In keeping with our mission to form the future leaders of our Church and world, the Newman Center uses a system of student leadership called “Peer Ministry”.

Each year, 4-6 students are selected from a pool of applicants to work side by side with the staff in running the ministry.  Housed in an apartment with individual rooms above the Newman Center, the Peer Ministers learn to balance school, ministry, and their personal lives in service to their fellow students.  It’s a demanding year of sacrifice, but an extremely rewarding experience.  In the end, peer ministers and the Student Ministry Team are responsible for the majority of the programming, innovation, and activity of the ministry.  At any given time during the day, chances are you’ll find a peer minister roaming the halls, hanging out at the Newman table on campus, serving a Mass, or hosting an event at Newman. 

Inspired by the success of former Newman Director Fr. William Dean Dooley OP (1948-1960) to use Catholic soldiers to catechize other soldiers during WWII, the program trains students to minister to each other.  After a week of intensive training at the Dominican Institute of Student Ministry, peer ministers become Newman’s primary student leaders.  They’re responsible for everything from planning the massive SEARCH retreat to cleaning the bathrooms! 

Often times, students have a unique credibility with each other that community members, staff, parents, and even priests, don’t have.  By training students to fill positions of leadership in the ministry, they’re given greater opportunity to relate to their peers and more effectively support them through the faith transitions common to college life.  This ultimately leads newer students to realize that they should take their faith seriously, that there are other students out their struggling with the same things, and that there are answers to their most intimate and troubling questions.  And that you can be Catholic and cool at the same time! 

Since 1989, Peer Ministers have been some of the greatest advocates of the ministry, and each has left a profound impact on the lives of the students – not to mention the ministry as a whole.  We continually thank all that have served.  But as any peer minister will tell you, their gifts to the community are matched, if not surpassed, by the gratitude they feel for the transformative opportunity to serve their fellow Catholic Huskies. 

Our Peer Ministers


Simon van Tulder

Simon is entering his final year at UW pursuing a degree in BioResource Science Engineering and minoring in Business. He graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in Burien, WA where he was born and raised. He is number three of four children. He has an older sister, an older brother and a younger brother all of whom he loves dearly.

It took Simon some time to find his home at Newman, and he couldn’t have done it without his amazing small group from sophomore year. Sophomore year he went to the Search retreat, which although not the transformational retreat some experience, redirected his faith life and inspired him to be more involved at Newman. His junior year, he lead the sports student ministry team before leaving spring quarter for a 5 month internship. His senior year he lead the Evangelization and Outreach team, and gave his testimony at Search. He loves sharing his story with others and growing in faith with them.

Simon likes to spend his vacations hiking through mother nature’s amazing wilderness, woodworking, and visiting his cousins and grandparents in Brussels, Belgium. He also loves speaking French, singing, biking, soccer, ultimate frisbee, archery, board games, reading, and his faith. He can’t help but be inspired by the strength of those around him as they pursue their dreams and conquer life’s challenges. He is blessed to serve you and the rest of the Newman community as your Peer Minister this year.


Emma Lii

Emma is a third-year student at the University of Washington, double majoring in Sociology and International Studies and minoring in Informatics. She was raised in Pleasanton, California by her parents and has an older sister.

Emma dabbles in many unrelated hobbies, including video production, bullet journaling, eating, and being entranced by the world wide web. She is often seen taking footage on her point-and-shoot camera for low quality vlogs or jamming with her friends. During such jam sessions, Emma can play the piano, guitar, or viola (along with the recorder, if we agree to consider “Hot Cross Buns” a modern symphonic masterpiece).

An avid meme consumer and anime enthusiast, Emma finds happiness in screaming and cackling about anything remotely entertaining. She enjoys playing video games (especially RPGs!), listening to musicals, and crying about fictional characters on a daily basis. Her only pair of dress shoes are Crocs brand.

Growing up in an ethnically Chinese Catholic parish has opened Emma’s eyes to the importance of both cultural preservation and institutional diversity. Emma hopes to continue learning more about the reasons behind core Catholic beliefs and use the Church’s stance on social justice to aid the marginalized.

The UW Newman Center has helped Emma realize God’s abounding mercy through the community’s capacity for overwhelming compassion. She hopes to use the outpouring of love she has received and share it with others. She is humbled and excited to enthusiastically serve the UW Catholic community!


Theresa Ambat

Theresa is a junior majoring in either Physics or Speech and Hearing Sciences (life decisions are hard.) and is taking a few classes in digital sound. She's an only child, was born in Sasebo, Japan, and moved to Marysville, Washington in 2001. 

Some of Theresa’s passions include audio engineering, video and music production, singing and songwriting, and obsessing over fountain pens and headphones. She is currently doing freelance recording/mixing and is working on an original album. In the future she hopes to work in the field of 3D-audio and ambisonics. 

Theresa discovered the Newman Center her freshman year. At first, she did not plan on becoming very active in student ministry at all until she joined a small group and became more active in the choir and freshman group. One of the things that touched her the most about the Newman Center was the realness of the community. Hearing about other people’s stories allowed her to realize that yes, Newman is booming with great leaders, but everyone has gone through their fair share of mistakes and hardships—at Newman, we help each other to overcome them. 

As a Peer Minister, Theresa wants to develop a ministry that leads people to discover/cultivate their unique gifts and talents and makes the comfortable uncomfortable. She hopes to encourage others to embrace the changes and challenges God has in store for us, joyfully, and wants them to know that regardless of your past, present, religious background, knowledge, or identity, everyone is welcome in God’s house. 


Luciano Toscano

Luciano has been called many nicknames in the past, including but not limited to: Luigi, Lucy, Pasta, John, and Lucci-bby. However, most of his friends and Dad just call him Luc (Looch) or Lucci.

Lucci is entering his senior year in the mechanical engineering department. Some of his favorites topics related to mechanical engineering are thermodynamics and fluid dynamics, and rockets, but lately ministry has caught his eye.

Throughout his childhood, his family moved around quite a bit. Luc’s life began in Erie, Pennsylvania, and then continued in Chicago, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Pennsylvania again. He finally arrived in what he now calls his home, Washington, in the 10th grade, and left for UW a few years later.

The PNW activities he enjoys the most are camping, hiking, bouldering, and finding weird things on beaches. Other types of activities he enjoys are watching movies, spending time with pals, going to Huskies games, and watching the sunset!

Most importantly though, Luciano finds his life and identity in being a child of the living God. He finally answered the Lord’s call early in his college career, and has been seeking goodness ever since. The Newman center initiated, and continues foster the growth of Lucci-bby’s faith and relationship with Jesus Christ. He is very excited to serve the Newman community in the coming year, and is glad to help others in their pilgrimage to the Lord.

One step at a time, we will make it to our Father’s house.


Kelci Young

Kelci is a senior at the University of Washington, studying Economics and Math (sko’ dawgs). Although she has a more math orientated brain, Kelci loves engaging in creativity. Some of Kelci’s interests and hobbies include watercoloring, photography, reading and journaling, hiking, and keeping up on all the latest GIFs and vines. Kelci thoroughly enjoys singing and dancing, whether she is on beat, or in the right key is less of a concern. She’s always on the hunt for a little adventure, whether that be going on a mini road trip or a simple walk through the park. As Saint Pope John Paul II said, “life with Christ is a wonderful adventure.”

Kelci was born and raised in the Tri-Cities, which is on the east side of the Cascade Mountains in Washington. She grew up surrounded by a loving community, filled with gracious friends and family. Though, it wasn’t until going to college and being brought out of her comfort zone, that she began to feel the comfort and presence of Christ more fully. Being stripped of everything familiar, gave Kelci the opportunity to cling to God with all of her heart. God brought Kelci to the Newman Center her Freshman year to give her a home away from home, one that is filled with His Presence and love. The UW Newman Center is the place where Kelci was able to discover and develop an intimate relationship with Christ, and she hopes to bring that to others who walk through the doors of the Newman Center.


Joy Clark

Joy is a senior pursuing a BS in Computer Science. Throughout her time at UW, she has primarily been involved in ministry, and computer science outreach and education. For her first two years at UW, Joy lived in the interdenominational Christian community, University Christian Union (UCU), which first introduced her to ministry. She served as UCU’s Women’s House Vice President during her second year of living there, co-planning the community’s weekly bible study, small groups, and service projects. Although Joy had been drawn to peer ministry from the first time she attended mass at Newman, she committed herself to becoming a peer minister after loving the ministry work she did at UCU.

Raised in the rural community of Seabeck, Washington, Joy has always loved exploring the woods, mountains, and dark night sky. Her favorite thing about the Seattle area is how many airplanes fly overhead, and if you hear a loud airplane above you at UW, chances are she knows the aircraft, destination, airline, and origin of it. After graduation, Joy would like to find work in the southeastern United States, ideally working in the Huntsville area. Although Joy is studying computer science, she hopes that her lifelong passion for aerospace and aviation will lead her to a successful career in that field.


Interested in learning more about Peer Ministry?  Contact our Campus Minister, Bayli Hochstein, or our Director, Fr. Jordan Bradshaw.

Get to know them - check out our Peer Minister photo album and peer ministers past and present!