How did your life path lead to Calvin University?

I’m a West Michigan native. My mom is a nurse, and my dad is a CPA. I was always naturally good with numbers and problem solving, so at first, I thought I’d be a CPA like my dad. As a kid, I sparked my entrepreneurial spirit, finding strategic locations for selling lemonade to maximize profits. That definitely nurtured my interest in business. I had quickly narrowed down my options to Calvin and a public university. After various campus visits and lots of prayer, I decided that Calvin was the best fit for me.

Having attended Christian schools from the beginning, I developed a great appreciation for faith integration in education, which is also something that appealed to me about Calvin. I knew I wanted to continue with my Spanish and pair it up with something with career possibilities. Taking Spanish throughout high school gave me a love for different cultures and the idea of building bridges with others. Business was naturally aligned with that thinking, so I chose a double major in business and Spanish.

As an interesting aside, I began studying the organ my sophomore year, which really speaks to Calvin’s unique offerings. I already played the piano and regularly played as an accompanist at church services and weddings, so adding the organ through three years of school was a fun way of trying something new and rounding out my education. I was exposed to many new people and areas that I otherwise would have never had the chance to know, so I am grateful for that. I developed a deep appreciation of the organ and enjoyed the opportunity to carry it forward in my life.

What was the greatest challenge you faced while you were at Calvin?

I was planning to study abroad my sophomore spring semester. Then, I was deferred. That was difficult for me, as I was ready for a new challenge. After sharing the news with my pastor, he put me in touch with one of his good friends who lives in Villahermosa, Mexico. That January, I spent three weeks with his friend and their family as well as others from their church community. During my time there, I got really sick and was treated at a local hospital. Without a cell phone and easy access to the internet, I was unable to call my family and friends back at home. That was truly an “alone” experience that caused me to develop a new level of resiliency.  But it gave me a taste for new experiences and became a common thread that I have seen woven into my life. Looking back, I can see that being deferred for the study abroad program changed my trajectory significantly, and I am very grateful for that.

What was most rewarding about your Calvin experience?

The cross-cultural pieces that make Calvin special were fundamental to my development. Partnering with Roosevelt Park Church to teach English as a Second Language to community members was a pivotal experience. Through it, I discovered an interest in teaching, but since I was near the end of my studies, I stayed the course, knowing I could go on to add credentials as my career developed.

How was your faith affected during your time at Calvin?

I think that during college—and from there, through interactions with people and ongoing experiences - you learn about other angles and aspects of God. I stayed connected with my local church and sought out opportunities to grow closer to God through small group communities. I learned to trust in God through the challenges and saw how he continually showed up when plans did not play out as I expected. I enjoyed my theology classes and discovering how we could be agents of renewal wherever we go.

What classes or professors or campus life experiences had the greatest impact on your development?

I know it’s not one you would think as a business student, but I find myself often thinking about my Geology class. Every time I fly, I love identifying oxbow lakes that appear to have formed from meandering rivers that eventually eroded away and were cut off to form a separate lake.

Another big one was my business strategy capstone class with Professor Peter Snyder. He had recently joined the Calvin faculty and his extensive, real-world business experience made the class so relevant and interesting. My economics courses were also very practical. To this day, I regularly consider principles like opportunity costs and sunk costs when making decisions.

How did your career path and calling take shape?

My professors recommended I take advantage of a few different resources. I participated in the mock interview prep opportunities and resume review to check my skills. I also really enjoyed the two internships I had during my senior year. It was valuable to broaden my business knowledge through Wolverine Worldwide and learned more through what was then St. Mary’s Hospital Donor Relations department. It all came together as I graduated and started my first job with the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce.

What advice or perspective would you give your high school self with what you know today?

Don’t obsess over what you’ll be doing in 5, 10, or 20 years. Just take the next step. Be in God’s word and know what HE desires of His people.  Seek godly counsel and apply it to your specific passions. Don’t be so afraid of making a wrong decision that you become paralyzed. I’ve seen it on my own path: you’ll be able to look back and see how each experience prepares you for the next. Trust God and keep going.

Where have your experiences brought you in your life today?

I currently work in human resources at CURE International Children's Hospitals, a global, Christ-centered non-profit, and I love what I do. It’s fun to see how my varied career opportunities have led me here. I run for fun and to decompress. I enjoy traveling to new places. My husband and I have twin boys that keep us very busy. I have stayed in touch with many of my closest friends from Calvin, including my roommate from freshman year. I would have never thought we would have ended up being such close friends, and here we are, always in touch—and she lives in Japan now! For many years, I played co-ed soccer with lots of Calvin friends and classmates. Calvin is a unique place to maximize your experiences, your knowledge, launch a career and build lifelong relationships.