School of Theology and Spiritual Studies —
Explore Summit University's new online programs: Ministerial Studies, Leadership Studies and General Studies.
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At Summit University we like to say that the ascended masters are the true teachers. Their teachings are incorporated into the curriculum to provide the best possible spiritual perspective and understanding.
Our online courses are taught by experienced SU instructors who participate in the course design process and are trained to provide excellent student guidance and support. Many instructors hold advanced degrees and/or are ordained ministers of Church Universal and Triumphant.
Justina Torres, Dean of Summit University
Justina Torres studied architecture at Montana State University, earning a B.A. in Environmental Design and a Master of Architecture degree. Her lab and teaching assistant work in college gave her an opportunity to learn about the practical application of sustainability concepts in architecture. As part of her studies, she worked on designs for two real-world projects, including a Sherpa climbing school building in Phortse, Nepal. During her studies, she also developed an interest in religious architecture, which culminated in her masters thesis on interfaith sacred space.
In 2010, after graduating, Justina joined the Summit University Team, where she worked as web coordinator, curriculum developer, and later the assistant director. She was promoted to Summit University Manager and Dean of the online school in 2021. Justina’s passion for the ascended master vision for an accredited college fuels her work.
In 2016, Justina graduated from Summit University’s Ministering Servant Certificate Program. She now serves as a Lay Sister in Church Universal and Triumphant and supports her local teaching center community near her home in Chicago.
When not at her computer, Justina loves exploring the great outdoors with her husband and son. She enjoys traveling and participating in water activities like swimming and kayaking. Her other passion is asking questions—so as to better understand the nature of God and the deeper mysteries of life.
Born and raised in Sweden, Anneli Boston studied theater in Sweden and London, England. She received a diploma from Mountview Theater School and Desmond Jones School of Mime and pursued a career as a professional actor. She also studied English at Sussex University and worked as a teacher in adult education.
A teacher at heart, Anneli moved to the USA where she studied Montessori and received a diploma from the Pan American Montessori institute and worked as a Montessori teacher for over 30 years, including at Montessori International, ran her own school, wrote plays and songs for children, and worked as a Montessori teacher trainer/examiner and Kindermusik teacher.
As a Creative Director at Pegasus Business Visions, Anneli composed and produced two CD’s: “Celebrate Family”—a compilation of songs based on true stories from friends and family. She also created and presented music workshops on The Science and Power of Music.
With her love for the theater, she taught drama and directed Shakespeare plays at Thomas Moore School. As a Co-Owner of Paradise Theater Guild she is a co-writer, producer and director of theatrical productions.
Anneli is a voice and speech coach and is a lay sister of Church Universal and Triumphant. She loves the outdoors, spending time with her two children and supporting her spiritual community in every way she can.
Karen Brewer earned a B.A. in political science from the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL. After working for local government as a consumer education instructor, she joined Summit University Press in 1979 as a research assistant working on lectures and publications. In 1988, she moved with her young family to Minneapolis and worked for 25 years as a legal assistant in real estate. During these years she served on the board at the Minneapolis Teaching Center. Her interest in music culminated in the presentation of a series of music workshops on the science of sound, music and spirituality. Prior to legal work, she worked in the healthcare software industry as a technical writer and executive assistant.
In 2005, Karen began volunteering for Summit University as a local seminar coordinator. In 2016, she joined Summit University as Registrar and became a lay sister in Church Universal and Triumphant. More recently, she serves as an SU Online instructor. Together with her husband David and son Mark (the youngest of her three children and one step-daughter), she enjoys hiking the beautiful trails in Montana, traveling and being with family.
Rev. Deirdre J. Burrell was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. At the age of fourteen she began to travel internationally and discovered that as life had much to offer her, her true calling would be service to life. Her childhood dream was to become a missionary doctor.
Her career path has been that of an educator, trainer, police officer, television and radio personality and a holistic healthcare provider, receiving advanced degrees in Traditional Chinese Medicine and numerous awards and honors of distinction for her dedicated service. One of her greatest joys was assisting a distraught mother in saving her three-month old baby’s life over a 9-1-1 call as a 9-1-1 Chicago Police dispatcher.
She served on the Chicago Teaching Center’s Board of Trustees for eleven years, including as Co-Vice President and Co-President.
In her 27-year career as an acupuncturist, Deirdre felt the inner nudging towards the ministry and completed her ministerial training through Summit University. Deirdre currently works as Ministerial Assistant in the office of Ministry of Church University and Triumphant.
Deirdre published two books and a journal for self-help. She and her daughter reside in Gardiner, Montana, where they enjoy photography and painting in their spare time.
Rooted in servant leadership, Rev. Rose Gadigian brings over 25 years of experience to the field of leadership and team building.
The youngest of three children she developed a love for team work and competitive sports from her two older brothers who supported her participation in high school field hockey, basketball, and tennis competitions. After graduation from high school, she attended Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan where she earned a B.S. in Physical Education. Following the adoption of her son, Eric, she received a M.A. in Secondary Guidance and Counseling from Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.
A transformative spiritual experience enriched Rose’s natural leadership, mentoring, and counseling skills. Listening to the still small voice in her heart, she entering the ministry and became an ordained minister of Church Universal and Triumphant.
Rose has served in numerous non-profit executive leadership roles—President of the Minneapolis/Saint Paul Teaching Center, Treasurer of The Community Adoption Agency and member of the Board of Directors of her church. She is currently a member of her church’s Council of Elders. Dedicated to the care of children, she is a volunteer with CASA, a non-profit organization dedicated to child advocacy.
From her home in rural Montana, Rose spends her leisure hours walking her Golden Doodle, Lotus, blogging, and helping others to grow professionally and spiritually.
Born and raised in Holland, Rev. Carla Groenewegen holds a Dutch doctoral degree (Drs) in Cultural Anthropology from Leiden University, with specializations in religious studies and the ethnography of Oceania. Concurrently she explored a variety of esoteric philosophies, including Rosicrucianism and Theosophy.
Following her graduation she founded a small publishing house in Amsterdam, Amethyst Press, which she directed until immigrating to the United States. She also worked as a free-lance translator.
She has lectured extensively on spiritual topics and conducted seminars and workshops in the USA as well as in Europe, Canada, Central and South America and Australia. Employed in Summit University since 1990 and serving as its director 1999-2020, she developed numerous courses and co-authored two text books published by Summit University Press. She also spearheaded the development of Summit University’s School of Theology and Spiritual Studies. In addition to teaching classes, she now serves as a consultant for the team.
Carla loves writing, hiking, kayaking and gardening and serves her church as an ordained minister. In 2004, she became a proud new citizen of the USA.
Rev. Susan Kulp serves as a core faculty member in the School of Theology and Spiritual Studies. She brings to Summit University Online 23 years of experience as an administrator and instructor at Summit University and years of one-on-one training with Elizabeth Clare Prophet.
Raised in a family that travelled extensively, Susan’s interests are widespread. She enjoys ministering to people of all backgrounds, and is always up for a good conversation about politics, healing, or just the practical side of life.
Susan’s passion is to assist students to connect to their inner leader and to assist Summit University to fulfill its mission of offering a unique education that is imbued with divine understanding as taught by Mark and Elizabeth Prophet and the great sages of East and West. She has led seminars and workshops in the United States and in South America and has co-authored a textbook published by Summit University Press. She currently involved in course design and facilitating online courses.
Susan holds a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin and a M.A. in Psychology/Counseling from Central Michigan University. She is an ordained minister of Church Universal and Triumphant.
Janet Nordemann earned her BS in sociology and education and M. Ed. in elementary education. She holds an AMS Montessori Elementary certificate, Gifted Education certificate and National Board certification. Janet recently retired from teaching in the elementary classroom after devoting forty years to a career that she thoroughly enjoyed.
Janet now devotes her time to writing children’s stories for her church’s Sunday services, presenting webinars on educational topics, and working for Summit University. She has an extensive background in presenting various workshops on such topics as the Montessori curriculum, Spalding Reading, accelerated learning, gifted education and comedy in the classroom. She even had the opportunity to travel to Russia to present a workshop on the Montessori philosophy.
She is an active member of Toastmasters International. She enjoys giving speeches and listening to others’ presentations. She believes that everyone has a story to tell and that others can benefit from hearing it.
Janet lives in Montana with her husband. She spends her free time writing and reading, going for walks, or watching her hometown St. Louis Cardinals baseball team. She recently discovered the thrill of downhill skiing and hopes to continue this new adventure next winter. She is making her debut in gardening this summer and has high expectations for success. Her greatest joy is studying the teachings of the Ascended Masters.
Patrick Rogers works for Summit University as a seminar coordinator and a contributing writer/editor. He holds a BA in Psychology from Michigan State University, with postgraduate work at the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C. He has worked in print news as a reporter for a daily newspaper, as the editor of a national health publication and as a freelance writer, with extensive published news, editorial and feature stories to his credit. He is the author of two books, Trends and Innovations in Mental Health, and the soon-to-be-released spiritual adventure trilogy. In addition, Patrick has worked in business for 25 years, most recently as a sales manager and top revenue producer for SunWize Power & Battery, a leading solar energy firm.
Destyne Sweeney has a BA in Public Communications from University of Alaska Anchorage, graduating Magna Cum Laude. She has worked in the public communications arena professionally for more than 25 years producing communications for speech, print, television and online media. She grew up in Wyoming and was raised by a family that regularly supported local Toast Masters groups, which inspired her to be involved in public speaking for much of her life. Some of her topics include technology for non-techies, alternative healthcare for frail populations, spirituality and non-fiction, and humor related to senior care.
Her family always included numerous grandparents living in or near the family home. At age 21, she founded a corporation called Golden Age Care (named by her grandmother). Her team worked with pilot programs in the state and at a national level that helped prove the efficacy and financial soundness of home healthcare and early hospital discharge for seniors rather than extended hospitalizations and nursing home stays. The outcomes of this work helped insurance companies and state/federal programs progress towards authorizing coverage for home healthcare in America. She also pioneered sliding fee scales and private subsidy programs that allowed her company to serve lower income clients.
She lives in Pray, Montana, with her husband and teenage daughter (two sons having flown the coop) where they experiment with concepts of permaculture style farming. They also have a senior care cottage on the farm. She has been working and serving in senior care for 36 years.
Thomas Wilk is a retired automotive engineer from Ford Motor Company where he worked for 30 years in Dearborn, Michigan. He has bachelor of science degrees in chemistry and computer science from Michigan Technological University. He has a wife, Mary, and three children.
He joined the Summit University technical support team when its online academic courses were launched in 2013 and became an instructor in 2016. He has been active with The Summit Lighthouse for more than 30 years and during that time he has participated in all forms of outreach.
His hobbies are science and technology—following new inventions coming on the scene. Science fiction, of course, is also a favorite. He is a Star Wars and a Star Trek fan. He is also interested in alternative forms of medicine like foot reflexology, homeopathy, and the macrobiotic diet, and is a health kinesiology practitioner.
Devoted to nurturing the body, mind and spirit as a lifetime pursuit, Candice is passionate about educating and helping others to achieve wholeness. She holds a BA in Nutritional Sciences with a minor degree in psychology from The Evergreen State College. As a Registered Dietitian, Certified Lactation Counselor and Licensed Nutritionist, she integrates functional medicine and holistic healing.
Living in Bozeman, Montana, Candice has a wonderful husband and two amazing sons. Their home is dedicated to spiritual enrichment and a healthy lifestyle. Candice enjoys an active life that includes sharing time with her family, physical fitness, gardening, studying, engaging in spiritual practices and helping her local community.
Candice’s lifelong passions naturally drew her to working as the Family and Youth Team Leader at The Summit Lighthouse. Excited to be a part of this team and organization, she focuses on heart-to-heart connections, parent education and support and creating spiritual resources for children and youth. Several times a year, the team plans and orchestrates events, including workshops, webinars, teen retreats as well as day camps for children. Two Summit University online courses were developed and are being taught by their team: Foundations of a Home-Centered Spiritual Culture and Foundations of Family Ministry.