For some, college life is all about getting a degree. For others, it’s about building a social network for a future career. For Rosanne Anderson ’07, college life was about more than a degree and future jobs. It was about enriching one’s intellect and spirituality in a way that brings about success and life fulfillment.
Drawn to Messiah College with the tagline at the time “Rigorously Academic, Unapologetically Christian,” Rosanne Anderson ’07 saw Messiah as a place to get a quality education and strengthen her faith. She chose to pursue a degree in chemistry with teaching certification. Now, after eight years away from Messiah, and having received her M.S. in Chemistry from Lehigh University, she is a dual-certified chemistry and physics teacher at Cumberland Valley High School in Mechanicsburg, PA.
Anderson says academic courses and the close relationships of students and professors at Messiah were what helped her in both her career and faith journey.
“I could come to [the professors and other students] with my struggles not only about academics, but in life, and I didn’t have to pretend to have it all together because they accepted me where I was at, even if I was rude about my viewpoints that day,” said Anderson. “Those relationships led to research and teaching assistant opportunities while an undergraduate, and further led to genuine recommendations during my job search.”
Those relationships are still going on today, as she works as an adjunct lab instructor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Messiah College.
Apart from her academic life, Messiah has imprinted a deep mark in Anderson’s mind as she found her identity in Christ here.
“Up until Messiah, my only experience with Christianity was my very small conservative church and I had a very narrow understanding of what ‘Christian’ meant,” Anderson said. “During my first semester at Messiah, I realized that the ‘circle’ of the Christian faith was much broader than what I just grew up with, and I began questioning not only what I believed but also why I believed it.”
The questioning process was shipwrecking, but thanks to her close community of friends and professors, Anderson ended up with a more “real, solid, and grounded” faith.
What would she say about Messiah to prospective students? “Messiah is so much more than a dry campus, chapel, community covenant and Bible class,” said Anderson. “It's all about shaping your faith and finding your identity within its great community. Many colleges have a mission and you need to know if that mission is right for you before invest the next years of your life.”