Julie Bonenberger – Class of 2015
I am pursuing higher education at Clemson University in the School of Architecture. After four years there I plan on receiving my Bachelor of Arts degree. Clemson’s architecture program positively challenges me, as it requires me to complete four years of studio work, a minor, foreign language, and study abroad. I currently have declared a minor in entrepreneurship and am studying Italian with hopes to study abroad in Genoa, Italy for a full semester during the Spring of 2018, my junior year. I look forward to this trip and plan on living with other students in my program at a villa in Genoa owned by the university while studying under local professors.
One of my favorite aspects of studying architecture is what is known as the “studio culture.” People say that the lights never turn off in studio; it is not uncommon for us architecture students to be finishing drawings or crafting models during the early hours of the morning. The studio environment provides a context for peers and professors to be constantly viewing and analyzing work in progress. Usually every two weeks or so, students showcase their work by pinning it on the wall and presenting it to a group of reviewers, usually our own professors as well as guest lecturers and graduate students in the School of Architecture. My time at NCA helped prepare me for these presentation sessions. My high school teachers certainly helped me to develop my ability to present ideas and defend them in a Q and A type interaction.
Finally, I am also involved with a student organization: the American Institute of Architecture Students, or AIAS. Last spring, I enjoyed the opportunity to travel with a group from Clemson to Savannah, Georgia, for AIAS’s South Quad conference. During the conference, we got to tour historic Savannah and the Savannah College of Art and Design as well as hear from keynote speakers on topics such as professional development in the practice of architecture, women leadership in architecture, and integration between architecture and different fields, such as the healthcare industry. This fall, as I begin my sophomore year, I will be filling the role of club secretary in the Clemson chapter of AIAS and would like to eventually pursue national involvement.
Alex Veague – Class of 2014
I graduated from NCA in May 2014. I am currently in my Junior year at Baylor University in Waco, TX. I am scheduled to graduate Baylor in May 2018 with a Bachelors of Science in Neuroscience.
I spent my first two years as part of the Leadership Living and Learning Center where I served as a mentor for incoming students in my sophomore year. Although I have since left the program to move off campus, I learned a lot about leadership. One of the things that we were required to do as part of the leadership classes that we took was to consider those who led us and how we had led before coming to Baylor. I was able to pinpoint how different teachers had been fantastic leaders in high school. In many schools, science teachers only teach science. At NCA, our science teacher also led the student worship team. My math teacher was over the student council. My Latin teacher also taught history, literature, culture, and Bible class over my years at NCA. All of these people taught me what leadership is. Because of the things that I learned interacting with these teachers, people who cared about more than their students learning subject material, I have been able to be a better mentor, a better leader. I have been able to care about more than the task at hand. I learned more about leadership through the people at NCA than many of the other students learned in large schools with hundreds of formal leadership opportunities.
Baylor has been a wonderful next step for me. However, NCA is the reason that I have done so well. College forces students to do more than repeat facts. It is about thinking through processes, answering why, understanding what happens if something changes. At NCA, I learned to critically think through things and understand them. I did not realize it at the time, but that was the best thing that I could have learned. Being able to think critically about subject matter has been invaluable. I have been able to continue to develop this is an organization that I am a part of called BUMEDS, which stands for Baylor University Medical Ethics Discussion Society. We have the opportunity to look at ethically compromising situations and critically think through the best course of action and all potential outcomes.
Summer of 2016 I had the opportunity to intern at Elkay Manufacturing in Oak Brook, IL in the Customer Care department. I had some great experiences getting to work with people across the country that all had different backgrounds. My supervisors often complemented my work and work ethic and all I could think was that at NCA, I had to do my best and it became so ingrained that I continue to have a drive to do better.
Sic ’em Bears!
Kaitlyn MacIntyre – Class of 2013
Since my time at NCA, I have been studying computer science and mathematics at Northwestern University. It has been great to continue to be in such an academically challenging environment. I am able to apply many things from my education at NCA in my course work and even use some things that I wasn’t sure I would going into the field and major that I chose. For example, I have taken logic classes at school as part of the theory of computer science, which covered the same material that we covered in middle school logic at NCA.
Just this summer, I was talking to a fellow intern at Argonne National Laboratory over lunch, and we got into a discussion about education as we were explaining the American educational system to our co-worker from Ireland. This other intern was expressing his regret that people have become more interested in getting into college and getting good test scores than actually learning, and how sad it is that critical thinking and the ability to reason well is no longer the focus of so many schools here – all that matters is learning facts you can regurgitate to be able to do well on standardized tests. It struck me that, even for someone who didn’t go to a classical Christian school like I had the opportunity to do, here was this smart mechanical engineer, from an Ivy League school, working at Argonne, who was backing up the same things that NCA stands for and continues to teach without knowing anything about NCA, or even classical education.
I am very grateful for the ways my education at NCA is continually showing up during my time at school and elsewhere. My public speaking ability, developed meticulously through presentations, debates, mock trials, and the constant participation requirement, is rarely matched in my classes, whether engineering design classes or School of Communication public speaking classes. My background in logic has helped me, not only in the logic classes I was required to take as part of the computer science curriculum, but in every class where I have to solve any problem or design any algorithm. While many engineers dread any class where they need to write, even 12-page final papers for a class on Mediterranean history continue to show the benefits of having spent my whole life at a school like NCA, where writing is such a focus. And beyond these skills, my time at NCA challenged me to think differently about learning and its place in my life – to look for a college, and for career options, where truth is pursued, where critical thinking is encouraged, and where learning is a process which never stops, no matter how old you are.