IMPACT 360 has over 130 alumni studying and working in amazing capacities all across the country, but Christy Linder, from the Class of 2010, is their first Ivy Leaguer, on her way to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Also the first alumni sibling to attend IMPACT 360, Linder knew college was in her future, but had no anxiety about postponing her plans in order to be a part of the breakthrough gap-year program. “It was not so much a sacrifice, as a dream come true,” she says, and credits conversations with her sister, and the desire to learn about philosophy, with leading her to commit to IMPACT 360 after high school.

“I had very little exposure to the various philosophers or their ideas before IMPACT, so I appreciate that my initial introduction to philosophy was grounded in the worship of God and the pursuit of truth. Perhaps the most well-ingrained and enduring lesson revolves around the last part of that statement: that the worship of God and the pursuit of truth are actually one and the same, because truth is rooted in the nature of God and our curiosity itself glorifies Him.” Two years after finishing IMPACT 360, Linder continues to expand  her love of humanities, studying philosophy at the prestigious institution this fall. The Lancaster, PA native is looking forward to her major and, hopefully, UPenn’s study abroad program in England.

“A girl can dream,” she quips.

For those who know her, Linder’s future is much more certain than a dream. IMPACT 360 Director, John Basie, has always expected great things from her. “We knew early on during Christy’s time here that she would excel,” he says. “ She is a naturally curious young lady who wasn’t content to receive information; she continued to ask the really good and hard questions all year long.  We are extremely proud of God’s work in her life and the wise choices she has made in her educational journey.  Her acceptance to study at as rigorous an institution as University of Pennsylvania is evidence of that.”

No one can know how life might be different if they’d chosen another path. Christy’s list of opportunities was a long one, but IMPACT 360 offered something college couldn’t at a pivotal time in her life, and it will resonate through her time at The University of Pennsylvania and beyond.

“The value of IMPACT 360 lies in the way it offers exposure to a bigger perspective, one that grapples with what it means to be a lover of God in a weeping world. Answers are not spoon fed to students. Rather, they are the result of individual critical thought, strengthened by group discussions, community projects, and global experiences. That’s an educational opportunity that will not happen twice, and while it is not for everyone, it is absolutely worth it.”

IMPACT 360 was founded in 2006 by John and Trudy Cathy White, to prepare students to be leaders and changers in this generation, and to break the cycle of young adults who abandon their faith when faced with opposition and challenges in the university setting. The outcome is an understanding of God’s unique calling for each person that extends far beyond the classroom. For more information on the nine-month program, email [email protected].