STREAM Youth Theology Institute at VUU
Meet our 2019 Resident Mentors and STREAM Intern!
Find out why our RMs are excited about STREAM this summer!
Aria Kirkland-Harris is a freelance strategy consultant for faith-based institutions that are working to transform communities through affordable housing, education, and community health initiatives. She currently lives in Richmond, VA where she is a seminarian at the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University and a residential staff person at Richmond Hill, an intentional Christian community and urban retreat center within the setting of a historic monastery. In her free time, Aria likes to explore different parts of the world through contemplative pilgrimages and retreats. She also enjoys outdoor music, food, and art festivals and recently discovered a love for hiking.
She is currently a student of the Samuel Dewitt Proctor School of Theology and serve as a Associate Minister at Rock Creek Baptist Church in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. She currently work in admissions at Rock Creek Christian Academy. Walking alongside youth/young adults in their walk with Christ is a great passion of hers. She is very excited to be a Resident Mentor this year for the STREAM Program. Having the opportunity to not only pour into young adults, but learning from them as well, will be a week well spent. She looks forward to making the new connections and seeing what God will do through all of us!
Nathanael Blessington Thadikonda refers to himself as an ambassador for Christ; he is an international student from India presently serving as a Pastor for International Ministries at Deep Run Baptist Church, Richmond, Virginia. Born as a fifth generation to a Christian missionary family which worked with American Baptist Missionaries in the late 1800’s in South India; he is passionate about serving youth, providing pastoral care, embodying God’s mission, and Christian Education. Creative writing has been his passion that he learnt from his father and is mastering the art with the help of his professors at BTSR & STVU. He has widely travelled across the globe and is well connected to more than a dozen countries. These International experiences are built into the DNA of who he is and how he experiences the Love of God through those divine encounters.
Rev. Vernon is a native of Newport News, VA. A graduate of Thomas Nelson Community College, Old Dominion University and a 2013 graduate of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University with the Master of Divinity degree. Also, he was a 2017 Fellow of the Princeton Theological Seminary’s Black Theology and Leadership Institute, where they focused on Social Justice. Rev. Vernon was licensed and ordained at the Ivy Baptist Church in Newport News, where had the esteemed distinction of being the first full time youth pastor. He has also served at the First Baptist Church Mahan in Suffolk and is currently one of the two Senior Associate Ministers’ at the Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Temple in Hampton, VA. Rev. Vernon is professionally a fourth grade teacher in the Newport News Public School district, who brings over 20 years of experience in the area of youth development. Lastly, but not least Rev. Vernon is the proud father of a four year old who bears his name as Vernon II.
Kennard Jones - STREAM Intern
A native of Virginia, Kennard Nicolas Jones, was born December 10th, 1997. Once his family transitioned from Virginia to Maryland, he began to walk in the path that the Lord set for him. Kennard was licensed to preach the gospel in June of 2015 at the age of seventeen. He currently serves as the youth minister of the House of Hope Praise Ministries in Clinton, MD. Kennard currently attends Virginia Union University where he majors in Psychology. He is a part of various organizations on campus such as Campus Ministry and he serves as the vice president of the Psychology National Honors Society of Virginia Union University. Kennard is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated.
Adrena Johnson - STREAM Ambassador
Adrena Johnson is a former STREAM scholar class of 2018. She is eighteen and was raised in Richmond, Virginia where her home church Pilgrim Journey Baptist Church resides. In June of this year she graduated from JR Tucker high school and I plan attend college this fall. She will be attending Mary Baldwin University. She enjoys writing poetry, being creative, athletic, and a server of Christ. She is truly excited and grateful that I am able to return to the STREAM program this summer. She is even more thankful that she is returning as an aid to the program instead of a scholar. It is truly a reflection of what she embodies and what she can grow into. The goal for her is apply the same ideals that she learns from the program last year, into this year’s group of scholars.
STREAM was a push for her to create a student organization called The First Generation at her school. STREAM’s placed ideals that helped her form the organization and embody leadership. She describes the environment as peaceful yet engaging, while they were learning. STREAM furthered her. For example, when she had her first organizational meeting, she sought to embody the STREAM experience with her peers.