Our Staff

The Interfaith Center seeks to equip and empower students, staff, faculty, and the institution as a whole, to engage more comfortably and competently with spirituality and religion. As you explore our space, programs, workshops and other resources, please do not hesitate to contact us if we might be able to provide any other information or support that would be helpful. 

Dr. James Ross, Interim Director

Dr. James Ross

Rev. Dr. James D. Ross II serves as Interim Director of the Interfaith Center at the University of Vermont. In this role, he partners with the Center staff and the broader UVM community to offer programming, resources, space and more to support students, faculty, and staff as they explore, question, embrace, and live into their faith identities and practices.

Rev. Dr. Ross, who also is known as Rev. James and Dr. J, is an Alabama native who loves travel, live music and theater, and time with loved ones. He is an Alabama native and has lived in cities throughout the country, including New Orleans, St. Louis, Denver, and Washington, D.C. He is a former newspaper reporter and editor, organizational communications professional, government and nonprofit leader, and advocate for criminal justice reform. He also is a former pastor and regional leader in the United Church of Christ.

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Ali Mahmood, Coordinator of Leadership Development and Program

Ali's Headshot

Ali Mahmood is the Coordinator of Leadership Development and Program at the Interfaith Center (IC). Ali joined IC in July 2022 and previously worked at the Allegheny College staff/faculty for Film and Religion Department. Ali received his M.A in Islamic and Leadership from Claremont School of Theology/Bayan Islamic Graduate School in California.

Ali was born in India and lived in three different countries, Australia, UAE, and India. He moved to the USA as an undergraduate student in Acting from Film from the New York Film Academy. After spending 6 years as an actor in various theater and film production in Los Angeles and Pittsburg Ali went on to pursue a Master’s degree in Islamic Studies and Leadership from Claremont School of Theology/Bayan Islamic Graduate School in California. With a Certificate in Sustainability and Environmental Protection from UCLA Extension, he focused his research on Ecology and Theology. His thesis paper, “Abrahamic Storytelling can Encourage Environmental Activism,” explore the idea of how the three Abrahamic faith tradition’s stories can cultivate ecological preservation and environmental activism.

Phone: 802.656.4703

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Menuka Rai, Office/Program Generalist

Menuka's headshot

Menuka Rai is the Office/Program Generalist for the Interfaith Center(IC) as well as Mosaic Center for Students of Color(MCSC), it is a collaborative between two center. She started her position at IC and MCSC in July 2022 and she is looking forward to support both centers through administrative tasks & projects.

Menuka was born and raised in Nepal, and in 2014, her family emigrated to The United States. She attended high school then university in Burlington, Vermont. She recently graduated with class of 2022 from University of Vermont with bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Food Science. Due to her background as a first gen college grad, POC and UVM alumna, she is eager to connect & provide resources to students to the best of her abillity.

Phone: 802.656.1058

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Takudzwa Bozhiwa, Graduate Assistant

Taku headshot

Takudzwa (he/him) is the 2023-2024 Graduate Assistant for the Interfaith Center. He is passionate about helping peopleand creating positive environments for others to flourish and be their best versions.

During his spare time, he enjoys going to the gym, playing music (acoustic), fishing, reading, and watching soccer.

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HESA Practicum

UVM's Rally Cat mascot and HESA practicum student tabling at an event

Available to students enrolled in the Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration master's program (HESA), this semester-long practicum is an opportunity to understand and articulate the importance of engaging spirituality and religion in higher education, particularly at a public institution. This aspect of student affairs involves student identity development as well as equity and social justice by pursuing a more just, pluralistic campus community. Practicum students will increase their religious literacy and other competencies as they assist in developing and implementing knowledge, skill and relational development opportunities for students, staff and faculty.

Hours & Location:

Monday - Friday: 8:00 a.m. - 10 p.m.
400 South Prospect Street, Burlington, Vermont 05405

All UVM community members are welcome to utilize the Interfaith Center however it might be meaningful for you - for prayer, reflection, conversation, or quiet. You can walk the labyrinth, use the prayer and meditation room, gather food from the pantry, etc. You will just need your CATCard to open and access the east door (immediately off the parking lot).

The Interfaith Center is located along the path from Main Campus to the Redstone Campus, set between the Catholic Center and the Music Center Building.  One easy way to spot it is to look for the building just beneath the blue water tower.

Contact Us:

You can reach the Interfaith Center by email or call at (802) 656-4703


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