Meet the 2018 NASPA Religious, Secular, and Spiritual Identities Conference Planning Committee

NASPA and the NASPA Spirituality and Religion in Higher Education Knowledge Community are proud to announce its committee members for the 2018 NASPA Religious, Secular, and Spiritual Identities Conference to be held December 9-11, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Below you’ll find out more about the team and their contributions to the field, pedagogy, and practice of religious, secular, and spiritual identity development in higher education.   

To be a part of this year’s conference, we’d encourage you to submit a pre-conference session proposal, a concurrent session proposal, or sign-up to review programs for this year’s conference. To learn more, visit the conference website here.

Committee Members

Zachary Cole is the Program Manager for the University Chaplaincy at Tufts University, where he coordinates efforts to connect and integrate the University Chaplaincy with all segments of the university and external partners.

His undertakings include overseeing the Conversation, Action, Faith, and Education (CAFE) Pre-Orientation program, which involves implementing the programmatic vision and recruiting, hiring, supervising, and coaching paid student staff and volunteer peer leaders. He works closely with the Tufts Interfaith Student Council and supports important initiatives around dialogue, activism, and values. He also develops and manages departmental outreach, communications, and marketing strategies for the University Chaplaincy to ensure high visibility and engagement across the university and beyond.

Zachary holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies and Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master of Arts degree in Higher Education from Boston College. His higher education experiences include roles in the Office of Student Life at Harvard Divinity School, Residence Life at Babson College, and the Department of Educational Leadership and Higher Education at Boston College. He also served as the Values in Action Fellow for the Humanist Community at Harvard, coordinating interfaith service programming.


Kenzalia Bryant-Scott currently serves as the Coordinator Sr. in the Office of Student Engagement at Arizona State University West campus. Kenzalia received her Bachelor’s degree in Health Science and a Master’s degree in Higher Education both from the University of South Florida. Kenzalia has been involved with the Spirituality and Religion in Higher Education Knowledge Community for the last five years. She has held multiple roles, including Knowledge Community liaison and Awards Coordinator. She is currently serving as the Chair-Elect for the Knowledge Community this year and be the new Chair starting in March 2019. Kenzalia is excited to be a part of this planning committee and looks forward to the wealth of knowledge sharing that will occur in December.


Joel Harter is an ordained American Baptist minister with graduate degrees from Northwestern University (M.A., English Literature), Harvard Divinity School (M.T.S., Theology), and the University of Chicago (Ph.D., Religion and Literature). As Associate University Chaplain at Elon University, Joel supports the spiritual life of students and community members from diverse religious, spiritual, and secular traditions, and he seeks to foster greater collaboration and multifaith engagement across groups and identities. Joel administers Elon’s policies for all recognized student organizations and affiliated ministries within religious and spiritual life. In addition, he provides more focused support to Elon’s Christian communities, with special attention to developing more inclusive and progressive options for Christian students; he supports mindfulness opportunities on campus, including advising the Elon Yoga Club; and he co-advises the student team that organizes the annual Ripple Interfaith Conference. Joel is currently partnering with Imam Shane Atkinson, Elon’s Muslim Chaplain, on ways to engage students in interfaith exploration through mindfulness and contemplative spirituality with practices from diverse traditions. Joel co-teaches an intergroup dialogue course on race and racism with Dr. Rajesh Ghoshal in Sociology.

Stephanie King is the Assistant Director for Civic Engagement, Knowledge Community, and Social Justice Initiatives, formerly the Assistant Director for Knowledge Communities and Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Initiatives at NASPA where she directs the NASPA LEAD Initiative and co-manages the Voter Friendly Campus program. She has worked in higher education since 2009 in the areas of student activities, orientation, residence life, and civic learning and democratic engagement. Stephanie earned her Master of Arts in Psychology at Chatham University and her B.S. in Biology from Walsh University. She has contributed to a few publications including Effective Strategies for Supporting Student Civic Engagement (May 2018).

Casey Peterson is the Associate Dean of Students Brigham Young University, overseeing the efforts of the Center for Service and Learning, Student Leadership, Honor Code Office, University Accessibility Center, and Assessment and Evaluation for Campus Life. His passion is working with students and administrators in the common purpose of helping every student have a meaningful involvement and have a desire for lifelong learning and service. Casey grew up working on a cattle ranch in Kanosh, Utah and served a two year mission to Mendoza, Argentina. Casey earned his bachelor’s degree in International Relations from BYU, holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Counseling, and a Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership and Foundations from BYU. Casey has an extensive work history in student and community development. He is married to Cammy Peterson, and they have five children. Casey enjoys spending time with his family, participating in sports of all kinds, and is involved in many kinds of service throughout the community. He especially loves watching his five children in their sports involvement, and working with them on his family farm in Salem, Utah.


Musbah Shaheen is an Assistant Residence Director with the Department of Residential Life in the Arts and Creativity Learning Community at the University of Vermont. Hailing originally from Homs, Syria, he is a second-year master's student in the Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration (HESA) program at the University of Vermont. He is passionate about holistic education, identity exploration, and creative expression as means for student wellness and success. Musbah enjoys meeting scholars and practitioners in student affairs and learning from their expertise. In his spare time, he like to knit, play the piano, and go running. He also enjoy hiking when Vermont weather permits.


Ross Wantland is the Director of Diversity & Social Justice Education at the University of Illinois. He is currently serving as the co-chair for NASPA's Spirituality & Religion in Higher Education Knowledge Community. At Illinois, Ross helps coordinate interfaith initiatives, including educational programming and improving religious accommodations. Previously, Ross served as the Coordinator of Sexual Violence Prevention Education at the University of Illinois Women’s Resources Center. Ross has his Masters in Educational Policy Studies and Bachelors in Psychology with a Minor in Women’s Studies from the University of Illinois. He lives in Champaign with his partner, their imaginative son, two cats, and a dog, and enjoys running role playing games and gardening.


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