Josh Hahn '24 Carves His Own Path at Bethel

Throughout his Bethel journey so far, neuroscience major Josh Hahn '24 has found a family, discovered a career path that suits his gifts and passions, and deepened his faith. At the start of his junior year, he continues navigating his place in the world and in his family, who’s supporting him all the way from Portland, Oregon.

By Katie Johnson '19, content specialist

September 27, 2022 | 11:15 a.m.

Meet neuroscience major Josh Hahn '24.

Meet neuroscience major Josh Hahn '24.

Josh Hahn's '24 family always wondered what he would become. Would he be a dentist like his oldest sister Kaitlyn? Or a computer scientist like his sister Kennedy? They believed he could be anything, do anything his heart desired, and when he left home in Portland, Oregon, for Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota, they waited and wondered and dreamed with him.

Hahn began his Bethel journey intending to become a doctor. Now at the start of his junior year, Hahn understands that he's really meant to become himself.

Hahn was homeschooled through sixth grade, went to a private high school part time from seventh through tenth grade, and then took college classes while still in high school through his local community college. He heard about Bethel from alumna Sue Kraakevik '94, who serves on Bethel's National Alumni Board; she recommended Bethel when she heard that Hahn wanted to grow at a college with a tight knit, faith-based community. And that's exactly what he has found.

"I think the most important thing for my education is being encased in groups of people who pursue Jesus."

— Josh Hahn '24

In addition to his classes and dorm rooms, he says he found a family within Campus Outreach, a Twin Cities ministry partner connected with Bethel's Office of Christian Formation and Church Relations. As he grew more involved in the ministry, he formed deep relationships with other students. He's currently part of a discipleship group, where they study the Bible together and share their lives with one another. "We go around the circle, we just spill about our lives—not in a shallow way—because we want to be vulnerable and we want to be completely there," Hahn says. "It's only a group of like five to six guys, and they are guys that you trust with your life."

In addition to Campus Outreach, Hahn helps lead worship on a Vespers team as a vocalist and acoustic guitar player and also serves as a Shift team leader. Shift is a discipleship opportunity for students who live on a first-year residence hall floor, and Hahn disciples the floor leaders who ultimately mentor the freshman as they make friends, build community, and ask the deep questions. After a summer of deep growth that brought him closer to the Lord, Hahn feels ready to help support these students on their own journeys. "God used the summer to prepare me to pour into those around me, to truly value people as creations of the Lord, and to truly be an example of what zeal for God looks like," Hahn says.

Along with pouring into others through involvement in different ministries, Hahn is also dedicated to his schoolwork. The neuroscience major has been doing research with Assistant Professor of Psychology Rachel Anderson—a project that started over the summer and will continue throughout Hahn's junior year. As he began to dig into this research opportunity, Hahn met with Associate Professor of Chemistry Trey Maddox to talk more about the possibility of medical school. Hahn had always planned on going to medical school—a decision that felt safe and seemed to fit his goals and values. And then Maddox told him to really figure out his why. If Hahn was going to devote six to 10 more years of his life to such an intense program, he needed to articulate his why.

"After that conversation, I thought about why I wanted to go to med school," Hahn says. "I realized it was for the safety and security of saying that I was going to med school. But it wasn't actually because I cared about being a doctor." He knew it would be nearly impossible to dedicate six to 10 years to medical school if he didn't have the passion. When he returned to Oregon to visit his parents late last summer, they talked about his future, and Hahn officially realized that medical school was not for him. His parents were very supportive of Hahn's decision and wanted to help him figure out what came next.

No longer planning on becoming a doctor, Hahn has been considering the pre-pharmacy path, because he still feels called to the medical field. Rather than interacting with patients, he's interested in researching medicine and the effects different medicines have on the body, especially the brain. He has been meeting with pharmacists to talk about their career paths and ask for advice, and he currently plans on becoming a pharmaceutical technician next summer. Being a pharmacist means taking the road less traveled both as a Bethel graduate and as the youngest Hahn in his family, and he's excited to see where this path takes him, especially since his family has been so supportive.

"My parents are awesome," Hahn says. "They've always told me that no matter what I chose, they would support me as long as I have a passion for it, and I do it for the Lord. I'm carving my own path, and I'm super excited for what's in store."

Grow in your faith at Bethel

The shift from high school to college can be an exciting one. New school. New friends. New experiences. It can also be a scary one. More options. More choices. More responsibility. One of the exciting and scary questions you will ask is: “How do I make my faith my own?” As you forge new friendships at Bethel, you will learn how to follow Jesus individually, in community, and for a lifetime. 

Learn more