Highlighting Community: Harvard Grad Fellowship Collaborates with ASA Local Chapter

In our Highlighting Community feature, we share stories of how God is working in various communities of Christian academics. We’re happy to share that our national collaboration with the American Scientific Affiliation conference also led to a great local collaboration between the Boston area ASA chapter and the Harvard InterVarsity grad Christian fellowship in 2019. Because the ASA conference was near Boston and Francis Collins was speaking, ASA & ESN collaborated to provide transportation for local grad students in Boston to the conference, held at Gordon College. Jeffrey Banks, on InterVarsity Graduate and Faculty Ministries staff at Harvard, writes about how that led to local collaboration below. 


Last year a few students in our GSAS Christian Community attended a conference hosted by American Scientific Affiliation (ASA), an international network of Christians in science. What is interesting about ASA is that they don’t have stances about many “hot button” issues, which allows them to have dialogue and debate about important questions that Christians face in the sciences and that all of us face in life.

The students who attended the ASA conference helped facilitate a partnership with ASA, such that we held two joint-meetings on campus during the spring. The speaker at the first meeting was Dr. Randy Isaac, the former executive director of ASA who spent his career at IBM, ultimately becoming Research Vice President of Systems, Science, and Technology. The lecturer at the second meeting was Dr. Craig Story, Professor of Biology at Gordon College.

Not only did they talk about interesting subjects, but we also had students join us from MIT and other schools for these presentations. It was a great way to engage important topics while also reaching out to the community more broadly.

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Jeffrey Banks

Jeffrey Banks, on staff with InterVarsity Grad/Faculty Ministries, works with students at Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and Harvard Graduate School of Education. He loves working with graduate students because they explore every avenue of the Christian faith. No stone goes unturned, and no question goes unasked (or unanswered). It's exhilarating to read the Bible or discuss a lecture with graduate students who want to dig deep into the meaning of texts and are eager to seek wisdom for living.

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