BONDS Peer Mentors
BONDS (Building Opportunities and Networks for Divinity Students) Peer Mentors
The BONDS Peer Mentorship Program is designed to help incoming University of Chicago Divinity School students with the transition to graduate school and build community both within the new cohorts and across the Divinity School. Peer mentors engage with incoming students through office hours, one-on-one meetings, regular email check-ins, and social events. BONDS mentors are always available to answer questions about campus and student life, moving to Chicago, experience with courses, languages, etc, or connect students to other resources in the Dean of Students Office or the University.
Mehdi Ali is a third-year PhD student in the Islamic Studies track, working on Sufi thought. His current work has been focusing on early Sufi figures and he hopes that this research will help him understand the later Ibn al-ʿArabī and his school. When not thinking about metaphysics, he enjoys reading mystery novels, meditation, and traveling.
Jenny Howard is a third-year MDiv student interested in theological questions of self-creation. She is currently seeking within (and outside of) Christianity, and considering vocational work in chaplaincy and nonprofits. Jenny loves live music and the last two shows she saw were Maggie Rogers and The National. When she is not listening to celebrity gossip podcasts or taking ukulele lessons, you might find her and her family (husband Mike and one-year-old son Gordon) taking a walk by the lake to their favorite spot, Promontory Point.
Kainat Jalaluddin is a second-year MA student specializing in Islamic Thought. Kainat is interested in Medieval Islamic Theological and Philosophical debates on the themes of creation, metaphysics and decoding the nature of creator-creation relationship. She is also interested in debates and discussions which brings physics and religion or medicine and religion on the same table. Besides academic interests, Kainat enjoys listening to South Asian folklore music, watching rom-com movies, dancing, cooking and having philosophical and reflective conversations over tea.
Buki Ogunseitan is a Chaplain and third year MDiv student. She is interested in women’s empowerment within cultural and religious frameworks. Other themes she’s drawn to include: Storytelling as a tool for healing and exploring our shared humanity as well as women wholeness and communal consciousness. In her spare time, Buki enjoys reading, storytelling, traveling and Beans.
Ian Palmer is a second-year MA student, mostly working on religious ethics and US militarism. His recent work has focused on realism and ethics of care in times of war. Outside of Swift, Ian dances ballet, hunts for recipes, explores Chicago’s jazz clubs, and enjoys ample doses of just lying around.
Mukti Patel is a second-year MA student studying South Asian Religions with a focus on Sanskrit and Gujarati literature and history. Mukti is originally from Toronto and grew up in Virginia, always within two miles of a body of water. When not studying, Mukti likes to make art in any medium possible-- painting with coffee, calligraphy with crushed berry ink, sculpting with wire-- you name it. She is also an enthusiastic plant mom, currently most proud of a miniature rose bush growing in her kitchen. You can usually find her at a coffee shop ordering anything but coffee.
Avani Solanki is a second year MA student interested in studying South Asian religions. Her academic interest centers around Hindu religious practices in the Himalayas, although she’s also eager to put her undergraduate degree in literature to use and discuss South Asian literature (or her favorite Austen novel) with fellow enthusiasts. In her spare time, she likes to test out new recipes, sporadically run a poetry blog, and confuse her paint mug with her coffee mug while painting tiny canvases!
Joe Tomas-Lemna (he/him) is in his third year as a Master of Divinity student. Joe is pursuing a career in hospital chaplaincy. He completed his second-year field placement at the St. Kateri Center, a Native American Catholic Church in Chicago's North Center neighborhood. Joe has competed for the UChicago cross country and track teams for the past two years. He enjoys running Swift-ly.
Kate Vetter Tyler is a second-year MA student who studies the Bible and bibles. Her work has two emphases: reading the Hebrew Bible with attentiveness to its literary and historical contexts and considering how the materiality of bibles influences interpretation. When not in the library, Kate is most often found outside working in her garden or along the lake. When the weather is less than ideal, she’s inside playing with her cat, perfecting her kombucha and sourdough, or taking ballet class.
Joanna Zabiega is a third-year MDiv student, studying spiritual and community care practices, especially among the LGBTQ+ community. They are interested in the ways in which spirituality and theology intersects with politics, meaning the ways in which we relate to/with one another. Joanna enjoys board game nights, spending time by the lake, and learning about herbalism.