The Robert D. Orr

Endowed Fellowship

The Robert D. Orr Endowed Fellowship supports a PhD student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS), who is committed to exploring the implications of biblical and theological perspectives for engaging medicine and technology. It is not expected that Orr Fellowship recipients will direct any of their doctoral studies or dissertation toward the study of bioethics; rather, this fellowship provides an opportunity to supplement the recipient’s doctoral experience with an additional sub-specialization.

The Orr Fellowship awards unrestricted fellowships up to $5,000* per year, along with a concurrent part-time Research Analyst staff appointment with The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity (for an additional $5,000 per year; total award & compensation package of up to $10,000* per year). Strong candidates for the fellowship include talented incoming and returning full-time TEDS PhD students, who have shown remarkable academic performance, with strong research potential, and a demonstrated interest in the implications of biblical and theological perspectives for engaging issues at the intersection of medicine, science, technology and our common humanity. Successful Orr Fellowship recipients may apply for an annual one-year renewal of their Fellowship and may serve as an Orr Fellow for a total of up to four years based upon exceptional service.

Orr Fellowship recipients are expected to assist The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity (CBHD), a leading Christian bioethics research center, for 5 hours per week, performing scholarly tasks. In addition, the Orr Fellowship recipient will also be employed as a part-time Research Analyst for CBHD, for which he or she will receive a weekly stipend as compensation (for an additional 5 hours per week; 10 hours per week total expectation for the Fellowship and staff appointment). The Orr Fellowship is awarded jointly with the Research Analyst appointment, and the expectations and awards cannot be separated or individually accepted. The Orr Fellowship recipient/Research Analyst serves as a significant member of the Center’s research team, performing the role of managing editor for two of CBHD’s resources, and is involved in a number of scholarly activities, gaining direct hands-on research and editorial experience.

Note that the Orr Fellowship cannot be combined with the TEDS Department Fellowship, Program Scholarship, Waybright Scholarship, or Hansen Fellowship.

CBHD is currently accepting applications for the 2023-2024 Fellowship year, and we will continue to do so until the position is filled.

*The Orr Fellowship award is reduced to $2,500 per year for a recipient who has completed all coursework; the part-time Research Analyst stipend increases to $5,500 per year for a total Fellowship & compensation package of $8,000 per year for a recipient who has completed all coursework. In addition, if the student already has a trinity scholarship covering their tuition needs, up to $2,500 of the $5,000 fellowship portion can be awarded back to the student.

Anna Vollema, MA

Robert D. Orr Fellow & Research Scholar

Anna Vollema works at the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity where she serves as the Robert D. Orr Fellow (2021-2023) and Research Scholar. She holds a double MA in Old and New Testament from Talbot School of Theology in southern California. Continuing her education at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, she seeks to better her knowledge of the character of God through obtaining a PhD in Old Testament. Anna previously taught Elementary Greek for the school, and the excellence of her students only deepened the desire to continue teaching. Also holding a degree in Psychology, research in the area of Bioethics offers her the chance to further explore the nature of human flourishing, asking complex questions regarding not only what humankind is capable of, but also what we should pursue in light of the nature of God and that of his creation. Anna's family is spread out across the United States, including several churches, whose people comprise an extension of her family.

Critieria & Requirements

  • A commitment to the biblical and theological ministries of the Church.

  • Outstanding academic performance and scholarly potential.

  • A strong commitment to engaging culture (and specifically moral issues in medicine, science, and technology) from a distinctly Christian perspective that explores the implications of biblical and theological studies for engaging such issues.

  • Understanding and support of the CBHD mission.

  • Full-time student enrolled in the TEDS PhD Program. Applicants need not have previous training or experience in bioethics; however, all applicants should have a strong background in one or more of the following: Theology, Philosophy, Biblical Theology, Old Testament Ethics, New Testament Ethics, and/or Christian Ethics.

  • Orr Fellowship recipient may not be a current Waybright Scholar, Hansen Fellow, Department Fellow, or Program Scholar.

In addition, Orr Fellowship recipients are required to:

  • Attend and help publicize CBHD research-related events.

  • Perform scholarly tasks for CBHD for an average of 5 hours per week year-round as part of the Orr Fellowship; and work an additional 5 hours per week employed as a part-time Research Analyst for CBHD for which he or she will receive additional compensation (for a total expectation of 10 hours per week for the Fellowship and staff appointment).