Posts Tagged ‘MA in Global Development and Justice’

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.

Kenya native and global development & justice student Max Olwa: ‘Living in this community is uplifting’

Max Olwa might be 9,000 miles from home, but he knows he’s in the right place at the right time.

“I came here from Kenya, but I feel like I’ve always been a part of this place,” says the MAGDJ student. “Living in this community is uplifting.” Read Max’s story.


Truly Holistic: MA in Global Development & Justice Flourishes

The inaugural year of Multnomah's MA in Global Development and Justice (MAGDJ) is in full swing. The program, launched last fall, equips students for a lifetime of fruitful service in the vast world of justice initiatives, poverty alleviation, disaster response and compassion projects. I'm happy to highlight this program, especially in light of the two justice-centered events MU hosted last week: the Global Missions Conference and the Justice Conference Portland. The MAGDJ ties in beautifully with Multnomah's holistic approach to the world's toughest problems. I sat down with Intercultural Studies Chair and Director of the MAGDJ, Dr. Greg Burch, to find out more about this dynamic degree.

'A globally-focused graduate program'

imageBurch earned his bachelor's degree at Multnomah in 1994, and then immediately jumped into global development work in Venezuela. He ministered to homeless youth for several years before moving to Costa Rica to teach at a seminary.

One day, he received an email from MU's Intercultural Studies Chair, Dr. Tom Kopp, who asked him what he thought a globally-focused graduate program in humanitarian studies would look like. Many students had been asking about such a degree, and Kopp wanted to turn their hopes into a reality.

Burch sent Kopp his thoughts. The program never got off the ground, but when Kopp retired from Multnomah two years later, Burch applied for his position. He got the job, and moved with his wife and two kids to Portland. As soon as he began working at MU in summer 2012, Burch threw himself into crafting a program proposal for an MA in Global Development and Justice. The board and accreditors approved it, and a new major was born.

'A fabulous place to prepare'

Students received the program with open arms. Karen Sele says she always knew MU was an intentionally Bible-based university, but she wasn't prepared for the personalized care and customized teaching the MAGDJ program gives her: "I'm impressed that the most intensive assignments are flexibly structured to complement each individual’s focus," she says. "The members of our cohort bring a valuable tapestry of backgrounds, experiences and views to our discussions. After only one term of learning and supporting each other, we’ve developed a deep community of friendship which will extend beyond this program as we come alongside God in his work of restoration here and around the world. If God is calling you to this kind of work, Multnomah is a fabulous place to prepare!"

Sele and her classmates will completes 300 hours of internship before graduating. Burch is currently helping students find their ideal internship matches; he's compiled a list of organizations they can work for, and is busy writing several letters of recommendation. His students are applying to International Justice Mission, World ReliefSamaritan's Purse and several other well-respected for-profits and nonprofits. "We do a good job of networking with organizations who can hire our students after they get their degree," he says. "I want my students to go all over the world after they graduate."

Serving in a quality way

Burch says his students are very different from one another, but they're all earning a MAGDJ degree for the same reason — they have a deep desire to help others and to make the world a better place. "These students are amazing," he says. "They're so passionate about reaching out to people on the fringes of society."

But it takes more than passion to work in the field. Early burnout is a common issue. "Many people only last about two years when they work with a group like at-risk youth," says Burch. "But I want our students to be able to serve a lifetime." Burch and his team of professors make it a priority to train students in the art of soul care, self-care and spiritual formation, "so they can serve in a quality way," he says.

Although Burch dreams of growing his program, he's more concerned about making sure his students are equipped to tackle anything that comes their way. "I'm not numbers-focused," Burch says. "I want to mentor my students and walk with them."

'Truly holistic'

There are other global development and justice degrees out there, but Burch recommends MU's program for a few good reasons: "It's faith-based and truly holistic," he says. "We incorporate spirituality into the curriculum. We want the people we help to develop in their relationship with God and grow in their leadership abilities. A lot of programs just focus on the financial aspect, but humans are whole beings, and we have more than economic needs."

Burch says there are more jobs in this field than anywhere else. More than 1.9 billion people live on less than $1 per day. Sixteen thousand children die from curable diseases each day. "If you're looking to get rich, then this type of work isn't for you," Burch says. "But if you're looking to serve people and see lives change — this is it."

To learn more about this program, check out the MAGDJ page and read Dr. Burch's article.

MU will also offer a part-time MAGDJ program at its Reno-Tahoe site beginning fall 2014.

A Message from Dr. Wayne Strickland, MU’s Interim President

Multnomah is in a time of transition. It is times like these that remind us to maintain our mission and yet move forward with innovations that allow us to be more effective in our execution of Christ’s mission for us. We must continually assess the challenges and opportunities before us. We have the rare opening to raise the outreach and impact of Multnomah. Read the rest of this entry »