Who Are Our Alumni?

Naropa alumni are becoming the change they want to see. Naropa alumni are leaders in their fields. They are entrepreneurs, healers, educators, therapists, business owners, artists, performers, musicians, writers, and innovators. They show up differently in their fields. They start businesses, nonprofits, and other organizations. In business, they are leading the change to "social profit" and valuing the triple bottom line: People, Planet, and Profit.

Wherever they go, and whatever they do, Naropa University alumni are meeting the world as it is, and changing it for the better. 

Alumni Highlight

Jennifer Jarland (formerly Bohn) is currently the Recycling and Resource Conservation Program Coordinator with Kane County Department of Environmental Resources in Illinois. Prior to that, and following her graduation from Naropa's Environmental Studies program, she was with Boulder County in Colorado as Zero Waste and Resource Conservation Specialist. Her work includes recycling program management, electronic recycling events planning, hauler licensing, data collection, public response and education, and public speaking. While maintaining, improving, and expanding programs for Kane County, she also works with Illinois county and agency colleagues on larger state issues. Recently that work has been focused on promoting food scrap composting and product stewardship initiatives in the state. She is a co-chair of the Illinois Carpet Recycling Working Group.

Graduate School of Counseling & Psychology

Michelle Frieswyk-Johnson, MA, Transpersonal Counseling Psycholgy, founded and directs the Louisville Wellness Center, in downtown Louisville, CO, and also has a thriving private psychotherapy practice.

Lucy Wallace, MA Somatic Counseling, is the owner of a unique and thriving dance studio, Alchemy of Movement, in Boulder, CO.

Michael Dow, MA Contemplative Psychotherapy, went on to receive his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of the Rockies ('09), writing his dissertation on the topic, "What do we mean by mindfulness?" He has published book chapters on mindfulness and neuroscience, and mindfulness and existentialism in Brilliant Sanity: Buddhist Approaches to Psychotherapy and Existential Psychology East-West (both published by University of the Rockies Press). He currently works as a psychologist at the People's Clinic in Boulder in a nationally known "integrated primary care" program where, among other things, he has been instrumental in the development of a group-based, integrated pain management program. He also has a private practice focused on individual, group and more recently, couple's work. He is especially interested in the intersection (and at times tension) between buddhist psychology and the latest findings in interpersonal neurobiology, family systems and psychodynamic theory.   

Carmen Cool, MA Transpersonal Counseling Psychology, founded the Boulder Youth Body Alliance in 2004, to provide a peer-to-peer program in addressing eating and body issues in the schools and has a private practice in psychotherapy as well.

Kevin Mays, MA Contemplative Psychotherapy, has gone on to earn a second Masters Degree (in Organizational Leadership) and a Doctorate (researching the effect of meditation on leadership) from the University of Montana and now works in developing executives, teams, and organizations, toward greater consciousness,as a senior consultant and AVP with Farr Associates.

Daphne Davis, MA Contemplative Psychotherapy, graduated with her PhD in Counseling Psychology from Penn State University in August 2011 and recently published a literature review on research on mindfulness. She is now doing a post-doc at the Trauma Center in Brookline, MA coordinating research on neurofeedback for PTSD.

Jennifer Harkness, MA Transpersonal Counseling Psychology, Art Therapy, is a Child, Adult, Family Psychotherapist and Art Therapist in private practice in Seattle, WA, and was recently featured in the West Seattle Herald in an article outlining her work.

Marc Otto, MA Somatic Counseling, created Play after Play in 2003 with Melanya Helene to support families in attuning to one another thru a performance which invites the whole family to enjoy together an embodied wisdom tale, brought to life through movement, music and engaging storytelling.

Learn more about Somatic Counseling alumni careers.  Enjoy a few interviews with Art Therapy alumni. Discover some alumni careers from the Contemplative Psychotherapy & Buddhist Psychology program. 

Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics

Peach Friedman, BA Writing and Literature, is a spokesperson for the National Eating Disorders Association, is the author of Diary of an Exercise Addict and the Outreach Specialist for Magnolia Creek Residential Treatment Center for Eating Disorders. She is a nationally recognized educator and intuitive fitness specialist, focusing on health and wellness for women.

Tim Hernandez, BA Writing and Literature, is a Program Coordinator, Colorado Center for the Book, running literacy programs across the state, author of Skin Tax, a book of poetry and winner of the 2006 American Book Award, and Breathing, In Dust, a novel and winner of the 2010 Premio Aztlan Literary Prize. Read more.

Alexander Weinstein, BA, Writing and Literature, is the founder and director of the Martha Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing and professor of creative writing at Sienna Heights University. He is presently finishing his first collection of stories, entitled The Apocalypse Tales.

Kevin Kilroy, MFA Writing and Poetics, had an essay, "Why Sherlock Holmes is my Favorite Drug User," published in Sherlock Holmes and Philosophy, published by Open Court Books.  Kevin serves as full-time Faculty in the Core Studies Department of the Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy

School of Humanities and Interdisciplinary Studies

Robert Cooper, BA Religious Studies, founded Command–A Consulting, a successful family-run business with over 16 years of experience in selling, servicing, and working with Apple computers, and alumnus William Ashton II, BA Religious Studies works with him as AV Director.

Holly Gayley, MA Buddhist Studies (now Religious Studies, Ind-Tibetan concentration), went on to receive her Ph.D. at Harvard University in Tibetan and Himalayan Studies in 2009. During her dissertation research, she spent 2005–6 engaged in field research in and around the Tibetan region of Golok on a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship. She is currently Assistant Professor in Religious Studies at the University of Colorado, in Boulder, CO.

Danny Fisher, MDiv, is "just a Buddhist minister trying to benefit beings". He is a professor and Coordinator of the Buddhist Chaplaincy Program at University of the West, is author of the Patheos blog Off the Cushion, and also serves as a blogger for Shambhala Sun, Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly, and elephantjournal.com. He was recently invited to attend a special meeting of religious leaders at The White House in Washington, DC. This event was the first-ever White House Conference of Dharma-Based Religions.

Tyler Norris, MDiv, now serves as Vice President, Total Health Partnerships at Kaiser Permanente.
For three decades, Tyler has served as a social entrepreneur and trusted advisor to philanthropies, health systems, governments, NGO's and collaborative partnerships working to improve the health of people and places. Read more.

Seth Lepore, BA Interdisciplinary Studies, is a writer, humorist, musician and solo performer and tours a trilogy of one-man shows on the underbelly of the self-help movement. The first show Losing My Religion: Confessions of a New Age Refugee won an Audience Encore Award at both the Boulder and Minnesota Fringe Festivals and was one of Jay Gabler’s (of the Twin CIty Daily Planet) top ten plays of 2011. The second part SuperHappyMelancholyexpialidocious started touring in March 2012.

Meet some more of our Master's of Divinity alumni. Enjoy this alumni profile from the MA in Buddhist Studies (now Religious Studies, with a concentration in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism). Read a few alumni profiles from our BA Interdisciplinary Studies program. Learn more about our Traditional Eastern Arts alumni

School of the Arts

Rosh (Brian Rochelau), BA Music is a community organizer, entrepreneur and songwriter (guitar/vocals). While on tour in Iceland, he stumbled upon a blind cafe and got inspired to recreate that event for his community in Boulder, CO & around the world. He is the Executive Director and creative force behind the Blind Cafe, creating a unique community building experience.

Kirsten Wilson, MFA Theater and Contemporary Performance, is writer, performer and creator of various transformative art practices for individuals and theatrical works that stimulate community conversation.  She developed a class called Letting the Body Speak: The Autobiographical Monologue Class and is also a master Playback Improvisational Theater instructor. She has developed collaborative, creative community conversation in theater called Rocks Karma Arrows: an exploration of Boulder history through the lens of race and class, followed by Niwot's Arrow,

Brandon Jones, BA InterArts, recently wrote All Woman and Springtime, published by Algonquin Books. Alice Walker reviewed the book, saying it is “one of the most absorbing, chilling, beautifully written and important novels I’ve read in many years.”

Chaunesti Webb, MFA Theater and Contemporary Performance is an interdisciplinary theater artist based in Durham, NC and a self-describer "native Bull-City-Teaching Artist-Writer-Director-Actor-Mover-Lover of Music and Language".  She is the creator a play, "I Love My Hair When It's Good: And Then Again When It Looks Defiant and Impressive". She also works in media advocacy producing training and educational videos on issues including public health, social justice and institutional equity.  She also works as an arts administrator for the Health Arts Network at Duke, managing performing arts programming for the medical center. Read her more about her professional bio and her alumni profile.

Enjoy these MFA in Theater and Contemporary Performance alumni profiles and a couple more alumni profiles from our BA in Music program. 

School of Natural and Social Sciences

Arron Mansika, MA Environmental Leadership, is the founder of Boulder's Best Organics, an organic, gift box company. He now serves as the Director of Operations for Naturally Boulder, a trade association started by the City of Boulder to support the natural products industry in Boulder.

Candice Kearns Orlando, BA Environmental Studies, is a farmer and Executive Director of UrbiCulture Community Farms, providing Denver, CO with affordable, local, sustainable produce. "Urbiculture Community Farms combines Candice's love and work of environmental and social activism, community building, organizing, teaching, and most of all planting seeds and watching them grow."

Beth Keel, MA Environmental Leadership, is a Sustainability Initiatives Specialist with the San Antonio Housing Authority. She works from a holistic prospective of sustainability which includes energy efficiency, water conservation, community sustainability/education, creating food security in San Antonio food deserts close to or at Public Housing, community gardens and anything dealing with recycling, building rehabs and new development. 

Amy Burke, MA Contemplative Education, is a workshop presenter, project manager and .b teacher, supporting international development for the Mindfulness in Schools Project. She is also a co-founder of The MindWell Foundation, whose aim is to support school communities in integrating mind, body and heart through mindfulness training and social and emotional learning. Having spent 15 years in high schools as a classroom teacher and guidance counselor in Canada and The Netherlands, she relocated to Prague in 2013.

Enjoy this sampling of careers our contemplative education alumni enjoy!  Meet more alumni from our BA Contemplative Psychology program. Peace Studies alumni share their perspective about their Naropa experience.