Reasons to Believe

January 3-5, 2018

Welcome to RTB's Student Mentoring Program.

Reasons to Believe strives to raise up a new generation of Christian research scientists who can be confident witnesses for Christ.

The Lab is an elite 3-day mentoring program (for ages 16–22) specifically designed for those students who have a vision to pursue a career in science, engineering, or medical research. Our goal is to harness the power of bright young Christian minds—future physicists, astronomers, chemists, biologists, and medical researchers—for the kingdom of God.

During The Lab, we will also hold optional parallel sessions for parents to equip them to support their student’s educational journey.

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Overview

We believe God has specially gifted some teens with a natural aptitude to engage in scientific exploration. These students have a high level of curiosity about the world and enjoy diving deep into complex questions. But, many times, there isn’t adequate instruction and mentoring available to help these students make meaningful connections between their faith and their future vocation.

That’s where The Lab comes in.

Reasons to Believe’s (RTB) scholar team were once teenagers with dreams of becoming scientists. Our goal is to harness and encourage the power of bright young Christian minds—future Hugh Rosses and Fuz Ranas—for the kingdom of God.

We will walk students through the process of what it takes to become a Christian working in a science-related field. This event is designed to support students as they envision their future vocation and to help them, in very practical ways, to achieve their educational goals.

The Experience

Here is what you can expect from your experience at The Lab:

  • Equipping Lectures: RTB scholars will offer practical training to participants to use when considering a career as a research scientist.
  • Apologetics Lectures: Participants will be separated into groups according to research interest and get introduced to the most common science-faith issues that the scholars have identified which the students need to be conversant about as they enter graduate school.
  • Breakout Sessions: Students will have the chance to meet with the scholars within their desired field for application-oriented discussions.
  • Parent Sessions: Parents can attend parallel sessions with the mentors and receive practical advice about how to support their student’s educational journey.
  • Question-and-Answer Sessions: Students will have opportunities to ask the scholars questions in order to probe deeper into a topic or share science-faith questions.
  • Field Trip: To demonstrate real-world application of the conference concepts, participants will spend an afternoon at the historic, Griffith Observatory. This excursion will be followed by a group discussion time.
  • Hangout with the Scholars: Slots of unstructured time will allow students direct, casual interaction with the RTB scholar team. This will provide students with an opportunity to ask questions about research interests, the scholar’s journey to faith, or questions about the Bible and its connection to science.
  • Homework: Before arriving at the conference, students will be expected to complete some homework. This exercise is designed to prepare and support them in getting the most out of The Lab experience.
  • Group Conversations: The scholars or participants may offer points of view about different subjects. Whether you agree or disagree is your choice. Be willing to discuss and explore your perspective with others in the group. The value will be in getting clear about what you really do believe and testing what you believe. The scholars will speak about things that relate to the dual calling of being a Christian and a research scientist. The main standard to measure how to interact in these realms is 1 Peter 3:16. This will be our starting place, a foundation for us to learn how to explore our world and love others.
  • Sharing: Students will have multiple opportunities to share what you are learning and hearing about others’ experiences. In general, we have found that the more that students choose to participate, the more value they will receive from this experience. The scholars or participants may offer points of view about different subjects. Whether you agree or disagree is your choice. Be willing to discuss and explore your perspective with others in the group. The value will be in getting clear about what you really do believe and testing what you believe. The scholars will speak about things that relate to the dual calling of being a Christian and a research scientist. The main standard to measure how to interact in these realms is 1 Peter 3:16. This will be our starting place, a foundation for us to learn how to explore our world and love others.

For more details, check out the daily schedule.

Schedule

Here is a general overview of the schedule we’ll be following during our three days together. Parents are strongly encouraged to attend with their student. We will be having parallel coaching sessions each day to help equip parents to support their students in their career goal.

day 1

day 2

day 3

9:00 AM Introductions
9:30 AM Vision Session: An Invitation to Become a Christian Research Scientist
Jeff Zweerink
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An Invitation to Become a Christian Research Scientist

This session will invite students to consider how science, engineering, mathematics and medical research can be a noble calling for Christians.

10:30 AM Morning break
10:45 AM Apologetics training: A Framework for Science-Faith Integration
Jeff Zweerink
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A Framework for Science-Faith Integration

How can a Christian simultaneously believe the Bible and scientific theories? How can a credible scientist be Christian? This session will survey the three major approaches to integrating science and faith and then outline the “two books” model for integrating the words of the Bible with the discoveries of modern science.

11:45 AM Lunch
1:00 PM Apologetics training: All Brain and No Mind?
Katie Galloway
X

All Brain and No Mind?

Where does my faith meet science and are they going to play nicely? Building a robust foundation for the scientific method is the basis for quality research and an integrated worldview. This session will survey the philosophical and historical roots of science and examine how science fits in a Christian worldview. Students will examine the foundations and pillars of the scientific method as well as how to differentiate between methodological naturalism and the philosophy of scientism.

Parent session: Building a Solid Foundation for Your Student’s Faith
Jeff Zweerink
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Building a Solid Foundation for Your Student’s Faith

Often during college a student’s knowledge of a scientific discipline exceeds that of the parent’s. How do you prepare your student for this inevitable time and continue to help build their faith? This session will explore principles that enable you to maintain an active role in mentoring your student to a growing and mature faith.

2:00 PM Afternoon break
2:15 PM Small group conversation/Open Q&A
Scholar Team
Parent-to-parent connection
3:15 PM 30-minute break
3:45 PM Physics/Astronomy: How do we know the universe has a beginning?
Jeff Zweerink
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How do we know the universe has a beginning?

Is there an emerging body of evidence that threatens the idea that the universe had a beginning? Does this threaten a foundational tenant of the Christian worldview?

Life Sciences: Evolution: Should Christians Accept or Reject It?
A.J. Roberts
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Life Sciences: Evolution: Should Christians Accept or Reject It?

Processes of mutation and natural selection for species' adaptation to changing environments (evolution) permeate the biosphere. But is evolution a theory that accounts for all of life’s history and diversity? We’ll look at five kinds of evolution and at the evidence (or lack of evidence) for each in answering this question.

Parent Session: Entering the World of Academia
Katie Galloway
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Parent Session: Entering the World of Academia

"What's graduate school and academia really like?" Going to graduate school means entering into the world of academia. Academia has its own unique culture full of challenges and opportunities for career development and ministry. From qualifying exams to candidacy, thesis committees and tenure committees, understanding the path and the landscape can help you appreciate what your student is experiencing as they go through challenges and trials.

5:00 PM Concluding thoughts
Katie Galloway
6:00 PM End of Day 1
6:15 PM Optional: Dinner together at In-N-Out
7:00 PM Optional evening activity: Lazer tag
9:00 AM Day 2 Check-In
Jeff Zweerink
9:30 AM Apologetics training: Genesis 1 and the Age of the Earth
Fazale Rana
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Genesis 1 and the Age of the Earth

This session will give students a paradigm for interpreting Genesis 1 in a way that is faithful to the authority Scripture and the record of nature.

10:30 AM Morning break
10:45 AM Load up the vans/leave for Griffith Observatory
12:00 PM Arrive at Griffith Observatory.
Planetarium show
2:30 PM Head back to RTB
3:30 PM Afternoon break
4:00 PM Field trip debrief
Jeff Zweerink
4:30 PM Physics/Astronomy: Is the earth rare or common?
Jeff Zweerink
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Is the earth rare or common?

Does the emerging research about exoplanets undermine our confidence in the uniqueness and rarity of our planet?

Life Sciences: Interpreting Human Fossils
Sue Dykes
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Interpreting Human Fossils

Paleontologists are constantly making new discoveries related to human origins. In recent years, scientists have found several new species of hominids, such as A. sediba, H. naledi, and H. georgicus. Often this requires researchers to re-think how to classify previous fossil specimens and redraw the evolutionary tree. In this talk, we will consider key challenges with the standard evolutionary explanation for human origins.

Parent session: Connecting Your Student with a Campus Support Network
A.J. Roberts
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Parent session: Connecting Your Student with a Campus Support Network

Every campus has organizations that want to engage your student. Some for the good and some not? How do you discern which is which? What will your student do when crisis hits and who will be there to support them when they are away from home? We’ll discuss resources and plans of action to help you help your student find the support that is critical for their spiritual and academic well-being.

6:00 PM Dinner
7:00 PM Vision session: Becoming an Embedded Missionary
Katie Galloway
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Becoming an Embedded Missionary

Scientists have certain core beliefs that lie at the foundation of their profession. Knowledge of this scientific culture is critical for effective outreach. This session will help students develop a missional mindset to bridge the cultural divide between scientists and Christ.

8:00 PM Concluding thoughts
Jeff Zweerink
8:30 PM End of Day 2
9:00 AM Day 3 Check-In
Katie Galloway
9:30 AM Apologetics training: Dealing with Challenges
Jeff Zweerink
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Dealing with Challenges

How can students deal with challenges to their faith in an academic context? This session will equip students with a strategy for thinking through challenges and how to deal respectfully with colleagues and mentors.

10:30 AM Morning break
10:45 AM Vision session: College students: Preparing for a Graduate Program
Katie Galloway
X

College students: Preparing for a Graduate Program

Choosing a good graduate program is a key step in a student’s path to becoming a working professional in science. This session will help students develop a strategy for making this transition.

Vision session: High school students: Keeping Your Faith in College
Jeff Zweerink
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Keeping Your Faith in College

For many students, the transition between high school and college isn’t just about academics. It’s also about figuring out how to walk out their faith for themselves, apart from their parents. This session will encourage students with some practical steps to strengthen their faith during this key season of life.

11:45 AM Lunch
Lunch/Hangout for ASD students
Hugh & Kathy Ross
1:00 PM Physics/Astronomy: Does the multiverse really exist?
Jeff Zweerink
X

Does the multiverse really exist?

Is there evidence for the existence of a multiverse or is it purely a speculative theory? And if it does exist, does it undermine the case for supernatural design?

Life Sciences: Are we merely the product of our genes?
Katie Galloway
X

Are we merely the product of our genes?

As our understanding of genetics grows, profound questions are emerging about the intersection between our physical make up and our personal life choices.

Parent session: Open Q&A
Hugh & Kathy Ross
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Open Q & A

Hugh and Kathy Ross will host an open question/answer time with parents to address any questions they may have about their child’s future career or educational goals.

2:00 PM Short break/Afternoon snack
2:15 PM Small group conversations/Open Q&A
Scholar Team
Parent-to-parent connection
3:15 PM 30-minute break
3:45 PM Physics/Astronomy: Building the Case for Astronomical Design (and avoiding bad arguments)
Jeff Zweerink
X

Building the Case for Astronomical Design (and avoiding bad arguments)

What are some common mistakes that Christian apologists make when arguing for design?

Life Sciences: Building the Case for Biological Design (and avoiding bad arguments)
Fazale Rana
X

Building the Case for Biological Design (and avoiding bad arguments)

What are some common mistakes that Christian apologists make when arguing for design in the biological realm?

Parent session: Staying connected: Overview of RTB resources to support you in the future
Krista Bontrager
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Staying Connected and On-Going Support

Overview of the resources RTB offers to help support your student in the next phase of this exciting journey.

4:30 PM Short break/Afternoon snack
5:00 PM Prayer & commissioning.
6:00 PM End of Day 3

Frequently Asked Questions

Can my student come to The Lab even though he/she is still in high school?

Yes. The Lab is designed for students between the ages of 16 and 22 who are very clear about their vision to pursue a career in science. We've opened it to a select number of high school students because we know that some are ready for that level of engagement.

Do I need to come with my student to The Lab?

We highly recommend at least one parent attend the conference with their student. We will offer separate opportunities for parents to learn how to best support their student in their educational journey.

Parents are required to accompany non-local students under the age of 18 to the conference. There is no after-hours (after 6:00 PM) or overnight supervision.

Will RTB provide transportation to and from the airport?

No. Participants are responsible for their lodging and transportation needs before, during, and after the conference with the exception of the field trip (which is included in the conference fee).

What if my student is on the autism spectrum?

We realize that there are many scientifically gifted students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Hugh Ross is also on the spectrum and so we have an appreciation for this special circumstance. We want to encourage students on the spectrum to apply and be considered to participate at The Lab. We will also have a special time for these students and their parents to hang out with Dr. Ross and his wife Kathy and get practical advice from them about how to acheive their educational goals.

Does RTB offer scholarships for The Lab?

Although we have been careful to set our tuition at a competitive rate, we also recognize that some families have limited financial resources and struggle to make this kind of investment to send their student to The Lab.

We don’t currently offer formal scholarships, but we have the following tuition reduction options in place to help bring the cost down.**

Discount Description Amount Deadline
Early Acceptance Apply before the early acceptance deadline. $50 off May 1 details
Sibling Discount Save up to $50 per student for each sibling who applies and gets accepted to The Lab. $50 off details
Referral Discount Refer a friend to The Lab. If they get accepted and register to attend, the referring friend will receive a $50 gift card to use in the RTB Webstore $50 off details

**Note: Tuition reduction options can be combined for up to a $100 total discount.

Early Acceptance Discount Details

In order to qualify for the early acceptance discount, the student must apply before May 1.

Upon acceptance, we will email a coupon code to use at checkout when paying the student’s tuition through the RTB web store.

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Sibling Discount Details

If two or more siblings are accepted for The Lab, the family can qualify for a $50 discount per student.

Each student must apply and be accepted to The Lab individually.

Upon acceptance, we will send you a coupon code to use at checkout when paying the students’ tuition through the RTB web store.

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Referral Discount Details

The student must include the referring student’s name on their application at the time they apply for The Lab.

Each student must apply and be accepted to The Lab individually.

If the referring student’s friend is accepted to The Lab, the referring student can contact our office and request a $50 gift card per student. Email us at thelab@reasons.org. We will send you the gift card to use in the Webstore.

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Cost

The Lab will be in session January 3-5, 2018.

The Lab fee is $295 per student. A parent can attend for an additional $100 fee.

This includes tuition, three lunches, one dinner, snacks, transportation to and from our field trip destination, field trip entrance fees, a binder containing lecture notes and related articles, and a gift bag of RTB resources worth over $225.

Through the help and financial support of our constituents, Reasons to Believe is able to offer 10 partial scholarships to the Lab. If you would like to be considered* for one, please apply here.
*As a prerequisite to apply for a scholarship, you will need to have the Lab application fully completed before apply for a partial scholarship.

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