Staff

CAFE is organized and led by staff members from the Tufts University Chaplaincy and a team of student leaders. Together we represent a diversity of religious and philosophical backgrounds and traditions.

The student coordinator works closely with the University Chaplaincy staff to organize the logistics of the program. This includes working with local spiritual and social justice organizations to plan site visits, planning delicious meals, and coordinating fun social activities, such as a campus-wide scavenger hunt.

The support staffer provides logistical support for three weeks around the CAFE. program and serves as another contact for incoming students and returning student Peer Leaders.

Peer leaders guide incoming students through the program. They facilitate small group discussions and activities, plan self-care workshops, and ensure a safe, fun and meaningful experience for participants during the program. Peer Leaders are returning students who have been selected through a competitive hiring process based on their passion for welcoming new students to Tufts, their leadership experience, and their commitment to interfaith and social justice work.

Group photo of CAFE staff

Student Coordinator

Eitan Bloostein

Eitan Bloostein

Coordinator, 2019
Eitan participated in CAFE as a first year, was a peer leader as a second year, and is now excited to be the coordinator. He is from Needham, Massachusetts, but has spent significant time in Syracuse, New York, and Israel. Eitan is majoring in Religion because he likes to explore the philosophical underpinnings of people’s actions. On campus, he does Israeli/Palestinian coexistence work, and he is a member of the Jewish community. In his free time, Eitan loves to play guitar, listen to music, and eat spicy food. He can’t wait to explore and learn about the intersections between religion, race, and action with an unbelievable group of people on CAFE!

Support Staffer

Anne-Marie LeeAnn-Marie Lee

Support Staffer, 2020
As a CAFE first year last September, Ann-Marie is thrilled to be working on the program as the support staffer this summer! Originally from Roseland, New Jersey, she's spent time at home volunteering with her local Roman Catholic parish, is a Eucharistic minister, and has served firefighting. Academically, she plans on majoring in Community Health and Science, Technology, and Society (STS) with a Religion minor. Ann-Marie keeps busy running the CAFE interfaith discussion group (which is different from the pre-orientation), the Buddhist/Mindfulness Sangha, and the Tufts Progressive Alliance! While she's not sending a million-and-one emails, she loves to craft and redesign her dorm room, surprising her roommate on more than one occasion. She's ecstatic for the 2017 pre-orientation, and is ready to take interfaith discourse and social justice action by storm!

Staff

Reverend Greg McGonigle

The Reverend Greg McGonigle

Tufts University Chaplain
Faith background: Unitarian Universalist
Hometown: Boston
Fun fact: I studied abroad in India
Fave food: Brick oven pizza
What I do on campus: University chaplain, Diversity and Inclusion Working Group, Sexual Misconduct Task Force
Why I’m involved with CAFE: Because interfaith work has been a way for me to make deep friendships, be inspired and challenged, and try to make the world a better place.

Zachary Cole
Zachary Cole

Program Advisor, University Chaplaincy Staff
Faith background: Humanist
Hometown: Raleigh, N.C.
Fun fact: I’m a UNC alum and a basketball fan—Go Tar Heels!
Fave food: Pad thai
What I do on campus: I’m a program and outreach specialist for the University Chaplaincy
Why I’m involved with CAFE: Because I believe in the power of interfaith community to highlight shared values, broaden perspectives, and inspire change.

2016 Peer Leaders

 

Aviva Herr-Welber

Aviva Herr-Welber

Graduation Class: 2017
Major(s): Middle Eastern Studies, Education (Minor)
Faith Background: Jewish
Hometown: San Anselmo, CA
Fun Fact: My name is a palindrome :)
Fave Food: Green smoothies, sushi, and nectarines. Picking one would be a betrayal to the others.
What I do on campus: I'm a Writing Fellow, a member of the executive board of J Street U, and I'm involved in lots of different Jewish and interfaith activities on campus. Although I'm actually not on campus this spring - I'm studying abroad in Morocco!
Why I joined CAFE: I'm a big believer in the power of multifaith conversations to put us face to face with the things we care about the most. I want to help create the kind of community where we push each other to dig deeper, listen more fully, and never stop asking questions.

Nada Khalil

Nada Khalil

Graduation Class: 2018
Major(s): Engineering psychology and fine arts (and probably architectural studies) with an entrepreneurial leadership minor
Faith Background: Sunni Muslim
Hometown: Alexandria, Egypt
Fun Fact: My fun fact is my favorite color. My favorite color is the bright color right in between blue and green that you cannot tell if it is more blue or green, so it’s a little like cheating the system by having two favorite colors at the same time.
Fave Food: Lasagna but I have only had lasagna I really like two times in my life (because I am a picky eater and I don’t eat much meat and cheese)
What I do on campus: I talk to people, introduce myself to new people, and make new friends. I like socializing and trying new things. I am also a member of Tufts Ballroom Dance team and of Tufts Muslim Student Association (MSA).
Why I joined CAFE: I feel that college is all about exploring and learning, and CAFÉ nurtures that curiosity very well. It fosters meaningful and interesting conversations, which are among the things that help me grow as a person. And of course it should go without saying that I would love to welcome the incoming class and help out in every way I can J I want to share my experience and be there for whoever needs me.

Charlotte Leis

Charlotte Leis

Graduation Class: 2019
Major(s): Environmental Science; probably majoring in Anthropology or Political Science; possibly minoring in Urban Studies?
Faith Background: Nothing/agnostic/atheist up until recently…now possibly/probably/basically Jewish??
Hometown: La Cañada, California
Fun Fact: (#1) I was a water polo goalie in high school, and during one of my games a teammate scored on me; (#2, backstory to the picture) I worked a summer camp last summer, and one day we were building a mud-man and one of my campers decided to mark me like Simba
Fave Food: grapes, mangos, my mom’s kugel, or my grandma’s fried matzo (a.k.a. matzo brie, although I like my name for it better)
What I do on campus: I’m involved in AOII, the Tufts Historical Review, and spending time/doing things in Hillel
Why I joined CAFE: I participated in CAFE last year, and it made the transition to Tufts seamless. It had a major impact on my life and college career, and without CAFE I probably wouldn’t have gotten involved with the majority of the things that make me happy on campus (especially AOII and Hillel).

Elizabeth McCall

Elizabeth McCall

Graduation Class: 2019
Major(s): Undecided (English or Psychology? Or maybe neither?)
Faith Background: Roman Catholic
Hometown: Burlington, MA
Fun Fact: This one time my roommate threw two starburst candies at me and I caught one in each hand simultaneously and it was probably the most hand-eye coordination I have ever displayed in my entire life
Fave Food: Hamburger stroganoff (my mom’s recipe)
What I do on campus: I’m in Concert Choir and also involved in the Sci-Fi club!
Why I joined CAFE: I was initially drawn because it was the only faith-based preorientation, and I stayed because it was such a fantastic community and helped me learn so much!!

Brenna Olrich

Brenna Olrich

Graduation Class: 2019
Major(s): History and International Relations
Faith Background: Non-Denominational Christian (Protestant)
Hometown: Mount Pleasant, Michigan
Fun Fact: I can sing the entire musical Hamilton
Fave Food: Tacos. 10/10.
What I do on campus: I am a member of the Non-Denominational Christian Fellowship, I volunteer with Generation Citizen through LCS, and I suffer at the gym with my friends! 
Why I joined CAFE: I am passionate about forming a welcoming and secure community for all students, and I am excited for the intentional and constructive conversations we will have!

Miriam Priven

Graduation Class: 2017
Major(s): American Studies and Spanish

Marina Rakhilin

Marina Rakhilin

Graduation Class: 2018
Major(s): Clinical Psychology and Religion (minor)
Faith Background: None
Hometown: Newton, MA and Yorktown, NY
Fun Fact: I was born on April Fool’s Day and my grandparents didn’t believe I was real!
Fave Food: Chocolate chip cookies the size of pizzas
What I do on campus: I’m a student worker in the Psychology Building, I’m a tutor for Russian and Arabic, I’m the Interfaith Representative of the Humanist Community at Tufts, and I spend a lot of time nerdily hanging around Tower Cafe reading books for fun.
Why I joined CAFE: I was a Peer Leader last year and I couldn’t imagine not coming back to meet and learn from a new wave of thoughtful, exciting, brilliant students. 

Nazifa Noor Sarawat

Nazifa Noor Sarawat

Graduation Class: 2017
Major(s): Environmental Engineering (Math minor)
Faith Background: Sunni Muslim
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Fun Fact: I'm allergic to the sun
Fave Food: Fuska - a street food from Bangladesh
What I do on campus: I do a lot of learning!
Why I joined CAFE: I'm excited to meet incoming freshmen and be a part of their spiritual journey at Tufts. It's such an important part of our identity that is really developing in these years (but in reality it's a lifelong exploration), so creating the spaces to learn and talk about spirituality is, to me, something essential.

Rasika Sethi

Rasika Sethi

Graduation Class: 2017
Major(s): Anthropology
Faith Background: Hinduism and Buddhism
Hometown: Bangkok, Thailand
Fun Fact: I attended a 5 day silent meditation retreat alone last year and it was one of the hardest things I've ever done!
Fave Food: Ravioli
What I do on campus: Mindfulness Meditation group, writing and spoken word poetry
Why I joined CAFE: I love all things spirituality - I practice meditation at least once a day, and in my free time you can find me reading spiritual books. I am eager to have meaningful and engaging conversations surrounding spirituality and social justice, to share my own experiences and listen and learn from everyone around me, and I'm excited to meet and help guide the new freshmen! 

Katherine Stiegemeyer

Katherine Stiegemeyer

Graduation Class: 2018
Major(s): Sociology and Community Health
Faith Background: Searching and Lutheran background
Hometown: Overland Park, KS
Fun Fact: I spent this past winter break at a banana farm in the rainforest of Costa Rica
Fave Food: Brownies
What I do on campus: I play on the women's club volleyball team, work at the Medford Boys & Girls Club through my job as a tutor with the Tufts Literacy Corps, dance in Tufts Burlesque Troupe, and go hiking in New Hampshire with the Tufts Mountain Club on weekends (or just hang out at the Tufts Loj!)
Why I joined CAFE: Having a caring, thoughtful support network coming into your freshman year of college is incredibly important. And I think the time that CAFE gives incoming students and peer leaders to reflect on, understand, and discuss their own identities and the identities of others makes this a stronger campus for everyone.

Kathryn Tweel

Kathryn Tweel

Graduation Class: 2018
Major(s): Computer Science and Child Development
Faith Background: Methodist
Hometown: Charleston, WV
Fun Fact: My mom and I have the same birthday. 
Fave Food: Strawberries!
What I do on campus: I lead a small group with the Protestant Student Association and volunteer with other Tufts students to lead a Girl Scout troop for local 3rd graders.
Why I joined CAFE: I loved my experience as a peer leader last year and couldn't wait to be a part of the program again!  It was one of my most meaningful experiences at Tufts and I'm excited to create a welcoming community for the class of 2020!

Juleen Wong

Juleen Wong

Graduation Class: 2017
Major(s): Environmental Studies and Sociology
Faith Background: Nonreligious
Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii
Fun Fact: I figure skated for 10 years
Fave Food: I'm a shameless chocoholic.
What I do on campus: I adore learning, discussing, and sharing all things related to sustainable food as a Tufts Veg Society e-board member, and also co-lead the Tufts Mindfulness Buddhist Sangha.
Why I joined CAFE: Nothing gives me greater joy than to know I can help build a more welcoming and inclusive space for incoming freshman who are willing to examine and embrace their unique, social identities.