What is your current job?
I am a Board Certified Chaplain, endorsed by the Orthodox Church in America and certified by the Association of Professional Chaplains. I am a member of the national Board Certification Commission. Over 14 years of chaplaincy, I have served in home Hospice as well as Acute care and Palliative care at a large academic medical center. I currently work for Beacon Hospice. I teach Palliative Care for the HealthCare Chaplaincy Network, and serve as a lecturer on end of life spiritual care. I also work part-time as a musical theater director and voice teacher at the Boston Conservatory and a local performing arts school.
Why did you choose this profession?
I have always loved comparative religion, spiritual practice, sacred texts and the intersection of faith and health. I went to Harvard Divinity School after Haverford, intending to pursue doctoral work in religion, but found myself drawn to chaplaincy after a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education. Chaplaincy is by nature multi-faith and interdisciplinary, drawing on grief and bereavement care, psychology, spiritual practice, theology and culture. It is meaningful and life-giving work, and every day is different. It's an honor to accompany patients and families of all faiths through the end of life process and to work within a collaborative health care team
.What more do you wish to accomplish in your professional career?
I will be starting a Doctor of Ministry while continuing to work part-time as a chaplain and stay home with my toddler 2 days a week. Over the next few years, I plan to continue to offer presentations and lectures on end of life and quality improvement in spiritual care, and ultimately serve as a Director of Spiritual Care at an academic hospital. I plan to write more about chaplaincy and end of life care.
Tell us about a decision or change you made that turned out to be a positive career move.
1) At the beginning of my chaplaincy career 13 years ago, I decided to work 4 days a week in chaplaincy and pursue my avocation in musical theater 1 day a week. Since then, I have continued to serve as a musical director, teach singing 1-2 days a week, and serve as a piano accompanist for local choruses. This is a great balance for me.
2) I converted to Orthodox Christianity when I was at Harvard Divinity School studying chaplaincy. This was an unconventional choice, because at that time there were no board certified female chaplains within the Church. In 2003, I received endorsement as a chaplain and was one of the first two Orthodox women in the U.S. to receive board certification. Since then I have become a mentor to many women serving as chaplains.
How has Haverford influenced your professional career?
The religion major at Haverford taught me to think critically and carefully about religious belief, sacred texts and spiritual practice. I developed a love of world religions through my excellent coursework. The Honor Code was foundational to my understanding of community and accountability. My professors were true mentors, and I learned so much from my talented and brilliant peers.