RUF Interns & Staff in the Northeast

Interns

Kelsey Rodriguez (University of Vermont) looks forward to seeing God transform lives, just as her own life story was rewritten. Kelsey’s family in Hickory, North Carolina was Christian but broken, and their voices were often raised in anger. As a child, Kelsey believed that she must earn God’s approval — his smile — by being a “good” Christian. Although she was attempting to be righteous, Kelsey’s passion for dance drew her deeper into the high school party scene. She continued to party during her freshman year at Wingate College. That year, a campus intern told Kelsey that she could see Christ in her. Kelsey was aghast. While she longed for that statement to be true, she knew her actions and her passions contradicted her beliefs. Kelsey continued to consider the intern’s statement when she transferred to Western Carolina University the next year. Through the RUF ministry there, she learned that Christianity must be lived as well as spoken. A friend helped her embrace the truth that Jesus paid for all her failures and gave her a new identity. When she graduated with a major in sociology in 2017, Kelsey was a new woman. After she completes her internship, Kelsey is considering pursuing a degree in counseling or working on staff at a Christian recreational camp. Kelsey loves hiking, backpacking, snowboarding, and rock climbing. If she’s not outside, she may be found curled up with a book, playing a board game, or listening to her record collection.
kelsey.rodriguez@ruf.org
RUF at the University of Vermont

Max Wolf (Brown University/Rhode Island School of Design) had lived within the same neighborhood in Queens, New York City until beginning his RUF internship. He stayed with his parents as he studied History at The City College of New York, the flagship college of the City University of New York, graduating in 2015. Throughout most of his college career, Max attended RUF City Campus Ministry. Unlike most fellowships, this RUF is not located in a specific school, but serves students from institutions across New York City. Max credits RUF with connecting his mostly intellectual faith to his heart. As an intern he hopes to help other students find the joy he found through RUF. Later he may enroll in seminary or pursue a graduate degree in history. Max frequently relies on his bike for exercise and transportation, and he rarely travels without a sketchbook. He also drums and plays basketball and soccer.
max.wolf@ruf.org
RUF at Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design

Hannah Moon (University of Connecticut), a New York City girl from birth, enjoys wandering Manhattan’s streets, perusing bookstores, and exploring Central Park. While her parents taught her the basic tenets of Christianity, Hannah did not share their faith until her senior year of high school. Until then, she struggled to understand how a God of love could also be just. Through Redeemer Presbyterian Church, she realized that Jesus’s sacrifice reconciled God’s holiness with his love. Hannah continued to attend Redeemer while studying biochemistry at Hunter College, the largest college in the City University of New York. At Redeemer, Hannah learned about RUF’s City Campus Ministry. RUF was a refuge for Hannah. Many of her classmates were focused on succeeding academically and viewed vulnerability or existential questions as weakness or distractions. In RUF, Hannah found a haven where she could pursue truth and grow in faith. The RUF interns inspired Hannah to become an intern after she graduated in 2016. “I saw that college ministry was important and even life-saving for some students like myself,” she says. After serving at the University of Connecticut, Hannah hopes to pursue medical school.
hannah.moon@ruf.org
RUF at University of Connecticut

Jeb Ralston (University of Connecticut), a man who reads his Stephen King and Harry Potter novels while sipping an espresso, reluctantly studied computer engineering in college. Jeb was born to a military family in Norfolk, Virginia Later they lived in Oceanside, California until the family settled in Jackson Beach, Florida. While at the University of Central Florida Jeb questioned the religious traditions and beliefs of his childhood. His RUF minister and friends listened to his doubts and guided him to the truth in scripture. Later Jeb enjoyed helping younger students wrestle with similar doubts. Jeb completed his degree in December 2014 while working as a software engineer. However, Jeb knew engineering was not his calling. After graduation Jeb worked part-time at a counseling office that served people in ministry and missions. As an RUF intern Jeb will explore a potential call to ministry. He enjoys watching matinees, writing, snowboarding, and crockpot cooking.
jeb.ralston@ruf.org
RUF at University of Connecticut

Kyle Sebastian (Columbia University), a Chicago native, originally enrolled in environmental engineering at Northwestern University, hoping to devise a way to improve people’s access to fresh drinking water. In his freshman year, Kyle learned about the horrors of human trafficking and switched majors to social policy. He saw himself working against this injustice by joining a nonprofit or government organization after graduation. As an RUF intern, Kyle remains passionate about addressing injustice. He explains that “one of the greatest injustices is that people don’t have an equal opportunity to know what Jesus has done for them. Many people in the United States, and certainly in the university context, do not know who Jesus truly is and what he has done for them to bring them into a relationship of love with himself.”

At Northwestern, Kyle was surprised to find himself drawn to a reformed fellowship having grown up in a different church context. He chose to join the student leadership ministry team because he admired RUF’s reverence for Scripture and its openness to anyone exploring the claims of Christianity. As a junior and senior, Kyle led RUF large group worship and helped lead the prayer team. Kyle graduated from Northwestern in March 2016. After considering multiple international missions opportunities in Europe, he ultimately decided to become an RUF intern. Kyle envisions five possible career paths after he completes his internship. He may pursue further education through law school, seminary, or a doctorate program in public policy. Kyle is also interested in continuing work in a non-profit organization that helps alleviate the refugee crisis or seeks to end modern-day slavery. He is also considering an alternate career path as a missionary in central Europe, primarily targeting the growing refugee and immigrant population in countries like Germany. In his spare time, Kyle loves to play and compose music. He plays a wide variety of instruments, including the piano, guitar, mandolin, and ukulele.
kyle.sebastian@ruf.org
RUF at Columbia University

Candace Blackwelder (Lehigh University) When she was 17 Candace Blackwelder’s family left San Pedro, California, for rural Kentucky, where she would live for the next seven years. As a child Candace embraced her parents’ Christian faith, but during her high school years her family was seduced by a minister who taught, among other heresies, that only those who followed him were Christians. They were told that the world would end in 2011 and that God was no longer at work in the local church. Fortunately, Candace’s family left the false church just as Candace was graduating from high school and entering the University of Kentucky to study mechanical engineering. Candace did not reach out to RUF until she was a sophomore. Even then she remained suspicious of any church organization. She attended several large group events and asked the RUF minister hard questions. RUF provided her with a safe place to talk about her family’s experience and a chance to participate in healthy Christian community without committing to a church. Through RUF Candace grew in her faith and in her love of Christian fellowship. By her graduation in December 2016 Candace had gained a great appreciation and love for the church. Candace hopes that, through this internship, God will further his sanctifying working and use her to love the students she serves. After finishing her internship she plans to attend seminary and pursue a call to women’s ministry or a hospital chaplaincy. Candace serves at Lehigh University where she enjoys swing dancing in her free time.
candace.blackwelder@ruf.org
RUF at Lehigh University

Austin Lesh (Penn State University) While he was raised by a Christian family, Austin did not embrace the faith until he was a senior in high school. Thus, the first Christian community he actively participated in was RUF at Indiana University. Austin, a physics major, admits to initially being too driven by academic success. However, RUF taught him that his identity was not founded on his scholastic performance, but on the love of Jesus. Following graduation in 2017 Austin decided to intern with RUF in order to help others as he had been helped. As an intern he will also explore a potential calling to the pastorate. Currently Austin serves at Penn State University, a college known for its twin passions – athletics and academics. He is married to Kaleigh, a good friend from high school, and enjoys books, board games, and basketball.
austin.lesh@ruf.org
RUF at Penn State University

Julie Rankin (Penn State University) hopes to find a hobby within the next ten years. In the meantime, the native of Pittsburg enjoys sharing meals with others, starting books, and dancing gracelessly. Julie studied social work at the University of Pittsburgh and graduated in 2017. During her freshman year, she discovered RUF and found the community a safe environment to question and explore the faith. Through RUF, Julie says, “the Lord sought me, and I grew in my understanding of my sin and God’s grace and fell in love with the beauty of the gospel.” As a RUF intern, she hopes to share this wonder with the students at Penn State University. She enjoys helping others grapple with questions of faith, life and doubt, and she looks forward to seeing God work through the RUF community. After her internship, she is considering pursuing a career in ministry or social work, or some combination of the two.
julie.rankin@ruf.org
RUF at Penn State University

Drew Dempsey (University of Maryland) Drew’s involvement with RUF began at birth. His father, Billy Dempsey, founded the RUF at Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi and was serving as campus minister when Drew was born. Later, Billy Dempsey ministered at the University of Missouri until he left campus ministry for the pastorate in 1997. Drew lived in Missouri, Mississippi, and Alabama as his father ministered to different congregations. Even in his earliest memories, Drew considered himself a Christian, but he did not take ownership of his faith until high school. When he entered Belhaven University, he joined RUF as a means to grow in his faith and find fellowship. He made many close friends at RUF and was shepherded by RUF interns. Drew decided to become an intern because he loves spending time with people, even — especially — the socially awkward. He anticipates that his time as an intern will train him to intentionally care for people. Drew is an avid photographer and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in photography in 2016. Drew worked several part-time jobs while in high school and college. Notably, he worked as a photographer for a boys’ camp, a technician and customer service representative at a camera store, and a freelance photographer for Portico Jackson Magazine. When he isn’t peering behind a camera lens, Drew plays frisbee or rock climbs. He hopes to find a career in creative marketing or design.
drew.dempsey@ruf.org
RUF at University of Maryland

Emily Marsteller (University of Maryland) (need text)
emily.marsteller@ruf.org
RUF at University of Maryland

Staff

Andrew Terrell (New York City) serves as a full-time seminary intern with RUF-International. He is ministering to international college students while pursuing an M.A. in Biblical Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary New York City. Andrew grew up in Atlanta and attended the University of Georgia in Athens. He graduated in 2009 with a major in Psychology and a minor is Spanish. Andrew first encountered RUF at UGA. Through the college ministry he explored the deeper implications of his faith and met his wife, Olivia. After graduation Andrew and Olivia joined Mission to the World’s church planting team in Madrid, Spain. For three years, they supported the church plant, befriended members of the local artistic community, and ministered to students in Spain’s largest college campus, Complutense. Andrew returned to the States this year to pursue further theological training. RUF-I in New York City provided the perfect opportunity for him to serve the international community while attending seminary. As a seminary intern Andrew will focus his efforts at New York University and Columbia University, but RUF-I hopes to establish a network of ministries on campuses throughout the city. When he isn’t pursuing his studies or meeting international students, Andrew enjoys playing the guitar and cello. He also has embarked on a never-ending quest to make the best cup of coffee.
andrew.terrell@ruf.org
RUF-I in New York City

Maddie Francis (City Campus Ministry) and her family moved from Seattle, Washington to Orlando, Florida the year before Maddie entered kindergarten. They were not planning to live on the East Coast long after her father completed his degree at Reformed Theological Seminary, but years later they still call the Sunshine State home. Maddie graduated from the University of Central Florida in December 2014 with a degree in English Literature. College transformed Maddie’s faith. RUF provided a safe context for her to examine questions and fears about God and Christianity that she was previously ashamed to discuss. God used RUF to teach her that there is respite from anxiety, hope in the midst of suffering, and forgiveness for even the worst parts of herself. As an RUF intern Maddie hopes to provide a safe place for students to discuss the realities of their hearts. After the internship she may pursue dual degrees in divinity and counseling. Maddie loves going to concerts alone, reading Flannery O’Connor, and listening to This American Life.
madeline.francis@ruf.org
RUF in New York City

Callie Miller (University of Pittsburgh) was called to campus ministry after 10 years preparing for a career in science. As full-time campus staff at Pitt, Callie works alongside the campus minister and fosters student leadership. Callie’s return to Pitt is somewhat of a spiritual homecoming. God radically changed Callie’s heart while she was a graduate student at Pitt. Callie had previously attended Francis Marion University in her hometown, Florence, SC. There, she earned a B.S. in Biology (2007) and became increasingly skeptical about her Christian faith. After graduation Callie worked at Pitt as a research specialist for two years before pursuing her doctorate in Molecular Neuropharmacology. Soon after beginning graduate school at Pitt, Callie began attending RUF meetings and a local church. Through these organizations, God transformed Callie’s skepticism and desire for self-determination into faith. Callie met her husband, James, a Pitt alumnus, at a RUF fundraising event. In 2012 Callie completed her studies with an M.S. and began a two-year internship with RUF at Pennsylvania State University. Her internship ended in 2014, and Callie and James were married that summer. Callie served as a campus staff with RUF Lynchburg at Sweet Briar Women’s College until the college announced its closing in 2015. Callie delights in conversation, coffee, dancing, dimples, and big earrings.
callie.miller@ruf.org
RUF at University of Pittsburgh

Kristy Hard (office assistant to David Green) (need text)
kristy.hard@ruf.org