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.

 

Jen Pollock Michel is the award-winning author of Teach Us to Want and Keeping Place. She writes widely for print and digital publications and travels to speak at churches, conferences, and retreats. Jen holds a BA in French from Wheaton College and an MA in Literature from Northwestern University. She is married to Ryan, and they have five school-age children. Their family attends Grace Toronto Church (Canada). You can follow Jen on Twitter @jenpmichel.

 

Grace Ju Miller is a Professor of Biology at Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU). She has been at IWU for seven years. Before moving to Indiana, Grace and her family lived in Morocco where she taught at an orphanage for two years. Grace was the Seed Bank Director at ECHO (Agricultural Missions Agency) in Fort Myers, FL) for four years, taught at Gordon College for eleven years, and has led a travel course — “Sustainable Tropical Agriculture” — in Guatemala, Honduras, and Haiti for 15 years. She has a BA in Art and Botany from Duke University (including two years studying Chinese brush painting in Taiwan), MS in Agronomy from UC Davis, and PhD from Purdue University. She was recently elected as the IWU College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Chair by her peers.

Sharon Hodde Miller leads Bright City Church in Durham, North Carolina with her husband, Ike. She is the author of Free of Me: Why Life is Better When It's Not about You, and Nice: Why We Love to Be Liked And How God Calls Us to More. She also has a PhD from Trinity Evangelical Seminary, where she researched women and calling. In addition to writing and speaking, she is a mom to three young, very loud, and very fun children. You can find out more about Sharon, her writing, or her church at SheWorships.com or on Instagram.

Margarita Mooney is an assistant professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Faculty Fellow in the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina. She received her MA and PhD in Sociology from Princeton University and her BA in Psychology from Yale University. Her areas of interest include religion, immigration, theory, culture, and economic sociology.

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.

Marilyn Nelson is the author or translator of more than 20 books and chapbooks for adults and children. Her critically acclaimed books for young adults include A Wreath for Emmett Till and the ground breaking Carver: A Life in Poems, a Newbery Honor Book. Of Marilyn’s nine poetry collections for adults, The Homeplace won the 1992 Annisfield-Wolf Award; and The Fields of Praise: New and Selected Poems received the 1998 Poets’ Prize, the PEN Winship Award, and the Lenore Marshall Prize. A three-time finalist for the National Book Award, her many honors include the Frost Medal, the Poetry Society of America’s award for “distinguished lifetime achievement in poetry,” and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. A professor emerita of English at the University of Connecticut, she served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, and was Poet Laureate of Connecticut, 2001– 2006.

Julie Newberry is Assistant Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. Her research focuses on Luke-Acts, joy, the intersection of intertextuality and embodiment in the New Testament, and the reception of the New Testament in English literature. Julie completed her doctoral studies at Duke in the spring of 2020, having written a dissertation about the conditions that lead to joy in Luke's Gospel. She attends Church of the Savior (ACNA) in Wheaton (via Zoom), even as she remains connected (also by Zoom) to Blacknall Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), her longtime church home in Durham, North Carolina. Julie has two dogs and enjoys very strong coffee, peanut butter, and sunshine. 

Dr. Quyen Ngo-Metzger, a Professor in the Health Systems Science Department at the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine. She teaches and mentors students and junior faculty in prevention, population health, health disparities, and evidence-based medicine. 

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.

Lakeya Omogun, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Language, Literacy, and Culture at The University of Washington. She is also a creative writer and speaker. Her artistic nature is infused in all her roles, which have one common goal — to shift static ideas about identity.

Her hybrid identity as a Nigerian and Black American coupled with her experience as a former middle school teacher influenced her current research project, which explores Black African immigrant youth schooling experiences in the United States. She focuses on how their new experiences with race in America (re)shapes their identity, language, and culture.

Her creative writing and public speaking have fostered public conversations and social impact in relation to identity and race, reaching over 180,000 readers and listeners. She has been featured in ESSENCE Magazine and ZORA Magazine. She has also spoken on TEDx and NPR.

Outside of work, Lakeya loves to visit her favorite people and new places. She enjoys hitting the gym or going for a peaceful walk. When she is not on the move, she is either trying a new recipe or slowly moving through a TV series. She likes to think that she has mastered anti-binge-watching shows. In fact, she considers it an art.

Jamie Ong, Environmental Protection Project Manager at the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks), has nearly 20 years of experience in wetland and riparian restoration, watershed planning, and green infrastructure design. At NYC Parks, she is piloting innovative salt marsh restoration techniques, managing conceptual planning for urban stream projects, and developing watershed-wide recommendations for water quality improvement, shorefront access, and citizen engagement.

Jamie holds a BS in Natural Resources from Cornell University, an MPS in Environmental Science from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and an MA in International Relations from the Maxwell School of Public Policy at Syracuse University.

She attends Living Faith Community Church in Flushing, Queens, where she enjoys exploring good food and public parks with her husband and two children.

 

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.

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