Jesse Lowen • The Good of Goshen

Jesse Lowen

Academic Counselor, Goshen College

Published Feb. 2019

My first two years at Goshen College were pretty rough. At the end of my first year of May term, my dad was diagnosed with brain cancer. That among other factors made me not have a lot of passion for school. But during my junior year, when my dad passed away, I had a “come to Jesus” talk with my social work professors. I decided I wanted to prove to myself, and my dad, that I could make it through school. So, I worked hard on my social work studies and at my internship at Bashor Children’s Home. Now I’m the academic counselor at Goshen College and work alongside Judy Weaver, who is the director of the Academic Success Center.

I really like helping people. I didn’t think I had anything to offer, but my profs and my friends were like, “Man, you can do this. It’s gonna be a hard grind, but you can do this.” And I did! I feel very thankful and blessed to be in this position.

I help students from all backgrounds, with a focus on students of color. Being someone all students can come to is important to me. I assist with time management and organizational skills, questions about things on campus, or how to use our Moodle site. I also teach a class called Academic Success. This course is designed for transfer students or incoming freshman who struggle and might need a bit more assistance at the college level. It’s my first year doing this, but I enjoy it and have a passion for it. Everyone has strengths. You just need to help show people where they are sometimes.

I hadn’t had a lot of previous teaching experience, but I was open with my students about that. Thus far, teaching has been both a challenge and a reward. It’s been fun, it’s been hard, it’s been something I can look forward to but also sometimes don’t. Still, I’m excited for next fall because over the summer I hope to hone some of my skills and teach again soon.

When I was growing up Goshen wasn’t as diverse. It’s nice that week by week I get to interact with young adults from different backgrounds. Being a young black man, I feel I have a different perspective. I think it allows me to come together with people to see a situation for the best it can be.

I still have a lot of questions about my identity. I was adopted into an all-white Mennonite family, so I definitely had struggles growing up. There’s not a lot of black people in Goshen. But having this perspective made me who I am, and allowed me to meet people from different circles.

Editor • Maddie Yost, Scott Weisser
Interview + Photography • Olivia Copsey

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