November 21, 2021
Cole Cecil and Kezia Walker-Cecil
Cole was born and raised in Keokuk, Iowa. When he transferred to the University of Iowa from Southeastern Community College’s Keokuk campus, he moved to Iowa City, and has lived here ever since. Cole grew up in a conservative evangelical Christian environment, but now considers himself to be atheist/humanist. He works at Pearson as a senior software developer, and he organizes both the Iowa City Game Development Meetup, and a Discord community for neurodivergent adults. Cole recently found out about being neurodivergent (autistic, ADHD, and OCD) over the past few years, but he now sees it as an important and positive part of his identity. His hobbies include playing and making video games, spending time with his family and friends and cats, learning, creating things, reading, yoga, and mindfulness meditation.
Kezia is currently working on her Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Iowa. For about a decade, she has been either a lecturer or a teaching assistant in the ESL department and the Linguistics department. She has been actively involved in COGS (Campaign to Organize Graduate Students – UE Local 896) during her time as a graduate student. Kezia’s grad school procrastination go-to is cooking and baking, since she says that unfortunately, grad school has pretty much taken over her life for the last five years.
Cole and Kezia both started attending services at UUS when they were looking for a church that cares deeply about social justice and helping people find ways to be better humans in the world. Cole appreciates the diversity of beliefs at UUS, that we work to help make everyone feel welcome and safe, and the weekly time of spiritual refreshment. Kezia values the openness to have conversations about difficult and important things, and that we are seeking for truth, wherever it may be found. She is looking for a place to learn and a place to rest.
Jennifer L. Day
Jenn is originally from Cedar Rapids and has volunteered and worked in Iowa City for a number of years now. She works in Human Services, focusing on mental health and professional training. Jenn has been attending the UU Buddhist Sangha since last year, and a sense of there community that she would like to make official. She appreciates that UUs often have seriously pondered their spiritual journeys while accepting those with different beliefs. Jenn is hoping to find a supportive and engaged community, to continue her participation in the Buddhist Sangha, and to perhaps sing in the choir. She loves to laugh, loves animals, loves cookies, and enjoys making music.
Donna Kaye Simonton
Donna’s family moved around a lot while she was growing up, so she has lived in Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, and in the Chicago area, as well as Indiana, Maryland, and Washington DC. She came to Iowa just recently to enjoy family, to get away from expressways, and to enjoy the Midwest lifestyle and cost of living. She has been a UU for over forty years, so she’s been part of UU congregations in many communities.
Donna’s career as an operating room nurse and health professions educator led her to start clinical education/simulation centers at University of Illinois, Johns Hopkins, and George Washington University. Alongside that career, she has also enjoyed a musical career as a singer of sacred and choral music, and a UU choir director.
Donna has a strong commitment to Unitarian Universalism, and has taken on leadership in previous congregations, as well as serving on district and regional committees. She also started the Universalist Heritage network. Donna was very happy to find UUS. She hopes to participate here through music, education, denominational affairs, and event planning and support. In her free time she enjoys UU history, fused glass projects, and rescuing dogs.