Steering Committee

Co-Chairs


Varun Soni

Varun Soni
Dean of Religious Life

Varun Soni

Dean Soni is currently a University Fellow at USC Annenberg’s Center on Public Diplomacy and an Adjunct Professor at the USC School of Religion. He is the author of Natural Mystics: The Prophetic Lives of Bob Marley and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (Figueroa Press, 2014) and his writings have appeared in the Washington Post, Huffington Post, Crosscurrents, Jewish Journal, and Harvard Divinity Bulletin. He produced the critically acclaimed graphic novel Tina’s Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary by Keshni Kashyap, which is currently being adapted as a feature length film.


Allen Weiss

Allen Weiss
Professor, Marshall School of Business

Allen Weiss

Allen Weiss is a Professor of Marketing in the Marshall School of Business and is also a senior teacher of mindfulness meditation at InsightLA.org. He is a graduate of the Dedicated Practitioner's Program at Spirit Rock.

Committee Members


Jim Burklo

Jim Burklo
Associate Dean, Office of Religious Life

Jim Burklo

Reverend Burklo received his B.S. in Social Relations from UC Riverside, his M.Div. from San Francisco Theological Seminary, and his ministerial ordination from the United Church of Christ. He teaches a course in Public Policy at USC’s School of Social Work and he is a faculty mentor for the Professionalism course at the Keck School of Medicine. For eight years, he served as the ecumenical Protestant minister for the United Campus Christian Ministry at Stanford University, where he supervised student projects, retreats, and internships related to spirituality and social justice. Reverend Burklo serves on the board of directors of Progressive Christians Uniting and is the author of four books - Open Christianity: Home by Another Road (2000), Birdlike and Barnless: Meditations, Prayers, Poems, and Songs for Progressive Christians (2008), Hitchhiking to Alaska: The Way of Soulful Service (2013), and a novel, Souljourn (2013).


Mark Miller

Mark Miller
Postdoc Fellow - USC Student Counseling Services

Mark Miller

Mark is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the USC Student Counseling Services. He is also a teacher at InsightLA, enjoys integrating Buddhist and Western psychological perspectives.


Richard Wolf

Richard Wolf
USC Thornton School of Music Industry Program

Richard Wolf

Richard “Wolfie” Wolf is an Emmy Award winning composer and multi-Platinum RIAA awarded record producer. He is founder and CEO of the independent production, publishing and licensing company, The Producers Lab, Inc. which provides music to hundreds of multimedia productions including some of the most popular television programs and films worldwide.


Marc Weigensberg

Marc Weigensberg
Director, Institute for Integrative Health

Marc Weigensberg

Dr. Weigensberg holds an appointment as Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics in the Department of Pediatrics, USC Keck School of Medicine, and is the Director of Pediatric Endocrinology at Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center. He has a major interest in mind-body medicine and was certified in Interactive Guided ImagerySM through the Academy for Guided Imagery, Mill Valley, CA in 1999. Dr. Weigensberg received his medical school training at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, and completed his pediatric residency and pediatric endocrinology fellowship training at Children’s Memorial Hospital, Northwestern University in Chicago. He was formerly on faculty at the University of Illinois School of Medicine.


John Gaspari

John Gaspari
Director, Center for Work and Family Life

John Gaspari

John Gaspari currently serves as the Executive Director of the USC Center for Work and Family Life, which is the University’s employee assistance, work-life and wellness program. In this role, he also provides field instruction and clinical training for graduate students and post-graduate practitioners.


Edward Finegan

Edward Finegan
Director, Center for Excellence in Teaching

Edward Finegan

Ed Finegan, professor of linguistics and law, began as a math teacher on Long Island before completing a master’s degree at Ohio University and teaching humanities and linguistics at Case Western Reserve University. After taking a Ph.D. from Ohio University in 1968, he joined the USC faculty as assistant professor of English and later became founding chair of USC's Linguistics Department. In 1975 and 1976, he served in Tehran as director of USC’s English-language teaching project for National Iranian Radio and Television. Since 1996 he has been teaching lawyering skills in the Gould School of Law.


Lyn Boyd Judson

Lyn Boyd Judson
Director, Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics

Lyn Boyd Judson

Lyn Boyd-Judson is director of the USC Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics and has taught at the USC Annenberg School of Journalism and the USC School of International Relations. Previous affiliations include RAND, the Carter Center of Emory University, the Hong Kong Legislative Council, the United States Embassy Berlin-Third Reich Document Center, the USC Center for International Studies, the Walt Disney Company Asia-Pacific, and Dow Jones News Service.


David Black

David Black
Assistant Professor, Preventive Medicine

David Black

Dr. David S. Black is an Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine in the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, and faculty member of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. His research focuses on the delivery and evaluation of mind-body medicine modalities, specifically mindfulness training, in order to modify psychological stress and other mental/physical health symptoms and states. He is broadly interested in how mind-body approaches impact stress biology, specifically neuroendocrine and immune system function in humans. His studies incorporate both observational and experimental methodology with measurements quantified by survey, brain imaging, gene expression, and biomarker (from saliva and blood) research.


Randye Semple

Randye Semple
Asst. Professor, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences

Randye Semple

Dr. Semple is co-author of the recently published book Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Anxious Children (Semple & Lee, 2011); Associate Editor of the peer-reviewed journal Mindfulness; and past-President of the Mindfulness and Acceptance Special Interest Group of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. She regularly trains and supervises psychiatry residents and psychology interns in mindfulness treatment approaches. Dr. Semple is an expert in mindfulness-based treatments, was well-trained in MBCT, and has considerable experience in conducting clinical trial research.


Brian Harke

Brian Harke
Dean of Students, School of Cinematic Arts

Brian Harke

Dr. Brian Harke is a leader in education who draws on extensive experience from his work in both the corporate and academic sectors. Harke is recognized by leaders in both sectors and the press as an expert in the area of personal and professional development of college students. He is an expert contributor to the Huffington Post and is regularly called upon by the media to provide insight about programs related to college success. Harke is currently the Dean of Students in the University Southern California, School of Cinematic Arts.


Deborah J. Natoli

Deborah J. Natoli
Associate Teaching Professor in Price School of Public Policy

Deborah J. Natoli

Deborah Natoli is an Associate Teaching Professor at the USC Price School of Public Policy and scholar of the psycho-social dimensions of leadership and adult development. She directs the Professional Doctorate Program at USC Price and introduces mindfulness principles and practices to her students, specifically in her course, Human Behavior in Organizations. Deborah is currently conducting interviews with politicians, scientists, artists, and educators about meaningful work, its transformative function and potential for societal impact. She is also working on a grant to bring mindfulness curriculum to K-12 public schools.


Laura Baker

Laura Baker
Professor, Department of Psychology

Laura Baker

Laura Baker's research involves genetic and environmental bases of human behavior. She studies how genes and environment produce individual differences in both cognitive and personality variables, as well as antisocial behavior during both childhood and adulthood. Her current research is focussed on genetic and environmental factors in childhood aggression and antisocial behavior. She is in the midst of conducting a large-scale twin study in this area (funded by NIMH), in which we are investigating biological risk factors (primarily psychophysiological measures, including ERPs, startle-blink responses, and autonomic arousal) for antisocial behavior , as well as social risk factors (including family and peer characteristics).


Paula Swinford

Paula Swinford
Director of OWHP

Paula Swinford

Paula is a Certified Health Education Specialist. She received her B.S. in Biology and her M.S. in Community Health from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She also received her Masters of Health Administration from USC. Paula is a past president of the American College Health Association (ACHA) and current chair of the NASPA Health in Higher Education Knowledge Community.