#MyWheaton

What I Learned During My Four Years at Wheaton College

Posted May 4, 2016 by Katherine Braden '16

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Just four years ago, I was a bright-eyed high school graduate headed to Wheaton College, and I had big goals: make lots of forever-friends, get all As, find my one true love, and come out a “stellar” Christian. 

Some of those things did happen, but more importantly, I realized I am not defined by my accomplishments. My worth is not determined by grades, for learning goes deeper than the letters printed on my report card. And my value is not decided by the number of friends I accumulated, the guys I dated, or the prayers I cried when failure and rejection were close companions. Wheaton College has, instead, taught me that the most important thing about me is that I am loved by a merciful and gracious God.

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Wheaton College is a flawed place made up of flawed people redeemed by our loving Father’s grace. For me, it has been a safe place to question, grieve, rejoice, and confront my fears and guilt. I have mourned with my brothers and sisters over systemic injustice as part of the Shalom Community, found myself humbled in the immersion of a different culture during Wheaton in England, and discovered solace while walking alongside literary giants, realizing we both seek the same truths. 


It seems surreal: in just a few days I’ll say a teary-eyed farewell to professors and classmates, receive my cap, gown, and diploma, and consider myself an official alumna of Wheaton College. It has been such a privilege to learn and grow at Wheaton College. So thank you: to the professors, classmates, friends, and staff who have shown me the love of Christ stretches deep, and far, and wide. Thank you for the books I have read, the finals I have studied for, and the papers written. Thank you for the challenges, the tears, the laughter. I can’t imagine spending the past four years anywhere else.

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Katherine Braden '16 is an English major with a writing concentration and a minor in community art. She has edited the #MyWheaton blog from August 2015 through May 2016 and has been continually blessed to hear and share stories of her classmates' Wheaton experiences. 

Photo Captions: Katherine on the English moors during Wheaton in England; Katherine (second from left) with housemates; Katherine with Shalom House Community. 

Building a Loving Community Through Gospel Music

Posted April 27, 2016 by Erin McCord '17

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The first day of freshman year, I hurried through my math competency exam in time to catch the final five minutes of Gospel Choir’s open rehearsal. I ended up dancing in the middle of the circle to stomping, clapping, and shouting. Once rehearsal disassembled, the choir’s director Tanya Egler called me over to the piano. After singing “How Great is Our God” together for a few minutes, she invited me to her church, and I knew this group was my new home.

Three years later, the Gospel Choir family still contains my best friends, is my primary ministry outlet, and provides me with endless opportunities and reasons to worship God. I had the privilege to serve as Co-Business Manager on Gospel Choir Cabinet last year and am finishing this year as the choir’s Vice President. Between scheduling off-campus concerts and handling thousands of dollars, being on Gospel Choir Cabinet has been a definite challenge, but it has furnished more than its share of reward.

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My experiences with Gospel Choir have challenged my approach to teamwork, expanded my social networks, opened up the city of Chicago to me, and have made me feel like I’m a part of Wheaton College. Gospel Choir has also taken me to California, North Carolina, Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago, John P. Kee’s church stage, the Gospel Music Workshop of America, and an astounding variety of other churches and ministries. At the end of next year, we are heading to South Korea on tour.

If you walk into the Office of Multicultural Development and look to your left, you will see these words posted above a desk: “Wheaton College Gospel Choir is a diverse group that exists to glorify God by building a loving community that ministers to others through gospel music.” That’s the heart of what we do, and our four core values – ministry, diversity, family, and music – say it all.

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Erin McCord '17 is a community art major with an urban studies minor. To learn more about Wheaton's Gospel Choir, visit their website. 

Photo Captions: Gospel Choir cabinet jumps for joy; Erin sings in Gospel Choir's 2016 spring concert; members of Gospel Choir pose after the spring concert. 

My Art Gallery Internship

Posted April 20, 2016 by Maureen Lynch '16

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Last semester, while participating in the Wheaton in Chicago program, I had the privilege of interning at Hilton|Asmus Contemporary, one of Chicago’s Top ¬≠tier modern art galleries. Located in the River North Art District, Hilton|Asmus seems small and unassuming on the outside, however it hosts some of the most prestigious art events in the city.

When I began my internship search, I knew initially that I wanted to work at an arts-based organization. As an art history student, gaining experience in the art world was my primary focus. Through working at a small, independent gallery space, I acquired an extraordinary amount of hands¬≠-on experience and one-on-one interaction with big-name artists, including photographer Pattie Boyd, Henry Diltz, and Carinthia West. I wrote press releases, kept the website updated, communicated with artists, installed shows, and facilitated meet and greets. 

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The Art Department and my adviser Dr. Matthew Milliner, assistant professor of art history, went above and beyond preparing me for the intellectual and experiential requirements, expectations, and realities of a gallery internship. I was unsure exactly what to expect, however skills embodied and exemplified by my studio art and art history professors helped me navigate each new situation. Though students can sometimes feel privileged and entitled to jobs and experiences, my peers and professors in the art department demonstrated the hard work that is necessary to thrive professionally and relationally. I am incredibly thankful for my internship as well as the opportunity I have had these past four years to work, study, and create alongside such remarkable and creative people.3

Maureen Lynch '16 is an art history major. To learn more about arts at Wheaton, visit their website

Photo Captions: Maureen poses with artist Pattie Boyd and fellow intern; the outside of the gallery; the inside of the gallery. 

Business, Bandages, Liberal Arts Learning

Posted April 15, 2016 by Wes Braden 17

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A year and a half ago, I read an article in the Wheaton College newspaper, The Wheaton Record, about the startup company Tru-Colour Bandages, a bandage company comprised completely of Wheaton students and Wheaton alumni that make and sell adhesive bandages matching skin tones darker than the typical beige bandage. I contacted the founder, Wheaton alumnus Toby Meisenheimer '96, with the goal of joining a small team of passionate people and bringing change to the bandage industry. After finding out I was majoring in business/economics at Wheaton, Toby offered me a job on the spot.

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Early on, I dug up press opportunities for the company, reached out to influencers, tried to make bulk sales, and actually drove to the post office to mail bandage packs to our customers. Since then, my role has evolved along with the needs and demands of the company. At the moment, I’m the Vice President of Business Development, and I help the other members of the executive team plan how our company represents itself. I also manage some of our larger potential sales deals we are currently working on, both with stores and healthcare systems.

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I’ve been honored to use the skills I have learned from Wheaton’s business and economics department during my time at Tru-Colour. Wheaton’s academic rigor, as well as its incredibly talented faculty and student body, has challenged and transformed how I view the business world; I regularly pitch our product to people who have been in the business world longer than I have been alive! My time at Tru-Colour would not have been possible without my Wheaton education, as I’ve learned to weather criticism, endure tough meetings and sales calls, and foster deep relationships with a team. Pursuing a liberal arts education has given me the freedom to learn from many disciplines and to experiment with ideas and concepts that I would have otherwise been unable to.

Wes ’17 is a business/economics major with an international relations minor. To learn more about Tru-Colour, visit their website.

Photo Captions: Wes and Toby display a Tru-Colour bandage; representing Tru-Colour on the radio station Faith Marketplace; typical Tru-Colour business meeting.

Photo Credit: Ryan Tolbert, Tru-Colour Bandages

Maritime Meditations: Marine Biology at Wheaton and Beyond

Posted April 6, 2016 by Ari Kim '17

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Oceanographer Paul Snelgrove once said, “We know more about the surface of the moon and about mars than we do our own oceans.” I’ve heard this quote a lot throughout my 20 years of life, but I’ve never given it much thought. As a California kid that grew up right next to the ocean, I found it a familiar place. There was comfort in the exploration of tide pools, in hearing the waves break onto the shore, and in the feeling of beach grunge hair.

However spring break of my junior year, I found myself in South Water Caye, Belize on a weeklong trip for my marine biology course. The water looked similar to my Californian surf, but the hues were more vibrant, ranging from the deep, majestic blue of the open sea to the brilliant turquoise of the reef zones. Yet nothing could prepare me for what we found under the surface!

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Every day we would set out on multiple snorkel trips into the incredible Belize reef (the second largest barrier reef behind the Great Barrier Reef). The coral mounds were teeming with organisms of all shapes, colors, and sizes. Hidden treasures could be found between the blades of the sea-grass beds, and we would often find a stingray lazily gliding across the expanse of the sand flats. We learned so much about the complexities of this one marine ecosystem over the span of those seven days, and yet I would find myself completely overwhelmed by the sheer amount of knowledge that we did not explore.

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As scientists, we hunt for answers and explanations to the endless mysteries that compose this complex planet we call home. Often times, however, we become caught up in our work. We neglect to step back and take in the wonder of what we’re studying. Yet, dipping under the waves, this hidden aquatic world is silent: I couldn’t even hear my own breath. As I drifted, weightless, down to the seafloor, I tried to take in as much of the splendor as I could. I clung to every second, knowing that I only had as much time as my lungs would allow. Psalm 46 became alive-- I found myself in a complete state of serenity. In this paradise, just for a few moments, I allowed myself to be overtaken by the raw beauty of Creation. Be still and know that I am God, the Creator of all, who founded the seas and established it on the waters. Selah.

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Ari Kim ’17 is a biology major who traveled to Belize with Wheaton’s marine biology program this past spring break. To learn more about Wheaton’s biology major and study abroad opportunities, visit their respective websites. For more photos of the trip, click here.

Photo Captions: Ari diving; Ari takes a photo with her GoPro after scuba-diving; faculty including Dr. Raymond Lewis, associate professor of biology, examine specimens in the make-shift lab; a photo of the Belize reef.  

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