Seeking Wisdom Series

Martina G. RamirezTransgender and Being a Person of Faith
– Martina G. Ramirez, PhD

Martina G. Ramirez, PhD is Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence and Professor of Biology at Loyola Marymount University (LMU). Her areas of research are conservation biology, population genetics and evolutionary biology of spiders. Prior to LMU, Dr. Ramirez was a professor at Pomona College, CA (1991-1993); Bucknell University, PA (1993-1996); Denison University, OH (1996-1998); and East Stroudsburg University, PA (1998-1999). Dr. Ramirez received the Rudinica Award for Student-Faculty Research from LMU’s Seaver College of Science and Engineering (2012); a Biology Mentor Award from the Council on Undergraduate Research (2013); and an LGBTQ+ Mentor Award from LMU’s LGBT Student Services Office (2016).

Ajay AbrahamOn Diversity and Identity
– Ajay T. Abraham, PhD

Ajay T. Abraham, PhD earned a PhD in Marketing and has worked for multiple organizations, from Microsoft to Wipro, at the axis of marketing and technology.  With an avid interest in morality and the market place, Abraham engages ideas of diversity and identity in a way that draws the viewer in, asking each of us to think about the forces that influence our everyday experience.

Jeffrey PhilpottStories Really Do Bring the World Together
– Jeffrey S. Philpott, PhD

Jeffrey S. Philpott, PhD earned a PhD in Rhetorical Theory and Criticism. His specialties include how public communication shapes our individual and shared understanding of the world and ourselves. He teaches in the areas of Rhetorical Reasoning, Advocacy and Social Change, the Dynamics of Public Speaking and more. Jeffrey also maintains a small consulting practice that assists professionals with public speaking in today’s world.

Juan Carlos ReyesWalking With Insight in Our Own Shoes
– Juan Carlos Reyes, MFA

Juan Carlos Reyes, MFA is an Assistant Professor teaching Creative Writing. Juan was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador. He’s the product of a math degree, though only words hold his attention anymore. His book, A Summer’s Lynching, won the Quarterly West 2016 novella prize, and his chapbook, Elements of a Bystander, won the 2016 Arcadia Press Chapbook Prize. His stories, poems and essays have appeared in Ascentos Review, KGB Lit, and Hawai’i Review, among others.

Martina G. RamirezSpiders, Pollution and You
– Martina G. Ramirez, PhD

Martina G. Ramirez, PhD is Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence and Professor of Biology at Loyola Marymount University (LMU). Her areas of research are conservation biology, population genetics and evolutionary biology of spiders. Prior to LMU, Dr. Ramirez was a professor at Pomona College, CA (1991-1993); Bucknell University, PA (1993-1996); Denison University, OH (1996-1998); and East Stroudsburg University, PA (1998-1999). Dr. Ramirez received the Rudinica Award for Student-Faculty Research from LMU’s Seaver College of Science and Engineering (2012); a Biology Mentor Award from the Council on Undergraduate Research (2013); and an LGBTQ+ Mentor Award from LMU’s LGBT Student Services Office (2016).

Jodi O'BrienGender and the Bigger God
– Jodi O’Brien, PhD

Jodi O’Brien, PhD is a professor whose research and teaching interests include gender, sexuality, religion, social inequalities, and social theory.  Jodi is widely published (Encyclopedia of Gender and Society, Sociological Perspectives, Interdisciplinary Readings on Sex and Sexuality, among others), and she has presented at professional meetings in the USA, Canada, U.K., Poland, Austria, and Spain. Jodi currently serves on several advisory and editorial boards including Making Space for Queer Identifying Religious Youth and the Earl Babbie Research Center. She has consulted on manuscript reviews and editorial works for Sage Publications, Routledge, New York University Press, Mayfield, Roxbury, University of Washington Press, and Rutgers University Press.

Jasmine Mahmoud, PhDAssumptions of a Handshake
– Jasmine Mahmoud, PhD

Jasmine Mahmoud, PhD is an assistant professor whose research and teaching interests include artistic practices, race, cultural policy, and urbanism. An urban ethnographer, her work centers upon theater and performance studies, political economy, inclusive neighborhood processes and more.  Jasmine has published articles and reviews in Modern DramaPerformance Research, TDR: The Drama Review, and Women & Performance. She also curated Black Lives, Black Arts (St. Louis) and Spectacular Labor (Chicago). An assistant editor of the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies, Jasmine also co-founded The Arts Politic; finally, from 2014 to 2016, she served as an Arts Corps board member.

Abhayjett Singh Sachal & Sukhmeet Sungh SachalBreak the Divide
– Abhayjett Singh Sachal & Sukhmeet Sungh Sachal

Abhayjett Singh Sachal & Sukhmeet Sungh Sachal  In July 2016, Abhayjeet Singh Sachal traveled to the Arctic through the Students on Ice Foundation.  His brother, Sukhmeet Singh Sachal, spent six months in 2017 living with Inuvik, NWT, 300 km above the Artic Circle.  Their experiences galvanized a vision for walking with youth in Northern communities, which responded to the mental health, social stigmatization, and rates of suicide that impact these new friends.  They created Break The Divide – a network committed to connecting students and creating change in their lives and their communities.  These brothers bring a message that is shaped by their values as members of the Sikh community, and that is a gift to those who have an opportunity to engage with them.

Jasen FrelotWhat is a Child
– Jasen Frelot

Jasen Frelot is the founder and director of Kids & Race. Jasen is a community organizer, father, early childhood educator, and social justice advocate based in Seattle. Over the past three years, he has made Kids & Race a full time job. Having been featured in Parent Map Magazine and on NPR’s Seattle affiliate KUOW, the program has served over 2000 people to date, and rising every month. His various actions around race and social justice have made front page news in Seattle and have been featured on the local news on numerous occasions. He has 15 years of experience working with children in various capacities.

Wandy GregoryThe Facts about Gaming
– Wanda Gregory, PhD

Wanda Gregory, PhD teaches courses in media studies and interactive media design. She was founding director of the Center for Serious Play and has worked extensively in the media industry for such companies as Corbis Corporation, Sierra Online, Wizards of the Coast, Hasbro, Xbox Live, along with several game start ups. Dr. Gregory has a M.B.A. from the University of Washington Foster School of Business, a M.A. in Communications from the University of Washington and a PhD from University College Dublin where her research was situated at the intersection of games studies, education, and medical informatics. She has served as an advisor and on the board of trustees for organizations including: Cornish School of the Arts, On the Boards, Powerful Voices and Reel Girls. She is a formative advisor for several technology and educational startups.

Michael TriceWhat are you Seeking?
– Michael Reid Trice, PhD

Michael Reid Trice, PhD is a dad, husband, friend and colleague.  He spends as much time as he can with his family. He has published and presented nationally and internationally in the field of religion for a good long while.  He serves on numerous boards, is currently Secretary of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, and is an Associate Professor in the glorious Pacific Northwest.

Ray WilliamsLessons from a Swinomish Elder
– Elder Ray Williams

Elder Ray Williams carries the name – Squi qui – which follows from mother’s mother, and dates back through his Coast Salish bloodline into time immemorial. He also carries the Sa’atil name, from his father’s father and covers him in his travels, also Coast Salish. Ray considers it his good fortune that his elders continue to teach, advise and instruct him in the ways of his culture and ceremonial lifeways, and also support his efforts to serve as a bridge toward healing amongst all Peoples. Ray has served as a board member of The Seventh Generation Fund, which is dedicated to promoting and maintaining the uniqueness of Native peoples and the sovereignty of tribal Nations. His work in this area was recognized through an International Peace Award from Pax Christi in 1993. A Swinomish elder of the Coastal Salish, Ray spent years serving as a bridge between people of seemingly disparate spiritual paths.  He served on the Swinomish Tribal Council and is an active member of the traditional longhouse ceremonies. Ray has participated in many ceremonies and conferences throughout the US and Canada, including Ancient Wisdom Rising 2012, and the Wisdom of the Elders Storytelling Festivals.

Dr Khalid ShabazzValues that Shape our Shared Future
–  Lt. Col. Khallid Shabazz, PhD

Chaplain Colonel Khalid Shabazz, PhD is the United States Army’s first division level Muslim chaplain in May, 2017. Shabbaz is one of only five Muslim chaplains in the U.S. Army. Shabazz brings 17 years of experience working with military adult learners that includes active duty soldiers, their spouses and family, and Department of Defense civilians, and more. Shabazz shares his inspiring and moving story of personal formation, and he asks us to seek the same deep awareness from others who we also require from ourselves.

Kelly WadsworthReligious Identity in a Post Truth World
– Rev. Dr. Kelly Wadsworth PhD

Rev. Kelly Wadsworth, PhD is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church and an engaging writer, speaker, and preacher. Her ministry has included a variety of contexts including parish ministry, hospital spiritual care, and military Chaplaincy. She serves on the Executive Board for Presbyterian Council for Chaplains and Military Personnel (PCCMP) and has been a guest lecturer at Seattle University, Bastyr University, and the University of Washington. Her work has focused on religious encounter, spiritual growth, phenomenology and existentialism, the intersection of psychology and theology, plus the role of the church in the Pacific Northwest. Rev. Kelly is the organizing pastor for the West Seattle Contemplative Church in Seattle, WA.

Daniel WeinerThe Transformative Power of Music
– Rabbi Daniel Weiner

Rabbi Daniel Weiner is a Senior Rabbi at Temple De Hirsch Sinai, with two campuses and over 4,000 members.  Rabbi Weiner believes passionately in building Judaism for the 21st century and in healing the world through social justice. His innovations include producing “rabcasts” on video, bringing services to travelers and shut-ins on the Internet and leading a rock band in popular Rock Shabbat services. He tweets @rocknrabbidanny.  Rabbi Weiner and his team won the Religion Action Center’s Fain Award for their campaign on gun responsibility.  His efforts with other clergy contributed  to the founding of the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, which drafted and helped pass Washington State Initiative 594 in 2014.  Rabbi Weiner’s work on implementation of the law and about gun responsibility continues.