Rev. Dr. Rio came to Salem after being a campus minister at the University of North Carolina at Asheville and at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is especially interested in working with young women and helping them explore various aspects of religion and women’s spirituality, and Salem is a perfect place to do that. Spirituality is a vital aspect of personal young adult development, and Rev. Dr. Rio is excited to help support students in the great diversity of ways they engage with spirituality. The strengths of a women’s college are that women are able to be leaders in all areas of campus, and especially able to explore aspects of being a woman that might be overlooked elsewhere (such as women’s spirituality). This is also a place where we can explore the status of women in our society and globally, and discuss concrete ways to improve the lives of women around the world.
Rev. Dr. Rio’s global experiences include her doctoral work having a focus on Celtic spirituality. She had the opportunity to travel to Iona, Scotland, and explore the center of Celtic spirituality. Her global work continues with interfaith work, and finding modes of engagement with all the world’s religions.
Her primary research interests are women’s spirituality, Celtic spirituality, and interfaith work. Her essay - “I always wanted to be Julia Sugarbaker” - was published in Courageous Spirit: Voices from Women in Ministry and a chapter on Spiritual Development of College Students was published in To Transform the World: Vital United Methodist Campus Ministry. She writes for Convergence on Campus (www.convergenceoncampus.org) as a regular contributor, and most recently had a book review of The Resilience of Religion in American Higher Education published.
Advice for prospective religion students: Learning about the religions of the world and how a person follows a spiritual journey provides invaluable insight. It is a fascinating and broad-based study which is an excellent foundation for any profession to which one is called.
Madeleine L’Engle is her favorite author. The way she viewed the spiritual journey and intertwined it with good fiction has always been an inspiration, in addition to her non-fiction writing on spirituality.
Dance of the Spirit: The Seven Steps of Women’s Spirituality by Maria Harris is a book she would recommend to students.
The Rev. Dr. Rio has two young adult children - Caleb and Ava.