Mixing majors to preserve history

NAME: Spencer Barton
CLASS YEAR: 2020
HOMETOWN: Davenport, Iowa 
MAJOR: Chemistry and history

ON-CAMPUS INVOLVEMENT: History Club, Kammerstreicher, Ritterchor

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE WARTBURG: Wartburg was first on my list as a prospective student because both my aunt and brother went here. I chose Wartburg because I knew that this place could become my home. After visiting and speaking with faculty and current students I felt confident that I would be challenged, both academically and spiritually, while still feeling comfortable and cared for.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR MAJORS: The most frequently asked question I have received while attending Wartburg has been, “Where do history and chemistry collaborate?”. I knew going into college that I wanted to study both history and chemistry, as they were both disciplines I had immense interest in since a young age and because they relate to each other through artifact conservation. However, I was unsure to what capacity I wanted to balance these two. Dr. (Daniel) Walther, of the history department, was one of the first faculty members I met visiting Wartburg as a prospective student. He was so welcoming and personal with me, not just about history, that I knew that I needed to major in history. He made it evident that my love of history had a place at Wartburg. Similarly, I met Dr. (Matthew) Zart, of the chemistry department, during the science symposium my senior year. We made iodine clocks and also talked about chemistry at Wartburg in general. Again, Dr. Zart’s kind personality showed me that pursuing chemistry would be a worthwhile  undertaking. He is actually the person who convinced me to major in chemistry, over a minor.

Spencer Barton

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS AFTER GRADUATION: I am currently enrolled in a 4+1 master’s program in museum studies with Western Illinois University. I will have another year of school at Western to conclude that program. After that, I will either settle into a position in the museum field, or I will continue with further studies.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE WARTBURG EXPERIENCE: My most memorable experience at Wartburg is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation celebration we had in the fall of 2017. It was an awesome experience to see so many people, students, faculty, staff, and community members gathered together in worship and celebration. The roundtable talks held afterwards, too, were this amazing opportunity to talk openly about faith expression on campus among students and faculty .

WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU NEVER IMAGINED YOU WOULD DO BEFORE COMING TO WARTBURG: I never could have imagined getting the opportunity to travel abroad. During May 2018, I had the amazing opportunity to travel with the Kammerstreicher alongside the Castle Singers to Germany and Scandinavia. I don’t think I ever would have put myself in a new culture on my own will if it were not for the comfort which came with being part of an ensemble. More than that, I was able to stay with people from their respective countries and learn about their homes in a way that isn’t easily achieved by simply visiting the country.  

WHY HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE BEEN WORTH IT: Wartburg has been worth it because this is home: my home as well as many others. This is where I attend chapel, where I am challenged to grow spiritually while still am able to be comfortable in faith. This is where I am pushed to socialize and be active in a community, while finding great comfort with friendships which will last a lifetime. This is where I have grown in knowledge of my disciplines and been challenged to push to discover my potential, while being supported by my professors and peers along the way. Wartburg is where I am challenged as well as loved. Wartburg is my home.