What led you to Concordia University Irvine?
I was led to CUI through my background in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS). I had the grades and test scores to get into any number of colleges, but I only applied to Concordia Irvine because I felt an internal call from God to spend my college years there. I also trusted in the academic rigor of CUI and the theological depth of the Concordia System to lead me to be a well-educated student and minister in the LCMS.
What influenced the choice of your major?
I knew I wanted to enter church work, and after learning about the Director of Christian Education (DCE) program at CUI, I was confident that this program would be most effective in giving me a rich learning experience. CUI’s DCE program is a part of the theology department (Christ College), not the teaching department, which is unique to CUI, and I valued the emphasis the director placed on educating Commissioned ministers who are deeply educated in theology but experienced and well informed teachers. CUI’s DCE program also requires the most fieldwork hours of any DCE program in the synod, so I knew I would graduate as prepared and equipped as possible for service in the church.
Which faculty or staff member do you most admire?
I most admire Rebecca Duport, the Director of the DCE program at Concordia Irvine. She gives above and beyond what is required of her to personally make every student feel welcome and equipped. She provides multiple extra service-learning opportunities for students outside of the classroom, and reaches out to students frequently when they are in crisis. She is a gifted teacher and structures her classes to be as academically rigorous as any program at the university. She is an anointed leader of the program and has over 20 years of field experience as a DCE, which brings a unique and valued perspective to the program. She has elevated the program’s academics, theological depth, field experience, and breadth of opportunity, and she can be credited for the growth of CUI’s DCE program to become the largest DCE program in the Concordia system.
Where have you experienced growth as a student?
I experienced growth as a student in all of my classes—in living up to high expectations for quality of work, time applied, outside experience, and professionalism, all preparing me to be a church worker with high standards for success in the professional environment. I also experienced growth as a person at CUI as my spiritual life was enriched, deepened, and fed by on-campus and off-campus opportunity. My heart was softened by the numerous service experiences CUI offered me, and I grew to be a person whose faith inspires action. I developed deep and fulfilling relationships with friends and faculty that will continue to encourage growth in me as a person and a professional.
What do you consider your greatest achievement so far?
I consider my legacy among my peers to be my greatest achievement. One’s life and impact can be measured by the echoes of their leadership in the lives of others, and I am very proud of the lasting impact I was encouraged by faculty to make in the lives of younger students. Included in that legacy are my academic achievements like taking first place in the President’s Academic Showcase of Undergraduate Research, and involvement in campus ministry as Men’s Ministry Coordinator, and more.
What did you enjoy most about your internship?
My internship has been the perfect opportunity to grow under the supervision of CUI faculty who continue to mentor and guide me. It’s especially nice to have my internship after graduation so that I have completed my degree and gained more experience so I can pursue certification in the LCMS.
How do you define vocation?
Vocation is any position in life that God calls us into to minister to others. I have many, my first currently as a son and brother, but soon to be a husband—also as a DCE, a musician in the church, and a friend.
What would be your ideal job?
My ideal job is a place in the church where I can use my gifts with freedom and trust to raise up families and followers of Christ.
Describe your most meaningful ministry or outreach experience to date.
My favorite outreach opportunity was our DCE Program annual service-learning mission trip to Ojo de Agua in Tijuana, Mexico. Through my time at Concordia Irvine, I traveled to this community 7 times to build homes, distribute food, and pray for and encourage the same hilltop community in faith and life. I developed close relationships with many people and children in the community and I will always value the experience of planning mission trips in detail every year.
What is one thing you have most valued about your time at CUI?
I valued the experience of living so closely to friends who encourage you academically, spiritually, and emotionally to grow in fullness of faith and life. Once you graduate, you aren’t able to have the same environment to encourage growth. I look back with great fondness on my time living on campus at CUI.
What is your favorite Concordia tradition?
My favorite Concordia Tradition is the Beach Bash. I always loved the community feel of coming back to school, seeing old and new faces, and celebrating the New Year together at the beach.
Who are your heroes in real life?
My real-life hero is my mom. She left her job in retirement services to follow God’s call to be a Pre-school teacher at a Lutheran school and a year later to be the Principal. She served as the Principal at Faith Lutheran School in Lacey, WA for about six years and doubled enrollment while elevating the professionalism of the school. She now works her dream job in Early Childhood Education at a local non-profit, just got her Master’s degree in that field, and travels around the state giving keynote addresses and educating daycare directors, school administrators, and rooms full of teachers and parents on how to raise up children that are well-educated, well-developed, and well-informed. She’s always been my hero and my role-model for service to God and the church.