Our Distinguished Speakers

Byron Johnson

Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences and Founding Director of the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR), Baylor University

Byron Johnson is Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences at Baylor University. He is the Founding Director of the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) as well as Director of the Program on Prosocial Behavior. Johnson has completed a series of studies on Boy Scouts and Eagle Scouts and was the principal investigator on a project funded by the U.S. Department of Justice that produced a series of empirical studies on the role of religion in prosocial youth behavior. He is a former member of the Coordinating Council for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (Presidential Appointment). A leading authority on the scientific study of religion, the efficacy of faith-based organizations, and criminal justice, Johnson’s recent publications focus on the impact of faith-based programs on recidivism reduction and prisoner reentry, and is the emphasis of his books, More God, Less Crime, and The Angola Prison Seminary. His new book The Quest for Purpose was released in August 2017. Before joining the faculty at Baylor University, Johnson directed research centers at Vanderbilt University and the University of Pennsylvania. He is the 2013 Big Brother of the Year for Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star of Texas.

William Wubbenhorst

Associate Commissioner, Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB)

William Wubbenhorst is the Associate Commissioner for the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) and was a Non-Resident Fellow for the Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) at Baylor University. He previously served a total of 13 years as a Senior Management Consultant and Return On Investment (ROI) Specialist for ICF International and Macro International. Over the years, Wubbenhorst has collaborated with professors from several prestigious academic institutions, including Baylor University, Boston University and Harvard University. He has published a variety of peer-reviewed journal publications and case studies, including: Demonstrating the Value of Social Service Programs: A Simplified Approach to Calculating Return on Investment (2010), and Assessing the Effectiveness of the Violence Free Zone in Milwaukee Public Schools (2013). Most recently, Wubbenhorst co-authored a national study entitled Assessing the Faith-Based Response to Homelessness in America: Findings from Eleven Cities, published through the Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion. In total, he has co-authored over 20 journal articles and evaluation case studies on subjects ranging from prisoner re-entry, faith and health initiatives, sexual risk avoidance program, high-risk youth mentoring, and marriage and family strengthening.

Alfreda Alvarez-Wubbenhorst

Principal, Harvest Home Institute, LLC

Alfreda Alvarez-Wubbenhorst currently serves as a Principal for Harvest Home Institute, LLC. She has worked in a variety of capacities with faith-based and community programs funded through the U.S. Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services, for whom she served as a grant review panelist. Previously, Alvarez-Wubbenhorst served as an evaluator of faith-based and community organizations funded by the U.S. Department of Labor. She also worked on a project, funded through the US Department of Labor, to integrate faith-based and community-based organizations into local Workforce Investment Boards at two selected pilot sites in Memphis and Milwaukee. As co-founder of Sterling Sparrow consulting, she co-authored two articles, published through the Center for Public Justice, entitled Charitable Choice in Massachusetts: An Untapped Resource (2000), and The Pitfalls of Contracts for Funding Faith-Based Ministries (1998). She also received acknowledgements in a case study published by Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion in 2015 entitled Multi-State Mentoring Research and The Center for Neighborhood Enterprise’s Violence-Free Zone Initiative.

Stephanie Boddie

Assistant Professor of Church and Community Ministries, Baylor University

Stephanie Clintonia Boddie joined the Baylor University faculty in 2017 as an Assistant Professor of Church and Community Ministries, with affiliations at the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, the George W. Truett Theological Seminary, and the School of Education. Boddie is also a non-resident senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Program for Research on Religion & Urban Civil Society and an alumni fellow at the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program. She is a faculty associate at Pitt-Assisted Communities and Schools at University of Pittsburgh and the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis as well as a co-convener of the Transatlantic Roundtable on Religion and Race. Previously, Boddie served as senior consultant for the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary’s Metro-Urban Institute and taught in the seminary’s Doctorate of Ministry Urban Change program. She held research appointments at Carnegie Mellon University and University of Pittsburgh. She also served as a senior researcher at the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life, lead consultant for the Anne E. Casey Foundation’s Faith & Family Portfolio and on the faculty of Washington University in St. Louis. Boddie’s research explores congregation-based social services and trends in faith-based initiatives as well as social entrepreneurial approaches to address disparities in wealth, health, and food insecurity. She is co-director of the research, teaching and public history project, The Ward: Race and Class in Du Bois' Seventh Ward. During her time at Carnegie Mellon University, she launched her research project, Unfinished Business: Religion & the Entrepreneurial Spirit. In addition to numerous journal articles and reports, Boddie has co-authored the following books: The Newer Deal: Social Work and Religion in Partnership; The Invisible Caring Hand: American Congregations and the Provision of Welfare; The Other Philadelphia Story: How Local Congregations Support Quality of Life in Urban America; and Faith-Based Social Services: Measures, Assessments, and Effectiveness. She has also co-produced four short films.

La Wonda Bornstein

President and Chief Executive Officer, The House DC

La Wonda Bornstein is President and Chief Executive Officer at The House DC, a veteran of the non-profit industry with more than 20 years of program management, operations, fundraising, financial, legal, and staff leadership experience. Bornstein was pivotal in positioning The House DC as an independent 501(c) (3) organization and executing public relations efforts that accelerated donations. Known for strong relationship-building skills, Bornstein was able to establish a rapport with local contractors and architects to bring a vacant facility up to code and receive licensing and an occupancy permit at zero cost to the organization. She is also the face of The House DC with the media and has collaborated with the former Chairman of DC appropriations in securing $450K in renovation funds that increased revenues from $523K to $1.1M in 2004. Her efforts also enabled ownership of three facilities that were originally held by another organization. She discovered a need vital to enhancing high school student graduation rate and introduced a series of programs from design through recruitment of staff resulting in students being accepted to college and hastened graduation rate to 97% every year since 2007. Her development of a mentoring program for girls led by former House youths was instrumental in building self-worth and confidence to encourage the girls not to abandon hope.