Meet Valerie Chow Tao S'19
Hometown: Potomac, Maryland
Degree: Master of Divinity
Why did you choose to study at North Park Theological Seminary?
I came to the Seminary and North Park University to pursue a dual degree: an MBA, which I’ve earned, and the Master of Divinity degree, which I’m now pursuing. I’ve been working in nonprofits my whole career, in both secular and faith-based nonprofits. The dual degree is helping me learn more about the connections between mission and sound business practice to ensure that the future work I do balances both the “why” and the “how.”
What are you learning about yourself and your calling while studying at the Seminary?
Since being at North Park, God has led me to explore a calling in the church. During my career I’ve used my gifts of strategic management, administration, and leadership in the nonprofit world. After experiencing the church more as an institution, I’ve seen how these same gifts are also needed by—and can greatly contribute to—the church. Being at North Park has allowed me to explore my diverse pastoral identity and learn to be comfortable with it.
What are your future plans and how is your Seminary education making it possible?
After graduation, I hope to pursue a calling in a church as an associate or executive pastor in a multicultural church. I am also open to working in the faith-based nonprofit world in a role focusing on spiritual formation. Being in the Seminary provides me with an intentional place to think through theology as an intellectual and lived pursuit. I am being challenged not only to figure out how to think rightly, but how to live well and how to seek the intent of the text humbly and let it transform me.
What would you like to say to supporters of North Park?
Thank you so much for your generous support of Seminary students. I know wouldn’t be able to pursue my Seminary degree without your support.
What do you like best about the Seminary?: Seminary professors are excellent in their fields. Just as important, they care about the students and want to know that we are learning what we need to be effective in our ministry work.
Most memorable Seminary experience: One of my most memorable experiences was studying Romans with Dr. Klyne Snodgrass. In this class I was struck by the realization that the church’s greatest witness of the Gospel to the watching world is modeling the ability to disagree well. We may not always agree with others, but we must learn how to model the love of Christ in the midst of that disagreement.
Favorite Seminary class and professor: Christian Ethics with Dr. Michelle Clifton-Soderstrom stands out. I was deeply impacted not only by the content of Michelle’s class, but also her dialogical methodology. She created space for us to learn how voice fits in among others and how we should have the courage to both speak up and to refrain from speaking so others can be heard.