Jonathan Roberts ‘17

Jonathan Roberts

Hometown: Overland Park, Kansas
Majors: Francophone Studies, Global Development Studies

For me, Seattle Pacific University’s “best value” ranking was true. Given my financial aid, small classes, relationships with professors, and vibrant Christian community ... all in one of the most coveted places to live, attending SPU was just as affordable as a public university in Kansas.

People often say that college is what you make of it. This is true at Seattle Pacific University, too. But SPU provides you with a wealth of resources to make these four years some of the best in your life.

I’d taken Spanish since Kindergarten — and I got pretty good at it in high school. I reached out to Latin American groups and befriended students at my high school who had immigrated to Kansas. I also taught an ESL class for Latin American immigrants in downtown Kansas City.

I had intended to major in Spanish at SPU, but after I visited Haiti while I was a high school senior, I decided to study French — and God has truly blessed that decision.

At SPU, the French and Francophone Studies major is globally focused. I’ve learned about the lives of people in Africa, the Caribbean, Asia, and Europe. I’ve hosted French people in the U.S.; I’ve been a part of a church community in Lyon, France; I’ve seen Cameroonian cinema; I’ve read Canadian folk tales; I’ve discussed the French higher-education system; and I’ve debated the Négritude movement in the Caribbean.

It is truly unique to understand more than French as a language, and it is absolutely outstanding to draw from Dr. Michelle Beauclair’s expertise. She is a gold mine of literary, cultural, and geographic information.

The second thing I’ll say is that SPU’s academic environment is extremely open. Learning takes precedence. I had a huge interest in Haitian culture my sophomore year. We figured out what books were a must-read and how many papers I should write, and it became an independent study for me.

When I was unable to afford to study abroad through an American organization (and knowing universities in France have significantly cheaper tuition), I asked if I could directly transfer to the University of Lyon for a semester and transfer back in Winter Quarter. The department said, “Let’s find out.” Studying abroad ended up being my cheapest quarter at SPU — and I got a crazy amount of credits since I studied for a semester while only missing one SPU quarter.

Through my studies, I’ve identified three career paths that interest me: nonprofit leadership, economic research, and public policy. These can all be intertwined in a setting such as working on Capitol Hill, or doing research for an economics think-tank. In terms of what I intend to do immediately after SPU, I am currently utilizing my networks in search of a research assistantship, or an aide position with a congressman/woman or senator in Washington, D.C.

I’ve also been looking at graduate schools in France, such as Sciences Po, the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, or the INSEAD business school. Ten years from now, I’d like to be in leadership of some kind — where my actions are seen by others, and where there’s a sense of authority and influence in my decisions.

 Kailee Luebke ‘19

Kailee Luebke ‘19

“My pursuit of Chinese has been part of a personal journey to discover more of who I am.”

Owen Ewald

Dr. Owen Ewald

Associate Professor of Classics Owen Ewald answers questions about studying the classics, reading the Bible in Greek, and why he likes the movie The Life of Brian.

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