Jillinda Weaver, Director, IMPACT

Jillinda Weaver Jill Weaver came on board in August of 2016 to serve as dean of the YTI Summer Academy and director of Emory YTI IMPACT. The newly created Emory YTI IMPACT is based on the YTI pedagogy and offers shorter programs for youth scholars at different times in the year. She earned an MDiv and ThM from Candler School of Theology and a Ph.D. In Christian social ethics from the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory. She loves humor in the service of social justice, mystics, novels and giant Sequoias. She lives with her husband, 5-year-old and two cats, Julian of Norwich and Catherine of Siena.

Administrative Staff

Diane HaryDiane Hary - Academy Coordinator My name is Diane Hary and I am a Candler student.  I am the YTI 2017 Summer Academy Coordinator (which is a fancy term for I help provide food). I am from Dallas,Texas and moved to Atlanta two years ago for school. I have a fiance and we have a four-legged furry child named Eli. In my free time I enjoy cooking, swimming, and spending time with friends. I am really excited this summer to go on Saturday adventures together and getting to know all the scholars! 

Darci JaretDarci Jaret - Arts Coordinator Darci Jaret is the Art and Worship Coordinator for the YTI. Darci and her partner Amy live in Atlanta in Kirkwood where they homestead with chickens and extensive gardens. Soon they hope to expand their family becoming foster parents- this summer! Darci serves as the Minister Artist in Residence at Park Avenue Baptist Church. She graduated from Candler School of Theology with an MDiv, where she focused on pastoral care.  She founded Art in the Image because as a pastoral care provider she was drawn to creative engagement with people. She uses a method of Visual Narrative Pastoral Care to create spiritual experience and interpersonal engagement. Art in the Image is a ministry of creative arts founded on a theology of creativity. Together we make art and create, which is what our creative God does, so by becoming art-makers we reach out to the divine. In creating- we live out our creation in the image of the God, or imago dei.  The purpose of the ministry of Art in the Image is threefold: to make art for worship, pastoral care and spiritual development. By creatively engaging the world people’s imaginations are ignited to make the world anew in God’s image.


Jennifer Roberts Mentor Coordinator - Jennifer Roberts  Jennifer graduated from Candler with her Masters in Divinity in May 2014. She has been a youth minister and is now a preschool teacher. She hopes to one day do work with teenagers aging out of foster care. She has a sister and two cat babies named Chesney and Sabbath. This is her fourth summer with YTI.

Jennifer ArnoldJennifer Arnold My name is Jennifer Arnold. I grew up in northern Indiana but come to Candler (MDiv '19) most recently from eastern North Carolina where I was teaching elementary school. I love being outside - hiking, running, biking, etc. For fun I like to read, practice photography, and cook delicious meals with my friends. I'm excited to be at YTI this summer because of all the amazing scholars coming our way. I know we'll learn lots and make many memories together.

Camen Cunningham

Carmen Cunningham My name is Carmen and I will be a Mentor with the YTI Summer Program this year. I am an Atlanta native whose lived across the span of the East coast. I am currently a grad student at Emory studying Divinity on track to become a Chaplain and counselor for youth who are, or have been, incarcerated and their families. This Summer at YTI is going to be amazing and I'm excited to meet youth from all over the world. I'm looking forward to hearing the stories of their lives and creating new ones as we walk alongside each other learning about God, self and others.

Natalie FariaNatalia Faria Natalia Faria Natalie Faria is 2nd year Masters of Divinity student at Candler School of Theology and will be serving as a mentor for YTI. She is originally from Valrico, FL and attended college at Stetson University in DeLand, FL where she received a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and Religious Studies. In her time between undergraduate and graduate school she completed a year of service with City Year Orlando. She served as a tutor and mentor to 9th grade English students and this experience has inspired her to continue to work with youth. In her spare time Natalie enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with family and friends. She is looking forward to engaging YTI scholars in conversations around theology, justice, and hopefully Star Wars.

Durham Harris

Durham Harris  Durham grew up in Gainesville Georgia. During his degree program in Outdoor Leadership at Young Harris College, Durham developed a love for teaching and theology. Durham currently works as a youth director at an episcopal church in Suwanee and hopes to be ordained as a priest once completing his master's at Candler. He loves all sports, music, and porch sitting.

Darrin SimsDarrin Sims Darrin Summer Mentor Saint Louis, MO pursuing a Dual Degree in Divinity, and Development and Practice. He teaches, dance, resist and is a professional #hashtag maker. He's excited to work with the youth this summer as he believes the youth are "definitely the ones who will save us".

Kyle StephenhsonKyle Stevenson Kyle Austin Stevenson was born in Newport News, VA on June 1, 1993 and was raised in Alexandria, VA. He is a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA with a B.A. in History. He is currently in his 3rd year, pursuing the Master of Divinity Degree at Candler School of Theology-Emory University. He was inducted into the 2013 Academy of Young Preachers in January 2013. On December 29,2013 he was licensed to the gospel ministry at his home church, Alfred Street Baptist Church, Alexandria, VA, where the Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley is the pastor.  While in Atlanta, he attends the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church. He likes to read and research about the intersection of race, disability, and sexuality. His passion is preaching the all-inclusive realization of the reign of God on earth.  He loves classical music, anthems, hymns, gospel, jazz, and opera. He loves to sing (to himself, you may catch him walking around singing at YTI. Feel free to join in). He loves a good joke and is one fun mix of liberalism, fun, and “churchyness.” 

Kathryn StanleyKathryn Stanley Kathryn V. Stanley, a middle school English teacher who recently completed her Master of Religious Leadership degree at Candler,  will serve as a mentor for the Taste of YTI program.    An Atlanta transplant from Washington DC,  Kathryn is also a graduate of Spelman College and the University of Virginia School of Law. She is looking forward to supporting YTI's youth in their self-discovery, creating lasting memories, and being all that God created them to be. She loves playing board games especially Scrabble,  cooking,  yoga, writing,  singing, walks with her friends, family and dog, and summertime fun in the pool.   

Exploratory Leaders

Lily OsterLily Oster Lily is a PhD student in Emory's Graduate Division of Religion. She lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where she farms, dances tango, reads tarot, and writes about desire, spirituality, and the earth.

Nicole SymmondsNicole Symmonds Nicole is from New York by way of Florida and now resides in Atlanta where she is a first-year PhD student in Ethics & Society within the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University.  Her research interests focus on the influence of cultural products such as music, film, and news media on the ethical development and formation of individuals. Prior to doctoral studies, she earned an M.Div from the Candler School of Theology. When her nose isn’t in the books she can be found either cooking or eating, binging on Netflix or web series, or scouring actual or virtual racks for her next beautiful dress. 

Alex Thompson

Alex Thompson I will be an exploratory leader at YTI this summer. I grew up in small town Illinois, but now live in Chattanooga, TN with my wife Mary and newborn son Beckett. We also have two dogs, a beagle named Emory and a pug named Bishop. I am graduate from Candler and currently working on a Ph.D. in New Testament from Emory University. Besides school, I am also heavily involved in the Methodist Church and seeking ordination. I'm excited to spent time in community this summer, learning from one another and growing together. In my spare time, I enjoy reading science fiction, watching horror movies, and hiking.

Faith & Justice Leaders

Lauren BowdenLauren Bowden Lauren Bowden is a Faith and Justice Leader from Huntsville, Alabama. She is also a recent graduate of the MDiv program at Candler School of Theology. Lauren came to Candler after studying World Religions and Creative Non-Fiction Writing at Hendrix College in Arkansas. She has worked as a chaplain in a woman’s prison, as an English teacher in Istanbul, Turkey, and as a freelance marketing writer for eBay.com. In the last 7 years, she has traveled to India, Nepal, the Republic of Georgia, Turkey, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Azerbaijan, but she now enjoys living a relatively quiet life in her new house in Atlanta.  Lauren is passionate about racial justice,  LGBT* activism, interreligious dialogue and inclusive, diverse media representation. She is also a passionate about tacos and tubing down the Chattahoochee river. She is excited about YTI this summer because it will allow her to form a community around meaningful conversations and a commitment to inclusion, opportunity, and equality for all people.

Iyabo Onopedie

Iyabo Onipede Iyabo is a 2nd year M.Div. student at Candler School of Theology. She is originally from Nigeria but has lived in the US for many years. She will be teaching on Refugees and Immigration. Her class will take the scholars on an excursion of Clarkson, the most diverse one square mile in the United States. She will help scholars understand the unique problems refugees and immigrants face when they come the States. This class will sensitize the scholars to human difference while gaining sensitivity and compassion for the invisible around us.

Jimmila RayJiimmilia Ray Jiimmilia Ray is a second year student seeking a Masters of Divinity at Emory University. She moved to Atlanta from South Carolina where she attended Claflin University for her undergraduate degree. Jiimmilia is a Faith and Justice leader for YTI this year, her focus is connecting with, appreciating and caring for God's creation. Jiimmilia likes outdoor games, poetry, lots of singing and creating spaces where people are free to express themselves creatively. She is most excited about sharing in new experiences in God's beautiful creation with the scholars.

Matthew ShilohMatthew Shiloh  Matthew grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, and has lived in Los Angeles, Harlem, Brooklyn, and now Atlanta. He graduated from Candler School of Theology in 2009 and is currently a Special Education Teacher in a high school in Atlanta. He grew up Catholic, but has attended churches within a variety of denominations, including: African Methodist Episcopal, Baptist, Episcopal, and United Church of Christ because he has rarely felt that he belonged to only one denomination.