The Lambs help students grow in grace and truth.by Sarah Camp, Contributing Editor
From marriage to ministry, Angela (Cornell, BA '99) and Allen (Cornell, BS '00 and MEng'01) Lamb know a good thing when they find it. For example, they met during their freshman year at Cornell and married during the summer between their junior and senior years. Allen was already a Christian when he met Angela; Angela came to faith in Christ at Cornell thanks in part to a suitemate who shared her faith.
The young couple were led to follows Christ's ethos in college as they pursued integrity in courtship and dating, and fidelity in marriage. A supportive community and God's great grace helped them navigate their student years.
Today Allen works in finance at a small private equity firm, and Angela is the Director of the Westside Mount Sinai Dermatology Faculty Practice and Director of Dermatology for the Institute of Family Health. Allen's educational background includes degrees in mechanical engineering and computer science, but he found his vocation in the financial sector after earning an MBA from MIT.
Angela, on the other hand, already knew the career path she was pursuing in medicine, down to her desired field of dermatology, when she arrived at Cornell. Still, she cautions, "it's possible to 'do the right thing' simply by being influenced by a surrounding Christian subculture, which I grew up within in the South." She describes an upbringing that steered her toward what were fundamentally good choices.
But coming to faith in Jesus Christ would profoundly change the "why" behind all her life choices. "Becoming a Christian changed everything; from my perspective on failure and loss, and even impulses toward pride." She reflects, "It makes a difference, knowing you are a sinner and saved by grace."
Angela completed her residency training in dermatology at the University of Minnesota and received her medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She has already made significant contributions to her field; she is the recipient of several peer-recognized awards including a Medical Student Mentorship Award from the American Academy of Dermatology; a National Institutes of Health Visiting Student Research Award; and a Medical Student Fellowship from the Women's Dermatologic Society Award, and Marvin Dunn Lectureship.
In addition, Angela has published articles on a range of dermatological topics. Her current interests include healthcare policy and advancing access of dermatology services to underserved communities.
The Lambs have been active in Redeemer Presbyterian Church for the past decade, attending the West Side location. The church's emphasis on knowing and serving neighbors, and blessing and renewing local communities resonates deeply with the Lambs who are intentional in the choice of church campus they attend: "We go to church in the community where we live, and where I practice medicine. We see church members all around the community."
Around the time they began attending Redeemer, Angela picked up a copy of The New York Times and read an article profiling Matt Bennett and Christian Union, the young but growing ministry effort that was tailored to students in the intellectual and social climate of leading universities.
The mission of developing Christian leaders at a set of schools that included her alma mater, and the focused approach, appealed to her: "it's a practical and directed approach that can really work."
"It is really a blessing to see students going through those same journeys that we went through..."
After reading the article, Angela emailed Matt directly, asking how she could get involved. They shared a beverage at Café Lalo on the Upper West Side and the rest is history. Once again, the Lambs had a found a "good thing" and went all in to support it.
Angela became an especially winsome champion of the ministry with its targeted focus on students in academically rigorous settings. "The intellectuality of the literature and resources, and the level of inquiry being fostered, it's unlike anything I have ever seen in a ministry to students," she said.
The Lambs also commend the "diverse and superlative" ministry fellows and staff that comprise the ministry. "It is really a blessing to see students going through those same journeys that we went through, but with strong support and resources."
In comparison, Angela recalls participating in small bible studies with other women at Cornell. The peer-led studies were a blessing, but she appreciates the curriculum and experienced mentors students receive through Christian Union, "Allen and I would have loved to have had that type challenging and academic Christian teaching when we were undergraduates."
Today Angela serves on the Christian Union Board of Trustees, and she and her husband are also popular speakers to the student organizations that Christian Union supports. With the breadth of their educational and professional experiences, they have much to share with students about how faith can influence work.
In fact, the Lambs find students eager to hear about the totality of their life experiences. One talk the couple collaborated on at Columbia they entitled: "Be Encouraged! Stories from the Ivy-League Educated Couple who Continue to Survive Medicine, Banking, Parenting, and the Concrete Jungle with a Smile."
Often, when the formal portion of a speaking engagement concludes, they are swarmed by students eager to continue the conversation. The Lambs note a thirst for the practical knowledge that they have gained by experience – and which they share willingly: practicalities of marriage, the logistics of raising children, living in the city, and managing working hours.
"It can be very humbling to tell your story... but we are candid about everything we've been through, or seen other couples go through, including what works and what doesn't." Angela and Allen are quick to assure students "they are not alone nor the first to ask these questions." Students in high-intensity environments, desiring to follow Christ, want to know "how it all works."
While their own children, Mitchell (5) and Darby (18 months) are still just little ones, the Lambs already have conversations about schools. As they do, they reflect on the opportunities for their children and the importance of Christian ministries representing God's kingdom in all its diversity.
"The diversity within Christian Union, and the intentionality of that, stands out to us." Angela elaborates: "When we visit these campuses and meet the students, it makes us proud to see everyone represented."