Jesse Loewen, the assistant director of the Academic Success Center on campus, believes that sometimes, just knowing someone cares can make all of the difference. 

A 2017 Goshen College graduate, Loewen knows what it’s like to struggle in school.  

Loewen changed majors two times in his first two years as a student at GC. He started as a nursing major, then switched to history and later social work.  

During his first May term on campus, Loewen’s father was diagnosed with brain cancer and eventually passed away, which took a toll on his mental health and affected his performance on the soccer team and in academics. 

“I didn’t care to go to class [or] respond to emails … I didn’t care to fully acknowledge my friends trying to help me, [and] as a result, my grades were bad,” he said. 

At the start of his junior year, Loewen was academically disqualified and realized he had to make better decisions. The social work department helped him carve a better path and create a plan to succeed. 

“I want to make my father proud. … I knew deep down that I could do it,” said Loewen. 

Loewen began working as a retention assistant at GC about three weeks after graduating. He knew he wanted to focus on helping students of color on campus.

He later transitioned to his role in the Academic Success Center. 

Because of the hardships he endured during his own college years, Loewen understands the value of having people who care for you academically and personally.

“I try to give [students] the best support I can for the moments that they’re with me and … send them on their way,” Loewen described.

Loewen’s daily schedule consists of meeting with students one-on-one. Students work with him on future assignments and staying on track with coursework. During these sessions, he also discusses students’ personal problems with them.

“I do love those check-ins, those conversations with students,” said Loewen. Talking with students “builds rapport and builds a relationship between the two of us.” 

Loewen always has students’ success as a top priority. 

“It’s okay to not have a clear-cut path, but it’s good to identify what can be a good fit,” said Loewen. 

“It means a lot to me to be able to help a student and … help to empower them to continue on,” Loewen said. “So many of us are ‘so close’ to whatever it may be, but we just need some guidance to reach our goals.”