Exciting Update: Formerly Koru Mindfulness, We’re Now the Mindfulness Institute for Emerging Adults (MIEA).

Welcome to the Mindfulness Institute for Emerging Adults!

The name of our organization ("the Center for Koru Mindfulness") is now "Mindfulness Institute for Emerging Adults".

Reasons for the Name Change

  1. Though we love the name “Koru”, it does not serve us well when administrators in higher education - our primary market - see it. It does not make it clear that we are recognized as the primary provider for evidence-based mindfulness training for the population they serve: emerging adults.
  2. We have grown a lot, but there is much more work to do. A name that is more in line with our mission, and doesn’t have to be explained to be understood, will support our growth more broadly.
  3. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we feel a tug of unease about the cultural sensitivity of our name. We occasionally hear from teachers who are fielding questions from students who are concerned about the appropriateness of our use of the word "koru". It is inconsistent with our values to cause harm or discomfort in any way to anyone if we can avoid it. So we feel we need to make an effort to avoid it.

Timeline

Starting August 1, 2023, our organization will be officially known as the "Mindfulness Institute for Emerging Adults". Our curriculum name, "Koru Basic", "Koru 2.0", and "Koru Retreat" is changing to "Intro to Mindfulness", "Intro to Mindfulness, Part 2", and "Intro to Mindfulness Retreat" by January 1, 2024.

What's Not Changing

Our founders, owners, staff, trainers, mission, and vision remain the same. We will continue to offer teacher training and support as always, building a community of teachers and students who embody curiosity and kindness.

Thank you for being part of our journey as we transition to the Mindfulness Institute for Emerging Adults (Formerly known as Koru 😀).

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Animation of an unfurling Fern to show what a Koru is.

About the name "Koru"

"Koru" is the New Zealand Māori word for the spiral shape of the unfurling fern frond. The word literally means "looped" or "spiraled," but the shape symbolizes harmony or balanced growth, representing layered growth around a stable center.

Read a full definition and pronunciation in the Te Aka Māori Dictionary.

Why "Koru"?

Holly lived and worked in New Zealand for two years, where she fell in love with the people, culture, and natural world. While there, she spent many hours in the bush (forest) where the koru are abundant. She chose the koru as the symbol for our program as it perfectly reflects the kind of growth that young adults experience as they begin to develop a mindfulness practice for themselves.

Cultural Appropriation

We are sensitive to concerns of cultural appropriation that can arise when using cultural practices or language from a culture different from one’s own. To address this we have sought advice from friends and colleagues in New Zealand, including individuals who identify as Māori. We have also consulted the Waitangi Tribunal Report, a document that explores Maori cultural claims and discusses the use of taonga (Māori cultural representations), and te reo Māori (the Māori language). The guidelines in the report indicate that concerns only arise if taonga are used in a derogatory manner. We have been advised that our use of the word "koru" is acceptable as it falls clearly into the non-derogatory category.

Cultural appropriation is particularly of concern when cultural representations are used without attributing and honoring the culture from which they come. For this reason, we always reference and honor the Māori roots of the word "koru" when we write or speak about our program.

Book: The Mindful Twenty-Something by Holly Rogers

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Dylan Scott

MIEA Trainer

Dylan Scott was born and raised outside of Philadelphia and completed his B.S. in Exercise Science and Sports Psychology at Ithaca College in 2015. He discovered mindfulness during his time at college in response to a difficult battle with panic attacks. Although there were many resources that helped Dylan through his struggles, mindfulness offered him a unique tool that above all else empowered him to learn to work with panic and anxiety. Upon graduating from Ithaca and moved by his gratitude for mindfulness practice Dylan sought out opportunities to deepen his practice in Philadelphia. This led him to complete classes at Penn and Jefferson University and go on several silent retreats before receiving teacher training at Jefferson and subsequently completing MIEA teacher training in October 2018.

Dylan currently resides in Philadelphia and is a contracted mindfulness teacher with the Myrna Brind Center for Mindfulness at Jefferson. He offers the Koru curriculum to medical students and house staff through the counseling center at Jefferson. When outside of the classroom teaching mindfulness Dylan feeds his passion for music, producing music under the moniker LTMR and developing his own freelance music production business.

Tim Auman, Koru Mindfulness Trainer

Tim Auman

MIEA Trainer

Timothy L. Auman became the University Chaplain to Wake Forest in August of 2003. Tim has over two decades of experience in ministry in higher education, pastoral care, and work with religious, secular, and spiritual identity. At Wake Forest, Tim aims to build relationships amidst difference, and to cultivate healthy contemplative and mindful practices for the transformation of self and world. He previously served as the United Methodist Ecumenical Campus Minister at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and as a pastor of two United Methodist congregations.

Tim created the MindfulWake program at Wake Forest in January of 2017. He began his mindfulness practice in 1985 as a way to reduce stress and credits mindfulness as key to his emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Tim practices in the Plum Village Tradition of Engaged Buddhism and will be ordained into the Order of Interbeing in April of 2020. He practices with the Planting Seeds Sangha of Chapel Hill and the Winston-Salem Community of Mindful Living.

Within a few months of learning about MIEA, Tim knew that he wanted to share this practice with his students. That would become an important part of his life’s work at Wake Forest. Eventually, faculty and staff started to ask Tim to teach them what he was discovering. They wanted to share the practice of mindfulness, just as Tim did. But as demand increased, Tim stumbled upon the idea of becoming a MIEA Trainer. A crazy idea at first, but being a teacher and practitioner at heart, he decided to give it a go. Tim believes that when you’re teaching with joyfulness and playfulness, you’re not just talking mindfulness...you’re living mindfulness.

Roger Mancastroppa, Koru Mindfulness Trainer

Roger “Mac” Mancastroppa

MIEA Trainer

Roger “Mac” Mancastroppa has earned a MS in Education, a MA in Theological Studies and a BS in History. He taught history and religion for over a decade before joining the University of Richmond where he serves as the Associate Director of the Academic Skills Center. Mac is in his 9th year assisting students individually and collectively with academic and life skills development. He helps students transition to a mindfully engaged learning style where they conceptualize information through meta-cognitive and executive functions. He also leads a weekly meditation session on campus known as Mindful Mondays.

Mac’s personal mindfulness and meditation practices began during counseling and therapy for PTSD after exiting the military. His initial training began with a psychologist who practiced Buddhism and taught him the samatha that occurs with the vipassana practice. He began to integrate it into his work by using the CD’s by Jon Kabat-Zinn as a companion to his book "Full Catastrophe Living," over and over again with students. He now works with students, faculty, staff, local non-profits, churches, and offers keynotes on mindfulness and meditation, and is one of the co-leaders of a faculty learning community that brought Koru to the university.

Mil Witt, Koru Mindfulness Trainer

Mil Witt

MIEA Trainer

Mil Witt is a licensed clinical psychologist at the University of North Carolina’s Counseling and Psychological Services in Chapel Hill, NC (UNC-CAPS). Mil is passionate about working with emerging young adults in university settings. In addition to mindfulness, her professional interests include college mental health, the training and supervision of future clinicians, multiculturalism and diversity, and writing as a meditative practice. Prior to joining UNC-CAPS in 2014, Mil worked at the college counseling centers at UNC-Greensboro and Duke, and worked with medical students at The Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Mil was in the inaugural class of MIEA Teachers in 2013 and has been a Certified MIEA teacher since 2015. Her meditation journey started in the mid-1990s with her first meditation teacher and mentor Dr. Ronna Rachel Weiss, and followed with mindfulness trainings and practice at the Cape Cod Institute and at Duke Integrative Medicine.  Mil is excited to work with, support, inspire, and mentor new MIEA teachers, especially those working with students of color. The daughter of immigrant parents originally from New York City, Mil lives in Carrboro, NC with her family. Mil is an avid tennis player and enjoys dancing, theatre, and spending quality time with family and friends.

Karen Newton, Koru Mindfulness Trainer

Karen S. Newton

MIEA Trainer

Karen S. Newton served as Director of Health Promotion & Wellbeing in Campus Health Services from 2007 to 2018 as her team implemented a resilience framework to support the academic persistence and personal wellbeing of University of Louisville students. Inspired by her personal experiences with mindfulness and mediation practices through many years of her life’s ups and downs, Karen added Koru Mindfulness courses, retreats, and drop-in Relax & Refocus sessions in 2015.  Karen has also directed healthcare access initiatives for the University of Louisville and at The Healing Place Recovery. Karen graduated from San Diego State University and completed her Master of Public Health degree in community health promotion and nutrition science at Loma Linda University, CA.

Karen’s current life is focused on her purpose and what she loves: family, travel, practicing, and teaching. She teaches Koru and other courses at the Earth & Spirit Center Meditation School; Koru retreats at Speed Art Museum; and her Koru-based 14-week Mindfulness for Stress Resilience course at the University of Louisville College of Education. She is collaborating with University of Louisville colleagues to develop a research agenda to study Koru Mindfulness.

Karen’s public health point of view and personal perspective resonates with MIEA's commitment to social justice. Karen is committed to doing all she can to further the adoption of Koru Mindfulness courses in a variety of settings.

Erica Alexander, Koru Mindfulness Trainer

Erica Alexander

MIEA Trainer

Erica Alexander, flutist and music educator, has taught music and mindfulness in private and group settings for over 20 years. She has a Masters in Music Education (MME) with all-level teaching certification.

Erica is the founder and director of The Open Wings School which specializes in helping busy people find a lasting sense of calm in their lives and discover their own inner musicians. Among her most popular offerings are Be the Music workshops which incorporate Native American inspired flutes and meditation

Erica is currently enrolled in the Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program with Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield.

She has loved working with MIEA for the past 5 years, teaching in local high schools and non-profit organizations and reviewing teacher portfolios.

Erica lives in Durham, NC, and enjoys hiking, swimming, gardening, and listening to and playing music from all over the world.

“It is clear that the only way to truly change our world is through teaching compassion…We must teach people, especially our youth, the source of happiness and satisfaction. We must teach them the ultimate source of happiness is within themselves.” 

–The Dalai Lama, The Book of Joy
Chase Giroux, Koru Mindfulness Trainer

Chase Giroux

MIEA Trainer

Chase Giroux began her career in residential care for youth, followed by support work in an educational setting for children with behavioral health challenges. After attaining her Mental Health Counseling degree, she became a therapist trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She currently supervises an Intensive Care Coordination program, where she also provides agency-wide trainings and mindfulness practices.

After spending time in Buddhist Monasteries, practicing Mindfulness in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh, Chase was inspired to make this beautiful practice accessible to as many people as possible. Trained in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and certified in the MIEA model, Chase now works hard to share this practice in a more secular context. This program will deepen and expand these efforts by supporting practitioners in sharing and teaching the practice themselves.

Chase lives with her family in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she can be found both playing and coaching sports in her community.

Bibi Gnagno, Koru Mindfulness Trainer

Bibi Gnagno

MIEA Trainer

Bibi Gnagno is an educator, wellness advocate, and certified Koru Mindfulness instructor. Ms. Gnagno has been practicing Koru since 2016. She first began practicing meditation at church at the age of 14. While completing a law degree, she embraced mindfulness at a deeper level to cope with the daily stress of school. Bibi has taught mindfulness classes at the university level and infuses mindfulness in her interactions with students but also in her daily life.

Currently, she is the Dean of Restorative Practices at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center. Prior to that role, she was one of the Directors of Academic Engagement for Global and Civic Opportunities at Duke University’s Academic Advising Center and the former Coordinator for Student Development at Duke University’s Women’s Center, where she focused on gender equity through the creation of experiential programming and training that emphasizes community building, empowerment, men’s engagement, activism, and civic engagement.

Her work outside of the office explores telling stories through film using a social justice lens. She also leads workshops on wellness through reflection, movement, and healing foods.

Vivien Roman-Hampton, Director of Teacher Retention

Vivien Roman-Hampton

Outreach & Teacher Development Coordinator / MIEA Trainer

Vivien Roman-Hampton is a LICSW in Massachusetts who trained to be a MIEA teacher in New York in 2018. She uses mindfulness in her clinical practice where she focuses on emerging adults from marginalized communities. The transformation she has seen as she introduces Koru classes to these young people motivated her to become a MIEA trainer.

She believes that her skills in meditation and mindfulness have enhanced her clients’ well-being as well as her own.

She has enjoyed facilitating MIEA's Social Justice circles online and connecting with teachers in her role as outreach and teacher development coordinator.

Prerequisites for becoming a Certified Mindfulness Teacher with MIEA

  1. Complete our Fundamentals Course*.
    Immerse yourself in our 5-week introductory course led by a highly trained MIEA Trainer. Experience our Koru Basic curriculum and gain insight into our philosophy of teaching mindfulness to college-aged adults.
  2. An ongoing personal practice, most days, for at least 6 months.
    To effectively teach mindfulness, it is essential to have a consistent personal practice.
  3. Teaching or Group Facilitation Experience.
    Prior experience in teaching or facilitating groups is recommended. Our small group learning model forms the basis of our approach. Experience in this setting will be valuable.
  4. Diversity Experience.
    Experience working with diverse populations or participating in diversity training is strongly recommended. MIEA aims to bring mindfulness to a diverse range of communities. While we address this in our training program, additional experience is valuable.

*Acceptable alternatives to Fundamentals include MBSR, MBCT, MSC, training by the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, formal mindfulness training with an experienced teacher, or attendance to multiple retreats.

Mindfulness for the Next Generation

Book: Mindfulness for the Next Generation by Holly Rogers and Maytan

This book, written by MIEA’ co-founder Holly Rogers and Margaret Maytan, is the essential text for those interested in teaching mindfulness to college students and other emerging adults. It is a required reading for teachers getting their certification.

Suit Fong Chan, Asia Pacific Regional Rep

Suit Fong Chan

Asia Pacific Regional Representative / MIEA Trainer

Suit Fong’s interest in mindfulness began more than twenty years ago when she attended her first meditation retreat in Nepal. In 2012, she made a life-changing decision to leave a global corporate career to pursue her passion, embarking on a continuous learning and teaching journey on evidence-based mindfulness programs. She finds the journey meaningful, transformative, and also nurturing.

Suit Fong is trained to teach mindfulness and compassion cultivation programs for children, young adults, and adults. She also facilitates and curates mindfulness programs to support families and individuals with additional needs in Singapore, where she lives with her family. It is now her life passion and learning, to serve and support others of different diversities, cultures, and (dis)abilities to learn to sit with ease with life’s discomforts, build mental resilience whilst practicing kindness to oneself and to others. Her current work involves working with women, youth, teenagers at risk, and those with special needs. As a MIEA trainer, she is very keen to help establish a cadre of professional mindfulness teachers in the Asia Pacific, so more emerging adults and youths in the Asia Pacific may benefit from the MIEA program.

Suit Fong is an accredited professional coach, and chartered accountant. She holds a Master's in Business Administration and a Master's Degree in Counseling.

Backed by Science

The Mindfulness Institute for Emerging Adults is grounded in scientific research and a commitment to evidence-based practices. Over the course of nearly 10 years, we developed and refined our curriculum, culminating in a groundbreaking randomized, controlled trial. Our study, published in the prestigious Journal of American College Health, became the most downloaded article in 2014.

This landmark trial established MIEA (formerly known as Koru Mindfulness) as the first and foremost evidence-based mindfulness curriculum for emerging adults. The results were remarkable: students reported increased calmness, improved restfulness, enhanced self-compassion, and greater mindfulness.

The Mindful Twenty-Something: Life skills to handle stress… & everything else

The Mindful Twenty-Something by Holly Rogers

This book, written by MIEA co-founder Holly Rogers, is an essential guide to MIEA's curriculum, Koru Mindfulness. It is required reading for students taking Koru Basic and teachers getting their certification.

Jennie Dickson-Mills, Koru Mindfulness trainer and direcor of training

Jennie Dickson-Mills

Director of Training / MIEA trainer
MSW, LCSW, SEP, E-RYT 200

Jennie is a psychotherapist and yoga/meditation teacher living and working in the Triangle area of North Carolina. She has over a decade of experience working in higher education, and thousands of hours of experience teaching yoga and mindfulness to people from a wide range of backgrounds. She worked as a counselor at Duke University’s Counseling and Psychological Services prior to opening her private practice in Chapel Hill, NC.

Jennie finds great joy helping emerging adults discover and develop a mind-body connection, and nurture their ability to observe their thoughts, feelings, body sensations, and experiences with greater awareness and self compassion. Her clinical practice focuses on delivering mindfulness and somatic-based therapies through an anti-oppression lens, with a specialized certification in Somatic Experiencing, a model that addresses trauma and its impact on nervous system regulation.

Jennie is skilled at bringing mindfulness concepts to life through the expression of body movement and breath, and particularly excited to help young people develop yoga programs that will enhance and complement their mindfulness and meditation practices. Jennie developed the yoga curriculum for MIEA and continues to explore the intersection of yoga and mental health through her work as a counselor and teacher. For more information about Jennie, check out her website at jenniedicksonmills.com.

Alex Brown

Director of operations / MIEA Trainer

Alex Brown developed his passion for practicing and sharing mindfulness in 2012 after participating in a guided meditation and having a transformative experience. Since then, he has sought to strengthen his love and compassion for himself and others through daily meditation, reading, and courses. He has an immense desire to help others do the same.

Alex is a native of Detroit, Michigan, loves spending time with his sons, family, and friends, and finds utter delight in dancing. He thoroughly enjoys helping people learn about the different ways in which they improve their overall health and wellbeing and his motto is “I live to serve.”

Holly Rogers, co-founder of Koru Mindfulness

Holly Rogers

Co-Founder of MIEA / Author

Holly is one of the developers of the Intro to Mindfulness curriculum and a co-founder of the Mindfulness Institute for Emerging Adults (formerly known as the Center for Koru Mindfulness). She worked for over two decades as a psychiatrist at Counseling and Psychological Services, the student counseling center at Duke University where she developed strategies to help students incorporate the practice of mindfulness into their lives in a meaningful way.

Holly’s own mindfulness practice began more than 25 years ago when she had the good fortune to be taught and mentored by Dr. Jeff Brantley. Since that time, she has integrated the principles and practice of mindfulness into her clinical work with students and been continually inspired by the profound growth she has witnessed.

Holly is the co-author of Mindfulness for the Next Generation: Helping Emerging Adults Manage Stress and Lead Healthier Lives. She is author of The Mindful Twenty-Something, a handbook for young adults who wish to learn about mindfulness and meditation.

She lives in Durham, NC with her husband, dog, and two cats.

Libby Webb, co-founder of Koru Mindfulness

Libby Webb

Co-Founder of MIEA

Libby is a co-founder of the Mindfulness Institute for Emerging Adults. Before retiring in 2016, she was a licensed clinical social worker at Duke University’s Counseling and Psychological Service, and a Clinical Associate on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center.

She has been working with emerging adults since the early 90's and finds great significance in helping them explore the question of meaning at a time of life filled with such ambiguity.

Libby came to the practice of mindfulness through her early participation in the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program. Her meditation practice is built on the Vipassana tradition of mindfulness.

In addition to her interest in mindfulness, she also has a strong belief in the restorative benefits of small group work to illuminate the humanness of struggle. Libby lives with her family in Durham, NC and loves her adopted hometown. Most of her mindfulness lessons have been learned while cycling on the country roads surrounding her hometown.

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