July 08, 2013 | Matt Kucinski

Entrada Scholars at the Blandford Nature Center in Grand Rapids

Every summer, hundreds of Calvin students scatter across the U.S. and around the world, researching, interning and exploring. This summer, some of these students are keeping us informed about their adventures. Next up: senior Rachel Mason of Lynwood, Illinois, a physical education major at Calvin College. This summer, Rachel is a resident assistant for the Entrada Scholars Program.

Where are you?

In the picture I am with a group of students at Blandford Nature Center. During the entire Entrada program I lived with the scholars in Boer Bennink.

Why are you there?

We were at the Nature Center for our service project day. My group of students helped cut down some of the invasive species that were growing throughout the nature center.

What’s your typical day like?

During Entrada my typical day is to prepare for different programming and events for the scholars in the morning, while in the afternoon I spend my time getting to know the students, leading small groups or activities, eating meals with them, and helping them with classwork if needed.

What (technically) are you doing?

I am a resident assistant for the program. I live, eat and grow in community with the 71 students we have in the program. 

How has Calvin prepared you for this?

Before coming to Calvin I went through the Entrada Program myself. I grew so much as a person and gained a better understanding of my identity. So when coming to Calvin I continued to work on being a better leader and to be proud of who I was as a person of color as well as a child of God. The different leadership opportunities I have had in my years at Calvin have definitely shaped me to be a leader in the Entrada program.

What has surprised you so far?

So far the students have surprised me the most. They are very driven and determined to strive for success. I learn from them every day. Some come from far away places like California or New York, while others only live 15 minutes away, but the community that has been built throughout the program has been a blessing.

How do you see this shaping your future?

The students and staff that I have met throughout this program have given me a lot of new insights about how I want to be light in this world. The love, determination and overall joy this program has brought me makes me want to strive to continue to help young people realize that they can be successful and get to where they want to be in life. These students have helped me to remember that everyone has a story, but their stories do not define who they are, what they want to do in life or what God wants them to do.

Note: The Entrada graduation ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. on Friday, July 12, in the Gezon Auditorium. Refreshments will follow.

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