Assistant Dean of Admissions, Vocation, and Student Life
Laura Mariko Cheifetz began serving as the Assistant Dean of Admissions, Vocation, and Student Life in August 2019. She is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), a graduate of North Park University (MBA, ’11), McCormick Theological Seminary (M.Div. ’05), and Western Washington University (BA in Sociology, 2000).
She is the co-author and editor of “Church on Purpose: Reinventing Discipleship, Community, & Justice” (Judson Press) and co-editor and contributor to “Race in America: Christians Respond to the Crisis” (Westminster John Knox Press), a contributor to “Leading Wisdom: Asian and Asian North American Women Leaders” (WJK), “Here I Am: Faith Stories of Korean American Clergywomen” (Judson), and “Streams Run Uphill: Conversations with Young Clergywomen of Color” (Judson). She is co-author of the “Forming Asian Leaders for North American Churches” entry in the “Religious Leadership” reference handbook (SAGE Publishing). An occasional contributor to various blogs, her piece “Race Gives Me Poetry” for “Unbound: An Interactive Journal of Christian Social Justice” won the Associated Church Press 2016 Award of Excellence – Reporting and Writing: Personal Experience/1st Person Account (long format).
Laura is multiracial Asian American of Japanese and white Jewish descent. She was the fourth generation of her family to be born in California, and grew up in eastern Oregon and western Washington. Laura has served on various boards, national and international ecumenical bodies, national church committees, and has been president of two homeowners associations. As you might imagine, she is well-versed in people and politics.
Laura and her partner, Jessica Vazquez Torres, the National Program Manager for Crossroads Antiracism Organizing & Training, live in Nashville, Tenn. with their rescue pup. They enjoy all their nieces and nephews, and hope to be such fabulous aunties that the kids smuggle good booze to them in their retirement home. In their free time, Jessica bakes and Laura delivers the baked goods to friends and neighbors.