On the "Write" Track

by Sharyn Kopf—Cedarville, Ohio

Cedarville, Ohio—It’s different for every person. That moment when you realize not only what you want to do career-wise, but what you should do. For Cedarville graduate Rob Moll '01 it was as simple and as surprising as a class on Shakespeare.

    He started out, as many students do, with a common sense major. One that would, in all likelihood, lead to a good career. But studying for a degree in computer information systems wasn’t quite what he had hoped.

    “In 1998,” he says, “I did an internship with Motorola and left that wanting something else, something more. I wasn’t sure what, but I just knew I didn’t want to sit in a cubicle all day writing technical computer codes.”

    So, banking on his love of reading, particularly novels, Moll decided to look into teaching, and signed up for a Shakespeare class with Ray Bartholomew. Long story short—he loved it.

    “It was a tough class, but Dr. Bartholomew was odd and brilliant and hilarious,” he says. “And I realized that if I did well in a class that’s supposed to be really hard, maybe that’s telling me something about what I’m supposed to do with my life.”

    The more English literature classes Moll took, the more he liked it. Even classes about lesser known authors from the 17th century; classes that many other students considered boring … and definitely not fun. Yet there sat Moll, loving every minute of it—and finding himself drawn more and more into the art and beauty of words.

    He began to warm up to the idea of changing his major, but his parents, while not dissuading him from pursuing English, wouldn’t let him leave CIS behind. They wanted their son to stick with the major they felt held the most promise for his future. And, truth be told, Moll has used CIS and English throughout his career. In deference to his parents, he stuck with CIS and added an English major … and a fifth year of college. He graduated in spring 2001, then spent the summer working at a camp. Three weeks after he finished terrorists attacked America on September 11.

    This horrendous time in U.S. history caused unexpected difficulty in Moll’s job search. But God was faithful and provided a position at a community weekly newspaper in Grayslake, Illinois. Just like that, Rob Moll was writing for a living.

    The next summer, he married Clarissa Band ’00 and took a job at the Christian Citizen USA in Dayton, Ohio. Moll accepted his first position at Christianity Today eight months later.

    “I had read Christianity Today for some time and it was something I really wanted to do,” says Moll. “I’m a big fan of Philip Yancey, who’s an editor-at-large there, so when a position opened in the online department, I applied.”

    One thing led to another and he is now associate editor for the magazine. His work has allowed Moll opportunities to travel—visiting churches and witnessing all that God is doing around the world. In October, he went to China and met with Christians in Hong Kong and Beijing. “I get to see what God is doing there, then come back and write about it. … Seeing their passion for the Gospel and commitment to Jesus Christ is really inspiring to me.”

    Besides his travels, work and helping Clarissa raise two young children, Moll has reached still another goal: writing a book. Tentatively titled “The Art of Dying,” the nonfiction manuscript was recently picked up by InterVarsity Press.   

    “It’s a little different once you’re doing what you’d hoped to do,” Moll says. “I had hoped to be writing by my 40s, but here I am.”

    Moll doesn’t hesitate to credit Cedarville for his success. Besides the writing abilities the University helped him develop, he also learned valuable critical thinking skills that have served him well in his career.

    To other writing hopefuls, Moll says, “A degree from Cedarville University is more than enough qualification to do whatever you want to do. If you want to be a writer, you can do it.”