By Anna Meurer
When tasked with describing Jonathan Balmer, one is faced with the question, “Where to begin?” At the beginning, it would seem. He is the older of two brothers, both of whom attend Georgetown. Balmer, candid almost to a fault, says he chose Georgetown because it was “smaller than my hyper-competitive new money high school, now the largest high school in Ohio, and [GC] offered me $1,800 more than my competing choice: Otterbein University.”
The benefits of a small school are not lost on him. Not only has it allowed him to experience opportunities like acting in the Maskrafters despite his “modest acting experience” and writing for “The Georgetonian” even without an intent to pursue professional journalism, but it has also given him invaluable access to professors and advisers. He credits that environment to no small degree with allowing him to double major in English and history while working towards his teaching certification, fulfilling the requirements for the Honors Program and studying abroad on two different continents. Balmer said, “It took some ‘forceful support’ from professors at times, but it looks like I’ll graduate on time.”
In addition to his Georgetown academics, Jon was fortunate enough to spend his junior year as few others have: studying on three different continents. He began in Brazil, flew back to Georgetown for a few months, and then skipped across the Atlantic to spend a term at Oxford University. He enjoyed Brazil, and the Portuguese he somewhat mastered there (“enough…to get me unlost.”) and he applied and was accepted for a Fulbright Grant to return to the country to teach English.
Looking towards the future after Fulbright, Jon plans to teach, first in high school and then wherever he happens to end up. “I feel my calling is to be a teacher in some capacity,” he said. Regarding graduation, he said it’s “daunting, because never again will I live next to 30 guys near my age who I can talk to anytime, and because there is so much unknown.”
Until then, he spends his time on campus as a member of the President’s House Association fraternity, of which he is the Devotions chair, and as a college ministry intern at Georgetown Baptist Church. As a second semester senior, he is also spending the majority of his credit hours off campus in student teaching, an endeavor he finds challenging but satisfying. Describing himself as “much less serious” away from the classroom, he lists Lil’ Sis Caliesha Comley, Zachary Bettersworth, Aimee Davis, Ankit Patel and younger brother Eric Balmer as his best friends on campus.
A budding scholar and teacher known to his friends on Facebook as the guy who posts novellas for statuses–often on abstract religious or literary topics—and on campus as the guy that wanders around in a Stitch (from “Lilo & Stitch”) costume from time to time, it’s safe to say that “ordinary” never has and never will describe Jonathan.