Dordt College News

Media Website draws Yoders to Dordt College

July 24, 2008


A year ago, Aaron and Susan Yoder had never heard of Dordt College.
Last week they began work as caretakers of the Alumni House, with Aaron also enrolled as a student in the digital media program this fall.

Their path to Sioux Center, Iowa, could best be described as providence … Aaron completed his Associate of Business degree from Kent State University in 2001, and was working at a window and door manufacturer in Sugarcreek, Ohio.

He had been searching for a good digital media program with a Christian perspective, when his online search led him to the website of Avid Technology, the leader in media production products for the film industry. Posted there was a story about the digital media major at Dordt College, describing Dordt’s state-of-the-art equipment and ending with a quote from the instructor, “The biggest challenge for the entire digital media program is helping students learn not just the technology - which buttons to push - but why they are doing it, what the impact of media is on society, and what difference they can make as Christians, as future filmmakers, and as leaders in media.”

That was enough to pique Yoder’s interest, so he made some inquiries. To make a long story short, not only is Aaron enrolled in the digital media program but the couple has also been hired to serve as caretakers of the college’s guest house. They feel blessed to be living in the lower level apartment at the Alumni House, which allows Susan to be a stay-at-home mom with their 18-month daughter, Abigail. Susan has previously worked in children’s ministry in Texas and Ohio. Aaron said he will also combine a night job at Groschopp Manufacturing with his digital media studies.

“We’re excited to be here and look forward to learning and serving at Dordt,” said Aaron. The couple said they really felt welcomed when Dordt professors and staff came and helped them get moved into the Alumni House. Though Sioux Center, Iowa, may be a change from New Philadelphia, Ohio, they are looking forward to meeting new people and becoming part of the community.

Dordt College began its Digital Media Production program in 2005, and it has grown each year since then. Mark Volkers is coordinator of the program, and took the lead in getting the college’s digital media production lab up to industry standards. Plans are being developed for a new digital media lab to open in Fall 2009 to meet increased enrollment.

The impressive equipment includes an entire computer lab equipped with dual monitors and Avid keyboards, all running Avid Xpress Pro software. Each workstation is connected to an Avid Unity LANshare system with 4 TB of shared storage. A separate integrated Avid Xpress Studio offers video and audio editing, 3D animation, visual effects, and DVD authoring, capable of handling both SD and HD projects.

Volkers teaches Intro to Film and Video Production, Intro to Mass Media, Advanced Film and Video Production, Advanced Video Editing, Documentary Filmmaking, and Speech and Listening. Volkers says he is a strong believer in learning by doing, so students work on projects alone or in teams, with him offering critique and assistance as needed via a high-tech computer studio. More information about the digital media program at Dordt is available at

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