Info For
Skip to Content
2023 Fellows

Presidential Fellows Program

In today’s polarized political climate, we desperately need a new generation of high-capacity, spiritually-grounded leaders who bring a thoughtful Christian witness to society, leading with integrity of heart and skillful hands. If Christians are to be a part of the conversations that will shape the future of our country and the world, emerging leaders-in-training need to be in the rooms where those conversations happen. The Presidential Fellows program provides this kind of character development through intense mentoring of students in a context of faith formation and leadership development.

The Fellowship

Modeled on the highly competitive, highly effective White House Fellowship, the Presidential Fellows Program affords Taylor students the chance to work directly with a senior leader on campus, who mentors the student through a yearlong fellowship. The Program aims to catalyze the leadership potential of a select group of students, equipping them to assume positions of major responsibility within ten to fifteen years of graduation. Through work assignments and special mentoring opportunities, Fellows learn firsthand the process of leading a major institution with unique exposure to senior leaders, substantive work assignments, and horizon-broadening educational opportunities.

Presidential Fellows work approximately ten hours per week in the office of their assigned leader, advancing the university’s mission by assisting with an array of responsibilities. In addition to this substantive work placement, Presidential Fellows receive educational development in growing as leaders through a series of seminars and workshops led by President Lindsay.

Current Presidential Fellows

Afia Asamoah ’25 Profile Imagee

Afia Asamoah ’25

Office of Spiritual Life & Intercultural Leadership

Hometown: Kumasi, Ghana
Major: Biology Investigations & Applications
Afia spent three of her childhood years in Waco, Texas, but calls Kumasi, Ghana, home. She always wanted to come back to the United States for college and that dream came true in the best way possible at Taylor University. She is the youngest of three children, including her older brother, Kwame, who graduated from Taylor in 2023. Afia discovered her love for research the summer after her freshman year while helping conduct a study in the Kaluka lab here on Taylor’s campus. She sees science, and biology in particular, as a window into God’s mind and the beauty and complexity with which He made the world. After graduating, she plans to go to graduate school and become a biology professor to further her love for research and publication. Her hope is to reciprocate the impact made on her by her professors to a new and rising generation. She has also been involved in the cabinet of the American Chemical Society and the Office of Intercultural Programs, serving on the cabinets of the International Students Society and the Multicultural Students Association. In her free time, Afia loves to write, perform spoken word, read, and hang out with friends.

Luke Beukelman ’26 Profile Imagee

Luke Beukelman ’26

Office of Advancement

Hometown: Denver, CO
Major: Accounting with a minor in Finance
Luke serves as a student senator, where he has helped advocate for facilities and maintenance improvements around campus and has worked to improve communication between students and Taylor administration. He also helps students prepare for life after graduation by assisting with a personal finance course. Outside of Taylor, Luke has learned grit through door-to-door sales and flexibility through training AI models for WeFi, a global provider of IT finance solutions. In his free time, Luke enjoys playing pickleball, skiing, golfing, and running, having completed two-half marathons and one full marathon. Luke is especially excited to welcome his two younger siblings as first-year Taylor students this fall.

Enoch Eicher ’25 Profile Imagee

Enoch Eicher ’25

Office of Strategy & Chief of Staff

Hometown: Thane, India
Major: Multimedia Journalism
Enoch, the son of Andi and Sheba Eicher, is the younger of two children. Hailing from India, he is a fourth-generation Taylor student. During his time at Taylor, Enoch has served in various leadership positions, including Student Senate subcommittee chair, Arts and Culture section co-editor for The Echo, co-president for the Asian Students' Intercultural Association, and Student Body Vice President. He has spent a summer in Washington, DC as a journalist on Capitol Hill and has led a recruitment trip to India, the first time a student has done so. Passionate about the authentic and verifiable telling of overlooked stories through the mediums of print journalism, photography, and documentary filmmaking, he hopes to work in those fields post-Taylor. In his free time, Enoch enjoys cooking for large groups of people, playing soccer with friends, and engaging in the visual arts in different ways.

Emersyn Funk ’26 Profile Imagee

Emersyn Funk ’26

Office of the Chief Information Officer

Hometown: Hillsboro, KS
Major: Computer Science and Digital Media/Systems with a minor in Data Science
Emersyn Funk is deeply interested in the intersection between design and problem-solving and enjoys pursuing its complexities through her academic work on campus. She competes as a member of the cross country and track & field teams at Taylor, where she has developed strong leadership skills and grit. Emersyn has served as the student media coordinator and as a member of the prospective student crew for the Computer Science department for two years. After Taylor, she hopes to enter the technology industry and become an advocate for more ethical and accessible design practices. She gained experience integrating her faith and studies doing data analytics at a non-profit and looks forward to more opportunities down the road. The oldest of two girls, Emersyn grew up in a small town in central Kansas and enjoys spending time with her family, doing crosswords, and eating good food. Above all, Emersyn aspires to use the gifts and opportunities she has been given, to the best of her abilities, to glorify the Lord through all that she does.

Hazel Gates ’25 Profile Imagee

Hazel Gates ’25

Office of Advancement

Hometown: South Bend, IN
Major: Communication
Hazel is proud to be the 14th member of her extended family to attend Taylor University. Her time studying Communication has deepened her understanding of the valuable impact interpersonal and organizational communication has on institutions of Christian higher education. Through her time at Taylor, she has enjoyed serving as a preceptorial leader and a small group leader on Third Center Olson. Hazel was also a junior course designer for Taylor University Online, as well as a barista at the on-campus café, The Bean. Several international mission experiences have fueled her passion for communicating on behalf of disabled communities in order to minister Christ's redemptive love, grace, and truth to individuals who require resources to make a lasting kingdom impact. After graduation, she plans to find a career in Christian higher education, helping to support the broader mission of Christ-centered education. In her free time, Hazel can be found at the lake with her family, baking a new recipe, or going for a run.

Emma Gayed ’25 Profile Imagee

Emma Gayed ’25

Office of the Provost

Hometown: Zionsville, IN
Major: Political Science, Philosophy, & Economics (PPE) with a minor in Intercultural Studies and Missions
During Emma’s time at Taylor, she has had the privilege of working in a refugee camp in Lesvos, Greece, and spending a summer in the Dominican Republic with Mission of Hope. Between the two, she helped tend to the needs of women and children and assist local churches to meet the physical and spiritual needs of their communities. These experiences, and others like them, have established her heart for the underserved and spurred future aspirations of engaging in political advocacy or working in the public policy sector. Emma has served as a small group leader, a precept leader, and a captain of the women’s club lacrosse team at Taylor. Now a rising senior, she has spent the last two years working as an Advancement representative and engaging donors and alumni on behalf of the University. In her free time, Emma enjoys playing guitar, being active, and spending time with her friends.

Michael Hoover ’26 Profile Imagee

Michael Hoover ’26

Office of Spiritual Life & Intercultural Leadership

Hometown: Dayton, OH
Major: Psychology
Michael is a proud resident of First West Wengatz and enjoys leading small groups and worship nights on his wing as the Discipleship Assistant. He has served for two years in student government as the Freshman and Sophomore Class President and looks forward to serving once more as the Junior Class President. He currently works in Admissions as an Admissions Counselor Assistant. Michael is pursuing a BA in Psychology with a minor in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. After graduation, he plans to pursue a role in Human Resources acutely focusing on helping organizations and teams to flourish. He enjoys playing guitar, creating drone video content, and playing pickup basketball and volleyball.

Sara Khalaj ’25 Profile Imagee

Sara Khalaj ’25

Office of Enrollment & Marketing

Hometown: Livingston, NJ
Major: Psychology
Sara was born and raised in northern New Jersey but has cultural roots in Germany and Iran that have helped shape her passions and work. With enthusiasm and gratitude, Sara has been able to explore her interests in international politics, film, and the human mind at Taylor while pursuing a degree in Psychology. On campus, Sara has worked as an Admissions CREW member for the past two years and currently serves as the president of Taylor’s Middle Eastern Collegiate Association. After graduation, Sara seeks to pursue a master’s program or begin film work in the mission field while serving the Lord and others. Sara often finds the joy of the Lord through laughter and is passionate about caring for and listening to others. In her free time, Sara can be found at an art museum, coffee shop, or viewing The New Yorker cartoons.

Elayna Kitt ’25 Profile Imagee

Elayna Kitt ’25

Office of Enrollment & Marketing

Hometown: Bluffton, IN
Major: Biology
Elayna Kitt is the youngest of four, and her family has been foundational in her walk with the Lord. When Elayna is not in the science labs studying to prepare for dental school, she is outside training for the cross country and track & field teams. Her time as a competitive runner, or “Maddawg” as the team refers to themselves, has transformed running into an act of worship in her life. While at Taylor, she has spent time serving the Upland community in the Invitation Clinic for diabetes prevention and as a CNA at a nearby nursing home. She was able to solidify her desire to pursue medicine after spending a spring semester in Cuenca, Ecuador. Elayna is passionate about connecting and forming relationships with others and is excited to use her gifts to further the kingdom. In her free time, she loves spending time at Lake Tippecanoe, reading, and cuddling her sweet dog, Lola.

Collin Maris ’25 Profile Imagee

Collin Maris ’25

Office of Business & Finance

Hometown: Carmel, IN
Major: Finance
Collin Maris, son of Matt and Janelle Maris, is from Carmel, Indiana. In his time at Taylor, he has served on the Taylor University Student Endowment Fund, the Investment Excellence Club, and a student-led financial service workshop known as Open Hands. In the summer of 2023, he worked for CHORUS, Inc., a leadership development and business strategy consulting firm. There, he gleaned experience from top performing executives in the Indianapolis area all while extracting and compiling meaningful insights from large swaths of data. As a Finance major, Collin’s heart is to pursue portfolio management. Before then, he plans to intern in Orlando, Florida with BlueTrust, a biblically based wealth management firm. Collin stays involved on campus playing on the men’s varsity soccer team and is a proud member of Third East Wengatz, where he engages in Bible studies and various traditions. When he is not playing soccer, working, or studying, Collin enjoys playing pickle ball and spending time with his siblings Carson, Connor, Carter, and Colbi.

David VanDyke ’25 Profile Imagee

David VanDyke ’25

Office of the President

Hometown: Grand Rapids, MI
Major: Political Science, Philosophy, & Economics (PPE) with Finance, Economics, and Entrepreneurship minors
David VanDyke is an elected member of Taylor University's Student Senate, where he is the Athletics and Academics subcommittee chair. He also engages in networks extending beyond Taylor’s campus, holding a position in the American Enterprise Institute’s Collegiate Network. He worked this past summer as the Executive Intern at the Acton Institute, and previously he interned at the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic based in Indianapolis, Indiana. Apart from his professional work, David is a competition slalom skier and loves spending time with friends and family. He also enjoys hiking, reading, home projects, and sports of any kind. Looking to the future, David is considering attending graduate school to pursue a dual JD-MBA.

Cecily Watterson ’26 Profile Imagee

Cecily Watterson ’26

Office of Student Development & Intercollegiate Athletics

Hometown: Spring Arbor, MI
Major: Human Physiology & Preventative Medicine
Cecily grew up with her parents and three brothers playing card games, dancing competitively, and watching countless hours of soccer and basketball. While still in high school, she and her older brother took over their local community swimming program and turned it into Watterson Pool School. This was her first experience with clientele, marketing, and website development, and she learned many important lessons through this work. At Taylor University, she has served as co-director of the Honors Guild and Vice-Chair of the Taylor University Student Senate. Throughout her undergraduate education, Cecily has developed an interest in the medical field but has retained a passion for future business management. When she is not planning ahead, you can find Cecily reading, traveling, or spending time outside running, hiking, or swimming.