Goal-oriented BVU senior stays busy on field, in grad school, and overseas

Wednesday, October 23, 2019
Ella Wiebusch, a Buena Vista University senior, wraps up the home portion of her soccer career when the Beavers host Luther at 2 p.m. Saturday at J. Leslie Rollins Stadium on the BVU campus in Storm Lake.
/ Photo submitted

Buena Vista University’s Ella Wiebusch took academic trips to Ireland and New York City as a junior last year. As a senior, she’ll soon be off to the Republic of Madagascar, part of a three-week visit to the island off the coast of East Africa.

Between those treks, Wiebusch, a digital media major who serves as co-editor in chief of The Tack, will direct award-winning efforts by the University’s online newspaper staff.

The St. Peter, Minn., native is also co-president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter on campus and serves as a captain for the women’s soccer team.

Ella Wiebusch stands at Times Square during a visit to New York City for a journalism conference early in 2019. Wiebusch serves as co-editor in chief of The Tack, BVU’s online newspaper.

“I love playing soccer,” says Wiebusch, who scored the lone goal in a 1-0 victory over Martin Luther College. “There’s something great about being on a team and working together.”

After playing center defense for three years, there’s also something great about netting that first collegiate goal.

“I give credit to my teammates, because it was their hustle that created an opportunity for me to score,” Wiebusch says. “The goalie played a shot right in front of me. It really was an open goal. Teamwork put me in a fortunate spot.”

Coach Benton Frayne told Wiebusch he jumped five feet in the air to celebrate the goal.

“I probably had an ear-to-ear grin,” Wiebusch remembers. “It was a fun moment for the whole team.”

The exhilaration of victory on the playing field mirrors an adrenaline boost Wiebusch receives in meeting deadline or earning a Society for Collegiate Journalists award, which she’s done at The Tack, BVU’s online newspaper.

There have been quieter successes, too, like the memory of a 15-student adventure in Ireland a few months ago. Wiebusch joined her BVU peers in chronicling the lives of residents of Sneem, Ireland, population 557.

“Even though Sneem was small, there was a lot to discover,” says Wiebusch, who wrote a story on a geologist there. “It was a storybook little town with picturesque shops and places to eat. It was magical.”

A few weeks prior to the Ireland trip, Wiebusch found herself at The New York Times as part of a two-day conference for collegiate journalists. She had the opportunity to meet and listen to one of the world’s foremost columnists, Nick Kristof.

Following the conclusion of her final soccer season, Wiebusch will focus on her role as Tack co-editor, student, academic assistant, and campus ministry contributor. She’ll also ready for a January Interim experience in Madagascar, one of 10 BVU McCorkle Student Fellows joining BVU faculty members Dr. Swasti Bhattacharyya and Professor Jennifer Hecht in gaining more a global education.

“I liked everything about the trip to Ireland, my first experience traveling abroad,” Wiebusch says. “I loved being able to grow while learning in Ireland. I hope to do the same in Madagascar.”

Months later, Wiebusch will make the traditional walk through the Victory Arch toward her Commencement exercise as a member of the BVU Class of 2020. Her BVU education won’t end there, however. She’s enrolled in the University’s Organizational Leadership Plus 1 Program, which offers a master’s degree to students as quickly as one year following their undergraduate experience. Wiebusch is enrolled in the organizational leadership program and is already taking classes.

“I can do a lot in digital media with a master’s,” she says. “I’d like to combine social media marketing with photography and design, things I’ve done in two internships.”

She’s not sure where the road may take her. Or the ship, or airplane.

“I’d like to stay in the Midwest,” Wiebusch says while showing another ear-to-ear grin. “But I realize there are opportunities everywhere.”