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Undergraduate Fellows

Executive Committee Members

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Joseph Squillaro
(Co-President)

Joseph Squillaro (’21) is a student in the College at the University of Pennsylvania from Long Island, New York studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics with a concentration in cyber policy and internet law. As Co-President of Collegium, Joseph is a firm believer of facilitating this space to be a bastion of inquiry on the “grand questions of life.” Through events like Food For Thought and the Paideia Seminar, he has gained a greater insight into why we are here and how we can go forth and do good in the world. Outside of Collegium, Joseph is the Moderator (President) of the Philomathean Society, a Research Peer Advisor for the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF) and a Deputy Blog Manager for the Penn Undergraduate Law Journal, among other things. He looks forward to continuing the exploratory tradition of Catholicism and knowledge in the Collegium Institute and helping shape the future of this organization.

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Tisé Ben-Eka
(Co-President)

Tisé Ben-Eka is a junior dual-degree student at the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently studying Finance at Wharton and Korean Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences. Her interest in Collegium began when she attended Collegium’s NSO Preceptorial during her freshmen year. Apart from Collegium, she is a dancer on the Penn Hype dance team, a fellow for the Kim  Korean Studies program, and a member of AKPsi, the business fraternity. Through being a Collegium fellow, Tisé hopes to better understand Philosophy in order to have a more intersectional understanding of faith and reason

Professional Profile

Andrew Lowrance
(Treasurer)

Andrew Lowrance is an undergraduate student within the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. He is looking to pursue a degree in Physics and Mathematics. Andrew enjoys researching different technologically-related scientific advances, and is currently conducting research alongside Dr. Paulo Arratia regarding the rheology of active fluids. As someone who has always enjoyed delving into the philosophical contemplations of science and religion, the Collegium Institute provides an excellent representation of the miscellaneous passions that Andrew may hold.

General Fellowship Members

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Vito Acosta

Vito Acosta is a dual-degree student in the Huntsman Program at the University of Pennsylvania, studying Economics at the Wharton School and International Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, focusing on Chinese and East Asian Area Studies. Prior to his arrival at Penn, he studied in Changzhou, China for 10 months with the National Security Language Initiative. 

His intellectual interests include languages, international economic policy, applied psychology, conflict resolution, consequences of globalization, classical philosophy, virtue ethics, Italian literature, comparative intellectual thought, and physics. He is especially concerned with the relationship between scientific and religious world views and the role of each in modern society. 

Vito first became involved with Collegium during the ‘Socrates on College’ preceptorial. He has been a fellow with the Magi Project in Science and Theology and looks forward to continuing this role as well as playing a larger part in organizing purposeful, meaningful discussions as a Collegium Fellow. 

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Sydney Gwynn

Sydney Gwynn was born and raised in the great state of Texas and is currently a Junior studying Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania. She enjoys Philosophy because you can put the phrase “Philosophy of…” before any other subject and engage in a thoughtful, higher-level discussion about that topic. Sydney looks forward to being involved with the intellectual community that Collegium fosters and exploring ideas related to both religious and secular thought and how they interact.

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Carolyn Chow

Carolyn Chow is a senior from the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan studying Health and Societies with a minor in Biological Basis of Behavior. Through Collegium, she hopes to engage in discourse within the humanities to celebrate the pursuit of knowledge, explore disciplinary intersections such as those between faith and science and medicine and philosophy, and finally consider how such ideas might be applied to live in a richer understanding of our messy world of vivid cultures, deep suffering, great history, and rapid change. Outside of class, Carolyn is involved in brain cancer research, her church community, Penn Chamber Music, and Penn Bioethics Journal.

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Aaron Chen

Aaron Chen(C’20) is an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in International Relations and Religious Studies. By studying the intersection of these two fields, Aaron is interested in the way religion affects politics and the way political events, movements, and trauma can likewise impact the beliefs of the religious. Through Collegium, he is excited to participate in a forum where he can grow in empathy, encounter new ideas, and seek truth.

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Leah Baxter

Leah Baxter is a junior from Chattanooga, Tennessee. Though her major is undecided, she is especially interested in linguistics, philosophy, and literature. Leah first became involved in Collegium through a dinner discussion program on science fiction. She appreciates being involved in Collegium both because they’re the kind of people who would host a serious philosophical discussion on science fiction and because she appreciates their focus on investigating truths about the world through multiple, complementary perspectives.

 
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Puti Cen

Puti Cen is an undergraduate Ben Franklin Scholar from Beijing, China. Pursuing a dual-degree in Cognitive Science and Marketing, she’s interested in decision making and artificial intelligence. When not in class, Puti loves traveling, visiting museums and learning about cool tech products. Have participated in Collegium events since her freshman year, Puti enjoys discussions with people from different religious or intellectual backgrounds and is excited to involve in the planning of events as a Collegium student fellow.

Madison Weiss

Madison Weiss

Madison Weiss is a freshman in the College of Arts and Science who hails from northeastern Pennsylvania. She is studying PPE, Spanish, and French. In her freshman year, she became involved with Collegium after attending the “Socrates on College” preceptorial. She is most interested in the intersections of science, religion, and ethics. Outside of Collegium, Madison is involved with the Penn Latin and Ballroom Dance team and the Penn Review.

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Ayana Shirai

Ayana Shirai is a student from Japan with an interest in the concept of wellbeing and health in our contemporary world, and how they are related to our understanding of being with a possibility of not-being. She also aspires to connect these concepts with ethics and the need for critical decision-making that we face every day. She studies at the Wharton School with the hope of concentrating in the Healthcare Management and Legal Studies/Ethics with a minor in philosophy. She has been exploring Elizabeth Anscombe’s work with the help of the Collegium Institute with a focus on her notion of the first-person pronoun “I”, subjective understanding of actions and ethics. Her fascination with philosophical works extends beyond the temporal or geographical boundaries, fueled by the delight she takes in encountering the lived breaths of philosophers as she opens the books.

Miriam Shah

Miriam Supriya Shah

Miriam is an Undergraduate in the College of Arts and Sciences studying Comparative Literature, with a double minor in Philosophy and Jewish Studies. Growing up, her family spent a great deal of time in India, where her mother’s family operated a Christian Mission, Divya Shanthi, which they remain deeply devoted to. Her relationship with India and Christianity at the grassroots level has been fundamental to her formation psychically, intellectually, and spiritually. At Penn, she is deeply interested in the myriad ways in which religion, primarily the Judeo- Christian religion, continues to inform the public sphere and our daily lives in the West. She is particularly fascinated by the history --and future -- of Judeo-Christian relations, and the comparison between Jewish philosophy, history, and mysticism vs. its Christian counterpart. She cherishes Collegium as a sanctuary for profound and engaging discussion that tethers itself strongly to a philosophy of action and encourages students to live outside the narrow framework of the zeitgeist.

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Louis Galarowicz

Louis Galarowicz is a junior from North Caldwell, New Jersey studying history and philosophy in the College of Arts and Sciences. Louis joined the Collegium Institute after finding its discussions and materials transformative in a way that many academic classes were not. He enjoys studying the Catholic and humanist traditions, with an eye towards education. Louis is currently researching for a senior thesis on the pedagogy of elite higher education. Grounded by faith and humility, Louis is passionate about improving the wellbeing of students in the Penn community, serving as president of the Interfraternal Council and as a member of student outreach groups focused on mental health and masculinity. Louis is interested in how religious values influence support for public policy and how policy relates to global inequality. Louis spends his free time learning through conversation and going on adventures outdoors.

Andrew Sontag

Andrew Sontag

Andrew Sontag is a freshman from Baltimore, Maryland. He is a member of the Benjamin Franklin Scholars Program and hopes to study physics with a concentration in astrophysics, although he is still officially undecided. He is interested in how the topics of free will and divine omniscience fit into a worldview where scientific determinism is becoming increasingly convincing. Outside of the classroom, Andrew enjoys being a percussionist with the Penn Wind Ensemble, as well as spending time outdoors with friends.

Callista Dyer

Callista Dyer

Callista Dyer is an undergraduate in the College of Arts and Sciences. Although she is currently undecided on her major, she takes particular interest in the intersection of physical sciences and philosophy. Outside of campus Callista is involved with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and CSSP, a mentorship program in West Philly schools. She first heard of Collegium Institute through the “Socrates on College” preceptorial and the Friday coffeehouses soon after. She admires Collegium’s willingness to ask and debate the obscure, and often unanswerable, questions of today, prioritizing truth over conventionality. She is excited to grow her understanding of what it means to exist, create and love in today’s beautifully complex world.

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Vivian Li

Vivian Li is a senior from California studying finance and statistics at the Wharton School. She first became involved with Collegium through their seminar series on faith and art. In general, she is interested in how to responsibly use data to know and decide things, as well as the role of the regulatory state, with an eye towards how these subjects can be informed by philosophy and religion. Outside of academics, Vivian is involved with the Wharton Undergraduate Data Analytics Club, Grace Covenant Church, and the Penn dance team.

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Ana West

Ana West is a junior from Grand Haven, Michigan, majoring in English and minoring in East Asian Languages and Civilizations with a concentration in Chinese. She is particularly interested in the intersection of religious practice and social/economic justice. In addition to spiritual life at Penn, she is involved with sexual violence prevention and advocacy as a member of Penn Anti Violence Educators (PAVE). She became involved with Collegium as a work-study student, and is excited to take part in Collegium's mission in a new capacity as a Fellow.

Suzanne Carpenter

Suzanne Carpenter

Suzanne Carpenter is an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, pursuing a double major in music and history. Suzanne was introduced to the Collegium through an Interfaith Service-Learning Fellowship. As a Program for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society (PRRUCS) Fellow, she was exposed to new ideas regarding the ways in which religion informs perceptions of service. Suzanne hopes to delve deeper into these types of intellectual discussions and foster community involvement. She finds meaning in serving others, particularly through music. In her free time, she enjoys playing violin and piano.

Gabriella Thomas

Gabriella Thomas

Gabbi Thomas is a sophomore from Philadelphia studying International Relations. A life-long Catholic, she strives each day to examine and understand the world around her in a pursuit to find the true, good, and beautiful. She is passionate about human rights (particularly education and refugee rights), and loves having the opportunity to learn about various worldviews and how they are formed by religion, ethnicity, and upbringing. As a fellow, she hopes to engage in thoughtful conversation about the world we live in alongside other driven members of the Penn community.

Caroline Magro

Caroline Magro

Caroline Magro is an undergraduate student within the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences from Alexandria, VA. Studying bioengineering at Penn, she has always been fascinated by the intersection of faith, science, medicine, and bioethics and hopes to further explore these interests as an undergraduate fellow. As a freshman, she has enjoyed her first semester participating in the Penn Catholic Newman Community and research at Penn Medicine. Caroline is looking forward to engaging in intellectual and theological dialogue related to these subjects through Collegium.

Ali Hamandi

Ali Hamandi

Ali Hamandi is an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania tentatively double-majoring in cognitive science and computer science. His interests are interdisciplinary and are broadly characterizable as meaning-making in post-postmodern society; this extends to critical theory, economics, literature, computer science, and philosophy. His research interests revolve around the neuro-sciences with a tentative focus on neuro-ophthalmic orphan disorders. Ali's hobbies include listening to music, reading, and engaging in his various extracurricular obligations.

Anannya Shandilya

Anannya Shandilya

Anannya is a junior pursuing a bachelor's in Finance and Statistics at Wharton Business School. She is a Joseph Wharton Scholar and is actively involved in research-related activities. She is interested in classical and bollywood dance. She also likes writing Hindi poetry.

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Bailey Hanson

Bailey Hanson is an undergraduate from Minneapolis, MN, and is planning to major in Philosophy, with minors in Anthropology and French. Bailey is intrigued by the relationship between religious morals and civil duty, particularly pertaining to their implications in issues of jurisprudence. Through Collegium, she enjoys having conversations about the realities of religion in society and personal spiritual life, and hopes to continue enriching her self-awareness and mutual understanding through Collegium settings. Elsewhere at Penn, Bailey is a member of PRISM, an interfaith student group, and works at both Williams Cafe and the Penn Museum.

Sophie Qi

Sophie Qi

Sophie Qi is a Freshman in the College of Arts and Studies, tentatively studying International Relations. Many of her interests relate to the relationship between an individual and society, including populist movements, mass surveillance, international security, and documentary film. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys filmmaking, satire writing, and eventually, remembering all the flags of the world. Sophie first knew Collegium from the ‘Socrates on College’ preceptorial, and has then enjoyed a number of ‘Food for Thought’ modules. She looks forward to being more formally involved with Collegium and its mission of fostering intellectual discussions.

Ben Zeisloft

Benjamin Zeisloft

Benjamin Zeisloft is a sophomore studying Finance and Marketing in the Wharton School. He is involved in the Statesman, Wharton International Business Review, and Christian Union. Benjamin's interests lie at the intersection of Western culture, free-market capitalism, and the role of Christianity in shaping both. Outside of his involvement in Penn's extracurricular community, he completes coursework in systematic theology and church history with Reformed Theological Seminary. Through Collegium, he hopes to understand the worldviews of other belief systems and the ways in which they account for truth, logic, and morality.

Austin Plotica

Austin Plotica

Austin Plotica is an undergraduate in The College of Arts and Sciences from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Although he has yet to officially declare a major, his academic interests are at the intersection of philosophy and political science--namely, normative ethics, metaethics, and political theory. With secular dispositions, his main intention as a Collegium undergraduate fellow is to utilize the institution--and its constituent intellectual diversity--as a framework to foster meaningful conversations. In the future, he intends to realize his ethical ideals by means of engagement in the domains of business, law, academia, and public policy.

Alex Worrall

Alex Worrall

Alex Worrall is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences, prospectively majoring in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and American History. He was raised Catholic in rural Pennsylvania and is excited to explore the intersectionality of religion and philosophy. He was introduced to Collegium through a preceptorial program his freshman year and has attended numerous events since then. He loves being able to hold intellectual and stimulating conversations in the casual and welcoming context that Collegium provides, and he hopes to help organize and plan events through being an undergraduate fellow to bring this same platform to the rest of the Penn community.

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Theresa Dierkes

Theresa Dierkes is a senior nursing student from the suburbs of Philadelphia. Theresa is interested in labor and delivery nursing and continuing her education so she could potentially teach health and religion in a Catholic high school. In her free time, Theresa enjoys playing flute and piano, reading, and figuring out discussion topics for the group Beyond Consent at Penn. Theresa appreciates the work Collegium does on campus striving to foster intellectual conversations in regards to religion and world views..

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Benjamin Finnstrom

Benjamin Finnstrom is an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture degree. His involvement with the Collegium Institute began as a PRRUCS Fellow- which enabled him to explore a range of academic research interests. As a PRRUCS Fellow, he discovered a passion for exploring the intersection of utopian ideals, urban planning trajectories, and sacred spaces. In serving within the Collegium Institute Student Association, he hopes to further the Institute’s mission and facilitate means for others to embark on intellectual investigations.

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Samuel J.C. Hatfield

Samuel J.C. Hatfield is an undergraduate in the College of Arts and Sciences studying English. Though just returning spring of 2019 from a year-long leave of absence for spiritual discernment and family reasons, Sam's excitement for the Collegium Institute, its people, conversations, and programming never withered. Coming from a Jesuit Catholic all-boys high school in St. Louis, Missouri, Sam has always thoroughly enjoyed the intersection of religious studies and philosophical thought, especially at the intellectual level that Penn provides. The Collegium Institute became the perfect outlet for this dichotomy of interests, and Sam's tenacity to look for the truth fits well with the Institute's mission. He also has an intense passion for the fields of law and politics and loves to serve others through that medium. When he's not spending time in Penn's Newman Center at St. Agatha & St. James Parish, he's usually playing pick-up basketball games at Pottruck or grinding Super Smash Bros. Melee with friends in Harnwell. His door is always open to talk about anything, from the quaintly trivial to the most serious.

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Momena Haider

Momena Haider is a junior from the UK majoring in Philosophy. She was first introduced to the Collegium Institute during an NSO preceptorial called 'Socrates on College', after which she was appointed as a PRRUCS Fellow at the Collegium Institute. She is grateful to have a platform at Penn where she can partake in casual intellectual discussions and help design events to bring those discussions to the Penn community.

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Pearl Liu

Pearl Liu is a junior from Connecticut studying science, technology, and society. She is interested in the intersection of STS and environmental humanities because it allows her to explore questions of authority, knowledge, and relationships between humans and other-than-humans in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary ways that recognize the power of stories and experiences as well as engage the interaction of reflection and response. Her desire to integrate and interface different approaches of learning about and engaging with the complexity of reality informs her academic endeavors as well as draws her involvement in Collegium.

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Gabrielle Ramos

Gabrielle Ramos is a fourth year Nursing student minoring in Global Health from Woodland Park, NJ. After years of primary and secondary education in Catholic schools, Gabbie brings her strong, active Catholic faith and pursuit for the Truth to everything at Penn, including her work with Collegium. She works in the Penn School of Nursing while maintaining her position as the Youth Ministry Coordinator at St. Catherine of Siena Church, her home parish. Gabbie is involved in Student Nurses at Penn, Nursing Students for Global Health, and Penn Catholic Healthcare Association. She is active in the Penn Newman Catholic Community serving as Treasurer on the Board and Coordinator of Christ in the City. She is also the Head of Formation and Programming at the Catholic Women’s Household! She is most excited about helping coordinate medical humanities programming for Collegium.

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Aditya Rao

Aditya Rao (C’21) is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, prospectively majoring in Mathematical Biology and in Philosophy and Science and hoping to pursue a career as a physician-scientist. His interests range from systems neuroscience, philosophy of mathematics, science, and language, the medical humanities, bioethics, and theology. Outside of Collegium, he assists in research projects on the genetic basis of epilepsy and on tracking the progression of multiple sclerosis through neuroimaging. He is also deeply involved with Student Committee on Undergraduate Education, the Penn Bioethics Journal, and the Penn Undergraduate Law Journal. At Collegium, he looks forward to engaging with students and staff who share his interests—especially those fascinated by the medical humanities. Feel free to reach out for any reason at amrao@sas.upenn.edu.

Kaden Stenger

Kaden Stenger

Kaden Stenger is a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences studying an integrated degree of Philosophy, Poltics, and Economics. He hails from the great mountain state of West Virginia and is the proudest mountaineer you will ever meet. Some of the groups he is involved with on campus include the Government and Politics Association, the traveling Model United Nations team, and Christian Union. Academically, he loves learning about economic structures around the world and discussing the role of religion in America. By joining the Collegium Institute, he wants to learn from as well as contribute to the thoughts of others. There is no better place for him to dive into those deep questions on catholic thought and ponder why our university and society behave the way they do.

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Tom Stevens

Tom Stevens is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences majoring in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. He is on Penn's Lacrosse team as well as the leadership team at the Penn Catholic Newman Center. He loved attending Collegium events as a freshman and hopes he can continue to pursue truth by exploring the intersections of faith and reason as an undergraduate fellow.

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Charles Curtis-Thomas

Charles Curtis-Thomas is a junior in the College, and has an intended major in PPE. From Central New Jersey, (yes it does exist) he has had a passion for civic duty his entire life. On campus, he is involved in the Undergraduate Assembly, Penn Dems, mentors inner city kids on the weekend, and does acting and poetry performances. Charles likes having a chaotic schedule, and absolutely loves being a part of the Collegium Institute. Charles has a fascination with relations among people, and is excited to join Collegium in attaining a common goal of knowledge. In the future, he hopes to improve the comradery on campus among students through usage of interconnections between religion, and make Penn the best it can be. If you have any ideas, or just want to chat, feel free to email him at ccurtist@sas.upenn.edu.

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Keylee Penny

Keylee Penny (Class of ’21) is studying world history at the College of Arts and Sciences. Outside of Penn, she has worked in early childhood care and education for eight years, and more than anything, she has always envied her students’ freedom to study outer space on one day, music the next, and dinosaurs the third. Keylee is a generalist who has managed to stave off her feelings of intellectual restlessness thanks to the Collegium Institute and its commitment to the liberal pursuit of knowledge. As an undergraduate fellow, Keylee is eager to develop skills that will carry forward as she spends the rest of her life in academia. More than that, she has always taught her preschoolers that it is just as important to be kind as it is to be smart, and she is glad to have found a community in Collegium that shares this value.

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Ian Bernardin

Ian Bernardin is a philosophy major and French minor from Arlington, Massachusetts. He appreciates a good night out bowling, ice skating or finding all the best restaurants in Philadelphia with his sister. He was introduced to the Collegium Institute by his roommate during his time abroad. Ian hopes to use his time with Collegium as a chance to shoot the breeze with fellow Catholic-minded students while indulging shamelessly in the free food.

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Roshan Benefo