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SKSM New Students Fall 2011

Ministries of Healing and Music:
Meet Starr King's Newest Students 

Starr King welcomed 19 new students in August; they gathered for orientation in Berkeley to begin making connections with their future colleagues, mentors, and friends. Meet three of them.

Stephanie Kroner: Low Residency Student  

A native of the Netherlands, Stephanie lived in India, Ghana, and several European countries before moving to the U.S. six years ago. She begins her M.Div. program in low-residency from her home in Bozeman, Montana, where she teaches religious education at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. Stephanie holds a Masters in Clinical Psychology and says her calling is "to contribute to a world where people feel worthy of respect and can lead a life of dignity, with more connectedness and less loneliness."
Her choice to study at Starr King was guided by "the diversity among students and the different interests and talents they bring." Earlier this year, Stephanie enrolled in one of our online courses, knowing that the credits would apply to a degree. "I took one online class - Spiritual Practice for These Times - and I was hooked!" she says, because "this is how I like to be stretched and challenged!" 

Hassaun Jones-Bey: High Residency Student

"I was christened at birth with a Muslim name in a Nazarene Church in Brooklyn, where I grew up in a West Indian household in a Jewish neighborhood," reflects Hassaun on the lifelong spiritual journey that brought him to Starr King. He embraced Islam in his early 30s and was initiated in three Sufi orders. "My idea of religious denominations spread beyond the great religious traditions," Hassaun says, "to include the stories and music of many indigenous traditions and cultures around the world."

Hassaun studied math and science in college and earned two graduate degrees in biomedical engineering and journalism. His diverse career includes engineering, a tour of duty at sea in the Navy, teaching, and 20 years as a science and technology journalist for high-tech trade magazines.

A long-time musician, last year Hassaun started attending open mic night at the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists and performing his original songs, such as the powerful "A Black Man's Prayer." It was a total connection [at the Fellowship]," says Hassaun, "a place where I can say truthfully that music is my religion." Seeking to "promote peace across denominational and ethnic barriers," he says "I discovered a spiritual connection in music that is turning out to be deeper and more profound than anything I've ever experienced."

Zachary Nusbaum: Low Residency Student

Zach grew up in Yonkers, NY and graduated from Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts in New York with a degree in religious studies. Living in Durham, NC, for the past seven years and recently engaged, he works as a manager, a DJ, and is an avid record collector.


His decision to study at Starr King crystallized during a class visit where he "was blown away" after sitting in on Rev. Dr. Dorsey Blake's class Spirituality and Nonviolent Social Transformation. "The school's commitment to social justice, activism, and spirituality from a multi-religious view is really needed in the world right now," he says, and will "greatly enhance my ability to help hold space for people to heal and transform themselves [because] I know for sure that I want to work closely with the elderly, those nearing the end of life, and their loved ones."

Pictured above: Hassaun Jones-Bey (left); Zachary Nusbaum (lower left); Stephanie Kroner (lower right); Students attending SKSM Fall 2011 Orientation (above right); Photo of Hassaun Jones-Bey by 
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Educating Unitarian Universalist ministers and progressive religious leaders for society since 1904.