SPRINGFIELD, Missouri – Evangel University welcomes five new full-time faculty members for the 2021-22 academic year.
Justin Stanton joined Evangel’s faculty as director of bands and assistant professor of music. Stanton, a 2007 alum, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music before getting a master’s degree in education from Arkansas State University. He has served in a variety of music-related public teaching roles in Missouri and Oklahoma. He spent five years active duty in the United States Army Band and is currently a musician with the Oklahoma National Guard 145th Military Band.
Stanton’s desire was to return to Evangel in the role of a professor and invest in the lives of the students. “I have always had a passion for empowering students to deepen their faith while acquiring skill sets to become responsible adults,” said Stanton. “I want my students to make a positive impact in whatever profession they pursue.”
In his free time, Stanton enjoys spending time with his wife of 13 years, Kara, and his two sons, Grayson and Ruston.
Eugene Arnold joined Evangel’s faculty as an associate professor of social sciences within the Behavioral & Social Sciences Department. A native of the Ozarks, Arnold, an alum, received a Bachelor of Arts in History and Government in 1987, a Master of Arts in History from Truman State University, and a Master of Military Arts and Sciences from the United States Army Command and General Staff College.
Arnold retired from U.S. Department of State this year after serving as a decorated foreign service officer since 2000. In this role, he traveled to Uganda, Ireland, Italy, and Iraq.
“After many years overseas, I am looking forward to being back home in the Ozarks and sharing my experiences with the next generation of Evangel students,” said Arnold.
Outside of work, Arnold is an avid medieval recreationalist. He is a member of several educational groups that recreate and study the Middle Ages and European historical swordcraft. Arnold and his wife, Alicia, have six children, two grandchildren, and two Yorkshire terriers.
Kristen Kansiewicz joined Evangel’s faculty as a professor for the university’s graduate counseling programs. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Wheaton College, a M.A. in Counseling from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from Regent University.
Kansiewicz’s doctoral dissertation focused on mental health and attitudes toward counseling of Assemblies of God pastors around the country. Through this collaborative study, Kansiewcz connected with Evangel counseling and psychology faculty, who encouraged her to find her way to Springfield. Prior to her role at Evangel, she served as a licensed counselor at a church in the Boston, MA area. She also runs a nonprofit, Church Therapy Associates, and is a published author on the topic of mental health.
“I am passionate about counseling and mental health research as well as the integration of faith and counseling,” said Kansiewicz. “I have engaged in advocacy work via blogging, social media, and podcast interviews to help reduce the stigma of mental illness amongst Christians.”
Kansiewicz and her husband, Joshua, have two children. She enjoys running with her dog, kickboxing, and rowing.
Suzanne Thomason joined Evangel’s faculty as an assistant professor of and program coordinator for early childhood education. She holds a B.A. in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Early Childhood from Louisiana Tech University, a Master of Education from University of Louisiana at Monroe, and a Ph.D. in Reading Education from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Prior to her role at Evangel, Thomason worked for the Branson School District, a position she held since 2000. During her tenure as a public school teacher, she taught grades K-4 and served as a Reading Recovery teacher. She also has prior experience working for a Title I school and at an innovative lab school affiliated with the University of Louisiana at Monroe.
She has also volunteered her time for the past three years to create unique learning opportunities for children in poverty through the organization Elevate Branson.
“There is no doubt in my mind that the Lord directed my steps to Evangel,” said Thomason. “I believe that He has placed me in this unique position where my passions for literacy, early childhood education, and serving a population that is often invisible will all combine to glorify Him.”
Thomason has been married to her husband, Shannon, for 25 years and they have two daughters, Lucy and Anna.
Mitch Yung joined Evangel’s faculty as an assistant professor of art within the Humanities Department. A Wichita, Kansas native, Yung holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Kansas State University and a Master of Fine Arts from Arizona State University.
Yung previously taught ceramics courses at Evangel as an adjunct faculty member for 17 years before moving to Bolivar, Missouri to pursue a full-time art professor position at Southwest Baptist University. He has extensive teaching experience, serving as an adjunct professor of art for several local institutions, including Missouri State, Drury, and College of the Ozarks. He has also completed several artist residencies and owned his own art studio.
“I was pleased when a full-time position opened at Evangel in the art program, and am happy to be back on campus in this full-time role,” said Yung.
Yung enjoys fly fishing, hunting, and being outside. He and his wife, Marilyn, have been married for 29 years and have two children, Collin and Katherine.
Evangel University, with the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS), is a comprehensive Christian university committed to excellence in educating and equipping students to serve the Church and society globally. Evangel and AGTS serve more than 2,200 students from all 50 states and numerous foreign countries, offering 70 undergraduate majors and 19 master and doctoral degrees.