Alumna Mikaela Easterlin: Building Relationships and Trust at Portland’s Harriet Tubman Middle School

By Hannah Dugan

It’s Friday afternoon, the last period of the day, and the gym at Harriet Tubman Middle School is nothing short of organized chaos. Basketballs hit the

floor in a constant thunder as Shakira blasts from a large speaker. Some kids chat with their friends by the wall, others are locked in intense games of 1-on-1. Swirling at the center of it all is the school’s first and only physical education teacher, Mikaela Easterlin. It’d be easy to feel sorry for her, alone with 30 antsy seventh-graders with the weekend on their minds, if it weren’t so obvious she was having a blast.

This is Easterlin’s first time teaching, period. But watching her drift around the gym during class in her ’80s-esque-thrifted George Fox windbreaker, galactic sloth tee and backwards snapback, you wouldn’t guess it. She is both at home and in command. 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.”
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Lost and Found

How Mike Arzie’s time at George Fox altered his perceptions about Christianity and redirected the course of his life

By Isaac Bruns, junior English major

Stepping onto the stage in Bauman Auditorium, Mike Arzie found it difficult to believe he was returning to chapel at his alma mater. Confronted with an audience of distracted students and “a sea of glowing Apples” from open laptops, he vividly remembered the time he had spent in their seats.

“It never crossed my mind during chapel to think, ‘I’ll bet someday I’ll come back to do one of these,’” he says. But as he took the podium that day, he began to tell the story of how he had learned of salvation in that very room 21 years before.

Arzie is now in his 17th year of ministry at Southwest Bible Church, a sizeable church in Beaverton. As the student and children’s ministries pastor, he interacts with a number of George Fox students, but his connection to the university runs much deeper. After all, it was at George Fox that he began the two most important relationships of his life.
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Hostetler Challenges Individuals to ‘Better My Town’

Casey HostetlerAlumna Casey Hostetler doesn’t recall the exact moment the idea hit her. She just woke up one day last summer with a thought: What are practical things people can do to help make their hometowns a better place?

It was a simple concept, but profound in its potential. What would happen if – like the massively successful ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014 – this thing went viral? What kind of impact would it have in Yamhill County … Portland … Oregon … the nation?

Hostetler couldn’t wait to share her idea, dubbed the “Better My Town Challenge.” She started with coworkers at her place of employment, Hagan Hamilton Insurance in McMinnville, Ore., thinking it might make for a nice marketing campaign. She told friends, who suggested it might work but weren’t sure, before ultimately consulting with Nathan Knottingham, president and CEO of the McMinnville Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Nathan and I talked for quite a while before finally saying, ‘Why not, let’s do this,’” says Hostetler, who earned both a degree in business management (2013) and an MBA (2014) from George Fox. “We obviously didn’t know what to expect because you just don’t know how people will respond. But I was encouraged by what I saw with the Ice Bucket Challenge. This was the same idea, just that you would be doing practical things rather than dumping a bucket of cold water on your head.”

The idea: Post a video on social media in which you state your name, who nominated you and what task you are performing to better your town. It could be anything from disinfecting doorknobs around town to donating food or clothing to a local charity. Conclude the message by nominating three people and encouraging them to keep the chain going by nominating three individuals each.
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Alumni Update: Elisabeth Tissell

DSCN1597-2Recently 2014 graduate Elisabeth Tissell shared with us details about her new position with AmeriCorps. A politics major, she will lean heavily on her Spanish minor serving as a case manager for bilingual families. Here are more details from Elisabeth:

“I recently accepted an AmeriCorps position in Alamosa, Colorado! I will be working as a case manager with four or five families as they transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency. Many of the families are bilingual, so I will be using Spanish regularly. I will also have the chance to teach life skill classes, attend relevant court hearings, conduct home visits and plan numerous projects. The position starts August 1, and is a two-year commitment.

I am nervous, but excited. This job will stretch me emotionally as I confront difficult situations and problems. Fortunately, the position comes with housing; I will be sharing a house with other AmeriCorps participants, and each house includes a shared vehicle. God is good – I don’t have to find a car, an apartment or ready companions!

I want to thank Spanish professors Debbie Berho and Viki Defferding for their guidance and support throughout my last few years. Thanks to them, I feel prepared for this job and the challenges I will face.”

Inspired to Serve

The university’s annual Serve Day makes a big difference in our local community, but one alumna has spread its impact all the way to South Africa. Rebecca Turba (’10), a teacher at Bridges of Hope Academy in South Africa, recently launched Bridges Service Day. Here’s an update from Rebecca’s newsletter:
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Alumna, student collaborate on poetry book

By Heather DeRosa, Class of 2014

Junior Erin Kays, a double major in studio art and graphic design, got the opportunity some artists only dream of this past summer – she became a published illustrator. And not just any published illustrator, but the illustrator for alumna Sarah Katreen Hoggatt’s book of poetry titled In The Wild Places. Hoggatt graduated from George Fox Evangelical Seminary with a master’s degree in 2006 and finished a certificate in spiritual formation and discipleship in 2007.
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Meet Your Homecoming King and Queen

By Heather DeRosa (’14), photo by Emily Jackson (’16)

Meet Joe Djanga and Tracy Berg, this year’s Homecoming king and queen. Joe is from Beaverton, Ore., and is an athletic training major. Tracy is a business major from Corvallis, Ore. Tracy will graduate this spring, and Joe will graduate once he finishes the athletic training program in a few years. Interesting fact: Tracy was a Homecoming princess her freshman year, and now homecoming queen her senior year. Tracy’s roommate described her experiences on homecoming court as bookends to her time at George Fox.
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