Meet Our Staff!
The Rev. Gretchen Person
Associate University Chaplain, Associate of Director Religious Life
Gretchen Person, Associate University Chaplain and Associate Director of Religious Life, previously served as Director of Spiritual Life at DePauw University. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree from St. Olaf College, studied music in Copenhagen, Denmark, and worked at the International Church of Copenhagen. She began her M.Div. studies at Harvard University, graduated from Luther Seminary, and received the Master of Sacred Theology degree from Yale University. She has also studied at the Goethe Institute in Murnau, Germany, and at Valparaiso University. She completed internships in both the San Diego and San Francisco areas of California, and has served as a pastor of congregations in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Tennessee. An ordained pastor in the Lutheran (ELCA) church, she has also served as a hospice and hospital chaplain and as Associate Campus Pastor of a private liberal arts college. Gretchen and her family enjoy sharing time with family and friends, travel, reading and biking.
The Rev. Shantell Hinton
Assistant University Chaplain, Assistant Director of Religious Life
Reverend Hinton is a native of Conway, Arkansas. She recently graduated with a Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt Divinity School where she was awarded the Kelly Miller Smith Institute for Black Church Studies Certificate, the Luke-Acts Prize, the Liston O. Mills Award, and the Florence Conwell Prize. She also attended Vanderbilt University and received a Bachelor’s of Science in Electrical Engineering and Colorado State University for a Master’s of Science in Electrical Engineering, with a concentration in Controls and Robotics. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and the National Society of Black Engineers. She has worked as a Process Control Engineer and as a Bible teacher for various organizations. She is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and serves as Worship Coordinator at New Covenant Christian Church in Nashville, TN.
Kay Tyler grew up on a family farm in northwest Tennessee, and keeps an open cotton boll in her office. When asked why, “It’s a reminder; when stressed, remember the real definition of hard work; farmers know it”. As an adult, Kay has lived in Kansas, Missouri, Indiana, and Hawaii. Some of her jobs included inventory control, Parts Manager for two auto dealerships, computer operator and Micrographics Systems supervisor. She finally returned to Tennessee in 1986, choosing Nashville. A Vanderbilt employee since May 1986, she joined the Office of Religious Life in December 2005. She appreciates the continued opportunities for learning about faith traditions and cultures, and enjoys gaining knowledge when assisting the chaplains and religious student groups with programs and events.
Friends know Kay as an avid reader, book collector, and promoter of literacy. She is a member of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) and the Sisters in Crime Nashville chapters. When asked for a little-known fact, she reveals that she and her husband (also a Vanderbilt employee) are certified KCBS barbeque judges.
Gordon Maples is a Masters student in Higher Education Administration in Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of Education. Prior to joining the Vanderbilt community, he worked for 5 years at the national Secular Student Alliance as their Senior Campus Organizer, providing leadership training and organizational support to atheist, agnostic, and humanist student groups around the country, and speaking publicly at numerous interfaith and atheist conferences and events. He strongly believes in religious pluralism and interfaith cooperation, and advocates for the inclusion of the non-religious in interfaith circles. Currently, he serves on the Directorate of the ACPA Commission for Spirituality, Faith, Religion, & Meaning, the Board of Directors of Convergence on Campus (a nonprofit dedicated to the inclusion of religious, secular, and spiritual identities into higher education diversity work), Vanderbilt University’s Standing Committee on Religious Affairs, and as a Graduate Student Worker for Vanderbilt’s Office of Assessment and Special Projects.
Caitlin J. Stout
Graduate Student Worker
Caitlin Stout is a Michigan native and an alumna of Spring Arbor University, where she earned a B.A. in sociology with a minor in urban studies. She is currently a first-year graduate student at Vanderbilt Divinity School, where she is pursuing a Master of Divinity degree. Caitlin has spent the past two years working as an advocate and organizer on behalf of the LGBTQ community, specifically in the context of Christian higher education and other religious institutions. She is a graduate of the Reformation Project’s 2018 Leadership Development Cohort, a member of the Alpha Kappa Delta Honor Society of Sociology, and a contributor for various online publications, writing at the intersection of sexuality and Christianity. Caitlin’s academic interests include Queer theology, sexual ethics, liturgy, and campus ministry. Her personal interests include coffee, bicycles, haircuts, and breakfast food. Above all, Caitlin cares deeply about creating spaces where young adults are free to embrace every aspect of their identities and work together towards spiritual health and wholeness.
Graduate Student Worker
Keerthana Velappan is a second-year Doctoral Candidate in Audiology at the School of Medicine. She grew up in New Hampshire, and has now lived in North Carolina with her family for over a decade. She graduated from East Carolina University in eastern NC last May (go Pirates!) and has tried to invest in the Nashville community over the past year, volunteering with nonprofits such as Girl Scouts of Middle TN and The Little Pantry that Could. She has enjoyed attending Project Dialogue and The Shop events here at OUCRL and credits this building as being her main campus refuge, so she looks forward to working more closely with everyone. In her free time, she enjoys baking/cooking, reading, brunching, and catching flights (& feelings).
Graduate Student Worker
Who’s who among our Affiliated Chaplains and Directors.