What We Did On Our Summer Break: Students

Now that our profs have had a chance to report on summer highlights, we thought we’d turn the theme over to a few of our 2018-2019 department teaching assistants. How do Bethel History students spend their summers?


Haley Johnson ’19:  This summer I did quite a few things. I worked on a project with Compass Airlines on updating all of their maintenance documents for Delta and American Airlines fleets so that they were up to code with the FAA. Aside from working, I planned my wedding, got married on August 11th, and honeymooned in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Haley Johnson and her husband kayaking in Cabo San Lucas
Used by courtesy of Haley Johnson

While there we got to go kayaking, snorkeling, and parasailing. It was quite the summer. (An Art History major, Haley will be assisting Prof. Goldberg with Intro to the Digital Humanities next spring.)

Justin Brecheisen ’19: This summer I had a Technical Sales Internship at Twin City Fan Companies in Plymouth, Minnesota. I spent a lot of my summer getting immersed in the business world in a way I haven’t before and I learned valuable skills I know I will be able to utilize no matter where God leads me in the future.

Justin hiking through Zion National Park
Courtesy of Justin Brecheisen

After spending much of my summer in a cubicle, I had the refreshing privilege to travel to Utah with my family. Visiting five national parks allowed me to explore corners of God’s amazing creation that I had never seen and opened my eyes to fresh perspectives. It was a fantastic way to finish out the summer. As I transition back to Bethel, this trip has framed my perspective, reminding me of the important things in life as I shift from a busy internship to a busy semester. (Justin is double-majoring in History and Business and will again help Prof. Magnuson in the archives.)

Peter Engstrom ’20: This summer I worked at Trout Lake Camps.  I was on adventure staff, which means I got to run all of the zip lines and rock walls for all of the kiddos. My summer was filled with 40 minute chats on the top of zip line convincing kids that the zip line had never dropped anyone before and it sure wasn’t gonna happen today on my watch. This summer I got the incredible opportunity to go skydiving, which was an amazing experience. I had always wanted to go skydiving but never thought anything would materialize out of that, until our adventure team decided to jump out of a plane together at 10,000 feet. This summer was filled with amazing experiences, and I got to see God work in incredible ways at camp. (One of our History/Social Studies Education students, Peter will TA for Prof. Kooistra when she returns from her fall sabbatical.)

Aidan Ruch ’21: This summer my dad got a sabbatical grant and my whole family took a two-month trip to the Netherlands, Kenya, and England. I have many fond memories of that trip, but one of my favorite stories was when we were staying at a bed and breakfast near Stratford-upon-Avon.

The church Aidan and his family visited in Stratford-upon-Avon
Courtesy of Aidan Ruch

At breakfast I was talking to the owners of the place, and I happened to mention that that I was a history major. Upon hearing this the owner’s eyes lit up. He explained that he was quite the history buff and offered to show me the local church later that day. It was built in the early 1100s and was one of the first churches in the area. Indeed, on the ceiling there are various pagan carvings such as a learning face of a druid, as the people who originally built the church were unsure about this newfangled religion called Christianity and so decided to hedge their bets. Our host, Mr. Kerr, happened to be the church warden and had the key to the safe. After sorting through the various items in the safe, he pulled out a beautiful chalice, looked at it, and said, “ Oh we don’t want this one; it’s only from the 18th century.” He put it back and pulled out another chalice made in the 150’s, which local legend says was made out of silver plundered from a Spanish galleon. In this manner I was able to hold a chalice that, had it been discovered off the coast of America, would now be in a museum, all while standing in a church that is older than my country. I am awestruck to this day that I was able to have such an experience, and it is something that I will forever cherish. (Aidan is a History/Political Science major and Prof. Gehrz’s social media TA for the year. Look from much more from him at AC 2nd in the weeks to come…)

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