Born and raised in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, I am a proud Yooper. I learned early to love every season and relish nature’s beauty – I spent my summers on the shores of Mother Superior, and my winters ski racing down the snowy slopes. We homeschooled year-round to take advantage of the opportunities that each season presented for play as well as learning. My mother used a teaching style that embraced principles of unschooling, lived experience, and established curriculums. Growing up, my family and I attended our local Covenant church, a Protestant congregation of around 250 people. I was lead vocalist on the praise team, alongside my father on guitar and my sister on cello.
For high school, I chose to attend Conserve School, an environmentally-based, college-prep boarding school in northern Wisconsin that mixed traditional classroom academics with experiential learning on a 1,200-acre campus and neighboring Sylvania Wilderness. This further cemented my commitment to environmental justice and my love of the natural world. In 2009 I started at Lawrence University in Appleton, WI. I started as an English major, before discovering a love of Anthropology and switching to that department. My major electives and academic projects focused on modern-day anthropological analysis with an emphasis on digital and online cultures and their real-world manifestations.
My sophomore year, I ran low on college funds and took a leap of faith – I’d been offered a job in Alameda, CA as a server at a restaurant and winery, and decided to go. I was a few weeks shy of 18 when I bought a one-way ticket and started a new chapter. Over the next two years I worked my way up to managing the restaurant and leading catering events. Eventually, I realized that I needed to finish my education or I would regret it down the road. I returned to Lawrence University to finish my degree, graduating in 2014.
During this second stint at Lawrence, a friend invited me to attend the campus UU group. I agreed to attend despite having no idea what UU was. It only took one meeting for me to feel warmly welcomed and deeply curious. I continued to attend throughout the rest of my time at Lawrence.
While at Lawrence, I co-founded the Lawrence Gaming Club as a way to bring together folks who enjoyed board and video games. Particularly, it brought those who would often game in isolation into a community setting. By the time I graduated, the club’s mailing list grew from six of our friends to over 10% of the school’s population. We were also able to secure a 23-person house on campus that acted as a central gathering point for club activities and a safe haven for members. My senior year, I was the elected leader of the house.
Through this gaming club, I founded, organized, and ran the Women and Identity in Gaming Symposium (WIGS), a weekend single-track conference held at the university. We secured a budget, brought in domestic and international speakers, and held the conference annually, twice while I was there. It brings me great joy to know that this conference is still up and running five years after my graduation.
After graduation, I married my highschool sweetheart and moved to Brooklyn, NY, following his work as a Software Engineer. We started attending the First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn. I worked at a tech company in Manhattan for over a year, and then we decided to move to Boulder, CO. I kept my job, but transferred to the Loveland, CO office. We also became members of the UU Church of Boulder.
In 2016, I left my job and started at Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago, a low-residency program. Through this program, I volunteered with Intercambio – a Boulder, CO based nonprofit that taught English and other skills to recent immigrants. I also completed Clinical Pastoral Education by working as a hospital chaplain in Aurora, CO – specifically in the NICU, Women’s Center, Transplant, and Medical Specialties departments.
In 2018 I moved back to NY, this time living in Queens, NY so that I could complete my two-year internship at the UU Fellowship of Huntington, NY. I graduated from Meadville Lombard in 2019, and was welcomed into Preliminary Fellowship as a UU minister with the Unitarian Universalist Association in September 2019.
My husband and I welcomed our healthy daughter, Ellery Jean Seidohl, on June 26, 2019.