Elizabeth Schultz is earning her Masters in Pastoral Studies with a Health Care Chaplaincy concentration through IPS online courses. She has Masters in Engineering, flew a helicopter at 18 years old, loves long walks with her husband and has recently accepted a position as a hospital Staff Chaplain.
Check out our Q&A with Elizabeth below to read a little bit about her journey and her future goals.
Nickname: Betty Jean (my middle name is Jean, and Betty is a nickname for Elizabeth!)
Hometown: I was born and raised in NJ, went to college in Delaware and Syracuse, NY, and I’ve lived in Lititz, Pennsylvania for the last 23 years.
What do you enjoy doing outside of school? One of my favorite pastimes is going for a walk/run with my husband on a beautiful evening.
What is a fun fact or story about you?
I flew a helicopter when I was 18! Actually, I was in the co-pilot seat, but the pilot let me fly, hover, and land the Army helicopter. I was working at a military base in NJ during the summer between high school and college. One of the Army pilots gave me a flight suit to put on and took me (unofficially) on a flight along the ocean and up to NYC. We flew around my house, then up to the Statue of Liberty, and back to the base. Waving to the kids on the beach was almost as cool as actually getting to fly the helicopter by myself.
A quote, prayer, etc. that has significance to you?
What is a blessing but a rain of grace
falling generously into the lives
of those in need; and who among us
is without need?
May the divine Spirit
touch your spirit in the course of this day.
May your work this day be your love made visible.
May you breathe upon the wounds
of those with whom you work.
May you open yourself to God’s breathing.
May you honor the flame of love
that burns inside you.
May your voice this day
be a voice of encouragement.
May your life be an answer to someone’s prayer.
May you own a grateful heart.
May you have enough joy to give you hope,
enough pain to make you wise.
May there be no room in your heart for hatred.
May you be free from violent thoughts.
When you look into the window of your soul
may you see the face of God.
May the lamp of your life
shine upon all you meet this day.
Sr Macrina Wiederkehr
What is your previous education? I graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelors of Electrical Engineering in 1985 and from Syracuse University with a Masters in Engineering in 1988.
What were you doing before beginning your IPS journey? In August of 2011, I decided to take a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). That was a period of discernment which had begun over 6 years prior when I did a one year stint as a volunteer Eucharistic Minister in the hospital. After finishing my unit of CPE, I was hired part-time as a per diem chaplain. In August of 2012, I began a one-year CPE residency. THEN, I began at IPS. I did things a bit backwards!
What made you decide to come to Loyola IPS?
The maturity of the online curriculum. I looked at many online programs at Catholic universities and none seemed as rich and well-developed as Loyola’s.
What degree are you seeking?
I am in the final year of a Masters in Pastoral Studies with a Health Care Chaplaincy concentration. This curriculum will prepare me well for seeking board certification with the National Association of Catholic Chaplains.
Do you have a favorite class or one you look forward to taking?
Boy, that’s a hard question. What I’ve discovered as an adult learner is that I want to soak in as much as I can and all of my courses thus far met that desire. I loved IPS 417: Literature of Ancient Israel and IPS 404: Theology of Suffering. I’m looking forward to taking IPS599: Theology and Ethics at the End of Life this fall.
Do you see any challenges you will have to overcome during your time here?
Probably my biggest challenge has been learning in the online environment. I tend to process information best by talking face to face with fellow students, colleagues, and instructors. So, conversing via posts in our message boards continues to be my biggest challenge. That being said, the synchronous classes are a blessing. The other MAPS programs I researched prior to applying to IPS did not offer nearly as many (if any) synchronous classes. Of course, professors and fellow students are only a phone call away for verbal discussion and learning.
Do you have any recommendations for future students?
Don’t hesitate to utilize all of the resources IPS offers. I’ve found the professors to be available and more than willing to help me reach my goals both academically and professionally.
Tell us about your new job.
I have accepted a permanent position at Lancaster General Hospital as a Staff Chaplain. The position is contingent upon finishing my degree and being Board Certified within 2 years. The IPS curriculum has me right on track (thanks to the Integration Project specifically for Health Care Chaplaincy)! I am the lead chaplain for our critical care units which include medical ICU, surgical ICU, Intermediate ICU and trauma/neuro ICU. That’s about 60 beds. I am to provide a consistent presence and read-access for staff, families and patients on those units. I will also provide mentorship to our CPE students assigned to those units and coordinate the provision of spiritual care. Other parts of the position include: attending and facilitating debriefings, participating in follow-up meetings for organ donation cases, attending ethics committee meetings, providing staff education, and working on advanced care planning.
What goals do you have for this job?
My primary goal is to be available to provide for the spiritual and emotional needs of our staff, patients and families. One of the ways in which to achieve part of this goal is to help patients and their families work together with the interdisciplinary team to develop a plan of care which is consistent with their goals and values.
Feel free to reach out to Elizabeth at: email@example.com