Photo: At Urbana 18, we held a staff party to celebrate Tom’s great work with ESN (Emerging Scholars Network). This picture shows Tom and Theresa Grosh, their daughter Ellen, and InterVarsity Grad/Faculty Ministry Colleagues Bobby Gross (Vice President for GFM), Kathy Tuan-Maclean (Director of Faculty Ministry), and Hannah Eagleson (ESN).
With both sorrow and joy, we announce that Tom Grosh IV will be transitioning to a new role as an area director with CMDA (Christian Medical and Dental Association) in South Central Pennsylvania, and I will be carrying on the vision and mission of ESN. Sorrow, because Tom is an amazing colleague who has grown ESN into a vibrant ministry with a strong model, and I will miss him immensely. Joy, because Tom is moving on to another wonderful opportunity to serve Christ and still plans to do some volunteer writing with ESN, and joy also because I am deeply excited to grow the vision, mission, and model Tom has built at ESN.
Before I say more about ESN’s plans for the new year, I’d like to tell a little more of my story with ESN. My first significant encounter ESN was as a graduate student experiencing something of a crisis. I was starting to realize that I had no idea how to write a dissertation, which was a difficult realization to come to as a PhD student in English literature. Providentially, at that time I met Tom, who was organizing ESN events in south central Pennsylvania and would in time become Associate Director of ESN. He introduced me to local events that provided the community of Christian scholars I was longing for, and he helped me discover my public voice and support other scholars through writing for the ESN blog. In 2014, I joined ESN staff as editor for the Scholar’s Compass devotional project, and then gradually took on more responsibility, including grant writing and organizing ESN programs at the Urbana Student Missions Conference and the American Scientific Affiliation annual faith/science conference.
One reason I’m so passionate about expanding the work of ESN is that my own story is an example of what ESN does. Beyond that, Tom Grosh created a model at ESN that makes it possible for ESN to do something similar for others at a very large scale. As Tom moves to a different area of ministry, here’s how I see the vision, mission, and model he grew at ESN.
Imagine a world where: Every Christian with an advanced degree is energized throughout their careers to think, teach, and engage missionally for the common good with the university, the church, and the world.
We build: Pathways and resources for Christian academics everywhere to find the relationships, ideas, and public voice they need in the early decades of their careers to fulfill Christ’s calling for them in the world.
We’re building: a digital first network serving Christian scholars across the 20-year arc of their early career, wherever they go geographically.
That’s how I see the ministry Tom has so faithfully grown over the past 6 years, and I’m incredibly excited to continue building it in that direction. This spring we’ll especially focus on building the core of prayer supporters and financial collaborators we need to help ESN grow through this transition and serve our expanding community over time.
As in any transition, there will be some adjustments. We will continue regularly featuring the voices of thoughtful Christian scholars at our blog and providing a hub for Christian academics on social media, but our publication pace will be a bit more leisurely in the Spring 2019 semester, closer to 1-3 posts a week rather than 3-5. We anticipate this will give us the time we need to broaden and strengthen our support team, while also promoting the Christian Scholars Grant and collaborating with American Scientific Affiliation to provide student/early career programming at their summer faith/science conference.
It’s a truly exciting moment to work with ESN: More and more Christians in the university are growing their community, their ideas, and their public voice through what God is doing in ESN. I’m honored and joyful to be serving ESN as we start 2019.
Will you join our team?
We’re so grateful to God for growing Emerging Scholars Network, and to you for being part of our community! We’re creating a team of people to help ESN grow and thrive during this transitional year. If you would like to support ESN during this transitional moment, you can sign up for our 2019 Transition Prayer Team here and/or become a financial collaborator with our ministry here. If you would like to talk more with us during this transition, you can contact us here.
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.