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.

 

Allison Rieck has a BA in English, an MA in Christian formation and ministry, and is currently pursuing an MS in nutrition. Prior to returning to school, she worked as managing editor at InterVarsity Press. When she's not studying, she likes to spend her time reading, cooking, going to classes at her gym and having long chats with friends over a cup of hot tea.

Dr. Debra Rienstra is professor of English at Calvin College. She did her undergraduate work at University of Michigan and her graduate work at Rutgers. She is the author of Great with Child: On Becoming a Mother, So Much More: An Invitation to Christian Spirituality, and Worship Words: Discipling Language for Faithful Ministry. Her scholarly research interests are in English religious poetry of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, and especially Psalm translations and paraphrases. She blogs at debrarienstra.com. Debra and her husband, Ron, have three children.

Tricia grew up in Georgia and spent hours drawing on big sheets of white paper, creating little worlds of girls and flowers. Her dream was to be a fashion designer in NYC, but instead she moved to Birmingham and has loved the community ever since. It was in Birmingham and on the beaches on 30A in Florida where she was inspired to start painting, and she loves to bring a sensus lusus (playful spirit) and joie de vivre into her art. “I want people to see my paintings and be inspired to view life with a little more playfulness and beauty.” That is Tricia’s hope: to bring smiles into people’s hearts through paint and brush. Find her at triciarobinson.com, on Facebook, or on Instagram.

Rebecca Rodgers has an MFA in Creative Writing from Chatham University. Along with essays about travels and spirituality, she enjoys writing flash fiction and magical realism. She is enjoying the beauty of her adopted home in Madison, Wisconsin.

Bobbette Rose has an MFA from UW-Madison and works professionally as a designer and teaches classes and workshops through both university and community arts programs in design and fine art. She currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin. You can see more of her work at her website.

Allison has a PhD in International Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and a passion for how couple relationships and families can be strengthened in order to stop the spread of HIV. A native of Oregon, she has lived in Saudi Arabia, Swaziland, and (most recently) South Africa. She loves travel and discovery, the outdoors, having people over for dinner, and (most of all) being wife to Joel and mom to two little kids. 

Brian is the Communications Director for what is affectionately known as DoIT (Division of Information Technology) at the UW-Madison. When not typing emails, speaking or planning, he can be found encouraging fellowship among colleagues at the UW. Or playing trombone in a few local bands. He and his wife Jacque are members of Door Creek Church.

Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil is a thought leader, author, speaker, and teacher. She hails from Trenton, New Jersey and has devoted her life to the work of racial, ethnic, and gender reconciliation. With a Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctorate of Ministry from Palmer Theological Seminary, Dr. Brenda has over 25 years of experience and is recognized internationally as one of the foremost Christian leaders in her field. Currently an associate professor at Seattle Pacific University and teaching pastor at Quest Church, her mission is to equip the next generation of Christian leaders to become practitioners of reconciliation in their own spheres of influence. Learn more about Dr. Brenda and her ministries at her website, saltermacneil.com.

Scott Santibañez is an adjunct professor and faculty advisor for Graduate and Faculty Ministries at Emory University. He has worked as a volunteer physician with underserved populations for over 20 years, and also has a doctorate from Trinity School for Ministry.

Corianne Payton Scally was a professor of urban planning and public policy at a public state university for ​seven​ years, where she received tenure. After running her own research consulting firm for the past year, she and her husband and two children are relocating to the Washington​,​ D.C.​,​ metropolitan area so she can pursue her passions​,​​​ which include​​ affordable housing and community development policy and implementation​, at a national research organization. 

Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach is associate professor in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University. She is an economist who studies policies aimed at improving the lives of children in poverty, including education, health, and income support policies. She’s not ashamed to admit that she met her beloved husband Max on Eharmony. They have three young children and live on Chicago’s north shore.

Sara Scheunemann lives in Marion, Indiana, where she serves as the program coordinator for the John Wesley Honors College at Indiana Wesleyan University and teaches spiritual formation practica. During the summer months, she travels to Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, where she is a graduate student in their Christian Spirituality Program. She is a spiritual director and a runner, and she'd rather be found on a hiking trail than just about anywhere else.

Gweneth Schwab became a child of God as a young woman and was involved with the ministry of IVCF from her freshman year. She now works with the Faculty Ministry of InterVarsity in Illinois, having been a professor of English and Religion as well as a business owner. She has been married for 40 years to Bob, another IVCF alumni.

Debra Schwinn is currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine, and Adjunct Professor of Pharmacology & Genome Sciences, at the University of Washington in Seattle and is a practicing anesthesiologist. After a 21-year career at Duke University Medical Center, Debra moved in 2007 to the University of Washington in Seattle. During her career, Debra has held numerous faculty positions and had the opportunity to train and mentor many students, residents, and fellows. She and her husband, Bob Gerstmyer, have two teenage children and attend Bethany Presbyterian Church in Seattle. In her spare time, Debra plays the violin and enjoys 19th century Russian novels.

Halee Gray Scott, PhD, is an author and global leadership researcher and consultant who focuses on issues related to leadership and spiritual formation. Her book, Dare Mighty Things: Mapping the Challenges of Leadership for Christian Women, is published by Zondervan. She teaches seminary courses in spiritual formation, theology, and leadership in seminaries across the country. She is a regular contributor to Her.Meneutics.com and her writing has appeared in Christianity Today, Christian Education Journal, Real Clear Religion, Relevant, Books and Culture, and Outcomes. She lives in Littleton, Colorado, with her husband, Paul, and their two daughters. When she’s not writing or teaching, she is usually baking challah bread, running, or doing Crossfit. She blogs at hgscott.com

Luci Shaw is the author of ten volumes of poetry including What the Light Was Like, Accompanied by Angels, and The Genesis of It All, and the non-fiction prose books The Crime of Living Cautiously and Breath for the Bones: Art, Imagination & Spirit. She is Writer in Residence at Regent College in Vancouver, B.C. For further information, visit her website.

Nicole Shirilla is a second year medical student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Prior to entering medical school, she was a high school religion teacher and the Assistant Director of the Notre Dame Vocation Initiative. She has her BA and MEd from the University of Notre Dame.

Jay has been with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship for 35 years. She is the National Co-Director of Spiritual Formation & Prayer, which includes being the Chaplain to the Leadership Team for the Graduate and Faculty Ministry Team of IVCF. Jay is also a Registered Nurse.

Alison Marie Smith works for Greek InterVarsity at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. She ​and her husband, Sean, moved to Utah four years ago from the great state of Michigan. She loves reading, running, making meals for her students, and sharing adventures with her husband.

Sarah Wynia Smith completed her PhD in physiology at UW-Madison in 2009. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, studying nitric oxide signaling. In her spare time she enjoys spending as much time as possible with her husband Brian and son Jackson, exploring California, and playing the trumpet.

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