Abby Vander Werf

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Hawarden, Iowa

Scholarships I received

  • Athletic Scholarship: Dance Team (two years)
  • Music Activity Scholarship: Violin (four years)
  • Presidential Academic Scholarship

Favorite spot on campus

The Aerobics Room! So many early mornings and iconic jam sessions spent there.

Favorite Class

Oddly enough, History and Philosophy of Education (EDUC 300) ended up being one of my favorite classes! Dr. Beimers is amazing!

Cool things I did at Dordt

One of my favorite things about Dordt is all the opportunities I was given as a student! Throughout my first two years on the dance team, I got to hype up different types of Dordt athletic crowds and travel throughout the Midwest for various competitions. I learned about hard work, leadership, discipline, making sacrifices, and being a teammate along the way. Through my experience in Chamber Orchestra, I participated in both a spring and winter tour—the spring tour covering the Pacific Northwest and the winter tour covering the Midwest! During the spring semester of my junior year, I studied abroad in the Netherlands, as part of the SPICE program. While I ended up returning home early due to Covid-19, I can still flex on the fact that it is by far my favorite experience from Dordt.

Obstacles I’ve overcome

I overcame my battle with self-identity while at Dordt. After changing my major and struggling with time management, Dordt helped me to realize that it's okay to not have everything figured out. I gained more confidence in who I am and who I want to become. While studying abroad in the Netherlands, I struggled with the decision to stay or return home. I was hesitant to change, since my semester abroad was going so well. From that experience, I learned the importance of making decisions for things/people bigger than myself.

Who I was when I came to Dordt

When I arrived at Dordt, I was an eager little freshman who was looking for a fresh start and a chance to experience real freedom in a Christian environment. I was ready to explore my passions and discover more about who I am. Since both of my parents are Dordt alumni, I grew up in Defender Nation and had the privilege of watching it evolve into the community it is today. I had dreamed about attending Dordt ever since I was a little girl, so the fact that my dream was finally a reality overwhelmed me with many emotions—happiness, excitement, and slight uncertainty of the unknown.

How Dordt Impacted me

Dordt has shown me the type of woman I want to become, by surrounding me with an environment of supportive friends, roommates, professors, coaches, and everyone in-between. Defender Nation models a character that roots, uplifts, and encourages students to discover their greatest self. The grace I've been shown at Dordt is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Where I am now

This summer, I'll be serving as an office administrator for the All Seasons Center (Sioux Center, Iowa), before participating in the Chicago Semester recent grad program in August.

What I would tell prospective students

Take advantage of the unique environment around you! Your college years are time that you will never get back. Dordt is such a special place. From the faculty, staff, and students, to everything in between, Dordt wants you to succeed and reach your greatest potential! Help will always be given to those who ask for it.

How Dordt has helped me Do More

At Dordt, I've realized the importance of strong relationships and connections with everyone around me. Dordt opened me up to a world of opportunity in an effort to "Do More" by exploring my passions, career, and faith. Even in Northwest Iowa, Dordt offers a diverse perspective into all aspects of contemporary life. Without Dordt, I would not be as culturally, socially, and spiritually prepared for the next step of life. Thank you, Defender Nation!