Greetings everyone. Today, I would like to introduce you to Deanna Drake, first year MDIV/MSSW student. Before coming to McCormick, Deanna was a YAV in Kenya (Young Adult Volunteer for you non-Presbyterians, it’s like Lutheran Volunteers for the ELCA). She has some pretty cool stories to share about her time there. You should ask her sometime.

Deanna waking up from her nap in the library.

Name? Deanna Jo Drake

Tell us a little about yourself (like where you’re from, where you went to college and what you studies, etc.) I grew up in Oswego, IL (southwest suburbs) and went to undergraduate near Cleveland at Baldwin-Wallace College. I eventually fell in love with the Religious Studies department there and ended up with a major in that with minors in Sociology and Music. After graduation, I did a couple of volunteer years: one doing non-profit work in D.C. and then last year took me to Kenya as a YAV.

What was your time like as a YAV and where were you? I lived in Meru, Kenya, which was a rural town in the more mountainous area. It was awesome! I taught English, CRE (Christian Religious Education), and Creative Arts to 4th-6th graders at a primary school there. I grew a lot and learned a lot about hospitality, community, relationship building….and a little bit of Kiswahili.

Why did you pick McCormick?: I chose McCormick because of its strong commitment to cross-culturalism and diversity. As an added bonus, it’s in my favorite city in the whole wide world.

What’s one thing that has surprised you about it here.: It’s surprised me how much I’ve stood to gain from being in this diverse community. The learning is as much from people that have different beliefs and backgrounds as it is from professors (who are also (not surprisingly) AWESOME.

What’s one thing you hope for here at McCormick? I’d like to see spring! Get going on that, God. But for real, I want to see people getting outside for various recreational activities planned for warmer weather. Two words: whiffle. ball. Or is that one word?

Any advice for prospective and new students to McCormick?: Just jump in. And don’t freak out. The hardest part is generally the initial yes. And when you’re here, you can rest assured there’s a strong community of fellow seekers as well.

When not in class, you can find Deanna practicing her Little mermaid routine on the rocks along Lake Michigan.

Until next time everyone!

Shelley D.

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