Ana Hristic, MSW, MA


Program Design Team 

Ana holds an MA degree in Psychology from Boston College, and an MSW degree from Portland State University.

As the training coordinator for Trauma Informed Oregon, Ana specializes in providing programming and consultation to organizations and providers on topics related to implementing trauma informed care. Ana has years of direct service experience working with children, teens, and families in special education, acute residential care, therapeutic wilderness camps, foster care & adoption, and outpatient behavioral health. Most recently, as the Behavioral Health Quality Improvement Coordinator for Clackamas County Health Centers, Ana worked on introducing and implementing Trauma Informed Care across several programs.

With a background in Social Psychology and Social Work, and a personal interest in contemplative practice, Ana enjoys facilitating dialogue that promotes collaboration and healing, while also confronts the impacts of systemic oppression, burnout and secondary stress.

Brooke D. Lavelle, PhD


Co-Founder and President

Brooke D. Lavelle is the Co-Founder and President of the Courage of Care Coalition. Brooke holds a PhD in Religious Studies from Emory University, an MA in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism from Columbia University and a BA in Religion and Psychology from Barnard College. Her academic work focuses on the diversity of contemplative models for cultivating compassion and mindfulness, as well as the cultural contexts that shape the transmission, reception, and secularization of Buddhist contemplative practices in America.

Brooke was the Senior Education Consultant to Mind & Life's Ethics, Education, and Human Development Initiative and a co-developer of the Call to Care program for teachers and students. She is also trained in Cognitively-Based Compassion Training (CBCT), Compassionate Mind Training (CMT), and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), and has taught and adapted these programs in a variety of educational and clinical settings.

Her diverse experience in delivering contemplative programs in various social service contexts led her to deepen her understanding of the structural and systemic contributors or inhibitors to realizing compassion and care. Brooke’s work now focuses on the intersection between contemplative practice and social justice.

Brooke founded a compassion and equity learning community in the Bay Area and is a member of the Initiative for Contemplation, Equity and Action (ICEA). She serves on the Board of the Foundation for Active Compassion and also as a consultant to the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University and the Greater Good Science Center (GGSC) at UC Berkeley. Brooke now resides in the Bay Area and travels regularly to lead compassion-focused workshops and retreats at home and abroad.

Chrissy Colon Bradt, MSEd

Program Design Team

Chrissy is passionate about teaching and learning and interested in guiding students in developing a critical social analysis. Through an exploration of identity, history, race and ethnicity, Chrissy has spent the last ten years supporting middle school students in exploring our social world, understanding the ways in which race and ethnicity influence American society and developing tools for thinking critically about American history and our current reality. Recently, Chrissy has worked to infuse this critical social analysis with tools to build courage, and resilience and to foster love for self and others.

Chrissy holds a B.A in Comparative Ethnic Studies from Barnard College. While at Barnard, she served as research assistant on the NYC Young Children’s Project interviewing young children who were directly exposed to the September 11th attacks in NYC. Chrissy went on to receive her MS.Ed. degree in Special Education and Behavior Disorders from Hunter College. She has served both independent and charter schools as an educator, diversity coordinator, and advocate, and has helped establish and develop curriculum for students of color. Chrissy also has experience developing middle school ethnic studies curricula that supports students in developing a critical social analysis.  

While supporting students in a deep exploration of ethnic and racial identity development, Chrissy sought out methods for bolstering students’ resilience and courage to engage with such issues. Chrissy became the lead contributor to the Call to Care Program, part of the Ethics, Education and Human Development initiative at the Mind and Life Institute.  Chrissy continues to deepen her understanding of the intersection between contemplative practice and social transformation. Through her work at Courage of Care she explores ways to empower people and especially members of historically marginalized groups to envision and realize compassionate liberated communities.

Wendy Hasenkamp, PhD


Board of Directors

Wendy currently serves as Science Director at the Mind & Life Institute. Wendy holds a PhD in Neuroscience from Emory University, where her graduate and early postdoctoral training centered around understanding the pathology of schizophrenia, utilizing techniques ranging from single-cell gene expression to psychophysiology, and from cognitive testing to neuroimaging. More recently, growing out of her personal interest in contemplative practice, she used brain imaging to investigate the neural correlates of dynamic cognitive states that occur during shamatha-style meditation. In her time at Emory, Wendy was central in the development of the Emory Collaborative for Contemplative Studies, organizing an interdisciplinary seminar focused on exploring the application of contemplative practices in our modern society. She also has been involved in developing neuroscience curriculum and teaching Tibetan monastics in India through the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative since 2009; she has taught summer sessions in Dharamsala for two years and is co-author and editor of several neuroscience textbooks developed through this program. She is also the editor of the forthcoming book on the 2013 Mind and Life dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Drepung Monastery in Mundgod, India.

Evan Jones

evan-jonesBoard of Directors

Evan Jones has been the Executive Director of the Mid-Peninsula Boys & Girls Club in San Mateo County CA since January of 2014.  Evan came to the club from Georgetown Law School where he worked on the Georgetown law Journal’s Review of Criminal Procedure, as a legal intern for the honorable Robert E. Morin of the D.C. Superior Court, and as a summer legal fellow for the International Litigation practice of Earth Justice. These legal experiences made him miss education and when a twist of fate offered him a leadership position in out of school time education he jumped at it.

Evan holds a A.B. in History from Dartmouth College with a minor in Government. At Dartmouth Evan was the co-president of the Mosaic Intercultural club, president of the teen wing of the D.R.E.A.M mentoring program,  as well as fellow at the Hood Museum in Art where he curated an exhibit on american artist depictions of black masculinity.

After Dartmouth Evan started his career as an educator teaching High School History and English in Everett MA.  Being drawn by his future wife to the Bay Area Evan began his interest in the law working as a research assistant to Prof. Ralph Richard Banks the Jackson Eli Reynolds Professor at Stanford Law School. While at Stanford Law Evan also began volunteering with a Youth Development organization serving kids whose families received some form of government assistance in the San Francisco’s Fillmore neighborhood. Over the next three years Evan would rise from volunteer to director of programs for the organization. This experience reinforced his desire to work for educational reform and take a real crack at closing the achievement gap between white and black and latino students in this country.

Ed Porter, MA, MS

ed-porterBoard of Directors

Ed Porter has a rich and varied career in public education, professional development, community leadership, and systems thinking and equity training. His vision is to provide services in a variety of modalities to individuals, groups, and organizations that assist them in opening their eyes, minds, and hearts to working together across race, gender, and cultural identities—building a workplace and a world that honors, celebrates, and upholds the values and contributions of all. Mr. Porter has served in many roles and at all levels of school organizations—teacher, principal, district administrator, community leader, consultant and superintendent of schools. He works with teachers, district leadership and boards of trustees to identify and change the systems and human factors that present barriers to eliminating the achievement gap and allowing all students to master academic standards and deepen their human development. Mr. Porter helps organizations, groups, and individuals to set a clear vision, use multiple measures and perspectives in assessing current strengths and barriers, and engage all constituencies in courageous problem-solving, action planning, and implementation.

Julia Forsythe

Board of Directors

Julia is a co-founder and guiding teacher of the Foundation for Active Compassion. She has been a student of Surya Das and John Makransky since 1995 and she has completed many meditation retreats in the Dzogchen tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. She serves as a practice leader in these retreat settings, and in weekly practice groups in Putney, VT and Northampton, MA.

Julie served as secretary on the national board of the Dzogchen Center for eight years where she focused on development of community contemplative practice groups. She has been President of the Foundation for Active Compassion Board for five years, and was on the national board of the American Friends Service Committee for six years during which time she focused on international programs of relief and reconciliation.

Julie was introduced to Buddhism in 1969 when she was working at the Quaker Rehabilitation Center for Vietnamese civilians during the Vietnam War. A lifelong Quaker, she is also rooted in that contemplative western mystical tradition. Julie is retired from her position as an Assistant Professor at Landmark College, a college for students with learning disabilities and ADHD. Beyond her teaching and departmental chair responsibilities, she regularly taught meditation to learning disabled students.  She is an active participant in community work for the elderly in Putney and currently serves as Secretary of Putney Cares.

Bobbi Patterson, PhD

Bobbi Patterson

Advisory Board

Bobbi is a Professor of Pedagogy in the Religion Department and the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University. She has served with others for more than forty-five years across a range of settings and positions, many of which she created, organized, and directed. During those years, she also trained in and taught Christian and Buddhist contemplative practices. An ordained Episcopal priest, she is a forty-year Associate of the Fellowship of the Society of St. John the Evangelist and an active member of the Drepung Loseling Monastery. She is a member of the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education and has presented several times at the Mind and Life Institute.

Bobbi founded the Theory-Practice-Learning Program at Emory University and offered workshops, trainings, and placement coordination for faculty and community leaders. She continues to serve as a consultant for Engaged Learning and Community-Based Learning Programs and Curricula. Professor Patterson led numerous workshops at national meetings and chaired the American Academy of Religion’s Teaching Committee as well as Teaching and Learning Section. She currently serves on the Board of the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion and is a consultant for them co-leading an 18-month workshop on Community-Engaged Pedagogies. She has won numerous teaching prizes and in May 2015 was awarded Emory’s Thomas Jefferson Award. The award specifically recognizes contributions in the areas of teaching, research and scholarship, university advancement in relation to the entire university, as well as community or educational service on the local, state, national, and international level.

Ivee Cruz, MA

Program Design Team

Ivee was born in Marikina, Philippines, grew up in Chula Vista, California on the borderlands of Mexico, and currently calls the islands of Hawai’i home. Ivee holds a Bachelors in Global & International Studies and Sociology from the University of California Santa Barbara. She holds a Masters in International Educational Development from Teachers College, Columbia University and is currently pursuing a PhD in Education at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Ivee has participated in various fellowship programs in the Solomon Islands, Philippines, Vietnam, Washington D.C., New York, and studied abroad in Granada, Spain. Her contemplative training has included People of Color Retreats at Deer Park Monastery and Mindful Schools – Educator Training. As a counselor, educator, and facilitator, she aspires to bridge culture, diversity, spirituality, social justice, leadership, and mindfulness within the field of education. Ivee is grateful to be the mother of Chirayu, the greatest teacher! 

Veta Goler, PhD

Program Design Team

Veta holds an MFA in dance and a Ph.D. in African-American studies. She began her career as a modern dance artist, and has performed, choreographed and taught dance nationally and internationally. Later, as a dance historian, she focused her research on contemporary African-American modern dance artists, particularly women choreographers. In recent
years, her research interests have expanded to include the intersection of dance and spirituality in popular culture and to explorations of spirituality and contemplative practices in education and the workplace.

Veta has taught Spelman College for almost 30 years. In addition to teaching, she leads meditation sessions for students, faculty and staff and, as co-director of the Teaching Resource and Research Center, she leads a contemplative faculty learning community. She is committed to helping others discover the ways contemplative practices can enrich their lives and facilitates retreats and workshops for personal and professional renewal at colleges, universities, K-12 schools and retreat sites throughout the country. Veta is a national Circle of Trust® facilitator, and many of the retreats and workshops she leads are based in the work of education innovator Parker J. Palmer, who has written extensively on the value of living an “undivided life,” in which one’s work is in harmony with one’s values.

Wendy Farley, PhD

Program Design Team

Considered a leading theologian, Wendy Farley has written extensively on women theologians and mystics, religious dialogue, classical texts, contemporary ethical issues, and contemplative practices.

Professor Farley received her Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1988. Her teaching and research interests include women theologians, religious dialogue, classical texts, contemporary ethical issues, and contemplative practices. Her first book, Tragic Vision and Divine Compassion: A Contemporary Theodicy (Westminster John Knox, 1990) considers the problem of evil by focusing on suffering rather than sin and abandons the forensic model of God in favor of one emphasizing compassion as a dominant metaphor for the divine. A second work, Eros for the Other: Retaining Truth in a Pluralistic World (Penn State: 1996), also takes up the relationships between ethical and philosophical issues in religion. In 2005, she published The Wounding and Healing of Desire: Weaving Heaven and Earth (Westminster John Knox), which combines attention to contemplative practices, folk traditions, and inter-religious dialogue to reflect on suffering and transformation. Her most recent book, Gathering Those Driven Away: a Theology of Incarnation (Westminster John Knox, 2011), reflects on the meaning of Christian faith and tradition for women, queers, and others that the church has had difficulty recognizing as part of the body of Christ. She also recently edited (with Emily Holmes) a collection of essays called Women, Writing, Theology: Transforming a Tradition of Exclusion.

Her latest book, “The Thirst of God: Contemplating God’s Love with Three Women Mystics” (Westminster John Knox, 2015), explores the spirituality of medieval mystics Marguerite Porete, Mechthild of Magdeburg, and Julian of Norwich. In Farley’s words, “These women have important things to tell us about our faith, the same as contemporary contemplatives, with the emphasis on divine love.”

Melanie L Harris, PhD

Melanie Harris Bio Pix-3-2Program Design Team & Advisory Board

Melanie is Associate Professor of Religion at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX where she teaches and conducts research in the areas of Religious Social Ethics, Environmental Justice, Womanist Ethics, and African American Religious Thought. Dr. Harris is the author of numerous articles and several books including Gifts of Virtue: Alice Walker and Womanist Ethics and co-editor of the volume Faith, Feminism, and Scholarship: The Next Generation. Her books engaging ecowomanism and the intersections between environmental justice and African American Women’s Religious Life and Spirituality are scheduled to be published by Orbis Books in 2016. Dr. Harris offers academic leadership in administration at TCU and has experience serving on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Religion, The Society of Christian Ethics and KERA-TV/Radio. She also leads retreats with her mother, Rev. Dr. Naomi O. Harris and co-facilitates teaching workshops with The Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion.

Annie Hardison-Moody, PhD


Program Design Team

Annie works at the intersection of religion and health, and has research experience in the areas of women’s reproductive health, health promotion, nutrition and food, conflict, and gender-based violence.  She holds a PhD in Religious Studies from Emory University.

Annie is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Youth, Family, and Community Sciences at NC State University, where she directs the Faithful Families Eating Smart and Moving More Program, a practice-tested faith-based health promotion intervention out of North Carolina State University (NCSU) and the North Carolina Division of Public Health.  She is also Co-Principal Investigator for Voices into Action: The Families, Food and Health project, a USDA-funded study of the family food environment.

Jason Thompson, PhD

Program Design Team

Jason is a clinical psychologist and Postdoctoral Scholar at the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine. His research focuses on social justice-oriented education as a pathway for resilience, resistance and wellbeing for children and youth in historically marginalized communities.

Jason completed his PhD at Palo Alto University, where his dissertation investigated the neural basis of decentering, a mechanism of mindfulness. His psychology predoctoral internship and clinical postdoctoral fellowship at the UCSF/San Francisco General Hospital Child and Adolescent Services multicultural clinical training program. Prior to psychology, he worked as a journalist in the UK and as a public school teacher in Oakland. He is a longstanding practitioner of Zen and yoga, and a trail runner and father.

Abra Vigna, PhD

Program Design Team

Abra is an Action Researcher and Evaluator in the Population Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In this role she provides training, technical assistance and consulting related to community change efforts regarding health equity and offers expertise in transformative education, relationship-building and applied research.  A long-term practitioner of contemplative practices, she infuses her capacity building efforts with compassion building practices.

Prior to earning her PhD in Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison she worked as a crisis counselor and youth development specialist at a local Runaway and Homeless Youth agency.  In addition to providing weekly life skills development programming for LGBT youth, crisis counseling, case management and youth mentorship, Abra has extensive experience supporting youth service providers on the journey toward transforming their organizational infrastructure and personal practice to be more inclusive and explicitly anti-racist.

Known for her engaging leadership style and disarming approach to capacity building among individuals and within organizations, she has empowered over 1200 marginalized young people and over 900 professionals in self-reflective praxis regarding their role in social change and the importance of targeting power.

Both Abra’s masters and doctoral research focused on the relationship between different forms of empowerment and engagement in health risk behaviors such as intimate partner violence, substance abuse and suicidality. She is particularly interested in the role that intra-individual level resilience factors- such as self-compassion- play in supporting long-term change efforts.  

Liz Aeschlimann

Program Design Team

Liz is passionate about incorporating contemplative practice and social transformation to sustain and empower the work of change makers. She has focused much of her research as a student at Harvard Divinity School on the intersection of spirituality and social justice, traveling across the county to interview community organizers and activists about spirituality in their work.

Liz holds a BA in Cognitive Science from Carleton College and will graduate from Harvard this May with a Masters of Divinity. During her time in divinity school, she worked for The Conversation Project, supporting religious communities and seminaries in facilitating conversations about end of life wishes. She went on to train in spiritual care as Chaplain Intern at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, where she launched a Tea for the Soul program for staff. A member of the HDS Racial Justice and Healing Initiative, Liz worked with colleagues to develop curriculum for embodied anti-racism training for white people and won the Billings Preaching Prize with a sermon that interrogated whiteness through the lens of religious rituals concerning leprosy. Active in her Jewish community, Liz began to study and practice meditation in 2011 while working as an interfaith community organizer in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Gail Philips, MA

Program Design Team

Gail was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, raised and educated in Santiago, Chile, and now lives in Cooperstown, NY. She has a bachelor in Social Sciences and a masters in Sociology from the Univerdad Católica de Chile (2009).

Gail began practicing yoga in 2003 and meditation in 2011. After working 2 years in market research and HR consulting, she started working as an assistant director to an educational foundation, focused on providing quality education to youth in Santiago.

In 2012, driven by a deep interest on the Tibetan culture and the Buddhist tradition, she traveled to Nepal and met her teacher Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche. In 2015 she moved to upstate New York to work as a volunteer in the Rangjung Yeshe Gomde, Coopertown, and now serves as the center’s Executive Director.

Gail has experience leading compassion-based meditation trainings, and is passionate about brining that work forward in the world. She now splits her time between Nepal and Chile.

Rabbi Sheila Weinberg

DSC_8280_LRAdvisory Board

Rabbi Weinberg has served in multiple capacities in the Jewish community – including Hillel director, day school teacher and community relations professional. She is a 1986 graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and has served as a congregational rabbi for seventeen years, including thirteen years at the Jewish Community of Amherst. In the last twenty- four years Rabbi Weinberg has studied mindfulness. She has introduced meditation into the Jewish world as a form that can enliven and illuminate Jewish practice, ideas and community. She teaches mindfulness meditation and yoga in a Jewish idiom to lay persons, rabbis, cantors and other Jewish professionals and was a founder and senior and teacher for the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, a retreat based program for Jewish leaders (( She also serves as a spiritual director to rabbis, cantors and educators across the USA. She is a developer and teacher of the Jewish Mindfulness Teachers’ Training. Weinberg has written extensively on a variety of subjects including Jewish spirituality, social justice, feminism and parenting. She is a major contributor to the Kol Haneshamah prayer book series. Her CD, Preparing the Heart: Meditation for Jewish Spiritual Practice integrates Jewish sacred text and meditation. Her first book, Surprisingly Happy: An Atypical Religious Memoir was published in 2010.

Katherine Bonus, MA

Program Design Team

Katherine has been a student of both Christian and Buddhist Meditation practice since 1976. Her primary Christian tradition teacher is James Finley PhD, psychologist and former Trappist monk. Within the Buddhist tradition she has participated in numerous vipassana retreats and teacher trainings led by various teachers including: Sharon Salzberg, Kamala Masters, Steven Armstrong, and Matt Flickstein.

As the founding teacher, Katherine expanded the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Program at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison, Wisconsin, which encompasses 14 teachers and multiple program offerings. She received MBSR teacher certification from the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness and for 20+ years she developed and offered trainings and retreats for various populations including MBSR participants, patients, and healthcare providers (front desk staff, integrative medicine staff, and physicians). Since 2008 she has collaborated in multiple research projects with the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

In July 2014 Katherine retired as manager of the UW Health Mindfulness program but she continues to offer programs and collaborate.

Paul Gilbert, FBPsS, PhD, OBE

Program Design Team & Advisory Board

Paul Gilbert is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Derby and Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the Derbyshire Health Care Foundation Trust. He has researched evolutionary approaches to psychopathology for over 35 years with a special focus on shame and the treatment of shame based difficulties, for which he developed compassion focused therapy (CFT). He has published and edited 21 books, over 100 academic papers and 50 book chapters. In 2006 he  Compassionate Mind Foundation.

In 1993 Gilbert was made a fellow of the British Psychological Society for his contributions to psychological knowledge and was president of the British Association for Cognitive and Behavioural Psychotherapy in 2003. He served on the government’s National Institute for Health Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines for depression. Gilbert sits on the Emotion, Personality and Altruism Research Group at the Wright Institute (1992 – present) and is Visiting Professor at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) and the University of Coimbra (Portugal).

  In 2011 Gilbert was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his continued contribution in mental healthcare.

Paul Knitter, PhD


Program Design Team & Advisory Board

Paul is the Emeritus Paul Tillich Professor of Theology, World Religions, and Culture at Union Theological Seminary, New York, as well as Emeritus Professor of Theology at Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH. He received a Licentiate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome (1966) and a doctorate from the University of Marburg, Germany (1972) Most of his research and publications have dealt with religious pluralism and interreligious dialogue. Since his ground-breaking 1985 book, No Other Name, he has been exploring how the religious communities of the world can cooperate in promoting human and ecological well-being. This is the topic of: One Earth Many Religions (1995). More recently, his writing and speaking engagements have focused on what Christians can learn in their dialogue with Buddhists, which is the topic of his 2009 book Without Buddha I Could Not Be a Christian and of his 2015 co-authored book with Roger Haight, S.J. Jesus and Buddha: Friends in Conversation. Since 1986, Paul has been serving on the Board of Directors for CRISPAZ (Christians for Peace in El Salvador). From 1996-2015, he was also on the Board of Trustees of the International Interreligious Peace Council (formed after the 1993 World Parliament of Religions, to promote interreligious peace-making projects).

Arthur Zajonc, PhD


Advisory Board

Arthur is the former President of the Mind & Life Institute. He is also emeritus professor of physics at Amherst College, where he taught from 1978 to 2012.  He has been visiting professor and research scientist at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, and a Fulbright professor at the University of Innsbruck inAustria.  His research has included studies in parity violation in atoms, the experimental foundations of quantum physics, and the relationship between sciences, the humanities and meditation. He is author of the book: Catching the Light, co-author of The Quantum Challenge, and co-editor of Goethe’s Way of Science.  Since 1997 he has served as scientific coordinator for the Mind and Life dialogue with H.H. the Dalai Lama whose meetings have been published as The New Physics and Cosmology: Dialogues with the Dalai Lama (Oxford 2004) and The Dalai Lama at MIT (Harvard UP, 2006). He currently directs the the Center for Contemplative Mind which supports appropriate inclusion of contemplative practice in higher education.

John D Dunne, PhD


Advisory Board

John is at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he holds the Distinguished Chair in Contemplative Humanities, a newly endowed position created through the Center for Healthy Minds. He also holds a co-appointment in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literature at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and is participating in the creation of a new department in Asian Languages and Cultures. He was previously an Associate Professor in the Department of Religion and the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University, where he co-founded the Collaborative for Contemplative Studies.

John’s work focuses on Buddhist philosophy and contemplative practice, especially in dialogue with cognitive science. His publications range from technical works on Buddhist epistemology to broader works on the nature of Buddhist contemplative practices such as mindfulness. He speaks in both academic and public contexts, and he occasionally teaches for Buddhist communities, most notably the Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In addition to serving as a faculty member at the Center, he is a Fellow of the Mind & Life Institute, where he has previously served on the Board of Directors. John also serves an academic advisor for the Rangjung Yeshe Institute.

Cheryl A Giles, PsyD

cheryl giles

Advisory Board

Cheryl A. Giles, PsyD, is the Francis Greenwood Peabody Senior Lecturer on Pastoral Care and Counseling at Harvard Divinity School (HDS) and has been a member of its faculty since 1997. Cheryl is a licensed clinical psychologist with extensive experience in the treatment of children and adolescents and their families who have significant mental illness, high-risk behaviors, and traumatic stress. She has been a consultant at the Department of Youth Services, the Department of Children and Families, and many area schools, hospitals, and non-profits in Massachusetts. Prior to Harvard Divinity School, Cheryl was Director of the Lighthouse Program, a residential facility in Brighton, MA, that treated adolescents who where newly discharged from psychiatric hospitals and needed time for stabilization before returning home. At HDS, Cheryl teaches courses on spiritual counseling, contemplative care of the dying, and anti-racism practices for ministry, and she mentors students who are preparing for healthcare chaplaincy and social justice work. Her primary research interests are identifying the role of risk and resilience in developing healthy adolescents, exploring the impact of contemplative care for the dying, and increasing awareness of healthcare inequality for African-Americans. Cheryl is a core faculty member of the Buddhist Ministry Initiative at HDS. She received certification in end-of-life care from the Being With Dying Program and G.R.A.C.E.: Training in Compassion-Based Interactions in the Clinical/Patient Encounter at Upaya Zen Center. She is the co-editor of The Arts of Contemplative Care: Pioneering Voices in Buddhist Chaplaincy and Pastoral Work (Wisdom Press, 2012) and has authored articles on contemplative care of the dying and preparing clinicians to become compassionate caregivers. She is a student of Lama Willa Miller and serves on the Board of Directors of Natural Dharma Fellowship.

Pamela Seigle, MS

pamela photoAdvisory Board

Pamela is the Executive Director of Courage & Renewal Northeast at Wellesley College, an affiliate of the national Center for Courage & Renewal. She co-leads the Leading Together Initiative for the Center for Courage & Renewal, a program that brings teams of principals and educator-leaders together to experience and learn reflective and mindfulness practices and to build relational trust amongst the adults in their school community. Pamela is the founder of the Open Circle® Program based at the Wellesley Centers for Women, Wellesley College. Open Circle is a leading provider of evidence based curriculum and professional development for social and emotional learning (SEL) in kindergarten through grade 5. Since its inception in 1987, Open Circle has reached over two million students and trained more than 13,000 educators. Pamela is currently a Trustee of the Conservatory Lab Charter School, a music-infused elementary school in Boston that has implemented El Sistema as a whole school initiative, and a former Trustee of the Boston Public Library. She received her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from Syracuse University.

Robert W Roeser, PhD

Roeser Pic

Advisory Board

Rob is a Professor of Psychology and Human Development in the Department of Psychology at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. He received his BA with honors in Psychology from Cornell University and his PhD from the Combined Program in Education and Psychology at the University of Michigan. Dr. Roeser also holds master’s degrees in religion and psychology, developmental psychology and clinical social work. In 2005 he was a United States Fulbright Scholar in India, and from 1999-2004 he was a William T. Grant Foundation Faculty Scholar. He has also worked with the Mind and Life Institute (Boulder, CO) as the Senior Program Coordinator and member of the Mind and Life Educational Research Network (MLERN). Dr. Roeser’s research focuses on school as a primary cultural context of child and adolescent development; and how students’ experiences in classrooms and schools, with teachers and peers, affect their identity development, social-emotional well being, motivation to learn, and academic achievement. His current research is focused on bringing mindfulness and compassion training to teachers and students in early childhood and early adolescence to improve teaching and learning.