Wartburg gave me a chance to see the world

NAME: Alexis Swain 
CLASS YEAR: 2019
HOMETOWN: St. Peters, Mo. 
MAJOR: Religion and music

INVOLVEMENT ON CAMPUS:  Kantorei, music coordinator and band leader for Sanctuary, student worker in the religion and philosophy office, chapel worship planning committee

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE WARTBURG: I found out about Wartburg from the music director at my home church, Jamie DeGeer. After visiting Wartburg my junior year of high school, I knew that the school was for me because it would provide me with opportunities to be involved in both music and Spiritual Life and Campus Ministry. 

HOW DID YOU DECIDE ON YOUR MAJOR: I came into Wartburg my freshman year as a double major in music with a concentration in church music and music education. After I worked for a mission trip organization the summer after my freshman year, I knew that my calling was in ministry. At the beginning of my second year, I decided to keep the church music major and switch from music education to religion with a concentration in youth and family ministry. 

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS AFTER GRADUATION: I will be starting seminary this fall at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colo. I will be studying to get a Masters of Divinity with a concentration in leadership in emerging contexts.

Alexis Swain

HOW DID WARTBURG PREPARE YOU FOR YOUR NEXT STEP: Wartburg has given me many opportunities to discern my calling as a leader in ministry through my classes, internships, and involvement in Spiritual Life & Campus Ministry. I also feel that it has prepared me to continue my learning in a diverse environment through the many perspectives it has exposed me to.

DID YOU DO ANY INTERNSHIPS WHILE AT WARTBURG: I did an internship through Wartburg West the summer before my senior year at Augustana Lutheran Church in Denver, Colo. I have also had internships at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and Orchard Hill Church in Waverly. At these internships, I gained experience working in the areas of youth and family ministry and music ministry. 

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE CLASS: My favorite class that I have taken is Church Leadership after Christendom with Pastor Brian (Beckstrom). This was one of my first upper level religion classes after switching my major to religion at the beginning of my second year, and I found it to be so eye-opening! I loved the books we read, and the class discussions and field experience allowed me to think critically about how I can be an effective religious leader in the modern world. I was also given many opportunities  to discern my vocation.

WHAT WAS YOUR MOST DIFFICULT CLASS: The most difficult class I took was Music History II. The content of the class was interesting, but it required so much memorization for the tests! Also, my research and analysis paper over one of the pieces I did for my junior recital really challenged me to think in a way that I wasn’t used to.

WHO ARE YOUR MENTORS ON CAMPUS: I have had several mentors on campus, but two people who have been especially influential for me are Pastor Brian and Dr. Karen Black. I have learned a lot from them about what it means to be a leader in the church, and I am grateful for the ways they have both challenged me and given me opportunities to explore my calling to ministry.

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU NEVER IMAGINED YOU COULD DO BEFORE COMING TO WARTBURG: I never thought that I would hike a 14er in Colorado. This was so challenging, but it was a great experience getting to do this will the other Wartburg West students last summer.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WARTBURG MEMORY: It’s hard to choose just one, but one memory that I will never forget is when the entire religion capstone class this semester came in at the beginning of one of Dr. Bouzard’s RE 101 classes unannounced to protest our daily writing assignments. Unfortunately, as amused as Dr. Bouzard was by the whole thing, we were unsuccessful. However, we all got a good laugh out of it. I have really loved being a part of that department.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS: Find at least one activity on campus that you love and stay involved. I have made some of my closest friends through being involved in Sanctuary.

ANY OTHER REFLECTIONS ON YOUR TIME AT WARTBURG: Between having an internship through the Wartburg West program and getting to travel to Germany for the Reformation Then and Now class this May Term, Wartburg has given me multiple opportunities to see the world and put my learning into a larger context. I am so grateful for these experiences.