The Rev. Dr. Rio grew up just outside Asheville, NC, and lived most her adult life in Asheville. Currently, she lives in Greensboro.
She came to Salem after being a campus minister at the University of North Carolina at Asheville for seven years and then at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro for two years. She was interested in continuing to work in ministry with college students, but she wanted to work at a small liberal arts school. 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. The Moravian heritage is crucial in understanding the mission of Salem, and a primary reason she wanted to work here.
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.
Her 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 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.
Advice for prospective religion students: religion and the spiritual journey touch all aspects of life around the globe. So much of what takes place in our world is intertwined with these areas. 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.