Each fall, Sojourners welcomes a new cycle of interns to our yearlong internship program. A group of 8-to-10 women and men come together to live in intentional community and work full time at Sojourners’ office in Washington, D.C. The Sojourners internship program is a vital part of our ministry — a partnership with the next generation of leaders who are dedicated to putting their faith into action in the pursuit of justice.
The program seeks to empower these leaders through professional development, spiritual guidance, simple living, and community building. The program embodies our organization’s history, which was birthed out of holistic community.
As the weather gets crisper and the leaves start to turn, we find ourselves with another set of new faces that we are excited to introduce to you all! These interns are the first to work in our new building on Capitol Hill (and are subsequently putting the “cycle” in Cycle 33, as many have committed to biking and boarding the commute from the intern house!). They come from all over the country and boast a diversity of faith traditions, passions, and experiences — not to mention a diversity of food cultures, with five vegetarians, one paleo, one gluten-free, and one citrus allergy!
Continue reading below to learn about each intern’s background, and the influences they bring to their current work at Sojourners. We are glad to welcome them to our Sojourners community and family and look forward to growing alongside them in the coming year!
And thank you for all the ways you make this life-changing opportunity possible for young change makers and leaders every year.
Sammi Sluder, Advertising Assistant
Coming from the flat states of Indiana and Wisconsin — full of dairy products, Midwest pride, and politesse — I am very excited to live in the historic and thriving city of Washington, D.C. After graduating from Marquette University with a degree in Economics, I am thrilled to be starting my first adult job in the offices of Sojourners. As the Advertising Assistant, I cannot wait to help make this organization some well-deserved cash! The added bonus of getting to support other ethical and good-hearted entities, as well as redeeming the word “advertising” to us liberal-minded Jesus-lovers, is truly the icing on the cake. I hope during my time at Sojourners to soak up a small amount of the experiences and ideas from my fellow interns and staff, learning what it is actually like to walk-the-walk when we talk-the-talk. I hope to go on in the future to study more economics and provide solid policy research to support good policy implementation.
I would (of course) like to thank my parents Scott and Betty for their unending support of me in my pursuit of education, faith, life, love, and happiness. They have taught me that being a Christian is about much more than just the words you say or the amount of times you go to church, that it in fact is about loving justice and walking humbly with God through every situation. They both embody the idea of being indebted to Christ and having blessings for the sake of blessing others in the most genuine and thoughtful ways.
Jasper Vaughn, Editorial Assistant
I’m from Gig Harbor, Wash., originally, but have spent the last four years in North Carolina at Davidson College. I studied religion, Arabic language, and Middle Eastern politics and culture, and hope to continue exploring those passions this year at Sojourners. I was part of Young Life on campus, and had the opportunity to help lead faith-based service trips during spring break.
I’m grateful to my grandfather, Bob Vaughn, for giving me Jim Wallis’s God’s Politics and sparking my interest in Sojourners, and for modeling a life centered on God and justice.
Laura Beard, Summit and Administrative Assistant
I am a native Tennessean, and I attended the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where I received my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Sociology (concentrating in Criminology and Criminal Justice), and African Studies. I gravitate frequently to matters of race relations and prejudice correction, and I am particularly interested in impacting the church in its in-/outreach so that it begins to act on the radical, wholly transforming experience that is the Christian faith.
I would love to thank my dear friend Mikayla Moore, not only for introducing me to Sojourners and this internship opportunity but for being a key source of encouragement for me in my pursuit of Christ-inspired social justice efforts.
David Beltran, Circulation Assistant
¡Buenos días! I am a Colombian-American immigrant who grew up in the sunny paradise of Miami, Fla. I stayed close to home for college, studying and growing at the University of Miami (Go Canes!), where I received my Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, with minors in Economics and Spanish. Being a gay Hispanic immigrant who also considers himself a Christian has afforded me a lot of experiential knowledge on the intersections of marginalized groups. I believe in the power of stories, and how they can help us understand our neighbor and better advocate for those our capitalist society leaves behind. When I’m not telling my story, I love to keep up with Miami Hurricanes football, longboard around Washington D.C., and go to concerts.
I would like to thank one of my mentors, Collin Li, for helping me question why I believe what I believe and focusing on the human component of every issue. He’s an adventurer at heart, someone who isn’t afraid to trail-blaze and invest his life on completely different journeys. Collin, you opened up my eyes to the diversity of spirituality that can be associated with our Christian faith. You wrestled with me in my doubts, fundamentalism and sexuality issues. I would never have gone on this adventure with Sojourners if it wouldn’t have been for your example. We started off in Coral Gables, Fla., and now I’m in the hectic city of Washington D.C. and you are in Taiwan.
Avery Davis, Campaigns and Communications Assistant
I spent my first 18 years of life growing up in Topeka, Kan. It was in these wide, open prairies and farmlands that I developed a deep love for agriculture, wilderness, and the beauty of Creation. I traded prairie vistas for ocean vistas when I moved to Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif. At Pepperdine, I cultivated my interest in the land, studying Biology, Ecology, and Sustainability. While attending Pepperdine, my faith grew alongside my love of science and nature. I headed up the school’s student sustainability organization, served as the founding Spiritual Life Advisor for the Sustainable Living-Learning Community, and worked as the on-campus Student Sustainability Coordinator. I love gardening, Wendell Berry, and all things food. I am particularly excited about issues related to climate change and Creation Care, linking my love for beauty with a conviction that Christians are called to abad and shamar (serve and keep) the earth.
I am deeply indebted to my mentors from Pepperdine. Mark Barneche, Justin Schneider, Chris Doran, and Sara Barton: You have all transformed my personal and public walk with Christ in profound ways. Thank you for the love and knowledge you have poured into me for the past three years, spurring me on to live a life of service for humanity and the earth.
Lucy Hadley, Campaigns and Communications Assistant
I join Sojourners on the heels of graduation from Colby College, where I studied English and Environmental Studies. My passion for environmental justice, female empowerment, and multi-faith work led me to this exciting new phase of life with the Sojourners internship program. When I’m not compiling news for the Campaigns and Communications Team, I can be found reading, sailing, and knitting.
Though I feel loved and supported by many individuals, I am especially grateful for Kurt Nelson, Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life at Colby, for his dedication to my spiritual and leadership life. After hundreds of Pad Thai and grilled cheese meals together, I feel ready to do good work in the world because Kurt taught me how.
Hannah Critchfield, Donor Services Assistant
Greetings and salutations! I am most recently coming from Chicago, where I attended North Park University and majored in Conflict Transformation Studies and Psychology. I was deeply impacted by the community there, which both provided me with language to speak about existing power structures and instilled in me a belief that no one is powerless. My love of seeing the paradox in everyday life has led to an eclectic blend of interests that includes (but is not limited to) reconciliation work, Spartan races, and Middle Eastern history. I come to Sojourners excited to see how the God who turns everything upside down is working in our nation’s capital.
Originally from Normal, Ill., I am incredibly grateful for my not-so-normal parents, who first modeled what it meant to live your beliefs. In my journey to Sojourners I would also like to thank my friend Faith Zamblé, not only for being unafraid to speak the right words of encouragement at the right time, but for being an example of how consistent kindness can give the truth heft.
Da’Shawn Mosley, Online Assistant
I was born and raised in South Carolina and recently graduated from the University of Chicago with a BA in English. I’m also an alumnus of the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, where I studied creative writing. I’m extremely interested in the intersection of faith, the arts, pop culture, and social justice. I create in a variety of mediums (prose, poetry, screenplay, film, podcast, and now journalism) and it’s my hope that all of my art, to borrow a phrase from Martin Luther King, Jr., “bends toward justice.”
I’m extremely grateful for the late and great Willie Shaw of Wilson High School in Florence, S.C. I can’t imagine any of my recent successes happening if you hadn’t been my principal in ninth grade. You helped me deepen my faith in God and was adamant that I apply to the Governor’s School, and look at the blessings that've come from that decision. Thank you so much, Mr. Shaw. You’re sorely missed.
Peter Armstrong, Executive Assistant
Hello! After studying a mix of foreign languages, Russian/Eurasian studies, and world religions at Georgetown University, and then going off to Missouri to manage the social media and website for the Episcopal Cathedral in St. Louis, it would seem the logical next step to try my hand at administration as the Executive Assistant at Sojourners this year, right? It did to me, at least. Since becoming Christian during my final year in college, I have focused my efforts on exploring the world of progressive Christianity, from the contemplative side of meditation (through which I was first introduced to Christian faith as an adult) to the calling for justice in our society and world. I went to St. Louis with the Episcopal Service Corps to force myself out of the bubble of privilege and whiteness that I grew up in, and to get involved with the Movement for Black Lives. Midway through that year I also began the discernment process for priesthood in the Episcopal Church. As I continue to go through that process, I am excited for the opportunity to work on issues of social justice with Sojourners, and for the opportunity to continue to grow spiritually as part of a worshipping community.
I would like to thank all my spiritual mentors and guides who have pointed me in the right direction and kept me on track as I begin to explore Christian faith. One person who has especially shaped my journey is Fr. Laurence Freeman, OSB, who originally opened the door for me to explore Christianity with the World Community for Christian Meditation, and who has been a steady guide and source of encouragement for my prayer life ever since.
This program is made possible by the generous support of supporters like you across the country. Learn more about Sojourners' internship program, and ways you can invest in the next generation of leaders.