Laura JonkerChristian education
Brandon, Wisconsin

Faith in her major
Laura describes Northwestern as small and rural, but she loves that, as a result, the community is intimate and intentional about pouring into students’ lives. An RA during her junior year, Laura is also a peer tutor, participates in theatre, and sings both as a choir member and chapel song leader. She serves on the Enlaces en Cristo campus ministry team and is a Discipleship Group leader. Laura has been on Spring Service Project teams that worked among Somali and Ojibwa communities in Minnesota.

The right fit
After visiting 10 Christian liberal arts colleges in the Midwest, Northwestern was my top choice. The college’s abundant service opportunities, generous financial aid package, and strong theatre, Spanish and education programs were all significant factors in my decision. Mostly, though, I came to Northwestern because I knew this place offered a community of support where I could truly grow. I longed for a place that would both nurture and challenge me in my journey as a Christ-follower discovering the world.

Major change
I started my freshman year as an elementary education major with minors in Spanish, theatre and music. I love to teach, but I realized teaching through relational settings fit my interests more than a formal classroom, so I switched to Christian education my sophomore year with a psychology minor. I love sharing hospitality, having intimate conversations and nurturing spiritual growth in those around me.

Christian education
Christian education classes are unique. Instead of pouring over formulas or memorizing scientific facts, I read books about spiritual disciplines, sacraments in the church and understanding the Psalms. For homework in one of my favorite classes, I spent half an hour each day meditating on Scripture. In other words, my classes are designed to constantly remind me of God’s presence. Discussions on the meaning of worship or the principles of discipleship challenge me to rethink the significance of following Jesus Christ. Being a disciple isn’t easy. To teach and nurture others, I must stay connected to the source of strength myself.

Model disciples
My Northwestern professors care about more than my grades. They’re passionate about student learning, but academics only scratch the surface in the development of the whole person. My professors model living a life of faith in Jesus as the ultimate goal of education. They integrate faith and learning by living as disciples of Jesus Christ who are passionate about students engaging in God’s world—both by stretching our brains and filling our hearts.