Leadership Council

Melissa Cain Travis, PhD

Melissa earned the PhD in Humanities (Philosophy) from Faulkner University, where her dissertation research focused upon the natural theology of Johannes Kepler. She also holds an MA in Science and Religion and a BS in Biology. Over the past two years, she has designed and taught graduate courses for the Lee Strobel Center at Colorado Christian University, but has taught at the collegiate level for more than seven years. Her academic interests include the history of science, ancient philosophy and culture, and the literature of the Great Western Tradition. She is the author of Science and the Mind of the Maker: What the Conversation Between Faith and Science Reveals About God, a contributor to The Story of the Cosmos: How the Heavens Declare the Glory of God, and is a member of the Contributing Writers team at Christian Research Institute and the core writers team for The Worldview Bulletin. Melissa’s current project is a book on the natural philosophy and natural theology of Johannes Kepler entitled Thinking God’s Thoughts: Johannes Kepler and the Miracle of Cosmic Comprehensibility. A verse of Scripture that has been formative in her vocation and ministry is Galatians 1:10 “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Melissa lives in The Woodlands, Texas with her husband of 23 years. They have a son in high school, a son in college, and a huge fluffy cat named Kepler.  

Julie Miller, PhD

Julie earned a PhD in Humanities with a concentration in Philosophy from Faulkner University’s Great Books Honors College, where her dissertation research focused on critiquing the philosophy of transhumanism. She holds an MA in Apologetics from Biola University and a double degree in Finance and Accounting from Texas A&M University. She has served with Ratio Christi, a campus apologetics ministry, for almost ten years, first at Rutgers University and now at Texas A&M University (https://ratiochristi.org/). She is motivated by Paul’s message to the Athenian intellectuals in Acts 17 as a model for her work to bring the intellectual voice of Christ to the secular university. She has written for An Unexpected Journal and currently is working on a book that exposes the impossibility and the human cost of pursuing a techno-utopia.

Julie lives in College Station, Texas with her husband of thirty-six years and their dog Keeper. They have two married sons and two grandchildren.

Annie Crawford, MA

Annie is a cultural apologist, classical educator, and homeschooling mom whose passion is to help others see that all truth is God’s truth. Her work is inspired by the vision of Psalm 19: “The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day it pours forth out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.” Annie holds a MA from Houston Baptist University, a BS in Environmental Studies from the University of Oregon, and a Certificate of Biblical studies from Ecola Bible College. She helped develop the Faith & Culture ministry at Christ Church Anglican of Austin, and in 2014, she co-founded Vine Classical Community where she currently teaches apologetics, rhetoric, and literature for the Manna program in addition to teaching for Wilson Hill Academy online. She has written for the Blythe InstituteAmerican ThinkerCNS NewsCirce Institute, and An Unexpected Journalwhich she helped to found in 2017. Annie’s research is focused on the three important “S’s” in modern culture: story, sex, and science, and her current project examines C.S. Lewis’s understanding of gender.

Although a native Oregonian, she has been happily living in Austin, Texas for over 20 years with her husband and three daughters. 

Annie Nardone, MA

Annie is an author, educator, and bibliophile who holds an MA in Cultural Apologetics from Houston Baptist University and is a two-year Fellow with the C.S. Lewis Institute. Annie is a founding board member and contributor for the apologetics quarterly, An Unexpected Journal. She is the managing editor and author for the columns Read and Marginalia, and contributor for Taste for Cultivating. Annie also collaborated on three books to be published in 2022 by Square Halo Books. Her Facebook sites Literary Life and Literary Life Book of the Month feature reviews on classical and recent books with a focus on the enduring beauty and truth found in literature and art. She also researched and authored an historical cookbook with authentic recipes from 64 A.D. – 1450 A.D. for Bright Ideas Press. Interests include medieval literature, poetry, collecting antiquarian books, and the writings of Lewis and Tolkien. Inspired by Exodus 31:1-5, she believes that, like Bezalel, we are gifted by God with “ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship” to create goodness, truth, and beauty. Her sincere belief is in the reintegration of the arts and humanities with the Christian imagination, guiding others by training their eyes and minds to see holiness in everyday life.

Annie is now closing the book on twenty-five years of homeschooling and teaching arts and humanities courses. She resides in St. Augustine, Florida with her family, which includes assorted cats. Her eldest daughter is married with a family of her own.

Megan Rials, JD

Megan is a research attorney, holding a Juris Doctor and Graduate Diploma in Comparative Law from the Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center. She is currently working toward an M.A. in Apologetics (cultural track) from Houston Baptist University, and also holds a B.A. in Political Science (concentration in political theory) with a minor in Classical Civilization from Louisiana State University. Her legal academic work was previously published in the Louisiana Law Review, where she served as Production Editor for Volume 77. She is now a Board member for and regular contributor to the apologetics quarterly, An Unexpected Journal. Forthcoming is her contribution to the theology journal Perichoresis’s issue on C.S. Lewis’s novel Till We Have Faces. Her research interests include the Inklings (particularly Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien), Inklings associate Dorothy Sayers, mythology, the apologetic power of language and storytelling, the imago Dei, transhumanism, the theology of suffering, and the function of memory in spiritual formation. The guiding Scripture in her life has been 1 Samuel 3:19: “The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground.”

Megan lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In her spare time, she enjoys needlepoint, chess, and target shooting (archery and pistols).