Change Font Size:   A A A

May 29, 2013 | Carol E. Barnwell

UT Senior Finds Canterbury Formative

Lindsey Wohlfort is a 21-year-old senior at the University of Texas in Austin. She was born and raised in Houston where she attended Holy Spirit Episcopal Church. Lindsey has been an active member of the UT Canterbury group while away at school, traveling to Africa with fellow students and being an active member of her faith community. 

Luminary_Lindsey Wohlfort

CEB: Who encouraged you in your faith while you were growing up?

LW: Definitely my mom. She’s the one who rounded us up every Sunday and got us presentable and to the church, though admittedly we were regularly five minutes late. 


CEB: How did you come to study biomedical engineering? (and by the way, what is that?)  

LW: I knew I wanted to go to college from a very young age, but I really had no idea what I wanted to study. Biomedical engineering was something recommended to me by my uncle because of my love for biology, math and science. Biomedical engineering is what I like to call a “catchall” major. About one-third of the students want to go to medical school after graduation, another third want to go to graduate school and go on to do research in prosthetics, pharmaceuticals, etc. Then there’s the third like me that want to go into industry. I’ve been very fortunate in that I’ve already nailed down my post-graduation plans. I will be working at National Instruments in the fall in the Engineering Leadership Program. While my job won’t exactly use the “biomedical” part of my degree, I will get the opportunity to focus more on my computer science skills, which turned out to be my favorite part of my degree!


CEB: How was going off to college? How did you learn about Canterbury group?

LW: Leaving for college was definitely scary, but I think it was made a lot easier by the fact I was only moving a few hours away from home. It was nice being able to go home so easily several times that first semester as I slowly transitioned to a more independent lifestyle. Before I even came to campus, I received an e-mail from John Newton, the missioner at the Episcopal Student Center at the time, inviting me to check out worship. I came to worship that first Sunday and never left.


CEB: What was your role in the recent college retreat? What benefit do you think this program brings to students? 

LW: I was one of the student leaders of the college retreat this spring, along with Nick Puccio. Our job was to plan the retreat; of course, we had some amazing help along the way (one more shout-out to Matt Blank, KariAnn Lessner, and Beth Magill). The idea behind college retreat was to redefine and rejuvenate the traditional VocarÈ retreat, which two years ago only had 12 students attend. This year we opened up the retreat to college ministries all over the state, which resulted in an incredible mix of people and we had about 75 attend. 

I think the benefit to students is huge!  It’s a fabulous time to come together and get to know each other better. One really awesome thing we did this year was have parishioners from parishes around the diocese donate camp chairs, one for each student, with the tagline “college students have a seat in our church.”  When we passed out the chairs and told the students where the chairs came from, there was an audible “wow.”  That was such a fantastic gift the college retreat brought to us—what I never even expected, the opportunity to show that young adults are not only remembered by parishes, but loved by them, too.


CEB: On your mission trip to Kenya, what did you learn about yourself? How were you changed by the experience?

LW: Over winter break I had the opportunity to travel to Kenya with Comfort the Children International (CTC). CTC is a nonprofit organization, based out of Austin, focused on promoting sustainable change in Kenya through education and empowerment. Our group traveled to Maai Mahiu and our focus was to witness the programs and build relationships with the people we encountered. 

This was my first time to travel internationally, and I was pretty intimidated going in. I think overcoming that fear and being able to go on and build an amazing connection with the community in Maai Mahiu showed me new strength in myself I hadn’t recognized previously. 

I’m definitely still learning the ways in which Kenya has changed my life. One of the words we learned in Swahili was “Ubuntu,” which means “I am because we are.”  I’ve been trying to live out this statement more in my life, realizing that I am dependent on each person I encounter in my life, and I need to be more present and intentional about each of those relationships.


CEB: How has Canterbury changed your college experience? 

LW: My faith has grown tremendously during my time in college. During high school, our family stopped going to church regularly, and when I came to college I knew that was something I wanted back, but I wasn’t really sure what I was looking for. I found the Episcopal Student Center and amazing things have happened. This community really has formed me into the Christian and Episcopalian I am today. It has shaped the importance I put on having a loving, Christian community. 


CEB: What bit of advice would you offer graduating high school seniors? 

LW: 1) I would say it’s great to have a dream school, and if you get the opportunity to go, that’s amazing!  But if you don’t, and I didn’t, you’re going to have an incredible journey and experience no matter where you go!

2) Study hard, but make sure you surround yourself with a loving community. 

3) Check out your Episcopal Campus Ministry wherever you go to school!