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Student from Tanzania values opportunities at Whitworth

Joshua Vinton sits on a step, looks down and reads an open book.Joshua Vinton, '16, is a double major in math and theology who spent the majority of his childhood in Tanzania, East Africa. Joshua's parents have been doing missionary work in Tanzania for about 15 years. Before that, they worked in the Congo for 10 years.

"I feel profoundly blessed to have grown up in Tanzania with the greatest parents in the entire world," Vinton says.

One of his fondest experiences in Tanzania was teaching high school math during his last two years before coming to Whitworth.

"It was such a rewarding experience that has definitely given me the desire to teach in the future," Vinton says.

However, the transition from Tanzania to the United States wasn't easy.

"It was a struggle my freshman and sophomore years to reconcile the disparity of material wealth between my life in Tanzania and my life here," Vinton says. "It was hard knowing the price tag on my education would put all of my students through high school."

Still, Vinton sees his education at Whitworth as an opportunity and a godsend.

"The only way I have been able to reconcile the difference is through recognizing the tremendous blessing and treating it as such," Vinton says. "I'm not taking it for granted, but making the most out of the opportunities I have at Whitworth. That's the only way I've been able to find a sense of peace in all of this."

Vinton was initially drawn to Whitworth through his mother, a Whitworth alum who championed Whitworth as an option.

"I was really impressed with how hospitable the admissions office was, and I had amazing stays on campus," Vinton says. "It felt like home."

One of Vinton's favorite aspects of Whitworth is chapel.

"Chapel was also a really big thing for me when I was deciding on Whitworth," he says. "I truly appreciated that chapel was not mandatory and was an opportunity for those who wanted to worship. The chapel has provided a sanctuary for me these past four years and has truly helped me appreciate the community aspect of the church."

Another aspect Vinton enjoys about Whitworth is the faculty.

"There are no words to express the gratitude I feel toward the professors who have taken the time to invest in my life," Vinton says. "The classes have been good, some of them great, but the one-on-one time with professors outside the classroom has changed me the most. I applaud Whitworth for having such outstanding faculty."

After graduating from Whitworth, Vinton plans to return to East Africa to be a missionary, to teach, or to work in international development. He is also considering attending graduate school.