Breaking Down Barriers: an interview with Leslie Wickman

Breaking Down Barriers: an interview with Leslie Wickman

No one can say Leslie Wickman leads a dull life. Dr. Wickman has worked in various aerospace ventures—including astronaut training—and serves as Azusa Pacific University’s director for the Center for Research in Science. Recently, she accepted a part-time position as a senior engineering specialist at a locally based aerospace organization where research in such areas as human space flight helps her stay current. The interview process for this job gave Wickman an opportunity to put 1 Peter 3:15 into practice.

MB: Describe what happened during the interview for this position?

LW: An interviewer who’d looked at my résumé said, “I noticed that you have been involved in studying science and theology.” I said, “Yes.” He asked, “How do you fit those two together? How do you reconcile a big bang origin of the universe with the Bible?” I shared with him about the anthropic principle and how the big bang is actually a very ordered event, as opposed to a chaotic, random explosion many people think of it as. 

When I first started working in aerospace, I wasn’t equipped to talk about how to reconcile my faith with current findings from science.  I’ve been doing much more reading and studying in this area and I feel much better equipped now to address these questions with people like the man in the interview process. I am able to give a good defense, as Peter says, for the hope that is within me.

MB: Have you had a chance to continue your discussion with that individual?

LW: He said that he’d like to talk with me about it more in depth. Now that I’m working in the same department I’ve had many follow-up conversations with him. It turns out he’s part of the Mormon Church. He’s asked me to share some of my materials with him so that he can pass them on to others at his church. He even suggested that I could come and speak to one of his groups. So, it’s really going to be exciting.

MB: As a teacher at a Christian university, what would you want your students to learn from your experience?

LW: A lot of students come into the classroom almost afraid of discussing science because it may threaten their faith. I want to convey to them that “all truth is God’s truth.” Everything we discover through science gives more and more cause for awe and wonder at the Creator. I want to tear down that false dichotomy between science and faith and help people understand that science is just a method of uncovering the truth about God’s creation and how he created it. There is no real barrier between science and our faith.

By Maureen Moser