Archived Voice Articles

Van Arendonks - Student Profile

Combining academics and athletics has been a four-year effort for Kyle and Katie (Hoekstra) Van Arendonk. A Distinguished Scholar and a basketball recruit, Kyle is a pre-med exercise science major and an important part of the basketball team. Katie, also an exercise science major, runs cross country and track and has minor in psychology. Both are described as outstanding students by their professors.

"At Dordt, we've been able to be involved in sports but not have it take over our lives," says Kyle. That's not to say it has been easy. Both of them say it takes discipline to keep up with their responsibilities.

"There are days when we don't see much of each other," says Katie. They were married last spring, after meeting during their first year at Dordt College. Practices and labs fill their afternoons, and then there are games and meets and studying.

Both Kyle and Katie plan to attend graduate school next year, and they've put a priority on finding a place they can both go. Kyle has applied to eight schools and Katie to six. And although they each have at least one acceptance, they're still looking for the one that puts them in the same city.

"If it doesn't happen, we'll go where Kyle is accepted since his program takes much longer," says Katie. "I'll reapply the next year."

Both are committed to careers in health care. Kyle decided to go to medical school already as a senior in high school when a local physician, Dordt alum Dr.

Richard Posthuma, taught an anatomy course at his high school, Pella Christian High. He offered Kyle the opportunity to job shadow, and Kyle has been doing so during many of his holiday breaks and summer vacations since then. But most of his last two summers were spent doing biomedical research. After his sophomore year, Kyle worked on a research project at Des Moines University-Osteopathic Medical Center studying the virulence of Candida albicans, a common pathogen in humans. Last summer he participated in research at the Medical College of Virginia on human allergies.

"My involvement in sports also made me interested in how the body works," Kyle says. "My science courses have made me want to learn more about the amazing complexity of God's creation," he adds.

Katie also knew she wanted to work in health care when she began college. "I like the amount of time physical therapists get to spend with their patients," she says. She chose a psychology minor so she would be better prepared to relate to patients in a holistic way. She's already begun putting what she knows to work in the physical therapy department of the local hospital and in a summer internship.

Both Katie and Kyle place an emphasis on serving others. They've participated in student service projects and last year served as a Big Brother and Big Sister to a young brother and sister from the community. "Young kids look up to athletes," Kyle says, adding that whether that is good or not, it gives them an opportunity to connect with someone who could use a mentor.

Last year Katie and a fellow cross country runner, Kristi Meendering, organized a soup supper on behalf of alum and runner Becky Demarest, who was seriously injured in a car accident. Her life threatening injuries left her with large medical costs. Katie helped contact local businesses and people within the community to make the fundraiser possible and brought the money they raised to Becky's family.

Katie and Kyle expect to carry their commitment to serving others into the future. One of their goals is to work with a medical missions team, either in this country or abroad.

As they near the end of their college years and look forward to those ahead, they especially value the friendships they've made while here, friendships built on a common bond that they expect to last a lifetime.