“Your route isn’t always straight,” Professor of Biology Dr. Al Mina told students during a Jan. 16 presentation for students, part of an ongoing emphasis on vocation and calling at Erskine College.
Mina moderated the panel discussion for the evening event in Memorial Hall Auditorium, with the participation of McDonald-Boswell Professor of History Dr. David Grier, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Physics Dr. Tiffany Hayden, Assistant Athletic Trainer Heath Major, and Dr. Alanna Angel of Due West Family Medicine.
The panelists told stories from their own lives, some illustrating the ways in which God led them and confirmed their career decisions.
Heath Major described how he and his wife accepted jobs at Erskine within one week of each other, though they had not previously discussed any plans to leave the city they lived in at the time.
“You have to take that step of faith,” Major said.
In addition to facilitating the discussion, Mina spoke about his own adventure, telling the audience about giving his notice at the private practice where he had been working as a physician for more than four years—with no new job in sight.
“I enjoyed seeing the patients, but the other things that went along with it led me to the decision that I needed to do something different,” he said.
Having given his six months’ notice in May 2006, he found an opportunity for another job, “but I was not excited about it at all,” Mina said. He was still not sure what he wanted to do in October when he received a call from Erskine Professor of Biology Dr. Mary Lang Edwards, who had taught Mina’s wife, neurosurgeon Dr. Christie Bankes Mina ’91.
Edwards, who has since retired, told Mina there was a position opening up in the biology department and asked whether he was interested. “I had never spoken to her or anyone else about teaching prior to that,” he said. “Looking back, I definitely believe that God had a hand in how it worked out.”
Mina asked the panel for any advice they could offer the students in the audience. Angel assured the students that many things begin later in life and that happiness is all about finding gratitude in the moment. “You are your own life manager,” the physician said.
Riley Ritchie, an Erskine freshman, believes the discussion helped students understand that though life can be confusing, God always has a plan. “The panel at the Thursday night convo was extremely helpful to young people who could use reassurance that life works out, even if it isn’t how you imagine it.”
Shown in top photo are, from left, Dr. Al Mina and panelists Heath Major, Dr. Alanna Angel, Dr. David Grier, and Dr. Tiffany Hayden.