With each year that passes there are more and more BIC graduates doing great work all over the world. Each year 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 Noah Ward (’19). 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 2019 majoring in Political Science with a minor in philosophy
Tell us some about your career and journey since graduating from Baylor.
After graduating from Baylor I went on to earn my Masters of Divinity (MDiv) degree from Emory University as a Robert W. Woodruff Fellow. During my time in the program I studied pastoral care and practical theology using these fields to gain a deeper understanding of the history and care of nonreligious communities. Through this program I served as an interfaith chaplain in a hospital ICU, retirement living community, and cancer center. The program and these experiences gave me great insight into the nature of community building, interpersonal care, and crisis management.
Since finishing my master degree I have stayed in higher education now serving as the assistant director of admissions at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business wherein I oversee the Booth Scholars Deferred MBA program. Through this program I engage with undergraduate students as they begin to plan their postgraduate career journey. I also work to foster a sense of community among the hundreds of students in deferment as they work through the first few years of their career.
How has your BIC education influenced your life and/or work since leaving Baylor?
One of the biggest influences the BIC has had over my life and work is the importance of collaboration.
We live in thought worlds that naturally bend toward our own experiences, which never shows the whole reality. Whether we are working, learning, or simply living, we do so in community. This means our default position is to understand other people’s actions according to our personal experiences. This can present a number of pitfalls ranging from simple miscommunication, to the danger of treating others as objects rather than full persons (Think Martin Buber’s I/Thou, or David Foster Wallace’s “This is Water”). Above all else it can trap us in our own traumas and struggles, making it difficult to imagine a world where we are free of those experiences.
Through the collaborative nature of the BIC program we learn how to look beyond our own worlds. Whether it is in the curriculum where we jump into different cultures and times, or in the pedagogical method of the classroom wherein we listen to one another’s interpretations of these texts, we are constantly challenged to hear a perspective other than our own.
I have taken this perspective into my work as a care giver in medical and higher education spaces. In such work I inherently cannot know everything my careseekers have experienced. Yet, this does not mean that I cannot be there to provide support for them. Rather, thanks to the BIC, I am able to challenge myself to see my interactions with patients and students not as a one way relationship wherein I come and solve their troubles, but rather as a as a collaborative work in which we determine together what, if anything, is needed. This is not an easy thing to do. I have fallen short of this goal more times than I can count. Yet those moments where we have been able to bridge our differences and see one another are some of the most beautiful and impactful of my career. I am told by careseekers in those moments that it really made a difference for them, and I certainly know those moments made a difference for me. I have the BIC to thank for that.
Do you have any favorite memories from your time in BIC?
I have tons. As my last answer highlighted they often have to do with the community I fostered in the BIC. From big events like the first BIC at Cameron Park and the BIC bowl, to the more personal moments sitting with professors like Dr. Nogalski and Whitenton in office hours, it is the human connections which I remember most. I think some of the strongest memories are the ones I made with the BIC Leadership council, as we began to carve out more intentional time to get to know one another and become friends. This led to the creation of a D&D group with some of them my senior year which still gets together to this day!
Do you have any advice for current BIC students?
Ask professors for book recommendations during the summers.
During the two summers I worked for the BIC as a student recruiter, I was seeking some sense of meaning to life (I know it’s very dramatic, but it is true). I took the risk of asking Professor Moore for some recommendations of books to read to help me with some of the questions I had. He went over to his shelf of books and pulled out Christ on Trial by Rowan Williams and handed it over. I would come in to his office at least once a week and we would talk about the book. To this day it is one of my favorites. When I finished reading it he went and pulled another from his collection, and then another. Through each book I felt myself not finding answers so much as becoming more comfortable with the questions that troubled me.
Professors often have had similar questions and more time to collect different people’s answers. Don’t be afraid to hear what they have to offer.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I look forward to meeting with the BIC students and if they have any questions about divinity or business school, I am always happy to chat.