Student Faces

What’s an average IBS student like? While we don’t have an average student, some words that come to mind are compassionate, self-aware and engaged!

Students at the Institute of Buddhist Studies come from a variety of background and study Buddhism from a diversity of perspectives. We pride ourselves on providing rigorous, interdisciplinary educational programs firmly grounded in a rich and established Buddhist tradition.

Rev. CJ Dunford

CJ Dunford is a trans and non-binary Shin Buddhist priest whose academic interests include contemporary interpretations of Shin doctrine and queer theory.

Josefina McAuliffe-Rocha

Josefina lives on a fishing boat in Alaska many months out of the year, and is studying to be a Buddhist chaplain. Josefina’s hobbies include working out and generally winning at life.

Sydney Shiroyama

Sydney is an occupational therapist, and brings a love of taiko, art and community to her study of Buddhism. She is in the Buddhist chaplaincy program, and is interested in therapeutic applications of Buddhism.

Kaitlyn Mascher-Mace

Kaitlyn is a paramedic and former engineer who is interested in exploring the place of religion and spirituality in emergency care.

Rev. Akiko Rogers

Recent alum Aki’s thesis was entitled “Amida’s Vow for All Beings: An Analysis of the Historical Development of Universal Acceptance in in Jōdo Shinshū Doctrine.” An ordained minister, they frequently preach on queer representation and LGBT-affirming applications of religion.

Rev. Ryūki Tom Hawkins

Tom began his IBS career with the Certificate in Soto Zen Studies, but is now pursuing his Master’s of Divinity to aid in his development as a Soto Zen priest. He is interested in gardening, dogs, and “Movement Chaplaincy,” the spiritual support of social and environmental activists.