Tobias Stewart didn’t have to do much research to know he was interested in Tabor College.
Degree of interest? Check. Opportunity to still play football? Check. With an academic and athletic scholarship in hand, the Greenville, Ala., native traveled 945 miles in August 2020 to begin his time as a Bluejay.
When evaluating whether he’d continue with engineering during his sophomore year, Stewart felt a tug on his heart to remain in Hillsboro. After praying and seeking God’s wisdom, his desire to stay was met with a chemistry major.
“You can be innovative and be yourself,” Stewart said. “You can create cures and do so many things to help people. I only took one chemistry class in high school. I liked it then, but it wasn’t what I wanted to do.”
That decision came with the opportunity to conduct research with Dr. James Titah, assistant professor of chemistry. The pair have been working on Schiff bases and combining them with metal complexes.
The process? They took an amino acid, a building block of a protein, and bound it with organic compounds aldehyde and/or ketone. Once those are bound, a Schiff base is formed, and those are soluble in water. When they’re bound with a metal complex, it helps them combine with other parts of the human body.
Titah and Stewart have been collaborating to find different combinations that work in the human body. The Tabor junior stayed in Hillsboro over the past summer, digging deeper into his new major.
“I was doing a research class, and one of the first things (Dr. Titah) said he wanted us to do was Schiff bases,” Stewart said. “He had a couple of other students starting it, but I branched it into my own thing.”
It’s just one part of a transformative experience for Stewart at Tabor. Not thinking he’d initially play college football, Stewart jumped at the opportunity when the offer was made. He’s now in his third year as an offensive lineman, feeling it was the next part of God’s plan for college.
“When I got here, I wasn’t as good at football, and I wasn’t that outgoing,” Stewart said. “I met so many people from different places and backgrounds, and I blossomed as a player and a different person. I’ve grown so much. My teammates are my brothers, and the coaches care so much.”
Stewart pointed out his friendship with Carson Duba (JR, Huron, S.D.), and the relationship they’ve built 1-on-1 and with their peers.
“I’ve always had an open mind and to look for new opportunities,” Stewart said. “Coming to Tabor, I was excited about a new beginning. It has helped me grow spiritually because I’ve met so many people. Carson is my brother, and I talk to him about anything. I’ve seen faith in a new way, and I love seeing how people interact with Jesus.”
As he concludes his junior year and has seen how God has worked in his life, his reminder remains the same to new peers on campus.
“I remind people they’re here for a reason.”