It was a sunny day in August of 2012 when my cohort had our first collective conversation. Stranded in the middle of the woods, we hadn’t showered for days, and we barely knew each other. But there we were, on the Adirondacks camping trip at the beginning of our college journey, thinking about wisdom and how to get it. That week, we sang, canoed, played games, swam, and climbed mountains together. When we set out for the trip, we were strangers to one another. When we returned to campus a week later, we were friends.
Our first year in Templeton, the friendships we formed during the camping trip nourished and sustained us. Some of us knew exactly what we wanted to study, and some of us were indecisive, so we drew on the wisdom of each other to know ourselves. We reflected on the intertwined nature of love and suffering, and we struggled to define such elusive concepts as justice. Perhaps most importantly, we learned to listen to one another.
Our second year, many of us explored the grandeur of the cosmos and the skill of public speaking. Most of us decided on a major. We gathered together for cohort feasts and picnics, and we learned from each other about the ways that God speaks through science and literature, math and music, philosophy and social work.
Our third year, we scattered across the globe. We went to Rwanda, Spain, England, China, Lithuania, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Nepal, Argentina, and Scotland. We learned about different cultures, tried our hand at new languages, and learned what it was like to be the stranger.
And here we are, at the close of our fourth year. As we prepare to graduate, I am continually amazed by the charity, insight, and talent of my fellow cohort members; and I look forward to seeing the myriad ways that they will awaken wonder, inspire goodness, and encourage others toward Christ. Here are a few snapshots of the next steps for several 2016 Templeton graduates.
Graduating with a B.A. in Economic Development, Arna McArtney will begin a semester-long fellowship at Hope International, a nonprofit that seeks to develop and aid impoverished communities through microfinance. Arna will work in the department of Monitoring and Evaluation at the Lancaster location, providing support to the field programs through analysis and impact evaluation, research, and logistical support. Not far away, Drew An Brubaker (B.S. Psychology) will begin a position as a mental health technician on an eating disorder ward at Brandywine Hospital in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. As such, Drew An will direct patient care in a psychiatric inpatient setting, and her duties will include supervision and assistance during patient treatment, observation, recreation, education, and safety responsibility.
Before beginning his M.Div. degree at Duke Divinity School in the fall, Daniel LaVenture (B.A. Philosophy) will serve as a summer intern in a Methodist Church in Faison, North Carolina. He will work directly with the pastor there to serve both the congregation and the local community. Finally, after spending the past two summers working as an intern at a Virginia site of IBM, a multinational technology corporation, Christina Rivetti (B.A. History) will join the IBM team in Washington, D.C. as a Solution Sales Specialist for IBM’s Summit Program. There she will be tasked with matching the business needs of customers with technological solutions, ranging from cloud to mobile to security technologies.
Some of us are starting jobs and moving to different cities, some of us are beginning graduate programs, and others are looking forward to summer weddings. Through the past four years of conversations, we have learned a little more about what it means to be human. We have wrestled with ideas too large to comprehend, and sometimes we have thought harder and longer than we thought possible. Through it all, we have laughed together, and ultimately, the bond of love has carried us all.
The gift that we have received is not simply a good education, but the gift of learning in community: the gift of each other. Wherever we go from here, one thing is certain: we will take the conversations with us, into our local communities, hospitals, offices, churches, and classrooms. For four years, we have been steeped in wonder, and now it is time for us to spread the wonder around.
To the fellow members of my cohort, the Templeton Class of 2016: let us go forth in peace, to love and serve the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Article by Abigail Storch (’16): Abbie is a recent Templeton graduate who majored in English with a literature concentration and minored in vocal music. This summer, Abbie will be working for Image, a literary journal based in Seattle, Washington, as the Luci Shaw Fellow, where she will assist in editorial operations and help facilitate the Glen Workshop, a week-long writing workshop in Sante Fe, New Mexico. In the fall, she will begin a fully-funded M.A.R. in Religion and the Arts at Yale University’s Institute of Sacred Music. To read more of Abbie’s writing, visit her blog at www.abbiestorch.wordpress.com.