Meet the Team
  • Adam Garner, Mission Delivery Manager, Campus Mobilizing, spends his time supporting and developing resources for Better Together organizers. He graduated from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign with a degree in Philosophy where he spent his time outside of the classroom organizing the Better Together campaign. At IFYC he can be found pouring over social media analytics, writing the next episode of The Update, directly supporting campuses as they work to make interfaith cooperation a social norm on their campus. When not interfaithing he codes, reads, and naps. Growing up Mormon and now identifying as an atheist, Adam is driven by the belief that people of different religious and philosophical backgrounds can and should come together for the common good. 

  • Amber Hacker, Director of Alumni Relations, oversees IFYC’s alumni program where she equips and resources hundreds of IFYC graduates in support of their interfaith leadership in higher education, religion, and civil society. Prior to managing the alumni program, Amber channeled her passion for leadership development and service through her work with the Days of Interfaith Youth Service, Fellows Alliance, Bridge-builders Network, and IFYC’s conferences. Amber drives the alumni program strategy, mentors alumni leaders, and works with IFYC’s robust alumni network to cultivate interfaith cooperation in their personal and professional lives. Outside of IFYC, Amber loves to blog about creative ways to save money through her “Budget Hacker” alter ego and geeks out about productivity tips. Amber’s commitment to interfaith cooperation is inspired by Jesus’ call to love to our neighbor. 

  • April Mendez, Vice President of Campus Mobilizing, heads IFYC’s work to scale campus and student leadership for interfaith cooperation. Her pathway to interfaith work as an Evangelical Christian student who spoke out when a local mosque was burned down is chronicled in Eboo Patel’s first book, Acts of Faith. April is the organization's first hire and has done everything from designing and leading programs to managing strategy and operations. Prior to joining IFYC, she founded The Crib Collective, an organization focused on creating a culture of social entrepreneurship among Chicago youth. She is a graduate of Carleton College, an alumna of Public Allies and a current MBA candidate at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. April and her husband José live in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood, where Mexican hot chocolate and fresh churros are favored delicacies.

  • Becca Hartman-Pickerill, Executive Office Manager, supports the vision and voice of Founder and President Eboo Patel to achieve IFYC’s mission of making interfaith cooperation a social norm. Becca has a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Northwestern University and a Masters in Forced Migration from Joburg’s University of the Witwatersrand. Becca’s work has aimed to understand the processes and outcomes of diverse people and identities coming into close contact with one another. At IFYC, Becca manages Eboo’s speaking engagements and works to optimize the organization’s strategy and impact. Inspired by the world’s diversity, Jesus’s radically simple abundant love, and the American Baptist commitment to freedom of and from religion, Becca feels blessed to pursue interfaith work as a career.

  • Ben Correia, Mission Delivery Manager, supports campus efforts to assess perceptions of climate, interfaith attitudes, and student learning. Having earned a B.A. in Religious Studies from the College of Idaho and an M.S.Ed. in Student Affairs Administration from Indiana University and currently working on a Ph.D. in Higher Education from Loyola University Chicago, Ben has had variety of professional roles within higher education administration including residence life, student activities, academic advising, and leadership development. In his spare time, Ben enjoys reading at coffee shops and running along the lakefront. His commitment to fostering positive student development, creating inclusive spaces for student learning, and advancing a pluralistic society fuels Ben’s interest in IFYC’s work. 

  • Cara Doidge Kilgore, Mission Delivery Manager for Campus Mobilizing, manage production of IFYC's four annual Interfaith Leadership Institutes and the operations of the Better Together Campaign. She spends most of her time organizing the training of and support for undergraduate students, staff, and faculty in interfaith cooperation and directly supporting campus partners as they implement interfaith action on college campuses. Cara earned a BA in religion from Texas Christian University and a MTS from Vanderbilt Divinity School. Outside the office, she can be found devouring a good novel or having family dance parties with her baby, husband, and dog. Cara's interest in interfaith cooperation began as a teenager visiting houses of worships with her church youth group and grew as she found ways to combine her interest in religion with her passion for service and social justice.

  • Carr Harkrader, Mission Delivery Associate for Educational Resources, writes and designs educational resources and materials for IFYC. Carr earned a BA in political science and history from UNC-Chapel Hill and a M.Ed from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Carr creates and develops many of IFYC's educational materials--everything from book discussion texts to training facilitation guides. He also co-hosts and produces "Common Knowledge," IFYC's podcast focusing on interfaith literacy. While he supports all campuses during work hours, he roots exclusively for his Carolina Tar Heels outside of the office. As an educator, Carr's interest in interfaith cooperation comes directly from his belief in the power of students, faculty, and education professionals to affect enormous change in the world around them.

  • Cassie Meyer, Faculty Partnerships Consultant, works with faculty engaging interfaith in the classroom. She develops online resources for the classroom, manages IFYC's Teaching Interfaith Understanding Seminars (in partnership with the Council of Independent Colleges), supports faculty developing courses and curricula in interfaith studies, and manages IFYC's work with the American Academy of Religion. She has an MA from the University of Chicago Divinity School and has taught at several universities and seminaries; she regularly writes about interfaith and higher education and is a contributing editor for the Journal of College and Character. Cassie lives with her family on top of a mountain in Sewanee, Tennessee; she is committed to interfaith work as a way to follow Jesus's commandment to love our neighbors.

  • Claire Albert, Executive Office Manger, works closely with IFYC Founder and President Eboo Patel, manaing his speaking engagements, working closely with IFYC's Board of Directors, and building IFYC's office culture. A native of Dallas, TX, Claire graduated from Northwestern University with a B.S. in Human Development and a minor in Global Health. Both Claire's studies and family background have impressed upon her the need for and power of interfaith cooperation to bring folks together around shared values. When not working at IFYC, Claire enjoys watching sports (especially the Dallas Cowboys), traveling with her family, playing Scrabble, and serves on the Alumnae Board of high school alma mater, The Hockaday School. 

  • Conrad Hudson, Accounting Manager, is responsible for overseeing the successful budgeting and reporting of organizational funds. Conrad is a graduate of the University of Kansas, where he used his energies outside of accounting classes to build community and bridges for the non-religious as President of the Society of Open-Minded Atheists & Agnostics. At IFYC Conrad tracks revenue & expenses and produces financial documents for internal and external stakeholders to ensure compliance & transparency. Previous experiences with non-profits include the Willow Domestic Violence Center, the Humanist Community at Harvard, and the Secular Student Alliance board of directors. He is also an alumni of IFYC’s Interfaith Leadership Institute. Conrad believes with the powers of spreadsheets and empathy combined, interfaith cooperation can win the day.

  • Gautam Srikishan, Communications Associate, develops and curates multimedia content which he shares through IFYC’s social media channels. He studied music composition at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he also promoted student interfaith events as the communications chair of Interfaith In Action, a student interfaith group. At IFYC, he develops resources as a graphic designer, shares the latest (and hippest) news on the interfaith movement through social media, and produces the IFYC podcast, Common Knowledge. When he’s not working, you can find him playing table tennis or his recently acquired banjo. With parents of Jain and Hindu heritage, pluralism is a core part of Gautam’s identity.

  • Hannah Minks-Clark, Mission Delivery Associate, works to support Better together organizers as they strive to make interfaith cooperation a top priority on their campuses. Hannah graduated from Dominican University with a BA in theology. At IFYC, Hannah spends her time building relationships with students and campus allies while aiming to hone the interfaith identity of each campus she serves. Beyond the walls of IFYC, Hannah can be found in her snug living space with her nose in theology texts, sporadically calling upon the Real Housewives to give her brain a break. Interfaith work provides Hannah a fuller revelation of God as she learns the perspectives of many people in their distinct pursuits of truth.  

  • J.M. Conway, Campus Engagement Manager, facilitates processes to access and build upon campus assets for expanding interfaith cooperation across multiple dimensions of campus life, including student leadership, co-curricular, and curricular programming. Conway earned a Master of Education degree with a focus on college student development from Loyola University Chicago and is a Posse Alum attending Depauw University for undergrad. When not at work, you’ll usually find Conway singing and or dancing and collecting 1 liner jokes. Interfaith Youth Core's mission sits at the intersection of so many of Conway’s passions, merging religious pluralism, social engagement, and youth leadership through action. Conway is a womanist artist and is testing out the following identifiers: Eclectic Spiritualist, Secular Universalist and Spiritual Humanist.

  • Jenan Mohajir, Director of Interfaith Leadership Institutes, oversees the overall strategy, development and implementation of the Interfaith Leadership Institutes (ILIs). Jenan received her B.S. from DePaul University in elementary education and Islamic studies. Over the last decade, she has led skills-based trainings on interfaith service and cooperation here in the United States and around the world. Jenan spends her time designing IFYC’s interfaith leadership curriculum and managing the ‘look and feel’ of the ILIs, spearheading what has become a truly holistic interfaith leadership experience at the institutes. In her personal life, Jenan also serves on the steering committee for the Hyde Park Muslim Family Circle, which fosters the social and spiritual growth of Muslim families and individuals within the robust cultural setting of Hyde Park, Chicago. On weekends, Jenan enjoys spending time with her family and playing 'chef' with her rambunctious toddler. Jenan is a committed Muslim, and is deeply inspired by the Quran and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad to build a world where we can live together in equal dignity and mutual harmony.

  • Joan Peterson, Director of Human Resources, oversees IFYC’s people initiatives and systems. Joan earned a B.A. degree from Luther College, and a Juris Doctor degree from Northwestern University School of Law.  Joan returned to Chicago in 2010 after a lengthy career as an employment law attorney in Alaska. Joan devotes her time at IFYC to creating an awesome workplace culture where her teammates can thrive and make IFYC’s mission a reality.  Away from IFYC, Joan enjoys all activities in the great outdoors. Respect for religious difference is a family affair for Joan, who has experienced the challenges and beauty of interfaith cooperation among her multi-religious and non-religious family members.

  • Joe Morrow, Mission Delivery Manager for Campus Engagements, grows and stewards relationships with campus stakeholders in order to foster vibrant campus ecologies of interfaith cooperation. Joe comes to IFYC with professional experience in Christian ministry, higher education, non-profit organizations and corporate settings. An ordained Presbyterian elder, he understands his interfaith work as an embodiment of theological commitments to neighborly love. Joe received his MDiv from North Park Theology Seminary and BSFS from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. When not at IFYC, you'll find Joe reading, cooking, eating, and enjoying outdoor sports.

  • Dr. John Meech, Foundation Relations Manager, stewards relationships and drives the fundraising strategy for foundation gifts. John has a PhD in Religious Studies from Marquette University and authored Paul in Israel’s Story: Self and Community at the Cross. He has a Master’s in Liberal Studies and a B.S. in Computer Science from Northwestern University. John has taught at Shimer College and Carthage College. He is a leader in interfaith cooperation through his ELCA congregation in Waukegan, IL. In his free time he keeps up with two Boston Terriers, enjoys reading theology, philosophy, and science fiction, and can be found at Indian buffets whenever he can convince his wife Cathy to join him. John’s experiences in fundraising, scholarship, and teaching, as well as a passion for interfaith cooperation, all converge around his work at IFYC.

  • Juhee Jain, Mission Delivery Associate, organizes and executes the four annual Interfaith Leadership Institutes (ILIs). Juhee earned her BA in fine arts/design & psychology at the George Washington University, where she was actively involved in interfaith work. In 2012, she was chosen as a Jain interfaith leader to speak at the Martin Luther Day of Service & the Interfaith Baccalaureate. Alongside managing the ILIs, Juhee develops relationships with college campuses and fosters their interfaith efforts. Outside IFYC, you’ll find Juhee dancing away to the latest Bollywood song, painting, and indulging in her love for food and all things sweet. In a world where most violence is committed in the name of the religion, Juhee believes working together to cultivate interfaith cooperation, religious tolerance, and acceptance is crucial to a peaceful future.

  • Katie Bringman Baxter, Vice President of Institutional Engagement, focuses on engaging the whole campus. In this role, she helps faculty and staff institutionalize interfaith cooperation by thinking across the campus ecology. Katie’s interest in religion and her professional work in higher education are rooted in an MA in College Student Personnel (Bowling Green State University) and a BA in Religion (Wittenberg University). Beyond IFYC, Katie spends time cooking and canning veggies from the neighborhood farmers market, training for half marathons, and supporting the work of her Lutheran church. Both her professional experience helping college students learn from those who are different and her personal religious convictions motivate Katie to work for a world where people of different backgrounds honor and respect one another. 

  • Keith Yelnick, IT Manager, handles the IT operations and strategy at IFYC. He is a graduate of the US Army's Signal School at Fort Gordon, and was previously the Manager of IT at Chicago's Girl Scout Council. Keith is passionate about exploring new ways to support the IFYC mission through the efficient use of technology. Keith enjoys spending his free time enjoying Chicago's many great restaurants. Supporting the American ideals of diversity and tolerance keeps Keith excited about his work at IFYC.

  • Kristi Del Vecchio, Mission Delivery Associate for Institutional Engagements, foucses on strategic partnerships with colleges and universities. Before joining IFYC, Kristi studied religion and biology at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. Her extra-curricular life there was filled with leading Concordia's Better Together campaign, working with IFYC as a Better Together Coach, and creating the campus’ first Secular Student Community. In her current role at IFYC, she builds relationships with faculty and staff invested in interfaith cooperation, and supports their growth as key interfaith leaders on campus. Alongside her work at IFYC, Kristi is studying Theology at Catholic Theological Union as an Arthur Vining Davis Foundations scholar. Kristi’s interest in service led her to the world of interfaith cooperation, where she was—and still is—inspired by a diverse group of people uniting to address the challenging issues of our time. 

  • As Chief of Staff, Mary Ellen coordinates the efforts of IFYC’s Executive Team through a rigorous annual strategic planning and continuous review cycle, while ensuring programmatic alignment and integration throughout the organization. Prior to becoming Chief of Staff, Mary Ellen served as IFYC’s Vice President of Campus Partnerships and continues to steward one of IFYC's highest programmatic partners in the White House and the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge. Mary Ellen joined IFYC in 2008 after completing her Master’s in religion and government at Harvard Divinity School. Mary Ellen earned her undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and it was her personal on-campus experiences that inspire her to build interfaith cooperation in higher education. Outside work, Mary Ellen can be found chasing her family (husband, daughter, and dog alike) around town.

  • Mat Schramm, Marketing and Communications Associate, focuses on IFYC's digital communication, storytelling, and content development. Mat is a graduate of Purdue University, where he studied Industrial Design. At IFYC, he spends his time managing IFYC's email communication and constituent network, writing and editing content for large audiences, and driving timelines for communications projects. When he's away from his desk, you can probably find him tweaking his latest graphic design project, watching Purdue basketball, or planning his next gym workout. As a Christian, the spark for Mat's inspiration to become an interfaith leader came from a bumper sticker he saw when riding his bicycle in traffic: it read, simply, "Jesus was radically inclusive."   

  • Megan Lane, Mission Delivery Associate, Campus Mobilizing, works to mobilize students, faculty, and staff participating in the Better Together campaign. Megan is a graduate of Appalachian State University, and holds master’s degrees in both Religion and Higher Education Administration. Megan is passionate about student leadership development, and spends her days designing resources for students and staff, advising interfaith leaders, and facilitating trainings on campuses nationwide. Away from the office, you can find her wandering around Chicago with her dog, practicing her improv skills, and educating people on the correct spelling of the word ‘y’all’. As a Humanist, she is dedicated to equality in all of its forms, and to the inclusion of non-theists in interfaith work.

  • Nasser Asif, Director of Communications and Marketing, oversees outreach to new campuses and IFYC's engagement with the public. Nasser comes to the interfaith movement from a career in brand marketing, advertising and nonprofit communications consulting. Most days you'll find him planning campaigns, managing creative projects, and thinking about the storytelling IFYC can use to inspire new leaders. When he's on his own time, you'll usually find him reading about various obscurities and oddities on Wikipedia, cooking something spicy, and listening to vintage country music; often simultaneously. Nasser believes that America is more dynamic and diverse than ever before, and he sees the interfaith movement as an essential actor in shaping a civil society that is just, vibrant, and geared towards progress. 

  • Noah Silverman, Director of Faculty Partnerships, works with faculty and senior administrators to think holistically about interfaith cooperation across their campuses. He holds an MA in religious studies from New York University and has been professionally involved in interfaith work for over a decade on three continents. In conversation with campus partners, Noah spends his time at IFYC exploring the contours and implications of the academic study of interfaith cooperation. When not at work or improvising his way through new parenthood, Noah loves going to the theatre, traveling, and rethinking Jewish communal education. Noah became interested in the fields of young adult leadership, interfaith understanding, and conflict resolution while living in Jerusalem.

  • Pete De Kock, Vice President of Operations and Communications, leads IFYC’s operations and communications initiatives including accounting and IT, marketing, thought leadership, and storytelling. He also serves as Treasurer, working closely with the Finance Committee of the Board of Directors to ensure excellent financial processes. Pete is a graduate of Grinnell College and Harvard Divinity School, where he studied political and social ethics. After completing his degrees, Pete became increasingly committed to making his conscience public. He transitioned to the political sphere, spending seven years working with U.S. Congressman Bruce Braley. Pete and his wife Jen live in Chicago and are the proud parents of a two young sons. Pete enjoys biking, fishing, and is a BBQ aficionado, but his greatest love is his family. Pete is especially inspired by the civic dimensions of IFYC's mission, and is committed to working hard with his neighbors to write another chapter in the United States' story of religious pluralism, hope, and opportunity.  

  • Prerna Abbi, Mission Delivery Manager for Alumni Relations, manages relationships with young adults who have graduated from both college and IFYC programs. After earning her BA from The Maxwell School at Syracuse University, Prerna served as an AmeriCorps member with Habitat for Humanity, organizing faith communities and students around affordable housing. Now Prerna spends her days mentoring IFYC’s alumni leaders, supporting their personal and professional work to grow interfaith cooperation. She spends most of her free time listening to nerdy podcasts, trying her hand at all of the recipes and crafts she’s pinned, and getting excited about intersectionality, feminism, and LGBTQ issues. As a Secular Hindu, Prerna is driven to make space for all identities and hopes to be a voice for finding common ground with those who don’t fit neatly into check boxes.

  • Rachel Schwartz, Mission Delivery Associate, works with a national network of institutions of higher education to assess and enhance the quality of their interfaith programming. Rachel came to IFYC from Northwestern University where she earned a BA in philosophy and psychology. At IFYC she works on the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education, supports institutions of higher education who administer the Campus Religious and Spiritual Climate Survey, and regularly communicates with campus leaders. When not working, she can be found reading philosophy and unconsciously singing. After reflecting on her experiences of religiously motivated violence, she wrote her philosophy thesis about it, and was inspired to work on making interfaith cooperation a social norm.

  • Randa Kuziez, Mission Delivery Associate in campus engagements, works with college campuses to help cultivate interfaith cooperation. Randa comes to IFYC with 10 years of interfaith experience in the US and abroad, work on eradicating malaria, starting her own business, and serving as Vice President of the  Muslim Student Association of the US and Canada. Randa holds a Master Degree in International Relations from Washington University in St. Louis, and a BA from Saint Louis University. In partnership with faculty, staff, and students, Randa facilitates a process to assess and build upon campus assets for expanding interfaith cooperation across multiple dimensions of campus life, including student leadership, co-curricular, and curricular programming. Randa loves to spend time with her family and friends, explore Chicago with her husband, and being out in nature . Randa is inspired by her Muslim faith to serve God  by serving others. 

  • Rebecca Russo, Mission Delivery Manager for Campus Stewardship, works with the IFYC team to support and build relationships with campuses that are actively integrating interfaith into various aspects of campus life. Rebecca comes to IFYC with professional experience in Hillel, student leadership training, organizational development, and non-profit organizations. Rebecca graduated from Brown Unversity with a B.A. in Middle East Studies and is a current MBA candidate at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. In her free time, Rebecca loves singing, traveling, hiking, cooking, and spending time with her family. Rebecca's interfaith experiences while living in Morocco and Israel inspired her to join the interfaith movement, seeing religious identity as a basis for common understanding and action.

  • Taryn Harris is IFYC's Office Associate who assists each department at IFYC, especially accounting. She has super-hero tendencies and in her position she solves problems and rescues people from deadlines, discomfort and disorganization. Taryn's been doing this sort of work for much of this millennium and is happy to be part of an organization teaching and advocating interfaith cooperation. At IFYC Taryn is immersed in a variety of tasks like ordering business cards and sourcing organic coffee creamer. She does what it takes to keep IFYC's office running smoothly! When she's not supporting staff she is with her Lucumi community, dancing at a house party, or cooking scrumptious food. Taryn hopes to help establish the Lucumi as leaders in service and interfaith cooperation.

  • Tony Banout, VP of Institutional Advancement, leads the team that manages IFYC's philanthropic partnerships and stewards our Board of Directors. He comes to IFYC with over a decade of experience in nonprofit management and leadership, including work in diverse fields such as social services, civil rights, and health care. Tony holds a Ph.D. in Religion from the Divinity School at the University of Chicago for a dissertation treating democracy and religious freedom. At the University, Tony also engaged Islamic Studies and Arabic, and was a Provost Dissertation fellow and junior fellow of the Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion. He is a graduate of the Washington Theological Union, where he completed a Master's in Theology, and received a B.A. in Business from St. John's University, where he credits the Vincentians for forming his interest in the transformative power of religion. He and his wife Julie are parents to Lucas and Nina, and members of First United Church of Oak Park. When not ruminating at a desk or trying to keep up with his kids, Tony can be found on a bike, running, or with his guitar.

  • William Campbell, Director of Campus Mobilizing, drives the overall strategy for Better Together, a student leadership program for interfaith social action. William believes in the power of student leadership and comes to IFYC with a background in student leadership development & Christian campus ministry. Immediately prior to IFYC he studied theology at North Park Theological Seminary and worked at Chicago’s LGBTQ community center. He spends most of his time collaborating on resources and strategies to support Better Together leaders and envision a national student movement. In his free time he can be found either reading or writing imaginative fiction. He is inspired by a ridiculous belief that we can have a bigger impact on many of the world’s biggest issues when we act together across our differences for the common good.