Pastor Susan Mercer | she/her
Hi! Welcome to Wesley KU at Westwood House! As pastor, I have the privilege of walking with students during one of the most important and exciting times of life. Most of all, I love helping students discover and explore their gifts. Watching students become confident and creative leaders is THE BEST! I promise there is a way for you to make a difference at KU while you are here. Let’s explore it together!
I started this journey with Wesley KU in 2016 as we were re-establishing this ministry here. We want to make sure every student knows they are loved by God — no exceptions, and that they are welcome and celebrated at Wesley KU. I am a pastor in the United Methodist Church and am completing my Master of Divinity through Drew Theological School at Drew University. I’m married to Jack and we have two grown children. In my spare time, I love spending time in the backyard my husband, Jack and I are creating together. You’re most likely to find me either around a fire or enjoying a hang. (I think our Boston Terrier, Leo (short for Leonardo da Vinci) enjoys the hammock almost as much!)
Amarais Towle | she/her
Hello, I’m Amarais Towle. I graduated from KU in the spring of 2020 with a Bachelor of Social Welfare and minors in Spanish and Metalsmithing. I am currently the Connections Minister for Wesley KU. I handle most of our day-to-day activities at the Westwood House and empower our student leaders as they lead our ministries. When I’m not working, I love to be out in nature, kayak and do art.
My favorite thing about Westwood House is our dedication to loving everybody NO EXCEPTIONS!
Zyrie Berry-Hendricks | he/him
I’m a Social Worker with special interests in research, statistics, and gender equity. I have worked for several international organizations, such as UNICEF and TPO Uganda, creating and implementing programs that involve child protection, gender-based violence prevention, and suicide awareness. Here in Kansas, I have worked with many organizations, including SAPEC, African and African American Studies, and the School of Social Welfare to create spaces for students of color and organize around their needs on campus. Having graduated from the University of Kansas in 2020, I am passionate about the issues facing students, with an emphasis on the needs of marginalized communities and communities of color within the city of Lawrence.
Currently, I am working on a project to uplift and support these very students, helping create a space for their issues to be heard, and leveraging resources to actualize the solutions to complex campus conversations involving race and diversity.
Grace Woods | she/her
Hey, everyone! I’m Grace Woods, the Communications Coordinator at Westwood House. After graduating from KU in the spring of 2020, I began seminary at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. I still get to serve Westwood House remotely by assisting with our online presence. I have a deep passion for Taco Bell, hiking, and my dog nieces.
My favorite thing about Westwood House is our way of loving on others. We are here to serve, feed, listen, and help students no matter what. It has been a cornerstone for my faith as I journey into adulthood, and I am forever grateful for my Westwood House community.
Josh Perez | he/him
Hey, what’s up, hello! I’m Josh Young and I serve as one of our many interns at Westwood House. While, I don’t have a specified ministry, I love helping out the other interns as well as Pastor Susan and Amarais with their respective work around and outside of the House. Thus far I have loved connecting with students and the Lawrence community through our coffee ministries and serving the local churches. I love that Westwood House empowers me and the other students to serve others, as I believe that is our greatest calling.
Outside of the internship, I’m a Sophomore at KU studying Microbiology and Spanish. I have a love of hiking, fishing, kayaking, and—most of all—snowboarding. I have a deep love and respect for coffee of all kinds, and I recently got a mullet, which may manifest itself into a full-time personality trait.
Ji Perez | he/they
Hello! My name is Anjianie Perez but you can call me Ji! I’m a junior majoring in Music Composition with a minor in French and I am the Prayer Yoga minister here at Westwood House! I love reading, writing, dancing whenever possible, and frequently obsessing over pop culture on social media.
I believe that one of my purposes in life is helping others in any way I can, and I love that Westwood House gives me the opportunity to do that while also giving me the resources to grow as an individual. We’re a safe space for people of all walks of life and all religious backgrounds (including no religious background at all!). I love the community we have here as well as the unlimited assortment of teas to choose from.
Karis Brown | she/they
Worship & Vegans, Veggies & Vibes
Hi there! My name is Karis Brown. I’m the worship leader here, the co-founder of Vegans, Veggies & Vibes, and I design some of the graphics you see on our socials! I’m a senior pursuing a BS in Environmental Studies, with minors in Anthropology and Journalism. I love exploring nature, making art of all forms and speaking in way too many metaphors.
I’m passionate about serving the world and taking care of our community, and my favorite thing about Westwood is that all of us do just that. We truly love everyone here and being in an environment that is so accepting and open has made this (Westwood) House a home for me. I’ve never heard of a church so wholeheartedly accepting the label “gay church” like we have and being a part of such a historic reconciling ministry has led me down a path to keep pursuing social justice and reconciliation for the rest of the world too.
Liz Collins | she/they
Communications & Worship
Hi guys!! My name is Liz Collins and I’m a sophomore majoring in Environmental Studies. I am the media minister here at Westwood House, meaning I assist with slides for worship, our weekly newsletter, and I also am involved in the worship band! Some of my hobbies include reading, embroidery, and D&D, and a fun fact about me is that I love mozzarella sticks!
One of my favorite things about Westwood House is the homey environment they provide. Even though I’ve started my first year of college in a pandemic, Westwood House has been looking for ways to still reach out and help others through many different ministries. It’s a loving, judgment-free space, and I enjoy getting practice my faith here.
Claire Cook | she/her
I’m passionate about connecting with others, and Westwood lets me do just that! I get to meet amazing people from different backgrounds and hear about their interests, goals, & passions. Also, I enjoy and appreciate the constant support from the community!
Hi folks! I’m Claire Cook (she/her) and I’m a senior majoring in astronomy. Here at Westwood House, I have the opportunity to lead the Queer Faith group and be a co-organizer for our annual mission trip. I conduct astronomy research on quasars and in my free time, I enjoy creative writing, cuddling my cats, and grabbing a coffee with friends.
My favorite thing about Westwood House is our warm and vibrant community of folks who want to see this world and the church become a more just, more loving place.
Imaya Figueroa | she/her
Creation Corner & Instagram
Hello! I’m Imaya Figueroa, I’m an intern at Westwood House. I’m a junior at KU studying Mechanical Engineering. My ministry is Creation Corner. Some of my hobbies include crafts like painting and DIY projects, being outdoors, boba, and hanging out/studying with friends.
My favorite thing about Westwood is probably how deeply we care for students and how we are adapting our ministry to fit the needs of the students. 🙂
Adison Hampton | she/her
Coffee House Worship
Hi! My name is Adison Hampton and I’m from Pratt, KS. I am currently a junior studying Music Therapy. At Westwood, I serve as a Ministry Intern & helped co-plan this year’s Virtual Mission Trip. I love thrifting and taking road trips, big or small! (I also just adopted a labradoodle, so my newest hobby is stealing puppy snuggles. 🙂
My favorite thing about Westwood House is the community it offers- hands down the coolest people & the best food!
WeselyKU Board Members
Nick Nolte, Chair
Donna Geisler, Past Chair
Claire Cook, Student Representative
Rev. Larry Fry, Historian
Rev. Kay Scarbrough
Rev. Micki McCorkle, District Superintendent