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Grads ready to embark on next adventure

May 18, 2009

Commencement 2009

This year more than 650 students will make up the graduating Class of 2009 at PLU on May 24 at the Tacoma Dome. Here in their own words are a few insights from graduating students about their time at PLU and the next chapter in their lives.

Go HERE to see a complete schedule of Commencement events and activities.

Allison Cambronne – Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Language and Literature & Global Studies (Development and Social Justice Concentration) with a Business Administration Minor

Why PLU? I’m from Minnesota and knew that I wanted to experience a new part of the country. I looked at schools in the Pacific Northwest because my favorite food is salmon (seriously!). My family had never heard of PLU until I got a postcard in the mail during my junior year of high school. It was the Lutheran heritage that attracted me here and the study away opportunities that sold me.

My PLU experience: After four years of being a part of the Lute community and through many opportunities, adventures and challenges, I have grown more than I can possibly recognize. I was supported and encouraged in all that I aspired to do. I honestly feel that PLU’s values of inquiry, leadership, service and care have become engrained in my spirit and I know that this experience, this education in life, will greatly shape my future.

My next chapter: I am moving to Washington D.C. in August to live with my sister. I plan to spend one to three years there, seeking work experience and new opportunities while continuing to figure out what I am called to do.

Amy Lynn Spieker – Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science

Why PLU? It was a combination of things that brought me to PLU: the opportunity to play basketball, great financial aid and an enjoyable visit to campus.

My PLU experience: Wonderful. I have learned in the classroom, about myself and most importantly about the relationships that make it all worth it. I can’t think of a single thing I would change.

My next chapter: I intend to return to school in the near future to continue to study health care policy or economics and in the interim I wish to pursue an opportunity to explore these fields outside of the classroom.

Kathryn (Katie) Oliver – Bachelor of Science in Biology

Why PLU? My older brother, a great scholarship, a community that made me feel at home and ultimately a ‘chance’ last minute decision.

My PLU experience: My four years at PLU are characterized by field trips, late nights studying, dinner parties, jokes, conversation and a variety of other experiences which have allowed me to connect with this community. I have made incredible friends with the students, faculty, and staff at PLU and view many of these people as my second family…I have immersed myself into this school enough to truly appreciate what it means to be a Lute and the value of my comprehensive Lutheran education.

Not only have I been challenged in the classroom and outside of the classroom to grow into a more conscious and thoughtful individual, but I was also challenged to leave my comfort zone.

In doing so I became a sojourner my junior year and lived in South Africa for 11 months, an experience that opened up my eyes to a world I didn’t know existed.

Additionally, PLU encouraged me to explore my personal values, faith and views; which has resulted in strengthening my understanding of what I hold to be true. My PLU experience has provided me with opportunities I didn’t know I was seeking, a support network that has always been there for me as I faced challenges, and the knowledge base to be successful in life after graduation.

My next chapter: A year of service in New Orleans with an AmeriCorps program, two years of service with Peace Corps and then graduate studies in Conservation Biology and Wildlife Management, Ecology, or both!

Maren Anderson – Bachelor of Arts in Norwegian

Why PLU? I was enamored with PLU’s commitment to study abroad and liberal arts education.

At PLU study abroad, is not study away; this is an important distinction because while students are away from the PLU campus we are required to be active and engaged in the communities that surround us in the world. As stewards of the world, armed with new knowledge about people, places and cultures, that information that we learn is brought in to the classroom as a great tool for discussion and collaborative learning.

Taking classes in the liberal arts is a gift—we are required to expand our interdisciplinary knowledge. No PLU graduate enters the world without the ability to critically examine and find relationships between seemingly opposite subjects like philosophy and physics.

My PLU experience: One word enters my head when I think about my PLU experience: support.

It has been an incredible experience that has challenged me to look beyond my culture, my understanding of my family, my friends and myself. Over the last four years, I have changed and grown as a person due to the relationships with mentors, professors and peers that have posed to me the challenging questions and encouraged me to accept all that is unresolved, all the difficult questions that exist in the world.

Without the support of this community, which is committed to higher learning, grounded in a belief that something higher than ourselves exists, I know that I would be a very different person than I am today.

My next chapter: Next year, I have been awarded the Top Scholar Award to pursue my master’s in Scandinavian Studies at the University of Washington.

Marit Barkve – Bachelor of Art in Norwegian Language & Global Studies (Social Justice and Development) with a minor in Political Science

Why PLU? JooHee Berglund was a brilliant recruiter at a Lutheran college fair in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

My PLU experience:

Year 1 – Lots of fun, lots of friends, lots of refreshing change.

Year 2 – Studied abroad for the year in Hamar, Norway.

Year 3 – Lots of academics, Language Capstone (intro to critical literary theory!); RA in Hong.

Year 4 – Good combination of school, work and friends; Lots of successful Gonyea events.

My next chapter: Taking the LSATs and applying for Law School this fall and hopefully continuing my education next year.

Ryan Ceresola – Bachelor of Arts in English and Sociology

Why PLU? A few things brought me to PLU – a good recommendation, a good global attitude and a good financial aid package. I had the opportunity to visit the campus and I was warmly received.

My PLU experience: PLU taught me what I can do to help our society, and the importance of actually doing something to better the world.

My next chapter: Graduate school to pursue Sociology…someday. For now, working somewhere locally in order to stay connected to the PLU community, and to help out my home here in Tacoma.

Timothy Siburg – Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Religion

Why PLU? The liberal arts education, the Lutheran heritage, smaller Class sizes, the great community life, the Lute Family and Legacy (my parents and aunts and uncles are alumni)and generous scholarships.

My PLU experience: Two questions seem to be repeated often while one is participating in their vocation as a student in the Lutedome.

They are: 1) What will you do with your one wild and precious life; and 2) What does it mean to be a Lute?
The answers to these questions seem to sum up my experience.

What will I do? I probably have less of an idea then I did four years ago, but I do know that I am being called to serve with my unique gifts and talents, believing all people have their own special and unique gifts.

As for what it means to be a Lute. I believe it means to be engaged in the community and the classroom, to act in life in service, to thirst for knowledge and conduct thoughtful inquiry, and to take the lessons learned to provide service and positive change to that in the world which needs it.

This I have done while being a 4-year Stuen Hall resident, hall council member, RHA Vice-President, Choir of the West member, and active participant in Chapel and Hall Intramural sports among many other things.

Academically I have worked to achieve a double-major in economics and religion and along the way, have pushed myself in my writing and research to the point that I have attended and been invited to many conferences across the country.

Recently, I had the opportunity to present a co-authored paper with Dr. Lynn Hunnicutt at a conference in Texas, and hope to have it published in the coming year in the Journal of Faith in Economics.

My next chapter: Graduate Studies at the Claremont Graduate University in Southern California.

I will be conducting masters studies in management through the Drucker School of Management (M.A.- Management), and in religion through the Graduate School of Religion (M.A.- Religious Studies, or potentially M.Div.). These combined degrees may ultimately lead to a Ph.D., and will ideally serve well for my intended field of work in Religious Non-profits that do development work.

Congratulations PLU Class of 2009.