Announcing our first Senior Faculty Fellow: Dr. C. Dianne Martin

We are thrilled to announce that Dr. C. Dianne Martin has accepted our invitation to serve as the first ever Senior Faculty Fellow of the NC Study Center! Dr. Martin is a close friend of ours, having participated in numerous past seminars, served as a panelist at the 2017 Wilberforce Conference, and taken it upon herself to meet with and mentor many undergraduate students.

Senior Faculty Fellows are carefully selected UNC professors who put their academic discipline into conversation with Christian faith and theology. As Senior Faculty Fellows, they teach seminar classes at the NC Study Center, make themselves available to meet with students during office hours, and offer input into other programming. This fall, Dr. Martin will be leading a seminar called: ‘Technological Immortality: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places.’ Through film analysis, group readings, and small-group discussion, this seminar will invite students to consider emerging trends in technology (e.g. artificial intelligence, transhumanism) from the lens of Christian ethics.

Dr. Martin presenting at the 2017 Wilberforce Conference on Robots & the Theology of Personhood.

Dr. Martin presenting at the 2017 Wilberforce Conference on Robots & the Theology of Personhood.

Dr. C. Dianne Martin is a computer scientist and the former Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs at George Washington University. She now teaches courses through the UNC Department of Computer Science and the School of Information and Library Sciences. In the 1960s, Dr. Martin was a programmer for IBM on the Apollo space project. She wrote programs that helped make possible the first moon landing in 1969. During her distinguished career, she was also a program director at the National Science Foundation from 1998 to 2000, chief policy officer at GeoTrust from 2000 to 2001, and chair of the GWU computer science department from 2002 to 2005. She attends Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Chapel Hill, NC.

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If you are interested in participating in Dr. Martin's 'Technological Immortality: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places' seminar this fall, let us know HERE.

Yam Jam 2018

On February 10, 2018, 40,000 POUNDS OF SWEET POTATOES were hauled in with a dump truck and dropped on the front lawn to be bagged and delivered to local food banks. The event began in the morning and went until all the sweet potatoes were bagged and ready to be donated.

This event was embraced by the University community and appeared on UNC newsfeeds. It was recirculated by newspapers across the country, and it recently appeared as the back cover of the UNC General Alumni Review as pictured below! 

This was our second annual Yam Jam, hosted in partnership with First Fruits Farm, run by UNC alum and NFL-player-turned-farmer Jason Brown. We can't wait for next year!

unc_alumnireview_backcover_yamjam

#GivingTuesday: Give Coffee & Christ to UNC!

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It's not just a cup of coffee. It's a tangible extension of Christ's love! It's a symbol of rest and rejuvenation. It's a conversation starter. It's much more than a simple afternoon pick-me-up.

Here's an interesting fact: for the past 2.5 semesters, we have been serving thousands and thousands of cups of coffee... from Sam's Club! Don't you think it's time for an upgrade?

"He has filled the hungry with good things..." Luke 1:53

Will you support this outpouring of Christ's love by helping us sourcing coffee beans from Joe Van Gogh, a local coffee roaster? We need help raising the $6,300 that we hope to spend next year on coffee, hot chocolate, and tea.

You can help pay it forward to current UNC students! Will you consider joining us annually or monthly? Every little bit counts...from $20/month to $1,000/year.

Join us on this #GivingTuesday in welcoming the next generation of UNC students with a warm cup of coffee, a friendly face, and most importantly, the Truth of Christ's love!

Inside the Discussion

Junior biostatistics major Matt Gilleskie explores the Soul of the University

Gilleskie focuses on one of his many assignments

By Matt Gilleskie

In the discussion group “The Soul of the University,” the North Carolina Study Center is challenging students and faculty to examine the institution of the university through a gospel-focused lens. The group offers an array of academic experience which provokes discussion and introduces helpful ideological diversity. Among those present include a retired computer science professor, a classics major, a philosophy major turned accounting Ph.D., an Anglican priest, and roughly ten more students, undergraduate and graduate.

I spend the majority of my time immersed in its culture, and yet I rarely question its practices and methodologies.

A brief scripture reading typically begins our discussion, which hinges on a short article. Thus far, we have read essays by George Marsden and Nicholas Wolterstorff. We have learned  in large part through the application of readings to specific academic situations. My participation in the group forces me to think critically about the institution of the university. As a student, I spend the majority of my time immersed in its culture, and yet I rarely question its practices and methodologies. I am learning that the Gospel relates to all of life, not superficially like I once assumed, but deeply, so deeply that I cannot comprehend it totally. The wisdom of others in the discussion group, both in the form of assigned readings and the wealth and variety of academic experience, help me to plumb these depths. Because of this group, I consider more carefully the institution of the university and my place in it as a follower of Christ.

Summer Reflections: La Familia

Junior Robbie Wooten shares memories from his time at Pico Escondido, a Young Life camp in the Dominican Republic

Robbie (far right, highest in the air) catches some air with his friends.


Sitting at the Study Center, eating Harris Teeter sandwiches and drinking tea with friends, I feel at home once again in Chapel Hill. Cole asks me about my summer, and I begin to panic.  How could I summarize my month-long mission trip in one brief sentence?  I only have one shot before he loses focus.  Here it goes.

“It was amazing… a really life-giving experience. We had such a family down there, working together to build for God’s kingdom in the DR.  Jesus was really with us.” 

I feel pretty satisfied with that answer.  Cole seems interested and happy to hear about it.

Indeed Jesus was with us.  Our community was really close.  We were a family.  I made lifelong friends, around the country and around the globe.  We got so close because we were on mission together.

This was not just any mission, either.  We were living in the middle of poverty, preparing a beautiful Young Life camp for Dominican kids.  We were praying for Jesus to bring his Kingdom of justice and love to the DR, and together we were raking grass to help make it happen.  It was a really exciting mission.

Our community was really close.  We were a family.  I made lifelong friends, around the country and around the globe.

I miss my mission trip friends.  We had a good thing going.  We shared a purpose.  You simply cannot beat the fellowship of co-mission!  I am excited to get back to it soon.  But I am in school for at least one more year.  Am I going to simply look past this year to whatever mission lies beyond?

Drinking my hot breakfast tea at the Study Center, I see a community before my eyes.  These friends are asking me questions.  Brandt makes a silly joke and I laugh.  It is good to be with them.  We are not working together in the DR, but we are sharing life together.  We are encouraging one another.  Seeking to discern God’s call on our lives.  Learning together.

I look down at a book I have found from the Study Center shelf.  It is a proposal for understanding the unity of the New and Old Testaments.  I have heard lots in class about how they supposedly do not line up, but I am beginning to see a cohesive story in the Bible.  It is a story of Justice at work from Genesis to Luke to Revelation, a story of God’s people expanding and growing as a missionary community of friends.  I am realizing I want to be a part of God’s story wherever I am.  I am happy to be living, fellowshipping and studying for just a little bit longer in Chapel Hill.