The Christian vision for a life well-lived is irrevocably tied to one’s ability to listen to God’s call. And yet “calling” can be a slippery concept to pin down in our lives, filled as they are with desires, both rightly ordered and not, duties that we embrace or shirk. In a contemporary culture ever redesigned to fill all our spare moments like spackle on a wall, our lives lack purchase for the Spirit to take hold. Discerning a calling takes time, energy, space, and community. It requires both work and rest, solitude and community, conversation and silence. Bushnell University has long been committed to creating a vibrant campus community intent on empowering purposeful graduates, each of whom has been given the opportunity to flourish.
It is a great privilege to partner with other organizations for the same purpose. In Fall 2022, a generous grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust launched Bushnell’s first cohort of the Vision and Call Internship Program. The V + C program is an opportunity for Bushnell graduate students (and graduate-age young adults) to continue to discern their calling through a meaningful work experience within the Christian higher education realm and worked out through a community of mentors and peers. The Murdock Charitable Trust defines the purpose of the program as three-fold: “(1) to provide a transforming experience for young adults; (2) to increase the pool of talented emerging leaders entering the workforce; and (3) to educate and empower a commitment to the development of young leaders on the part of Christian organizations.”
The Murdock Trust funds the program for the first six years, with Bushnell taking over the responsibility for funding the program at the end of that season. The grant funds, totaling over $250,000 over a six-year period, provide administrative and program support, and a living stipend for students. Funding is also available for each of the interns to join a professional society and additional training or conferences according to their areas of interest. Each intern fills a specific need within the Bushnell campus community, while they themselves receive training and mentorship – a symbiotic relationship in the ecosystem of our university.
Intern Jordyn Ramos ’22 explains, “Our internship positions are designed to help others thrive, while we learn how to thrive as well.” Program advisor Angela Doty ’00, M.A. ’05 and Bushnell’s Dean of Career and Academic Resources, emphasizes the interdisciplinary nature of the internship program, and the unique makeup of this class of interns. All six of the interns are women and each provide critical leadership and growth in the different departments in which they serve.
Doty, who is herself completing doctoral studies at Azusa Pacific University in higher education, reflects, “Bushnell’s superpower is creating meaningful experiences. The intent is not to leave the grunt work for interns, but they are getting to be part of something bigger than themselves. They are contributing towards Bushnell’s mission by developing projects they care about.” Clinical Mental Health Counseling graduate student Samantha Silver ’22 said it best: “I would already be doing this work, but it would have taken more energy and time. The Murdock Vision and Call grant has given me the capability to achieve my dreams.”
As these six interns find their way, both Murdock and Bushnell can achieve their goals as well.