Jessica Hartum: 2019 Mahan Fellow
This year’s recipient of the Au Sable Institute's David C. Mahan Fellowship is Jessica Hartum of The King’s University.
The Mahan Fellowship, started in 2017, celebrates the work and legacy of Dr. David C. Mahan, Au Sable’s Associate Executive Director for over 30 years, from 1985 to 2016. Known for his warmth, humor, and relational skills that made hundreds of friends for the Institute over his more than three decades of service, Mahan's namesake Fellowship is awarded to a student who has shown ability to accomplish goals in conservation through collaborative, relational effort with others.
Jessica Hartum is not your typical or traditional college student. Raising her children first, Jessica returned to college life in her late 30s. Her greater knowledge of and experience with life, both good and bad, has deepened Jessica’s understanding of Christ’s role as healer, both of people and of all creation. She wrote in her application for the Mahan Fellowship, “I have come to understand that God’s provision for His creation occurs through ecological relationships. All of creation is in relationship with others and their environment. Today, now more than ever, environmental efforts require biblical stewardship principals. The various environmental crises we find ourselves in cannot be cured by science alone. Something that offers a more redemptive quality is desperately needed. As the hands and feet of God, I believe Christians are to bring healing to the land.”
With the benefit of greater life experience, Jessica has learned the value of patience and perseverance. Noting that perseverance was one of Jessica’s dominant traits as a student, one of Jessica’s references noted, “It has been clear that this perseverance comes from a deep desire to develop scientific skills that will allow her to contribute to caring for God’s creation and to teach others how to do the same. She has a passion for wilderness, for animals, and for justice, all of which are rooted in her faith.”
While valuing the knowledge that can be imparted in a traditional classroom, Jessica especially wanted to apply skill-oriented learning to real life vocational settings. As part of her studies at The King’s University, Jessica participated in an internship with a private environmental consulting firm, and gained a position with Clark Ecoscience, an Alberta-based environmental organization dedicated to conservation, restoration, and native ecosystem rebuilding. Jessica’s faculty supervisor noted how her supervisors at Clark “spoke highly about how she conducted herself in a professional and mature manner with the public, other employees, and supervisors. She eagerly learned her position, took initiative, offered solutions and managed specific areas well beyond the expectations and requirements of her position."
Jessica has learned, through direct experience, that you can learn, grow, and change at any age. Her pastoral reference commended this attribute, saying, “Her desire for mentorship and growth show a commitment to her own faith and growth [and] her conversations with me have shown a commitment to serve, protect, and restore God’s earth.”
Originally published by Au Sable Institute. Au Sable is an educational organization that provides a wide variety of environmental science courses each year to students from nearly 60 participating Christian colleges. Au Sable educates and inspires future leaders in Christian environmental science to make a difference in the world.