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.

 

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.

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.

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.

Dr. Holly Oxhandler is the Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development and an Associate Professor at Baylor University’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work. Holly studies religion/spirituality, health and mental health, and is especially interested in whether and how mental and behavioral health therapists discuss their client’s religious/spiritual beliefs in treatment. She developed and validated the Religious/Spiritually Integrated Practice Assessment Scale in addition to other instruments to measure the integration of clients’ religion/spirituality in mental health treatment, has written for numerous academic journals, and her research has been featured in the Washington Post, Consumer Affairs, Religion News Service, Business Standard, Baptist News Global, and more. She also co-hosts the weekly podcast, CXMH: Christianity & Mental Health.

Holly lives in Waco, Texas with her husband, Cory, and the couple has two children, Callie and Oliver. She loves to read, paint, meditate, learn about others’ stories over a cup of coffee, and most of all, spend time with her loved ones.

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. 

Ellane is an assistant professor of chemistry at Rollins College. She graduated from Wellesley College with a BA in Chemistry and from Columbia University with a PhD in Chemistry. Dr. Park has been named a Fulbright U.S. Scholar and was awarded the scholarship in the area of nanotechnology. She is planning to travel to Durban, South Africa, in spring 2021.

Anita Patrick earned her BS in Bioengineering from Clemson University (2012) and her PhD (2020) in STEM Education through the Department of Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Texas at Austin. At UT Austin, she served in her local Grad InterVarsity chapter as a student leader from 2019-2020. Anita is currently a post-doctoral researcher in Psychology at Spelman College. Her research interests include engineering education, career decision-making, student motivation, and cultural identity. In her free time, Anita enjoys creative writing, drawing, and studying foreign languages (especialmente español). 

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.

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