Madisynn McCombs

SBGE student Madisynn

What is your current major and why did you choose it?

As a International Sustainable Development major, I jumped at the chance to combine many of my interests into one degree, where multiple fields integrate and help me become more well-rounded. Politics, economics, theology, sociology, business, and other fields complement and support each other in the International Sustainable Development major, and allow me to pursue my strengths and interests while growing and being challenged in other areas. I have had the opportunity to adjust my planned coursework within my major in order to learn more about myself, my strengths and interests, and what exactly I want to study in more specialized ways, all while staying under the same major of International Sustainable Development. As I’ve gone through my coursework, everything has pointed me towards my calling and my future career: working towards creating systems, structures, and institutions that allow for people to have opportunities to live lives that they see as valuable and fulfilling. The International Sustainable Development major and faculty have consistently shown to be the best way for me to gain the educational tools that I need to pursue a career related to my calling.

Why did you choose to study at Seattle Pacific University?

SPU has a unique balance between being a biblically-based, Christ-centered institution of higher education, while also being dedicated to social justice and equality; many students and professors are passionate about a wide range of issues related to justice, reconciliation, intersectionality, and progress. This brings a convergence of Christianity and real-world issues to apply in conversations both inside and outside classrooms. As someone who holds both values in equal importance, this was a major deciding factor in why I chose to study at SPU. Also, the Seattle location and Pacific Northwest setting have been wonderful for my professional and personal growth, as I’ve been able to explore the multitude of NGOs, social enterprises, and activist movements that exist in this area of the world. I also love the size of the student body and the size of my major; the size of the student population is large enough to have diversity in the voices that are represented in classroom conversations, but still small enough to form close, personal relationships with my peers and professors which I know will last a lifetime.

How does your education at SPU empower you to develop expanding social, cultural, and political freedoms for others?

Economist and philosopher Amartya Sen argued that development is a process of expanding social, cultural, and political freedoms; furthermore, I argue that addressing systemic injustices is the best way to address the roots of poverty and suffering, thus expanding freedoms and opportunities. In my career, I want to address specific aspects of these freedoms such as political empowerment and enfranchisement, equal access to equal education, and rights of refugees and immigrants – all of which relate to addressing larger issues of systemic discrimination like racism and misogyny. The International Sustainable Development major has helped me discern exactly what type of institutional work I will go into, and gives me the knowledge and background to work with a unique, Christian, justice-oriented perspective. My experiences at SPU beyond the classroom have also helped my discernment. Multiple leadership opportunities have shown me what it takes to do on-the-ground work of empowering others, and university-sponsored speakers and panels have let me hear real-world experiences from professionals that build on what I learn inside classrooms. Because of SPU’s dedication to a holistic education, I feel prepared to pursue a specific career after graduation where I will be fulfilling my calling.

SBGE student Aaron

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