Social work major flourished at Manchester

Josih Hostetler ’03 and husband Jonathan Magley

Josih Hostetler ’03 was one of those kids from a Manchester family who wanted to go to a different college.

What he found there wasn’t what he wanted, though, so he transferred to his family school after all. It was one of the best decisions he ever made.

 “It was a 180 coming to Manchester,” says Hostetler about the welcoming, inclusive community. He got involved in the campus organization United Sexualities, which includes LGBTQIA students, straight people, “everyone on the continuum of sexuality.” The organization, he says, “is an example of how open successive administrations at Manchester have been about meeting people where they are.”

Hostetler also found great professional preparation in the Social Work Program. Faculty members Brad Yoder and Jan Rhodes, in particular, were influential mentors who helped him hone in on his interests and reach for his goals.

“I really flourished at Manchester,” Hostetler says.

Though North Manchester is a small, rural community, there were plenty of opportunities for students to get involved and stay busy. It was a “make your own fun” kind of environment, he says, but “I think that was a good life lesson, too. If you’re bored, it’s your own fault.”

January internships are a staple experience for social work majors. For one, Hostetler worked as a caseworker in a homeless shelter. “That opened my eyes to inequalities in the system and what barriers people have when they’re going through life.” For another, he was a group facilitator for people living with AIDS. “That was a good opportunity and something I’ll always keep in my heart.”

Hostetler loves social work for its nearly limitless opportunities. “You can do pretty much whatever you want within social services – from health care, to administration, to direct practice or mental health counseling.”

Thanks to the internships in particular, Hostetler earned his Master of Social Work through the accelerated program at the University of Minnesota, with a concentration in community organizing and advocacy and human services management.

He has worked as coordinator of the Kaleidoscope Program with the Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests, as a college coordinator for Walden University in the Twin Cities area, and as director of community outreach for Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, Calif.

At Western, he placed dental students into community practice organizations and helped establish six school-based health care centers in and around Los Angeles County. “I was able to use some of my skills and knowledge from both social work and higher education to get those off the ground with the leadership there,” says Hostetler. “I was really grateful for what I learned at Manchester in social work about programs and the way to set up policy for those programs.”

Though Hostetler spent much of his childhood in Bremen, Ind., his aforementioned Manchester family now lives in California. Dad Tom Hostetler ’76 is a longtime Church of the Brethren pastor who serves as chaplain for Hillcrest Retirement Home in LaVerne. His mom, Angie Ditto ’76 Hostetler, and his brother Aaron Hostetler ’09, are there, too. Angie’s dad, Joseph Ditto ’58 lives nearby.

In 2019, Josih returned to Indiana, where he works as pediatric residency coordinator for Indiana University School of Medicine. “I don’t have children myself so I’ve always been interested in working in organizations that serve children so that I can feel like I’m contributing to the next generation.”

He also contributes to the next generation by supporting Manchester, a special place for him and his husband, Jonathan Magley, because they met there as students.

“When I was a student at Manchester and growing up in a pastor’s family, there weren’t a lot of resources available when we were looking at colleges,” says Hostetler. “So I appreciated every single scholarship and grant.”

He also appreciates MU’s expansion in the health sciences, which, he says, “really complements the mission and history of the University.”

A faithful donor since his college days, Hostetler says he’d like to give more, but he gives what he can. “I think it’s important to give to the things that we find of value.”

For Hostetler, one of those things will always be Manchester.