I first learned about LCC while my husband, Luke, and I were in Ukraine in Fall 2021. Vitaliy Sobko (LCC ’08), Director of Camp Maximum, became my colleague and collaborator regarding Disability Education throughout Ukraine. We weren’t intending to be in Ukraine for more than one week of volunteering for Family Disability Camp but God had far greater plans. I was supposed to be completing my Fulbright Scholarship on Disability Education in Tomsk, Siberia, but Fulbright shut everything down in Russia in July 2021. With my sabbatical starting in two weeks, I needed a new plan.
That’s where Vitaliy and Camp Maximum came in. Vitaliy said Camp Maximum could be our Home Base while I led disability seminars, workshops, meetings, and lectures throughout eight different Oblasts in Ukraine. During many hours of traveling with Vitaliy, I began to learn about LCC and what it meant to Vitaliy. And, it became evident to me that if Vitaliy loved this place, I should get connected in some way. Little did I know that in April 2022, the Fulbright organization would open an invitation for all Russia Fulbrighters to choose a new country. I chose Lithuania, Vitaliy called President Wall, the invitation was given, and here I am.
I am passionate about Christian higher education. Teaching and leading in international environments fills me with JOY. I am collaborating with VP Margarita regarding the development of disability resources, disability education, and disability support for university students with disabilities. This includes creating a handbook of policies and procedures, leading faculty workshops, meeting with students, and conducting a case study on LCC related to serving individuals with disabilities. I will also co-host a Friday movie night (Temple Grandin movie) and be a guest lecturer in a few psychology courses.
I’m only just beginning to see how truly unique LCC is. It is such an honor and privilege to be at a place that is known as “A laboratory of peacebuilding”. I don’t think there is anywhere else in the world that can model Christ’s Kingdom here on earth as this place can. Sure, there may be places like the United Nations that bring more countries together but to have 64 countries represented in a university student body, where Christ’s name can be spoken…that is unique. The students are modeling how we can have peace amidst incredible differences. They inspire me. And, as I start to get to know some of the students who have disabilities, this is the theme I’ve heard…”I’ve never felt more valued as a human being than I do here at LCC.” This. Is. Priceless.
I absolutely love that LCC truly epitomizes an “international” university. These students learn together, study together, and live life together. They may or may not be Christian but they are being challenged in a Christian Liberal Arts environment where there are so many opportunities for lives to be transformed. I think it is amazing!
I am grateful for this opportunity to be at this place called LCC. I pray that God uses me in whatever ways are necessary and that I would have open hands and an open heart to be challenged in new and exciting ways.
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