Meet the Office of Student Life

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 Life. In addition, Quentin oversees the OSL 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 OSL 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 Administration. 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 at 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.

Sarah-Carlson-Candler-bio-pic.jpegAllison Henderson-Brooks
Assistant Director of Student Life for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

In her new role, Henderson-Brooks will meet with students both individually and in group settings to hear concerns and address issues of equity and inclusion. She will collaborate with OSL to develop opportunities for students around these topics, and with departments schoolwide to create programming for faculty and staff that fosters equity and inclusion for students. As part of the OSL team, she will work to ensure that programs supporting academics, community and spiritual life, and professional development address the needs of a diverse student body. Finally, Henderson-Brooks will serve as an advocate for students, reporting regularly to the Candler administration to highlight concerns and successes.

Allison is a proud alumna of Spelman College earning a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and is an alumni of Candler, graduating in 2019 with a Master of Divinity.  She is a 4th generation licensed and ordained minister in the Baptist tradition. During her time at Candler, she served as President of the Baptist Students Association and worked with its co-sponsors to ensure that all graduates were either licensed or ordained upon graduation. In addition, she was honored to serve as the Senior Class Committee Co-Chair fueling the efforts for one of the most successful class giving campaigns in Candler’s recent history. Among these amazing opportunities, she was blessed to serve as an Arthur Vinings Davis Fellow working with Lee Arrendale State Prison, the largest women’s prison and in the inaugural cohort of the Westside Fellows Summer Internship. Her work with these entities continues to the present day. Lastly, she was honored to serve as a program assistant for the  James T. & Berta R. Laney Legacy program in Moral Leadership under the exceptional leadership of Dr. Robert Franklin and Dr. Letitia Campbell.

Prior to joining Candler as a staff member for the Doctor of Ministry program in 2019, she successfully mastered the art of hospitality in the disciplines of Performance Analytics, Operations Management, Systems Implementation and Revenue Management Systems within three of the world’s iconic hotel brands having been recognized globally for these contributions.  

Community and Spiritual Life Coordinators

kim Akano 18Cristha Edwards

Cristha Edwards is a third-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.


Alex Revelle 18Alex Revelle

Alex Revelle is a third-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.


Dustin-Mailman-Bio-Pic.jpgDustin Mailman

Dustin Mailman is a third-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 religious experience. 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; placing liberative relational community at the center. In Dustin's spare time you can find him seeking Christ incarnate in propane spaces, ranting about the undervalued intersections of artistic expression and religious experience, seeking the best cup of third-wave coffee, or listening to Kendrick Lamar.


Dustin-Mailman-Bio-Pic.jpgJasmine "Jazzy" Johnson

Jazzy Johnson, a proud Native Texan and adopted Chicagoan, is an experienced Educator who specializes in curating and facilitating transformative spaces for learning and listening in the area of social justice. She graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and minor in Sociology. Jazzy is passionate about accompanying young people on their journeys of liberation, particularly in the areas in which oppressive systems have distorted their view of themselves, others, God, and creation. She currently serves as a Resource Specialist for InterVarsity’s Black Campus Ministries Department (BCM). Jazzy recently relocated to Atlanta where she is pursuing her Master of Divinity at Candler School of Theology. She hopes to someday pursue a joint appointment as Chaplain for the nation of Wakanda and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.


Chulyu Kim PhotoChulyu Kim

I am 김철유(Kim, Chulyu), a Christian, and I am the firstborn child of a Neo-Confucianist family. Looking back on his past experiences, Chulyu would say a “border-crossing spirituality” has colored his identity. There are three big experiences that have particularly impacted his life. First, shifting from Neo-Confucianist to Christianity. Although the blood of Neo-Confucianism still flows in his veins, the moment when he became Christian at 15 years old was a ground-breaking experience because it was when he first began to negotiate his religious identity. Second was performing a mandatory military service at the Military Deductive Line in Cheolwon, South Korea. There he had his first experience of officially being censored by military authority due to his grandmother’s national identity. This experience revealed to him that he is neither fully South Korean nor North Korean. Third was working as a full-time intern at the Texas-Mexican border in Laredo through Candler’s ASMI program. There he met Latino/a friends who faced similar identity crises as his as they began a new life in the U.S. In light of these past experiences, his theological journey at Candler has been aimed towards marginalized people who are not able to locate themselves either here or there. As an international student, he hopes to sojourn with peers who begin a journey of finding oneself while we are at Candler. His academic interest is in systematic theology, especially as it relates to the theology of inculturation. In his free time, he enjoys watching largely inaccurate Korean historical films.


DSCF3238-1.jpgSalmoon Bashir

Salmoon Bashir is from Pakistan, a second-year international student in the Master of Divinity program at Candler School of Theology. At Candler’s Office of Student Life Salmoon works as a professional development coordinator with Sarah Carlson. If you see lot of job postings on handshake or on the OSL Facebook page the chances are those are from Salmoon. Because of his rich experience, Salmoon is also a Research Assistant working on the History and Practice of Christian-Muslim Relations. After working in the oil and gas industry in the Middle East, Salmoon spent a year in the Community of St. Anselm at Lambeth Palace in London. There he found his calling to pastoral ministry and community service and that led him to the Diocese of Atlanta. Salmoon served in many places such as Pakistan, Iraq, UK, Republic of Georgia, and other European countries. He is currently placed as a seminarian at St Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church and is an aspirant in the Diocese of Atlanta. Salmoon is married to Mari who is an Eastern Orthodox from the country of Georgia. In their spare time, Salmoon and Mari love to take road trips, try out different cuisines and tour model homes.


JSphoto.jpgJoselyn Spence

Joselyn Spence is a third-year MDiv student, with a Chaplaincy concentration also focused on Women’s Studies in Theology and Ministry at Candler. Joselyn comes to Candler as a holistic wellness practitioner and a Licensed Professional Counselor who is committed to the call of helping communities evolve to a place of expanded freedom in mind, body, and spirit. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia with a bachelors in Women’s Studies and African American Studies and Eastern Virginia Medical School with a master’s in Art Therapy and Professional Counseling. Joselyn is also a registered yoga and meditation teacher and enjoys promoting self-care. In her spare time, Joselyn can be found writing, hiking, bike riding, growing fruit and veggies in her garden and spending time with her 12 year old pit bull, Nyia.


Allie Williams Headshot.jpgAllie Williams

Allie Williams is a second-year Master of Divinity student from Brevard, North Carolina. She graduated from Wake Forest University with a major in Health & Exercise Science and minors in Spanish and Dance. After graduating, she traveled the world: volunteering on llama farms, in permaculture gardens, and in hostels, and receiving her yoga teaching certificate. Through her experiences, Allie has developed a deep interest in healing through practices of spirituality and embodiment. She currently serves as the Children's Ministry Director at Ormewood Church in Ormewood Park and dreams of one day investigating the intersections of faith, health, and education in an entrepreneurial setting. In addition to pursuing her M.Div. at Candler and leading children in worship, Allie loves to hike, explore nature, travel, dance, bake bread, and cuddle up with her cat, Theo.