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Autumn 2006 | Volume 29, Number 4 | Alumni

Alumna Uses New Platform for Good

Miss Washington

SHE'S PRETTY, OF COURSE, but there’s more to Miss Washington — 2006 Seattle Pacific University graduate Kristen Eddings — than just a beautiful face.

Eddings is the first to admit that people might need to be “educated” on that point. “I get a variety of responses,” she says, smiling. “Some people have said, ‘Wow, I never thought of you doing something like that.’ Others underestimate what Miss Washington is all about.”

What it’s about is a position that gives Eddings, 22, a bully pulpit for what she calls her “platform.” Last summer, she traveled to Los Angeles to begin work with the Miss America organization, where she and the other contestants were preparing for the nationally televised pageant in January 2007.

“The experience in L.A. was an eye-opener,” she recalls. “I wondered about all that celebrity. But the job gives me another chance to talk about my platform, from corporations to schools. It’s a great opportunity.”

Eddings’ passion? Bringing back geography to the classroom and supporting international education. “I want to see the lines of communication opened with more students studying abroad,” she says, “especially in nontraditional countries where English is not spoken.”

At 16, she did precisely that. She lived and studied in Japan, learning to speak conversational Japanese. “That experience shaped me,” says Eddings. “It’s a big part of who I am.”

Her other travels include a trip this fall to India, where she judged the “Miss Tibet” pageant. While at SPU, she traveled to Sierra Leone in West Africa, teaching English with a SPRINT team. “The girls I taught were so appreciative of the attention,” she remembers. When her reign as Miss Washington (and possibly as Miss America) ends, she plans to join the Peace Corps. “I want to teach girls in Jordan,” she says. “It’s a progressive Muslim country for girls’ education.”

After that, it’s off to graduate school for a master’s degree in international affairs, following up on her studies at Seattle Pacific. “At SPU, I thought I’d major in political science, but I was encouraged to explore international affairs,” she explains. “I’m so thankful for that and for my years there. I loved my professors, my friends. It was a wonderful experience.”

With her master’s degree, Eddings plans to begin international work in nongovernmental agencies, learning from the ground up and on the frontline. Eventually, she hopes to translate that knowledge into a government career with her eye on a very big prize: “My ultimate goal is to become the first female U.S. ambassador to Japan.”

She wisely admits that these plans are subject to change, or at least modification. “I know where I want to be eventually,” says the reigning Miss Washington, “but I’m open to how I get there.”


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Beyond Intellectual Mastery
President Philip Eaton offers a more complete view of education: Learning is “a bigger story than our own little pieces of intellectual mastery.”

Advising Future Physicians
In 2006, SPU achieved a 100 percent medical school acceptance rate through its unique, longtime approach to “shepherding” premed students.

Fiction on a Small Canvas
A new volume celebrates the best in Christian short stories — and leads off with a creation of SPU Adjunct Professor Mary Kenagy.

Goodwill Goalkeeping
Star soccer player Marcus Hahnemann ’93 wins fans in Europe, and represents America in the 2006 World Cup.

My Response
Principal and SPU doctoral student Karol Pulliam considers the classroom implications of John Medina’s 12 brain rules.

Back-Cover Art
Class of 2000 alumna Anne Faith Nicholls gives Response readers a “Page One Examination.”

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