Kathleen Van Singel

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Sioux Center, Iowa

Favorite Spot

The Science Building’s "Jacob's Ladder" near the Bunsen Brew

Scholarships I received

Presidential Scholarship and Kuyper Honors Program Grant

Favorite class

Avian Biology and Research

A concept that blew my mind

What you learn in science classes doesn't have to contradict everything you've been taught about God and the Bible, and Dordt College has the framework and support for students to wrestle with that in a comfortable yet challenging way.

Obstacles I’ve overcome

As a student, I created my own focus within the framework of the biology program to graduate with the degree I needed for my job.

Who I was when I came to Dordt

I was on top of the world. I had just completed a zoo-keeping internship and was ready to begin working toward my dream job, making new friends, and enjoying the college experience.

How Dordt changed me

Dordt College, whether through classes or campus activities or just through talking to my friends and professors, taught me a lot about my values, about who I am both in God's world and as a person, and about how I engage the world.

Cool things I did at Dordt

I was a General Zoology Teacher's Assistant for three years. My favorite Dordt experience was going on a lot of field trips in my Environmental Studies classes, such as visiting the Platte River in Nebraska for the annual sandhill crane migration near Kearney, Nebraska, and the International Wolf Center in Ely, Minnesota. As a sophomore, through the Kuyper Honors Program, I participated in the National Conference for Undergraduate Research. I presented a paper I wrote with Emeritus Professor Dr. James Mahaffy on the historical range of the eastern Massasauga rattlesnake in northern Missouri. I also interned at the Lincoln Park Zoo through Chicago Semester, conducting animal welfare monitoring and helping develop an app for zoos to conduct animal behavior research. I was a member of the Dordt College Swing Dance club for four years and Justice for All club for three.

Where I am now

I am currently employed full time as a zookeeper for elephants at the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden. Zookeeping is a field with very low turnover and high applicant supply, and elephant keepers often begin working in other departments before transferring to work with elephants. I am very fortunate to have my current job at my age and experience level.

What I would tell prospective students

Dordt College can help you achieve your dreams and goals if you know what you want and have an idea of how to get there. Your professors are great and willing to work with you, and the alumni network is your greatest resource. Don't be afraid of networking and don't feel that you have to settle for a job if it's not what you love doing.

How Dordt helped me Do More

Many of us in my field find our jobs to be our calling. We were put on this earth to care for animals and the environment. I work every day with six amazing elephants, not only to care for them, but to inspire the public. I want to help in our global mission to protect the planet and our last remaining wild places out in the world or in our backyards. I hope current Dordt students will gain a new perspective on God's desire for them as his creation and make their passions their careers as well.