At BTFO, you will be placed into a small groups each led by a current student at YDS. Many of the important conversations over the course of BTFO will occur within this group and it will provide you with a smaller, more intimate space to process and reflect on the topics at hand. Here are our 2021 BTFO 1.0 Small Group Leaders!
Ben Bond (he/him)
Greetings! I am a third-year M.Div & ISM student from Long Beach, California. I earned my undergraduate degree in Religious Studies from Chapman University in Orange, California. I am a founder and Co-Chair of DivineAbilities, Yale Divinity School’s first disability-centered student organization that aims to cultivate a space for fellowship and advocacy for disabled folks and our allies at YDS. I am passionate about studying, contributing to, and promoting liberation theologies that examine the intersection of Queer, Disabled, Fat, and Racial identities. At the ISM, I have done work in the field of ethnomusicology with incredible ISM Fellows from around the world. I am on the ordination track with The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). After YDS I aspire to continue caring for the spiritual well-being of students and colleagues in an academic setting as a University Chaplain. In my free time, I love watching historical dramas, playing board games, reading a good fantasy novel, being outdoors, and singing my heart out at jam sessions with friends.
Jyrekis Collins (he/him)
My name is Jyrekis Collins and I am a third year Master of Divinity Student at Yale Divinity School. I am also affiliated with Andover Newton Seminary at Yale. I am a native of Athens, Ga, and a lover of all things coffee. My academic interests include Black Church Studies, Homiletics, Black Pentecostalism, Black sacred rhetoric and African American Religious History. I imagine myself to live into the role of a senior minister, to maybe teach homiletics or religious studies, and to write literature that could be valuable to the lives of others.
At YDS I am involved in The Yale Black Seminarians program, I serve as Vice President. I am also the third year M.Div representative for YDSG(Yale Divinity School Government). I am so excited to meet so many new people!
Leiana Mejoi (she/her)
Greetings! I am Leiana Mejoi, a third-year M.Div candidate. Born and raised in the DMV by way of Brooklyn, NY, I am a proud graduate of Spelman College. At YDS, I recently transferred from the M.A.R. degree with a concentration in Religion and Arts. My personal and professional interests are aligned with spirituality, psychology, and art, specifically music, as a medium of healing. Post-graduation, I will be continuing my education with a Ph.D. and pursuing unique opportunities to use my M.Div to shift the culture and cultivate the positive changes I want to see in our society.
Tara Humphries (she/her)
Greetings new students! I am a 4th year MDiv (part-time) YDS and Andover Newton student. I hail from Maine where I worked with unhoused queer youth and taught yoga before beginning my YDS journey. At YDS I’ve most enjoyed my courses on ministerial leadership and pastoral care. Most of all I have learned from and delighted in the people, who have changed me. I hope you’ll let them change you, too ! I can be found on campus teaching yoga classes, singing in choir, attending DivOut events, or hovering around the coffee pot in the refectory. When I’m not here, I am in Massachusetts where I spend part of my week working in a blended Unitarian Universalist / UCC congregation where I focus on pastoral care and faith formation. I am a candidate for ministry with the Unitarian Universalist Association. I look forward to our time together in community.
Sam King (he/him)
Sam King (he/him/his) is a third-year student in Religion and Ecology. A former high school teacher, he is also pursuing a certificate in Educational Leadership and Ministry. Sam served as a teaching assistant for Professor Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim’s spring course in Asian Religions and Ecology, and he works as a Research Associate for the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology. He is also the Educational Outreach Coordinator for Journey of the Universe, a multimedia project that weaves together the sciences and humanities in telling the epic story of cosmic evolution.
Jonathan Lee (he/him)
Hi all! I’m a 3rd year M.Div candidate, born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. I graduated from Davidson College with a degree in Environmental Studies, and came to Yale Divinity interested in the intersection between the environment, faith, and theology while also considering a possible future ordination in the Presbyterian Church USA. I’ve been a part of a wide range of life at YDS from helping plan services through Marquand Chapel to coordinating YDS’s first maple syrup tapping through the DivFarm. In my non-class time, I enjoy cooking, playing guitar, and watching way too many Youtube videos about comic books, Magic the Gathering, and Pokemon.
Sarah Menard (she/her)
I am a 3rd year MDIV candidate from Bridgeport, CT and a part of the Black Church Studies Program and Andover Newton Seminary at YDS. I am prayerfully pursuing ordination in the American Baptist tradition.
I am the proud daughter of Haitian immigrant parents with a religious foundation in both the Haitian Baptist church and Catholic school education. Prior to attending YDS, I spent ten years working as a social worker in various roles. I am currently pursuing my clinical social work license to respond to the growing mental health needs as it relates to immigrant communities, spirituality and mental illness, trauma informed work, anti-racism and community organizing. My research interests and practice centers the Haitian Revolution as a social justice framework for both radical religious education and trauma informed ministry in the black church. I enjoy dancing, traveling, and playing volleyball. My favorite place to be is at the beach!
Molli Mitchell (she/her)
Raised a working-class white Wisconsinite, Molli migrated to Portland, Oregon in 2008 joining organizations and communities working to advance racial and gender justice. She has served in nonprofit leadership, led justice initiatives, offered training, and facilitated transitional deep listening projects within her home congregation of Bridgeport UCC and the wider Central Pacific Conference. Molli holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies and a Master of Science in Social Work both from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. She is pursuing ordination in the UCC, and serves as the Interim Associate Pastor at the United Congregational Church of Tolland in Tolland, CT. Her research and interests center on the facilitation of institutional repentance practices but span a variety of practical theologies advancing toward the horizon of prison abolition. She enjoys nurturing resilient, transformative relationships and communities. She lives in New Haven with her enormous huggy bear of a cat, Noodle.
David Potter (he/him)
Greetings, and welcome to New Haven! I am David F. Potter, a third-year M.Div student pursuing ordination through the Episcopal Diocese of Washington. I hail from Akron, OH and completed a B.A. in conflict transformation studies at North Park University, Chicago, IL. At YDS, I have served as a Berkeley Divinity chapel minister, a First Year Experience guide, and now as a BTFO guide.
Prior to beginning divinity school, I worked as a restorative justice specialist in Chicago Public Schools after training in mediation and circle keeping. Most recently, I lived in Washington, DC where I led national faith and justice mobilizing efforts. I have concentrated my current studies on the intersection of practical theology with prison abolition, movement chaplaincy, and moral injury. And I’m increasingly aware of the need to infuse academic/vocational interests with levity and joy—which just isn’t always encouraged. So beloveds, let’s connect on community building as well as bread baking, running, coffee, storytelling, house plants, and laughter.