Steven Clark
Graduate Student, Princeton Seminary, New Jersey
Steven Clark

Faithful Scholar

Steven chose Northwestern because he wanted to be at a college where he wouldn’t be just a number, and he was also impressed with the strength of Northwestern’s biblical and theological studies department. He explored his call to ministry both in the classroom and through experiences like leading worship in chapel and mentoring high school students during Northwestern’s summer Living Your Faith camp. Now he’s at one of the most prestigious seminaries in the country.

How well did Northwestern prepare you for graduate school?
Northwestern did an excellent job—particularly with the specialized preparation the biblical and theological studies department gave me for seminary-level work. I can tell I am much more comfortable and capable with the classes than many of the students who entered Princeton Seminary with me. A large amount of the course material is review for me, and the information that’s new is easily integrated with my existing knowledge from time spent with NWC’s excellent faculty, some of whom also studied at Princeton.

What do you appreciate most about your Northwestern experience?
I’ve come to really value the ease with which genuine friendships were formed at Northwestern. I also appreciate how Northwestern emphasizes both “faithful and courageous” learning. The professors truly believe in Christ and yet are not afraid to examine claims that could be seen as a challenge to that belief. I appreciate just how much that kind of anchored, safe space for questions has shaped my approach to academia and the world.

What do you miss about life at Northwestern?
The men of North Suites will always hold a special place in my heart and my memories. I find myself wondering why we only do that kind of close community in college, especially in a society where young adults consistently report loneliness as a major problem. Christians are described biblically as “brothers and sisters.” It seems to me like the church today could take some pointers from how Northwestern nurtures Christ-centered community.

What are you planning for a career?
I’m currently exploring two career directions, both of which Princeton enables me to keep as viable options. I may discern a call to head straight into full-time pastoral ministry upon graduation, so I’m beginning the process to become ordained in the Reformed Church in America. But I also have great interest in the academic study of theology and the Bible, so I could see pursuing a doctorate after I complete my M.Div. degree.

Regardless, I want to be a faithful Christian who applies his faith critically. Christians are not always characterized in popular thought as being very intellectually informed or consistent, and I want to join Northwestern in the mission of overturning that stereotype. I want to be both a Christian and a scholar—and the best kind of both.