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Woodenfish Staff 

Kim Dembrosky

HBMLP Program Director

Kim Dembrosky, RN, is an HBMLP '13 alumna.  She has returned as staff every year since, serving as the program's Nurse, Chief of Staff, and now Director.  Kim holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art from Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX. An abstract and conceptual artist, her work focuses on the meditative experiences of daily life, and is strongly influenced by the many things she has learned from living among Chinese Ch'an monastics. She is fascinated by the rich history of Buddhist art, and is particularly delighted to discover the large degree to which monastics embrace and enjoy artistic expression in their daily lives, whether through song, calligraphy, painting, sculpture, or photography.

In addition to her work as an artist, Kim is a Registered Nurse, with over a decade of experience in emergency medicine.  She has worked in a wide variety of settings, from large inner-city trauma hospitals, to making house-calls to patients in remote areas with few resources.  She is happy to lend her medical expertise to the Woodenfish program, supporting the safety and well-being of her students in order to help them enjoy, learn, and get as much as possible out of their journey with HBMLP.

DJ Bellomy

HBMLP Director of Admissions

Eager to flourish in all aspects pertaining to Buddhism, whether knowledge or practices, DJ Bellomy is a 2018 HBMLP alumna who is excited to join our staff. DJ’s propensity for organization and management makes him a valuable asset to our team of Directors. He is currently pursuing a double major in Neuropsychology and Journalism at the University of Texas in Arlington.

As well as being the HBMLP Director of Admissions, DJ is a Nationally Recognized Certified Medical Assistant (NR-CMA) for over seven years. He has an impeccable background ranging from ambulatory services to emergent care. He has established himself in the neurological healthcare community, assisting physicians who specialize in cognitive disorders, memory rehabilitation, and homeopathic alternatives. He hopes to further examine the correlation between such Buddhist Monastic’s practices like meditation and the effects it can have on one’s own cognitive abilities.

Samuel Gorman

Director of Operations

Samuel Gorman is a 2016 HBMLP alumnus and serves as Woodenfish Foundation's Director of Operations.  Deeply fascinated by teaching and learning, Gorman concentrates his effort on creating, organizing, and executing meaningful learning experiences.


Samuel has a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies, with a focus on Education Design and Experiential Learning from Bowling Green State University and has previously worked with the education-based nonprofit, City Year.  Based in Seattle, Samuel is studying monastic life and building a program centered around the intersection of monastic experience and social justice, set to launch in late 2018.

Jacob Musal

Assosciate Director of Operations

Jacob Musal is a 2017 HBMLP alumnus and serves as the Associate Director of Operations for Woodenfish. He is passionate about making tools for self-improvement (specifically meditation practice paired with reflection) accessible to all people. His training is in education, obtaining a B.S. in Secondary Mathematics Education from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. He has studied Buddhist philosophy and meditation for the past 5 years as a regular practitioner.

Musal has designed and performed academic studies and programs focused on meditative practices in a classroom setting- a key interest. He now resides in Seattle, developing the HUB project with Gorman. HUB serves as the base for Woodenfish operations in the U.S and offers a program that bridges adapted monastic living with civic service.

Sean Francis Conway

HBMLP Music and Arts Coordinator

Sean is an HBMLP Alumni that has been in the role of Music and Arts Coordinator for many years at Woodenfish. He is a multi-instrumentalist and composer based in San Diego. He earned his B. A. in jazz composition from Berklee College of Music in 2007. Conway is the founding member of the marching sound collective BOMBSHELL BOOM BOOM (!) and has performed with many notable groups such as The Santa Clara Vanguard, Gamelan Galak Tika, The Mobias Artists Group, Rasa Rasa (Tzadik) and no know (sound band.


He is a music teacher of all ages, he has studied and lived in Nepal, Lituania, China, Indonesia, and a variety of places. His knowledge of musical  theory and creation has been a vital part of the HBMLP programs.

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Trey Wang

Program Management & Conference Coordinator

Trey first joined Woodenfish as a student volunteer. For the past three years, he has been co-coordinating the Buddhism, Science, and Future conferences. He also engages with programming design for summer camps and leads public relation efforts at Woodenfish. In his free time, Trey likes to make oil paintings and read ethnographies. 

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Woodenfish Instructors 

Peter Romaskiewicz, PhD. Candidate

HBMLP Core Instructor; HBMLP Academic Director

Peter Romaskiewicz, currently a PhD candidate at University of California, Santa Barbara, received his BA from Rutgers University and his MA from Columbia University specializing in Buddhist ethics. His current dissertation work explores the medieval “olfactory imagination” of Chinese Buddhism and Daoism by examining the ritual, therapeutic, and symbolic use of aromatics and incense. His eclectic interests have also allowed him to present research on the visual and material spread of Buddhist images to the West and on university pedagogy in religious studies. As a doctoral student he has taught religious studies courses at UCSB and Ventura Community College and since 2012 has taught first-year Composition and Rhetoric courses at UCSB. More about his research and reflections on teaching can be found at

Peter has been teaching for the Woodenfish Program in a variety of capacities since 2005. A few of his reflections on teaching for the Woodenfish can be found here.

Dr. Karl-Stéphan Bouthillette

HBMLP Core Instructor

Born in Montreal, Karl-Stéphan Bouthillette is what he likes to call ‘French-Canadian’: a Québécois. However, his studies have turned him into quite a globetrotter. He obtained his PhD in Indian Philosophies from the Institute for Indology and Tibetology of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, in Munich, Germany, where he was a member of the Distant Worlds: Munich Graduate School for Ancient Studies, in the division researching on 'coexistence'. He received his first M.A. in Sciences of Religions at Laval University, in Quebec City, and his second one in Sanskrit Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, in Delhi. He began his studies with Journalism (Arts and Technologies of Media) in college, and Classical Studies (Ancient Greco-Roman worlds) at the BA level. His current areas of research focus on early developments in Indian philosophical doxography and list-making. He is also theorizing the Indian intellectual dimensions of spiritual life, especially in the scholastic aspect of their expression. In brief, he has taken interest in what he describes as the ‘yoga of reason’, or the ‘path of knowledge’, pursued by the ‘nerds’ among yogis.

A reflection on his teaching experience at Woodenfish can be found here.

Dr. Justin Whitaker

HBMLP Core Instructor

Justin Whitaker is an alumnus of the 2009 Buddhism in China program, taught Buddhist Ethics for the 2010 Whittier College program at Hsi Lai Temple in Los Angeles, and attended the 2010 HBMLP at Fo Guang Shan in Taiwan in 2010. He recently received his PhD candidate at Goldsmiths, University of London in England. He received his Bachelors from the University of Montana in Philosophy and his Masters from Bristol University, England, where he studied Sanskrit and focused on Mahayana Buddhism. His PhD research focuses on comparing the ethics of early Buddhism (Pali texts) and Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). His other interests include Buddhism in the West and issues in mindfulness movement, in particular its early Buddhist origins and secularized implementation in the West. He has taught at the University of Montana, Antioch Education Abroad in Bodhgaya, India, and a number of online college and university courses.

Guttorm Gundersen

HBMLP Core Instructor

Guttorm is a 2013 HBMLP alumni. He came back to staff the program in 2014 and became the program director in 2015 and again acted in this role in 2016 and 2017. He took the initiative for and organized the Dunhuang Buddhist Studies Workshop in 2017. He was also the coordinator for the Buddhism in China programs in 2014 (Tiantai Buddhism) and 2015 (Nirvana Sutra and Dunhuang). He completed his MPhil in East Asian Studies at the University of Oslo, Norway, focusing on TiantaiBuddhist meditation. He has a BA in Development Studies and a BA in Chinese Studies, and has studied at Ryukoku University in Kyoto, Peking University in Beijing and National Taiwan University in Taipei. He also practices regularly in the Dharma Drum Buddhist Order. His Dharma name is Changxian 常現. He can be reached here.

Dr. Mark Blum

2015 Buddhism in China Instructor, UC Berkeley Professor and Shinjo Ito Distinguished Chair in Japanese Studies, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures

Mark Blum, Professor and Shinjo Ito Distinguished Chair in Japanese Studies, received his M.A. in Japanese Literature from UCLA and his Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies in 1990 from the University of California, Berkeley. He specializes in Pure Land Buddhism throughout East Asia, with a focus on the Japanese medieval period. He also works in the area of Japanese Buddhist reponses to modernism, Buddhist conceptions of death in China and Japan, historical consciousness in Buddhist thought, and the impact of the Nirvana Sutra (Mahāparinirvāṇa-sūtra) in East Asian Buddhism. He is the author ofThe Origins and Development of Pure Land Buddhism (2002), and co-editor of Rennyo and the Roots of Modern Japanese Buddhism (2005) and Cultivating Spirituality (2011), and his translation from Chinese ofThe Nirvana Sutra: Volume 1 (2013). He is currently working on completing Think Buddha, Say Buddha: a history of nenbutsu thought, practice, and culture.

Dr. Sarah Fraser

2017 Dunhuang Workshop Instructor, Professor, Chinese Art History, Heidelberg University

Dr. Sarah Fraser received her PhD from The University of California, Berkeley with the dissertation The Artist's Practice in Tang Dynasty China, 8th-10th Centuries. She was at Northwestern University in the Department of Art History
from 1996 to 2012; acting as Associate Professor (2002 – 2012). Assistant Professor (1996 – 2002). Tenured June 2002; Department Chair, 2003; 2004 – 2007. She also established graduate and undergraduate curriculum in Asian Art History.


Since 2012, Dr. Fraser has been the Chair of Chinese Art History at Heidelberg University. Additionally, she has acted as Director, Institute of East Asian Art History at Heidelberg University, since Fall 2013. Her publications include Performing the Visual: The Practice of Buddhist Wall Painting in China and Central Asia, Stanford University Press; 2004, A study of medieval Chinese wall painting, workshop production, and artistic performance in aesthetic theory and currently in progress is How Chinese Art Became Chinese: War, Archaeology, and the Refashioning of Sino-Modernity (1928-1945).

Dr. Stephen Teiser

2017 Dunhuang Workshop Instructor, Princeton University, Department of Religion, Director, East Asian Studies

Professor Teiser has received research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange, and Princeton University. He started teaching at Princeton in 1988; before that he held teaching positions at Middlebury College and the University of Southern California. In 1996 he was Visiting Associate Professor in the Quatrième Section (Sciences Historiques et Philologiques) of the École pratique des Hautes Études (Paris). He works closely with scholars in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and Europe.


The Tibet Site Seminar was a four-year project designed for Ph.D. students in the fields of Art History and Buddhist Studies. Under Professor Teiser's direction, an international faculty from different disciplines taught twelve students in central and western Tibet for one month in the summer of 2007. A public conference presenting graduate student research was held in March of 2008. Teiser secured funding for the project from the Henry Luce Foundation, the Silkroad Foundation, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, and several programs and centers at Princeton University.


Stephen F. Teiser is active in several publication projects in the field of Asian religion. He is the Chief Editor of the book series entitled Buddhisms (beginning in 1998), sponsored by Princeton University Press and University of California Press, which emphasizes new theoretical approaches and the gleaning of broader lessons from the interpretation of local Buddhist practice. He is also editor of a new series designed to further the teaching of Buddhist literature at the undergraduate level. Entitled Columbia Readings of Buddhist Literature, the series is sponsored by Columbia University Press. The first volume in the series, co-edited by Teiser and Jacqueline I. Stone, is Readings of the Lotus Sūtra (2009).


Teiser is an Honorary Professor at Dharma Drum University (Taipei), and between 2008 and 2010 is Visiting Chair Professor, Institute of History, Capital Normal University (Beijing). In 2008 he was Distinguished Visiting Professor at the International Summer Institute of Seoul National University. At Princeton he currently serves as Director of the Program in East Asian Studies.

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