After a lifetime spent in a family and schools committed to a classical Christian education, you might expect Joanna Faulkner to be pursuing a strong liberal arts college. After all, she has read Homer, the Aeneid, Beowulf, Dante, Chaucer, Aristotle, Plato, Shakespeare, Machiavelli, Augustine, Orwell, Huxley and Marx, to name a few. Yet, this fall, Joanna will be pursuing an engineering career through two scholarships to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Although Ad Fontes was not equipped with the science lab equipment of a larger school, Joanna came to love the genius of Euclid, Archimedes, Copernicus, Newton, Rutherford, Millikan and Thomson. From Euclid’s contributions to the world of Geometry to Newton’s laws of universal gravitation, she has learned about the world on a macro level. Conversely, Thomson’s “plum pudding” model of the atom, Millikan’s experiments to find the mass of an electron, and Rutherford’s work with alpha-particles all gave her amazing insight into how the world works on a micro level.
Joanna has also learned that the world we live in and how it works is beautiful on many levels. She has the distinct advantage of being able to stand on the shoulders of giants, like these men, as she continues forward with her interest in engineering. Their theories were scientific, but there was a keen sense of creativity and cleverness that she’d like to emulate. She is grateful for her AFA teachers who introduced her to a world that transcends her lifetime.
Joanna has seized nearly every opportunity to explore her gifts and interests in and out of the classroom. She has been a leader for four years on the state champion Mock Trial team and interned at a local law firm. She also competed with the Odyssey of the Mind team. She played soccer and pursued interests in writing, art, math, and then engineering, including a summer camp at Embry-Riddle. You might also recognize her as your cashier at your Harris-Teeter grocery store.
She said that when she glances around the room at her classmates, she appreciates the fact that they all have different skills and strengths, adding, “I was not created to go into medicine – I faint at the thought of someone bleeding. I would be terrible at marketing; I might end up talking people out of what they don’t need. But, unlike some of my friends, I love math. I see a beauty in math that is lost on others. People don’t think of engineers as saving the world, but engineers keep our civilization on an upward trajectory. Saving the world would take longer than I have to live, but I want to be part of the long line of engineers that leaves this world better than they found it.”
More importantly, Joanna believes AFA has prepared her to make a difference in her generation. Her message – “Christ holds all things together in His hands, so – like the apostles – I will invite others to ‘come and see’ and peek over God’s fingertips into His palms to find the answers to their questions. I will be right beside them with my questions too.”