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Emma Geswein

Emma is a 2017 grad from The Modern, who recently completed her first two-month-long mission trip to Ethiopia for Be There …
Emma is a 2017 grad from The Modern, who recently completed her first two-month-long mission trip to Ethiopia for Be There Ministries. Over the years, she has traveled to Ethiopia nine other times for two-week mission trips. These trips started when she was in high school, but continued while she was still a student here at The Modern. The mission work all started with the adoption of her brother, who is now 11. It was after her most recent trip that the owner of the non-profit, Melissa Snow, asked her to interview for a full-time role with the organization. She was ultimately hired for the position and is headed back at the end of December, so we took the opportunity to catch up with her before she takes on this role.

When Emma thinks of her road from graduation in 2017 to now, it was filled with several twists and turns and a few changes. Through all of it, there has been one guiding principle, which is her desire to impact and make a difference in the world in which she lives. Emma worked as a graphic designer for a couple of great companies after graduation, she loved her job and the people with whom she worked but just felt there was something missing. Her focus area shifted towards illustration and Emma started working at various festivals and community events. In addition to her design focus change, she was being called to a deeper level of Christianity. As she continued her mission work, she began to see that her two loves could co-exist. It was this combination of Christian faith and design thinking that ultimately landed her the full-time position. She remembered the job description saying that they were looking for a creative thinker who could problem solve. They wanted someone that could bring creative solutions to the everyday problems that faced the women and children that Be There Ministries served. Emma has certainly delivered in this area. In addition to building relationships with the women and helping them navigate their daily need for food, healthcare, and other basic items, is the need for income generation. Emma will be teaching these impoverished women some basic artwork and painting skills. She will then help them to sell the artwork that they create on some of the platforms that she is familiar with. That is design thinking at its finest!

Additionally, she will still be putting many of her talents and skills refined at The Modern to work for Be There Ministries and their sister companies, Brook Hills and Hand to Hand. On her last trip, Emma painted the alphabet on the wall of a schoolhouse and will be adding additional design elements to that mural when she returns. She is also working on several other murals that will adorn the walls of the guest house that other missionary groups use when they are in Ethiopia. She shared some fairly simple advice for students looking to fuel their passion and make a difference in the world. Open the box of what you think you “have to do” and look at what you are “able to do.” It doesn’t need to be complicated, just start by making a difference at the school by being there for others, being a good friend and classmate, brighten someone’s day with a kind word or smile, or just by being friendly. This can grow into getting involved in a non-profit that interests you as a volunteer. There are plenty out there and you can share your talent and skills with them. Emma is living proof that design thinking can solve the world’s problems with one family at a time.


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