"Sean, plan early and get the full experience in whatever you pursue.” These were two pieces of advice my father offered me growing up that strongly influenced my college choice and has impacted my time at Pacific Lutheran University. During my sophomore year in high school I began my search for colleges. I sought to receive the student-athlete experience, study abroad and on-campus opportunities. Growing up in small towns throughout my life, I valued opportunities to build relationships in an active and engaged community. Meeting admissions counselor Jenna Serr, political science professor Ann Kelleher and cross country and track & field Coach Heather Kreier, before I had applied to PLU allowed me to learn how my values and interests could be met at this university. Having enough time to learn what PLU had to offer as compared to other universities was a vital step in my decision-making process. Towards the end of college search- I couldn’t picture myself anywhere else than at PLU.
Coming to PLU, I knew I wanted to pursue a degree in Political Science. The PLU academic environment has allowed me to critically analyze the political system and challenge perspectives. These experiences have provided countless opportunities for learning. Last summer, I served as an intern in the District Congressional Office of US Congressman, Adam Smith in Tacoma. As an intern, I answered constituent phone calls and emails, facilitated written correspondence with individuals, businesses and organizations, assisted with various office tasks and traveled with Congressman Smith to constituency group meetings in district during the Congressional summer recess.
As a two sport athlete, studying abroad during J-Term has been conducive to my academic and athletic schedules. Traveling to Uganda (2010) I took a communication course titled “Shattering Stereotypes: ethnicity, class and privilege” and a history course in London (2011) based on the United States and Britain’s involvement in the Second World War. The people we met, the discussions and concepts I learned and the sights were amazing. I’m looking forward to studying the history of “The Troubles” and the 1998 Good Friday Agreement in Derry, Northern Ireland this coming January. Upon graduation in the spring, I will be pursuing a career in public service and influencing public policy.
The student-athlete experience is one of the main reasons I chose PLU. I recently concluded my fourth and final cross country season and it’s hard to believe that training for my last track season begins in one week. I met Coach Heather Kreier during my junior year in high school and to this day she continues to motivate me through her knowledge, passion for running and the commitment to her student-athletes. Beginning my sophomore year, I became a cross country and track captain. That experience has allowed me to further develop leadership skills and oversee team progress. This season was the first year that the full PLU Men’s Cross Country team had competitors at the Regional meet and even had a qualifier to the National meet in nearly a decade. Competing as a collegiate athlete at PLU pushed me further physically and mentally than I ever have before.
I have also had the opportunity to serve on the Relay for Life Committee and in the Sustainability Department. As a Relay for Life Team Development chair and through my position in the Sustainability Department, I am currently working on a project to create a partnership between the two entities. It’s my intent that the partnership will accomplish their individual missions at the on campus Relay for Life event.
I am indebted to many in the PLU community as peers, mentors, professors, coaches and life-long friends for their encouragement and support. I have learned that partaking in the college experience is about not limiting oneself, keeping options open and taking advantage of all opportunities. Thanks dad, the advice has paid off well.