9 Disciples College Freshmen Students Selected as HELM Leadership Fellows
This year, HELM selected 9 incoming students to join the cohort of the Leadership Fellows Program. These students were selected from an expansive pool of extremely qualified applicants. Through their mindful involvement in their schools and churches, the 9 new Fellows have successfully established themselves as leaders within their own communities. Through the Leadership Fellows Program, HELM hopes to nurture and support each Fellow’s undergraduate career to further expand on their already impressive accomplishments towards positive impact in our communities.
The 2016-2017 Cohort, listed in alphabetical order, includes:
Ainsley Anderson Ainsley will be attending Carthage Collegein Kenosha Wisconsin this Fall where she plans to major in Japanese. Ainsley graduated from Jefferson City High School in Jefferson City, Missouri where she served in the Student Council, as President of the National Honors Society, and has held many other chairs and leadership positions. In the classroom, Ainsley not only masters the material presented but is entrusted with leading review sessions to help other students succeed as well. Ainsley has planned mission trips and is currently working towards creating an interfaith community of high school students. Rev. Beau Underwood from First Christian Church in Jefferson City, Ainsley’s home congregation, writes that “she is not afraid of responsibility and understands that good leaders do more ‘walking’ than ‘talking.’”
Lauren Kim Lauren graduated from Woodbridge High School in Irvine, California with an impressive list of leadership positions that includes: Founder and President of Sustainable Urban Pioneers, a school organization dedicated to environmental education; Captain of Science Olympiad; and, Vice President of the Junior Classical League. Lauren’s leadership is also reflected in her participation at Sallims Christian Church where she serves in Children’s ministry and lends her musical talents. Furthermore, Lauren is active in other Disciples ministries outside of her local congregation such as NAPAD, Quadrennial, and the General Youth Council. “I can see her diligence and sincerity for worship,” writes Rev. Jinsuk Chun, “and I know that she loves God and the church very much.” Lauren will be attending Yale University in the Fall and intends to major in Environmental Studies.
Cris Marin As a recent XPLOR resident – a program of the National Benevolent Association for intentional vocational discernment, professional formation, and direct hands-on service and justice work. In this program – Cris has been working to establish a county-wide ID program in Scott County, Iowa in order to facilitate access to resources for those without an ID. Cris also served as Vice President of Campus Light, a Christian Club in California High School, and has led music and worship at services at East Whittier Christian Church. Rev. Gabriel De Jesus Lopez, Cris’ pastor, speaks highly of his character: “He shows compassion, teaching and listening skills, and has the ability to motivate others.” Cris is attending Eureka College in Illinois this Fall and has been accepted into the school’s Disciples Leadership Program, a top-tier, competitive scholarship.
Quinlan Pulleyking Quinlan has accepted an admissions offer to Missouri State University. Her participation at school, church, and community clearly indicates her abilities as a leader. She’s served as Music Director, Cabinet, and Vice President of the Christian Regional Youth in Missouri; has provided leadership in several mission trips across the United States and abroad; coordinates blood drives for Central High School; and, has provided her musical gifts at weddings, funerals, churches, and coffee houses. Quinlan’s pastor, Rev. Phil Snider of Brentwood Christian Church in Springfield, Missouri, speaks highly of her, particularly highlighting Quinlan’s musical talents and welcoming and inclusive nature: Quinlan is someone who “is always interested in persevering the dignity of others,” someone who is “naturally pastoral,” and whose “guitar is always near her.”
Courtney Sells At the Webb School in Tennessee, Courtney demonstrated her leadership abilities in multiple aspects of student life. She was Team Captain of both her Varsity Soccer Team and Varsity Softball Team, President of her Senior Class, President of the Worship Committee, was responsible for events in her dorm, and for leading backpacking trips. Courtney is very active at Bethany Hills Camp in Tennessee serving in the CYF Cabinet. Rev. Dee Moore Wells says that Courtney is the go-to person for the youth group – ready to answer deep spiritual questions, including questions about baptism and Christ. Rev. Dee writes, “She is always looking for ways to grow - whether it be spiritually, educationally or emotionally, Courtney excels.” Courtney will be attending Centre College in Danville, Kentucky and is interested in English, Marketing, and Advertising.
Isabelle Smith Isabelle is a well-experienced debate team member who has also led classes and directed tournaments for her school, Olathe Northwest High School in Kansas. Her debate topics, ranging from international politics to climate change to other current events, have allowed Isabelle to better grasp many of the injustices experienced worldwide today. Isabelle feels that such wide understanding is necessary to reach her goal of mending barriers that divide our communities. Isabelle is also very active at St. Andrew Christian Church and works with young children at the YMCA. Rev. Erin Wathen writes of Isabelle, “Her interest in politics, her faith, and her strong sense of compassion make her promising leader – for both the church and the country.” Isabelle will attend Georgetown University with an intended concentration in International Politics and Arab Studies.
Sam Stephenson Sam will be attending Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky this Fall. At First Christian Church in Wilmington, Ohio, Sam has served as diaconate, worship leader, and youth leader. He has served in various mission trips and has been active at the regional level of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). “Sam is a hard-working, mature young man who is philosophical and analytical as well as empathetic and ethical,” according to Mrs. Julie Knoblauch, Sam’s English teacher. In the classroom, Sam takes the responsibility of encouraging discussion and is excited to connect topics in classical and literary texts to contemporary contexts dealing with issues such as moral dilemmas and human rights. Sam’s character in the classroom is also evident in his church work where he encourages others to be involved and is known to lead by example.
Jordan White Jordan is from Lexington, Kentucky where he has demonstrated his leadership abilities at school, church, and the community. As a member of East Second Street Christian Church, Jordan is involved with the youth, young adults, and has preached during Youth Sunday. Striving for unity among the diversity of congregations represented in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Jordan found the We Are One Day Initiative. “It was Jordan,” writes Rev. Dr. Donald K. Gillett, “who on his own initiative, decided that we should show more unity as Disciples here in KY and thus began a day of Unity where Disciples were asked to wear red on a particular day.” At Lafayette High School, Jordan has excelled academically, evident by his thought-provoking inquiries and desire to gain knowledge. Jordan will attend Northern Kentucky University and major in Political Science and Business Administration.
Lydia Yang This Fall, Lydia will concentrate in Psychology, Child Development, and Pre-Med at Chapman University in Orange, California. At Claremont High School, Lydia served as Orchestra Manger and Orchestra Captain, often stepping into the role of Director when necessary, and is known to motivate her fellow students in the classroom. Lydia is actively engaged with her home congregation, First Christian Church of North Hollywood, and in the Pacific Southwest Region. She was an integral part of the leadership developing a multi-cultural and multi-lingual worship service in her congregation, and served as co-director of a NAPAD youth and young adult retreat in her region. Rev. BJ Barlow speaks of Lydia saying, “Because of her natural social and spiritual authority, people listen when Lydia speaks, and what she says is always rich with theological and ethical insight.”
The 9 incoming Fellows will be joined by 13 returning Fellows. The Leadership Fellows Program is open to students attending their first year of college in the Fall, are members of a local Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) congregation, and who demonstrate leadership and academic competency. Visit our Leadership Fellows Program Page for further information, including qualifications, program details, and information to apply for next year’s class.