These School of Theology and Ministry students are in conversation with members of the Puget Sound Interfaith Network for Public Theology and with Center scholars. They participate in Network discussions around capacity building for more effective faith-based action; engage the ongoing research projects of Center scholars through videoconference and Canvas sessions; and explore synergies between the Center’s initiatives and their own professional experience and coursework.
Ms. Haley Ballast is pursuing a Master of Divinity degree at Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry and is a candidate for ordination in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Haley has a B.A. in Psychology and Linguistics from the University of Southern California, and her areas of interest include racial justice, intersectional feminism, and inter-religious dialogue. She and her spouse have four children through birth and international adoption, and reside in South Seattle.
Rev. Jan Bolerjack, Senior Pastor at Riverton Park United Methodist Church in Tukwila, is firmly rooted in the Pacific Northwest. With triple careers in education, nursing and ministry, she brings a holistic approach to working with this community. Rev. Jan holds a Master of Divinity from Vancouver School of Theology and loves diving deep into scripture to uncover relevant meaning and even to challenge some beliefs that have been used to hold people down over the centuries. A lover of progressive theology and thought, she brings her interest in social justice-making and restorative healing both to the pulpit and the street. In her current appointment, she has created an extensive homeless ministry, at times housing up to 60 people (including 25 children) in and around the church building. “No warm, dry, secure space should sit empty while people sleep outside.” You can often find her at community meetings, speaking to community leaders, or strategizing to change unjust systems. Or you may find her holding a baby – any baby – or in the church yard playing catch with a young child, or at a table discussing school work with a teen. Rev. Jan’s love of people and hope for the future is evident in the life she leads. She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree at Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry.
Ms. Shannon Britton is an employee, mentor and leader at Seattle University and a current graduate student at SU’s School of Theology and Ministry. She received a bachelor’s degree from Western Washington University in Environmental Science in 2006. After graduation, she traveled many of the local rivers and streams collecting data and facilitating reports on salmon-bearing waterways for Snohomish County Public Works.
Shannon has worked at Seattle University since 2009 and integrates her knowledge of environmental systems in her role as Grounds Manager and as a member of the university community. She was accepted to the School of Theology and Ministry’s Master of Arts in Transformational Leadership program in 2015 and has been actively involved as a volunteer in university service projects. Shannon has served in leadership roles in her spiritual community of 20 years, and has a deep connection with indigenous spirituality that has rekindled her relationship with Jesuit teachings.
Currently enrolled in the Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies program at Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry, Ms. Donna Cheesebrough is a retired business executive with over 30 years focused on building operational and technology solutions for Fortune 100 global organizations including Microsoft, General Motors, CIT, Honeywell and Ernst & Young. She also has a history of community involvement at the board level in a number of non-profit organizations. Since 2015, Donna has embarked on an encore career in theology with interests in adult faith formation, spiritual development and advancing inter-faith understanding. She is a trained Cabrini Minister for the Archdiocese of Seattle and an intern with Catholic Community Services of Western Washington where she is supporting the PREPARES program. Donna holds a BA in Management and an MBA from the University of South Florida. She is married and lives in Kirkland with her husband and two cats. They are both active parishioners at St. James Cathedral in Seattle.
Mr. John Cowan brings over 30 years of global experience in natural resources, water and wastewater technology, and environmental policy. He has specialized in project management, capacity building, policy analysis, and business development. John spent several years as the Operations Director for Sustainable Project Management (SPM), a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) chartered non-governmental organization (NGO) headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. In this capacity, he worked closely with bilateral donors, NGO’s and other stakeholders to address water, waste, and energy challenges in the Asia-Pacific Region. He also collaborated with the International Maritime Organization and the UNDP to develop a sustainable water policy for several Pacific Small Island Developing States. John has authored and co-authored a number of papers and presentations on the use of mixed-capital public private partnerships. John received his B.S. in Botany from the University of Washington and completed graduate work in Plant Pathology at the University of Idaho. He further completed post-graduate work in Environmental Engineering and International Business and Finance at Colorado State University and the Australian Institute of Management. John is currently completing a Master of Arts in Transformational Leadership at Seattle University’s School of Theology & Ministry.
Ms. Amber Larkin is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Transformational Leadership degree at Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry. Born and raised in Seattle, she is passionate about the social and moral implications of the rising cost of housing and property taxes in the city and its impact on the population of the homeless and housing insecure. She received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Sociology from Santa Clara University.
Over the last 5 years, Amber has been actively involved in the community through organizations like Bloodworks Northwest, Fred Hutch, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. When she’s not in class or volunteering, Amber enjoys working out – especially cycling, as well as reading, comic book shows and movies, and the occasional hike.