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Student Day nurtures new leaders


3:30 P.M. EST November 11, 2010

Future food scientist Sara Calaman hopes to use her education to help people in developing countries. Photo courtesy of Sara Calaman.
Future food scientist Sara Calaman hopes to use her education to help people in developing countries. Photo courtesy of Sara Calaman.
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Music education and performance are Lauren’s passions. Sara is an aspiring food scientist. International studies capture Doo-Hee’s attention. Seminary is on Cora’s horizon. Maria wants to be a music therapist.

Diverse interests, indeed, but these young adults share one common characteristic. Each has benefited from the generosity of people on United Methodist Student Day, which congregations celebrate Sunday, Nov. 28.

Teaching about God

For Lauren Anderson, music is a calling. A senior at Lebanon Valley College, Annville, Pa., she is pursuing degrees in music education and music performance. Whether playing, teaching or conducting, she incorporates her talents into her studies and everyday life.

Anderson’s interest in music began as a child attending Chambers Hill United Methodist Church in Harrisburg, Pa. “I did everything there was to offer musically,” she said. “As I got older, I assisted with children’s groups and accompanied children’s choirs. It’s how I came to love teaching children.”

Faith and music remain linked in Anderson’s mind. “Being active in the church,” she noted, “has shown me that I want to continue my leadership by making (music) a career. It is my way of reaching out to people and teaching them about God.

“It is rewarding to teach,” she added. “I like to think I make a difference in people’s lives.

“I plan to . . . help others grow musically and spiritually.”

Connecting globally

You don’t have to work in a restaurant to create new foods, according to future food scientist Sara Calaman.

“Food science is the study that allows for the development of new food products using chemistry. You can use science to enhance the flavor, quality or nutrient of certain foods,” she said.

The youngest of three children, Calaman grew up in the small community of Newville, Pa., where she attended Mount Hope United Methodist Church. “I made some of my closest friends at the church,” she recalled. She assisted through Sunday school, vacation Bible school and music during worship.

With her degree, the sophomore at Penn State in University Park, Pa., hopes to use her knowledge to serve God and the world. “I’ve always been dedicated to mission,” Calaman continued. “I want to make foods that would be more accessible and healthier for people in (developing) countries.”

Giving back

John Wesley once said that the world was his parish. For Doo-Hee Jeong, those words ring true.

“I’m pursuing my bachelor’s degree in international studies from the University of California at Berkeley,” the college junior said. Jeong’s interest in other cultures comes in part from a unique upbringing.

His parents were Methodist ministers originally from South Korea. They moved to the Philippines, where he was born. When he was in first grade, they moved back to South Korea for about four years, and then came to the United States.

“It wasn’t easy moving around so much,” Jeong admitted, “but I was exposed to three very different cultures early in life.”

Attending Berkeley has given him opportunities to explore and cultivate his interests.

“I want to give back to the church,” he continued. “Whether I go into ministry or not, the church should be a huge part of my life. I want to show people all over the world what being a Christian is about.”

Engaging the church

Cora Glass is no stranger to congregational ministry. She began attending First United Methodist Church in Birmingham after her family moved to Michigan when she was in third grade.

“After I was confirmed,” she explained, “I became involved in some of our fundraising events and was appointed to serve on the hunger committee.”

Now a sophomore at High Point (N.C.) University, Glass still finds time between classes to serve.

Active at Christ United Methodist Church, she helped organize a mission trip to Florida to glean food. She is also working with the youth coordinator and pastor to try to attract more youth and college-age students.

“I want to explore how the church can become engaged in (social and economic) issues,” Glass said.

“I plan to go to seminary and use my education either in a church or in a non-profit organization. I’m open to the possibility of ordained ministry, but I’m still discerning.”

Maria Payne, a United Methodist scholarship recipient, wants to use her songs to soothe the soul as a music  therapist. Photo courtesy of Maria Payne
Maria Payne, a United Methodist scholarship recipient, wants to use her songs to soothe the soul as a music therapist. Photo courtesy of Maria Payne
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Responding to God’s call

Growing up in a family of five in Aberdeen, Md., Maria Payne was active in Grace United Methodist Church. Her interest in music began as she played guitar and piano for her church.

“I might have never gotten involved in music without my church,” she commented.

That love for music followed Payne to Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va. A United Methodist-affiliated school, Shenandoah offers a music-therapy program.

“Music therapy,” Payne noted, “is using music to inspire a positive response from persons with a particular need. Most therapists specialize in helping the elderly, the sick, and the physically or developmentally handicapped. Music can lower stress, raise spirits or encourage action.”

How does her passion for music fit with her faith? “I feel I’m supposed to play music,” she answered. “I am doing what I love, and through that, I’m helping people. Music therapy is a calling from God for me.”

Supporting future leaders

When you give to United Methodist Student Day, you support students like these five who use their education and talents to learn and to lead.

Your generous gifts support scholarships and student loans, administered by the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry. Annual conferences participating in the Rebate Program may award one or more merit scholarships to United Methodist students who reside in the conference and who attend or will attend a United Methodist-related college or university.

“I know The United Methodist Church supports me and wants me to do my best,” Glass said. “I’m really thankful for the funds and hope I can complete my education and go where God leads me.”

To order free resources for United Methodist Student Day, call 888-346-3862, or go online to www.umcgiving.org.

If you would like to help provide United Methodist scholarships or student loans, you can donate online.

And if you have received a United Methodist scholarship, let us know how it changed your life.

*Philip J. Brooks was a field education intern for United Methodist Communications.

News media contact: Barbara Dunlap-Berg, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5489 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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