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

For the past several years Quentin has been 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. At Morehouse, Quentin also worked as the Program Coordinator in the Office of the King Collection. Prior to coming to seminary, Quentin worked as Program Coordinator for the Institute for Conservation Leadership in Takoma Park, Maryland, and as Community Development Liaison at Riverside Hospital in Washington, DC, focusing on outpatient services for at-risk youth and young adults.

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 18Kim Akano

Kim is a second-year Master of Divinity student from Austin, TX with concentrations in Criminal Justice Ministries and Justice, Peacebuilding, and Conflict Transformation. She earned her BA in Psychology from Rice University in Houston, TX. After that, she served with a parachurch organization for two years in Minneapolis, MN where she worked to connect resources and volunteers with urban pastors to address issues of poverty through local churches. Kim has a heart for cities and looks forward to getting to know the city of Atlanta during her time at Candler. Kim is also passionate about the role of narrative and lament in engaging issues of trauma and injustice. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring cities through murals and street art, museum-hopping, going for walks, and cooking with friends.

Amy Chatelaine 18Amy Chatelaine

Amy is a second-year Master of Divinity student and candidate for ordination in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. she received a B.A. in Biology at St. Olaf college and played cello in the orchestra. Prior to Candler, Amy worked in the public health sector, addressing barriers to care for persons living with HIV and coordinating mental health services for immigrants seeking political asylum. Questions surrounding trauma, resilience, healing spaces, and narrative ultimately led her to theological study. Hailing from Minnesota, Amy's taste in music ranges from Prince and Bob Dylan to the classics of the Lutheran Hymnal. She considers mix tapes to be her truest form of artistic expression. 

Chrystal Golden 18Chrystal Golden

Chrystal is a second-year Master of Divinity student pursuing a certificate in Baptist Studies and Religious Education. She earned her BS in Kinesiology and Health Promotion from The University of Texas at Austin in 2014. Shortly thereafter, she joined Teach for America as a 2014 Corps Member and taught at a public charter school in Houston, TX. Chrystal never imagined attending seminary but felt a pulling towards theological education after a series of peculiar events inside and outside of the church. In addition to working as an OSP staff person, 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). In her spare time, she enjoys dancing, reading memoirs, and touring model homes.

Alex Revelle 18Alex Revelle

Alex Revelle is a first year Master of Divinity student from Durham, North Carolina. 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 second 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. Emily is a certified candidate in the United Methodist Church and plans to seek ordination after graduation. 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, hiking, soaking up some sun and spending time with friends and family.

Dustin-Mailman-Bio-Pic.jpgDustin Mailman

Dustin Mailman is a first-year Master of Divinity student from Stuart, Florida. He graduated from Appalachian State University with a B.A. in Religious Studies and a minor in 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 liberative 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 learning about coffee.