Spring term has now come to a close. Last Friday night graduates walked across the stage, accepted their diplomas and tossed their hats into the air in celebration. I sat down with several of our exceptional graduates from our college, graduate school and seminary to hear more about their experiences and the impact a Multnomah education has had on them.
Name: Danae Cowan
Hometown: Sweet Home, Ore.
Majors: Bachelor of Arts
Favorite MU memory: “During a late-night study session with my roommate in Memorial Hall, we were struggling to stay awake. Every hour on the hour, without a word, we’d drop our books and run one lap around our dorm. By the second and third time, we were laughing so hard we couldn’t stop.”
Dream job: “I’d love to work with women who are hurting and are in need of healing.”
Favorite professor: Dr. Val Clemen, who taught her Gender in Ministry class. “I love the way she connected with her students. She has such a huge love for Jesus and her students.”
Local perks: “I went to the Portland Art Museum this year and loved it. I also enjoy just walking through the city and people watching.”
Lesson learned: “Multnomah is a place where I learned about grace.”
Name: Ethan Knudson
Hometown: Renton, Wash.
Majors: Bachelor of Arts
Favorite MU memory: One night during his junior year when he and his friends were playing soccer. “My friend Charlie said to us, ‘If I make this next goal, you have to copy me and do whatever I do next. Deal?’ He made the goal, and then we all had to run through the sprinklers, which had just come on. That was a fun night.”
Dream job: After earning a master’s degree in teaching, Ethan hopes to become a theology professor and team teach alongside his fiancée. “I want to be in a position that allows me to connect with students and mentor them.”
Favorite professor: Dr. Karl Kutz, his Hebrew professor. “He’s brilliant. He cares about the heart and soul care of each student. He prepares you to face tough questions and tough seasons in life.”
Lesson learned: “Being at MU has been the most life-defining experience I’ve had. I’ve learned to be OK with not having all the answers, whether it’s about theology or life in general. That’s been freeing and has allowed me to enjoy life.”
Name: Clarissa Smith
Hometown: Golini, Kenya
Majors: Bachelor of Arts
Favorite MU memory: “One night Danae Cowan and Kayla Thomas and I dressed up and went out to dinner in Portland. It’s was pouring rain. You should have seen us balancing umbrellas in our heels trying to find the restaurant. We had a blast. After dinner, we went to Fred Meyer and bought roses to bring to Oregon Health and Sciences University Hospital. While we were at Fred Meyer, our car broke down! After we got it running, we took the tram up to the hospital and delivered the roses to nurses. That was super fun. The women I’ve become friends with at MU are wonderful. Together we laugh, cry, go on adventures and share what God has been doing in our lives.”
Next job: She’s moving to China to teach English for one year. “Only the Lord could take a girl who grew up in a tribal village in Kenya and send her to the big cities in China to teach English.”
Favorite professor: Dr. Ray Lubeck, who taught her Old Testament and Biblical Theology class: “His ability to take big concepts and present them in a way that’s understandable and relatable is unique. He gives his students a curiosity to learn for the rest of their lives.”
Local perks: “I love going to Monty’s Café for chai tea or Palio’s for a late-night study session. Another favorite activity is going to get frozen yogurt at YoCream (frozen yogurt.) Also, the international food scene here in Portland is really good.”
Lesson learned: “To live my life with open hands.”
Name: Jason Cybulski
Hometown: Burlingame, Calif.
Degree: M.A. in Pastoral Studies/Christian Leadership
Favorite MU memory: Jason, who lives in married housing with his wife and two daughters, spoke highly of the Multnomah community. “There’s nothing better. It’s great to meet new people and live life together with our families.”
Next job: Teaching Pastor at Potter’s Hands in Tigard, Ore.
Favorite professor: “That is an unfair question. One of my favorites is Prof. Tom Schiave, who taught my Theology of Community in Ministry class. He took time away from academia to shepherd those of us who wanted to go into vocational ministry.”
Local perks: He and his family enjoy discovering new places to eat. “The food here in the city of Portland is great.”
Lesson learned: “It’s important to cultivate the mind of a scholar, but that’s not worth anything without a pastor’s heart that can shepherd people.”
Name: Rie Doss
Hometown: Kyoto, Japan
Favorite MU memory: Rie remembers the MU community fondly. “I enjoyed learning from my classmates.” The M.Div. program is so rigorous that Rie stressed the importance of the support she found at MU. “We encouraged each other.”
Next job: Chaplain Fellow at Portland VA Medical Center
Favorite professor: Dr. Roger Troutmann, her advisor. “He was a great mentor — always there for me and very encouraging.”
Local perks: Hiking in the Gorge during the spring and summer and snowshoeing in the winter opened doors for her to enjoy God’s creation.
Lesson learned: “Trust in God. Keep working. At the beginning, I felt very scared. But I took one week at a time and one class at a time.”