Answering a Phone Call and God’s Call: Meet the 2017 McQuilkin Scholarship Winner

March 02, 2017

By Bob Holmes

Sometimes Erin Gobbi doesn’t answer her mobile phone when the incoming call reads “Unknown.” But this time she decided to answer. She’s glad she did. The caller introduced himself as Bill Jones, president of Columbia International University.

“I just sat there. ‘Is this what I think it is?’” Erin said to herself.

It was.

Jones congratulated Erin on being named the winner of the 12th Annual R.C. McQuilkin Scholarship Event held in February. She earns a full-tuition scholarship to attend CIU beginning this fall.

“I just cried,” Erin said in a phone interview from her home in Lexington, South Carolina. “In that moment, when you see how God provides for you, it’s just incredible.”

The R.C. McQuilkin Scholarship Event this year included 37 qualifying students from eight states. They were judged as they took part in intense interview sessions, social scenarios and fun group activities, which this year included detective work as they interacted with current CIU students in a live version of the board game Clue.

“I think everyone has a moment in their life when they feel they belong. And for me that’s CIU,” Erin said regarding the two-day McQuilkin Event. “Being at the place that I know I am called to, was very heartwarming. I got to meet professors who were so open to talking to me. That was really welcoming and great.”

Erin was introduced to CIU during her freshman year in high school through her former youth minister Travis McLeod, a 2008 CIU graduate. She then began researching the school.

“Everyone I talked to about CIU was amazed at how incredible it is,” Erin said. “Every time I heard someone talk about it, it was all positive things.”

It was also McLeod who led Erin to Christ at a youth group summer camp when she was in middle school, an event that has led her to choose CIU’s Youth Ministry, Family, & Culture program as her major.

“Having that person who was there to talk to – to lean on, that I could trust, that helped teach me about Christ, and what it means to be a Christian – was so important to me,” Erin said. “I want to be that person for other people.”

So, while Erin’s long-term plan right now is to be involved in youth ministry after graduation, she says she is leaving her future plans up to the Lord.

“My main plan is to go where the Lord leads me,” Erin said. “I don’t want to think too hard about what my future will look like because I feel that would be restricting what God has planned for me, and I really want to leave that open to Him and where He will guide me.”

But first things first. Erin is very much looking forward to her CIU freshman year.

“I am super, super, super excited to be coming there in the fall,” Erin said. “I’m very, very thankful to CIU for giving me this scholarship. I’m very humbled.”

Discover what the excitement is about at CIU. Contact us at, (800) 777-2227 or apply now.