Steph Huff graduated from New Jersey’s Montclair State University in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education and a minor in English. After graduation, she served for a year in Chi Alpha’s Campus Missionary-in-Training (CMIT) program at Chico State University in California. However, it was the classroom that became Steph’s life calling.
She went back home to the Garden State to pursue a career teaching Pre-K, which she has now done for nearly twenty years. Steph has been happily married since 2001 to her husband Todd, and they have two children, Elizabeth (14), and Daniel (11). She shares how her time in Chi Alpha shaped the direction of her career, ministry, and family life:
Describe the impact that Chi Alpha had on you as a student.
I remember my years in Chi Alpha with such fondness. The friendships I made then still remain today. Even though life has us on different paths, when we see each other, we pick up where we left off, as if not hardly a day had gone by. Whenever I read Acts 2 (particularly verses 42-47) about how the Early Church functioned, I always think, “that is how I felt in Chi Alpha.”
Our group was a wonderfully diverse group of people from varying cultures and backgrounds, which taught me to appreciate the uniqueness of people more, but at the same time we all shared the common and powerful bond of our faith in Jesus. Chi Alpha taught me what it means to be a believer in Christ and how to walk it out in daily life. I am eternally grateful for its impact on me.
How did your time in Chi Alpha equip you to be an influence for Christ in your teaching position?
Chi Alpha taught me one of the most important things you can do in life to honor God is to love and serve other people. This is how I try to spend each day at my school. If my students know I love and care for them, then they feel safe and secure in our learning environment. I think it can be hard to gauge our impact on others on this side of eternity. We just have to be faithful to our callings. Teaching is definitely my place in the world.
What advice do you have for Alumni who are entering into the field of Early Education?
I would say how you teach them is as important is what you teach them. Help them gain a love and thirst for learning at the beginning of their education and it will always follow them. Remember they are little (even though we expect a lot from them) and treat them with love and kindness. And try not to get bogged down in all the extraneous paperwork that goes along with teaching.
Finally, what wisdom would you pass along to anyone who senses God’s calling to become a CMIT?
Go for it! I went back and forth in my decision making to do it because of family and financial concerns, but I knew from God it was what I was supposed to do, so I did it. In hindsight, it was one of the best decisions I ever made.
Even though I am not working with Chi Alpha now, the CMIT program taught me so much about ministry (which has helped me to understand my pastor husband and how to support him and work alongside him in ministry). What I learned and experienced (and friendships that were made) as an intern at Chico State helped to shape who I am today and I am eternally grateful for that.