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 remote and on-campus courses, languages, etc, or connect students to other resources in the Dean of Students Office or the University.

Mehdi Ali

Mehdi Ali is a second-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.



Joe Lemna

Joe Lemna (he/him) is a second year MDiv student. Joe is a lay Catholic interested in doing ministry in a variety of settings. He is also a member of the cross country and track teams at UChicago. He likes to make puns, attend improv shows at Logan Square Improv, and his partner Sarah is in the UChicago Social Work school.


Shradha Jain

Shradha Jain is a third-year MDiv student. She is interested in questions of subjectivity and agency. As part of her thesis, Shradha is studying women’s agency in Jain monastic organizations. Shradha also enjoys conversations about climate resilience, economics, and policy. In her spare time, Shradha likes experimenting with essential oils to make custom candles.


Pranati Parikh

Pranati Parikh is a second-year MA student studying South Asian Religions. She works mostly in the intersection between philosophy, Hindu literature and literary theory, and psychology. When not reading or writing, she is either rollerblading or running along the lake, listening to or talking about the genius of Taylor Swift or Hindustani classical music, or making a phone call to a friend—sometimes all at the same time. 


Foster Pinkney

Foster J. Pinkney, is a writer, organizer, and doctoral candidate at the University of Chicago Divinity School in the field of Religious Ethics. Working from a Christian humanist perspective, he uses hermeneutic theory, Black theology, and Stoic philosophy to reconceptualize the ethical demands of social existence. Foster's dissertation project is titled "Rending the Veil: Black Dignity Reconstructed through the Works of Frederick Douglass and W. E. B. Du Bois."


Shashank Rao

Shashank Rao is a second-year MDiv student, working in constructive studies in Hindu theology (particularly the Śaiva tradition) and the intellectual history of medieval Śaivism in South India and Indonesia. He has also strong interest in interreligious studies, and its applications to peacebuilding and social justice. Shashank enjoys cooking, learning languages, writing poetry and practicing South Indian classical music. 


Emma Sternberg

Emma Sternberg is a second-year MA student interested in the Hebrew Bible and its intersection with literature.  Emma is from Minnesota, she is the mother of two kitties, Shlomo and Lev, and she enjoys baking as well as running and rollerblading along the lakefront trail.  If she weren’t a student of Religion, Emma would love to be a baker or a farmer.


Anna Stoneman

Anna Stoneman is a second-year MA student in Religious Ethics with a particular interest in the intersection between ethics and law. Originally from Fitchburg, Wisconsin, Anna also completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Chicago, and she is excited to help new students feel at home here. Outside of class, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, playing tennis and board games, and continuing her quest to find the best study spots on campus.