Make The Connection

‘A One-of-a-Kind Experience’

April 6, 2020 – by Cole Hatcher

Alexis Thomas ’20 traveled to Greece to explore the Apostle Paul’s influence in the region. She earned an OWU Connection Theory-to-Practice Grant to support her experience. (Photo courtesy of Alexis Thomas)

Ohio Wesleyan Student Earns Connection Grant to Explore Apostle’s Role in Greece

Name: Alexis Thomas ’20
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
Majors: Pre-Law and Politics & Government
Minor: Religion
OWU Connection Experience: “The Apostle Paul’s Influence in the Mediterranean Region Based on Historical and Geographical Context”

Thomas used a University-funded Theory-to-Practice Grant (TPG) to travel to Greece in March to study a portion of the Apostle Paul’s journeys and learn more about the influence he held and continues to hold in the region. She wrote her grant with assistance from Carl Pace, religion instructor, following an independent study with him in fall. “He assisted in my writing,’ Thomas says, “helping me to narrow down what exactly I wanted to research on my TPG and how it would connect with my independent study.”

Why I Chose This OWU Connection Experience

In the heart of Athens, Monastiraki Square features shops, restaurants, archaeological sites, and the ability to see the Acropolis from anywhere in the square. (Photo courtesy of Alexis Thomas)

“I’ve had a couple of friends who had done TPGs in the past and literally loved them. … The reason I chose a TPG was because I could make my own experience. A lot of times when you go on a Travel-Learning Course (those are amazing too), you have an agenda already laid out.

“While in Greece, I literally could wake up and choose where I wanted to go, what I wanted to do. I would do some light reading at night and find something more about the Apostle Paul that I would be interested in, and there was always something like a museum, archaeological site, and etc. that I could go gather research. So, I think the independence and freedom for research was the driving factor in me choosing a TPG.”

My Favorite Moment

“There were so many wonderful moments, but I think my favorite moment was when I rode the bus to Kavala. The bus station was right near their water port, and it looked like something out of a movie. I walked near the water and just stood and smiled and could not believe what I was looking at. I remember feeling the sun shining, the cool breeze, and the fresh smell of the ocean water.”

Lessons Learned

The Church of St. Nicholas includes a beautiful mosaic of the Apostle Paul arriving in Kavala, Greece. (Photo courtesy of Alexis Thomas)

“I learned so much about Greece alone, but specifically the Apostle Paul. In Athens, the Apostle Paul was not very relevant. In a guided tour, [it was noted] ‘Paul failed when preaching on Mars Hill.’ This was something I had not read or heard during my research for the Theory-to-Practice Grant or my independent study.

“But in Northern Greece, in Kavala and Philippi where Paul landed and preached, his influence is truly remarkable. Almost anywhere you go in Kavala and Philippi, there are mentions, murals, or some kind of picture/painting of the Apostle Paul landing there.”

Why The OWU Connection Matters

“Experiences like these are important because you get hands-on learning, and you are able to actually be there, see it, feel it, and touch it rather than a professor or your classmate just telling you it’s there. It also is another way to teach you responsibility because traveling alone is one thing but alone internationally is a whole other task.”

Why I Chose to Ohio Wesleyan

“When I had begun the college search almost four years ago, Ohio Wesleyan was nowhere on the radar for me. After discussing with some family friends about my college search, one of them suggested Ohio Wesleyan. I applied and just let whatever happened happen. Then I visited and fell in love with the campus.

“The small class sizes, personable classmates, and the opportunities for extracurriculars, education, and travel are endless. I knew that I would be able to thrive in this environment and that OWU would lead me to bigger opportunities.

“I knew OWU would give me a one-of-a-kind experience that I would not gain at a larger institution.”

My Plans After Graduation

“After graduation I plan to take a year or two off and during that time I want to work and study for the LSAT. Also hopefully getting some international travel in during that time. Thereafter I plan on attending a Law School in Washington, D.C., and starting my law career.”