2015 Ann E. Dickerson Scholars Announced

Higher Education & Leadership Ministries proudly presents this year's recipients of the Ann E. Dickerson Scholarship: Yolanda M. Norton, Casey Sigmon, and Laura Jean Torgerson.

Rev. Yolanda M. Norton

Norton is a fifth year doctoral candidate in Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel at Vanderbilt University. She is writing her dissertation, Erasing Realities: Assimilation Politics of Persian Yehud in the Book of Ruth, which combines her research interests in womanist biblical hermeneutics, literary criticism, history, and ethics. She has published chapters in I Found God in Me: Womanist Biblical Hermeneutics Reader and Global Perspectives in the Old Testament, and is currently working on contributions to The Wisdom Commentary: The Psalms Rev. Norton is a visiting instructor at Moravian Theological Seminary in Bethlehem, PA, having previously taught courses at Wesley Theological Seminary. She was ordained at New Covenant Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Nashville, TN, where the pastor is Rev. Dr. Judy Cummings. She continues to remain active in the congregation, assisting in worship planning, teaching, and preaching. Yolanda loves to travel, and spends a great deal of time in Israel. She is an active participant in the Jezreel Archaeological Expedition, and will lead New Covenant Christian Church and others in a trip to Israel in the summer of 2016.

Rev. Casey Sigmon

With over a decade of ministry experience in preaching and creative worship leadership, Sigmon entered the Homiletics and Liturgics PhD program at Vanderbilt University to further pursue her teaching and research interests. She was also selected as a fellow in Vanderbilt's unique Theology and Practice program-a program which seeks to form a generation of professors who are outstanding teachers of people preparing for ministry and groundbreaking scholars in practical theology. Sigmon's research interests include the role of lament in worship and preaching, as well as funding a method of homiletics that is organic, local, and sustainable in the mass-mediated homiletical age. The former interest is the basis of her dissertation currently in the works, Homilecclesiology: A post/human process homiletic of touch.

While at Vanderbilt, Sigmon has served as head pastor at Central Christian Church in Springfield, TN, served as an adjunct professor at Trevecca Nazarene University, and been a member of the Vanderbilt Divinity School Worship Committee. She and her husband Phill, also ordained in the DOC, are members of Vine Street Christian Church.

Rev. Laura Jean Torgerson

A graduate of the University of Chicago Divinity School and the Disciples Divinity House, Torgerson has served in congregational ministry and as a missionary with Global Ministries in Nicaragua, where she worked in theological education with our Pentecostal partner church.  That work led to her research interests in Biblical interpretation among Nicaraguan Pentecostals, which she is pursuing in the Interdisciplinary Studies area of the Graduate Theological Union.  She is currently a Disciples Seminary Foundation student, as well as Coordinator for DSF in Northern California.

HELM would like to congratulate this year's scholars for their outstanding academic work and commitment to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the wider Church.

The Dickerson Scholarship Program honors Ann E. Dickerson, who was elected Vice-Moderator of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in August 1975. A member of the faculty of Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, she died in October 1975, shortly after receiving her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. The Dickerson scholarship is awarded to female members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pursuing a Ph.D. in religion.