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Mapping the Martyrs Project Team

David L. Eastman, Ph.D.

David L. EastmanDr. Eastman is an Associate Professor of Religion and Ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance Studies at Ohio Wesleyan University. His primary area of research is early Christianity, with particular focus on martyrdom and its role in the constructions of Christian identity. He is the author of two books, Paul the Martyr: The Cult of the Apostle in the Latin West (2011) and The Ancient Martyrdom Accounts of Peter and Paul (2015). He has published articles in the leading journals in the field, chapters in volumes of collected essays, entries in reference works on early Christianity and late antique religion, and is a contributor to the Society of Biblical Literature’s Bible Odyssey web site. He also serves as the Book Review Editor for the Journal of Early Christian Studies and is co-editor of a new monograph series from The Penn State University Press entitled Inventing Christianity.
Dr. Eastman first conceived of this project several years ago and was excited to learn of the opportunity to make it a reality through the Ohio Five’s Digital Scholarship initiative. As project director, he designed and proposed the OWU Honors course (Martyrdom and Persecution in Early Christianity, spring 2015) that has provided the structure for the initial phase of the project. He has also supervised the development of the features on the site, the training and mentoring of the student contributors, and the writing and editing of the individual entries.

Ben Daigle

Ben DaigleBen Daigle is a librarian and the Associate Director of Consortial Library Systems for the Five Colleges of Ohio. Ben has provided supervision of the project's first student intern, and has helped to facilitate conversations and planning around the selection of metadata elements needed to achieve the project's goals. He has also taken responsibility for establishing and managing the underlying technical infrastructure on which the project is based.
Ben was formerly the Ohio Wesleyan University Libraries' liaison to the Religion Department. Ben believes that work in the digital humanities offers exciting new opportunities for liaison librarians to collaborate with their faculty colleagues, students, educational technologists, and developers from the open source community.

Jacob Heil, Ph.D.

Jacob HeilJacob Heil is the Mellon Digital Scholar for the Five Colleges of Ohio, and in that capacity works with faculty from all five colleges to plan out and implement digital projects with a pedagogical core. When Prof. Eastman first pitched an idea for Mapping the Martyrs, Jacob brought together an interdepartmental team to identify the project’s goals and to map out a plan by which the team could arrive at those goals. Because of his consortial perspective, Jacob has also been keen to think about ways in which the processes that have been developed can either invite participants from pools of knowledgeable peers or be adopted in new contexts.
As part of his three-year post on the Ohio Five libraries’ Digital Scholarship initiative, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Jacob sees his charge as, in part, discerning how we build high-impact digital projects within a consortium of Liberal Arts Colleges. How, in other words, might different communities be brought into conversation with one another so that we identify and build upon shared interests, skills, and communities. This kind of meaningful collaboration — and our obligation to critically engage these partnerships — is the great virtue of Digital Humanities and of digital scholarship writ large.

Makenna D. Huff

Makenna D. HuffMakenna is a class of 2015 Mathematics and Religion graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University. She served as the first Digital Scholarship Student Assistant for the project, working closely with members of the team to brainstorm, develop, and troubleshoot the technical aspects of the website. Also a student contributor as a member of the Spring 2015 martyrdom class, she has enjoyed exploring the complexities of early Christian marytrdom from both sides of the project as well as learning more about how digital humanities can illuminate religious studies. Outside the classroom, Makenna is an avid backpacker and participant in OWU's Wilderness Ministry.

Kiersten R. Payne

Kiersten R. PayneKiersten is a Senior Religion major with German and Sociology minors from the small town of Hicksville, Ohio. Outside of academics, she participates in the Choral Art Society and the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, in which she plays the trumpet. She is also on the leadership team for Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) and is a part of the Astronomy Club. Her Sophomore year, in the first semester of this project, Kiersten studied the apostle Andrew, which sparked her further interest in the project. Her Junior year she spent individual time researching Matthew and Paul for the project. After graduating in Spring of 2017, Kiersten plans to attend graduate school to pursue a career in the academic study of Religion. She looks forward to watching the project grow in the coming years.  


Student Contributors

Spring 2015

Rhiannon Bair

Rhiannon BairRhiannon Bair is a member of the class of 2016 from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is majoring in Religion and minoring in English, and plans to later attend seminary and enter the ministry of the Presbyterian Church USA. While she enjoys writing in her free time, writing for a website was a new experience for her, one she plans on putting to good use.


Samuel Barnett

Samuel BarnettSam Barnett is a member of the class of 2015 at OWU. He is a Classics and Medieval Studies major, with an interest in the religions of the Roman Empire. Sam became a part of the digital humanities project through the course Martyrdom and Persecution in Early Christianity. He will be attending the University of Arizona in the fall of 2015 seeking an MA in Classical Studies.


Zachary R. Claytor

Zachary R. ClaytorZach is a junior Astrophysics major and Religion minor from Chillicothe, Ohio. He is involved in Cru and Astronomy Club and loves investing time into both. After receiving his BA in astrophysics, Zach plans to pursue graduate school in the same subject, with the goal of doing space research for NASA. He has thoroughly enjoyed researching the Apostle Thomas as well as India's history for the Mapping the Martyrs project.

Peter Gregory Cook

Peter Gregory CookPeter Cook is member of the 2017 class at OWU. He is an exercise science major with a minor in religion. Peter is also a member of the Varsity football team as well as a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity. He was inducted in the Phi Eta Sigma honors society last spring.


Jessica L. Harpel

Jessica L. HarpelJessica Harpel is member of the 2016 class at OWU. She is a psychology major and a biology minor, with a personal interest in religion and religious studies. As an honors student, Jessica became involved with this project through Dr. Eastman's honors course "Martyrdom and Persecution in Early Christianity." She fell in love with the thrilling and sometimes humorous stories of the early Christian Martyrs, and the rest is history!


Cheyne K. Lacanaria

Cheyne K. LacanariaCheyne Keola Lacanaria, class of 2017, grew up in Michigan.  He is a Health and Human Kinetics major with Religion and Psychology minors as well as a Football player for Ohio Wesleyan Universtiy.

Sophia Love

Sophia LoveSophia Love is a native of Portland, Oregon and currently attends Ohio Wesleyan University with a major in pre-professional zoology and a minor in history. A member of the Class of 2017, she is also a midfielder for the OWU women's lacrosse team.



Dominic J. Mejia

Dominic J. MejiaDominic is a Sophomore Pre-theology major from Bryan, OH, the home of Dum Dum suckers and Etch A Sketch. He intends to continue his education after his undergraduate degree in order to become an elder in the United Methodist Church. In the meantime, he has the pleasure of researching martyrs (among other things) with the Ohio Wesleyan University Religion Department.

Cameron E. Pappa

Cameron E. PappaCameron is a member of the class of 2016 majoring in Pre-Medicine and Pre-Professional Zoology and minoring in Chemistry. He hopes to be accepted into a Physician’s Assistant school following graduation and ultimately have a career as an Emergency Room PA. Cameron plays defensive end for the Ohio Wesleyan University football team and anticipates playing in his final season of a varsity sport this coming fall.



Joshua T. Pyles

Joshua T. PylesJoshua Pyles is a member of the 2017 class at Ohio Wesleyan University. He is a Major in Health and Human Kinetics with a focus in Exercise Science. He is also a religion minor, which has led him to become involved with this project through Dr. Eastman's Honors course "Martyrdom and persecution in Early Christianity." On top of this, Josh is also a member of the OWU Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity chapter and a member of the football team. These early Christian martyrdom stories held great interest to Josh and gave him a lot of "food for thought" through his own religious beliefs and academic studies.

Haley L. Schafer

Haley L. ShaferHaley L. Schafer is from Harrod, OH. A senior at Ohio Wesleyan University, she is a Psychology major with a Religion minor. Haley is also a member of the Alpha Rho chapter of Delta Gamma Fraternity.