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Lisa Dellinger Awarded Forum for Theological Exploration Fellowship for Latino/a, Asian, and First Nations Doctoral Students

April 25, 2017
Lisa Dellinger

The Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE) has selected 16 students across 13 institutions to receive a fellowship in 2017 to support their PhD or ThD program in religion, theological studies, or biblical studies. Among them, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary PhD student in theology and ethics, Lisa Dellinger has been awarded a fellowship for Latino/a, Asian, and First Nations Doctoral Students.

“The 2017 class of FTE Fellows represent rising scholars who are making an impact in theological and religious studies and in their local communities. These Fellows are leading change for good through scholarship, advocacy and social change,” said Director of Strategic Partnerships for Doctoral Initiatives Patrick B. Reyes. “We are honored to support and walk alongside these leaders that the church, academy, and world need now.”

As an FTE Fellow, Dellinger will be awarded a living stipend of up to $25,000 to support her studies. She will also attend the 2017 FTE Christian Leadership Forum, held May 31 - June 3, in Atlanta, GA. The Forum provides opportunities to develop a community of peer support, explore issues important to leadership formation, engage in professional development, and establish mentoring relationships to lead change for good within communities.

“I am shocked, thrilled, and overwhelmed by being awarded this fellowship,” said Dellinger. “It is an affirmation of the necessity of the work I am doing, and I hope it encourages more Native people to pursue higher education, particularly in theology.” Dellinger is extremely grateful for her comprehensive exam and dissertation committee: Dr. Anne Joh, Dr. Nancy Bedford, Dr. George "Tink" Tinker, and Dr. Mark Lewis Taylor, for their support.

Dellinger is currently working on her dissertation titled, Native Christian Theology amid the Irreconcilable Differences of Multiple Un/Belongings. “In academia, there is a tendency to romanticize hybridity, while in reality it is raw and painful, and often irreconcilable,” said Dellinger. “I hope to write in such a way that people can see themselves reflected in my work, acknowledge their own complexity, even when it’s painful. We can be a freer people; we don’t have to be bound by rigidity.”

Dellinger holds a master of divinity degree from Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a bachelor of arts in special education from University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, Oklahoma. She is also seeking ordination as an elder in the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference of The United Methodist Church, herself a proud citizen of the Chickasaw Nation.

FTE is committed to supporting rising theological educators from historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups who are committed to making an impact through their teaching and scholarship. Since 1999, FTE has awarded over 550 fellowships to students of color and has maintained a 98 percent retention rate among its Doctoral Fellows. In addition to its current fellowships for dissertation stage doctoral students, FTE provides professional development opportunities for PhD or ThD students in the first two years of their studies. According to the Association for Theological Schools, in North American theological schools less than 20 percent of faculties are people of color.

The Forum for Theological Exploration is committed to cultivating diverse young adults to be faithful, wise and courageous leaders for the church and the academy. FTE provides resources and a forum for young adults and students to explore their purpose and call to pastoral ministry and teaching. For more information, visit