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Two Faculty Awarded Lilly Network Grant

Katherine Stohlman Pieters, C'20

The Lilly Network of Church-Related Colleges & Universities has selected two Mount St. Mary’s University faculty members, Associate Professor of Environmental Science Abigail Kula, Ph.D., and Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of Mission Initiatives Layton Field, Ph.D., as Lilly Faculty Fellows.

kula-abby-425-425.jpgSixteen two-person teams of faculty from Lilly Network member colleges and universities competed for the fellowships, with only six teams being chosen for participation.

“I was attracted to the goals of the program because there was a focus on mid-career faculty to reinvigorate us as teachers and researchers, but also as people of faith,” shared Kula.

Field noted that “daily stresses and struggles can dull our enthusiasm leaving us [faculty] feeling exhausted. The pandemic only amplified this reality. My hope is this new program offers faculty an opportunity to feel refreshed and invigorated by their vocation as faculty members.”

The program spans two years and comes with a total of $16,000 in grants: $8,000 for the Mount team, and $4,000 to Kula and Field, individually.

They will use the team grant funds to develop a Lilly Faculty Fellows Program at the Mount. With the help of a mentor from the Lilly Network, Kula and Field will create opportunities for Mount faculty members to learn more and collaborate on the meaning and mission of the university and their work at the university.

field.layton-425.425-in-text.jpg“We must be able to articulate who we are and why we are worth the investment,” shared Field. “I firmly believe the Mount can form young people to address life’s greatest questions and set them on the path for a life of significance lived in service to God and others. The Lilly fellowship helps foster that sense of identity and commitment internally, allowing us to pour our energy into our students and our work. In that way, the work of the Lilly Foundation helps make our mission possible.”

The Lilly Network of Church-Related Colleges and Universities, founded in 1991, has 100-member higher education institutions representing a range of Christian denominations. The foundation aims to foster conversation on the role of church-affiliated colleges in society and their identity, through events, fellowships and conferences.

“Lilly exists to help church-related colleges and universities excel in their own respective missions,” explained Field. Kula added that “the National Network members meet at annual meetings and participate in programs to discuss how Christianity influences the academic vocation.”

“Despite all the challenges and difficulties facing higher education today, I truly believe that this is an exciting moment to be a faculty member,” said Field.

To learn more about the Lilly Network, visit


Katherine Stohlman Pieters, C'20