Rob Vaughan was born in Charlottesville, Virginia, and was baptized, confirmed, and supported through the discernment of his call to ministry by Westminster Presbyterian Church of Charlottesville. Rob slowly moved away from the Church in middle school before becoming involved in Young Life during high school, ultimately leading to a moment of divine encounter while reading James Michener’s The Source at a Young Life Camp in the Shenandoah Valley. Fifteen-year-old Rob set out to serve God and humanity, either through ministry or medicine. Rob’s gifts were not suited for medicine.
Rob attended the University of Virginia (UVA), where he majored in Religious Studies, focusing on Christianity and Islam, a continuation of his interest in interfaith relations sparked by The Source. After graduating, Rob wanted to reconnect with a lived faith, rather than the academic study of religion and set out to serve in Kenya through the PC (USA) Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) Program. God and the YAV program had other ideas and instead sent Rob to Northern Ireland, where Rob worked with youth in Harmony Hill Presbyterian Church and The Base, a non-sectarian youth center.
Rob applied to seminary from Northern Ireland and returned home to attend the recently renamed Union Presbyterian Seminary, in Richmond, Virginia. This continued something of a family tradition: Rob’s father and grandfather also lived on campus at Union when Rob’s grandfather, Bob Vaughan, was a student there in the late 1940s.
During Seminary, Rob again felt called to international service and again turned to the YAV program, completing a year of field education serving as a Communications Officer for Church World Service’s Africa Office in Nairobi, Kenya. Rob returned from Kenya, graduated from Union, and moved to Northern Virginia for an M.S. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, where he focused on faith-based peacebuilding.
At George Mason, Rob reconnected with Katherine Mariska, a friend from UVA, who was also at George Mason, earning a Master of Education. While in Northern Virginia, Rob worked as Coordinator of Communications at St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church, in Fairfax County, Virginia, served as a pastoral intern at Trinity Presbyterian Church, in Arlington, Virginia and a student chaplain at Georgetown MedStar University Hospital in Washington D.C. Rob and Katherine married in a small, family ceremony at Trinity in June 2019.