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Ken Beals

Ken BealsAs an undergraduate student at Wittenberg University, I had a double major in psychology and philosophy. My graduate degrees from Boston University School of Theology were in systematic theology and church ministries, with a concentration in Biblical studies. My doctoral research examined whether and why pastors refer church members for professional counseling, and that interest has continued as I served on the Social Services Board and the Valley Community Services Board in Staunton. I was a pastor of United Methodist churches in Ohio and here in the Shenandoah Valley for 25 years, including three years as a campus minister at JMU. As a pastor I did a pulpit exchange that enabled me to serve two churches in Kingston upon Hull, England for a summer, which was a great experience for the whole family. I did my first college teaching at the former Staunton Correctional Center while serving a church full time, and my JMU experience led to an opportunity to teach graduate courses at Eastern Mennonite Seminary. Soon after that I was offered a full-time sabbatical replacement position teaching medical ethics at Wingate University, and since then I have taught essentially full time.

My academic interests include ethics (especially medical and leadership ethics), Biblical studies, and world religions. But I still enjoy teaching the basic survey course in philosophy, in which students have their first exposure to some of the Big Ideas that philosophers have struggled with for centuries.

My wife, Jackie, taught biology at MBC for 14 years and is currently a freelance science writer. Our two children are Eve, currently completing her doctorate in clinical psychology at the New School in New York City, and Kurt, a graduate student in German studies at Berkeley.

Andrea Cornett-Scott

Andrea Cornett-ScottMy educational journey began at the Seven Hill Schools, a private college preparatory program in Cincinnati, Ohio. I attended Howard University and graduated from Morris Brown College receiving a BA in Spanish. My undergraduate interests in language, anthropology, and ministerial studies prompted me to study in the Dominican Republic at Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra. During this study abroad experience, I became intrigued by the continuity of culture that was evident among people of the African Diaspora. I attended Payne Theological Seminary, receiving the Master of Divinity degree. While a seminary student, I led a missionary tour to Guyana, South America for the African Methodist Episcopal Church Department of Missions. My interest in African cultural continuities inspired my thesis research entitled: Ain’t Got Time to Die: the African Spiritual Inheritance of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. As a member of the Mary Baldwin College philosophy and religion faculty, I teach African-American Religion and Community and Practice, two courses that support the African-American studies minor. I have also taught religious studies courses as a part of the May Term study abroad experience in South Africa and have supervised ministerial practicums for pre-seminary students.

My work at Mary Baldwin College is shared between the philosophy and religion department and Student Affairs. For the past ten years, I have served as the Director (Dean) of African-American and Multicultural Affairs and the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs. My work as a retention specialist has helped to transform the diverse face of Mary Baldwin College. Prior to coming to Mary Baldwin, I served as the Director of Minority Affairs at Monmouth College and taught in the religion departments at both James Madison University and Virginia Tech University.

My ministerial career has spanned 28 years. As an ordained African Methodist minister, I have served three congregations: Bethel A.M.E. Church – Harrisonburg, Virginia, Ebenezer A.M.E. Church – Roanoke, Virginia, and Christ Our Redeemer A.M.E. Church – Staunton, Virginia. I planted Christ Our Redeemer in 2000 to address the spiritual needs of college students and to offer opportunities for ministerial supervision for students interested in campus ministry. My work as the coordinator for the Virginia Annual Conference Women in Ministry resulted in programming designed to mentor and support female clergy. I currently serve as the registrar and a member of the teaching faculty for the Virginia Annual Conference Board of Examiners (African Methodist Episcopal Church).

I participated in the 1999 spring voyage of Semester At Sea traveling throughout the Caribbean, South America, Africa, and Asia with my husband and son. I am an avid supporter of civic engagement and cross-cultural learning. I spend my summer hiatus playing in my garden and the school year nurturing students, helping them to become their best selves.

Katherine Low

Katherine Low

Dr. Katherine (Katie) Low grew up in a tiny rural town in Nebraska where she attended First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ. She studied at Doane College, a UCC affiliated liberal arts college, where she triple majored in Religious Studies, Spanish, and English. In partial fulfillment for the Bachelor of Arts, Dr. Low studied abroad twice, first, in Israel and the West Bank at Tantur Ecumenical Institute, then at Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra in Santiago, Dominican Republic. After college, she became a UCC and Disciples of Christ Homeland Ministries Intern and was sent to San Antonio, Texas, to become Volunteer Summer Coordinator at Inman Christian Center. There, she worked with many ministers who consistently told her she should go to seminary, so she heeded their advice and went back to Texas for her education.

Dr. Low received an MDiv and PhD from Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University, in Fort Worth, Texas. She was ordained as a UCC minister in 2004, working as Associate Campus Minister at the Wesley Foundation, TCU.Dr. Low’s course work expanded across many disciplines, reaching into art history, film studies, and multidisciplinary women’s studies.Dr. Low’s interests in Christian history, cultural and gender studies, and biblical studies led to the completion of her dissertation titled “Domestic Disputations at the Dung Heap: A Reception History of Job and His Wife in Christianity of the West.”She continues to explore intersections of religion, gender, and culture, as evident in published articles inJournal for the Study of the Old Testament,Biblical Interpretation,Journal of Religion and Film, andJournal of Feminist Studies in Religion.

Dr. Low enjoys teaching introductory courses on the Bible and introducing students to the complexities of her field. She also enjoys reading vampire novels and watching films, especially zombie related ones. Besides her spouse, Dr. Low’s family consists of one daughter who lights up her life, and two dogs who often challenge her patience.