By: Heather Cox
Annastasia Bonczyk graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2011, after pursuing Biblical Studies in the school of Theology and Ministry. For Annastasia, Indiana Wesleyan has been one of her favorite places since the beginning. Originally from a small town in West Michigan, it was her youth minister and his wife, both IWU alums, who led her to loving Indiana Wesleyan as much as they do.
“They took us here a lot. Not just for Fusion and other Wesleyan weekends, but in the middle of January to visit students who were already down here. So I was really familiar with the school by the time it came time to apply to colleges,” Bonczyk said.
Though she did not know exactly what she wanted to study when first arriving at IWU, she knew she wanted to be involved in ministry in some way. During her time at IWU, her major may have shifted a time or two, but she always stayed within the school of Theology and Ministry.
In addition to pursuing ministry, Annastasia was also involved in the John Wesley Honors College, which originally happened “on accident!”. Annastasia explained, “They had put out some feelers based on some suggestions from my admissions counselor and next thing I knew I was driving down here with my mom for my interview and getting accepted.”
Since Annastasia was already familiar with the campus and some of the people at the school, she liked having the community of the honors college already established. She could be actively involved in a community of her own.
Annastasia has wanted to work with college students since the very beginning. Though she did not know exactly what that would look like, she pursued it through studying Biblical Studies.As graduation neared, she began to think about becoming a Resident Director or a career counselor, however these positions had started requiring a master’s degree.
Following graduation, Annastasia attended Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan to further her education and earn a master’s degree. During this time, she also worked at a church, and was the Holland Program Coordinator at Kids’ Food Basket, a non-religiously affiliated nonprofit which helped provide food to children who were food insecure.“It was an incredible learning and growing opportunity, but predominantly my time over the last five years was spent working at a church and working with Hope College students,” Annastasia said.
Five years after graduating, Annastasia returned to Indiana Wesleyan, as a coordinator of recruitment and student formation. “I’m recruiting students for the honors college, and I am helping with the external communications, with the broader community whether it’s with our alumni, or our prospective students.”
Annastasia also teaches a class on spiritual formation, is a teacher assistant for a few classes, and has the opportunity to spend intentional time with students.
Since returning to Indiana Wesleyan Annastasia has enjoyed rediscovering the community, as well as becoming colleagues with her professors. Her favorite part of being back is working with the students in the honors college. She has loved watching the freshmen go into their fourth week of the semester, facing their first tests and finding their own “niche.”
“I remember that was one of my favorite parts of being a student was when I sat around a lunch table and all of a sudden realized ‘these are my people!’ Now I get to watch them experience that for themselves as well, and it’s just really cool to be a part of that and to watch that unfold for them; to watch them make this place that I really love their own as well.”
Annastasia is currently enjoying settling into Marion and into her new job. Going through two graduations in the past five years has been full of transitions. She hopes to someday become a campus chaplain at IWU, but for now is glad she gets to start where she is at in her current campus job within the John Wesley Honors College.
Learn more about the John Wesley Honors College here: jwhc.us.
Written by Heather Cox, guest writer for the Alumni Office. Heather is a Junior Journalism major at IWU. She is also the Editor of GrantCOnnected.net, a community news site run by IWU students. She is unsure of where life will take her after college, but she knows she never wants to stop writing!