Naila Baloch, associate chaplain at Middlebury College’s Scott Center for Spiritualand Religious Life, will be the keynote speaker for Vermont Women in Higher Education’s (VWHE) annual awards dinner October 11 at St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont. The statewide organization will celebrate the achievements of its 2016 award winners, all three of whom have made significant contributions to higher education in Vermont.
This year’s winners are St. Michael’s College Professor and Education Department Chair Mary Beth Doyle; University of Vermont Associate Dean of the College of Education and Social Services Cynthia Gerstl-Pepin; and Tolya Syril Stonorov, assistant professor of architecture at Norwich University.
Baloch brings to her work a focus on building strong, inclusive communities. At Middlebury, she facilitates Islamic and interfaith programming and retreats, and also advises the Islamic Society of Middlebury College. Baloch earned her bachelor’s degree from Williams College, where she studied astrophysics and comparative religion. She earned a master’s in theological studies from Harvard Divinity School, where she specialized in Islamic ministry. She also holds a graduate certificate from the University of Spiritual Healing and Sufism in Pope Valley, California, where her focus was on counseling from a spiritual perspective.
She started her training at Harvard Divinity School as their first female, Muslim ministry student to prepare for positions of religious service. In 2015, Baloch received the Carol A. Moore Scholarship from Vermont Women in Higher Education to continue her training in mental health counseling at the University of Massachusetts.
VWHE is a statewide organization dedicated to serving women in higher education at all professional levels. For more information, visit http://www.vwhe.org.