John guides the overarching vision and strategy for the Stephen & Laurel Brown Foundation, which includes Upper House and Dottie’s Ranch. He loves the entrepreneurial nature of his work and relishes the opportunity to build a healthy organizational culture.
Prior to this role, John served as director for the Center for Integrity in Business at the School of Business, Government, and Economics at Seattle Pacific University and before that, worked with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA as the National Director for Professional Schools Ministries, as well as campus minister at Harvard Business School and National Director for MBA Ministry. Before InterVarsity, John consulted with Hay Group, an international management consulting firm, and served with Bank of America as a real estate lender. John is a graduate of Indiana University (Bloomington), holds an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University), master’s degrees in theology and religion from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. from Seattle Pacific University in industrial and organizational psychology.
John currently serves as a board member for Religion News Service and Religion News Foundation, and he enjoys writing and speaking on issues related to the academy, business, faith, and culture. He and his wife, Vanja, love to travel, read, take long walks, and encourage college students and young professionals in their spiritual journeys. They have one toddler, Elena, who helps John get his recommended 10,000 steps per day.
For Cam, being present at Upper House in this season of life is an opportunity to serve and lead in arenas where his passion burns most bright–art and culture, spiritual formation, and the rich environment of the University of Wisconsin.
Prior to joining our team, Cam completed a ten-year term as the Executive Director of CIVA | Christians in the Visual Arts. Prior to that, he served for thirty years with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship—including an eight-year term as the National Director of InterVarsity’s Graduate & Faculty Ministries. A senior leader, Cam’s many accomplishments include conference director, writer, lecturer, consultant, and visual artist. In 2016, his book, The Faithful Artist: A Vision for Evangelicalism and the Arts, was published by IVP Academic as a volume in their prestigious series Studies in Theology and the Arts. That same year he participated as Senior Scholar in Residence at the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust, a six-month appointment.
Cam holds a B.F.A. in Painting and Drawing from University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, an M.F.A. in Painting and Drawing from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and has completed post-graduate coursework in Art History and Aesthetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He and his wife, Cynthia (C.K.), have two adult children, two grandchildren, and a cocker spaniel named Seamus. They have resided in Madison, Wisconsin since 1986.
Director of Administration
Jean can be found, most often, in her office managing everything from payroll and human resources to making sure that behind-the-scenes organizational nuts and bolts operate smoothly–whatever it takes to welcome and serve our guests. Jean is amazed by God’s leading in her life, especially in this season of closer connections with college students and the University and Madison communities.
She is passionate about helping people grow in their relationship with God, by integrating their faith with all aspects of life, exactly the kinds of opportunities Upper House provides. Jean came to Upper House with many years of experience as a business administrator, first for a private engineering firm and, more recently, for High Point Church.
Jean grew up in Illinois, earned a degree in Environmental Engineering from Northwestern University, then moved to Madison and married Matt, her high school sweetheart and a UW alum. Here in Madison, they have enjoyed a full life, including parenting four (now adult) children. With Matt, Jean enjoys travel, camping and hiking, and every opportunity to spend time outdoors.
Director of Technology and Campus Ministry Engagement
Prior to this role, Daniel served as a Young Life area director in Davenport, Iowa for ten years. And prior to his time in Iowa, he restarted a dormant Young Life ministry in Plano, Texas. Dan has pioneered and led many projects for Young Life across North America and beyond with a focus on communications, social media, and technology needs.
Dan holds a leisure, youth and human services degree from the University of Northern Iowa, and is working toward a graduate degree in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. Originally from the Madison area, Dan grown up in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin. He and his wife, Barbara, have three children–Henry, Lyla, and Eli. He loves all things technological, Wisconsin sports, investing in the lives of young people, and spending time with his family.
Program Curator Team Lead
Prior to this role, Melissa served as the business manager of Inspiring Art by Alex, coordinating art shows, art commissions, product development, and speaking engagements. Previously, Melissa graduated from Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry at Bethel Church in Redding, California, where she assisted with event coordination, project management, and program resource development. While at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota, she worked in the Music Department, providing leadership for community development initiatives, choir retreats, and tours for Bethel’s premier collegiate choir.
Melissa received a B.A. in Communication Arts and Literature Education (5-12) from Bethel University along with teaching licenses in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and California. Melissa is originally from Madison. She loves quality time with family and friends, good coffee, singing, international travel, nonfiction, and local eateries. Melissa is passionate for people to know and experience God and to equip them to be kingdom leaders.
Program Curator for Academic Communities
Dan’s longstanding passion for learning causes him to embrace places like the University of Wisconsin-Madison where world class thinking and teaching prevails. Trained as an historian, his scholarly interests find him pursuing his own research and publishing and venturing into the academy more broadly. Upper House offers him the unique opportunity to do both.
Prior to joining Upper House, Dan held fellowships at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and was a graduate fellow at the Hebrew University-Jerusalem. He has lectured in U.S. History at the University of Wiscsonsin-Madison and written widely on his areas of interest: religion, politics, and the United States in the twentieth century. His book, Covenant Brothers: Evangelicals, Jews, and U.S.-Israeli Relations, was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 2019.
Dan earned a B.A. and M.A. in History from Colorado State University and a Ph.D. in History from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Moving often, Dan calls many places home: Orange County, California; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Fort Collins, Colorado; and, since 2010, Madison. He and his wife, Veronica, enjoy visiting new and old coffee shops in Madison, as well as becoming ever more acclimated to Midwest culture.
Hospitality and Events Coordinator
Rebecca coordinates hospitality and program logistics at Upper House, including anything from giving tours, organizing travel arrangements for speakers, and encouraging volunteers, to curating the perfect hot chocolate bar. She also co-leads the undergraduate intern program and finds great joy in interacting with students. She is best known for walking the most steps around the space to set up for Upper House’s myriad of programs.
Rebecca joined the team at the start of 2018 with excitement to help people pursue truth and integrate faith into each aspect of who they are. Whether addressing race, ethics, or life after college, she is thankful that Upper House gives faith “a seat at the table” in these conversations.
Rebecca received degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in International Studies—Global Security and French, as a Chancellor’s Scholar. Following graduation in 2016, she worked at High Point Church on the administrative team, in the small group ministry, and speaking to various audiences. She continues to serve as High Point’s wedding coordinator.
Cherishing moments of fun and rest, Rebecca enjoys running, Asian food, meaningful conversations, seeing the latest blockbuster, strolling around the Madison Farmers’ Market, and randomly singing wherever she goes.
If Susan were asked to design her dream job, it is what she is doing every day at Upper House. As the communications manager, she is the resident witness and storyteller of the transformative work happening in and through the community.
Prior to joining Upper House, Susan led communication efforts for two federal research projects in K-12 education and family engagement through the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at UW-Madison. She also worked on communication research related to environmental stewardship funded by the USDA. Her work has focused on the different ways program leaders reach out to meet and effectively serve their audiences.
Susan earned her M.A. in mass communication from the University of Denver and a Ph.D. in communication—with an emphasis on information campaigns and diffusion of innovations—from the UW-Madison. She met her husband, Dean, on the stairs of the Communication and Life Sciences Department. During her grad school years, Susan attended InterVarsity Christian Graduate Fellowship and matured in her understanding of Christ’s vibrant love and the intersection of scholarship and faith. Dean and Susan’s daughters, adopted from Ethiopia and China, have been a great source of joy in their lives. Susan credits her family, many friends, and Christ Presbyterian Church with teaching her about the power of authenticity, the grace of God, and the innumerable ways that God draws people into His global family to grow in a love so rich it eludes description.
Upper House Interns
Jack is the Communications Intern on the Upper House Team. With an eye for fonts and graphics, he is adding to Upper House’s social media posts, assisting with event photography, and helping create promotional materials.
A sophomore at UW-Madison, Jack is studying Industrial Engineering in the College of Engineering. Though his long-term engineering plans are wide-open, Jack anticipates eventually going to The University of Chicago for an MBA and working in the engineering field as a consultant.
In addition to interning at Upper House, Jack participates in Helios—a renewable energy campus organization focused on bringing sustainability to campus via a team of student engineers—and a campus ministry, Cru, where he is on the student leadership team. Jack credits Cru with introducing him to Upper House, a place he calls his “home away from home.” He is excited about the unlimited potential of the space and wants to do whatever he can to enable ministries and groups to feel as welcome as he does.
In his spare time, Jack enjoys working on web design projects, biking around town, and looking for new hole-in-the-wall restaurants to try with friends. Also of note, he is a self-proclaimed fanboy of all things Elon Musk.
Event and Administration Intern
The Event and Administration Intern on the Upper House Team, Lynsey handles a very full event portfolio, assisting with logistics, making Excel worksheets, and reconfiguring massive sectional furniture—all with a dash of fun.
A Junior at UW-Madison, Lynsey is studying Management and Human Resources, as well as Religious Studies. On the horizon after graduation in May 2021, Lynsey plans to enter the mission field full-time with Overland Missions.
Lynsey is a leader with Cru. Previously responsible for running and planning weekly meetings, Lynsey now focuses on leading a Bible study in a freshman dorm.
After spending many hours at Upper House for ministry and studying, Lynsey joined the intern team because she appreciates the way the space, guests, and staff combine to create an environment that enables authentic conversation about deeper questions of faith—conversations that potentially support personal and community transformation—two things that really excite her.
When not at Upper House, Lynsey can be found hanging out with the 9 other girls she lives with, jumping around at Badger games, making bubble tea, and joyfully singing praise to the Lord.
An Upper House veteran, Zach has returned to the Upper House Team for a second year as an Event Intern. He assists in handling numerous program details, including arranging event space, creating content for guest interactions, introducing events from stage, and more. Known for his sense of humor, Zach’s brainstorms often generate laughter as well as solid ideas.
A senior in the UW-Madison School of Business, Zach is wrapping up degrees in Marketing and Operations & Technology Management. After graduation, he is looking forward to going to Africa as a full-time missionary and learning as God leads him.
College has been a spiritually formative time for Zach, and the college ministry, Cru, has played a significant role in his growth. During his undergraduate years, he has served as the Community Team Leader (hosting the infamous “Cheese Party”), as well as leading a Bible Study of freshman guys.
In addition to college ministry meetings at Upper House, Zach has spent time in the space for study sessions and building community. The joy fostered in the space (not to mention the swinging chairs) have fueled Zach’s enthusiasm for Upper House.
In his down time, you might catch Zach tossing a frisbee, enjoying coffee shop conversations, or simply meeting someone new. To further impress you, Zach wants you to know he is teaching himself how to play the ukulele.
“Upper House is my second home.” Now in her second stint as an intern dedicated to Hospitality, Arielle is instrumental in creating a welcoming space for guests. She deems hosting people at Upper House a dream job. Volunteer training, food selection, and assisting with event logistics are her forte.
In addition to interning, Arielle volunteers as a barista at A Just Brew (AJB)—a nonprofit student-run coffee shop based at Upper House. AJB focuses on ending human slavery by raising funds for International Justice Mission. (To date, AJB has raised more than $27,000 for human liberation and healing.)
A senior, Arielle plans to graduate from UW-Madison in May 2020 with a degree in Community/Nonprofit Leadership, as well as certificates in Entrepreneurship and Leadership. Along with her hope to open a 24/7 house of prayer in Madison, she dreams of launching her own nonprofit and a coffee shop, plus doing whatever she can to engage others in authentic community by showing the love of God.
When not studying or working, Arielle is often out exploring the coffee scene, hitting the gym, singing at the top of her lungs, traveling with friends, and thrifting. She loves leading worship with her parents and friends, attends City Church in Madison, and is excited to see where God leads her in the next few years.