Jeffery Gao '18 Gears Up for Senior Year
By Tom Campisi, Managing EditorJeffrey Gao, a rising senior and member of the lightweight rowing team, is on the final lap of his Dartmouth College days.
It’s been three fantastic years for the San Diego native, who is a co-president of Christian Union’s ministry on campus. With the wind at his back, Gao is preparing for the start of his senior year, welcoming incoming freshmen, and continuing to be an ambassador for Christ on the rowing team. A computer science and economics double major, he enjoyed a summer internship with a research and experience management company in downtown Seattle, but is eager to return to campus in Hanover, New Hampshire and his role with Christian Union’s leadership development ministry.
“Christian Union has been an incredible source of growth for me in my time at Dartmouth. The ministry fellows and student leaders have been active in getting to know me and in mentoring me even before I arrived as a freshman,” said Gao, who received the National Merit Scholarship during his senior year of high school at Canyon Crest Academy. “Over the past few years, I’ve made deep and lasting relationships that I never would have expected and I’ve learned so much about what it looks like to seek the Lord well.”
Gao’s growth as a believer and emergence as a leader was impacted by Bible courses, mentoring, fellowship, and the example of upperclassmen who went before him.
“My biggest takeaway from Christian Union at Dartmouth has been an overall understanding of what life in Christ and in Christian community looks like,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot about how to approach repentance and forgiveness and how to have accountability and prayer with my closest friends. I’ve also learned what it looks like to study Scripture regularly and to think about serious and relevant issues from a Christian perspective.”
Chase Carlisle, a Christian Union ministry fellow at Dartmouth, said Gao is humble, teachable, and well-balanced in various facets of college life.
“I don’t know many students, or people in general, as disciplined as Jeff. Whether it’s serving the community, rowing, or academics, he just seems to always be on task and dedicated to what he’s doing,” Carlisle said.
For the past two years, with the encouragement of Christian Union ministry fellows, Gao led a Bible study with teammates on the lightweight rowing team. He had participated in the Bible study as a freshman, and stepped into a leadership role after the graduation of a senior who started it.
“The course has grown a lot over the last few years, and, by now, a good portion of the team has been to at least one of the weekly meetings at some point. It is an amazing opportunity because it gives me a chance to talk about Scripture and faith with the people around whom I spend the most time,” Gao said.
As he steps into a larger role with Christian Union, Gao will pass along the leadership of the team Bible study to another rowing mate. He is hoping to attend that Bible study, in addition to a Christian Union Bible Course for seniors. In September, he and other leaders will coordinate the ministry’s freshmen welcoming campaign, which includes a series of events, outreaches, and invitations to attend Christian Union Bible Courses.
“I’m already a little sad that I only have a year left,” he said. “What I’m looking forward to the most this year, though, is probably the relationships I’ll develop by growing deeper with the guys in my class and getting to know the incoming class of 2021s.”
Carlisle and the Christian Union faculty are confident that Gao will finish strong in his senior year as he seeks to impact the campus community with the Gospel and disciple Dartmouth students in the same manner in which he has received.
“As a co-president of Christian Union at Dartmouth, Jeff is known by his peers for his genuine care and humility,” Carlisle said. “He has a good head on his shoulders and is always thinking about how better to serve and relate to those around him.”
“I’m happy to know this brother and serve with him."