TOP ROW (Left to Right): (1) Carter Snyder-Samuelson | (2) Mai | (3) Logan Lovelace | (4) Kameryn Lee

BOTTOM ROW (Left to Right): (5) Benny VanDerburgh | (6) Koach Baruch | (7) Sam Aldave | (8) Drak Druella

We are proud to introduce our 2020-2021 Trans Seminarian Cohort, our 8th class!

Sponsored by CLGS, The Freedom Center for Social Justice, and the National LGBTQ Task Force, the Trans Seminarian Cohort is a program for transgender and genderqueer seminarians in the United States.  Our goal is to support trans and genderqueer students during their training for religious leadership so that they might complete their degrees; feel equipped to follow their vocation; and embrace the fact that their impact as faith leaders can and should extend beyond their chosen settings for ministry and service to include the welfare of the broader communities in which they live.  This is the only program that we are aware of that addresses the unique challenges and gifts of trans* seminarians.

(1) Carter Snyder-Samuelson – he/they – Union Theological Seminary

Carter Snyder-Samuelson (he/they) is a 3rd year Master of Divinity student at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. They are pursuing ordination in the United Church of Christ, hoping to combine chaplaincy work with sustainable agriculture and horticultural therapy. Before coming to Union, he worked as an apprentice for three years at Fort Hill Farm in New Milford, CT. Carter currently lives in NYC with his fiancée and their new rescue puppy, Tobie. Carter loves cooking and sharing food and dancing in the kitchen.

(2) Mai – they/he – Wake Forest University School of Divinity

“I am J Mai. I am Black-Vietnamese transgender royalty confrontationally and unapologetically located in the South. My pronouns are they/he, but homie, sib, fam, king, heaux, and b*tch (affectionately) are cool too. I am an accidental divinity school student at Wake Forest University School of Divinity, studying at the intersections of decolonial Black, Queer, and Trans liberation theologies. A licensed minister, aspiring abolitionist, community organizer, and lover of all things Black, Trans, and Queer- I believe that the bodies and experiences of Black Trans and GNC folks are sacred portals to the Divine. I just wanna thrive, love on my communities, and do right by my ancestors.”

(3) Logan Lovelace (he/him) is a second-year (Middler) Master of Divinity student at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, VA and is a postulant for the priesthood with the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina. He received his bachelor’s degree at North Park University in Chicago, IL. Logan is enthusiastic about hiking, good food, traveling, and encountering God in the people he meets. He believes God is a God of love, is present in all places, and is uniquely revealed in all creation.

(4) Kameryn Lee – she/her – Pacific School of Religion

Kameryn Lee (she/her) is a first-year seminarian at the Pacific School of Religion, where she is finally beginning her journey in graduate theological education in the Certificate of Sexuality and Religion program. She is a southern girl from the countryside of North Carolina, and was raised in the Missionary Baptist Church. Kameryn’s academic expeditions have focused on science, technology, and medicine. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and both Master of Science in Public Health and Doctor of Medicine degrees from the University of North Carolina. Currently, Kameryn lives in Ocean City, Maryland, where she practices gynecologic surgery and provides medical care for transfolx. The joys of her life are spending time with her 17 year-old daughter and rendezvousing with God at the beach.

(5) Benny VanDerburgh – he/they – University of Chicago Divinity School

Benny VanDerburgh (he/they) is in year two of his MDiv at the University of Chicago Divinity School. He will be seeking ordination in the United Church of Christ, and has also been educated and supported in his call by The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He is building an interfaith family, writes poetry, and calls Maine home. Previously, he studied and taught comics, among many other paths and gigs. He cares a lot about kinship, anarchist methods and modes, non-linear understandings of time, social movement histories, and dignity therapy.

(6) Koach Baruch (FB) Frazier – he/they – Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

Koach Baruch (KB) Frazier (he/they) is a transformer, heartbeat of movements, healer, musician and co-founder of the Tzedek Lab, a network of practitioners working at the intersection of dismantling racism, antisemitism and white supremacy. A collaborative leader, rooted in tradition, curiosity and love, Koach strives to dismantle racism, actualize liberation and transform lives both sonically and spiritually. Koach lives with their wife, LaJuana in Philadelphia where he is a student at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.

(7) Sam Aldave – they/he – Duke Divinity School

Sam (they/them/he/him) is a trans masc nonbinary graduate student who has spent the majority of their life in the Tar Heel State (North Carolina). After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2010, he taught elementary school in Charlotte, NC before obtaining a master’s degree in education policy & management from Harvard University in 2014. Following a few years as a teacher coach and trainer, Sam chose to pursue their spiritual calling and enrolled in their current Master of Theological Studies program at Duke Divinity School. Sam is a Gemini (with a Sagittarius sun and Leo moon), an enneagram type 7 and an all-around people person. When he can find down time, Sam likes to hang out and play with his dog, Bud, spend time with his two partners, Heidi & Margo, chat with friends, read and write poetry, make music, bike, and, of course, enjoy a good Netflix or Hulu marathon.

(8) Drak Druella – he/him – Claremont School of Theology

Drak (he/him/his) is currently a student at Claremont School of Theology pursuing a Master of Divinity in Interfaith Chaplaincy. He will graduate after the summer of 2021, after which he plans to pursue a residency in chaplaincy as a first step on the path to becoming a certified chaplain. Drak began his transition from female to male 30 years ago, at a time when there were fewer resources available for trans people. It is his desire to affect further change within the medical system as a chaplain around education and resources centered on trans issues. Currently, he lives with his wife, Jessie, and their dog, Jonas, and cat, Zendo, in Pomona, California. Although free time is limited these days, when he does have it, he enjoys taking walks or practicing the piano for church where he directs music. He hopes to learn how to become a more skilled spiritual leader in advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community through the Trans Seminarian Cohort.