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Current Conyers Scholars

Greg Barnhill is from Birmingham, AL, and earned his B.A. in History at Lee University in Cleveland, TN (2007). After marrying Hallie (who also graduated from Lee University), he served as youth minister at Eastwood Church in Chattanooga, TN and then moved to Dallas, TX for a seminary degree. After earning a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary (2014) they moved to Waco to begin the Ph.D. in Religion, emphasis in New Testament. As a fourth year Ph.D. student, Greg's interests in early Christianity include Pauline letters and theology, especially the use of Jewish scriptures and traditions in early Christianity (on which he is writing his dissertation), and the use of ancient rhetoric in early Christian literature, on which he has published in Journal for the Study of the New Testament. He hopes to teach one day in a Christian college to have an impact in the same environment that had a major influence on his own life. Outside of school, Greg spends most of his time exploring Waco with his family and playing with or reading to his two children, Caroline (3 years) and Sam (1 year).

 

Ryan Butler is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in the history department. He attended Wheaton College, where he majored in math and minored in Bible/theology and physics (2006). He then served as an intelligence officer in the Air Force (2006-2011) before attending Fuller Theological Seminary, where he received a M.Div. (2014). At Baylor, his research focuses on slavery and abolition, religion, and the relationship between social reform and foreign policy in the 18th/19th-century Atlantic world. Ryan’s dissertation examines the Clapham Sect, a group of British activists, situating their work in a transatlantic context to explore issues of race, empire, and theology. He recently taught world history at Wayland Baptist University’s campus in Kenya. Ryan has presented research of late at the North American Conference on British Studies, the American Society of Church History, and the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. Ryan enjoys sports, the great outdoors, flying, and time together with his wife Kristi and two kids, Katie Grace (5) and Robbie (3)

 

Paul Gutacker is from New Egypt, New Jersey. After earning a B.A. from Bryan College, Paul completed an M.A. in Theological Studies and a Th.M. at Regent College (Vancouver, British Columbia). A History Ph.D candidate, Paul’s dissertation focuses on American conceptions of Christian history and the uses of tradition in the construction of religious and national identities. Paul has presented papers at the Conference on Faith and History and the American Society of Church History, and has published book reviews in the Journal of Religious History and Fides et Historia. His article, “Joseph Milner and his editors: eighteenth- and nineteenth-century evangelicals and the Christian past,” is forthcoming in the Journal of Ecclesiastical History. In 2017, Paul was awarded a research fellowship from the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown University, a study grant from the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives, and a teaching fellowship from the Armstrong Browning Library. Paul and his wife Paige live next door to Lula Jane’s with their son James and their spaniel Lila. They enjoy gardening, reading mysteries aloud, and cheering on the Buffalo Bills.

 

Perry Neil Harrison is a doctoral candidate in English, with a specialization in Old English language and literature. He is currently completing a dissertation project examining representations of divine and diabolical power across Old English and Old Saxon literature. Alongside his interest in old Germanic literature, Perry moonlights as a Robin Hood scholar. His scholarship appears in Medieval Perspectives,Notes and Queries, the Boydell and Brewer collection Flaying in the Premodern World: Practice and Representation, and the forthcoming Routledge collection Robin Hood and the Outlaw/ed Literary Canon. When not muttering in dead languages, Perry enjoys watching baseball, playing board games, playing with his two cats (Princess Aurora and Catface Meowmers), and touring historic sites with his wife, Ashley.

 

Leslie Oglesby is originally from Reform, Alabama. He earned a BS in Athletic Training from the University of Alabama in 2010. He has 7 years of experience as a certified athletic trainer working in the collegiate setting, earning an MS in Health and Human Performance from Northwestern State University of Louisiana along the way. In addition to his previous work experience, Leslie currently serves as a graduate assistant athletic trainer at Baylor University. In this role, he previously provided care for the Equestrian team and currently assists with post-surgical rehabilitative care of all student-athletes. He has taught first aid/CPR, personal health, and several athletic training courses at the collegiate level in both Texas and Louisiana. In his fourth year of the PhD program in Kinesiology, Exercise, Nutrition and Health Promotion, his research interests include burnout, the role of spiritual health, and the need for spiritual health education in athletic training education curricula. Leslie and his wife, Anna-Kate, are active members of Columbus Avenue Baptist Church in Waco and both serve in various leadership roles there. He enjoys time with family and friends, grilling, and playing with his cats Linus and Luna. After completing his dissertation, he hopes to teach in an athletic training program.

 

Matt Robinson is from Holliday, Texas. He earned a BS from Southeastern Oklahoma State University (1996) and a MS from Northwest Missouri State University (1998), both in Health and Physical Education. Prior to attending Baylor, Matt garnered sixteen years of experience coaching American football at the collegiate and high school level. During fifteen years at the collegiate level, Matt coached teams to 11 conference championships, the 1998 NCAA division II National Championship, and the 2004 NCAA Division III National Runner-up. Matt is in his 4th year of the PhD program in Kinesiology, Exercise Nutrition, and Health Promotion with emphasis areas in sport pedagogy and sport management. His research interests lie in the areas of leadership and social effectiveness in sport. Specifically, his dissertation will investigate the effectiveness of servant leadership in the context of sport administration and, also analyze the social effectiveness construct of political skill as a possible moderator of servant leader effectiveness. In the last year, Matt has made academic presentations at the Inaugural Global Congress for Sport and Christianity 2016 in York, England, the conference of the Texas Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, the Applied Sport Management Association conference, and the meeting of the North American Society for Sport Management. Matt enjoys physical activity, going on adventures, and hanging out with his family. He and his wife, Michelle, just celebrated their 21st anniversary, and they have two beautiful children, Will (12 years) and Delia (7 years).

 

Holly Spofford is in her third year in Baylor’s English PhD program. Originally from Northern Virginia, she graduated summa cum laude from Grove City College with a major in English and minor in history. At Baylor, she has worked as a writing center tutor and an instructor of freshman composition, and she currently works as a research assistant for Josh King. Holly’s research interests center broadly on Romantic and Victorian poetry and their portrayal of both human and nonhuman communities. Recently, she presented at a Christianity and Literature conference and attended the Digital Humanities Summer Institute in Victoria. When not studying, she enjoys writing, reading (of course!), doing CrossFit, and exploring the outdoors. Perhaps most of all, however, she enjoys long conversations with friends, family, colleagues, and students. You can usually find her in one of Waco’s lovely coffee shops, book(s) in hand.

 

Briceön Wiley is from Houston, Texas. He earned a BBA from Baylor University in 2016 majoring in Baylor Business Fellows, Finance, French, and Mathematics. During his undergraduate time at Baylor, Briceön was a member of the William Carey Crane Scholars Program and Gamma Iota Sigma, as well as a leader in both The Impact Movement and Baylor’s chapter of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. When not in school, Briceön spent most of his free time tutoring at La Vega High School here Waco; and during his senior year, he served as a substitute teacher at Connally High School. He is entering the second year of his PhD in Statistical Sciences with hopes of becoming a professor upon completion; he is currently deciding upon his research topic. Briceön enjoys studying languages with his fiancée, Kaede, as well as playing video games and basketball with his two younger brothers.