Alumni News

This is a page to highlight our alum! Although we currently only have stories from recent grads, we hope to feature stories from our other psychology alumni in the future!

Featured Grads

Jacinda Thomas - 2014


Name: Jacinda Thomas
Hometown: Tillamook, Oregon
Major: Psychology & English (double major)

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox?
A: Three words that would describe my Fox experience are nurturing, insightful and stretching. I have been graced with mentors, dear friends and opportunities that helped me become the woman I am today. I could write a hefty book about the things I was impacted by while I was here, but experiences that truly stand out include my two years in residence life; journeying to Swaziland as a learner during last May; Dr. Abigail Rine’s Gender Theory class; the friendships I’ve made with students and faculty; this past year with the SpIL team; and every occasion to dance.

I learned that the church is bigger, brighter and more colorful than I realized – and that those in poverty are not here to be petted or to grace our profile pictures as nameless “poor-nography”; that leading others tends to shine light on one’s deepest insecurities and that grace is hard to accept but it's still given; that my identity as a woman does not preclude me from having a voice or a place at the table or the pulpit; that language shapes our reality; and that my story matters. I learned that God doesn't waste anything, including my doubts, anger and delight. I learned that the right questions can open up dialogue and rich relationships crossing previously barricaded divides.

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox?
A: I'm more frank and daring than I used to be – and I like it! I've grown in my ability to engage tensions that are part of life and to participate in conversations that are hard. I’ve grown in my understanding that people are complex, that listening to understand can make a huge difference in interpersonal interactions, and that honesty results in the best comedy and relationships.

Q: What’s next?
A: Work is in the nearest future. I will be working as the public affairs intern with the Lake County Resources Initiative (a truly incredible organization that has impacted my ideas of sustainability, stewardship and community for the past six years that I have been with working with them as a botany specialist) and the Forest Service down in southern Oregon for the summer. After that, there are a few different opportunities I’m exploring for the year, ranging from as far away as Bolivia and as nearby as Portland and the Oregon Coast. Eventually, I want to pursue more education; as of yet, I haven't decided in which discipline.

Sarah Gilmore - 2014


Name: Sarah Gilmore
Hometown: Newberg, Oregon
Major: Math & Psychology (double major)

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox?
A: My George Fox experience has really been shaped by the people I have met here; without them, my experience would not have been the same. I’ve been supported by professors, administrators and coaches who have challenged and encouraged me academically, athletically and personally. And I’ve built so many wonderful friendships – some of which may come to an end after graduation, and others that will last a lifetime. Whether or not these people continue to be a part of my life beyond this season at Fox, they have had a significant impact on my life and have helped me become who I am today. I am beyond thankful for the community that is present on this campus! I’m going to miss it.

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox?
A: Throughout the past four years, I have gained a lot of confidence in who I am and what I’m capable of. When I came in as a freshman, I was shy, insecure and really anxious about what was ahead. Through my experiences as an RA for three years, a work-study employee in the human resources office, a varsity track athlete and a student, I have learned that I am capable of so much. God has blessed me with these abilities, so why shouldn’t I be confident in them? Before George Fox, that wasn’t a concept that I understood fully. But now, as graduation approaches, I am excited to see what I will be able to accomplish in the future.

Q: What’s next?
A: One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in my time at Fox has been the importance of trust. And clearly, God is not done teaching me! I’m not continuing on to graduate school next year, I currently don’t have a job, and I don’t have much of an idea what I’ll end up doing a few years from now. But I have a college degree, a ton of great experiences, and I know that the Lord will provide. He has a plan for me and my future, and I’m learning to trust that what he has in mind is way better than anything I could ever imagine.

Josh Riedel - 2013


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.

Charles Allen - 2013


Name: Charles Allen
Hometown: Newberg/Salem, Oregon
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 George Fox, 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.