Who We Are

Faculty Leaders

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABrenda Birmann (Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Epidemiology)  studies risk factors for blood (immune system) cancers such as lymphoma and multiple myeloma, including the roles of lifestyle and environment and the potential biologic mechanisms that underlie their influence on disease risk and survival. Her extracurricular activities include active engagement with efforts to end human trafficking and slavery and providing comic relief as catcher on her church’s summer softball team, the CFCF Sheeps. She attends Community of Faith Christian Fellowship in Brighton. Brenda has been a key leader in InterVarsity’s Graduate & Faculty Ministries since her student days at Harvard School of Public Health 20 years ago.


Judy Dean (Brandeis University, International Economics) studies  international trade and economic development. Much of her work examines the relationship between trade and the environment.  Judy also has also enjoyed serving as faculty advisor to Christian fellowships at Bowdoin, John Hopkins and now Brandeis.  At the latter two schools, she even helped start the graduate student ministries!


11205621_10207040071461039_9223110136671279319_n.jpgSummar Sparks (Bentley University, English): is an adjunct lecturer in the English and Media Studies Department where she teaches expository writing. Last winter, she earned her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, having defended her dissertation, “Bound by Paper: Nineteenth-Century Southern Editors and Their Northern Connections.” Her research focuses on antebellum print culture and social networks, and involves close studies of editorial careers. She has had the opportunity to do some editorial work herself, serving as the Assistant Editor of College English and Editorial Assistant of Legacy. Currently, she and her husband David live in Waltham and attend Park Street Church.


Nancy E. Hill (Harvard University, Graduate School of Education and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study) studies how cultural, economic and community contexts influence family dynamics and family socialization patterns and in turn shape children’s academic achievement and other developmental outcomes.  Early in her career, God told Nancy to pray about every piece of her academic work because He was her PI.  Nancy and her husband Rendall have 2 kids and attend Grace Chapel in Lexington.


maxresdefaultTroy Van Voorhis (MIT, Chemistry)  likes to watch how things work. This natural curiosity led to his current research on the behavior of electrons and how they function in various molecular systems, including artificial photosynthesis.  He’s famous as the only MIT professor who rides a skateboard to work.  Troy and his wife Elisa have 2 young kids and attend Pentecostal Tabernacle in Central Square.


Kevin Outterson (BU, Law) teaches health law and corporate law at Boston University, where he co-directs the Health Law Program, currently ranked #2 in the country by US News.  Years ago, he left a partnership in a major law firm to plant a church in the west side of Chicago, but returned to the practice of law a few years later (the church is now a thriving congregation, located in Oak Park, IL)  In 2001 he left the practice of law to begin teaching, first at West Virginia University and since 2007 at Boston University School of Law.  His research work focuses on the justice and equity of global legal systems, particularly intellectual property and health care law.  He and his wife Marya have four daughters spanning college on up and attend the Greater Boston Vineyard in Cambridge.  On Sundays, you will sometimes catch Kevin at the sound board and Marya on the prayer team.  mko@bu.edu

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship Staff

Kathy Tuan-MacLean (InterVarsity Christian Fellowship) serves as primary staff for the Boston Faculty Fellowship as well as Associate Director for InterVarsity’s Graduate & Faculty Ministries.   Kathy has worked with graduate students and faculty in Boston since 1996.  She has a Ph.D. From Northwestern in Human Development & Social Policy which hasn’t helped her very much in developing her 3 teenage kids.  She and her husband Scott attend the Greater Boston Vineyard.


Jeff Barneson (InterVarsity Christian Fellowship) has ministered at Harvard University for over 30 years working with the Graduate School Christian Fellowship.  He also serves as the Harvard Cycling Team’s faculty advisor.  Jeff studied engineering at Stanford, theology at Denver Seminary and public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, but most of all loves studying the Bible.  Jeff and his wife Tara have 3 kids and are currently experimenting with homeschooling.  jbarneson@gmail.com


Kevin Ford (InterVarsity Christian Fellowship) is in his 30th year with IVCF and 27th at MIT, where he works with both graduate students and faculty.  He is a founding member of the MIT Board of Chaplains and as a Teaching Elder has served in a number of Presbyterian church renewal groups.  He has never stopped being a student and will probably find your area of research fascinating, whatever it might be.  ivcf@mit.edu


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