Tara Tilstra

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Sioux Center, Iowa

Scholarships I Received 

  • Presidential Scholarship
  • Lyle and Marlene Bleeker Engineering Scholarship
  • Premier Communications Scholarship
  • Church Scholarship
  • Cross Country Athletic Scholarship
  • Track and Field Athletic Scholarship
  • Chamber Orchestra Music Scholarship

Favorite Spot On Campus 

The Prayer Garden in the Prairie

Favorite Class 

Drawing I, but really any of my art classes!

A Concept That Blew My Mind 

I took an ecology course my senior year, and it was my first biology class since my sophomore year of high school. I loved it! I felt like I learned something new and extraordinary every class or lab. It made me realize how much of an impact humans have on the world and how we play a significant part in making creation flourish, even with the little everyday things we do, like recycling or buying groceries.

Cool Things I Did At Dordt 

At Dordt, I participated in so many awesome activities and events. A few of the things I was involved with were cross country, track, orchestra and NISO, intramurals, the civil engineering club and trips, setting up parties/events for my friends, and PLIA.

Three experiences that I’ve had at Dordt especially stand out for me:

  • I've played the violin and piano since childhood, but I was able to take organ lessons while I was here! It's an amazing instrument, and I loved filling the BJ Haan with song.
  • I was able to go on a trip with the honors program to Princeton to attend a Reformed Calvinists conference. Being in the same place with so many brilliant theologians was awe-inspiring, giving me more knowledge about our Reformed tradition.
  • Additionally, I took an Italian Renaissance class my junior year, and over Christmas break we traveled in Italy for about a week and a half. Learning about Italy and its history for a semester was great, but I loved experiencing the Italian culture, art, buildings, and food firsthand.

Obstacles I've Overcome 

One of the biggest obstacles I had to overcome was my lack of time management. Being involved with several different activities at Dordt filled my planner, so I had to learn how to budget my time better. Another obstacle was finding the perseverance to make it through my engineering courses. The classes and workload were difficult at times, but I worked hard and learned to go to the professors right away if I was confused on a concept, and they were always more than willing to help!

Who I Was When I Came To Dordt 

When I first came to Dordt, I was so excited to meet people and be in higher level classes. I was eager to learn, make friends, and be involved on campus. Looking back, I probably should've been a little less zealous my freshman year to do everything and should have spent more time sleeping or doing homework instead, but my enthusiasm and anticipation got the better of me. I had a blast, even if it meant I had to stay up until 2 a.m. finishing an assignment!

How Dordt Impacted Me 

I've heard that people are shaped most by the persons we align ourselves with, and I've met some of my closest friends through Dordt. I think the relationships I've built during my time here have impacted me. I also think that the way my Christian faith is incorporated into the curriculum has helped me strengthen what I believe and making it an integral part of who I am and what I do.

What's Next For Me

I applied and was accepted into the graduate school for architecture at Iowa State. I hope to get my Masters in Architecture.

What I Would Tell Prospective Students 

Go where you feel called. I was convinced I would be going to Dordt’s rival school for my college education, but I kept feeling a nudge from God to go to Dordt. I couldn’t be happier with that decision. Wherever you go, follow His leading.

Through personal experience, Dordt was an amazing place where I grew in my faith, through my education, and with my friends. Being from Sioux Center, I thought Dordt might be like a repeat of high school since many of my classmates also chose to go to Dordt, but I intentionally went out and met new people. Now my closest friends are from around the U.S. and even other countries! You can never have too many friends.

Also, don't forget to pack a steamer- those little dresser drawers can make your clothes so wrinkly!

How Dordt Helped Me Do More 

Through Dordt, I've developed many strong relationships and great connections with not only my peers, but also professors, administration, and alumni. Even in a small Dutch community, diversity is present, and I love seeing how uniquely God made each person. I hope to continue to grow in my love of Him and His children as I go forward from Dordt.