May 27, 2015

This summer, we are following grads from the Class of 2015 as they continue their journeys around the corner and across the globe. Troy Ellens is working as a registered nurse at Holland Home and listening to patients every day.

  • Name: Troy Ellens
  • Class: 2015
  • Hometown: Elmhurst, Ill.
  • Major(s): nursing

What about Calvin specifically prepared you for this position?

I was so impressed with the nursing program at Calvin College. I think what is unique to Calvin is the whole aspect of providing holistic care. Yes, it is important to learn how to do the technical things when it comes to nursing but it goes way beyond that. It is about caring for a person physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally and socially. It is not about treating the symptoms but the root cause of the problem.

Who was your favorite professor? Why?

Probably Professor Doornbos from the nursing department. I was fully engaged in every one of her classes and I really enjoyed what she had to say. I have a really hard time staying awake and focusing in the morning, but that was not the case in her class. She mixed up her activities in a way that kept me alert. She is also a very approachable and understanding woman. She wears a smile on her face always and when I had questions or concerns about content she was very willing to help me out.

What do you miss most about Calvin? And why?

The people for sure. I love hanging out with lots of people, and Calvin is the perfect place for that. If I wanted to go play basketball or watch a movie I could always find people that were willing to do so. The friends that I made while at Calvin will hopefully be lifelong friends as well. There are so many quality people at Calvin and I am so thankful for the activities put on by Calvin to allow me to meet the people that I did.

How did your relationships at Calvin form who you’ve become today?

At Calvin I met a lot of friends that shared the same faith as me and that were able to push me in my faith. I was able to take part in Bible Study on campus as well as get together with a group of friends each week to discuss our faith journey. These instances really pushed me to become a man that relies on God for strength and has helped me establish a great relationship with God.

Tell us one “aha” moment at Calvin when things seemed to come together?

The first semester I was at Calvin I was undecided on my major. I had no idea what I wanted to get a degree in and I was starting to get nervous about it. I kept on praying for God to show me his plan for my life and I was beginning to get very discouraged. Then, I felt like someone just clicked. I was thinking about occupations and then it popped into my head that two guys on my floor were nurses. I never even thought of nursing as a possibility. So when I thought about it more and looked into it I realized that nursing had everything that I wanted in a profession. I also thought that nursing was a profession where I could use my gifts and talents to glorify God. It was definitely an “aha” moment and a good example to me of God answering my prayers.

What’s one thing you would want to tell someone starting his or her journey at Calvin?

Get involved. College is a place with lots of opportunities. Find out what you love to do and plug in with others that enjoy doing the same thing. My first two years I lived in the great dorm of Beets-Veenstra and I made sure to take part in a lot of activities that were made available. If you go in with an open mind and a positive attitude it can be so much fun and establish lifelong memories and friends.

A successful path

The success of Calvin grads goes beyond job titles, salaries, graduate degrees and employers as they pursue God's call on their lives. Still, the results are clear: Calvin grads get good jobs at places like Google, Pixar, National Geographic and Boeing, earn higher mid-career salaries than grads from other private colleges in Michigan (according to and attend some of the best graduate schools in the country.

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