For Nathan Mansor, coming to Geneva College was a well considered decision, made easier by a member of the school’s dedicated and caring faculty. He was struggling to select either Geneva of Grove City as his college choice, and biology professor and cross-country coach Brian Yowler was the defining edge. “He helped me feel comfortable and introduced me to the cross-country team. He’s one of my role models,” Nathan says.
In addition to being known as a fearsome cross-country runner, Nathan is also recognized around campus as the man with the pigeon on his shoulder. He’s held a love for animals and an interest in biology since he was young. As a child, Nathan would sit in church and draw birds and animals. “When I went to the library, I would get one book about baseball and another book about animals,” he says.
After deciding to come to Geneva to major in biology, attending summer courses at Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies naturally seemed like the next step to Nathan. He had heard about the program from Professor Marjory Tobias, Geneva’s Au Sable representative and one of Nathan’s friends from his home church.
Au Sable is an educational institute run by a staff of college professors who teach a variety of specialized biology classes. Each program is a five-week, hands-on experience that enlightens its students to the environmental problems around the world. Much like Geneva, Au Sable also integrates faith with learning. The program provides college credit and offers courses such as wildlife ecology, etymology and other environmentally focused classes. Au Sable has several sites including Puget Sound, Costa Rica and India.
Nathan attended class at the Great Lakes location in northern Michigan. “It was amazing! There was a college professor from Wisconsin teaching wildlife ecology and another from Indiana teaching entomology,” Nathan says. “It was a really fun time. It was good to be around people who like nature as much as I do. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love my roommates, but they don’t see what I see.”
Au Sable deepened Nathan’s knowledge and changed his perspective on nature. “The program really opened my eyes to how fallen the world is. You usually think how fallen humans are, but everything isn’t how it should be. We should be working towards redemption in nature as well as our lives,” Nathan says.
He’s so pleased that Geneva provided him that opportunity and thankful that the Lord used cross country and Coach Yowler to help get him there.
-Ben Butler ’14