A Whole New Family
When Heather Kettl first sought out colleges, she was seeking education, training for her future and a Christian atmosphere. Little did she know she was actually auditioning a whole new family.
The Beaumont native drove across the state to come to Wayland, wanting to play volleyball
and attracted to the Christian environment. She quickly immersed herself into campus
life, joining the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and taking a campus job. She earned
a character award during her first year of volleyball, an honor which surprised the
Family impact felt
The family atmosphere at Wayland became more real to Heather during her time on campus,
especially since she came in as an independent student, totally on her own for college
expenses. She found a supportive campus staff that helped her apply for federal aid,
found her scholarships and grants and walked her through the entire process. She also
found a mentor in Dr. Laura Brandenburg, an English professor who befriended Heather
after she visited her church and continues to be a sounding board.
“This year in particular, I felt more at home at Wayland when I started working in the admissions office. Everyone in there mentions the ‘admissions family’ and the ‘Wayland family,’ but then my birthday comes around and there’s a card and a gift card and flowers from all these people, and it was weird for me because I don’t experience that often,” she says. “I was shocked by the caring and supporting nature because it was something I have not experienced a lot. At holidays, even though I don’t go back home, I am invited to people’s homes, whether friends or bosses or even my coach.”
Heather chose to channel her fascination with mental health into a psychology major, but she’s planning to continue her education and become an occupational therapist so she can help people. She’s already doing that on campus by leading worship for FCA and sharing the love of Jesus to other athletes, even though she no longer plays volleyball. That giving back is also helping her grow a walk with Christ that began shortly before she came to WBU.
“Wayland has shaped me in many ways, especially spiritually and growing as a person. I never set foot in a church until sometime in high school when I decided to go on my own,” she says. “I was saved when I was 18, in my senior year. I was only living a Christ-like life for a few months before I came to college. Coming here and being around other Christians who have grown up that way their whole lives was a good influence on me.”
Through it all, Heather has found a home and a family she’s not in a hurry to leave.
“Plainview is my home now; Wayland is my home now,” she says. “I know a lot of people have such a rush to get out of school, which is what I thought I wanted at first. I’m not on a time crunch but am going at a pace that is healthy for me. I’m not worried about the time I graduate at all.”