Heather Abraham

Heather is the founder and editor of Religion Nerd Magazine.  She graduated magna cum laude from Georgia State in 2007 with a BA in Religious Studies and earned a MA in Religious Studies in 2009.  Heather’s interests lie in various areas of religious studies including: new religious movements, Marian phenomena, women & religion, Islam, and interfaith dialogue.  In writing her master’s thesis, Heather traveled to Turkey to conduct ethnographic research with the interfaith pilgrims (Christian and Muslim) who journey to Our Lady of Ephesus.

Kenny Smith

After a long residence at Georgia State University in Atlanta, where he earned BAs in Literature (1994) and Philosophy (1996), MAs in Philosophy (1999) and Religious Studies (2010), and served as a Visiting Instructor of Religious Studies and Philosophy from 1999-2002, and 2003-2006, Kenny (finally) began a Ph.D. program in American Religious Cultures at Emory University in the Fall of 2010. In August 2008, he published the results of four-year ethnographic study of a large Wiccan coven in the metro-Atlanta area in Nova Religio. He has written pieces for Religion Dispatches, and contributes regularly to Religion Nerd.  He hopes to complete the Ph.D. and get on to good job before mandatory retirement kicks in.

Lauren Cooper

Lauren Cooper bio photoLauren Cooper is a contributing editor and GSU intern at Religion Nerd as well as a senior at Georgia State University working toward B.A.s in English and Religious Studies. She plans to attend graduate school in the Fall of 2014 for Religious Studies where she will focus on new religious movements in America. Her primary area of interest is religious movements that arise from elements of popular culture. On the side, Lauren writes short stories. Her first short story “Zealotry” was published in the Underground Literary Journal at GSU in Spring 2013.

Scott Grubman

Scott Grubman earned a BA in Political Science and Religious Studies at Georgia State University in 2005, with research honors, and was a 2008 summa cum laude graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law.   Since graduating from law school, he has served as a law clerk to two federal judges, on both the district court and circuit court.  Beginning in the Fall of 2010, he will begin working for the U.S. Department of Justice.

In 2004, Scott completed an honors thesis entitled Isaac and Ishmael:  A Comparative Study.  In 2006, he co-authored an article dealing with blogging about one’s employer, which was published in the Defense Research Institute’s monthly newsletter.  In 2008, his student note, also dealing with blogging about one’s employer, was published in the University of Georgia Law Review.

J.F. Sullivan

J.F. Sullivan worked as a Director in Marketing and Advertising from Politics to Higher Education before returning to higher education to pursue a PhD in Religious Studies. He will complete his MA at Georgia State University in May, 2011 and intends to move on to a doctoral program in Fall 2011. His primary interests are in the Medieval Mediterranean, Islam, and Art History, but his previous experience in politics and the media continue to draw his attention and commentary.

John most recently presented a paper on Religion and the Modern Conception of “Art” at SECSOR’s annual conference and has previously written on religion, politics and the media for several blogs which have appeared on Raw Story and

Kate Daley-Bailey

Kate has a BA (2000) and MA (2004) in Religion from the University of Georgia.  She has taught as a visiting instructor at both the University of Georgia (2001-2007) and Georgia State University (2008-2010).  Her primary areas of study are Religion and Literature, Religion and Popular Culture, and American Religious History.

In 2007, Kate co-authored a chapter titled Ernest Gaines’ A Lesson Before Dying: Freedom in Confined Spaces with Dr. Carolyn Jones Medine, a professor at the University of Georgia. This past March, she presented her work on the evolution of the literary vampire at SECSOR’s annual conference.

Louis A. Ruprecht, Jr.

Louis A. Ruprecht, Jr. holds the William M. Suttles Chair in Religious Studies at Georgia State University.  He is an affiliate faculty member with the Hellenic Studies Center, is a research fellow of the Vatican Library Secret Archives, and regular contributor to Religion Dispatches.  Lou earned his MA in Theology and Ethics at Duke University and his PhD, Graduate Division of Religion, from Emory University.  He is the author of six books including Was Greek Thought Religious, God Gardened East, and This Tragic Gospel: How John Corrupted the heart of Christianity.  His current book projects are A Shrine to the Muses: The Modern Public Art Museum, Spiritual Space for an Irreligious Age and Winckelmann’s Secret History: the Birth of Art History and the Vatican’s First Profane Museum.

James Dennis LoRusso

James Dennis LoRusso is current PhD student of American Religious Cultures at Emory University in Atlanta, GA.  His work focuses broadly on the Religious Origins of American Capitalism, specifically on Spirituality in the Workplace and the intersection of advertising theory and the study of myth.

Michael J. Altman, Emory University

Michael J. Altman is a PhD student of American Religious Cultures in the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University.  At Emory, he is currently working with Gary Laderman on a dissertation project that analyzes representations of Hinduism and India in American culture during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  Michael received his M.A. in Religion from Duke University in 2008, where he wrote a thesis analyzing images of Hinduism in American popular print culture, and his B.A. in Religious Studies and English from the College of Charleston in 2006.  Beyond his dissertation work, his research interests include American religious history, questions of pluralism and secularism, and religion and popular culture. Michael also contributes to Religion Dispatches, Religion in American History, and State of Formation. He blogs here and can be followed on twitter @MichaelJAltman.

Joseph Laycock

Joseph Laycock holds an MTS from Harvard Divinity School and is currently a doctoral candidate at Boston University.  He has taught at a variety of high schools as well as Boston University, Tufts University, and Piedmont Virginia Community College.  He has published numerous articles on issues of American religious history, new religious movements, and religion and popular culture.  His first book is Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism (Praeger, 2009).

Michel-Camille Bordeau

Michel-Camille Bordeau is the founder and author of The School of Seshata (, a blog about secular spirituality and the home of the Scriptopedia Project. Michel earned an M.A. in French Studies from The Ohio State University (1998).  Mid-life crisis oblige, he is returning to college in August 2011, to pursue an M.S.W. with a specialization in Mental Health & Drugs of Abuse.

Before relocating to Atlanta, Michel was an Academic Advisor at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor campus, for nearly ten years. He has advised many students (and parents) on academic and life matters. He taught English, Public Speaking, Humanities, and French at various colleges and universities. In 2002, Michel published Poire Sucrée, Salée, Epicée, a short novel about a dance teacher forced to face the demons of her past. He is currently seeking representation for Seeing Purple, a dystopian novel set in Anaïs Abelard’s hometown, the New Orleans of tomorrow, also home to the power-hungry mega church known as the Calvinistry. Michel considers himself an amateur ‘atheologist’ and he often writes under the nom de plume Anais Abelard.