Student Spotlight: Monica Westerheide

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"Teaching in Jamaica opened my eyes to God’s love and helped me to realize what I want to do in the future," Monica Westerheide said of her time there during Spring Break 2014.

“The trip opened my eyes to the world in so many ways,” said Monica Westerheide while looking back on her time in Jamaica during Spring Break 2014. “It was an amazing opportunity to be able to utilize my education on this island. The children and community members helped me to realize that it is the small things in life that really matter,” she said.

Monica joined eight other Bethany students in Jamaica, where they spent the week working with children in after-school programs.

“Although the people of Petersfield do not have many possessions, their love and compassion were very evident.  The children sat in their chairs every day at school, and bowed their heads in prayer. The entire community’s devotion to God empowered my life.”

A social work major, Monica is passionate about bringing light to poverty issues. In November 2013, she coordinated events for Hunger/ Poverty Week.

“We held a ‘Camp-out for the Homeless’ night. We slept outside on Richardson lawn, just as any homeless person would survive out in the cold. The next event was the highlight of the entire week:  I planned the first Oxfam America Hunger Banquet. We are all dealt a card in life. Some of us are born into poverty, middle class, and others into wealth. This banquet was a simulation of poverty levels.  Some ate on the floor, some had seats, and others had a three course meal.  I also invited a Peace Corps representative to campus. A woman spoke about the selection process of the Peace Corps and her own personal story in the program. My goal of this Hunger/ Poverty week was to raise awareness of world poverty. We should be forever grateful for all of our blessings.”

Q&A:

What is something you’ve learned about Bethany throughout your time here?
As a Resident Assistant, I tell all of my residents this: Bethany is what you make of it.  If you want to be happy, you must go out and do something.  There are SO many events and activities provided on campus.  Having a positive attitude can get you far in life.  If a student has an idea, Bethany teaches them to foster these plans.  If someone comes up with a plan, it is definitely possible to make it happen. It is our responsibility as students to build relationships, participate in activities, and become well-rounded individuals. Live life with no regrets.

What’s one thing no Bethany student should miss?
There are two things that no Bethany student should miss.  The first is that no student should be bored at Bethany.  There are daily events going on.  Bethany students should never miss out on events hosted by Student Activities Council.  Speakers, dances, parties, banquets, annual events, and much more are provided from this club.

The second thing is that people should not miss out on traveling.  There are so many opportunities to go abroad at Bethany.  I am personally proud of the work that we did teaching in Jamaica.  The country helped to empower our lives as students, and we also helped change lives in Jamaica.

What are your plans after graduation?
I plan on going to grad school after graduation.  I have a dream school in mind, and I’m hoping to get a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration.  Along with that, I wish to work with a nonprofit organization.  No matter where life may take me, I hope to serve others.  That is my mission in life, and what God is calling me to do.