Class of 2018-2019

EMMAUS FELLOWS

Emmaus Fellows are second-year fellows based in the greater Boston area. This cohort is focused on capacity building. Fellows either continue work in their first year site placements, building on the initiatives started and relationships built in year one, or they pursue a new site placement, which enables them to broaden their skill set. Emmaus Fellows work at non-profit organizations and churches, focused on social and structural change. In addition to site work, Emmaus Fellows serve in a programmatic leadership role with Life Together and live in intentional community.

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MEREDITH NOEL QIAN MARGARET CLARK

I am a queer Asian American adoptee born in China and raised in NJ. I first arrived to the Boston area four years ago when I started at Wellesley College, where I graduated in 2017 as psychology major and education studies minor. I am excited to return for a second year with Life Together and I Have A Future, where I am a youth organizer in Dorchester. Prior to this, I worked with various nonprofits related to young people, the LGBTQ community, and K-12 education research. I am particularly interested in racial justice and the intersection of race, gender, sexuality, immigration, class, and education.

When I’m not organizing, you can find me collecting watches, updating my queer style Instagram (@dapperteddybear), and befriending every dog I meet. I also love live theater, cliche pop music, and building community.


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HANNAH FIELD

Hi everyone! My name is Hannah, and I’m excited to be a second year fellow. I grew up in Western North Carolina and went to college at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC, studying sociology and social work. I stumbled upon Raleigh Episcopal Campus Ministry, which was this wonderful space very focused on social justice and intentional community building. It was through amazing mentorship and friendship there that I learned about Life Together.

I work at ProGente Connections, a nonprofit startup of churches partnering with Brazilian immigrants to do advocacy, teach ESOL, and provide classes in Portuguese as a heritage language. As a first year fellow I fell in love with living in intentional community, and was thrilled at the idea of helping build another beautiful, radical home where we get to talk about and try to live out the values we want to see in the world. Through a lot of collaboration, trust building, and amplifying the voices and needs of first year fellows, in my second year I am excited help plant seeds that will shape Life Together into the more racially and economically just organization that it is called to be.

I deeply love to cook (let’s make food together or let me make food for you!) I also enjoy running, reading, listening to podcasts, and watching Parks and Rec for the thousandth time. I love a good meme but often find myself behind on the internet, so I would love for you to share your favorites!


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MELEE LEE

Hey y'all, this is Melee! I grew up in a small city right here in Massachusetts- with one parent covered in tattoos and another who raised my brother and I to learn that faith is not about church as an institution, but about your personal relationship with God and spirituality. Throughout my many twists and turns in life I have carried this with me and have landed at Life Together.

As a former biology student, stage manager, and constant "Parent-friend" I am excited to take the skills I've collected and capacity I have grown to hold, as well as the things I have gained from LT, and use them to continue to build community with my cohort and affect meaningful, actionable change. This past LT year was an incredibly rich full-scale journey and it imbued me with a wellspring of energy that I am excited to tap into for whatever may come.

Come talk to me about hipster socks, brownness, queerness, democratizing science, what worship music sounds like in current times, why education is an important tool for change (and why Education as an institution needs to change), the work I have done with nonprofits & my feels about the nonprofit industrial complex, frying eggs at 2am, and memes


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BLAKE SHETLER

I was born and raised in Goshen, Indiana, the youngest of four. Through my Mennonite upbringing, I have always believed that faith without meaningful action is incomplete, and I see service, justice, and social work as a practical way of living out faith. In May, I graduated from Goshen College with degrees in social work and music with piano as my primary instrument. In studying piano I have found peace of mind, but I envision using my other degree to work and live out my faith.

Nearing the end of my first year, I felt that much was unfinished during my time with Life Together as well as Nuevo Amanecer. This year I look forward to deepening relationships at my site, within Life Together, and digging into intentional community once more.


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JOCELIN THOMAS

Hi everyone! My name is Jocelin, and I hail from a little town in northwest Pennsylvania called Warren. I went to the University at Buffalo and consider Buffalo a second home (come talk to me about finding quality chicken wings in this area). My background is accounting and I worked in public accounting for a couple years. Though that job met many societal and familial career expectations, I was deeply unhappy. I wanted a way to hit pause and discern my vocational calling. What I found in my first year of Life Together was that beyond my vocational questions, I felt a hunger for spiritual exploration and reconnection. This year, I’m eager to cultivate discipline for my spiritual practices, keep living in intentional community, and continue exploring my vocational calling.

In my spare time, I enjoy discovering new music, writing poetry (find it on Instagram @flirtwithmysoul) making friends, consuming delicious food and beer, and finding a rhythm wherever I go.


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MEREDITH WADE

Hey! My name is Mer, and I am thrilled to be continuing with Life Together for a second year. A transplant to the East Coast, I called the palm trees and concrete jungle of Los Angeles home before moving with my family to the redrock metropolis of Salt Lake City.

For the past four years, I had the gift of living and learning alongside brilliant, creative, driven peers at Wellesley College. Now, I am excited to take the curiosity and confidence I cultivated there into "the real world." I may not be sure about my spiritual beliefs, but I feel called to create beloved community, work towards justice, and learn from Christ as a teacher of radical love.

Singing is my favorite form of worship, I express love for people through food (especially baked goods), and if I could do any job in the world, I would curate movie soundtracks. I love sharing my passion for history through multimedia zines, podcasts, and creative writing. In my continued journey with Life Together, I hold Indigenous activist Lilla Watson's words close to heart: “If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. If you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”


MICAH FELLOWS

Micah Fellows are first-year fellows based in the greater Boston area. This cohort is focused on training leaders who want to pursue a career in ministry or non-profit management. Micah Fellows work at non-profit organizations and churches, focused on social and structural change. During their year with Life Together, Micah Fellows: work for social justice, grow as leaders, and live in community with other fellows. In addition to working four days a week, these fellows will participate in about eight hours a week of leadership training and spiritual reflection, and they live in community with one another.

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ERICA BEAVERS

Hi! My name is Erica Beavers and I am looking forward to an engaging year of challenging dialogue, deepened connectedness, and tons of confectionary treats! I am from East Hartford, Connecticut, but I have fallen in love with Massachusetts’s North Shore area and call it home.

As a recent graduate from Gordon College, I have used my degree in Social Work to engage in difficult conversations and stand in the face of controversy. In addition to a slew of extra-curricular activities, my experience at Gordon was filled with advocacy for LGBTQIA+ rights for students, cultivating a sense of unity among diversity within the student body, sexual assault awareness work, and a love for fostering community through service. I hope to utilize the skills, tools, knowledge, and strengths that I have gained to further spread God’s healing love and unending compassion toward others.

I have spent my summer working at Beverly Bootstraps, a non-profit in the North Shore area. As the Youth Programs and Adult Education Coordinator, I have learned a lot not only about social justice from an educational standpoint, but also through the lens of someone with the privilege of receiving a college education. I hope that with my time in Life Together I can continue to inspire and encourage others to pursue their dreams.

My hobbies include baking, watercolor art, playing the piano, and modern calligraphy. Talk to me about Strengths and Enneagram types, Dutch Blitz, the best lasagna you’ve ever had, and your favorite cereal!


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COLE FISCUS

I’m a proud Colorado native who’s never been to the East coast before so I’m excited to do so in a big way with Life Together. Two years ago I graduated with a degree in Sport Management from Gonzaga University where I spent a lot of my time participating in and eventually leading the largest mentoring program on campus, week-long service immersion trips, and various spiritual retreats. That is, when I wasn’t busy winning intramural championship t-shirts.

After college I spent one year living near the city of Guayaquil, Ecuador in a highly impoverished area with the primary mission of accompanying and learning from my Ecuadorian friends, co-workers, and neighbors. I worked in a sanitarium for people with Hansen’s disease called Damien House, helped to start a local after-school program, and also led intensive retreats for visiting American high school and college students. All of this has led me to Boston where I hope to continue to practice forming true community, listening to the stories of the people I encounter, and looking for God in the biggest and the smallest of things.

I’m a hard-core introvert who enjoys things like reading, hiking, and deep one-on-one conversations, but you can also catch me in the gym, on the basketball court, or singing a mean cover of Alicia Keys.


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Karen Lew

My name is Karen and I recently graduated from Wellesley College. I majored in Economics but also heavily branched out to philosophy and math. I am a 2nd-generation Korean-American from Los Angeles who grew up within different United Methodist Churches. My upbringing within churches and time at Wellesley has solidified my passion in all things related to theology, social justice, socioeconomics, intersectional feminism, and the accessibility of higher education. In particular, I am interested in how theology, spirituality, and systemic socioeconomic issues seep into everyday whims and banalities. I am excited to learn more about long-term social justice advocacy and the power of healing from wholesome theologies and life philosophies. In my free time, I enjoy journaling, drinking coffee, discussing the politics of first-impressions and authenticity, discovering new modern Korean art, and listening to music loud enough to drown out some senses like that of a sensory-deprivation tank experience.


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EVA MARIA ORTEZ

Hello everyone! My name is Eva Maria Ortez and I am originally from Honduras, Central America and I was raised in Miami, FL. I recently graduated from Sewanee: The University of the South in Tennessee with a BA in International and Global Studies, and French. I have been a part of the Episcopal Church for as long as I can remember and it has impacted my life in beautiful ways. I am very passionate about the Episcopal Church, because I found a home in it, a place that welcomed all of me despite what the world told me was "not normal". As a brown, immigrant, queer woman feeling welcomed and loved by the church has been life changing. I am looking forward for this upcoming year as a Life Together Fellow because it perfectly connects my passions for the Episcopal Church and social need and awareness. I hope to connect my life experiences and my desire of change in my next year to continue spreading God's message and love throughout my new community.

Some of my favorite things are a warm cafecito in the morning, singing and spending time with my loved ones!


 

JIE XI WU

High heels gyrating to desires both sacred and profane, Prince Rogers Nelson opens the song 'I Would Die 4 U' with the lyric, "I'm not a woman. I'm not a man. I am something that you'll never understand."

Likewise, my name is Jie Xi Wu, 吴杰西. My gender pronouns are 'they/them' or 'he/his." Either set of gender pronouns works beautifully.

In May 2018, I received my B.A. in Philosophy. During my degree, I implemented Safer Space Policy meetings for a workplace community co-op. I initiated challenging conversations about fostering ethical workplace conduct in accordance with community values. In addition, I drafted, edited, and distributed grants that earned $10,000 for Massachusetts non-profits. These grants supported families affected by the U.S. prison industrial complex. From these formative experiences, I will utilize the Life Together fellowship to gain insight on non-profit operations that align with faith-based community values.

Intimate as faith, Prince's lyrical cry perches on my heart's tempo: "I'm not a human / I am a dove / I'm your conscious / I am love / All I really need is to know that / You believe."


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PHOEBE WHITWELL

I grew up in the Hudson Valley of New York and eastern North Carolina consecutively, though I’ve happily called Boston home for the past seven years. Most recently, I worked as a data specialist for Generations Incorporated, a local literacy organization which trains experienced community volunteers to help young readers grow. Most of our older adult reading coaches have lived in Boston their whole lives, and I had a lot of fun working with them and developing a deeper sense of connection to the city along the way.

Life Together is a departure for me both from my work with Generations Incorporated and from my education as a civil engineer. I am excited to be part of the cohort this year, however, and hope to explore and honor as best I can the call towards radical faith-based justice work. Outside of all that, I am more or less a basic white girl in that I like coffee, reality television, hiking, and pop music. I have strong opinions about the best ice cream in the Boston area (Toscanini’s!) and am always willing to forgo sleep in favor of having an adventure.


ESPERANZA TEACHING FELLOWS

The Esperanza Teaching Fellowship is a partnership between Life Together and Esperanza Academy, located in Lawrence, MA. Esperanza Academy is a tuition-free, independent day school in the Episcopal tradition for low income girls in grades 5-8. The EA Teaching Fellows all teach classes, work, and coach in the extended day program of the school. This cohort is focused on training teachers and leaders who want to work for change through the education system. No pervious teaching experience is required. In addition to working as full-time teachers, EA Teaching Fellows join the Boston fellows for monthly leadership trainings, and they live together in intentional community.

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DOUGLAS KENNEDY

Wanderer, Wordsmith, Storyteller, Dreamer: Those are a few of the words that I use to describe myself. Like most paths I’ve taken, the trail to Life Together and Esperanza Academy has been a wandering one, but looking back from there to here, it doesn’t seem to meander at all.

After growing up in Mobile, Alabama, I attended Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, where I studied art history and business. Drawn to the intersection of those two disciplines, I helped aspiring entrepreneurs open businesses before I leapt full-time into the non-profit world. After a few years of developing audiences, communicating about missions and visions, and even bringing a Triceratops skull through the back door of a museum (I have photo evidence), I decided to try an experiment: working in the corporate world of marketing, branding, and design. The lessons were many, but I’m thrilled to be part of a community where I’ll have the opportunity to do work that calls to my soul and allows me to ask soaring questions about what it means to be human. As the poet Mary Oliver wrote in Upstream, “…may I be the tiniest nail in the house of the universe, tiny but useful.”

A few of my favorite things: On Being with Krista Tippett, Mountain Ranges, Yoga, Piles of books, Hiking, and Dancing like no one is watching


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RACHEL PERRY (second year fellow)

Hi! My name is Rachel and I'm from Byfield, Massachusetts. I graduated in 2017 from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, with high honors and Phi Beta Kappa. I studied Psychology and Spanish with minors in Human Development and Leadership Studies.

During my first year as a teaching fellow at Esperanza Academy, I taught fifth grade math, science, history and reading and sixth and seventh grade science. I felt immensely grateful that I was able to work with and get to know the girls that attend Esperanza, and that I woke up every morning excited to go to work. The time I spent with my students only solidified my desire to dedicate my life to working in education, and I can't wait to continue teaching and learning during my second year.


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Alexandra Weisse (Sasha Oliveira)

Hello all!  My given name is Alexandra but I go by Sasha. I was born and raised in Schenectady, New York (upstate). I lived in Somerville for a couple years while I studied at Harvard Divinity School, and earned my Masters of Theological Studies there.  I decided to study religion because I wanted to learn the best stories in the world, the ones that give us purpose and both empower and comfort us.  Stories, storytelling, and the power the art of stories contains within it is what motivates nearly everything I do.

Last year I was a Micah Fellow for Life Together working at The Crossing, a church in downtown Boston, and this year I’ll be teaching humanities at Esperanza Academy in Lawrence. I’m always down to talk books, gaming, and other artforms in the realm of speculative fiction, especially regarding POC and Queer representation in these fictions. My favorite genres are science fiction, magic realism, and fantasy. I also do my best to remain active and enjoy climbing and dancing.

While most of my study of religion has been academic, I personally identify as a Gnostic pagan, which basically means I like to burn incense and ritually call for the fall of capitalism. It’s hard work for a witch when “Imperial Wizards” are on the march.