Meet the Newest Physics and Engineering Program Scholars

Four students have been chosen from among 33 applicants to receive full tuition or $10,000 scholarships, renewable up to four years.

By Monique Kleinhuizen '08, GS'16, new media strategist

April 08, 2019 | 4 p.m.

2019 Physics scholars

2019 Physics and Engineering Scholars (left to right): Duncan Harro, Jessica Lilland, Jon Jagt, and Britta Nordberg

Now in its second year, the Physics and Engineering Program Scholarship is designed to celebrate high-achieving students who are beginning a physics or engineering program. In fall 2018, the first cohort of scholars began at Bethel, and 33 high-achieving prospective students applied for this year’s scholarships. They each visited campus, interviewed with faculty in the Department of Physics and Engineering, took a tour of the physics and engineering labs, and listened to presentations by faculty and alumni from the department.

The program awards two full-tuition and two $10,000 scholarships, renewable annually for up to four years, for students beginning at Bethel in fall 2019. The department is pleased to announce this year’s scholarship recipients:

Duncan Harro – Palatine, Illinois
Full-tuition Scholarship

“The interest I feel for physics and engineering comes not from its technical aspect, but instead its application. There is a great potential within those fields to have a positive impact on people’s lives. What Bethel offers me specifically is a setting that I feel is optimal for my personal and educational growth. The presence of strong Christian influences is something I value for its impact on campus culture. Additionally, the liberal arts nature of Bethel will provide immense benefits for me. One of my core desires is having a variety of things I am able to do, and the inherent interdisciplinary style of studies at Bethel focuses on that by nature. I don’t want to be a one-trick pony, and at Bethel I can make sure I’m not.”

Jessica Lilland – Prior Lake, Minnesota
Full-tuition Scholarship

“As a believer, I am passionate about the connection between science and faith, and a physics and engineering degree from Bethel would allow me to learn about both science and faith—not only as individual subjects, but also in the ways they overlap. The amazing technology in the labs, the small class sizes, the supportive atmosphere, and the hands-on approach to learning all appeal to me. … I really want to study at Bethel because I know that I will not only be taught by excellent professors, but I will also be guided in my faith and encouraged by the community of believers around me.”

Jonathan Jagt – Lakeville, Minnesota
$10,000 Scholarship

“I’m interested in the way things work, both the definitive laws of physics and the intricacies which allow a machine to function. ... When I visited Bethel a few months ago and toured the physics and engineering department with Dr. Beecken, I was fascinated by what I saw, especially the investment in the labs and the students working on projects on their own, showing the engagement students at Bethel can have. I was also captivated by the projects small groups of students had done in the past. Additionally, Bethel provides the friendly Christian atmosphere I am looking for to help build my faith during my studies.” 

Britta Nordberg – Big Lake, Minnesota
$10,000 Scholarship

“Physics is so ingrained in everyday life that it's perhaps easy to overlook, but it's truly the backbone of all life and motion and the only way to truly describe the world. As I've been at Bethel throughout my senior year [as a PSEO student], I have encountered a community unlike anything I've ever experienced before. The willingness of my peers to challenge me on both an academic and spiritual level is something that I've always looked for in a learning environment. This sense of community boils right into the academic atmosphere at Bethel and gives a glimpse into God's creative mind in the framework of each class.”

Students and a professor do research in a physics lab at Bethel University.

Physics and Engineering at Bethel 

There has never been a better time to begin studying physics or engineering at Bethel. The department—which ranks in the top 15 of undergraduate departments by size nationally—underwent an expansion and renovation in 2017. Significant funding from the National Science Foundation and other major partners supports student-faculty research, and Bethel has become a leader in the use of advanced labs nationally. New majors include Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Software Engineering—and the number of students studying physics or engineering is projected to increase as the program continues to expand.

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