Resident Faculty of Sociology

Brooke Benda

Professor Benda was born in Fullerton, California and grew up in Orange County. She has always been passionate about people, and has the drive to understand others, and help those who are less fortunate. Professor Benda attended Vanguard University (formerly Southern California College) in Costa Mesa, CA, and received her BA in Sociology with a minor in Psychology. She also received a Master’s degree from Vanguard University in Clinical Psychology. Professor Benda has worked as an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist helping abused and neglected children, with couples in marital settings, and helping college students identify and set goals. She has conducted workshops and support groups dealing primarily with grief and loss as a Bereavement Facilitator.

For the past 17 years, Professor Benda has served at Concordia University Irvine as a Resident Faculty member teaching both Sociology and Psychology undergraduate courses. Some of the classes that she currently teaches are Introduction to Sociology, Theories of Personality, and Social Psychology. Some of her favorite topics to discuss deal with grief and loss throughout our lives and birth order of the family in which we are brought up. Professor Benda feels that it’s more than just a blessing to be in the classroom, it’s a privilege. Whether it’s speaking to parents of potential students, or welcoming a student for the first time in one of her classes, she feels that the role of a professor doesn’t end in the classroom-it’s a lifelong relationship.

Professor Benda has also participated with Royal Family Kids Camp (a summer camp for children in the foster care system) for the past 20 years. She works as one of the 5 social workers alongside other camp counselors, camp staff and campers for one week each year. Professor Benda enjoys taking Concordia undergraduate students who enroll in the 2-unit Practicum course offered to Psychology or Behavioral Sciences majors to the Royal Family Kids Camp each summer.

Degrees Earned

  • M.S., Clinical Psychology, Vanguard University
  • B.A., Sociology / Psychology, Vanguard University
Jennifer Cosgrove

Professor of Psychology

Degrees Earned

  • U.S. International University, Ph.D. 1991

Associate Professor of Sociology

Dr. Kristen Koenig

Dr. Kristen Koenig completed her Master’s degree at Oxford University and her Doctorate of Philosophy at the University of York, England. Dr. Koenig joined the faculty at Concordia University Irvine in 2013 after teaching twelve years at Concordia College – New York. Her expertise is in the area of globalization, but her true passion is encouraging students to adapt the sociological imagination to understanding the contemporary world around them. Dr. Koenig encourages students to critically analyze everyday life and enjoys presenting on a variety of salient topics. Some of these presentations include: “The Sociology of Freaks;” “Finding Goodness, Truth and Beauty: From Kaepernick to Kavanaugh;” “The Sociology of Death;” “America the Beautiful: What does this mean?” and “Finding Wisdom in the State of the Union.” Dr. Koenig lives with her family on campus in the Living Learning Community of Bella Amore, and hosts numerous events that bring students and faculty into more informal academic conversations.

Degrees Earned

  • Education: B.A., Occidental College
  • M.Sc., University of Oxford
  • D.Phil., University of York
John Lu

Professor of Psychology, Department Chair, Assistant Director - Honors Program

Dr. John Lu completed his doctorate at UC Irvine in Social Psychology (emphasis in Health Psychology). He began working at Concordia Irvine in 2004. His research interests are in the mind-body relationship. Most recently he has been examining happiness and optimal performance. Dr. Lu teaches courses in Statistics, Cognition, Social Psychology, and Health Psychology. His greatest enjoyment in teaching is watching students grow academically and personally as they are challenged to foster their gifts.

Degrees Earned

  • University of California, Irvine, Ph.D. 2007

Professor of Psychology

Megan Enriquez

Professor Megan Enriquez ‘13 earned her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Southern California and worked as a foster case manager in Santa Ana, California, prior to teaching. She transitioned to the Irvine Unified School District as a project success specialist working with at risk middle school students. Professor Enriquez joined the Concordia faculty in 2016 as an adjunct professor, eventually becoming a resident faculty member for the Behavioral Sciences Department. Currently, she teaches various courses in psychology such as Human Sexuality, Abnormal Psychology, and Introduction to Biopsychology. Aside from teaching, Professor Enriquez is passionate about encouraging students to get involved both in and outside the classroom at the university and within the community.

Buddy Mendez

Professor of Psychology

Dr. Mendez has been a full-time Professor of Psychology at Concordia for the past 25 years. While at Concordia, he has also worked as a Clinical Psychologist with a private practice in Newport Beach. He graduated from Fuller Theological Seminary with an M.A. in Theology and a Ph.D. in Psychology. Dr. Mendez has appeared on the television show “Good Morning America.” He has published the book, “Ready, Set, Married: 12 Christian Character Traits for a Strong and Lasting Marriage.” He plans to publish his second book, “Surviving Your Child’s Adolescence” next fall. Dr. Mendez is a member of the Christian Association of Psychological Studies, the American Psychological Association, and the San Francisco Psychotherapy Research Group. He is a frequent teacher and speaker on marriage, family, and parenting issues at several Christian Schools and Churches in the local community.

Degrees Earned

  • Fuller Seminary Graduate School of Psychology, Ph.D. 1992

Professor of Anthropology

Jack Schultz

Jack M. Schultz, Ph.D. (University of Oklahoma), has multiple publications in the anthropology of religion; most notable is his book The Seminole Baptists of Oklahoma: Maintaining a Traditional Community (University of Oklahoma Press, 1999). As a practicing anthropologist, he continues to research the interplay of religion and culture.

Dr. Schultz has conducted ethnographic research among a variety of peoples including the Seminoles, Creek, Pawnee, Lakota, and Navajo nations. He has also investigated religion in Eastern Europe and Japan. In addition to his interest in religion and culture, Dr. Schultz also investigates material culture and native technologies.

As an anthropology instructor, Dr. Schultz is intentional in assisting his students to see the hidden forces of culture in their own lives, as well as in the lives of others they interact with. As globalization continues to shrink our world by putting us face-to-face with people of other traditions anthropology offers some important tools and perspectives which allow the participant to navigate their engagements with others more empathetically.

Dr. Schultz teaches a variety of classes on campus including Introduction of Cultural Anthropology, Religion in Society, Culture and Self, and Native Peoples of North America among others. He also teaches in the Christ College Cross-Cultural Ministry Center and both of our Synod’s Seminaries.

Degrees Earned

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology - 1995. University of Oklahoma. Specialized fields are anthropology of religion, American Indians (Southeastern and Plains), and anthropological theory.
  • Master of Arts, Anthropology - 1989. University of Oklahoma.
  • Bachelor of Arts - 1980. Concordia University, River Forest, Illinois. Concentrations in psychology and education.
  • Associate of Arts (with honors) - 1977. St. John's College, Winfield, Kansas. Concentration in education.

Professional Experience

  • July, 2003 to present: Professor of Anthropology Concordia University, Irvine, California.
  • July, 2009; July 2011: Guest Instructor Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, Indiana
  • March, 2008 to July, 2008: Gastprofessor, Kulturwissenschaften Leuphana Universität, Lüneburg, Germany.
  • July, 1999 to July, 2003: Associate Professor of Anthropology Concordia University, Irvine, California.
  • July, 1998 to July, 1999: Assistant Professor of Anthropology Concordia University, Irvine, California.
  • August, 1996 to July, 1998: Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology Oklahoma State University, Sociology Department.
  • August, 1995 to June, 1996: Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology University of Oklahoma, Anthropology Department.
  • June, 1993 to August, 1995: Adjunct Instructor University of Oklahoma, Anthropology Department.
  • July, 1993: Seminar Leader: Ethnic Diversity and Ministry Seminar, Argyle, Texas, presented by the Human Diversity Institute, Inc., Bedford, Texas.
  • August, 1989 to May, 1993: Graduate Teaching Assistant: Instructor University of Oklahoma, Anthropology Department.
  • March, 1990 to April, 1991: Visiting Curator Creek Nation Council House Museum, Okmulgee, Oklahoma.
  • September, 1989 to September, 1990: Staff Archaeologist Oklahoma Archaeological Survey, Norman.
  • June, 1989 to August, 1990: Adjunct Instructor University of Oklahoma, Anthropology Department.
  • June, 1989 to September, 1989: Research Assistant Oklahoma Archaeological Survey, Norman.
  • August, 1988 to December, 1988: Laboratory Assistant Courson Archaeological Lab, Norman, Oklahoma.
  • June, 1987 to August, 1987: Living History Interpreter/Collections Expert Pawnee Bill State Park and Museum, Pawnee, Oklahoma.

Fieldwork Experience

  • 1990-1999: Seminole and Creek Communities
  • 1989-1990: Comanche Community
  • 1987: Pawnee Community
  • 1976: Navajo Community


  • In Press: “Relations Of Resistance And Accommodation: Negotiating Christian And Native Identities.” Proceedings from White-Indian Relations: Moving into the 21st Century. Leuphana Universitaet, Lueneburg, Germany.
  • 2011: “Science and Theology: Two Ways of Knowing” Issues in Christian Education. Vol. 44, No. 2 Spring 2011.
  • 2009: “Culture and the Christian,” in Modern Reformation, Volume 18, No. 1 (January/February 2009).
  • 2008: Book Review: The Choctaws of Oklahoma: from Tribe to Nation, 1855-1970. Clara Sue Kidwell. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2007). Journal of American History, Volume 95, No. 1 (June 2008).
  • 2008: Book Review: The Preservation of Native American Practices in the United Methodist Church: A Case Study in Recent Protestant Missions, Leonard Ortiz (Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press). For Edwin Mellen Press.
  • 2006: Antropolgické pochopenie viery a kultúry. Niekol’ko myšslieknok pre krest’anov (An Anthropologist’s Understanding of Faith and Culture: Some Thoughts for Christians). Theological Papers, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia.
  • 2005: Young, Un-assimilated Hispanic Offenders: Absolutist vs. Relativist Cultural Assumptions. Sexuality and Culture. Co-authored with Roberto Flores de Apodaca, Amy N. Anderson and Martin D. McLennan.
  • 2002: Introduction to Anthropology for Missionaries. Pathways Missionary Training, Module C-5. Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. St. Louis, Missouri.
  • 2000: Book Review: Where the Two Roads Meet. The Journal of American History, September 2000:741. Indiana University, Bloomington.
  • 1999: The Seminole Baptist Churches of Oklahoma: Maintaining a Traditional Community. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman [released also in paperback fall 2008].
  • 1999: How Do I Observe Behavior, Analyze Data, and Use Cultural Consultants to Increase My Understanding of the Culture in Which I Live? Pathways Missionary Training, Module 10. Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. St. Louis, Missouri.
  • 1998: What Can I Do to Ease My Culture Shock and Care for Myself Emotionally? Pathways Missionary Training, Module 2. Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. St. Louis, Missouri.
  • 1996: Church: Seminole/Creek and Grave shed/camp houses in Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World. Cambridge University Press.
  • 1992: The Use-wear Generated by Processing Bison Hides. Plains Anthropologist 37(141): 333-351
  • 1990: Video Script: Making Bows and Arrows. The Comanche Nation of Oklahoma.

Manuscripts Refereed

  • 2007: “Intermediate Creek: Mvskoke Emponvkv Hokkolat” Pamela Innes, Linda Alexander, Bertha Tilkens. University of Oklahoma Press. Norman.
  • 2006: “Intermediate Creek: Mvskoke Hokkolat” by Pamela Innes, Linda Alexander, and Bertha Tilkens. University of Oklahoma Press. Norman.
  • 2004: “Mvskoke Emponvkv: A Muskogee Textbook” by Pamela Innes, Linda Alexander, and Bertha Tilkens. University of Oklahoma Press. Norman.
  • 2004: “Enduring Faith: Native Christianity Since 1800” by C. Blue Clark, Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 14, Southeast. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Expert Consultation

  • 2009: Round Table Moderator. Two Books, One Truth? Science and Theology Conference. Concordia University, Irvine.
  • 2008: Interview: Sieben Jahre unter Indianern, Lüneburg Landeszeitung, 6. Mai 2008.
  • 2004: Discovery Channel’s television program Unsolved Histories: Aztec Temple.
  • 2002: 3,000 Years of Life at Turtle Rock Exhibit. Concordia University, Irvine.
  • 1990: Women’s Work Exhibit. Plains Indian Artifact Replication. Omniplex Science Museum Oklahoma.
  • 1989: Oklahoma’s First General Store Exhibit. Plains Indian Artifact Replication. Stovall Museum, University of Oklahoma.
  • 1987: Southeast Indian Artifact Repair and Replication. Pawnee Bill State Park and Museum of Oklahoma.

Presented Papers

  • 2009: Keynote Address. Science And Theology: Embracing The Tension. Two Books, One Truth? Science and Theology Conference. Concordia University, Irvine.
  • 2009: Relations Of Resistance And Accommodation: Negotiating Christian And Native Identities. White-Indian Relations: Moving in to the 21st Century. Leuphana Universitaet. Lueneburg, Germany.
  • 2008: Religion in America. Leuphana Universitaet, Lueneburg, Germany.
  • 2007: In This Enchanted Forest, the Giant Is Not Sleeping, It Is Believing: Social Implications of the Lutheran Doctrine of Vocation. Society for the Anthropology of Religion, American Anthropological Association. Phoenix, Arizona.
  • 2007: “What is this thing called Culture?” and, “Lessons from the Field: An Anthropologist’s Understanding of Faith and Culture. Some Thoughts for Christians.” Heart for the Harvest: 2007 Mission Training Conference, The Pacific Southwest District. Irvine, California
  • 2004: An Anthropologist’s Understanding of Faith and Culture: Some Thoughts for Christians. Tuesday Lecture Series, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia.
  • 2004: A Sociological Theory of Religion: Religion, World Building, and World-Maintenance. Missiology Workshop, Petrzalka, Slovakia.
  • 2003: Mutual Conversion: The Seminole Baptists of Oklahoma. Society for the Anthropology of Religion, American Anthropological Association. Providence, Rhode Island.
  • 2003: Lessons From the Field: An Anthropologist’s Understanding of Culture and Faith. Some Thoughts for Christians. Immanuel Lutheran Church, Orange, California.
  • 2002: The Seminole Baptists: Culture and Faith. Peace Lutheran Adult Learners. Yorba Linda, California.
  • 2001: Culture and Faith. Missionary Teachers’ Conference. Prague, Czech Republic.
  • 2000: The Tradition and Culture of Christian Ritual. Christianity in Focus Series. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church. Lake Forest, California.
  • 1999: The Interplay of Culture and Faith: A Response to Multiculturalism. Christianity in Focus Series. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church. Lake Forest, California.
  • 1998: The Cultural, Multicultural, and the Agricultural. Family Weekend Distinguished Faculty Lecture. Concordia University.
  • 1997: Last Lecture. Invited Series, United Ministry In Higher Education, Oklahoma State University.
  • 1997: The Seminole Baptists of Oklahoma. Invited Lecture, Bloomsburg University, Pennsylvania.
  • 1996: The Seminole Baptists of Oklahoma. Invited Lecture, University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh.
  • 1991: Aboriginal Roots Of Contemporary Practice in Seminole Baptist Churches. American Society for Ethnohistory Conference. Tulsa, Oklahoma.
  • 1990: The Use-wear Generated by Processing Bison Hides. Plains Anthropology Conference. Oklahoma City.
  • 1989: Some Inferences Based on Experimental Archaeology. Oklahoma City Chapter of the Oklahoma Anthropological Society.


  • 2008-present: Faculty Advisor, Anthropology Club: Concordia University.
  • 2003-present: Faculty Advisor, Amnesty International: Concordia University.
  • 2003-present: Faculty Advisor, Native American Student Organization: Concordia University
  • 2000-present: Editorial Committee, Concordia Academic Press: St. Louis.
  • 2000-present: Advisory Board and Research Committee: Mission Research Center, Irvine.
  • 1999-2000: Acting Director of Director of Christian Education Program: Concordia University.
  • 1999-2000: Pro tem Diversity (Affirmative Action) Coordinator: Concordia University.
  • 1998-1999: Sociocultural Responsiveness Target Team Chair: Concordia University.
  • 1998-1999: Assessment Committee Member, Sociocultural Responsiveness: Concordia University.
  • 1998-2000: Human Subject Research Committee Chair: Concordia University.
  • 1997-1998: State Regent's Faculty Transfer Curriculum Committee, Chairman, Anthropology.
  • 1996-1998: Undergraduate Committee, Department of Sociology: Oklahoma State University.
  • 1996-1998: Preliminary Examination Committee, Methods, Department of Sociology: Oklahoma State University.
  • 1996-1997: State Regent's Faculty Transfer Curriculum Committee, Anthropology. Oklahoma State University.
  • 1985-1986: Evangelism Board, North Wisconsin District, LC-MS.
  • 1984-1986: Executive Board Member, Community Youth Action, Inc., Appleton, Wisconsin.

Professional Association

  • 1993-present: Advisory Board Member: Human Diversity Institute, Inc., Bedford, Texas.
  • 1999-present: American Anthropological Association, Religion Section, Member.

Honors and Awards

  • Professor of the Year Award, 2008-2009. Concordia University.
  • Gastdozentur aus Studienbeiträgen (Projektkategorie 14): Study contributions awarded by Leuphana Universitaet, May, 2008.
  • Retention Award, December, 1998. Concordia University.
  • Retention Award Nominations, January, 1999; December, 1999; February, 2000; September 2000. Concordia University.
  • Takvcvre Punfvyate Sepuyetsckat, 1994. University of Oklahoma Creek Language III Students.
  • Plains Anthropological Society Student Paper Award, January, 1991.

Special Studies

  • Pathways Writer’s Workshop, March 2-3, 1998, LCMS International Center, St. Louis, MO.
  • Advanced Listening Skills Training, February, 1984, L.E.A.D. Labs, Renoldsburg, Ohio.


Born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Married to Christine A. Crow. Three children: Joshua Daniel; Anna Rebekah; Abigail Jordin.


  • Morris Foster, Professor, Anthropology Department, University of Oklahoma, 455 W. Lindsey, Norman, Oklahoma 73019. (405) 325-2492 e-mail: [email protected]
  • Patricia Bell, Department of Sociology, Chair, Oklahoma State University, 006 Classroom Building, Stillwater, Oklahoma 74078. (405) 744-6105 e-mail: [email protected]
  • Peter Senkbeil, Associate Provost, Concordia University, 1530 Concordia East, Irvine, California 92612. (949) 854-8002 e-mail: [email protected]

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