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.
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.
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!
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.
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.