Discovering Hillsdale’s Hidden Gem

Written by Kokko Tso

From an early age, Lindsey Lewis knew that optometry was her calling in life. “I have horrible eyesight,” she laughs. “I also have an overwhelming desire to help people. And when I realized that my favorite day of the year was going to the optometrist for an eye exam, everything just clicked – I knew that I wanted to be an eye doctor.”

Lindsey is currently pursuing a major in biology in preparation for optometry school, and she believes that Hillsdale’s liberal arts curriculum tremendously benefits science-oriented students. “At Hillsdale, the natural sciences and humanities foster one another,” she explains. “Every single class I take is just another piece of a larger puzzle, and each class gives me tools that I will take with me long after graduation.” Lindsey especially appreciates the Great Books courses. “I thought I was a pretty good writer in high school, but Professor Meier really showed me how to analyze a document, develop arguments, and construct beautiful sentences,” she says. “It’s a valuable skill to have, especially for a biology student – you wouldn’t believe how much writing we do for lab reports, presentations, and research papers!”

Lindsey using a microscope

Lindsey’s true passion is for the Biology Department. She calls the program “Hillsdale’s hidden gem” because the students receive a first-class education in biological science coupled with a firm foundation in the liberal arts tradition. “We really get the best of both worlds,” she says. Lindsey credits small class sizes and close relationships between students and faculty for the excellence of the Biology Department. “I took an ecology class with Dr. Houghton this summer, and it was amazing. Not only were we applying the things we were learning in the field, but I also got opportunities to work one-on-one with Dr. Houghton. That level of individual attention, as well as the close friendships that I developed with other students during our lab sessions and field work, really made the experience much more meaningful. My classes here have reinforced my love for biology because it’s not something you can do in a vacuum. You need the support of peers and mentors, and you definitely get that at Hillsdale.”

This support extends outside the lecture hall into the residence hall. Lindsey is a former residence assistant in McIntyre dormitory, and she speaks warmly of the tight-knit community. “As an RA, you see girls from many different walks of life. However, we’re all united by the fact that we’re at Hillsdale for a reason: to pursue knowledge and truth. That idea permeates the role of residence assistants. We’re not policemen. We’re here to help and guide our fellow students, to make sure they are succeeding.” Lindsey, who is also a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, says that the best part of the student life on campus is the generosity of the students, whether it be sharing ideas, lending a helping hand, or providing emotional support. “We aren’t just a group of girls that happen to live in the same dorm or be part of the same sorority – we’re sisters. I know that if I’m ever going through a difficult time, someone will be there to talk with me, to reach out a hand and lift me up. This group of girls constantly pushes me to pursue excellence in my academic, social, and spiritual endeavors.”

One of the challenges that science students can face is the tension between science and faith. In discussing this challenge, Lindsey references her favorite Galileo quote: “The Bible tells us how to get to heaven, but not how the heavens go.” For Lindsey, the quote captures the balance between scientific thought and faith that she finds at Hillsdale. “I came from a public high school where you weren’t allowed to talk about your faith, so the environment on campus was a huge change for me. Hillsdale College science faculty and students don’t belittle your faith. In fact, they encourage an open dialogue about Christianity and the sciences. One of my favorite professors, Dr. Baron, has personally helped me grow spiritually, both in and out of the classroom, and I am continually inspired by her deep faith.”

Lindsey feels that her education here is preparing her not only for a future career as an optometrist, but also for living a good life. “There’s no question about the quality of the academics at Hillsdale College. You simply cannot get a better education anywhere else. But more importantly, Hillsdale has given me many opportunities to grow in my faith and character. If you want to go to a school where you will be challenged academically, socially, and spiritually, I don’t know where else you could go. Hillsdale is the place where these things come together perfectly.”


Kokko TsoKokko Tso graduated from Hillsdale College in 2013 with majors in music, Latin, and history. He currently works for his alma mater as the Digital Content Manager.