Meet Bethany

Bethany | Class of 2011

Hometown: St. Michael, Minnesota

Major: Psychology 

Why did you choose Northwestern, and why did you choose your particular major?
I chose Northwestern because I was searching for a Christian college that would challenge me in my faith and provide me with a biblical foundation as I entered the field of psychology. When I visited UNW, I immediately felt at home and welcomed. I had a sense of peace that this was the place I needed to be. I actually looked at 10 colleges, and UNW was the only one that gave me that peace. It has been a blessing to finally find a place where my values and ideas were accepted and embraced.

I chose to major in psychology because I came from a broken home and had experienced therapy myself. As I completed my own therapy I realized that my struggles and healing could be used to help others, and this could be the reason that God chose me to endure the things that I did as a child. I wanted to give back the hope that my counselor gave me and ultimately show the love of God through the healing process in therapy.

When/how did you decide what major you wanted to study?
I knew I wanted to be a psychologist in 9th grade. I feel called by God to use the struggles of my childhood to help others find hope and grace. Although I have changed the ultimate outcome of my career in psychology, I have been 100 percent confident since 9th grade that this is the field I am supposed to be in.

Why is Northwestern a good place to study psychology/criminal justice?
UNW is a great place to study psychology because the professors not only give you the fundamentals of psychology and the theories, but they also challenge you to integrate your faith and your biblical worldview in every aspect of psychology. While psychology is seen as a secular study, UNW shows students that as Christians it is our duty to incorporate our faith into all aspects of our life, including our careers.

Most influential class so far?
My favorite psychology class has been Psychology of Counseling, because Dr. Mork challenged us to look at each of the secular Western theories of psychology and determine what aspects were biblical and which aspects were not. This class has been the most beneficial for me because I now have clear distinctions between the theories and the biblical application of each. It has allowed me to find aspects of each theory that fit into my biblical worldview and develop a plan of action for my future career that will allow me to stay true to my faith and ultimately bring glory to God through my career.

Most influential psychology/criminal justice professor?
Dr. Mork has been the most influential psychology professor during my time at Northwestern because she invests in each one of her students It is clear that she cares about our wellbeing inside of school and outside of school. She has been a professor that I can turn to for advice and prayer as I have struggled to find myself and find the call God has placed on my life. She not only challenges me in the classroom, but also challenges my faith and the application of both psychology and faith outside of the classroom. She has been an inspiration, as I have been a witness to her deep faith in God and her ability to balance her career in psychology and teaching, her family and marriage, her time with God, and her time volunteering.  

How have you changed as a student at UNW?
As I look back to the person that I was at the beginning of my time at UNW, I have grown and changed so much. I started college as a shy, timid girl who believed in God but was afraid to live out her faith. I had been told that I was nothing, and I believed those messages. As my time comes to a close at UNW, I can say that I have grown spiritually and emotionally, and I have found healing in ways that I never thought possible. Through my time at UNW, I was challenged in all aspects of my life, and I spent my time focusing on God and what it meant to a true Christian. I am no longer afraid to live out my faith, and I feel that I now grasp the meaning of surrender and following the will of God for my life. I have found an intimate relationship with God and now place the entirety of my being around his Word, his ways, and his will.

How have you been stretched and challenged at UNW?
UNW challenged me intellectually, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I found myself challenged in both academics and finding a way to balance school, work, friendships, and marriage. I was also challenged to find my faith and the meaning and reasons of my beliefs. I know have a better understanding of who God is, who I am, and who I am to become in Christ.

What do you value most about UNW?
I value most the intentionality of time spent with God (through chapel, prayer in class, bible classes, etc.) and integrating God into every aspect of life. I will miss this community of believers, and I am fully aware that this opportunity to live life this way may be once in a lifetime.

What would you like to do when you graduate from Northwestern?
After graduation I hope to use my education within a ministry setting to help young women. Through my own experiences God has developed a passion in me to walk alongside the lost, brokenhearted, and invisible and to be an advocate for women who feel they have no one else. My desire is to be the hands and feet of Christ—an instrument to reveal the worth, value, and purpose of each individual I encounter. My ultimate goal is to open a Maternity Home with my mother for pregnant women and their babies to find refuge, security, and hope.

What is something that surprised you about Northwestern?
I was surprised by how accepting everyone really is at UNW. I came from a public high school where I never fit in because of my faith and values, but at UNW I fit in everywhere. Even if I do not know someone, there is a sense of acceptance and kindness. It feels that even if you are alone, you are never alone because we are all unified through our faith.

What would you share with other prospective students considering your major at UNW?
As I mentioned before, I would recommend that any student considering psychology at UNW to study because of the challenge to not only learn the material, but to integrate your faith into every aspect of your life and career.