Next Steps for ESN — Part 2: Vision, Partnership

I greatly appreciate the ASA’s ongoing partnership with InterVarsity, particularly when it comes to engaging with college and graduate students at our Annual Meeting. Hannah Eagleson and Tom Grosh have done a wonderful job of creating opportunities for students to interact with their peers as well as professionals within their disciplines. These networking connections are a win for everyone involved, and we look forward to continuing this partnership at next year’s ASA meeting. — Leslie Wickman, Ph.D., Executive Director, American Scientific Affiliation (ASA)

ASA Executive Director Leslie Wickman shares insights on Communicating about Science with Christian Communities as part of a student track coordinated by the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN) at the 2017 ASA Annual Meetings[1]. Leslie was joined on this panel discussion by Texas Tech U. Political Science Professor / Director of the Climate Science Center Katharine Hayhoe and ASA President / Wheaton Chair of Geology Stephen Moshier.

In Part 1 of the Next Steps for ESN series, I shared that wrestling with “The Four Questions” spurred ESN’s development. But it is important not to skip ESN’s vision. From the beginning ESN has envisioned / yearned for

the next generation of Christian scholars to have a redeeming influence within and beyond higher education as they:

  • Love God with heart, mind, soul, and strength as they follow God’s call in discipleship and spiritual formation;
  • See their time in the academy and their training in their fields as a vocation in which they can flourish while loving God and neighbor;
  • Exhibit excellence in research, teaching, service, and public engagement;
  • Influence the university, the church, and the world by practicing their disciplines from a profoundly Christian viewpoint
  • Embody the gender, ethnic, and social diversity of the church within the academy and anywhere else God may call them to use their gifts and training.

Today the ESN staff team rejoices in the ways that God is bringing these things to pass. In response to ESN’s activities at this year’s ASA Annual Meetings[1], which involved over a dozen members of the academic / professional communities in serving 60 students from a variety of contexts, a graduate student wrote:

I came to know about ASA through Intervarsity connections I had made in the Urbana missions conference, and thanks to the financial support offered to students[2], I was able to attend. I have never been happier to be surrounded by scientists, experts and students of so many different fields not because of their vast intellect, their passion for their work, or their stories of perseverance, but because of their love of Jesus. I felt safe at ASA to share my love for Christ and how the living God is shaping my work and life as a scientist, even when my life is filled with miracles and crazy obstacles that would have been brushed aside as coincidences in more secular settings. I was also able to get counsel and prayer for difficult situations, discuss various academic and church idols pulling us away from Jesus, and ask questions that would have not been possible at either a church or a secular setting, simply because the questions combined both science and faith concepts. The safety and community I felt at ASA has really refreshed my mind and allowed me to see yet another ongoing reconciling aspect of God!

Hannah Eagleson, ESN’s editor, mixes it up with students at the Sunday evening reception with plenary speakers hosted by ESN at the 2017 ASA Annual Meetings.

I look forward to where the Lord will lead ESN in 2017 – 2018 as we deepen our partnership with ASA through expanding the program at and student participation in the Annual Meetings (Gordon College, July 27 – 30). More broadly, we look forward to the growing enthusiasm for connecting / mentoring Emerging Scholars online and at professional conferences. If you desire to be a part of such endeavors, please drop us a line.

Stay tuned, much more to share in future posts about ESN’s history, next steps, and very specific stories as to how we have served students, recent graduates, and faculty at important times in their academic journey. Your prayers, partnership (as the Lord enables), and encouragement in this Kingdom work is much appreciated. To God be the glory!


  1. Student track sessions included: Science, Mission, and Flourishing by S. Joshua Swamidass (25 min, 39 sec, slides), Communicating with Secular Peers about Faith and Science (30 min, 10 sec), Flourishing in a Science Career (31 min, 23 sec), Communicating about Science with Christian Communities (25 min, 41 sec), and “Speed Mentoring.” Additional conference activities included a student/early career breakfast on The Martian by a scientist involved with the Mars Rover (ASA 2016 plenary by our speaker) and a reception with this year’s plenary speakers. Note: This project was made possible through the support of an award from the Science and Theology for Emerging Adult Ministries project at Fuller Theological Seminary. The opinions expressed are those of the speaker(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Fuller or the STEAM project.
  2. A special thank-you to Fuller Seminary’s Science and Theology for Emerging Adult Ministry (STEAM) program for their grant and the American Scientific Affiliation for shared passion for encouraging/equipping the next generation!

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Tom Grosh IV

Enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa, four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he hosts the Christian Scholar Series), on campus as part of InterVarsity Graduate & Faculty Ministry (serving fellowships such as the Christian Medical Society/CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine), online as the Associate Director of the Emerging Scholars Network, in the culture at large, and in God's creation.

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