Our Students: The Inspiration Behind My Book, ‘Worthy’

By Melanie Springer Mock
Professor of English

The epiphany happened early in my teaching career, during a spring semester finals week. As a thank you for being my assistant for several years, I took a graduating senior to lunch, and together we talked about her experience at George Fox University. Even though Rose was a wicked-smart student, an academic success, one of the best assistants I’d ever have, and a talented singer and actor in musical theatre, she admitted during our lunch that she felt like she was graduating a failure. Her reasoning? She hadn’t found ”The One” to whom she could commit life-long marital fidelity.

At that moment, I realized how potent the “ring by spring” mythology can be at many Christian universities, where young people – women especially – assume getting engaged is a true mark of collegiate success. I also recognized, for the first time, that I was not alone: that my own experience at a Christian college was not unlike Rose’s, because I also graduated with a strong sense that there was something wrong with me, since God had not blessed me with a partner who would ostensibly make my life complete. (more…)

Read More

Lucatero Uses Position at Microsoft to Give Back

Arturo Lucatero recalls the day his world suddenly changed – when a session with his counselor at Tigard High School altered the direction of his life.

A recent emigrant from Mexico, Lucatero had long dreamed of working in the computer industry, specifically with Microsoft. The initial plan was to continue working at his fast food job, graduate from high school and attend community college part time before transferring to a four-year institution.

It was then that his counselor suggested he look into scholarships. “I’d never heard of George Fox at that point,” he says. “But I was told about this Act Six program they had, and I thought, ‘Why not apply?’ I had nothing to lose.”
(more…)

Read More

A Long Hike Finished

A son’s tribute to the sacrifice and dedication it took for his father to earn his college degree

By Conor Walsh
 
Late night, in a dark room with a bright screen, he sits with the light bouncing off of his eyes. He wipes his hands over his face trying to shake off the tiredness and ignore the call of the bed, where his wife is fast asleep. It’s just another late night before an early morning, one in a long string of days that lead him toward his goal at a sloth-like pace. Sleep must be sacrificed. Sacrifice is something he is used to, though this one is different. This one is for him.
 
Patrick Walsh graduated from George Fox’s Adult Degree Program at the age of 50 with a bachelor’s degree in management and organizational leadership. The scene above is a small part of his college experience. His path reminds us that the journey of students is as unique as the students themselves. These journeys are filled with obstacles, detours, ups and downs, sacrifices and many late nights.
(more…)

Read More

Curriculum Choices and the Be Known Promise

By Melanie Springer Mock, Professor of English

As the end of another semester swiftly approaches, I’ve been reflecting on my first months ever at George Fox, back in 1986, when I was a college freshman. That fall was a horrible one, and after folks had told me college would be the best years of my life, I silently suffered, because I couldn’t figure out what had gone wrong and why I felt especially miserable.

Conflicts with my roommate had made my dorm room almost uninhabitable, and I didn’t have the skills to navigate our different communication styles or sleeping schedules. The transition to college academics was also rough, and because I lacked the tools to succeed in classes, I maintained only a tenuous grasp on passing grades. Though I came to George Fox to run cross country and track, a serious medical condition, a major operation, and one week in the hospital that fall signaled the end of my season and my connection to teammates, the only friends I had made on campus.

Lonely, depressed, unmoored: I thought seriously of transferring. Only inertia kept me from cutting ties with George Fox altogether. I’m incredibly grateful that I decided to stay, because my college experience was ultimately amazing; and now, 18 years into my teaching career at George Fox, I can’t imagine anywhere else I would rather be.
(more…)

Read More

When Being Known Means Sad Goodbyes

Professor Melanie Springer Mock with senior English majors Ryan Lackey and Julia Howell.
Professor Melanie Springer Mock with senior English majors Ryan Lackey and Julia Howell.
By Melanie Springer Mock, Professor of English

Over 25 years ago this week, I celebrated my first George Fox graduation, as a student. Just days before our processional into an already-overheated Wheeler gymnasium, I stopped by Minthorn Hall to say goodbye to a favorite professor. Yet as I stood at his office door, trying to tell him how much his mentorship had changed me, my professor refused to engage, keeping his head focused on his desk and the papers he needed to grade.

I couldn’t understand why this usually warm, friendly man had suddenly turned distant, and I left his office that day feeling perplexed and a little hurt. It only took me about one decade to figure out why my old professor had acted so disconnected: he couldn’t say goodbye. Or, more pointedly, he couldn’t say goodbye without crying.

Turns out, graduation can be emotionally difficult for faculty members, something I discovered my very first commencement as a professor at George Fox University, and rediscover every April, when graduation rolls around again. (more…)

Read More

Herrera Discovers Passion for Bringing Stories to the Stage

IMG_9982
By Emily Lund, Class of 2015

Cambria Herrera sits back in her chair. Listening, thinking. Her arms and legs are crossed as she watches the scene in front of her unfold, pauses and all. Her eyes move from actor to actor, then stare out into the rehearsal room. Every once in a while, a slight smile appears on her face, then fades before reappearing.

It’s five weeks into rehearsals for David Auburn’s Proof, last fall’s production at Valley Repertory Theatre in Newberg, Ore. Tonight is the first night the four actors are off-book – no scripts in hand – and such a transition inevitably means some pauses, some “ummmms,” some exasperated laughs and calls for “line.”

The scene reaches its end. Herrera stretches her arms out to the ceiling. “Great!” she says, and sits up straight. “How did you guys feel about it?”

They answer, laughing, groaning. Herrera nods in agreement, leans forward in her chair and asks questions. “How did that go for you guys? The last bit?” “Did you feel good sitting there for that long?”

They’re good questions, and the actors know it. “She’s never dismissive, never impatient,” says Nicole Greene, one of the four actors Herrera directed in Proof. “She’s creative, she’s highly intelligent, and most of all, she’s deeply talented.”

She’s also 20 years old.
(more…)

Read More

Student Recognized for Cancer Research Presentation

12194599_10153620213005470_4848853462791335245_oBiology major and pre-med student Lael Papenfuse earned high honors with her research project, “AKAP7 and Calcineurin Control CaM Kinases and Cell Growth,” at the 24th annual M.J. Murdock College Science Research Conference in Vancouver, Wash., as her presentation was selected the top poster within the event’s Cell and Molecular Biology category.

According to biology professor John Schmitt, in whose laboratory Papenfuse worked this past year, this was the first time a George Fox student earned a ribbon of any kind at the Murdock Conference, held this year at the Vancouver Hilton Hotel Nov. 5-7. “I am really proud of Lael and the other students on my cancer-fighting team,” Schmitt said. “I’m really pleased that our students have already been able to put our new confocal microscope to good use, as Lael was able to show that these two proteins may be contributing to cancer.”
(more…)

Read More

Student success: Focus on learning, not grades

IMG_8730(2)-2

RickMuthiah-2By Rick Muthiah, Associate Director of Learning Support Services

I frequently meet with students who express high anxiety over test taking, either because they have difficulty learning course content or because they experience a mental block when they sit down to take the test. Our conversation generally winds its way to one of my most repeated phrases: focus on learning, not on grades. I drive home this point with any individual or group I meet with to talk about academic success. Whether on tests, papers, homework or projects, I practically beg students to exert their effort on the learning process and to let go of any fixation on grades. A funny thing happens for those who invest in learning – they generally end up with good grades, too. Conversely, students can get an A in a class without learning much from the course.

What does it look like to focus on learning? Let’s start with a commonly repeated formula that suggests that students should spend two hours out of class for every hour in class. To be frank, most college students aren’t spending sufficient time on learning activities once they leave class; they are spending about one hour out of class for every hour in class – half the recommended time. This standard will certainly fluctuate based on course demands and time of semester, yet a survey of students at my institution indicated that 70 percent spent 15 hours or less per week preparing for class (studying, reading, writing, doing homework or lab work, analyzing data, rehearsing and other academic activities). Given that a full-time course load is 12 to 18 hours of class per week, many students are skimping on learning activities.
(more…)

Read More

Student Success Story: Arturo Lucatero

IMG_7678Senior computer science major Arturo Lucatero won’t graduate from George Fox University until May, but that didn’t stop him from lining up his dream job with one of the most recognized companies in the world: Microsoft.

This summer, Lucatero, an Act Six scholarship recipient, will begin work as a program manager at the company’s world headquarters in Redmond, Wash., where his duties will include testing consumer products to ensure a user-friendly experience. “One of my favorite parts of my job is that I become the face of the customer,” he says.

Recently we sat down with Lucatero to learn more about his new job and his time at George Fox.

Q: I understand you’ve already got a job lined up after college. Tell me what the position is and how it came about?
A: I will be working for Microsoft as a program manager on their business intelligence team. Growing up, it was my dream to work at Microsoft. After arriving at Fox, I pursued an internship with [the company], and though it didn’t initially work out, I managed to land an internship with Intel. Still, my dream was to be a Microsoft intern. One of the things I learned was that Microsoft prefers computer science majors as interns, so I switched from information systems to a computer science major. Thanks to that, I was able to be a Microsoft Explorer intern last summer [2013]. It really helped me decide what I wanted to do, which is program management, so this summer I went back as a program manager intern working on a self-service business intelligence project.
(more…)

Read More

ADP Graduate Success Story: Jim Ferraris

FerrarisDegree: Bachelor of Arts in Management and Organizational Leadership (2013)
Current position: Deputy Chief of Police, Salem Police Department

How would you describe your experience at George Fox?

My experience at George Fox was outstanding! The George Fox motto is “Be Known.” That was so true – I was known at George Fox. I have a busy life, both professionally and personally. Staff and faculty did everything they could to make furthering my education workable within the demands on my life. Several professors and instructors stand out. To name a few: Frank Barsotti taught human resources. He was a perfect fit. He has years of experience working for HP as a global HR director, responsible for more than 30,000 employees. I learned a lot from him that I am able to apply in my professional life. Carol Hutchinson was another fabulous instructor. From a spirituality perspective she helped me grow as an individual. Dr. George Byrtek was another great professor. He shepherded us through the MGOL program, always was available to us and pushed us to be better.
(more…)

Read More