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.

 

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 Vice President for Leadership and Talent Development for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. She has served in a number of roles with InterVarsity including twelve years with Graduate and Faculty Ministries. 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 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).

 

Alison Pichel is a wife and mother of two young children from the Twin Cities area in Minnesota. She works in an elementary school as a reading interventionist. Currently, Alison is pursuing her Master's in Literacy Education from Hamline University. She worships with a beautifully diverse community at Southview Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Alison is especially blessed that her children (usually) sleep through the night, her husband cooks, and Christmas in Minnesota will be snow-covered.

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.

Mary Poplin is a professor of education at Claremont Graduate University. She received her PhD from the University of Texas in 1978. After many years of what she calls “searching the spiritual net,” she became a Christian in 1993 and now works to integrate her faith and her work in the university. Her most recent educational research has focused on studying high performing teachers in low performing urban schools. She writes also on the need to merge the imperatives of social justice and accountability in order to decrease the achievement gap between students in different racial and economic groups.

Cynthia Prescott is Associate Professor of History at the University of North Dakota. Her latest book, Pioneer Mother Monuments: Constructing Cultural Memory, will be published in 2019 by University of Oklahoma Press. You can explore those monuments for yourself at her website, Pioneer Monuments. She lives in Grand Forks, North Dakota, with her husband, two daughters, and an overly friendly dog.

Paula Frances Price has worked for Greek InterVarsity in Athens, Georgia, for ten years. She trains sorority and fraternity students to lead Scripture studies in their chapters and helps them figure out how to follow Jesus in college. She and her husband have a one-year-old daughter who keeps them on their toes.

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