New hires bring international to faculty

Joshua Meribole-Staff Writer

New year, new faces, and new teachers. Along with incoming freshman, four new staffers from different countries and cultures join Dordt’s community this year.

Dordt has four new professors, from four different continents – Rebekah Earnshaw from Australia, Oscar Rodriguez from Honduras (with a dual citizenship in America), Philips Akinwole from Nigeria, and Joshua Zhu from China.

Earnshaw, Rodriguez, and Akinwole were quick to discuss their vision for Dordt with Diamond staff, as well as the challenges they faced in coming here.

However, “[Part] of the attraction of coming to Dordt is that [the college] picks up on those things, those difficulties,” said Rebekah Earnshaw, a new theology professor from Australia. “It’s a chance to speak up the gospel into people’s lives, and it’s a chance to pursue theology in an academic setting, which I think is valuable both personally and for the church as a whole… this is something that needs doing, and Dordt provides a forum to do that.”

Although currently a theology professor, Dr. Earnshaw first studying engineering in the University of South Wales, Australia.

“I had to choose my degree based on who will give me the most money, who will give me the biggest scholarship to go there is how I ended up in this course in this particular University.”

However, during her college years—and after, during Bible studies and talking with people—she decided to pursue theology.

“When you are kind of in ministry, people expect you to talk about Jesus; it’s just an opportunity that excited me at that time to see Jesus known and honored and just to have that opportunity so directly it was one I couldn’t just turn down.”

Dr. Earnshaw was born in Orange, New South. She studied theology in Scotland, where she also earned her PhD.

Oscar Rodriguez, who actually attended Dordt for a year, says, “Dordt found me and I found Dordt.”

In Honduras, Prof. Rodriguez dealt with poverty daily. Before the age of 15, he went to Evangelical and Reformed Vocational Training Center (an English translation of the actual institution). He was part of the first graduating class, in the trades programming that was offered. It was there that he first heard about God and found a love for manufacturing. He now has a wife and four adult children, and has lived in the United States for half of his life.

Rodriquez, who is now a professor for the New Pro-tech program, taught at West Point prior to coming to Dordt. Although having offers from various places, he chose Dordt because “Knowing Dordt, and the mission and the environment, I think I wanted to align myself with that mission… When it comes to this particular program, manufacturing was one of my early careers.”

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