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Here to Help Our Students Grow in Faith and the Love of Christ

The Newman Catholic Community has an outstanding team of dedicated ministers and chaplains, all of whom are determined to help our students get the most out of their faith as they continue their journey in college. Our goal is to provide an inclusive environment where ministers are able to find connection with their students in a diversity of ways; from one-on-one conversation and small group discussion to community-wide educational and social events.


Robin Black-Rubenstein

Director of Campus Ministry | 618-402-3107

  As the Director and a lay minister, Robin offers spiritual direction and guidance to students and is responsible for the business and day to day operations of the Newman Center. Robin is a Spiritual Director, and Certified Grief Counselor. She has a MA in Pastoral Studies from Aquinas Institute St. Louis as well as a master’s Certificate in Spiritual Direction, and Grief Counseling.  Her undergrad degree is in youth development.  

  Favorite quote from Pope Francis- “It is good that you exist.” Every person has intrinsic value, regardless of what they produce, or how they look, or if they have it all together. It echoes what God said in Genesis: “God looked at everything he had made and found it very good.” 

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Sean Barth

Campus Minister | 618-402-0965

  After having spent a number of years as an active atheist, Sean began working in ministry in the early 2000's. Since then he has worked in service to the homeless, victims of intimate partner violence, the people of rural Haiti, at-risk teens, and perhaps most importantly: young adults in college. He was born and raised in Bloomington, IL and has earned a BA in Philosophy from Eastern Illinois University as well as an MA in Theology from Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, MO. 
  When not at SIUe, Sean can typically be found with his wife and three young children at their busy home in Glen Carbon, IL. He enjoys woodcarving, telling stories, drinking coffee, playing the banjo and reading hefty books. His research interests are in Patrisitics, theological aesthetics, forgotten prayers, and the "Catholic Imagination."

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Fr. Rob Johnson

Chaplain | 618-344-6464

  Fr. Rob was born and raised in Illiopolis, IL and after high school attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he majored in Biology. After he graduated, he worked for two years as a FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) missionary in Lincoln, Nebraska and then spent six years studying at Mundelein Seminary near Chicago. “Through the Goodness and Grace of God I was ordained a priest of Jesus Christ for our Diocese of Springfield in Illinois on May 26, 2018. I serve as chaplain at SIUE, Pastor at Mother of Perpetual Help in Maryville, and Associate Director of the Office for Vocations. My loyalties are with the Fighting Illini and St. Louis Cardinals and I love to read, watch sports and movies, spend time with friends and family, and I especially love to hunt and fish. I love being a priest and look forward to helping each other become Saints.  God bless you!” -Fr. Rob Johnson 

Office Hours

By appointment


Leah Schumacher

Student Worker

  Leah Schumacher is a sophomore nursing student at SIUE, and she grew up in the small town of Teutopolis, Illinois. Leah loves being physically active (especially when she can be competitive), being outdoors, and spending quality time with friends. Her faith is a huge part of her life which is why being involved in Newman was one of her first priorities when she came to SIUE. Newman has already given Leah so many memories and friendships that will last a lifetime. One of her favorite parts about Newman is monthly adoration and confessions.

"I am so excited for what my next years at SIUE have in store!" 

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Maggie Koester

Student Worker

  Maggie Koester is a sophomore at SIUE, studying Finance, from Teutopolis, Illinois. She is involved within the Delta Phi Epsilon sorority, Honors Student Association, Financial Management, and of course the Newman Catholic Community. Her faith life has been an extremely formational part of her life that has allowed her to grow deeper since joining this community. One of Maggie's favorite parts within Newman is the friendships that have developed between the members and seeing them grow throughout the semester. "I am excited to see what the next years are going to bring!" 

Daniel Sasala

FOCUS - Team Director

Hometown: Sylvania, Ohio

College attended : Eastern Michigan University

Degree in: Digital Media Production

First two years of FOCUS served at the University of Northern Iowa.

Hobbie: Anything outdoors (hiking, rock-climbing, cross-country skiing, biking, working out), board games, playing the guitar, and photography. I love learning new things as well!

Emma May Hudepol

FOCUS Missionary

  Hi, I’m Emma and I am so excited to be at SIUE! I am from Cincinnati, Ohio and I went to Wright State in Dayton, Ohio for college. At Wright State I received my bachelor’s in nursing, and I worked at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital throughout school.  I love being outdoors; running, hiking, and kayaking are some of my favorites!  In case you were wondering, I despise bananas!

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Joseph Deckert

FOCUS Missionary

  My reversion to the faith happened my sophomore year at Iowa State University where I was invited into a Bible Study from some guys involved at the Student Center. I started to make friends that wanted to have real conversations and really cared about me and my relationship with Christ. People that actually pushed me to go deeper. I learned by little conversions what authentic friends really looked like.

  I started to pursue the Lord in the prayer of the rosary, holy hours, and daily Mass and He has radically changed me through these acts of fidelity and continues to do so. Through the graces I received from Him I applied to FOCUS knowing I wanted to give more of myself to the Lord.

Rachel Stovall

FOCUS Missionary

  My name is Rachel Marie Stovall! 

I am from Cape Girardeau, Missouri! I went to Southeast Missouri State University and majored in healthcare administrations. Some hobbies of mine include, thrifting, trying different craft beers, reading, camping, and hanging with family and friends! 

  I look forward to meeting you! 

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