Giving Thanks: Serving Over 400 Emerging Scholars at Urbana


Students at Urbana15 GFM Seminar Developing Your Mind for God’s Global Mission. Speaker: Greg Jao. Photo by Rebecca J. Carlson, ESN Scholars participant, Creative Commons license.

As we plan for 2016, we’re deeply heartened by the way emerging scholars participated in the 2015 Urbana Student Missions Conference. We’re filled with excitement as we work on ways to provide more mentoring, conferencing, and communal conversation for members in 2016. Stay tuned for more on that, but in the meantime give thanks with us for:

  • 1093 app checkins at ESN/GFM seminars (actual attendance much higher)
  • 400+ connections with emerging scholars, a number of which were made at a highly active booth and deepened through a number of additional opportunities (formal and informal)
  • 42 great questions and/or prayer requests received at the ESN Seminar on The Secular Academy as a Mission Field (audio, liveblogger summary)
  • 30 ESN Sponsorship/Scholars Program participants
  • 16 liveblog posts of Urbana15 talks
  • 9 livebloggers who generously volunteered their writing skills
  • 8 ESN meetups for social justice, tech, international teaching, and more
  • 7 GFM/ESN sponsored seminars, 1 more by an ESN writer
  • 4 great days of special guests and conversation at the GFM/ESN Lounge
  • 4 Small Groups in Math/Science, Social Sciences, and Humanities
  • 3 Urbana Bible study posts by GFM Staffer David Williams
  • 1 packed ESN reception
  • 1 ESN prayer and commissioning service

We’re profoundly thankful for the chance to welcome emerging scholars. And we’re even more thankful to see God’s work in all of us unfold, as it did at Urbana15 for Galina Pylypiv, a biomedical engineering student considering grad school (and a member of the ESN Scholars pilot program and the liveblogging team). She said:

Connecting with ESN has really enriched my experience at Urbana because it expanded my mind to see that God called me into the engineering field for a reason. Missions and academic/vocational pursuit are not two separate ideas, but rather beautifully intertwined to fulfill a piece of God’s bigger story for my generation.

ESN can’t wait to support this generation of Christian scholars as they live out God’s missional story in the academy. Stay tuned as we see what God will continue to bring out of Urbana15!

To God be the glory!

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Hannah Eagleson

Hannah Eagleson is Interim Associate Director of InterVarsity’s Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). She launched and still edits ESN's collaboratively written devotional for academics, Scholar's Compass. Hannah also crafts other community-building events and materials for ESN. She holds a PhD in English literature from the University of Delaware, and an MA from St. John's College in Annapolis, MD. she’s working on a novel about a dragon who gave up fending off knights to become a tea importer in eighteenth-century England.

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