Department of Religious Studies

M.A. Graduates

This is a partial list of graduates from the M.A. program in religious studies.  We have tried to include what students were doing immediately after attaining their degrees and, where possible, we have included more recent information.  For students who wrote theses, we have included titles.

  • David Embree – (M.A. 1994) Campus minister.  Per course faculty at Missouri State Department of Religious Studies
  • Ray Adams – (M.A. 1996) Dean of Students, Baptist Bible College, Springfield, Missouri
  • Robin Anderson – (M.A. 1997) Special Education Teacher in Liberty, Missouri
  • Jeffrey Ruff – (M.A. 1997) Thesis: Rituals of Power in Southern Africa: An Investigation of the Healing Dance of the !Kung in the Context of African Rituals of Power. Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara; Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Marshall University
  • Scott S. Elliot – (M.A. 1999) Ph.D., Drew University; Assistant Professor of Religion at Adrian College, Adrian, Michigan
  • Leslie E. Smith – (M.A. 1999) Thesis: Divine Order, Divine Myth: The Necessity of Gender Paradigms in the Study of Protestant Fundamentalism.  Ph.D. University of California, Santa Barbara; Assistant Professor at Avila University
  • Joby S. Taylor – (M.A. 1999) Ph.D. in Language, Literacy, and Culture at University of Maryland at Baltimore; Director of Shriver Peaceworker Program
  • Matthew S. Waggoner – (M.A. 1999) Thesis: The Making of American Religious Experience: A Socio-Political Critique of "Experience" in American Religious History. Ph.D. in History of Consciousness at University of California, Santa Cruz; Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Connecticut
  • Patrick Scott Smith – (M.A. 2000) Owner of construction company in Springfield
  • Clinton Hammock – (M.A. 2001) Admitted into Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program at University of Missouri, Kansas City
  • Arthur James Murphy – (M.A. 2001) Thesis: Family Values: Anti-familial Rhetoric and Counterculture in the Sayings of Jesus: A Social-Structural Study. Assistant Professor of History, Evangel University.  Ph.D. University of Denver/Iliff Theological Seminary; Assistant Professor at South Dakota State University
  • Shirley I. Wood – (M.A. 2001) Admitted into joint Ph.D. program at the University of Denver and Iliff Theological Seminary
  • Michael Dean Fisher – (M.A. 2002) Thesis: “…As in All the Churches of the Saints…”What to Do with 1 Corinthians 14:33B? Admitted into Ph.D. program in the Department of Religious Studies at Florida State University
  • Jacob L. Harris – (M.A. 2002) Thesis: Here Comes The “Bride”: A Discursive Analysis of the Twelve Tribes Messianic Kingdom’s Eschatological Wedding Ritual. Instructor and Coordinator of Religious Studies at Eastern Oregon University
  • Lora J. Hobbs – (M.A. 2002) Senior Instructor at Missouri State Department of Religious Studies
  • Erin Kuhns Darby – (M.A. 2002) Thesis: Death Cult in Ancient Israel and Modern Scholarship: Practical and Theoretical Issues in Old Testament Studies. Ph.D., Duke University; Assistant Professor at University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Alexandra R. Yarenko – (M.A. 2002) Thesis: The Shaping of the Ukrainian Catholic Church through Myth, Rituals, and Classification
  • Rita Moore – (M.A. 2003) Director of Lay Ministries of United Methodist Church, Springfield, Missouri
  • John R. Kennedy – (M.A. 2003) Thesis: Food, Flesh, and Fervor: Perfecting the Ascetic Body in Tertullian’s De Ieiunio.  Admitted into Ph.D. program at the University of Iowa
  • Matt Cardin – (M.A. 2003) Critically acclaimed fiction writer.
  • Shelia Priest – (M.A. 2003) Per course faculty at Missouri State-West Plains Campus.  Sociology Instructor at University of Arkansas, Mountain Home
  • George C. Welch – (M.A. 2003) Thesis: "One Taste Worldwide" Defining Taste in McDonald's Court Cases
  • Brian Doak – (M.A. 2004) Thesis: Patriarch as Trickster: The Social and Literary Function of the Jacob Cycle in Genesis 25-33. Ph.D., Harvard University; Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies, George Fox University
  • Jared Fields – (M.A. 2004) Admitted into M.Div. program at Anderson Theological Seminary
  • Ethan Mayes – (M.A. 2005)
  • Sabre Nap – (M.A. 2005) Technical Writer at Jack Henry and Associates
  • Christina (Bowles) Pittman – (M.A. 2005) Academic Advisor at Missouri State University
  • Mary Brune – (M.A. 2005) Thesis: Religion and Politics: Adding a Definition of Religion to John Rawls and Richard Rorty
  • Joe Moore – (M.A. 2005) Thesis: Gamla: A Question of Ultimate Sacrifice
  • Jean Stalhood – (M.A. 2005) Thesis: "War Continued By Other Means": The Politics of Religion and Violence
  • Martha L. Smith – (M.A. 2005) Thesis: Creating the Exotic East: Romantic Literature, Orientalist Scholarship and the Colonial Construction of the East. Admitted into Ph.D. program University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Mary Langille-Hoppe – (M.A. 2006) Thesis: Can I Get a Witness? Narratives of Disaffiliation as Narratives of Healing Written by Women Who Grew Up as Jehovah's Witnesses 
  • David Rice – (M.A. 2006) Thesis: How the Missouri Baptist Convention Shifted Their Identity to the Southern Baptist Convention's New Hegemony
  • Dane Wallace – (M.A. 2006) Instructor in Global Studies at Missouri State University
  • Thomas Harper – (M.A. 2006)
  • Johnathon (Jake) Parsons – (M.A. 2006) Thesis: Asoka in the Postcolonial Imagination: Contemporary Ideological Readings of India's Past. Librarian II at the Western Missouri Correctional Center in Cameron, Department of Corrections
  • Robert Schafer – (M.A. 2006) Thesis: Ecclesiastes 3:1-15: Reconciling Abjection within Confinium
  • Cynthia J. Berry – (M.A. 2007) Currently works for Watts Radiant in Springfield, Missouri
  • Rosalie T. Gorecki – (M.A. 2007) - Currently working as an Archaeological Assistant at MRS Consultants, LLC, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama
  • Carla Jeanette Heifner – (M.A. 2007) Thesis: The Influence of Some Late Medieval Devotional Literature of Margery Kempe
  • Jeremiah Woodring – (M.A. 2007) Associate Minister at Pomona Christian Church
  • Heather Fabian – (M.A. 2007) Thesis: Christian Science and Anxiety in the Lives of Principia College Students 
  • Jessica (Campbell) Ollis – (M.A. 2008) Assistant Branch Manager for U.S. Bank in Springfield, MO
  • Joseph Dutko – (M.A. 2008) Thesis: This-Worldly Explanations for Otherworldly Growth: Vitality in an Ozarks Megachurch. Christian Education Pastor at Richmond Pentecostal Church, Richmond, British Columbia 
  • Cody Hayes – (M.A. 2008) Per course faculty at Ozarks Technical College
  • Jason Miller – (M.A. 2008) Works in the administration of the Department on Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University
  • Jonathan Olson – (M.A. 2008) Thesis: From the Margins to the Mainstream: The Emergence of an American Pentecostal Intellectual Life.  Admitted into Ph.D. program Florida State University
  • Katharina Phoenix – (M.A. 2008) Thesis: Anthropodicy: How Non-Theists Explain Evil
  • Jane Terry – (M.A. 2009) Thesis: Call and Response: Aesthetic Reception of Lamentations 1:20-22. Administrative Secretary for Religious Studies at Missouri State University
  • Tyson Putthoff – (M.A. 2009) Thesis: The Role of Jewish Transformational Mysticism in Paul's Thought.  Admitted into Ph.D. program Durham University (England) in New Testament and Jewish Studies and plans to teach in those areas when completed
  • Mary Chiles – (M.A. 2009) Per course faculty at Ozarks Technical College
  • Kimberly Clark – (M.A. 2009) Thesis: Theology, Music, and Emotion: The Gethsemane Section of J. S. Bach's St. Matthew Passion. Plans to establish the Opus 30 school of music for underprivileged elementary school children and developing her own website design business
  • Conrad Griggs – (M.A. 2009) Business Development Officer at The Bank of Missouri
  • Miles Adam Park – (M.A. 2009) Thesis: XXXianity: "A Safe, Non-pornographic Place to Shop for All Your Christian Sex Toys and Romance Needs".  Admitted into Ph.D. program Florida State University
  • Travis Marler – (M.A. 2010)
  • Ryan Jones – (M.A. 2010) Per course faculty at Ozarks Technical College
  • Jared Chatfield – (M.A. 2010) Admitted into Ph.D. program at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Nena Kircher – (M.A. 2010) Thesis: Selling Timeshares in Heaven: Manipulation in Revival Preaching in the United States
  • Meghan Faries – (M.A. 2010) Thesis: Karaikkal Ammaiyar: A Study of Feminine Autonomy, Power, and Prestige in the Medieval Bhakti Tradition
  • Kristopher Keller – (M.A. 2010) At Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University
  • Kevin Punch – (M.A. 2010) Youth minister
  • Helen Wheeler – (M.A. 2010)
  • James Bennett – (M.A. 2011) Thesis: Jesus, the Slayer of Death: The Descensus Ad Inferos in the Demonstrations of Aphrahat. Consultant at Tara-Lu Corporation
  • Travis Cooper – (M.A. 2011) Thesis: Ecstasy and the Kinesthetic Body: An Ethnographic Study of Contemporary Pentecostal Worship.  Admitted into Ph.D. program at Indiana University
  • Linda Covey – (M.A. 2011) Thesis: Diné Becoming Bahá’í: Through the Lens of Ancient Prophecies
  • Nathan Dunn – (M.A. 2011, posthumous)
  • Darryl Schafer - (M.A. 2011) Thesis: (Re)Creating Paul: Toward a More Generous Historiography. Per Course faculty at Southwest Baptist University; Pastor at Billings Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
  • Christine Tibbs - (M.A. 2011)
  • Mark D. Arnold - (M.A. 2012) Thesis: The Ethics of Amos in Light of Its Ancient Near Eastern Context. Library Systems Administrative Support Specialist at Missouri State University
  • Krista Dalton - (M.A. 2012) Thesis: A Generously Imagined World: the Reception of Tzedekah Texts in Diasporic Jewish Communities. Admitted into Ph.D. program at Jewish Theological Seminary; transferred into Ph.D. program at Columbia University
  • Micah Hildreth - (M.A. 2012) Thesis: "Be Not Conformed to This World": A History of Worldliness in the Assemblies of God. Senior Enrollment Advisor, Admissions, University of Missouri, Kansas City
  • Meghan Musy - (M.A. 2012) Thesis: "Tell Me the Old, Old Story": The Hymns and Testimonies of Ancient Israel and American Pentecostals. Admitted into Ph.D. program at McMaster University
  • Monica Cottrell - (M.A. 2012) Thesis: Sowing the Seeds of Change: An Ethnographic Study of the Religious Motivations of Producers and Consumers of Locally Produced Foods
  • Matthew Gallion - (M.A. 2012) Thesis: Ecclesiology after God: Materialism and Doubt in the Emerging Church Movement. Works at Catholic Charities in Springfield, MO
  • Joanna Mendez - (M.A. 2012)
  • Jason Pudlo - (M.A. 2012) Thesis; The Cautionary Tale of Communist China: Missionaries and the Pentecostal Shift towards Anti-Communism from 1914 through 1951. Admitted into Ph.D. program at the University of Oklahoma
  • Canaan Vermillion - (M.A. 2012) Thesis: Public Expression of Religion in the United States: inside the Wall of Separation between Church and State. Pursuing a Master's in Ministry at John Brown University
  • Margaret Baldwin - (M.A. 2013) Portfolio: A Cacophony of Voices: A Collection of Works on Various Scholars and Historical Figures; working as the Human Resources Specialist at ARC of the Ozarks in Springfield, MO
  • John Christianson - (M.A. 2013) Portfolio: Forays into the Military Language and Imagery of the New Testament and Early Christian Literature. Admitted into Ph.D. program at Brite Divinity School, TCU
  • Katherine Graul - (M.A. 2013) Thesis: The Pendulum Slowly Swings: The Unusual Journey of an Ozarks Pentecostal Congregation
  • Hartman, Matthew - (M.A. 2013) Thesis: Between Others, Between Ethics: Resisting Domination through Postcolonialism, Environmentalism, and Ecocriticism; working at Bike and Build in Philadelphia, PA
  • Chari Schoen - (M.A. 2013) Portfolio: The Portfolio of Visual Culture and Memories
  • Lynne (Alise) Lofftus - (M.A. 2013) Portfolio: Feminism, Faith and Fieldwork
  • Joshua Hackworth - (M.A. 2013) Portfolio
  • Steven Fouse - (M.A. 2014) Thesis
  • Harrison King - (M.A. 2014) Thesis, Admitted into Ph.D. program at Northwestern University/Weinberg College of Arts and Letters
  • Sarah A. RIccardi - (M.A. 2014) Thesis, Admitted into Ph.D. program at New York University
  • Brock Whisler - (M.A. 2014) Thesis
  • Lindsey Arnold - (M.A. 2014) Portfolio
  • Michael Bohlen - (M.A. 2014) Thesis
  • Andrew Brizendine - (M.A. 2014) Portfolio
  • Stephen Kastner - (M.A. 2014) Portfolio