Faculty For 2019 Online Buddhist Studies

Head Teacher

Ethan Nichtern – See Ethan’s Full Bio at the following link.

Confirmed Guest Lecture Teachers for 2019 include Sharon Salzberg, David Nichtern, Dr. Shanté Smalls, and David Perrin.


Maho Kawachi was born in Shibuya, Tokyo and has always thought of herself as the ultimate city girl, except for the three years when she lived among cows and ever-beer-drinking the OSU students in Columbus, OH. Living and practicing Buddhism in NYC gives her a constant challenge and a golden opportunity to become a good teacher. Her teaching style comes from the Tibetan Buddhism lineage with a modern tweak. She welcomes all sentient beings in her life, especially humans and dogs.

Ellen Scordato is a 2014 graduate of the Interdependence Project Meditation Teacher Training program, where she studied under Ethan Nichtern and Kate Johnson. She currently studies with Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche, in the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, and she has been a Shambhala Guide and Meditation Instructor. Her profession is book publishing, and she currently is the co-owner of Stonesong, a literary agency. A 2005 graduate of Om Yoga Teacher Training, she also holds a Certificate in Teaching ESL from the New School.

Gala Narezo is an artist and educator who specializes in creating platforms for social issues. Using art, design thinking and mindfulness, her work focuses on community engagement and collaborative problem solving. With the conviction that mindfulness is an essential component of social impact design she recently launched mindful+ and is developing workshops, curricula and programs to engage students of all ages in mindful change-making

Evan Wildstein has previously served as a teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition. He began his daily practice in 2010 and was first introduced to meditation in the late 80’s.   Evan also serves on the board of directors at Youth INC (a NYC based non-profit serving underprivileged children) and was recently named board president.  He is also a guest lecturer at the University of Michigan and Yale School of Management in the field of private equity, and led a number of meditation seminars.  He has been a long time student of various forms of martial arts including judo, aikido, and brazilian jiu jitsu.

Meredith Arena is a queer writer and interdisciplinary teaching artist from New York City with 18 years of working with students of all ages in alternative educational environments and in public schools. She began meditating and studying Buddhism in 2008 at the Interdependence Project NYC. She has practiced with at IMS, Seattle Insight Meditation, Shambhala and POCAS (POC and allies sangha). In 2011, she completed the Interdependence Project’s year-long Mediation Teacher Training Program. She then moved to Seattle and began a satellite of the Interdependence Project, which she facilitated until 2018. She is committed to an engaged Buddhist practice that dismantles internal and external racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and ableism. Some of the teachers who inspire her are Bonnie Duran, Pema Chödron, Anushka Fernandopulle, Sharon Salzberg, Reverend Angel Kyodo Williams, Augusto Boal,  Paulo Freire, bell hooks, Joy Harjo and Audre Lorde.

Joy Gutierrez is a member and practitioner of Shambhala NYC. Committed to building collective inclusion of the community’s LGBT and people of color, Joy serves as a co-facilitator for the Race/Racism/Racial Inequality Group, and also co-teaches with Queer Dharma at the LGBT Center.  She completed “Teaching Mindfulness 200-Hour” training program in 2018 (taught by Ethan Nichtern, Shante Smalls and David Perrin). In her professional life, Joy is helping to create public spaces in all five boroughs with the NYC Parks Department as an architect and urban designer.