Geneva Blackmer is the current Program Director for The Interfaith Center at Miami University. She holds a B.A. in Religion and an M.A. in Religious Studies from Athens State University. She is a first year interdisciplinary Ph.D. student in Theology at Amridge University. She serves as an At-Large Director for the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council and an Administrative Director for the Interfaith Council of Southern Nevada. As an intern and historian for CRES, she helped found the Kansas City Interfaith History Project, in conjunction with her published thesis. She has recently worked with the Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Washington on Emergency Services Resource Outreach and the Parliament of the World's Religions on their Climate Commitments Project.
For information on programming at TIC, please email
Zafer D. Ozdemir
Zafer D. Ozdemir is Professor of Information Systems at the Farmer School of Business, Miami University. He holds a B.Sc. and an M.A. degrees from Bogazici University and a Ph.D degree from Purdue University. He is the recipient of James Robeson Junior Faculty Research Excellence Award (2011) and Senior Faculty Research Excellence Award (2015) and was also awarded Endres Associate Professor Fellowship from 2013 through 2015. His research focuses on economics of e-commerce and e-health and has appeared in scholarly journals such as Information Systems Research, Journal of Management Information Systems, Decision Sciences, European Journal of Information Systems, International Journal of Production Economics, Decision Support Systems, Information & Management, International Journal of Electronic Commerce, Communications of the ACM, and Communications of the AIS, among others.
Priyana Kalita is a student-athlete from India who plays Women’s tennis for Miami University. Priyana is double majoring in Sport Leadership and Management with a concentration in coaching and Women, Gender and Sexuality studies. She was inducted in the Theta Alpha Kappa National Society for Religion and Theology studies for her work with the Trans community in sex work in India last year. When researching the topic, she got to learn about a lot of things related to Buddhism and Hinduism specifically which cultivated a desire to learn more about various other religions and religious practices. She hopes her internship at the Interfaith Center will allow her to learn about real experiences of people from various religions and faith traditions from all over the world.
Board of Trustees
Becky Newlin, Chair
Becky Newlin was born in Dayton, OH. She taught religious studies on and off over 45 years in the Pittsburgh, PA Diocese as well as in several other diocese. Became a political activist around: the Vietnam War, helped to organize citizens around the United Farmworker’s grape and lettuce boycott, did work for nursing home reform, worked for 1199 Hospital Worker’s Union, and participated in many other issues throughout the years. Took a sabbatical in the academic year 2006-07. During this time she taught English at a rural school, worked at a clinic and orphanage in Fondwa, Haiti with the Little Sisters of St. Antoine. Upon returning she retired from teaching and worked as the executive assistant for Partners in Progress (PIP), a small NGO, giving financial and technical support to rural Haiti. In 2016 she retired from PIP and moved to Oxford to be closer to her family. She currently works at St. Mary Church and Catholic Campus Ministry as a secretary.
Sara Williams, Board Consultant
Sara Williams is a PhD Candidate in Religion in the area of Ethics and Society at Emory University. She is also Adjunct Instructor of Theology at Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH and previously taught courses and managed programs related to religion, social justice, and interfaith engagement at Miami University. Sara resides in Cincinnati’s Northside neighborhood with her husband James, son Simon, and dog Lua. Sara and her family are active members of Christ Church Cathedral. Sara is also active in the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio’s Becoming Beloved Community Initiative.
Dr. Fatima Emlemdi is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Miami University with the Center for American and World Cultures. She and and her husband Mr. Hasan Emlemdi, are the proud parents of four young adults, all of whom are college students. Dr. Emlemdi is a member of the Islamic Center of Cincinnati, where she has volunteered on the Faith-Based Committee of Girl Scouts of Western Ohio, and the committee for Kids for Pace-K4P summer camp. Dr. Emlemdi is passionate about working closely with people from all walks of life towards greater cross-cultural competency for people of diverse backgrounds.
Jason Bracken is a scientist, educator, and public servant. He currently serves on Oxford City Council and is a Ph.D. candidate in Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology at Miami University.
He also holds masters degrees in Geoscience and Environmental Science, and a bachelors in Philosophy. He taught Conservation Biology at Earlham College, and a number of labs at Miami University spanning biology, geology, and teacher education. He has performed research with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the US Geological Survey, among others.
His current research involves using advanced computer modeling to understand and predict the habitat preferences of threatened and endangered salamanders.