Writer Bios

We couldn't offer The Well to our readers without the generous contributions of our writers. Read through their bios to learn from their stories and click through for links to the articles they have written. If you are interested in writing for The Well, explore our Writer's Guidelines.

 

Kindra Morelock is a wife and a mother of three. She is studying Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana with a concentration in Data Curation. She enjoys baking, reading, spending time with her family, watching British TV, and cheering on the Detroit Tigers. She lives in Chicago.

MaryKate Morse is a professor of leadership and spiritual formation at George Fox University Seminary. She holds the BS degree from Longwood University; MA and MDiv degrees from Western Evangelical Seminary (now George Fox Evangelical Seminary); and PhD in Leadership, Gonzaga University. A recorded Quaker minister and a trained spiritual director, Morse has expertise and research interests in healthy spiritual leadership, leadership development and formation, deep change processes in individuals and in groups, power and influence, team and gender issues, spiritual direction, and prayer. She was a keynote speaker at InterVarsity’s Following Christ 2008 conference. She is married and has three adult children and two grandchildren. She loves being with her friends and family, reading, and meeting new people in new places.

Deborah Risa Mrantz is Founder and principal creative of LOGOS DIVINITY GUILDWORKS and MINISTRIES™. LOGOS DIVINITY GUILDWORKS™ is a faith-based artists guild and Abrahamic interfaith initiative bringing together new models of theology, worship, arts-ministry and pastoral chaplaincy in combined creative enterprise. Deborah’s calling has evolved over thirty years from beginnings in music and fine art apprenticeships to Jewish ecclesiastical work in sculpture, culminating in artistic work within publishing, printing, and multi-sensory digital design. She is an incoming MDIV seminarian at Pacific School of Religion, where her journey into seminary has re-formed these long-held arts vocations within a life of God’s Word and pastoral ministry. Through LOGOSdivinity she fashions liturgical artwork for individual and community religious spaces, monasteries and faith-based retreat-centers, churches and synagogues. 

Jerusha Matsen Neal is an ordained American Baptist clergywoman, currently finishing her doctoral work at Princeton Theological Seminary.  Her focus is on the work of the Holy Spirit in preaching, using Luke's account of Mary's pregnancy and birth of Christ as a primary conversation partner.  This year, her book of dramatic monologues, Blessed, was published as part of Cascade's Art for Faith's Sake series.  Her husband Wes is the pastor at Wesley United Methodist Church, where she worships and serves in many capacities.  She has two children, Mercy and Josiah, who keep her heart full of gratitude and wonder.

Amber Noel, M.Div., has been a teacher, blogger, beekeeper, librarian, and director’s assistant to an international arts initiative. She is currently a happily employed youth minister, and just moved to the wilds of urban Texas from Durham, North Carolina. She tends to spend her free time with animals, odd people, good writing, good food, good jokes, and people who laugh at those jokes. She does excellent impersonations and wishes she could make her money by reading aloud.

Kate Norlander is an assistant director of communication services at a private university in Minnesota. In addition to assisting academic departments and programs with their external communications, Kate edits one of the university’s magazines and writes for many of the magazines and newsletters published by her employer. She and her husband live with their teenage daughter and a small black dog named Vader. In her spare time, she teaches Sunday school, hosts anti-slavery chocolate parties, and attends science fiction and fantasy conventions.

Jamie serves with InterVarsity Graduate and Faculty Ministries as campus minister in Greater Cincinnati at the University of Cincinnati (UC) and Northern Kentucky University (NKU). She has spent most of her life in the vicinity of the academy, from being the daughter of a professor to attending college herself. Upon returning to Cincinnati after four years in the Northeast, she took literature classes in her spare time while working as an economic analyst. She eventually earned an MA in English and then couldn’t stop. While serving as a program director for Notre Dame AmeriCorps in Cincinnati, she completed doctoral research in literature and religion, exploring the idea of literary pilgrimage. Through this life journey she has continued to experience and learn how Christ is at the center of all life — even in the university.

Angie Crea O’Neal is Assistant Professor of English at Shorter University in Rome, Georgia, specializing in eighteenth and nineteenth century British literature. She teaches writing and all facets of British literature, but her favorite literary subjects are the Romantic poets and Jane Austen. Angie received her PhD from Arizona State University in 2007. She lives with her girls, Marin and Maeve, and her aging dog, Lucy.

Dr. Laura Schmitt Olabisi is an Associate Professor in the Department of Community Sustainability and the Environmental Science and Policy Program at Michigan State University. She is a participatory systems modeler and works directly with stakeholders to build models that foster adaptive learning about the dynamics of coupled human-natural systems, and to integrate stakeholder knowledge with academic knowledge. Laura holds a doctoral degree in Systems Ecology from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and a B.Sc. in Environmental Science from Brown University. A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, she now lives in East Lansing, Michigan with her husband (an economist) and their six-year-old son.

Holly Ordway is a poet, academic, and Christian apologist on the faculty of Houston Baptist University, where she is Chair of the Department of Apologetics. She is the author of Not God’s Type: A Rational Academic Finds a Radical Faith and blogs on literature, culture, and apologetics. She was a competitive sabre fencer for nearly twenty years and considers a really good cup of coffee to be one of life’s simple pleasures.

Sarah Orner is currently pursuing her MFA in creative non-fiction at Seattle Pacific University and works for the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES/USA) as a grant coordinator and writer. She enjoys good conversations, being near the ocean, and traveling to new places. She writes, works and lives in Tampa, Florida with her husband, Kevin.

Diane Paddison has an MBA from Harvard Business School and is the author of Work, Love, Pray. She has held several executive positions for corporations, including two Fortune 500 companies and is currently the Chief Strategy Officer at the commercial real estate firm Cassidy. Diane gathers professional women for connection and mentoring time whenever she travels for business. This passion for mentoring women inspired her to found 4word™, a national nonprofit designed to connect, lead, and support young professional Christian women to fulfill their God-given potential. Diane and her husband have four children and live in Dallas, Texas, and Portland, Oregon.

Kristen Padilla is the marketing and communications coordinator at Beeson Divinity School, editor of the Beeson magazine, and executive producer of the Beeson podcast. She also is the author of a forthcoming book with Zondervan on vocation, scheduled to release in 2018. 

Nancy Pedulla is the Director for Leadership and Talent Development for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Before holding this role, she served InterVarsity’s Graduate and Faculty Ministries for twelve years. She holds a BS in Psychology and a MEd in International and Development Education, both from the University of Pittsburgh. Her ministry passions include whole life discipleship, men and women in partnership, leadership development, team building, and coaching. She is passionate about the development of women. She is married to Albert and lives in New Jersey, a few miles from New York City. They have three young adult children who give Nancy great delight.

Dr. Suhithi Peiris Fellow, American Physical Society is the Senior Scientist, Munitions Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida where she is the principal scientific authority in Enhanced Energy Effects responsible for research and development that increases Air Force ordnance capabilities. Since this interview she is also Acting Chief Scientist, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Arlington, Virginia where she is the principal adviser to the Director in matters of formulation, planning, management and integration of all Air Force basic research programs. She is married to Brett Goodman and travels between her homes in Virginia and Florida. They are members of Cherrydale Baptist church in Arlington, Virginia, and she has been attending Safe Harbor Presbyterian in Destin, Florida. They frequently host guests visiting DC for many weeks of the year, a habit she continues in Florida.

A graduate of Baylor University, Anne Pharr has taught English as well as College Success at Pellissippi State Community College, Knoxville, Tennessee, since 1998. Through PSCC's Student Success Program, she connects struggling students with campus and community resources to help them pursue their academic goals.  Along with some of her colleagues, Anne has also developed a college-wide initiative, Partners for Student Potential, whose mission is to deepen and broaden faculty and staff awareness of the challenges and strengths represented by under-resourced students. Besides spending time with family and friends, her passions include music, reading, exercise, Blue Bell ice cream, Huckleberry the dog, and a great cup of coffee — preferably each morning. Anne maintains two blogs: shadowwonder (on Christian spirituality) and gritology (exploring how educators and parents can cultivate grit, determination, resilience, and perseverance — and why we should).

 

Anna Plantinga is a doctoral student in biostatistics at the University of Washington. Her research is focused on developing new ways to test whether and how the microbiome, or the community of bacteria living in and on a person, affects health. In her spare time she enjoys playing viola, hiking, and drinking tea.

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