By Joshua Turek
Let’s be honest. Our faculty and staff do not work at Bethel for the money. Many of them could choose more lucrative careers in their respective fields, but still choose to invest their time and energy in teaching us how to interact with our studies, faith, and the world beyond the Bethel Bubble. I have had professors who contract with the U.S. Air Force, work in prestigious labs in Europe, and have had job offers that can double their current salaries. Yet they stay here to serve and teach us, the students. Here are some stories of faculty and staff that have personally impacted my time at Bethel.
Dr. Melissa Cordes, Department of the Biological Sciences
On a cold and dreary winter morning, I sat in the biology department with my girlfriend, and happened to mention to her that I really needed a coffee but Royal Grounds was closed and I didn’t have enough time to go anywhere else. Dr. Cordes, who was walking behind us, immediately stopped what she was doing to offer up her own coffee for us. She walked us to her office, where she made us coffee in her own mugs and with her own creamer. She then told us we could bring the mugs back any time, and that she understood our stress. I was blown away by her kindness and willingness to give up her valuable time and resources just to make my day better. It was a small act that went a long way.
Dr. Angela Stoeckman, Department of Chemistry
No student wants to have a night lab, especially in biochemistry from 6-9:45pm. Whenever the clock hit 9:45 and experiments still needed to be run, Dr. Stoeckman would stay behind to finish our last steps, allowing us to leave on time. On some nights, this meant she would stay hours after lab was done. It was always comforting knowing that a professor cared enough to have us leave on time, and this allowed me to finish any other work I had on those evenings. Anyone who knows Dr. Stoeckman well knows she is a huge proponent of the keto diet, so I really appreciated it when she brought coffee, vegetables and her homemade keto cookies to the last lab.
Dr. Paul Eddy, Department of Biblical & Theological Studies
In the J-term of my junior year, I did not expect much from my Christian Theology class. I had grown up in a Chrisitian home, and have always gone to Christian schools. However, Dr. Eddy’s class became one of the most impactful and thought provoking classes of my Bethel career. One of my favorite quotes from his class was this, “If you are going to reject Christianity, go ahead. But at least reject a college level understanding of Christianity, instead of relying on a Sunday school understanding.” His class challenged, built up and strengthened my faith. Dr. Eddy then went above and beyond by personally meeting with my girlfriend and I to dive more deeply into what it means to be in a covenant relationship with Christ, as well as providing some pre-engagement counseling.
Dr. Sara Shady, Department of Philosophy
At the beginning of my freshman year, Dr. Shady hosted an Honors program pumpkin carving party. It was a fun event to have at the beginning of the year, since it allowed us to get to know each other on a more personal level. Dressed as pumpkins and characters from The Office, we descended on the punch and chips and salsa. Many of us had been feeling overwhelmed in our first semesters at Bethel, but this event made us all feel more at home.
Dave Broza, Director of the Office of Career Development and Calling
I would be remiss to talk about influential Bethel staff without talking about Dave Broza. As a freshman, I walked into Career Development and Calling for help improving my resume and exploring career options. Dave came alongside me and gave me many great tips and encouraged me to pursue my passions in the medical field. He impressed me so much that I later asked him to be my mentor, and since then we have met every third week for lunch. He has taught me about what it means to be a man of God on and off campus, how to deal with the stresses of life, and how to treat others with respect and dignity. Dave is a very busy man, so the fact that he takes personal time and resources to meet with me has meant the world to me. Leading by example, Dave has helped me and countless others through the Career Development Office with advice on how to approach and embrace the world beyond Bethel.
If I could, I would go on and on. Dr. Paula Soneral bringing churros to class to help us understand chromosomes, Dr. Jeff Port inviting us into his home and providing us with a fully cooked meal after our study abroad class to Ecuador, David Orton teaching a Biology major that theatre and set building can be enjoyable, President Jay Barnes talking about leadership with the BSG Executive team. These are just a few stories of the quality faculty and staff here at Bethel.