THE REVEREND ELLEN ECHOLS PURDUM Assistant Dean of Student Life and Spiritual Formation
Ellen Purdum is the Assistant Dean of Student Life and Spiritual Formation. She works collaboratively with faculty, staff and student leaders to continue and enrich the many student services, programs and activities at Candler. She also spends a lot of time listening deeply to the lives of students here. On her best days she hopes that these different aspects of her work help to foster opportunities where spiritual and vocational formation—in their many and diverse varieties—will enhance students' theological education and preparation for ministry and service.
Ellen is also an ordained Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Atlanta and leads worship or preaches most Sundays at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Decatur, Georgia. Prior to becoming a priest, she taught English and service learning electives at the high school level and worked for a national, ecumenical non-profit that supported young adults exploring or preparing for pastoral ministry. Ellen is an associate at the Green Bough House of Prayer, a retreat center in southern Georgia where she goes to be quiet. She lives in Decatur with her husband and a rescued rat terrier named Hannah.
QUENTIN L. SAMUELS Assistant Director of Student Life
For the past several years Quentin has been the Campus Outreach and Ministry Coordinator at the Martin Luther King, Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College, from which he was graduated with a degree in business. At Morehouse, Quentin also worked as the Program Coordinator in the Office of the King Collection. Prior to coming to seminary, Quentin worked as Program Coordinator for the Institute for Conservation Leadership in Takoma Park, Maryland, and as Community Development Liaison at Riverside Hospital in Washington, DC, focusing on outpatient services for at-risk youth and young adults.
Emily Rivers is a first year MDiv student. Hailing from Winston Salem, North Carolina, Emily graduated from Appalachian State University with a B.A. in Religious Studies and a minor in Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies. As a licensed yoga and group fitness instructor, Emily strives to be an advocate for health and wellness wherever she goes. Emily is a certified candidate in the United Methodist Church and plans to seek ordination after graduation. In this capacity she hopes to bring her passions for and commitments to holistic health and wellness to the church and the greater world. When Emily is not studying you will find her doing or teaching yoga, running, hiking, soaking up some sun and spending time with friends and family.
Khalfani Lawson is an MDiv student pursuing a concentration in Religion and Race. He is an alumnus of Kennesaw State University with a BS in Political Science and African & African Diaspora Studies. When Khalfani is away from Candler, he is most likely reading for leisure, writing in his favorite coffee shop, or working on a car.
Tala is a second-year Master of Theological Studies (MTS) student from Bethlehem, Palestine, and grew up just blocks from the birthplace of Jesus, the Church of the Nativity. Tala studied psychology and religion at St. Olaf College and was a member of the Interfaith Coalition, which promoted dialogue among various religious groups. Her MTS area of focus is World religions, and she is particularly interested in Middle Eastern Feminist Theology. She has delivered speeches on politics, women, and Christianity in the Middle East to various churches and community organizations. In her free time, Tala enjoys going on walks, reading, and traveling with her family.
Jiwan Dhaliwal is a first-year MDiv student with a particular interest in world Christianity and religions. She completed her undergrad at Houghton College, where she majored in Philosophy and Theology. Jiwan hopes her education can help nurture communities that thrive in their cultural, religious and ethnic diversity. Jiwan is originally from Toronto, Canada, and has a deep love for winter, snowboarding, basketball and most things Canuck. In her free time you can see her biking and lifting heavy things... only to put them down.
Rocky is a third-year Master of Divinity student pursuing a certificate in Religion and Health. A native of Englewood, New Jersey, Rocky moved to Atlanta 11 years ago to attend Morehouse College. After receiving his BA in Religion, Rocky found himself settling in Atlanta. Rocky is passionate about the spiritual and emotional health of men. He is interested in creating spaces where pastoral care can be used as a tool to address trauma. When he is not studying, Rocky enjoys public speaking, working out, cooking and spending time with family and friends. Rocky is especially grateful for his extremely talented and beautiful wife Samantha and daughter Reign.
David is the Director of the Writing Center/ADVANCE Instructor, who is entering his third year of a Ph.D. program in the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University. His research centers on a narrative approach to pastoral and practical theology, with particular attention to seeing how narrative can be used in understanding interpersonal identity formation and religious experience.
When he was a M.Div student at Candler, David served as a writing tutor for two years. He is certainly excited to return to OSP as the Director of the Writing Center! Prior to Candler, David finished his B.A. at the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) and taught middle school social studies for two years. As an ordination candidate in the Presbyterian Church (USA), David has been serving a Korean Americancongregation as a minister of education and outreach for several years.
is a third-year Master of Divinity student from Seoul, Korea, with the concentration in Scripture and Interpretation. Mina’s family moved to St. Petersburg, Russia, a month after the dissolution of the Soviet Union — which explains her love for everything Russia-related. Mina received her B.A. in Political Science and Economics at Handong University, M.A in International Relations at Seoul National University, and M.A. in Political Science from the University of Iowa. While at Iowa, Mina worked both as a graduate research and teaching assistant, helping undergraduate students write better research papers. Before coming to Candler, Mina worked several years as a policy analyst at the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy, building inter-government ties between Korea and Russia/Central Asia. In her free time, Mina loves taking long walks, watching indie films, playing the piano, and traveling.
Andy is a first year M.Div. student at Candler. He is from Kansas, and earned his master's degree in religious studies from the University of Kansas in Lawrence. Most recently, he worked as an instructor of mathematics at Emporia State University and, prior to that, as a tutor in high school and middle school classrooms. Andy loves how, when wielded with care, language can give coherence to subtle feelings and impart clarity into complex ideas. Reading and writing are his passion, but he is always glad to enter into a discussion of new ideas, and his interests range widely. As a newcomer to Atlanta,
Andy mostly spends his free time getting to know the bikeways, coffee shops, and open spaces in this city.
Whitney is a first-year MDIV student and an academic skills tutor in the Writing Center. Before Candler, she earned an undergraduate degree in Bible and Theology from Lee University in Cleveland, TN. Whitney is seeking ordination within the United Methodist Church as an elder. In her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, going to estate sales, playing board games, and hanging out with friends.
Sarah is a second year MTS student and an Academic Skills Tutor. She grew up only 30 minutes south of the Georgia state line in the Florida Panhandle. Sarah studied Biology and Theology at Boston College and her research at Candler is focused on end-of-life care. Before attending Candler, Sarah worked at an interfaith retreat center in New York’s Hudson Valley. In her free time, Sarah enjoys scouting out the best used bookstores in Atlanta, spending time in nature, and the company of friends.
Teresa is a senior in the Undergraduate College majoring in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology and is a native to Atlanta. She played soccer for her first two years at Emory, and since then has gone abroad to Melbourne, Australia, and also worked on environmental toxicology at the Rollins School of Public Health. When she’s not studying, working in the lab, or bouncing around Candler, Teresa can be found watching movies or hosting her own radio show on Emory’s network called “Dollop of Ice Cream Happiness.” After graduation, she hopes to work to further combine her interests in neuroscience, environmental health, and sustainability.
Marquice Hobbs is a third-year MDiv. student from Houston, Texas. He went to undergrad at Stephen F. Austin State University where he obtained a BA in Philosophy and minored in Psychology. Some of his hobbies include BBQing, playing with his dog Zoey, working out, reading, and spending time with family and friends. Upon graduation, Marquice plans to be a commissioned Elder in the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. One thing that he likes about the community at Candler is that it allows space for people to practice expressing themselves in a way authentic to their theology.
Kim is a first-year Master of Divinity student from Austin, TX with concentrations in Criminal Justice Ministries and Justice, Peacebuilding, and Conflict Transformation. She earned her BA in Psychology from Rice University in Houston, TX. After that, she served with a parachurch organization for two years in Minneapolis, MN where she worked to connect resources and volunteers with urban pastors to address issues of poverty through local churches. Kim has a heart for cities and looks forward to getting to know the city of Atlanta during her time at Candler. Kim is also passionate about the role of narrative and lament in engaging issues of trauma and injustice. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring cities through murals and street art, museum-hopping, going for walks, and cooking with friends.
Amy is a first-year MDIV student and candidate for ordination in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. She received a B.A. in Biology at St. Olaf College and played cello in the orchestra. Prior to Candler, Amy worked in the public health sector, addressing barriers to care for persons living with HIV and coordinating mental health services for immigrants seeking political asylum. Questions surrounding trauma, resilience, healing spaces, and narrative ultimately led her to theological study. Hailing from Minnesota, Amy's taste in music ranges from Prince and Bob Dylan to the classics of the Lutheran hymnal. She considers mix tapes to be her truest form of artistic expression.
Kristine is a sophomore at the Goizueta Business School getting her BBA in Finance and Management Consulting. Being a daughter of two missionaries, Kristine has developed a love for traveling which brings her to places far away from her hometown of Portland, OR. During her free time you can catch her swing dancing, on a hike, longboarding, knitting, or trying out the newest coffee shops. After graduation, she hopes to glorify God in a finance related career and eventually run her own business helping middle to low-income families manage their personal finances.