2022 Fellows


Tessa Adžemović is a third-year resident in internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Michigan. She received a BA in French and Francophone studies from the University of Michigan. After college, she moved to Bosnia and Herzegovina where she founded a dance program for kids of different ethnicities in the little town of Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. She returned to Michigan where she earned her medical degree and completed a dual degree in clinical research at the University of Michigan School of Public Health; her focus was on trauma care delivery in New Delhi, India.

Esha Bansal is an MD/MPH student and Global Health Scholar at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She previously studied International Relations and Business in the Huntsman Program at the University of Pennsylvania and has conducted public health research in Italy, Spain, Mexico, and Haiti. She is passionate about advancing gender equity and women’s health internationally and hopes to combine these interests with a career in surgery.

Michael Denham is a medical student at Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. He serves as an Honor Code Representative on his class’s Student Council and co-chaired the Systems, Leadership, Integration, and Management Committee, Columbia’s health care delivery organization. Denham is an inaugural member of Columbia’s Narrative Medicine Journalism Workshop, and his writing has been published in Nautilus Magazine, New York Daily News, and Orange County Register. He holds a BS in Chemical Engineering and a BA in Economics from Louisiana State University, as well as an MPhil in Health, Medicine, and Society from the University of Cambridge.

Margaret Duncan Margaret is a first-year psychiatry resident at the Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School program. Her clinical interests are in adolescent and young adult women's mental health, eating disorders, and chronic pain disorders. Her interests outside of the hospital have been expressed through creating an initiative for collaboration through the five different Harvard-affiliated psychiatry programs on creative writing as a means of reflection, community-building, and changing stories around mental health through imagination.       

Jennifer Kizza is proudly of Ugandan and Malawian heritage, born and raised in Gainesville, Florida. She graduated from Harvard College in 2016 with a concentration in neurobiology and secondary in global health and health policy. Afterwards, she continued her studies at the University of Oxford, completing a Master of Science in Global Health Science and serving as a Fulbright U.S. Student Researcher to Uganda. Her collective experiences have fortified her interests in epidemiology, health disparities, and health education. Currently, she is pursuing these interests as a fourth-year student at Harvard Medical School and student research fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Alec Lerner, MD is a psychiatry resident at Yale University and he completed both undergraduate and medical school education at the University of Wisconsin. Alec’s passions are rooted in examining human experience through lenses of psychology, medicine, literature, philosophy, and various spiritual traditions. His interests within psychiatry are broad, but he is particularly drawn to psychotherapy, palliative care, nosology and ethics, as well as research and clinical applications of psychedelic medicines including MDMA, psilocybin, and ketamine.

David Loftus graduated from Boston College in 2012 with a degree in Islamic Civilization and Societies and Arabic.  After completing a thesis on the institutional failures of domestic surveillance by the US intelligence apparatus, he commissioned into the US Navy and served 6 years as an Intelligence Officer.  His assignments included a deployment to the Middle East with a Joint-Special Operations Task Force and a tour with the National Airborne Operations Center, providing direct support to the President during military and civil emergencies. 

After leaving Active Duty, David transitioned to medicine, choosing Brown for the institution’s embracing of divergent personal and professional experiences.  He continues serving in the Reserves, and serving his community through Brown, volunteering with the Teddy Bear Clinic.  He is a Fellow with the Gateways Teaching Academy, a Peer Tutor and Peer Mentor, and led the Medical Arabic Preclinical Elective.  He is excited to conclude third-year rotations, gaining more experience and insight that he hopes will help guide his decision-making regarding his path in medicine. 

Phifer Nicholson is an MD candidate at Duke University School of Medicine and Theology, Medicine, and Culture Fellow at Duke Divinity School. He has a BA in Religion and Middle Eastern Studies from Wofford College, with professional and research interests including health equity, social medicine, ethnography, global health, and the intersection of theology and medicine. These interests have been formed through engagement with the church, medical training, and experiences in contexts like Palestine-Israel.

Born and raised in the South, LaShyra “Lash” Nolen is a writer, activist, and third-year student at Harvard Medical School where she is serving as student council president of her class, the first documented black woman to hold this leadership position. She is a published author and fervent advocate for social justice whose commentary has been featured in outlets such as Nature and Teen Vogue. She is the Founding Executive Director of “We Got Us”, a grassroots community empowerment project that promotes health equity for marginalized groups. For her work she has been named a Forbes 2021 “30 Under 30” in healthcare honoree, among other honors.  Lash attended Loyola Marymount University where she graduated with a BS in Health and Human Science. In the fall she will pursue a Masters in Public Policy degree at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Claire Rosen is a resident physician in general surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and currently studying to earn her Master of Science in Medical Ethics. Claire graduated from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 2018 after completing her undergraduate degree in Public Health at the Johns Hopkins University in 2013. Claire is working towards a future career as a surgeon scientist, with an emergency general surgery clinical practice and a research focus on surgical decision making.

Joshua Taliaferro is an MD-PhD candidate at Columbia University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemical and Biological Engineering from Princeton University, with certificates in Engineering Biology, in Spanish, and in Neuroscience. His PhD research focuses on the neural basis of learning, memory, and cognition, but he is also captivated by questions of philosophy, ethics, and sociology, and he greatly enjoys drawing connections between disparate realms. Joshua aspires to become a physician-scientist that builds broadly accessible avenues for the multidimensional alleviation of suffering, especially for historically marginalized communities.

Jennifer Tsai is an Emergency Medicine physician, writer, educator, and advocate in New Haven, Connecticut. She received a Masters of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and her academic work centers on the intersection between race, medicine, inequity, and trauma-informed care. Her essays and research have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, Scientific American, The Washington Post, ELLE Magazine, STATnews, and the Journal of the American Medical Association among other outlets.

Karl Wallenkampf is a medical resident at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine. He currently participates in the Internal Medicine program with Barnes-Jewish Hospital. His passions include the practice of whole person care as a journey of everyday ethics and interdisciplinary discovery in medicine.

Tanvee Varma is a third-year medical student at the Yale School of Medicine passionate about health equity, policy, and ethics. Her work aims to address health inequities through advocacy and research. As an advocate for universal healthcare, she is a board member of Medicare for All Connecticut. She also conducts research on improving demographic representation in clinical research. She graduated with honors from Wellesley College with a degree in economics and health and society. In 2019, she was awarded the Fulbright-Nehru Research Scholarship to conduct research on public health nutrition in New Delhi.


Sakinah Alhabshi was born and raised in Malaysia. She has a BA in Environmental Engineering from Northwestern University and worked in the energy industry for a decade, followed by a Diploma in Islamic Studies from Arees University, and classical Islamic education from Malaysia, Yemen and Indonesia. Sakinah returned to the USA in 2019 for professional chaplaincy training at Stanford Hospital, California. She completed a Master’s in Islamic Studies and is a candidate in the Interreligious Chaplaincy program at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley. Sakinah is on the board of Ziyara Spiritual Care and a member of the Association of Muslim Chaplains.

Phil Antinone joins FASPE weeks after his graduation from Yale Divinity School with a Master of Divinity, and will begin a year-long Chaplain residency at Yale New Haven Hospital after the fellowship. Phil was commissioned into the Air Force in January of 2021 and is on track to be ordained as an Elder within the United Methodist Church. When not reading or watching movies, you can find Phil running 10ks, lifting at the gym, or teaching yoga. At the end of his Fulbright, Phil married his college sweetheart in Italy and returned to his home state of Texas to teach before beginning seminary at Yale. Phil actively works to facilitate connections through the discipline of empathy and self-reflection.       

Though her parents grew up just outside of Jonestown, Guyana, Tara Deonauth never harbored aspirations for congregational ministry. Indeed, her work calls her to the bedside of patients, accompanying those with serious illnesses, their loved ones and caregivers through the landscape of their grief, the uncertainty of what is and could be, and the joys and anguish engendered by life's impermanence. Tara is a graduate of Williams College and Harvard Divinity School, currently oversees Spiritual Care Services at Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital.

Born in Kinshasa (DRC) and having resided in Africa, Europe and North America, Johnny Ekofo is a melting pot of cultures. He is the son and grandson of Protestant ministers, and an aspiring minister and biblical scholar. He is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Theological studies at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, with hopes of pursuing his PhD in Biblical Studies (New Testament) with a particular interest in the Ethics of Biblical interpretation. He is fluent in three languages and currently resides in Murfreesboro, TN with his wife and their two children

Originally from rural Alabama, Katie Kirk is in her second year as a seminarian at Berkeley Divinity School, the Episcopal seminary at Yale. She has a B.A. in Philosophy from Auburn University, and spent her Fulbright year teaching English at Herschelschule Gymnasium in Hannover, Germany. After working in chaplaincy in Atlanta at Emory University Hospital Midtown, she has spent the last year interning at St. Paul's on the Green in Norwalk, CT, and serving as the sacristan of St. Luke's Chapel at Yale.

Benjamin Kreider is a third-year Master of Divinity student at Princeton Theological Seminary and is also completing a Master of Social Work in management and policy from Rutgers University. Before seminary, he was the director of prison ministries at Offender/Victim Ministries in Newton, Kansas, leading visitation and creative arts programs. Ben has worked with Mennonite service organizations in Honduras and New Mexico and received a B.A. in Bible/Religion and Social Work from Bethel College (KS).

Jacob Leizman is a rising 5th-year rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. He has had a variety of student rabbi and Jewish educator experiences that have spanned from New York, to South Carolina, to Israel, and even a cross-country bus across the US, and currently serves as the student rabbi at the Jewish Community Project of Lower Manhattan

Chaplain Usama Malik is a native of Austin, Texas, and has lived in the area his whole life. Usama completed his undergraduate studies from the University of Texas at Austin, his Master of Divinity from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and a Graduate Certificate in Islamic Chaplaincy from Hartford Seminary. He is currently a student in the Doctor of Ministry Program at Pacific School of Religion. Usama serves as the Resident Chaplain for Muslim Space, a local community organization, as well as a chaplain for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and Trinity University. Usama currently serves as the Program Coordinator for the Office of Student Affairs and Vocation at Austin Seminary, Apart from work, Usama is the current Communications Chair for the Association of Muslim Chaplains (AMC). Alongside his work and school, Usama specializes in the areas of organizational development and management, marketing, graphic design, and digital media.

Originally from Edwardsville, IL, Michael Schulte is currently a student at Vanderbilt Divinity School where he is pursuing a Master of Divinity with a concentration in Religion, Gender, and Sexuality. He is also a candidate for ordination in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Before pursuing pastoral ministry, Michael served as a high school English teacher at KIPP: St. Louis High School in St. Louis, MO and Melrose High School in Memphis, TN. Michael’s pastoral work centers on building inclusive communities where all people without asterisk can experience God’s grace in their everyday lives.         

Michael Tedone, SJ is studying at Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University towards ordination as a Jesuit priest in the Roman Catholic Church. Originally from Placentia, CA, Mike holds a BA in Theology from Marquette University and an MEd in Religious Education from Boston College. He has found inspiration and joy in his vocation from experiences teaching in Chuuk, Micronesia, with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, with middle schoolers at Sacred Heart Nativity Schools in San Jose, CA, as a Jesuit, and a summer serving migrants on the USA/Mexico border with Kino Border Initiative. .

Ora Weinbach is a Masters of Divinity candidate at Yale Divinity School, the Young Israel of Brookline's Community Educator, and a Wexner Graduate Fellow. Before beginning her graduate studies, she taught Jewish Studies for seven years at the Abraham Joshua Heschel High School, where she was also the 9th Grade Dean. Ora holds a BA in Jewish Education from Yeshiva University and is a certified Sexuality Educator. She teaches human sexuality both to teens and parents and consults on sexuality education curriculum development and execution.

Alex White, C.S.C is a Roman Catholic temporarily professed seminarian for the Congregation of Holy Cross. He is the fourth of five children and grew up in Fayetteville, West Virginia. After studying theology and Italian at the University of Notre Dame, he taught high school theology for two years before entering seminary.

Catherine Yanko is a doctoral candidate at The Catholic University of America where she studies Moral Theology/Ethics. Her research interests include theological anthropology, virtue theory, and fundamental moral theology. Catherine’s studies focus on these themes as developed in the Catholic tradition during the twentieth century, especially in the work of Christian personalists and phenomenologists. Prior to her doctoral studies, she lived in Benque Viejo, Belize as a missionary teacher with the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT).