Who are the Wild Hope Fellows?

Created in 2014, the Wild Hope Fellows program aims to nurture a yearly cohort of students who will study various perspectives on vocation and then undertake projects in the university that welcome students into thoughtful reflection on leading lives of meaning and purpose, now and when they graduate.

Each spring semester candidates are nominated by members of the Center for Vocation Steering Committee.  The nominees are then invited to apply and interview for the fellowship. Those who are selected meet weekly with Wild Hope leaders, Dr. Marit Trelstad (Religion), and Ms. Laree Winer (Student Life) to learn collaboratively about the origins, meaning, and practice of vocation at PLU. Wild Hope Fellows receive a stipend of $1000 for their participation in the cohort.

As Fellows meet throughout the year, they should find themselves understanding rich and varied views of vocation; be able to describe and critically question Lutheran perspectives on vocation; recognize how PLU’s commitment to vocation supports its educational mission; demonstrate practical skills that nourish reflection on vocation (e.g., appreciative listening; silence; meditation); discuss vocation with other students; and serve as public representatives of the Center for Vocation at university events.

The Center for Vocation welcomes the eighth cohort of Fellows for the 2021-22 academic year.

Meet the 2021-22 Fellows

Koa Beck
Koa is a 3rd year Social Work major with minors in Criminal Justice and Sociology, and a Peace Corps Prep certification.

With a day off I wouldSpend my time relaxing and reading, or travelling. I have always been an avid reader and try to take advantage of my free time to do so since it is so scarce as a student. I also like exploring new spaces, areas, restaurants, parts of nature, etc. If I had free time, I would devote a large portion to discovering something new. Expanding oneself into the unknown tends to lead to new discoveries about our environment and ourselves. 

What makes me come alive isThe things that tend to make me ‘come alive’ are predominantly the pillars of my upbringing that have become roots to my being. I am very passionate about social justice and that value stands at the focal point of everything that I do. It is the reason I decided to major in social work, and furthermore add on criminal justice, sociology, and peace corps prep minors. These subjects directly impact people with marginalized identities, and I believe that through this work social justice can be brought forth. Interconnected entities under social justice that make me ‘come alive’ are my culture, and the celebration of other’s cultures, the discovery of one’s identity, and the ways in which art and nature influence us to become who we feel we are meant to be. 

What is bringing me a sense of wonder this semester isThis semester I feel a sense of wonder within the unknown. These last two years under the continuing pandemic have been a testament to our dedication, perseverance, and resilience as students. Along with that came a lot of change. Change within our peers, change in how we interact with our environments, and most importantly change within ourselves. Much of this change is still unknown; every aspect of our lives has become multifaceted and new. Wonder exists within this unknown, but it serves as an opportunity we have lost for quite some time. As students, to wonder is our function. To be given back this ability is thrilling and comforting simultaneously. 

Some things that make me feel like me areBeing challenged and pushing myself to exceed the expectation, Socratic seminars among peers, being given the opportunity to educate others, writing essays that question and demand, listening to lectures of the classics, profound conversations that shift my worldview, empowering others, and working to dismantle oppressive structures. 

What makes me feel appreciated isWhen others depict the impact that I have had on their lives, no matter how big or small. It’s easy to go about this life without understanding the role we play in other’s existence. The truth is that we are all interconnected yet rarely understand to what extent. When someone explicitly allows me to see myself through their eyes, I feel as though I am better able to understand who I am and why. Perspective is everything, and at times can feel like a blessing given to us by others. 

Three words I would use to describe myselfResilient, Empathetic, Incandescent. 

My biggest fear isFailing the expectations I have for myself. I have experienced a lot in this life that has shaped me into who I am today, and the only reason I have been so unyielding despite my experiences is my will to always become more. To fail myself after all of it would be utterly devastating. 

My proudest accomplishment isMy proudest accomplishment is who I am. I believe that one should never stop evolving, but in this moment, I recognize myself from who I dreamt of being as a young girl. It can be so easy to forget that we exist within the blessings we yearned for. Through the grieving, rebuilding, and growth of experiences I have remained genuine in the core of my persona. To have had so many profound moments yet maintain a solid foundation that has allowed me my accomplishments and development, I am very proud of myself for that.

My curiosities right now areI am curious about the world. There is so much that it has to offer that it can be quite daunting at times, yet I do not wish to shy away from it. The pursuit of knowledge is a pillar in my life. Through learning there is growth. In this growth, I believe we discover new pieces of ourselves and the world. The unknown is vast and inviting. I am curious as to who I will become, the facets of the human experience, and all the things I have to learn. 

When did you first hear about the idea of vocation? What do you think about it? My mother was the first person I learned about vocation from. She is a force in every way, always paving her own path. Due to her strong nature and morals, she often embodied the idea of living the life you want to. She’s the one who passed down the idea of a “calling” in life to me, and therefore the idea of vocation. I was excited about this idea of living within my purpose; the purpose I create for myself. There’s a sense of freedom in existing within the framework you build for yourself.  

How does what you are studying relate to your sense of purpose or your calling in the world? I am a Social Work major with Criminal Justice, Sociology, and Peace Corps Prep minors. I chose these areas of study because they best align with my own personal values and can provide the tools I need to live in my truth. Social justice, service, compassion are facets of these academic focuses and that is why I was drawn to them. My ability to fulfill my purpose exists within these topics, and therefore I can thrive within them. 

Extracurricular Involvement: I am the president of Phi Alpha, the social work honors club, and I work for the Parkland Literacy Center to help students in the Parkland school district with their studies. Being the president of Phi Alpha allows me to be fully consumed by my major and to help spread awareness of the purpose of social work in our society. Working at the PLC allows me to work with students in a way that empowers them through their education. Involvement in these forces strengthens my connection with my vocation because it maintains the alignment with my values. 

What role does service play in vocationService’s involvement within vocation varies and transforms depending on the vocation. There is always an aspect of service in vocation because vocation involves the act of interweaving the varying human experience with purpose. In art, there is an act of service in the recognition of something familiar or a new experience from the art itself; it is an act that affects others. So even in vocations that may seem lacking in service, such as art, it still lives within its confines. Within my own vocation, service is the impetus of it’s very being. Existing with others in ways that are impressionable is service, and that is the purpose of vocation, to be impressionable within its purpose. 

What role does community play in vocationThrough vocation community can be built. The service that accompanies vocation brings people together and, in that bond, community begins. Recognizing each other within our purest form of being and then interweaving it with others and ourselves creates connection. Connections permits unity at the intersections of our purposes. Vocation creates community within the convergence of our purposes. 

How do you currently understand your vocation? Has your perspective on your own vocation remained steady or has it changed over time? My vocation is constantly evolving along with the world. At the core of my vocation is social justice. The definition of justice is unsteady in this point in time and varies from case to case. The needs of people are shifting, and it is our job to meet society at its greatest needs. Therefore, to remain unmoving in my purpose is futile. My understanding of my vocation must evolve for it to maintain its purpose. It must be fluid and move with the people to serve the people in the most beneficial way. 

What is the value of being a Wild Hope Fellow? Why should others think about being a fellow? To be a Wild Hope Fellow is remarkable to my growth as a person. It allows for time to understand yourself and your purpose. Then through that understanding, you can connect with others in ways that are indispensable. It is truly a gift to be a Wild Hope Fellow. Others should consider this opportunity because it will change you in ways you never imagined. To know oneself is powerful, and this Fellowship nurtures that self-discovery. 

The Wild Hope Center strives to promote human and ecological flourishing. What does this mean to you and how do you see yourself promoting these two pieces in your life? Human and ecological growth are necessary to our survival. Sustainable evolution has always played a role in our existence and will continue to. Through my vocation of social justice, I can help empower marginalized identities which will allow for healthy change within our society. Only when everyone is given the power to break through oppressive structures and decide who they want to be, are we able to flourish in union.  

Oscar Orme
Oscar is a Geoscience major with a minor in Philosophy.

With a day off I would… Go thrifting at the Goodwill Outlet (a.k.a. The Bins). I’m looking to complete the Seinfeld collection after finding the first two seasons for less than a dollar!

What makes me come alive is… being outdoors and spending time with friends and family, so naturally, bike rides with these loved ones are at the top of the list.

What is bringing me a sense of wonder this semester is… diving into 300 level classes, which are both challenging and enriching. Participation in the Wild Hope Fellows program has also widened my perspective, as the idea of discerning vocation was foreign to me prior to my involvement.

Some things that make me feel like me… rock hunting on the beach, casual bike rides, and sharing music with people

What makes me feel appreciated is… Words of affirmation

Three words I would use to describe myself… cromulent, humorous, perspicacious

My biggest fear is… Transient orcas.

My proudest accomplishment is… being accepted into the Wild Hope Fellows program!

My curiosities right now are… geosciences and philosophy. Despite majoring in geosciences, I feel as though I have only scratched the surface of everything geosciences has to offer. Philosophy contrasts the STEM-heavy workload and acts as a space to reflect on questions closely intertwined with vocation.

When did you first hear about the idea of vocation? What do you think about it? The first time I had heard of the term vocation was during my freshman orientation at PLU. I think the idea of vocation was really comforting to me as a wide-eyed, aimless freshman, as it described the idea of finding purpose more as a journey and less as something predestined, which I think was the definition I had assumed.

How does what you are studying relate to your sense of purpose or your calling in the world? I’m studying Geosciences and am still trying to figure out how that ties into my purpose and calling, but I’m confident it is setting me on the right path towards answering those questions.

Extracurricular Involvement: LASR, where I co-host a radio show (MO Music, Saturday’s 11-12) and help out with leadership. How does this relate to my vocation? “I don’t know!”

What role does service play in vocation? One’s vocation requires service to others through the improvement of their general wellbeing, and service to oneself by doing something that is enjoyable and fulfilling.

What role does community play in vocation… The communities we surround ourselves with (both chosen and unchosen) influence how we define ourselves, which in turn helps us define our vocation.

How do you currently understand your vocation? Has your perspective on your own vocation remained steady or has it changed over time? I only have a glimmer of an idea of what my vocation is but I’m confident it is closely intertwined with nature and the outdoors. My perspective on my vocation has definitely changed over time– when I was younger I was almost certain that I wanted to be an English teacher like my dad and give back to the community through education, later it was a paleontologist (future geoscientist in the making!) and now I’d just like to finish my degree before committing to a single career path! 

What is the value of being a Wild Hope Fellow? Why should others think about being a fellow? It is a unique experience to have space dedicated to discussing, discerning, and discovering vocation, which is so wildly important! Tragically, it is an opportunity not typically afforded to the average college student. Anyone who wants a better understanding of self and purpose should consider being a Fellow!

The Wild Hope Center strives to promote human and ecological flourishing. What does this mean to you and how do you see yourself promoting these two pieces in your life? Vocation should benefit not only yourself, but the people around you in your community–by exploring and following your vocation, you inherently promote human and ecological flourishing. This means following opportunities that are in fields that interest me, and that positively impact the environment around me.

Ashwin Deodhar
Ashwin is a Computer science major with a minor in Mathematics.

With a day off I would… Spend it with friends getting good food in Seattle, like Korean BBQ or Hot Pot.

What makes me come alive is… Trying new things that could be dangerous, like cliff jumping, white water rafting, or things that cause an adrenaline spike.

What is bringing me a sense of wonder this semester is…Being high up, being able to look down from on top of a mountain or something gives me a strange sense of being on top of the world.

Some things that make me feel like me are…Playing piano in front of people, working out, and hanging out with my closest friends.

What makes me feel appreciated is… When someone reaches out to hang out or gives me a hug.

Three words I would use to describe myself… Ambitious, Outgoing, Influencing.

My biggest fear is… Being in the open ocean.

My proudest accomplishment is… Balancing two jobs with my difficult class schedule this year, as well as other campus involvement such as being both a President of the Computer Science Club and a Wild Hope Fellow.

My curiosities right now are… Music Theory, because it is a lot more complicated than I had thought and I don’t have a good starting place because I wouldn’t be able to fit lessons into my schedule.

When did you first hear about the idea of vocation? What do you think about it? I first heard about it when I was nominated for this position as a Wild Hope Fellow. I didn’t think much of it, I assumed vocation was just your career path.

Why do you think you’re alive? I think I’m alive to serve a certain purpose in this world. Whether that be changing the world for the better technologically, being able to help those in need or something that benefits people.

How does what you are studying relate to your sense of purpose or your calling in the world? I am studying Computer Science. With Computer Science you can build anything you want and it has the potential to impact millions of people depending on what you create which is why it’s a good way to reach many people and impact their lives for the better.

Extracurricular Involvement: I am involved in running the PLU CS Club, intramural sports as a player and a ref, and some volunteering things I do on the side. These relate to my vocation because it helps me get to know people around the community.

What role does service play in vocation? I think service plays an important role in vocation because being able to better the lives of others is a very rewarding thing and it’s what a lot of people seek as their vocation.

What role does community play in vocation… Community also plays an important role in vocation because many people start out their endeavors of service within their own community.

How do you currently understand your vocation? Has your perspective on your own vocation remained steady or has it changed over time? I used to think vocation was just a career path, but now I see vocation as an extension of my career, a way to use what I have learned academically to help those around me.

What is the value of being a Wild Hope Fellow? Why should others think about being a fellow? Broadening my perspective was the most valuable thing I have learned from the Wild Hope Fellows so far. Changing my mindset from money and a good career is what mainly matters, to how can I use this career and this money to better life for myself and the community is what truly matters.

The Wild Hope Center strives to promote human and ecological flourishing. What does this mean to you and how do you see yourself promoting these two pieces in your life? Volunteering is a way I see to promote human and ecological flourishing currently. For the future when I have a stable job and an income source I don’t know what I would do to help promote human and ecological flourishing, but I know I will have a lot more options in doing so.

Parker Brocker-Knapp
Parker is a Hispanic Studies major with a minor in Business Administration.

With a day off I would… Go on a long run in the woods/trail system to get my endorphins going. I would take a long shower to release all of the stress I had been accumulating. Cooking a meal for others, and the process that entails is incredibly rewarding for me.

What makes me come alive is… Interpersonal relationships cultivated over the years, especially when I can make those special people in my life laugh hysterically! That moment when I feel like I help others feel happiness is when the stresses of life disappear. I also sink into a joyful form of auto-pilot (flow) when I am in the kitchen creating something!

What is bringing me a sense of wonder this semester is… Living in the present. So often, I was focused on the future, but my college journey has helped me hone my focus on the present moment, which allows me to feel a stronger sense of wonder and act on that wonder through gratitude to others, and a genuine sense of curiosity.

Some things that make me feel like me are… Sticking to a tight routine. When I have felt inadequate or disconnected, it often is connected to a chaotic or unstructured environment. By establishing a pattern centered around balancing exercise, academic growth, personal growth, and maintaining my wellbeing, I am able to feel most like myself.

What makes me feel appreciated is… When others recognize the support I am giving them and they reciprocate that energy. Actions that exemplify trust and respect go a long way to show appreciation, especially when compared to simple words and phrases.

Three words I would use to describe myself… Ambitious, Thoughtful, and Empathetic.

My biggest fear is… Admitting defeat. While failure is a necessary and frequent phenomenon that I welcome with open arms, I am scared that one day when I am knocked down, I won’t be able to get back up. The Japanese proverb “Nana korobi, ya oki” stands out to me, as it translates to “fall down seven times, stand up eight.” 

My proudest accomplishment is… Graduating high school with a full International Baccalaureate diploma while studying two foreign languages: Spanish and Arabic. The effort and unconventional route I took give me great pride in that accomplishment.

My curiosities right now are… Leadership and how it can be developed into a skill. I have always longed to be a leader, but haven’t felt as confident in the role as I wish I did. The ability to motivate, coordinate, and empower those whom you lead is an incredibly powerful and fulfilling ability.

When did you first hear about the idea of vocation? What do you think about it? Many of my family members are pastors in the ELCA, so ideas and phrases like vocation are passed around as if they are common English! I imagined this to be a profession with a purpose, what one is “called” to do in life. As a Wild Hope Fellow, I am learning that this definition does not go far enough into the nuances of what vocation truly is. Now more than ever, I find it to be an integral aspect of one’s identity and mission on Earth.

How does what you are studying relate to your sense of purpose or your calling in the world? I am studying Spanish and Business Administration. I have been studying Spanish since the age of five, which has allowed me to accel academically in all aspects of my schooling. I am not certain that my vocation will be neatly centered around the skills I am learning and developing in my Hispanic Studies or Business courses, but I am certain that the energy and work I put into these subjects will create an intellectual foundation for me to build my vocation upon.

Extracurricular Involvement: In my free time, I spend all the time I can doing what I am most passionate about. This includes cooking whenever I am not focused on school, and running whenever my daily schedule allows.

What role does service play in vocation? The action of using one’s greatest talents and abilities to help those who need help and to progress society in a manner that benefits humanity is how service manifests itself in one’s vocation. If vocation is the noun, service is the verb. It is how vocation becomes action.

What role does community play in vocation… All vocations are centered around the betterment of humanity as a whole. How one’s skills and talents can address the deep need of the world benefits the collective community. Without our community, we have no vocation.

How do you currently understand your vocation? Has your perspective on your own vocation remained steady or has it changed over time? I have never felt certain, but with more self-reflection and introspection driven by the Wild Hope Center, I believe I am made for physical hands-on creation of some kind. I have always been drawn to the kitchen and the culinary arts, but have never fully felt comfortable designating this as my vocation. As I mature and learn more about the nature of a vocation and how deeply rooted it is in one’s identity, I expect to become more and more convinced that I have known my vocation all along. 

What is the value of being a Wild Hope Fellow? Why should others think about being a fellow? The true value of being a Fellow is unlocking your ability to see what you are meant for in this life. This ability then becomes a strength and a skill that a fellow can use to help others do the same. The value that learning about vocation gives to individuals is not contained solely within them. Their knowledge and passion undoubtedly spreads and sparks others to share in those pursuits. Being a fellow equips you with the skills to be an essential tool in the process of enriching your communities, global, personal, or otherwise.

The Wild Hope Center strives to promote human and ecological flourishing. What does this mean to you and how do you see yourself promoting these two pieces in your life? Human flourishing and the constant progress of our society is impossible without the physical foundation that we have thrived upon. The ecological health of our planet is what allows for everything else humanity has created not only to survive, but to thrive. Without proper ecological flourishing, human flourishing is wholly impossible. I find that splitting these terms into two separate categories may not even be perfectly representative of reality. They are so intertwined and reliant upon one another that all vocations, no matter where they lead, are centered around this basic connection. In order to be able to execute and fulfill our purpose as human beings (ie. flourish), we must also take responsibility for preserving ecological flourishing. I hope that in my pursuit of fulfilling my life’s vocation, I am able to exemplify this care and responsibility for others.

Rebeca Salinas
Rebeca is a Social Work major with a minor in Criminal Justice.

With a day off I would… I would spend the first half of the day contacting my friends to organize plans, and the second half carrying out those plans. Those plans, however, would be incomplete without a drink run to bigfoot or Dutch Bros.

What makes me come alive is… Dancing, talking to an audience, choreographing dances, and telling jokes that make people laugh. Ultimately, performing is what makes me feel the most alive, along with the preparation of that performance! 

What is bringing me a sense of wonder this semester is… My classmates. As most of my schedule is social work classes, I am getting a sneak peek into what the social workers of the future are going to be like. They keep me wondering what other things I could learn from them which I could apply to my career and vocation.

Some things that make me feel like me are… Going to crowded settings like parties and social events because I feel like myself when I see familiar faces and can say hello! I also like getting to know people and having lengthy conversations with them.

What makes me feel appreciated is… Words of affirmation. All it takes is writing a note or telling me that you appreciate me for me! A little gift never hurts either…

Three words I would use to describe myself… Loud, Expressive, and Empathetic.

My biggest fear is… A rat infestation wherever I am.

My proudest accomplishment is… The dance performances I have choreographed, taught, and performed.

My curiosities right now are… Raising and maintaining indoor plants. I recently picked it up, but I don’t feel super confident yet when it comes to taking the best care of them.

When did you first hear about the idea of vocation? What do you think about it? I first heard about the idea of vocation at my freshman orientation. I think it is a wise outlook on the work that we should be doing for the rest of our lives. It has changed the way I daydream about my future and now I think of including things that make me happy when I think of my future careers.

How does what you are studying relate to your sense of purpose or your calling in the world? I am studying social work. I am learning all that I can about social services and policies that are practiced in our society in order to reform the current systems and build better ones. In order to make positive change, one has to learn about the inner workings of what they are trying to influence.

Extracurricular Involvement: I am involved in Latinx Unidos on campus. This relates to my vocation because I feel the need to interact with everybody and receive great joy from meeting new people and building connections. Networking and connecting are a way for me to not only build healthy relationships but also practice the socializing skills I will need in my work.

What role does service play in vocation…Service is essential because it not only matters what an individual can gain from their work but also what their work can do for the greater good. Vocation teaches us to care about the effects of our actions on our communities and teaches the value of being mindful of our surroundings when carrying out our calling.

What role does community play in vocation… There is a reciprocal nature to this relationship. Communities can support individuals’ vocations and give them the tools to carry their vocations out, and these same communities benefit when each individual is carrying out their vocation.

How do you currently understand your vocation? Has your perspective on your own vocation remained steady or has it changed over time? I view my vocation as a duty to my community, as well as a challenge for me to tackle. My perspective has only recently started changing because I have been thinking about ways that I can work in the social work field by doing something other than casework so as to not over-exhaust myself with the heavy feelings that can come with such emotionally heavy work. I have learned that I can still make an impact in the field without necessarily becoming a caseworker, and have come to the conclusion that it is not necessary for me to exhaust myself in order for my vocational work to be considered worthwhile. 

What is the value of being a Wild Hope Fellow? Why should others think about being a fellow? Experiencing conversations about vocation in order to strip away preconceived notions about what vocation is. The Fellowship also helps us learn to think of ourselves and our communities. The idea of vocation may seem silly when it is first introduced to someone, but with enough dissection of the topic, one can see how they can make their future truly meaningful.

The Wild Hope Center strives to promote human and ecological flourishing. What does this mean to you and how do you see yourself promoting these two pieces in your life? This means continuous growth and development of ourselves and our ecological environment. I see myself promoting these aspects by bringing awareness to mental health when I see my friends or family stress out and reminding them that they deserve breaks. I also try to do my part, even in little ways, to try to elongate the lifetime of our planet.

Jackson Wray
Jackson is a Music-Vocal Performance major.

With a day off I would…Make plans with friends to go do something together!

What makes me come alive is… Music and building community. When I look at the throughlines of my life, these are the two things that are ever-present. The most powerful manifestation of both of these is choral music, which I have been doing for almost 10 years now.

What is bringing me a sense of wonder this semester is… Exploring and rediscovering what it is like to sing with 30+ other people in Choir of the West.

Some things that make me feel like me are… Putting on my favorite outfits to go do an activity with friends! There is something about dressing up and preparing to be seen by the world that makes me feel like me, and doing it with the people I care about is the icing on the cake.

What makes me feel appreciated is… Being thanked for something I didn’t expect to be thanked for. When you do something with no expectation of positive feedback from others and it’s given to you regardless produces a wonderful feeling.

Three words I would use to describe myself… Bimbo. Gamer. Girlboss.

My biggest fear is… Losing a loved one. Also, my own untimely death.

My proudest accomplishment is… Forging a ton of new relationships with people who did choir and theatre during my senior year of high school. I received a letter from one of those people describing how important of a mentor and friend I had become to her, and the letter had pictures of us taped to the inside and the whole letter was decorated inside and out.

My curiosities right now are… Jazz, specifically Jazz singing.

When did you first hear about the idea of vocation? What do you think about it? I first learned when I joined the tour guide program. I learned how to message it, but not how to understand it. Through the Fellowship, I have been learning that vocation is deeply personal and can be used to define your existence on this Earth.

How does what you are studying relate to your sense of purpose or your calling in the world? I’m studying music (vocal performance if you’re fancy like that)! Performing for others as a way to share a message, spread joy, or feel closer to one another has always been something I’ve loved and it’s what I am going to spend the rest of my life doing.

Extracurricular Involvement: I am on the Clay Crows improv team and we are focused on community and working together. It’s pretty hard to do improv without a scene partner, and even harder when you aren’t connected to them. There’s a mutual understanding and respect for each other that is necessary to improvise. That same human connection is at the heart of every community and at the center of my vocation as a performer and community builder.

What role does service play in vocation… Serving others is the greatest thing you can do with your time on this Earth, so working service into your vocation is critical. Service to others should also extend to yourself and to the world, as we all play a part in sustaining our planet and each other.

What role does community play in vocation… Nobody has ever completed anything great alone. We are defined by our relationships, our communities, and our support systems, and those things should be at the center of our vocation.

How do you currently understand your vocation? Has your perspective on your own vocation remained steady or has it changed over time? The addition of “community” as an essential component of my vocation is a recent one. I only realized how important it was to me after a conversation with Koa, another fellow, who showed me that throughline in my life experiences I had chosen to share with her.

What is the value of being a Wild Hope Fellow? Why should others think about being a fellow? The Wild Hope Fellows program, Laree, Marit, and the other fellows, have given me the space and opportunity to expand my view of my own life and the purpose I have on this Earth. I have a deeper appreciation for my life and the lives of others and I feel closer than ever to figuring out what I’m alive for.

The Wild Hope Center strives to promote human and ecological flourishing. What does this mean to you and how do you see yourself promoting these two pieces in your life? Nature and humanity are inextricably intertwined and the idea that humans are somehow outside of nature is ludicrous to me. Every action we take has a direct impact on nature and the ecosystem, not because we are so mighty as a species that we rule over it, but because we are a fundamental part of nature and its ecosystem. This shift in perspective allows me to view humankind with a closeness to nature and our planet that is essential for promoting human and ecological flourishing (because they are fundamentally the same thing). I also want to point out that while this revelation is new to me, many populations around the world have had this figured out for millennia. Especially the likes of the indigenous communities whose land we occupy here in the US Empire.

Kari Goodrich
Kari is an Elementary Education major, with an endorsement in Special Education. She is also minoring in Children's Literature, and acquiring a Peace Corps Prep certification.

With a day off I would… Go on a hike with my dog and my partner, set up a hammock, and read.

What makes me come alive is… Teaching and discussing early childhood development and education! (And whenever anyone asks to see pics of my dog 🙂

What is bringing me a sense of wonder this semester is…The rain. I really missed the rain, and seeing it again gives me so much joy.

Some things that make me feel like me are… Puddle stomping, sharing a needed hug with someone, and playing cards with my family.

What makes me feel appreciated is… When someone acknowledges something I’ve done.

Three words I would use to describe myself… Compassionate, reflective, and colorful.

My biggest fear is… Snakes. For reference, please listen to “The Snake Song” by Gene Belcher.

My proudest accomplishment is… Living. I have had some tough mental and physical health battles in the past, and I am so proud of myself for getting through that to where I am today.

My curiosities right now are… Sign Language.

When did you first hear about the idea of vocation? What do you think about it? I first heard it my freshman year. It is a wonderful concept to explain that sense of purpose that I feel when I get to apply something I’m passionate about to the real world.

How does what you are studying relate to your sense of purpose or your calling in the world? I am studying Elementary Education, with a specialization in SPED, and minors in Peace Corps Prep and Children’s Literature. I feel called to work with children, and everything I study is in pursuit of that goal.

Extracurricular Involvement: Through Campus Ministry, I have been able to work in children’s ministry and focus my faith in a restorative way.

What role does service and community play in vocation… While finding and exploring my passions is an important part of my vocation, it wouldn’t become a reality without service to the community.

How do you currently understand your vocation? Has your perspective on your own vocation remained steady or has it changed over time? I was in sixth grade when I decided that I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher. At the time, I didn’t really know why, besides the fact that I liked kids and seemed to do pretty well with them. That call that I felt in sixth grade hasn’t changed at all, though it has definitely become more multi-faceted as I’ve gotten older.

What is the value of being a Wild Hope Fellow? Why should others think about being a fellow? Being a Wild Hope Fellow is an absolutely wonderful way to wrestle with the large concepts of vocation in calling. This fellowship is an opportunity to discern both your personal vocation and to locate and fill needs in the larger world.

Reece Painter
Reece is an Applied Physics major with minors in Chemistry and Data Science.

With a day off I would… I would go to a disc golf course somewhere off campus and play multiple rounds. Ideally with friends. 

What makes me come alive is… Some things that make me come alive are anything that makes people smile. I also come alive when I’m doing something I’m passionate about.

What is bringing me a sense of wonder this semester is… Just getting back to normal campus life. I’ve only had one semester of it so this is a fun experience. 

Some things that make me feel like me are… Almost anything outside and active. Things I don’t feel pressured to do. 

What makes me feel appreciated is… Just a simple “hi” or a smile/wave.

Three words I would use to describe myself… Caring, Happy, Relaxed.

My biggest fear is… Hurting/letting down friends and family.

My proudest accomplishment is… I honestly don’t think I have one.

My curiosities right now are… Being a captain on the frisbee team. 

When did you first hear about the idea of vocation? What do you think about it? When I first came to PLU. I think it is a good concept to learn about and is very important. 

How does what you are studying relate to your sense of purpose or your calling in the world? Engineering. Because I think it is setting me up for a better future. Because it equips me with some of the tools I’ll need moving forward in life.

Extracurricular Involvement: Frisbee helps me work on my leadership skills. Intramurals help me work on my communication skills and person-to-person interaction. 

What role does service play in vocation… Probably the main role. Vocation seems unselfish and usually service is unselfish. A selfish vocation would make no sense. 

What role does community play in vocation… I think community helps build and support vocation.

How do you currently understand your vocation? Has your perspective on your own vocation remained steady or has it changed over time? I’m still trying to find my true vocation but so far it has stayed pretty steady. I want to make people feel better in some way or another. I just haven’t figured that part out yet. 

What is the value of being a Wild Hope Fellow? Why should others think about being a fellow? I think the value of being a WH Fellow is that I think and talk about things that I usually push to the side. There is a lot of healthy reflection that brings up good questions about what I’m doing and why

The Wild Hope Center strives to promote human and ecological flourishing. What does this mean to you and how do you see yourself promoting these two pieces in your life? This means helping others flourish and truly enjoy life. I feel like if people see me happy and enjoying life some of it might rub off to them (hopefully) and help them see the bright sides in hard situations.

Stephanie Aparicio Zambrano
Stephanie is a Psychology major with minors in Communication and Sociology.

With a day off I would… Take a trip up to Seattle with friends to find a new restaurant or dessert spot to eat at! Finding cute boba shops is also one of my favorites!

What makes me come alive is… Helping people through their struggles. As a Psychology major, I wanted to help people realize that they aren’t alone in their struggles. I want to be the person people can rely on to help them when they feel most alone.

What is bringing me a sense of wonder this semester is… I recently got my license and a car, so that has helped me feel more independent and added a sense of freedom!

Some things that make me feel like me are… Writing poetry helps me escape reality and I finally feel like I can relax.

What makes me feel appreciated is… When friends unexpectedly call me to catch up. The idea of feeling like I was being thought of makes me feel appreciated.

Three words I would use to describe myself… Trustworthy, quiet, comforting.

My biggest fear is… The unknown and the future. I don’t like not being in control, so thinking about my future scares me because I will never know what will happen until I get to that point.

My proudest accomplishment is… Getting the Regents scholarship at PLU. I was genuinely surprised that I got it, but I was so proud of myself for putting myself out there and it made me feel like all my hard work throughout high school paid off.  

My curiosities right now are… I want to pick up more hobbies! I’ve currently been enjoying making beaded jewelry so I want to try something else new as well. 

When did you first hear about the idea of vocation? What do you think about it? I first heard about vocation in my senior year of high school. My AVID teacher (basically a class about preparing you to go to college) was explaining it to me and we heard about it all the time after that. I thought it was an interesting concept and it was something that I definitely struggled to understand and find for a while.  

How does what you are studying relate to your sense of purpose or your calling in the world? I am currently a Psychology major double minoring in Communications and Sociology. These all serve a purpose for what I want to do as my calling. I want to help those who are transitioning into college and struggling with mental health issues and be that person they can lean on for support. 

Extracurricular Involvement: Currently, I am busy with working and school so I haven’t had much time to be in any extracurriculars. I do want to try to get more clubs and things on campus to feel a little more connected!

What role does service play in vocation… A lot of careers surrounding vocation also have something to do with service. Whether you are helping yourself or others. I think the idea of being there for someone else is a key component of vocation.

What role does community play in vocation… Community is a big part of finding your vocation. Having support from others is key to finding something that you enjoy and want to do with your life. 

How do you currently understand your vocation? Has your perspective on your own vocation remained steady or has it changed over time?  My idea of vocation isn’t completely “done” yet. I think that obviously, we are always growing, therefore, my idea of vocation will probably grow as well. As of now, I know that I want to help people and be a safe space for them. 

What is the value of being a Wild Hope Fellow? Why should others think about being a fellow? I have really enjoyed hearing everyone’s different stories and perspectives and I think that is the biggest value of being a part of this group. I definitely think people should think about being a fellow because it opens up so many possibilities to think about yourself and your pathway into the world. 

The Wild Hope Center strives to promote human and ecological flourishing. What does this mean to you and how do you see yourself promoting these two pieces in your life? I want to be able to be an advocate for human and ecological issues within society. I think it’s important to put yourself out there and stand up for what you believe in as well as call out the inequalities and injustices within our society. 

Sandy Montgomery
Sandy is a Physics major with minors in Chemistry and Mathematics.

With a day off I wouldSleep in, play Stardew Valley and drink coffee, go on a walk, hang out with friends, go on a date with my boyfriend.

What makes me come alive isNature, music, activism, completing difficult tasks. 

What is bringing me a sense of wonder this semester isPeople coming back together after a year of stress and isolation. 

Some things that make me feel like me areWearing a super cool outfit, playing music, and being with the people I love.

What makes me feel appreciated isWhen someone remembers a small detail I told them about myself. 

Three words I would use to describe myselfMotivated, caring, thoughtful.

My biggest fear isFailure.

My proudest accomplishment isBecoming the person I am today. I am much more confident in my identity than I was a couple of years ago. 

My curiosities right now areI am in the engineering program so I will be applying to my second school this year. I am very curious about where the next three years of my life will be. I will almost definitely be moving across the country so I am very excited about this.

When did you first hear about the idea of vocation? What do you think about it? When I came to PLU, I just thought it was a different word for a career. Now I understand that it is much more than that. 

How does what you are studying relate to your sense of purpose or your calling in the world? I am studying physics and chemistry. I want to use this degree to become a biomedical engineer. I think this will be a good way for me to help others and be challenged intellectually.

Extracurricular Involvement: I am a Chemistry TA and I am doing research in polymer chemistry. I am RA and last year I was on RHC. 

What role does service play in vocationService is the element of vocation that makes it emotionally fulfilling. 

What role does community play in vocationNormally a vocation contributes to the community in some way.

How do you currently understand your vocation? Has your perspective on your own vocation remained steady or has it changed over time? I don’t know much about vocation yet, that’s part of why I wanted to be a Wild Hope Fellow!

What is the value of being a Wild Hope Fellow? Why should others think about being a fellow? Being a fellow is giving me an opportunity to reflect on my life and identity. I’ve never made time to do that before, so I am learning a lot about myself now. 

The Wild Hope Center strives to promote human and ecological flourishing. What does this mean to you and how do you see yourself promoting these two pieces in your life? I think that ecological survival is of utmost importance because without it we won’t survive.

Curtis Ganung
Curtis is a Nordic Studies major considering doing a minor in Native American and Indigenous Studies!

With a day off I would… Go on a hike or a walk (has to be at least an hour-long) then wind down by reading. I would also use some time to do some sword fighting with some of my sparring partners. Any time left would be spent playing video games with my friends. 

What makes me come alive is… I really enjoy helping people in general. I do a lot of work with security services, and I always “come alive” when I am able to help people. Can be something as small as giving directions or getting someone into a building, or something as big as administering first aid. Aside from helping people, anything that I can think about critically and discuss with people works. 

What is bringing me a sense of wonder this semester is…Being able to take classes in person honestly. That and having found a mentor to discuss some of my beliefs with.

Some things that make me feel like me are… Honestly, just reading a book in a cozy spot (preferable inside next to a window) while listening to my music. That and going on long walks while listening to my music.

What makes me feel appreciated is… Acknowledgment, or just a simple (heartfelt) thank you when I help someone.

Three words I would use to describe myself… Attentive, caring, kind.

My biggest fear is… If we’re talking about phobias then it would have to be trypophobia (fear of clusters of small holes, especially when those holes aren’t supposed to be there). Talking more traditional fears? I’m scared of being shipwrecked and how that would go. 

My proudest accomplishment is… I think the accomplishment (if this counts) is being able to meet the Norwegian ambassador to America!

My curiosities right now are… Right now I have been studying computer science for school, which I am genuinely curious about. Outside of school, I’ve been studying sword-fighting styles, as it is something I do as a hobby (both the literary reading and the actual fighting).

When did you first hear about the idea of vocation? What do you think about it? I first heard the term ‘vocation’ through a video game. I didn’t think much of it. The concept of vocation is something I’ve always known about, but I just heard it more as “a job you would fully enjoy doing”. I never assigned vocation to that until PLU.

How does what you are studying relate to your sense of purpose or your calling in the world? I am one of the three current Nordic Studies majors at PLU. I don’t really know what my calling is, but I have always felt the want to learn the language and history, and to help people learn about it (be it their culture or just something they’re interested in).

Extracurricular Involvement: I work with Campus Safety and as the Norwegian language tutor in the Language Resource Center on campus. These jobs allow me to help other people with potential problems they are having, which I think is how it ties into my vocation.

What role does service play in vocation…Service is a vital part of vocation, as a true vocation or calling will surely help someone, no matter what that vocation may be. Service can play a role of a motivator in vocation, as it helps motivate you to keep doing that job.

What role does community play in vocation… I think community is a vital part of vocation, as vocations can affect the people around you. Community plays the role of support to me, as family or friends (community), help you find what you want to do, or what you are called to do.

How do you currently understand your vocation? Has your perspective on your own vocation remained steady or has it changed over time? I am still searching for my vocation/calling. My idea has changed though, I now feel that my true vocation will be something that will help others/has to be something that will help others.

What is the value of being a Wild Hope Fellow? Why should others think about being a fellow? Being a Wild Hope Fellow allows me to get together with a group of like-minded people, and we discuss things that are important to us. This also is a group that supports each other and helps each other grow. I think others should think about joining because the Fellows(hip) is a wonderful place to grow and challenge yourself (and you get some pretty cool friends out of it). 

The Wild Hope Center strives to promote human and ecological flourishing. What does this mean to you and how do you see yourself promoting these two pieces in your life? This idea of striving for human and ecological flourishing to me means striving for everyone to live happily while also taking care of our earth, and keeping our planet somewhat healthy. I see myself promoting this by helping people out when I can and having my friends also help others, and then cleaning up places with those friends.

Maggie Nieberger

If you had a day off and nothing to do, how would you spend it?

I would spend a day off doing something in nature. Ideally it would involve hiking somewhere beautiful, having lunch on trail, setting up my hammock, and reading a book for several hours. I would end the day by watching the sunset.

 

Howard Thurman said, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” What are some things that make you “come alive?”

Things that make me “come alive” include conversations with friends that feel meaningful and/or important, doing things that are physically challenging like ultimate frisbee or rowing, and learning about new perspectives and ideas about the world. The study of religion also makes me come alive because it is fascinating to learn about different belief systems and how they inform the lenses in which people view the world. 

 

What is bringing you a sense of wonder this semester?

I am taking a Global Studies course focused on International Relations and I have found a new sense of wonder surrounding how the international system functions and how one can go about changing that system, or at the very least having conversations with people who hold opposing viewpoints. 

 

What are some things you do that make you feel like you?

I feel like myself when I am out in nature with other people and when I am in leadership positions. 

 

What makes you feel appreciated? 

When someone tells me after the fact that something I did impacted them.

 

How would you describe yourself in three words?

Ambitious, thoughtful, kind

 

What is your biggest fear?

My biggest fear is losing sight of the bigger picture of life and missing out on opportunities to help people and change things. I am scared to get tunnel vision in my career and then one day realize that what I am doing is not fulfilling and/or not important. 

 

What is your proudest accomplishment?

I’m most proud of my optimistic outlook on life. (I know that is not really an accomplishment, but it does take work)

 

What are you curious about right now? (Something you don’t feel confident in and want to learn about)

I am curious about the policy side of activism and how organizations and individual activists can go about making concrete changes through proposing policy changes. 

 

When did you first hear about the idea of vocation? What do you think about it?

I first heard about the idea of vocation in high school at church. I remember really loving the idea that my life has a purpose in the world and that that purpose is connected to my passions, interests, and desires. 

 

Why do you think you are alive?

I think I am alive to love and serve others in whatever way the world needs. 

 

What are you studying? How does your academic focus relate to your sense of purpose or your calling in the world? 

I am double majoring in Religion and Global Studies with a minor in Hispanic Studies. This relates to my sense of purpose because I love understanding the world and the people who live in it so I can, in turn, serve them in the best way I can. I believe the first step in helping others is listening to them and understanding where they come from, what they believe, and how they interact with the world and that is what I am trying to learn through my academic focus. 

What are some of the extracurriculars you are involved in? How do these relate to your own vocation?

I am a part of the Women’s Rowing Team and Ultimate Frisbee Team and am an Outdoor Rec Trip Leader and the Campus Ministry Chapel Coordinator. The athletic extracurriculars relate to my vocation because they challenge me to persevere even when it gets hard and to remember the importance of being on a team. Those two things are very important in my vocation of helping others because I am sure it will not always be easy, but I know there will be people there to support me. Being a part of Outdoor Rec and Campus Ministry are ways that I am living out my vocation right now because I am passionate about leading people in spaces where I feel home, i.e. in the outdoors and in faith communities. 

 

What role does service play in vocation?

I think service plays a huge role in vocation. Frederick Buechner defines vocation as “the place where our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.” The meeting of those two things is where I see service. I do not think that anyone can live out their vocation without service, and service means a million different things.

 

What role does community play in vocation?

With the understanding that service to others is central to vocation, it only makes sense that community is also central. Doing things in a void does not meet the world’s deep need, at least as far as I know. It is important to be in a community of people with similar vocations because they can help and support one another.

 

How do you currently understand your vocation? Has your perspective on your own vocation remained steady or has it changed over time?

I currently understand my vocation to be helping people by listening and advocating for equity and justice. This is a very broad statement, but it has remained relatively steady overtime. The thing that has changed is how I envision living out that vocation in my professional and personal life. For a long time I envisioned my career to be a teacher, then a pastor, and now I am a little unsure. 

 

What is the value of being a Wild Hope Fellow? Why should others think about being a fellow?

The value of being a Wild Hope Fellow is the opportunity to have intentional conversations about vocation, discernment, and purpose with a group of people who are also wanting to talk about those things. The conversations are incredibly impactful because each person is able to bring their full selves, whatever that means for them, each week and it has been amazing to form our little community and hear about the world from multiple unique perspectives. Other people should consider being a fellow because being a part of the group has provided me with structured and intentional time to think about what I want to do with my life and if I will be fulfilled doing it, during a vital time for decision making about the future. 

 

The Wild Hope Center strives to promote human and ecological flourishing. What does this mean to you and how do you see yourself promoting these two pieces in your life?

Promoting human and ecological flourishing means caring for and nurturing people and the environment in order to promote being able to live life to its fullest. I see myself promoting these two things in my life through being a fellow and taking the time to think about my values, fears, goals, and obstacles and how I relate to the world around me.