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Biology student travels, leads, researches and makes the most of Messiah experience

December 12th, 2013

Brennan NealDuring their college years, many students have opportunities to expand their horizons. This spring, one such student, Brennan Neal ’14, will graduate and move on to graduate school. Neal, a biology major with a dual focus on organismal and ecological biology, has gotten involved in a significant number of extracurricular activities and has truly experienced a full college life.

Getting started
Hailing from nearby Hershey, Neal initially didn’t consider Messiah College because he felt it was too close to home. But once he did apply and visit the campus, he said, “It just felt right.” At the same time, other doors were closed when Neal was denied acceptance at two other colleges he was seriously considering. Then Messiah contacted him wondering if he would like to interview for a scholarship. Neal made his decision and enrolled in fall 2010. Read the rest of this entry »

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Men’s soccer claims 10th national title

December 8th, 2013

With a 2-1 defeat over Rutgers-Camden in double overtime, the Messiah College men’s soccer team earned their 10th NCAA Division III championship in just 13 years.

Read all about the game at

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Alumna Kim Lawton `85 shapes PBS’ religion coverage

December 2nd, 2013

At the Reunion Celebration Banquet during Homecoming Weekend, communication alum Kim Lawton ’85 humbly accepted the Distinguished Alumna Achievement Award. Each year, the office of alumni and parent relations salutes alumni who have made exceptional contributions to society or Messiah College. In particular, the Distinguished Alumna Achievement Award recognizes a lifetime of vocational accomplishment that reflects the mission of the college.

Currently working in Washington, D.C., Lawton serves as managing editor and correspondent for PBS’ “Religion and Ethics Newsweekly,” a news-magazine format show that she helped to start in 1997. “We recognized that there was a need in mainstream media for coverage of religion that was intelligent.” The program, which reaches 275 stations, highlights the importance of religion in politics and people’s lives without advocating a particular religion. Read the rest of this entry »

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Water and sanitation access: increasing hope for persons with disabilities

November 18th, 2013

While completing field interviews in rural Mali, I met a young man with disabilities who was living in his parents’ home. As a child he contracted a disease which left him unable to walk. As my colleagues and I began to interact with him, he excitedly showed us a complex system of wires and old batteries that he had assembled. When he touched two of the wires together, several small lights illuminated across an old wooden board. A wide smile flashed across his face as he showed us this amazingly complex system he had designed from the simplest of materials.

As the conversation continued, we were informed that this young man had almost never left his parents’ home. When we asked the reasons for this, his mother immediately discussed the stigmatization and dangers he would face in the community. She explained that some may attribute his impairment to demonic forces and as a result their family would be the targets of extreme discrimination. Read the rest of this entry »

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Messiah alum lands Broadway role

November 11th, 2013

This fall, Stephanie Fieger Klein ’02 made Messiah College history by securing the role of Harpier in the Broadway production of “Macbeth.” For Klein, the road to Broadway has been both challenging and rewarding as she has spent her time since graduation exploring the world of theatre in New York City and regionally, ultimately in pursuit of realizing her Broadway dream.  Now, as Klein takes the famous stage as the daunting creature Harpier, there is no doubt that her once distant dream has become a remarkable reality.

Arts appreciation

Brought up in a home that always prized the arts, Klein found herself interested in theatre from very early on.  What originally assisted in making the transition from awe-inspired audience member to captivating stage presence was Klein’s visit to her first Broadway-sized show, “Phantom of the Opera,” at age 13.  As she phrased it, “The music, sheer grandiosity, and incredible focus hit me hard, and I knew I had to be a part of it in some way.”  Klein first stepped onto the stage and into the shoes of her first role as Little Eva in “The King and I” in high school and discovered that she had found her niche.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Student travels to Argentina with faith the size of a mustard seed

November 4th, 2013

Brittany Horst in ArgentinaI couldn’t believe it. After months of anticipation and expectation, my field hockey team and I were leaving in the morning to travel to Argentina on a mission trip. Anxiousness and worry crept inside me, and I was beginning to doubt that the trip was a good idea. All of the teams coordinated through Messiah’s sports ministry effort—AROMA, a Revolution of Missional Athletes—teams that night to go on a prayer walk to prepare our hearts and minds for what we were about to encounter. The whole time I was praying but still felt uneasy about the trip. When we arrived at our destination by the creek, we sang as a group and a girl from the volleyball team shared Luke 17:6; “He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” This verse caught a hold of me and I prayed, “God, I feel as though my faith about this trip is the size of the mustard seed, but here it is if you would like to use it.”

God works in amazing ways. Upon our arrival, our team was treated as celebrities and served Argentina’s specialty meal that includes lots of meat. We had several opportunities to not only teach young girls field hockey skills but also have fun with them. Even with the language barrier, we were able to connect with the children while playing the sport we love. Read the rest of this entry »

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40th anniversary of the covered bridge relocation

October 21st, 2013

Ken MarkThis year marks the 40th anniversary of the iconic covered bridge that spans the Yellow Breeches Creek.  Ken Mark ’72, now director of the Oakes Museum at Messiah College, was one of two work-study students who assisted with the disassembling, relocating and reconstructing the covered bridge from Bowmansdale, two and a half miles away, to Messiah.

Prior to its relocation, the bridge had fallen into severe disrepair. According to Mark, “The macadam road surface had developed potholes such that you could see straight down to the creek underneath.” Likewise, the original cedar shingles on the roof had been replaced with tin which was also deteriorating rapidly and starting to affect the wood beams underneath. Overall Mark remembered, “The bridge was ugly.” Read the rest of this entry »

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WITF’s Cary Burkett stars in Messiah’s production of “J.B.”

October 14th, 2013

Cary Burkett

Known to the Harrisburg region for the past 28 years as the “voice of central PA,” Cary Burkett is a familiar voice on WITF’s “Center Stage” and on the news as an arts and culture producer for the station. Now in addition to his radio responsibilities, Burkett, who holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theater from the University of Texas, will return to his acting roots playing Mr. Zuss in Messiah College’s production of “J.B.” by Archibald MacLeish.

“J.B.” is a play within a play that is based on the Old Testament book of Job. J.B. is an upright man who continually faces catastrophe and therefore, after much steadfast faith, begins to question the presence of God in his life. Bringing to light the complex question of why God lets good people suffer, audience members watch as two circus clowns, Nickles and Mr. Zuss, who assume the roles of Satan and God respectively, debate J.B.’s devotion to God. Read the rest of this entry »

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The call to be countercultural

October 7th, 2013

David BrooksOn October 3, Messiah College proudly welcomed New York Times journalist and PBS NewsHour commentator David Brooks to address “The Importance of Humility and Civil Discourse in American Life.” Brooks currently acts as an op-ed columnist at the Times, a position which allows him to explore the various aspects of politics, culture and society. In addition to his success at the Times and on the air, the celebrated columnist has also gained widespread recognition as an author with the release of his books “The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character and Achievement,” “On Paradise Drive,” and New York Times best-seller “Bobos in Paradise.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Student pursues passion for the Civil War at summer internship

September 30th, 2013

Messiah College student Elizabeth MotichThis past summer, senior humanities/history major Elizabeth Motich had the opportunity to travel back in time to the year 1863 through an internship at the Gettysburg National Park. During this time, the nation found itself in the midst of perhaps the most violent and utterly tragic time in national history—the American Civil War. Through this internship, Motich encountered distant Civil War history brought back to life through the small, yet significant, town of Gettysburg. One hundred fifty years ago, this town marked the site for the most significant and tragic battle of the Civil War, resulting in a tremendous amount of soldier causalities and great civilian unease. In fact, on the solemn morning of July 4, 1863, civilians of this town awoke to find the bodies of thousands of soldiers, either dead or wounded scattered across the town acting as a somber token of the previous night’s events. Residents quickly assumed the roles of nurses and grave diggers as homes became hospitals and fields became cemeteries. Read the rest of this entry »

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