Higher Ed Connections

College campuses are one of the best places to start getting involved in interfaith work.  Whether you are new to this work or were involved in high school we have space for you.  Currently Kaufman Interfaith Institute helps students as they develop their interfaith leadership skills.  We help advise interfaith groups at Calvin College, Hope College, Aquinas College, Kuyper College and Grand Valley State University.  You can see a list of our student leaders at these schools below.   If you want to get involved more, contact Kevin McIntosh.  


Meet the Interns



Field of Study


Allison LoPrete

Hope Interfaith Intern

Religion, Sociology, Peace & Justice

Allison is a senior from Indianapolis, Indiana majoring in Religion and Sociology with a minor in Peace and Justice at Hope College. She is currently an assistant resident director at Hope and is serving as Hope's Kruizenga intern for interfaith. She also is the founding vice president of Hope Interfaith Youth Alliance (HIYA), a student organization devoted to bringing interfaith dialogue and new religious perspective to campus. Last year, Allison spent a semester abroad in Oman where she studied at the Al Amana Center in Muscat. There, she studied Arabic, Christian-Muslim relations and shadowed the work of the interfaith initatives through the RCA. 

Manato Jansen

Calvin Interfaith Intern

Sociology, International Development Studies, and Geography

Born and raised in Japan, Manato Jansen is a junior at Calvin College studying Sociology, International Development Studies, and Geography. This is his first year as the Interfaith Intern at Calvin College's Service-Learning Center. Manato is passionate about culture and music, and enjoys traveling, playing music, and learning languages.

Joe Volpe

Aquinas Interfaith Intern

Community Leadership and Communication

Joe is a junior at Aquinas College studying Community Leadership, Political Science and Communication. He is in his first year as the Interfaith Intern at Aquinas but has been involved in Interfaith activities since his freshman year. Joe loves exploring new religious and nonreligious belief systems in a way to better understand his own humanity and spends his free time  with his cat, watching RuPaul's Drag Race.

Lauren Gerich

Aquinas Interfaith Intern

Community Leadership and Communication

Lauren is a current Senior at Aquinas College, studying Community Leadership and Communication. This will be her second year as Interfaith Intern at Aquinas! She has been involved in interfaith work on campus and in the Grand Rapids community since her freshman year. Curious on learning and exploring new religious and nonreligious traditions, Lauren has found a great passion for interfaith work. If you're looking for her, you can usually find her at a coffee shop behind her second or third cup of coffee!


Ben Scott-Brandt

GVSU Interfaith Intern

Liberal Studies

Ben Scott-Brandt is a Liberal Studies major at GVSU, studying "sacred" space and the many places we find it, both inside and outside religion. Now a senior, he's completed an internship at two spiritual retreat centers, and hopes to continue exploring the role of sacred space here in West Michigan. Ben is also a husband and father, songwriter, professional hairstylist, and amateur mycologist. 

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Interns in the News

Student cohort strengthens interfaith conversations on college campuses

October 17, 2018

A collaborative internship program between five local colleges, including Grand Valley, is providing students with opportunities to develop their interfaith leadership skills and generate interfaith conversations on their own campuses.

Q&A: Interfaith intern talks investment

April 16, 2018

An interview with Manato Jansen our Calvin College Intern

LDS members and Calvin students connect over pizza

March 30, 2018

An article about a recent interfaith program

View More Interns in the News

Page last modified January 21, 2019