Facing Failure and Defining Success

Penn faculty & religious leaders confront questions of faith and ambition


When: Postponed

Cosponsored by Locust Walk Journal

Faculty and religious leaders confront the relationship between faith and ambition at Penn, addressing the definitions of success and encounters with failure, and differences from the secular approaches to both. They will reflect on their experiences of faith within Penn’s culture of achievement and the intersection of faith and ambition more broadly.


Patricia Anton: Chaplain of the Penn Muslim Students Association

Deven M. Patel: Assoc. Prof. of South Asia Studies and Religious Studies at UPenn

Marisa Cristina March: Cosmologist at UPenn and Faculty Fellow at the Collegium Institute

Rabbi Micah Shapiro: Rabbinic Fellow for Innovation at Penn Hillel

Dr. Michael Baime: Founder and Director of the Penn Mindfulness Program


All questions may be directed to Elizabeth Feeney:

More on our Panelists:

Deven M. Patel is Associate Professor of South Asia Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.  His research fuses the study of texts in various South Asian languages, especially Sanskrit, with the development of the region’s literary and visual cultures through time.  He has published on South Asian literary cultures in history, on South Asian aesthetics and their relationship to other philosophical traditions, and on the convergence of the literary and the visual in early India.  Secondary and tertiary research interests include: translation studies, comparative philosophy and critical theory, and the religions of Asia, especially Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.  His most recent book is Text to Tradition: Literary Community in South Asia (Columbia University Press, 2014).

Dr. Marisa Cristina March is a cosmologist at the University of Pennsylvania where she carries out research in the field of dark energy science, a field that seeks to understand the acceleration of the Universe.  Dr. March works on galaxy lensing for the future Euclid space mission, and she works on supernova cosmology for the ground based Dark Energy Survey.  Dr. March studied theoretical physics at Imperial College London, where she also carried out her doctoral research on advanced statistical methods for astrophysical probes of cosmology; she also holds a Bachelors degree in Catholic Theology from Heythrop College London.

Rabbi Micah Shapiro is the new rabbinic fellow for innovation at Penn Hillel, ordained in June from the trans-denominational Rabbinical School of Hebrew College in Boston.  A multi-instrumentalist, band leader and singer/songwriter, he is founding director of both The Shabbat Sing Out and The Jewish Songwriters’ Collective, projects that expand the tent of Jewish prayer experience through original music composition and immersive singing community. Micah’s other areas of focus and interest include the study of Psalms, biblical, rabbinic, and modern Hebrew, Israeli/Palestinian work, and LGBTQ, environmental and racial justice.  He has two live albums set to verses of Psalms for Friday night Shabbat services and is beginning work on a third album for the Shabbat morning service.

More about our co-sponsor:

LocustWalk is a student-led Christian publication that exists to present the perspectives of faith and non-faith worldviews on questions of truth and purpose. Through active dialogue within the University of Pennsylvania, we seek to build relationships modeled after the life and teachings of Jesus Christ who informs our understanding of cultural engagement, reconciliation, and community. We pledge to cultivate an environment where the pursuit of solidarity in diversity can lay a foundation for conversation conducted with love and mutual respect.