Spring 2012 TRINITY Magazine, Real World Success
Drew Van’t Land ’10
Major: Philosophy, Political Science
Title: Graduate student in Philosophy, Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto
Drew Van’t Land is studying social and political philosophy with a focus on the intersection of ancient/classical rhetoric with postmodern political theology. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. and teach college. He is involved in the development of the Saxifrage School, a soon-to-be-launched Pittsburgh-based college combining the liberal arts with trades, such as construction and organic agriculture.
Getting ready for the grad track: “Trinity’s philosophy department prepared me well by offering intimate mentoring, a broad range of classes, and a pair of in-depth senior seminars. Not only did my professors write recommendations for me when I applied to graduate school, but they helpfully suggested schools that would be a fit.”
Jam-packed, hands-on learning: “While at Trinity, I studied for a semester abroad at Oxford University. It was a delightful period, jam-packed with learning British history and culture firsthand, being tutored in philosophy, soaking up the majestic Bodleian library, and meeting fellow students and travelers under the guidance of lovely staff.”
Life-changing relationships: “By far the most significant elements of my time at Trinity were bound up in close relationships with Drs. Aron Reppmann ’92 and Stephen Lake, professors of philosophy. I benefitted greatly not only from their lectures, extracurricular availability, and career guidance, but also from their spiritual examples, intellectual vigor, and deep care in shaping me into a more charitable and thoughtful young man. Most important, Trinity was the nexus where my life intersected with that of my wife-to-be, Julianne (Woodroof) ’10. We’re profoundly grateful for the spirit of loving community at Trinity which helped ignite and sustain our commitment to one another.”
Dr. Justin Cooper ’72, executive director of Christian Higher Education Canada (CHEC) and recently retired president of Redeemer University College; and Rev. Julius Medenblik ’82, pastor of New Life Christian Reformed Church in New Lenox, Illinois, and president-elect of Calvin Theological Seminary, recently reflected on their years as Trinity students, their past work and new callings, and their ideas on leadership. In regard to their time at Trinity, both Cooper and Medenblik stressed the influence of great professors and the importance of being involved in the campus community. Becoming involved through clubs, work study positions, and service projects help students to “engage in a wider world,” said Medenblik.
Spring 2010 TRINITY Magazine, Career and Calling
Chris Yonkman ’97
Major: History and philosophy
Title: International trade specialist
Chris Yonkman ’97 first became interested in working for the federal government while attending Trinity. Yonkman, a history and philosophy major met with history professor Dr. Bob Rice to seek advice about possible career paths. The professor suggested work with the federal government.
Yonkman said that conversation, as well as reading an alumni update from Aaron Tambrini ’97 (who was then working for the Immigration and Naturalization Service) laid the groundwork for his eventual career with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). “I believe God was working through these experiences and calling me to service in the federal government,” he said.
Yonkman received a master’s degree in history from Purdue University, and today he is an international trade specialist with CBP, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security. In this position, he is responsible for targeting of imported shipments and analysis of import data in order to protect the American consumer and the economy against illicit trade practices.
His job further entails analyzing import trends, targeting high risk shipments, and prescribing the appropriate action to ensure that the proper duties are collected, that imported merchandise is properly appraised, and that all statutory and regulatory requirements have been met.
For students who may be interested in federal employment, Yonkman advises being persistent with the job application process and notes that it is a profession “somewhat immune” to the effects of a faltering economy.
“The job security associated with federal employment is truly one of its greatest benefits,” said Yonkman. “Unfortunately, some people perceive government workers as having a charmed life when it comes to their work environment. I think it’s important for Christians working in government to help dispel that perception by setting a good example through diligence and hard work.”
Matthew Lanser ’05 stands at a small wooden table, a Bible open in front of him, as he teaches Nigerian villagers who have gathered beneath the generous shade of a tree to hear the gospel. He and his wife Laura ’05 currently serve in Nigeria with Christian Reformed World Missions (CRWM), the world missions agency of the Christian Reformed Church of North America.
The Lansers live in a fairly remote and undeveloped area and spend much of their time engaging with the people they live among and taking care of daily needs, such as getting food and water.