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Meet theStaff


Marty CashBurlessName: Reverend Marty CashBurless ’78

Position: University Chaplain and Director of Religious and Spiritual Life

Education or work background: B.A. McMurry, M.Div. Candler School of Theology, Emory University. I am an ordained clergywoman in the United Methodist Church. I have served in local churches, as an Associate Council Director for the Little Rock Conference Council on Ministries and for the past twenty-six years as the University Chaplain at the University of Mount Union, a United Methodist related university in Alliance, Ohio.

Hobbies: knitting, reading, travel and camping

Time and work history at McMurry: As of August 1, I have the distinct privilege of serving here working with a highly committed administration, staff and faculty to engage, guide and support our students as they prepare for lives of service to God and others.

What I like most about McMurry: The campus community is genuinely and passionately committed to service. People care about each other and our number one priority is our students and their well-being spiritually, intellectually, physically, and emotionally.

Favorite experiences with McMurry Religious and Spiritual Life: University Chapel on Tuesday mornings has been great especially with the participation of such a wide variety of students, staff and faculty. Getting to know the preachers and speakers is a good way to bring people from on and off-campus together.


Name Joshua Day

Position: Assistant Chaplain

Education or work background: Before starting at McMurry I graduated from ACU in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Bible and Ministry with an emphasis in youth and family ministry. After graduating I began working as the Director of Student Ministry at Clear Lake UMC for two and a half years.

Hobbies Watching hockey, playing racquetball, mud runs, board games

Time and work history at McMurry: I started working at McMurry November third and this is my first position at McMurry.

What I like most about McMurry: Everyone is super welcoming and I feel at home here.

Favorite experiences with McMurry Religious and Spiritual Life: I have only been here a month so far, so I have not had many experiences with Religious and Spiritual Life. If I had to pick one it was having the chance to get to know a few students better at our Fall Retreat.


Amanda CokonougherName:Amanda Cokonougher

Position: Administrative Assistant    

Hobbies: Travel, crafting, crossword puzzles, my family

Education or work background: Some college at Cisco College. Retired from the Abilene Police Department after 26 years – 12 years as a 9-1-1 operator/dispatcher and 14 years as a 9-1-1 call center supervisor. 

Time and work history at McMurry: I started with McMurry University in October 2010 as a Receptionist in the Admission Office. I then transferred to the Religious Life Office in September 2014.

What I like most about McMurry: That every day is a fun day.

Favorite experiences with McMurry Religious and Spiritual Life: Travel is one of my favorite things but traveling with STUDENTS – on a bus, in an airplane, in a foreign country or different culture will certainly keep you on your toes!!


Student Leadership

In addition to our paid staff we have a student leadership team of eleven. This semester and next we will highlight their names and stories with you! Here are our first six Leadership Team members who are making things happen on campus!


Mieka WallaceMieka Wallace ’18, is one of our two seniors on the team this year. She is from Abilene and her home church is Elmwood West United Methodist Church. Her Major is Psychology and she is minoring in Christian Ministry. Mieka is our Chapel Design Coordinator and has been a tremendous asset as she organizes the University Chapel service each week, meets with the other Chapel leadership team members, lines up the hospitality table and generally keeps everyone calm and focused on Tuesday mornings! Her leadership roles on campus have included the Campus Ministry Leadership Team, Vice President and Pledge Educator for Alpha Psi Alpha Women’s Social Club and a member of the Campus Activities Board. Mieka’s hobbies include crafting, baking napping and adventuring with friends. When asked what her favorite experience as part of Religious and Spiritual life at McMurry Mieka says this, “My favorite experience as part of Religious and Spiritual Life at McMurry is University Chapel on Tuesdays. I love and value that we as the McMurry community can come together to have an hour out of our day to worship, fellowship and hear a great message. Attending Chapel is one the highlights of my week!”


Maddy HendersonMaddy Henderson ’20, is a nursing major from Lubbock. Her home church is Aldersgate United Methodist Church. Before coming to McMurry, Maddy served with Youth With a Mission (YWAM) and brings that experience with her to campus. Her leadership role this year has been as our Prayer Leader for the team. She has recruited and trained residence life chaplains for the residence halls and apartments on campus and led the annual See You at The Pole prayer event. In addition to the Campus Ministry Leadership Team, Maddy is the Chaplain of Theta Chi Lambda Women’s Social Club, a Resident Assistant and a leader with Alpha Lambda Delta. Her hobbies include calligraphy and she puts together a lovely henna tattoo. Maddy’s favorite experiences as with Religious and Spiritual Life include: “Getting new people involved with campus ministry is some of my favorite parts. Simply inviting people to bingo nights, or coffeehouse and watching them make it their aim. I also loved getting missionaries from YWAM to come and speak in Chapel and hear how God has worked in their life! Progressive Dinner was super fun and got me connected with more people on campus.”


Progressive DinnerProgressive Dinner


Shawna JohnsonShawna Johnson ’21, is from Artesia, New Mexico and a member of the First United Methodist Church in Artesia. She is majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies that include Christian Ministry, Servant Leadership and Theater. Shawna is seen almost every week as part of the Praise Band at University Chapel and has led the music for the Fall Retreat at Camp Butman. Her leadership on campus involves Campus Ministry Leadership Team,  McMurry Student Government (MSG) and the Theater Department. She is pledging Gamma Sigma Women’s Club this semester. Shawna likes drawing, reading and listing to music and lists them as her hobbies. When asked about her favorite experience as part of Religious and Spiritual Life she says, “Singing in the Praise Band at Chapel has been an amazing experience. I love being able to worship God by singing His praises every Tuesday. (Praise Band picture from this week)


Sarah PellikanSarah Pellikan ’20, is from the First United Methodist Church of Wichita Falls and her hometown is Burkburnett. A sophomore Early Childhood Education major with a minor in Curriculum and Instruction. Sarah has been our dynamite LIFE lunch (Living in Faith Every Day) Coordinator this year. She has done an excellent job giving those gathered during the Thursday noon hour a variety of fellowship, guest speakers, and community building experiences. Her leadership on campus includes the Campus Ministry Leadership Team, Social Chair of Theta Chi Lambda Women’s Club, Campus Activities Board, Alpha Lambda Delta and she is an Honors student. When she has the time, Sarah includes knitting in her hobbies. Here is her take on a favorite experience as part of Religious and Spiritual Life at McMurry. “I loved going to El Paso last winter break. It was amazing being able to make the school a better place for those students and to form relationships with them. Part of our team made a picnic table for the school yard and it was amazing getting to help out the school and to see the immediate effect the table had on the students’ lives. I also love experiencing the love of Christ working through people who are so different working together in the least likely of ways.”


Marleny PinedaMarleny Pineda ’21, is from Rosenberg and a member of The Church. She is a member of the Women’s Soccer Team and includes soccer as one of her hobbies. Marleny’s major is Early Childhood Education with a minor in Curriculum and Instruction. Her role as a part of the Campus Ministry Leadership Team is to represent athletics on campus and to encourage support and participation for all aspects of the activities on campus. Though quiet, Marleny is one of our most loyal and dependable members of the leadership team and we lean on her for lots of last minute details. Marleny says this about her favorite experience as a part of Religious and Spiritual life. “I enjoy watching people enjoy chapel. It makes me happy to see people praising and worshiping and engaging in the sermons.”


Cody SchneiderCody Schneider ’20, is from Keller and an active member of the First Baptist Church there. His role with Campus Ministry leadership is a busy one as he is our work study which means he gets all the hauling and moving tasks as well as runs the projection system for University Chapel each Tuesday. Cody is our ‘go-to’ guy and also is the only male leader of the team this year. His major is Exercise Science and Human Performance. In addition to Campus Ministry Leadership Team, Cody is part of Campus Activities Board, Heads up the Ping Pong Pals Club, is a member of the Ko Sari Men’s Social Club and a leader in Alpha Lambda Delta. When he has a break, Cody enjoys hunting, fishing and playing sports. We see Cody often at athletic events on campus and he has been especially good about getting other members of the Leadership Team to join together to support our student scholar-athletes.

Here is what Cody has to say about his favorite experiences as part of Religious and Spiritual life. “I enjoy participating in the different activities that Campus Ministry puts on. Some of the events that I really enjoy include the LIFE lunch, Coffeehouse, Bingo Night, Progressive Dinner and Fall Retreat.”


Fall RetreatRetreat


As you can see, our Leadership Team is heavily involved on campus and brings students from a variety of disciplines and interests together. In the next newsletter, we will share with you the other five leaders so you can learn about them and hear their thoughts. 

Leadership TeamLeadership Team