Meet the Class of 2014: Crystal Colella

Crystal ColellaHometown: Half Moon Bay, Calif.
Major: Social Work

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox?

A: My experience at George Fox has been a transformational journey. Painful at times, but necessary in order for me to begin to understand my vocation and calling, and where God is calling my heart. I came here as a stubborn independent woman (and still hold some of those traits) but quickly was blown away by a community that embraced me fully and relationships that challenged me greatly. I met my soon-to-be-husband, Jake Larson, my sophomore year, a life-changing experience in itself, as we both acted as catalysts in each others’ lives for huge changes with God, including totally new life and career goals and different majors. I met two particular friends who have changed my heart and life forever: Megan Armentrout and Allison Meade. I was blessed to journey deeply side-by-side with Kayin Griffith. And I was given a heart for social work, social justice, and shown what passion for the Lord looks like by my professor Debra Penkin. I cannot thank these people enough, integral aspects of my community, for what they have shown me.

The greatest thing I have learned from my time here is that I am not sufficient in myself, and that community – authentic, ugly and raw community – is one of the most valuable aspects of life and the Christian journey that we may ever have. I have learned the importance of truthful relationships, the value of a listening ear, and the impact of a willing heart.

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox?

A: As I mentioned before, a big turning point in my life was my sophomore year when I met Jake Larson. I was an extremely skeptical girl at this time in my life, struggling to understand why I should care about a God I felt so desperately distant from, trying to understand what purpose I had, and feeling in constant tension. When I met Jake at a floor game night, he spoke immediate truth into my life, words that no one else had known to say, but that he said because it was simply who he was. His character and heart revealed compassion, empathy and a faith in God that I could not help but admire, and this transformed me instantly. Journeying with him and my community over the next few months I found my calling to not be neuroscience, but instead to be social work. And over the past few years I have been blessed to see this calling grow and transform into something spectacular! My community and family helped me grow from an insecure and unsure young girl to a confident, competent, passionate young woman who feels ready to follow a God who calls.

Q: What’s next?

A: Well, two weeks after graduation I will be marrying my best friend Jake! We will be traveling to Kauai for a few weeks afterwards and heading back to the Northwest. We are currently in the process of moving to Portland and interviewing for many jobs. I hope to work with adolescents and young adults who are struggling with mental health issues in Portland for the next few years, and then I am planning to obtain my master’s degree in social work with a focus on community mental health within the next two years. Afterwards, I plan on becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and working in the field of mental health for as long as possible, working on individual, family and community empowerment. I am blessed to get to start a family, strive after God with all my heart, and be in a career that gives me energy and life. I am excited to see where the next steps lead!