Beginning of Wisdom

A student sits on Florida State University's campus

A lot has changed for Justin Vos since he graduated in May 2016.

He married Ranae Boonstra (’16) and moved to Tallahassee, Florida. He also started a master’s and Ph.D. program in history at Florida State University. His studies are focused on the history of Dutch immigration and Dutch ethnicity.

“The goal of the program is to complete both the master’s and Ph.D. program in six years by submitting class papers in place of a master’s thesis to save time,” said Vos. “It has been a lot of work but I have enjoyed it.”

“The history department at Dordt does a great job teaching critical thinking, writing skills, and research strategies,” he said. “I was prepared to write long papers, and I already knew the basics of the Historical Method.

Many students in my cohort who graduated from public universities did not have the same level of preparation. Regarding preparation, I am closer to the incoming Ph.D. students, who already have a masters, than the other students coming from undergrad.”

Vos appreciates the experiences he had while studying abroad with the Scholars’ Semester in Oxford during his undergraduate work. “My experience at Oxford helped confirm my desire to attend graduate education,” he said. “For any future Dordt students considering attending graduate school for any field in the humanities, I would highly encourage this option for them.”

Vos credited his time on the Dordt Forensics Team as beneficial for helping him to develop his speaking and communication skills. He also appreciated the time he spent as a tutor in the Academic Enrichment Center, which gave him “some basic teaching skills and the experience of working with other students to help them learn” that he now applies in his work as a grader at Florida State University.

The relationships Vos built at Dordt were hugely influential, too. “My roommates and I would spend hours discussing theology and various life issues. Despite some differences, we all had the same grounding,” said Vos. “The people within Dordt’s community have their differences, both students and faculty, but in the end there is a common sense of calling, especially among faculty. ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,’ and without that perspective, education has no ultimate meaning. The ultimate reason for education is not present at public universities, and this is a big part of why I miss Dordt.”

Vos mentioned that he plans to finish his Ph.D. in the spring of 2022, with a goal of teaching in higher education after completing his dissertation.

“My dream place to teach would be back at Dordt,” he said.