Graduate Spotlight: Jennifer Rodrigues Bell ’18
Hometown: Oregon City, Oregon
Degree: Master of Arts in Global Development & Justice (online program with two-week contextual residency in Rwanda or Thailand, alternating locations each year)
Looking back, what are some ways you’ve grown and changed because of your education at Multnomah University?
My heart has really been expanded! I am more aware of the world around me and how to advocate for others, and I now feel more empowered and equipped to speak up for social justice. I’ve made personal and career choices based on what I’ve learned, and have felt more challenged over the course of this program than ever before!
What was your experience with the professors here like?
I have had some really amazing professors: Dr. Fancher, Dr. Burch and Sean Benesh stand out as teachers who really shone extra brightly. Their love for their students, God, and their passion for what they taught us was so evident and encouraged me immensely. Each of my teachers taught me something special, and I am so thankful for their dedication. Traveling internationally with a teacher, going through emotional topics, and learning with them — not only from them — was incredible.
What was it like earning your MA in Global Development & Justice degree online?
For my schedule as a nurse, it was a necessity! I enjoyed being able to do it on my own time, and since I also live in Portland, I had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know a few of my teachers on campus.
What benefits has an online education provided? What were the challenges?
If I hadn’t met my classmates and bonded with them those first two weeks of the program in Rwanda, it would have felt extremely lonely. But we had each other as a support system, even though we all lived elsewhere, and that was a big help.
In your opinion, what are the things that make MU distinct from other schools?
I always love small class sizes where I actually get to know my teachers and they get to know me! Definitely a plus with Multnomah. This program is so unique, and I have learned so much from each class.
Overall, what have been the highlights of your Multnomah experience?
Having professors who cared about me as a person was huge! They supported me during some tough personal and academic times, above and beyond what I expected from a teacher. I also loved our immersion trip to Rwanda — definitely a highlight to learn on the ground, see non-profits in action, visit a refugee camp and have my heart and mind blown, and get to know my brilliant and compassionate classmates.
What are you doing with your degree now?
I had no idea how I would use this degree when I started, but I trusted God to make a plan clear. And He did! I am combining this master’s degree with my nursing degree by working in an alternative high school in North Portland as their nurse! It involves a lot of psycho-social health management, building relationships and trust with my students, and helping them find resources and constructive outlets. I am also working to start up Parent Life through Portland Youth for Christ, where we aim to support and empower teen parents through loving, Christ-sharing relationships.
This post is the first in a monthly series highlighting our talented Multnomah University graduates. Stay tuned for more next month!