Vanessa Zoltan, CEO & Co-Founder
Vanessa was born in Los Angeles, California. She has her BA in English Literature from Washington University in St. Louis, her MS in Nonprofit Management from the University of Pennsylvania and her MDiv from Harvard Divinity School. She is currently a research assistant at Harvard Divinity School, a proctor at Harvard University, and the co-host of the podcast, Harry Potter & The Sacred Text. She is working on a book about sacred texts, but don’t ask her about it. It’s stressful. Ask her about the romance novel she’s working on. She won’t shut up.
Ariana Nedelman, Chief Creative Officer, Executive Producer & Co-Founder
Ariana is from Santa Monica, California. She has her BA in Comparative Human Development from the University of Chicago. Her research interests are Internet-mediated identities, cultural memory, and the phenomenology of illness. She produces the podcast Harry Potter and the Sacred Text and is working on the upcoming podcast When We All Get to Heaven, which tells the story of how a LGBTQ Christian congregation responded to the HIV/AIDS crisis in 1980s and 90s San Francisco. She currently has blue hair.
Chelsea Ursin, Associate Producer
Chelsea is from central Massachusetts and lives in Cambridge. She holds a BA from The University of Massachusetts Lowell, where she studied Philosophy, Music, and Sound Recording Technology. She also holds an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction from Emerson College. Her thesis, a memoir titled “Bass Player” was the basis for her own musical memoir podcast Dear Young Rocker, which both tells her own story of using music to navigate the pain of an anxious, angry, and isolated adolescence and provides advice for young people who feel the same. She mentors and teaches music at Girls Rock Campaign Boston, and her rock band Banana performs regularly in the Boston area.
Meghan Kelly, Business Manager
Meghan received her BA in Classical Civilization and EdM in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies from Boston University, where she also worked as an administrator before joining NSP. In her spare time, she enjoys reading YA, cuddling her cat, Penny, and playing Dungeons & Dragons.
Maggie Needham, Administrative Coordinator
Maggie Needham is a youth worker, writer, and tea-drinker from Chicago. She is a program coordinator at Open Books, a literacy non-profit, where she builds and facilitates communities of young readers and writers. (This mostly involves reading a lot of novels written by teenagers.) She has a BA in English from Saint Louis University and served a year with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Before joining the team, Maggie created the Chicago discussion group for Harry Potter and the Sacred Text.
Lauren Taylor, Board President
Lauren Taylor is a doctoral candidate at Harvard Business School. studying and teaching on health care and organizational ethics. She is a 2015 graduate of Harvard Divinity School and co-author of The American Health Care Paradox. She lives in downtown Boston with her husband and chocolate lab, Rufus.
Brigid is from Tulsa, Oklahoma and lives in Somerville, Massachusetts. She has her BA in Applied Anthropology from Hendrix College and her MTS from Harvard Divinity School. She currently works as the Managing Director of the Center for Adult Jewish Learning at Temple Israel of Boston. Whenever she has the opportunity, she likes to teach teenagers and adults about the Holocaust through film, literature, and pop culture. Her most recent class was titled "Harry Potter and the Holocaust" and she is the co-author of the article "Should ‘Harry Potter’ Be Included in the Canon of Holocaust Literature?".
Casper ter Kuile
Casper ter Kuile is the co-host of Harry Potter and the Sacred Text and a Ministry Innovation Fellow at Harvard Divinity School. He's the author of The Power of Ritual (coming 2020) and the co-author of How We Gather, a cultural map of America's changing religious landscape. During a time of enormous change in how people experience community and spirituality, he connects people and co-creates projects to offer greater connection, meaning, and depth to their lives. He lives in Brooklyn, NY with his husband Sean Lair.
Stephanie Paulsell is the Susan Shallcross Swartz Professor of the Practice of Christian Studies at Harvard Divinity School and an avid fan of (and occasional guest on) “Harry Potter and the Sacred Text.” The author of Religion Around Virginia Woolf, she collaborates with Vanessa on the Common Ground Pilgrimage project and helped lead the first Virginia Woolf pilgrimage in June 2018. With Davíd Carrasco and Mara Willard, she is the co-editor of a series of essays on the religious dimensions of the work of Toni Morrison in Ms. Morrison’s Goodness and the Literary Imagination, and she is co-author, with Harvey Cox, of Lamentations and the Song of Songs. She is also the author of Honoring the Body: Meditations on a Christian Practice, co-editor of The Scope of Our Art: The Vocation of the Theological Teacher, and a regular columnist for The Christian Century. An ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), she is serving this year as the Interim Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church at Harvard.