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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


2019-20 Shinnyo Fellows

We are very excited to announce that Chapman University (Orange, CA) has joined us as the fifth Shinnyo Fellowship Program partner this year! In addition to continuing our partnership with George Mason University (Fairfax, VA), Redwood City 2020 in partnership with the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities at Stanford University, Seattle University, and UC Berkeley. So this year, we have five post-undergraduate Shinnyo Fellows and two undergraduate Shinnyo Fellows (from Seattle University only).


Chapman University

Alexis Sutterman

Alexis is a recent graduate from Chapman University with a major in Political Science. In the past few years, she has been involved in several efforts to pursue peace in her local and global communities. As a research assistant at Chapman’s Earl Babbie Research Center, Alexis has worked closely with two professors on their research on development assistance in post-conflict societies in East-Central Africa and indigenous environmental movements in Latin America. In addition, Alexis has been very engaged in Orange County politics. As a NextGen California fellow, Fund Her intern, and the president of Chapman University Young Democrats, Alexis has registered young people to vote, informed others about local measures, and worked on several campaigns to help progressive candidates get elected into office. On campus, she has organized a Rock the Vote concert event, a walkout against gun violence, and a march to city council to protect CA SB-54 bill (sanctuary city status in Orange). Alexis has also traveled to Israel/Palestine as a member of the Olive Tree Initiative organization to practice conflict analysis/resolution and international peace-building. Inspired by this trip, she wrote her senior thesis on the crisis in Gaza, and used decolonial theory to envision a peaceful future for Palestinians in the region. During her Shinnyo Fellowship, Alexis plans to explore opportunities to pursue climate justice in both an individual and societal context. Blending the frameworks of deep ecology and decolonial theory, she seeks to learn strategies of developing ecological consciousness in oneself, and encouraging this in others within her community. Alexis has hope that this will enable humans to enact a different world-view that puts us back into harmony with the planet. 


George Mason University (GMU)

Oumou Ly

Oumou Ly is a recent graduate of George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, concentrating in Justice and Reconciliation, and minoring in sociology. As a woman of color, and daughter of Senegalese immigrants, Oumou has developed on, and advocated for, her intersectional identities while pursuing her degree. Over the course of her time at Mason, Oumou has had the opportunity to research and engage with a multitude of interests, including migration dynamics in Europe, disproportionate incarceration rates among African Americans, colorism among women in the U.S, and Central African conflict. Bridging her interests with advocacy efforts, she has served as the President of the African Student Association, co-chair of the Conflict Free Campus Initiative Task Force, and as the Enough Projects’ Student Upstander. In her final year, through her government relations internship and Peacebuilding Fellowship, Oumou dedicated her studies to learning about our current public health crisis. Through research and community engagement, Oumou began to digest the ongoing problem of public and reproductive health within the U.S., including disproportionate access to quality health services and high mortality rates, mostly among lower income, women of color. As a Shinnyo Fellow, Oumou seeks to work within her own community to better serve as an advocate in addressing health disparities. In her spare time, Oumou enjoys watching true-crime documentaries and sampling international foods.


Seattle University (SU)

Cameron Payne

Cameron is a rising senior at Seattle University working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. Coming from a Palestinian and Jewish background, the values of peace and resilience have been instilled in her since birth. Through her time at the Center for Community Engagement and the Social Work Program at Seattle University, Cameron has found her passion working with youth and families from under resourced communities. She has been working as an academic mentor at Bailey Gatzert Elementary School for the last three years and a one-on-one mentor at Washington Middle School for the last two years. Additionally, she has worked as a Serve Local Ambassador at the Center in order to encourage more students to get involved with their community. She believes that helping to guide youth is the best way to show them how to create change by keeping true to their vision and aligned with their own values in the work they do. Cameron hopes to spend her future empowering youth of color through art and poetry, and staying grounded in organizing and activism that advocates for the groups who are marginalized.


Mariana Renteria Hernandez

Mariana is a senior at Seattle University (SU) where she is a double major in Psychology and Criminal Justice. She has a passion for addressing issues at the intersection of mental health, trauma, youth, and the criminal justice system. Mariana interns for the Seattle University Immigration Clinic through which she interviews detainees in immigration detention centers in order to assist a legal team and psychologist in creating petitions for asylum. Mariana also interns for Obsidian Forensics and assists in creating psychological evaluations that seek to support the behavioral, academic, and emotional needs for youths with trauma. Throughout her undergraduate career Mariana has worked heavily at her university’s Center for Community Engagement, having volunteered with youth in academic settings and served as a Serve Local Ambassador and Summer Fellow. Throughout the upcoming year as a Shinnyo Fellow, she hopes to develop strong bonds with youth facing adversity and determine how youth with trauma wish and need to be supported in order to heal and thrive.


University of California, Berkeley (UCB)

Robael Gizachew

Robael is the Berkeley Vision/Shinnyo Fellow. He will be working to support Berkeley’s 2020 Vision, a collaborative, city-wide effort to end the racial opportunity gap for Berkeley youth. Robael is a former student of Berkeley public schools, having attended King Middle School, Berkeley High School, and Berkeley City College. He recently graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in Social Welfare and a Minor in Global Poverty. As a student leader, one of his many roles on campus was serving as the Transfer Coordinator for the Black Recruitment and Retention Center. In this role, he organized and supported recruiting and retention events for Black transfer students ranging from admission presentations and financial aid/scholarship presentations to community-building events such as the first Black transfer retreat. Through his role, Robael was able to support almost a thousand students at UC Berkeley both transfer and traditional students. As a Shinnyo Fellow, he is excited to return to support students at his former high school through the dual enrollment program, a partnership with Berkeley High School and Berkeley City College that increases access to higher education, and to coordinate a math mentoring program operating at all Berkeley middle schools.


Stanford University/Redwood City 2020

Shannon Chiu

Shannon is a recent graduate of Stanford University, where she majored in chemistry and is originally from Sunnyvale, California. Shannon developed her passion for addressing health disparities by performing volunteer work through service in vulnerable communities. She volunteered as a Spanish and Mandarin interpreter at the Cardinal Free Clinics which primarily serves low-income immigrant patients regardless of insurance or documentation status. In addition to interpreting, Shannon led a project as a Hepatology Clinic coordinator in which she explored health care barriers faced by Asian-American patients with hepatitis B. Later, in a qualitative research project with Stanford’s Pediatric Advocacy Program, she investigated how disparities in school readiness impact low-income immigrant children. Through the Shinnyo Fellowship partnering with Redwood City 2020 and the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities, Shannon is excited to continue working to empower underserved families, both through direct community engagement and research. She is grateful for this opportunity to learn how to enact institutional change to combat social inequity, which she hopes to one day apply to her aspirations of becoming a physician and public health advocate.