BCU Scholar Alumni
Scott Alexander graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University with a B.A. in 2001. He completed a MS at Oklahoma State before joining the Baylor University PhD program in Higher Education and Student Leadership in 2018. Of his time at OBU, Scott remarks, "The ways I engage the world, approach my work, and journey with Jesus and others can be traced back to the rich lessons I learned from OBU faculty, staff, mentors, and classmates." As of 2023, Scott works as Assistant Director of Student Support and Conduct at Oklahoma State University while working on completing his Baylor PhD.
Katie Arnhart graduated in 2015 with her PhD in Sociology from Baylor University. She moved to a position as a senior research analyst at a non-profit organization and as a temporary lecturer at her local university. She enjoys applying statistical analyses to help people make informed decisions and explain everyday life. In the classroom, Katie's vision for teaching is to lead students by example through modeling key sociological ideas and demonstrating the importance of seminal texts.
Kim Bodenhamer earned a BA in Biblical Studies and a minor in Biblical Languages from Hardin-Simmons University. She was selected for the Logsdon School of Theology Award and spent a semester abroad at Oxford University studying Greek and the Synoptic Gospels. Alongside her studies, Kim worked in the Missions Department of Pioneer Drive Baptist Church and served as a Worship Pastor for Crosspoint Fellowship. Kim went on to earn her Masters of Theological Studies from Duke University. In July 2017, Kim defended her dissertation; YHWH, Remember!: Memory, Place, and Ritual in Psalms 120-137 and graduated August 2017. Beginning Fall 2017, she was appointed an Assistant Professor of Christian Studies at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, primarily teaching courses in Hebrew Bible.
Jared Brandt graduated from Southwest Baptist University with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Religion/Philosophy and Chemistry. While at SBU, Jared participated in the University Honors program and served as President of Theta Alpha Kappa. He also received the 2012 Outstanding Theology Graduate award and Summa Cum Laude honors. At Baylor, Jared was the 2016 Schmeltekopf Fellow with the BCU Scholars program. Jared's philosophical interests include Ethics, Ancient and Medieval Philosophy, and Kierkegaard. He graduated in May 2018 with his PhD in Philosophy and took a position as an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Dallas Baptist University.
Russ Browder graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications. He also received a Master of Divinity in global missions from Baylor’s Truett Seminary and an International MBA from IE Business School in Madrid, Spain as a Fulbright scholar. He received his PhD in entrepreneurship from Baylor University in 2020, and his academic interests include commercialization of innovation and technology start-ups in emerging markets. During his 16 years of industry experience prior to pursuing a PhD, Russ served as a global marketing leader in health IT for GE Healthcare, in medical devices for St. Jude Medical (now Abbott), and in development with an international medical missions agency.
Joao Chaves is a 2013 PhD graduate of the Religion Department of Baylor University. A native of Recife, Brazil, Joao came to Texas in order to pursue his academic interests in religious history and theology. Joao has a B.Th. from the Baptist Center for Education, Service, and Research (Brazil), a BA from the Baptist University of the Americas, and a MTS from George W. Truett Seminary of Baylor University. He has served in a number of positions in Portuguese-speaking, Spanish-speaking, and English-speaking churches. Joao took a position as adjunct professor at the Baptist University of the Americas in San Antonio, Texas.
Cara Cliburn Allen graduated with her PhD in Higher Education Studies & Leadership at Baylor University. During her time at Baylor, Cliburn co-led institutional data gathering and responding to food insecurity at Baylor, serving as the chair of the Food insecurity working group. From Baylor she moved to a research analyst position with the Baylor Collaboration on Hunger and Poverty where she is exploring strategies to reduce poverty and increase food security.
Peter Coogan earned a BS in Mathematics at North Greenville University. While at NGU, Peter completed the University Honors program and coordinated the math lab. He received the Outstanding Senior Project Award for his honors project on complexity and the graph problem. In 2021, he graduated Baylor University with a Master of Science in Mathematics. His interests include implementing mathematics on computers, computational complexity, and explaining mathematics to students in small groups. He desires to facilitate others' enjoyment of mathematics.
My undergraduate experience at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor was a time of expanding my knowledge and deepening my faith. Attending a school that did not limit my growth to just one of these areas afforded me opportunities that I might not have had elsewhere, both inside and outside the classroom. The leadership and professors at UMHB modeled the connection between education and faith. Through my experiences at Baylor and the BCU program, I learned how my faith informs my teaching as I pursued my doctoral degree to become a professor of mathematics education. Dr. Donham graduated from Baylor University in August 2023 with a PhD in Curriculum & Teaching.
Alexis Edwards earned a B.S. Chemistry with Biochemistry Emphasis in 2018 from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and joined the BCU Scholars program in 2019. She expects to graduate in May 2023 with a PhD in Chemistry & Biochemistry.
Nicholas Hoenshell comes to Baylor University from Houston Texas, where he previously worked with the Alley Theatre as a Scenic Artist. Nicholas is a 2009 graduate of East Texas Baptist University, where he received a bachelor's degree in theatre arts. In May 2016, Nicholas graduated with a MFA degree in Directing from Baylor.
David McClung graduated from Wayland Baptist University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Baylor University with a Masters in Social Work and Master of Divinity, and received his PhD in Social Work at Baylor University. David has also been a part of youth engagement efforts across the state. His research interests include natural support systems and the role of congregations in youth mental health.
Chris Moore is a native of Mount Olive, North Carolina. He earned his BA and MDiv from Campbell University, and later a ThM from Duke Divinity School. While at Campbell, Christopher received the B. Donald Keyser Award for outstanding achievement in Church History. Christopher has also taught religion courses for Baylor University, Campbell University, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and Sampson Community College (Clinton, NC). In May 2016, he graduated from Baylor with a PhD in Religion (Historical Studies) and accepted a position as an instructor of History and Religion at Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory, NC. Christopher’s research interests include religion during the American Civil War and Reconstruction, as well as Baptist history.
B.J. Parker graduated Baylor University with a PhD in Religion. Prior to beginning his PhD, he completed an MA in Religion at Baylor, his MDiv at the McAfee School of Theology of Mercer University, and his BA in Biblical Studies with minors in Christian Education and Biblical Languages at Atlanta Christian College. After leaving Baylor, he accepted a adjunct faculty position at Greenville College.
Courtney Bailey Parker completed her MA (2012) and her PhD (2016) in Baylor University's Department of English. Originally from Newnan, Georgia, Courtney graduated from Mercer University in 2010. Her primary research interests include the literature of the English Renaissance (including Shakespeare) as well as Modern Drama. Courtney was the 2014-15 Schmeltekopf Fellow for Educational Leadership. Courtney accepted an appointment as an Assistant Professor of English in Greenville College’s Center for Visual Culture and Media Studies (Greenville, Illinois).
Stephanie Peek graduated with her PhD in Religion from Baylor University in May 2022 and at that time was working as a Data Analyst while seeking a faculty position in academia. She earned a B.A. in Biblical Studies/Psychology from Southwest Baptist University in 2008 and a M.A. in Religion from Baylor in 2012.
Joshua Pittman Josh graduated with a BA in English and history from Campbell University and with an MA in English from East Carolina University. He received his PhD at Baylor in 2020 studying medieval literature. His dissertation uses the phenomenology of Jean-Luc Marion to explain why violence and peace are interdependent in the Middle English Brut. His work on the Pearl manuscript appears in the winter 2019 issue of Renascence. Less professionally, he is involved in translation projects (including St. Athanasius' On the Incarnation) for churches in non-English-speaking countries. He and his wife Krysta have a son, Elijah.
Rebecca Poe Hays completed her PhD in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament at Baylor University in 2018. She received the Schmeltekopf Fellowship for Educational Leadership in 2017–2018. Before coming to Baylor, she earned her BA in English Literature and Biblical Languages from Union University and her MDiv from Samford University. Rebecca’s primary research interests involve Old Testament parables, the rhetorical function of story in the Hebrew Psalter, and garden imagery in the book of Isaiah. Rebecca has served in churches and non-profits in Tennessee, Alabama, and Texas and as the Associate Editor of the journal Perspectives in Religious Studies. After graduation, she worked with Baylor’s Institute for Faith and Learning as the Project Coordinator for Soundings (part of the Lilly Endowment’s Called to Lives of Meaning and Purpose Initiative) and taught Hebrew at George W. Truett Theological Seminary.
Nicholas T. Pruitt earned a BA in History from Wayland Baptist University in 2007. Nicholas then completed a MA in Church-State Studies from Baylor University in 2009. Upon receiving his Masters, he returned to Wayland where he taught for two years as a history adjunct. Nicholas graduated with a PhD in History at Baylor University in 2017. His historical interests involve twentieth-century American religion and its relationship to social, cultural, and political trends. His dissertation focused on the missional and political responses of white Protestants to immigration and refugees between 1924-1965. His publications include an article on organized religion in the novels of Eudora Welty in the Southern Quarterly, three encyclopedia entries, and multiple book reviews. He served as the Assistant Book Review Editor for the Journal of Church and State from 2014 to 2016 before moving to Eastern Nazarene College as a Visiting Assistant Professor in History.
Scott Ryan majored in Religious Studies at Gardner-Webb University and received the Greek Award and the Christian Service Award. He also holds Master of Divinity and Master of Theology degrees from Duke University Divinity School, where he received the Excellence in Bible Award. Scott graduated in 2017 from Baylor University with a Doctor of Philosophy in Religion with a concentration in Biblical Studies/New Testament and stayed on as Lecturer and Wabash Fellow in Religion in the Department of Religion. In the 2016–17 academic year, Scott was awarded the Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award at Baylor. Scott has published his research in journals such as New Testament Studies, Perspectives in Religious Studies, and Baptist History & Heritage, and presented a number of times at professional conferences. He was selected as a Young Scholar in the Baptist Academy in 2015 and received the Schmeltekopf Fellowship for Educational Leadership in 2013-–14. Scott's broad training and research interests have prepared him to teach courses in Hebrew Bible, Second Temple Judaism, New Testament, the Greco-Roman context, and Christian apocryphal literature. His primary research interests include the Pauline Epistles, the Gospel of Mark, Israel’s Scripture in the New Testament, Archaeology/Material World (Pompeii and Herculaneum), Second Temple Judaism(s), Literary and Rhetorical Criticism, and Reception History.
Ryan Sinni graduated with a PhD in English from Baylor University in 2023 and moved on to the position of Assistant Professor of English at LeTourneau University. While at Baylor, he received an Outstanding Graduate Student Paper Award from Baylor's Nineteenth-Century Research Seminar for his essay on the book of Proverbs in Christina Rossetti's "Goblin Market." This essay went on to be published in Victorian Poetry, the leading peer-reviewed journal for its title subject. Before coming to Baylor, Ryan graduated from Union University with a B.A. in English and Christian Studies.
Jonathan Stanfill graduated with his PhD in Mathematics from Baylor University in May 2022 and accepted a position as Assistant Professor at The Ohio State Univeristy. He earned a B.A. from Carson-Newman University in 2011. He was the 2020-21 Schmeltekopf Fellow.
Sean Strehlow graduated with his PhD in Higher Education Studies & Leadership from Baylor University in August 2022 and accepted a one-year Baylor Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowship for the 2022-23 school year. Sean accepted a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor of Sport Management at Messiah University in Pennsylvania. He earned a Bachelors of Business Administration from Hardin-Simmons University in 2012.
Taylor Thompson Poe earned a BS in Mathematics and a minor in Ministry from Mississippi College. In 2021, she graduated from Baylor University with a MS and PhD in Mathematics, and moved to an Assistant Professor position in the Mathematics department at her alma mater, Mississippi College.
Ryan Womack Ryan grew up in Moore, Oklahoma, and completed his undergraduate degree at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Oklahoma, with a BA in English and minors in history and biology. He received his PhD in Baylor’s English program with a concentration in Religion and Literature in 2018. While a student, he served as the Vice President and President of the English Graduate Student Association and received Baylor’s Excellence in Student Involvement Award. His awards include the Lumen Christi summer study in Oxford, a Free Society seminar in Slovakia, a fellowship to the National Institute for Newman Studies, and a finalist nomination for Baylor’s Outstanding Graduate Instructor. His main research interests include religion, ethics, and technology, and how we envision the human person in recent American literature.
Collin Zahler earned a BS in Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. In 2021, he graduated from Baylor University with a PhD in Chemistry and took a scientist II position at Entegris.