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2019 graduates and their plans

Shelby Burroughs will be moving to the Bloomington-Normal area and getting a clinical doctorate in audiology at Illinois State University.

Ethan Conley-Keck will be moving to Boston to pursue art and activism and work with the World Peace Foundation at Tufts University. He plans to perform standup comedy, work with community activists, and do freelance journalism.

Autumn Loucks plans to take time for family and work experience in her hometown of Omaha, Neb., before making additional career plans. 

Giselle Loucks will take a gap year before attending seminary. She plans to become a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. 

Mina Magalhães plans to seek out positions in libraries, non-profit organizations, or other groups which help marginalized communities. 

Allison Mikyska will be attending seminary at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago for a master’s degree.

Christine Vincent will be attending Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, S.C.

News from alumni

Eileen Ruppel and Ethan Doan are pursuing the “Word and Sacrament” ELCA candidacy track in the master of divinity program at United Lutheran Seminary in Philadelphia. 

Daniel Skelton is at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., working toward a master of divinity with hopes of becoming a college/campus minister.

Riley Ferguson is conducting an online master of divinity studies course with Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., while living and working in Madison, Wis. 

Hannah Griggs is working toward a master of arts in religion at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, pursuing the goal of becoming a religion scholar and professor.

Faculty news and notes

Farewell and best wishes to department fellows Dr. Emily Kahm, Dr. Cuma Ozkan and Dr. Susan Townzen, each moving on to exciting opportunities for the upcoming school year.

Dr. Kahm will begin her work as assistant professor of theology at the College of Saint Mary in Omaha. Dr. Ozkan has accepted a renewable position as faculty teaching fellow of religious studies at Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss. Dr. Townzen plans to continue teaching and traveling from her family home base in California.

Dr. Dan Lee is going through the final round of revisions for his book on environmental ethics, under contract to a major publisher.

This spring, Dr. Lee and 29 students were off to Rome, where they spent 12 days. Their itinerary included a general audience with Pope Francis, the Vatican museums, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Pontifical Academy for Life, San Giovanni in Laterano (where the Scala Santa, which have recently been uncovered, are located), the Jewish Quarter and the Museo Hebraica, the Roman Forum and the Colosseum, Ostia Antica, and many other venues in Rome. This will be the eighth group of students Dr. Lee will have taken to Rome—a total of nearly 250 students.

Dr. Jason Mahn has been successful in obtaining a $50,000 grant to support vocational reflection at Augustana.

Dr. Nirmala S. Salgado’s article “On the Question of “Discipline” (Vinaya) and Nuns in Theravāda Buddhism” was published in the journal Religions as part of the Special Issue Women in Buddhism. (It also is available as a PDF.)

Dr. Salgado’s paper “Genealogies of Power and Gender: Inscribing Buddhist Monasticism Then and Now” was presented at the panel on Genealogies of Women and Power in Asia at the American Association for Asian Studies Conference in New Delhi, India in July 2018. 

Dr. Eric Stewart presented “Reviewing Early Christian Life” and “Jesus and Other Priests: On the Masculinity of Ritual Efficacy of Priests in the Second Temple Period” at the Society of Biblical Literature annual meeting in Denver (November 2018), and led discussions at St. Paul Lutheran Church (Davenport, Iowa), Church of Peace United Church of Christ (Rock Island) and Trinity Lutheran Church (Moline, Ill.).

Dr. Stewart also contributed “Men and Masculinity in the New Testament,” to the Oxford Bibliographies in Biblical Studies, and served as an external Ph.D. dissertation examiner for the Biblical Studies Department of the University of Pretoria, South Africa. 

Beginning in fall 2019, he will assume the post of director for Augustana’s Center for Faculty Enrichment.  

Dr. Michelle Wolff presented “Karl Barth’s Christology Against Empire Aids Understanding the Continuity in Jan Christian Smuts’ Domestic and International Politics” at the Princeton’s Center for Barth Studies International Conference, Stellenbosche University, South Africa, in October 2018. 

Augustana’s grant for New Faculty Research allowed Dr. Wolff to conduct in-depth interviews and archival research in South Africa and England for their current book project on intersex priest, scholar, and activist Sally Gross. Dr. Wolff is collaborating with the Africana Studies and Women and Gender Studies departments on campus and plans to contribute courses to those curricula. In April 2019, Dr. Wolff’s presentation “Intersex Scholar, Priest, and Activist Sally Gross” was hosted by WGST’s Tea Talk series.

Student awards and activities

Junior Sandra Morales is the 2018-2019 recipient of the Floyd and Louise Anderson Fund for Excellence in Religious Studies.

Established by Sharon L. Anderson Telleen ’68 (daughter), Barbara R. Anderson Lindquist ’71 (daughter), Katherine Telleen Steve (granddaughter), Paul Telleen (grandson), Anders Lindquist ’04 (grandson), Britt Lindquist Simonson (granddaughter), and in memory of Floyd and Louise Anderson, the award is given to a student in the junior year, selected by Religion Department faculty for recognition of excellence in religious studies (as measured and defined by the faculty). 

Ngan “Cece” Vu, Ariana Raya, Dr. Michelle Wolff, Vanessa Ioegbulem

From left, Ngan “Cece” Vu, Ariana Raya, Dr. Michelle Wolff and Vanessa Ioegbulem.

Celebration of Learning

Ngan “Cece” Vu, Vanessa Ioegbulem and Ariana Raya were recognized for work initiated in Dr. Michelle Wolff’s Christian Ethics and Sexual Ethics courses.

Vu received an Excellence in Liberal Arts award for her work on a pocket dictionary entitled "Womanism as a Second Language" (with co-author and fellow student Thao Chu, forthcoming from Wifp and Stock).

Ioegbulem’s “Intimacy: In Moonlight, Black Boys Look Blue” and Raya’s “An Ecowomanist View on the Dakota Access Pipeline” placed first and second (respectively) in the Mary Wollstonecraft Essay awards.

Ioegbulem also received an honorable mention for “Sexual Assault on College Campuses: The Links Between Hegemonic Masculinity, College Sports, and Sexual Violence.” 

Lucy Kebler
Lucy Kebler

Dr. Wolff’s Christian Ethics student Lucy Kebler presented her paper, “Beware the Cat in the Hat: How Children’s Literature is the Modern Form of Segregation.”

Kebler’s paper is available on Augustana Digital Commons.

Senior Inquiry projects at Celebration of Learning

Shelby Burroughs: Consumer Capitalist Christmas: How Participation in Christmas Frames Us as Religious Subjects

Ethan Conley-Keck: Laughter in the Dark: Appreciating Innocence Among Suffering

Autumn Loucks: Like Lighting: An Investigation into Bainton and Marius’s Account of Luther through Biography

Giselle Loucks: Love through Justice in Niebuhrian Thought

Mina Magalhães: Retelling the Classics: The Harlem Renaissance, Biblical Stories, and Black Peoplehood
(also presented at the Monmouth College Conference of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship on April 13, 2019)

Allison Mikyska: Vocation in Lutheran Theology and in Lutheran Higher Education

Christine Vincent: Sacred Space in an Unlikely Place: Prison Ministry in Iowa

jason mahn
Dr. Jason Mahn

Finding meaning in a different kind of classroom

Dr. Jason Mahn writes about finding a sense of renewal where he didn't expect to, and just when he needed to.

Dr. Jason Mahn

Professor fills empty classroom with sense of normalcy

Dr. Jason Mahn conducts his Encountering Religion class in an empty Old Main as a way of anchoring his students.


Three students share 2020 Geifman Prize

Three students have written winning essays for the annual Geifman Prize in Holocaust Studies.

Dr. Michelle Wolff, Ngan Vu, Thao Chu

They wanted a Womanist dictionary. So they wrote it.

Two students from Vietnam saw how they could explain Womanism to a broader audience. 

Joy of Christmas

All students are invited to attend the 50th annual Joy of Christmas celebration in Andover, Ill.