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Meet the 2019-20 Interfaith Scholars

Group photo of 2019-20 Interfaith Scholars with Pastor Sonja and Professor Lori Hale

Learn more about this year’s Interfaith Scholars

Natalya Arevalo ‘20

Hometown: South Minneapolis, MN
Majors: Political Science and Philosophy

At Augsburg I learned how to communicate better. I chose to become an Interfaith because I wanted to learn more about different religions and how to build community among diverse religions.

Rivka Buchbinder ‘21

Hometown: Saint Louis Park, MN
Major: Elementary Education Special Education
Minor: Religion

I have learned that we are all welcome and we all have a story to tell. Augsburg allows us that opportunity to showcase who were are and what makes us us. I am someone who is really passionate about interfaith dialogue and dissuasion. I think it’s important for people to be able to talk about who they are and what they believe. We live our lives in different ways and practice different religions and it’s important to give people an opportunity to express and talk about who they are. I have also always had a passion for learning about different peoples religion, cultures and customs. I love how being in Interfaith Scholars allows me the opportunity to talk with my fellow classmates about who they are and what they believe. I have also loved having our dinner and dialogue where we create a space for students and the community to come and talk about different topics and ideas as they pertain to an interfaith discussion.

Abby Garofalo ‘21

Hometown: Farmington, MN
Major: Biology

Augsburg has helped me learn how to engage with people and communities that differ from my own thoughts and beliefs, and I believe I am ever better for it. I chose to be an Interfaith scholar because I wanted to learn more about how different faiths and non-religious traditions engage with each other in our increasingly diverse world.

Ava Fojtik ‘20

Hometown: Oshkosh, WI
Major: Religion with Concentrations in World Religions and Interfaith Studies
Minors: English with a Concentration in Writing and Theatre

I have learned a ton at Augsburg! As a religion major, I’ve focused a lot on learning about concepts like liberation theology, how Christianity differs around the world, and interfaith work. I’ve also had two incredible internships working with Muslim and Jewish communities, respectively. I chose to become an Interfaith Scholar because I think interfaith work is integral to promoting peace and understanding in our diverse world.

Tofunmi Oteju ‘21

Hometown: Lagos,Nigeria
Major: Biology
Minor: Psychology

I have learned how to be a better ally to different social groups at Augsburg. I chose to become an Interfaith Scholars because I wanted to be in a space where I could have intentional dialogue about different faith and non-faith traditions but also bring my perspective being an international student to the discussion.

Abdikhaliq Sahal ‘20

Hometown: Minneapolis, MN

At Augsburg, I have learned many lessons on inclusion and diversity that have come to better shape my worldview and through support I have been allowed to partake in wonderful study abroad experiences as well as cohorts like the interfaith scholars program. Augsburgs emphasis on it’s students being critical thinkers and thoughtful stewards after their time at Augsburg has greatly prepared me for life after college. I chose to be an interfaith scholar because inclusive work that helps bridge communities together is essential to the future of our nation and too often the world tries to create divides in people but the nature of interfaith work is to aid in doing the opposite. I believe a lack of information is in part why people are so fearful of a religion different from themselves so I also become an interfaith scholar to familiarize with people of different backgrounds and to simultaneously teach/learn in a space that is welcoming.

Javier Sanchez ‘21

Hometown: Minneapolis, MN
Major: Finance

At Augsburg, I learned to be open minded and have a positive influence on those around you. I chose to be an interfaith scholar because I wanted to experience working with a cohort of different beliefs and see what goals we can accomplish.

Mohamed Sheikhomar ‘21

Hometown: Bloomington, MN
Major: Management Information Systems.

I have learned the value of community at Augsburg. I chose to become an Interfaith Scholar to help bridge the gap between all religions.

Isaac Tadé ‘21

Hometown: Windom, MN
Major: Biology
Minor: Religion

I’ve learned to never make assumptions on someone’s beliefs and to be conscientious about where people are coming from in situations. I chose to be an Interfaith Scholar to learn from others in the Augsburg community who come from different cultures and backgrounds.

Sophie Warnberg ‘20

Hometown: Chanhassen, MN
Major: Theology and Public Leadership with a Concentration in Youth Studies
Minor: Theater

At Augsburg, I have learned to put my faith and core beliefs into action. I also have learned to become an ally to people whose voices may not always be heard. I chose to become an Interfaith Scholar because I knew that I would have the opportunity to learn about different faith traditions and practices that are different from mine own, and that I would also have the opportunity to share my faith traditions and practices with others.