Many people only use the word “calling” when speaking of those involved in some form of official ministry. But at Geneva, students are continually reminded that “calling” applies to all vocations and all aspects of life.
Case in point: Ben Roberts, an engineering graduate, knows that he has been called to be an engineer.
“Geneva is big on talking about vocation,” Ben says, “and I feel called that this is my vocation, that God has equipped me with the right skills and abilities to be in this field.”
Ben's course of study didn't fit neatly within the categories of chemical, civil or mechanical engineering, however. He worked with his academic adviser and professors to do an interdisciplinary study with the biology department in order to create his own concentration within the engineering program: bioengineering.
“I want my work to be meaningful work,” says Ben. “Bioengineering can range from making medical devices, prosthetics and implants to researching materials that are safe to put in the human body.
“I want to make an impact in people’s lives, to show the love of God through the work that I do,” he explains. “I don't want to spend my life and my gifts making the next iPod.”
Ben first heard about the possibilities of bioengineering from a Geneva professor who mentioned that a Geneva graduate had gone into the field. Ben approached his adviser with the idea, and they began organizing his schedule to accommodate this new direction.
Because the work engineers do often includes lofty technical jargon and concepts unfamiliar to the lay person, many engineering graduates often struggle to effectively communicate just what it is they're doing. But thanks to the Geneva’s emphasis on producing well-spoken and well-rounded engineers, Ben says he has grown in areas such as his communication and formal presentation skills.
“For some classes with a design component, we would often have to give a presentation on our final product,” says Ben. “I've been trained how to think, especially how to approach a problem or need and then work through until I have a solution, [as well as] how to write, talk, present, dress and work as an engineer so that others can understand me and the work that I've done.”
Though Ben's concentration was, as he calls it, “unorthodox,” Geneva faculty and staff had made evident their support of his calling to improve the lives of others through the practical application of bioengineering technology. It mirrors the aim of the college: to equip students to transform society for the kingdom of Christ.
- by Brooke Prokopchak ('08)
Ben Roberts graduated from Geneva in May 2008 with an independent concentration in bioengineering. He is originally from Bloomington, Ind., and is currently pursuing his Masters in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue.
Geneva College’s Center for Urban Biblical Ministry (CUBM) in Pittsburgh educates urban students for effective service in their local communities.