Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Salem News—Investing in the Community

 “Investing in the Community,” a discussion about the connection between nonprofit and for-profit businesses in the community, was recently held at Gordon College. To read the coverage of this event, see The Salem News article “A different kind of profit,” written by journalist Alan Burke HERE.

Photos: Paul Wright, student photographer, College Communications.



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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

“Freedom within a Framework” and Life after Gordon

Paul Gant ’04 talks about life after graduation.

In fall 2007, while finishing a Master of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, I moved to Portland, Maine, to go on staff as an assistant pastor. Currently I am serving as an associate pastor in Kennebunk, Maine.
I am extremely grateful for the significant ways my Gordon education continues to shape my philosophy of ministry in the church. Gordon College played a pivotal role in preparing me to study, teach, serve and equip the church. However, it was not only the education that deeply shaped me but also the faculty, with whom I still remain in contact. The faculty members in the Bible Department remarkably continue to demonstrate one of the great missions of Gordon College, “freedom within a framework of faith.”

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Hands-on Learning at Local Rehabilitation Program

To help her students gain heart as well as head knowledge about the field, Kaye Cook, professor of psychology, is taking the members of her Developmental Disabilities class to Bridgewell, a rehabilitation program for adults, ages 22 and up with disabilities, in the nearby city of Lynn. The interactive learning is incredibly beneficial to students, though it isn’t always easy. “I am used to working with young children, so the idea of entering a classroom with adults was a challenge,” said junior Melissa Overmyer. “I was glad to realize that techniques I use in the early education classroom also work with developmentally disabled adults.”

In cooperation with the staff, Cook’s students guide the clients in nutrition, music, exercise and craft programs. Their enthusiasm and creativity during the activities has not gone unnoticed by Susan Craven, director of Bridgewell. “I think it is a great experience for both the students and our staff,” she said.

Overmyer and others have learned from Bridgewell’s excellent staff, who have been models of patience and adaptability for the students. “Bridgewell staff are outstanding,” Overmyer said. “They recognize and celebrate gifts in those who have physical and/or mental impairments. They enable these wonderful members of our communities to get into public places and into jobs that encourage independence and appreciation of diversity.”

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Learning Leadership and Spirituality from La Vida

By Heather Trapp ’10
Since helping with installation of a floor in the main building at the Adirondack Base Camp at age 12, Matthew Loy ’06 has dedicated eight summers, his education, and his career to pursue and develop the philosophy that La Vida taught him. He discovered his love for teaching and ropes courses, and has a desire to travel internationally to spread the concepts La Vida uses to help other adventure education programs. “My concepts of leadership and spirituality were influenced by La Vida because it’s where I spent a lot of my time and energy,” says Loy. From organizing the gear shed to teaching classes during the Recreation and Leisure Studies Immersion Semester, Loy has held multiple positions through which he has gained an understanding of what it means to be a leader. “The biggest thing I have learned is servant leadership,” says Loy, “realizing that working alongside people and showing them what you would ask them to do is how I want to be led.” His experiences have shaped Loy’s passion for La Vida. Staff development has helped Loy shape his view of La Vida. “La Vida helps students grow on multiple levels in terms of pushing themselves beyond their limits; expanding their worldviews to looking outside of themselves to serving Christ and others,” says Loy. La Vida awakened his enthusiasm for teaching. After attending graduate school at Minnesota State, Mankato, Loy hopes to carry over principles of experiential learning that can be applied to staff training as well as participant facilitation.
Through La Vida Loy has been assisting multiple international organizations that provide outdoor education. His first experience was traveling to South Africa in January 2006 on a mission trip led by Dr. Val Gin, Val Buchanan and Nate Hausman, director of Adirondack Expeditions. “I’ve become interested in sharing the benefits of adventure education with people around the world because I realize the United States is saturated with outdoor programs—anyone can find a way to go to one,” says Loy. He will travel to China in April to build a ropes course and teach program leaders how to build it into their curriculum. Loy is also working with the Kids Across Africa program in Rwanda by proposing what La Vida does in America and explaining how it ties its curriculum to the Christian faith. “I do not want to export my Western ideals and values, but rather explain the concept behind what we do so they can consider how it might fit into their model of education and ministry,” says Loy.
Loy’s desire to share with others the concepts that have shaped his life is inspiring. His humble nature and hard work are indicators that he is working for God’s Kingdom, not his own, and according to director Rich Obenschain, “La Vida is very grateful for his contributions, dedication and spirit of service.”
Heather Trapp is a senior business administration major and communication arts minor who has a passion for the outdoors and La Vida. She loves the North Shore, running by the beach, and Captain Dusty’s ice cream.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Education and Real-Life Belief in God

“Since college graduation,” says Jonathan Camery-Hoggatt ’07, “I took time to work at a church in California and am currently halfway through my Master of Divinity at Princeton Theological Seminary.

I could not have been better prepared by my undergraduate experience. My professors at Gordon were intellectually honest about complex ideas, and they were pastorally present as I wrestled with those ideas. Gordon helped me understand how education can buttress belief in a real-life God.”

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Friday, March 26, 2010

On Life after Graduating . . .

“After graduating from Gordon College in 2002,” says Lauren Asperschlager, “I continued my academic studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where I received an M.A. in Old Testament. I also studied in Jerusalem, Israel, where I received an M.A. in religious studies from the Rothberg International School of Hebrew University.

“Since returning home to Maine in 2007, I have been participating in the life of my church as a musician and adult Sunday school teacher as well as supporting my husband in his work as pastor of our church. I am the administrative assistant for the Cumberland Baptist Institute for Ministry, an educational program sponsored by the American Baptist Churches of Maine, which provides courses for pastors and lay people in a variety of subjects, including biblical studies, church history, theology, and pastoral care.
“The instruction and encouragement I received at Gordon College has enabled me to study the Bible carefully and intelligently, to interact with and respect Christian denominations and other faith groups that I may not always agree with, and to prioritize my relationship with the Lord over knowing all the ‘right’ answers to every question.”

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring-Break Service Learning

Back from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, Kallie Garrett ’11 and Alyssa Maine ’11 reflect on their spring-break trips, including what it means to be servant learners, how to transition back to life on campus and what it’s like to witness an erupting volcano.

Dominican Republic
By Alyssa Maine ’11

I was one of 10 students who traveled to the Dominican Republic over spring break to participate in service learning. We went to serve and engage with a church in the Haitian community and learn about differences in the DR. I’ve been on a traditional mission trip before, so the idea of going on one that focused differently on service and learning interested me. I have often found myself unaware of what to do when I come back home from serving in a different culture. With all the images and people still vividly in my mind, the transition back to life in the United States is always hard and unwilling. I have found myself with new formed relationships and questions, but the relationships end abruptly, and the questions are left without immediate answers.
But while on the service-learning trip to the Dominican Republic it became clear. The questions and education I participate in allow me to develop as an individual so I can affect others in the future. Service Learning is about the future response, not necessarily the immediate. With this particular experience I saw the mindset of our team was different. I wanted to experience all there was of the Dominican Republic, learning from those around me—to be a teachable spirit. My goal shifted to learning, thus everything I saw and experienced became an opportunity to be a student.
Not only was my view of a mission trip changed, but my view of myself, my society and my education was changed as well. I am beyond blessed with an education, experiences and resources so I too can be a blessing to others. If I choose to hoard what I learn or the resources I have without applying them to the decisions I make or the way I conduct myself, is it worth learning anything? Jesus says in Luke, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:48 NIV ). Asking questions of the world and its existing structures is the only avenue for change I can imagine right now. This is for my own development, and for the development of synthesizing what I saw and experienced with what I am feeling.

Nicaragua
By Kallie Garrett ’11

This spring break I was able to visit and learn about the beautiful culture of Nicaragua. Along with 13 other Gordon students and our faculty advisor, Ian Drummond, we spent a week traveling and learning about a country very different from our own. Our first stop was a visit to Peace and Hope Trust, an NGO run by Peter Coleman, son of Gordon professor Sybil Coleman. He helped introduce us to the amazing country of Nicaragua and inform us of the different issues they are dealing with. We also learned about PAC, a group who helps local farmers learn the most effective farming techniques and then export their products to the United States.
The main part of our trip was spent at CICRIN, an orphanage on the island of Ometepe, in the middle of Lake Nicaragua. It is run by a wonderful woman named Hellen, who moved from Costa Rica to Nicaragua to live out her passion for helping the Nicaraguan children. During the day we did different work projects like weeding a pepper garden, construction on a house, helping in the kitchen, collecting firewood, raking leaves, and more. The rest of the day we played soccer or just spent time (and attempted Spanish conversations) with the kids. I loved the feeling of purpose as we worked at the orphanage. Through the sunburns and sore muscles, we continued to work as hard as we could because we knew Whom we were working for. Leaving the orphanage was bittersweet; it was heartbreaking to meet these wonderful kids who do not have families to go home to, yet we were comforted by the sense of family and love that abounds at CICRIN.
One of our most exciting moments of the trip was when the active volcano on the island Concepción erupted. There was a giant cloud of smoke and ash which, thankfully, blew over and beyond where we were staying. It was not a safety threat but an incredibly rare event to witness. Throughout the week we also had the chance to hike part of the other volcano on the island up to a spectacular 300-foot waterfall, ride horses on the beach, eat pizza with backpackers hidden in the Nicaraguan forests, and so much more. As well as enjoying these breathtaking moments, we also saw the poverty that covers much of the country, and the shocking differences between our cultures.
This trip was truly a service-learning experience; we were given the chance to work hard and bless others, and also to learn about the great things that people like Peter Coleman and others are doing through their work. Nicaragua was beautiful in every way, and a life-changing experience for me and the rest of the team.

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From Russia to Cambridge

Joanna Greenlee ’05, a graduate student in Hebrew Bible at Harvard Divinity School, updates us on life since graduation.

In 2005 I headed overseas to Vladimir, Russia, where I spent two years teaching English, studying Russian, volunteering, and riding trains. Upon my return to America I began working as a job developer at a nonprofit organization in St. Paul, Minnesota, where I assisted refugees who were looking for employment. But I couldn’t stay away from school too long, and last year I began a Master of Divinity program at Harvard Divinity School. The main focus of my studies is Hebrew Bible, and I work at a homeless shelter in Cambridge. I hope to get my Ph.D. and teach.

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“Music in Translation” and a Dash of Piano Hero

Assistant Professor of Music Michael Monroe is preparing for his March 31 lecture “Music in Translation,” an exploration of what we can learn from the wonderful world of piano transcriptions. In anticipation of the talk, Monroe will be joined the same day by alum Nathan Skinner in the 2010 season premiere of Piano Hero—a popular noontime recital series on campus. The two pianists will try their best to impersonate a full orchestra in performances of two symphonic masterworks inspired by Shakespeare.
“Translation is, in my estimation, an underestimated art. The process of finding the core of an idea expressed in one language and successfully recreating it in another is so much more than just mapping words onto each other. The same can be true of transcribing musical ideas from one medium (say, an orchestra) to another (say, a piano). Just as with linguistic translation, piano transcription is often taken for granted as a practical, workmanlike means of accessing something that might otherwise be inaccessible."
“Music in Translation,” part of Faculty Forum lectures, takes place in the Phillips Recital Hall, March 31, 4:30 p.m.

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Gordon Staff Member Uses Vacation Hours to Serve in Haiti

When word of the earthquake in Haiti hit the States, Marilyn Helgesen had only to look at her husband with the question in her eyes: “So, when are you going down?” Helping people in need is natural for Paul Helgesen, and she knows that deciding whether to go to Haiti after the earthquake is not an option for him.

So from February 19 to March 7 Helgesen worked in the town of Blanchard, a suburb of Port-au-Prince, combining his carpentry skills and compassionate heart with a team of 12 to aid in the renewal of Haitian lives. But where does Helgesen, the director of plant operations and sustainability at Gordon and an on-call firefighter/EMT with the Manchester-by-the-Sea Fire Department, find the time to leave?

“That’s what my vacation weeks are for,” he says. This is not the first time Helgesen has used vacation weeks to serve other people. When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, he left for three weeks with the American Red Cross to manage seven disaster kitchens in southwest Louisiana. He’s also been to Mexico several times alongside Gordon students on organized mission trips. “I’m surrounded by a great staff at Gordon who understands this overwhelming desire from the Lord to get up and go serve where I’m needed,” says Helgesen.

In Haiti, along with the other medical and construction specialists on the team organized by the Ipswich-based nonprofit Partners in Development (PID), Helgesen helped reconstruct walls and houses, built exam tables for the medical clinic and created temporary housing for those with nothing. He was able to see firsthand the wreckage of the area and the hope of the people. “I was struck by their dignity,” said Helgesen. “They have so little, and yet they never complained.” He recalls one woman with a sick child who sought help from the medical clinic. She had nothing but only wanted some food for her malnourished baby. She was overwhelmed when, in addition to giving her food, we gave her a tent too. “Parents are the same all over,” said Helgesen. “Help their child and they’ll give you the biggest smiles. They don’t expect anything for themselves.”

Now back in the States, Helgesen sleeps in a warm bed protected from the elements, with food and water at his fingertips—and strives to find significance again. “I would love to go back where the needs are great,” he says. “Everything in Haiti is so vital, and I got to work with unbelievable people. It was an amazing experience.”

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bucket Composting

Recenlty Advocates for a Sustainable Future (ASF) sent out a campus-wide email encouraging students interested to start composting. All they needed to do was let ASF know and they’d get a bucket and instructions on how to compost.
ASF works in conjunction with Physical Plant and an A. J. Gordon small group to make composting a sustainable project on campus. Kate Kirby, senior Spanish major with minors in biblical and theological studies, Latin American studies and environmental studies, says, “Our long-term goals are to make composting as second nature as throwing away trash, and to incorporate it campus-wide.”
Kirby is the acting president of ASF and will graduate in May but wants to make sure on her way out, composting is here to stay. “In the past the responsibility rested on the shoulders of a few students, but this year we’re hoping to institutionalize composting so it doesn’t fall off the radar when graduation rolls around,” she says.
ASF has placed composting bins in the regular trash and recycling areas of Bromley and Tavilla. Students throw their compost in the buckets and later empty them like they would their trash cans. For now the larger bins will be collected weekly and added to Physical Plant’s compost pile by Gull Pond. ASF will be using the compost for the garden, which is located behind Barrington.
ASF hopes, by placing these bins in the normal trash area, students will start training themselves to regularly compost—just as regularly as they take out the trash. Here’s to hoping that will happen.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

The Reward of Spring

In the gloomy weeks of winter, Dr. Craig Story’s annual Dandelion Competition gave students a good reason to be looking forward to spring even more. The first student who delivered a dandelion from Gordon’s campus to Dr. Story won the grand prize of a box of Girl Scout Cookies.


This year’s winner, Katie Nellis, found her dandelion on March 19 next to Tavilla Hall and made Dandelion Competition history with the earliest dandelion find recorded.

“The RD’s son, Henry, played an important role in the discovery of the dandelions and will share in the glory of victory,” says Story.

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Students Get a Taste of French Culture

Learning a language well is about experiencing its culture, according to Emmanuelle Vanborre, assistant professor of French at Gordon College. Beyond teaching the language, she and other French professors hope to instill in their students a love for Francophone culture and literature. Therefore on Tuesday, March 30, Dr. Mylène Priam, assistant professor at Harvard University and Francophone specialist, will be visiting Gordon to talk about the richness of Francophone culture. This will be a great opportunity for students to learn about other peoples, cultures and ideas. “I am thrilled about this event,” says Dr. Vanborre. “We should all learn a lot from it.”

A reception will be held at 4 p.m. in the Jenks Alumni Reading Room with the presentation to follow at 4:30 p.m. in Jenks 406. Following the talk, Gillies’ staff will serve a special French dinner to include tarte à l’oignon, rôti de porc à la moutarde, pommes de terre au gratin, mousse au chocolat, et tarte aux pommes. Vanborre says, “The idea is to share a different culture, and luckily the knowledge and art of good food is a big part of our culture!”

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Integrating Refugees into American Life

Scott Cole ’06 currently works with immigrant and refugee families in Boston. He updates us on what he's been up to since graduating.


I graduated in 2006 with a B.A. in biblical and theological studies. I now work with immigrant and refugee families living in affordable housing, primarily with families in difficult financial and social situations, helping them find jobs, food, educational resources and support as they integrate into American life. The other important part of my work is trying to build bridges between the Islamic and Christian community here in Boston. I am partnering with churches and individuals who desire to love and understand our Muslim neighbors.

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Seniors and Alumna Inducted into Scientific Research Society

On Saturday, February 27, Endicott College, Gordon College and Salem State College held their first annual meeting of the North Shore Chapter of Sigma Xi. Hosted at Salem State College, students and faculty from all three campuses presented their talks and posters highlighting the great variety of research being carried out at the three institutions. This meeting was the result of the creation of North Shore Chapter of Sigma Xi, an international society devoted to the support, progression and dissemination of scientific research in the natural, physical and social sciences as well as in engineering. This new chapter reflects the North Shore region’s growing involvement in advanced scientific discoveries and also assists the new North Shore Chapter in joining a list of Northeast chapters of Sigma Xi that includes those at Harvard, Yale, MIT, Dartmouth, Tufts, Northeastern University, Boston University, Smith College and Williams College.

Gordon students who presented at the first annual meeting included: Marianne Domingues (senior–biology); Kristen Entwistle (junior–biology and chemistry); Soo Yeon Kwon (Gordon graduate–biology); Eric Lindemann (senior–biology); Benjamin Padilla (senior–biology); Ken Smith (senior–physics and mathematics); Yuan (Shayna) Stevenson (senior–biology); and Rebekah Zimmerer (senior–biology). Also presenting his research was Dr. Greg Keller, associate professor of biology.

Following this successful symposium, an annual induction ceremony will be held in the Ken Olsen Science Center April 29. This ceremony will officially recognize newly invited and outstanding seniors and graduate students as associate members of Sigma Xi.

Sigma Xi is an international research society supporting outstanding endeavors in all areas of science and engineering. With more than 60,000 members in over 100 countries, Sigma Xi sponsors projects and collaborations around the world through grant awards, publications and program development.

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God’s Hands in Belize

Rachel Studley ’06 has had more than her two hands filled with ministry—and she wouldn’t want it any other way.

Studley graduated from Gordon with a degree in Christian ministries and served in Belize as a student intern to fulfill the youth ministry practicum. Her involvement with kids and youth ministries had an impact, and since then she has been working passionately with the people of Belmopan, Belize, ministering to the youth and helping to organize community events.
One such event was the Step of Faith Church fundraiser, organized by the ladies and youth ministries of the Step of Faith Church. Many hands and feet came together that day to share in the work and take part in the accomplishment. Studley said, “Everyone worked together with love, and the fundraiser was a huge success.” It was the first of its kind and featured a yard sale, bake sale and BBQ sale. The youth helped out by selling jewelry and clothing, advertising by the road and cleaning up at the end. “It was an awesome experience to see everyone coming together to work and fellowship with smiles,” Studley said.
The skills Studley is using to organize these events and minister to the people were acquired at Gordon through classes like Leadership, Counseling and Speaking to Youth. “My studies at Gordon continue to prepare and confirm my passion to work with at-risk girls,” Studley said. “Every class I took gave me increased knowledge on how to work with and teach youth.”
When she’s not helping to organize fundraisers, the young missionary with World Outreach Ministries works with the youth through numerous weekly ventures: At Youth 4 Jesus she’s been teaching about service and is preparing kids for a youth conference in March, sponsored in partnership with YWAM; in GIRL TALK she shares the love of Christ with many girls who don’t know Him yet; during morning Bible studies she digs into the Word while empowering them with tools to use the Bible on their own; and she has plans to start up a youth worship team in the near future. “I love serving God in the country of Belize,” she said. “I love teaching children about Christ—it’s been wonderful to share His love with children who have been abandoned, giving them an alternative option for how to live their lives.”
To learn more about World Outreach Ministries and how you can help Rachel and others, visit http://www.worldoutreach.org/.

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

From Biblical Studies to Professorship

Joshua T. Johnson ’98, who studied biblical and theological studies while on campus, is currently teaching Introductory and Intermediate Hebrew at Nazarene Theological Seminary (NTS) in Kansas City, Missouri.

Joshua was a full-time associate minister in the United Methodist Church 2000–2004, began his M.Div at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and completed the program at NTS, graduating summa cum laude in the spring of 2009.
Joshua was a recipient of the Zondervan Biblical Languages Award in Biblical Hebrew in 2006, has been an adjunct instructor at NTS in biblical Hebrew since the fall of 2006, has had two different associate positions in the Church of the Nazarene, was selected first in NTS’s Corlett Senior Sermon competition in 2009, and was the recipient of NTS’s Presidential Academic Achievement Award.
On a more personal note, Joshua has been married to Jennifer (Seeley) ’98 Johnson for 11 years, is a six-year survivor of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, is a licensed minister in the Church of the Nazarene, is a board member and adult Sunday school teacher at Trinity Church of the Nazarene in Independence, Missouri, and is presently praying for the Lord’s guidance in his next ministerial steps, considering both Ph.D. work and senior pastor opportunities.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Acoustic Pianissimo Dorm Hop

Students are hopping dorms? Not literally, but thanks to this spring's Moonlit Pond Series, residence halls on campus are hosting their own version of rotating coffee houses--and the shows have been a hit. Senior Meg Lynch, photographed here, says, "The shows are becoming really popular with students. Each one I've been to has been packed."

The indie-scene performances are each based on a theme dependent on the venue rotation. "Pianissimo" for the smaller acoustic and coffeehouse-esque events; "Meso-forte" for venues with a little more punch; and "Fortisimo" for large concerts that Campus Events Council (CEC) defines as"shows that bring home the bacon."

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Her Work with Muslims

Bethany Bailey ’03 updates us on what she’s been up to since graduation.


In the years since graduation, I have had the privilege of working and traveling in the Muslim world. Through these experiences God has shown me His unfailing love for Muslims. While studying at Gordon, I learned two truths that opened my heart to these precious people: God’s desire and plan to bless all nations through Abraham’s Seed and the fact that the majority of Muslims are not experiencing this blessing.

In my travels to North Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, I have observed, however, that the Lord is doing an incredible work in my generation, and many Muslims are entering His Kingdom! I am thrilled to be a part of what God is doing and hope to have the honor of living in the Muslim world in the near future.

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The “Impossible” Tour

The following article comes from the March 17, 2010, issue of the Beverly Citizen, written by correspondent Peter Mooney about Caspian—a popular band that found its roots through friendship as students at Gordon. With their spring European tour (including performances in Greece and Russia) on the horizon, the group is preparing for the “impossible” tour. Read the entire Beverly Citizen article HERE.

Photo: By Rachael Amendola

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Preparing for Law School

Rebecca Jones ’07, who currently attends law school at the University of Washington, updates us on where she’s been since 2007.


After graduating from Gordon I traveled to Chile to solidify my Spanish and continue research I began while studying abroad. Upon returning to the States, while getting ready for law school I worked at a nonprofit which gives grants to low-income women for health care and education. I am in my second year of law school at the University of Washington and hope to practice either immigration or employment law. The biblical and theological studies program at Gordon prepared me for law school in ways I never expected. I have found that the analysis used in biblical exegesis is very similar to that used in breaking down legal decisions. My experience at Gordon has definitely made me a better law student, and I am certain it will make me a better practitioner as well.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

March Madness of Yesterday: Women's Hoop History at Gordon

When a new sport swept across the country at the turn of the century, it took Gordon with it. The school’s first sport was basketball, and both men’s and women’s teams formed in 1924. Two years later the 1926 women’s team, pictured here, played a grand total of seven games.

March is women’s history month, and what better way to celebrate than with a stroll through the Gordon College archives?! This photo—provided by Gordon’s new archivist, Rachel Trent—shows the first hoop women at Gordon.

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

On His Work in the Middle East . . .

Trey Hulsey ’01, director of hospital patient relations in the United Arab Emirates, writes about what he’s been up to since graduating.

After Gordon I pursued my interest in biblical studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and at Duke University. I’ve lived several years in the Middle East studying religion and working in the NGO and development world, and am currently working as a director of patient relations in the United Arab Emirates. My time at Gordon prepared me both scholastically and professionally to think critically about my role in building the Kingdom of God. That phase of my life continues to influence the choices I make today.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

From a Biblical Studies Major to a Lawyer

Since graduating from Gordon in 1999, Jodie Birdwell graduated cum laude from American University’s Washington College of Law, where she served as editor in chief of the American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy and the Law. She then held judicial clerkships at both the trial and appellate levels in Washington, D.C. After her clerkships she joined a national law firm, specializing in advising and representing policyholders in insurance coverage litigation. She has represented the FDIC as conservator in mortgage insurance litigation and is experienced in the litigation and settlement of insurance coverage matters for policyholders facing directors and officers liability, managed care and other health-related liabilities, and liabilities and losses incurred as the result of property damage. Today she is a lawyer for Insurance Coverage Litigation.

Photo: Jodie is fifth from left and two over from Chief Justice John Roberts.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ministering at All Souls Church

Melinda Blasche Hendry ’97, associate minister of All Souls Church in London, England, writes about what she’s been up to since graduating from Gordon:


I am currently serving as an associate minister at All Souls Church, which is a large evangelical Anglican church located in the heart of London. The main focus of my ministry here is supporting and developing our small groups ministry as well as being involved in Bible teaching and training. Every day I am grateful for the teaching I received at Gordon. Not only was I taught how to read and engage with the Bible well and to think theologically, but I was also shown what it is to love God and His Word by my professors who modeled good scholarship fueled by devotion to Christ.

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Monday, March 8, 2010

A Balmy 58 Degrees . . . in March?

With the thermometer currently reading 58 degrees, spring is in the air on Gordon’s campus. But it won’t last for long; after three days of mid- to-high-50-degree weather, the temperatures will dip back into the 40s later this week.
Unfortunately students aren’t around to enjoy the warmer weather on campus because it's spring break. But hopefully most students are in warmer places anyway for this much-needed break from studying.
Click here to find out what many students are up to during this year’s spring break.

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Road Trip 101: First-Year Travels

Freshman student Tala Strauss of Canada updates us while she’s on the road, sharing reflections from the Jubilee Conference.

For 10 years I’ve attended Jubilee Conferences with my family. This year I went with 10 of my peers—a group of college students from Gordon—and our mentor, Laurie Truschel, the director of student ministries. We piled in a van, knowing we’d have lots of good discussion and eager to learn from the conference and each other.
I enjoyed the workshop with Bob Goff the most—founder and CEO of Restore International, an organization that ministers to the poor in developing countries. Though we have world leaders speak on campus throughout the year, Bob's presentation provided a real faith-through-academics connection for me.
Bob shared the evidence of Christ in his life and how he has learned to look for clues in every circumstance. He encouraged me to look for evidence in my life where Christ is at work as well as how I can become a witness of the resurrection when I take note of the presence of God in the world.
As a freshman college student I often wonder about my vocation and how my professors, classmates and community are preparing me. Bob reminded attendees of the importance of “building communities of older and younger brothers as well as older and younger sisters . . . to support, encourage and witness to each other through our shared faith.” When I heard him say this I realized I have at Gordon the kind of community he’s talking about. Each student and professor is inspiring, and we collectively support each other through our shared faith and pursuit of knowledge. I am grateful to study at a school filled with people who live with the hope of Christ.

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Friday, March 5, 2010

Gordon Alumna and Reading Professor Teaches Teachers

Education professionals throughout the world often look to the Florida Center for Reading and Research (FCRR) for help in understanding trends and issues in teaching. Now its influence can be tapped locally at Gordon College’s Graduate Program of Education when taking reading courses with adjunct professor Elissa Arndt, Ph.D., in Reading and Language Arts from the School of Teacher Education in the College of Education at Florida State University.
In April of 2005 Arndt—who graduated from Gordon in 2000—was invited to work full-time at FCRR while also completing her doctoral studies at FSU. She began flying back to Boston from Florida once a month to teach in the on-campus graduate program. In the process she helped design courses for Gordon’s reading specialist license. Because of its research and instructional scholarship, FCRR has been a primary influence on reading policy in districts throughout the country, and as part of Arndt’s work at FCRR, she reviewed reading curricula and created reports to help teachers, principals and district personnel in choosing materials for effective instruction.“Elissa has been an integral part of our team here at FCRR, providing content support to teachers through reviewing reading curriculum and providing professional development for teachers in the areas of literacy and intervention,” said Dr. Barbara R. Foorman, Francis Eppes, professor of education and director at FCRR. “She helped train teachers in the Florida Assessments for Instruction in Reading, and I’m confident she’ll provide the same essential services to teachers in Massachusetts.”
Arndt says the level of compassion and professionalism students in the Gordon program have displayed has encouraged her. The graduate education program attracts a diversity of local educators interested in improving their classroom skills, working toward certification or beginning new careers.
“These graduate students take ownership and responsibility to improve literacy so they can better serve children,” Arndt said. “In an era in which teachers must take accountability, Gordon’s students are proactive and continue to improve their curriculum and instruction every day.”
Arndt is also a certified speech-language pathologist and has worked in elementary schools and at North Shore Children’s Hospital on Boston’s North Shore. She plans to continue her research scholarship in reading and provide leadership to curriculum and instruction.

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

President Carlberg Speaks at CCCU International Forum

February 24–27 President Jud Carlberg joined hundreds of other Christian college presidents, administrators, faculty and staff at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) International Forum held in Atlanta. The Forum provided a platform for leaders to share ideas and compare best practices in advancing the work of Christ in Christian higher education.

In a panel discussion with Dr. Nicholas Wolterstorff of Yale University, President Carlberg also had an opportunity to discuss what it means to develop faculty scholars on campus. Read his thoughts on this—and on the importance of academic freedom—on his blog, the Carlberg Connection.

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Understanding God’s Heart for the Poor . . . and Doing Something about It

It was in Dr. Marv Wilson’s Old Testament Prophets class that Rachel Simons ’02 started to really understand God’s heart for the poor. Mulling over her newfound understanding, she spent two hours during the Day of Prayer in the Gordon woods just listening. “After this time of solitude, God impressed upon my heart the command to ‘Go and do likewise,’ Jesus’ words to his disciples after telling the parable of the Good Samaritan,” says Rachel.
With that call still fresh in her mind, Rachel joined a team with Word Made Flesh and spent four months over the summer serving and learning alongside street children in Romania. Those few short months changed her more than she expected, and after a lot of prayer she decided to return to Romania for two years after graduating. But her work in Romania didn’t stop after two years. “This has turned into a life calling. I’m still here in Eastern Europe, loving Jesus among the poorest of the poor.”
When she talks about the work she’s done for the last seven years in Romania, she is humble. “I'm just another disciple of Christ, listening and obeying his call in my life,” says Rachel. “The most memorable transformation over the years is that I have begun to actually see through the brokenness, poverty and grime and discover something beautiful there. I have discovered that I need these children in my life as much as they need me because they teach me about love, simplicity, joy, gratitude, faith and generosity.”
While at Gordon, Rachel Simons majored in biblical and theological studies and minored in missions. The photo above is a summer camp held for Romanian kids.

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Monday, March 1, 2010

The Redline Project

Is it possible to make music from sounds found in the everyday? Water glasses, telephones, a nose-hair trimmer, toaster, even the flush of the latrine? Josh Feit ’02 has generated rhythm and melody from some very unusual sources for one reason and one reason only . . . he loves music.

“Beyond obtaining my music degree, I began a lifelong exploration of faith’s toughest questions while studying at Gordon,” says Josh. “During that time, my overwhelmingly positive experience in the Art Department, under the leadership of faculty like Bruce Herman and Jim Zingarelli, taught me the healing effect of the arts and their ability to capture and express emotion that otherwise resides uneasily in the subconscious.”
When Josh finished his studies at Gordon, he went on to earn a master’s degree in jazz studies from Georgia State University. After graduate school Josh took a job working as a graphic artist, attracted by a position in the creative field. In 2007 he launched ChurchGraphics.org, a business with an opportunity to express his creativity and skills, as well as offer affordable design solutions to churches and nonprofits.
Though his Gordon education prepared him well for the success of his business, Josh found he missed music and started The Redline Project—a year-long project “to be heard.” He will produce, record and share a free album of original music—with a goal of 10,000 digital downloads—all on a budget of $1,000.
The Redline Project is also being fully documented on a blog created by Josh, where one can listen to such scratch recordings as Ice Cream Man; Ring, Ring, Ring; Knockabout; and even Royal Flush.

—Tony Papia ’09
Redeem & Record

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Q. & A. with an A. J. Gordon Scholar


This afternoon Gordon senior Peter Morse joined a panel of A. J. Scholarship recipients to talk with prospective students about life on campus, travel, and balancing it all.

“When I entered Gordon in the fall of 2007, I was one of 20 freshman students to join the A. J. Gordon Scholars program. The program encourages high achievement in academics and student leadership, and eligible students are offered a generous $12,000 scholarship for each year of college.
The A. J. Scholars program has expanded in recent years to welcome even larger incoming cohorts. Today I was given the chance to answer questions from an engaging group of prospective A. J. Scholars and share the value of my academic and leadership development experience.”

Q. What was the most important aspect of the A. J. Scholars program for you?
A. The first year of the A. J. Scholars program was the most significant experience I have had, for it was the time when I solidified the friendships and faculty mentor relationships that have stayed with me—now as a senior. I met weekly with a small group of other A. J. Scholars to pray, discuss the program and our classes, and find a sense of belonging at Gordon.

Q. Do A. J. Scholars have time to get involved in student ministry, student government, study abroad programs, sports and other campus activities?
A. Yes, in fact many A. J. Scholars invest several years in the same campus group or sports team, and it is very common for A. J. Scholars to pursue off-campus study options. I participated in two varsity sports, intramural sports, residence life, and the Campus Events Council, all while finding time to study abroad in Israel, Uganda and Rwanda. It’s a matter of balance and priority, but you can do it!

Q. How has the A. J. Scholars program prepared you for life after college?
A. Well, only time will tell! But I know already that the strengths assessment activities, leadership and business skills seminars, and professional networking experience will be invaluable as I head out to find a job. However, perhaps most important is that the A. J. Scholars program helps guide you while you are still a student, so you can make the most of the innumerable opportunities available to all Gordon students. Whether you’re choosing a major or looking to explore a nontraditional study option, the program helps you get the most out of your college education.

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From Gordon College to CBS


Stephanie Leigh Bittner, an English and communication arts double major from Madison, Connecticut, writes from CBS in New York, where she is interning in the News Press Office.

What does it mean to be an intern in the CBS News Press Office? For starters, you are at the beck and call of six very stressed, overworked people for around 10 hours a day. It means you sit in on a meeting and are expected to know trigger words, research, and contribute to the conversation. It means you must know where your notebook and pen are at all times, and you’re always feverishly jotting down information.
But let’s back up . . .
My internship for the CBS Press Office began with a rundown of the office and its daily routine. I remember sitting on a grey, weathered couch in Sonya McNair’s office, in between two other interns—the southern blond, Sara, and the driven Pakistani, Samreen. We are the three S’s . . . and we were told what this internship experience would expect of us: integrity, promptness and follow-through.
Two weeks after my arrival in New York, I found myself wondering what I’d gotten myself into with news press. I remember sitting in Sonya’s office, feverishly scribbling down everything I was hearing from a CBS conference call being broadcasted through the entire building. Someone mentions the Copenhagen Summit, and soon I notice that none of my notes make sense. One sentence actually reads “Astronauts—globe spun, Scott Roderford trial, students being depressed.” Honestly, at that very moment, with the volume of fast information coming at me, I begin to feel woefully inept. I realize I have no idea who Felix is, and after a few references, I begin to understand “Babs” is Barbara Walters.
Seven weeks later, I am relieved to report that my experience at Gordon really prepared me for this internship and I’m doing very well here. For example, my writing and editing skills on the job were fine-tuned by my courses and assignments in the Jerusalem and Athens Forum; my attention to detail was assisted through my experience with Campus Events Council, and my planning skills were matured by my work in the Admissions Office.
I’ve flown to Miami to assist in Superbowl pregame broadcasts, written seven weeks’ worth of listings, and planned a party for Jen Ashton. I’ve ridden in cabs all over New York City, witnessed an office fire, managed bank statements, and collected guest lists of VIPs. Though none of this can be taught in an equation for success, my Gordon professors and supervisors prepared me beyond what most entry-level positions require. Next week I will be half-way done with my internship at CBS, and I have no doubt that with God’s blessing and Gordon’s preparation, I can handle anything that comes my way.”

Photo: Senior Gordon College student Stephanie Leigh Bittner with Bob Schieffer, an American television journalist and anchor of the CBS Evening News.

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