Students

Psychology graduate Erik Mendoza takes his skills to Adidas

No Comments » Written on June 25th, 2015 by
Categories: Alumni, Athletics, Feature, Students

A Multnomah degree won’t just qualify you for a rewarding career and equip you for grad school — it will set you apart as a redeeming force in the workplace. Erik Mendoza’s experience at MU provided a solid foundation for his future, and the principles he took from the classroom — and the basketball court — continue to inspire him.

The psychology major thrived while playing for the Lions. He served three years as team captain and was awarded the Pete Maravich Memorial Award, an annual honor given to the nation’s most outstanding NCCAA Division II athlete. He also volunteered with his teammates at a local children’s hospital and even traveled with them on mission trips to the Czech Republic and Taiwan.

“Those experiences make the basketball team more than a basketball team,” Mendoza says. “If you stick around, you’ll come out a better and stronger person.”

Upon graduating, Mendoza was hired by one of the world’s top sports brands: Adidas. Now he’s a retail marketing specialist for the company’s basketball, baseball and football divisions.

“My psychology degree taught me so much about how people work, and translating that into marketing hasn’t been hard,” he says. “I love my job. Multnomah challenged me academically and gave me the ability to work and perform at a high level. At the same time, it instilled in me a genuine love for people.”

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New scholarship named after beloved professor

Multnomah University is adding a new scholarship named after Distinguished Professor Emeritus David Needham, who taught at MU for 44 years. The David C. Needham Scholarship is being made possible by a generous donation from two Multnomah alumni — a married couple who wish to remain anonymous.

A heart for missions

The couple, who met at Multnomah in the 1960s, was struck by Needham’s humble style of teaching and tender heart for students. They have a deep appreciation for the friendship they’ve cultured with Needham and his wife Mary Jo for the past 45 years. By providing a scholarship under Needham’s name, they hope to celebrate their former teacher while blessing current students who feel called to missionary work.

“We are pleased to be giving this scholarship to students who have a heart for missions, particularly unreached peoples and East Africa,” they said.

After serving as missionaries in the Mexicali Valley for 15 years, the couple began developing ministries in Tanzania and East Africa — an adventure they have been committed to for the past 20 years.

Transforming forces in the world

Needham-SizedNeedham was thrilled to receive the news of the scholarship. “I was happily amazed when I heard about it,” he said. “This scholarship is helping MU fulfill its mission — equipping students to become transforming forces in the world.”

The price of a college education is high, Needham added, but he thinks the new scholarship will be a big encouragement to students who want to serve.

“I hope that Multnomah will accomplish its goal of teaching them to live the Christian life and share it with others,” he said. “I hope that they will have the proficiency to share the Gospel with people around the world, and I hope that this scholarship will continue to grow year by year.”

A gift from David Needham

Since Needham’s retirement from Multnomah in 2008, he has kept busy teaching adult classes at his church and writing. He has published four books, including “Close To His Majesty,” which he is offering to the Multnomah community for free.

In lieu of payment, we invite you to consider giving a gift to a student through the David C. Needham Scholarship. Visit our donation page to contribute any amount you choose.

Download your free copy of “Close To His Majesty.”

Psychology major combines biblical truth with cutting-edge theory

MU’s psychology major mixes psychological theory — perspectives from the past and today's cutting-edge ideas — with biblical truth.

“This major is designed to answer questions about human nature,” says Psychology Department Chair Dr. Elliott Lawless. “If you like to ask questions, think deeply and help other people, then you are the type of student who would do well in this program.”

Learn more about our psychology program.

‘Relationships are everything’: Business major Grant Warner puts people before profit

There are no limits at MU. You can develop a level of expertise that will prepare you for the finest graduate schools and the most prestigious companies — and you can align your studies with what you value most.

Grant Warner dreams of starting an organization that trains entrepreneurs in developing nations to run their own companies. He's convinced Multnomah is the best place to prepare.

"We can learn all the big business terms in class, but what business comes down to is focusing on relationships with others," he says. "I've learned that you're not just in ministry if you're a pastor or a missionary. Ministry is wherever you are."

While he lays the groundwork for a gratifying career, the business major is enjoying everything Multnomah has to offer, including the challenging classes and Christian fellowship.

The professors make MU unique," he says. "I meet with them regularly, and they're interested in my life. The want me to succeed."

The same goes for his classmates. "The people here actually want to know how you're doing when they ask you," he says. "You don't have to beg someone to pray for you — they just stop and do it."

Warner says MU is reinforcing the value of loving God and loving people. "The education I'm getting is exceptionally beneficial," he says. "It's showing me I don't have to be a genius to succeed. Studies are important, but relationships are everything."

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Alumna Kylie Cole launches business one year after graduating

Kylie Cole opened her own preschool just one year after graduation. “Multnomah gave me the tools for my toolbox that I needed,” says the elementary education major. “My education equipped me mentally, emotionally and spiritually for this.” Read the full story.

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Basketball team touches lives in Taiwan

Coach Curt Bickley shares the details of the Lions' mission trip to Taiwan. 

The Multnomah Basketball team flew to Taipei, Taiwan, on May 9 and spent the week playing basketball games and sharing the Gospel. Thank you to all our donors who made this trip happen. We were able to share the Gospel publicly 11 times during the week.

The Team

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Our team was made up of three current MU basketball players, five former players, a high school coach (Chad Bickley), an NBA coach (Mike Penberthy), two coaching assistants (Mike Farrington and Stan Bickley), and four kids (two were Penberthy’s and two were Bickley’s).

Games

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We played nine games in six days. At each game, we were able to share the Gospel with the other team and their fans at halftime or through literature written in Mandarin. All the teams were very open to listening to the mission of our trip.

Bethany Christian School

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We visited Bethany on Tuesday morning and ran the school chapel. I introduced the team and spoke about what a relationship with God looks like. I was able to use the example of brother, son, father, mentor, and friend – all members of our team.

The school was doing a fund raiser to replace their gym floor. Each class adopted one of our players and acquired pledges for the number of free throws their player could make in two minutes. As part of an action-packed hour with the K-9th graders that day, Chad Bickley hit 62 free throws, Mike Penberthy hit 61, and Blake Updike hit 55.

Taichung Elderly Home Visit

On Wednesday, we traveled to Taichung to play two games and visit the elderly as we have done in the past. Our guys divided up and spent time individually with the elderly and then my Dad and I spoke to the group. We had a great time seeing our friends again.

We also visited and played a game at Morrison Academy. Morrison’s best player from last year, Andy Brown, will be joining Multnomah's basketball team next year.

Love Life Basketball Game

Love life

Saturday night was a special treat for everyone as we played the SBL All Star Team (Taiwan Pro League). The game was meant to raise awareness and money for kids with cancer — and to raise awareness of cyber bullying, as a local celebrity had recently committed suicide after being bullied.

We knew from experience that the place was going to be packed, and it was. We did not win the game (the score was 100-124), but we had a great time, and the event provided a chance to share the gospel — our missionary Uwe Mauer shared the Good News at halftime.

Tian Mu Grace Church

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Our team was able to share with Tian Mu Grace Church on Sunday morning during the main church service and during Sunday School. It was a great time of fellowship with these believers in Taipei.

Thank You

blake coopWe would like to conclude by thanking all those who played a part in making this trip happen. My brother Brad Bickley worked with me for the fifth time in Taiwan so that our basketball team could make things happen all week.

Our missionaries – Rex Manu, Dan Long, Garett Freeman and Uwe Mauer – did a great job of helping us set up and execute a great game plan.

Kenny Cheng took care of us in many ways; he is a tremendous friend to Multnomah University and our basketball program.

Our interpeters Tony Tsau and his friends helped us at all our locations.

I would also like to thank all of you who supported us financially. This trip would not have happened without you.

— Coach Bickley 

 

MU is hosting this free event in June. Register today.

What

We're sponsoring an opportunity to hear from some well-respected speakers MU has brought in for its Doctor of Ministry and Master of Arts in Applied Theology programs.

This free lectureship series is open to the general public and geared toward ministry practitioners.

Guest speakers will share about their unique ministries and what they see as relevant for the local church in our current culture and context. Space is still available. Register today.

Where

The JCA Student Center on Multnomah University's campus

When and Who

Tuesday, June 2

Dr. Ron Frost is presenting on “A Love-Centered Approach to Cultural Engagement.” Frost serves missionaries and ministries across the globe through Barnabas International as a pastoral care consultant. He also taught historical theology and ethics at Multnomah Biblical Seminary for several years.

Thursday, June 4

Dr. Kumar Abraham will discuss bearing witness as a Christian in majority Hindu, Muslim or restricted access countries. Abraham has served as a missionary in the Philippines for twenty-one years. Today he equips Christ-followers, trains evangelists and lectures.

Tuesday, June 9

Andrea Smith will speak on “Gospel Witness: Beyond Colonialism.” Smith is Associate Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at University of California at Riverside. She is also co-founder of Incite! Women of Color Against Violence.

Wednesday, June 10

Dr. Mark DeYmaz will talk about “Real Community Transformation: From Rhetoric to Results for the Glory of God.” DeYmaz is the founding pastor of Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas. He is passionate about catalyzing the movement toward multi-ethnic churches throughout North America and beyond.

Thursday, June 11

John Stewart will talk about what apologetics looks like in a multi-faith environment and seek to answer the question: In a relational dialogue with our neighbors, how is apologetics expressed and lived out? Stewart is a practicing attorney in Southern California and the international director at Ratio Christi, an apologetics ministry.

Time

Each lecture will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Register today.

Four seminary students selected for two-week internship in Oxford

If studying ancient manuscripts is a dream come true, then studying ancient manuscripts at one of the world’s best universities must be paradise.

Four seminary students from MU have been selected to attend the Logos Conference, a two-week internship at Oxford sponsored by the Green Scholars Initiative (GSI). Only students working on GSI projects were invited to apply for the summer conference, where world-renowned academic experts will teach them history, theology and textual studies.

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Haley Kirkpatrick (pictured) is studying in Oxford with classmates Becca McMartin, Daniel Somboonsiri and David Tucker.

Students from more than 60 schools across North America applied, but only 30 people were selected. Five additional students who participated in the 2014 internship were chosen to attend as second-year fellows. David Tucker and Becca McMartin will be attending the conference for the first time. Haley Kirkpatrick and Daniel Somboonsiri will be joining as second-year fellows.

Biblical Languages Chair Dr. Karl Kutz told his Hebrew students about the opportunity this winter and encouraged them to apply. McMartin, Kirkpatrick and Somboonsiri have assisted Kutz with two GSI projects, and Tucker has helped with one. Both projects focused on analyzing a never-before-seen Dead Sea Scroll fragment loaned to them from the Green Collection.

“These four are some of our best students, and I am delighted they have been selected,” says Kutz. “The invitation for them to participate speaks very highly of their skills and the quality of our program.”

McMartin says she waited on pins and needles to find out if she was chosen for the trip. When she heard the good news, she called Kirkpatrick, who had just received confirmation of her own acceptance. They screamed together in glee over the phone.

“This is almost unbelievable,” says McMartin. “Studying a Dead Sea Scroll fragment is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And everything we do in Oxford will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity too! It’s humbling, and it’s an honor.”

Kutz, who was invited to lead three sessions of a Logos Hebrew language seminar, will join his students in Oxford for five days. 

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Daniel Somboonsiri (pictured) and Haley Kirkpatrick will attend the Logos Conference as second-year fellows.

“I am excited for them to have the opportunity to learn from other leading scholars in the field of textual research,” he says. “I am also glad they get to rub shoulders with other junior scholars from around the world who will become their peers as they continue in their studies and careers.”

As second-year fellows, Kirkpatrick and Somboonsiri will give presentations on the two GSI projects they have tackled. They’ll discuss the particular fragments they studied, how they analyzed them, processes in research they took and more. In addition to presenting their findings, fellows will also lead small group discussions. “Our schedule in Oxford is packed!” says Kirkpatrick. “Group discussions are a way for us to process the experience as it’s happening.”

Although the internship is a flurry of chapels, lectures, tours, discussions and tea times, Kirkpatrick hopes McMartin and Tucker can slow down to soak it all in. “My hope is that their experience in Oxford affirms for them how well God knows them and what he’s called them to do,” she says.

McMartin says they wouldn’t be going to Oxford if it weren’t for their teachers. “Our professors have accepted a huge responsibility by taking on GSI projects so that we could have this opportunity,” she says. “I’m so thankful for their investment in us.”

Kirkpatrick agrees. “I appreciate their emphasis on teamwork, and I appreciate recognizing and encouraging strengths in your teammates,” she says. “Our professors have a keen understanding of the language complimented by curiosity. They invite their students into the process. I still think we have the best Hebrew program in the country.”

Learn more about MU's Hebrew program.

Spring graduates celebrate a new chapter, reflect on MU’s impact

Last Friday, 129 Multnomah students walked across the stage of Rolling Hills Community Church to receive their diplomas. Among the group of participants were Caitlyn Stone, Michael Mallon, Lisa Hezmalhalch and Maxwell Olwa — four students who have grown to embody the biblical wisdom, resilient character and infectious servants’ hearts that set our alumni apart.

Blog_Caitlyn StoneCaitlyn Stone
Educational Ministries graduate

Hometown: Sacramento, California

Best MU experience: Having an opportunity to be a part of Student Leadership. It has been a privilege to do life with other people: staying up late, exploring the Gorge through hiking, going to Germany, being available for other students and being someone they can share things with.

Favorite class: Prophets, taught by Dr. Kutz. Isaiah has always been my favorite book. I love seeing how God was faithful to an unfaithful people. I was able to “eat up” what I was given; it gave life to a portion of scripture that I already loved.

Favorite thing about Portland: I love the proximity to outdoor activities like hiking in the gorge. I also love it when the weather is sunny and green. It makes me happy.

Favorite thing about MU: The relationships with professors. Eating lunch with them and getting feedback from them. This is the third college I've been to, and this is unlike anything I’ve experienced before. I’ve gained life knowledge from them, which is equally valuable to what I learned in the classroom.

Plans after graduation: In July I’m joining YWAM’s Discipleship Training School, Awaken. I could end up anywhere in the world. I will be a part of awakening people to the truth of who God is, and I will get to live out what I’ve been learning at MU. I’m so excited to see Jesus in other cultures!

Advice to your freshman self: The word that comes to mind is “balance.” It can be easy to focus either on socializing or studies, but we need to live out what we’re learning in community. Both are key.

Blog_Michale MallonMichael Mallon
English graduate
TESOL graduate

Hometown: Woodburn, OR

Best MU experience: Cross Country Nationals this year — the home stretch, a quarter mile from the finish line. I passed a few people, and it started to snow. I couldn’t believe that I was running in New York during the first year of MU’s Cross Country program. It had been a super busy semester for me, but joining that team was a great decision. It was motivation to keep pushing myself.

Favorite Class: Major Literary Figure — Thoreau, taught by Dr. Schaak. I learned how to connect with nature and be able to contribute to society. There was a motivating vibe to that class; I learned how to see the world more clearly.

Favorite thing about Portland: The food. I love the diversity and how eating is a hobby here. There’s always a new place to try. My favorite restaurant is Nepo42 — they have half-priced wings during Blazers games!

Favorite thing about MU: The community. I’ve really felt supported by staff and faculty here.

Plans after graduation: I will be working full-time at Trillium Family Services, helping children with behavioral and psychological issues.

Advice to your freshman self: Live in the moment and take advantage of all the opportunities. Invest and get involved in events. Become a leader. I didn’t have that mindset at first, but MU plopped opportunities into my lap, which were really formative for me. Also, become an English major!

Blog_Lisa HLisa Hezmalhalch
MA in Christian Leadership graduate

Hometown: Napa, California

Best MU experience: Being the Graduate Resident Director in North Aldrich Hall and leading a team of women. There was everything from deep random conversations to late-night dance parties.

Favorite class: Spiritual Formation, taught by Dr. Clemen

Favorite thing about Portland: There is freedom here to be whoever the Lord has made you to be. In California I never seemed to fit, but when I moved here I could finally be myself. I also really really love Monti’s Café on Southeast Stark Street!

Favorite thing about MU: The community. There is a family-like nature that this place takes on while you’re here!

Plans after graduation: I will be taking one day at a time; looking to the Lord every morning and asking, “Where are we going today?”

Advice to your first-year self: You are about to go through a  refinement more intense than anything you’ve ever experienced in your life. He who began a good work in you will always be faithful to complete it.

Blog_Max OlwaMaxwell Olwa
MA in Global Development & Justice graduate

Hometown: Nyakach, Kenya

Best MU experience: Being able to interact with different people and live as a community. This has gotten better and better. They have become like family.

Favorite classes: Intro to Justice Studies, Business as Mission, and Christian Community Development. These are all remarkable classes.

Favorite thing about Portland: Coffee! I like Starbucks and Dutch Bros. My favorite drinks are lattes and mochas.

Favorite thing about MU: There is a biblical foundation for everything. This moves us away from the distinction between sacred and secular and opens new grounds for participation in community. That is the sole mission of Christ: bringing justice to the world — living as Christ lived and affecting peoples’ lives through that. My cohort experience was also phenomenal. It brought people from different backgrounds together. We were exposed to so many different people working in different fields of development. This has led to good networking.

Plans after graduation: I’m looking forward to working in Christian organizations that are doing development work and advocacy. I have a passion for these things.

Advice to your first-year self: Work hard, stay focused, trust God.

Listen to an audio recording of the ceremony.

‘Our outreach is extensive’: Students volunteer down the street, across the world

Collectively, Multnomah students provide more than 38,000 hours to communities each year — and their contributions span the globe.

They serve as role models for at-risk teens in Portland. They partner with nonprofit agencies in the greater community. And this Friday, the men’s basketball team is heading to Taiwan for a trip filled with service projects, community outreach and basketball games.

The Lions will compete in nine games, including Lovelife, a high-profile annual event that raises awareness and money for children with cancer. Teammates will present the Good News during each half-time.

“This trip is important because it’s an exceptional opportunity to share the gospel,” says sophomore business major Tanner Schula. “God has blessed us with the platform of basketball for ministry. Through basketball, we can first connect with the Taiwanese on a personal basis — and then share Christ.”

During the nine-day trip, the Lions will visit several schools, churches and an assisted living facility.

“It’s exciting that a small Christian school can have such a large capacity for ministry,” says Schula, “This trip displays Multnomah’s expansive reach.”

‘What Multnomah is all about’

Head Basketball Coach Curt Bickley puts a heavy emphasis on outreach and community service; he’s led his teams on mission trips to the Czech Republic and Taiwan for the past seven years. This is the fifth time the Lions are traveling to Taiwan.

“We’re looking forward to seeing old friends, spreading the Gospel, and playing basketball in a great place,” says Bickley. “It’s very exciting that our university has such an emphasis on mission work and that we get to take part in such a great trip.”

The athletes don’t stop serving when they’re back in the States. For the past eight years, the Lions have hosted a free basketball clinic for children at a Native American reservation in Washington. The clinic gives the team an opportunity to impart their skills — and share their faith. “Kids have gotten saved at these events,” says Bickley.

The Lions also volunteer at Providence Children’s Hospital, just down the street from campus. The athletes connect with boy and girls, some of them terminally ill, for a few hours each week. They play games, read, color or just talk.

“Our outreach is extensive,”says Bickley. “This team reflects what Multnomah is all about.”

Communicating values through action

The trip to Taiwan closely follows another service event Multnomah has observed for decades — Day of Outreach. Once every spring and fall, students volunteer at several locations in the Portland community in need of their time and energy. A volunteer site can be anywhere: a nonprofit organization, a school, a community center. Even a neighbor’s home. MU cancels classes for the day so students can devote their whole morning to service.

Senior psychology major Brenna Coy has been attending Day of Outreach since she transferred to MU as a sophomore. “Volunteering encourages me and other students to reach out to our neighborhood,” she says. “It builds bridges in the community.”

Theology and philosophy professor Dr. Mike Gurney agrees. He appreciates the opportunity to impact local organizations while interacting with students outside the classroom. Multnomah requires half of its professors to participate in each Day of Outreach event.

“As Christians, it’s not just about what we say; it’s also about what we do,” he says. “We want to communicate our values through action.”

One fall, Gurney and Coy joined a group of student volunteers at Portland Metro Arts (PMA), a nonprofit community arts organization in Southeast Portland. For several hours they dusted, wiped, polished and swept.

Nancy Yeamans, PMA’s executive director, played classical music from a small boom box as students bustled around her. A vacuum hummed in the background, and the smell of Windex hung in the air.

“I know you think that cleaning is probably not a big deal,” she says. “But to us it’s a huge deal because we rely a lot on volunteers. It’s meaningful beyond what you can imagine.”

‘We need to love people’

Besides international trips and Day of Outreach, students participate year-round in Service Learning, a campus-based program that connects them with local nonprofits. Students volunteer weekly at more than 70 organizations across the Portland metro area. They also gain priceless wisdom from field specialists who double as mentors.

“We’re committed to helping students integrate what they’re learning in the classroom with real life,” says Service Learning Director Dr. Roger Trautmann. “Whatever service God puts on their hearts is a possibility. From skateboarding to helping the homeless, from children’s ministry to working with seniors, we can connect them with more than 1,500 churches, ministries and service organizations.”

Sophomore Bible and theology major Katie Mansanti says Service Learning connected her to Adorned in Grace Design Studio, an outreach to at-risk teen girls in Northeast Portland. People donate all kinds of fabrics to the nonprofit, where volunteers like Mansanti teach the girls how to sew. The studio aims to prevent sex trafficking by empowering young women to become advocates on behalf of their sisters and friends.

Volunteers provide snacks, help with homework, offer workshops, run a mentorship program and lead a Bible study. “This is a safe place for them to hang out after school and have someone to talk to,” Mansanti says.

Mansanti’s knack for sewing and heart for teens was a perfect fit for the studio. “It’s nice to take something that’s second nature to me and share it with these girls,” she says. “We all need someone to nudge us along and tell us we’re doing a good job.”

Volunteering may be a time commitment for students, but Mansanti doesn’t see it as a burden. “Service Learning allows you to give back,” she says. “Helping people is important to God. We need to love people and be Jesus to them.”