by Mark Pomerville

ALUMNI_CarynJeanVandenberg (2)From the moment she stepped on campus, Caryn Vanden Berg ’09 was challenged in unexpected ways: “In every class, my professors taught me how to think critically from a Biblical worldview about every life subject. I was taught how to analyze problems and approach dilemmas with a unique perspective and logical solution.”

After graduating from Providence, Caryn moved back to her home in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and settled for a monotonous job working nights as a lab technician. However, she quickly realized that she wasn’t unlocking her full potential. “I felt like I wasn’t using my brain at all,” said Caryn. So I thought to myself, “What’s the most challenging thing I can do with what I learned at Providence? How can I honor the Lord with the gifts I’ve been given?” For Caryn, the answer was medical school.

“I had always been fascinated with how the human body works,” she explained. “And I knew that if I pursued the medical field, God would give me opportunities to get out of my comfort zone and reach people who are in a really hard place in life.” On May 16, 2016, Caryn graduated from Wayne State University with her doctor of medicine degree. Throughout her schooling, Caryn has had many opportunities to assist other doctors and aid patients undergoing pain and suffering. “I try to show compassion to each patient that I meet. I see every opportunity to talk with someone who is sick or in need as a chance to offer them the hope of Christ.”

In July 2016, Caryn will begin her postgraduate training as a pediatric resident physician with Grand Rapids Medical Education Partners, in affiliation with Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital and Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. Over the next three years, Caryn will undergo an intensive program to become board certified. Ultimately, Caryn hopes to use her medical training in the mission field, both domestically and abroad.

When asked how her Providence education has influenced her life, Caryn said, “Providence made me think about some big life questions. As a doctor, I’m already using the critical thinking that I learned at Providence to aid me in my profession. Providence also helped me understand who I am in Christ—that I have an obligation to not only to serve my Savior, but to also serve those in my community. My plan is to be open to what God is calling me to do. Sometimes he calls us to do uncomfortable things, but I’m just focused on hearing God’s call. By listening to the Lord, I’ve found that sometimes people need more than just medicine; they need the gospel.”