Our Students

History of the American West
Students in Western costume for the last day of AnneMarie Kooistra’s History of the American West course

What can we say about our students? They’re smart, committed, passionate, and (see picture above) game for almost anything we try in the classroom.

A lot of them have a second major (one of the benefits of the History major being fairly small — less than 40 credits necessary). Most popular: Social Studies Education 5-12 and Political Science, though Philosophy, Biblical and Theological Studies, English Literature, Sociocultural Studies, Reconciliation Studies, and even Biology and Nursing show up as well.

Bethel History majors at the Palace of Versailles
Prof. Gehrz (right) with four Bethel students at the Palace of Versailles, simulating the 1919 Peace Conference that ended World War I

About half of them came to Bethel intending to study History; others decided on that major after a year or two. What draws them to History? Overwhelmingly, they tell us that it best matched their interests, passions, and calling.

Many of them will study away from Bethel, though no single study-abroad experience is the same. Our students have spent semesters in Australia, Britain, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Ghana, India, Italy, Lithuania, Scotland, and Uganda. Others take advantage of Christian college programs in the US, like the Oregon Extension and American Studies Program. Many of those who can’t get away for a whole semester spend one of their Januaries taking a travel course with Bethel professors. And now, they have the chance to do that within our own department: in January 2017, History professors Chris Gehrz and Sam Mulberry will again take students to England, Belgium, France, and Germany to study the history of World War I.

All of them will complete their Bethel education by writing a research paper on any topic that tickles their fancy. (You can read journal entries from past Senior Seminar students.) And what they prove again and again is that they’re capable of remarkable work — for example, our students have won Bethel’s Library Research prize several times.


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