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College is an intensely formative time, and students are encouraged (and equipped) to seek God’s calling for their lives as they pursue their area of study.
Hannah Harvey graduated in 2016 with a degree in Christian Education Ministry, now known as Christian Ministries. She currently works as Student Life Associate Director at Wheaton Bible Church where she oversees the high school ministry.
In high school, Harvey went on a missions trip overseas and was hospitalized with a bacterial infection after rinsing her retainer with the local tap water. This experience sparked a passion for cultural outreach and public health, and especially ensuring that people have access to clean water around the globe.
When Harvey arrived at Taylor her freshman year, the Public Health major was not yet available, so she chose Exercise Science. While taking the Introduction to Exercise Science class, Harvey realized that the scientific aspect behind public health was not what interested her.
“I realized that I don’t want to know the science behind building wells,” Harvey said. “I want to lead the volunteer teams of people who are going to go and do relational ministry with these communities.”
After spending a semester questioning what she wanted to study, Harvey declared a major in Christian Ministries. Her desire to work with different cultures still pervaded. After she spent a summer in Ecuador with Taylor’s Spanish program, she knew that she wanted to work with Spanish-speaking communities. She started looking for ways to get involved.
“I had this moment where I asked myself, ‘Why do people spend so much money to go overseas to do ministry across cultural contexts when nowadays all you have to do is walk across the street?’” Harvey said.
Harvey began looking for opportunities to serve cross-culturally where God had placed her. A friend from Taylor told her about a Spanish-speaking church in Chicago that works with social services for language and adult literacy as well as an after-school program for youth. She looked into the program and applied for a position. She had an internship working with an after-school program for middle school students and worked there full-time for two years after graduating from Taylor.
Having spent time in social work circles, Harvey felt that her skillset was outside that area. She was attending Wheaton Bible Church and the church wanted to integrate the English and Spanish speaking congregations more, so they decided to combine the youth groups. Through that, a position for a female discipleship position was available and Harvey immediately applied. She has been working there ever since, and loves how no two days look the same.
“It’s something that I love about what I do, where everyday is something different and I’m meeting with someone new,” Harvey said. “A huge part of my job is just caring for our volunteer leaders…life happens outside of church, and being able to do life with people outside of that is something I really love.”
One of Taylor’s foundational documents is the Life Together Covenant, which outlines the expectations and responsibilities of living in a Christian community. Harvey watched those ideas play out in real time while at Taylor. During her senior year, her mother was in the hospital for several months. During that time, her floormates, professors, and even then-President Euguene Habecker extended support to her and her entire family.
“That semester, Taylor showed me what it looks like to care,” Harvey said. “A lot of those things I’ve kept with me, like what it looks like for me to care for people.”
Harvey has taken those experiences and integrated them into how she relates to her students. She recognizes their individual needs and personalities and how best to care for them in light of Christ’s love.
“Get involved with a local church,” Harvey encourages students who want to study Christian Ministries. “You learn so much outside of the classroom. Any chance you have to get that practical ministry experience is so great.”
The Biblical Studies, Christian Ministries, & Philosophy department offers a variety of ways for students to get involved with their studies and ministries opportunities. Relating to the five different majors that the BSCP department offers, students can compete with Taylor’s nationally-ranked Ethics Bowl team, work with the Center for Scripture Engagement, and plan and lead events for other students.