Learning To Be A Faithful Presence

April 8, 2013
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MNU Senior Amelia Collins enrolled at MNU in 2010 with a firm grasp on her future career plans.

The Alaska native wanted to graduate from MNU, go to law school and work in a high paying position in public policy in Washington, D.C.

So the honors student enrolled in the Coalition of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) Best Semester program and spent the fall of 2012 in Washington, D.C. as an intern. Collins worked for Alaska Senator Mark Begich. Her internship and coursework changed her mind about long term career plans. Although law school may still be in her plans, Collins now says the high paying position is not nearly as important.

“I found out I want to be learning and doing things in the world,” she says. “D.C. showed me I don’t care what I do, what I will make. I just want to be invested in others. God can use me in any situation I’m in.”

In addition to classes and working Collins and her classmates visited areas of the city in economic decline. They performed community service, learned about influencing public policy and being what she calls a “faithful presence.”

Collins’ professors taught the group that anyone can be a faithful presence in the workplace, wherever they might end up.

A major project in Collins’ Best Semester was researching and formulating public policy recommendations for STEM Visas (Visas granted to foreign graduate students in science, technology , engineering and mathematics). The students conducted a policy conference where they presented and discussed their recommendations. Having learned from public policy experts throughout the city, Collins felt her Best Semester experience was effective and life changing.

So much so that now she hopes to complete another Best Semester, this time in the Middle East Studies Program.

“I would take classes to learn Arabic, Islamic thought, conflict in the Middle East and cultures of the Middle East,” she says. “I really want to get more world experience, and by being an Interdisciplinary Studies Major, I have room in my schedule to study another semester off-campus. I think that it is easy to stay comfortable here in the U.S. in our nice little towns. It is easy to forget there are other people who need to be understood and appreciated.

Collins a part of MNU’s Honors Program, a four-year program of enrichment for high-performing students directed by Dr. Mark Hayse, professor of Christian education and philosophy. Students with a minimum 3.5 high school GPA and an ACT of 28 or higher may apply. Students are chosen by faculty committee based on an application, achievements, sense of calling toward vocation and mission in life, and an essay about the character of the Christian scholar.

Hayse says the core values of the program are curiosity, compassion, collaboration and creativity. To graduate with an honors program certificate, students must earn 30 points through qualified coursework, co-curricular activities, portfolios and an independent research project.

“The program seeks to develop well-rounded students who practice scholarship in courses but also apply scholarship in service and leadership outside the classroom,” Hayse said.