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The Gift of an Undeclared Major

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Johanna (Watt) de Blok ‘07 first became familiar with Geneva College at a young age through her father, Dr. Jonathan Watt, Professor of Biblical Studies and Department Chair at Geneva College. As she started considering her college plans, even though her father was a professor here, she did not want to attend Geneva. Instead, she wanted to pursue her passion for zoology, a major Geneva does not offer.

然而, after a little convincing from her father, she decided to attend Geneva in 2002 with an undeclared major starting at age 16. Johanna had many interests and enjoyed studying biology, biblical studies, psychology, and aviation. In her junior year of college, she declared a Biblical Studies major while still taking many aviation classes.

“Geneva is excellent at helping talented students develop broad life skills if they are undeclared, which is an under-recognized gift. The Geneva faculty instills direction and passion through the clarity of the subjects they teach and their genuine love for the students.”

In 2007, Johanna graduated summa cum laude with her Biblical Studies degree and a minor in missions. She also obtained her private pilot license through Geneva’s 1-2-1 aviation program but dropped the pursuit of her aviation degree after some credits not transferring and some experience working in the field, she felt her calling elsewhere.

Before shifting careers, Johanna worked at AirQuest Aviation in Butler, Pennsylvania in dispatch and as a flight attendant for American Airlines based in Philadelphia. Johanna also met her husband while she was studying in the aviation field; he is currently the Director of Operations at Skyward in Washington County, Pennsylvania.

After ending her aviation career, Johanna went back to trade school to become a Licensed Massage Therapist. She opened her own practice for five years on College Hill before retiring to devote herself to her children. While being a stay-at-home mom, Johanna used her skills to become an online merchant making a profitable part-time income over the next 10 years. 自2020年以来, Johanna has been homeschooling her daughter using things she learned from her college degree to teach early childhood education.

家庭.jpgMost recently, in 2021, Johanna and her husband purchased a run-down 20-acre cattle ranch which they named Charolette’s Webb Farm. 目前, 约翰娜说, “We are in the process of returning it to working condition as a home and business investment in Austintown, 俄亥俄州. I am learning how to organically garden, raise animals for food, preserve food, and volunteer in the community in as many ways as possible.”

Although Johanna did not go into a career using her Biblical Studies degree every day, her time at Geneva helped her in so many ways during her various careers. 具体地说, it increased her writing and speaking capacity, giving her the confidence and courage to challenge the status quo when necessary and to speak out about causes she felt strongly about.

Johanna’s journey at Geneva was unconventional, but reflecting on it she said, “My education at Geneva impacted every single aspect of my life, there was not a single pursuit or challenge that I have faced that I did not reflect on my college education, 我的老师们, and most specifically, their individual counsel. Geneva set my paradigm to become part of the world without becoming totally lost or overtaken by it.” 

If you graduated with Johanna, she would love for you to reach out to her and reconnect with you.

 

-Lexi Meese '21, MBA '22

2023年11月21日

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