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Wilmington

North Carolina

Nursing

My Story

I grew up in a small town, surrounded by a big family. On one long gravel driveway, you could find me, my mom, dad, and brother, my aunt and uncle and three cousins, my great aunt, 2nd cousin, and three 3rd cousins, my paternal grandmother, my maternal grandmother, and my great-grandma and grandpa.

When thinking about my journey to faith in Christ, I have a hard time pinpointing one specific moment to mark the beginning, but I know that my family played a huge part in my faith. Thanks to them, I’ve known God for as long as I can remember. Sometime in 4th grade, I recall feeling pulled to ask my family if we could start attending a church. I learned so much more about Jesus and became convinced that He saved me.

Of course, growing up so close to so many family members set me up for a bit of heartbreak. I lost some loved ones as I got older and that was difficult, but honestly never challenged my faith. I think that I was so surrounded by love and felt so safe and reassured that even heartbreaking moments didn’t break me.

After 18 years in a small town though, I embarked on a new journey. I set off to UNC-Chapel Hill for college and during my four years there, I had some of the best times of my life and also experienced some of my lowest points. Looking back, I think I ventured too far from God when I felt things were going well. That is when I experienced true loneliness for the first time. I then longed for God but felt undeserving of Him. Friends asked me about God, and I honestly did not feel strong enough in my faith to know how to answer. As a result, I felt that I was disappointing God. I prayed for help but prayed inconsistently as my doubts waxed and waned.

Finally, after starting nursing school, an opportunity to co-start a Nursing Christian Fellowship (NCF) student group fell into my lap. I continued to doubt whether I was qualified or strong enough in my faith to lead such a group, but I couldn't pull myself away. I was surrounded by others who loved God, and I began to believe in myself.

After graduation, I moved to Nashville, TN for a nurse residency program at Vanderbilt. I felt connected to God and kept surrounding myself with people who lifted me up and helped me to feel empowered. I met the love of my life while in Nashville and we are now married with a 1.5-year-old daughter. I feel very blessed, but of course, I know my story is far from complete and my faith is far from perfect. I was young when I made the decision to trust Christ and I have experienced many challenges since then, but God always finds a way to save me (again). I continue to doubt myself often, I feel anxious, I worry. But, regardless, I know that I am loved and that I am not alone.

He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
-Psalms 91:4

My worst subject in school

Calculus

My hobbies

Soccer, weightlifting, reading, baking

Best advice I ever received

Life is too short not to be happy; Smile!

My worst subject in school

Calculus

My undergrad alma mater

UNC-Chapel Hill

Favorite city

Nashville

If I weren't a professor, I would

Just travel the world

Favorite books

The Harry Potter series; Any easy beach reads

My latest accomplishment

Serving on the Board for an amazing non-profit: Health Possible Inc.

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Conway

South Carolina

Political Science

My Story

I was born in Miami Beach, Florida where my father was stationed with the U.S. Coast Guard. As with most military families we moved every 3-4 years, eventually ending up in Newport News, VA where my father retired and I graduated high school. It was there that I joined the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, thinking I was both a Christian and an athlete! After being discipled by my peers, I realized I did not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. During my senior year, I attended a David Wilkerson crusade where I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior. Throughout college at Santa Clara University in California and the University of Virginia, I was blessed to be discipled by staff leaders with Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, eventually leading small group Bible studies with both undergraduate and graduate students, attending IVCF’s Urbana missions conference and participating in their Student Training in Missions, serving as a short term missionary in Mexico.

After college, I spent 23 years on active duty military service as an Army Intelligence and Latin America Foreign Area Officer. We were involved with Officers’ Christian Fellowship at many of our assignments in the United States and overseas. My wife Lori and I shared in ministry at churches and military chapels, leading small groups, teaching Sunday School, and leading high school and junior high youth groups. We considered ourselves in a “tent-making” ministry since the military allowed us to serve Christ in the United States and abroad, supporting missionaries and churches in those countries we lived in. Once we retired from the military, we followed God’s calling to higher education as our new mission field at colleges in Virginia, North Carolina, and now in South Carolina.

I have been blessed to be married to my wife Lori of 38 years who has been my partner in life and in ministry. We share a passion for missions and outreach ministry in our local communities. We have four daughters and one granddaughter. Three of my daughters have pursued careers similar to mine in education, intelligence and military service: one is a public school teacher in Greenville, NC; one is an intelligence analyst in Washington, D.C.; and one is serving in the U.S. Coast Guard in Portsmouth, VA.

My worst subject in school

Dendrology Lab - why I am not a forest ranger today

Favorite Quote

"For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead," Thomas Jefferson

My hobbies

UVA Sports; Yard work; Travel; Reading

Best advice I ever received

When considering leaving the military early in my career, a Christian friend said that the military was my mission field and I should not leave until God called me out.

Favorite coffee

I prefer tea

My worst subject in school

Dendrology Lab - why I am not a forest ranger today

Current Research

I have two co-authored books coming out in 2020-2021; one is an Introductory text on Intelligence Studies and the other is a translated text of an earlier book written on Regional Security in North America (published in Mexico in Spanish).

My undergrad alma mater

Santa Clara University, California

Nobody knows I

Cry every time I watch It's a Wonderful Life or sad sports movies

Favorite movies

The Quite Man; Ferris Bueller's Day Off; It's a Wonderful Life; Remember the Titans

Favorite city

Charlottesville, VA

Fantasy dinner guests

Thomas Jefferson; Apostle Peter; Bart Starr

If I weren't a professor, I would

Be running a yard service - I love cutting grass!

Friends describe me

Uncompromising when it comes to integrity and honesty issues

In college I drove

1974 Toyota Corolla

Favorite books

My Utmost for His Highest (Oswald Chambers); Politics Among Nations (Hans Morgenthau); Anything by John Grisham

My latest accomplishment

Refinished a dining room table my wife has been after me to do for years.

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Knightdale

North Carolina

Health Science

My Story

I was raised in an unstable home and constantly in and out of church. I loved the Lord from a very young age, but I was deeply emotionally broken and didn't know how to escape the prison in my own head and heart. As a teenager, I was baptized with the Holy Spirit and a year later called to preach the Gospel. That terrified me, but not because I was scared of the calling. I was scared to go all in and surrender everything to Jesus, because I was afraid to fully surrender only to find out that I didn't have what it takes and ultimately experiencing rejection from the Lord. All I'd ever known my whole life was rejection, abuse, and abandonment and I'd come to expect the same from the Lord, so I ran as hard as I could. I dropped out of high school, left home, and pursued anything that would help me forget my pain and failures. I whole heartedly believed that Jesus saves, heals and delivers and that He could and would indeed, do anything for anyone who asked...except for me. I never thought it possible for me to be free, healed, delivered, and made whole.

In my 20's I tried to come back to Him several times, but it would only last for 8-10 months and I couldn't figure out why. I tried my best to go all in, but couldn't get there.

Finally, He let me run hard and get my fill of this world, all the while, beckoning me to come back and repent. He never gave up on me as everyone else in my life had done. He never abandoned me, He never quit inviting me to His table. He never quit offering me an opportunity to repent and restore my relationship with Him. However; it wasn't until I was 43 years old that I finally answered that call to come home in Him.

When I came back on May 21, 2017, I had no idea how radically my life was about to change. About 7 months after committing my heart and life to Christ, He spoke to me after a season of prayer and fasting. He revealed to me that I had unforgiveness in my heart, which shocked me, because I had a reputation of forgiving easily. He spoke to me that night and said, "You have known about Me your whole life, but you have never known Me. It's time". In that moment He showed me that I was like a trapped wild animal with excruciating pain and longing for help, but terrified to allow anyone to get near the wound so I'd attack anyone that got too close. But He showed me that if I'd just stand still and FULLY trust Him, He would free me and He would heal those wounds and that is exactly what He's done. He walked me out of that prison by hand, one step at a time and I owe Him my everything.

Psychiatrists couldn't help me, meds didn't help me, drugs and alcohol didn't help me, relationships didn't help me, but just ONE night with Jesus, and He delivered me and started me on a journey to healing that has been both mind blowing and life changing. The really cool thing about Jesus, is that He's no respecter of persons, so what He's done for me, He'll do for you too and I'd love to share how you can have this freedom.

My worst subject in school

Chemistry

Favorite Quote

When we tell the story of our own conversion, I would have it done with great sorrow, remembering what we used to be, and with great joy and gratitude, remembering how little we deserve these things.
~Charles Spurgeon

My hobbies

Reading, writing, painting, decorating, cell phone games

Best advice I ever received

Trust Jesus with everything.

Favorite coffee

Dark roast

My worst subject in school

Chemistry

Current Research

The Bible. I'm taking a deeper dive into the historical and cultural context of the Bible. It is the most fascinating book I've ever read and the only one with the power to change hearts and lives.

Nobody knows I

am pretty terrified of heights.

Favorite movies

Jurassic Park (all of them except the 3rd one), Jumanji, The Passion of the Christ, The Ten Commandments, Overcomer, Courageous, I Can Only Imagine.

Favorite city

Jerusalem

Fantasy dinner guests

Jesus, Noah, Moses, Jeremiah, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, King David, and the Samaritan woman at the well.

If I weren't a professor, I would

Be in full-time ministry to the hurting and bound.

Friends describe me

Fun loving, an encourager, funny, dedicated to Jesus.

Favorite books

The Bible, Hind's Feet on High Places, The Machiah Company

My latest accomplishment

Graduated from the first school of ministry to become an ordained minister. My son and I went through the program together.

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Sacramento

California

Criminal Justice

My Story

I have known and loved Jesus for as long as I can remember. When I was growing up, my mom showed me what it meant to know Jesus and follow Him. She was a teacher...she might be to blame for my choosing to become a professor (the best professional decision ever!) God has been faithful to me in all things. He has carried me through the most difficult times and given me the most incredible gifts in this life: my husband, kids, family and friends - the great hope of Heaven for eternity.

My worst subject in school

Microbiology

Favorite Quote

Matthew 28:18-20
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

My hobbies

Have friends over for a meal, travel with family, watch my kid's play sports (so many soccer, baseball, basketball & football games!) and perform in musicals.

My worst subject in school

Microbiology

My undergrad alma mater

California State University, Stanislaus

Favorite movies

Some Kind of Wonderful, The Breakfast Club, A Few Good Men, Meet The Parents.

If I weren't a professor, I would

love to be a chef.

Friends describe me

genuine, funny and *super* high energy

In college I drove

A 1986 Mercury Topaz.

Favorite books

The Shack, The Screwtape Letters, Redeeming Love.

My latest accomplishment

Taught my opening lecture for fall 2020 on Zoom from my cell phone, in the car, parked on the side of the road...traffic, freeway closure, technology = Super Professor!

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Sanford

North Carolina

English

My Story

A Church came to my neighborhood

My invitation to salvation was presented to me at Watson Memorial Baptist Church, a church that came to my neighborhood, on my street, and so close I could walk to it.

I knew that I was doing stuff I shouldn’t be doing. Even though I hadn’t read the Bible, I knew that some of my thinking was not good. I knew that I had resentment—for example I resented being responsible for my brothers, for not being able to get straightforward answers to my questions, and for retreating into books and novels to feel better; I knew that I resented wearing clothes that did not fit and were never new; I knew that I wanted to feel better because I cried on the inside all the time; and knew I was just tired and needed relief.

Rev. Edward Bryant preached a sermon that told me that everybody had sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. If I died in my sin I would go to hell. But if I would confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in my heart that He died and rose again, I would be saved. I did so confess, and Rev. Bryant baptized me. That day, I went down into the watery grave; was buried with Christ through baptism and resurrected to the newness of life in front of other believers. That day my name was written in the Lamb’s Book of Life and I knew I had a right to the tree of life. I also joined the membership of Watson Memorial Baptist Church.

So, third Sunday in August 1965, I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour; hoping and believing that He had excepted me just like I was, and that He would listen to me and be my friend. What had been smoldering resentment gradually left me.

I later moved from the Fern Creek area to downtown Louisville. The church that I moved my membership to was First Missionary Baptist Church were Rev. C.D. Simmons was the pastor. It was under the pastorate of Dr. Simmons that I discovered the Holy Scriptures and how to fully connect to God through His Word and the power of the Holy Ghost. Thanks to Miss Henry, I knew how to read and why to read.

I had not been able to get much help in navigating life in general. A drunken or drugged-out parent fosters hopelessness and helplessness in a child and makes the spouse feel stranded and alone, so I did not get much help in navigating life in specifics at home. But one day I read in Matthew 15:21-28 that, even if I’m not born all that special, if I ask Him, He will help me.

To this very day, my theme song, so to speak, is Father, I Stretch My Hand to Thee. And, true to His Word, He hears and helps me. I know that, through His grace, love, and mercy I am special: I’m His child.

My worst subject in school

Math!

Favorite Quote

“Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em. Know when to walk away and know when to run,” Kenny Rogers-The Gambler. Why? Discern when it’s sin then flee!

My hobbies

Crocheting and visiting lighthouses

Best advice I ever received

From my mother-in-law Frances Bullitt, “You’re better off with one piece of real jewelry than a drawer full of costume junk.”

Favorite coffee

Plain-no added flavoring-with half & half

My worst subject in school

Math!

Current Research

Notable differences between motivating and facilitating

My undergrad alma mater

University of North Carolina at Pembroke

Nobody knows I

Haven’t got a clue what’s going on – or maybe they do and I don’t know it

Favorite movies

Mask of Zorro

Favorite city

Any of the mountain cities of North Carolina

Fantasy dinner guests

The Apostle Peter, George Washington Carver, Bill Federer, and President Donald J. Trump; Perry Mason, Cordell Walker, and Police Chief Wm. O. Gillespie

If I weren't a professor, I would

Retire

Friends describe me

As having a sense of humor . . . which I don’t . . .

In college I drove

1992 Buick Park Ave . . . the same one I drive today

Favorite books

Anything written by A.A. Fair

My latest accomplishment

Surviving coronavirus challenges

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Greenville

North Carolina

Kinesiology & Phys Ed

My Story

Hi, I am Stacy. I am originally from Central PA, but I took a long meandering career path through Lake Placid, NY; Chapel Hill, NC; Indianapolis, IN; San Antonio, TX; back to Chapel Hill, NC; and then back to TX (Austin) before returning to NC and finding my place in Greenville, NC. My faith journey is quite similar: a very winding path. Although I grew up in a church and had a spiritual foundation, I can’t say that I know what it is like to be an undergraduate Christian college student. I can say I know quite well what it is like to be a lost, wandering, directionless undergrad trying to find her purpose and fit in the world.

I was fortunate to go to UNC for a master’s degree and have two roommates who did have things figured out. God kept putting the right people in my life and I grew tremendously by witnessing how they lived their lives. Perhaps it’s the researcher in me, but I like to collect all the facts and to ask a ton of questions before accepting something as truth.

Around that time, I read on different religions and spiritual paths, but when I wanted life answers I would keep going back to God’s very word, the Bible. There was so much supportive historical data in there and along with those nudges or “God winks,” if you will, that my path slowly became clearer. Proverbs 3:5-6 became cemented in mind and heart. According to a wise friend, though, I was still sitting on the fence--knowing and seeing that Christians off the fence had something I wanted; they were all in and I was still sort-of in.

I was okay with that for a time until I heard a speaker talk about the only struggle in life you will ever face is with your faith. It was an “ah-ha” moment and pushed me off the fence. I wanted and needed to be all in with truly trusting and committing to living out God’s will. It couldn’t have come at a better time. After years of saying I wanted to do anything but teach, I was being nudged to get a PhD so I could teach full-time. This was something I knew I could not do unless God’s hand was in on it. By the grace of God and with a lot of prayer, I ended up working with a PhD advisor who cared more about her students’ life trajectories than their career trajectories. When I was overwhelmed with coursework and research, she would remind me that my only job was to love people well.

Today, although my business cards read Professor, I’m still striving daily to do well in the only job that matters: love God and all the people He’s made.

My worst subject in school

Statistics. I like math and numbers, but statistics---ugh!

Favorite Quote

Know that your life matters to many. So do good work, laugh every day, & press on. -Dr. Nelson Cooper

My hobbies

Running, searching for the best burger/pizza, traveling

Favorite coffee

Hot dark roasted pour over coffee. If I’m running out for coffee, it’s McDonald’s or Dunkin Donuts.

My worst subject in school

Statistics. I like math and numbers, but statistics---ugh!

Current Research

Exploring how sport can be used to build community, and how sport managers can improve life quality and athlete well-being.

Favorite city

Queenstown, NZ

If I weren't a professor, I would

be a postal carrier. There’s a start and finish each day, you can see your progress, and I’d get to walk outside Monday through Friday.

Friends describe me

Dependable, optimistic, serious yet silly

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Fayetteville

North Carolina

Education

My Story

I’m an associate professor of Special Education in the College of Education at Fayetteville State University. But when I was younger, I never saw myself as a professor. Although I made decent grades, I was focused on myself and dreamed of marrying a rich man and having a glamorous life – something far different from my humble beginnings in rural North Carolina. As a teen, I became a member of my church, attended most of the time, and was active in choir and Sunday school. I remember sitting on the front steps of my high school after graduation with my best friend. We wondered what life after graduation from high school would have in store for our lives.

As a first-generation college student, and the oldest of 6 children, I was excited to have my own space and free time to do as I pleased. Yet, my life lacked purpose and direction. I longed to fit in and belong. One evening, while sitting near the tennis courts watching guys and hoping to be noticed myself, a cute guy I’d met who lived in the dorm next door walked by. When I asked where he was going, he replied, “to a meeting.” When I asked if I could go with him, he said “Yes.” Walking into that meeting at the student center that night started me on a journey I will never forget.

At the meeting were many young people including juniors, seniors, sophomores and freshmen like me. They were singing heartfelt songs about Jesus. Most of them took turns giving brief reports of how Jesus was doing things in their lives. One said he provided funds when financial aid was delayed. Another spoke of having been in a car wreck with multiple injuries and how Jesus helped her recover. I saw a joyful devotion to loving and obeying Christ that I had never seen before. It was very different from what I was used to back home. Most of all, it was exciting and authentic and I wanted what they had in my own life.

A few days later, I was reading a booklet the residence hall counselors (RHCs) had given me (they had been at the meeting too!). In it I learned that God loves me and has plans for my life but I was separated from God by my sin. The booklet also said Jesus is the only way to the Father. I knew my life was not pleasing to God, so I prayed and asked him to forgive my sins, gave him control of my life and asked him to lead me into his plan and purpose. I felt light and joyful and quickly told my RHCs. Soon I agreed to attend a bible study with my RHCs where I learned more about Jesus, the Bible and how to live as a Christian. Most importantly, I learned (and am still learning) to live my life in a forever love relationship with God through his Son, Jesus Christ.

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North Carolina

Medicine

My Story

I was raised by loving parents in the church. I considered good works as THE way to
please God and get to heaven. At age 15, I met a youth pastor who talked about
a relationship with Christ. Then I went to a weekend conference for Missions (4/1958) and
heard more about Jesus, and then heard a talk on GRACE (Eph 2:8-9). I saw my deep
need for forgiveness and God's grace thru His son. I committed to follow Him in my
life with joy, knowing I was now REALLY His child and would see Him someday--thrilled
to know I could walk with Him through life.

That was 62 years ago and instances of GRACE have occurred soooo many times, and I
am so thankful.

As an illustration: I played college football for 3 years at Vanderbilt on the worst team in Vandy history (3-7, 2-8, and 1-9). The coach quit. And during my senior year, I hurt my knee and finished the year with drainage and weekly cortisone injections. It required surgery in Feb, 1963. An older female anesthesiologist gave me a spinal and an IV of Valium, and she became the most beautiful person in world for 2 hours . . . I even asked her for a date.

The next day, she came by to check on me, and asked me, "Hank, what are you going to do after your graduate?" I told her that I'd like to go to med school, but that I was having trouble getting in. She said, "Oh. I'm on the Admissions Committee. I will check." That same day, the new football coach came by and asked the same question. When I answered the same, he said, "Wow, I need you in our medical school for recruiting purposes" ('come to Vandy, maybe you can go on to med school').

I WAS IN MED SCHOOL THE NEXT WEEK. For someone who never made an A in college (a lot of Bs) and was told my MCATs weren't so good in science (I was a history major, English minor) and who took pre-meds as electives, to see if worthwhile). . .

I call that 110% GRACE!!!

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Wilmington

North Carolina

Nursing

My Story

I was born in Korea into a Shamanistic Buddhist family. I grew up in a poor family surrounded by alcoholism, daily fighting, and verbal abuse. I felt insecure and needed a place to escape where I could feel loved. By the grace of God, I started going to church by myself at the age of seven. I even went there every day after school to play. However, although I had been actively involved in church, I did not personally meet Jesus until my senior year in college.

When I reflect on my past, John 10: 10 explains my life very well: “The thief comes only to steal and destroy: I have come that they may have life and, and have it to the full.” (NIV). Although many painful experiences could have consumed my life with darkness and despair, our Lord has sustained me and even given abundant life. How grateful I am!

I’d like to share my spiritual journey briefly here. From the inception, my life was not smooth. I was an unwanted baby born premature at home. The first words spoken over me by my female relatives were “Let her die.” They thought that I would eventually die because of my condition. I also experienced many traumatic accidents. For example, I was almost drowned at age six. I also grew up hearing daily curses regarding my future at home. Because of unmet needs at home, I sought the place that provided shelter. I was lucky to find church as my refuge.

Although I was saved, I had lots of emotional wounds that hindered the beginning of my rough spiritual journey. My old lifestyle and way of thinking still controlled my decisions and I made many mistakes in my life. I was still a frustrated and depressive person. I even tried to commit suicide in the pit of distress. Twenty years after, I regained my identity in Christ. It was a long, but fruitful process. I gradually began to enjoy the promises in the Bible. I became a different person (1Cor 15: 10a, By the Grace of God I am what I am, NIV). I am so grateful and pray that you also meet Jesus.

When I came to America about 30 years ago, little did I know I would be a professor in this foreign country. I was not well prepared to study in America. But our merciful God helped me whenever needed (2 Cor 12:9). Although I am a tenured professor, I still struggle with feeling inadequate. I wondered why God provided me such a successful teaching career in spite of my lack and weakness. Since I started teaching, I made a consistent effort to pray for all my students. However, because of fear and feeling in inadequate, I was very passive about sharing Jesus. Recently, God has been showing me that He really desires that I boldly share the Gospel.

God is so good to everyone who seeks him! I pray that you also have a relationship with him. He will never fail you. Salvation is an invaluable gift that we cannot imagine. Do you feel lost? Do you need help? Come to Jesus Christ.

My worst subject in school

chemistry and physics

Favorite Quote

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV)

Best advice I ever received

Live and enjoy the “present” every day. You cannot change your past. Don’t waste time worrying about an unknown future.

Favorite coffee

literally any regular hot coffee – in particular, Starbucks and Peets

My worst subject in school

chemistry and physics

My undergrad alma mater

Seoul National University

Nobody knows I

I wished to be a singer.

Favorite movies

The Lord of the Rings

Favorite city

Jerusalem

Favorite books

Celebration of Discipline (by Richard Foster)

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Gaffney

South Carolina

Education

My Story

I grew up in church. My parents made sure we knew where we would be for worship. My mama took us and my daddy reinforced the expectation. They both have their own story to tell, and what a story they have! Even so, they grounded me in my own testimony where my story begins. I grew up surrounded by love, laughter, and alcoholism; even though my brothers and I had no idea it existed in our family until 1989. My parents sat Nick (my husband) and me down to talk about their shared life experiences, Dad's alcoholism (recovered since 1985), and how they were able to build a strong marriage that sustained the trials of being human and daily living. That testimony in the days leading up to my wedding day has carried me through many of my own missteps in life.

I was baptized as a child and knew I loved the Lord. In high school, I began to question my salvation. I believed I did not have a testimony. How can you have a testimony when your before Christ days didn't feel all that dramatic? I am that professor who lives for the dramatic and extra in life, and my testimony didn't seem to include it. What I later realized is that my testimony is just that extra and dramatic. It is filled with Jesus at every single turn.

I was saved from drugs, gangs, and other worldly blatant sins at age 7. God saved me from walking into that part of worldly living that He knew I couldn't handle. A gal who is often more extra than others can handle doesn't need to be involved in drugs, gangs, or Hell's Angels. He knew that was not the place for me before I was born. He saved me from that testimony! Instead, He gave me a mother who prayed every day, a father who worked hard, and who both loved me fiercely. I am grateful God saved me young and spared me from some of the “extra” in life. I am thankful I have a relationship with my husband that doesn't include past relationships with others. I am so grateful I don't have to tell my girls about all the “big” terrible things I did before God saved me. He spared me from that testimony.

Do I have a testimony that includes struggle? Of course! Can I be "lukewarm"? Yes, that is part of my testimony I would like to erase. There are times when I allow life to take over and I lose some of my fire. Sometimes I have to jerk my feet out of the world and back into the one who I know saved me. My testimony contains a lot of repentance, prayers to feel worthy to worship him, and the desire to stay centered in Christ. I have learned that struggles, temptation, and failure are a reality, EVEN when we are walking with Christ daily in worship and service.

Nick and I have two beautiful daughters, friends, family, and college students that are now family. My story is one of family with Christ as the Father. I pray that my family grows and I can share that testimony with students daily. Thirty-eight years later, the discussion at my parents' table still frames my story. It reminds us that we all struggle but Christ is ever faithful and with us.

My worst subject in school

Math - Mrs. Clary told me repeatedly to stop thinking about and writing notes to Nick Scates so I could learn the math. Sorry Mrs. Clary! I still do poorly in math, but I do love my husband well!

Favorite Quote

"Anything's possible if you've got enough nerve!" - J.K. Rowling

"No measure of time will be long enough.... Let's start with forever." - Edward Cullen

"Always date your spouse! Life is short, the children grow up, and when you are old you need someone to get into trouble with!" - Dr. Scates

My hobbies

Reading, sitting on the shore, cruising, travel, and crafting

Best advice I ever received

Love Christ first, you husband the most, your children a close second, and then your parents and family. Thank you Mom and Dad for this advise in August of 1989. I have not forgotten it.

Favorite coffee

I love to smell coffee, but I do not like to drink it!

My worst subject in school

Math - Mrs. Clary told me repeatedly to stop thinking about and writing notes to Nick Scates so I could learn the math. Sorry Mrs. Clary! I still do poorly in math, but I do love my husband well!

Current Research

I am working on growing my own higher education as I enter my 3rd year as the Elementary Teacher Education Program Coordinator at Limestone University. I retired from public education after 28 years in the field. There are several areas that I desire to research in both education and the field of higher education. These areas are part of my future research goals.

My undergrad alma mater

Lander University

Nobody knows I

have always wanted to publish a book! I have several running around in my brain.

Favorite movies

Twilight movie series, Hunger Game movie series, UP!, Dirty Dancing, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Breakfast Club

Favorite city

New York, Willemstad, Curaco, Oranjestad, Aruba, The list is long but time is short!

Fantasy dinner guests

Jesus, many of the women of the Bible, loved ones who have gone home, and Elvis.

If I weren't a professor, I would

still be in my public school classroom teaching 3k -6th grade. For 28 years I moved around in those grade bands and loved every second of teaching Scates' Mates!

Friends describe me

as extra, easy-going, fun, keeping my teacher brain on 24/7, and always laughing

In college I drove

A Ford Festiva. That little black car got the best gas mileage and took me places I had dreamed of going - to college (1985) and my very own first classroom of my own at Blacksburg Elementary School in 1989!

Favorite books

The Bible, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Where the Crawdad's Sing, the Twilight series, the Hunger Games series, Tuesdays With Morrie This is not a fair question. I love to read and need a few pages to complete the answer to this question!

My latest accomplishment

is sharing life with my wonderful husband and seeing my girls love hard and bless others! They love with abandon and really care about people. They are my life's greatest work. My latest professional accomplishment is seeing all of my student teachers graduate and enter our profession. They have developed caring classroom communities, loved and taught students well, and represent the profession well.

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Wilmington

North Carolina

Foreign/Classical Languages

My Story

I was born and raised in a Catholic Christian family in Costa Rica. I learned to love God since I was a young. However, my life was very difficult as a child because my mother was very sick and died when I was young. I struggled understanding why God took my mother away.

However, I could see and feel that God never left me. To compensate for my mother's illness and absence, God gave me a wonderful father who has shown me with his actions and kindness to love and serve the Lord.

At 19, I was blessed with an amazing Fulbright scholarship that changed my life. With this scholarship I was able to come to the U.S.A. to study at Louisiana State University as an undergraduate student. It was a real miracle; everything was paid for. However, adjusting to American culture in the world of academia was a real challenge and another test from God. Learning a new language and trying to fit in a new culture is probably one of the most difficult challenges in life. It was hard to find time for God. I felt overwhelmed and I got depressed because I felt very lost in a strange world. Many professors were self-proclaimed atheist and for a short period of time I struggled with my faith.

One day I encountered a beautiful soul in my French class, a classmate who seemed too cool to want to be my friend. She was for sure an angel sent from heaven. She invited me to a Campus Crusade for Christ meeting and a retreat. I was very hesitant but God steered me to trust her and I went. It was a true calling from God. I felt at home with these students who accepted me with my strange accent and took me in as one of them.

From there it was a trip back to the Lord. There were more trials and doubts along my adult life but after periods of self-doubt and questioning I can say with an open heart that I believe with all my being in God and can see how he has worked miracle after miracle in my life. Deciding what to do for a living and where to live after finishing graduate school was also difficult.

After trying different jobs and moving to different locations in and out of the U.S. I feel that God led me to UNCW for a reason. At UNCW I have found many beautiful people that have helped me stay close to God and find the meaning of true friendship.

I love getting to know my students and to share with them at a more personal level when we travel to study abroad. I have been fortunate to create and lead many study abroad programs. Each study abroad program has been a blessing and a way to get closer to God and my students.

Teaching allows me to see God through my students and it is a constant reminder to stay young and to show kindness. I feel that teaching languages has allowed me to learn and communicate a message of acceptance and love for all people regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or anything else.

As I continue to grow as a Christian, I pray for opportunities to share my faith and love for God with others. 

My worst subject in school

Biology

Favorite Quote

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
Mahatma Gandhi

"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better"
Maya Angelou

My hobbies

Reading novels, traveling, cooking, jogging, riding bikes and many outdoor activities.

Best advice I ever received

Live each day as your last day, do not lie and do everything with love because every little task is important.

Favorite coffee

Americano solo

My worst subject in school

Biology

Current Research

Clean energy sources and ecotourism in Costa Rica.

My undergrad alma mater

Louisiana State University

Nobody knows I

I have visited 25 countries. I am OCD and love cleaning and organizing.

Favorite movies

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, The Ultimate Gift, Motorcycle Diaries, Forest Gump, The War Room, That Thing you do, Avatar, Mama Mia , The Family Stone and Christmas with the Kranks.

Favorite city

Barcelona, Spain.

Fantasy dinner guests

Mother Mary, the Holy Spirit and President Obama.

If I weren't a professor, I would

Be a writer

Friends describe me

As a positive, kind, energetic, hard working and a good listener.

In college I drove

Did not have a car, just a bike

Favorite books

The Bible, The Alchemist, Tuesdays with Morrie, To Kill a Mockingbird, Fried Green Tomatoes, The Hundred-Foot Journey, The Secret Life of Bees, Paula, Dr. Sleep, The Dead Zone, The Outsider, The Dead Key, The Buried Book, The Women’s Murder Club, The Bones Series and many more.

My latest accomplishment

Read 10 books this summer and I am close to reading 200 novels.

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Chapel Hill

North Carolina

Accounting

My Story

In many ways, I had an idyllic upbringing. I was surrounded by lots of relatives. We went to church every Sunday. However, the faith thing never really stuck with me. I learned stories and Bible verses, but it wasn’t very real.

Our church had a very active high school youth group. I joined the group because they played basketball regularly and had lots of cute girls. However, some of the kids in that young group were different in a strangely attractive way. They talked about God as though he was their personal friend. I was intrigued because I didn’t know God like they seemed to know him.

One night, for reasons I still can’t explain, I was watching Billy Graham alone on TV. He talked about becoming a Christian. I knew that I really couldn’t relate to what he was talking about, what the different kids in the youth group talked about, what my parents and grandparents talked about.

So, I prayed a completely honest one-sentence prayer, “God, if you exist, then I’ll take you seriously.” I sat still for a few minutes and waited for something to happen. Nothing happened at all. I went to bed and assumed that I had done my part but God wasn’t real.

The next morning I woke up and immediately knew that something had happened deep inside me. I really couldn’t explain it, but I couldn’t deny a major change had occurred deep inside my core. I keep sensing a voice saying, “I love you.” It seemed to imply that whatever I did or had done or would do—wouldn’t ever change the fact that I was loved in my inner core. I still feel/hear that voice today. If that seems weird to you, I’m not surprised. It still seems weird to me.

Over the next few days, I sensed that I had to do a few things. The first was that I to tell my dad that I was reading porn. I didn’t want to do that because I expected that he would be angry. He was.

Second, I had to tell my friends at school what had happened. I knew if I told them what had happened to me, it would change their lives forever. It didn’t. No one seemed to be interested. But I told them anyhow—another act of obedience.

Third, I needed to read the Bible. I read the New Testament cover to cover over and over. Every word seemed new. Previously the Bible put me to sleep. Now, it was exciting and illuminating.

These things happened a long time ago. However, I remain loved by the Lord Jesus Christ. I have more confidence that Jesus is alive than that I am alive. I sense that I have nothing to fear in this life or the next. My relationship with Jesus is the core of my very beginning. It is the reason I exist. Everything that I have experienced, personally and professionally, is all because Jesus loves me.

My worst subject in school

Foreign Languages

Favorite Quote

Teddy Roosevelt: It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

My hobbies

reading, sports, gardening, waterskiing

Best advice I ever received

be yourself

Favorite coffee

none

My worst subject in school

Foreign Languages

Current Research

interplay between taxes and business strategy

My undergrad alma mater

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Nobody knows I

am an introvert

Favorite movies

Field of Dreams

Favorite city

any with a beautiful warm beach

Fantasy dinner guests

my parents and grandparents--all of whom are deceased

If I weren't a professor, I would

NY Yankees Centerfielder

Friends describe me

passionate, wise, funny

In college I drove

Mercury Capri

Favorite books

History, biography

My latest accomplishment

raising money for a new building for our school

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Johnson City

Tennessee

Marketing

My Story

My story consists of three themes: Perseverance, Joy, and Service.

Theme One is Perseverance- I tried out to be a Scottish dancer my Freshman year in high school, but I was only chosen as an “alternate.” What a let-down! This required me to attend band camp as a flute player and as a dancer- not an easy task! I juggled both roles and when a Scottish dancer quit after the first game of the season, I became the replacement. If I had not “accepted” my role as alternate and practiced hard, I would have been unable to “step up” and as a dancer throughout high school! How do I teach perseverance to my students? By setting up assignments (such as resume & cover letter writing) in stages with multiple drafts so students can see their improvement. Philippians 4:13 has always inspired and comforted me. It says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Theme Two is Joy- In early January 2018, I heard a challenge on the radio to choose “One Word” as your New Year’s Resolution. Since I have a pretty poor track record of achieving my New Year’s Resolutions, I decided to accept this challenge. As a woman of Faith, I considered the Fruit of the Spirit from the book of Galatians “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” From this verse, I chose “joy” as my “One Word." Where do I find joy in the workplace? In the enthusiastic response of a student who states, “That was the best group project I’ve EVER been part of!"... From the inspiration and the support of colleagues in my own department and from across campus... In the joy of a job well done (e.g., a journal publication). Philippians 4 reminds me, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” My prayer is that others see the joy of the Lord that comes from within (not from without).

Theme Three is Service- Throughout the first two decades of my life, my daddy was sick with a host of complications from Type 1 diabetes. During this time, I witnessed our friends, our family, and our church family serve us in various ways (bringing meals, taking dad to appointments). This selfless “service” to me and my family created a conviction in my heart to serve others. This conviction is both a responsibility and a privilege. One way John and I have been blessed through serving is the ETSU International Friends Program. We have hosted students from South Korea, Japan, China & India. This program pairs visiting international students with ETSU faculty members or members of the community who serve as a “host family” while the students are at ETSU. No, the student doesn’t live with the host family, but the host family is as involved as they have time to be.

Those are the three most prominent themes in my life to date: Perseverance, Joy, and Service.

My worst subject in school

Physics

Favorite Quote

There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still. -Corrie ten Boom

My hobbies

Sewing & reading

My worst subject in school

Physics

Current Research

I am interested in "smart shopping."

My undergrad alma mater

Mars Hill College, Mars Hill, NC

Nobody knows I

love motorcycles (but I don't own one)

Favorite movies

Top Gun, Despicable Me

Favorite city

Edinburgh, Scotland

In college I drove

a 1986 Buick Skyhawk

Favorite books

Gone with the Wind (Margaret Mitchell), Alas Babylon (Pat Frank), Seated with Christ (Heather Holleman)

My latest accomplishment

I have earned a Non-Instructional Teaching Assignment (NIA) for Spring 2021.

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Fresno

California

Mathematics & Statistics

My Story

Jesus is my Lord and Savior. My goal is to put Him and His will first in my life. I never want to hesitate to share my faith and I pray that when people see me that they see God in me. I am not perfect but I try my best to do God's will.

My worst subject in school

History

Favorite Quote

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me
Philippians 4:13

My hobbies

Pictures and family. Freezer meal prepping.

Best advice I ever received

Live in the present

Favorite coffee

Yes! All the coffee.

My worst subject in school

History

My undergrad alma mater

Fresno State

Favorite movies

Comedies, action, marvel and Disney

Favorite city

Anywhere my family is

Fantasy dinner guests

Anyone who brings the dinner

If I weren't a professor, I would

Travel

Friends describe me

Happy, fun and a bit crazy

In college I drove

Toyota Corona

Favorite books

Bible. It's really the only book I read.

My latest accomplishment

I took 2 classes to learn how to teach remotely. I feel much more ready this semester

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Belmont

California

Education

My Story

Currently work as a Professor of Teacher Education. But the core of my profession is that I love working with k-12 educators and students. I was inspired by my middle school principal, who advocated for me and my family when I was bullied. What I didn't realize then was he planted the seed of my vocation calling--to empower young people to be the best they can be and to live with dignity.

My worst subject in school

Driver's Ed

Favorite Quote

"Speak less, smile more" --Hamilton (broadway play)

My hobbies

traveling, watching documentaries, learning other societies, food

Best advice I ever received

Trust yourself.

Favorite coffee

Any

My worst subject in school

Driver's Ed

Current Research

sustainable practices of CalTPA teaching performance assessment, effective teaching practices in math in online format, ethnography of teachers and/or immigrant youth in K-12 U.S. schools.

My undergrad alma mater

UCLA

Nobody knows I

accomplished a 5k walk/run

Favorite movies

Coco

Favorite city

Seattle

Fantasy dinner guests

Condoleezza Rice, followed by Barack & Michelle Obama

If I weren't a professor, I would

be a k-12 teacher and/or travel

Friends describe me

Creative, compassionate, organized

In college I drove

my friends nuts

Favorite books

Bible, Quiet by Susan Cain

My latest accomplishment

I individualized and helped each teacher candidate during COVID-19 in Spring 2020

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Fullerton

California

Aerospace Engineering

My Story

I received Christ as my savior when I was 13 years old during an evening church service after hearing a talk by Gottfried Reichel, a former German member of the Hitler Youth in WWII. He shared how Christ changed his life through meeting a Christian American GI among the rubble of his bombed out city. Seven years later, I met my dear wife, June, during a bus trip to a college Navigator conference in Estes Park, Colorado, when I was at Cal Poly Pomona majoring in Aerospace Engineering and she was at Biola University majoring in Math. We have been married and serving the Lord together since 1971 with 2 daughters and 5 grand kids.

One of the most exciting interests I have is studying and sharing about the correlation of science and the Bible. Being an engineer by training, I find overwhelming evidence of intelligent design in all of nature. This perspective comes from my 36 years working at Rockwell/Boeing after trying to design complex aircraft , spacecraft, and launch vehicles that can actually function as intended.

Comparing intentional complexity of a flying machine's thousands of parts, subsystems and interfaces all being able to be technologically developed at the needed maturity level, and all properly working together at the same time, compared to the improbability of even more complex "living machines" in nature to function successfully with out a "designer" says to me that the universe must have been designed with a purpose, and our lives matter to the "designer".

My worst subject in school

Freshman physics

Favorite Quote

"A man that cannot figure his income tax should not be surprised if he cannot understand God." - E.V. Hill

My hobbies

Science and the Bible, Dobbsland backyard theme park for the grand kids

Best advice I ever received

Marry June

Favorite coffee

Starbucks Espresso

My worst subject in school

Freshman physics

Current Research

1. "Flying Battery Electric UAV" (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle ): replace conventional aircraft structure with power storage and power generation devices that have structural strength to reduce parasitic weight. 2. Particle Image Velocimetry flow visualization system: system integration and research in the Cal Poly Pomona low speed wind tunnel.

My undergrad alma mater

Cal Poly Pomona

Nobody knows I

...like the Dodgers (but not as much as the Angels)

Favorite movies

Contact (1997), Star Wars: A New Hope, Sound of Music, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Favorite city

Munich, Germany

Fantasy dinner guests

Dr. Wernher von Braun, Orville Wright, Dr. Hugh Ross, Apostle Peter

If I weren't a professor, I would

still be working at Boeing, or at Disney Imagineering

Friends describe me

enthusiastic, dedicated

In college I drove

Ford Falcon station wagon

Favorite books

The Holy Bible, The Fingerprint of God by Dr. Hugh Ross, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

My latest accomplishment

Switching from face-to-face classroom instruction to virtual instruction

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Spartanburg

South Carolina

English

My Story

In 1624, John Donne wrote, “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main” (www.luminarium.org/sevenlit/donne/meditation17.php) Today I think about how important relationships are—relationships not only to my family, colleagues, and students, but also to my faith community and God.

I grew up in a family that prized learning and truth. My father immigrated to North America in his 20’s with a trunk and $5 because he wanted to go to college, a chance he could not get in his home country, Austria, after World War II. He completed undergraduate school in his 30’s, the first in his family to do so. My mother, a professional pianist, is my first and best human teacher. When my brother and I were small, she stayed home and wrote a book about integrating music, poetry, and visual art in elementary schools. 1970’s publishers rejected her book as too interdisciplinary, but she engaged my curiosity in many fields.

Now as an English professor who directs half of Converse’s honors program, I still value relationships among different pieces of truth. Both my doctoral dissertation on hearing in early modern England and my current research about early modern Englishwomen and religion are interdisciplinary. In addition, for 31 years, I have been married to Peter, a computer scientist who also majored in English, and I love discussing new ideas with him. Together we have four children who teach us new truths. I also love teaching interdisciplinary team-taught honors courses because they help us notice different approaches to truth. A biology professor sees an angle I don’t, and a music professor offers another lens on truth. My students also show me new insights; when I stop learning from my students, it’s time to retire!

All truth, though, comes from God, my family and I have found that John Donne is right in the essay from which I quoted earlier: we need one another, our church, and God. This recognition does not make God a “crutch”; it simply acknowledges human limits. People are meant to live in community; to paraphrase Genesis 2:18, “It is not good for humanity to be alone.” I have learned this truth the hard way. Most of my life I have wrestled with mental health concerns, and I have learned that, besides medication and therapy, taking an active part in a Christian community and depending on God form critical parts of my good health. I’m not unusual here: researchers at Duke and Vanderbilt have learned that church involvement is actually good for people: www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-power-community/201904/the-health-benefits-congregational-life

Therefore, by grace, I seek daily to return. I try to read the Bible, receive Jesus Christ in the Eucharist at Mass, serve those in need, learn to live justly by reading saints’ biographies, and pray alone and in community. In these and other ways, I long to return to the One Whom Donne describes as “our only security,” our only fixed truth, the triune God.

My worst subject in school

Organic chemistry

My hobbies

Singing, reading, knitting, mending and hand-sewing, talking with my husband, walking with our dog, gardening, drawing, drinking milkshakes with my kids

Best advice I ever received

Under-promise and over-deliver.

Favorite coffee

Decaf with Bailey's Irish Cream flavoring

My worst subject in school

Organic chemistry

Current Research

Early modern Englishwomen and Catholicism; the Reformations in England

My undergrad alma mater

Williams College

Favorite movies

Bella; Good Will Hunting; Babette's Feast

Favorite city

York, England

Fantasy dinner guests

Mary Ward, Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena, Henri Nouwen, Margaret Cavendish, Gianna Beretta Molla

In college I drove

A bicycle!

Favorite books

Too many to list!

My latest accomplishment

I am almost done with a Master's in Theology that has taken almost four years to complete!

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San Luis Obispo

California

Biology - Cellular, Molecular

My Story

Falling in love—it’s a wonderful thing. And falling in love with God is the best thing to happen to me.

Actually, falling in love with my husband taught me a lot about what it means to love and serve God. I was already a Christian when I met my husband during graduate school. But I was in the beginning stages of committing my life to God. Falling in love showed me what it meant to long to spend time with someone, to miss someone, and to want to put someone else’s needs before mine. The more I got to know my husband, the more I wanted to be in love with God too. Each week, I spent hours studying the Bible, praying, and memorizing Scripture. I learned to listen to what God wanted me to do and submitted to it even if it wasn’t what I wanted to do.

Psalm 34 says “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” Spending daily time with God makes me a better, more joyful person. God has freed me from multiple anxieties, turned a criticizing attitude into gratitude and compassion, and most importantly forgiven a multitude of sins, which empowers me to forgive others as well.

Now, it’s my pleasure to show God’s love to others—my husband and children, friends and colleagues, and my students.

My worst subject in school

Humanities

Favorite Quote

“The event of falling in love is of such a nature that we are right to reject as intolerable the idea that it should be transitory. In one high bound it has overleaped the massive of our selfhood; it has made appetite itself altruistic, tossed personal happiness aside as a triviality and planted the interests of another in the centre of our being. Spontaneously and without effort we have fulfilled the law (towards one person) by loving our neighbour as ourselves. It is an image, a foretaste, of what we must become to all if Love Himself rules in us without a rival. It is even (well used) a preparation for that.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

My hobbies

gardening, ukulele, going to the beach, playing board games

Best advice I ever received

Take a Sabbath day.

Favorite coffee

I don’t drink coffee but I really love a glass of milk.

My worst subject in school

Humanities

My undergrad alma mater

University of California, Irvine

Nobody knows I

had a pet hamster while in graduate school. I kept his cage on my desk in the research lab and would take him on walks through the hallways of the research building.

Favorite movies

Star Wars

Fantasy dinner guests

Jimmy Carter and Bill Gates or characters from Lord of the Rings, depending on how you interpret the question

If I weren't a professor, I would

do research at a biotech company

Friends describe me

quiet, thoughtful

In college I drove

Ford Ranger

Favorite books

To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis, ; Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card;

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Spartanburg

South Carolina

History

My Story

One of the biggest struggles in my life is perfectionism. I struggle with this as father, husband, employee...you name it. It probably takes me longer than most to pull together my classroom materials because I'm always afraid I have missed an angle, it won't be good enough, or I don't have all the answers! My natural instinct is to dig deep, don't ask for help, and just get it done. In other words, I am naturally self-motivated (a good thing!), but I have turned that in so many circumstances into self-reliance.

Despite my struggles, I can see that God has brought me a long way from what I used to be. As a kid of five-years-old, I professed faith in Christ, but throughout my childhood I wrestled deeply with assurance of salvation. I would ask myself repeatedly: Did I say the right words in the prayer that day? What would others say if I questioned my salvation out loud? Did I "get saved" just so I could I could drink that tiny grape juice and eat that little wafer during Communion? In other words, have I been perfect enough for others and God?

The answer to this encompassing last question is of course, no, and that is what bothered me so much. I knew I wasn't perfect, and in my twisted logic, I could have not peace in Christ's perfection without "doing better." But God doesn't ask for those who are perfect to come to Him. In fact, that has never happened. Jesus Himself said in Mark 2:17 that there is no need for a physician if there is no one sick and that He had not called the righteous to repentance, but sinners (that's me!). What I had done for so many years was stare at my own imperfections so intently that I could not even see the perfect Son of God waiting for me with arms open. That is truly incredible, and I was incredibly self-centered...and self-reliant.

At summer camp when I was 17 years-old, I finally had enough of the internal doubt and questioning. I asked for help...imagine that! I approached my cabin counselor and he asked me a few simple questions that ended with: What do you believe right now? I knew the answer, and had known all along. It's Jesus only, and not me at all! It's Ephesians 2:8-9 plain and simple! The counselor looked at me and said to claim that, plant a flag in that truth there and then, and don't look back. So that's exactly what I did, and since then I have used 2 Timothy 1:12 to cling to the goodness of God: "For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I've committed unto Him against that day."

I won't stop pushing for my best, but I can now rest in the beautiful perfection of Jesus' love and sacrifice. It's not about me, it's about Him.

My worst subject in school

Speech (and now I basically speak for a living)

Favorite Quote

If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other to end before we can really get down to our work. The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable. Favorable conditions never come.
“Learning in Wartime” from Weight of Glory – C.S. Lewis

My hobbies

reading, watching my favorite sports teams, spending time with the kiddos

Best advice I ever received

Just before my wedding, a good friend quipped that I was about to find out how selfish I was. He was right.

Favorite coffee

tea 😉

My worst subject in school

Speech (and now I basically speak for a living)

Current Research

learning how to be a better online teacher - ha! - and military veteran stories/testimonies

My undergrad alma mater

Bob Jones University

Nobody knows I

scored 33 points in a high school basketball game

Favorite movies

I love watching British dramas and mysteries with my wife

Favorite city

Dundee, Scotland

Fantasy dinner guests

Martin Luther, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, C.S. Lewis, and William Wilberforce

If I weren't a professor, I would

work in the travel/tourism industry or as a sports analyst

Friends describe me

Captain America (minus the superhuman strength and good looks)

In college I drove

1994 Jeep Cherokee (manual) - boy I miss it

Favorite books

lets go with authors for the sake of space - C.S. Lewis, J.R.R Tolkien, Timothy Zahn, Charles Dickens

My latest accomplishment

getting back to playing the piano again

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Spartanburg

South Carolina

Chemistry

My Story

From an early age, I always had a fascination with science. So many discoveries and fun things to get your hands on! But isn't it always so fun to look back and see how God weaves your story together, even when you don't realize it at the time?

I went to undergraduate knowing that I wanted to work in Forensics, but when I realized that the "CSI" life isn't all it's made out to be on tv, I found that I had an equal love for chemistry. Being an only child and a first-generation college student, my parents were always so excited to hear about what I was learning in school. Forensics is an easy thing to explain to people who are not in the sciences, but chemistry (and specifically physical chemistry)... well that's a whole other level.

Since I loved chemistry so much, I decided to go to grad school (and get a Ph.D. in physical chemistry), but I had no plans of teaching whatsoever. I really didn't know what I was going to do afterwards, but I had it in my head that it was not going to be teaching. (This is one of those moments where God said, "You're funny, Alaina, thinking you know what you want better than I do.") About a year into my program, I realized that I LOVED teaching (thanks to being a lab teaching assistant for the department), and that along with my Ph.D., I was going to get a certificate in teaching as well.

Fast forward to my final year of grad school where I was starting to apply for jobs and finish up my dissertation. My adviser and I had it in our heads that I probably wouldn't get a teaching job right off the bat since I was fresh out of grad school and a lot of positions required applicants to have a post-doc position first. But God did it again, and I was able to land quite a few interviews during my first round of applications, and eventually found myself working at my dream job.

Had you asked me when I was little what I wanted to be when I grew up, you probably wouldn't have heard me tell you that I wanted to be a college professor. Looking back now, I know this is exactly where I'm supposed to be. God takes our stories and turns them into something even greater than we could have ever imagined. All we have to do is hang on for the ride.

My worst subject in school

History

Favorite Quote

"Life is not the mountain tops, it's the walking in between." -Ben Rector

My hobbies

hiking, trying new baking recipes, and doing any type of craft or building project

Best advice I ever received

Everything doesn't always have to be perfect. Some things are okay just being "good enough".

Favorite coffee

vanilla iced coffee, but I'm not picky about where it comes from

My worst subject in school

History

Current Research

Our atmosphere and the air around us is composed of tiny molecules that interact with each other on a daily basis. Sometimes these molecules are hard to detect by traditional methods because they are unstable and decompose quickly. With our detection method, we can essentially "freeze" these molecules in their unstable forms so that we can study them. We can also use different wavelengths of light to change the molecules while they are "frozen". It's a really "cool" technique that gives us a lot of insight into the world around us!

My undergrad alma mater

Newberry College (Newberry, SC)

Nobody knows I

never learned how to do a cartwheel and still can't really do one to this day

Favorite movies

any kind of movie, but I'm always ready to watch scary movies

Favorite city

My favorite to visit is Seattle. My favorite that I've lived in so far is Athens, but I'm sure the Upstate will make that list soon!

Fantasy dinner guests

I can never think of a "good" answer to this question, so I'll just stick to having dinner with my best friends from college (and their spouses, kids, and pets).

If I weren't a professor, I would

probably work as a home/interior designer or with an organization like Habitat for Humanity full time

Friends describe me

funny and creative

In college I drove

a light blue hatchback that I named Misty (and still drive today)

Favorite books

Love Does by Bob Goff, Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, and fantasy or thriller books

My latest accomplishment

I adopted a dog from Greenville County Animal Care. Her name is Annabelle, but her friends call her Annie. She's a boxer mix who has a total goofy side but also loves a good nap on the couch too.

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South Carolina

Communications & Speech

My Story

My path to salvation was long and winding, as I was not saved until I was 24-years-old. I grew up with a Christian mother and a Jewish father; we celebrated everything, and I am so grateful for the opportunity. While that experience is one I appreciate, it resulted in a lot of confusion and challenges growing up, especially growing up in a small southern town where almost everyone I knew went to church. I went to church Easter and Christmas, as well as periodically throughout the year, and I went to Temple for Passover and Hanukkah. When people asked me what I was, I would jokingly say I was a mutt. In reality, I was just very confused. To be honest, my perception of Christians was not really a positive one. Many of the Christians I interacted with were judgmental and pushy, telling me I was going to hell if I wasn't saved. This turned me more away from being open to Jesus than opening my heart to Him. I felt like choosing one side or the other would mean rejecting one said of my family. It was a choice I did not want to make.

I went through a traumatic experience in college that led to personal and health challenges after college. While counseling helped, something was still missing. At 24, recently married and settling in to my life in Knoxville, TN, my husband and I had decided that we would raise our future child as a Christian. I wasn't saved and wasn't sure I ever would be, but I understood the importance of consistency and clarity of beliefs. We would still celebrate the Jewish holidays with family, but our future child would group up in church.

In the process of "church shopping," we attended a service that changed my life. During worship, before the sermon, the church choir sang words that touched my soul and opened my heart to what was missing. "I need you Jesus to come to my rescue. Where else can I go? There's no other name by which I am saved..... I will follow you. This world has nothing for me." As I sang with them, I broke into tears, and knew that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

Was my life easy and perfect after that? Not even close. I continue to face challenges, but instead of facing them alone, I know I have Him on my side. While I don't typically speak of my faith in the classroom unless asked by a student or in a story when exemplifying a course concept, I try to demonstrate my faith through kindness, patience, and understanding. As cliche as it sounds, I try to let my light shine inside the classroom and out. My hope is that students will recognize a difference, and that light will spark a conversation that may help them along their spiritual journey.

My worst subject in school

Math

Favorite Quote

"Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me." - Jill Jackson-Miller and Sy Miller

My hobbies

Spending time with my daughter, reading, watching movies, cuddling with my dogs

Best advice I ever received

Treat everyone with kindness and respect; you never know what they are going through.

Favorite coffee

Not really coffee, but I'm addicted to green tea lattes.

My worst subject in school

Math

Current Research

the relationship between faculty confirming/disconfirming messages and student learning/affective outcomes

My undergrad alma mater

College of Charleston

Nobody knows I

Still dream of being a movie actress one day

Favorite movies

Rudy, Field of Dreams, I Still Believe, The Longest Ride, Hunger Games

Favorite city

US - Charleston; International - Santorini

Fantasy dinner guests

Esther, Meryl Streep, Anne Frank

If I weren't a professor, I would

Write fiction novels

Friends describe me

Compassionate, quirky, good for a hug

In college I drove

Honda Civic

Favorite books

Redeeming Love, The Giving Tree, The Giver, almost anything by Francine Rivers and Nicholas Sparks

My latest accomplishment

promoted to Director for the Center of Interdisciplinary Studies

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Gaffney

South Carolina

Education

My Story

This is not a typical story of triumph through faith or courage to overcome tragedy. It is not that dramatic. It starts in 1957 when I was born to an 18 year-old mother and a 21 year-old father in the Chitwood Clinic, located above the Belk Department Store, in Wytheville, Virginia. My mother was not a high school graduate. My father did receive his diploma, but only after he and my uncle threatened to throw the principal from a second-floor window.

Though, money was scarce, we had plenty. My grandparents owned a small farm and the table was always full. Later when they grew old and sick, they came to live with us in a small cinder-block basement. We lived there ten years until my parents could afford to finish the rest of the house. Six people sharing two bedrooms might seem difficult, but we never noticed. By some standards, we were poor – we just didn’t know it.

I grew up in church. I learned to love the Lord. My other grandfather guarded convicts by day, sunglasses and shotgun, but on nights and weekends, he was a Baptist preacher. He was the most dedicated Christian I ever knew. I went to the altar, at ten, to accept Jesus as my Savior.

I was the first in my family to graduate from college. I had no one to tell me what it would be like or help me along the way. I was searching for purpose. God was there. I became a teacher and coach. Teaching was fun. I loved the excitement of Friday nights. I loved being with my friends and often that involved alcohol.

On my own, I completely mismanaged my life and I was certain that I would grow old, alone, and empty. God was there. I met a waitress. She made me ask three times for a date. She had the most beautiful eyes. She had two children and three jobs. We added two more children. We agreed, very early, that if we ever became a family, there would be no hyphenated designations like half-sister or step-brother. We would be one family, everyone all the way in. She made it clear, we would be in church. I loved it. Drinking stopped. Friends changed. We weren’t invited to parties anymore, but we had more fun.

As the years passed, I went back to the altar to re-affirm what I had decided as a boy. The hardest part of salvation isn’t accepting the gift. It is dealing with the guilt and turning away from the sin. Six months later, I went back again, just to be sure. There is only one thing we must get right in this life. I wanted a double-dose.

It would be nice to tell you we have lived a charmed life since then. That would not be true. We have endured job changes, moves, sickness, and death. We are sinners. We do the wrong thing. We are just forgiven. We have been given grandchildren, laughter, sunshine, companionship, and love. We are the same as everyone else except for that Wonderful Savior who has chosen to be with us.

Now, here we are. Our hair has turned gray. Our kids have moved out. Yet, He is still here. We know there is trouble ahead. We know we can’t handle it when it comes. He can.

My worst subject in school

French

Favorite Quote

“Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday.”
― John Wayne

My hobbies

Computer baseball, all sports.

Best advice I ever received

Listen....

Favorite coffee

Green Mountain Breakfast Blend

My worst subject in school

French

My undergrad alma mater

James Madison University

Nobody knows I

do all the grocery shopping at my home.

Favorite movies

Eddie and the Cruisers Part II, Jeremiah Johnson, Chism

Favorite city

Las Vegas

Fantasy dinner guests

Jesus - Who else?

If I weren't a professor, I would

be a chef.

Friends describe me

big, intimidating, a teddy bear

In college I drove

1971 Plymouth Valiant

Favorite books

Wealth, Poverty and Politics by Thomas Sowell, Vince: A Personal Biography of Vince Lombardi by Michael O'brien

My latest accomplishment

Fullerton Foundation Excellence in Teaching Awards for 2018-2019

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Clinton

South Carolina

Mathematics & Statistics

My Story

When C. S. Lewis finally gave in and acknowledged God, he described himself as “perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.” My journey of faith is not quite that dramatic, yet I experienced a similar moment in 6th grade, when our youth group went to see Billy Graham’s film Time to Run. Afterwards, the audience was invited to accept Christ as Lord and Savior, and I watched in dismay as one by one, my friends went forward. So I finally gave in, perhaps a dejected and reluctant convert in my own small way.

Thankfully, by God’s grace my faith deepened in high school and college. I slowly began to understand that belief and reason are not mutually exclusive, learning by example from my teachers and my fellow students. In particular, as I pursued my studies in mathematics, I realized that faith and logic go hand in hand to provide a greater appreciation of both God’s Word and God’s world. As my journey continues, with ups and downs along the way, I am striving to love the Lord with my heart and my mind.

So my advice for students is to ask, to seek, and to knock. There are no questions or doubts or problems that are too big for God. We have God’s sure promise: Those who ask will receive; those who seek will find; those who knock will have the door opened to them. Always remember that our Lord is not bound by time or place or any other limitation – Jesus continues to reassure us that “all things are possible with God” (Mark 10:27).

Favorite Quote

I love quotations, so it’s hard to choose just one … but here’s my current favorite:

“If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. But if you look at Christ, you’ll be at rest.” – Corrie ten Boom

My hobbies

jogging, various puzzles/games, 70s music, classic films

Best advice I ever received

From my parents, whenever I wanted to boss around or tattle on my brother: “Don’t worry about what he’s doing. You just take care of what you’re doing – that will keep you plenty busy.”

Current Research

history of mathematics (especially number theory), journal problem sections, connections between faith and mathematics

My undergrad alma mater

Emory University

Nobody knows I

can ride a unicycle (well, sort of)

Favorite movies

Chariots of Fire, Galaxy Quest, Hidden Figures, The Princess Bride

Fantasy dinner guests

C. S. Lewis, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, … and Blaise Pascal!

In college I drove

a Pontiac Phoenix, later voted one of the worst cars of the 1980s

Favorite books

The Screwtape Letters and Out of the Silent Planet (CSL), Strength to Love (MLK), Curtain (Agatha Christie)

My latest accomplishment

taking an online course on … how to teach an online course

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Spartanburg

South Carolina

Education

My Story

I’m often asked, "What do you do?" upon meeting friends for the first time. The truth is that there are so many answers. For all that I want to be and try to be, one piece generally finds its way to center stage. Appropriately so, that is often my family. But I always have some creative peace [sic] going (usually on my lap in the car or stuffed in the side of my messenger bag for stolen moments at traffic lights); these have included a children’s book, a narrative for a novel in progress, a “big ideas” list, SPSS data printouts, teaching ideas and sketches, a to do list including letters to write, and a calendar of the week for the question of when I will fit in grocery shopping and laundry. God has given me so much. When asked, “What did you do with all that I have given to you?” I hope He is pleased with the answer of my life’s works.

My worst subject in school

Science

Best advice I ever received

Do not schedule for a full day. Schedule leaving at least 30% free. You need time to breathe.

Favorite coffee

Latte- plain

My worst subject in school

Science

Current Research

Play, Play, Play...

My undergrad alma mater

Converse College

If I weren't a professor, I would

Paint and read all day

In college I drove

Honda Civic (purple!)

Favorite books

oooo... look me up on Goodreads

My latest accomplishment

So, I did just publish a book.
theplayfulclassroom.com

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Spartanburg

South Carolina

Economics

My Story

I'm a slower learner. I always have been. I'm a slow reader and I need a lot of repetition to learn most concepts. When I was around the age of 13, I took pre-algebra and while I knew numbers and I knew letters, I struggled when you put them together. In fact, my middle school math teacher told my parents that I would never get a college degree. What she did not understand was that it is not that I cannot learn, but that I just learn differently—we all do. The truest measure of the ability to learn is whether you will stick with it long enough to make it happen.

The same can be said for your faith. I first came to truly know Christ when I was 17 years old on a youth ministry trip. I previously knew of Jesus Christ, but at the time, it was in the same way I know my neighbor three doors down or my kid’s pediatrician. That night, I saw the mercy that God displayed for me when Jesus died on the cross. The intellectual realization that God, the creator of all things, sent His Son to die on my behalf revealed itself. I accepted the gift of salvation that night. It took me 17 years to process what happened on Calvary.

After college, I thought I was destined for a “regular job” until I retired. I stayed there for a decade, but all along I kept hearing this voice tell me that I was meant to do something else. That voice grew into a chorus over time. God would not leave me alone. He knew I was feeling unfulfilled. He knew I had a greater purpose. Most importantly, He knew I am a slow learner.

I am still slowly learning to walk with Christ on a daily basis by making time to read scripture, pray, and meditate on what God’s direction for my life—even if I do not always exemplify perfect character, or a patient spirit. I am committed to serving God's purpose in my life through all of my shortcomings by growing stronger everyday.

The thing about being a slow learner is that you are a steady learner. If you take the time to consider all things, then you’ll be certain of what you truly know. I know now that God was quietly calling me to be a college professor for a long time. He was preparing me all along. I know that I am where I am supposed to be.

I'm so glad I made the change. I love being a professor because it does not feel like a job. It is a mission to serve and push students. I consider it a privilege to be a part of such a crucial moment of their lives. I pray that I can help them find God’s purpose in their lives—especially if they’re a slow learner like me.

P.S., I attend Church at the Mill. Please feel free to let me know if you'd ever like to join us for a Sunday worship service! You can also watch services at www.churchatthemill.com

My worst subject in school

Chemistry (I once caused a lab to be evacuated. I still don't know what I did.)

Favorite Quote

"For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." Hebrew 12:11

My hobbies

Running (every day, around 40 miles per week), Clemson Tiger football, and hanging with my family

Best advice I ever received

Always buy memories (not stuff)

Favorite coffee

Fresh ground Don Pablo beans with coconut creamer.

My worst subject in school

Chemistry (I once caused a lab to be evacuated. I still don't know what I did.)

Current Research

I have been examining A LOT of pedagogy related to online learning.

My undergrad alma mater

Clemson University

Nobody knows I

that I am a Certified Personal Trainer (I am my own client)

Favorite movies

I LOVE MOVIES! I have way too many favorites to narrow the list down. Fun fact: I probably watched Dumb and Dumber 4-5 times a week during my freshman year.

Favorite city

Salzburg, Austria

Fantasy dinner guests

My grand dads. I miss them both daily.

If I weren't a professor, I would

Small business owner and/or farmer

Friends describe me

Energetic and on the move!

In college I drove

1996 Mazda B2300 pickup truck

Favorite books

The Bible, Economics in One Lesson by Hazlett, books on the Revolutionary War and World War II, et. al.

My latest accomplishment

I was blessed to recently receive tenure status.