Faith in Humanities Conference 2018
On March 15, 2018, the 11th Faith in Humanities Conference enriched the Northwest University community with powerful presentations, intriguing ideas, and superb speakers. While students, faculty members, and guests heard from presenters on topics across the spectrum of the humanities, a few themes stood out:
Explore and Engage
Three panels kicked off the conference with presentations from students and faculty members. They explored topics in the areas of social justice, British literature, and the practice of teaching in the modern world. After sharing their literary analyses, educational research, and other works, speakers took questions, encouraging audience members to dig deeper into their topics.
Step Out and Create
Faculty member Dr. Clint Bryan presented students with awards for their creative contributions through the Sigma Tau Delta Writing Contest. Students were recognized for their growth and hard work in categories ranging from creative prose to rhetorical criticism.
After a short dinner break, a third student panel captivated their audience through dramatic performances. Lights dimmed and silence ensued as sophomore English major Hannah Andersen introduced The Cherry Pickers, a creative work for which she received Sigma Tau Delta’s Creative Prose and Drama award just one year ago. A play in one act, Andersen’s story details the pain and longing of Adam and Eve, who were portrayed by students Kimani Patrick and Allison Elliot.
One delightful performance followed another as the End Scene Improv club entertained the audience with hilarious games and scenes. Both Andersen and the leadership of End Scene spoke on improvising in tough situations and shared details behind the creative process of writing a dramatic piece for performance.
Don’t Let Defeat Daunt You
To conclude the evening, Stephanie Garber, author of the bestselling novel Caraval, shared her story of trial and triumph in the publishing world and how she transitioned from struggling writer to bestselling author. She admitted that the first time her work was rejected, “sharing [her] writing felt like confessing [her] love, and being met with silence.” After facing rejection, Garber pressed on and wrote her young adult fantasy novel, Caraval, landing at number two on The New York Times Best Sellers list and remaining there for 15 consecutive weeks.
“I wouldn’t give up those experiences, or wish anyone to have their first submission published,” Garber said. “It really pushed me to trust God. I knew that the power to do this wasn’t from me, but from faith in God.” In closing, she shared Isaiah 66:7–9, encouraging the audience with the message that all good things take time, and dreams do not happen overnight, but take time, effort, and oftentimes, defeat.
Students and faculty left this event stirred by new ideas, inspired by stories, and encouraged to engage in further pursuits in the arts. Whether a person engages in the study of the humanities or not, this conference reconciles a relationship with God with the pursuit of academics and a love for the arts.