Meet the Team

Meet the Team

Partners in planning your next step.

The staff of Candler’s Office of Admissions and Financial Aid aren’t just emissaries for Candler; they are servant leaders committed to supporting you in your theological journey. Part Sherpa, part counselor, part career coach, they partner with you to discover where your interests and passions and Candler’s unique brand of theological education intersect. Sure, they love to talk about Candler, but they equally love to listen to the stories and context each prospective student brings with them. Through that listening, they can help you discern your call, consider the range of academic options available, and determine how a theological degree will help prepare you for your next step. Email Candler’s Office of Admissions and Financial Aid.


Samuel Martinez

Samuel Martinez

Assistant Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid

Sam is a native of “Scratch Out,” Arkansas—more officially known as New Edinburg, population 127—and comes to Candler with experience serving in both the church and the academy. He earned his MTS from Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology, and is currently finishing up his PhD in Christian theology at Yale, with a focus on the work of the Holy Spirit. He’s served churches in Texas as an associate pastor and as a director of music and media. Outside the office, Sam enjoys, well, being outside, including cycling and snow skiing. And if you’re looking for some good background music while you complete your application, just get him on speaker phone—he moonlighted as a professional pianist in college and can play most anything by ear, with a sweet spot in his soul for jazz, gospel and Johnny Cash. But you may want to come visit in person: Sam always (“ALWAYS,” he stresses) has candy in his office. Jelly beans, anyone?


Tammy Lane

Associate Director of Financial Aid and Admissions

Tammy comes to Candler’s Office of Admissions and Financial Aid team from Prairie View, Texas, where she served in Prairie View A&M University’s admissions office for over 10 years. She holds an MS degree in higher education/student affairs and a BS in early childhood education, and is currently pursuing her PhD in educational leadership. Tammy describes her scholarship as “devoted to advocating for the marginalized,” and her research explores DEI issues around women and men of color in academia, LGBTQ+ students, and financial aid access at HBCUs.  

When she’s not working or studying, Tammy enjoys reading (two of her favorites are Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk and Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina), spending time with her loveable pups Foxie Brown and Kawala Bear, traveling, and eating cake (especially buttery yellow cake with chocolate frosting). And if you want to improve your crossword skills, let her know! She’s a self-proclaimed fanatic of the game Word Crossy, and has a nightly ritual of solving no fewer than five puzzles before she goes to sleep.


Stacy Ingram

Stacy Ingram

Admissions Analyst

Stacy joins the Candler admissions team from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In addition to her BA from Bennett College, a historically Black liberal arts college for women in Greensboro, North Carolina, she is also pursuing her MDiv from Candler. Between degrees, Stacy worked as an analyst at American Express and Merrill Lynch and she brings extensive experience in both faith and finance to the role of admissions analyst.  

As a Candler student, Stacy served as a Westside Fellow, focusing on issues of urban justice, gentrification, and economic relief in Atlanta's Westside neighborhoods. In her Contextual Education experience, Stacy integrated theological education with leadership formation opportunities. She assisted individuals experiencing homelessness, transitioning, or in need. Most recently, Stacy worked at Ebenezer Baptist Church, the spiritual home of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., where she participated in social justice initiatives with the New Georgia Project and the national Multifaith Initiative to End Mass Incarceration (EMI). Currently, Stacy is a candidate for ordination and serves in the African Methodist Episcopal Church in a variety of ministries such as young adult, nonprofit and Christian education.   

In her free time, Stacy enjoys watching Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta Braves games, reading Howard Thurman's The Inward Journey and James Cone's God of the Oppressed, traveling to the Florida Keys, and spending time with her family. 


Tayler Johnson

Tayler Johnson

Admissions Advisor

Tayler is a native Texan, though he likes to claim that he is a Georgia boy now. Having spent his life bouncing between a farm and the beach, he thinks this has given him the perfect balance of diligent work and living in the moment. He earned his BS in communication studies from the University of Texas at Austin (Hook ’em Horns!) and his MDiv from Candler. Tayler has served in variety of ministry settings including nonprofits, youth ministry, campus ministry, and in the local church as a pastor-in-charge. Currently, Tayler is a provisional elder in The United Methodist Church. Outside of the office, Tayler loves going to baseball games, watching college football, playing trivia, hiking, making the perfect cup of coffee, and just being with people (or dogs). His Enneagram 2 personality is especially evident in his work here at Candler, as he is genuinely invested in helping others.


Emily Miles

Admissions Advisor

Hailing from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Emily graduated from Appalachian State University in 2016 with a BA in Religious Studies and a minor in Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies. In 2020, she graduated from Candler with a Master of Divinity and a certificate in Faith and Health. Emily is now a Provisional Deacon in The United Methodist Church, and she is excited to use her gifts within the Candler community. Emily also leads fitness and yoga classes, and is an experienced health and wellness advocate. Her leadership and experiences in the academy, the church, and the fitness industry connect her with people from a wide range of backgrounds, interests, and goals. When Emily is not in the office, you will find her reading, crushing another Peloton workout, soaking up some sun, and hanging out with her husband (and fellow Candler grad), Josh.


Admissions Interns

Brandon Brown

Brandon Brown, MDiv '24

Candler Housing Coordinator

Hometown: Charleston, South Carolina

Alma mater: Claflin University, Orangeburg, South Carolina, where I majored in political science and religion and philosophy with a minor in African studies.

Fun fact:  I'm a foodie at heart and love to create new dishes mixed with my southern roots.

What do you love about Candler? If I had to pick one thing, it would be the mentorship provided by professors and senior students.

Activities at Candler: Black Student Caucus

What do you love about Atlanta? The diversity—there is something for everyone regardless of interest.


Inyoung Cho

Inyoung Cho, MDiv '24

Hometown: Seoul, Korea

Alma mater: Methodist Theological University

Fun fact: One very memorable winter, I went to Mongolia and rode a horse the entire day.

What do you love about Candler? I love the people in Candler, how they are warm in personality and passionate about their studies.

Activities at Candler: The Candler Singers

What do you love about Candler? I cannot choose only one. Every class that I have taken and am currently taking broadens my horizon in theological studies not only academically, but also faith wise.

What do you love about Atlanta? I love that I can always see the blue skies and stay warm in the wintertime compared to back home in Korea.


David Fitzer

David Fitzer, MDiv '23

Hometown: Long Island, New York

Alma mater: Bethune-Cookman University (music major with a minor in business administration)

Fun fact: Classically trained vocalist; loves travel and trying different cuisines.

Areas of study at Candler: Dual Master's degree in Business Administration and Divinity

Why did you choose Candler? Finding a place that shared in my morals and values was very important to me. Candler proves daily to be a place that accepts everyone as they enter the program; being surrounded by faculty and staff that push each student to be greater in their ministerial journey truly inspires me to be greater. 

Activities at Candler: The Candler Singers


Alley Masocco

Alley Masocco, MTS '23

Hometown: Miami, Florida

Alma mater:The University of Miami, where I studied biology and religious studies.

Fun fact: My favorite music group is the Black Eyed Peas (with Fergie). I went to their last concert as a group in 2011.

Areas of study at Candler: Master of Theological Studies focused in Modern Religious Thought and Experience and Master of Public Health focused in Health Policy and Management.

What do you love about Candler? I love the freedom of the MTS degree, which allows me to take various classes in different departments and schools at Emory! For example, I take classes in the Department of Sociology, at Emory University School of Law, and at Rollins School of Public Health.

What do you love about Atlanta? I love the Ponce City Market food hall and shops!


Ben Milhaupt

Ben Milhaupt, MDIV '25

Hometown: Burnsville, MN

Denomination: EL.C.A, loosely

Alma mater: St. Olaf College

Vocational Goals: I’d love to find a balance between academia and cooperative entrepreneurship.

Fun fact: Hailing from the frozen tundra, I was actually born in a blizzard.

What do you love about Candler: I love the customizability of the Candler experience. There is broad encouragement from both faculty and staff to "use the whole university to its fullest," which has invigorated my research interests and helped me build community across Emory.

What do you love about Atlanta: I love the diversity, the small business presence, and the foliage. The South Peachtree Creek Trail is a favorite of mine!

Favorite Things: I love cooking, baking, reading, fly fishing, and dialing in a new bag of speciality coffee beans.

Favorite Quotes: "The splinter in your eye is the best magnifying glass" –Theodor Adorno


Aaron Miller

Aaron Miller, MDiv '24

Hometown: Rogers, Arkansas

Alma mater: Pittsburg State University, Kansas (Finance and Economics with a minor in Graphic Design)

Fun fact: I am a big racing fan, especially of NASCAR!

What do you love about Candler? I love the professors.

Why did you choose Candler? I chose Candler because the community stood out to me more than anywhere else and because of Atlanta, too, which I love for the immense amount of opportunity and diversity present here!


William Smith

William Smith, MDiv '24

Hometown: I have lived in different parts of Georgia, but I consider Clayton County to be my home. I love the nature trails and boba tea places here!

Alma maters: I attended Gordon State College, Clayton State University, and the University of Georgia. I have an AB in religion from UGA.

Fun fact: My favorite thing to do is spend time with friends and family, but I also love taking walks, creating art, and playing video games. 

Favorite quote: "May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears." - Nelson Mandela


Wesley Spargo

Wesley Spargo, MDIV '25

Hometown: Springfield, Missouri

Denomination: United Methodist

Vocational Goals: Ordination as an elder.

Fun fact: I have been to 49 states and 17 countries.

What do you love about Candler: I love the community of students and how approachable the professors seem to be.

What do you love about Atlanta: There is a good sports scene both collegiate and professional. There is also a lot of parks and places to go for a walk or a hike near campus and just around.

Favorite Things: Jigsaw puzzles, St. Louis cardinals baseball, and playing games with friends or family.

Favorite Quotes: "A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives" -Jackie Robinson; "Church is not a museum for saints, but rather a hospital for sinners" -Ann Landers


Student Ambassadors

Trey Davis

Trey Davis, MDiv '23

Denomination: Episcopalian

Hometown: Shreveport, Louisiana

Vocational Goals: Hoping to be ordained as a priest, work in the academy as a historian (hopeful PhD), and work in mitigation of conflict

Fun Fact: I have seventeen tattoos.

What do you love about Candler? The diversity of ecumenical and religious expressions.

What do you love about Atlanta? It looks more like the United States than many other American cities. Also, it is one of the hip hop capitals of the world.

Favorite Things: Tattoos, books, films, art, vinyl, writing, and traveling.

Favorite Quotes: "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, then when? -Rabbi Hillel


Taylor Gaskins

Taylor Gaskins, MDiv '24

Hometown: Washington, D.C.

Alma mater: Grinnell College (studied English, Spanish, and Education)

Fun fact: When I’m not in class, you'll find me watching movies or binge-watching tv shows. One might also find me singing karaoke, taking a walk, reading a book or writing for fun! 

Favorite things: "A Walk to Remember" (yes, I’m a Nicholas Sparks fan); Jonathan Ogden and his band, Rivers and Robots; Twix; the color pink; Saturday mornings


David Fitzer

Katie Griffis, MDIV '23

Denomination: United Methodist

Hometown: Macon, GA

Vocational Goals: Elder in the UMC

Fun fact: I have been skydiving!

What do you love about Candler: I love that Candler provides a community oriented educational environment where you can be stretched and supported.  The outstanding faculty and staff ensure that we are getting the best education possible while supporting our life of faith.

What do you love about Atlanta? The cultural opportunities have always drawn me to Atlanta. From museums to music to food, Atlanta has great ways to feed you mind, soul, and body.

Favorite Things: Worship, art and music, food and friends, sports.

Favorite Quotes: "To whom much is given, much will be required." Luke 12:48; "There must be always remaining in every life, some place for the singing of angels, some place for that which in itself is breathless and beautiful." - Howard Thurman; Anything that Julia Sugarbaker said...


David Fitzer

Anne Lester, MTS '24

Denomination: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Hometown: My dad was in the army, so a little bit of everywhere! But I've just moved here from Salt Lake City, Utah.

Vocational Goals: Professor

Fun fact: I can lick my elbows!

What do you love about Candler: I love the openness at Candler! From the buildings themselves with huge windows and lots of natural light, to the people who are interested in where you've come from and where you want to go, there is so much space and so many resources to grow here!

What do you love about Atlanta? I love how green it is!

Favorite Things: Ice cream, bad reality TV, and my pet axolotl

Favorite Quote: "Do not dare not to dare." -C. S. Lewis


David Fitzer

Tess Welch, MDIV, '25

Denomination: UMC

Hometown: Houston, TX

Vocational Goals: To become an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church.

Fun fact: I did competitive speech and debate for eight years!

What do you love about Candler: I love the community at Candler. People here really seem to care about you and desire to know you.

What do you love about Atlanta? Atlanta is a big city with small city vibes. Each part of town has its own unique identity and culture!

Favorite Things: Crab rangoons, medical shows, sweet things, friendship bracelets, mac and cheese, hiking, and swimming!

Favorite Quotes: "Would I rather be feared or loved? Easy. Both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me." –Michael Scott


Logan Westcott

Logan Westcott, MDIV, '24

Denomination: United Methodist

Hometown: Virginia Beach, VA

Vocational Goals: Therapy and Chaplaincy 

Fun fact: I used to design Disney trading pins! 

What do you love about Candler: The people!

What do you love about Atlanta? The food!

Favorite Things: Dogs, board games, cooking, going for walks in the late afternoon.

Favorite Quotes: "The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned." -Maya Angelou


Gabrielle Wilkinson

Gabrielle Wilkinson, MDiv '24

Program: Master of Divinity: Chaplaincy Concentration and Religion and Health Certificate programs

Denomination: United Methodist Church

Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia

Vocational Goals: Chaplaincy in higher education or in a healthcare setting. However, I have come to Emory to study the intersectionality of mental illness and Christianity through the lens of church trauma and I would love for this to drive my vocation overall!

Fun fact: I only have one dimple.

What do you love about Candler: I love that Candler is a space that works to refine and transform its students through rigorous academics, spiritual and pastoral care, and supportive vocational discernment. I truly believe that every person that enters this space leaves it more confident in their calling, passionate about caring for the world and all of its inhabitants and fulfilled in who they are and who they set out to continue to become.

What do you love about Atlanta: Atlanta is a melting pot of culture! It’s diverse racially, ethnically, politically, religiously, and in so many other ways. No matter who you are or where you come from, you will be able to find a nook here (both as a place and a group of people) that you can call home.

Favorite things: Movies: The first three Transformers movies, "Harold and Maude", and "Perks of Being a Wallflower" are all tied. Restaurant: Waffle House and Happy Sumo. Book: On the Jellicoe Road. Favorite things to do: sit in Piedmont Park and hang with friends or read a book and write in my journal.

Favorite quotes: "You are all the colors in one, at full brightness." -Jenniver Niven