Writer bios

We've heard from many women that mentors are essential to their flourishing, both personally and professionally. We've assembled a team of mentors to answer your questions about life, work, and relationships as a woman in the academy and professions. Read their perspectives in our Dear Mentor column.

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.

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.

Karen Swallow Prior is professor of English at Liberty University, Research Fellow with the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and a member of the Faith Advisory Council of the Humane Society of the United States.

Andrea is a PhD candidate in Food Science at a Big Ten university, where she studies adaptation to stresses and the resulting effects on virulence in Salmonella enterica and Listeria monocytogenes. In addition to her thesis research, she is involved in leadership in the local Graduate InterVarsity chapter, where she leads the women’s group and assists with one of the weekly Bible studies. A native of the Midwest, she hopes to eventually escape to a place with mountains and good hiking as well as tenure-track jobs.

Writer. Dancer. Tea Drinker. Idea Wrangler. A happy resident of State College, Pennsylvania​,​ and a graduate student in English and Creative Writing at Bucknell University where she is working on a book about her year in Bulgaria. You can find more of her writing and consulting work at danamray.com.

Gayle Reed, a former psychiatric nurse, received a PhD from the University of Wisconsin--Madison under graduate advisor Dr. Robert Enright, internationally known leader in research on forgiveness and co-founder of the International Forgiveness Institute. Dr. Reed's own research on forgiveness has demonstrated that a forgiveness recovery program resulted in psychological benefits for women with a history of spousal psychological abuse and childhood sexual abuse.  This research has been featured in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology and on the Jane Pauley show (NBC). Gayle currently is adjunct faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has a forgiveness therapy consulting practice.  Gayle loves bible study, quilting, knitting, walking, her three adult children, and her adorable grandchild Samaria.

Caryn Reeder is professor of New Testament at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, but she's spending the 2013-2014 academic year as a Fulbright Scholar at Bethlehem University in the West Bank. She's researching and writing about the realities and rhetoric of women, children, and warfare in the biblical and classical worlds. 

Amy Reynolds (BA Harvard, PhD Princeton) is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Wheaton College and the Coordinator of the Gender Studies Certificate Program. She researches and writes on issues of economic globalization, religion and public life, and gender inequality. Before entering academia, she served with World Relief in El Salvador and with a public elementary charter school in DC. She and her husband Stephen Offutt, an assistant professor of development studies at Asbury Theological Seminary, have three daughters.

Freelance writer and editor Kami Rice relocated to southern France in 2012 to study French. Presently based in Marseille, she aims to cover international stories with as much nuance and as little caricaturizing as possible. She is affiliated with Artists for Community Transformation. Follow her adventures on Twitter and Instagram.

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.

Lisa Rieck is a writer and editor on InterVarsity’s communications team. She worked at InterVarsity Press for over nine years as a proofreader and Bible study editor (and, as it were, resident limerick-writer). She is continually inspired by the beauty of the sky and loves good conversation with family and friends over steaming-hot beverages.

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 The Twelve. 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.