Six Faculty Join Huntingdon Teaching Team

Huntingdon College

News Release

August 28, 2018

For more information, contact: Su Ofe, (334) 833-4515;


Six Faculty Join Huntingdon Teaching Team

Montgomery, Ala.—Huntingdon College welcomed six teaching professionals to the full-time faculty as classes opened for the fall semester last week. They are:

  • The Rev. Dr. Diana Abernethy, Assistant Professor of Religion, Department of Religion;
  • Dr. Kyle Christensen, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, Department of Communication Studies and Psychology;
  • Dr. Emily Hare, Assistant Professor of Biology, Department of Biology;
  • Ms. Laryne Monte, Instructor of Piano, Department of Fine Arts;
  • Dr. Michele Scharff Olson, Huntingdon Class of 1986, Senior Clinical Professor, Department of Sport Science and Physical Education; Director, Institutional Review Board for Human Subjects Research; and
  • Dr. Kristin Zimbelman, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education (Reading Specialist), Department of Teacher Education.

Abernethy was ordained as an Elder in Full Connection in the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church in June 2017. She has served as a board member, guest preacher, and bible study leader for the Duke Wesley Fellowship. She has led studies, prayers during worship, and communion for Asbury United Methodist Church in Durham, N.C.; volunteered with Reality Ministries; and served as a committee member with Friends of L’Arche North Carolina. Abernethy earned her Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, as well as a Master of Arts in Religious Studies, a Master of Divinity, and a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry from Duke University/Duke Divinity School.

Christensen has taught for the University of Memphis and for Northern Illinois University. He served as the director of forensics and as adviser to the ScotSpeak speech forensics program at Monmouth College. At Huntingdon, he will direct the College’s new Forensics/Debate Team in addition to teaching. Christensen earned his Bachelor of Arts at Monmouth College; Master of Arts in communication at Northern Illinois University; and Ph.D. in communication at the University of Memphis.

Hare has served as a naturopathic doctor in private practice with Southern Roots Wellness, a clinic she founded in Shelby County, Alabama. She interned in naturopathic primary care with shifts in women’s health, homeopathy, botanicals, physical medicine, family medicine, gastroenterology, pediatrics, minor surgery, and hydrotherapy. She has taught for South University and for Jefferson State Community College. She earned her Bachelor of Science in art and biology at the University of Montevallo and her doctorate in naturopathic medicine at the National College of Natural Medicine.

Prior to joining the full-time teaching staff, Monte served as accompanist for Huntingdon choral programs and as an adjunct instructor during the 2017–2018 academic year. She has also accompanied the Thornapple Covenant Church choir in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and instructed piano for The Piano Cottage, Grand Rapids, Michigan; for Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor, Michigan; and for Crescendo Academy of Music in Kalamazoo, Michigan; among a long list of piano accompanist and instruction posts. She has performed solo recitals for various churches in Michigan as well as for Western Michigan University and the University of Alabama. She earned her Bachelor of Music in piano performance at the University of Alabama and her Master of Music in piano performance at Western Michigan University.

Known internationally for her expertise in exercise and fitness, Olson has directed numerous research studies resulting in more than 90 publications in peer-reviewed professional journals and in frequent mentions in fitness-related articles as an expert in the field. Her areas of expertise are abdominal exercise and Pilates; energetics and metabolic responses to spinning, Pilates, kettlebells, and Tabata; body image and eating disorders; and injury mechanisms with popular fitness activities. She is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine; an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS); and a Certified Disability Sport Specialist (CDSS II). She earned her Master of Education in health and human performance and her Ph.D. in kinesiology from Auburn University. Olson has served as director of preventive cardiology for Montgomery Cardiovascular Associates and has served previously on the faculty of Huntingdon College (1990–1996); Auburn University; and Auburn University Montgomery.

Zimbelman served as a graduate teaching and research assistant at Auburn University and as an elementary school teacher in Grades 3, 4, and 5 before joining the Huntingdon College faculty. She was the recipient of the Arthur and Ruth Coss Graduate Award at Auburn University; the Warren Fellowship for Future Teachers at the Holocaust Museum, Houston; the Cynthia Wilson Graduate Award at Auburn University; and the Teacher of the Year for Vestavia Hills Elementary Central in Vestavia Hills, Alabama. Zimbelman earned her Bachelor of Science in elementary education from the University of North Dakota; Master of Arts in teaching and leadership at St. Xavier University; and Ph.D. in elementary education at Auburn University.

“I’m so pleased to welcome these new faculty members to the College,” said Huntingdon provost Dr. Anna McEwan, who also serves as dean of the college. “As I interviewed each of them, I felt a special zeal for teaching. Their teaching demonstrations showed not only a love of the subject matter, but also a love and concern for their students—a perfect fit for Huntingdon College.”

Through the Huntingdon Plan, Huntingdon full-time day students are provided books and information resources, a laptop computer, a senior year travel-study opportunity, and active learning opportunities in their majors—all within regular tuition and fees. Huntingdon College is an institution with a rich liberal arts tradition that is grounded in the Judeo-Christian heritage of the United Methodist Church. The College embraces the development and growth of its students in faith, wisdom, and service, providing a solid foundation that will enable them to respond to the needs of today’s complex world.


Suellen (Su) Ofe
Vice President
for Marketing and Communications
Huntingdon College
1500 E. Fairview Ave., Montgomery, AL 36106
(334) 833-4515; Cell (334) 324-6591

Suellen (Su) Ofe

Suellen (Su) Ofe

Vice President
for Marketing and Communications
(334) 833-4515 |

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