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Underrepresented Racial and Ethnic Minorities in the Profession Committee's Outstanding Mentor Awards

Many biblical scholars of color provide exceptional mentoring service to other scholars of color in the context of doctoral programs and/or in less formal but significant ways. They provide invaluable advice at various stages of one's career, help develop important networks, offer support in the process of navigating intricacies of the guild, and serve as role models. CUREMP seeks to honor such outstanding mentors.

If you wish to nominate someone for this award, please send their name along with a letter of nomination to Raj Nadella. The letter should describe the ways the nominee helped your professional advancement and why you think the nominee stands out as an exceptional mentor. You are welcome to nominate your current or former doctoral advisor or someone who has mentored you in less formal ways. Anyone can nominate but the nominees should have been scholars/faculty members at the time of mentoring. The committee might supplement nominations from its historic and ongoing work as needed. Nominations must be received by June 1. Nominations received after the deadline will be considered for the following year.


Please join us in congratulating the 2022 Outstanding Mentor Award recipients:

The SBL and its Committee on Underrepresented Racial and Ethnic Minorities in the Profession (CUREMP) are delighted to announce the 2022 recipients of SBL's Outstanding Mentor Award—Drs. Efraín Agosto and Monica Jyotsna Melanchthon. CUREMP launched the award in 2020 to honor scholars of color who provide exceptional mentoring to other scholars by helping them to develop important professional networks and offering invaluable support in the process of navigating intricacies of the guild. Agosto and Melanchthon were selected for this award as a result of the nomination process and in recognition of the significant ways they are influencing the field of biblical studies through their scholarship, teaching, and mentoring of other scholars in various parts of the world.

      CUREMP mentor Agosta-2022        

Efraín Agosto is Visiting Professor of Latinx Studies and Religion at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. During the 2021-22 academic year he was the Croghan Bicentennial Visiting Professor in Biblical and Early Christian Studies at Williams. Previously, he served as Professor of New Testament Studies at New York Theological Seminary (2011 to 2021), and Professor of New Testament and Director of the Programa de Ministerios Hispanos at Hartford Seminary (1995-2011). He also served brief tenures at both schools as Academic Dean. Efraín, a Puerto Rican born and raised in New York City, has degrees from Columbia University (B.A., 1977), Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (MDiv, 1982) and Boston University (PhD in New Testament and Christian Origins, 1996). Besides a number of essays and book chapters, he has published four books, including Servant Leadership: Jesus and Paul (2005) and a co-edited volume with Jacqueline Hidalgo, Latinxs, the Bible and Migration (2018). His current research includes a book on ministry issues in the Pauline letters; a commentary on 1 Corinthians, and comparative studies in Paul and the “apostle of Puerto Rican independence,” Pedro Albizu Campos. His service to the wider academic community has included Member of the Society of Biblical Literature Council, including three years as Chair, and Mentor and Steering Committee Member for the Hispanic Theological Initiative. Efraín lives with his wife of 39 years, Olga Gisela Rodriguez, in West Hartford, Connecticut, and they have two adult children, Joel and Jasmin.

      cswp-mentor-Melanchthon 2022     

Monica Jyotsna Melanchthon, an Indian national, is Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies at the Pilgrim Theological College, University of Divinity in Melbourne, Australia, where she has been since May 2012. Before this, she served on the Biblical Studies faculty of the Gurukul Lutheran Theological College, Chennai, India for 17 years. She is grateful for the opportunity to facilitate the learning and growth of her students and is indebted to the many who have partnered her and enabled her own formation as a theological educator.  She positions herself as a feminist advocate and a liberation theologian, committed to producing reflections and texts that resist and counter cultures and languages of dominance that exclude the voices of the oppressed. She has published in various academic books focusing primarily on interpretations of OT texts from the perspective of the Indian context and the marginalized adopting an approach that is critical, contextual, interdisciplinary, intersectional, and liberative. She draws on insights derived from the lived experiences and social biographies of the marginalized, particularly women and Dalits to interpret the biblical text. Her most recent works include the co-edited volumes, Terror in the Bible: Rhetoric, Gender and Violence (IVBS, SBL, 2021), and Bible Blindspots: Dispersion and Othering (PICKWICK Publications, 2021)



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