Mormon Women Project - faithful Mormon women share their personal stories about conversion, testimony, and overcoming challenges.

Contributor Biographies

The Mormon Women Project is made possible by the generously volunteered time of these contributors. If you are interested in contributing to the Mormon Women Project yourself, please click here.

Neylan McBaine, Founder and Editor in Chief

Neylan McBaine is a life-liong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) and she grew up in New York City and attended Yale University. She has been published in Newsweek, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Segullah, Meridian Magazine, and She is the author of Women at Church: Magnifying LDS Women’s Local Impact (Kofford, 2014), and a collection of personal essays — How to Be a Twenty-First Century Pioneer Woman (2008).  She lives with her husband and three young daughters.

Barbara Christiansen, Treasurer

A native of Denver, Barbara Christiansen lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and toddler-aged daughter. She has a BA in English from Brigham Young University, an MBA from Oxford, and a master’s in education from Harvard. She has worked as a strategy consultant for most of her career, both in the corporate and nonprofit sectors. She is obsessed with books and loves to travel, although she stays fairly close to home these days.

Chrysula Winegar, Social Media Director

Chrysula Winegar is the Founder of Wake Up World Communications, a boutique digital communications agency focused on social action campaigns with online influencers, especially, but not exclusively, with social media moms and dads. Chrysula has had 25 years of experience in traditional and digital marketing in a career that has spanned the globe across the consumer goods, finance, professional services and philanthropy sectors.

Chrysula develops community engagement and digital strategy for organizations like the United Nations Foundation and others. Recent campaigns include #GivingTuesday, the Million Moms Challenge, Global Mom Relay and Shot@Life. Her background includes companies like Estee Lauder Companies, NatWest UK and Ernst & Young. Chrysula has degrees from the University of Queensland and the University of London.

Her personal blog, “When You Wake Up A Mother”, is an ode to her belief that mothers are powerful beyond measure. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and their four children.

Patti Merrill Cook, Events Manager

Almost two decades ago, Patti M Cook fell into a career in corporate event planning and hasn’t looked back. She gets to play, imagine and solve problems – a dream combination for her! Over the years, she’s created and executed theme parties, conferences, marketing campaigns and tradeshows all over the United States. She mainly has worked for corporations, associations and educational institutions.  Her projects include National Spelling Bee, The Presidential Inauguration and the SLC Olympics.

Currently, she plans fundraising Salons for the MWP and believes strongly in telling women’s stories and connecting women together.  Patti’s educational background includes a BA from Brigham Young University in Technical Writing and, most recently, interior design coursework through LDS Business College.

She lives in SLC with a martial artist husband and two young children who remind her that playing and storytime are two of the best things on earth.

Janelle Higbee, Managing Editor

Janelle Higbee was born in Indiana, grew up in Utah, and served a mission in California. Consequently, she loves basketball, mountains, and artichokes. She has an MA in English rhetoric and composition. Janelle works as a writer and editor with a variety of specialties in marketing, training, media relations, technical communications, document design, and nineteenth-century Mormon women’s history. She is also a published sports writer and travel writer. Her favorite pastimes are roadtripping, walking around, and swapping stories at Sunday dinner with her family.

Elizabeth Ostler, Managing Editor, Our Cooperative Ministry

Elizabeth Ostler is a creativity coach based in Brooklyn, NY. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and Brooklyn College, Liz is also a freelance theater-maker specializing in directing and puppetry. She is a multimedia artist, photographer, sculptor and writer, using her voice to bring awareness to social issues such as gender inequality, domestic violence and human trafficking.

Meredith Nelson, Editor, Our Cooperative Ministry

Meredith Marshall Nelson has a master’s degree in Middle East Studies/Hebrew from the University of Utah. She taught three years as a visiting professor of Modern Hebrew at Brigham Young University, and most recently has been taking a break from academic life to work as a birth doula, and to enjoy time with her two-year old son. She is a seasoned violinist, and loves hiking and travel. She lives with her husband and son in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Melissa McQuarrie, Copy Editor

Melissa McQuarrie has a BA and an MA in English from Brigham Young University, where she tutored in the writing center, taught freshman composition, and edited for Inscape and BYU Studies. She has published creative nonfiction in Inscape, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Segullah, and Irreantum. She works as a prose editor for Segullah and a copyeditor for The Mormon Women Project. After being raised in Australia and living in California as a teenager and twenty-something, she now lives in Provo, Utah, with her husband and four children.

Rosalyn Eves, Copy Editor

Rosalyn Collings Eves grew up mostly in Montana and Utah. She has a BA in English from Brigham Young University and an MA and PhD in English (with an emphasis in rhetoric and composition) from The Pennsylvania State University, where she met her husband of nine years. Prior to finishing her BA, she served a mission in the Hungary Budapest Mission. She is currently a mostly-stay-at-home mother to three children (a seven-year old son, a four-year-old daughter, and an infant son). She teaches the occasional English composition class and does editorial work for the provost’s office at a local university. In her free time, she likes to watch movies with her husband, read, write, hike, and (sometimes) cook. She is also a regular contributor to the blog Segullah.

Cassandra Arnell, Legal Advisor

An attorney in her former life, Cassandra Arnell is now a full-time mother to her adorable baby girl.  She has a BS in Accounting from Southern Utah University and a JD from the University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law.  She grew up in the church and loves that her path Home is tangled with that of so many wonderful people.  She plays tennis, enjoys strategy games and laying in the grass, and (to her own surprise) has recently taken up cooking and knitting.  A native of Grantsville, Utah, Cassandra has lived in London, England, Washington, DC and now resides in blustery Chicago, IL with her husband and sweet little girl.


Katie Price, Transcription

Angie Davenport, Transcription


Interview Producers (four or more interviews):


Louise Elder

A native of the UK, Louise Elder holds a BA in drama and English from Middlesex University in London and achieved Gold Medal Standard with the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). Her career was spent working as a senior executive assistant in a wide variety of industries, and she is currently working towards a diploma in personal development coaching. She resides in a charming English village outside of London with her husband and two young children. She enjoys European travel, delightful children’s books, and serving in her local community.


Melissa Hardy

Melissa earned a Journalism degree from Brigham Young University and later worked as a television producer and public relations professional in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is now a homemaker and mother of three.

After making the transition from full-time professional to stay-at-home mom, Melissa learned to love the adventures of raising young children but knew she needed a meaningful avenue for expressing her interests. While debating how to best spend sparse free time, Melissa was introduced to Mormon Women Project where she now enjoys volunteering as a writer/producer.  She’s convinced this is the ideal outlet that blends her love for journalism, faith and family.

Krisanne Hastings Knudsen

Krisanne hails from the delicious drizzle of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in American Fork, Utah, with her design savvy husband. She has a BA in art history from BYU and an MA in art history from the University of York, England. Her colorful and dynamic spiritual history includes her conversion to the Church at the age of eleven, as well as family members who are Jewish, Catholic, Buddhist, and Mormon. She is addicted to design blogs, is an incurable Anglophile, and loves teaching art to children at Brigham Young University’s Museum of Art. She is devoted to supporting and empowering women within and without the Church.


Nollie Haws

Nollie Dockum Haws grew up in Eastern Washington. She graduated from Utah State University with a BA in Journalism and a minor in Spanish, then went on to earn a master’s degree in Mass Communication from Arizona State University.  Before taking on more demanding clients (two young children) she worked in the public relations field. When allowed enough sleep, she dreams of writing for The Wall Street Journal or inheriting Katie Couric’s chair someday.

Nollie currently lives in Columbus, OH with her husband and children.  She loves reading, travel, exercise, movies, good conversation, and chocolate.

Marintha Miles

Marintha Miles is currently a student in international studies and researches digital and social media trends in Central Asia, diaspora, and migration. She speaks Russian and English and is conversant in several other languages. She has been on the prose editorial staff of Segullah and blogs at By Common Consent. She is currently the media liaison for Chest of Hope, an organization that works to help victims of domestic violence.


Shelah Miner

Shelah Mastny Miner lives in Salt Lake City with her husband and six kids. She has a BA in English Teaching from BYU, an MA in American Culture Studies from Washington University in St. Louis, and an MFA in Creative Writing from BYU. Her work has been published in Dialogue, Irreantum, BYU Studies, and Segullah, where she currently works as Managing Editor.

When she’s not writing or wrangling, she can often be found running through the city in the pre-dawn darkness. She writes about life, adoption, and the books she reads at Shelah Books It (link to

Lydia Defranchi

Raised as a third-generation French Mormon, Lydia left for the United States at age eighteen to study broadcast journalism at BYU. There, she earned a national award for her reporting, then graduated and took a job as an anchor/reporter in wonderful and wild Wyoming. It’s just her and her husband for now, but they look forward to starting a family.


Kathryn Peterson

Kathryn Peterson grew up in Eugene, Oregon, and has written about women of faith throughout her life. She has also covered education, business and technology for a variety of publications, including Newsweek. She graduated from Brigham Young University, and has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. She enjoys reading, traveling, volunteering and the arts.


Annette Bay Pimentel

Annette Bay Pimentel has a BA in English literature from the University of California, Berkeley and an MA from Brandeis University. She writes for children in places like APPLESEEDS and Highlights for Children and directs the local family history center. She and her husband have moved their family fifteen times in their twenty-eight years of marriage, including several years abroad in Europe and Africa. Annette now lives in rural Ohio with her husband and the youngest two of her six children.


Elizabeth Pinborough

Elizabeth Pinborough is a BYU alumna and has received her master’s degree in religion and literature from Yale. Art is her greatest love, and she spends her happiest hours drawing, painting, photographing, and writing creatively. Women’s history captivates her, and she comes from a line of strong, faithful women. One day she hopes to teach in some capacity.


Associate Interview Producers (fewer than four interviews):

Cheri Andrus

Rachael Decker Bailey

Ashley Brocious

Lauren Brocious

Amy Doxey

Jessica Drollette

Jessica Tingey Hansen

Grace Kwok

Elizabeth Ostler

Allison Pond

Arica Roberts

Julie Rodriguez

Sarah Shumway

Deila Taylor

Rebecca Van Uitert

Lyndsey Payzant Wells

Katherine Wilkinson



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