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Meet the Board

We are a volunteer Board of Directors working to serve the interests of creating LGBTQ community in our UU Congregations.
Stop by and see us at Creating Change or General Assembly and meet our current Board Members!

Interweave Board Members
Left to right: Nisco Junkins, J. David Macey, Valerie White, Maryka Bhattacharyya, Tova Vitiello, Michelle LaGrave

President: Maryka Bhattacharyya, North Augusta SC

(Contact Maryka)

marykaMy parents came to the US from Holland as newly-weds in February 1940. I grew up as the middle child and only daughter of Mia and Carel Horsting. Both my older brother Eric and my younger brother Paul were English majors, while I became a scientist – a bit of gender role reversal.

I obtained a BS in chemistry at Jackson College, Tufts University and a PhD in biochemistry at University of Wisconsin/Madison. During my 35 years as a research scientist at Argonne National Laboratory in the Chicago area, I rose to Senior Scientist, received the highest award for research at Argonne and an award as Outstanding Mentor from the Department of Energy, having guided the research of more than 60 students and faculty and published more than 80 articles in peer-reviewed journals.

My husband Samit was born in India and came to the US after getting his undergraduate degree in India. We met in graduate school and have a son, Roby. Sam and I recently moved to North Augusta, SC.

I am currently trying to re-start my career as Professor of Medicine at Georgia Health Sciences University/Medical College of Georgia. My research focuses on environmental causes of osteoporosis, in particular the metal, cadmium. My appointment at GHSU is half-time, and I know that retirement is ahead – I just don’t know when. I still have places to go and things to do, including playing a lot of tennis!

I fell in love with the DuPage Unitarian Universalist Church (DUUC) in Naperville IL when I was looking for a church home in the late 1970s. I served as member and Chair of the Sunday Services Committee, Head of the Welcoming Congregation Task Force, and Chair of our Interweave Committee, once our congregation achieved Welcoming status. I loved my ~10 years of investment in working with and supporting the BGLTQ community at DUUC, in Naperville, and in the state capital of Springfield, IL. I learned so much about myself and what it is to be human, and I love the broad spectrum of diversity that opened up to me.

Now that I am in South Carolina, I have joined the Church of the Larger Fellowship and am still learning to make my way around there. I am very happy to be President of the Board of Interweave Continental and staying in touch with the UU community. We have much important work to do together!

Secretary: J David Macey, Oklahoma City OK

David Macey is a resident of Oklahoma City and a member of the First Unitarian Church of Oklahoma City and of the Oklahoma City Interweave chapter, which he helped to establish.··He has served as a member of First Unitarian’s Board of Trustees and is currently a member of the congregation’s personnel committee.

DaveDavid also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Cimarron Alliance, the major non-profit educational and advocacy organization within Oklahoma City’s BGLT community, and he is a member of the independent city-wide task force that is developing strategies to meet the needs of homeless BGLTQ youth and young adults in Oklahoma City.· A past recipient of the Cimarron Alliance’s Torch Award for leadership in the BGLT community, David also helped to establish Oklahoma City Youth United, a citywide BGLTQA youth group.

David has been an openly gay educator for almost twenty years and is currently a professor of English and the chairperson of the Department of English at the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO), where he also serves as faculty advisor to GATE, the campus BGLTQA alliance.· He co-founded and helps to coordinate UCO’s Safe Zone Ally Program, and he has served as chairperson of the University of Puget Sound (UPS)’s Committee on Diversity and as a member of the advisory boards for UPS’s interdisciplinary women's studies and honors programs.· David is a member both of the editorial board of the scholarly journal Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture and, at UCO, of the Provost's Diversity Action Team.

A graduate of Yale (A.B., 1988), Brown (A.M., 1994) and Vanderbilt (M.A., 1994; Ph.D., 1998) Universities, David teaches courses on Restoration and eighteenth-century British literature, BGLT literature, popular fiction, and literary and critical theory.·He was coeditor of the five-volume Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature, and he has published articles and presented papers at national conferences on eighteenth-century Utopian fiction, the transformation of Classical motifs in Renaissance poetry, and the representation of sexuality and gender in literature and film, among other topics.

Treasurer: Valerie White, Sharon MA

Valerie WhiteValerie White was adjunct professor of legal writing at the Massachusetts School of Law and is now volunteer executive director of the Sexual Freedom Legal Defense and Education Fund. Formerly a lawyer in private practice in Vermont for fourteen years, she has held administrative positions at battered women's shelters, and was director of program development at Boston Alcohol and Substance Abuse Programs, Inc. She lives outside Boston.

Valerie also wears the hat of Humanist minister, ordained by the Humanist Society, of which she was formerly board president. The Humanist Society is a subsidiary of the American Humanist Association, of which Valerie White was formerly board vice-president.  She was also a consulting editor of "The Humanist" magazine.

Valerie White also served on the boards of the Church of the Larger Fellowship and Unitarian Universalists for Jewish Awareness, and was the first president of Unitarian Universalists for Polyamory Awareness.  She serves on the coordinating council of Family Tree . She has been president of her UU congregation, the Unitarian Church of Sharon, and of the Vermont ACLU affiliate.  She was former council co-chair and Freethinker of the Year of the Freedom from Religion Foundation

Valerie enjoys sailing, contra dancing, horseback riding, music, science fiction and writing (professional articles, prose, fiction, and poetry). Her writing has appeared in fifteen different magazines, newsletters, and newspapers, including the Vermont Bar Association Journal, Loving More and The Humanist, and she writes a regular column for the Secular Organizations for SobrietyInternational Newsletter.  She serves SOS's advisory council and the advisory council of the Institute for 21st Century Relationships.

Board Member: Nisco Junkins, Eugene OR

Nisco JunkinsNisco Junkins and her wife Marilyn have been instrumental in starting and maintaining the only active Oregon Interweave chapter at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene (UUCE). UUCE’s Interweave chapter has met with a potluck, movie and discussion on LGBT issues every second Friday for six years. These meetings serve as both education and outreach to the local LGBT and straight community, attracting some community members to join UUCE as a result. As a result of consistent advertising, 25 to 35 people attend each meeting from both UUCE and local community members from the Eugene/Springfield area.

Nisco is very excited about recruiting more UU churches to start Interweave chapters and raising the necessary funds to enable Interweave Continental to do their good work.



 Board Member: Rev Michelle LaGrave, Petersham MA

rev. Michellela Grave
·Rev Michelle currently serves the First Congregational Parish, Unitarian in Petersham, Massachusetts, as its Developmental Minister; a short-term ministry focused on supporting a small, rural congregation in meeting its developmental goals. She received a Master of Divinity degree from Andover Newton Theological School in 2010. Prior to pursuing her calling to ministry, Michelle worked in a variety of non-profit early education, museum, and hospice settings. She also holds a MS degree in early childhood education, child development, and leadership from Wheelock College and a BA degree in history and anthropology from Connecticut College. Rev Michelle sees her calling to ministry as a natural culmination of her life’s interest in working with and empowering people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds.

Rev Michelle met her lifelong partner in seminary when they found themselves in the same pastoral care for GLBT people class. They remained together through the trials and tribulations of her partner’s transition from female to male. Michelle and Micah were married last summer in a joyous celebration on the beach. They now live in Petersham with their FIV+ foster cat, Tommy and their dog, Naomi. Michelle sits on the steering committee of TRUUST (transgender religious UUs together) and is ever-willing to speak out about her experiences in living the queer/ transgender life.

Board Member: Tova Vitiello, Iowa City IA

Tova VitelloTova Vitiello moved from New Jersey to Iowa City, Iowa in order to attend graduate school. She is a retired psychology professor and therapist. She is also a published poet. At age fifty-nine, Tova hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. She was a co-founder of Lesbian Alliance, and an active member of New Jewish Agenda and Women Against Racism. Presently, Tova is co-chair of Interweave at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Iowa City. She enjoys kayaking, tennis, and the children in her life.








Last Modified: 20 Apr 2012