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Distinctive Department Spotlight: Isa Falig; Elementary Education

What brought you to Evangel?  

Evangel was never a question for me. Since I was a kid, Evangel has always left a lasting impression on me. My sister, who was going to Evangel when I was a little girl, brought me and introduced me to her professor. I remember him crouching down to me with a warm welcome, and he took the opportunity to teach me something simple. He taught me how to give a proper handshake. Something so simple turned into something so impressionable. When I came back to affirm God’s call on my life, I was blessed to see that the character of Evangel has yet to change. Evangel is a community where leaders do two impactful things to create more leaders– reach and teach. Now, I am proud to say that my dream school became a school I could call my own.

How did you know that the education department/program was your calling? 

I did not know the Education Department was my calling until I made the spontaneous decision to sign up for an Evangel tour the night before. My high school Spanish teacher had a son who was my classmate, and we both were going to Evangel, so she convinced me to follow them on the tour the day before. I reluctantly agreed. Before the tour began, they had asked me which department I would like to tour, and at that moment, I had no idea, so I just said the Education Department out of pure whim (no one in my family is an educator, so this was really out of pure whim). By the grace of God, I should have known that it was the Lord guiding my path as opposed to just being a coincidence. That day, the chairwoman of the Education Department, Dr. Crawford, brought me and another student into the conference room to become personally acquainted with us. Dr. Crawford, who has now become one of the biggest role models in my life, solidified my decision years later by simply saying, “I remember you, and I am so glad you are here.” That is the character of the Education Department. Every encounter I have had has been an intentional leader who sees you when sometimes it feels like you do not know where you are going.

What impact has the department had on your life?  

  I could write a novel on how the Education Department has impacted my life, but I will do my best to simply summarize it in a few sentences. The people within the Education Department hold the presence of a home. The people are a place. Their presence holds a place of protection, safety, vulnerability, support, love, care, and growth. When there have been storms that have blown in my life personally or within my calling that seem so unbearable, they have remained as the soil that keeps me grounded with nutritious wisdom. In my daily life, the advice I give to others is more than likely advice I have received from the amazing people I have met within this department. Their impact on my life is recognizable to others as a credit to the Education Department. People like Dr. Clayman, Dr. Crawford, Mrs. Holgerson, Dr. Sutherland, Dr. Thomason, and especially Dr. Hughes, who has been beside me as my advisor (and many times, personal counselor), have all distinctly left an impression on me and invested their time, words, and prayers in me. I am just one student of the many they each have impacted. When I need a reminder of how blessed I am, these names fill my heart as motivators to keep going and how amazing it is to realize they all have one thing in common – they are the Education Department. 

How has your time at Evangel prepared you for your future career?  

  Leaving high school, I have watched my friends and I journey through this thing we call life in such different ways. Surprisingly enough, when this part of our lives is told to us as being a time where we are constantly having to make life-altering decisions for our future, I have been blessed with a lot of time to process the present moments. Whether it be through my time as a pandemic student, or simply being encouraged to create Sabbaths in my week, Evangel has blessed me with the importance of solitude with Jesus. In a hurried world, with hurried decisions, and hurry-exhausted people, Evangel has prepared me for life by simply teaching me the value of being present in His Presence. That simple act of obedience and awareness has altered my mindset for every decision I make, and I have faith in Jesus for my future and nothing else because of this practice I have had the privilege of exercising at Evangel. 

How have you seen God present through your educational journey? 

  To put it simply, I cannot emphasize enough how many amazing professors there are on this campus, but these professors were just the pointing arrows that have led me to my true teacher – our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I cannot thank every impactful professor enough for letting that be the priority standard in every curriculum to take on that important role to be the arrows that have led me to my greatest teacher. In every class, in every hour, in every lingering moment outside of the classroom, the Lord has been present. When I graduate from Evangel, I will have peace in this closed chapter. As much as I will miss every professor on campus that has impacted my life, they have taught me that they were just my arrows to guide me to understand who is my life-long teacher. Praise the Lord that He has never left me, and I can say confidently that through my time on Evangel, I know He will never leave me. 

What would you say to a student considering coming to Evangel and pursuing a degree in education? 

What I would say to a student considering coming to Evangel and pursuing a degree in Education is, “You’re in the right place.” Even if, down the line, you feel like the Lord has called you elsewhere, the Education Department will always have a place in your heart. When you feel like your roots are being uprooted by the way of life’s storms, this department is the soil that brings you back to where the Lord wants you rooted. They see you. They listen to you. And most of all, they have a love only created by the Lord readily available for you to receive. Do not worry about “figuring it out” when the Lord is beside you; even better, you have a support system filled with amazing people who are here to help. This is an open-door department with people who love with open arms. As I am nearing graduation and unsure of so many things, I have a warmth in my heart to know that if I need a place where the soil is rich, I can confidently step back into this department and hear the same thing, “You’re in the right place.”

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