Meet the Class of 2013

Just four short years ago, the Class of 2013 began their journey at George Fox University. Today, they’re heading out into the world with diploma in hand, ready to make an impact in the boardroom, on the mission field or wherever else in life God calls them. Before they left campus, we asked some of our most outstanding graduating seniors to answer a few questions about their experiences at George Fox, how they’ve grown and what the next steps in their lives will be.

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Austin Park

Name: Austin Park
Hometown: Walnut Creek, Calif.
Major: Chemistry

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox? 
A: I started at Fox as an engineer. Although I enjoyed the course work, I was suckered into the chemistry world through an awesome General Chemistry class with Dr. Carlisle Chambers. Aside from the reoccurring nightmares I used to have about spiders falling from my ceiling the night before calculus exams, the people here are what I will remember the most about George Fox. I could spend years talking about my friends and the adventures we had, but it was my liberal arts professors that have had quite an impact on me. My ethics class with Mark McLeod-Harrison taught me the value of grappling with challenging ethical scenarios. Some of my most interesting lectures about literature and life came from Bill Jolliff in his literature class. And to give a shout-out to my nerdiness, Neil Ninteman’s Calculus 1 instilled in me a natural curiosity about how the world works through the lenses of math and science.

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox? 
A: My time at George Fox can be neatly graphed by an exponential curve of growth versus time. What I mean by that is I did heaps of growing and learning about myself my junior and senior year at Fox. I spent my first two years being obsessed with my academics. Fortunately, I poked my head out at the beginning of my third year and became involved in the amazing community here.  It took me two years, but I finally reached the perfect zen between school and academics – just not sleep!

Q: What's next? 
A: was accepted into the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and I am still waiting to hear back from the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. During my interviews, most of my colleagues were from universities such as Cal, Johns Hopkins, Harvard, etc. Although initially intimidating, I quickly came to realize that the caliber of my education and preparation was the same or better than these other institutions. Fox has been a huge contributing factor to my success. Through the school I was able to work in chemistry research, health research at OHSU, work as a lab TA , and numerous other opportunities. I firmly believe that the stellar letters of recommendation I received from the faculty here are a large part of why I received interview spots in the first place! I am incredibly excited to begin my medical school journey. After medical school, I hope to start a residency in orthopedic or plastic surgery, work with kids, and participate in original research in a clinical environment. But before all this, my brother and I are taking a vacation to backpack around Costa Rica, a fitting end to a great four years at George Fox and a wonderful beginning to medical school.

Casey Bowman

Name: Casey Bowman
Hometown: McMinnville, Ore.
Major: Management

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox? 
A: I have been blessed to be at George Fox, and I believe I am leaving as a transformed person. I have been provided with knowledge, insight, and in general many useful tools that will benefit me in the future. I believe that professors had the biggest impact on me, especially when they made their passion and interests clearly visible. It was encouraging to learn things in a class and then to be able to watch it in action because of the professor. In the course of my time here, I have learned to be persistent, courageous, and to follow my passion and dream, which I have already begun to do thanks to the support I have received.

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox? 
A: I was rebellious in high school and wanted to do things my own way. I called myself a Christian, but I didn't follow Jesus as he would have wanted. I relied on myself most of the time, but my first roommate at George Fox taught me how to be loving, forgiving, and to open up and be real with others. After spending time on this campus, I was able to witness the Holy Spirit moving in so many people. I was encouraged to seek God first, and because of these factors, my relationship with Christ has deepened and been quite revealing and rewarding internally.

Q: What’s next?
A: Quite recently, I have begun a project called “The Dansciple Project,” which uses dance photography to reach others for Jesus Christ. Overall, I intend to make disciples out of dancers. As a result of this project, I also have plans to start a traveling Christian dance crew. I am aware of the number of years and planning it will take, but I know that dance is my calling and my passion – it is my life. As for next year, I will be attending George Fox again, as a part of the full-time MBA program.

Philip Kisia

Name: Philip Eleazar Kisia
Hometown: Nairobi, Kenya
Major: Information systems with a minor in leadership studies

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox? 
A: George Fox has been an extremely exciting ride. When I first stepped foot on campus, I was convinced that I would simply survive Fox until I could transfer out to a college that suited my background. Coming from a charismatic background along with a fast-paced lifestyle, the thought of coming to a Quaker university in a small town in Oregon was not an attractive prospect. Knowing next to nothing about this place before showing up was definitely a catalyst in the adventure. This campus has proved to have indeed been the best fit for my personality and an environment to further cultivate character. The amount of love and support extended by the school to members of the student body is something that I am still positively astounded by. I have definitely come to understand friendship on a deeper level. That being said, I will most certainly remember the people most. I still cannot grasp the crazy and amazing ways that members of our community have stepped into my life when I thought that there was no hope for a critical issue to be resolved. This goes beyond my immediate circles of friends. The Bruin Den staff – among many others on campus – are a grand example of what it means to serve. A whipped cream-covered muffin makes a huge difference on a stressful day.

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox?
A: I have grown to understand and appreciate rest and solitude. Early in my experience, I considered these the backbones of what it meant to be a Quaker, and thought that it was cool that Quakers liked to take things easy and get around to things eventually. It wasn't until my internship in Bend during my first summer out of school that I learned the value that rest and solitude has on stress and being burned out. It seems incredibly obvious at this point, but for a social butterfly who had just arrived in the U.S. and was trying to figure out his future and relevance in this new society, I just had not considered slowing down, being present and handling things as they present themselves. I have come to partner this newfound lifestyle with preparation and prayer. People matter, but that is a hard concept to communicate without being incredibly intentional. You will have nothing to pour into other people if your cup is empty. Insanely cliché, but so true.

Q: What's next? 
A: I have made the Pacific Northwest my second home and I plan to live and work here. I hope to get an MBA soon after college. I plan to pursue a career in information systems while continuing to grow in my photography practice. With a steady income, I hope to eventually get to a place where I am visiting home (Kenya) every four months or so. My heart is still there. 

Stephanie Mount

Name: Stephanie Mount
Hometown: Renton, Wash.
Major: Engineering with a concentration in electrical

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox?
A: George Fox has played a major role in my life. The professors, staff and students here have shaped me professionally, mentally, emotionally and spiritually into the person I am today. The incredible professors that I have had in the engineering department have impacted me the most. Neal Ninteman, Gary Spivey and John Natzke specifically have shaped my life the most – primarily academically, but spiritually as well.  

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox? 
A: Intellectually, the professors I mentioned in my previous answer radically shaped my problem-solving and design skills. Four years ago, I never would have imagined that I could accomplish the things my professors pushed me to accomplish. Looking back, I can hardly fathom how much I have changed in my ability to figure out problems and think outside the box for new solutions. However, they have also challenged me spiritually on a level I had never expected in a classroom. Occasionally, each of these professors would start class by just asking us a thoughtful question about our faith and challenging us to grow. Other conversations that have taken place outside of class have shaped me immensely. I have appreciated that aspect of their teaching more than they could possibly know.  

Q: What’s next?
A: After working these past two summers at Boeing as an intern, I accepted a full-time position in the ECFP program. ECFP stands for Engineering Career Foundation Program and is a two-year leadership rotational program in which each participant works in four six-month-long positions in varying areas of the company. I am very blessed to have been accepted into such a great program. These positions can be in any of the Boeing plants in the Puget Sound area, so I will be moving up to Bellevue, Wash., sometime in June to begin work in July. After these two years, typically participants are offered permanent positions in each of the groups they worked in. My goal is to discover what my passion is and work in that area within Boeing. As soon as this permanent position starts, I’d like to pursue a master's degree.

Josh Riedel

Name: Josh Riedel
Hometown: Elma, Wash.
Major: Double major in psychology and philosophy

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox?
A: Coming in to Fox as a freshman I could not have imagined what awaited me. First off, I was extremely blessed to be placed on a floor with guys who love Jesus and love to have fun. Many of them have become my closest friends and men who I will continue to be close to throughout life. I cannot imagine my time here at Fox without these guys. They have had a profound impact on my life, and it has been such an amazing blessing to become more of a man along with these guys. I also don’t think I could have anticipated the extent that I would be poured into as well. I have been extremely blessed and overwhelmed by the number of people who have journeyed further in life than me who have been willing to invest in me. I have had professors, people in Spiritual Life and Res Life, and other staff members who have taken time to sit down and help me sort through all the things that life has thrown at me during my time here. Even my entire career trajectory is different because these people were willing to invest in me and be a true blessing.

I could not have imagined that a place would have such a profound impact on my life. I came in thinking I would graduate as quickly as possible and continue on with whatever is next, and of course have fun along the way. Instead, I have found a home and a place I know I can always come back to and be welcomed as family, and that has been a blessing beyond belief. 

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox? 
A: I am in no way the same person I came here as. I was a boy who thought I had life figured out, and now I am man who is stumbling my way through, but at the same time feels more stable than ever. I have learned so many things about life and myself, but above all I have learned more about the gospel and how life changing it is and how Jesus must consume all I do because of it. It is difficult to keep this response short, but basically I realized I didn't truly know the gospel. Sure, I knew Jesus died for my sins so I could go to heaven someday, but I have begun to realize how profound the gospel really is and how life changing it is now and not just in the future. I have learned that no matter how hard I try or how badly I fail, Jesus will love me the same, and because of that my life ought to be lived to point others to that truth and reality. I am awful at that and everyday I become more consumed with myself than Jesus, but I’m a lot further along on this journey than I was as a freshman and am closer to Jesus now than ever before. The best part is I still don't know Jesus well at all and get to continue to seek after him and learn more and more about his love for his children everyday. So while I have learned lots of little things and grown in many ways, this is by far the way I have changed the most during my time at Fox. 

Q: What’s next?
A: I will be going to Taylor University in Indiana next fall for a master’s in higher education and student development. I had no idea I would be doing this when I came to Fox, but it has been an amazing journey and I am so excited for what is next. The intent is to continue to work at a university in student development, more specifically residence life or spiritual life. I absolutely love the college life. I love the energy and excitement all the time, but also the potential to grow and change for the best when people pour into students. Hopefully someday I get to come back to Fox and work here, which is probably a ways down the road, but my dream job is indeed to come back here and pour into students the way I have been poured into.

Lisa Loperfido

Name: Lisa Loperfido
Hometown: Huntington Beach, Calif.
Major: Interior design and fashion merchandising with a minor in marketing

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox?
A: Fox provided me with an encouraging and supportive community that enabled me to make a difference. To quote Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it.” I learned to seize opportunities. I’ve coined my own saying, “Why say no when you can say yes?” By saying “yes” I was able to make a huge difference for the future of our school. ASC asked me to help redesign the commuter lounge and coffee shop for my senior project. I designed the space to match its new name: Bruin Grounds. With the use of electric blue, white and yellow graphics, my goal was to instill a sense of energy and pride into our campus hangout. Now we have a place to be proud of.  It was built for the students, by the students, and it is a place to be ourselves: the Bruins.  

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox?
A: Freshman year I was eager to be involved. During my first RA interview I mentioned my frustration with floor hours – this probably didn’t help my chances. When I never got a call back I knew God had better plans for me, and I seized alternate opportunities. I soon found myself leading serve trips over spring break and leading mystery bus tours during Orientation. Most recently, I have been sewing clothes for the theatre department’s shows, repurposing and remodeling the campus coffee shop, and taking The Crescent, our school newspaper, online as its director of social media.

Q: What's next? 
A: I drive to Portland twice a week to intern at an interior design studio. I can’t decide which feature I like the most: the work I am doing, the team I am with, or our location in Portland. This is proof that if I am doing what I love in a great location, then I will be happy with my future. Follow your heart and your dreams, say yes, hold your head high, and throw on some black boots and a red lip. 

Jason Kelly

Name: Jason Kelly
Hometown: Portland, Ore.
Major: Engineering with an emphasis in computer engineering

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox?
A: My experience at George Fox has included the best four years of my life so far. I chose to come to Fox after only one visit, with no real backup plan. After staying the night on campus for the February Scholarship Competition, I could just tell that Fox was a community that I wanted to be a part of. From my time at Fox I will most remember my three years spent as an RA. I was first an RA in Edwards, then Pennington, and finally Gail House my senior year. Each of my area coordinators had a big impact on my life, and they helped me to grow in so many ways. Keith Schneider, Jonathan Morell and Julia Hurlow each spent time investing in my growth as a student, as a person and as a leader. Those people that knew me my freshman year (which wasn’t very many people) would have described me as pretty introverted. Fox has equipped me for a career in computer engineering, but I’d also like to say that being at Fox has really taught me how to be much more social and outgoing in my personal life.

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox?
A: There are two huge areas that I’ve grown in since coming to George Fox. The first would be my abilities as a student. High school was pretty easy for me, so I developed some habits that led to me slacking off. Well, those habits were not so good for me when I entered the engineering program. With the help of my challenging coursework, I’ve had huge growth as a student. These days I spend hours late into the night working on assignments from my various professors, where “high school Jason” would have scrambled to throw something together the morning before it was due. The best part, though, is that I actually enjoy the schoolwork! (Well, most of it.) The second area that I’ve had a lot of growth in is in relationships. The biggest reason that I chose George Fox, and why I brag about it to any prospective students that I meet, is because of the emphasis that it puts on relationship and community. It’s a quirky, overused slogan, that we should all “Be Known” at Fox, but I truly do feel that I have been known here. In my experience, the Fox community has been a place that strives for authenticity and that really pushed me further in my faith as a follower of Christ.

Q: What’s next?
A: The next step for me is going to be a full-time engineering career. I just accepted a position to work for CUI Inc. in Tualatin, Ore. At some point in the future I would like to do some grad school and get my master’s. For the next year at least, I will be living in Newberg with some friends who are still attending Fox. I plan on finding a church that I can plug into and volunteer my time at; I’d like to work with high school or college-age groups. I also want get married and start a family; however, I didn’t make the “ring by spring” deadline, so I’m not sure when I’ll be able to make this goal happen.

Zeenat Robert

Name: Zeenat Robert
Home country: Pakistan
Major: Cell and molecular biology

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox? 
A: Coming to George Fox is one of the best things God has done for me. Being from Pakistan and having to leave the comforts of being with parents and siblings, I did not know how I would adjust in this school. But I’m not exaggerating when I say that George Fox feels like home (even though it is nothing close to what home actually looks like). My advisor, Dr. Jim Smart, was the first person I met, and he was kind and willing to show me around school during Christmas break. All my professors, especially in the biology department, made me feel that I was important. They loved me and helped me with my classes. There were times when I just wanted to talk to somebody who would guide me academically and spiritually, and my professors were always there. I have sat in my advisor’s office for more than an hour multiple times just talking about life in general and sharing what I’m going through. I remember I had to leave for Pakistan for two weeks due to a family illness a couple of weeks before finals in the fall of 2011, and I can't thank my professors and school enough for working with me on that. Everybody from the president to the provost to my professors made it possible for me to go back home and still be able to cope with my classes. In short, I have been blessed by the faculty and they are one of the reasons I am who I am today. Also, George Fox gave me an opportunity to serve people so many times. I went to Romania in June of 2012, and I would say that was the best experience of my life. Being a part of a group of God-fearing people and just learning to serve God's people was tremendous, and I will never be able to forget that.

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox? 
A: If someone who knew me closely four years ago were to see me today, they would say that I have changed and grown so much. George Fox has helped me grow closer to God in so many ways. Going to chapel twice a week, even though at the time it sometimes seemed annoying, has impacted me a lot. The fact that I get to share my faith with so many people of my own age group has encouraged me even more in my walk with Christ. I have learned to be dependent on God when times get tough. I have learned how important is it to share and pray with fellow believers for my own spiritual growth. I learned that no matter how strong I think I am, I can do nothing without His intervention in my life. Being a part of multiple serve trips has given me a chance to come out of my comfort zone and think outside the box. I have learned to be grateful for what I have through those experiences. I have also grown to be more considerate of other people’s experiences. Though there is no one particular instance that I can say was a turning point for me, I have experienced a lot of gradual growth. God used the school, faculty and my friends to reveal his love for me and what he wants me to do with my life. 

Q: What’s next?
A: Right after graduation, I plan to work in the biology field and volunteer at a dental clinic for a year or so and get married. My ultimate goal is to go to a dental school, become a dentist and do missions. I want to provide dental care for people who can’t afford it and show God's love to them.

Emily Fakkema

Name: Emily Fakkema
Hometown: Anacortes, Wash.
Major: Double major in elementary education and history

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox? 
A: In one word: relational. As a student, I’ve had professors invest in both my education and my personal life. I started my Fox experience living on Hob 1 with more than 20 other women; my freshman RA is still a dear friend. Working in residence life at Fox, I had the opportunity to invest in three RA staffs, have three wonderful mentors, and learn how to love and be loved as a child of God. I am leaving Fox with two degrees, a new career trajectory, a bundle of wonderful memories and many incredible relationships. 

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox?
A: The moment that stands out in my memory happened the spring of my freshman year. I walked down the canyon from Hobson to the Beebe mailroom. Before I walked in the door I looked around to make sure that nobody was around, turned the door handle, and walked to the back of the room, mailbox 4018. I opened it with a small brown key and pulled out a thin white envelope. I took the envelope and walked quickly out the door and toward the canyon. My RA acceptance letter was inside the envelope. It started me on a three-year journey in residence life that has changed my relationship with Christ, challenged what I believe about people, and totally altered my career plans. Residence life allowed me to work with three staffs, have three mentors, make lifelong friends, spend three weeks backpacking, journey with residents and RAs, cry, laugh, travel, learn, teach and love people. 

Q: What's next?
A: Graduate school! I am going to be working on a master’s degree in higher education or a masters in student development counseling and administration. I know that I will be spending my career in education, either teaching elementary school or working with college students; right now I am feeling called to pursue the higher education route. Either way, I'll have summers free for the rest of my life :) 

Kelsey Bennett

Name: Kelsey Bennett
Hometown: Gresham, Ore.
Major: Double major in accounting and finance 

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox?
A: One thing I’ll never forget are the relationships I’ve formed here. Coming from a public school, I could tell right away that Fox was different. For one thing, the professors genuinely care about you as an individual. They give of themselves, their time and their resources in ways that truly express the love of Christ. In a world wrought with selfishness and a me-first mentality, such selflessness is refreshingly rare.

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox?
A: Toward the end of my first semester at George Fox, I went home for the weekend and was hit by a pick-up truck (as a pedestrian). The truck actually hit me and dragged me underneath the chassis for about 25 feet or so before it hit a parked car and stopped moving. It was a traumatic and terrifying experience in many ways. I fractured a number of ribs and vertebrae in my back, broke my index finger, and badly injured my right hand. It took me months to recover, and my hand is still significantly scarred. It wasn’t until I was lying in a hospital bed, almost certain that I’d have to withdraw from the university due to my injuries, that I realized how much my time at Fox and the relationships I had formed there meant to me. As it turned out, I was able to return the next semester after all, but this realization about the importance of people and relationships in life is something I will never forget. 

Q: What's next?
A: Above all else, my experience at Fox has fostered within me an innate desire to serve others. You don’t have to be a pastor to share the love of Christ. As an accounting professional, I will strive to serve my clients with the utmost integrity, competence, compassion and humility. In this way, it is my hope that the selfless light of Christ can be shone into the darkest corners of a world that often suffers from untempered ambition and greed. More specifically, I would like to focus my efforts on providing accounting services (e.g., auditing, tax services) for nonprofits as a certified public accountant (CPA). Supporting such organizations in their mission to make the world a better place seems like one of the best ways I know of to serve others and make a lasting difference in their lives.

Carly Halverson

Name: Carly Halverson 
Hometown: Gresham, Ore.
Major: Organizational communication with minors in business marketing and business management 

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox? 
A: Coming to George Fox was the best decision I have made so far in my life. Over the past four years I have made more memories than most people have the privilege of making in a lifetime. From storming the halls of Ed to throwing massive cookie parties at Riley House, it seems like every weekend was filled with friends and some sort of dancing. The beautiful thing about Fox is that a group can gather, and whether or not everyone knows each other, it will still be a great time. It is also amazing how resourceful students can be even if there is “nothing to do.” On the perfect night mud sliding is the answer, or an impressive pancake feast would blossom, or maybe just a simple game of foursquare would happen upon us. If you draw it, they will come.

The people are amazing here. One of my friends has a dream that we will all own houses in a cul-de-sac, and our kids can grow up creating the mayhem that we did. It is a place that you love because of the people that you are surrounded by. I know that in two years when we all gather together again the memories will spill out, and it will be just like it happened yesterday. And although it is sad to say goodbye, I know that any of these people I have met will never be far and will always come running if I need them because that is the type of relationships that are born in this place.

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox? 
A: When I first arrived at Fox I hated it. I had never moved before, and leaving my family and friends was one of the hardest things I have had to do. I had never been somewhere that I did not have a friend, and it was scary and lonely. But I met my dear roommates Kaylee Leddy and Chae Cariaga, and that all changed. Since my first year at Fox I have grown in my own confidence both personally and professionally, and most of that is thanks to the wonderful people that I met here. I can hold a conversation with a stranger and I am no longer nervous that I will run out of things to talk about. I am confident in my own communication skills and love to meet new people. It can oftentimes be hard to get me to shut up.

Perhaps the greatest confidence boost came in my faith. I have never been more sure that we serve a God who looks out for us and loves us unconditionally. God has revealed to me what it means to live by faith and trust that no matter what happens, it will all come around full circle. It is amazing to realize that the people you pass by everyday all live a different life. The way one talks or looks might be directly related to what has happened in their life. The greatest lesson that I have learned in my time at Fox had nothing to do with the classroom and has everything to do with those around us all. Everyone has a story, and until you take the time to hear that story you could be missing out on one really cool person. My time at Fox has been a gift, and those people who have surrounded me have made it the greatest gift to date.  

Q: What's next? 
A: Right after graduation I am taking off for Tulsa, Okla., where I will be working for the Tulsa Shock, a WNBA team. It has been my dream to work in sports, and this position is just the first step in achieving my ultimate goal of working in the NBA. My official title is account executive, and I will be networking and planning events for nonprofits and charities within the Tulsa community. I am very excited to start my career within the NBA-WNBA league. I believe that there is power to change communities through basketball and I am thrilled to be able to play a role in creating that change.

Zachery Koppert

Name: Zachery Koppert
Hometown: Beaverton, Ore.
Major: Engineering with a concentration in electrical
 
Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox?
A: In my experience, George Fox has academically prepared me and other engineers beyond the expectations of the industry. I feel very blessed to have received such a firm understanding of the basics so that I can enter the industry ready to grow even more. Fox has really taught me how to learn and communicate in an engineering context. My time at Fox would have been radically different without the professors I had, namely Dr. Gary Spivey and Dr. John Natzke. Dr. Spivey's pragmatic guidance and “the truth hurts, deal with it” mentality have taught me to value truth above my pride. Dr. Natzke’s patience and big-picture thinking have rubbed off on me, and I have received numerous compliments during internships for understanding the whole system and being able to jump between levels of abstraction. God has used these men and my time at Fox to shape me in a way that I am very proud of.

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox?
A: There was one specific time when I was assigned to a Servant Engineering project that required designing a garden watering system for the children at the Providence Center for Medically Fragile Children. The idea was to teach the children who weren't physically capable of watering plants, in a hands-on approach, that watering the plants made them grow. In designing the project with nurses at Providence, I had a moment when I knew that I would be improving the lives of others through being who I was made to be. I then realized what it meant to be an engineer, and it changed my life.

Q: What's next?
A: I accepted an engineering position at Tektronix in Beaverton, Ore., so I will be starting work there a week after graduation. I will be working on their Performance Oscilloscopes product line as a design engineer. Since Tektronix pays for grad school, starting graduate-level classes is in my plans for the next three or four years. I have a special interest in electronic medical devices and bionics, and am hoping that my career can head in that direction after several years of experience.

Vicky Scott

Name: Vicky Scott
Hometown: Newberg, Ore.
Major: Sociology with a minor in Christian ministries

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox? 
A: I have heard George Fox alumni say their time at Fox was the best four years of their life. But I could not disagree more. I mean, the papers, the projects, the DTRs, the late nights, the early mornings, juggling a full work load and a full school load – not to mention the daunting reality of the nearing student loan payments. I can't say my time at Fox has been the best four years of my life, but I can say it has been the richest. There have been so many unexpected joys: the late-night adventures; the academic success; the great class discussions; the wisdom shared from professors; the deep and wonderful friendships made; and the feeling of relief each Friday of finals week. These are a few of the many things that have aided in making my experience at Fox incredibly sweet and rich.

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox? 
I cannot recall a certain turning point; rather, there have been many turning points. Each has helped in building the firm foundation on which I now stand. The joy and love I received from the Quaker community and the Chapters family has changed me into a more compassionate person. The grace and healing I found in the Shared Praxis community is invaluable. Those in the sociology department opened my eyes to the world and stirred a desire to seek justice – and in that I found my life's calling. Dr. Corey Beals walks in integrity and humility, and Dr. Melanie Hulbert lives a life of passion, justice and grace. Because of these and many more, I am changed.

Q: What’s next?
A: Well, one of my dearest friends and I are about to board a plane to Alaska to work, travel and rest for the summer. After this, I plan to pursue a nonprofit job working with victims of various crimes for a couple of years. Ultimately, I plan to enroll in graduate school studying sociology or nonprofit management. Ideally, there will be a lot of traveling involved and many trips back to home, here in Newberg.

Andrew Van der Werff

Name: Andrew Van der Werff
Hometown: Redding, Calif.
Major: Business administration with a concentration in finance and a minor in history

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox?
A: The thing I will remember most about George Fox is the willingness of professors to meet at nearly any time. Throughout my experience they did not care if the questions pertained to class material or to a personal issue; they were always willing to drop what they were doing to help me out. I will also remember my soccer experience and the impact Coach Tim Tsohantaridis had on my life. George Fox University has instilled a sense of integrity in my life that is not only a solid foundation on which to build, but gives me a market value that many post-undergrad students cannot claim.

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox?
A: Two instances come to mind that have been the most monumental parts of my experience at George Fox. Through Dr. Phil Smith’s ethics course my whole view on life was changed. My career goals, my calling, and the way I value people shifted from a rather secular view into what I believe is a more Christ-centered view, and I hope to use this new perspective to reach out and bless all those around me. The second life-changing moment at George Fox came when Clint Baldwin and Dale Seipp went out of their way to help me to study abroad in Washington, D.C. Through this experience and the internships I was able to complete, my life was forever changed. I plan to use the professional skill set I developed during my time in D.C. the rest of my life. It is my hope to be a blessing to those around me, in the name of Christ.

Q: What’s next?
A: I recently accepted a job offer to work for Deloitte in Washington, D.C. as a federal analytics consultant in the Accounting, Valuation and Analytics Department. I will be working with federal agencies ranging from the Department of Defense to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on overall efficiency issues, but more specifically with collecting quality data and using this data to analyze all aspects of the different agencies. Deloitte is the largest CPA firm in the world and one of the top 10 places to work, according to Forbes magazine. This is a dream job where I will be able to thrive as a learner and work on projects that I could never have dreamed of working on. The people hired at Deloitte are the best in the business, and I know I will learn more than I could have ever imagined. Following a couple years of employment, I plan on passing the CFA and returning to an MBA program. I am grateful for the skills I learned in classes with professors Ryan Halley, Nate Peach, Deb Worden, Deb Sepich and Seth Sikkema. Because of the values George Fox has instilled, I have confidence that I will be successful at carrying out what Christ has planned for my life.

Emily Grace Cropper

Name: Emily-Grace Cropper
Hometown: Newberg, Ore.

Major: Sociology with minors in Spanish and Christian ministries

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox? 
A: Overall, my experience at George Fox has been a good one. I have thoroughly enjoyed my major and the classes I have gotten to be a part of. I have had excellent professors who have invested in me academically as well as personally. Aside from taking classes in my major – which I found fascinating and inspiring – and working alongside sociology professors and majors, my best experience at George Fox was a Christian ministries class called Shared Praxis. Through this class I was able to journey with 12 amazing people, learn their stories and gain lifelong friends.

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox? 
A: When I look back on my time at Fox, I would say if I had to pick a turning point, it would be my junior year. I shifted into a new group of friends, got really involved in my major, and found my niche. I began to see a worldview shift that happened through taking Shared Praxis, sociology classes and reorienting myself among new people. I leave George Fox a different person than I was when I was a first-year student, and I believe I went through several changes and transformations along the way.

Q: What’s next?
A: As far as "next" goes, I am planning on taking a year or two off, working with a nonprofit and then going to graduate school. I plan on pursuing a doctoral degree in sociology, and I am also looking into options for seminary. I am exploring a lot of options for the immediate future, but going back to school is definitely part of the plan.

Austin Taylor Morrell

Name: Austin Taylor Morrell
Hometown: Prineville, Ore.
Major: Mechanical engineering with a minor in mathematics

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox? 
A: Overall I have had an excellent experience at George Fox University. Some of the things that I will remember the most about my time here were the trips that I went on with my track and cross country teams to Hawaii, California, Washington and Idaho; the numerous projects I got to work on throughout my engineering program; and all the great hours spent with my friends laughing and working on homework. The people that had a big impact on my life were mainly my family, friends, engineering professors and my athletic coaches. I owe a lot of my great experience and success to their support and encouragement throughout the years. I learned so many things while at George Fox, and not just things related to engineering – things about myself, my friends, and other things that are related to growing up and becoming an adult. One lesson that I learned is how important relationships are in your life. Going into college I thought that it would be very heavily an individual effort to graduate with my degree. Your individual effort is one small piece of your success in college. Your relationships with your family, friends and professors are all integral to your success in college. I couldn't be happier with the college experience that I was able to have here at George Fox.

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox? 
A: There are a lot of ways that I have grown since coming to George Fox. I have learned that there is so much more to college than just getting an education; college is a maturing process where you become prepared to be an independent contributor to society. You learn how to take charge of your own life and the things that you really want to pursue during your lifetime. One particular moment that sticks out to me during my college experience was the event that led me to George Fox. I didn't start my freshman year at George Fox; I actually transferred here after attending Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz., for one year. Making the decision to transfer colleges was the biggest turning point in my college experience by far, and it has also been the most rewarding one. I have come to know some really great people since the transfer, and having a Christian college experience has absolutely strengthened my faith.

Q: What's next?
A: Currently I don't plan on going to graduate school. I want to enter the workforce and start becoming a master of a profession. Once I graduate, I will finish up a project I have been working on at my internship here in Newberg with SP Fiber Technologies. After I finish my internship, I plan on moving to Bremerton, Wash., where I have accepted a job offer to work at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. I am very excited about that job opportunity as well as the opportunity to see part of the Pacific Northwest that I haven't seen much of: the Olympic Peninsula. Before I go to work I plan on doing some fun things during this summer like a road trip from Oklahoma to Oregon with a close friend, some motorcycle camping in Montana and some other states, and hopefully getting in some time wakesurfing with my good friends in Prineville, Ore. Long term, I would like to be able to have a career somewhat close to my family and friends, but I am open to go wherever God has a plan for me. I have learned that it is best for me to have a plan, but at the same time to keep my heart open for the things that God wants me to do. I am really excited to see what the future holds. 

Shauna Thannickal

Name: Shauna Thannickal
Hometown: West Linn, Ore.
Major: Information systems with a minor in marketing

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox? 
A: I've enjoyed my time at Fox. I will probably remember most the community I’ve found. Coming into my freshman year here, I wanted to find friends that would be life-long. I feel as though I have. I’m so blessed to find such amazing community in my group of friends; they are my second family. I will also remember the lessons I’ve learned from my professors. These lessons aren't always from the class material, but more often about life in general. One specific reminder that one of my professors (Brent Wilson) taught me was that it was not about the final product, but more about the process. That lesson was taught during my sophomore year, and it has stuck with me since then. Graduation will be here before I know it. But it’s what has happened up until that point that matters. The diploma is just a physical piece of paper; the experiences I've gone through brought me to where I am today. I’m very thankful for the people I've encountered at Fox – both fellow peers and professors. 

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox?
A: I’ve grown a lot since coming to Fox. My purpose and calling have been in the process of being molded during these past few years. Looking back at the dreams I had as a tiny college freshman, I look at my dreams now and notice a big difference. God changed my desires and dreams. He’s made them bigger, and He continues to do so today. I believe I’ve grown as a believer in Christ. I've also grown in my ability and self-confidence in what I’m called to do. Coming into college, I was nervous and scared. Now, I know I'm more than able. Accomplishing what I have thus far is truly a feat I never thought I could get through. But I’ve learned and grown to know that I can do anything if I set my mind to it.

Q: What's next? 
A: I’ve been blessed with a business internship with Open Arms International this semester. Although I have no missions aspect in my major or minor, I’ve always had a heart for missions. So I’m enjoying my time at this nonprofit organization and I’m excited for the more than likely possibility to continue my stay there through the summer, my last semester at Fox and maybe some time after that as well. After my official graduation in the fall, I would love to remain at Open Arms. However, I also wouldn’t mind expanding further and seeing what else is in store after I graduate, hopefully finding a job that involves business, technology and computer systems. At this point, I’m not quite sure where God will lead me. But I’m excited for where he’s going to take me.

S. Mattson Romey

Name: S. Mattson Romey
Hometown: Sandy, Ore.
Major: Mechanical engineering

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox?
A: Looking back to the day I was accepted to George Fox, I can't see myself going anywhere else. My experience here at Fox has been great, from the engineering department to the track team, I have made friends and memories that will last forever. What I will remember most about my time here at Fox will be the late nights working in the projects lab and studying until the early hours of the morning for all of the tests – and the day my son was born the Tuesday of spring finals week my junior year. I will also remember the spring break track and field trip to California every year and the great time we had competing for George Fox. Some of the most influential people here at Fox have been Bob Harder, Mike Foster, Mike Magill, Gary Spivey, and of course, Neal Ninteman. Each of these professors pushed me in my education and taught me far more than just what was needed to graduate. These professors are what have made the George Fox engineering program so successful.

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox? 
A: I can't say I remember a specific turning point in my life here at Fox, but I will say that my work ethic was definitely put to the test. I think the biggest thing that I will take from my time here at Fox will be that nothing comes easy, but when you put everything into your work good things will happen. 

Q: What's next? 
A: Following graduation not too much is going to change for me. I will be staying in the area as I have accepted an offer from Tektronix in Beaverton as a design engineer for their probes division.  I guess my biggest focus will be spending time with my family as school has kept me away from them a lot over the past couple of years. It will be nice to finally get into my career and look at buying a house in the near future.

Gustavo Vela-Moreno

Name: Gustavo Vela-Moreno
Hometown: Woodburn, Ore.
Major: Civil engineering 

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox? 
A: My experience at George Fox has been incredible. George Fox is a community with great people who truly care and support the student body. I remember when I first visited campus, during a Friday at Fox event, and the first feeling I got from the university was that I was wanted and valued. That was a unique feeling that I did not experience elsewhere and is why I decided to attend Fox.

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox? 
A: My first semester at George Fox was a growing experience for me. I used to work independently during high school, but when I started at Fox that did not work. During that first semester I learned to collaborate with my peers academically, socially and spiritually. I also learned to seek advice from my professors and advisors, who were always supportive and encouraging. My experience at Fox was improved from my initial struggles during the first semester, and I know that made me into a better student and peer.

Q: What's next? 
A: As of now I have accepted a job offer from the Oregon Department of Transportation. It is an entry-level position that is offered through their Graduate Engineering Program. The program consists of six-month rotations through their construction, bridge design, hydraulics and geotechnical engineering departments and lasts for two years. The job is based in Salem, which is great since I also plan to be involved in my community of Woodburn, Ore. I was also admitted to the civil and environmental engineering graduate school at Stanford University. More specifically, I was admitted to their sustainable design and construction (SDC) program, which consists of integrating diverse disciplines like engineering, economics and the environment into the process of designing and constructing civil infrastructure. In the future I would like to use my SDC degree to facilitate climate change adaptation through implementing sustainable practices in the transformation of buildings into more sustainable facilities and the development of new sustainable facilities using current technology.

Charles Allen

Name: Charles Allen
Hometown: Newberg/Salem, Ore.
Major: Psychology with a minor in biblical studies

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox? 
A: There are two things I think of when I reflect on my time at George Fox. The first is something I said back when I was a freshman and I first got pulled into the community: I “exploded into being.” The second is a line from a song by a brother and friend that I've made my mantra this year: “So much of me is because of you.” The whole world opened up when I came here! There were so many more kinds of classes to take and experiences to be a part of. As a kid from a home-school background, coming to Fox was like realizing what it meant to be alive for the first time.

There were so many people who made Fox for me, and I am who I am today solely because I knew them, and they knew me – and that was beautiful. All of the area coordinators I worked with (and the ones I didn't work with!), my first staff which became the truest family, my brother Ben Tissell who embodied love for me, and the entire community that rolled through my life the past four years. I learned life, love and family because of you, and you're part of my very soul. So much of me is because of you.

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox? 
A: After 12 years of homeschooling, my freshman year at Fox was a 180-degree turn of lifestyle. Besides the people who knew me that first year, no one would really know that I came to Fox as an awkward, incredibly shy and quiet, bookish misfit with no direction. After four years here, however, I am delighted to say that I don't recognize myself. Fox put the pieces together for me and helped me start to become the man that I always really wanted to be. Everything changed that first year, and every year was a different journey of change.

Freshman year was “acclimatization” – I was getting used to this new world. Never had any experience with girls (beautiful or otherwise), or had any guy friends my own age after elementary school – so many spills and journeys! Sophomore year was “family”– my first year as an RA with Sarah Jobson, Gavin, Andy, Christina, Miranda, Kaitlyn, Becca, Jenn and Lauren. Junior year was “standing up”– I learned to value my own story and reflect on my journey with honesty. This year is a glorious, wonderful, painfully beautiful slew of everything else. Here at GFU, I am becoming. I was an awkward, lonely and desperate child my senior year of high school; and now, my senior year of college, I am me.

Q: What’s next?
A: Next year is going to be interesting, and I never thought I would do this until I finished Through Painted Deserts by Donald Miller. I’m planning on taking a gap year, working for the summer and then saving so that the rest of the year I can focus on some personal development. I want to take a personal road trip, learn a martial art, and learn more about who I am and who God has made me to be. I want a soulful transition from Fox to whatever comes next, and I want to have the opportunity to have a year completely dedicated to just BEING. Next summer I am taking a backpacking trip through the entire UK with a good friend, and then I’m going to Taylor University for a master of arts in higher education, where I’ll be getting ready for life as an RD/AC. I know that my heart has become rooted in the college scene, and hopefully I’ll be transforming lives in the way that I’ve been transformed. Someday, with grace, I want to be just like those beloved Sherpas, coaches and family members here at Fox who have been responsible for making me “me.” God bless you all! This is truly what it means to live, and to love. I love you more than I can figure out how to say, and I will leave none of that behind.

Karina Ramirez

Name: Karina Ramirez Velazquez
Hometown: Cornelius, Ore.
Major: Double major in political science and Spanish 

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox?
A: I would describe my experience at George Fox as transforming. Being a student at Fox has shaped me into the kind of young woman I am very proud of. What I’ll remember the most is the wonderful relationships I have made here with my professors and friends. The biggest impact in my life has to be my mother and father. Their support and love has kept me going. What I've learned here is that being a Christian is more than going to church; it's about being a leader, a servant, and being an example of Christ by treating people with compassion.

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox?
A: My turning point here at Fox that has helped be grow is my time studying abroad in Seville, Spain. My time abroad has changed my perspective of the world on a global scale. Fox is great and amazing, but there is more to life. A semester in Spain has helped me ready myself to look to the future as an alumnus. 

Q: What's next?
A: My plan after Fox is to take a year off and work at a nonprofit organization as a paralegal. Then, after that, I am going to enroll in law school to pursue my career goal as an attorney, serving the Lord through the legal system. I am hoping that law will lead me into politics; my dream is to work in the Oregon legislature and become a representative or a senator.

Rose Henry

Name: Rose Henry
Hometown: Port Orchard, Wash.
Major/minor: Psychology with a minor in Youth Ministry

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox?
A: My experience at Fox has been incredible! Ever since I first visited Fox at the Bruin Preview in 2007, people were so welcoming and friendly. I got a feeling the moment I stepped on campus that this was the place God had called me to go to college. I will always remember the faculty and how they are so passionate about what they do. Another thing that stands out to me is how faculty know you by your name. For example, I had Mark Sundquist my very first semester four years ago, and still each time he sees me he says, “Hi Rosie, how are you doing?” The little things like that make a world of difference. Other professors who have had a huge impact on me include the psychology faculty and Steve Sherwood. Each one brings his or her own unique personality and life into the classroom, as well as the study sessions at Sue O'Donnell’s house. They always integrate faith and prayer into the classroom as well as out of the classroom.

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox?
A: As a freshman I remember not talking as much in class, but now I participate as much as possible. I even enjoy visiting professors I don’t have classes with anymore to have conversations about life. I also have gained a lot of confidence and independence, and I’m not afraid to use my voice and be a leader. I was able to be the president of the Psychology Club and have enjoyed every moment trying to help build relationships between underclassmen psychology majors and minors, juniors and senior psychology students and faculty. A turning point was when I got a Richter scholarship to study the self-esteem, hope and personality of at-risk girls born off the city dump in Managua, Nicaragua. George Fox providing me with that experience both helped me with my understanding of psychology research and sparked a passion for missions. I grew in my faith as well as my understanding of life and the world.

Q: What's next?
A: After graduation I plan to get married, move to Arizona and attend Argosy University, where I will be in the Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. I hope to become a Christian therapist and eventually work in a treatment center that allows me to incorporate faith into my practice. I also hope to continue to do short-term mission trips throughout my life with Forward Edge International.

Conor S. Ike

Name: Conor S. Ike
Hometown: Accra, Ghana
Major: International Studies with a minor in economics

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox?
A: My overall experience at George Fox will undoubtedly be something I walk away from with the highest esteem. I transferred here with the primary goal of studying in an environment that challenged my academic capacities. My initial goal proved only my naivety upon entering George Fox. While the goal was surely achieved, my academic journey here has been comprehensive to say the least, regularly exceeding the limitations of the textbooks. While at times some of the general education courses dragged on beyond their meaningless existence, my core classes reflecting my interests have added significance to the fine details which deem a composition worthy of the title “art.”  My professors are the sole reason for this experience, most notably for their holistic approach of incorporating the highest of moral values into the academic setting and achieving a complimenting equilibrium between the two. Two professors who initially come to mind exemplifying this include Mark McLeod Harrison and my most respected professor of my time here, Tom Head.

Playing for the George Fox soccer team also was a significant part of my time here. Although the two seasons left much to be desired on the pitch, the relationships established have been unparalleled. The exemplary roles of the trainers, most notably Byron Shenk, and the coaches have made the experience of losing worth remembering. Most important of all, the friendships formed during my last two years have left a surplus of days worth remembering.

Q: What's next?
A: My future is yet to be written. Although my long-term goals include grad school and employment in international development, my years until grad school remain unknown. I have plans in the works that include possible employment in Geneva, teaching ESL abroad or a two-year Peace Corps assignment. One thing I can state for sure is that my next two years will undoubtedly include travels that span the globe and employ what I have learned from my undergraduate experience.       

Joseph Byrnes

Name: Joseph Byrnes
Hometown: Providence, Utah
Major: Entrepreneurship and marketing

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox?
A: Throughout my time at George Fox there have been many things that will always stick out in my memory, but the ones that will most are the opportunities I’ve been a part of.  To name a few, the May Serve team which helped me develop a new perspective on life, the Little Bruins program that helped me understand how much of an impact I can have on others, and the various opportunities to serve in the community surrounding campus. When I think about people who have had the greatest impact on my life while attending Fox, there are a couple professors that come to mind.  When I could see their main goal was not only to provide an education, but also to personally become involved in students’ lives, I knew I came to the right university. 

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox?
A: My time here has helped me grow in ways that I never would have thought of a few short years ago. One that stands out most is when I was asked the question, “At all costs what do I stand for?” This not only made me think in a different way concerning the uniqueness of the question, but as I learned over time how to answer it, I also understood how to be honest with myself regarding who I am supposed to be, because God made me who I am for a specific reason. 

Q: What’s next?
A: Regarding the future and what it holds, I will be attending George Fox’s MBA program in 2013-14 with hopes of being able to continue learning how to shape my life around God’s plan and not let the world shape my life. 

Duc Bui

Name: Duc Bui
Home country: Vietnam
Major: Biology with an emphasis on system and structural

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox? 
A: A beautiful, healthy smile can boost one’s self esteem, and I love to give that feeling to everyone. The dream of being a dentist became a major turning point in my life. Therefore, I chose the biology major to prepare myself academically. Since I’m an international student from Vietnam, adapting to a new learning environment has always been a challenge. This journey would require a radical change and great endeavor on my part with no procrastination. I’m so glad that I chose George Fox University as a launch to fulfill my dream.

Starting out knowing very little about biology to now becoming a serious student of science, I really appreciated the knowledge, patience and compassion that all my professors had to offer. I still remember when I first came to George Fox. I took Cell Biology (a 400 level class) with Professor Jeff  Duerr. The material was difficult, and I was unfamiliar with all the modern machines used in this class. I felt discouraged and I talked to Prof. Duerr. He encouraged me to keep trying and not to hesitate to ask questions if I did not understand. His great support and my efforts helped me to successfully complete the course. There is nothing like the close relationships between professors and students at George Fox. Most college students could hardly imagine professors cooking a big, real good dinner and having students come over to their houses, but that happens at Fox. We have had good times together and become more bonded. These memories have made my journey at Fox unforgettable.

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox? 
A: My biggest change since coming to George Fox is my belief in God. Before, I believed in God, but not as strongly as I do now. The more I study science, the more amazed I am about God. I feel so fortunate that my faith has been nourished in a perfect environment – through my friends, my professors and also through famous scientists during the Dalton Lectures. In a public school, somebody might think that I’m silly if I pray before an exam. However, at Fox, the professors always lead us in prayer and I’m so proud of doing it. There is nothing to be ashamed of when I show my belief in God. Now, I’m about to leave George Fox, but I’m not afraid to live my faith anywhere else.

Q: What's next? 
A: I was accepted into the DDS program at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC in Los Angeles. The closer I move toward my dream of being a dentist, the more sanguine I feel that I have made the right decision. The United States is a leader in healthcare and new dental technologies in the world. Offering opportunities for an international student to study dentistry is the best way to promote oral health worldwide. My motivation and academic background will withstand all challenges in working toward my goal in dental school and becoming a competent and empathic practitioner. "Until you spread your wings, you'll have no idea how far you can fly." Looking back, I just realized that I had flown such a long way and God always carried me on his wings. I would like to take this opportunity to give special thanks to my family, my professors – especially Prof. Duerr – and my friends. Without your loves and great support, I could never have reached my dream.

Alma Barajas

Name:  Alma Barajas
Hometown: Woodburn, Ore.
Major/minor: Elementary education

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox? 
A: George Fox had been on my mind since my sophomore year in high school, when a representative came to my school and shared about his experience at Fox. At first when I received notice that I was accepted, I was excited, yet very nervous. I never thought that I would experience such culture shock as I did when I finally arrived. Coming from a predominantly Hispanic community, at first it was difficult to adjust to the food, my peers and even my professors. I would be lying if I didn't say my first semester was difficult. However, as I began opening up I began seeing all of the great opportunities I was blessed with by coming to the school of my dreams.

Fox has provided me with opportunities to grow spiritually, become educated on social issues that are common right in our backyards, and to receive a great liberal arts education. Most importantly, what I have learned through some tough and some not-so-tough experiences is that two Christians can disagree on an issue; however, if we choose to be ignorant and not learn then we miss the opportunity to grow. What I will most remember is how well some people I came to know through Fox have modeled that for me. 

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox?
A: There is no doubt that since coming to Fox I have grown spiritually. Fox has helped me find myself spiritually, not just by attending chapel, but more importantly through the conversations I have had with peers and professors. Thanks to Fox, I have been given opportunities to learn what works for me as I keep on growing spiritually. I have also been given opportunities to become informed and be involved in amazing community service events. I have learned how to take risks and take a stand for what I believe in.   

Q: What's next? 
A: My ultimate goal is to go back to my own community and serve the youth there. Yes, I would love to go back and teach in one of the elementary schools, but I don’t just want to teach. I don't want youth from my community to miss the opportunity to one day attend a school like George Fox; therefore, I plan to serve outside of my career to help youth and their families recognize the importance and value of higher education. For now, I would like to start off by teaching in a small community in a Title I (low socioeconomic status) school. I have a passion for encouraging students and their parents to strive for success, and I plan to do that one student at a time. 

Brianna Barnes

Name: Brianna Barnes
Hometown: Jefferson, Ore.
Major: Elementary education (ADP) with an ESOL endorsement

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox? 
A: My experience at George Fox University has been very inspiring. I started this school as an adult with my two-year Oregon transfer degree. I needed to attend a school that would work with my hectic schedule of work and family. George Fox had an education program that worked for me. I have been able to attend college one to two nights a week and one Saturday a month without interrupting my family and work too much. The adult degree program for education was very flexible with my life.

I entered the program not being able to write a true academic paper. With the help of Waneen White, my ESOL professor, I am now more than capable of writing papers. I have never attended a school where the teachers actually gave each student their personal cell phone numbers and told me I could access them anytime. There were many times I was up working on something for one of my teachers at 11 o’clock at night and had a question. I would then pick up my phone and text a teacher and they would immediately respond to my question.

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox?
A: I came to this school as someone who lacked confidence when it came to my education. I always knew what I wanted to accomplish, but I was scared to do it as an adult. George Fox gave me the chance to not only accomplish my goal but also meet some great people while doing it. I was an independent worker when it came to my classwork, but with the program I entered you were never alone. The adult degree cohort encouraged us to work together. I learned so much from my classmates. I would have never been able to complete this program if it wasn’t for the support of some of my classmates. I now have a new group of friends that I will be able to call up anytime after we graduate and bounce ideas off. I now prefer to work within a group when it comes to school because I gained so much from everybody.

Q: What’s next?
A: I am hoping to get accepted into the Masters of Education program at George Fox. I want to get my masters with a special education endorsement. George Fox has made me known, and I would enjoy continuing my education here. I also will hopefully be getting a job in a city close to where I live. I want to teach, and now that I have graduated from George Fox I can help shape young minds.

Annie Hammerquist

Name: Annie Hammerquist
Hometown:  Fruitland, Idaho
Major: Nursing

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox? 
A: When I reflect back over the last four years at George Fox University, there are three main ideas that come to my mind. First, I truly believe I received an incredible education during my time here. I had professors who challenged me, believed in me, pushed me, and ultimately worked to facilitate my development into a competent, compassionate, professional nurse. I also developed many genuine relationships with friends as well as faculty during the last four years here at Fox. I could never imagined having the opportunity to get to know so many genuinely wonderful people who walked alongside me when times where rough, made my laugh when I was down, and yet all the while remained completely honest with me. I know that no matter what happens after graduation those people will always be there to support and help me wherever life takes me. Finally, I will always appreciate the opportunity I had to learn and grow in a Christ-centered environment. To be in nursing classes having those tough conversations about death, or marveling at the beauty of God’s creation of a newborn baby, it always came back to what an amazing God and Creator we have. To professors who prayed before exams or honest conversations with friends about how to deal with difficult ethical issues as Christians, I am entirely grateful for the opportunity to have spent the last four years of life in a such a quality environment!

I will probably remember most those times spent with friends cramming before pathophysiology exams until midnight, taking goofy pictures in the library when we were supposed to have been studying, singing at the top of our lungs with a friend as we walked across the quad at 1 a.m., getting deep with my best friends during Bible studies, laughing until I almost passed out with my roommate, and walking on the beaches of Normandy with friends on Juniors Abroad.

When I dwell on those who made an impact on my life, I must first mention my grandparents because they have always strived to instill in me a solid work ethic and living a Christ-filled life. My grandparents role-modeled these strong ideals, which carried over into my college experience. In fact, when I graduated on May 4, it was the 60th anniversary of my grandfather graduating from George Fox University! Two individuals from my time at Fox who greatly impacted my life would be my anatomy and physiology professor, Dwight Kimberly, and my work-study boss, Nate McIntyre. Dwight has this amazing passion for people and for learning! He not only believed in me as a freshman nursing student, but his advice and encouragement kept me going throughout my entire nursing experience. I learned from him that a passion for the Lord, people and learning will get you anywhere in life. My boss Nate has shown me what it looks like to be a kind and upbeat person every single day of the year. He has also shown me what it looks like to be a faithful leader who truly cares about every person’s story, and who works to uplift those around him and those who work for him, all the while showing a Christ-like attitude. I am so grateful for these amazing people in my life that taught me how to work hard, love people and strive to live a Christ-centered life.

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox?
A: There was a turning point during the spring semester of my sophomore year when it dawned on me what an amazing opportunity I had to learn about our incredible human bodies! The previous three semesters of nursing school had been difficult, and I truly never had time to stop and think about what I was learning, but it was this moment when I began to realize how much I truly enjoyed learning the material! I enjoyed opening my huge textbooks and poring over how the human body works. I believe it was this moment that also changed my relationship with Christ. Every time I learned a new disease process, treatment option, or simply how a function of the human body works I became once again completely overwhelmed and amazed at the hand of God! I feel that every time I study the human body and its intricacies, my understanding of our all-knowing, all-powerful creator God grows! It is possible to see his handiwork in every single part of the human body! That moment in my dorm room in Coffin Hall instilled in me a love for lifelong learning, a humility for the opportunity to work in a field that displays the power of God, and a desire to live every day worthy of my Creator, worthy to be called a daughter of God!

Q: What's next?
A: My various clinical experiences have truly given me the opportunity to narrow down a nursing field that I would enjoy working in. Several areas I have a passion to work in are mental health, geriatrics and maternity nursing. However, my initial plan after graduation is to get a job that lends itself to the continued growth and development of my nursing skills, teamwork, delegation abilities and further progression as a professional registered nurse. I have always had a passion for nutrition and helping people develop healthy lifestyles, and I would love to see combining both my passion for nutrition and my passion for nursing to truly help people in a holistic way. Ultimately, throughout my nursing career, my goal is to always be an instrument of hope, guiding my patients to holistic healing. Whether as a mental health nurse, a delivery room nurse, or my dream job of helping people with nutrition, my goal is to be the nurse who offers the best medical care and shows through everything I do the love of the ultimate healer, Jesus Christ.

Christina Polowicz

Name: Christina Polowicz
Hometown: Vancouver, Wash.
Major: Marketing

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox?
A: I can look back at my past four years and speak highly of so many things: my classroom experience, my internship experiences, or even my year on the golf team. But I think the word that encompasses my GFU experience is “community.” I know it sounds cliché, but looking back on these past four years at Fox, the groups that I have been a part of have made a significant impact on my life. The first community that has been a big part of my Fox experience is residence life. As an RA and AAC, the RAs I have been on staff with have become some of my closest friends on campus. These friends have taught me so much about intentionality and leadership, and I’m so thankful for that experience. I also would say that the campus Catholic group, Totus Tuus, has been the other significant community in my George Fox experience. Having a group of people grounded in a similar faith tradition has given me the opportunity to learn more about my Catholic faith and ask the tough questions in a safe place. The people in this group have become great friends that I know will last beyond these four years of college.

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox?
A: I have become so much more independent since coming to George Fox (I have heard that college is supposed to do that to us). The summer between sophomore year and junior year I spent working on campus in one of the offices. I worked a full 40-hour workweek, lived in an apartment and was completely responsible for myself. I absolutely loved this experience, and it put my education into perspective! After that, I realized that ultimately I am here at George Fox to get a great education to prepare myself for the working world. This definitely got me thinking more about what I want to do in the future and put me on track to do so.

Q: What’s next?
A: I am planning on attending graduate school to pursue a master's degree in public relations at Syracuse University, which is so exciting! In the future, I hope to work for the United States Golf Association, leading communications for tournaments like the Masters or the U.S. Open.

Stephanie Abdulmajid

Name: Stephanie Abdulmajid
Hometown: Portland, Ore.
Major: Social work

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox?
A: Overall, I have had a positive experience at George Fox University. A highlight of my time here has been the good friends and memories I have made with them. Also, I will remember the grand internship opportunities the social work program made available to jumpstart my social work career.

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox?
A: I think my biggest turning point while at George Fox was during winter break of my sophomore year because I listened to God and trusted him to pursue the path that he has for me. It has required faith and perseverance; however, I can see glimpses of my future and the path that God has for me. 

Q: What’s next?
A: My next step is getting a social work career working in Multnomah County. I am not exactly sure where I will end up. I would like to work with children and families, helping them maintain a healthy home for their children to prosper. I am trusting God that He will provide a career to do so.

Erin Terry

Name: Erin Terry
Hometown: Newberg, Ore.
Major: Studio arts

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox? 
A: The genuine people I have shared these last few years with have defined my experience here at George Fox University. These people include friends that I have grown with, family, professors, my boss and my mentors. One of the things that I love about Fox is that it is a community that welcomes people with open arms, while at the same time it challenges and nourishes growth in the entire community. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to have smaller classes where my professors have become mentors and friends instead of distant superiors. If I had to pinpoint one person that has had a specific impact on my experience here it would be my boss, mentor, and dear friend Cheri Hampton. She hired me to be on her work-study team in the art department my freshman year. Since then we have shared laughter, frustration, tears, and unconditional support and joy. She is the strongest person I know, and I have felt so honored to work with her and learn from her. It has been a blessed past four years of my life. 

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox?
A: The biggest turning point in my George Fox experience was actually when I was given the opportunity to study abroad. In the spring of my junior year I left Fox to study art in Orvieto, Italy. This was by far the most enriching experience of my last four years. Not only did being abroad and experiencing culture and intentional community change me, but it was the welcome back to the Fox community that has brought such a poignant change as well. While abroad, I learned a lot about community, self-confidence, care for others and how to express my personal artistic aesthetic. When I returned to Fox, I was welcomed back and given the opportunity to share my experiences with others. This opened up many relationships with people who are now very dear to me, and provided the space to bless people from my experience and to receive blessings from their life journeys as well.

Q: What's next? 
A: After four years of being a studio arts major, I feel that I have learned what it means to truly be present within each experience that God gives me. As I prepare for my after-graduation plans and picture myself in a new adventure, I don’t picture a specific profession yet, or the perfect job that I want to do for the rest of my life. Instead, I imagine myself being open to possibilities, learning and growing from each experience I have, and living a life that is invested in this world and in the people in my community. My more immediate plans are to stay in Newberg for at least a year in a cute little apartment on First Street. I will be starting up and teaching at the new Chehalem Cultural Center Summer Culture Camp, working at a new boutique and letterpress business, and working at a local tasting room. I am excited for the variety of experiences that will come with these diverse jobs. I am looking forward to spending my free time not doing homework, and instead continuing to be creative as well as exploring the beautiful Northwest that is so dear to me.

Jessi Fink

Name: Jessi Fink
Hometown: Odessa, Wash.
Major: Double major in business administration (management concentration) and biblical studies

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox? 
A: When I came to Fox, I did not know what to expect. I hoped to make friends, find an interesting major, and be part of a Christ-centered community. I never could have anticipated how blessed my experience has been or how much I have learned and grown in four years. I will most remember the selflessness of my favorite professors. So many professors took the time to get to know me outside of academics and challenged me and encouraged me more than I ever could have anticipated. I will remember chatting with professors about the weekend; having a fantastic time laughing and enjoying a class and then realizing I also learned a lot in that class period; and seeing the true concern for me in the faces of professors and receiving hugs when I needed them. It has been a beautiful experience to learn from passionate professionals who have given their lives to teaching young people like myself. Someday, I would love to teach at a small university and try to impact the lives of young people in the way I was impacted.

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox?
A: During my sophomore year, there was a week where both my business and Bible professors used the phrase “be intentional” multiple times, and I remember liking that phrase. Since then, I have heard it over and over, and it has become one of my life mottos. George Fox has taught me to be intentional about my beliefs, about how I treat people, about how I spend my time and about developing my passions. I have a more developed worldview, but I’m also more comfortable knowing that I cannot know it all and it is best to be honest about what I know (or do not know) rather than try to put up a façade. The fantastic students, professors and Greater Portland Church community members I have met have helped me better understand and appreciate the beauty and diversity of people as creations in the image of God, and I more emphasize the priority of people after being at Fox. I believe there is nothing more important than treating every person with love, respect and selflessness, and I had this modeled for me while at Fox by my friends and professors.

Q: What's next? 
A: This fall, I plan to start Willamette University’s Early Career MBA program. I feel well prepared to start this intense program and am excited to expand my network yet stay close to my mentors at Fox. After getting my master’s degree, I would love to work as a business consultant, and down the road, work for a relief and development nonprofit organization. As I look into the future, I hope to live a life of learning and service in the business world – a life that ultimately points people to Jesus Christ.

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