February 2016

Wheaton Shark Tank Winner: Flourish

Posted February 24, 2016 by Mary Elizabeth Goodell '16

Tags: ,


The first time I realized I wanted to start a business was last year. I was sitting in my microfinance class as my professor explained that even if a woman was forced into prostitution through human trafficking, she could still be stuck with a criminal record and have difficulty finding work outside of the sex industry.

The injustice of it was hard for me to stomach. I had to do something for those women.

I've dreamed of designing dresses that are made sustainably for years, especially as I become more aware of the horrific labor practices used in the fashion industry. When I heard about the need for jobs for survivors of the sex industry, I saw how my love for clothes and heart for disenfranchised women could actually fit together beautifully.

Over the next year, "Flourish" took shape. The idea was to sell sustainably made dresses by employing victims of sexual violence. I read all I could on the issue but wasn’t sure what to do next until Anna Morris, the Director of Student Alumni Board, suggested I participate in Wheaton's Shark Tank last fall. I figured it was time to put all of my research to use and really develop my dream. By participating in Shark Tank, Flourish came together through a series of events, people, and “lightbulb moments” that the Lord wove together over the years.


Winning Shark Tank was huge for me.  To have other people get behind this dream has been really humbling and encouraging. It’s one thing to have a crazy idea to combine fashion with social justice and another to have someone believe that you can do it and offer you resources to help make it a reality.

I don’t know what comes next, but I sincerely believe the Lord will continue to connect me with the right people and put me in the right places to grow this vision. I’m eager to see how He will provide for Flourish in the coming months.


Presented by the Student Alumni Board and Opus, Shark Tank is an entrepreneurial competition among Wheaton College students modeled after the eponymous television show. Mary Elizabeth Goodell '16 was announced the winner on February 18th. 


Photo Captions: Mary Elizabeth after winning Wheaton Shark Tank; Mary Elizabeth presenting her company Flourish at Shark Tank last Thursday; Mary Elizabeth with friends at the Chicago Art Institute.


Why I Chose Wheaton Grad School

Posted February 17, 2016 by Bornell Nicholson '15, M.A. '17

Tags: ,


I attended Wheaton College as an undergraduate, majoring in psychology. During my junior year, I began seeking out higher education, so I spoke to the director of the Marriage and Family Therapy program at Wheaton College, Dr. David Van Dyke, about whether Wheaton College Graduate School would fit well with my skill set and interests.

After many conversations, I came to the conclusion that Wheaton College Graduate School would be the best institution for me to pursue my professional training. The main reason I chose Wheaton over a secular university was because of its distinctly Christian perspective on psychology. I had no doubt I could receive a wonderful education and terrific training at a secular graduate school, however, my Christian faith is so central to who I am that to leave it out of my professional life would be utter nonsense.


As a therapist in training, I seek to bring my whole self into the room with my clients. At a secular university, I might not have had the space or opportunity to learn how to integrate my Christian identity with my profession. Moreover, my desire for being Christ’s ambassador and serving the underserved align perfectly with Wheaton’s Marriage and Family Therapy Mission Statement: “To form Marriage and Family therapists who value interpersonal justice as well as the diversity of clients and client systems, who work toward the goal of healthy and whole relationships, and who give specific attention to those on the margin of society and the underserved.”

At Wheaton, I have been challenged by academic rigor as well as strengthened in my faith. Therefore, I can honestly say I will be fully prepared to serve For Christ and His Kingdom in my profession as a marriage and family therapist. 


Bornell Nicholson '15 graduated from Wheaton last spring and is a first year master's student at Wheaton College Graduate School. To learn more about Wheaton College Graduate School and the Marriage and Family Therapy program at Wheaton, visit their websites. 

Photo Captions: Bornell celebrates his undergrad graduation last spring; Bornell with fellow Marriage and Family Therapy students; Bornell with fellow Graduate School students. 

An Education Major Explores Wheaton's Center for Vocation and Career

Posted February 11, 2016 by Chloe Keene '18

Tags: ,

“Promoting human flourishing among our students is something we talk about in the education department a lot,” shares sophomore Chloe Keene '18. Chloe is a double major in secondary education and English, and is also pursuing an endorsement in ESL.

Drawn to Wheaton because of the College’s unique combination of academic rigor and Christian faith, Keene was fairly certain she wanted to be a teacher but also wished to explore other options. She met with Dee Pierce at Wheaton’s Center for Vocation and Career (CVC) who helped her talk through her strengths, discover that they lend well to teaching, and confirmed her desire to pursue a teaching career.

Canvas, a series of events put on exclusively for sophomores, is geared towards helping students like Chloe explore career and vocation. “One thing I’ve gleaned from it,” shares Chloe, “is really just being able to better tell my story and be comfortable with that. [We’ve] worked on elevator pitches, resumes, our LinkedIn profiles...lots of different things to get us started and comfortable and proud of the stories we have to tell.”

Chloe finds the education department an inspiring community of fellow students all aiming toward a similar goal.“Showing our students, even without directly saying it, that God is in and through our studies is such a cool part of being an education major and something that I’m learning as a student that I can’t wait to share with my own students someday,” Chloe says.

To learn more about Wheaton's Center for Vocation and Career (CVC), visit their website. 

Discovering Financial Aid

Posted February 3, 2016 by Travis Mercante '17

Tags: ,

Until the beginning of my junior year, I had never interacted with anyone from Wheaton's Financial Aid office. When circumstances in my family jeopardized my ability to continue my Wheaton education, I entered the Financial Aid office with trepidation.

A kind receptionist set up an appointment for me with my adviser, Ben Grey. Due to my situation, I had no idea how financial aid at Wheaton worked, and I feared I would have to navigate the murky waters of taxes and the daunting “FAFSA” all on my own. However, I quickly realized that was not the case. Ben explained to me in detail how the system worked, and he patiently answered my numerous questions. At first, I felt as though my questions were ignorant, the answers obvious to everyone but me. However, Ben always encouraged me, assuring me we could figure it out together. Even after that meeting when I had more difficult and specific questions, Karen Belling, the Director of Financial Aid, talked with me on the phone for an hour and expressed a genuine desire to help me.

It continues to amaze me how Wheaton’s motto “For Christ and His Kingdom,” permeates every aspect of the college, and the Financial Aid office is no exception. They have been my advocates and mentors, and it’s through them that I’ve been able to stay at Wheaton. If it were not for Financial Aid, I would not have been able to complete my Wheaton College experience, and a hard time in my life would have been made much worse.  I will never be able to thank them enough for their assistance and all the help they continue to provide. I am privileged to call them my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Travis Mercante ‘17 is a junior majoring in Business and Economics. Visit the Financial Aid Office website to learn how financial aid can make your Wheaton experience possible, apply for aid, or discover FAQ's and tips. 

Photo Captions: Travis and Titus Payne '18 in their dorm; learning to swing-dance; Travis rides a llama in Panama during Wheaton's Iron Sharpens Iron program this summer. 

Media Center