first place, all within a community of acceptance, encouragement, and fun. She had never met a community of Christians who were genuinely lived out what they believed and were equally honest with their doubts, questions, and struggles. As a Spiritual Advisor at Northeastern, Lindsay welcomes conversations with students as they navigate the big questions of faith, life, and their intersection. Sojourn Collegiate Ministry exists for students to discover God’s dream for themselves and the world around them.

Rev. Megan Holding

Episcopal Spiritual Advisor

m.holding@northeastern.edu

Megan Holding is an Episcopal priest who joined Northeastern as the Acting Episcopal Spiritual Advisor in the Fall of 2017. For the past five years, she served as seminarian and then priest at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brookline, where she remains affiliated as Priest Associate.

Megan graduated from Yale Divinity School with an M.Div. and received a Certificate in Anglican Studies from Berkeley Divinity School, the Episcopal seminary affiliated with Yale. Before entering seminary, Megan practiced law, specializing in health care issues, and was involved with a wide variety of ministries at her sponsoring parish in downtown Boston. She grew up in Ohio, graduated from Amherst College and Georgetown University Law Center, and worked for a federal judge in Kentucky before moving to New England.

Megan lived in Germany as a child and has maintained strong connections there, including several summers spent working as a tour guide at one of the oldest castles on the Rhine River. In her free time, Megan likes to travel, visit museums, read, swim, bake, and do puzzles. She lives in Needham with her husband, Chris, and their two teen-aged daughters.

Minchul Jo (Luke Jo)

Youth With a Mission Spiritual Advisor

Luke.jo@ywamboston.org

Minchul Jo (Luke Jo) is from South Korea. He studied Electronic Engineering and served with YWAM Korea campus ministry as a student leader before he moved to Boston. After he studied, he had opportunities to experience different cultures and interact with international students in Boston for a year. That experience provided him to have a passion for being a friend to students and hope that they would know about Jesus and His love. He has been working with
YWAM Boston for campus ministry since 2013. He married his wife, Hanna, in 2015 and they now have two baby daughters together.

Rev. Thomas John

Mar Thoma Church Spiritual Advisor

978-618-7284

thomas.jeslin@gmail.com

Rev. Thomas John serves as the Vicar of Carmel Mar Thoma Church, Boston since May 2018 and is available to render services as Spiritual Advisor to college students. He believes that mentoring people at a young age to discover the love of God makes them torch-bearers of this love to reach out to a broken world. Reading, talking and learning about everything under the sun, singing, traveling and meeting new people and cultures are his interests.

Hailing from the southern Indian state of Kerala, he grew up in Mumbai. After his degree in Biotechnology, he committed his life to full-time ministry to serve God through the Mar Thoma Church, an ancient church which has its roots in the church established by St. Thomas in Kerala. He did his degree in Divinity at the Mar Thoma Theological Seminary under the University of Serampore. Over the last decade, he has served as Vicar in various parishes and educational institutions in Bangalore, Chennai, and Jabalpur. Connecting with people in their places of interest, counseling and personal pastoral ministry, leading camps and conferences for children, youth and parishes are experiences that he likes to involve in.

He can be reached on 978-618-7284 or thomas.jeslin@gmail.com

Kyle Kaplan

Buddhist Spiritual Advisor and Mindfulness Programs Coordinator

kkaplan@hds.harvard.edu

MEDITATION:

Kyle Kaplan, a second year Master of Divinity candidate at Harvard Divinity School,  has spent the last 8 years deepening his Buddhist practice, along with his theoretical knowledge of Buddhist teachings. Kyle has been active in several sanghas, including S.N. Goenka retreats, the Ch’an monasteries of Dharma Drum Mountain and Fo Guang Shan in Taiwan, the Dartmouth Student Mindfulness Group, and the Dartmouth Zen Practice Group, where he studied with Gendo Allyn Field of the Upper Valley Zen Center. Recently, Kyle spent the summer applying his spiritual practice as an interfaith chaplain at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. In addition to his Buddhist practice, Kyle has been exploring yoga since 2006, and enjoys channeling his spiritual and creative energies into sound compositions, computer programming, along with poetic and analytical writing.

YOGA:

Kyle Kaplan has been a practicing yogi since 2006, and a yoga teacher since 2013. He earned his 200 hour teaching certificate in vinyasa-based hatha yoga in 2016 from Liz Heffernan’s Soma Yoga Institute. Along with having practiced a diversity of yoga styles, Kyle is a dedicated meditator with a deep scholarly interest in both Eastern and Western philosophy. His class merges his extensive yoga experience with his meditative and philosophical understanding, resulting in a flow that is both vigorous and contemplative. Kyle has led yoga classes in Taiwan, where he lived for 4 years, at Peace Street Community Center, United Yoga Taipei, Dharma Drum Mountain, as well as in the U.S. for Dartmouth College’s Mindfulness Student Group.

GENERAL:

Kyle Kaplan was born and raised in Los Angeles and moved to Montreal in 2006 to study music technology at McGill University. Upon graduating in 2010, Kyle spent a brief period in New York City before moving to Taipei, Taiwan to teach English, study Mandarin, explore distant lands and contribute to East Asia’s intimate, compelling experimental music and media art scene. Kyle returned to the U.S. to complete a Master of Arts at Dartmouth College in Digital Musics in 2014, his studies culminating in a praxis-based thesis which focused on intersections between Buddhist thought and interactive, generative sound art. Concurrent to his studies and art, Kyle has participated in numerous and varied Buddhist retreats in both Theravadan and Zen lineages. Recently, Kyle spent the summer applying his spiritual practice as an interfaith chaplain at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. He enrolled as a Master of Divinity candidate at Harvard Divinity School in 2017, and is extraordinarily excited to contribute to Northeastern University’s Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service this upcoming academic year.

Fayez Khwaja

Muslim Spiritual Advisor

fayez.khwaja@gmail.com

Fayez Khwaja is a graduate of New York University, with a major in Computer Science. He was born in Cardiff, Wales UK. Fayez came to the United States with his family in 1982. He completed grade school and college in New York City. While at NYU Fayez became heavily involved with the Islamic center at NYU. That was the start of his efforts to help people understand Islam. Fayez has lived on 3 continents and 4 major US cities, New York, Boston, Dallas, and Atlanta.

Fayez has been working in the community for many years. He has regularly delivered talks to people of all ages, from youth groups to churches. As a teacher in an Islamic school for several years, teaching middle school and high school Islamic studies, he was able to connect with the students over the long term. Many of those relationships are still ongoing, years later. Over the years, he has been a full-time youth director and started up a number of mosque youth groups in some of the many places he has lived.

Fayez is looking to forge strong relationships with the students. He loves long thoughtful conversation, economics and politics, and being outdoors. He hopes to use this position to bring a greater understanding of Islam among all who are connected with Northeastern University.

Harim Lee

Youth With a Mission Spiritual Advisor

harimlee@ywamboston.org

Harim Lee has a unique background where she was born in South Korea but then moved to Indonesia, where she grew up until finishing high school. She has double majored for a degree in English literature and Malaysian-Indonesian language. She first came to Boston in 2015 as a volunteer staff at YWAM Boston and ever since then, she has been serving as staff. She has a heart for college students – to deliver what God’s love is like and to give students hope that they are not alone. She loves to listen and socialize with new people. Because of her unique background, she tends to make friends quickly and is able to relate to many things; starting from a cultural difference to telling which restaurants have great foods. She enjoys going out and looking at nature, trying out new foods, movies and taking photos.

Christine McEvoy

Intervarsity Multi-Ethnic Christian Fellowship Spiritual Advisor

christine.mcevoy@intervarsity.org

Christine, originally from Maryland, has lived in Boston since 2010 and absolutely loves it. After working at a local church for several years, Christine made the shift to college-ministry with InterVarsity in 2016.  She is passionate about college students learning the good news of Jesus and how it can transform all of life. Christine earned a bachelor’s degree in Youth Ministry from the University of Valley Forge and a master’s degree in Theology from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Along with Boston, Christine loves practical theology, winter, reading, and tea.

Micah Norman-Pace

Humanist Spiritual Advisor

mspace@bu.edu

Micah is a humanist who is interested in building communities that are pursuing goodness in a secular way. A graduate of Boston University School of Theology with a Master of Divinity, Micah’s work focuses on how religious, secular, and spiritual spaces include or exclude those who are truly other. He also has interests in developing post-Evangelical Christian resources that seek to change patterns or postures of belief rather than only content and theology. Micah is an organizer for CEDAR (Communities Engaging with Difference and Religion) and has organized conferences that explore ways of living with difference that place disagreement at the center rather than at the margins. Micah also works for Convergence on Campus, where he works to increase support and awareness for religious, secular, and spiritual identities on college campuses. Micah is passionate about conflict and dialogue, holding a certificate from the BTI in Religion and Conflict Transformation, and is a certified mediator for courts in the state of Massachusetts.

Rabbi Mendy Posner

Chabad Spiritual Advisor

rabbimendy@chabadneu.com

Mendy moved back to his hometown of Boston in 2014 to start a branch of Chabad near Northeastern. He received Rabbinical ordination in 2011 at the Rabbinical Institute of New England, where he also served as a spiritual mentor for students for three years. He previously served as the director of a summer educational program in Mequon, Wisconsin, and has worked at other youth programs in Montreal and Toronto. Mendy taught at Released Time, a Jewish educational program for public school children in the New York area, and has coordinated and led Jewish Holiday services in correctional facilities in Tampa, Florida and Morgantown, West Virginia. Mendy married his wife Mussy in 2013 and they now have a baby daughter.

Mussy Posner

Chabad Spiritual Advisor

mfuterfas@gmail.com

Mussy grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and recently moved with her family to Boston to start a branch of Chabad near Northeastern. Mussy studied at Excelsior College, receiving a BS in Special Education. She has taught at Hebrew schools in Commack and Westchester, New York and Roslyn, New Jersey, and has directed others in Westchester, New York and Bayside, Queens. Mussy managed an all-girls orphanage in Ukraine, where her responsibilities included mentoring and tutoring the girls, seeing to their basic living needs, and directing their social programs and outings.

Sarbpreet Singh

Sikh Spiritual Advisor

sarbpreet@comcast.net

Sarbpreet Singh is a playwright, commentator and poet, who has been writing while pursuing a career in technology for several years. His commentary has appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition, The Boston Herald, The Providence Journal, The Milwaukee Journal and several other newspapers and magazines. He writes a weekly column for the popular culture magazine, Sikhchic.com. He is the founder and director of the Gurmat Sangeet Project, a non-profit dedicated to the preservation of traditional Sikh music and serves on the boards of various non-profits focused on service and social justice. He is very active in Boston Interfaith circles and was recognized for his interfaith work by the Boston Globe.

Majid Sabbagh

Shi'a Spiritual Life Co- Coordinator

sabbagh.m@husky.neu.edu

Majid is a computer engineering Ph.D. candidate at Northeastern University. He joined the Center for Spirituality, Dialogue, and Service (CSDS) in Fall 2019 as the Shi’a Muslim Spiritual Life Coordinator. His goal is to help Shi’a Muslims integrate into the Northeastern’s diverse community and also facilitate the intrafaith and interfaith program planning and execution; toward unlocking everybody’s potentials and contributions to the society.

Father Demetrios Tonias, Ph.D.

Greek Orthodox Spiritual Advisor

617.731.6633

frtonias@gmail.com

Fr. Demetri is Dean of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral of New England. He holds an MDiv and ThM from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and a Ph.D. from Boston College. Prior to entering seminary, Fr. Tonias was a professional engineer and is the author of several works on civil engineering, including an award-winning textbook on bridge engineering. In 1996, Fr. Tonias left his career as a professional engineer to pursue ordination in the Greek Orthodox Church. His doctoral research at Boston College focused on the Christian and Jewish relationship in the Greek speaking East from the first century to the present. Fr. Tonias’ most recent publication is Abraham in the Works of John Chrysostom (Fortress Press, 2014). As Ecumenical Officer for the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston, Fr. Tonias has helped organize a series of events in which the Greek Orthodox and Jewish communities have met to explore a variety of theological and pastoral issues. He also serves on the Board of the Massachusetts Council of Churches and is president of the Boston Ministers’ Club, the oldest clergy association in the United States.

Todd Williams

Cru Agape Spiritual Advisor

todd.williams@cru.org

Todd Williams studied Communication, Religious Studies, and Physics at Western Kentucky University. He earned his Master of Divinity in Urban Ministry at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and has served with CRU/Agape in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood since 1999. His college experience provided a transformative encounter with God, through Jesus, in the context of community. He loves helping students, from every background, finds a safe place to belong, dialogue, serves, and engage others on their spiritual journey.

Brother Jason Zink

Catholic Spiritual Advisor and Director of The Catholic Center

nucatholic@gmail.com

Br. Jason is the Director of Northeastern’s Catholic Center, which he joined in the Spring of 2016. During his tenure, he has worked to include students from other area campuses in the programs of the Catholic Center through an initiative of the Archdiocese of Boston called Hope for Undergraduates in Boston (HUB). He joined the Brotherhood of Hope in 1997 and, upon completion of his training, served in various campus ministry positions at the likes of Boston University and Florida State University. In 2003, Br. Jason received his MA in Ministry from St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts, and then joined the pastoral staff of Boston University’s Catholic Center.  After 3 years at Boston University, he served for 10 years at his alma mater, Florida State and is now very happy to be serving at Northeastern University. Go Huskies!