A View of God's Heart

stephanie-bell-si-body.jpgStephanie Bell

Supplemental Instructor of Statics, Mechanics of Materials, and Structural Engineering

Civil Engineering ('23)

Some of my best memories at LeTourneau involve the Supplemental Instruction (SI) program. SI not only provided academic support for me in some of the harder prerequisite courses, but it also provided me with a view of God’s heart and love for students. As both an SI leader and an attendee, I have seen the importance of peers leading other students through their academic journeys—they foster a warm, welcoming environment that only a fellow college student can provide.

Now that I have had the opportunity to be an SI for four semesters, I have seen the immeasurable value in participating in the ministry of teaching. God has brought students into my life that I would not have interacted with otherwise. I will forever be grateful that the Lord has chosen to enrich my life in this way and to soften my heart towards people with various backgrounds. I have also been poured into as an SI—from the professors I have worked under and the leadership of the Achievement Center. The relationships I have been able to form have been influential for my personal, spiritual, and academic growth. I have also grown to love the tangible side: helping students succeed academically. While my goal is to care about students in all areas of their lives, I practically do so by reinforcing hard topics that are presented in class and providing concept review in preparation for tests. Reflecting on my years as an SI, I can see how blessed I was to use my academic understanding to care for my students.

As a result of my time in this program and the relationships I have been able to grow, I have decided to pursue a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering with a concentration in Engineering Education. I plan to research ways to improve undergraduate education for engineering students and to prepare for a possible future teaching career. Being an SI helped me develop practical skills I could use in teaching (such as preparing for my sessions or learning how to answer unexpected questions) and provided the inspiration for my graduate studies and future career. My career dream now is to teach engineering mechanics or structural engineering at a small teaching institution. The Lord has shown me the beauty of investing in the lives of students through their academics, and I cannot imagine a more exciting or fulfilling job.

Much of the practical skills and theology of teaching I developed came from my numerous conversations with Mrs. Debbie McGinness. When I think of Mrs. McGinness, I think of her warm smile and welcoming heart. She was always eager to express her love for the students who participated in the SI program—I don’t think you could have a conversation with her without wanting to join in her ministry of caring for students through the Achievement Center. Her love for the students was tangible and practical; it has become a large influence in my career aspirations and the way I view teaching as ministry now. Her impact in the Achievement Center will always be felt and celebrated.