Meet your small group leaders for BTFO!
Name: Brittany A. Connolly
From: Tampa, FL
Program/Year: M.A.R. Ethics, 2nd year
Music: I’ve been jamming to Can’t stop the Feeling by Justin Timberlake and Don’t Mind by Kent Jones this summer!
Professor: Adam Eitel is the bomb!
Anything you’d like the incoming students to know: Remember to make your way down the hill! YDS has a great deal of resources to take advantage of and it can be easy to forget that the rest of Yale is just a mile down the hill. :)
Name: Dax W. Crocker
Where you are from: Tucson, AZ
Program/ Year at YDS: 3nd year MDiv
What music are you jammin to this summer?: Bruno Mars, Selena Quintanilla
Professor to definitely take a class from: Kathryn Tanner, Clearance Hardy III
Anything you’d like incoming students to know: practice self-car: use (PWG) the gym, make friends, laugh
Name: Addison Rothrock
Where you are from: Marietta, GA
Program/ Year at YDS: MARcEthics, Second Year
What music are you jammin to this summer?: Still on that Hamilton kick
Professor to definitely take a class from: Jennifer Herdt or John Collins
Anything you’d like incoming students to know: Find the best way to organize your many assignments at the beginning of the semester once you’ve been given the syllabi! Set mini deadlines far in advance of due dates so that you’re able to perform your best without those panic driven late nights!
Name: Gabby Cudjoe Wilkes
Where you are from: Originally Dallas; Been in NYC for the past 9 years.
Program/ Year at YDS: 2nd Year M.Div
What music are you jammin to this summer?: Beyonce’s Lemonade, anything by Drake, & a few gospel artists here & there.
Professor to definitely take a class from: I would say Keri Day but she’s no longer here! So I’ll say Dr. Eboni Marshall Turman!
Anything you’d like incoming students to know: Best kept secret - Yale is super small! Anyone you want to know/anything you want to do is so easy to make happen. So go for it! Go to Yale football games & hockey games - they’re fun, free & relaxing! Also, make sure you hit up NYC at least a few times a year - especially during the holidays and before the fall. It’s too close not to. Summer in New York and Thanksgiving/Christmas in New York is magical. #ThankMeLater
Greetings All!! I am Qadry Harris.
Hailing from the Empire State, I was born and raised in Mt. Vernon, NY. However, I hold dual citizenship as a Bronx resident. This fall will be my second year at the Divinity School. I was admitted as an M.A.R. Candidate with a Concentration in Black Religions. Last semester I switched over to the M. Div. track when I realized I could pursue my academic interest all while seeking ordination in the American Baptist Church. I take pride in the diversity of my music playlist which consist mostly of Classic Jazz and 90’s to early 2000’s hip hop. My favorite jazz artist is Duke Ellington while my favorite hip hop artist is Jay Z. I strongly recommend that everyone take one class with Professor John Hare before graduating. A close encounter with his unique lecturing style accompanied by his mastery of the western philosophical cannon will literally change your life. I am looking forward to getting to know you all and witnessing the greatness that you will contribute to the YDS community. I want to encourage each and every one of you to be your authentic selves in every space you occupy – this is when the most growth and learning occurs.
Name: Kate McKey-Dunar
Where you are from: Minnesota is home but the east coast has been my place of residence for around 5 years
Program/ Year at YDS: M.Div Middler
What music are you jammin to this summer?: I am driving tons this summer so it is a mix of Public Radio and top 100 hits.
Professor to definitely take a class from: Anything with Carolyn Sharp.
Anything you’d like incoming students to know: Know you do belong here… don’t let imposter syndrome get you down.
Name: Scot Bearss
Where you are from: Huntington Beach, CA
Program/Year at YDS: Second Year M.A.R. in Second Temple Judaism
What music are you jammin to this summer?: PersonA by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
Professor to definitely take a class from: Joel Baden
Advice: Take it easy.
Name: Ben Wyatt
Where you are from: Evansville, IN (yes, you read that right - I am Ben Wyatt from southern Indiana. My life is basically one giant Parks and Rec episode.)
Program/ Year at YDS: 2nd Year M.Div.
What music are you jammin to this summer?: Della Mae and Richard Shindell
Professor to definitely take a class from: Janet Ruffing. Her course on Ignatian Spirituality changed my life.
Anything you’d like incoming students to know: Everyone talks about how amazing the academic and professional resources are at YDS, but don’t forget about all the wonderful, fascinating, hilarious people that are your classmates. Make sure you take the time to meet some of them - many a deep friendship has been forged during study breaks in the Common Room!
Name: Andy Mickelson
Where you are from: Short version: I spent time growing up in Maryland, Taiwan, and Utah.
Program/ Year at YDS: Entering my second year of the MAR program with a Bible concentration (New Testament in particular)
What music are you jammin to this summer?: I dug in Israel this summer, and at our excavation we jammed out to classic 80’s rock, the Hamilton musical soundtrack, and Imagine Dragons.
Professor to definitely take a class from: Dean Andrew McGowan is one of the best teachers I’ve ever met, and his class last year on Devotion and Practice in Early Christianity blew my mind. Also, keep your eyes open next school year for when Dr. Michal Beth Dinker returns to teaching: she’s fantastic.
Anything you’d like incoming students to know: The Yale libraries offer some incredible services. You can have books delivered from any of the Yale library to the Divinity School library circulation desk, and if there’s a book you need that Yale doesn’t have, you can request them on BorrowDirect and they’ll arrive in 2-3 days. It’s a research lifesaver!
Name: Cory Hodson
Where you are from: Norwood, MA
Program/ Year at YDS: Second Year – MAR, Ethics
What music are you jammin to this summer?: Sturgill Simpson put out a new album toward the end of last semester, so some of that. Also really into live performances of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
Professor to definitely take a class from: Adam Eitel; he was instrumental in my acclimation to and success at YDS in my first year.
Anything you’d like incoming students to know: Avoid the self-doubt thing. I think most everyone had/has a little. But I’m confident there don’t exist admissions “mistakes.” Everyone has something worthwhile to contribute. Also, get to know people who are at way different junctures in life than you presently find yourself. Some of the best learning happens in these discussions– and sometimes subsequent friendships.
Name: Jonathan Sanchez
I’m originally from Columbia, South Carolina but I did my undergrad in Minnesota at St Olaf where I majored in in the lucrative degree of bass clarinet performance. I’m a second year MDiv, ordination track in the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America). On the more popular side of music,I’ve been listening to Christina Perri, Bastille, Imagine Dragons, and Rachel Patten (don’t judge). On the other side of things, I’ve been listening to Mozart, Mahler, Stravinsky, a little Shostakovitch every now and then, and various clarinet concerti. Some of my interests include biblical scholarship (especially Jewish influences on the New Testament) and liturgy/worship/music. Oh and puns. I’d highly recommend taking a class from Markus Rathey who does a lot with musicology as well as music and theology in an interdisciplinary setting. He does a great job of critically and academically engaging with the material while not divorcing it from faith or practical concerns. Although he’s on sabbatical in the fall you should try to take a class from him at some point. Also, you should play on the Div school’s intramural soccer team, the Paracletes!
Name: Ambre Dromgoole
Where you are from: Nashville, TN (S/o to my fellow southern folks!)
Program/ Year at YDS: MAR conc. Black Religion in the African Diaspora and ISM, 2nd year
What music are you jammin to this summer?: Oh my goodness! This isn’t fair for a budding ethnomusicologist, but I’ll try. Im loving Fantasia’s album Side Effects of You, as well as Jazmine Sullivan’s Love Me Back, and BJ the Chicago Kid’s Pineapple Now-Laters, ooooo OOOOO and Chance the Rapper’s latest one Coloring Book and of course Lemonade! Also, a little Snarky Puppy, Jonathon McReynolds, Janice Gaines, Travis Greene, Anthony Hamilton, Jamila Woods, Hamilton Soundtrack, and Tweet.
Professor to definitely take a class from: Definitely Carolyn Sharp! She’s incredible.
Anything you’d like incoming students to know: Keep breathing. You will learn things here that may rock your foundation, but please know that you are not alone.
Name: Amanda Tatlock
Where you are from: Albuquerque, NM
Program/ Year at YDS: M.Div, 2nd Year
What music are you jammin to this summer?: This British band called Coasts!
Professor to definitely take a class from: Professor Moschella! She is on sabbatical this Fall semester but she’s wonderful!
Anything you’d like incoming students to know: Find a great study partner for each class!! It will make studying so much easier if you have someone you can compare notes with and just talk about the material. Make those connections right away so you’re not scrambling last minute before finals!
Name: Alexander D’Alisera
Where you are from: Many places throughout the U.S., but predominantly Upstate New York
Program/ Year at YDS: 2nd year MAR, concentrated in History of Christianity
What music are you jamming to this summer?: https://bellows.bandcamp.com/
Professor to definitely take a class from: For early Christian theology and history, a class with Christopher Beeley is both ideal and indispensable. In the realm of ethics, Adam Eitel’s courses are intricately crafted and quite compelling. And as a general rule, you should also plan to take courses throughout the whole of Yale University (if you wish to know anything about the English or Medieval Studies Departments, you should feel free to ask me!).
Anything you’d like incoming students to know: Yale Divinity School is a place of collective academic progress. We, as YDS students, stand united in our pursuit of a shared theological education, and the ideals of academia and scholarly discourse serve as our school’s primary undercurrent. Whether our learning takes us from the vicissitudes of New Testament exegesis to analysis of medieval devotional literature or the deconstruction of American religious narratives, we are all eternally compelled towards an always-growing and always-profound form of academic utterance. And we are certainly glad to welcome many new people to this communal experience!
Name: N’Kosi Oates
Where you are from: New Jersey
What music are you jammin to this summer?: Get Back to My Baby
Professor to definitely take a class from: Professor Streets and Professor Dinkler
Anything you’d like incoming students to know: You belong here.
Name: Robert Laughton
I’m a third-year M.Div candidate. Though I was born and raised in Victoria, British Columbia, I now call Toronto home and am looking forward to being back there someday soon! We’re all looking forward to your arrival on the Quad and hope that you are too. The first few weeks are going to be a little overwhelming, so here are a few tips for surviving: Don’t try and do all the assigned reading (seriously. It can’t be done). Take classes that interest you – I recommend anything from John Collins, Carolyn Sharp, or Andrew McGowan. Nurture relationships with friends and professors (they want to get to know you, I promise!). Come to chapel to pray and celebrate with your community. And finally, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Everyone here wants you to succeed brilliantly and we’ll do what we can to make sure you do. Welcome to YDS! I can’t wait to meet you all.
Name: Sergio Enrique Buezo
Where you are from: New Orleans, Louisiana (parents are Honduran)
Program/ Year at YDS: MAR – Theology concentration in Liberation
What music are you jammin to this summer?: Latin Showcase
Professor to definitely take a class from: Dr. Kathryn Tanner (YDS has so many wonderful professors, hard to choose just one.)
Anything you’d like incoming students to know: Have a good time and take courses you enjoy, otherwise it will be a long semester.
Name: Susan Wentzy
Where you are from:The short answer - Maryland/DC
Program/ Year at YDS: Senior, 4th
What music are you jammin to this summer?: Anything with an up tempo, especially Sia. It all started after watching carpool karaoke episodes.
Professor to definitely take a class from: You really can’t go wrong. It depends on what you are interested in learning. There is a definite difference in taking seminars and lectures, as you can guess. I’m really into the meshing of literature and pastoral care at the moment, Chris Wiman and Mary Clark Moschella come to mind.
Anything you’d like incoming students to know: The exhibition pool in the gym is glorious. A new “Donut Heaven” will be opening on York to go with your favored coffee spot. There’s never enough donuts. Orange Side Cafe is home of the square donuts that you’ll find at the refectory. The work we do here is life changing for ourselves and those we will meet when we finish our time at YDS. Try not to take yourself too seriously. It may not seem like it needs to be said; however, life doesn’t stop while you are here. Keep being amazing.
Name: Thomas Burke
I am from here in this fine Nutmeg state and I will be starting my third year as an MDiv. This summer has been a throwback to some quality Jack Johnson with a little Cuban music thrown in to dance to. You should definitely take a class in Ethics from Professor Eitel he is brilliant and can articulate Kant to someone as dim as me. I think you should all know that this a beautiful community that is more complete because you are here and you should exploit your time at Yale.
Where are you from: Howe, TX
Program/Year at YDS: 2nd-year MDiv
What music are you jammin to this summer?: I’m still pretty obsessed with the Hamilton soundtrack.
Professor to definitely take a class from: Carolyn Sharp is amazing and not to be missed!
Anything you’d like incoming students to know: Take advantage of the built in community times to the daily schedule. Worship at Marquand and the lunch hour go a long way to structuring the day to avoid the perpetual reading bubble!
Name: Calvon Jones
I am from Garysburg, North Carolina.
Program: Master of Divinity Program/2nd Year
Music I am jamming to this summer is Nina Simone and John Coltrane
Professor to definitely take a class from: Dr. John Collins
Anything I would like incoming students to know:
Yale Divinity School is a place that nurtures your passions and commitments. I have been challenged in a number of areas: from wrestling with strenuous hours of reading to completing the numerous writing assignments; to establishing my identity as a Black man for the first time on a fully integrated campus; to selecting an appropriate place of worship. Because of these real challenges, I have grown tremendously. My theological muscles have been stretched. I have had to deal with the difficult questions of who God really is and what does all of this mean. Professors, administrators, and staff are so helpful: they are there when you need to talk or need to hear from others who have journeyed this path as well. In addition, the community of scholars and classmates whom I have gotten to know have become my teammates and lifelines. Through careful discernment, Yale Divinity School became a place for me to grow as a scholar and to explore the academy of religion in ways I had never experienced. You have not only joined a community of scholars but you have joined a space of family members.
Eda Ruhiye Uca
STM, Black Religion in the African Diaspora, 1 (of 4 total- just finished the MDiv!)
94.3- if you listen all day you’ll hear Whitney Houston at least once.
Our faculty is so excellent and different students are nourished by different pedagogical styles/scholarly commitments.
I’m a consumer of the Yale Mental Health system. Don’t hesitate to ask me questions.
Name: Justin Mikulencak
Where are you from: Lake Jackson, Texas
Program/Year: 3rd Year M.Div
What music are you jammin to this summer?: It’s SO hip, you’ve probably never even heard of it.
Professor to definitely take a class from: Jennifer Herdt
Anything you’d like incoming students to know: No one reads everything. Don’t waste your first semester trying to prove how smart you are. Ask questions. You’ll be fine.
Name: Ann Jacob
Where you are from: Norristown, PA
Program/ Year at YDS: M.Div/Third year
What music are you jammin to this summer?: Beyoncé
Professor to definitely take a class from: Clarence Hardy
Anything you’d like incoming students to know: Join the Marquand Gospel Choir. You won’t regret it. It truly is the best!
Name: Samuel Ernest
Where you are from: Grand Rapids, MI and Seattle, WA
Program/ Year at YDS: 2nd-year MAR in Religion and Literature
What music are you jammin to this summer?: Only for You by the Heartless Bastards and Pretty Girl Rock by Keri Hilson
Professor to definitely take a class from: Dean Andrew McGowan
Anything you’d like incoming students to know: Don’t get so carried away by school that you forget to take care of yourself. Sounds basic, maybe, but it’s difficult to do.
Name: Sierra-Marie Gerfao (I go by Sierra-Marie)
Where you are from: All over, but I was born in New Mexico and most of my relatives live there. Most recently, before coming to Connecticut, I had lived for four years in Massachusetts
Program/Year at YDS: I am entering my 6th and final year as a half-time M.Div.
What music are you jammin to this summer? My friend JP (aka Rodney Reynolds), who is a YDS grad, just did an early release of some music for an upcoming album you should know about. Check it out: https://youtu.be/qPcvPLgPHJ0 (sound only) Here’s his website: www.officiallyjp.com
Professor to definitely take a class from: I have studied with many professors here, and each offered something totally unique. I’m excited for many of our professors newly arriving this year as well. But what I would suggest is to take classes in other university departments and take advantage of visiting professors and lecturers too…they offer another opportunity to learn outside of the YDS box and to network beyond the hill.
Anything you’d like incoming students to know: I want you to know that the community here is excited to welcome you and eager to help you feel at home. I’ve been around this place for a long time :), so feel free to ask me anything! I love to chat. Aside from being an MDiv Candidate, this summer I completed the MSW joint-degree program through one of YDS’s partner schools (Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University in New York City). I’m also married and the mother of two sweet young people (my painfully shy one is age 10 and my more outgoing one is age 11) who you will surely meet at some point during BTFO. We can’t wait to meet you!
Name: Brianna Lloyd
Where you are from: Ney, Ohio
Program/ Year at YDS: 2nd year MDiv
What music are you jammin to this summer?: Antje Duvekot
Professor to definitely take a class from: Carolyn Sharp
Anything you’d like incoming students to know: Life together is co-created; community here is pursued as much as received. It is rewarding work!
Name: John Hunt
Where you are from: New York
Program/ Year at YDS: Mdiv 2018
What music are you jammin to this summer?: Aaron Copland
Professor to definitely take a class from: Every professor I have had so far has been extraordinary. Most of my professors though taught survey level or broad based biblical courses. It is likely that you will encounter them on your own. One professor, however, whom you might not simply ‘encounter’ is John E. Hare, philosophical theology. Seek out his classes. If you want to know why, find me and ask me. I’ll be happy to tell you.
Anything you’d like incoming students to know: 1) Take advantage of the Yale School of Music’s and Yale Institute of Sacred Music’s offerings (concerts). 2) The Yale Philharmonia usually performs on Friday nights (YSM). 3) Beware, GPSCY only takes cash.
Name: Johnie Jones.
I am a second year MDiv student from a small town called Hope, Arkansas. This summer I’ve been jamming Chance The Rapper’s new mixtape Coloring Book. Go check it out. The professor I’d recommend you take is Adam Eitel for ethics. He’s the truth! Cheers.
Name: Dan Smith
Where you are from: Bedford, Michigan
Program/ Year at YDS: MAR (Bible), 3rd year.
What music are you jammin’ to this summer?: Currently listening to Real Estate.
Professor to definitely take a class from: I recently took a class with Carolyn Sharp I really loved, but the faculty here are great across the board.
Anything you’d like incoming students to know: YDS students cherish the opportunity to state their opinions and, more sincerely, love to help, so feel free to ask about professors, classes, libraries, bars, pizza, etc.
Name: Dusty Gavin
Where you are from: Mobile, AL
Program/ Year at YDS: ISM– Religion & the Visual Arts ‘17
What music are you jammin to this summer?: Blood Orange - Freetown Sound & all things Nat King and Natalie Cole
Professor to definitely take a class from: Sally Promey and Tisa Wenger
Anything you’d like incoming students to know: “This is what it feels like…. when doves cry”
Name: Alexandra Nicolai
Where you are from: Springfield, MA
Program/ Year at YDS: 2nd Year MAR Philosophy
What music are you jammin to this summer?:
I’ve been really vibing Alt J and Sufjan Stevens this summer. And, as always, I’ve been jamming to all of my favorite hits from the 90s.
Professor to definitely take a class from: Professor Eitel! Anything you’d like incoming students to know: Hey, don’t worry! The biggest part of your job here is going to be to read and write and think, all three of which can be accomplished from a bed while eating cake with one hand.
Name: Nicki Klosterman
Homewtown: Cincinnati, OH
Other Homes: Boston, SF Bay Area, the open sea
M.Div, 2018 (former Religion & Arts M.A.R.)
I took an all Beyonce ballet class this summer.
Take time for yourself!
Nicole Klosterman is an adventurous second year Master of Divinity student and recently completed her first unit of Clinical Pastoral Education as a chaplain at The Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, OH. Last year, Nicole lived aboard a 26’ sailboat on the Quinnipiac River in Fair Haven. Nicole entered YDS as an M.A.R. Religion & the Arts concentration, practices Zen Buddhism, and will be mentoring women at York Correctional Institution this school year. Nicole is a certified yoga teacher through You Do Yoga’s Taoist Teacher TrainingProgram (RYS200) in Cincinnati and holds bachelor of arts degrees in English literature and environmental studies from Northeastern University in Boston, MA. In addition to being a seminarian and teaching yoga and meditation, Nicole is a poet, writer, and editor; leads workshops in creative writing and culinary arts for adults and children; and is a lifelong student of dance.
Nicole’s advice for incoming YDS students is take time to relax, be your self, and be good to yourself. www.settlefortheocean.com
Name: James Cramer
New Haven, CT
M.Div 3rd year
“Cool It Now” New Edition
New Haven is the best city in the world. Take time to get to know all of it and really enjoy your time here in the Elm City.
Name: Tyler Campbell
Where you are from: Illinois, Virginia, & Elsewhere
Program/ Year at YDS: Ethics, Second Year
What music are you jammin to this summer?: I can’t stop listening to Sunny Day Real Estate.
Professor to definitely take a class from: Jesus.
Anything you’d like incoming students to know: You can make any class meaningful or any situation fun. Don’t expect YDS to make you happy unless your bring happiness.
Name: Tyler Ung
Where you are from: Pittsburgh, PA
What music are you jammin to this summer?: “The Clearing” by the Bowerbirds
Professor to definitely take a class from: Kathryn Tanner. She can be challenging, but she is a brilliant professor and will teach you a ton!
Anything you’d like incoming students to know: Explore the food scene in New Haven, and start at Miya’s!