2018 Senior Fellowships Announced
Posted 01/31/2018 04:51PM

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Randal Whittington






Five Austin Seminary Seniors Receive Fellowships

AUSTIN (January 31, 2018) –Five graduating seniors at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary received the Seminary’s 2018 senior fellowships, announced at the annual banquet of the Austin Seminary Association on January 31, 2018. The recipients, who were selected by the faculty for their Christian character, academic achievement, and promise for ministry, were Jasiel Hernandez, Erica Nelson, Adam Anderson, Hierald Osorto, and Tyler Henderson.


Tyler Henderson was selected as the 2018 recipient of the W.P. Newell Fellowship, which carries an award of $3,000. This fellowship was endowed in 1946 by Mrs. W.P. Newell of Albany, Texas, as a memorial to her late husband. This fellowship honors a student who is training for Christian ministry. Tyler is a member at First Central Presbyterian Church in Abilene, Texas. He holds a bachelor of science degree from Midwestern State University. Before coming to seminary, Tyler worked as director of student ministry at First Presbyterian Church in Wichita Falls. While in Seminary, Tyler has been active in student leadership, most notably as the captain of the thrice-victorious Austin Seminary Polity Bowl teams against the Seminary of the Southwest.

Professor Carolyn Helsel said, “Tyler has shown a steady commitment to serving the church and living out this commitment in community. While in seminary, he has built upon his gifts of collegiality and kindness to create a sense of hospitality for those around him, allowing this community to help shape his own formation for ministry.” Tyler is pursuing ordination in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).


Hierald Osorto is the recipient of the $3,500 2018 Alsup-Frierson Fellowship, which was established by the families of John and Carole Alsup of Georgetown, Texas, and Clarence and Betty Frierson of Shreveport, Louisiana, in recognition of the long-standing tradition of excellence in biblical studies at Austin Seminary. This award is granted annually to a MDiv or MATS student deemed to have demonstrated excellence in the field of biblical exegesis and hermeneutics.Hierald is a member of Luther Place Memorial Church in Washington, DC. He holds a bachelor of arts from Messiah College and a Certificate of Study from the Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo. Before coming to seminary, Hierald served as national program director for the Lutheran Volunteer Corps after a career in volunteer coordination, advocacy, and peacemaking in Latin America and Nepal. Hierald is a Jean Brown Fellow. He has been deeply involved in campus life while in seminary, serving on the Program of Study Committee and Admissions Commission, leading the Hispanic Student Association, and helping to plan the annual Hesed lectures.

Professor Gregory Cuéllar, with whom Hierald has worked for several years on multiple projects, wrote this about him, “I cannot think of anyone more deserving of the Alsup-Frierson Fellowship than Hierald Osorto. From his first exegesis class with me, it was immediately evident that Hierald would be one my top students. He is a disciplined thinker, avid reader, and theoretical risk-taker. His commitment to critical theory coupled with a genuine empathy for the human ‘Other’ have generated some of the most provocative and cutting-edge exegetical papers that I have received as a professor at Austin Seminary.” Hierald is pursuing ordination in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.


Adam Anderson is the recipient of the 2018 Janie Maxwell Morris Fellowship, which carries a prize this year of $5,000. This fellowship was established in 1953 by a bequest from the will of Mrs. Milton Morris of Austin, Texas. This fellowship was given in the spirit of aiding a Master of Divinity student who desires to pursue further studies.

Adam is a member of Boulevard Presbyterian Church in Columbus, Ohio. He holds a bachelor of science degree from Grove City College, a master of arts from Geneva College, and a dual master of city and regional planning and master of public administration from The Ohio State University. Before coming to seminary, Adam worked in affordable housing and public policy. Adam is an Elizabeth Currie Williams Fellow, and he has been active in campus life, serving most recently on the Program of Study Committee. Professor Asante Todd said of Adam’s commitment to faith and public policy, “Adam is a uniquely gifted student. He brings a strong background in both Presbyterian commitment and public policy experience. This has enabled him to think across disciplines and across public spheres. In his research and writing at Austin Seminary, Adam has exhibited the depth, theological acumen, and sensitivity that marks all great teachers and preachers. I look forward with great anticipation to the trails that Adam Anderson will blaze in his future endeavors.” Adam is pursuing ordination in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and has been called to serve Old Stone Presbyterian Church in Delaware, Ohio; he will begin work in July.


Erica Nelson is the recipient of the 2018 Pile-Morgan Fellowship, which carries a prize of $8,000. This award was endowed in 1984 in honor of Leo V. Pile and Helen Porter Pile of Harlingen, Texas, and Edmund Hollland Morgan and Estella Martin Morgan of Dallas, Texas, and is granted to a member of the MDiv graduating class for the purpose of advance studies. Erica is a member of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Ogden, Utah. She holds a bachelor of social work from Weber State University. Before coming to seminary, she worked in family services in Utah. Erica is a Jean Brown Scholar. She has served as a chapel Beadle throughout her time here, and is a talented member of the seminary choir. Dean of the Chapel Eric Wall said, “Erica has been a great gift to the worship life of Austin Seminary. As a Chapel Beadle, she has served with insight, commitment, organization, and a collaborative spirit. As a singer, she has been a dedicated and expressive voice in worship. In the chapel life of the school, she has brought together a love of beauty, an instinct for ritual, and a passion for justice.” Erica is pursuing ordination in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and hopes to work in peace and social justice ministry.


Ibhar “Jasiel” Hernandez received the 2018 David L. Stitt Fellowship, which this year carries an award of $18,000. This fellowship was established by the Austin Seminary Association for a recipient’s continued studies.

Jasiel is a member of First Presbyterian Church in Kerrville, Texas. He attended the Presbyterian Pan-American School and holds a bachelor of business administration from Schreiner University. Jasiel is a Trull-Herlin Fellow and has been very active in the worship life of the seminary, serving as a chapel Beadle and this year on the Admissions Commission. Professor Cindy Rigby had this to say about Jasiel, “I joke with Jasiel that he is everywhere. I walk into chapel; he’s there— beadling, handing out bulletins, canting. I go to a fundraising lunch; he’s there—up at the podium, testifying to the value of residential theological education. I go to my church; he’s there—leading our kids’ youth group. And I go into class and he’s there: prepared, curious, respectful, but always pushing to see who and what has been overlooked. Jasiel exemplifies what Paul must have meant when he said we should be ‘all things to all people,’ and not only because he is ‘everywhere,’ but because he participates fully everywhere he is. Jasiel plans to pursue further graduate studies as well as seek ordination in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).


Founded in 1902, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary is an institution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) whose mission is to educate and equip individuals for the ordained Christian ministry and other forms of Christian service and leadership. For more information and ways to support Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, visit www.austinseminary.edu.