Moderators 2018-2019

 

All SD weekly groups are led by two trained student moderators. Get to know them and their stance on moderating here. 

 

Jordan Bridges

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1) What do you think your role is as a moderator?

I am a resource for when dialogue gets uncomfortable, but I will also be doing my best to steer participants beyond the bounds of their comfort.

2) What is your favorite SD moment?

Early on into one of my groups, a few participants reminded me how special a space like SD can be. We had just talked about sexuality, and after the dialogue several of my participants divulged that they chose to reveal something they had never told anyone before. I remember feeling stunned and honored that they shared such intimate aspects of their lives with the group. One of the cool things about SD is that you get to have real, meaningful conversations about identity regularly. But, this also means I can forget how rare it is to have this kind of opportunity for dialogue.

3) What is your best joke?

René Descartes walks into a bar. The barman says, “Would you like a drink, sir?” Descartes replies, “I think not,” before immediately vanishing.

 

Isabelle Foley

IF

1) What do you think your role is as a moderator?

As a SD moderator, I see myself as someone who facilitates challenging introspection and ultimately, a better understanding of others.

2) What is your favorite SD moment?

My favorite SD moment was the first time I played the stereotyping game because it was completely unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in a group setting.

3) What is your best joke?

My favorite joke is dining hall food.

 

Jenna Wichterman

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1) As an SD moderator, I see my role as the one who guides the dialogue with thoughtful questions, uses creative activities and questions in order to draw out all perspectives, pushes the group to think about root causes of the stories and experiences we hear about, and ensures that everyone feels empowered to speak.

2) My favorite moments in SD have been my SD group socials, which have become incredibly deep and helped me understand the people in my group in different and deeper ways.

3) Best joke: What do you call a cow with one leg? A steak. What do you call a cow with no legs? Ground beef.

 

Maeve Hickey

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1) What do you think your role is as a moderator?

Creating a space in which my participants feel they can be vulnerable, learning to adapt to the needs of each group, and guiding my group towards an engaging and thought-provoking dialogue.

2) What is your favorite SD moment?

When my group was discussing national identity and the definition we settled on for American culture was “free soda refills”

3) What is your best joke?

Probably 20% of what I say at any given time is a joke, so I maybe provide quantity over quality

 

Alex Dimas

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1) What do you think your role is as a moderator?

Our role as moderators is to create a safe space for all participants to share views and dialogue productively, but also to challenge participants to see and acknowledge new perspectives they may not have considered before.

2) What is your favorite SD moment?

I love SD, and it truly changed my outlook on college and UVA specifically with the stigma of mental health. My first year, my mod and fellow participants opened up about mental health struggles in a dialogue and for the first time I felt accepted and understood at the University.

3) What is your best joke?

What is brown and sticky? A STICK!

 

Kate Bellows

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1) SD is a home for me, and as a moderator, I try to make SD a home for the students in my group – warm, inclusive, and acceptable to eat snacks in. At the same time, moderators must push the envelope in order to foster healthy dialogue within a group.

2) My group had a very difficult discussion about Aug. 11 and 12, which was both cathartic and uncomfortable.

3) Two whales walk into a bar. One says, “Ahhhhhhwoooooooeeeeeeeeeewaaaaaaaaaaaeeeeeuuuuuuuuuuuahhhhhhhhohhhhhhhhhhaaaaaawaaaaaaaaaaaa.”

The other whale rolls his eyes and says, “Frank, my dude, you’ve had way too much to drink.”

 

Maddie Conroy

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1) What do you think your role is as a moderator?

To create a context that inspires participants to listen, share, and understand, both comfortably and deeply.

2) What is your favorite SD moment?

Listening to local middle- and high-schoolers while facilitating a dialogue on race.

3) What is your best joke?

What’s the difference between a hippo and a Zippo? A hippo is pretty heavy, while a Zippo is a little lighter.

 

Morgan Feldenkris

Morgan F

1) What do you think your role is as a moderator?

As a moderator, my role is to provide a space for diverse students – in all senses of the word – to both express their experiences and their emotions associated with them. Achieving this means asking the right questions, and at the right time, with my co-moderator to get these conversations going, and to help participants learn about themselves, their peers, and the shared and unique experience of being a college student at UVA.

2) What is your favorite SD moment?

Having a participant consciously hiding something from the group can be difficult. When one of my participants confided their sexual orientation to me, I reassured them of the importance of personal feelings of safety in the room, while assuring them a comfortable and open space in SD to express themselves and their feelings. Eventually, this participant decided to begin speaking up about this identity in dialogue, gradually allowing them a place of mutual support and self-confidence as they transitioned out of secrecy.

3) What is your best joke?

Have you heard about corduroy pillows? They’re making headlines.

 

Jared Ende

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1) I believe my role as a moderator is create opportunities for students at UVA to experience something new or different.  For some, UVA is the most diverse place they have ever been, and for others it is the least. Everyone comes into SD with their own unique combination of experiences that can be used to both learn and teach others.  Whether it is a participant returning for their third or fourth semester of SD or their very first, it is my job to help them experience something different.

2)The dialogue with the topic of  “going home for break.” It was the 6pm on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving break, so half of my group and my co-moderator had gone home already. The members of our group that were still here decided we would casually meet up and have a loosely moderated dialogue about going home for break.  What we thought would be a casual conversation about seeing old friends and getting a break from classes turned into a surprisingly deep dialogue about family and friends, stress, dealing with perceptions of UVA amidst issues such as Rolling Stone and August 11th/12, and much more.

3) What’s the difference between a hippo and a zippo?  One is really heavy and the other is a little lighter.

 

Luke McPhillips

Luke camping

1) What do you think your role is as a moderator?

To responsibly provoke engaging conversation and critical thought on concepts and topics that have infinite facets in a space where people feel comfortable being vulnerable with their own lived experiences.

2) What is your favorite SD moment?

My favorite SD moment was at the beginning of the spring 2018 semester. My group was (still is!) so close, and they planned their own social without any help of my co-mod and I. Being in that space, no longer as a mod but as a person, recalled me to SD’s mission and excited me to take on new responsibilities for this organization.

3) What is your best joke?

Did you hear about the restaurant on the moon? Great food, not atmosphere! (yeah, i suck)

 

Christopher Deal

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1) What do you think your role is as a moderator?

My role is to facilitate healthy discussions that lead to learning something new, open participants to new viewpoints, and help them to become more aware of the world around them!

2) What is your favorite SD moment?

My favorite SD moment was in my first year when I was a participant. My moderators drove us to get ice cream and then we had a wonderful dialogue about religion at UVA.

3) What is your best joke?

Imagine if Americans switched from pounds to Kilograms overnight! There would be mass confusion!

 

Isabelle Lotocki

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1) What do you think your role is as a moderator?

Create a welcoming environment where your thoughts and ideas can be shaped and challenged

2) What is your favorite SD moment?

Having a potluck for our last SD meeting and then walking together to Lighting of the Lawn

3) What is your best joke?

Why don’t scientists trust atoms? Because they make up everything.

 

Rawda Fawaz

RF

1) What do you think your role is as a moderator?

I believe my role is to push people to consider and think in ways they normally don’t- that is, not just to step outside their comfort zone but push the limits of their foundational opinions and perceptions!

2) What is your favorite SD moment?

My favorite SD moment is when the group finally gets close enough that people start sharing deeply personal stories and experiences- not only is it amazing to see people open up, but it’s very rewarding to see students honored or humbled by their peers’ trust in them.

3) What is your best joke?

I forget how it starts but you’re probably the punchline

 

Nick Frady

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1) What do you think your role is as a moderator?

I see my role as a moderator as an active bystander, one who interjects enough to guide the discussion but ensuring that the focus is on the participants.

2) What is your favorite SD moment?

When I realize that my group has meshed so much that they begin to feel comfortable enough in sharing their experience on a more sensitive topic.

3) What is your best joke?

A bear walks into a bar and says, “Give me a whiskey and … cola.”    “

Why the big pause?” asks the bartender. The bear shrugged. “I’m not sure; I was born with them.”

 

Joli Millner

JM

1) What do you think your role is as a moderator?

As a moderator, I want to help create conversations that make it so people can learn something new about the way the world works and that are so interesting that people feel like they can’t help but contribute.

2) What is your favorite SD moment?

I don’t know

3) What is your best joke?

Capitalism

 

Monica Marciano

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1) What do you think your role is as a moderator?

To listen to and to facilitate a conversation that helps all SD participants feel comfortable sharing their thoughts.

2) What is your favorite SD moment?

The day after the 2016 presidential election, I participated in Sustained Dialogue’s Debriefing the Election Dialogue on the Lawn. I believe that this dialogue, more than any other, taught me what it means to use words, and not hate, to bridge a gap of divide.

3) What is your best joke?

Joke: The Denver International Airport conspiracy theory. If you know you know.

 

Maliha Jahangiri

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1) What do you think your role is as a moderator?

s a new moderator this upcoming fall, I really want to create a space where students can heal, challenge one another, and discuss ways to take action at a time where UVa and the greater Charlottesville community are having to reckon with both the events of last year, as well as their histories of violence and marginalization.

2) What is your favorite SD moment?

I think my favorite SD moment was probably when I was participant for the first time, and my group and I went to get some fro-yo together and just hang out. That was the point that I realized that not only had I found a safe space to discuss both worries and ideas, but had also found a group of amazing individuals who’d be lifelong friends!

3) What is your best joke?

I am a sucker for awful desi jokes, as well as corny jokes like this one: How did the hipster burn his tongue?

He drank his coffee before it was cool.

 

Gwyneth Sholar

GS

1) What do you think your role is as a moderator?

I think my role is primarily to help ground discussion in the present moment to make sure there is always a balance between the deeper, heavier, sometimes uncomfortable discussions that SD fosters, and the safer, open environment that the group can build as a whole. That way, everyone can actually connect with each other and go from there! I’m all for challenging my participants and myself, but I do see my role as being different from a participant in that the biggest responsibility to me falls in making sure these discussions remain productive and rooted in something that allows people to leave thinking in ways they haven’t before, but not feeling so much that they are weighed down to an unhealthy extent by what we talk about.

2) What is your favorite SD moment?

When I knew my group had built trust because a fellow participant texted me asking for advice on what to look for in a strap on.

3) What is your best joke?

I love good jokes. I would love to be part of one someday.  

 

Kalea Obermeyer

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1) What do you think your role is as a moderator?

I think my role as a moderator is to create a community for people who otherwise might not have met or even talked to each other. We pass hundreds of our peers every day, usually forgetting every individual has a story and perspective drastically different from our own. I hope to bring these perspectives into both collision and understanding so that we can create a more inclusive student body.

2) What is your favorite SD moment?

I always appreciate when people with completely opposite viewpoints are able to walk each other through their own perspective. It helps transform dialogue from an echo-chamber into something more productive.

3) What is your best joke?

“I bought some shoes from a drug dealer. I don’t know what he laced them with, but I’ve been tripping all day.” Not my own, but still hilarious

 

Savannah Horton

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1) What do you think your role is as a moderator?

I believe that my role as a moderator is to break the superficiality of the college experience and facilitate constructive dialog surrounding controversial topics. The most difficult part about connecting with others is the initial leap to ask deep, introspective questions. SD moderator provide a unique role in creating a safe space to truly connect with our peers at UVA.

2) What is your favorite SD moment?

My favorite SD moment was actually my interview process! I was so nervous given how competitive applications were but the entire selection process was just as fun as normal dialogs. I felt like I could understand the significance of SD more as I learned how to craft my own dialogs. Usually the moderators tend to guide, rather than participate, in dialogs so it was so fun to flip the script and ask those who supposed to interview me questions about their own life experiences.

3) What is your best joke?

Communism jokes aren’t funny unless everyone gets them.

 

Johanna Moncada Sosa

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1) What do you think your role is as a moderator?

My role as a moderator is to facilitate healthy, thought-provoking conversations for folks to learn more about themselves and others and adjust to the difficulty of certain topics.

2) What is your favorite SD moment?

My favorite SD moment (although it sucked while it happened) was the first time I broke down in front of my group. What made it special was the group’s support in helping me out as it happened. After that day, I knew I could confide in them.

3) What is your best joke?

My best joke: my life sometimes.

 

Lama Al Eryani

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1) What do you think your role is as a moderator?

My role as a moderator will be to ensure that every dialogue that takes place is respectful and productive

2) What is your favorite SD moment?

My favorite SD moment was going on SD dates with other participants. What makes it interesting is that it’s the opposite of how you usually meet people. During dialogues you learn deeper and more intimate things about them first then on an SD date you find out more about the smaller details about who they are.

3) What is your best joke?

None

 

Maddy Ayalew

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1) As a moderator, I think my role should be to mediate a dialogue between different people whether they agree or disagree and try to include as many different voices and perspectives as I can.

2) My favorite SD moments are when somebody shares a personal anecdote and can ease the tension with some humor.

3) Hear about the new restaurant called Karma? There’s no menu: you get what you deserve.

 

Rachel Abrams

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1) What do you think your role is as a moderator?

My role as a moderator is mostly to help people say what they didn’t know they needed to say and hear what they didn’t know they needed to hear. My job is to read the room and build a community that works for my specific group + what they want. And to be a friend!

2) What is your favorite SD moment?

Favorite SD moment was definitely last spring in my Queer Special Topics group when we all met at our mod’s apartment and sat on the porch until past dark. We just freewheeled from one topic to the next, getting to know each other while also getting to know more about the facets of being queer and being queer at UVa in a friendly, intimate environment.

3) What is your best joke?

My best joke: my linkedin profile    #fourthyearthings!

 

Sophie Liao

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1) What do you think your role is as a moderator?

To moderate.

2) What is your favorite SD moment?

Finding my SR through SD.

3) What is your best joke?

Why do you never see elephants hiding in trees? Because they’re so good at it.

 

Katie Hilton

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1) What do you think your role is as a moderator?

I think my role as a moderator is to create an open space where people are able to share their stories and question their own perspectives while really listening to others.

2) What is your favorite SD moment?

My favorite SD moment was playing “hot seat” on the last SD of the year with a group I had been with for both semesters and realizing how much I had learned and how much I appreciated this group of people from all over the university that had been complete strangers to me in the beginning.

3) What is your best joke?

Have you heard the butter joke? Well I can’t tell you, you might spread it!

 

Jesse Alloy

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1) What do you think your role is as a moderator?

My role as a mod is to help guide a group of diverse, in both experiences and viewpoints, students through relevant and important issues. It is to ensure that they can effectively learn from others, and that they feel comfortable sharing such that others may learn from them.

2) What is your favorite SD moment?

I don’t have one specific one, but whenever anyone is visibly changed by something someone has shared, I have a renewed confidence that the whole exercise is worth it. Sometimes you can just see an “ah ha” moment on a face, and it’s amazing.

3) What is your best joke?

What do you get when you cross an elephant and a rhino?

-elephrhino (hell-if-I-know)

 

Ameenah Elam

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1) What do you think your role is as a moderator?

To create a sense of relatability and trust between myself and a web of people, the kind you find in friendships, just so everyone can feel comfortable enough to discuss the things they’ve been struggling with- insecurities, biases, fears- and not be judged for it, even in the age of censorship.

2) What is your favorite SD moment?

I’m new, but I’m down to make some memorable times, right.

3) What is your best joke?

I really don’t have any jokes, just stories. I’ve been told that as an awkward gay black kid, my life could be a hilariously depressing Netflix series. who knew.

 

Emily Flynn

me ugh

1) What do you think your role is as a moderator?

I think my role as a moderator is to encourage productive participation, and to make sure everyone knows that their contributions add value to the group!

2) What is your favorite SD moment?

My favorite SD moment was my very first SD meeting. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but as the meeting went on, I started to feel more and more comfortable. This is my favorite moment because I didn’t know how much of an effect SD would have on my experience at UVA through now.

3) What is your best joke?

Saying “carefully” when someone asks a question that starts with “how”. Does that count as a joke?

 

Lexi Weber

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1) What do you think your role is as a moderator?

As a moderator for Sustained Dialogue, I want to create a comfortable environment that empowers all participants to engage in thoughtful conversation that explores and challenges the reasons why we hold certain beliefs, attitudes, and ideas.

2) What is your favorite SD moment?

Walking home with other participants in my dialogue group while continuing to discuss what we had talked about that meeting.

3) What is your best joke?

What’s the difference between a good joke and a bad joke timing.

Mary Garner McGehee

MG

1) What do you think your role is as a moderator?

As a moderator, my role is to create a community in which people bond over what makes them different from each other rather than their similarities.

2) What is your favorite SD moment?

At the end of my first semester at UVA, my SD group was reflecting on what dialogue meant to each of us and I shared that my SD group was the first place I felt at home at UVA and it’s been a home for me ever since.

3) What is your best joke?

I’m not really into jokes but I have a GREAT story about a Christmas codpiece I’d love to tell you in person some time!

Tarin Jones

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1) What do you think your role is as a moderator?

To create an inclusive space that is fun and enlightening.

2) What is your favorite SD moment?

When we have more informal SD meetings that are chill and allow us as moderators to see new aspects of participants.

3) What is your best joke?

YEA! I’m outta jokes!

 

Danya Abutaleb

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1) What do you think your role is as a moderator?

Because everyone has their own specific lived experiences, it’d be elementary to assume they’re all on a level playing field of consciousness; my role as a moderator is nothing more or less than inviting others to transcend, toxic or not, paradigms they’ve considered fact.

2) What is your favorite SD moment?

Having said something offensive pertaining to gender, due to my own internalized oppression, the first time I was in a dialogue group, I was faced with compassionate patience and challenge as my moderators invited me to unpack, dismantle, and reframe my world view. Never had I ever had someone be willing to walk with me as I discovered the root of why I believed certain things – that was the moment I knew I had to be a moderator.

3) What is your best joke?

Sfs.virginia.edu

Alex Spratley

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1) What do you think your role is as a moderator?

I see my role as a moderator to be facilitating difficult conversations between people whose only commonality is that they are all free for the same hour and a half time slot every week. I hope to provide a group space where people are comfortable but will also be challenged by what they hear.

2) What is your favorite SD moment?

In my second semester as a participant, my group skipped dialogue, and we all drove to La Flor Michoacana to eat popsicles and talk about everything under the sun.

3) What is your best joke?

A Roman soldier walks into a bar, holds up two fingers, and says, “five beers, please.”

Not Pictured: Marlina Mejia, Sarah Yang, Annelise Miranda, Emily Head, Jack Wilkins, Leo Dominguez, Katherine Liu

 

 

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