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.

 

Phileena Heuertz is the author of Pilgrimage of a Soul and a founding partner of Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism. For nearly twenty years she and her husband, Chris, codirected an international nonprofit in more than seventy countries, building community among victims of human trafficking, survivors of HIV and AIDS, abandoned children, and child soldiers and war brides.

Spiritual director, yoga instructor, public speaker, retreat guide, and author, Phileena is passionate about spirituality and making the world a better place. She has led contemplative retreats for a number of faith communities, including Word Made Flesh, World Vision International, and Compassion International. In addition, she is sought after as a speaker at universities, seminaries, and conferences such as Q, Catalyst, Urbana, and the Center for Action and Contemplation. Phileena was also named an “Outstanding Alumni” by Asbury University and one of Outreach magazine’s “30 Emerging Influencers Reshaping Leadership.”

Jenny Hill (@Bibliophile84) received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from St. Cloud State University and is currently working towards her Ed. D. and administrative license through Bethel University, St. Paul, MN.  She is an elementary school library media specialist.  She blogs weekly about disability and spirituality at http://jwalkinguphill.blogspot.com.

Kimberly Hill specializes in African American history and Black internationalism. She has taught at the University of Texas at Dallas since 2014 with a previous appointment at Del Mar College. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2008, with missions related coursework from Dr. Grant Wacker at Duke Divinity School. A Higher Mission is her first book, and she has published chapters in the following books: Africa Bears Witness, Alabama Women, and Faith and Slavery in the Presbyterian Diaspora.

Marlita Hill teaches artists how their faith and art thrive together in church ministry and career life. She is the author of the book series Dancers! Assume the Position. She produces a weekly podcast called The Kingdom Art Life, and she is the creator of The Kingdom Artist Initiative, a discipleship program for artists working in “secular” culture. She also runs the Artist Prayer Collective, in partnership with The Salvation Army, Hollywood, and serves as the Associate Director for Edge Project, a missions organization focused on art, culture, and faith.

She is also a working artist. She has been a dancer, teacher, and choreographer for over 20 years. Her art life started in ministry in 1993 with The Hush Company, a Los Angeles based dance ministry directed by Stacy Meadows and LaQuin Snowden. After eight years there, she went on to earn her BFA in Dance Performance and Education (Towson University, MD), co-founded a dance program at a performing arts high school in downtown Los Angeles (where she taught for seven years), and started her own dance company, Speak Hill Dance Project.

Jennifer Holberg received her PHD in English from the University of Washington. She joined the English department of Calvin College in 1998. Her academic interests include the intersections of faith and literature, 18th- through 21st-century British literature, and gender and literature, including "middlebrow" women novelists. Her book, Shouts and Whispers: 21 Writers Speak About Their Writing and Their Faith, was published by Eerdmans in 2006. She blogs with The Twelve: Reformed Done Daily.

Wendy serves on staff with the Stanford InterVarsity Graduate & Faculty Ministries. She comes from an international background having been born in Malaysia and grown up in Australia. After practicing law in Melbourne for ten years, she moved to Oxford in the UK where she studied apologetics and theology. She is married to Jared whom she met in the grad fellowship at Oxford and they now live in Palo Alto, California. In her spare time she rides horses, cooks delicious meals with Jared, and watches Star Trek episodes on Netflix.

Nicole Howe is a writer, speaker, wife, and homeschooling mama to four kiddos. She serves as editor and regular contributor for the quarterly publication An Unexpected Journal and is a regular contributor for the online magazine Cultivating. She holds a Masters Degree in Cultural Apologetics from Houston Baptist University where she discovered the power of the imagination to restore awe and wonder to her floundering faith. When she's not devouring books, Nicole loves singing, pretending to be a chef, and performing Improv at her local theater.

Carmen is an Associate Professor of Old Testament at Prairie College in Three Hills, Alberta. Her husband Danny gave up his job in mission finance to focus on their three kids and keep the household running smoothly so that Carmen can teach, speak, and write. Carmen and Danny have been blazing new trails together since 1998, with ten address changes to prove it. They enjoy camping and playing badminton as a family.

Sally Ivaska is the wife of David, mother of four sons, and proud grandmother of Zadie Marie. She has a master of arts in teaching from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s in linguistics from Northeastern Illinois University. Her passions — small group Bible study and all things cross-cultural — have taken many forms over the years: hosting international students, coordinating small groups for her church, serving as the International Student Advisor at North Park University, and training African students to study Scripture inductively and write their own discussion materials. Sally is never far from a book or a friend and enjoys life most when her “plate is full.”

Leslie Iwai is an installation artist who draws upon her multidisciplinary background in mathematics, chemistry and architecture to create interactive and material rich environments.

“Two important questions I ask when I am making something are ‘How is it?’ and ‘What is it?’, usually in that order. Through this, I am inevitably led to new connections and uncovered narratives.  One of my favorite seminars in graduate school was Craft and Scholarship where I happened upon the threads between the woven, the engine and the feminine. Between the hardness and softness of these three, my work rests.”

Leslie Iwai lives and works in Middleton, Wisconsin where she makes her art, teaches, untangles knots and occasionally goes to an orchard with her husband.

Jennifer Jao is an infectious disease specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. She conducts HIV maternal child health research both domestically and in West Africa. She lives in New York City with her husband, Greg, and their two daughters. 

Sandy Jap holds the Sarah Beth Brown Endowed Professorship of Marketing Chair at Emory University in Atlanta. She teaches channel strategy and retailing management for MBA, executive, and undergraduate programs, and the marketing strategy seminar in the PhD program. She's published widely, is an international speaker and consultant, and has won numerous awards for her impact on the field. She received her PhD from the University of Florida (Go Gators!) and enjoys spending time with her kids. Tennis, red wine, and Cape Cod summers come in a very close second.

Katherine Jeffrey graduated with a Masters in Christian Studies from Regent College when the world was young.  Since then she has been a professional book editor and freelance writer, academic wife, homeschooling mom, and occasional dabbler in the literary arts. Her slim sheaf of poems owes to the encouragement of Vincent van Gogh: “if you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” A transplanted Canadian, she lives with her husband David on Lake Whitney in central Texas.

Christine Jeske has a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and teaches anthropology at Wheaton College. She has lived in Nicaragua, China, and South Africa and authored two books, Into the Mud: True Stories from Africa and This Ordinary Adventure: Settling Down Without Settling. She now lives in an old farmhouse named the Sanctuary, complete with a dozen chickens, three pigs, innumerable weeds, two children, and one wonderful husband.  

Sarah Cowan Johnson serves as the Executive Pastor of Sanctuary Church, a family of neighborhood congregations in Providence, Rhode Island. Her passion to provide strategic leadership within apostolic systems was cultivated during her years on staff with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, where she served as the Area Director for Rhode Island & Southeast Massachusetts prior to joining the Sanctuary team. She has been married to her husband Greg for 13 years and they have two boys, ages 8 and 5.

Jen is an Adjunct Professor of Old Testament with Ecclesia College. After finishing her PhD coursework, she and her husband Casey moved to the mountains of Utah to provide more opportunities for their special needs son. Their whole family enjoys the year-round outdoor opportunities in their area, especially hiking and downhill skiing. Because of Jen's and Casey's commitment to supporting their son, Jen primarily works from home, serving the church through her online teaching and her blog.

Joy Jordan-Lake, adjunct professor at Belmont University in Nashville, is the author of three books, including Grit & Grace: Portraits of a Woman’s Life. She served as a Baptist chaplain at Harvard University and has tought writing and literature at Tuft University and Baylor University. An enthusiastic advocate for micro-enterprise loans, she helps the impoverished begin their own businesses to support their families. Joy and her husband are the parents of three children. You can read more at her website.

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