Kay Spiritual Life Center


  • Kay Spiritual Life Center
    Fax: 202-885-3317
    Kay Spiritual Life Center, Room

    Office Hours: Monday-Friday 9 AM to 9 PM

    Joe Eldridge
    University Chaplain
    Assistant Director

Mailing Address

Listed below are contributed chaplains to the Kay Spiritual Life Center supported by their respective faith communities.


Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad

Muslim Chaplain
Personal Phone: (301) 951-0539

Born in 1948 at sea to Palestinian refugee parents, Dr. Ahmad was raised in Pennsylvania. He graduated cum laude from Harvard in 1970 and in 1975 obtained a Ph. D. in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of Arizona. He teaches an introductory course on Islam at the Wesley Theological Seminary and holds a position as senior lecturer at the University of Maryland in College Park, MD where he has taught honors courses in “Religion and Progress” and on “Religion, Science, and Freedom.” He has also taught college courses on Islam and Development at Georgetown University and graduate courses in Islam and Development and Theory of Social Change at the Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies. Dr. Ahmad has lectured on Islam at the Foreign Services Institute and for the Joint Special Operations University’s Middle East Orientation Course. He has done postdoctoral work in astronomy at Harvard, the University of Maryland, and under contract to Goddard Space Flight Center and for private firms. He is currently President of the Minaret of Freedom Institute, an Islamic think-tank in the Washington, DC area.


Jason Benkendorf

Executive Director
AU Phone: x3324

Jason comes to Hillel following five years with The Curriculum Initiative (TCI), an organization that supports inclusive Jewish programming at independent high schools. He previously served as Senior Officer of Public and Academic Affairs at the Embassy of Israel, during which time he worked closely with student activists at AU and other DC area campuses. Jason has also been involved with BBYO in a variety of capacities over the last fifteen years.

A passion for public service brought Jason to DC, and he received his BA in political science from the AU School of Public Affairs. He subsequently completed an MBA at Johns Hopkins University with a concentration in organization development.


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Binyamin Biber

Humanist Chaplain
AU Phone: x3329

Chaplain Biber is an ordained Humanistic rabbi who has for a decade served a DC congregation called Machar, the Washington Congregation for Secular Humanistic Judaism ('Machar' means 'tomorrow' in Hebrew). He is also currently the President of the Association of Humanistic Rabbis - North America, a member of the Rabbinic Cabinet of J Street – working for a just peace between Israel and Palestine, and a board member of the Humanist Society, the professional organization of chaplains and officiants active within the American Humanist Association (AHA).














Donna Denizé

Baha'i Chaplain
AU Phone: x3329
Personal Phone: (202) 537-6478

Donna Denizé is the author of the poetry chapbook, "The Lover's Voice" (1997) and a book of poems, "Broken Like Job" (2005). Her poems have appeared in a variety of anthologies and collections. She holds degrees from Stonehill College and Howard University, where she was a student of poet Robert Hayden. She served two years on The Folger Poetry Board, and has also contributed to scholarly books and journals, including Shakespeare Set Free, published by the Folger Shakespeare Library and Teacher’s Digest, an educational magazine from The Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  In 2003, she was awarded by Williams College the George Olmsted Jr., Prize for excellence in secondary teaching, and in 2004, she was appointed to the board of trustees of The American Shakespeare Center (ASC) in Staunton, Virginia. She currently teaches literature at St. Albans School for Boys, and during the summer, she teaches in “The Cathedral Scholars Program,” an outreach program of academic enrichment which serves students from 18 different D.C. public schools.

Joan Echols

Christian Scientist Chaplain
AU Phone: x1881




Quinn Fox

Presbyterian Chaplain
AU Phone: x3329




Mike and Jen Godzwa

Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship Chaplains
AU Phone: x3476
Personal Phone: (202) 363-1544

Both graduates of a Central Bible College (Mike 1996, Jen 1997), they completed their campus ministry internship at Eastern Michigan University in the spring of 1998 and received their national appointment as Chi Alpha Campus Ministers that September. Mike and Jen have served as the directors of Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship at American University since the fall of 1999 and were ordained with the Assemblies of God in May of 2003.

Mike enjoys good coffee, watching Yankees baseball, and has run 7 marathons. Jen likes reading, hunting for bargains, and hanging out with friends. Both Mike and Jen have a mutual fascination with their sons Samuel, Levi, and Nathanael.



Donnel Jones

Thirst Christian Fellowship Chaplain
AU Phone: x3329

A native of Washington, DC, Donnell has a heart for God and God’s heart for people. During his college years, he was influenced to follow Jesus and challenged to develop godly character. He is a graduate of American University School of Public Affairs. Over 2 decades, he has served and ministered to collegiate students and athletes at several universities, and planted churches in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Washington, DC. Currently, Donnell serves as Senior Pastor of Grace Covenant Church of Washington, DC. He and his lovely wife, Marianne, have an adult son Jonathan and daughter-in-law Jessica; 4 daughters Moriah, Gabriella, Serena and Micaiah; and 1 granddaughter Zoe.


Charlotte Jones-Carroll

Unitarian Universalist Chaplain
AU Phone: x3329
Personal Phone: (301) 652-2205

Charlotte Jones-Carroll, an SIS BA '67 alumna, became AU's Unitarian-Universalist lay chaplain in 2001. Campus ministry for UU-preference students is sponsored by River Road Unitarian-Universalist Congregation (RRUUC) in Bethesda, Charlotte's home congregation, under supervision of Rev. Ginger Luke. Before Charlotte took up this role, she served 31 years in USAID and World Bank positions, earned an MPA at Princeton University, and studied peacebuilding and conflict transformation informally at AU and Eastern Mennonite U. She has worked with high school youth as well at RRUUC, and served on that congregation's board, as well as the board of the UU Service Committee in Cambridge, MA and several other non-profit organizations' boards in the DC area. Charlotte and her husband Tom have an adult daughter, Ilona Carroll, and live in Chevy Chase, MD.


Martha Kerley

Roman Catholic Chaplaincy Office Manager
AU Phone: x3327

Martha joined the AU Catholic Chaplaincy Staff as the Office Manager in November 2008. She has twenty years of experience as a computer programmer analyst working for two major corporations. Martha earned a B.S. in Information Systems/Computer Science from the University of Maryland, along with a B.S. in Textiles and Apparel from the U of MD. Martha feels fortunate to now be a part of the AU Catholic Chaplaincy Staff.

Barbara Kraft

Barbara Kraft

SGI Buddhist Chaplain

As a 40 year practitioner of Nichiren Buddhism and member of Soka Gakkai International (SGI), Barbara has been a Buddhist Chaplain with the Kay Center since 2011. Through the practice of Nichiren Buddhism,  people  awaken to the dignity and power within, allowing them to transform their lives on the deepest level thereby creating an indestructibly happy life state and desire to contribute to a peaceful society.  Barbara has held various responsibilities and leadership roles within SGI and participated in the many SGI activities aimed at fostering peace, culture and education both locally and internationally.

Barbara holds two degrees in Psychology, a Bachelor's Degree from George Washington University and a Masters Degree from Catholic University. During a career in Criminal Justice, she counseled offenders and worked with youth and families. She served as a board member for two DC schools and has worked with a local group of neuropsychologists in coaching and tutoring youth with learning and emotional disabilities. She currently has a private tutoring practice.


Fr. Dimitri Lee

Greek Orthodox Chaplain









Surjit Mansingh

Sikh Chaplain
Adjunct Professor, School of International Service
AU Phone: x3329
Personal Phone: (301) 320-7716
Email :

In addition to her duties as the Sikh chaplain at American University, Professor Surjit Mansingh presently teaches as an adjunct in the School of International Service. She retired a few years ago from her position as Professor and Chairperson, Centre for International Politics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She has taught at other Universities in the US, India and Europe and began her professional life as a member of the Indian Foreign Service. She is the author of many books and papers on foreign relations and Indian history.

Adrien Ngudiankama

Baptist Chaplain
AU Phone: x3329
Personal Phone: (240) 595-2127
Email :

Adrien N. Ngudiankama is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo. He was ordained by the London Baptist Association and the Baptist Union of Great Britain at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church in London in 1994. He has a Philosophia Masters in Systematic Theology from King’s College and a PhD in Health Education and Health Promotion from the Institute of Education, London University. He did his Post-doctoral research in anthropology and sociology of religion at the University of Kansas and Princeton University. He taught sociology and anthropology at Bowie States University, Georges Washington University and the University of Kansas. He has been appointed as a regular member for the Baptist World Alliance Commission on Peace. He is also pastor with Salem Gospel Ministries, a church affiliated to the District of Columbia Baptist Convention and the Baptist Convention of Maryland and Delaware.


Kevin Offner

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship Chaplain
AU Phone: x3329
Personal Phone: (202) 546-3326

Kevin Offner has been on staff with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship for 27 years, serving at Harvard University, M.I.T, and Brown University, and currently at five universities in the Greater Washington, DC area. He is also working on his Ph.D at The Catholic University of America, focusing on the Early Church Fathers. He has been involved in many Catholic-Protestant dialogues and is writing his doctoral dissertation on Saint Augustine, showing how both Catholics and Protestants have drawn deeply from this man's writings. Kevin currently serves as an elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, at Grace Presbyterian Church, which meets in Chinatown in Washington, DC.


Tom Omholt

Lutheran Chaplain
AU Phone: x3329
Personal Phone: (202) 966-5489

Tom is a native New Yorker who served a congregation in Brooklyn, NY for nine years, and is now serving his twenty-eighth year as the pastor of St. Paul's Lutheran Church at 4900 Connecticut Avenue NW. He is the part-time Lutheran chaplain at American University, and has served in that capacity for about thirteen years. In his own words "what a joy, and a challenge it continues to be to care for my own congregation, and to reach out to the wonderful students at AU with the Good News of the Gospel as well." He remains a die-hard Yankees and Giants fan. He is married to Barbara and has one adult son and a golden retriever. He loves sports, good restaurants, and their house at Deep Creek Lake, MD.




Andrew and Karlayne Powars

Campus Crusade for Christ




Fr. Carlos Quijano, O.P.

Roman Catholic Chaplain
AU Phone: x3294

Father Carlos B. Quijano, O.P. was born in New York City in 1962 and grew up in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC, where most of his family still lives. He received a degree in Civil Engineering from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1987 and worked several years as an engineer at several consulting firms in the Washington area. In 1995, he entered the Order of Preachers (the Dominican Fathers). Receiving his Master of Divinity from the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC, in 2001, Fr. Quijano was ordained to the priesthood in 2002. From 2003 to 2010, Fr. Carlos was assigned to St Catherine of Siena Church in New York City. From 2010 t0 2012, he was assigned to Ss. Philip & James Church in Baltimore, MD, to serve as the Assistant Catholic Chaplain at Johns Hopkins University. Fr. Quijano is now at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington and serves as the Catholic Chaplain at American University.


Pandit Vishnu Ramphal

Hindu/Vedic Chaplain
AU Phone: x3320
Personal Phone: (301) 325-5134


Michael Cottle

Latter-Day Saints Chaplain
AU Phone: x3329
Personal Phone: (202) 448-3399


Rev. Mark Schaefer

United Methodist Chaplain
AU Phone: x3304
Personal Phone: (202) 486-6061

Reverend Mark A. Schaefer is the United Methodist Chaplain at American University. Mark grew up in Upstate New York and studied Russian Language at SUNY Albany. He studied law at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and received his Master of Divinity degree from Wesley Theological Seminary, adjacent to the AU campus. Mark is an ordained United Methodist minister in the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church, and has been serving the AU campus full-time since 2002. Mark is also an adjunct professor in the Philosophy and Religion Department in the College of Arts and Sciences teaching courses in Western Religion and New Testament.


Carolyn Seaton

Episcopal/Anglican Chaplain
Interfaith Council Advisor
AU Phone: x3329
Personal Phone: (301) 585-2063

Carolyn Seaton has served as Episcopal-Anglican Chaplain at the Kay Center since 2002. She loves every minute of her time there, because the Kay students and staff are vitally involved in strengthening their connections to their own faith traditions while learning about others and working together for the greater good of the AU community, as well as the world outside its gates. She has a B.A. in Literature, a Master's degree in Mental Health from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and currently studies at Wesley Theological Seminary. She has worked as a writer, teacher, and counselor, particularly with high school and college students, most recently at George Washington University, the College Preparatory program at Georgetown University, and as a tutor in private practice.


Sylstea Sledge

Gospel Choir Chaplain and Director
AU Phone: x3329
Personal Phone: (301) 805-5627

Sylstea C. Sledge, music educator and composer, is a native of Washington, DC. The musical talents of playing the piano and making up songs were discovered very early when Sylstea would visit his Uncle Elisha’s and Aunt Emma’s house and play on their old up-right piano. His musical talents were also nurtured in the Sunday School Department at the Trinidad Baptist Church and the Guiding Star Baptist Church. Professionally, Sylstea holds a Bachelor of Science from Hampton University and a Master’s of Music Education from the University of Arkansas. He is a former music teacher of the Prince George’s County Public School System, Adjunct Professor at American University-Gospel Choir, full-time Minister of Music at the First Mount Zion Baptist Church in Dumfries, Virginia, Member of the Gospel Music Workshop of America.


Dr. Karin Thornton

Associate Roman Catholic Chaplain
AU Phone: x3326
Personal Phone: (202) 364-8785

Karin Thornton was born in Berlin, Germany and attended schools in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. after completing the Swiss High School Matura, she studied at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in German Literature. Following a year of studies in Germany, in Cologne and Tuebingen, she was admitted to the Graduate School of Columbia University where she completed her studies with a Ph.D. She also holds a certificate in Pastoral Ministry, "Education for Parish Service" from Trinity College in Washington, D.C. She is a "Lady Commander of the Holy Sepulchre" and the recipient of the "Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice" award, the highest award a lay person can receive from the Pope, by Pope John Paul II. Karin finds it a great joy and a privilege to be a part of a vibrant Catholic Community at American University.