Meet Our Faculty
At its core, a Catholic university is a community of believers who share life together and pass it on to others. The faculty and staff of Mary College at ASU play an active role in the life of the community, accompanying students through the various stages of their time at Arizona State University. From exploring the great questions of human life to participating in student life events and excursions, our faculty and staff strive to offer students the support and encouragement they need as they prepare for their careers and vocations.
Scott Lefor, PhL, MBA, Program Director
I was born and raised in Dickinson, ND, and spent time in seminary formation for the Diocese of Bismarck. After receiving a PhB and PhL from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, I spent several semesters studying theology at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome. Since moving to Arizona in 2017, I have been certified in health care ethics with distinction from the National Catholic Bioethics Center, studied political economy at the University of Arizona, and earned an MBA with a concentration on Business Operations from the University of Mary. After two years of teaching philosophy and theology at Notre Dame Preparatory High School in Scottsdale, I became the Program Director of Mary College at ASU.
Ryan Ayala, MEd
I have been fortunate to serve in various capacities within the Catholic Church. Currently, I hold the position of director of campus ministry at the ASU Catholic Newman Center. Additionally, I serve as the publisher for Clairvaux Community Life Magazine in Scottsdale. In the past, I had the opportunity to work as the director of campus evangelization and Theology teacher at Saint Mary's Catholic High School. My passion for education extends beyond traditional classroom settings. I have had the honor of delivering academic presentations on topics like the theological and historical significance of Ad Orientem and the impact of discussion-based learning on students' comprehension of theological principles. I am involved in instructing courses such as Introduction to the Old Testament and Catholic Moral Responsibility through the Kino Institute at the Diocesan Pastoral Center. Before relocating to Phoenix, I served as a campus minister at the University of Notre Dame. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Theology from Holy Cross College and a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Mary. I have been happily married for nine years, and I am immensely grateful for my three wonderful children.
Larry Fraher, PhD
I hold my PhD in art and religion from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. My research focuses on the imagination and human formation in faith. I also hold a Master of Arts in Systematic Theology and a Bachelor of Arts in Theological Studies, both from Saint John’s University in Collegeville, MN. Since 1989, I have served in a variety of teaching and ministry roles in the Diocese of Phoenix, including diocesan director of youth and young adult ministries, instructor and program coordinator at the Kino Institute, parish coordinator of youth ministry, high school theology teacher, and volleyball and track coach. I am married and have three daughters. Currently serving as director of faith formation and education at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Scottsdale.
Aaron Kushner, PhD
I hold a PhD in political science from the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO. In addition to serving on the Catholic Studies faculty of Mary College at ASU, I am a teaching assistant professor in the School of Civic and Economic Thought & Leadership at ASU, where I also serve as co-director of the Arizona Constitution Project. My teaching and research interests include Catholic political thought, constitutional law, indigenous politics, political development, and the politics of film. I also hold an MA in Political Science from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL, and a BA in Politics from Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA. Beginning in the Fall of 2023, I will be the faculty advisor for the Thomistic Institute at ASU. My wife, daughter, and I are parishioners at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, where we sing in the choir.
Rev. Aaron Qureshi, STL, MA
I was born in Tucson and spent my adolescent years in Phoenix. After graduating from Brophy College Preparatory, I took an extended sojourn to the East Coast to study and work, earning a BA in Classics and Mathematics from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, and an MA in Mathematics from the University of Maryland in College Park. After working for several years in the finance and tech sectors, I entered seminary in Washington, DC, studying first at the Catholic University of America and then in Rome, where I completed an STB and STL in Biblical Theology from the Gregorian University. I was ordained to the priesthood at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington in 2014 and served in various parish assignments around the Archdiocese of Washington before returning to Phoenix in 2022. I am thrilled to be home in Phoenix and to be serving (Tucson roots notwithstanding) as the associate director of the ASU Newman Center and as a member of the faculty at Mary College!
Aaron Thurow, PhD
I hold a PhD in Literature from the University of Dallas’ Institute of Philosophic Studies. My dissertation addresses Shakespeare’s treatment of the thought of Saint Paul, Plato, and Petrarch in his Sonnets, particularly with regard to the Bard’s concern over the idealization of love. I am a combat veteran and served under the U.S. Special Operations Command in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. More recently, I have helped redesign the great books core curriculum at Saint Mary’s Catholic High School in downtown Phoenix and am currently running the humanities department there. I have worked as a faculty member of the University of Dallas and the University of Texas in Austin. I am an Eastern Catholic, in full union with Rome, but celebrating the divine liturgy. I am proud to have a brilliant wife and three wonderful children.
Sophia Cartwright, Student Assistant
I am currently an undergraduate student majoring in philosophy at ASU and Catholic Studies at Mary College while also pursuing minors in psychology and Italian. This year, I’m also taking my first graduate courses in the University of Mary’s MA in Catholic Studies program. In my role as a student assistant, I focus on student life, hospitality, and visiting with prospective students to make sure they know all about what Mary College has to offer!