Seminary Story: Christal Jenkins Tanks

I grew up in Vancouver, Washington. In high school I ran a Bible study during lunches, bringing in pastors from all over to speak. At the University of Washington, I also led a Bible study called Women of Excellence. After my freshman year, I landed a marketing job with Hewlett Packard. It was my first experience in corporate, and I fell in love with it.

After graduation, I got a job at Tegic, a company that developed predictive-text input software. I was doing great things, but what I enjoyed more was being able to challenge people to see their purpose in life, something I was able to do on the board of directors for YWCA. In addition to my professional and community endeavors, I've authored two books — Discovering the True Love Within and LIVE! Speaking Life to Your Dry Bones, and co-authored one, God Crazy Freedom.

How I Came to SPU

I wanted to go to grad school, but didn't know whether to do an MBA or a master's in theology. I had the corporate experience. I'd done the ministry thing. Now I had to choose which to go with for the rest of my life.

As I was Googling schools, I came across Seattle Pacific University, and saw the Business and Applied Theology program. I always felt there shouldn't be a separation between faith and work. I had told God, "You made me this way. Why do I have to choose?"

I applied to the program, and a few weeks later I got laid off from my job. A few days after that, I was accepted into the program. I sensed God telling me, "Don't worry. I've got you covered."

My Experience at SPU

The "Abbey" component has been a high point for me — the community aspect helps when you're in a place where you're highly vulnerable, where many of the things you've learned in your life are being challenged (not in a bad way). You're with people from all walks of life, but everyone is growing.

Another high point has been the relationship between professors and students. Doug and Cindy Strong were like parents to all of us. They genuinely cared about what was going on in our lives. Kerry Dearborn's class opened my eyes to "creation care," the main motivation for my MBA emphasis in social and sustainable enterprise.

I tell everybody, "You ought to come to SPS, but be prepared for a challenge." That first year was tough, but you don't know what you're made of until it's challenged. I applaud SPS for bringing business into a seminary setting and helping us see Jesus in everything we're learning.

Laura Shigeta

Laura Shigeta, MDiv '26

Cody Sugai

Cody Sugai, MA-Theology — Christian Min. '23