Meet the Staff

Meet the Office of Admissions & Financial Aid

Our Admissions staff view themselves as emissaries for Candler and as “servant leaders” committed to supporting you in your theological journey. They are here to help you discern your call, consider the range of academic options available and determine how a theological degree will help you serve real communities and real churches in the real world. 

Associate Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid

Born and raised in the Boston area, Mary Lou has lived in Atlanta for more than 20 years and has served Candler in multiple leadership roles, so she knows both the school and its environs inside-out. Initially Candler’s Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Services, Mary Lou then spent several years as Associate Dean of Development and External Relations, and now has returned to her first love, working with students in Admissions and Financial Aid. She holds a bachelor of arts from West Virginia Wesleyan College and a master of theological studies from Boston University School of Theology. A facilitator for the Stewards of Children Child Sexual Abuse Prevention training program, she offers training for seminary students, local churches and community agencies. Mary Lou and her family are members of Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church, where she is on the Staff-Parish Relations Committee. If you’re lucky, you’ll come to the office on a day when Mary Lou has made her famous apple pie. Come early!

Associate Director of Financial Aid and Admissions

Southerners may be known for their hospitality, but we’ve never met anyone nicer than Minnesota-born-and-bred Jory. She began her admissions experience in the Twin Cities area, where she worked as an Admissions Counselor and Admissions & Enrollment Coordinator with both undergraduate and graduate programs. She is an alumna of the University of Minnesota, where she earned a degree in biological sciences and studied abroad at Oxford University and the Università di Firenze. After completing her bachelor’s degree, she moved to East Africa to work with a non-profit organization, then returned to the Twin Cities to work on a master’s degree in teaching, with an emphasis on studies in race relations and graduate education curriculum. She moved to Atlanta in 2014 to join the Candler Admissions & Financial Aid team.

Ashly Cargle ThompsonAshly Cargle-Thompson

Hailing from the Midwest, Ashly Cargle-Thompson began her career at Candler as the Program Coordinator for the Doctor of Ministry, International Initiatives, and Theological Education Between the Times programs.  She earned her BA from Lawrence University (Appleton, WI), majoring in Comparative Religion with an emphasis in Islam and a triple minor in Anthropology, Psychology, and English.  Before pursuing graduate studies, Ashly lived in Perth, Western Australia where she played professional basketball for the Stirling Senators in the State Basketball League.  Upon returning to the US, she completed her MA at the University of Chicago Divinity School with an emphasis in Islamic Studies and Anthropology of Religion. Her research focused on the formation of identity and selfhood among conservative Muslim women through their evolving interpretations of Qur’anic passages about menstruation and purity.  In her spare time, Ashly enjoys reading, cooking, swimming, and hiking.

Wendi HicksWendi Hicks

Wendi Hicks is completing the Doctor of Public Administration student, with emphasis in Higher Education Leadership, at Valdosta State University. Born and raised in Moultrie, Georgia, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and Theater Arts at Mercer University and a Master in Public Administration at Valdosta State University. Wendi began her admissions experience after graduation from Mercer University and has worked as a Regional Recruiter and Admission Counselor for Middle Georgia State University and served as the Graduate Admissions Counselor at Emory’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. In her free time Wendi enjoys writing children’s books with her mother, biking, and coaching tumbling. 

Stewart VoegtlinStewart Voegtlin

Stewart is a 2015 graduate of the Master of Theological Studies program, where he studied Biblical hermeneutics and the intersection of Scripture and Greco-Roman literature. He earned a BA in philosophy with a concentration in classics from Georgia State University. As Assistant Youth Director at Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church, Stewart accompanied youth on domestic and international mission trips, and organized and led Scripture studies for middle- and high-school students. He and his wife, Katrina, and son, Trey, live in Avondale Estates.

Admissions Interns

Leea AllenLeea Allen

Leea is a first-year Master of Divinity student, with an interest in worship, spiritual formation, and social justice. A native of Nashville, Leea has lived in Atlanta for five years. She is a graduate of Howard University where she earned a degree in international business. Upon graduation, she moved to Minneapolis to work in global product sourcing before relocating to Atlanta as a human resources manager. Leea is a member of Park Avenue Baptist Church in Grant Park.

Anna LautenschlagerAnna Lautenschlager

A second-year Master of Divinity student from Alpharetta, Georgia, Anna received a BA in religion from Samford University, where she was a pre ministerial Scholar and a Latin American Studies Scholar. Anna is a member of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship network and is an intern at Park Avenue Baptist Church in Grant Park. Her vocational goal is to be a pediatric hospital chaplain. 

GarethGareth Leake

Gareth is a second-year Master of Theological Studies student from Houston, Texas. He earned a BA in Biblical and Theological Studies from Wheaton College, with additional studies in Early Christianity. It was during his undergraduate years that Gareth first began the good work of admissions. After graduation, Gareth married his college sweetheart, Ava, and moved to Georgia. When he is not studying theology or working with the admissions team, Gareth enjoys relaxing outdoors and traveling with his wife.

Christina Schmitt

Christina is a first-year Master of Divinity student from Johns Creek, Georgia. She moved to Birmingham in 2012 to study Religion and Sociology at Samford University. While in Birmingham, she worked at Church of the Reconciler, a United Methodist Church pastored by Candler graduate Matt Lacey 08T that works with low income and homeless populations. She spent a semester at Koinonia Farms in Americus, Georgia, an intentional community that strives to demonstrate the way of Jesus as an alternative to materialism, militarism and racism. Her interests continue to focus on Christian ethical approaches to agricultural sustainability and poverty. 

Student Ambassadors

NathanNathan Cost

Nathan is a third-year Master of Theological Studies student. He graduated from Lipscomb University where he majored in history and education. Prior to coming to Candler, Nathan was a high school history teacher and soccer coach in Atlanta, Nashville, and Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. He is interested in European religious history, particularly the intersection of religion with race and politics in modern Germany. Nathan is completing a thesis that examines Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s interaction with Judaism during the early years of Nazism and the subsequent attempts to have him memorialized as a martyr. He enjoys playing pick-up basketball, watching re-runs of Shark Tank, and following the San Antonio Spurs. Nathan has seven nieces and nephews, and a dog named Haystack. 

NatalieNatalie Faria

Natalie is second-year Master of Divinity student from Valrico, Florida. She attended college at Stetson University, where she received a BA in Political Science and Religious Studies. Between undergraduate and graduate school she served with City Year Orlando, tutoring and mentoring ninth graders. It is this experience that inspired her to continue to work with youth. Natalie is a mentor for the Youth Theological Initiative and the Social Chair for the Candler Coordinating Council. She is concentrating her study in justice, peace-building, and conflict transformation and hopes to work for a peace-building non-profit organization. 

Bridget Hall

Bridget is a first-year Master of Divinity student from Greensboro, North Carolina. She graduated from Greensboro College with a BA in History and Religion. She enjoys learning the history of places, people, and cultures, which is how she fell in love with the study of religion and history. She plans to concentrate her work in justice, peace-building and conflict transformation, in order to better understand the intersection of faith and Justice. Bridget hopes to be ordained an elder in The United Methodist Church in the Western North Carolina Conference. She is the mother of an exuberant and beautiful seven-year-old.

Isaac Horwedel

Isaac is a third-year Master of Divinity student and an Academic Skills Tutor in Candler’s Writing Center. He studied Bible and Religion, Ethics, and Peace and Conflict Transformation at Anderson University. Before coming to Candler, Isaac co-founded The Exodus House, a transitional home for those recovering from addiction. His thesis concerns substance dependence, affect, and ethics. Isaac's favorite pastimes include carefully weighing his options until inevitably acting on a misguided impulse and daydreaming about playing for the Dallas Cowboys. He is married to Ricci with whom he has two smart, beautiful dogs named Crosby and Tig. 

Darci Jaret

Darci is a third-year Master of Divinity student, and founder of "Art in the Image" ministry at Park Avenue Baptist Church in Grant Park, which strives to enrich worship experiences, spiritual development, and pastoral care through art-making and creative expression. Darci previously worked for labor, environmental, and economic justice organizations, and engages Christianity as a means of furthering the causes of justice and equality. Darci is also passionate about sharing her experience of God’s transformative power, namely how she came to Christ through addiction and homelessness. 

AngieAngie Johnson

Angie is a third-year Master of Divinity student from New York City. She received her bachelor’s degree in English from Spelman College in 1995, and worked in corporate America for 20 years prior to enrolling at Candler. Angie has a passion for service and connecting people. She serves as President of the Candler Black Student Caucus, Resident Intern for Emory's Office of Spiritual and Religious Life, MDiv Peer Advisor, and is a Pitts Theology Library Scholar. She currently serves as the Connection Group Coordinator for Impact Church in Atlanta and volunteers with AIDAtlanta. She is on the ordination track for Deacon in The United Methodist Church where her ministry will focus on Pastoral Counseling. When she is not studying and serving, she is creating memories with her sons, Johari and Ayinde.

TalaTala Raheb

Tala is a first-year Master of Theological Studies student from Bethlehem, Palestine, who grew up just blocks from the birthplace of Jesus: the Church of the Nativity. Tala studied psychology and religion at St. Olaf College, was a member of the Interfaith Coalition, which promoted dialogue among various religious groups, and also worked in St. Olaf’s Office of Admissions. She taught Sunday School at Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem, and has delivered speeches on politics, women, and Christianity in the Middle East to various churches and community organizations. In her free time, Tala enjoys going on walks, reading, and traveling with her family.

Tyler Ward

Tyler is a second-year Master of Divinity student from Illinois and Kansas. He graduated in 2015 with a BA in Religious Studies from North Central College (Chicago, Illinois). During his undergrad years he worked with Rockford Urban Ministries and Urban Village Church (Wicker Park). Tyler is a certified candidate in the Northern Illinois Conference of The United Methodist Church. He is the Director of Discipleship Ministries and Youth Ministries at North Decatur UMC. At Candler, Tyler serves as the President of Candler Reconciling Ministries. 

ByronByron Wratee

Byron is a second-year Master of Divinity student from Kingstree, South Carolina. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Stillman College and a Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law. After graduating from law school, Byron practiced law in the Commonwealth of Virginia. He is also an Army veteran, having served in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. After his active duty service, Byron relocated to Atlanta to attend Candler. Byron serves on the Board of Directors for the Aquinas Center of Theology. He is an intern in the Candler Office of Worship; serves as chaplain for the Candler Black Student Caucus; and works as a research assistant for Dr. Steffen Lösel, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology; and sings with Emory University’s Concert Choir. After graduating from Candler, Byron intends to pursue a PhD in systematic theology, focusing on Roman Catholic, liberation, and womanist theologies.

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