Meet the Class of 2019

Learn more about these outstanding graduates and take a look at photo galleries from Ivy Cutting, Undergraduate Commencement, and Graduate Commencement.

Undergraduate Commencement 2019

Hear from some of the 2019 graduates.

Watch on YouTube

Some of Our Outstanding Graduates

Salma Aly

MajorBusiness Administration with Finance Emphasis

Salma’s summer internship at Boeing lead her to SPU. Salma was tasked with reducing the number of unpaid invoices, totaling about $1.3 million. She said “I had to ask what we could do moving forward to make sure things can be paid in a timely manner in the future." Salma coordinated with teams, and now the invoice status is 99% current.

Hannah Baillie

Major: Dietetics

Hannah started studying engineering, but then found her passion in dietetics. She volunteered to part of SPU’s annual Body Positive Week. “You can never have too much positivity in the world, and I feel like what we are doing is spreading that,” she said. “Giving someone a flower or information or a button can just brighten their day or even inform them of something, and they can spread that around.”

Anne Grace Baur

Major/Minor: Self-designed major in international studies: peace and conflict resolution, and culture and minor in French. 

With her self-designed major, Anne will work with TAPIF (Teaching Assistant Program in France) after graduation. She said it would be hard to identify her favorite classes. "The professors at SPU are absolutely incredible, and I have felt so lucky to study under them. There are so many courses that have incredibly enticing and challenging content, but for me what has made the best classes has been the professors.”

Yingjie Cao

Major: Dietetics 

The dietetics major was accepted into the very competitive post-graduate dietetic internship at Oregon Health & Science University. One of her professor’s wrote, “As an international student from China, she entered a new culture, proficiently learned English, and has become a leader both among her nutrition peers and among all international students at the university.”

Robert Chung

Major/Minor: Computer Science and Applied Math (double major)

The computer science and applied math major was part of a team that finished in the top 10 in a math competition, out of 5728 submissions! He’s heading to Amazon to work as a software developer.

David Reyes Cordova

Majors: Mechanical Engineering and General Engineering

The mechanical engineering major was a member of SPU’s Baja SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) team, and spent countless hours designing and building a single-seat, all-terrain recreational sporting vehicle prototype for the yearly competition. 

Micaela Davidson

Major: Theater Education 

Everything changed for Micaela when she took her first acting class, which led to her favorite class, Auditioning, with Professor Vance. "Auditions are daunting, but this class was far from that. I loved being able to workshop monologues and learn audition tricks from an incredible professor while surrounded by encouraging peers.”

Hector Dominguez-Maceda
Hector Dominguez-Maceda

Major: Computer Science

Throughout Hector’s time at SPU, he used his technical skills to help in the School of Education, University Communications, Computer and Information Systems, and also worked at a tutor in the Computer Science Lab.

Jessica Fossum

Major: Applied Mathematics and Psychology

As she heads to UCLA to pursue a PhD in psychology, Jessica says her favorite and most challenging class was Probability and Statistics. "Through this class, and with the help of professors who care enough to take the time to help me figure out what I'm passionate about, I ended up finding statistics to be a major area of overlap between psychology and mathematics."

Jacqueline Kemp

Major/Minor: Communication Studies

A walk-on to the women’s rowing team, Jacqueline became the varsity coxswain and competed in the NCAA championships. “But even more exciting than a chance at a national championship title is the dedication that I’ve developed and the incredible friendships I’ve made with my teammates. You can’t go through life alone any more than you can cross the finish line at a regatta alone.” 

Juilie Kim

Major: Food and Nutritional Sciences: Dietetics 

The future dietitian says the Faith, Philosophy, and Science class with Professor Benton challenged her faith and made it stronger. “My favorite memory of SPU is meeting all the amazing professors I had the honor of working with and all the wonderful discussions we had together that helped me to grow personally and intellectually.’

Geneva Lehnert, Olivia Coppock, Sarah Lewis, and Devin Atsatt

Major: Art Photography/Digital Media

These four graduating seniors showcased their work at a special exhibit titled "Between Worlds" at SPU’s Art Center Gallery. They talk about their work in a recent Falcon news story.

Clarice Liao

Major: Food and Nutrition Dietetics Emphasis

Clarice was a volunteer at Swedish Hospital, and that motivated her to pursue the opportunity to become a public health dietitian. The international student is thankful for her time at SPU. “I will definitely say that I love being part of SPU community, and I thank God every day for bringing me to SPU to equip me.”

Ben Madlena

Major: Finance

One of the first things Ben did when he came to campus was meet with a financial aid counselor who helped him develop a plan that would make paying for college possible. “Get your FAFSA done early and investigate your scholarship, grant, and loan options,” he says. “Then, apply to work study jobs. You can make it happen.”

Frank Martinez

GraduateMaster’s in Business Administration (MBA) with an emphasis in Finance (SPU Class of 2019)

Undergraduate: Double MajorBusiness Administration with an emphasis on International Business and Financial Economics  (SPU Class of 2015)

The MBA graduate, who double majored in business administration and global development as an undergraduate at SPU, landed a consulting contract in South America. “With the education I have received from SPU, I can now take my skills anywhere in the world. SPU has allowed me to think globally; working in Europe, Asia, or Latin America is no longer a dream but a reality.” 

Madisynn McCombs

Major: Global Development 

Madisynn found her calling in working towards creating systems, structures, and institutions that allow for people to have opportunities to live lives that they see as valuable and fulfilling. “Storytelling is also such a big part of so many of these cultures, that when we take away people’s ability to tell stories and listen to stories, that is taking away a huge part of their culture and history,” McCombs said.

Micailah Moore

Major: Sociology

Student researcher Micailah interviewed Tent City 3 residents during their stay at SPU in 2018. She was also interviewed by The New York Times when the paper featured Tent City 3.

Jessica Mooris

Major: Psychology

Throughout her time at SPU, Jessica has experienced personal growth by seeing a counselor, which has laid the path for her to become a counselor herself one day. “I think as a counselor, I feel confident to work to hold hope for people when they don’t see it themselves,” she said.

Justin Palagnas

Major: Psychology

Justin has been a key member in AnteUp, SPU’s hip-hop dance club, where students are given a space to express themselves in community with others through motion. “The important aspect is being able to tell your own story, not just by using words, but also by showing your emotion, showing your movements, and presenting yourself in a way that words cannot describe,” said Justin.

Kaitlyn Payton

Major/Minor: Economics with a concentration in International Business and Business Analytics

Kaitlyn says one of her favorite memories was a field trip to Seattle's Pike Place Market. "We grabbed coffee and donuts, and walked around and talked about economics in real time. It was a testament to the investment and intentionality the professors have with students, as well as the community and relationships that have been built among the students."

Joseph Pham

Major: Biochemistry

Joseph’s love for music led him to form the a cappella group, Cry of the Falcon. The active volunteer and member of the men’s service group Centurions is grateful for faculty who encouraged him. “I’ve been challenged here to learn about my faith to understand and defend what I believe. It has been a huge blessing and a source of peace in my life.”

Deyon Robertson

Major: Business Administration with Finance Emphasis

Deyon was the only intern in board meetings with top executives at Aetna and CVS during one of the largest health care mergers in United States history. “The internship made me feel like ‘this is what school is for,’” he says. “There’s something greater that we need to be prepared for.”

Nina Selset

Major: Fashion Merchandising

As president of MODE, SPU’s fashion club, Nina worked with Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) to create a special event in conjunction with the museum's Seattle Style: Fashion/Function exhibit. She said, “What I enjoy most about the fashion show is no matter what anybody’s journey has been, … I just see everybody come together, happy and confident, knowing they are capable of doing something great.”

Nettie Silvernale

Triple Major: Accounting, Business Administrator & Developmental Economics

After the passing of her roommate Erin Kimminau, Nettie took a break to find what her purpose truly was. She said, “I wanted to do something that at the end of my life I can look back and say, ‘I’m so happy I spent my life doing that...making a difference, or trying to.'”

Crystal Sierra Suarez

Major/Minor: Communications / Computer Science

As a first-generation student, Crystal took advantage of every opportunity to learn and experience new things. She found resources on- and off-campus to help make college affordable. "I was on my own when it came to paying SPU, but I wasn't completely alone on my journey. I have found so many amazing mentors at SPU and in other companies who genuinely want to help me succeed." 

Leanna Temple

Major: Mechanical engineering

Leanna’s hometown newspaper the Carson City News featured her academic and volunteer work as a student, as well as her plans after graduation.

Stephanie Tichelaar

Major/Minor: Master of Education in School Counseling

A leader and organizer of many campus events, Stephanie says she loved bringing the community together. “It was great to be a part of the SPU and School of Education community. I couldn’t have accomplished it all without that feeling of community and the support it brings.’

The first graduates in the BioCORE Scholars program

Laarni Aguila, (BS in Cell & Molecular Biology); Hayley Cheyney Kane (BS in Physiology), Leslie Rodriguez-Sala (BS in Biochemistry), Simone Neal (BA in Biology) and Cienn Joyeux (BS in Cell & Molecular Biology) are the first graduates of this program that supports first generation students and those traditionally underrepresented in biological and biomedical sciences. This leadership program works to build community, promote academic success, and create mentoring networks.

Abbe Blank, Mary Christensen, and Richie Gamiño
First graduates in the Information Studies Minor

Minor: Information Studies

Richie Gamiño, Abbe Blank, and Mary Christensen are the first students to graduate with the new minor in information studies. Their service learning project involved reviewing grant applications with the City of Seattle, which helped distribute $320,000 to organizations trying to address underserved populations and the “digital divide."

Our Retiring Faculty and Staff

These retiring faculty and staff members will finish their careers at Seattle Pacific with the Class of 2019. Learn more about them at SPU Voices.

JoAnn Atwell-Scrivner
Joann Atwell-Scrivner

Associate Professor of Health and Human Performance; Department Chair
Department: Health and Human Performance
Years at SPU: 33 years

“I teach at SPU because of my experiences with the students, the student athletes, and my colleagues. I have enjoyed every single minute —and every moment has been a valuable learning experience for me, too.”

Atwell-Scrivner colleagues talk about her many contributions to SPU in this short video.

Rick Eigenbrood
Dirk (Rick) Eigenbrood

Professor of Education; Director of Assessment
Department: Education
Years at SPU: 18 years

Eigenbrood’s colleagues talked about his contributions to SPU in this short video.

Arthur K. Ellis
Arthur Ellis

Professor of Education; Director of the Center for Global Curriculum Studies
Department: Education
Years at SPU: 33 years

“Over the years, I have come to realize that educating and caring for my students has an exponential effect on the lives of young people across Washington, and even across the nation. I could not imagine being anywhere else — or doing any other work — as important as this.”

Learn more about Ellis contributions to the School of Education, and hear what his colleagues have to say about his contributions to SPU in this short video. The student newspaper The Falcon also recently featured Ellis.

Faculty Headshot
Dan Hess

Professor of Finance
Department: Finance
Years at SPU: 42 years

“I can’t think of a better way to spend a professional career,” he said. “Immersing myself in finance, working with young people, having great colleagues, and working in the Pacific Northwest is hard to beat.”

Hess’ colleagues talk about his contributions to SPU in this short video.

Ramona Holmes
Ramona Holmes

Professor and Director of Music Education and Ethnomusicology; Coordinator of Music Education
Department: Music
Years at SPU: 25 years

“It is a joy to teach music education with students who are called to serve. The SPU students are passionate about music and want to share their gifts with others.”

The student newspaper The Falcon recently featured Holmes and her colleagues talk about her contributions to SPU in this short video.

Richard Jackson
Richard Jackson

Assistant Professor of Journalism
Department: Journalism
Years at SPU: 24 years

“I teach at SPU because I cherish working in an environment that encourages constant reflection on what it means to live as a Christian amid a media landscape that is in perpetual transformation. Therefore, we can have an ongoing conversation on faith and practice that, in the words of reconciliation scholar John Paul Lederach, has its ‘head in the clouds and feet on the ground.’”

The student newspaper The Falcon also featured their longtime faculty advisor, and his colleagues talk about his contributions to SPU in this short video.

Don MacDonald
Donald MacDonald

Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy
Department: Marriage and Family Therapy
Years at SPU: 42 years

“I am a holistic, lifelong learner. I invite my students, mostly graduate students, to join me on this journey of discovery. The endeavor is holistic, in that all of who I am — especially my relationship with the triune God — is involved…SPU affords all of us learners opportunities for such holistic growth, which, in turn, shows up in teaching and scholarly activities.”

MacDonald’s colleagues talk about his contributions to SPU in this short video.

Steven Maybell
Steve Maybell

Director of Student Counseling Services
Department: Student Counseling Services
Years at SPU: 14 years

“I fortunate to have had the opportunity to work here. It’s my favorite job of all time.”

The student newspaper The Falcon recently featured Maybell and his time at SPU.

Gaile Moe Headshot
Gaile Moe

Professor of Family and Consumer Sciences, Director of General Education and Undergraduate Curriculum
Department and Link: Family and Consumer Science
Years at SPU: 25 years

“Really what kept me here are both the faculty and the students. There are just so many good people who work here and so many who are committed to being good teachers and good scholars, and committed to students.”

The student newspaper The Falcon recently featured Moe, and her colleagues talk about her contributions to SPU in this short video.

William Nagy
William (Bill) Nagy

Professor of Education; Literacy
Department: Education
Years at SPU: 23 years

“I teach because I love to teach, and because it is one of the ways I can most powerfully impact the lives of others for good. I teach at SPU because here I can put all of who I am into my teaching.”

Learn more about Nagy’s contributions to the School of Education, and hear what colleagues have to say about his contributions to SPU in this short video.

Susan Okamoto-Lane
Susan Okamoto-Lane

Dean of Multi-Ethnic and Wellness Programs
Department: Multi-Ethnic Programs
Years at SPU: 36 years

“My life mission statement is ‘Helping people take the next step,’ and for college students that’s what it’s all about.”

The student newspaper The Falcon recently featured Okamoto-Lane.

Faculty Headshot
Joanna Poznanska

Professor of International Business
Department: International Business
Years at SPU: 31 years

“I teach at SPU because I want to make a difference in the lives of my students… I want to not only teach my subject but also to convey my passion for learning and goodness in life which comes from moral choices.”

The student newspaper The Falcon recently featured Poznanska, and her colleagues talk about her contributions to SPU in this short video.

William Prenevost
William Prenevost

Associate Professor of Educational Administration and Supervision; Chair of Educational Leadership
Department: Educational Leadership MEd
Years at SPU: 13 years

“As a school superintendent I knew that the education candidates from SPU were well prepared, competent, and people of extraordinary character…Teaching at SPU allows me to not only be part of preparing future educational leaders but also being part of a faith community that has an influence on the character of future leaders.” ”

Learn more about Prenevost’s contributions to the School of Education, and hear what his colleagues have to say about his contributions to SPU in this short video.

Rick Ridgway
Richard Ridgway

Associate Professor of Biology
Department: Biology
Years at SPU: 30 years

“I teach at SPU because I am so enriched by the enthusiasm for learning and the desire to serve others. I felt a very strong calling to return to the SPU community and share my joy of learning with new generations of undergraduate students through teaching, scientific research, and advising.”

Ridgway’s colleagues talk about his contributions to SPU in this short video.

Mícheál Roe
Mícheál Roe

Professor of Psychology
Department: Psychology
Years at SPU: 31 years

“I teach at SPU because I delight in rigorous learning and sharing that delight with students, both undergraduate and graduate; because of its high priority for faculty-student mentoring relationships, providing deep, rich, and fulfilling encounters; and because it is a university that permits great freedom in the classroom and in scholarship to explore ‘ultimate’ questions about God’s purpose and calling for our lives.”

Roe’s colleagues talk about his contributions to SPU in this short video.

Tina Schermer Sellers
Tina Schermer-Sellers

Associate Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy; Director of Medical Family Therapy
Department: Marriage and Family Therapy
Years at SPU: 21 years

“I teach at SPU because it is a place that values nurturing the whole person. It recognizes students come to us with a collective history, nested in relationships, filled hopes, dreams, and visions for their life. As an associate professor I am encouraged to do more than impart knowledge. I am encouraged to mentor, listen, shape, and nourish people on their path of passion and calling. It is sacred work, and I love how my life has been made rich in the process.”

Learn more about Schermer-Sellers at SPU Voices.

Faculty Headshot
Regina Schlee

Professor of Marketing
Department: Marketing
Years at SPU: 35 years

“I love teaching students at Seattle Pacific University because of the special bond that is created between students and professors. I enjoy getting to know my students, explaining to them the contribution of the discipline of marketing to business and society, and discussing ethical issues that arise from the practice of marketing.”

The student newspaper The Falcon recently featured Schlee and her colleagues talk about her contributions to SPU in this short video.

Frank Spina
Frank Spina

Professor of Old Testament
Department: Theology
Years at SPU: 46 years

“I teach at SPU because I love the life of the mind, intellectual stimulation, bracing academic arguments, the search for truth, the importance of logic and rationality, dealing with life’s most significant questions, the interchange with young minds, and the opportunity to teach Christian Scripture and foster theological deliberation.”

The student newspaper The Falcon recently featured Spina and his colleagues talk about his contributions to SPU in this short video.

John Thoburn
John Thoburn

Professor of Clinical Psychology
Department: Clinical Psychology
Years at SPU: 21 years

“The Clinical Psychology program is a true scientist-practitioner model emphasizing a reciprocal relationship between science and art, research and practice, content, and process.”

Thoburn’s colleagues talk about his contributions to SPU in this short video.

Douglas Thorpe

Professor of English, Lingua Faculty Advisor
Department: English
Years at SPU: 31 years

“Moments when you feel like … you’re in an academic environment and you’re doing work that you’re given to do, and yet something is moved, and it feels like at least some of the students are also aware that you’re in a holy place. Something sacred had just taken place. That’s, for me, the goal.”

The student newspaper The Falcon recently featured Thorpe and his colleagues talk about his contributions to SPU in this short video.

Laurel Tindall
Laurel Tindall

Head Coach
Department: Gymnastics
Years at SPU: 46 years

“I’ve been able to work with some really great athletes who are now my friends and I treasure their friendship and also been blessed to work with some great assistant coaches who were predominantly my past athletes. It is always great to see athletes choose to go into coaching and I hope that I have had some small part in them making that decision.”

The student newspaper The Falcon recently featured Tindall.

Elaine Weltz

Assistant Professor and Chair, Computer Science
Department: Computer Science
Years at SPU: 35 years

“I enjoy teaching because I love to watch students experience that ‘Aha!’ moment of victory that comes from solving the puzzle that is computer programming. The most gratifying part of my SPU experience is watching — and helping — students grow and mature from beginning programmers into computing professionals.”

The student newspaper The Falcon recently featured Weltz and her colleagues talk about her contributions to SPU in this short video.

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