Matt and Vivienne Inlow are a married couple that attend George Fox University. They are both music majors in their senior year. Before attending GFU, they attended community college and participated in their church’s youth and music ministries. Because of this, they had several years together as a couple before attending GFU. Matt and Vivienne at 15-2003 Matt and Vivienne at graduation-2006 Matt and Vivienne in Rome-2007 Matt and Vivienne began dating when they were 15 and were engaged when they were 19. I asked them if they thought if people should be a certain age before getting married, or if they believed qualifying for marriage was more concerned with the maturity of the relationship. Vivienne said that she definitely thinks the maturity of the relationship is a larger factor. However, age can be a factor, because a person changes so much from 19 to 30, so you have to be willing to grow as a couple through that. College is a time of change in and of itself. I asked Matt and Vivienne if being married while attending college could be stressful. Matt and Vivienne said that, because they had been married for several years before starting college, it was a little different. Matt said, “[the] first year of marriage, you’re getting to know each other and learning how to live with each other.” Vivienne mentioned that if a couple got married while in college it could be more challenging because of that fact. She said that it would not be bad, but probably challenging. “If you’re really confident with that person,” she said, “…and know it’s the right thing to do, I think it’d be a really cool story and a really cool experience.” Marriage and college could be hard to balance; a common motif for college students is staying up late and getting little sleep. Matt and Vivienne said it is still a part of life as a married couple, if not more. Matt mentioned that when you live off campus you have to cook, clean, and pay bills much more than those who live on campus. Also, when you are married, you have another person’s schedule to worry about—“You have somebody to take care of and be mindful of.” They used the following example: If they were alone, they might do homework while eating dinner, but because they are eating together they decide to watch Netflix or something similar instead. They both realize that marriage adds extra time in your schedule, but also adds extra experiences with a best friend. You have someone to do homework with, a shoulder to cry on, and a friend to walk with you through the stress of the college experience.
February 7, 2015Originally published in the print on Deb. 8, 2014. I meet Kenneth Hoover as he reaches the top of the stairs going to the first floor of the library. With a smile on his face, he asks, already knowing the answer, “We are going back down to the ARC for the interview, right?” I cannot help but chuckle and reply, “Yep.” Hoover often wears a baseball cap. The hat today is black, with the words “God’s Army” stitched on the front right side. As we sit down at one of the round tables inside the Academic Resource Center, Hoover, an Army vet and a junior majoring in Social Work, begins to tell me how he heard about George Fox University. “Before I got out of the military in 2011, I met a chaplain that worked with people with substance abuse issues,” Hoover said. “I told him that something has been tugging at me to work with people since I come from a family who experienced alcohol issues.” Hoover continues to reveal to me how the chaplain encouraged him to look at GFU, which had a reputation of supporting students. Their beliefs also matched his, and they had a program that would aid him in his call to serve those battling with addiction. Hoover started his journey to GFU by attending Olympic Community College in Washington, where he met certain prerequisites before transferring here. Hoover’s first week on campus, as a Bruin, was a good experience—mainly due to a meeting with Dr. Cliff Rosenbohm, who discussed what the big picture looked like with regard to the social work program. I ask Hoover what his first impression was as a nontraditional student. “I left a school where there were a lot of people starting back over again. When I walked on campus here, I did not see a lot of people like me,” Hoover said. “I did not see a lot of people looking like me, with gray hair and almost fifty years old. But I was pleasantly surprised at the atmosphere, the holding open of doors, the smiles, the hellos, and the maturity level of some of the students, especially in my classes.” As he continues to share his story with me, his servant’s heart guides each response and lightens up the room. As a nontraditional student, Hoover would like to see “some kind of gathering in which maybe we could start a support group for each other, whether it would be outside of campus or something where we can relax together and talk together.” Currently, GFU does not have anything specifically geared towards nontraditional students. David Weber, a graphic art design major and nontraditional student, is already seated in the Bruin Den waiting for me. Like Hoover, he also has an affinity for baseball caps. Weber served in the army for 16 years and was deployed in the first Gulf War, Iraqi Freedom, and Enduring Freedom. He hardly ever slouches and is very keen on keeping eye contact. When I ask him how he heard about GFU, he sits a little straighter and tells me his wife is an alumnus. He recalls his first week of school as “scary!” Thankfully, Weber was placed in contact with people such as Dr. Rick Muthiah who are at GFU to help students. He does not know other nontraditional students on campus very well. I ask him if he thinks nontraditional students are accepted on campus and he quickly answers, “No.” Weber shifts in the chair before continuing. “Sometimes it is the instructor. [For the younger students] it is the fact that I am as old as their parents. It gets weird for them to talk to me, so they don’t. Sometimes an instructor can treat me like a twenty-year-old.” As I probe further, I inquire if he can think of a way GFU might address the disconnect he sees with nontraditional students. Without missing a beat, Weber answers, “I think the instructors need to be aware [and] pay attention to the fact that [nontraditional students] have life experience…and adjust accordingly.” Dawn Killion, a junior in the nursing program and also an army veteran, believes that nontraditional students should not have to take LACI because most of them have “life experience,” just as Weber said. Killion sits down on the other side of a table and smiles; she almost said “no” to this interview. She first knew of GFU because she lives 20 minutes away. Killion recalls her first week as “completely overwhelming!” She continues, “First of all coming back to school, being 40, and then being around students who were 18 or 20—it was intimidating in a weird way.” Killion had several teachers who prayed in class, which affirmed for her that she was where God wanted her to be. There are several nontraditional students in the nursing program, but Killion is not connected with all of them. She is nervous about the upcoming Juniors Abroad trip to Ecuador this May because she knows no one in the class, not to mention anyone her age. Killion does not let age hold her back from creating relationships on campus. However, she does not think she would participate in a gathering of nontraditional students because any free time she has is dedicated to spending with her husband, son, and daughter. When I ask her if professors treat her differently because she is an older student, Killion replies, “Some of them are kind of weird, most of them have been good at talking to me on my level and just really treating me my age.” Killion pauses for a moment. “But I have other teachers who don’t quite know what to do with me, and that is frustrating. But overall, things have been pretty good.” Hoover, Weber, and Killion’s views on being a nontraditional student reveal that there is a major gap with similar students on campus. Most nontraditional students live off-campus—some with families. Balancing home and schoolwork does not always allow for an ‘80s Dance (of which all interviewees can say they attended in the actual ‘80s) or Glow-in-the-Dark Slip and Slide. Nontraditional students usually do not read The Crescent or attend ASC functions. However, they do feel nontraditional students have no collective voice.
December 11, 2014Taylor Swift is “shaking off” her country image and making her way to the pop scene with her new album, “1989.” The album was released in October through Big Machine Records. The new album has thirteen tracks, uses heavy drum beats as well as synthesizers, and has more of a processed feel to it than Swift’s previous albums. The songs lyrics still have Swift’s trademark subject of complicated relationships, a trait that she has come under fire for in the past. This review will focus on Swift’s two singles that came from the album, “Blank Space” and “Shake It Off.” Taylor Swift has had her good and bad moments with media, especially when it comes to her numerous relationships with high profile men. She addresses this in her song “Blank Space.” The first time I heard this song on the radio, I had no idea that it was by Taylor Swift. “Blank Space” has a different feel to it than songs from her earlier albums. I really like the song’s beat and melody. Listening to the song, I felt myself having my own personal dance party. My feet began tapping and pretty soon I was head bobbing. This is a song that I wouldn’t mind hearing multiple times on the radio; it has enough of a variety in the lyrics to not get too repetitive. When listening to the song, I was at first confused about what a “Starbucks lover” was. Only later did I find out that the lyrics were “Got a long list of ex-lovers.” This was not only slightly embarrassing, but also provided me with quite the puzzle. What exactly would a Starbucks lover be? A person you met at Starbucks and fell in love with? A Starbucks worker? A lover who is obsessed with Starbucks? I will never know. After watching the music video for “Blank Space,” I’m convinced that this song is a giant troll on Swift’s part. The most telling line of the song is the one that I misheard: “Got a long list of ex-lovers, they’ll tell you I’m insane.” Not only is Swift addressing her past, she is also telling people to think about how she got the reputation in the first place. How many ex-boyfriends paint former girlfriends in the best light, and vice versa? In the music video she starts off in a relationship with a handsome man. Things seem to be going great; they ride bikes in the house, go horseback riding, walk their three doberman pinschers in formal evening attire (cause who doesn’t do that) and even carve their names in a tree. Things take a turn for the worse when Handsome McCharming Pants is caught in what we can assume is cheating behavior. This is never clearly shown. Swift seems to go off the deep end. Things like attacking his car with a golf club, taking an ax to their tree, and dropping his phone in a fountain are only the beginning of her behavior towards him. In the end a new guy, Handsome McCharming Pants II, shows up to start this cycle all over again. This music video clearly shows what most people would think of as an insanely jealous woman. That is the beauty of it: by pointing out this crazy extreme insanity, Swift shows that she is not actually the man-eating psycho some make her out to be. Really she has had several bad relationships with men who broke her heart. The only insane thing that she has done is write breakup songs referring to these ex’s. There is also an element of beware of breaking her heart in the future, because there is a blank space in her next hit single just waiting for her to write your name in if you mess up. The other single in the album is “Shake it off.” “Shake It Off” has been playing on the radio since October. Though I love the message of this song, to not let the haters get to you, I am starting to get a little tired of hearing it over and over again. The fact that the song has very repetitive phrases doesn’t help this either. Another point of repetition is the ex-boyfriend theme. In one of the last verses Swift can’t help but again make mention of her former men: “My ex-man brought his new girlfriend, she’s like ‘Oh, my god!’ but I’m just gonna shake.” This song has a good message: players are going to play you, haters are going to hate on you, heart breakers will try and break you, and fakers are going to fake it, but you have to just “shake it off.” Due to the hate that Swift has been receiving in the media lately, this song seems to be the perfect response. No matter what people say or do, you can’t let it get to you. Instead dance to your own beat and know that everything will be okay. In her music video she plays several different dance roles, all in adorable awkward Taylor Swift fashion. She dances ballet, hip hop, jazz and is even a cheerleader. I personally thought that the Lady Gaga-ish dance/costume was particularly delightful. A point of controversy over the video was the fact that Taylor Swift tried her own version of twerking. The fact that Swift tried to dress like a black woman and uncomfortably twerk was not something that everyone one agreed with. Some said that this was racist, and that she was poking fun at the African American culture. I honestly don’t think that Swift’s intention was to be racist, but I find the image of her trying to twerk awkward. (And not in a good way!) Overall I really liked Swift’s new songs. As for her dancing, I don’t think that she should quit her day job, but that kind of proves her point: haters are just gonna have to hate. Just for fun here is a version of the song that has been cleverly synced with an old Aerobics Championship.
December 11, 2014Looking forward to all of those Christmas and New Year’s parties… what to wear, what to wear. As the holidays approach in this crazy and busy season, let what you wear be the least of your worries. It is possible to look fantastic, make your friends envious, and still keep your budget intact. There are of course great black and white possibilities, as well as the classic red. Sequence and flash are always in, especially when it comes to the shoe. Your outfit can be more muted as you dress it up with a powerful pair of shoes, or chunky necklaces and earrings. And remember that great clutch purses are always in and fun to carry. And if its comfort you’re looking for, making a statement piece with colored jeans and a blouse is always good too. It’s also good to play with your hairstyle. Try pulling your hair back in a tight and slick bun or making it wavy and letting it fall down off your shoulders. There are also eye-catching hair accessories with feathers and rhinestone pieces that will add to your look. This Week’s Top Tip: The holidays can be a stressful time. It’s okay to dress down, but treat yourself to at least one time where you get to dress it up. Grab some once-loved or seldom-used clothes and shoes from your closet. You can also play it up with your make-up being on the lighter and simpler side, paired with a drastic eye shadow or lipstick. Don’t forget that second hand is always recommended and be bold enough to live outside your box.
December 2, 2014The winter holiday season is right around the corner! In a short time Christmas will be here, and the store aisles are already brimming with candy canes, stockings and Christmas decorations. So before Thanksgiving is over I decided to review some of the season’s food and drinks. Seriously before we know it the Christmas season will be upon us. Subway, home of the “five, five dollar footlong!” (Even though they aren’t currently running that special, I always sing that catchy jingle.) Right now, and for as long as supplies last, Subway is featuring a Thanksgiving inspired sandwich called the Northwest Turkey and Cranberry. It’s like a regular sandwich with a hint of Thanksgiving dinner. The tomatoes were a little odd paired with cream cheese and cranberry sauce. I’m also not sure how I felt about the cream cheese that went with the sandwich. Though it was probably the best choice of cheese to go with the cranberry sauce, I would definitely go with out the cheese spread next time. I liked the cranberry sauce, it was sweet and paired with the turkey and bread very well. The honey oat bread tasted like a dinner roll and reminded me of the times I’ve been finishing Thanksgiving dinner and sopped up the last of my turkey, cranberry and gravy from my plate with my roll. It was delicious, minus the tomatoes and cream cheese. The effect that Subway was going for was a Thanksgiving dinner, and while not fully achieving this, the elements were there. I would recommend this sandwich with two thumbs up, it’s the perfect meal to get one into the Thanksgiving spirit. Dutch Brothers is a favorite coffee place among George Fox University students, especially because they run lots of student specials. Right now they have a seasonal drink special called the Brown Sugar Cinnamon Breve. Here is a picture of the advertised drink, but be careful because looks can be deceiving. I was excited to try this beverage because when I think of brown sugar I think of delicious oatmeal covered in the melted brown sugar or sweet potato casserole covered in a layer of brown sugar, a dish that my family always enjoys for Thanksgiving. The Brown Sugar Cinnamon Breve was not at all what I was expecting. It is not a drink that I will ever be having again. One sip was enough to know that this is not a drink that my taste buds approved of. It took everything that I could to actually swallow the first small sip. This drink tasted empty, it was like melted butter with a hint of dry cinnamon. It reminded me of a Chai without any flavor. I was severely disappointed with this drink and would not recommend it to anyone. The Human Bean, a new addition to Newberg, has become a popular coffee place with GFU students as well. Its close proximity to the campus and reasonable prices make it a popular place to grab a caffeinated beverage. With Christmas right around the corner I decided to try their Peppermint Mocha. It was a definite win. I chose to have the drink blended and it was delicious. It had rich flavor and I was very satisfied. The drink was sweet and the chocolate, mint and coffee mixed very well together. It sort of reminded me of those little chocolate mints that you get at restaurants with the bill. I really enjoyed this drink and would highly recommend it to anyone who likes mint and chocolate. One doesn’t have to dance with a turkey on their head to get into the holiday spirit. Grab a Northwest Turkey and Cranberry Sub from your local Subway and then swing by the Human Bean for a delicious mint mocha. At all costs though, avoid the Brown Sugar Cinnamon Breve from Dutch Brothers.
December 1, 2014Fall has officially been here for a little while and so have the new fall television shows. When life gets busy, it’s easy to get behind on favorite shows or not have time to check out new ones. Back in September a new show called “The Mysteries of Laura” premiered on NBC as a new crime fighting comedy. The previews looked intriguing and funny, and so this show was put on my list of things to watch when I had the chance. I really wanted to like this show; I mean, it stars Debra freaking Messing, but after I viewed the 40 minute pilot, I felt very disappointed. This show had a lot of potential to be great, but the pilot did not sell me. Shows with strong female cop leads are nothing new to the television world, but “The Mysteries of Laura” tries to take a bit of a different angle. In the pilot episode, we meet recently divorced Detective Laura Diamond (Debra Messing) who works as a top police detective for the NYPD. She is asked by her boss to help with some investigation work for a man who has been receiving death threats. Laura and her boss go to the man’s residence and he is murdered before they are even able to leave the driveway to go home. Laura works with her partner Billy Soto (Laz Alonso) and her team at the precinct–Max Carnegie (Max Jenkins), a computer geek and Meredith Bose (Janina Gavankar), another detective–to solve the murder. All the while she must cope with the stress of being a mother to two rambunctious twin boys, Nicholas and Harrison Broderick (Charles and Vincent Reina) who are quite the holy terrors. At the same time she must balance dealing with her ex-husband Jake Broderick (Josh Lucas), a fellow police officer, who is more work than help. In the end, Laura is able to find the lead that cracks the case and through unforeseen events her ex becomes her boss at the police station, further complicating their relationship. “The Mysteries of Laura” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC, and interestingly enough, the character of Detective Laura Diamond was adapted from a Spanish television series called “Los misterios de Laura.” The pilot episode had some funny moments, but there were several aspects that I did not care for. To begin, I am not sure how I felt about Lara’s character. I liked her spunk, and though I felt that she was one of the strongest characters on the show, I also couldn’t help but feel that her character was a bit unbelievable. There were too many shifts back and forth between personality types. One minute she was in sweats and mom mentality, the next she was being the manly “bro” type at work and then in the next scene she was the sexy put-together woman who radiated femininity. In one scene, she would be painted as the overstressed, overworked, hanging-on-by-a-thread-for-her-sanity mom role. She would then walk into the police station like she owned the place, blow the case wide open with little to no clues and have nerves of steel when shooting at a suspect. All the while maintaining a stereotypical manly vibe of overconfidence, portraying and proving that she was a force to be reckoned with. Let me be clear: I am not saying that I don’t think that moms can be good cops or successfully balance the two full time jobs of having a career and being a mom. I actually like the idea that this is trying to promote, but I felt that the constant shifts in her character made her feel unnatural. The writers of the show were counting on the fact that Debra Messing was so likable in the early 2000’s hit sitcom “Will and Grace” that she could hold together the show and frankly though Laura is a funny and capable woman, I don’t think that she is able to do this. Ex-husband Jake Broderick The cast of supporting characters just did not do anything for me, except irritate me. Laura’s ex-husband Jake is, for lack of a better word, a total jerk. He’s the stereotypical ex who comes in and tries to be the “cool dad,” bringing pizza and Nerf guns to reward his disobedient children, all the while manipulating Laura and trying to have a say in her life. He constantly cancels on watching the kids and spending time with them. He seems to think that it is okay to shirk all fatherly responsibilities, and leave Laura to fend for herself with the boys, even if she had plans or needs to work herself. This wouldn’t have bothered me as much if the writers would have allowed me to just think he was a sleaze and leave it at that. Instead they constantly try to make him charming; just because someone is handsome and flashes a smile does not mean that they are excused from their horrible behavior. The children, though they are cute, are devious brats. Though they say things like “Sawwy mommy!”, this does not excuse their horrible behavior, which seems to be left unpunished and even rewarded. The children are also allowed to run around the police station, terrorizing the place with, again, no consequences, which doesn’t seem likely to be allowed in a real police station. Another character I had a problem with was Meridith Bose, a fellow detective at the precinct. It seemed like her only purpose in the show was to be a sex symbol. Every scene I saw her in, she wore a tight tank top that left nothing to the imagination when it came to cleavage. When comparing her to Laura, who is coming to work in turtlenecks and trench coats (meaning it’s obviously cold outside) this becomes especially apparent. I get that shows like to make women dress provocatively, probably to ensure a male demographic, but they could at least make an attempt to make her look a bit more professional. She was also shot down every time she had anything to say, which might contribute to why she seemed like not a very nice person. Maybe she has a larger role in further episodes, but as for the pilot, I felt like the plot would have been fine without her. Detective Meridith Bose Still I couldn’t help but keep thinking that this show felt like a mashup of other crime series that I have already seen before. The show tries to take some fresh angles by making the single mom trying to raise kids a bigger part of the plot, but overall it felt like the show has already been done before. Even though there were a lot that I simply didn’t like about this show there were a few things that I did enjoy. I liked some of the comedy of Laura’s character. Laura had some funny lines and had some spot on physical comedy that had me giggling. Laura unashamedly “jamming out” to the radio. I also enjoyed some of the cuts and editing that the show played with. In one scene Laura and her partner Billy were examining evidence and the screen was cut into two shots. One view showed the two detectives, the other view showed what they were looking at in the box, almost as if the viewer was seeing through the eyes of the detectives. I felt that it was cut very strategically and I really liked being given those two views at the same time. I also enjoyed the fact that Laura’s character wasn’t the most clean or organized person in the world. Seeing her messy car, which looked like a small hurricane had blown through strewing behind toys, goldfish crackers and paint, made me feel a whole lot better about the soda that’s been sitting in my console for a week. Even though the pilot was not my favorite, I’d still be willing to give this show another try and maybe watch one more episode to see if it improves at all. The pilot had a few good moments, but I would not recommend watching this show. I really wanted to like “The Mysteries of Laura,” but I guess you can’t win them all. Below is the link to a trailer of the show: “The Mysteries of Laura” Trailer
November 26, 2014Fall fashion doesn’t discriminate against gender, so why should we? Let’s let the boys in on all the fun. Layering is always in for looking great in the cold weather with sweaters, scarves and jackets complimented with ties. But something we haven’t seen for a while is Letterman jackets. Yes, the jackets you wore in high school with your school’s logo on it. Back in style on a major level you say… yes, and they are hot. We can also see a trend in tandem with these jackets in the lower v-cut, three button “old man” sweater. This style looks great over a dress shirt and tie or even with a t-shirt. These looks can be playful for a day on campus, a Friday night football game, or worn for a job interview. You can also go so far as to having the George Fox logo put on your jacket or sweater. There is a local shop in Hillsboro called LaHaie’s, which deals exclusively in putting logos on jackets, sweaters, and even socks. So let your college pride show and flaunt your great fashion sense. And bow ties seem to be making it through the seasons too, so compliment your look with a great solid or patterned print. Don’t be shy to buy second hand, especially if you are on a budget. These items can be found new or used. Bargain hunting isn’t just for the ladies. This Week’s top Tip: Don’t be afraid to put a little thought into your daily duds. The ladies like a man who can dress for the occasion, beyond sport shorts and sneakers. Having some play in your wardrobe can be as simple as owning a few key pieces.
November 24, 2014Walking around campus feeling the chill of winter… we can be prepared and not sacrifice our unique style just to bundle up. There are so many great ways to layer, and also to cover the head, neck and hands while still looking fantastic! We can see the latest in matching headbands, gloves, scarves and hats that match and go great together. There are so many choices from knit and cotton scarves, fingerless gloves and mittens to breathable athletic material that we can wear for our outside workouts. The Blue Zone bookstore even has great fleece bands with our school logo on them. The infinity scarf is a great cold weather accessory as it bundles around the neck and doesn’t slip or fall down like a regular scarf might. The scarf is a wonderful alternative to wearing a necklace because it’s simple, warm and can really play up an outfit. The big knit scarf is great as well, thrown over the shoulder or just hanging down. The newest headbands can be just a simple one color design, or show off large flowers and ribbons woven in and out of it. You can also wear a traditional thin hair band accessory around the larger knit band around to accent your long locks and add some flare. Short hair is also fun to work with, as a great band or knit hat can have your shorter do curling out from underneath. The possibilities are endless, so express yourself and stay warm! This Week’s Top Tip: Dress appropriately for the weather conditions, including covering your head, hands and feet. This can be your last line of defense for staying healthy. The other trick is controlling your cool downs from your work outs, especially when you exercise outside. This is a tough one, but it can be a major way to get sick if not done properly. Bundle up even though you will be sweating, take your Vitamin D and C, and stay hydrated.
November 24, 2014For three years, Miranda Fletcher studied at Portland Community College (PCC). She had a plan. She would move forward. Ever since her junior year of high school, Miranda knew she wanted to graduate from George Fox University (GFU). She decided to first take classes at PCC in order to cut costs. Unlike many college students whose parents pay the tuition, Miranda’s family saw it as important that she work and earn this for herself. This concept was not foreign to Miranda. She said, “I have worked since the age of 12 as a babysitter. Then, at 16, I got a job, got my license, and started paying car insurance and my phone bill (I couldn’t have a phone until I was 16 and could pay for it). At 17, I bought my own car with my own money, then I had to pay for gas.” “I grew up being taught how to be responsible,” said Miranda. “It’s hard because I don’t relate to most of my peers that have their parents pay for things.” Besides developing an early work ethic, Miranda felt she mentally matured “extremely fast.” “I tend to get along better with people older than me,” she said. “At 21, people like to have sex, get drunk and party. I like to obtain knowledge, form relationships, and start becoming financially independent…I relate more to the people who have gone through the stage of learning responsibility.” A large reason for this is her older brother, Vahit. “When I was eight, my family of four adopted my older brother from Kazakhstan,” Miranda explained. “Long story short, I grew up when I was eight. My family become more distant. Still loving and stuff. It was just a hard concept for me to get my mind around at age eight and growing up.” She had been used to the idea of being the oldest child. When Vahit came into the family, she became the middle child. Still, she felt higher expectations in some ways. “Of course my parents had higher expectations for me partly because I knew English. Vahit spoke Russian and had to learn English as a second language,” she said. “I had to make it a point to get to know my older brother, partly because of the language barrier,” Miranda said. “It helped me be aware of being sensitive to other cultures.” Her time at PCC also contributed to her value for diversity. “Being here [at GFU], I really value having gone to PCC. I met a very diverse population. My first month here, I realized there is one dominant type of person here,” Miranda said. This is her first semester as a student at GFU and she is quickly learning that it is different from anywhere else. “Newberg has its very own culture. It’s also a small town and I’m not used to that,” she continued. “The longer I’m here, though, the more friends I make and the more I get used to it.” She makes sure to visit home—Hillsboro, Ore.—whenever she can, usually four to six times each month. “My younger brother, Ethan, moved into my bedroom—a larger room than his—when I moved to Fox,” she said. “So it feels less like home than before. But it’s still good to visit.” Her older brother, now 25, has two young children. Miranda lit up as she talked about getting to visit them. “The three year old is getting to the point where he remembers me, so that’s amazing. The baby is five months old and is so adorable,” she said. When she’s at school, she is focused on her work as a Nursing major. “In middle school, all my friends would come to me with their problems. The information I get stays with me—I’m a safe person to tell things to, and I want to help people. So I thought of being a counselor or psychologist,” Miranda said. “But I wanted to help take care of people on the physical side of things, too,” she went on. “My dad’s friend is a doctor who showed me the need for psychiatric nurses. Now, I want to work as a psychiatric nurse at any Veterans Hospital. I would mainly like to help veterans that have PTSD.” As Miranda discussed her dream to work with veterans, she showed a tremendous amount of respect for soldiers, especially those who return from war with psychological disorders. “I just want to help them!” she said emphatically. To be a psychiatric nurse is to help with “day to day things.” As Miranda explained, “You are the first person to notice if anything’s wrong. If they have an episode, you keep the care plan up to date. It’s a lot of monitoring.” “I just want to work in a field that I can support myself and others in,” she said. Her faith plays a large part in her dreams. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself. Those are the two main things I try to uphold. And man alive those are some of the hardest tasks,” Miranda said. “I even try to let my thoughts, even when they are not said out loud, replicate the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself. Like I said: It’s hard.” “In every conversation I have, I strive to be sensitive to the other person’s religious beliefs. I value friends and relationships. I value helping others,” Miranda said. She identifies herself as an encourager—a loving, supportive friend. As she works on her Nursing degree, she said she sometimes has pessimistic thoughts about the future. “There are things I would like to do or have happen, but I will not allow myself to make permanent plans,” she said. Regardless of whether or not Miranda becomes a psychiatric nurse for veterans as she currently dreams of doing, she will undoubtedly make an impact in countless people’s lives as she cares for them in many capacities. “The Known,” a weekly series written by Amy Rose, introduces you to people at GFU who deserve to Be Known.
November 17, 2014After another hard day of working at a homeless agency in Portland, Chris Miller was ready to go home. It would be a long way back home, so he picked up his pace as he headed for the train station. “Man, you must really can’t wait to get home.” The man’s voice caught him off guard. Who would be talking to him now? The words came from a homeless man who had noticed Chris’s quick gait. It was a weighty statement. It was as if he was telling Chris a story of a time when he once had a home to return to. However long he had been on the streets, he remembered the sense of home. It was nostalgic. Homesick. At that moment, Chris had a realization: I have a home to go to. As a senior majoring in Social Work at GFU, Chris faces the challenges of poverty head-on. Born in Indonesia to missionary parents, Chris spent most of his life in the Philippines when his parents’ ministry positions changed from language teachers to seminary professors. He attended a K-12 international school. “It was like a mini college campus,” Chris said. “It was on a hill overlooking the city, with great sunsets.” Soccer was his passion growing up. Later in high school, he was given the opportunity of teaching soccer clinics for kids. He managed about 50 kids for a couple weeks, with a big tournament at the end of the season. “That’s where I found my love for the innocence of youth,” Chris said. “I found it very comfortable to be with kids because I was a silly, rambunctious kid too. It was easy to get on their level, something God has blessed me with.” “It was cool to find that passion out of an interest in a sport,” he said. When it came time to decide on college, Chris knew only three things: The school had to be a Christian campus, on the west coast, and near a big city. “I’m a city boy,” Chris said. “Home, for me, is the concrete jungle.” It was too expensive to travel to the United States to visit colleges, so he relied on his basic criteria. He still had no idea what major he would choose. “The first year was rough, but freshman year is always awkward for anyone,” Chris said. “But God took care of me.” “I definitely experienced culture shock, which is another way to put ‘Life sucks because you’re in a new place,’” Chris laughed. “That’s definitely an MK [Missionary Kid] joke.” He repeated the sentiment that God took care of him. “He sent me a senior, Omar Medina, who was a Social Work major. Sometimes I think he was an angel,” Chris said. “We met through a mutual friend at church.” “It was cool to see someone who was so passionate. I learned about a lot of social issues from him,” said Chris. “I’ve been blessed my whole life,” Chris said. “I was surrounded by poverty in the Philippines, but I never truly engaged it. You don’t really pay attention to it unless you have to.” “Because I am blessed, I should be blessing others,” he continued. He signed up to take the introductory Social Work class with Clifford Rosenbohm, and he was hooked. “It’s a very real, very raw major because you’re not in it for yourself, that’s just straight up,” Chris said. “You don’t do it for the money or because you want to be happy all the time. It’s so emotionally taxing.” Chris began experiencing this firsthand through his internships with Love INC in Newberg and Join (a Portland-based homeless agency). “It’s so rewarding to see people grow,” he said. “And the people who don’t seem to grow, you still learn so much from them… You can’t judge a person—there’s more happening that just what’s on the surface. That takes an exorbitant amount of time and effort to see below the surface.” He has discovered the rawness of homeless populations. “They will tell you exactly how they feel,” Chris said. “It was shocking at first when you get those outbursts. You have to remember, it’s not about you. It’s not personal. You definitely see the base level of human emotion.” Besides his internships, Chris finds ways to live out his passions in other capacities. For two years, he has worked at Camp Tilikum. “A lot of spiritual growth came out of that,” he said. Even though he identifies five years old as the age when he became a Christian, Chris admits “it felt kind of fake for a long time.” “Faith became real my first summer as a camps counselor at Tilikum,” Chris said. “It was week five, when I was exhausted. All the kids were gone. After a staff meeting, I went out into the woods. There’s a path around the lake, a freakin’ Garden of Eden walk.” He smiled as the memory came back to him. He continued, “I went far enough out that no one would think I’m crazy talking out loud by myself. It was outstanding. In subtle ways, I could feel that God was there.” He said that sometimes it takes being at an ultimate low in order to begin building faith up. “You kinda [sic] have to be at the bottom. A point where I don’t give a f— anymore. You can be as honest as you want with God,” Chris said. “That prayer walk was an extremely empowering experience. It was the shift from my strength to God’s strength.” It is God’s strength he feels he must rely on in order to live out his passions. After graduating next semester, Chris plans on moving to San Francisco. “It is a place of advocacy. I want to be a part of that melting pot. My huge ambition is to be in an environment in which I’m forced to grow,” he said. Chris emphasized how blessed he feels, given that he has the choice to move anywhere he wants. He said, “My goal is thrive in the chaos . . . To be in the city, where there’s always something to do and no excuse to sit on your butt.” “The Known,” a weekly series written by Amy Rose, introduces you to people at GFU who deserve to Be Known.
November 14, 2014George Fox University has an wide-ranging marketing presence. Whether through billboards, online advertisements, or social media, GFU tries to send a simple, well-written message to perspective students. Clearly, with two record enrollment years, (despite national averages) the university is doing something right. Ryan Dougherty, executive director of admissions, attributes this success to GFU’s singular messaging. “I believe the synchronization of our efforts is key,” said Dougherty. “The marketing department does a fantastic job with the website and SEO [search engine optimization] . . .Our campus visit program is a hallmark of our efforts as our current students and staff are tremendous representatives of the educational experience we are out selling.” Rob Felton, director of marketing communications, says that the research-driven approach has had a large impact on GFU’s marketing tactics. According to Felton, the university used to spend a large amount of money on print advertising, but when they began putting those resources into billboards around the Portland area, they found more success. Another medium that GFU heavily invests in is the website, which according to Felton, “is how many of our prospective students learn about us.” Perhaps GFU’s success is because of the feel-good messages that its advertising produces. Looking through the content of GFU’s marketing, you will find eight key messages. According to the university’s website, the key messages say that GFU is: “Nationally recognized, academically rigorous, student focused, relationally designed, opportunity rich, faith infused, service minded, and globally engaged.” Another factor is the huge influence social media has had in the marketing sector. “Certainly it has provided new avenues for students and families to research and explore college options,” said Dougherty. The marketing department invests lots of time and research into optimizing their social media outlets, and making sure they use the most of those tools. In addition to this, according to Dougherty, the university does seem to genuinely deliver on the promises made in its marketing: “George Fox is a special place and our marketing and admissions teams are fully committed to the vision of making this place the Christian university of choice…The draw is apparent on the campus visit and we are thankful for current students who choose to authentically share experiences with prospective students.”