FORGING MY OWN PATH

Hogan Brock came across Iliff two years ago when he began looking for graduate-level theological education. Despite being at Iliff now, when Hogan made his decision to attend seminary, he did not choose Iliff!

Due to geographical constraints and the cost of living, Hogan settled on a small seminary in Richmond, Virginia—one that would be more convenient for him and his family. However, after one semester, the seminary he was attending announced that it would close due to financial distress. The announcement came quickly and without much warning, leaving Hogan little time to re-start his graduate school search.

Hogan recalled how much he loved Iliff’s core values and the community that the school fostered. After further research, and the discovery of Journey, Hogan decided that Iliff would be the next step in his graduate education.  Journey has allowed Hogan to join a community through an academic network while remaining in Richmond.

When asked specifically about his time in classes with his peers and professors, Hogan remarked that he is always surprised and impressed by the life experience, wisdom, and perspective that his classmates bring to each conversation. Hogan has been surprised by Iliff’s willingness to allow students to forge their own path, so to speak. As a transfer student, Hogan has experience from an additional institution prior to Iliff. Iliff has made space for students to have a voice and for that Hogan is especially thankful.

As a very new transfer student, only one week in when Hogan spoke with us, he recalled already felt the effects of the Iliff mission. He feels encouraged and challenged in the classroom, specifically noting his current courses with Dr. Amy Erickson and Dr. Carrie Doehring.

Hogan’s experience speaks to the accepting and welcoming community atmosphere that Iliff fosters—both in Denver and in online spaces. Coming from a traditional, residential seminary, Hogan has not felt many effects moving online.

As we quickly approach Winter Quarter Gathering Days, Hogan excitedly says that he cannot wait to meet his classmates face to face. Moving from a traditional setting to the online setting does not come without risks. Hogan emphasized that he appreciates meaningful relationship with his classmates and his professors, and at first glance, the online platform seemed like it would be a challenge.

The hybridity of the Journey program has, however, offered many rewards to this new student. Hogan tells us that he tends to be a quiet student. Class discussions always felt a little challenging, and he found himself struggling to participate in discussions. The online format has opened a new avenue for class discussion.

Hogan can now read over responses instead of struggling to participate in the rapid-fire discussion that sometimes occurs in the classroom. Journey, while different, has offered Hogan a lot of new opportunities for learning and participation.

One of the ways that Journey helps many of our students pursue graduate-level education is the flexibility of the schedule. Journey allows students more time to complete assignments, and without assigned “class days” there is less tension between Journey and maintaining a full-time job, career, or family.

Hogan is currently a youth minister in a local congregation, and he and his wife volunteer with and support their local Side by Side. They are both active in local justice initiatives including those that deal with public transportation and gentrification. Hogan’s Journey has allowed him to remain active in his communities while pursuing the degree he has had his eye on.

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