Josh Orndorff '11
“The liberal arts curriculum at R-MC equipped me with essential skills: critical
thinking, sound writing and analytical reading,” says Josh Orndorff ’11.
He is putting those skills to good use.
Orndorff is pursuing a Master of Divinity degree at Duke University to become a
United Methodist pastor in the Virginia Conference. He says that R-MC’s beyond-the-classroom
opportunities are crucial to a well-rounded education.
“Experiential learning taught me to translate academic theories into practical living
and engagement with society,” says Orndorff, who majored in
sociology and religious studies.
A Bailey Scholar, he researched, traveled,
and participated in two internships.
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His capstone project, Understanding the Decline of Religious Participation Among
Young Adults, allowed Orndorff to conduct research that tapped into both
of his majors. “I interviewed 25 people and gathered qualitative information about
why college students decline in their religious participation,” he explains. “Sociology
Professor Amy Armenia was a great help—she encouraged and guided me to create a
research project that I presented at the 2011 Southern Sociological Society Convention
in Jacksonville, Florida.”
Orndorff is grateful to have had the opportunity to travel to Italy during
J-term. The trip, in connection with the Heritage of Christianity course
taught by R-MC Chaplain Darrell Headrick, was life-affirming.
The course acquaints students with the rich heritage of Christianity and focuses
on sites of interest from the first century through the rise of the imperial church;
medieval and Renaissance periods; and modern Christianity. Students toured Venice,
Florence, Assisi and Rome.
“It was incredible—I was able to see the places where the Christian faith developed,”
says Orndorff. “My travel experiences enabled me to build better relationships with
my classmates, to deepen my understanding of my faith tradition and to enjoy the
beauty of Italy.”
Orndorff’s first internship took place at Culpeper United Methodist Church. He founded
the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and organized a six-week community Lenten series
that brought 12 congregations together for worship. He also preached sermons and
lead a youth group. Orndorff’s second internship was at Duncan Memorial United Methodist
“I worked with Chaplain Headrick and the youth director at Duncan, Dawne Vronek,
to establish a student-led worship service called The Beacon, a non-denominational
opportunity for college students and campus ministries to worship together,” he
says. “My internships gave me an excellent opportunity to put my call to ministry
During his senior year, Orndorff traded his book bag for a hard hat and worked for
English Construction, the building contractor for R-MC’s newest building,
“As part of the LEED administration team, I was honored to be able to give back
to the college,” he says. In October 2011, Orndorff participated in a
formal dedication celebrating the college’s newest building and the man
for whom it is named.
“I am proud to be a Randolph-Macon College alumnus,” says Orndorff. “R-MC prepares
students to not only succeed in life, but to care about people.”