My Wheaton

Why I Chose Wheaton Grad School

Posted February 17, 2016 by Bornell Nicholson '15, M.A. '17

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I attended Wheaton College as an undergraduate, majoring in psychology. During my junior year, I began seeking out higher education, so I spoke to the director of the Marriage and Family Therapy program at Wheaton College, Dr. David Van Dyke, about whether Wheaton College Graduate School would fit well with my skill set and interests.

After many conversations, I came to the conclusion that Wheaton College Graduate School would be the best institution for me to pursue my professional training. The main reason I chose Wheaton over a secular university was because of its distinctly Christian perspective on psychology. I had no doubt I could receive a wonderful education and terrific training at a secular graduate school, however, my Christian faith is so central to who I am that to leave it out of my professional life would be utter nonsense.


As a therapist in training, I seek to bring my whole self into the room with my clients. At a secular university, I might not have had the space or opportunity to learn how to integrate my Christian identity with my profession. Moreover, my desire for being Christ’s ambassador and serving the underserved align perfectly with Wheaton’s Marriage and Family Therapy Mission Statement: “To form Marriage and Family therapists who value interpersonal justice as well as the diversity of clients and client systems, who work toward the goal of healthy and whole relationships, and who give specific attention to those on the margin of society and the underserved.”

At Wheaton, I have been challenged by academic rigor as well as strengthened in my faith. Therefore, I can honestly say I will be fully prepared to serve For Christ and His Kingdom in my profession as a marriage and family therapist. 


Bornell Nicholson '15 graduated from Wheaton last spring and is a first year master's student at Wheaton College Graduate School. To learn more about Wheaton College Graduate School and the Marriage and Family Therapy program at Wheaton, visit their websites. 

Photo Captions: Bornell celebrates his undergrad graduation last spring; Bornell with fellow Marriage and Family Therapy students; Bornell with fellow Graduate School students. 

An Education Major Explores Wheaton's Center for Vocation and Career

Posted February 11, 2016 by Chloe Keene '18

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“Promoting human flourishing among our students is something we talk about in the education department a lot,” shares sophomore Chloe Keene '18. Chloe is a double major in secondary education and English, and is also pursuing an endorsement in ESL.

Drawn to Wheaton because of the College’s unique combination of academic rigor and Christian faith, Keene was fairly certain she wanted to be a teacher but also wished to explore other options. She met with Dee Pierce at Wheaton’s Center for Vocation and Career (CVC) who helped her talk through her strengths, discover that they lend well to teaching, and confirmed her desire to pursue a teaching career.

Canvas, a series of events put on exclusively for sophomores, is geared towards helping students like Chloe explore career and vocation. “One thing I’ve gleaned from it,” shares Chloe, “is really just being able to better tell my story and be comfortable with that. [We’ve] worked on elevator pitches, resumes, our LinkedIn profiles...lots of different things to get us started and comfortable and proud of the stories we have to tell.”

Chloe finds the education department an inspiring community of fellow students all aiming toward a similar goal.“Showing our students, even without directly saying it, that God is in and through our studies is such a cool part of being an education major and something that I’m learning as a student that I can’t wait to share with my own students someday,” Chloe says.

To learn more about Wheaton's Center for Vocation and Career (CVC), visit their website. 

Discovering Financial Aid

Posted February 3, 2016 by Travis Mercante '17

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Until the beginning of my junior year, I had never interacted with anyone from Wheaton's Financial Aid office. When circumstances in my family jeopardized my ability to continue my Wheaton education, I entered the Financial Aid office with trepidation.

A kind receptionist set up an appointment for me with my adviser, Ben Grey. Due to my situation, I had no idea how financial aid at Wheaton worked, and I feared I would have to navigate the murky waters of taxes and the daunting “FAFSA” all on my own. However, I quickly realized that was not the case. Ben explained to me in detail how the system worked, and he patiently answered my numerous questions. At first, I felt as though my questions were ignorant, the answers obvious to everyone but me. However, Ben always encouraged me, assuring me we could figure it out together. Even after that meeting when I had more difficult and specific questions, Karen Belling, the Director of Financial Aid, talked with me on the phone for an hour and expressed a genuine desire to help me.

It continues to amaze me how Wheaton’s motto “For Christ and His Kingdom,” permeates every aspect of the college, and the Financial Aid office is no exception. They have been my advocates and mentors, and it’s through them that I’ve been able to stay at Wheaton. If it were not for Financial Aid, I would not have been able to complete my Wheaton College experience, and a hard time in my life would have been made much worse.  I will never be able to thank them enough for their assistance and all the help they continue to provide. I am privileged to call them my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Travis Mercante ‘17 is a junior majoring in Business and Economics. Visit the Financial Aid Office website to learn how financial aid can make your Wheaton experience possible, apply for aid, or discover FAQ's and tips. 

Photo Captions: Travis and Titus Payne '18 in their dorm; learning to swing-dance; Travis rides a llama in Panama during Wheaton's Iron Sharpens Iron program this summer. 

Wheaton In Chicago: "Who Is My Neighbor?"

Posted January 27, 2016 by Hunter Hambrick '17

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"I want to be a sponge,” I told myself before beginning my fall semester with Wheaton in Chicago. I decided the best posture to adopt when living in Chicago would be one of humility. Learning and growing as a person were my main goals, but little did I know how much living in the city would transform me.

My greatest impetus for applying to Wheaton College was Wheaton in Chicago, the semester-long program that allows a small group of Wheaton students to live, work, and learn together in the city. It provides students an opportunity to learn from community organizations all across Chicago. After my freshman year, it seemed foolish to live so close to a leading global city without ever truly accessing its resources.

And ‘access’ I did.

I said I wanted to be a sponge, but in reality I did less ‘soaking up’ than I did drinking in of Chicago’s myriad of social concerns:

Housing discrimination.

Education reform.

Mass incarceration.

Gender inequality.

Racial segregation.

The opportunities to learn and serve seemed infinite.These colossal concepts made the program particularly challenging but equally rewarding. Through coursework, service opportunities, and my internship at Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (led by David Doig ’86), I realized that developing whole communities is difficult work but extremely worthwhile.

Wheaton in Chicago both complicated and corrected my overly idealized view of the city. Chicago presents certain advantages and disadvantages, but it ultimately makes me ask the question, “Who is my neighbor?” Answering that in a way that is for God, for people, and for creation may take me a lifetime, but it will certainly make me a more complete person.


Hunter Hambrick '17 is an English Writing major. The Wheaton In Chicago program has had over 200 students participate in it since its creation in 1998. Learn more about Wheaton In Chicago by watching the video below or visiting their website. Interested in applying? 

Photo Captions: Hambrick in front of the Uptown theatre just a few blocks away from the Wheaton In Chicago apartments; the 2015 Wheaton In Chicago group 

Rigor & Transformation: My Experience with Music Education at Wheaton

Posted January 20, 2016 by David Batdorf '16

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My experience as a music education major at Wheaton has been marked by rigor and transformation. Early in high school I found myself muttering, seemingly void of inspiration, the ambiguous phrase, “I want to impact kids’ lives.” At the time, what I really wanted was an impressive performance career, but for the sake of job security, I “settled” for music education. Now, as I begin my last semester at Wheaton, I’m so thankful that God used my misguided motivation to bring me into the music education department at Wheaton. 

Music education is considered by many to be the most demanding major at Wheaton. Whether or not this is true, it was demanding enough to quickly challenge my motivation: do I really love music and people? What will motivate me to wake upevery day and pour into students? What will keep me from burning out?


Wheaton did not expose these questions without providing resources for answers. A spring break trip led to an internship which staged a gospel-driven, heart-transforming summer. Professors invited me into their offices and lives, offering friendship, challenges, and opportunity. Friends shared meals with me and, while we ate, offered their passion for Jesus and his work. In its rigor, music education exposed me to questions that could only be satisfied by Jesus. When I began to discover his heart I found that it loves beauty, relationship, and work. God loves music education because He made everything about it.

I want to impact kids’ lives. The once ambiguous phrase is now poignant and inspirational. I want to share Jesus through music because through it, Jesus has found me.


David Batdorf '16 is a senior music education major with a French horn concentration. Visit the Wheaton Conservatory website to learn more about Wheaton's music education program.

Photo Captions: David hiking in New Hampshire; David with the Symphonic Band French horn section

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