Summer Session Featured Faculty

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Barry R. Huff
Assistant Professor of Religion, Principia College

Barry Huff's area of research and teaching is biblical studies, which has been a consistent focus throughout his undergraduate and graduate education. His master’s thesis probed the connection between creation and theodicy in the book of Job. His dissertation explores how the author of Job engages with and transforms the language and theology found in the priestly texts of the Torah. He spent a term researching his dissertation at Oxford University and has traveled in Egypt, Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian territories. Huff joined the faculty in 2008 and serves as the moderator of the Principia College chapter of Theta Alpha Kappa.

Huff will be teaching the following courses:

  • Creation: Ten Texts in Context
  • Job, Psalms, and Proverbs
  • Old Testament Highlights


Clark Beim-Esche
Former Faculty Member, Principia College and School

Clark Beim-Esche taught at both Principia College and Principia Upper School, retiring in 2010 after 36 years. A graduate of Northwestern University with a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s in oral interpretation, Clark has presented courses on literature, American history, the fine arts, and film. In 2008, he received the Mark Twain Boyhood Home Museum Creative Teaching Award. Since retiring from Principia, Clark and his wife, Carol, have traveled thousands of miles visiting presidential homes, sites, libraries, and museums related to every past American President. He recently published the book Calling on the Presidents: Tales Their Houses Tell

Beim-Esche will be teaching the following courses:

  • The Revolutionary Era of the Arts
  • John Ford's Stagecoach: Appreciating a Film Classic


Dr. Marie Jureit-Beamish
Professor Emerita of Music, Principia College

Dr. Marie Jureit-Beamish, professor emerita of music, began teaching at Principia College in 1978 and served on the faculty until retiring in 2014. A winner of the prestigious St. Louis Artist Presentation Society Competition and a member of Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California, Berkeley, she has earned music degrees from UC Berkeley, Stanford University, and Yale School of Music. During her tenure at Principia, Jureit-Beamish conducted the College orchestra and taught a wide variety of courses, including an award-winning class of piano and flute students, Fundamentals of Music, Chamber Music, The Creative World of Mozart, and many more. In addition to a demanding teaching schedule, she maintained a very active performing career as both a pianist and flutist, appearing in some of the finest concert halls in the U.S. (including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Steinway Hall and Carnegie Recital Hall) and abroad. Together with her musical family, she has performed for many of Principia’s continuing education programs and alumni weekends. She has also led several European trips for Principia and directed College music tours around the country. In 2014, Jureit-Beamish was awarded honorary alumni status.

Jureit-Beamish will be teaching the following courses:

  • The 20 Greatest Symphonies of All Time
  • The Hills are Alive with Music!


Kathy Christian Merrill
Director of Bible Studies, Principia School

Kathy Merrill is a graduate of Principia College with a degree in Elementary Education. She has a Masters Degree in Education from Arizona State University and has taught various grade levels for 26 years, 13 years at the Principia Lower School in St. Louis. For seven years, she worked with Biblos Foundation in St. Louis, a foundation that encourages deeper Bible study through the lens of Christian Science. She has joined her sister Kristy Christian in leading groups of Christian Scientists to places around the world to study the Bible, and has travelled to Israel 19 times and to Turkey, Greece and England to study the King James Bible, Paul, and early Christianity. In Merrill's current position as Principia School’s Director of Bible Studies, her job is to “encourage deeper Bible study with adults and to help parents work with their children on teaching the Scriptures at home or Sunday School.” Merrill has given over 500 Bible workshops nationwide for Principia Clubs, internationally and in the United States, and to Principia Summer Sessions in years past, and for individual Christian Science Churches, Schools, and Nursing Homes.

Merrill will be teaching a course entitled, Teaching the Bible to Children of All Ages.

John W. Williams, JD
Professor of Political Science, Principia College

John Williams has taught at Principia College for over 30 years. His areas of expertise include American government and politics, political communications, comparative politics (post-communist and third world nations), law (legal process, constitutional law, media law), and communication. He has directed numerous study abroad programs to China, Vietnam, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan. In addition to his teaching duties, Williams has written for The Telegraph (Alton, IL), managed a dozen local political campaigns (for mayors and judges), and been a columnist for the Jersey County Journal. Before joining the faculty, he worked for the U.S. Department of Justice and practiced law. Williams serves as president of the Faculty Senate.

Williams will be teaching the following courses:

  • Election 2016: How Did We Get Here? (co-taught by Dr. Brian Roberts, Political Science Professor at Principia College)
  • Africa: Current Events