I’ve learned that involvement in co-curricular activities helps students move toward graduation. I experienced this firsthand while participating in InterVarsity at Stanford as both an undergrad and graduate student. I am a first-generation college graduate, and I explored the intersections of spirituality, justice, culture, and ethnic identity at Stanford through the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship faith community.
My time at the GSE allowed me to study connections between culture and education, and I now use my findings in my work as a campus minister through InterVarsity in the Hawaiian Islands. My master’s paper in the Social Sciences in Education program examined the impact of Hawaiian language and culture-based schools on educational outcomes. I continued this research as an analyst at Kamehameha Schools, a leader in research on indigenous education.
I now work in higher education, where I integrate faith and culture in every aspect of student leadership development. I recently designed a curriculum for our annual alternative spring break project where we took students around the Hawaiian Islands to explore commonalities between different ethnic communities.
Because of my own transformation through InterVarsity as a student, staff member, and area director of InterVarsity in the Hawaiian Islands, I insist on welcoming students of all religious and cultural backgrounds. When Catholic, Evangelical, Muslim, atheist, and Buddhist students can gather together for civil discourse, cross-cultural understanding and fun, they will become sympathetic and effective leaders in our increasingly diverse society.
Brennan Takayama earned his BA in Human Biology from Stanford in 2006 and his master’s in Social Sciences in Education in 2007. He was recently promoted to area director of InterVarsity in the Hawaiian Islands to oversee growth to six universities and six community colleges.\