Assumption Commences Sophomore Initative

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Bethany Sampson's picture
Julie Shea

The newest group to assemble on campus this fall is the Sophomore Initiative at Assumption, otherwise known as SOPHIA. Also named after the Greek word for ‘wisdom,’ the primary goal of this first-ever Assumption ‘cohort’ is to help 24 students, known as the Collegians, find their calling in life.

According to its Mission Statement, SOPHIA aims “to foster a culture of vocational exploration at Assumption College in order to enhance the educational mission of the Augustinians of the Assumption.”

Although the group recognizes that vocations are enabled by a Divine Reality, SOPHIA is not strictly grounded on any religious foundation. Members of all faiths and backgrounds were welcomed to apply to explore, and potentially discover, their individual vocations and more fully develop their own spiritual discernment.

Under the guidance of faculty mentors, this program will be involved with leading the accepted students towards finding their calling in life. Whether that means helping the students decide on a major or discovering an ideal career path, SOPHIA will try to help these members of Assumption’s Class of 2016 answer some of the “big questions” in their lives.

Members of SOPHIA were selected after a comprehensive application process. In addition to applying for residence in the Living/Learning Center (LLC), the SOPHIA application consisted of two written responses, chosen from among four prompts, and required a letter of recommendation and an interview. Aspiring Collegians had to prove their willingness and readiness to explore who they are and how they fit into the world around them. After selection, through exploration of themselves, their faith and potential professions the SOPHIA Initiative desires to bring challenges and joy to the 24 sophomores and their faculty mentors.

The LLC was chosen to house the SOPHIA Collegians to help cultivate a close-knit, supportive environment, spurring the exploration of a lifelong vocation into a condensed yearlong journey. Similar to, but separate from the LLC’s Interest Circle meetings, SOPHIA Collegian’s will take part in their own smaller group sessions with an assigned, dedicated faulty mentor. In addition to this group discussion, they will also be required to take PHI 227 Living Lives that Matter, so they are literally living and learning together.

One of the key philosophies of the program is that the Collegians must recognize that their 20s is one of the most influential decades of their lives, capable of laying out their future careers, selves and lifelong vocations.
The SOPHIA Initiative is structured to provide a more impactful interpretation of college as the real world, not a preparation for it. Through their acceptance, these 24 sophomores will be able to participate in a retreat during the Fall of 2013 and travel to Rome in the Spring of 2014 as a capstone experience. There are also opportunities to compete for grants for the Summer of 2014.

By participating in the SOPHIA Initiative to help better discern their God-given gifts and where they could best apply them, Collegians desire to find meaning in their lives without the superficiality of modern society. Whether they are destined for a certain field of study or a global charitable organization, the lucky applicants have described and demonstrated their compassion and genuine desire to make themselves and the world a better place. They have proven that they are adventurous, intelligent and surprising young adults, anxious to discover themselves and what they want to do with their lives.

The mentors for the SOPHIA program are Professor Mark Christensen (Department of History); Professor David Crowley (Department of Natural Sciences); Professor John Hodgen (Department of English); and Professor Esteban Loustaunau (Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Cultures).

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