Wheaton Alumni

Meet a few of the Wheaton alumni currently leading aid organizations around the globe.

Wheaton College alumni have joined relief efforts around the world to aid the vulnerable in the aftermath of natural disasters and during ongoing humanitarian crises for generations. Some have led the way. Others have volunteered behind the scenes. Read why they appreciate HDI, as well as advice for alumni everywhere about getting involved in disaster relief.

Stephan Bauman M.A. ’01

President and CEO, World Relief

“So often we focus on search and rescue, medical relief, and the essential needs of food and shelter—psychological first aid is something we greatly under-appreciate—which is why I applaud [HDI's] vision and what they are seeking to do.”

World Relief engaged HDI to build the capacity of the Japan Evangelical Association to engage in disaster ministry in Southeast Asia.

Stephan Bauman is the President and CEO of World Relief, an international relief and development organization partnering with the global Church to serve more five million vulnerable people each year. World Relief is also the founder and convener of The Justice Conference. Stephan’s pursuit of justice led him to transition from a successful career in the Fortune 100 sector to Africa where he directed relief and development programs for nearly a decade before returning to the United States to lead World Relief’s global operations. Stephan lives to see people everywhere rise to the call of justice and give their lives in ways that empower the poor towards real change, a journey he continues to pursue.

Dr. Laurie Kraus ’78

Director, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, the Presbyterian Church (USA)

“I think that disaster response ministry is one of the most gratifying things a congregation can get involved in.”

“Since it’s not usually the correct thing to do to jump physically into a disaster site, particularly without any background, I would advise members of congregations to begin to make phone calls—to talk to the local Red Cross and to other emergency management and volunteer disaster planning agencies.” She advises putting together preparation teams of people with hearts for disaster response who would all be willing to take certification classes. “That way, they really will have something to offer in the field.”

Laurie Kraus earned an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Columbia Theological Seminary and Florida Center for Theological Studies, where her dissertation projects were Rebuilding the Walls: A Narrative-Theological Model for Disaster Relief In the Wake of Hurricane Andrew (1994) and There is a River: Embracing Diversity in the Multicultural Ministry Setting (1998).

Patrice Penney ’78

Executive Director, ICARA

“Children made vulnerable by orphaning, war, and conflict, describe a complex humanitarian disaster of huge proportions in Africa. The Initiative for Children at Risk Africa (ICARA) comes alongside orphan caregivers to train, support, and equip them to meet the heart needs of these children. With the Humanitarian Disaster Institute, we are brainstorming ways to reach caregivers and teachers in various contexts—in a Kenyan refugee camp, in Haitian communities in poverty—and together we are developing resources and bringing in other collaborators who will strengthen that process. No one should 'go it alone,' and I am grateful that HDI recognizes that, and provides critical support, research, and collaborative functions for those engaged in this work—caring for those made vulnerable by disaster.”

Patrice Penney, MSW, LCSW is the founder and Executive Director of ICARA and a clinical assistant professor in the College of Social Work at University of South Carolina. After 20 years of working with at-risk children and their families in the Chicago area, Patrice and her family moved to East Africa where she worked for a decade. The impetus for the Initiative for Children at Risk Africa grew out of her passion for serving vulnerable children, her work teaching child and family studies at Africa International University in Nairobi; and counseling, training and consulting on behalf of orphaned and vulnerable children in Kenya, Rwanda, and Ethiopia. ICARA’s mission is to nurture the hearts of orphaned and vulnerable children through caregiver training, interventions, research, and advocacy.