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Baylor University's Baptist College & University Scholars

Entering Class, Fall 2013
Jared Brandt

Jared Brandt graduated from Southwest Baptist University with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Religion/Philosophy and Chemistry. He is now pursuing his PhD in Philosophy at Baylor University and hopes to graduate in 2018. While at SBU, Jared participated in the University Honors program and served as President of Theta Alpha Kappa. He also received the 2012 Outstanding Theology Graduate award and Summa Cum Laude honors. Jared's philosophical interests include philosophy of religion and Kierkegaard. Email Jared.

Joao Chaves

Joao Chaves is a PhD student at the Religion Department of Baylor University. A native of Recife, Brazil, Joao came to Texas in order to pursue his academic interests in religious history and theology. Joao has a B.Th. from the Baptist Center for Education, Service, and Research (Brazil), a B.A. from the Baptist University of the Americas, and a MTS from George W. Truett Seminary of Baylor University. He has served in a number of positions in Portuguese-speaking, Spanish-speaking, and English-speaking churches. Joao is an adjunct professor at the Baptist University of the Americas in San Antonio, Texas. He expects to graduate in 2018. Email Joao.

Josh Closs

Joshua Closs recently received a B.S. in Mathematics from East Texas Baptist University. Originally from Springfield, Virginia, Joshua recently moved to McKinney, Texas and is now looking forward to experiencing Waco. Joshua was homeschooled throughout his pre-college schooling, and graduated Summa Cum Laude from East Texas Baptist University. During his undergraduate years, he was also heavily involved in ETBU's Theatre Department, most recently directing and designing Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie. While at ETBU, Josh was president of Alpha Psi Omega, selected as outstanding departmental mathematics major, and recognized on the dean's list each semester. Email Josh.

Nick Hoenshell

Nicholas Hoenshell comes to Baylor University from Houston Texas, where he previously worked with the Alley Theatre as a Scenic Artist. Nicholas is a 2009 graduate of East Texas Baptist University, where he received a bachelor's degree in theatre arts and is excited to continue his education by pursuing an MFA degree in Directing at Baylor. Email Nick.


Entering Class, Fall 2012
BJ Parker

B. J. Parker is a second year PhD student in the Religion Department at Baylor University. Before beginning his PhD, he completed an MA in Religion at Baylor, his MDiv at the McAfee School of Theology of Mercer University, and his BA in Biblical Studies with minors in Christian Education and Biblical Languages at Atlanta Christian College. After graduating from Atlanta Christian College he worked in campus ministry in Bangkok, Thailand. B. J. plans to focus on Old Testament studies during his PhD at Baylor and anticipates graduating in 2017. Email B. J.

Courtney Parker

Courtney Bailey Parker completed her M.A. at Baylor University and is currently a doctoral student in Baylor's Department of English. Originally from Newnan, Georgia, she graduated from Mercer University in 2010. Her primary research interests include the literature of the English Renaissance (including Shakespeare) as well as Modern Drama. Courtney's husband, B. J. Parker, is also a doctoral student in Baylor's Religion Department. Email Courtney.

Stephanie Peek

Stephanie Peek completed her Masters in Divinity degree at Truett Seminary in spring 2012 and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. degree in religion at Baylor. Stephanie graduated from Southwest Baptist University in 2008 with a double major in Biblical Studies and Psychology. As the daughter of a Baptist preacher Stephanie's family moved several times during her childhood, but she considers Mascoutah, Illinois, as her hometown. While at SBU Stephanie distinguished herself among the faculty and her fellow students by graduating Summa Cum Laude, earning membership in Phi Eta Sigma and Alpha Chi honor organizations, participating in summer mission trips, and, as an SBU Ambassador, represented the President and the University by greeting visitors and hosting major University events. As a long-term goal, Stephanie plans to pursue the teaching of New Testament. Email Stephanie.


Entering Class, Fall 2011
Katie Halbesleben

Katie Halbesleben is a fourth-year doctoral student in sociology at Baylor University. Originally from Wisconsin, Katie graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University with bachelor degrees in psychology and Spanish. She graduated summa cum laude, was recognized as the outstanding senior in the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences, and earned the Presidential Scholar/Athlete Award for her scholastic accomplishments and member of the Lady Bison tennis team. During her graduate education, she won the 2013 Southwestern Social Science Association Master Paper Award. Her research interests include methods and statistics, survey research, immigration, and education. Email Katie.

Chris Moore

Chris Moore is a native of Mount Olive, North Carolina. He earned his B.A. and M.Div. from Campbell University, and later a Th.M. from Duke University. While at Campbell, Chris received the B. Donald Keyser Award for outstanding achievement in Church History. Chris has also taught various religion courses for Campbell University (Buies Creek, N. C.) and Sampson Community College (Clinton, N. C.). He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Religion at Baylor University (class of 2016). His interests include religion during the American Civil War, Church-State studies, and Baptist history. Email Chris.

Nick Pruitt

Nicholas T. Pruitt earned a BA in History from Wayland Baptist University in 2007. Nicholas then completed an MA in Church-State Studies from Baylor University in 2009. Upon receiving his Masters, he returned to Wayland where he taught for two years as a history adjunct. He is now pursuing a PhD in History at Baylor University and planning to graduate in 2015. Nicholas's historical interests involve twentieth-century American religion and its relationship to social, cultural, and political trends. His publications include an article on the West Texas Klan during the 1920s in the West Texas Historical Year Book and three forthcoming encyclopedia entries on Baptists, Cantwell v. Connecticut, and Wall of Separation in the Encyclopedia of Religion and Politics in America. Email Nicholas.

Scott Ryan

Scott Ryan majored in Religious Studies at Gardner-Webb University and received the Greek Award and the Christian Service Award. He also holds the Master of Divinity and Master of Theology degrees from Duke University Divinity School, where he received the Excellence in Bible Award. Scott is currently in the fourth year of the Ph.D. program in Biblical Studies/New Testament at Baylor University. As a BCU Scholar, he was the first recipient of The Schmeltekopf Fellowship for Educational Leadership for the 2013-14 academic year. His primary research interests are the Pauline Epistles, the Gospel of Mark, Israel’s Scripture in the New Testament, Material World (Pompeii and Herculaneum), Pauline Soteriology, Second Temple Judaism(s), Jewish Messianism, Literary and Rhetorical Criticism, and Reception History. Email Scott.


Entering Class, Fall 2010
Kim Bodenhamer

Kim Bodenhamer grew up in Comanche, a small central Texas town. She attended Hardin-Simmons University, during which time she spent a semester abroad at Oxford University studying Greek and the Synoptic Gospels. Kim graduated in 2008 with a B.A. in Biblical Studies and a minor in Biblical Languages. Alongside her studies, Kim worked in the Missions Department of Pioneer Drive Baptist Church and served as a Worship Pastor for Crosspoint Fellowship. Kim went on to earn her Masters of Theological Studies from Duke University in 2010 and began her Ph.D. in Religion with a focus on Hebrew Bible at Baylor University. She plans to graduate in May of 2015 and aims to teach in a Baptist University. Email Kim.