Office of Admission

The PLU Experience is different than most college experiences: At PLU, everyone is deeply committed to helping you find your calling (we call that “vocation”) and to lead a life that really matters.

You’ll be prepared to excel by building excellent intellectual skills and by connecting with opportunities to realize your potential and find meaning and purpose in your work. In short, you’ll be way ahead of the pack once you graduate.

PLU students can choose from over 40 majors, which are split into academic divisions—Humanities, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, the School of Arts & Communication, the School of Business, the School of Education & Kinesiology, the School of Nursing and Interdisciplinary Programs.

We’d like you to meet some recent PLU graduates—one from each academic division—who share their success stories and how PLU helped them find their true vocation. Explore all our majors at www.plu.edu/majors.

School of Education & Kinesiology
Division of Natural Sciences
School of Business
Division of Humanities
Division of Social Sciences
School of Arts & Communication
School of Nursing
Interdisciplinary Studies

School of Education & Kinesiology

Kelly Nagan '08

Kelly Nagan, Class of 2008
Degree: B.A. in Elementary Education
Hometown: Seattle, WA

These days:
Nagan teaches in the Clover Park School District in Lakewood, WA.

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How did studying at PLU help prepare you to be an effective teacher?
The Education professors at PLU hold you to a very high standard. They are constantly pushing you and challenging you—they want you to be the real thinkers and innovators that students need. The professors make sure your Education degree prepares you for the many challenges you will have to juggle as a teacher —classroom management, planning, professional development, interventions, inquiry learning…and the list goes on! I have always loved teaching and loved kids, but PLU gave me the skills and the knowledge to become a great teacher and part of a professional community.

What do you enjoy most about your work?
The kids! The kids are the best part of my day—their excitement for learning, their amazement at newly acquired skills, their constant need to be challenged, the love they have for everything at this young age is absolutely magical! I think kindergarten is a special age— a year when they really figure out who they are and what they like and how to do things and what they will stand up for. They become an independent person in the world, and I love to be the one who supports them as they find out just how much they can do!

What motivates you?
I try to stay focused on the kids and what they need. There are many demands on teachers these days between evaluations, expectations from the district and state and testing—but the most important part is always going to be the kids. The kids become a part of you, and keeping them on track and pushing them to reach their best becomes your daily motivation.

Division of Natural Sciences

Andrew Reyna, '11

Andrew Reyna, Class of 2011
Degree: B.S. Biology
Hometown: Salem, OR

These days:
Reyna is a medical student at Oregon Health & Sciences University School of Medicine in Portland.

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What sort of medical doctor are you planning on becoming, and why?
I chose to go into family medicine because of the opportunity to care for anyone, regardless of age, for nearly any issue. As a family doctor, I can maximize my impact within the community and touch as many lives as possible. Ultimately, family medicine provides an opportunity for me to combine my passion for service and my talents in order to meet one of the world’s greatest needs in primary medical care.

What have you enjoyed most about medical school?
One particularly enjoyable piece of medical school is having the ability and time as a student to sit down with patients and learn about them beyond their diagnoses. It truly is a gift to work in an environment where there is the opportunity to meet so many diverse people, make connections, and have the chance to make a positive impact on their life during times of hardship. Another enjoyable aspect of medical school is being surrounded by other equally passionate medical students always looking to engage the community in meaningful ways through various clubs, organizations, or volunteer groups.

How did studying Biology at PLU help prepare you for medical school?
Sitting among other medical students from Ivy League schools or “big­name” universities was at first a little intimidating, but I soon realized that my undergraduate education was in many ways superior to that of my peers. At PLU, not only were the courses intellectually challenging, but the courses were exclusively taught by faculty (instead of TAs) who were also easily accessible and approachable. The combination of a variety in course options, rigorous coursework, and a supportive faculty strongly prepared me for immediate success in my medical education.

What motivates you?
The biggest factor motivating me is the desire to make a difference within my community. For me, that means providing primary healthcare for underserved patients who are in need of care and not currently able to access it for a variety of reasons. My ultimate goal is to positively impact the quality of life of my patients by working collaboratively with them to optimize their health.

School of Business

Dan Rosales, '07

Dan Rosales, Class of 2007
Hometown: Anacortes, WA
Degree: Marketing

These days:
Rosales is a financial planner for Northwestern Mutual in Tacoma and vice president of the Business Network Alumni Association board, an eight­ member group of business professionals that connects current students with PLU Business alumni through four annual core events.

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How did your major at PLU help you choose and succeed at this?
“What I like about the PLU byproduct is that a smaller university is really good at helping students build and develop relationships. If you’re able to build relationships, you’re going to go really far. And the PLU mission—community, integrity—is big in the business world.”

What’s your best piece of advice for incoming PLU students?
Get involved. “I just always liked being involved,” said Rosales, who played offensive lineman on the Lutes football team. “PLU gave a lot to me. I’m from Anacortes and still local—after PLU, people tend to leave the South Sound—but I also work with Big Brothers and Big Sisters here, so I stay involved with that and with PLU.”

Division of Humanities

Marissa Meyer, '04

Marissa Meyer, Class of 2004
Major: Creative Writing and Publishing
Hometown: Tacoma, WA

These days:
The New York Times bestselling novelist is the author of the Lunar Chronicles trilogy of widely acclaimed books, Cinder, Scarlet and Cress, which all have been optioned to become movies.

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How did your major at PLU help you choose and succeed at this?
“My time at PLU, where I earned a Bachelor’s in Creative Writing, provided me with two invaluable skills. First, the ability to take criticism on my writing without taking it personally, and to use that feedback to improve both the story and my abilities as a writer.”

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
“Keep at it, and take time to develop your voice and learn story arc and structure. Be patient, give it time. Make sure you’re writing the best thing you’re capable of writing. Find trusted critics. And finally, believe in yourself, and your dreams.

Division of Social Sciences

Katie Hunt, '11

Katie Hunt, Class of 2011, Transfer Student
Degree: Anthropology/Classical Studies
Hometown: Anchorage, AK

These days:
Hunt, who contracted and recovered from ovarian cancer at PLU, is a trailblazer in the emerging field of paleopathology, the study of disease, health, trauma and diet in human biology in ancient societies. She and three physical-anthropology friends created the Paleo-Oncology Research Organization, and Hunt also was selected as one of 21 worldwide TED2014 Fellows which officially qualifies her as a “world-changing innovator.”

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How did your major at PLU help you succeed at your career?
“PLU has been so phenomenal through so much beginnings, endings and hardships in between.” She
also cites PLU’s unique culture of collaboration, in the classroom and out. “That’s another huge benefit I got from PLU. Learning how to learn is so important.”

What’s your best piece of advice for incoming PLU students?
Pay very close attention to what inspires you and gives you energy, not takes away your energy, and pursue an avenue related to that. You’ll always be on a path you’re happy about.

School of Arts & Communication

Micah Haven, '09

Micah Haven, Class of 2009
Degree: B.A., Music Education
Hometown: East Wenatchee, WA

These days:
Micah is the director of bands at Meeker Middle School in Northeast Tacoma, where he teaches 260 students at the elementary and middle­ school levels, along with a before ­school jazz band. He was recently named a semifinalist for the 2015 Grammy Music Education Award, which recognizes someone who has made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrates a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools.

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How has your major at PLU helped you choose and succeed at your career?
My experience at PLU taught me to care for the successes of everyone around me. On any given day, (more than 200) young minds walk through my door, and my hope is they learn from the lessons I learned at PLU. My hope is to create a classroom that has so many of the good qualities that are deeply rooted in PLU.

What motives you?
I want my students to grow as people and think outside of themselves. I hope they take what they do in music to help our school, their community and the world.

School of Nursing

Henry Tieu, '14

Henry Tieu, Class of 2014
Hometown: Soc Trang, Vietnam
Degree: B.S. Nursing

These days:
Tieu works as a registered nurse in the St. Joseph’s Hospital Cardiac ICU unit in Tacoma.

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How did studying Nursing at PLU help prepare you to work in an ICU just a few years after graduation?
PLU School of Nursing has taught me many great things about being a competent nurse. However, if I have to pick one, I would have to say “self­reflection.” I still remember that after each day of clinical, we sat down with our clinical instructor and talked about what we had learned, what we had done and what we wished we could have done differently. Self­reflection allows me to explore my strengths and weaknesses, thus challenging me and empowering me to become the best version of myself. Self­reflection has become a part of my nursing routines everyday at work. In other words, PLU School of Nursing has helped me become a competent nurse who values safe and quality care.

What do you enjoy most about your work?
Nursing for me is not just a job; it’s a career. I enjoy my career because I get to be with other people and do what I can to help when they are at the most vulnerable moments in their lives. I get to see my patients walk out of the hospital and go home with their families. I also get to see my patients share their last laugh or last tears with their loved ones. No matter what the outcomes are, I am honored to be a part of their struggles and triumphs. I look at nursing as an opportunity to grow as a person, to contribute to something or someone other than myself, and to empower others to become the best version of themselves.

What motivates you?
I’m motivated by the life lessons I’ve learned from my patients. Working in the ICU has allowed me to see that good health is a blessing and that anything can happen. I’ve learned to live in the moment and to never take anything for granted. Nursing has become a part of my life and now my identity.

Interdisciplinary Studies

Anna McCracken, '14

Anna McCracken, Class of 2014
Degree: Global Studies & Anthropology
Hometown: Spanaway, WA

These days:
McCracken, PLU’s Spring 2014 student Commencement speaker, is serving a year­long placement at the Corrymeela Community in Ballycastle, Northern Ireland—one of only 12 volunteers selected worldwide, and the first ever from PLU. Formed in 1965 by the Rev. Dr. Ray Davey and his students, Corrymeela is a community focused on reconciliation, encounter, relationship­building and hope.

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How did your major at PLU help you choose and succeed at this?
“I learned at PLU to be comfortable feeling uncomfortable. You’re not going to be successful if it’s easy; you’re constantly struggling. If you are doing your best and impacting the life of one person, you’re not feeling comfortable and complacent.”

What’s your best advice for an incoming PLU student?
“The people here are so invested in each other and in making a positive difference in the community. (Your experience won’t) be only about getting a degree but about the entire experience—about all the things along the way and really finding purpose. It is a constant journey.”