Friday, April 10, 2015

2015-2016 Dempster Scholars named

By General Board of Higher Education and Ministry

Ten students have been selected by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry as the next class of Dempster Scholars. The Dempster Graduate Fellowship supports doctoral students who are committed to serving the church by becoming professors who will educate the next generation of United Methodist pastors.

The fellowships are funded by the Ministerial Education Fund through the Division of Ordained Ministry of GBHEM.

“The future of the church depends on its leadership, and we are elated for intellectual gifts that these scholars are bringing to the UMC for the theological formation of new generation leaders,” said Dr. HiRho Park, Director of Clergy Lifelong Learning at GBHEM.

The award is named for the Rev. John Dempster, a pioneer in United Methodist theological education. Converted at a Methodist camp meeting in 1812, he preached in New York, served as a missionary in Argentina, and founded Boston University School of Theology and Garrett Biblical Institute (Garrett-Evangelical Seminary) in Evanston, Ill.

The 2015-2016 Dempster Scholars are young women and men with diverse racial-ethnic backgrounds—Asian American, African, African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Caucasian—attending, Boston University, Claremont School of Theology, Drew University, Duke University, Emory University, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and Southern Methodist University.

Faculty representatives from four of the UMC’s 13 theological schools serve as members of the selection committee each year on a rotating basis. This year’s selection committee was composed of faculty from Claremont School of Theology, Duke Divinity School, Gammon Theological Seminary and United Theological Seminary. Scholars’ fields of study range from Biblical studies to Christian ethics, ecclesiology, historical theology, practical theology, Wesleyan theology, and theology and culture studies.

“2015-2016 Dempster scholars are representing the future generation of leaders—diverse with various interests within theological studies,” Park said.
Awards—based on the student’s academic achievement, their commitment to Christian ministry, and their promise as educators—carry a value of up to $10,000 annually, with a maximum of $30,000 over a five-year period.

The 2015-2016 Dempster Graduate Fellowship recipients are:

  • Diana Abernethy (North Carolina Annual Conference), a graduate of Duke University and Duke Divinity School. She is currently enrolled in her fifth year of a PhD program at Duke Graduate School.
  • Dustin Benac (North Texas Annual Conference), a graduate of Whitworth University and St. Mary’s University. He is a candidate for enrollment in a doctoral program for the fall of 2015.
Rev. Natalya Cherry
  • Natalya Cherry (Susquehanna Annual Conference), a graduate of Georgetown University and Wesley Theological Seminary. She is currently enrolled in her second year of a PhD program at Southern Methodist University. (This year is Natalya’s first renewal of the scholarship.) 
  • Justus Hunter (North Texas Annual Conference), a graduate of Asbury College, Asbury Theological Seminary and the University of Dayton. He is currently enrolled in his fourth year of a PhD program at Southern Methodist University. 
  • Christian Kakez-A-Kapend (South Congo/Zambia Annual Conference), a graduate of Université dé Lubumbashi, Africa University and Perkins School of Theology. He is currently enrolled in his third year of a PhD program at Drew University, The Theological School. 
  • Won Chul Shin (North Georgia Annual Conference), a graduate of Yonsei University and Candler School of Theology at Emory University. He is currently enrolled in his first year of a PhD program at Emory University. 
  • Kyle Tau (North Georgia Annual Conference), a graduate of Point Loma Nazarene University and Candler School of Theology at Emory University. He is currently enrolled in his fifth year of a PhD program at Emory University. 
  • Michele Watkins-Branch (Northern Illinois Conference Annual Conference), a graduate of Howard University. She is currently enrolled in her fifth year of a PhD program at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. 
  • Lisa Beth White (Texas Annual Conference) is a graduate of Sam Houston State University and Southern Methodist University. She is currently enrolled in her sixth year of a PhD program at Boston University School of Theology. 
  • Alex Yoon (New York Annual Conference) is a graduate of University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, Princeton Theological Seminary, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Drew University, The Theological School. She is currently enrolled in her first year of a PhD program at Claremont School of Theology.

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