Jeff Moore - Walking Another Path, by Ivy Santos

Just because you attend an engineering college, it doesn't mean you have to be an engineer.  2010 alum Jeff Moore is a prime example.  In his own words, "God was calling me to be a priest in the Roman Catholic Church (specifically, in the Archdiocese of Seattle)."


Jeff is a priest in training, or a seminarian, and everything he does now is at the request of his bishop with recommendations from the Director of Seminarians.  What his bishop has instructed him to do for the last two summers is to work as a camp counselor at Catholic summer camps run by the Archdiocese of Seattle. "I am responsible for scheduling and organizing as many as 40 campers and 10 staff members throughout each camp session." He says that he is a "full-time babysitter, except that I am supposed to give the kids supervision as a minimum; parents and campers also expect high energy, lots of adventure, a few life skills, and a whole lot of emotional, social, and spiritual growth." This is especially hard for him because he is a self-proclaimed introvert and not a fan of the outdoors!


Despite his misgivings, it is apparent why he was chosen for this job.  "I originally got involved because these camps had been struggling to maintain a Catholic identity over the last few years, and they needed staff members who were committed Catholics who wanted to bring their deep faith into the camp environment. Director of Seminarians suggested I go, and I agreed." Even if his training thus far has not been directly toward his future life as a man of the cloth, Jeff still says he's having fun.  


You might not think that an Olin education would help with becoming a priest or working at a summer camp, but Jeff had some enlightening thoughts on the subject.  I asked him what skills he gained while at Olin had helped him in his quest for the priesthood.  He answered in part, "Belief that I can do anything: I have objectively proved to myself that a lack of experience is never an excuse for a lack of success.For example, I have been able to teach a year of middle school religion classes (with no teaching experience), manage campers and staff (at a camp I'd never been to), and sail a cabin of 12 sophomore girls with only one other staff member around the Puget Sound for a 3-day overnight adventure (despite having no previous sailing experience). Olin taught me that I can jump into the deep end and swim with the best of them. My supervisors have been very impressed with this willingness and ability." It's not just the spiral learning that has helped him though, he's found his presentation skills, understanding of team dynamics, and understanding of "the importance and power of democratically established and enforced community expectations." By this, he means the perspective he gained during his time as Honor Board Chair.  "The Honor Code mentality has really helped me understand how to build a camp, parish, or church community in a positive and effective way."


The skills we learn every day at Olin are applicable in the "real world."  Differential equations and physics are only the surface of what we learn here.


Jeff's life isn't all work and no play though.  He really does enjoy his job.  Some of Jeff's favorite things he's done since graduating have been: overnights on the South Puget Sound, "These were often epic and (for the counselor responsible for 15 young lives) terrifying outings", serving at Archdiocesan Liturgies, meeting the Archbishop of New York, "I got to shake his hand," and bringing people closer to God.  


"A relationship with God can change a life and bring a person eternal life. There is nothing you can do that is cooler than that." Teaching 7th and 8th grade religion, answering questions about faith, "There are so many questions that people have about faith, and helping them to find answers to those questions is suuuuuuuuper cool to be part of. " Hanging out with the Archbishop of Seattle on a regular basis, and going to Mass almost daily. When asked about his plans for the future, Jeff replies, simply, "I hope to go all the way to being ordained a priest. That is God's will and my bishop's will. Ultimately, my will does not matter."

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