Lilly Graduate Fellows - Fourth Cohort


Alison Tyner Davis is a Ph.D. candidate at The University of Chicago Divinity School. Her dissertation tracks changes in the genre of travel writing in nineteenth-century America, with particular attention to the ways in which these texts depict national landscapes, borderlands, and contested geographies. Alison has worked as a teaching assistant and stand-alone instructor for courses in literature, academic and professional writing, and religion. She received her B.A. in 2006 from Wittenberg University and M.Div. in 2011 from The University of Chicago Divinity Schoo

Rachel M. Roberts received her BA in English from Dordt College in 2009 and her M.A. in English from Creighton University in 2011. She is now in the late stages of a PhD in English at Baylor University. Her dissertation explores the various methods used by British women writers of the 16th and 17thcenturies to create authority in the male-dominated genres of history and romance. At Baylor, she has also enjoyed the opportunity to teach courses in composition and British literature.

Kristen Drahos is currently a doctoral candidate (ABD) at the University of Notre Dame in Systematic Theology. Her dissertation is entitled “Dark Beauty: Towards a Catholic Theological Aesthetic.” In this project she argues that a latent and unexplored side of theological aesthetics emerges in the twentieth century in the work of Hans Urs von Balthasar and Erich Przywara, which offers a compelling alternative to the postmodern, quasi-religious sublime, able both to counter the subliminal usurpation of religious discourse and to answer its aesthetic, historic, and ethical critiques. Her ongoing research interests in theology tend in three directions: anthropological (investigating the parameters of doubt as a space for logical, spiritual, and ethical negativity), philosophical (questioning the role of Nietzsche as a disappearing man in theology and the benefits of distinguishing Schelling from Hegel for theological discourse), and ethical (contributing to the debate between imperatives and binding developmental consciousness in responsible action). 

Kayla (Durcholz) Dang received a B.A. in Classics from the University of Notre Dame in 2011, an M.A. in Classics from the University of Southern California in 2014, and an M.A in Iranian Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London in 2015. This fall she entered the PhD program in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at Ohio State University, where she will focus on the languages and religions of the Near East (particularly Iran) from the ancient period through late antiquity.  Her interests include the formation and development of religious traditions, especially in the context of ancient Near Eastern empires and the interaction of oral and written manuscript traditions.

Maureen A. J. Fitzsimmons received her Bachelor of Arts in English and also her Master of Arts in English, with an emphasis on Rhetoric and Composition, from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California. She is currently working on a PhD in English at the University of California, Irvine, focusing on Rhetoric and Composition. She is a University of California at Irvine Regent’s Fellow, and has served as Vice Chair of the Jesuit Conference on Rhetoric and Composition. Her scholarly interests include composition historiographies and pedagogies, in all their manifestations, with special attention to Jesuit pedagogy and media ecologies. She has a chapter in the upcoming Traditions of Eloquence, edited by Cinthia Gannett and John Brereton, from Fordham Press, and has published a book review on the Stephen J. Reid and Emma Annette Wilson edited Ramus, Pedagogy and the Liberal Arts in “Rhetorica.

Philip Forness graduated from Valparaiso University in 2007 and will shortly complete a doctoral program in the History of Christianity at Princeton Theological Seminary. He specializes in early and medieval Christianity in the Middle East. His dissertation examines the spread of Christological doctrine and identity among Greek and Syriac communities during the fifth and sixth centuries. He is starting a second project on cultural exchange and appropriation among Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopian communities as a visiting Fulbright student in Munich, Germany during the current academic year. His research and teaching draw attention to the cultural heritages of disappearing ethnic and religious minorities in the modern Middle East. As a doctoral student, he helped design, implement, and teach a year-long, online certificate program in theology and ministry at Princeton Theological Seminary. The program has had over five hundred participants over its first three years and now includes a joint cohort of incarcerated and outside community students.

Justin Heinzekehr is the registrar at Hesston College (Kan.) and teaches in the religion department at Hesston and Bethel College (Kan.). He earned a PhD in Religion at Claremont School of Theology, where he focused on the relationship between process theology and Anabaptist thought. His dissertation, “The Absent Christ and the Inundated Community,” brings together postmodern philosophy, metaphysics and contemporary Mennonite theology. Justin received a Bachelor’s degree in 2006 from Goshen College and a Master’s degree in Theology and Ethics from Claremont School of Theology in 2011.

Christopher T. Holmes received his Bachelor’s Degree in 2006 from Whitworth University and his Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary in 2011. He is a PhD candidate in New Testament at Emory University. Informed by the larger religious and cultural world out of which early Christianity emerged, Chris approaches the study and interpretation of the New Testament with attention to the literary and theological particularities of the New Testament compositions and their use in contemporary faith communities. In his dissertation, Chris explores the function and effect of Hebrews 12:18–29 in its literary context. Using the first-century literary treatise, De Sublimitate, as a framework for analyzing this passage, he shows how this      passage “moves beyond persuasion,” stirring the the audience to faithful endurance.

Robert Kubala received his B.A. in Philosophy from Boston College. As a Marshall Scholar, he earned his M.Litt from the St. Andrews and Stirling Graduate Programme in Philosophy and his M.Phil in History and Philosophy of Science from Cambridge University. Now pursuing his Ph.D at Columbia University, he is working on a dissertation about ethical partiality and consequentialism. He is the Book Review Editor for the American Society for Aesthetics Graduate E-Journal (ASAGE) and the co-founder of Rethink, a community outreach program that promotes philosophical engagement outside a traditional academic context.

Matthew Mohorovich received his Bachelor's Degree in 2008 from The College of the Holy Cross, and his Master’s Degree in 2011 from the New School of Social Research.  As a Jacob K. Javits fellow, he pursued his Ph.D. in Philosophy at Boston College.  With an interest in political philosophy and political thought, Matthew's research has focused on the issues of Violence, Political Reconciliation, and the pursuit of Justice in post-conflict societies.  After becoming a Ph.D. candidate in 2013, Matthew had received a dissertation grant from the German government to pursue research at the Freie University in Berlin.  He has also since then done research throughout the Balkans on the topic of political violence. He is now a Ph.D. Candidate and is currently writing his dissertation on Hannah Arendt, Political Violence, and "Forgiveness."

Emma Slager graduated from Calvin College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography and History in 2011 and received her Master’s Degree from the University of Oregon in 2013. She studies Geography at the University of Washington. Her research is at the intersection of urban geography, technology studies, and postcolonial studies, focusing on how efforts to build community-owned Internet infrastructure articulate with broader organizing struggles in low-income urban neighborhoods.

Adam Urrutia graduated from Baylor University in 2007, with a B.A. in Religion and Philosophy. He then completed an M. Div. at Duke Divinity School. In the fall of 2011, Adam began study toward a Ph. D. in Systematic Theology at the Catholic University of America, where he is learning to teach theology and pursues his interests in John Henry Newman, the magisterium of the Catholic Church, and the mission of the theologian—as well as the nature and purpose of the study of theology—within university and local parish settings.

Kyle Sebastian Vitale earned his BA in English from Houghton College in 2009, and his MA in early modern literature (including Shakespeare) from the University of Delaware in 2011. He is finishing PhD studies at the University of Delaware and will defend his dissertation, A Reverence for Books: The Sacrament of Material Text, 1558-1649, on February 1st, 2016. His research considers the impact of Reformation sacrament on printed English drama, and he has presented and written in a variety of venues. Kyle and his wife live in Washington, D.C., where they run, enjoy the sites, and anxiously await the birth of their first child! 

Heather M. Wallace received her BA in Philosophy and English from Whitworth University in 2011. She is a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy at Duke University, where she is writing about Simone de Beauvoir’s early philosophical essays. Heather is investigating how Beauvoir’s work can provide a new take on questions about knowing other people. This work combines Heather’s interests in philosophy of mind, epistemology, and philosophy of literature. Heather is the Associate Director for the Duke Center for Philosophy, Arts, and Literature (PAL). 

Ryan Weberling received his B.A. in English and philosophy from Calvin College and his M.A. in English from Boston University, where he is currently a doctoral candidate. He studies late-nineteenth and twentieth-century Anglophone literature, with a focus on transatlantic modernism. His dissertation examines the relationship between modernist fiction and the global histories of colonialism and federalism.

Tedd Wimperis received his B.A. in Classics in 2011 from Boston College and his M.A. in Classics in 2013 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he is currently writing his doctoral dissertation on the role of collective memory in motivating political action in Virgil’s Aeneid. His research interests include the social and cultural dynamics of epic poetry, rhetoric and genre in Greco-Roman literature, and the uses of myth in representations of political power. While his main area of study is Greek and Latin literature in antiquity, he also works on the reception of the Classics in the Middle Ages and Italian Renaissance.

Mentors, Fourth Cohort of Lilly Graduate Fellows

Caroline Simon is Provost, Executive Vice President and Professor of Philosophy at Whitworth University in Spokane, WA. She specializes in ethics, with an emphasis on the use of literature in moral reflection. She is the author of Bring Sex into Focus and The Disciplined Heart: Love, Destiny and Imagination and has published many articles on moral knowledge, virtue ethics, friendship and sexuality. She also writes on Christian Higher Education and authored, with historian James C. Kennedy, Can Hope Endure? A Historical Case Study in Christian Higher Education, and was lead author of Mentoring for Mission: Nurturing New Faculty at Church Related Colleges. She has served on the National Board of the Lilly Fellows Program.

Thomas S. Hibbs is the Distinguished Professor of Ethics & Culture and Dean of the Honors College at Baylor University.  As Dean, he directs various interdisciplinary programs, including the Honors Program, a Great Texts major, and the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core. Hibbs teaches graduate courses in the philosophy department at Baylor.  Before coming to Baylor, he was chair of the philosophy department at Boston College.  At BC, he also served on the Steering Committee for BC's Initiative for the Future of the Church and on the Sub-Committee on Catholic Sexual Teaching. At Baylor, he has been involved in ecumenical discussions of the work of John Courtney Murray and John Paul II.  Hibbs has written on Aquinas, includingDialectic and Narrative in Aquinas: An Interpretation of the Summa Contra Gentiles, and a book on popular culture entitled Shows About Nothing.

Noteworthy News

LIlly Fellows Program Office Closed June 30 to July 17, 2017

The Lilly Fellows Program Office will be closed from June 30 to July 17, 2017.


2017 LFP National Conference

Registration is now open for the 2017 LFP National Conference, October 27-29, 2017, at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California.  For more information and to register, click here.


2017 Workshop for Senior Administrators

Registration is now open for the annual Workshop for Senior Administrators, October 26-27, 2017, at Loyola Marymount University.  For information and to register, click here.


Save the Date and Call for Papers: Upcoming 2017 Regional Conference

On October 13-14, 2017, Central College in Pella, Iowa, will host "Reason and Faith on the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation."  For more information and call for papers, click here


May LFP Update

The Current LFP Update for May, 2017 is now available. Click here.


Announcing the Winner and Finalists of the 2016 Arlin G. Meyer Prize in Non-fiction

We are happy to announce the winner and finalists of the 2016 Lilly Fellows Program Arlin G. Meyer Prize in Non-fiction.  Please click here.


National Network of Church- Related Colleges and Universities

If you are interested in learning more about membership in the National Network of Church-Related Colleges and Universities, please contact us here.


Follow the Exiles from Eden Blog!

The LFP is now sponsoring a new blog, Exiles from Eden.  Go check it out!