Years ago, when I pitched the idea of Today’s New Reason to Believe (TNRTB) to the Reasons to Believe (RTB) scholars, I had no idea that a decade later TNRTB would stand as a powerful archive of articles thoughtfully reporting on scientific discoveries that demonstrate evidence for the God of the Bible.
TNRTB has become the place where RTB scholars can develop new arguments (such as this pioneering classic by Jeff Zweerink). It also provides a safe venue where nonbelievers can investigate the compatibility of nature and Scripture more deeply (like this recent gem).
As we press into the future, RTB wants to continue to build this resource library as well as expand our vision. Part of this expansion involves developing new ways to invest in the emerging generation of scientists and apologists.
Recently, RTB’s education team has been asking the question, What can we do, on a practical level, to encourage more Christian students to consider going into science as a noble profession? God has specially gifted about 15 percent of high school students with a natural ability in science and math, including some students who are on the autistic spectrum. Imagine the potential for new arenas of investigation that could be explored if more young Christians were involved at the highest levels of scientific research.
Investing in the Future
This is why we’re launching The Lab, RTB’s new mentoring program for science students ages 16–22. Our big vision for the next five years is to build relationships with 150–200 Christian students who intend to enter graduate programs in science, engineering, mathematics, and medical research. Our goal is to foster a change in the cultural climate by investing in the next generation of Christians working as professionals in the scientific community.
If Christians want our voice to be heard within the scientific community, it’s critical that we raise up representatives who possess a knowledge of the “rules of engagement.” This includes helping them understand how to navigate the maze of graduate school, discern which voices in their lives will be supportive of their faith and vocation, and equip them to integrate their faith with their field of study. That’s what The Lab is all about!
Introducing The Lab
This July 9–11, The Lab will introduce up to 30 students to Dr. Jeff Zweerink (astrophysicist) and Dr. Katie Galloway (biochemical engineer) as mentors for their career and faith journeys. Both are active research scientists (Jeff at UCLA and Katie at USC). In preparation for The Lab, they have designed a series of conversations to help students get ready to become professional scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and medical researchers. While student attendees are learning from Jeff and Katie, parents can attend parallel sessions to help equip them to be a supportive voice in their student’s journey into this unique calling. The Lab will also include a field trip to the historical Griffith Observatory and a special lunch session with Dr. Hugh Ross (astronomer) for students on the autistic spectrum.
We are excited to see what the Holy Spirit will do as we sow into the lives of these students in our inaugural year of this ground-breaking program. The best news of all is that it’s not too late to apply! We still have a few spots remaining for students wanting to participate in this exclusive event. We will be making our final selections for the 2015 program on June 21.
We believe that making a vital investment in the future generation will ensure the enduring legacy of Reasons to Believe. Our vision is that the students of today will be on the research teams of tomorrow. And who knows? Perhaps some of them will go on to become RTB scholars or researchers whose work we highlight as a TNRTB five or ten years from now!
Resource: In 2012, we recorded a series of conversations with the RTB scholars with tips for those students considering a career in science: “Future Careers in Science and Faith.”
By Krista Bontrager
Krista Bontrager is the dean of online learning at Reasons to Believe. She is a teacher at heart and enjoys teaching the Bible to all ages. She has an MA in theology and another in Bible exposition from Talbot School of Theology.