As a child, Christopher John Chapman spent most of his time outdoors. His parents — his father is a firefighter and his mother an accountant — wouldn't have it any other way.
The family moved from upstate New York to Fayetteville, North Carolina, when Chapman was 6 years old.
"I (spent) most of my time outside with neighborhood friends and playing recreation league sports. I enjoyed baseball the most and played pitcher for many years. … I skateboarded a lot with friends, too, and would regularly spend a good part of a summer day outside perfecting tricks with them," he said.
He said he has been blessed with a great childhood. "All of the things that I saw as challenges when I was younger have turned out to be what makes me who I am today," he said.
Along with his sports interests, Chapman also enjoyed science growing up — building and experimenting with different materials — and his love for science helped determine his career path.
Chapman is studying at the University of North Carolina Pembroke, where he hopes to earn a bachelor's degree in athletic training before heading to medical school. He said growing up in The United Methodist Church helped lead him to the medical field.
"I have been in the Methodist church all my life, and it has become a part of me that spreads into all other areas of life. My faith, and my desire to help those in need, has been a key motivator in my choice of a medical career."
Chapman received a Gift of Hope scholarship, funded by the United Methodist Student Day offering. He urges United Methodists to continue to give generously on this Special Sunday.
"Because of this scholarship, I am able to afford to go to school without forfeiting the job I have as youth coordinator (at Cumberland United Methodist Church in Fayetteville), or many of the extracurricular activities that I learn so much from," he said.
United Methodist Student Day helps young adults become successful in their communities as they use their education "in many great ways through the power of our Lord," he said.
Chapman looks forward to carving out his own path in the medical field and plans to continue his involvement with his church's youth ministry. He said his UNC Pembroke education has prepared him well for the future.
"I have mentors that truly love their careers and medicine in general, which has helped me to enjoy my career path even more," he said.
"I find a great satisfaction in knowing that the more I study the more able I am to help those suffering from disease, and to find a treatment. I also find that the more I learn of science and nature, and the more I learn of the human body, the closer I am drawn to my faith, and I find joy in sharing this with other science-minded people," he said.
Julie Dwyer, general church content editor, United Methodist Communications
One of six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings of The United Methodist Church, United Methodist Student Day calls the church to support students as they prepare for life in uniting faith with knowledge. The special offering provides scholarships for qualified United Methodist applicants.
When you give generously on United Methodist Student Day, you support students as they prepare for life in uniting faith with knowledge. Give now.