Humans of Lee

Humans of Lee

Photos by Jaclyn De Vries

Humans of Lee is an ongoing project where we meet Lee students and faculty in their favorite places and discover more about the unique people, cultures and experiences that make up our diverse campus.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 9:45 a.m. to 11 a.m. you can be greeted by Freshman Josh Alexander, as you enter the School of Religion lobby. This is where we met Josh, and were immediately captivated by the unconventional story behind his sunny and friendly nature.

Josh has found multiple communities at Lee, one of them being Shenanigans, our beloved improv team.

'How did you get involved with Shenanigans?'

'I did some improv in high school and I really enjoyed it, but it was very elementary,  so I decided that I would just try out for fun. I thought, 'I probably won't get on [the team] because I'm a freshman.' But in highschool I was always in comedies and plays, and I always played the goofy side character. So it kind of lent itself to my nature. I wound up getting on the team.'

'How has that been?'

'I already considered them one of my many adopted families. I have many adopted families here at Lee, but they're very special. We've already bonded, because one of the things you learn at the front end of being on the team is honesty and trust are crucial. And that bonding was part of a big stress relief with it being my first semester in college.'

'Did I see on Facebook that yesterday was your birthday?'

'It was my birthday. It was great. A lot of the things I knew about Lee, everybody being friendly and everybody being kind, [was shown] on my birthday. I had emails from my professors wishing me happy birthday. It was very nice seeing that enforced again, in that minute detail, people loving me on my special day.'

'How did you end up at Lee?'

'I got called into ministry. I did not grow up in a Christian background, so I was the first person in my family to receive the call to ministry. It was kind of a shocking experience. ... I started looking into places that would foster a good ministry background'a good foundation. The church I was attending at the time had a lot of graduates from Lee ' this was my 8th grade year, so I was like, 'Okay. That's where I want to go.' Four years in the making, Lee is a dream come true."

'How did you come to be a Christian?'

'I say I didn't grow up in a Christian home, but I didn't grow up in a practicing Christian home. I grew up with a verbally abusive father, so that didn't play much into it. Of course, he had his beliefs, and I had mine. A friend of mine invited me to his church, and after neglecting him so many times, I finally said, 'Sure, I'll go.' Six months into it, I fell in love with it and gave my life to Jesus.

I found a new church and fostered my faith there, and then I went through a family tragedy'my father committed suicide. And I had a real problem with God, and my calling and my faith at that time. And then I found home at a megachurch,! and from there I was able to get involved with the youth group. I became a small group leader, campus group leader, worked the soundboard for the worship team. Anything I could get my hands on, I worked."

'Would you mind sharing what you went through when your dad committed suicide?'

'My parents divorced in 2014, and one year later, my dad committed suicide. Then, my best friend in high school, who is now my roommate, who is now my co-floor leader, he woke up the next morning and went with me to the detective's office, to the funeral home, and walked with me as I went through my dad's apartment to get my belongings. He heard me cry, he heard me shout and scream, and everything that goes along with that, and he was there for me. So I was really happy to get to come to Lee with him.

When it happened, I had this idea that nothing tragic would ever happen to me. [I thought,] 'I'm a believer. I won't experience anything that will negatively impact my life.' And then this happened. And I was traumatized, and my main concern through the whole thing was, was I going to lose my faith. Was I going to find out it was all for not? Most of all, I was struggling with where my dad's eternal salvation lied. Luckily, six months before, me and him had started attending church together. He had reconciled with me. He had reconciled with God. Even though his actions I don't agree with, I believe my father is up in heaven, and I miss him, and I love him.

Following that, I struggled with my faith. I struggled with a lot of questions of God. But I realized that instead of asking God, 'Why are you there?' I was asking why this had happened. And I realized I still had my connection to God,  and that was never going away.

Moving forward I got to find a lot of peace in God. ' I knew that if I had not had a religious background, it would be a lot of turmoil, a lot of depression. But instead I had peace.

I knew that I had to move forward, and out of that I learned that a big calling in my heart was to help people who were struggling with suicidal thoughts, depression, drug addiction, pornography ... people that have issues with the church they're not ready to address or feel comfortable addressing. Through that I found a very big aspect of my personality, and who I was called to, and who I wanted to minister to.

As Christians we're not called to an easy life.'

If you or someone you know has an interesting story or unique perspective you'd like to see in Humans of Lee, contact Life Editor Emmalee Manes at

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