The University Welcomes New Clergy Members
This semester the University hired two new chaplains, Reverend Tracy Mehr-Muska and Imam Adeel Zeb, to serve as the new Protestant and Muslim chaplains, respectively.
Both Mehr-Muska and Zeb originally chose different career paths before becoming chaplains. Mehr-Muska majored in marine biology at The United States Coast Guard Academy before entering the Coast Guard and serving as part of Deck Watch. She pursued a career in marine science and worked for Tyco Submarine Systems, Ltd. before deciding that she preferred to work in community service, particularly in the context of her church. Mehr-Muska then went on to receive a master’s degree in divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary.
“I found more satisfaction serving a community, as I did with my church,” Mehr-Muska said.
Mehr-Muska said that she firmly believes both science and religion are valid, and she expressed excitement about the possibility of discussing the intersection of the two topics with other members of the University community.
In addition to serving as an associate minister, Mehr-Muska also previously served as Coordinator of Pastoral Care Services and Staff Chaplain at the Hospice of the North Shore in Massachusetts, addressing the spiritual needs of patients from various religious and non-religious backgrounds. Though Mehr-Muska is Presbyterian, her position encompasses all Protestant sects.
Like Mehr-Muska, Zeb did not originally choose faith for his career path, as he was on a pre-med track at college when he experienced what he described as a spiritual awakening.
“I felt that God has called me to come to this type of work and has given me the skill-sets, desire, and work ethic to be proficient in this field of helping others grow spiritually,” Zeb said.
Zeb previously served as the Muslim Chaplain and Imam of American University in Washington, D.C. He graduated from the Hartford Seminary with a master’s in Islamic Chaplaincy. According to a page about him on the University’s website, he has a decade’s worth of experience serving the Muslim-American public.
Both Mehr-Muska and Zeb cited the diversity of the student body in explaining their decision to come to Wesleyan.
“It is a great university that is focused on the students and providing them with enriching campus experiences both domestically and internationally,” Zeb said.
When asked about the difference between serving a congregation and a student population, both chaplains noted that the steady changeover of students prompts the campus ministry to adapt to students’ fluctuating needs.
“Another difference is that in congregations usually the majority of one’s time is spent on members of one’s own faith,” Zeb said. “However, in the university setting, the chaplain is there to help students and faculty of all backgrounds.”
Mehr-Muska spoke of students’ curiosity, extolling their ability to question conventional thought. She encouraged students to explore their own spirituality, whether through attending service, communing with nature, or participating in another activity that might enhance spiritual wellness.
Both Zeb and Mehr-Muska encouraged students to speak with all the chaplains in the University Office of Religious and Spiritual Life (ORSL), regardless of students’ religious affiliations. Additionally, they emphasized that they respect people of all different forms of faith and non-faith.
“My advice would be to come by and visit any or all of the chaplains here at the ORSL,” Zeb said. “We sincerely care about the students and want to see them happy, successful, and at peace with their lives.”