|Samuel H. Speers||Associate Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life and Contemplative Practices||(845) 437-5550|
|Bryan Mann||Rachlin Director for Jewish Student Life and Assistant Director, Religious and Spiritual Life and Contemplative Practice|
|Annie Sampugnaro||Administrative Assistant||(845) 437-5550|
- James McCowan, Faculty Advisor for the Buddhist Sangha
- Rev. Susan Fortunato, Interim Affiliate Advisor for the Episcopal Church at Vassar College
- Linda Tuttle, Affiliate Advisor for the Vassar Catholic Community
- David Alberto ’24, RSLCP Student Intern
- Ellie Whiteman ’24, RSLCP Communications & Design Intern
- Fatima Osman ’23, RSLCP Student Intern
- Jimena Saavedra ’26, RSLCP Communications & Design Intern
- Joseph McMahon ’24, RSLCP Student Intern
- Margaret Norsworthy-Edghill ’26, Good Neighbors Intern
- Natasha Orellana ’23, RSLCP Student Intern
- Pierangelis Valerio ’23, RSLCP Student Intern
- Salih Elnour Salih Awouda ’25, Muslim Life Intern
- Samuel Goldstein ’25, RSLCP Student Intern
- Sarah McCawley ’23, RSLCP Student Intern
Our Staff Bios
Rev. Samuel Speers, D.Min.
Rev. Samuel Speers (he/him/his) is Associate Dean for Religious and Spiritual Life and Contemplative Practices at Vassar College; he has been at the college for twenty years. Sam moved to Poughkeepsie from Chicago, where he had worked in campus ministry for ten years at the University of Chicago, serving as Associate Dean of Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, the university’s chapel.
At Vassar, Sam has focused on collaborative initiatives at the intersections of religion, secular public life, and inter-religious engagement. Sam directed a multi-campus initiative called “Secularity and the Liberal Arts”—a faculty-chaplain collaboration that involved twenty colleges. The 10-year project, supported by a major grant from by Teagle Foundation, grew out of concerns that faculty and chaplains kept hearing from students about how to integrate their questions of meaning and purpose into their “secular” education. He contributed a chapter on this project to College and University Chaplaincy in the 21st Century.
Sam is an ordained Presbyterian minister; he holds a B.A. in Religion from Columbia University, an M.Div. (Master of Divinity) from the University of Chicago, and his D.Min. (Doctor of Ministry) from Princeton Theological Seminary. He has been an active member of campus chaplaincy associations, and is past president of the Association of College and University Religious Affairs. At Vassar, he chairs the Frances Fergusson Good Neighbors Partnerships, a college-based initiative in engaged philanthropy.
Sam is deeply committed to collaborative partnerships; he works with his inter-religious colleagues to help students to bring their messy, joyful, and whole selves to build a culture of “belonging-in-difference.” He is grateful for the wide range of ways his campus work allows him to discover and rediscover that students are the most creative and insightful interpreters of the changing religious, spiritual, and secular landscape he seeks to serve.
Rabbi Bryan Mann
Rabbi Bryan Mann (he/him/his) is the Rachlin Director of Jewish Student Life and Assistant Director of the RSCLP. He joined us in August 2020, coming from Tampa, FL where he was serving as the senior rabbi of a small suburban synagogue. He is very excited to be back in the Northeast where he spent most of his life. He grew up in Penacook, NH. He received his BA in Jewish Studies from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. He received his Rabbinic Ordination, Masters in Jewish Studies, and a Certificate in Spirituality and Social Justice from the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College in Newton, MA.
As a queer rabbi, he is particularly interested in the ways spirituality informs queerness and queerness informs spirituality.
On-campus or off you will likely catch him hanging out with his dog Babka, reading a good fantasy book, and/or enjoying time outside.
Annie Sampugnaro (she/hers) has been the Administrative Assistant for Religious and Spiritual Life and Contemplative Practices since February 2018. Before coming to Vassar, her experience was diverse: managing offices for major corporations, high profile criminal-defense law firms, an urban police department and a local Christian church. In that mix, she chose to be a stay-at-home mom for 9 years after adopting two daughters.
Annie was born and raised in NYC. She is a devout Christian who attempts to live her life to the glory of God and to love others as she is loved by Him. She has volunteered to teach children in local churches and at a boy’s home in Naya Akola, India. She enjoys attending a bible study group, hosting and cooking for her large extended family, and traveling to cities in the US and abroad to visit art museums and to walk with the crowd on busy streets, admiring the people, the architecture and the skylines.
Hi! My name is David Alberto (he/him) and I am an intern at the RSLCP! I am a Junior majoring in English and always excited to meet new people. I love conversing about different topics, and exploring the ways that religion and spirituality play a role in our day to day life. Besides this, I love to cook, dance, and make a joke whenever possible!
My name is Ellie (she/her) and I am the social media intern for RSLCP. I am a junior Media Studies major with a particular interest in children’s media. In my free time I love to watch and discuss movies with friends. I am also a part of the Coalesce dance ensemble; dancing is my favorite way to unwind and express my creativity.
Hello! My name is Fatima (she/her) and I’m a Hospitality Intern at RSLCP. I’m a senior history major with an international politics correlate and I’m especially interested in religious history (in terms of society, politics, and culture) and the way in which women and LGBTQ+ individuals from various parts of the world interact with monotheistic religions. I love dancing and am a part of two dance orgs on campus.
Hi! My name is Jimena Saavedra (she/hers) and I am the graphic designer intern at RSLCP. I help design and create different types of posters to advertise RSLCP events and hangouts. During my free time, I enjoy listening to music, reading, playing guitar, and watching movies/ sitcoms.
Hi! My name is Joseph (he/him) and I’m an intern at the RSLCP! I’m an Environmental Studies major as well as a double minor in both Women Studies and Urban Studies, and I identify as a Quaker. Outside of Vassar, I am interested in cooking, hiking, swimming, and I do lots of gardening which I hope to continue to pursue as a career after college.
Hello! My name is Margaret (she/her) and I am the Good Neighbors intern for the RSLCP Office. I am a freshman prospective Neuroscience & Behavior major with a Religious Studies correlate. I am primarily interested in neurotheology, ornithology, and poetry, but I’m also a huge fan of nature walks, intercultural learning, many different types of music, and embracing the place I inhabit–like Poughkeepsie and the Hudson Valley!
Hi! My name is Natasha (She/Her), and I’m a hospitality intern for the RSLCP office. I’m a senior cognitive science major with a focus on the separation of the mind and brain. Away from school I work at a nursing home and am passionate about geriatric care. To me, RSLCP offers a space to study, practice faith, and make new friends.
Hello! My name is Pierángelis (she/they) and I’m a Hospitality Intern at RSLCP! I’m a Senior Physics major and Asian Studies correlate. I’m very interested in languages and bridging scientific concepts with historical sources and humanitarian efforts. I also really enjoy playing the ukulele, performing with HYPE (Vassar’s hip-hop dance org), and broadening my knowledge of languages — I’m fluent in Spanish with intermediate fluency in Korean and Portuguese!
Hi! My name is Salih Awouda (he/him) and I’m the Muslim Life Intern at RSLCP! I’m a Sophomore currently majoring in Biochemistry and hopefully a Computer Science double major or correlate. You’ll probably catch me either cooking in Pratt house with my friends or walking around the campus with music blasting in my ears. I love talking and getting to know so feel free to reach out and say hi.
Hi! My name is Sam (he/him) and I am an intern at the RSLCP! I’m a sophomore majoring in history and am thrilled to be working at Pratt house. Academically I am really interested in Jewish history, and dominant ideologies. On campus I do comedy and try to take a lot of walks. I am super excited to be working here and to support this school’s wonderful religious and spiritual communities!
Hi! I’m Sarah (she/her), and I’m a Hospitality Intern for the RSLCP Office. I help facilitate and plan events and do my best to ensure that everyone present at events feels welcome and heard. I’m in the class of 2023 and an English major with a Religion correlate. I love learning about religion and spirituality in all aspects and what brings people together! I’m especially drawn to interfaith spaces for this reason. I’m a music lover and enjoy singing in Home Brewed, an a cappella group on campus, and playing the harp. I want to do all I can to make RSLCP a safe space and a resource for all members of the Vassar community. If you have any questions or just want to talk, please reach out! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Religious and Spiritual Life and Contemplative Practices
124 Raymond Avenue
Poughkeepsie, New York 12604-0488
Vassar College Box 488