Patrick Henry College’s Environmental Science & Stewardship Major
By Rachel Cochran
The Environmental Science & Stewardship (ESS) major at Patrick Henry College equips students to fulfill their divinely appointed role as stewards of the Creation who apply multi-disciplinary solutions to environmental problems. Students who have an interest in the intersection between their faith and the sciences can get a unique experience at Patrick Henry College.
In our current age, the demand for ethical and well-educated scientists is higher than ever. Patrick Henry College is passionate about equipping young leaders to lead our nation, in higher education, in politics, and in the sciences.
Patrick Henry College believes that there is an unacceptable status quo in higher education. It believes in training students in excellence, in instructing them to think about the good, the true and the beautiful. It desires to help students learn how to think instead of what to think. Drawing from the greatest minds in history, it is sure to give students a high-quality education while lifting high both faith and reason.
The curriculum for ESS students at Patrick Henry College is extensive and reaching across a wide variety of topics. It is designed to give students a general education while providing room for them to learn in-depth knowledge and skills in their area of interest.
ESS students study biology, chemistry, physics, statistics, hydrology, geology, ecology, calculus, and more. Patrick Henry College makes a point of providing students with capstone courses to give them a deep insight to the material they are learning. As such, ESS students draw from courses in environmental science and the philosophy of stewardship, as well as apprenticeships.
Patrick Henry College’s distinct Classical Liberal Arts Core Curriculum helps students develop excellent critical thinking and communication skills. It is comprised of a rigorous 63-credits and encompasses topics such as philosophy and history.
The ESS major at Patrick Henry College also integrates principles of biblical stewardship and cultivates an ethic of responsibility, wonder, and gratitude. Current ESS student Gabe Thomas has a few words to describe how he decided to do the ESS track, “I wanted to do pre-med, and so I could either choose CLA or ESS,” Thomas said.
His decided to do ESS “because it’s something new, something that could be good for med school applications,” Thomas said. Students may choose from optional tracks in Law & Policy, Pre-Med, and Science Pedagogy and shape their apprenticeships according to their career goals.
Preparation for Excellence
Patrick Henry College has a 20-1 student-faculty ratio. This means that it is able to provide intimate and engaging class experiences for students seeking to benefit from a deeper learning experience.
“For myself, being one of the only students enrolled in the major, my major classes are much smaller than most classes, so they’re much more personalized,” Thomas said. He has had the privilege of being one of the first ESS students at Patrick Henry College.
Having involved faculty helps create a strong faculty-student bond. Flexible office hours and personalized lectures can help students learn the complex material in the most efficient way possible.
“So far it’s been good. Dr. Estep and Professor Lee, especially, have been super involved with the program, with developing it and promoting it, and of course, teaching its classes. Both of them have been very encouraging to me personally and are doing so much to expand the major,” Thomas said.
One of the unique aspects to ESS at Patrick Henry College is that the major allows students to check-off all the pre-requisite courses they need for graduate programs while gathering a strong foundation with a rigorous classical Christian liberal arts education.
“It’ll get most of the classes I need for the MKAT out of the way, and I’ll be provided with some additional resources to study for that as well. Professor Lee and Dr. Estep have been intentional to prepare for that as well in their classes,” Thomas said.
In the 21st century, godly leaders are necessary, now more than ever. The realm of science is constantly developing and exploring new avenues. With these ventures a firm understanding of ethics and an unwavering biblical worldview is paramount.
Environmental scientists must be trained to independently conduct and analyze research, evaluate problems holistically, and draw data from a range of disciplines to develop integrative solutions in an increasingly complex world. They must be able to communicate their findings effectively, bridging the gaps that exist between scientists, industry, policy makers, and the public.
Patrick Henry College is the best preparation for the next generation of environmental scientists because it unites three distinctives: high academic rigor, unwavering biblical worldview, fidelity to the spirit of the American founding. Patrick Henry College is the only college in the nation dedicated to all three distinctives.
Students are taught Creationism in the classroom, but only after an extensive look at other points of view. They do not merely understand the Christian perspective from a one-sided approach. They examine other worldviews in science in order to give a strong and compelling understanding of the Christian position.
In the rapidly moving realm of science, society needs leaders who can understand ethics and the history of where mankind came from in order to understand where it is going. With great influence comes great responsibility. That is why Patrick Henry College does not simply endeavor to instruct students, it endeavors to mold them.
The ESS major at Patrick Henry College is newly developing and is being improved upon every day. The track allows students to have the option to go into the sciences while deriving the benefits of a rigorous classical Christian liberal arts education.
No matter what career path in science students choose, the ESS major at Patrick Henry College can prepare them through one of its three tracks: Law & Policy, Pre-Med, and Science Pedagogy. This way they can be prepared to grapple with science in the court room, lab, and classroom.
Patrick Henry College desires to provide its students with a unique and individually tailored experience for students seeking to study the sciences. “Join the ESS major!!” Thomas said.
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