Donna Cleveland—Magazine Editor and Feminist Podcaster

Donna Cleveland—Magazine Editor and Feminist Podcaster

MUM alumna Donna Cleveland


With members of the iPhone Life editorial team (from left to right: Sarah Kingsbury, Jaime Thatcher, Donna Cleveland, and Rheanne Taylor)


At the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas where the iPhone Life team gives awards to the most innovative iPhone-related products (from left to right: Rheanne Taylor, David Averbach, and Donna Cleveland)


Marching with 26,000 fellow Iowans at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines to stand up for women’s reproductive rights, equality for the LGBTQ community, equal pay for equal work, and the Black Lives Matter movement

MUM graduate Donna Cleveland divides her time between creating multimedia content for Fairfield-based iPhone Lifemagazine and producing a feminist podcast for women.

Donna grew up in Fairfield, attended Maharishi School, and graduated from MUM in 2008 with a BA in Media and Communications. She went on to earn a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa. After working as a correspondent for the Cedar Rapids Gazette and a staff writer at the Fairfield Ledger, she joined iPhone Life magazine, where she is now editor in chief.

She is in charge of coordinating the print magazine content and contributes to creating video guides, live online classes, and a podcast for the publications’s expanding audience. Donna enjoys helping the company grow and finding creative and fun ways to help people get more out of their iPhones. She is also excited about being part of the Fairfield community and creating jobs for MUM graduates.

While holding a full-time job for the past six years, Donna has also also written about women’s issues, health, and the environment for various magazines. Her latest project is Thread the Needle, a podcast that uses personal stories and expert interviews to explore where feminist ideals meet the realities of women’s lives. She will be releasing the first season in late 2019.

“A few years ago I fell in love with podcasts,” she said. “They offer an enjoyable way to learn things, experiment with creative storytelling, and improve my interviewing and editing skills.”

Donna discovered her passion for journalism at MUM during a travel writing class with professor Nynke Passi. She was also inspired by Stuart Tanner’s class on narrative, which influenced her career decision to become a writer. She appreciated the support and freedom to create her own projects at MUM and learning the multimedia storytelling skills she uses today in her job.

Donna grew up practicing the Transcendental Meditation®technique and she is grateful for having a tool to manage stress. “Now that I have more to juggle in my life, meditation is really helpful, along with yoga asanas,” she said.

Daniela Hillman Robles—Creative Writing and Community Building

Daniela Hillman Robles—Creative Writing and Community Building

MUM student Daniela Hillman Robles


With MUM Student Government


Holding an event for National Coming Out Day during her time as president of the Queer Coalition club as an initiative to promote awareness and integration of the LGBTQIA+ community

Daniela Hillman Robles grew up in Mexico and attended Maharishi School for a year as an exchange student. She enjoyed the supportive environment and fell in love with creative writing. When it was time to choose a college, she decided to return to Fairfield.

“There is something very characteristic about the Maharishi School teachers, which I thankfully also experience here at MUM—they are very passionate about what they do and they care about the students,” said Daniela.

Daniela is in her third year now and has been accepted into the BFA in Creative and Professional Writing program. She enjoys writing poetry and creative non-fiction using her family relationships and upbringing in Mexico as material.

She found that the practice of the Transcendental Meditation®technique has helped her as a writer. “TM allows me to be fully myself and to be able to express myself and create so much from it,” she said.

Daniela also enjoys working with people and being part of a team. First she joined the Queer Coalition club, where she became president. She was instrumental in the club’s initiative to create gender inclusive housing on campus by conducting student surveys and communicating LGBTQ students’ needs to the university’s administration.

Next she joined Student Government, where she serves as secretary. “There is no small leadership role for me,” she said. “It’s really rewarding to be part of the cohesiveness and seeing that everyone brings their full potential.”

In her free time, Daniela also volunteers with a Chicago nonprofit organization that is engaged in community building. She is responsible for writing their newsletter, managing their social media pages, and promoting events. After graduating from MUM, Daniela wants to pursue a graduate degree in creative writing.

Art Students Win Scholarships to Top Graduate Schools

Art Students Win Scholarships to Top Graduate Schools

The 2018 December graduates of the MA in Studio Art: Younes Kouider, Genevra Bell, Caroline Lichucki


Caroline Lichucki


Genevra Bell


Younes Kouider

The three December graduates of MUM’s MA in Studio Art are all starting highly ranked MFA programs this fall. They all received full tuition assistance and two of them have living expenses covered.

The goal of the MA is to give artists who are hoping to enter an MFA program the opportunity to spend a year developing their work, assembling a strong portfolio, and receiving guidance from faculty on applying to graduate programs.

“Their success is due to a combination of being receptive and hardworking and of course talented,” said Professor Gyan Shrosbree. “We help them with picking schools, photographing their work, writing essays and artists’ statements, as well as helping them practice interviews and presentations.”

Caroline Lichucki chose the University of Oregon, based on the engaging work the faculty and students produce. In addition to full tuition, she was offered a paid teaching internship for the duration of her studies. She plans to push herself to expand her creative horizons and produce a large body of work. “MUM’s MA in Studio Art granted me the opportunity to be pushed beyond my comfort zone and grow beyond creative limitations,” she said.

Genevra Bell will be heading to the University of California, Davis to study studio art. She hopes to continue her work on installation, sculpture, and video. The fellowship she received will provide her with full tuition assistance and a monthly stipend.

“The professors, Jim Shrosbree, Gyan Shrosbree, and Sean Downey, were incredible,” she said. “The program allowed me to create a portfolio and also work on my artist’s statement and theory, which was necessary when applying to schools. I 100 percent would not have gotten into the grad schools I wanted to attend without having done this MA.”

Genevra also noted the contribution of the Transcendental Meditation® technique to her success. “Coming to the studio clearheaded is essential for my ability to be productive,” she said. “My TM practice is a critical tool for clearing out the stress and letting me get to work.”

Younes Kouider received a full tuition scholarship to attend Yale University, which he chose from five schools based on its accomplished art faculty and its friendly and competitive environment. He will continue his work on sculpture. “The MUM MA in Studio Art helped me tremendously to get the confidence, the groundedness, the technical knowledge, and the understanding of both the practice of art and the current art world,” he said.

In addition, Younes also received a scholarship to attend the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine for nine weeks in the summer of 2020. Established in 1946, Skowhegan is a prestigious and intensive residency program for emerging visual artists.

Courtney Thomas—From Prisoner to MUM Student

Courtney Thomas—From Prisoner to MUM Student

MUM student Courtney Thomas


Courtney with his wife Arielle planting a lemon tree in Fiji for a self-sustaining community


Practicing Pulse Diagnosis in class
(photo by Amine Kouider)

In 2012 Courtney Thomas was released from prison for the third time and decided to change his life for the better. Now he is studying Maharishi AyurVedaSM at MUM and wants to become a teacher of the Transcendental Meditation®technique.

Courtney, who grew up in Chicago, has spent the past seven years on a personal transformation quest. He studied various religions, alternative health modalities, and meditation techniques. He discovered Ayurveda and adopted an ayurvedic daily routine and diet program that has significantly enhanced his progress. His interest in Ayurveda led him to the Transcendental Meditation technique and MUM.

“Finding Transcendental Meditation was that life-changing experience, along with its amazing results, that made me passionate about sharing this knowledge with others,” he said. He and his wife Arielle founded a nonprofit organization, Enlightened Individuals, to help others learn the scientific technologies Maharishi Mahesh Yogi developed for the purification and rejuvenation of the mind, body, and soul.

“I learned in the Science and Technology of Consciousness course how Maharishi said that higher states of consciousness had to do with the purification of the physiology and the nervous system,” he said.

Courtney finds that his experience of ayurvedic practices over the past three years is helping him with the intellectual understanding of the principles and philosophy of Maharishi AyurVedaSM and is looking forward to teaching and applying this knowledge.

He and Arielle are currently attending the TM-Sidhi® course, and Courtney has applied to the Transcendental Meditation Teacher Training course beginning this fall. After completing his undergraduate degree at MUM, Courtney wants to pursue a graduate degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

His ultimate goal is to build a Maharishi Peace Palace where he can offer integrative medicine modalities to people of insufficient means. He and his wife, who is starting her online MBA in sustainable business at MUM this fall, also want to transform their current real estate investment business, Noah’s Ark Investments, and build sustainable Vastu communities.

Savannah Boothe–Being Fully Engaged with Life

Savannah Boothe–Being Fully Engaged with Life

MUM student Savannah Boothe


Making earth plaster in class to use on a sustainable storage space in Abundance EcoVillage


Working on the MEG’Array Solar Power Plant
(Photo courtesy of Ideal Energy)


With fellow Student Government member Cris Evergreen at a voter registration conference for college students and their student governments in Des Moines

Savannah Boothe came to MUM from Virginia two years ago, drawn by the Regenerative Organic Agriculture Program. After seeing an ad on Instagram, she came to a Visitors Weekend and enrolled right away.

Two months after arriving on campus, Savannah signed up for Student Government as secretary. This year she joined again as vice president. She has also completed a work-study position with Student Activities, organizing events and workshops. “I like working with people,” she said. “I like being the glue of the community and working on a team.”

Savannah also became a residential advisor in the women’s dorm and now oversees four residential advisors as the residential director. She makes sure that students are comfortable and know where to turn with their questions. Through her work-study job, she also enjoys learning about customs of various countries represented by the diverse student body.

In addition to taking a variety of courses in sustainable living, Savannah also completed an internship with Fairfield’s Ideal Energy, doing hands-on work during the construction of the MEG’Array Solar Power Plant adjacent to the MUM campus.

Her experiences at MUM have helped increase Savannah’s awareness of her talents and true interests. “MUM really gives you a clean slate when you come here,” she said. “In a few months, you really get to know the people around you and yourself in the process; and practicing TM, eating healthier, and following a structured routine give you a sense of clarity. TM has helped me gain a certain understanding of life, and a clearer view of how things happen and how I make decisions.”

In her second year, Savannah is continuing to refine her mission and purpose. She is in the process of designing an individualized major focusing on communication, organization, and sustainability.