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Corban University

April 22, 2020

Gratitude Goes Viral: Alumni Share Their Perspective on COVID-19

We interviewed three Corban alumni to see how COVID-19 has affected them in their respective industries. From education to healthcare to the arts, we’re seeing God show up in incredible ways—and our alumni are attesting to His goodness! 


Class of 2017, Elementary Education 
Fourth Grade Teacher at Sumpter Elementary 
Salem, Oregon 

Hannah Vinkemulder is one of hundreds of teachers across the state of Oregon faced with an empty classroom. What began as a two-week spring break turned into “School’s Out” for the remainder of the year.  

 For teachers, this has led to a range of emotions and experiences. Teachers have had to transform their teaching style, adapt to new technology, and balance their work and home lives in a new way. But they’ve courageously accepted the challenge.  

 Hannah Vinkemulder, a fourth-grade teacher at Sumpter Elementary School in Salem, says that seeing the response of her fellow teachers “makes me proud to be an educator, as teachers all over have ‘stepped up’ and posted learning videos of themselves on YouTube and Facebook, such as read-alouds and mini-lessons.” Hannah adds, “Schools have also continued to provide meals and resources for families in need.”  

 Currently working on her Master of Science in Education, Hannah views this time away from the classroom as an unexpected blessing, as it gives her extra time to devote to her coursework.  

She reflects, “This whole situation has reminded me how little control we have over our lives. It has humbled me to remember God’s faithfulness remains constant, despite challenges to finish learning for the school year. It is a reminder of how small we are as His creation and how great He is as our Creator.” 

Class of 2013, Health Science 
Resident at Ellis Hospital 
Schenectady, New York 

As teachers navigate teaching from home, healthcare workers brace themselves for one of the most challenging seasons of their lives. Esther Lehmann is one of thousands of healthcare workers across the country on the frontlines of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.  

 “When the virus came to our area,” says Esther, “it was challenging to realize there is no cure. We have supportive measures, but nothing definitive.”  

 And yet, Esther has been inspired by the sacrifices being made by healthcare professionals to do what they can to help those infected by the virus. “There are nurses who put their own health and safety on the line to take care of these patients day in and day out. There are retired physicians who have decided they will come back if needed— at great risk to themselves.”

On the one hand, it’s disappointing to see so many people ignoring the guidelines put in place by state governments and the CDC. “We live in a society that honors individualism and autonomy,” says Esther. “And while in general this is a valuable principle, it is also a weakness in our current situation.”  

 But she’s daily encouraged to see her colleagues and other healthcare workers put others before themselves.  

 “I pray that God would give us strength and ultimately be glorified through our current context—even if we can’t see it now.” 


Class of 2007, Biblical Studies 
Seattle Area, Washington 

 Few industries have been disrupted more than arts and entertainment. Jared Hernandez, who works as an actor in theater productions and movies and even serves as an actor-patient for student doctors, has experienced this disruption firsthand.  

 Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, Jared had booked both a movie and a theater show at the end of February/beginning of March, both of which have been postponed. 

 “However,” says Jared, “because I already happened to have time off for filming/ rehearsals, it gave me an opportunity to spend a week with my family, which I would not have been able to do otherwise.”  

 Jared shares how God has not only allowed him to spend time with family, but has provided financially in an unexpected way.  

 “My income has been dramatically reduced, and yet I saw, retroactively, God providing for me even before I knew there was any need for it. Having just had a dental implant surgery, I had asked people to help with the bill (something God asked me to do and something I fought Him on at first). Not only did He provide everything I needed for the surgery through the generosity of others, but I was given a surplus. It is now very evident why.”  

 Even with reduced income and canceled shows, Jared says confidently, “God provides! He is good and faithful and we can trust Him for ALL our needs.”