EU Alumni perspective: Nicole (Bowman) Mirsa
Name: Nicole (Bowman) Misra
Graduation Year: 2016
Major: English Education
Current Position: ESOL Teacher in St. Louis Public Schools
City and State: St. Louis, Missouri
Tell us about your career and what you do now.
After graduating, I spent two years working as a teacher’s assistant for an English as a Second Language teacher. In August, I began working as an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teacher. Most of our ESOL students are immigrants and refugees and many of them come from countries or situations where trauma is rampant. Still, I am blessed every day by their love, creativity, humor, and resilience. I hope that I can be a conduit through which these kids can experience the love of Christ.
What is your favorite memory from Evangel?
There’s too many! Definitely, the friendships I formed during my time in Evangel and in Springfield, Missouri, changed me and broadened my perspectives. I attended Central Assembly’s International Service led by Daisuke and Yoriko Yabuki and became friendships with students in Springfield from all over the United States and the world. Much of who I am has been shaped by the experiences I had with these students and the ideas I was exposed to during my study.
How did Evangel help you identify/develop your calling?
Oh goodness, I learned so much about calling, particularly in my Essential Christianity course where we learned about the unbiblical division between the sacred and secular. To be honest, I see that tension a lot in the Church. We need all Christians involved in serving God. That doesn’t mean you need to start a non-profit or a church ministry group, although if God is asking you to do that, do it. It means surrendering to God and serving Him obediently in whatever role(s) He has placed you in at that season in your life.
I actually totally fell into studying/teaching ESOL. At that point in my life, I thought I would be going to Japan as a missionary, so I thought being equipped to teach English would provide me with skills I could use in service of others. Once I started taking the classes, I realized that ESOL is the perfect combination of teaching and cultural studies (as I believe very strongly that ESOL teachers need to be culturally-proficient teachers) as well as a place where I can advocate for immigrants and refugees in my city. God knew what I would love. I am so thankful for His providence, and I am so indebted to Professor Morrison, Evangel’s ESOL Department teacher.
How did your experience at Evangel prepare you for life after graduation?
My experience in the education department gave me experience working in practicums in a variety of educational settings. I had practicums or educational internships in elementary school, middle school, high school, and even college-aged students. I really appreciated that I got to experience so many different educational settings.
What advice would you give a current student preparing for the workforce?
Your job is just as important as going into full-time ministry. We need Christian pastors, counselors, social workers, engineers, doctors, teachers, and every other profession out there. Your identity as a Christian [fill-in-the-blank] isn’t validated by the number of people you can share Jesus with, although that’s not a bad thing if it’s possible at your job. How you treat coworkers, clients, students or conduct your business is one of the greatest testimonies for your being a Christian. If your daily life isn’t pointing to Jesus, how can your mere words do that effectively?
What would you look for if you were in a position to hire new graduates from Evangel?
I would look for evidence of a good work ethic for a graduate who takes seriously his or her field, fulfilling his or her duties with integrity.