Heather Van Itallie ’20
Davenport, Iowa
Heather Van Itallie

Made for ministry

Heather is combining a major in Christian education and youth ministry with a minor in biblical and theological studies. Eventually she would like to join a church's staff and work with its children’s ministry program. As a sophomore, she teamed with other Northwestern students to staff a middle school retreat and participated in a short-term missions trip to Opelousas, Louisiana, during spring break. Heather also serves as a peer tutor for the biblical and theological studies department and as the student manager for Northwestern’s dance team.

Opened eyes

It’s been fascinating to explore the various ways different denominations and churches worship and understand God while still holding fast to the truths of the Bible. Through my courses at Northwestern, I’ve been able to learn about different theological ideas without doubting the importance of the central truth of the gospel. I’ve also been able to grapple with new and ancient ways to worship God. Wrestling with both of these has strengthened my faith.

Pilgrimage and prayer

I studied abroad in Italy during the summer of 2017. We went to Assisi and then traced the steps of St. Francis’ pilgrimage to Rome, walking more than 60 miles. Through that experience, I was able to immerse myself in the Catholic traditions of pilgrimage and prayer while engaging in both spiritual and mundane conversations with other students and those we met along the way. It was an amazing time of spiritual growth and cross-cultural conversation.

Accessible profs

I appreciate how much my Bible and theology professors care about each student. They’re always willing to talk about how they graded your project and how you’re doing in class, expanding on a class topic or even just talking about life and praying for you They consistently go above and beyond to help you get involved in a church or find a job.

Being real

I love how open everyone is at Northwestern. There are countless people who I’ve had one or two classes with a year ago, and we still greet one another and catch up every time we cross paths. When you’re asked how you’re doing, you’re able to speak genuinely and truthfully. People are willing to talk about their struggles as much as their joys, in both faith and life.


I’ve loved all the seemingly insignificant moments of dorm life, from coloring parties to long chats in my RA's room—to everyone getting ready for bed together. Through these little moments, the girls on my wing and I have become like family.