Brilliant students are not unique at Malone University.
However, rare is the young scholar who accomplishes such a feat as finishing an Honors Program thesis in a rigorous program an entire year ahead of schedule.
“I was just really intrigued by my project,” Aaron Bunnell '13, a Bible and Theology major, shrugs humbly. “And I wanted to give myself some extra time just in case I needed it.”
The Honors Program helped Aaron make connections he wouldn’t have otherwise had, Aaron notes.
“That was really important to me especially at first since I was a commuter,” he says. “I met people right away who had similar interests and have been friends of mine throughout college.”
In addition to his classmates, he also developed close relationships with faculty, such as his faculty adviser, Bryan Hollon. His faculty committee also included Stephen Moroney, Matt Phelps, and Diane Chambers.
Aaron Bunnell with faculty adviser Bryan Hollon at the research symposium.
"Aaron Bunnell has really set a new standard for honors thesis work,” says Dr. Hollon. “He was highly disciplined throughout the entire process, which enabled him to write a longer than average thesis and also to work at a very high level of sophistication for an undergraduate student."
Aaron wrote his honors thesis on the connection between worship and catechesis in the context of today’s Protestant evangelical churches to encourage worship that is more rooted in theology.
After presenting his thesis (now available in Malone’s Cattell Library and here) to nearly 60 people, making a poster of it to present at Malone’s annual Undergraduate Research Symposium, and being encouraged to prepare it for submission to be published in an undergraduate research academic journal, Aaron had the privilege of traveling to Israel with his classmates and Nathan Phinney, Dean of the College of Theology, Arts, and Sciences.
“It was an incredible experience,” Aaron says. “We were there for three weeks and got to travel everywhere you can think of – and had some unique experiences as well – we got a private tour of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre when it was closed.”
The site is said to encompass Golgotha (the Hill of Calvary where Jesus was crucified), and the place where Jesus was buried (the Sepulchre), thus also the site where Jesus was resurrected.
While at Malone, Aaron served in youth ministry at First Friends and The Chapel in North Canton. He says he has felt called to some type of pastoral ministry since his high school years. Aaron currently attends Fuller Theological Seminary, pursuing an M.Div.