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Meet Rev. Shantell Hinton, the first African American Chaplain at Vanderbilt University

by Carjamin Scott on June 23, 2018, at 10:56 p.m. CST

Just one year ago, Rev. Shantell Hinton, became the African American to lead in the Office of the University Chaplain and Religious Life (OUCRL) at Vanderbilt University. Prior to obtaining the role of Assistant University Chaplain, Assistant Director of Religious Life, she earned a master of divinity from Vanderbilt Divinity School. While enrolled, Hinton was awarded the Kelly Miller Smith Institute for Black Church Studies Certificate and the Florence Conwell Prize.

Hinton has a background in engineering. She earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Vanderbilt and a master’s degree in electrical engineering with a concentration in controls and robotics from Colorado State University. Her career experience includes working as a process control engineer and as a Bible teacher.

Hinton mentioned, “I think God called me to ministry because I had a desire to ask questions and learn how to apply them in church. I started with youth ministry and worked hard to make church relevant for our youth. Later, it evolved into a desire to make the church more relevant for this day and age – to help folks understand God and our faith in different ways.”

Hinton’s religious programmming has provided students with a safe space to explore their faith, an opportunity to celebrate their identities, and develop relationships between student groups who otherwise may not have interacted with each other.

Under her leadership, OUCRL has executed inclusive religious programming particularly for Vanderbilt’s growing students of color population. These programs have provided students with a safe space to explore their faith, an opportunity to celebrate their identity, develop relationships between student groups who otherwise may not have interacted with each other, and have an impactful dialogue about religion and spirituality.

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