Institute Supports Graduates and Undergraduates

The Maxwell Institute continues to encourage and support the work of graduate and undergraduate students through two funds.

Nibley Fellowship Program

Each year at this time we remind graduate students about the Nibley Fellowship Program and its application deadline. Named in honor of the late eminent Latter-day Saint scholar Hugh Nibley, this program provides financial aid to students enrolled in accredited PhD programs in areas of study directly related to the work and mission of the Maxwell Institute, particularly work done under the auspices of one department of the Institute, the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, such as studies of the Book of Mormon, the Book of Abraham, the Old and New Testaments, early Christianity, ancient temples, and related subjects. Applicants cannot be employed at the Maxwell Institute or be related to an Institute employee.

Those interested in applying for the first time or who wish to renew their fellowships for the 2008–2009 academic year should know that the deadline for submitting a completed application form and all supporting documentation is August 31, 2008. Guidelines and an application form are available by downloading from or by e-mailing

The Maxwell Institute awarded Nibley Fellowships to the following graduate students for the 2007–2008 academic year:

Continuing Nibley Fellows are Jared William Anderson, history of the Bible, Department of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Lincoln H. Blumell, early Christianity, Department and Centre for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto; Matthew Bowen, biblical studies, Department of Theological and Religious Studies, Catholic University of America; Matthew J. Grey, ancient Mediterranean religions, Department of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Paul Derek Miller, theology, ethics and culture, School of Religion, Claremont Graduate University; Brent James Schmidt, Greek, New Testament, early Christianity, Department of Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder; Shirley (Shirl) Irene Wood, biblical interpretation, Iliff School of Theology, University of Denver; Mark Alan Wright, Mesoamerican archaeology, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Riverside; John D. Young, religious and cultural history, medieval studies, University of Notre Dame.

First-time Nibley Fellows are Ron R. Rainey, New Testament, Department of Religion, Duke University; Jacob Rennaker, comparative religion, Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington; Daniel B. Sharp, New Testament, Claremont Graduate University.

Russel B. Swensen Endowed Mentorship Fund

The Russel B. Swensen Endowed Mentorship Fund was created as a result of a generous gift from Robert (Bob) Gay in honor of his father William (Bill) Gay. Named in recognition of a beloved BYU professor, this fund was created to provide grants to selected undergraduate students each year who are pursuing degrees in fields of study related to the Maxwell Institute’s broad areas of interest and who have secured an agreement to conduct research under the supervision of a BYU faculty member.

The Maxwell Institute awarded Swensen mentorships to two Brigham Young University undergraduate students for 2007–2008. David Nielsen is conducting research on “Canonical vs. Apocryphal Scribal Habits.” His faculty mentor is Professor Thomas Wayment of the Department of Ancient Scripture. Jonathan Harmon is focusing on “Hebrews and Luke,” with Professor Eric D. Huntsman of the Department of Ancient Scripture as his mentor.

Swensen Mentorship grants are administered by BYU’s Office of Research and Creative Activities (ORCA). For information about student mentoring grants in general, please contact Nancy Davis in the ORCA office, A-285 ASB, 801-422-1461. For information about the Swensen Mentorship Fund or the Nibley Fellowship Program, contact M. Gerald Bradford at the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, Brigham Young University, 200 WAIH, Provo, UT 84602 (telephone: 801-812-1329; e-mail: