With each year that passes there are more and more BIC graduates doing great work all over the world. Each spring we publish brief “Alumni Updates” where our alumni can tell us some about their post-BIC lives. In addition to these annual updates, we post interviews with our alumni. Today we are excited to post an interview with Rev. Amanda Boyd-Stratton (’04). We hope you enjoy, and if you are interested in being interviewed for a future blog post, email us at BIC@baylor.edu.
What year did you graduate from Baylor? What did you study?
I graduated in December of 2003, but was an Epsilon Class (2004) member of the BIC. I graduated with a BA in Anthropology with a minor in Gerontology
What has been your journey since graduating from Baylor? What are you doing currently for work/career?
Following graduation, I pursued a few different jobs in the field of Gerontology, including working for an Alzheimer’s Unit, the Area Agency on Aging, and even a durable medical equipment company. Thanks to God’s sense of humor, as a favor to the priest, I ended up on the opposite end of the age-spectrum teaching three-year-olds at a small Episcopal School. That experience led me to pursue my teaching certification with the state of Texas, and involvement in the local United Methodist Church’s youth and children’s ministry. I taught for two years, and then took on full time youth ministry for the next seven. After seven years of working with teens, I received a call into full-time pastoral ministry in the United Methodist Church. I am now a full time local licensed pastor serving a vibrant and growing congregation in Alto, Texas. I am also currently completing my Masters of Divinity at Asbury Theological Seminary and upon graduation, will pursue Ordination as an Elder in the United Methodist Church.
What do you enjoy most about your work–or what is something you are currently excited about in your work?
I absolutely love being in ministry! Watching God move in the lives of individuals, in my congregation, and in the community, has been amazing. I think my absolute favorite part of my job is officiating at a Baptism. Celebrating a new brother or sister in Christ is simply incredible. Witnessing God’s Grace as it is demonstrated in the sacrament of Baptism is one of my favorite celebrations in the church.
How has your BIC education influenced your life and/or work since leaving Baylor?
Wow… I would say World Cultures was foundational in my formation. Opening my eyes to the different cultures and religions of the world set me on a journey to explore all of God’s creation and to interact with and learn from as many different people as possible. Exploration, appreciation, and understanding of other cultures and religions has been incredibly important in my ministry. I know that I would not have been receptive to working with so many different cultures had my time in BIC not ignited a passion to truly appreciate God’s diversity in humanity.
Do you have a favorite memory from your time in BIC?
There are SO many! I would have to say that my most memorable would be the Spring Break trip to London with Dr. Tom Hanks and Dr. Carol Hanks. The Drs Hanks rounded up about ten of us and took us to London for a full-on immersion experience in the history of British Culture. We learned to drink hot tea with milk, how to ride the tube, and how to look the opposite direction when crossing the street. I think the Drs. Hanks ran circles around our group of nineteen and twenty year olds as we traipsed all over the city and made a very memorable trip to Canterbury as well. We laughed so much that week… it will always be one of my absolute favorite memories from my time at Baylor.
Is there something you learned in BIC that still sticks with you today?
When I share my testimony of how God has brought me to my current relationship with Him, I always include my time in the BIC we spent studying other religions. Growing up in a small town, I was not exposed to religions beyond local Christian denominations. BIC offered me the opportunity to explore world religions and really ask a lot of deep questions about my own belief. It was actually a discussion with a fellow BICer while on a field trip to a Hindu Temple that I recall as the moment I KNEW I was a Christian. That assurance in my belief in Jesus Christ has stuck with me to this day!
Many alumni recall the theme of the examined life from their time in BIC. How does this concept still influence you today in your life and/or work?
I like to say that BIC taught me to think. Following High School and in my undergraduate class work, we were trained to remember and regurgitate information. My time in the BIC was the first time I was challenged to contemplate the depth of the world around me. Imagine Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz stepping out of her house following the tornado…. All the sudden, there was color! In everything I read, hear, and experience I now examine and contemplate. BIC taught me to be a student of the world and to never pass up the opportunity to dig a little deeper and see what God has in store.
What are your goals for the future?
Upon completing my Masters of Divinity, I plan to pursue Ordination as an Elder in the United Methodist Church.
Do you have any advice for current BIC students?
Ok…. So, I KNOW it’s a lot of reading…. and I KNOW it’s tempting to skim… but if you can, take advantage of the opportunity to dive into what will become essential references for the remainder of your life! You won’t regret it, I promise!
Also…. Don’t miss a lecture or a small group if you don’t have to! While I didn’t miss class much, I didn’t appreciate that we had access to the most brilliant minds our University has to offer, both the professors and the students. When you’re in the Bubble, it’s easy to take brilliance for granted. I long for days in the SUB just soaking in the wisdom of those around me. Enjoy each moment!
Is there anything else you would like to share?
BIC was an essential part of my spiritual transformation. I could not fully appreciate all God was doing in those tender early years of my adulthood, but when I reflect on my time at Baylor, I realize it was all I was allowed to explore as a BIC student that set things in motion to bring me into pastoral ministry nearly fifteen years after graduation. I will forever be grateful for my time at Baylor, but especially my time in the BIC.