This morning we continue our series of brief interviews with Bethel students and alumni who combined a History minor with a seemingly unrelated major. Today’s guest is Andrew Van Eps (’12), who completed a B.S. in Environmental Sciences in addition to minors in History and Biology. (Like our last interviewee, Andrew also served as a teaching assistant in the History Department.)

How and when did you decide to minor in History?

Andrew Van EpsI decided to minor in History fairly early on in my college days, partially because of an excellent high school teacher, and partially because of my exposure to some of the brilliant and down-to-earth professors within the history department at Bethel that I had as a freshman and sophomore. I found that the history classes I took provided some much needed variety to my schedule. My history classes and the required homework were so different from most of the lab sciences that I found them to be a pleasant reprieve from my other coursework.

What would you say to someone who loves history but wants to major in a STEM field: why should they think about minoring in History?

I originally declared my major as pre-med and Biology, but, after a semester of microbiology, chemistry, and calculus, I realized that that was not what God had equipped me for. I was drawn to the bigger picture of the natural world surrounding us. In regards to the environmental sciences, learning about how modern society has developed to this point and how technology has advanced throughout the years is vital to understanding how we relate to the environment, whether by looking at the negative environmental impacts of our society or how enjoyment and proper stewardship of natural resources benefits all parties involved.

Early on, I made the mistake of overlooking and underappreciating history as a field of study as far as its usefulness in the future, but I think that the wisdom gleaned from the past can greatly improve our current and future decisions (particularly in regards to the environment), whether high up in the political realm or at the basic level of personal lifestyle choices.

All in all, I consider myself very fortunate to have taken the history classes I did because I believe they helped me become a more well-rounded individual while also providing a unique perspective on my major course of study.

What are you doing now?

Currently, I am a ranchhand in one of the most beautiful corners of the world, outside of White Sulphur Springs, MT. My job involves a variety of work, including guest services (fly fishing, hiking, and hunting guide, and, of course, driving guests to and from the airport), livestock management, forestry, building repair and maintenance, and, to state it bluntly, labor. I have difficulty describing what I do for a living because it encompasses so many different things, and yet I feel that that is the reason I am so attracted to my current job and am so grateful for my experiences at Bethel with the various areas of study I pursued.

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