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Graduates taking Providence experience into the rest of life
2016-04-21
The “personal touch” is what sold Jordan Siemens on Providence.
 
Having received a scholarship offer from another Canadian, Christian university, the then-Grade 12 student opted for Otterburne after a lunch conversation with a Providence faculty member.
 
“Bruce Duggan came out to Altona,” says Siemens, who grew up on a farm near the southeast Manitoba town. “During that lunch he asked if I would be interested in doing a Business and Agriculture double major. That’s what closed it for me—that he came out to Altona; that personalized connection.”
 
Siemens will graduate with Bachelor of Arts in Business and Agriculture (he completed the first component of the degree in 2014) when Providence University College’s Class of 2016 is convocated on Sunday, April 24. He’ll then turn his attention to farming—he has rented 500 acres this year—as well as his continued service at Altona Evangelical Mennonite Mission Church, where he works as Worship Coordinator.
 
Great things to say
 
Like Siemens, Esther Schmidt will leave Providence with “a lot of great things to say” about the school’s personal touch.
 
“I really appreciate the relationships we are able to foster with our professors,” she says. “Providence offers smaller classroom settings, and that allows more one-on-one time with faculty. I think this has aided in my learning and shaped who I am as a person.”
 
Schmidt will graduate with a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology from Providence Theological Seminary on Saturday. She previously earned a Bachelor of Arts in Intercultural Studies from Providence University College and says her first impressions of the Otterburne campus were the “beautiful landscape of the school” and the “equally beautiful community.”
 
Having deep conversations with fellow students, worshipping together during chapel times, and living in community are just some of the formative takeaways Schmidt will bring with her into the rest of life, and she says her Providence-instilled understanding of “self care” will serve her well as a Counsellor.
 
“This is something that took a while for me to grasp,” she says. “But once I did I felt I was much better for myself and for my clients.”
 
Spiritual formation
 
Both Siemens and Schmidt say the spiritual formation they experienced at Providence will inform their professional lives going forward.
 
“I have a better relationship with the Bible,” says Siemens, adding that he learned to read the Bible “with more respect,” sometimes moving “beyond the surface of scripture.”
 
He also came away with a better understanding of Christian traditions he hadn’t been exposed to before arriving at Providence, such as those practiced by Anglican and Catholic believers.
 
“Despite our differences we’re all striving to know God better,” he says. “The diversity of human beings within the Christian family is something I have an appreciation for.”
 
Schmidt found Christian faith wove together the various programs and classes that made up her Providence education and that the importance of her faith was “emphasized” as she prepared for professional life.
 
“Another important aspect I’ll take away is that everyone has a story and a journey they are on, and no matter what I will always remember that they are made in the image of God,” she says. “We all stand in need of God’s grace, love, and mercy. This is one of the most important things that I have learned and that I can take with me, not only for myself but also for my clients.”
 
(Top: Jordan Siemens; bottom: Esther and Jonathan Schmidt)
 
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