Chicago seemed like an ideal place to continue my engagement with and learning about the issues that surrounded me in South Africa, and to learn about these realities within the United States.
Student Profile: Stephanie Berkas
Originally from Maplewood, Minn., Stephanie Berkas grew up loving the outdoors, and all of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes. She spent summers working at camp and nurturing her love for youth and outdoor ministry. After graduating from Concordia College, she spent a year of volunteer service through the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) program in Cape Town, South Africa, working primarily with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa.
“YAGM challenged me to experience God’s presence in new and unfamiliar ways, to learn to live with less in a thoughtful, intentional way, and to rely on the genuine hospitality of my host community. Living alongside this South African community radically transformed me,” she says.
Her experience engaging in issues related to racial privilege, poverty, healthcare access, and the impact of HIV and AIDS on struggling communities led Stephanie to seminary and, eventually, to LSTC.
“Chicago seemed like an ideal place to continue my engagement with and learning about the issues that surrounded me in South Africa, and to learn about these realities within the United States,” she says. While she continues her coursework, Stephanie will be working full-time for the Young Adults in Global Mission program.
“Seminary has given me the space, time, and guidance that I have longed for to explore faith questions and dive into scripture, searching for the ways that it resonates with my life and the church today.”
Stephanie, her husband, Nate, and their dog, Parker, all live in campus housing and are enjoying the new adventure that life in Chicago brings.