Meet the Staff
These individuals are around on campus to get coffee or lunch with you, pray for you, talk about life with you or even go to UREC with you! Feel free to call or text them if you want to hang out!
Joe Slater | Campus Minister
Joe was raised in a large family from Arlington, VA, being the baby of 9 kids (both biological and adopted!!!) He graduated from JMU in 1989 with a degree in kinesiology, and married his bride, Terri, a fellow JMU grad in 1989. He went on to teach and coach in Harrisonburg, VA until 1992 and then left to pursue an MDiv from Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, FL from 1992-1996. Joe returned to the ‘burg after graduating seminary and was a youth pastor at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Harrisonburg from 1996-2007 before he accepted the call to be the campus pastor of RUF at JMU. Guess they can’t get rid of him. GO DUKES!!
The Slaters have been blessed with five children (Nathan, Anna, Austin, Iain, and Naomi), and recently a dog, Chiba. Joe loves his family, sports (especially soccer and football, but pretty much all sports), outdoors, good books, good food, and good coffee. You can find Joe running laps around campus because he can’t stay still, or maybe yelling at you during his favorite game of Spot It. #competitive
Cayla Sherrell | Campus Staff
Cayla was born and raised in Northern Virginia, is the youngest of three siblings, and competes with her family dog, Nestle, for attention. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a B.S. in Physics and Sustainability, a major that she created herself because she could not make up her mind. She also minored in Process Management and Consulting, just to really take advantage of that "liberal arts" education. While pursuing these various academic endeavors, Cayla devoted a majority of time to extra curricular activities that included RUF. Through this organization she experienced an outpouring of love through the community that RUF fostered which is centered around the Gospel. Through the relationships with her own interns, and the hunger to continue growing in God's word, Cayla decided to pursue an internship with RUF after graduating in 2016. She’s excited to continue her work with RUF in the role of Campus Staff for the next 3-5 years.
When Cayla is not knitting in a corner alone, she is probably hanging out at a local coffee shop, (where she does not drink coffee) and is hoping for someone to launch into a conversation about the enneagram (she’s a 9w8… so she’s super sorry if you hate the enneagram but like, also not sorry). She also has a passion for dancing and singing, neither of which she does well, but through which will encourage herself and others to be their authentic selves.
Shannon Mann | Intern
Shannon was born and raised in Greensboro, North Carolina where she attended a Christian school from Kindergarten to 8th grade, a performing arts school from 9th to 10th grade, and an early college from 11th to 12th. She graduated in three years from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a B.A. in Middle Grades Education (concentrating in language arts and social studies) and a minor in English. During her time at UNCW, Shannon found authentic Christian community through RUF. The love and truth she experienced from her peers, mentors, and church that she found through RUF drew her closer to Christ and lead her to continue her ministry with RUF at James Madison as an intern.
Shannon loves to nerd out about really anything, but her primary interests include linguistics, church history, C.S. Lewis, and Star Trek. You can find her in your local Barnes and Nobles Starbucks sipping a chai tea latte and listening to an audiobook, looking for a new friend and a lively conversation. She is most amused by cats, Africa by Toto, and a well-formed argument.
Christian McConnon | Intern
Christian McConnon is from Severna Park, Maryland and is a 2018 graduate from the University of Maryland (UMD), College Park. He majored in Philosophy with a concentration in American Studies. While attending UMD, he was an active member and leader in several organizations such as Phi Alpha Delta, Terps Boxing Club, and Young Life College. While in college, he worked as a Certified Operator at a nearby Young Life Camp and was given the opportunity to exercise his passion for leading college students by training and supervising them to work ropes course elements. He enjoys opportunities where he can mentor and provide guidance to young adults. After graduating college, Christian moved to where he currently lives in Winston Salem, NC to enter into a 10 month Christian Leadership Development Program called the Fellows Program, which he recently finished.
Some things that give Christian the deepest joy are discussing topics such as time travel, metaphysics, and epistemology, taking Hot Flow classes at the Y, dogs, consistent sleep cycles, and a nice unsweetened iced green tea from Starbucks. He also enjoys Bon Iver's voice paired with a tasteful guitar solo. He swings between being a 4 and a 7 on the Enneagram and loves to explore the intricacies of the human mind. If he could have one super power, it would be either to know every language, or have the ability to come up with irrefutable arguments.