Believe it or not, graduate students will have more time to dedicate to professional development than at any other time in their career. The Graduate School aims to provide opportunities to help students grow as researchers, teachers, and even as a person of faith. One of our most prestigious programs that helps students develop professionally is the Conyers Graduate Scholars Program. It is intensive program for Baylor doctoral students interested in questions regarding faith, learning, and vocation. The program convenes dinners and seminars in an effort to foster intellectually rich discussions about faith and scholarly inquiry as students are introduced to the writings of first-rate Christian scholars. Named in honor of A.J. “Chip” Conyers (1944-2004), a founding faculty member at Baylor’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary, the Conyers Scholars Program invites students to think of an academic career as a form of Christian service or a vocatio, a religious vocation.

This week we would like to introduce you to our 2022-2023 Conyers Scholars. If you are interested in applying to the Conyers Scholars program, you may find more information here.

Elizabeth M. Bounds is a Michigan, USA native and earned her B.A. in Psychology and Spanish with a French minor from Hope College in Holland, Michigan.  Following her undergraduate studies, she earned her M.Div. with a focus in sport theology/ministry from Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary.  After earning her M.Div. she worked for Baylor’s Faith & Sports Institute as the High School Retreat Director and Assistant of Online Programming.  She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Social Psychology in Baylor’s Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, working in Dr. Sarah Schnitker’s Science of Virtues Laboratory.  Elizabeth is broadly interested in virtues, character development, and spirituality. 

Jesse DeDeyne grew up in Saint Paul, MN before his family moved to Wisconsin Rapids, WI in his mid-teens. He got his undergraduate degree from Bethany Lutheran College in Sociology. He got a master’s degree from Minnesota State University – Mankato in Sociology. He has a Master of Divinity from Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary. Before coming to Baylor, he served as a pastor for five years but felt that he could better serve in an educational setting. Jesse is now pursuing his Ph.D. in Sociology and is about to enter his fifth, and final, year. When he is not working on his dissertation, he is spending time with his wife and children and honing his Computational Social Science skills.

Rachel Dillmann grew up in Denver, Colorado, and attended Undergrad at Colorado Mesa University where she received her bachelor’s degree in Statistics. During her time in undergrad, she was on the cheer team and worked as a Resident Assistant for the University.  She then became a Baylor student in 2019, where she has so far earned a masters in statistics and is currently a doctoral candidate in the same field.  Her research focus is evaluating forecast predictions for discrete variate time series.  She has taught STAT 1380 and will be teaching QBA 2302 in Fall 2022.  You may see Rachel either outside enjoying nature or at her local church Harris Creek. 

Jacob Hatvany was born in Houston, Texas and went to undergrad at Harding University. He is currently a 4th year PhD student in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He is a member of the Gallagher Lab and works on establishing, controlling, and monitoring reactions within microdroplets during mass spectrometry. He is a member at Crestview Church of Christ and enjoys exploring Waco with his wife and their two dogs. He is excited to participate in the Conyers Scholar program because he believes that those involved in higher education, especially those who interact with undergraduate students, have a unique opportunity to assist young adults to develop an independent faith and strong expressions of worship in one of the most tumultuous times of their lives. 

Michael Huerter is from Annville, Pennsylvania.  He is a third-year doctoral student at Baylor University, pursuing a PhD in Church Music.  He previously completed a Master of Divinity at George W. Truett Theological Seminary and a Master of Music in Church Music at Baylor University.  Michael’s research interests include the ways music and religious narratives form individual and community identities and the interaction of religious rituals and digital media.  Outside of academics, Michael is involved in leading music at his local church and enjoys running, playing video and board games, hammocking, and reading and writing poetry.

Christina J. Lambert is a fourth-year PhD student in the English Literature department. Her master’s thesis engaged with eco-theology and the fiction of Wendell Berry, and her dissertation gives attention to the imagery of food and sacrament in the poetry of T. S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, and Denise Levertov. She currently serves as the Assistant to the Director of First-Year Writing. To her mind, three of the best activities in the world are working with students in the classroom, reading and writing at Pinewood Coffee Bar, and sharing a meal with friends.

Mark Lueders was born and raised in Glencoe, Minnesota, and is a third-year Ph.D. student in the Environmental Science Department. Prior to joining Baylor in 2020, Mark studied Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Minnesota State University Moorhead. He has maintained his undergraduate research focus of behavioral responses in fish, but now has a greater emphasis on scenarios where human activities have altered the natural flow of rivers. Upon completion of his degree, Mark hopes to enter into academia, teaching at a Christian university where he can provide educational opportunities for the next generation of scientists and work to bridge the gap and correct misconceptions between science and religion.

Ashleigh Maldonado grew up in a military family and claims no particular hometown. She is entering her fourth year in the curriculum and teaching PhD program. She completed her bachelor’s in secondary education at Baylor University and received her master’s degree in teaching with a reading specialty from the University of Kansas. Her research focuses on student empowerment through curriculum development. More specifically, she is exploring the requests for trigger warnings as a performative call for curricular change. In her free time, Ashleigh likes to spend time with her husband, their daughter, and their two dogs. She also loves going to the movies, reading, and cooking for friends and family. 

Ben Phillips, from Waco and still in Waco, is pursuing a Ph. D. of Mechanical Engineering with a research focus in Energy Storage. He acquired a Bachelors of Science in General Engineering with a Humanitarian Engineering concentration from Baylor University. He loves his local expression of the Church at Highland Baptist Church and loves his Creator intimately. For fun, he loves to play disc golf and listen to audiobooks and podcasts. He is the 18th of his extended family to go to Baylor, so he is a Baylor fan through and through!

Ryan Ramsey is a fourth-year PhD student in the Religion Department studying World Christianity and Pentecostalism. Originally from Knoxville, TN, he holds a Master of Arts in Religion from Yale Divinity School (’19) and a BA from Lee University (’14). His dissertation examines the life of Mexican folk saint Teresa Urrea using the insights of World Christianity and decolonial thought. Through studying World Christianity and working at the Yale Center for Faith and Culture, he sees faith and scholarship as integrally connected. In his free time, he enjoys walking with his wife and daughter, roasting coffee, and watching basketball.

Tyler Mowry (Doctoral Administrative Fellow of the Conyers Scholars) is a doctoral candidate in the Religion Department whose research focuses on the development of the narrative books of the Hebrew Bible. He holds graduate degrees from Chicago Theological Seminary (MA) and Candler School of Theology (ThM), where he wrote theses on the hermeneutics of Liberation Theology and the household archaeology of Iron Age Judah, respectively. He has thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to teach and co-teach several classes at Baylor, and has developed a deep interest in pedagogical theories, tools, and methods as a result. He currently acts as the co-facilitator for Baylor’s Designing for Online Teaching Success (DOTS) certification course. When not writing, Tyler is usually in his home kitchen, cooking and dancing with his wife and two children.