Workshop Leader Bios

Katie Gordon is the Program Manager of the Kaufman Interfaith Institute and Coordinator for Campus Interfaith Resources within the Division of Inclusion & Equity at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. With a bachelor’s degree in Political Science & Religious Studies from Alma College and a Master of Arts in Interfaith Action from Claremont Lincoln University, Katie bridges her academic interest in interreligious affairs to the practical work of promoting interfaith dialogue and cooperation. As an alumna of the Interfaith Youth Core and member of their Speakers Bureau, Katie often speaks on campuses about how interfaith connects to civic engagement, social change, media, intersectionality, non-religious communities, and the Millennial generation. With a social justice framework applied to her interfaith engagement work, her goal is to promote inclusive and welcoming communities where all can build relationships across difference and thrive from diversity.

Michael J. Iafrate is a doctoral candidate in theology at the University of St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto. A West Virginia native, he currently serves as co-coordinator of the Catholic Committee of Appalachia and was the lead author of the organization’s “people’s pastoral,” The Telling Takes Us Home: Taking Our Place in the Stories that Shape Us. He has contributed to the National Catholic Reporter and Religion Dispatches, various journals, and the collections Secular Music and Sacred Theology (2013) and Music, Theology, and Justice (2017). Prior to his doctoral work, he worked in campus ministry in West Virginia. A singer-songwriter, his most recent album, Christian Burial, was released in spring 2017.

Rev. J. Cody Nielsen is Executive Director of the Wesley Foundation United Methodist Campus Ministry at the University of Minnesota and the Founder and Executive Director of Convergence. Cody previously served as Expert in Residence for Religious, Secular, and Spiritual Initiatives at NASPA and is former President of the National Campus Ministry Association. Cody’s passion is integration of higher education with religious, secular, and spiritual identity diversity work. He is pursuing a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration at Iowa State University and holds Master’s degrees in Mental Health Counseling from the University of Northern Iowa and Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. Cody frequently blogs and offers consultation for universities regarding strategic thinking around religious, secular, and spiritual identity. His 2013-2015 study Multifaith in the Public University, a Louisville Foundation funded initiative, explores over 25 public and private universities in the United States and Canada regarding their policies, practices, and initiatives to support campus climates.

Jasmine Pulce is Assistant Director of Undergraduate Student Success in the Center for Multicultural Excellence at the University of Denver. A native of Kentucky, Jasmine comes to DU most recently from Dallas, Texas. She earned her BS in Kinesiology at the University of Kentucky, and her M Ed in Higher Education at the University of North Texas. Jasmine works with DU undergraduate student affinity groups to strengthen and expand leadership and programming, coordinate planning for Heritage and History Months and LGBTIQ programs, and assist with other undergraduate success initiatives.

Jason Whitehead is the Director of Consultation and Formation at Iliff School of Theology. He has served in pastoral roles for congregations in South Carolina, Virginia, and Colorado. Jason is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA), and Senior Adjunct Professor of Pastoral Care at Iliff. He is the author of Redeeming Fear: A Constructive Theology for Living into Hope, as well as articles related to pastoral theology, persons with mental illness, and most recently soulfulness.

Ben Wideman is an ordained Mennonite minister and campus pastor for 3rd Way Collective, a unique multi-faith campus ministry at Penn State University focused on the intersection of peace, justice, and faith. Ben enjoys camping and hiking with his family and exploring new minor league ballparks and microbreweries whenever he travels.

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