Where Are They Now?

FASPE Fellows become major influencers in their respective fields. They combine their talents, expertise, and experiences with FASPE to lead with ethics and make a difference within their professions. In our monthly newsletter, we highlight an Alumni doing notable and admirable work in their professions. We invite you to learn more about them in the years since they participated in the FASPE Fellowship Program and see "Where They Are Now." Click here to sign up for future newsletters.

Mary Nickel
2017 Seminary Fellow

January 2024

Mary is currently Instructor of Philosophy at the University of South Carolina, Columbia. There, she is currently teaching a course called "Communicating Moral Issues," which considers how we might talk with one another about today's most contentious topics: gun control, abortion, universal health care, and affirmative action. She received her PhD in Religion, Ethics, and Politics from Princeton University in 2023. Mary’s research integrates religious ethics and political philosophy. She tends to focus on questions concerning systemic injustice, ethical obligation, and human agency.  

 Mary’s current project, “Matrices,” focuses on what pregnancy and motherhood can teach us about social agency and collective responsibility. She shows how our coming to be within and through another person reveals our fundamental sociality. For a short overview of her research, watch this three-minute video.

Mary is also seeking ordination in the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Mary tells us that, given her interest in complicity and systemic injustice, she was especially delighted to join the 2017 FASPE Seminary cohort's fellowship in Germany and Poland. “It was an honor to think alongside other brilliant minds about the perverted ethics of the Nazi regime and the failure of the public–and, in particular, clergy and other professionals–to curtail that monstrous movement,” she shared. Mary reports that she “has used the concepts she explored alongside her FASPE cohort in her research, teaching, and preaching repeatedly in the years since her fellowship.” 

Isaac Todd
2019 Business Fellow

December 2023

Isaac is Chief Legal Officer at Auramet International, a physical metals merchant and investment firm focused on the precious and battery metals supply chains. From EVs to solar panels, Isaac aims to develop secure sources of critical minerals underlying the green energy transition and key technologies of the future.  

Prior to Auramet, Isaac was an attorney at the law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore and also served on active duty as a U.S. Army officer specializing in reconnaissance and counterterrorism.

An advocate for human rights and the rule of law, Isaac chairs Human Rights First’s emerging leaders advisory board and is currently focused on strengthening democratic institutions in the United States and abroad.

Isaac writes: "FASPE takes a seemingly alien evil and introduces us to perpetrators of the Holocaust who were not so different from you and me. We learned how ordinary people can rationalize active participation and passive acquiescence to crimes they would otherwise have considered abhorrent. The Holocaust occurred, not by some inexplicable evil, but through a series of decisions made by professionals like us that progressively normalized violations of basic human rights and values. FASPE left me with greater moral humility and a warning to guard against our inherent ethical fallibility.

I’m drawn to challenges without obvious “right” answers. Many of these issues present moral complexities, a balancing of various objectives and values, and may require selecting the best of less-than-ideal paths. Making incremental progress in these areas can have significant positive impacts. However, FASPE’s warning reminds me to implement guardrails to assist in navigating these moral uncertainties.

FASPE heightened my awareness of ethical blind spots and stressed the importance of systems for sound decision-making. I now periodically step back from day-to-day activities and try to reflect on my trajectory with a more intentional, objective perspective. My FASPE cohort is a trusted sounding board willing to engage difficult topics, whom I reach out to for dispassionate advice grounded in shared values. Ultimately, FASPE taught me that it isn’t sufficient to do my best in the moment. Rather, it is imperative to anticipate ethical challenges and, by laying the groundwork now, set myself up to make the right moral choices in the future—particularly when doing so is hard." 

Eric Martin
2015 Seminary Fellow

November 2023

Eric teaches theology at Loyola Marymount University and UCLA in Los Angeles. His new book, The Writing on the Wall: Signs of Faith Against Fascism, explores the theologies of those who organized against Nazis and against the KKK in Charlottesville, Virginia. It combines on-the-ground-stories, biblical exegesis, and interviews with people like Rabbi Mordechai Liebling and Dr. Jalane Schmidt to ask what it means to love and pray as religious communities in the midst of rising fascism. All proceeds go to survivors of the car attack in Charlottesville on August 12, 2017.

Eric writes: "This book grew directly out of the questions FASPE placed before us. Grappling with how to connect our professional vocations and combating evil when our institutions fail to respond took on immediacy when fascists began organizing for Unite the Right in our town of Charlottesville. FASPE offered not only a summer of space for personal discernment but a community for the long haul. Through continuing conversations with people on my trip like Rabbi Jim Ponet and Jaye Starr, I could better discern my role in the interfaith clergy group that coalesced against the alt-right. And when the town gathered to pray in a sunrise service before what became a white supremacist terror attack, I sat with fellow FASPE Alum Liz Andrasi in the pews. FASPE in this sense became both an invaluable experience and people I love. And as a teacher of theology, particularly through my course on Religious Fascisms & Antifascisms at UCLA, I can wrestle with the insights, questions, and urgent warnings of FASPE with a younger generation." 

Yemile Bucay
2017 Journalism Fellow

October 2023

Yemile Bucay is an independent journalism risk and security advisor working to promote a culture of safety in the profession in order to have a sustainable, resilient, and free press. She is currently a consultant for PEN America's Freedom Expression Programs and previously was BuzzFeed's Risk & Security Manager, where she worked with staff and freelance journalists from BuzzFeed News and HuffPost. She was also a Fellow in the International Women’s Media Foundation's Next Gen Safety Trainers Program, a cohort of media security professionals trained for the newly emergent risks faced in media today.  

She has worked with journalists reporting from high-risk environments including Haiti, Afghanistan, wartime Ukraine, Mexico, Nigeria, China, Syria, and beyond. Early in her career, Yemile was a freelance journalist writing about immigration. Her work has appeared in the Columbia Journalism ReviewViceNewsweekTablet, and Rest of World. She has also taught as an adjunct assistant professor at Columbia.

Yemile received a B.A. in Humanities from Yale University and a Masters in Journalism from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. 

Yemile writes: "The first thing I think about when reflecting on FASPE is the community it gave me which yielded some of my most meaningful friendships, that I sometimes forget that they originated somewhere near Auschwitz. FASPE also offered me the space I'd sought while studying and practicing journalism to center ethics as our lens for navigating the profession. FASPE's framework was and continues to be transformative for me in that it gave me a vocabulary to understand the difference between personal and professional ethics. This simple but profound distinction has allowed me to notice when those two ethics are not aligned in my life and then resolve that tension."

Nate Silver
2019 Business Fellow

September 2023

Nate Silver is Head of People at Adonis, a healthtech startup focused on solving the operational challenges that impact the integrity of healthcare's revenue cycle. Nate began his career as a theater director, serving as Managing Director of Jackalope Theatre in Chicago and working as a freelance director on and off-Broadway and around the world. Following his MBA, he was in Deloitte's Human Capital practice, helping global organizations navigate the future of work and address their most complex workforce challenges, and was Head of People & Culture at The Org. Nate has an AB in Drama from Vassar College, an MBA from the Yale School of Management, and was a 2019 FASPE Business Fellow.   

Nate writes: "FASPE stands out as a formative experience. The fellowship shaped how I view my role as a professional and served as a perspective-altering bridge between my formal education and re-entry into the business world. I love the important role that art continues to play in FASPE, as one of several lenses through which to process, understand, and unpack complex topics. As a career changer who came to business through the arts, FASPE's multidisciplinary approach to the curriculum is one of many reasons the experience is so powerful."

Farah Peterson
2011 Law Fellow

August 2023

Farah Peterson was a 2011 FASPE Law Fellow. Farah is now a Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School—focusing on the related fields of statutory interpretation and Constitutional Law. She is thus quite familiar with the ethical limits of lawyering discussed below. Farah embodies the FASPE nexus of the humanities and professionalism. She holds a PhD in American History from Princeton; apart from her scholarly writing, she has published essays, fiction, and poetry. After graduating from Yale Law School, Farah clerked for Federal Appellate Judge Guido Calabresi and Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

Farah writes: "One thing that struck me powerfully during the FASPE trip was how many of the archival materials on display in sites we visited were simply the legal detritus of a well-run administrative state. These were the materials that lawyers and professionals created to keep an atrocity running within the bounds of their formal law. FASPE therefore served an urgent reminder of the importance of individual conscience as a constant check on positive law.  

The enduring lesson of that experience was that individuals administering legal systems must not allow themselves to become so enamored of the logic and moralism in abstract legal reasoning that they lose track of their own internal compass. Instead, if we are relying on or making legal arguments, we must consistently ask ourselves not only whether we are correct about the law, but whether we are comfortable with the nation that those arguments build."

Michelle Recinos
2023 Journalism Fellow

July 2023

Michelle is a Central American journalist and writer based in El Salvador. She is a graduate of Universidad Centroamericana "José Simeón Cañas" where she received her Bachelor's degree in Social Communication. Currently working as an investigative journalist at La Prensa Gráfica, she covers environmental justice topics, and has also worked on issues of women's rights, violence and justice. She has experience working with the Pulitzer Center and the International Women's Media Foundation as a grantee.

Michelle writes: “The FASPE experience was rewarding and challenging at the same time.  In FASPE, In addition to getting to know cities full of history and beauty, I had the opportunity to get closer to the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime—as we try to understand what made them possible and how, in some way, we can contribute, from our professions, so that this type of horror remains only as a dark page in the history of humanity. It is a complex way of approaching ethics and analyzing it outside of classrooms and academic definitions. FASPE is an experience that moves you and, above all, that makes you question everything you believe to be correct up to now.” 

Bonz Magsambol
2023 Journalism Fellow

July 2023

Bonz is a multimedia reporter at Rappler, a Filipino social news network and winner of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, where he mainly covers the Philippine Senate. He is a graduate of the University of the Philippines, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Development Journalism.

Bonz writes: “FASPE made me reflect on why journalism matters especially in democratic societies like the Philippines, where the profession has been attacked countless times.   In FASPE, we discussed how journalists during the Nazi era turned a blind eye on the killings because most of them believed the propaganda being pushed for by the Nazi government. Only a few scrutinized and dug deeper into the events. This draws parallels with what’s happening right now in the age of massive disinformation. As journalists, the buck stops here—what do we do? How do we move forward from here? Do we just let the disinformation and misinformation thrive, eroding trust in the media? Stepping back should only be the last resort and pushing back matters when the public’s right to know is under siege.”

Natalie Lampert
2016 Journalism Fellow

June 2023

Natalie Lampert is a journalist whose reporting focuses primarily on women’s health and the fertility industry. A former Fulbright scholar, she has written for The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, The Guardian and The New Republic, among other publications. Her book, The Big Freeze: A Reporter's Personal Journey into Egg Freezing and the Quest to Control Fertility, will be published by Ballantine/Random House (January 2024). A work of narrative nonfiction, The Big Freeze investigates the frontiers of fertility science, reproductive technologies and the femtech industry.

Natalie writes: “I'm deeply appreciative of FASPE's ongoing impact in my life, both personally and professionally. I was a journalist in FASPE's 2016 cohort and was privileged to make lifelong connections that have made the past several years of freelancing and book-writing less isolating than they would have been otherwise.

My experience also greatly helped me professionally—networking through my FASPE connections was particularly helpful in identifying a fantastic literary agent and in receiving a substantial book grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. As a journalist who reports primarily on women's health and the fertility industry, I regularly grapple with ethical issues pertaining to the state of reproductive rights in the U.S. as well as the not-so-distant future implications of fertility technologies—both the promises and the perils.

Early on, FASPE helped me approach difficult ethical questions with more nuance and confidence than I would have had otherwise as an early-career journalist. Over time, what I learned and gained during FASPE has allowed me to contend with the ethics involved in my work—both in terms of what I write about and how I report—in a much more informed light. Put simply: I'm a better and more critical journalist thanks to FASPE!”

Marc Toledo
2018 Business Fellow

May 2023

Marc Toledo MBA, CISSP is a postgraduate researcher at Imperial College London, serving as the cybersecurity expert-in-residence at its Management and Entrepreneurship Department. Previously, Marc worked for over a decade in both public and private organizations. He served as Director of Cybersecurity Strategy and Operations at EY and as Product Manager at Apple, as well as in different tech-related senior positions in the corporate sector, government, and financial institutions such as the World Bank. He has also consulted as a strategy and product specialist for startups and non-profit institutions in Europe, the United States, and Latin America.

Marc studied Computer Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, earned his B.A. in Translation and Interpretation of Russian and English at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, undertaking part of the program at UCLA, and graduated from the MBA program at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. He has obtained the CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) certification. Currently, he is pursuing a PhD in Strategy and Organizational Behavior at the Imperial College Business School, questioning the ethical, behavioral, and psychological implications of AI in cyberwarfare and civilian cyber professionals. He intertwines this focus with research on gender, social inequality, crime forensics, and privacy law.

Imam Jawad Bayat
2015 Seminary Fellow

April 2023

Imam Jawad Bayat, MA, ACPE Certified Educator was a 2015 Seminary fellow. 
 
Jawad serves as the Associate Director for Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at Penn Medicine Princeton Health, NJ. He manages the pastoral care for their behavioral health inpatient and outpatient sites, supervises chaplain interns and residents, and directs the CPE program. Jawad graduated from the Islamic Chaplaincy program at Hartford International University in 2015 and completed his ACPE educator certification through the Cleveland Clinic in 2020. Currently, he is pursuing a doctor of ministry in professional education and leadership at the Ecumenical Theological Seminary.

About his experience with FASPE, Jawad says: 

“I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a 2015 FASPE Seminary fellow and to be in fellowship with my peers. This allowed for an unforgettable experience of transformational learning by traveling to the different sites using the power of place and engaging the varied educational methodologies. It strengthened my ethical reflective abilities and capacity to be courageous as I professionally navigate the burgeoning field of Islamic chaplaincy through the speciality of Clinical Pastoral Education. FASPE helped bring perspective to how ordinary ‘good professionals’ could do such terrible things and how no human being is or can ever be immune from such potentiality, a lesson I engage when I teach professional ethics in our CPE program’s curriculum. This immersive experience viscerally taught me and reminds me regularly how my power is both a gift and responsibility.”

Houssam Kherraz
2022 Design & Technology Fellow

March 2023

Houssam, a native Moroccan, was a 2022 Design & Technology Fellow. Currently a software engineer at Kensho, an AI company working on structuring unstructured data (audio, documents, etc.) for finance firms, his work involves building machine learning tools and infrastructure to make data science teams more effective in their work. In the past, he has worked on self-driving cars and facial recognition technology. Houssam holds a masters and bachelors in Computer Science from MIT, where he focused on how to improve and understand AI systems to prevent harm.

Houssam reports “I am quite worried about the unintended consequences of AI and of its rapid progression of capabilities. Beyond the potential rapid job loss, we already know that these systems can exhibit a lot of social bias (racism, sexism, etc.) and spout completely false statements with high confidence and convincing justifications. Yet, tech companies and nation states seem to be locked in an ‘AI arms race,’ obsessed with overall performance rather than failure modes and societal guardrails. To use an analogy of a friend of mine, the current situation is akin to building the fastest car without brakes. While brakes technically slow you down, they actually enable us all to go faster. Without good brakes, we would all be driving too slowly or not at all to avoid a crash. Brakes give us the confidence to drive faster and safer. Similarly, AI safety measures will help us go faster and further in the long run. I only hope that the crash that will make the industry realize this won’t be too damaging.

“I want to leave you with the results of a survey and a question. The 2022 Expert Survey on AI asked machine learning researchers last summer: what is the probability that the long-run effect of advanced AI on humanity will be extremely bad? 48% of the research professionals they surveyed gave at least a 10% chance of an extremely bad outcome. What do you think is the psychology of these professionals in their approach to their work?”

Houssam reflects: “One way to measure the impact of an experience is to consider how often we find ourselves reflecting on it. Since my fellowship trip in June, I have frequently spent time looking back on my FASPE experience and unpacking its lessons. FASPE taught me, more than any other experience, about the power of place and the fallacy of being a ‘bystander.’ The focus on the perpetrators of Nazi Germany’s professional class made it crystal clear to me how the motivations, thinking patterns, and excuses for enabling "the system" are not so different from those prevalent in our own professions today. This realization was scary and powerful. It further highlighted for me the importance of constant self-reflection and self-critique. Smart professionals can be incredibly good at fooling themselves with intricate rationalizations, or at least I know I can be. Having a community of other professionals in FASPE who can push me, keep me honest, and with whom I share a powerful emotional experience is extremely valuable to me. I hope it will make me more courageous and more likely to uphold high ethical standards in my profession. I am very grateful to be part of the FASPE community.”

Jordan Loewen-Colón
2014 Seminary Fellow

February 2023

Jordan was a 2014 Seminary Fellow. He is currently serving as the AI, Ethics, and Data Justice Fellow at Queen’s University in Kingson, Ontario, Canada. In this role, he combines philosophy and data science to theorize human-AI interactions with respect to questions of metaphysics, technology, and healthcare.

The primary object of his research is an AI diagnostic tool called the "Digital Cancer Twin” currently in development at the Center for Health Innovation. This fellowship began in the summer 2021 as he was finishing his PhD dissertation in Religion at Syracuse University entitled “Virtual Reality, Religious Experience, and Digital Dualism.” His research specialization involves exploring the metaphysics of 21st-century digital technologies like virtual reality and AI in North American contexts.

Through this work, he questions how emerging technologies reconfigure and disrupt assumptions about embodiment, subjectivity, and other values rooted in American Protestantism, especially its more aesthetics-oriented and mystical movements. Some of this work is already available in research journals with more to come in the soon-to-be-released DCT Project Podcast. So stay tuned!

In Jordan’s words: “FASPE was such a grounding experience for how I perceive reality and played a large part in my interest in studying the consequences of how humans construct “realities” and induce altered states of consciousness.

“The program also helped me understand the role of religion in this process. With each historical example, it became clearer that religion is at work in every process that humans find ourselves a part of. Whether it be politics, education, media, science, and on and on. Religion can be fiery and dramatic, thick as culture, or banal and hidden in the everyday. By virtue of its hiddenness, we often do not notice how it works in and through us or how it gets taken up, like other human technologies, to dampen or extend our activity in the world.

“I think back often on all those important conversations we had in our small groups after exploring the horrifyingly “sacred” spaces full of so much pain. How we would gather together to grieve and process, to share our frustration at trying to integrate the stinging and contradictory awe and wonder. Shaking our collective heads, holding hands, and encouraging each other to imagine and activate a better future, informed by the trauma of the past.

“Ultimately, FASPE helped me realize how vulnerable our perceptions of reality can be, while also giving me the tools of deep and profound hope for how we might heal and protect the things that matter most.”

Bella Ryb
2022 Law Fellow

January 2023

Bella was a 2022 Law Fellow. She is currently a 2L at Stanford Law School and the incoming president of Stanford Law Review Volume 76. This spring, she will participate in Stanford’s Supreme Court Clinic. An aspiring legal academic, Bella intends to dedicate her career to theorizing the intellectual history and normative political content of the law. She has a special interest in how the law intersects with and shapes cultural understandings of gender, sex, and social class. In April at the Midwest Political Science Association's annual conference, she will present a forthcoming paper on how so-called “sex exceptionalist” reforms to intellectual property and contract law will help promote the sexual autonomy of pornography performers.

In Bella’s words: “FASPE was a sobering illustration that the law itself is not a static, dependable bulwark of justice but a tool that embodies and gives force to the commitments of those who create and enforce it. Developments in the law, then, always carry with them the risk of harm to individuals, communities, and crucial values.

“But despite the overwhelming grief and despondency which washed over me at many of the sites we visited, FASPE was ultimately a source of great hope. The earnest and creative discussions I shared with so many brilliant young professionals and exceptional faculty reminded me that while the law can promote violence, it can also be a source of progress and healing. As an aspiring legal academic, I look forward to theorizing novel understandings of the law which embody this outlook and offer pathways toward a more just legal system.

“I am deeply grateful that I had the opportunity to participate in FASPE at such a pivotal moment in my legal education. I genuinely believe that the legal profession would be a better place if more attorneys could share in that experience.”