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our team

Meet our team

DYA is led by a team of ministry coordinators who create the DYA experience during the residency and throughout the year. Together they have over 25 years of experience in leading DYA!

Front row: Sarah Seibert, Alaina Kleinbeck, Milton Gilder, and Ashley Gilmore. Back row: Liz DeGaynor, Fede Apecena, J. Marquice Miller, Julian Pridgen, and Jessica Williams.

Leadership Team

  • Fede Apecena (M.Div ’15), our community practices ministry coordinator, is the Associate Pastor at The Nett Church in Gwinnett County, Georgia.
  • Liz DeGaynor (M.T.S. ‘09, Th.D. ‘15), our academic life ministry coordinator, is the Associate Director of the Master of Arts in Christian Practice program at Duke Divinity School.
  • Ashley Gilmore, our hospitality coordinator, is board certified family therapist at Structured Family Interventions.
  • J. Marquice Miller, our music ministry coordinator, is an assistant principal in the Guilford County Schools and the praise and worship leader at The Potter’s House in Greensboro, N.C.
  • Julian Pridgen (M.Div ‘09), our worship and prayer ministry coordinator, is the minister at St. Augustus A. M. E. Zion Church, Kinston, N.C.
  • Sarah Seibert (M.Div ’19), our living theology and recruitment ministry coordinator, is pursuing a Masters of Divinity at Duke Divinity School focusing on Old Testament studies.


Milton Gilder, Director of the Duke Youth Academy
Milton hails from Long Beach, California and has called Durham home since 2005. Prior to joining the Duke Youth Academy, Milton worked at Urban Hope, a neighborhood-based youth ministry, where he re-launched a high school youth leadership program that empowered youth to address their neighborhoods pressing needs and to chart and discern their vocation. Milton has previously worked in Durham Public Schools, at a boutique non-profit digital marketing firm, and as a freelance research assistant. Milton completed a B.A. in Public Policy and International Studies, and post-baccalaureate studies in Secondary Education at Duke University.

Alaina Kleinbeck, Director of Youth Ministry Initiatives
Alaina has served youth ministries and organizations in suburban St. Louis, urban Houston, and Norway. She holds degrees from Concordia University Nebraska and Duke Divinity School. Before her time with the Duke Youth Academy, she was a Director of Christian Education working with middle school students.

Faculty Advisors

Fred Edie, Associate Professor of the Practice of Christian Education at Duke Divinity School

Jeff Conklin-Miller, Assistant Professor of the Practice of Christian Formation, Director of the Master of Arts in Christian Practice Degree Program, and Associate Dean for Academic Programs at Duke Divinity School

Join our team

Each year, the DYA hires gifted and passionate college and seminary students, pastors, lay leaders, and youth pastors to journey with 40 high school students through the Duke Youth Academy. During February and March, we hire approximately 15 adults to serve as the DYA staff. These mentors and ministry apprentices form a vital part of our DYA community.

Applicants must complete the online application, including a resume and short-answer questions, via the application portal by February 15, 2020.

Download staff application questions

Apply now for staff position


Mentors are college graduates who are passionate about the theological formation of young people. They participate alongside the students in all aspects of the DYA residency and partner with another mentor to lead a small group that combines theological reflection and prayer. Throughout the year, they act as conversation catalysts, engaging students in discussions on readings and video-based lectures and supporting students as they plan, implement and reflect on their Practices Project.

Download ministry description: Mentor

Ministry Apprentices

Ministry apprentices are college students and recent college graduates who are passionate about learning more about the formation of young people in the church. They work as a team to oversee the logistical aspects of DYA including dorm life, snacks, worship preparation, and other tasks as needed. Each ministry apprentice will also join a pair of mentors in a small group and will have the opportunity to lead group reflection sessions. We hire ministry apprentices to work during Residency only; however, they are invited to participate in the year of mentorship as they are able.

2019 Ministry Apprentice Ministry Description




duke youth academy