Spiritual Life

How Wheaton College Graduate School is Preparing Me to Work in Student Development

Posted October 12, 2016 by Sarah Sagredo '12, M.A. '18

Tags: , , ,


My decision to apply to Wheaton College Graduate School's Christian Formation and Ministry – Student Development program was heavily influenced by my time living in the dorms and serving as a Resident Assistant as an undergraduate student at Wheaton. Being involved in Residence Life provided me the opportunity to take a broader look into the many ways students are supported outside the classroom. That year I started to consider what it might look like to work in the field higher education in a role where I would be able to walk alongside students during their college experience. 

While I looked into some other schools to continue my education, returning to my alma mater was my first choice. I knew that I would be receiving the highest quality education from professors who cared just as much about my personal and spiritual growth as my educational and professional development. Another important draw was the opportunity I would have to apply for an assistantship where I could gain practical skills and work experience while still in school. 

This year I have the great privilege to serve as the Graduate Student Assistant for the International Student Programs Office. We work to understand and value the unique needs of undergraduate international and third culture students and guide them to holistic success and meaningful engagement with the broader campus community. My primary role this year is to serve as the advisor for Ladder, one of our office’s student organizations. Ladder is a group of 16 international and third culture students who are making intentional connections with their first-year peers to help support them through their transition to Wheaton College. 

What I love most about my work in ISP is the opportunity to build relationships with the truly amazing students who are involved in our office. Though they come from all corners of the globe, their differences do not divide them. Instead, they celebrate the diverse ways that God made them and continues to shape them. They challenge me with their faith, especially their commitment to prayer. Every day they demonstrate to me what it means to be the body of Christ.


Sarah Sagredo '12, M.A. '18 was a biblical studies major at Wheaton and is now a graduate student in the Christian Formation and Ministry – Student Development program. Photo captions (top to bottom): Ladder leaders for 2016-17; Ladder leaders "hanging out" during fall retreat.

Why I Came to Wheaton

Posted October 7, 2016 by Rebecca Carlson '20

Tags: , , ,


To be honest, Wheaton wasn’t even on my radar when I began to look at colleges. I knew quite a few Wheaton graduates and loved their stories, yet I never considered that Wheaton might be the place for me. When I had crossed off every school from my “prospective list,” Wheaton began to frequently pop up. I would randomly meet people–for example, a new intern at my church–who went there or knew people who went there. I felt prompted to visit.

Immediately upon arrival at Wheaton during my first campus visit in October 2015, I found a loving community, a wonderful tour guide and overnight host, and fantastic classes. Wheaton’s motto, “For Christ and His Kingdom,” spoke to me and what I want my life mission to be. I immediately got the impression that, unlike many other colleges, Wheaton stands behind its faith. Its motto impacts all aspects of life. I knew the search was over. I felt like I belonged, and knew Wheaton was a school where I would be academically challenged and where I could be honest about my religious struggles yet grow fiercely in my faith.


And now I’m here. I’m almost two months into my freshman year, and I still can’t believe it. Wheaton is incredible. As a public high school graduate, I am still constantly amazed that, through the liberal arts curriculum, I am discussing how biology, elementary education, Spanish, and many other topics are “For Christ and His Kingdom.” There are hard days through the transition that come with moving 15 hours away from home, yet I couldn’t ask for a better community. My floor is incredible, my professors truly want to get to know me and care about my life, and God is good. Everyone here is cheering for one another.

My advice to any prospective students: Trust in God, He knows where you need to go. I hope and pray that Wheaton is the place that He is leading you to, because this is a beautiful place that will support you, love you, and challenge you to lean on the Lord as you grow into the person He created you to be. However, if He is leading you elsewhere, I pray that you will lean on Him throughout your first year because He is our firm foundation.



Rebecca Carlson ’20 is an elementary education major with an ESL endorsement. To learn more about Wheaton and to apply, visit the undergraduate admissions website. Photo captions (top to bottom): Rebecca’s cabin with Dr. Keith Johnson during the Wheaton Passage program; Rebecca with floormates from Fischer Hall on a bro/sis trip to Chicago; Rebecca and her parents during Orientation Week.

Why I Came to Wheaton's Conservatory of Music

Posted September 23, 2016 by Abigail Beerwart '19

Tags: , , ,


In all honesty, Wheaton wasn’t even on my radar when I was looking for a college to attend. Sure, I had heard of it, but it wasn’t a name that I had committed to memory. I wanted to be in an incredible music program, especially one that excelled in the vocal/opera department. I was convinced, however, that a Christian school just could not meet my standards. But now I see just how wrong I was!

I had some family friends practically beg me to check out Wheaton–their son graduated from Wheaton a few years back with a piano performance degree–so I finally, although somewhat grudgingly, agreed to visit. I scheduled an appointment to meet with Dr. Carolyn Hart, the Chair of Voice at the Conservatory of Music, so that I might understand what Wheaton had to offer for an aspiring opera singer such as myself. The arduous drive to Wheaton, which included driving through a blizzard, had my mother and I exchanging glances that asked, “What have we gotten ourselves into?” However, from the moment I set foot on campus, I knew that I had finally found it: my second home. 

Every individual with whom I interacted on that visit was warm, genuine, and overflowing with the love of Christ. The music program offered everything I could have possibly wanted: rigor, performance opportunities, and a huge focus on vocal health. Most importantly, I saw how the school truly did do everything “For Christ and His Kingdom.”


When we finished our visit, my mother and I got in our car and sat for a moment before beginning our drive home. My mom asked, “So, what do you think?” For a beat I looked at the Conservatory before me, draped in a sparkling white robe of snow, before I turned to her and answered, “I can’t imagine going anywhere else!”

Jumping ahead to today, I am beginning my second year in Wheaton’s Conservatory of Music, and I have become friends with some of the kindest and most encouraging students and faculty imaginable. They genuinely care about me, pushing me to do more than I ever thought I could, and they lend a listening ear when I need it. My classes have propelled me forward, allowing me to understand and appreciate music like never before. My musicianship and vocal abilities have skyrocketed in ways that leave me dumbfounded. All of these wonderful experiences at Wheaton have solidified in me one simple, but meaningful, response: to praise God. 

The Conservatory of Music has fed me relationally, intellectually, musically, and spiritually, so obviously I still can’t imagine going to school anywhere else! That’s #MyWheaton.


Abigail Beerwart ’19 is a sophomore studying vocal performance in opera through Wheaton College’s Conservatory of Music. Photo captions (from top): McAlister Hall, Wheaton's Conservatory of Music; student performers after the 2015 Opera Music Theater production of Benjamin Britten's Noye's Fludde; Abigail with Conservatory of Music classmates. 

Youth Hostel Ministry in Amsterdam

Posted August 3, 2016 by Melissa Ator '18

Tags: , ,

amsterdam-swedish-celebrationSpending the summer in Amsterdam with Youth Hostel Ministry has been such an enriching experience. When I first heard the word “Europe” during my introduction to the program last year, my interest was immediately peaked. Not only did the YHM program allow us to live in Amsterdam for 10 weeks, it invited us to be thrown into an international community of volunteers who all share the same passion for meeting and evangelizing to backpackers from all across the world. 

As I prepared to apply for the program, I couldn’t help but wonder: what’s the catch? So far, I haven’t found one. 

Before being flown across the Atlantic as a team of five Wheaties, Wheaton’s Office of Christian Outreach (OCO) ensured that we were well prepared for the program with weekly lectures given by professors and staff members. Each lecture was interesting and well-tailored to our ministry. Weekend retreats that we took with our team during the spring semester allowed us to get to know who we would be working alongside for ten weeks. 

One of the (many) highlights of my YHM experience has been the ability to be a part of a ministry that is so clearly passionate about the Lord and communicating that passion to travelers. I had plenty of expectations coming into this summer, all of them high. But they were all exceeded. I have been able to learn so much from the people who run the program and the others who volunteered alongside of me. I was challenged, too, and looking back, I am very thankful for those times as well. 

One of the most memorable moments from this summer was when two of the cleaners at our shelter were baptized. I got to know both of them pretty well. One of them had been a Muslim before he came to the shelter, and had a background of drug dealing and use. While he was working at the shelter, he was exposed to Christianity more and more, and at one point saw a vision of Jesus. This was the turning point for him, and he has been on fire for God ever since. 

Whenever I saw him he would tell me about how much he loved everyone because of Jesus. This did come at a price though. He would tell us about how most of his family and friends don't talk to him anymore since leaving the Muslim faith. But he takes his faith seriously, and recently decided to outwardly show that by getting baptized. It was so cool to see the whole shelter community come and celebrate this important decision with him. 


Melissa Ator ’18 is a junior studying applied health science. She participated in Wheaton’s Youth Hostel Ministry program in Amsterdam this summer. Photo captions (from top): YHM students and shelter staff prepare to enjoy a Midsummer Celebration “as the Swedes do,” thanks to one of the shelter staff members who desired to give students an authentic experience of Swedish culture; A baptism service for two shelter staff members who came to Christ through the shelter ministry--they are the two on the far right, participating in a selfie.

My Internship at Samaritan’s Purse

Posted July 6, 2016 by Brielle Lisa '18

Tags: , , ,


“Mom! We have to go to the store right away! I want to get her a notebook and colored pencils!” 

Year after year I remember incessantly pestering my mother so I could go pick out toys for our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. That was my first exposure to Samaritan’s Purse.

My next exposure to Samaritan’s Purse was during fall of my freshman year at Wheaton, when representatives came to Wheaton’s campus to recruit for their internship program. That day, I made a mental note to apply for an internship during the following year. This past fall, I had my heart set on becoming a #SPintern

I was drawn to this internship for multiple reasons, first and foremost because Samaritan’s Purse not only meets people's physical, earthly needs, but also their spiritual, eternal needs. Samaritan’s Purse serves for Christ and His Kingdom.


Throughout my application process, Wheaton’s Center of Vocation and Career reviewed my resume and cover letter, provided me with access to Big Interview (interactive online interview tutorials), and encouraged me each step of the way. 

Now I am almost halfway through my internship as an editorial intern in the Communications Department at Samaritan’s Purse’s International Headquarters in Boone, NC. I spend time writing, editing, researching, and marketing. One of the most exciting projects I am a part of is an Operation Christmas Child marketing campaign targeting 15-23 year olds. As part of the target demographic, I have been able to contribute a valuable perspective. I am also traveling to the Philippines as the lead writer for an Operation Christmas Child shoebox distribution in July—it is amazing how God orchestrates full circle stories.

I enjoy beginning every work day with staff devotions, a time when all 600 employees meet together; “grabbing meals” with my coworkers; hiking after work with fellow interns; and seeing familiar Wheaton faces as there are 11 other Wheaton students interning here, too! 

My goal for my internship is to learn as much as possible—about writing, editing, relief work, professionalism, people’s stories, and Christ’s call on my life. With that, I am thankful for all I have learned at Wheaton. My Christian liberal arts education teaches me to synthesize and think theologically. My professors teach me to show and not tell stories, to read critically, and to communicate clearly. The Wheaton student body, faculty, and staff teach me how to live in community. I get to use all these skills during my internship.

With the next half of the summer still to come, I look forward to traveling to the Philippines, learning more around the office, adventuring in the North Carolina mountains, and developing a keen awareness of God’s perfect timing.


Brielle Lisa '18 is a English writing major with minors in communication and biblical and theological studies. She is currently an intern at Samaritan’s Purse. To learn more, visit their website

Photo captions (from top): Brielle Lisa '18 in front of the Samaritan’s Purse sign; Wheaton interns at Samaritan's Purse, summer 2016: Alexa Dava '17, Brielle Lisa '18, Bella McKay '18, Lydia Kwarteng '17, Jillian Hedges '17, Christy Carlson '17. Row 2: Hannah Sohmer '17, Nicole Kitchen '18, Daniel Travis '17, Joseph Perry '16, Brent Westergren '17, Abby Prince '18; Brielle Lisa '18 and Abby Prince '18 take a hike on Snake Mountain in North Carolina.

Media Center