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Shinnyo Fellowship Program

Each year, young adults from leading universities across the country bring alive the Foundation’s Infinite Paths to Peace initiative on their campuses and community organizations as they immerse themselves in a year-long Fellowship in local, national and global communities.

Shinnyo Fellows receive stipends to develop individual student leadership and reflective skills, and to introduce, implement and/or institutionalize the Foundation’s philosophy of peacebuilding through service on their university campuses or in their immediate surrounding communities. The Fellows will work closely with their host agencies to design and implement their peacebuilding ideas in their chosen areas with the support of faculty or a staff advisor on campus.

The following universities and institutions are our partners in the Shinnyo Fellowship Program: The University of California, Berkeley, Seattle University, George Mason University, Chapman University and Redwood City 2020 in partnership with Stanford University’s Haas Center for Public Service and The John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities. Post-undergraduates at those partner universities and institutions come from diverse disciplines and backgrounds and they are all deeply committed to their act of service for peace building.

Partners of the Fellowship Program also receive financial support to administer their unique Fellowship Program. In addition, Shinnyo-en Foundation sponsors the participation of  the Shinnyo Fellows and their supervisors at the Fellows Summer Orientation and Annual Retreat in August. These are the times when all of the Fellows and their supervisors meet at once to share each other’s aspiration for peace and dialogue on their experiences, resources and wisdom.

In Buddhism, “Shinnyo” is defined as the fundamental nature of all things. It refers to a truth that is unchanging and everlasting, such as sincerity, loving kindness, and compassion. We hope that Shinnyo Fellows will discover and/or deepen the goodness that exists within themselves, and that they will also nurture these qualities regardless of the circumstance, to create harmony and peace.

For more information, please contact

Ineko Tsuchida, Ph.D.
Program Director


2021-22 Shinnyo Fellows

We are very excited to announce the new Shinnyo Fellows for the year 2021-2022! We are continuing our partnership with Chapman University (Orange, CA), George Mason University (Fairfax, VA), Redwood City Together in partnership with the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities at Stanford University, Seattle University, and UC Berkeley. This year, we have five post-undergraduate Shinnyo Fellows and one undergraduate Shinnyo Fellow (from Seattle University only).




Shun Kato

(Post-Undergraduate Shinnyo Fellow)

Shun Kato is a recent graduate from Chapman University with a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and a minor in Health Sciences. Throughout his time at Chapman, Shun was able to establish and found the Be KYnd To Your Heart Foundation, a non-profit organization created in honor of his childhood best friend, Kyle Taylor, who passed away from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). His team is devoted to providing medical services such as heart screenings and spreading awareness about SCA in their local Orange County community with the hopes that one less family, friend or loved one will have to lose their Kyle. Aside from this, Shun has had the great privilege of serving as the Biochemistry department’s peer advisor, supplemental instructor for Organic Chemistry lab, and president of the Nikkei (Japanese American) Student Union from which he learned the gratification of providing mentorship to others and create a welcoming environment where all people feel welcome. As someone who aspires to become a Pediatric Cardiologist and devote his life to service, these experiences taught Shun the ability to listen and engage with his community and respond effectively to their problems. During his time as a Shinnyo Fellow, Shun plans to work with a local organization called Higher Ground Youth and Family Services, which provides mentorship and empowerment to at-risk, underserved youth in Orange County. Shun seeks to connect his passions for learning with providing guidance to future generations who will one day become leaders in their communities.




Kate Strezishar

(Post-Undergraduate Shinnyo Fellow)

After graduating high school in East Grand Forks, Minnesota, Kate decided to attend George Mason University. Kate started out studying at the Schar School of Policy and Government, realizing after an introductory conflict course that the field of CAR was where her passion came to life. Kate’s concentration in Global Engagement came in handy when going abroad for two terms, one to Santiago, Chile to take a course on Latin American history told through its revolutions, and to Budapest, Hungary where she worked with an NGO while studying concepts such as Nationalism and Minority Rights. Kate graduated from GMU in Spring of 2021 and is hoping to further cultivate her interests in diplomacy and international security. Through living in El Salvador for four years as a child with parents working at the U.S. Embassy, Kate saw the importance of globalization and service to others. Kate hopes to take the personal experiences of living in other countries and use it with her studies of peacebuilding to help promote international security and nonviolent intervention.




Sabrina Alex

(Post-Undergraduate Shinnyo Fellow)

Sabrina Alex recently graduated cum laude from Seattle University with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Affairs and a minor in Social Welfare. Her concentrations focused on social welfare policy and the nonprofit sector. Informed by her experiences as a survivor and the daughter of a refugee, Sabrina believes every person has dignity and worth and is the expert in their own experience. This conviction led Sabrina to pursue direct service by engaging with families who experience housing insecurity as well as tutoring immigrant and refugee children. She strives to balance her direct service with macro work. Sabrina spent four years as a member of SU’s Relay for Life Planning Committee, where she supported cancer research, programs, and policy initiatives through fundraising, advocacy work, and events. Sabrina has also engaged in lobby visits to promote equitable policies. Her efforts are informed by her academic research on issues that affect youth and can contribute to their vulnerability or empowerment, from decreasing the achievement gap to child homelessness to promoting civic engagement. As a Shinnyo Fellow, Sabrina hopes to pursue a culture of advocacy at Seattle University and work with an organization addressing adverse childhood experiences. She hopes to extend the mission reach of an organization to create an environment that promotes transformation, healing, and peace. By interrupting cycles of exploitation and creating opportunities for people to live a fulfilling life, she hopes to that everyone deserves to live a life that represents their inherent dignity.


Nick Andino

(Undergraduate Shinnyo Fellow)

Nick Andino is a rising senior at Seattle University pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology with Departmental honors and a social welfare minor. From a young age, Nick has been passionate and invested in social justice, working with communities of color, community building, and activism. At Seattle University, he has worked as a Residential Assistant working with first-year students and helping support and acclimate them to their new school. As well as this, Nick has worked as an Office Assistant for the Office of Multicultural Affairs whose focus is to advocate and support our marginalized communities on campus, while serving as a Sociology student representative advocating for the implementation of anti-racist practices being instilled throughout our colleges. Being from a diverse city like San Francisco and being multiracial himself, Nick felt as if social justice was a topic that he simply could not ignore given all of the impacts he has seen throughout his own experience. As a Shinnyo Fellow, Nick hopes to provide advocacy and community-organizing work in his future endeavor!


The John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities at STANFORD UNIVERSITY and Redwood City Together


Avery Elizabeth Muniz

(Post-Undergraduate Shinnyo Fellow)

Avery Muniz is a recent graduate from Stanford University with a degree in Biology and a concentration in Neurobiology. She is passionate about both educational and health equity and hopes to devote her life to tackling these issues. She has worked as a Spanish Interpreter at a free clinic, as a companion to patients in hospice/palliative care, as an English literacy tutor for kids in low-income areas, and as an Education Partnerships Fellow for Stanford’s Haas Center for Public Service. In this capacity, she expanded the accessibility of a literacy program for Spanish-speaking families and organized a guest speaker event with a former politician to foster dialogue on campus about issues in educational equity. Avery has conducted research in the field of virology and co-authored a paper published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. She also served as a director of a shelter for unhoused women in Palo Alto, as a community RA at Stanford, and as a Case Investigator with the public health department in Colorado during the COVID-19 pandemic. She is passionate about community outreach and hopes to use this fellowship to refine her skills as a leader and advocate for communities. She is very excited for the opportunity to serve the Redwood City and North Fair Oaks community as a Shinnyo Community Impact Fellow.




Lesly Ardon-Lara

(Post-Undergraduate Shinnyo Fellow)

Lesly Ardon-Lara (She/Her) is a recent graduate from UC Berkeley where she obtained a B.A. in Sociology and Legal Studies and minored in English. Born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, Lesly grew up with an appreciation of knowledge gained both at home and in school and developed an understanding of the importance of education. As an undergraduate at Cal, this understanding led her to work with organizations addressing the educational opportunity gap impacting low-income communities of color, including The Education Trust-West and UC Berkeley’s BUILD reading mentoring program. Now, she hopes to continue addressing these educational disparities in her work with Shinnyo-en Foundation as the newest Shinnyo/2020 Vision College Access Fellow.