Meet the Office of Student Programming

Ellen Echols PurdumThe Reverend Ellen Echols Purdum
Assistant Dean of Student Life and Spiritual Formation

Ellen Purdum is the Assistant Dean of Student Life and Spiritual Formation. She works collaboratively with faculty, staff and student leaders to continue and enrich the many student services, programs and activities at Candler. She also spends a lot of time listening deeply to the lives of students here. On her best days she hopes that these different aspects of her work help to foster opportunities where spiritual and vocational formation—in their many and diverse varieties—will enhance students' theological education and preparation for ministry and service.

Ellen is also an ordained Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Atlanta and leads worship or preaches most Sundays at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Decatur, Georgia. Prior to becoming a priest, she taught English and service learning electives at the high school level and worked for a national, ecumenical non-profit that supported young adults exploring or preparing for pastoral ministry. Ellen is an associate at the Green Bough House of Prayer, a retreat center in southern Georgia where she goes to be quiet. She lives in Decatur with her husband and a rescued rat terrier named Hannah.


Quentin SamuelsQuentin L. Samuels
Assistant Director of Student Life

Quentin Samuels is the Assistant Director of Student Life. He works alongside the Assistant Dean of Student Life and Spiritual Formation to develop and execute community-centered engagement opportunities for the Office of Student Programming. In addition, Quentin oversees the OSP student staff and advises student leaders and programs. His work also includes collaborating with other school and institutional partners to plan and execute signature events for Candler. Moreover, he provides leadership and support for the design, execution and evaluation of new and existing OSP programs and projects. Quentin’s ethos is centered on acknowledging the whole person and respecting diversity. He works to create relationships with students that are meaningful to their entire seminary experience. His work related to diversity and race relations has been transformative to the Candler community.

Prior to his work at Candler, Quentin was the Campus Outreach and Ministry Coordinator at the Martin Luther King, Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College, from which he was graduated with a degree in Business. His work at Candler has come full circle, as he is also a 2011 graduate of Candler where he served as Black Student Caucus President, Co-Chair of the Senior Class Gift Committee as well as a student representative for PAPC.

Quentin has a deep love for music, media, the arts and culture. He is the co-host of a podcast called We Come as Equals focused on everyday people having extraordinary conversations. He believes as the center of every artistic expression is a meaningful measure of the Divine.

Sarah-Carlson-Candler-bio-pic.jpegSarah Carlson
Director of Career Services

Sarah Carlson is the Director of Career Services. Her goal in this role is to empower and equip students to effectively discern and answer the calls that brought them to Candler, whatever those calls may be. Sarah is passionate about helping students identify their vocational strengths and visions, and she teaches students how to communicate their unique value to employers. Sarah does this work through educational programming, meeting with students one-on-one and in small groups, and she develops relationships with potential employers to increase the opportunities available to Candler students and graduates.

Sarah started her vocational journey by graduating from Harvard Law School, going to a job on Wall Street, and quickly rejecting that professional life for a more wholehearted one. She left her life as a Wall Street attorney and became a volunteer in Haiti after the Earthquake in 2010. While living in a tent and building schools, she reconnected to her values, and returned to the US to become a career coach and professor at Emory University School of Law. There she coached individual law students and created coursework to help students identify their professional strengths, interests, and values and taught the invaluable tools of professional self-advocacy. From there, Sarah started her own company to inspire and equip people from all industries to claim and realize their unique professional power, which ultimately led her to Candler.

In addition to her professional endeavors, Sarah is also a passionate traveler, singer, and yogi.

Community and Spiritual Life Coordinators

kim Akano 18Cristha Edwards

Cristha Edwards is a second-year Master of Divinity student from Los Angeles, CA seeking a certificate in Religion and Health. She earned her BS in Biology from Spelman College. Throughout her undergraduate career Cristha designed and executed research protocols that addressed evolution, cancer biology, and maternal public health concerns for African American women. Cristha currently serves as a Youth Minister at Faith Works Christian Center in McDonough, GA and has served as the College Ministry Coordinator at Berean Christian church for the past two years. Cristha currently serves as a research fellow for the Center for Educational Opportunities at Albany State, where she is working on generating an educational model to provide the prison population with spiritual coping practices for trauma. Aside from her ministry pursuits Cristha is also very passionate about environmental stewardship. She is currently working with the Greening Youth Foundation in Atlanta, GA on a Faith Based Forestry initiative following a two-year internship completing biological environmental research with the United States Department of Agriculture. In her spare time, Cristha enjoys hiking, ziplining, reading, and attending local concerts. Cristha is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Amy Chatelaine 18Amy Chatelaine

Amy is a 3rd year MDiv student, and candidate for ordination in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. She also serves as the 2019-2020 C3 President for the Candler community. Her academic interests include practical theology, ethics of care, and curating spaces for healing encounter. Hailing from Minnesota, she has a fervent love of lakes, lefse, and Lizzo.


Chrystal Golden 18Chrystal Golden

Chrystal Golden is a third-year Master of Divinity student pursuing certificates in Baptist Studies and Religious Education. A native of Houston, TX, she received her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and Health Promotion from The University of Texas at Austin in May 2014. After graduation, she spent three years as a high school teacher while also serving in multiple churches in different capacities. Through these experiences, Chrystal started to discern God’s call to ministry, especially as she continued to walk alongside others who had more questions than answers about God. At Candler, Chrystal has served as a Worship Planner and Social Media Specialist for the Candler Office of Worship and as a Class Representative for the Candler Coordinating Committee (C3). For the 2019-2020 academic year, she will lead both the Black Student Caucus and the Candler Baptist Community. In her spare time, she enjoys dancing, reading memoirs, and touring model homes.

Dustin-Mailman-Bio-Pic.jpgWhitney Hair

Whitney is a third-year MDiv student from Maryville, TN. She is a certified candidate on the elder track in The United Methodist Church. Her interests includes creating space for honest conversations about death and dying, welcoming all people to experience the radical love of God through Christian Community, and designing religious education so that all people can grow spiritually, regardless of abilities or learning style. Whitney also works as a pastoral resident at Decatur First United Methodist Church. In her spare time, she loves playing board games, hiking in nature, and painting.


Alex Revelle 18Alex Revelle

Alex Revelle is a second-year MDiv student from Durham, N.C. He graduated from North Carolina A&T State University with a B.S. in Journalism Mass Communication and a concentration in Broadcast Production. Upon graduating Alex continued working in the journalism field as a communication officer at Time Warner Cable. Alex found his passion in life serving as the director of communication & outreach for the Thomas mentor leadership academy. Serving in this role helped Alex to hear and accept his calling into the ministry. He is looking forward to the education he will receive over his time here at Candler. In his spare time, you can find Alex mentoring, reading, playing the trombone and playing basketball.

Emily Photo 2017Emily Rivers

Emily Rivers is a third year Master of Divinity student. Hailing from Winston Salem, North Carolina, Emily graduated from Appalachian State University with a B.A. in Religious Studies and a minor in Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies. As a licensed yoga and group fitness instructor, Emily strives to be an advocate for health and wellness wherever she goes. At Candler, Emily has focused her studies around health, healing, and embodiment and will be graduating in May with a certificate in Faith and Health. Currently, Emily is a certified candidate in the United Methodist Church and plans to seek ordination as a deacon. In this capacity she hopes to bring her passions for and commitments to holistic health and wellness to the church and the greater world. When Emily is not studying you will find her doing or teaching yoga, running, cooking, soaking up some sun, and spending time with friends and family.

Dustin-Mailman-Bio-Pic.jpgMathew Musyoki

Mathew is an ordained church minister from Kenya. He attained his theological education at Scott Christian University and has additional training from the London School of Theology, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and the University of Nairobi. As a Pastor and peace-builder Mathew has done impressive work as a church leader and among student movements in Kenya before enrolling at Candler. He is in the Masters of Religious Leadership program and is working with a focus on Justice, Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation. His theological imagination is matched by his practical, and political commitments. He represents the MRL program at Candler Coordinating Council and often assists fellow international students to navigate their way as they experience life at Candler. Mathew was also recently appointed to the Curriculum Policy Committee, which is responsible for the general and comprehensive review of the academic programs of Candler School of Theology.

Dustin-Mailman-Bio-Pic.jpgDustin Mailman

Dustin Mailman is a second-year Master of Divinity student from Stuart, Florida. He graduated from Appalachian State University with a major in Religious Studies and a minor Sustainable Development. Prior to Candler, Dustin worked for several United Methodist congregations that are oriented towards people experiencing homelessness throughout Western North Carolina. Through his experiences with these congregations, Dustin has found an interest in fostering liberate practices for the church, community development, and trauma informed care. Dustin is a Certified Candidate in the United Methodist Church, and is pursuing ordination as an Elder. Dustin's dream is to intersect the life of the church with social entrepreneurship; with combatting systemic poverty within his context as the locus of his vision. In Dustin's spare time you can find him listening to music, reading, or leaning about coffee.

Dustin-Mailman-Bio-Pic.jpgSeungJun Hwang

SeungJun is a third-year MDiv student from Korea. As an avid scholar and reader, SeunJun is committed to the work of the Church and the love of Christ throughout the world. He is seeking his ordination in the United Methodist Church and serving Trinity Korean Church at Duluth as a youth pastor. He is interested in how the Bible helps people to harmonize in their society, and he would like to know and hear how people can understand the bible in their actual lives. He has served as the EKGSA President as well as helping to build community across borders and spaces. When SeungJun is not studying, you may think that he is taking a nap, enjoying his time with church people, or working out at the gym.

Dustin-Mailman-Bio-Pic.jpgNina Ranji

Nina is a third-year undergraduate student at Emory's Goizueta Business School. She is pursuing her BBA in Finance and hopes to start her career in banking. Nina is passionate about social and environmental philanthropy, and aspires to create her own foundation in the future. In her free time, Nina enjoys exploring, cooking, spending time with her friends and family, and catching up on her favorite TV shows.