Ben Stolz, a 2010 Philosophy major, went on to become part of the highly competitive Americorps Program, Teach for America. Here is an excerpt from a recent testimonial he sent us:
The philosophy faculty held me to high standards, not letting me get away with sloppy thinking or writing. They and my fellow students also pushed me to attempt to make complex subjects clear and simple, without being simplistic. It was not until later on in my college career that I began to see the practical application of this training.
As a student at Messiah College I was fortunate enough to visit El Salvador on an ecological service trip and study at Oxford and Cairo University. Upon returning from these transformative trips, I was inspired anew to apply my learning to my immediate context. After speaking with my advisor, Dr. Collins, he assisted me with turning my Departmental Honors project into a proposal for a satellite house on campus called the Reconciliation House. Through this project, I was able to explore and define the numerous philosophical facets of reconciliation and peacemaking and in turn, offer tangible ways of implementing grassroots peacemaking efforts from my findings. The skills of careful analysis, synthesis, and writing greatly aided me in constructing a viable proposal. That semester I also did an internship at U. S. Senator Bob Casey’s office in Harrisburg, where I was further able to apply and refine the skills I learned in philosophy.
The education I received at Messiah has not only greatly assisted me with being able to articulate and conceptualize my beliefs, but has aided me with turning those thoughts into action. I currently reside in Brooklyn, NY and teach 6th grade Mathematics with the Americorps program, Teach For America. Each kid I come across is indirectly being affected by my having gone to Messiah College. Though I wish to improve each and every day, I am content to say that my background in careful study, ethical thinking and purposeful doing has served me and my students well thus far.
My education at Messiah has also led me to think seriously about the role of faith in my life. This fact became especially evident in a conversation I recently had with my apartment mate. My apartment mate came to me with a question: "How do you communicate your faith commitment to people who are not usually receptive to experiential accounts of Christianity?" To my surprise, I provided a satisfying answer for him and as a result, came to see how my education at Messiah had helped me learn to authentically, compellingly and creatively speak of my own faith journey.