How do you describe Goshen College students? What does a Goshen College student look like?

On one hand, students today have never been more diverse. There are Mennonites and Muslims on campus. There are students from a block away and those from thousands of miles. There are 17 year olds and 55 year olds. There are students who identify as Libertarian, Democrat, Republican and Tea Party. There are art majors and students pursuing a master of science in nursing degree. There are LGBTQ and straight students. There are first generation college students and those whose great grandparents are GC alumni. They are all Goshen College students.

On the other hand, when you get past labels, boxes and demographic groupings, and meet individuals and hear their stories, you realize that Goshen College students continue to have more in common with each other than what may separate them. To better see those connections, we’d like to introduce you to several of our current students and let them tell you a bit of their stories.

Here are just a few of the many faces of Goshen College:

Jacob Yoder_web

Jacob Yoder ’14

Hometown: Wellman, Iowa
Academics: history major, global economics and international studies minors
Extracurricular involvements: played men’s soccer for four years
Religious affiliation: Mennonite Church USA

Why did you choose Goshen College?

“I chose to come to Goshen College because of its distinct Mennonite values. Being Mennonite was always a significant aspect of my identity growing up in Ethiopia during my middle school years and then in Iowa during high school. It was a tradition I felt I could explore further at Goshen both spiritually and intellectually. Additionally, the prospect of playing soccer at the collegiate level was difficult to turn down.”

What has kept you at Goshen College?

“Community is a big word at Goshen, and you feel it. Through class and athletics, I’ve developed so many relationships with so many different kinds of people. People are friendly, and it’s delightfully inescapable. But what has really made the Goshen experience so enriching was the opportunity to study abroad. Living and traveling in Peru helped me grow so much as person. The lessons I learned, whether in a lecture on rural poverty or just spending time with my host family, left an impression on me that will stick with me the rest of my life.”

What do you hope to do with your degree?

“The options are endless for me and I like it that way. I plan to further my education by attending graduate school for international development or law. Eventually I hope to work for an NGO internationally on poverty alleviation.”

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Trevor Emery_web

Trevor Emery ’16

Hometown: South Bend, Ind.
Academics: pre-physical therapy major, health minor
Extracurricular involvements: baseball, Black Student Union
Religious affiliation: Catholic 

Why did you choose Goshen College?

“I chose Goshen because I liked how supportive and helpful everyone is. Goshen is so welcoming, you get a real sense of community when you’re on campus. During my first to campus, everyone greeted with me a smile and seemed genuinely happy that I was there.”

What has kept you at Goshen College?

“The professors are all approachable and willing to help when needed. Unlike some other colleges and universities, at Goshen you are not an anonymous face in the crowd. All my professors know my name. They are not just lecturing at me, they are involved in my learning process. There are not a lot of places like Goshen College.”

What do you hope to do with your degree?

“I want to get into sports medicine as an athletic trainer or team doctor. I want to be able to help people recover from their injuries and make them stronger and healthier, both physically and mentally.”

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Janeth Vela_web

Janeth Vela ’17

Hometown: Goshen, Ind.
Academics: biology major
Extracurricular involvements: women’s soccer, Latino Student Union, the Commuter Club, the Pre-Med Club. Also volunteers at The Depot in Goshen.
Religious affiliation: Catholic

Why did you choose Goshen College?

“One of the reasons I chose Goshen College was soccer; soccer is a big part of me, so having the opportunity to continue playing after high school was exciting. Another reason I chose Goshen was because I had heard the nursing and science programs were really good here, and both were my top choices for majors, so it just seemed like the right fit. Finally, it was because it is close to home (about 10 minutes away), so I could stay close to my friends and family.”

What has kept you at Goshen College?

“One of the things I really love about Goshen College are the people. The professors are so easy to communicate with, and they’re always ready to clarify things for you. I also enjoy the high diversity on campus because I have the opportunity to learn about lots of different cultures all around the world.”

What do you hope to do with your degree?

“With my degree I hope to continue my education and potentially become a physical therapist. My main goal would be to specialize in pediatrics, but I would not mind working with people of all ages.”

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Mikhail Fernandes_web

Mikhail Fernandes ’16

Hometown: Hyderabad, India
Academics: interdisciplinary major (music, sustainability, broadcasting)
Extracurricular involvements: symphony orchestra, 91.1 The Globe, resident assistant
Religious affiliation: Catholic 

Why did you choose Goshen College?

“Bringing peace, justice and reconciliation are the college’s values and traits that resonate with who I am and what I believe in. Goshen College provided me with the reality of studying at a small college with a strong liberal arts education.”

What has kept you at Goshen College?

“The immense financial generosity provided has helped me stay at Goshen. The professors that I work with are very supportive and they encourage learning that goes beyond the classroom. The Core program at Goshen has also provided me with a fresh outlook of the world through the perspective of the Mennonite faith. The community here has become family to me and it brings me great joy in saying that Goshen has become a home away from home.”

What do you hope to do with your degree?

“I believe in doing service and hope to give back to the underprivileged of my country. I’ve grown up near slums and have witnessed horrific poverty. My family taught me the values and the principle of helping the underprivileged. After attaining my degree, I intend to work with NGOs and build self-sustaining communities and work on providing a free education to those who cannot afford one.”

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Sam Heberling_web

Sam Heberling ’15

Hometown: Mishawaka, Ind.
Academics: American Sign Language major
Extracurricular involvements: volleyball, ASL Club
Religious affiliation: United Methodist

Why did you choose Goshen College?

“I originally chose Goshen College because it was the only school that I was looking at that had both volleyball and ASL as a major.”

What has kept you at Goshen College?

“The academics. I would not trade the ASL department here for anything. The experience we get at GC is amazing: an internship, SST and so many practice opportunities! The professors in the department are so educated in ASL that it makes them the perfect language models for us to learn from.”

What do you hope to do with your degree?

“With my degree I hope to become a nationally certified interpreter. First I would like to do what is referred to as freelance interpreting, so that I can get a feel for many different situations, events, appointments, meetings and much more. Once I spend enough time doing that, I would like to try more difficult and specialized topics like legal, theater and educational. My dream would be to one day interpret on a cruise ship. I am most excited about being able to bring two cultures together in order to connect with each other through language.”

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Penny Stafford_web

Penny Stafford ’14

Hometown: Nappanee, Ind.
Academics: business administration major
Religious affiliation: Apostolic/Pentacostal
Employment: full-time customer service representative for Berry Plastics Corporation 

Why did you choose Goshen College?

“The main reason I chose Goshen College was because of the new B.S. in business administration program for working adults that Goshen College was offering. It was a perfect match for my schedule.”

What has kept you at Goshen College?

“The atmosphere of Goshen College is what has kept me here. The culture and values of Goshen College are in line with my own and Goshen College makes me feel like I am at home.”

What do you hope to do with your degree?

“Obtaining my degree will better align me towards my goals in my current field of work. A degree will help empower me to become more marketable, opening doors for the future.”

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Deb Neubauer_web

Debra E. Neubauer ’14

Hometown: Granger, Ind.
Academics: M.S. in nursing (family nurse practitioner)
Religious affiliation: Catholic
Employment: full-time nurse at Elkhart General Hospital 

Why did you choose Goshen College?

“I completed my RN to BSN through Goshen College at Elkhart General Hospital and felt the calling to continue toward the master’s degree when I finished. I had the full support of my husband and children on this journey.”

What has kept you at Goshen College?

“The program is very accommodating. The Tuesday classes fit into my schedule and Elkhart General Hospital has been accommodating for my work schedule.”

What do you hope to do with your degree?

“I am hoping to align myself with a physician who has the same values and goals as I do in providing health care to families of all ages.”

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Ben Bauman_web

Ben Bauman ’15

Hometown: Lancaster, Pa.
Academics: environmental science (agroecology) major
Extracurricular involvements: EcoPAX, Social Reform Club
Religious affiliation: Mennonite Church USA

Why did you choose Goshen College?

“I chose Goshen College because of the personal attention I would receive from my professors.”

What has kept you at Goshen College?

“After forming relationships with most of my professors, I realize how much they care about my academic performance and want me to succeed.”

What do you hope to do with your degree?

“I believe that it is a human right to have the knowledge and power to grow your own fresh food, rather than relying on larger corporations to provide it. With this in mind, I would like to work with an organization that shares this belief in an urban setting.”

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Danielle Kerschhackl_web

Danielle Kerschhackl ’16

Hometown: Elmwood Park, Ill.
Academics: broadcasting and American Sign Language majors
Extracurricular involvements: 91.1 The Globe (WGCS), The Correspondent (GCTV), ASL Club
Religious affiliation: Assemblies of God

Why did you choose Goshen College?

“I chose to go to Goshen College because of their great communications program.  After I came on a visit and met my professors, they sealed the deal for me.”

What has kept you at Goshen College?

“My majors have definitely kept me around: the campus radio station, 91.1 The Globe, and the ASL program. Also the great friends you make along the way, as well as the close interactions you get with professors that you can’t get anywhere else.”

What do you hope to do with your degree?

“Well, ASL and broadcasting (specifically radio) don’t go hand in hand.  After school I would like to either become an on-air personality for a radio station, become an interpreter or both.”

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Matt Austin_web

Matt Austin ’14

Hometown: Mishawaka, Ind.
Academics: biology major
Extracurricular involvements: baseball

Why did you choose Goshen College?

“I chose Goshen College for a few different reasons. I wanted to go to a small school that was close to home. Also, Goshen has a great reputation with getting students into graduate school. This played a big role because I knew before starting college that I wanted to go on to graduate school. Goshen also provided me with an opportunity to play college baseball.”

What has kept you at Goshen College?

“The two things most responsible for keeping me here at Goshen are baseball and my professors. Baseball was one of the biggest reasons I came here and it’s where I find the most enjoyment. Also, the professors here do a great job in preparing students for the future. Being a smaller school, I am able to work with professors one-on-one more often if I have questions or need help.”

What do you hope to do with your degree?

“I have used my degree to get accepted into optometry school. This upcoming fall I will be attending the Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State. I hope to someday own a private practice and be a team optometrist for a professional baseball team.”

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Melia Watkins_web

Melia Watkins ’17

Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
Academics: business major, marketing minor
Extracurricular involvements: soccer, track, BSU, PRSSA, Campus Connections
Religious affiliation: Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Why did you choose Goshen College?

“Goshen College became my first choice because of the high quality education, the possibility to have an impact at this college, and the opportunity to compete in intercollegiate soccer.”

What has kept you at Goshen College?

“Although perfection does not exist at Goshen, I have found that I can be myself with the people that surround me everyday. The opportunity to compete on the intercollegiate track team has also given me an incentive to continue studying here.”

What do you hope to do with your degree?

“One day I hope to be a marketing director. My plan is to pass the CPA exam, work as an auditor for a Big Four firm for five years, then move on to the marketing field somehow. My dreams are large and complex, but I know I have the ambition to make them come true.”

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Jordan Smeltzer_web

Jordan Allen Smeltzer ’15

Hometown: New Paris, Ind.
Academics: double major elementary education/special education
Extracurricular involvements: cross country, track, Habitat for Humanity
Religious affiliation: Church of the Brethren

Why did you choose Goshen College?

“Goshen had everything in a college that I was looking for. I chose Goshen College for three reasons. First, it was close to home. Growing up I remember going to the Recreation-Fitness Center to run and play basketball a lot. Second, I wanted to continue my running career in college and Doug Yoder (cross country/track coach) recruited me heavily. Third, I want to become a teacher and I heard that Goshen had a solid education department. I also like the idea of a small campus were I could get to know everybody. From my first visit I could tell that everyone here was friendly and I liked that.”

What has kept you at Goshen College?

“After almost three years at college I can honestly say that Goshen is my home. I have created a great network of friends that support me along the way. The relationships that I have created with professors at Goshen has also kept me here. I have had a lot of the same professors for multiple education classes so I feel like we have been through a lot together. They are good professors, but even better people. The last thing that has kept me at Goshen is my teammates. I end up spending a lot of hours with these guys every day and they are my best friends. Through the ups and downs of a season we are always there for each other.”

What do you hope to do with your degree?

“After college I plan to search for a teaching position in the Goshen area. Hopefully, the connections I have made will help land me a job. I have also thought about teaching abroad in Honduras for a couple of years.”

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Ana Ortega_web

Ana Ortega ’16

Hometown: Elkhart, Ind.
Academics: M.S. in nursing (family nurse practitioner)
Family: Married with three children
Religious affiliation: Catholic

Why did you choose Goshen College?

“I did my BSN here at Goshen College because it was very well advertised where I work (Elkhart General Hospital). Shortly after staring the program I realized that I made the right choice because there was good support from professors and office personnel.”

What has kept you at Goshen College?

“I came back for NP because I feel and I know that Goshen College wants to see every student succeed and achieve our goals. Also, I like the diversity that Goshen College has, which makes you feel more accepted.”

What do you hope to do with your degree?

“I see myself working in family practice. I am a firm believer on preventative care and education. I know I will be involved in the community volunteering at health fairs and places where free or low cost care is offered to the public.”

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Karina Flores_web

Karina E. Flores ’17

Hometown: Goshen
Academics: biology major
Extracurricular involvements: soccer, LSU, UNITY
Religious affiliation: Pentecostal

Why did you choose GC?

“I chose to come to Goshen College because it is a Christ-centered college and I was able to afford it after receiving the Presidential Leadership Award scholarship. Also, I wanted to be able to play soccer and commute since I live here in Goshen.”

What has kept you at GC?

“I love the GC biology department and have really enjoyed the opportunities offered to me here. Also, I am a very passionate Christ follower and love to get involved in ministry, so when I got involved in UNITY, I knew I had found where I belong. UNITY is an on-campus prayer and worship group where students can come on Friday nights to pray for each other and just enjoy God’s presence.”

What do you hope to do with your degree?

“I am currently considering becoming a biology teacher. I hope to put my biology knowledge to good use by teaching it to others.”

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Tyra Carver_web

Tyra Carver ’16

Hometown: Kalamazoo, Mich.
Academics: broadcasting major
Extracurricular involvements: 91.1 The Globe (WGCS), The Correspondent (GCTV), basketball, track, BSU, Intercultural Corps
Religious affiliation: Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Why did you choose Goshen College?

“I choose Goshen College mainly for basketball and the broadcasting program. I also liked how close as well as far away from home Goshen is. Goshen is close enough to make a trip home here and there, but it’s also just the right amount of distance to get away from home.”

What has kept you at Goshen College?

“The fact that our broadcasting program has been nationally recognized is what has kept me here, and also helping turn the basketball program around.”

What do you hope to do with your degree?

“In the future I plan on using my broadcasting degree to potentially work for ESPN. As far as my minors I plan on going into coaching basketball, and I plan to one day use my business degree to open up my own hotel.”

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