Olivia Forton

Olivia FortonOlivia Forton is a junior biopsychology major at Geneva College. She commutes to campus from her home in nearby Darlington. The second-oldest of nine kids, Olivia’s childhood was never boring. Her older brother Josiah also attends Geneva, and her younger sister, Emma, will enroll in the fall of 2017.

Olivia was homeschooled, started going to Salt & Light Homeschool Co-op in seventh grade, graduated in 2015 and enrolled in Geneva that fall. “Geneva is a great school for homeschoolers making the transition to college,” Olivia says. “In both, there are high expectations but a lot of support. You need to be self-motivated to drive for excellence, and Geneva’s Christian worldview has reminded me of the reason why I strive to do my best.”

Coming to Geneva, Olivia was interested in a medical career, but she was open to whatever plan the Lord had in store. During her sophomore year, she switched her major from biology to biopsychology. “Through helping and caring for people, I greatly desire to imitate Christ and show them the loving care of God. Being in healthcare can give me the opportunity to meet patients’ needs during some of the darkest times of their lives, when they are desperate and need someone to share the good news of Jesus Christ with them.”

Olivia says studying in the sciences at Geneva has taught her to think more deeply about the vast world God has created. “That everything is so interconnected and we have such a wonderful, incredible God who thinks in such detail about everything blows my mind. It can be overwhelming,” she says. “God created everything down to the very last detail, and He knows every intricacy.  He knows it all. This very thought is incredible, making me stand in awe of the One who made me and of the entirety of His creation.”

Academically, Olivia has had great success, achieving Dean’s List status every semester, and she has continued to cultivate a lifelong passion for photography at Geneva. She is currently a photographer in the Public Relations Department and hopes to continue photography as a career or serious hobby in the future.

On a school trip to Italy, Olivia channeled this passion for photography by taking over 6,000 photos of the beautiful architecture, the breathtaking views and landscapes, and a great variety of shots that capture the incredible sites she and her group had the opportunity to visit.

The Italy trip with 20 others students was led by Geneva Professor, Dr. Jeffery Cole, and Geneva’s Director of the Center for Student Engagement, Randon Willard. This semester-long program covered the content of two Humanities courses and culminated in a month of travel to famous sites, monuments and cities such as Rome, Florence and Venice.

While on the Rome leg of the trip, the group made deeper, more personal connections with each other and with their professor, Dr. Cole. “I wouldn’t have wanted anyone else to take us to Italy,” she says of Dr. Cole. “He told us so much about the places we visited, transforming piles of rubble into sites full of meaning, leading us to appreciate the past and leaving us to stand in wonder at the history around us.”

Visiting Italy in May is just one way Olivia has been positively affected by the opportunities at Geneva College. Initially, she desired to go to a school farther away from home, but now, she says there is no place she would rather be than Geneva.

“The Lord has used Geneva in my life through the professors, students and staff, who all radiate Christ and build the loving community I have come to cherish.” Olivia says. “God’s blessed me through the opportunities I have had, and I love being here.”

-Andrew Domencic ‘19