A challenging career path inspired a Hesston College start for freshman Sarah Hostetler
Chemical engineering is not for the faint of heart. And if there’s any word to describe Sarah Hostetler’s ’15 pursuit of her dream, it’s not “faint.”
She chose this plan of study fully aware she would face an intense course workload. She expected to encounter cold, unapproachable and dull instructors. Hostetler also knew that she was among a generation of young women finding their way into a profession dominated by men. Yet she wasn’t deterred from pursuing a career in chemical engineering.
When the Milford, Neb., native discovered Hesston College and connected with faculty who were not only knowledgeable instructors but also warm and invested in her success, Hostetler knew she had found the perfect place to start her career.
“An important aspect that drew me to Hesston was the one-on-one attention that students receive,” said Hostetler. “I am in a tough field of study and was looking for a college that has a good student-to-teacher ratio. Classes here are fun because instructors are enthusiastic in the classroom and obviously love what they do.”
Although Hostetler came to Hesston well prepared and from a strong high school background where she excelled academically, college presented new challenges.
“The most challenging part of college work has been the increase of time I need to spend on each class and finding a balance for all my classes,” she said. “My time management skills have really been put to the test.”
Being a woman in a traditionally male-dominated field also brings stereotypes to overcome. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy reports in a June 2013 Women and Girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) report that the percentage of scientists and engineers who are women was a mere 24 percent in 2009.
Difficulties and adjustments have not slowed Hostetler down, though. Her first semester, she maneuvered classes like calculus and chemistry and earned a spot on the Dean’s List.
Her academic advisor, math instructor Jeff Baumgartner, says he routinely sees Hostetler go above and beyond what is required of her for class – exploring course content and researching alternative methods of operation – in order to ensure she fully comprehends the material. She is comfortable asking and answering questions in class and willing to help other students understand.
“Sarah is organized and goal oriented,” said Jeff. “She knows what she wants and takes responsibility to reach her goals.”
Hostetler also finds a way to balance her school work to have time for a campus job and to connect with friends and mod mates, something she says is a very important part of her Hesston Experience.
“My academic experiences here have made me more passionate about my major,” she said. “I have found a wonderful support system in friends and instructors, and have been pushed and encouraged to pursue my goals.”