“She advocates for the de-stigmatization of mental health in the church and supports families experiencing medical trauma.”
Similar to many undergraduate students, Izzy Rhodes entered Hope College as a freshman undecided on a major and no hint of what the future would hold. Rhodes graduated cum laude with a bachelor of arts degree in sociology from Hope College.
“Receiving a liberal arts education helped me to learn discernment. The supportive environment at Hope, especially from the faculty and staff, was formational as many people came alongside me to encourage and speak into my life. Hope did not just offer me an education; it enabled me to discover who I am and how I want to engage meaningfully with the world.”
Shortly after completing her undergraduate studies, Rhodes continued her education in order to equip her with the skills necessary to fulfill her calling of helping and serving people through a combination of theology and social work. She spent the first two years of her graduate studies at Western Theological Seminary, where she received a master of divinity degree with an emphasis in pastoral care and counseling. During her studies at Western Theological Seminary, she served as a chaplain intern with the Holland Hospital, focusing on acute crisis trauma response and behavioral health.
Rhodes then continued her studies at the University of Denver where she received her master of social work degree with a concentration in health and wellness and an emphasis in trauma. During her time in Colorado, Rhodes held various positions providing her real exposure and experience to pair with her studies. She served as an adjunct faculty member with the Institute for Life and Care, creating psycho-educational curriculum specific to client needs in order to prepare them to engage and fulfill their role more fully, and as a pediatric intensive care unit social work Intern, assessing needs, offering resources, navigating support systems, and addressing barriers to care for patients and families. Rhodes also served as the pastor of community engagement for City Church Denver, overseeing community groups, offering emotional and logistical support to neighborhood leaders, and assisting in leading liturgy and administration for worship services.
Following the completion of her graduate studies, Rhodes returned to western Michigan to pursue her career as both a chaplain and social worker. She served as the local mission program specialist for the Reformed Church in America, focusing on training and empowering churches to engage and support their local communities. Since the summer of 2016, Rhodes has served as an on-call crisis chaplain with Holland Hospital, where she works with patients and families in the emergency department and intensive care unit supporting them as they navigate critical choices in care and advocating for them within the hospital system.
Rhodes has been honored for her professional work as a social worker and pastor. She presented at the National Conference of the American Sociological Association, received the Stanley A. Rock Award in Pastoral Care and Counseling from Western Theological Seminary, and is a member of the Phi Alpha Social Work Honor Society at the University of Denver. Rhodes created an independent study called “Theology of Trauma: A Reformed Perspective” during her time at the University of Denver and is an ordained minister of word and sacrament with the Reformed Church in America.
Outside of her professional career, Rhodes has been an active member of her various communities. She participated in Community Service Days with the University of Denver, volunteered with the Animal Welfare Network in Kenya, Africa, and was a member of the Mental Health Task Force with the Holland Free Health Clinic.
The “10 Under 10 Awards” honor emerging leaders who are making significant contributions by living out their callings; engaged in the local and global community through professional and/or volunteer involvement; and use their education to think about important issues with wisdom and clarity, communicate effectively to bridge boundaries that divide human communities and act as agents of hope living faithfully into their vocations. Designed for alumni who are within 10 years of graduation, they are presented by the Hope College Alumni Association. Make a nomination today!