Sangam is the work of students in Professor Ari Goldman’s “Covering Religion” seminar at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. The purpose of the course is to develop student journalists’ abilities to write and report about matters of religion and faith for diverse audiences. This year, the seminar focused on covering religion in India, where the class traveled in March as part of an 11-day reporting trip sponsored by the Scripps Howard Foundation. This is the 17th reporting trip Professor Goldman has led abroad. In past years, the class has gone to Israel, Jordan and Palestine, Russia and Ukraine, Ireland and Northern Ireland and Italy.


Ana Singh is an MS student at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She can be reached at


Andrea Januta is an MS student at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.  She can be reached via twitter @andreajanuta.


Having spent years as a travel writer in Asia, Cole is now pursuing his MS degree at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. See what he’s up to @cole_pennington on Instagram.


David Klein is an MS student at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.


Elizabeth VanMetre is an MS student at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.


Ellen Ioanes is a MS student at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She focuses on politics, religion and conflict and can be reached at


Emily Churchill is an MA/MS student in Columbia University’s Religion and Journalism graduate programs. She writes about the political and social changes brought about by faith-based actors. She can be reached at or on Twitter @e_m_churchill.


Gudrun Willcocks was a fashion journalist for many years before she decided to embark on the Masters of Science program at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Her ambition is to write deeply about the arts and culture, religion or spirituality and their relationship to each other.


Natasha Frost is an MS student at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.


Nicole Einbinder is an MS student at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. A Southern California native, she studied journalism and international studies at the University of Washington, where she served as a reporter and editor for her campus newspaper. She was a digital media intern at KING 5, Seattle’s NBC-affiliated station, news intern at the Orange County Register and features intern at the Seattle Times. Nicole is interested in covering religion, immigration, legal affairs and human rights issues. She can be reached at or on Twitter at @NicoleEinbinder.


Pia Peterson is an MS student at Columbia Journalism with a focus on audio and the environment. She’s also an illustrator, podcaster and photographer of cracks in sidewalks and crooked landscapes.


Roda Osman is a Somali native, born in Nairobi, Kenya. As a graduate student at Columbia School of Journalism, Roda’s primary interests are social injustice on a local and global scale. She can be reached at or on Twitter @urrgs.


Sangsuk Sylvia Kang comes from Seoul and makes images. She is an M.S. candidate at Columbia Journalism School interested in art, belief and politics. Reach her at


Thea Piltzecker is an MS student in the documentary concentration at Columbia Journalism School. A freelance associate producer, her credits include PBS, Vice, and NBC documentaries. She is also the US field researcher for a sociology of religion study based in Abo Akademi, Finland.

Professor Goldman

Professor Ari L. Goldman, a former religion correspondent for The New York Times, has been teaching the “Covering Religion” seminar at Columbia since 1993. This year’s study-tour to India is the 17th he’s led with Columbia students. In past years, the class has gone to Russia, Ukraine, Italy, Ireland, Israel, Jordan and the West Bank. Professor Goldman was born in Hartford, Conn., and was educated at Yeshiva University, Columbia and Harvard.  He is the author of four books, including the best-selling The Search for God at Harvard. His new book, The Late Starters Orchestra, was published in June 2014.

Professor Trivedi

Yogi Trivedi is Adjunct Professor in the Graduate School of Journalism and a doctoral candidate in the Department of Religion at Columbia University. Prior to pursuing his academic interests, he worked as a broadcast journalist in New York City at CBS News and NY1 News. His project focuses on the bhakti poetry and music of North Indian devotional traditions in eighteenth and nineteenth century Gujarat, specifically the Swaminarayan Sampraday. His doctoral project is enhanced by his experience and training as a lecturer and performer of bhakti poetry and classical, devotional North Indian music. He has trained with various classical and folk musicians such as Padma Vibhushan Pandit Jasraj and Gujarati ghazal maestro Purushottam Upadhyaya. His recent books include the first-ever English hagiography of Swaminarayan, and an edited volume on the Swaminarayan community’s history, art and architecture.

Paresh Parekh

Paresh Parekh is the founder and director of the Sort India Enviro Solutions Limited, a recovered paper industry that he founded in 2010. Previously, his jobs have included working for the waste management industry in Europe, Consultant for the Municipality of Mexico City and in various roles in the UK and EU. He has taken a research- and analysis-first approach to his work in order to understand Indian demography, problems and solutions.  He believes in taking advantages of inefficiencies in current models of operation when launching new business ventures. His goal is to create one million jobs in India in the waste management industry. He is serving on this trip as an Indian fixer.