People

Current Fellows

Shuaib Aljabaly

Hello! My name is Shuaib Aljabaly and I am a senior at UW-Madison studying Computer Sciences. I was born in Yemen and moved with my family to America at a very early age. Growing up in a Muslim Household in Coldwater, MI, I attended English school on weekdays and Islamic Arabic school on weekends. Religion is the most important thing to me, but it wasn’t until I came here to campus that I began to ask myself the serious questions, seeing how strong my faith really was. Coming to Madison, WI, I’ve met Muslims and non-Muslims of very different cultures and want to continue these conversations, mixing my knowledge of Islam with others’. Having conversations with friends and teammates here at UW has led me to realize that the way to counter misinformation and Islamophobia is to have open-minded discussion on different beliefs. I am excited about the CRGC fellowship and the chance to exchange in dialogue with other fellows to make a change on campus.

Kristina Fiedler

Hello! My name is Kristina Fiedler and I am from Chicago. I am currently a Junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, studying Environmental Science and German. I was raised as a Missouri Synod Lutheran with some Brazilian spiritual flares. In high school, I developed a passion for learning about other cultures, languages, and belief systems. Through my friends and teachers, I accumulated knowledge on Islam, Baha’i-ism, Agnosticism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. My exploration led me to reflect on my own faith. I now identify as Theist with an increasing interest in Buddhism as a philosophical guide. A theist believes in a higher power but does not ascribe to any particular religion or set of practices. As the pandemic comes to somewhat of an end, I am excited to meet new people and have conversations that can engage my curiosity. As a Fellow, I am eager to utilize and share my passions for research and discovery. I am most looking forward to the interfaith dialogue that I will take part in as a CRGC Fellow and I am excited to continue diversifying my spiritual horizons.

Genevieve Grade

Hello! My name is Genevieve, and this year I’ll be a junior studying sociology, public policy, and education services. I grew up in Waunakee, Wisconsin with one devoutly Lutheran parent, the other a committed Unitarian Universalist. My childhood experience exploring and participating in these two faiths gave religion a place of prominence in my life early on. As I grew, I became interested in the interfaith work emphasized by my UU congregation, and when I entered college, I found myself drawn even closer to Christianity. The spring semester of my sophomore year, I interned at Nehemiah, a local faith-based nonprofit. There, I worked on developing and promoting an educational course on both white Christian churches’ past complicity in racism as well as their capacity for positive social change. The experience was personally groundbreaking, and I remain committed to examining the social impact of not only my own two religions, but that of religion as a whole. I could not be more excited to engage with and learn from the Interfaith Fellows program this year! Outside of the CRGC, I enjoy throwing pottery, baking, and cuddling my housemates’ cats.

Josh Hall

My name is Josh Hall and I am a junior majoring in Biology on a Pre-Med track. I was born and raised in De Pere, Wisconsin, a suburb of Green Bay. My parents are Catholic and Lutheran respectively, and I grew up attending the Catholic Church. When I was 17, I was Confirmed, and upon leaving to attend college at UW-Madison, began exploring my faith. In high school, I had little involvement with religious groups, but I now look forward to being an Interfaith Fellow and engaging in conversation with those of different faiths. The dialogue from the CRGC will be an important addition to my academic experience as a STEM student in Madison and I hope it will help me as a professional when pursuing a career in medicine. I am excited to gain a greater understanding of my own faith, and how faith affects the lives of those around me.

Alisha Jones

Hi! My name is Alisha, and I use she/her pronouns. I am a senior studying cultural anthropology at UW with specific interests in identity, group behavior, and human/civil rights issues. Although I am from Fort Worth, TX, where the dominant religion is Christianity, I do not self-identify as a Christian (more agnostic than anything). Both on an academic and personal level, I love learning about the experiences of religious people and how this shapes their perceptions of the world around them. In addition, I am excited to gain fieldwork and writing experience, improve my ability to communicate across cultural boundaries, develop a more holistic grasp on the variety of ways in which religion manifests itself in the Madison community, and engage in meaningful interfaith dialogues.

Jaitri Joshi

My name is Jaitri Joshi, and I am a senior studying Biochemistry and Life Science communications. I grew up in Maple Grove, Minnesota. I was raised in a Hindu household and was able to see the fluidity of basic values in Hinduism that my parents have brought with them along their journey across continents. As a minority religion in America, it has been interesting to immerse myself into the religious experiences and celebrations of other groups and share what I have learned about my own faith. The teachings of my parents were supplemented by a Sunday school called Hindu-American Temple School led by passionate volunteers that allowed the application of faith-based concepts and history into our actions in today’s world. Faith is such an important facet of many lives, and to truly understand each other and the decisions we make, having discussions surrounding this can help us empathize and grow us a community- and I hope to do just that as a CRGC Fellow this year.

Jaskiran Kaur Sandhu

Hello! My name is Jaskiran Kaur Sandhu, and I am a rising junior majoring in Biology. I am from Madison, WI, and I am a Sikh. My faith has become a prominent aspect of my life because of my parents and family. Throughout elementary, middle, and high school, I would visit the Gurudwara (the Sikh temple) every week and attend Punjabi School, where I learned about Sikh history and the Punjabi/Gurmukhi language. Growing up as a Sikh, I realized over time how little is known about my religion. This became even more clear after the Oak Creek Sikh Temple shooting in 2012. From this tragedy, I learned how one’s ignorance can lead to harm, but also why spreading awareness and creating opportunities for interreligious dialogue can be so valuable. As a CRGC fellow, I am excited to meet students and learn about their different faiths while sharing knowledge about mine, have meaningful conversations about the role of religion in our lives, and create a space to discuss issues in our society such as the ignorance and misconceptions regarding different faiths.

Allie Kutsch

My name is Allie and I am a senior studying Consumer Behavior and Marketplace Studies with certificates in Entrepreneurship and Digital Studies to make it more business/marketing focused. I am from Racine, Wisconsin (south of Milwaukee) where I attended Catholic schooling from K-12. I was raised in a Catholic household, and because of Catholic school, I attended church twice a week and took a wide variety of religion classes through the years. I was confirmed my junior year of high school and love Sunday Mass, especially when my entire family goes. Even though I attended Catholic school all my life, I did not truly start practicing my faith until my freshman year of high school, when I witnessed God’s ability to grant miracles. I only had an overview of other religions in my World Religions class, but I am excited to dive deeper into the difference in beliefs that exist among them. As a college student, I have been able to strengthen my religion independently of my family through an all-women’s non-denominational bible study, Delight, and through friends who share varying views of faith. I am excited to participate in important conversations with everyone this semester and to share my views of the Catholic faith with others.

Sofia Lissuzzo

My name is Sofia, and I am a junior at UW-Madison studying Neurobiology and Religious Studies. I am from the Chicago area and although I wasn’t taken to church by my family when I was young, I started attending a Presbyterian church as a young adult. My faith is something that is ever important and evolving for me and it has always been a curiosity to me to see how others are affected by their spirituality. I am excited for my experience as a CRGC fellow to further my understanding of other faiths and how they play a role in others’ lives.

Matthew Nangle

My name is Matthew Nangle and I am a sophomore studying Genetics, Anthropology, and Arabic with hopes of attending graduate school to pursue Biological Anthropology. I was raised in Wisconsin and grew up in a Lutheran household with parents from Lutheran and Catholic backgrounds. Growing up, faith wasn’t a major part of my life but in recent years I’ve dedicated time to deciding for myself what faith means to me. Because of this I’ve developed a passion for theology and I readily adopt ideas from a range of Judeo-Christian thinkers. I greatly enjoy learning about the evolution of belief systems and along with my passion for complex systems of belief and their histories, I look forward to learning more about how faith impacts individuals. Through the CRGC fellowship program I hope to learn more from others about what influence their faith has had on their values and daily lives, while continuing to encourage interfaith curiosity.

Yaakov Segal

Hello! My name is Yaakov Segal. I have lived in Israel, California, and mostly Minnesota. I’m here at Madison studying Political Science and Jewish studies. I am Jewish and was raised in a Jewish family. I feel that Judaism is a large part of who I am as a person and want to share what that means for me with others. I want to be able to teach about my traditions and learn from others about theirs. I’m super excited to be part of a program that allows me to do that.

Tahseen Shaik

Hello! My name is Tahseen Shaik and I am a senior studying Neurobiology at UW-Madison. I was born in Andhra Pradesh, India and grew up in Wisconsin. I grew up in a Muslim household but was surrounded my various faiths both here and in India. I learned about my religion by studying and applying it every day growing up; it was very important to my upbringing, molding my morals and identity. And I learned about other religions and cultures from family friends, neighbors, and the community — which taught me to appreciate the similarities and differences among religions. As a CRGC fellow, I hope to explore more conversations, learn from my peers, and share my experiences. I am excited to be a part of a program that encourages knowledge and understanding of others.

Pengying Sun

My name is Pengying Sun. I am a sophomore double-majoring in Neurobiology and Nutritional Science on a pre-med track, while pursuing certificates in Biocore and Southeast Asian Studies. I was born and raised in a Mahayana Buddhism family. Years ago, I got the opportunity to learn about Theravada Buddhism and have become more and more fascinated by it. My daily meditation practice allows me to train my mind not to be disturbed by the impermanent surroundings but to be self-conscious of my sense bases and to maintain the clarity of insight. My meditation retreat experience at various monasteries in China and Thailand have fueled my passion to delve deeper into Buddhism. Meditation is also a subject I am passionate about in academia. I am particularly interested in how different types of meditation can be harnessed as tools to enhance human brain function and promote mental well-being. Being a Buddhist has inspired me in every aspect of my life. I am thrilled to be a CRGC fellow, to learn more about other faith systems, and hopefully offer useful insights as a Buddhist and meditation practitioner.

Kasturi Thorat

Namaste! My name is Kasturi, and I was born and brought up in Nashik, India. I am a senior studying Global Health. I grew up in a Hindu household and I identify as a Hindu. Growing up in India, I have had the chance to coexist with people of different faiths and this experience has made me who I am today. My interest in interfaith dialogue arises from feeling left out after I moved to the US for college. Back home I did not realize how easy it was to stay connected to your belief system. After moving to the US, I felt the need to connect with people who wouldn’t shy away from or avoid conversations about faith. Being a fellow with CRGC is a great opportunity to have insightful conversations and learn more about different faiths. My goal is to utilize this chance to educate people more about my culture, religion, and faith. I strongly believe that we are all spiritual beings, and our faith is how we connect with our spiritual self. We might be walking different paths, but our destination is the same.

Storay Wardak

Hi, my name is Storay! I transferred this semester to UW Madison as a junior, and I’m pursuing a double major in religious studies and philosophy. I was born in Peshawar Pakistan, but my family and I are Afghan; we came to the US as refugees when I was young, and I’ve grown up here since. My family and I are practicing Muslims, so faith is a large part of my life. I’ve had my share of experiences growing up as a minority and those experiences have always pushed me to learn more about my own and other people’s faiths, cultures, and religions. Progress of any kind starts with clean intentions and a good conversation. I hope to have many of those this year in pursuit of a better understanding of other fellows and their traditions, and I’m looking forward to learning how we can all grow in empathy for one another as people in this community, as well as globally.

Caitlin Wienkes

Fall 2021 will begin my sixth year studying engineering at UW-Madison. Out of the 130 or so credits I have taken during my undergraduate career, my favorite courses have been those studying cultures and religions. Instead of extending my graduation date any further by taking classes that do not count for my major, I decided to pursue this interest by applying for the Interfaith Fellowship. I grew up in rural, southwest Wisconsin in a largely Catholic community. As I have grown into my own person, I no longer identify with any religion; however, I am excited to participate in interreligious dialogue. I do not know that I have much information to offer, but I will ask so many questions to learn more about the world for my own benefit, to make others question or confirm their beliefs, and to take the information I gain and share it with my peers.

Click here to see previous years’ fellows.

Center Staff

Ulrich Rosenhagen

Position title: Director

Email: rosenhagen@wisc.edu

Phone: 6088901665

Ulrich Rosenhagen received his Ph.D. from the University of Heidelberg in 2012 and is author of Brudermord, Freiheitsdrang, Weltenrichter: Religiöse Kommunikation und öffentliche Theologie in der amerikanischen Revolutionsepoche (Fratricide, Desire for Freedom, Judge of the World: Religious Communication and Public Theology during the American Revolution), Berlin: Walter de Gruyter (2015). He edited Nostra Aetate and the Future of Interreligious Dialogue with Charles L. Cohen and Paul F. Knitter, Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books (2017) and is in the process of editing The Holy in a Pluralistic World: Rudolf Otto’s Legacy in the Twenty-First Century with Gregory Alles (forthcoming with Equinox). He was a researcher at the Technical University of Dresden, has held a research fellowship at Boston University, and has written in academic and non-academic journals on Jewish-Christian relations, Social Protestantism, and interreligious dialogue. His main research interests are interreligious literacy, religion and immigration, and the work of Rudolf Otto, the author of The Idea of the Holy (1917). He is teaching as a Lecturer at the UW-Madison’s Religious Studies Program. He is also an ordained Lutheran pastor and worked for several years in the ministry in Germany and Miami, FL.

Sari Judge

Position title: Program Coordinator

Email: sjudge@wisc.edu

Sari Ratner Judge comes to the Center for Religion and Global Citizenry with a strong background in student services and communication. Along with her CRGC appointment, Sari serves as the Program Coordinator for the Entrepreneurial Residential Learning Community where she assists first year students in navigating the startup ecosystem of both the UW-Madison campus and the city. Prior to this, Sari served as the Assistant to the Director for the Lubar Institute for the Study of the Abrahamic Religions where she learned first hand the importance of engaging students in interfaith dialogue.

Sari has been both a lecturer and advisor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication where she specialized in strategic communications. In her pre-Madison days, she worked in advertising account management for DDB and Leo Burnett. Sari earned her BA from the University of Chicago.

Karen Turino

Position title: Administrator

Email: turino@wisc.edu

Phone: 608-262-2378

Emma Lai

Position title: Digital Coordinator

Email: erlai@wisc.edu

Emma Lai graduated from UW Madison in May 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in Economics (Math Emphasis), Psychology, and Religious Studies. Now a Rotational Analyst at American Family Insurance, she hopes to use her technical skills to better understand and quantify the motivations and consequences of human behavior. Besides her Fellowship with the Center in 2018, her interfaith work has included 2 UpperHouse Fellowships, an internship with the Wisconsin Council of Churches, and participation in Hillel’s Necessity of Now Seminar. Outside of Interfaith, Emma enjoys playing tennis, sketching, and practicing the piano.

David Schulz

Position title: Program Coordinator

My name is David Schulz. I grew up in a Lutheran home with some evangelical influence, and though these remain important to me, my practice has been influenced by other streams of Christianity as well; currently I am part of a small church network called Blue Ocean Faith. I was a student at UW a few years back (L&S 2014) and was a fellow at the Lubar Institute, CRGC’s predecessor; this experience expanded my understanding and appreciation of other religions, and allowed me to bring my whole self, faith included, to the academic environment. After undergrad I studied Theology at Boston University and continued to engage other spiritualities, working in interfaith at MIT. I just moved back to Madison and am excited to be working for the CRGC, as well as at a church in the area. 

Board of Advisors

Maria Ahmad

Position title: Assistant Director for Leadership and Involvement, Multicultural Student Center

Mou Banerjee

Position title: Associate Professor (History)

Brandon Bloch

Position title: Assistant Professor (History)

Eric Carlsson

Position title: Lecturer

John Dunne

Position title: Center for Healthy Minds Distinguished Professor in Contemplative Humanities (Center for Healthy Minds and East Asian Languages & Literature)

Névine El Nossery

Position title: Associate Professor (French and Italian)

Anne Hansen

Position title: Professor of History and Religious Studies

Adam Nelson

Position title: Professor of Educational Policy Studies

Leonora Neville

Position title: John W. and Jeanne M. Rowe Professor of Byzantine History

Nadav Shelef

Position title: Professor, Political Science and Jewish Studies