__MAIN_TEXT__
feature-image

Page 1

EASTERN The Magazine of Eastern University

SPRING 2020

LIGHT


Each Eachof ofus usshin shi in inunique uniqueways way


nes neslight light s.s. Dear Alumni and Friends,

In Matthew 5, Jesus calls his followers to “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” As I think of the Eastern University community, my mind is filled with the image of thousands of radiant lights beaming around the world. You are bringing light in such unique ways to your various communities and spheres of influence, even in times of great crisis.

This issue of EASTERN magazine highlights a few of those stories of light. From business to school counseling to nursing, our alumni, students, faculty, and staff are lighting up their worlds with vibrant lives of Faith, Reason, and Justice.

We are so grateful for you and for our distinctive, resplendent community of light. Thank you for supporting and living out the mission of Eastern. Proverbs 4:18 states, “The path of the just is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.” Keep shining!

With deep appreciation,

Ronald A. Matthews, President


C O N T E N T S

06 NEW CITY AVE LOCATION Eastern’s new City Ave location opened this March, featuring beautiful modern classrooms, state-of-the-art instructional technology, and a marvelously convenient location for adult students.

4

LIGHT 6

COMMUNITY 10

F E AT U R E 20

ACA D E M I C S 24

AT H L E T I C S 26

ALUMNI

Photo by Sar ah Bruno ’21, Psycholog y major

22 HOLY MOMENTS IN THE HOLY LAND Attendees of the Palmer Seminary trip to Israel woke up on the first day of 2020 in the Holy Land. Several members of the group share some of their most impactful moments.

E A S T E R N

/

T A B L E

O F

C O N T E N T S


08 REFLECTIONS ON LIGHT A theology professor and a biology professor reflect on light as both a sacred biblical theme and a sustaining force in nature.

10 FEATURE: BE LIGHT Eastern University students and alumni vividly exemplify Jesus’ call to “be light” in a variety of fields. Their passions and degrees are unique, but their lives reflect the unified kaleidoscope of colors that shine brightly from God’s children. ASSOCIATE VICE PRESIDENT / MICHAEL THOMAS, MBA ’18, PSYD Editor IN Chief / KELLY GODDARD Creative Director & Lead Designer / DANIEL PEIRCE Photographer / ELYSE GARNER ’13 ASSOCIATE EDITOR & CONTENT PRODUCER / ALLY (HOLMES) ROSARIO '14 Designer / ALAINA MOSSO ADDITIONAL PHOTO & ILLUSTRATION CREDITS / ISTOCK.COM/TITHI LUADTHONG (COVER, 11) KELLY KESTER PHOTOGRAPHY (13-15)

24 ATHLETIC HIGHLIGHTS Women’s Track and Field claims MAC Indoor Championship, Men’s Basketball enjoys historic success, and Eastern adds esports to its list of athletic offerings.

ALISA WISMER (32) Please send comments or article suggestions to: media@eastern.edu Alumni news should be sent to: alumni@eastern.edu Palmer Seminary alumni news should be sent to: palmeralum@eastern.edu PUBLISHED BY Marketing and Communications at Eastern University ONLINE AT eastern.edu/MAGAZINE

3


B y A l ly ( H o l m e s ) R o s a r i o ’ 1 4 Personal, expressive, and honest.

consider, or care about environmental

the dance community as they seek to

Samantha Thomason ’20 embodies

concerns and impacts is a gift that

explore and experience God together.

these words as she shares her heart

Samantha cherishes. “We can spark

“Eastern Dance Ministry gives me the

and passions through the art of dance.

wonder, intrigue, and change by

opportunity to worship God through

“Dance helps us communicate different

shedding light on scientific concepts

movement alongside a community of

ideas, statements, and mindsets in a

and environmental issues through the

strong, positive women,” she explains.

creative light with the option to use few

art of dance,” she shares.

Being able to express her thoughts,

words or no words at all,” Samantha explains. “It evokes feeling, and feeling ignites change.”

Samantha’s senior thesis even incorporated environmental ideas, motifs, and inspiration, exemplifying the

As a double major in both Dance and

artful beauty of science and the impact

Environmental Science, Samantha

that we have on the world around us.

believes in the power of art to help others experience, explore, and better understand the world. She quickly found beauty in employing both the arts and sciences as vehicles for discovery. Using art to challenge others to rethink,

E A S T E R N

/

L I G H T

Samantha expresses not only her passion for the natural world under the lights of the McInnis Auditorium stage, but her heart for God as well. As co-president of Eastern Dance Ministry, Samantha has found fellowship within

feelings, concerns, and prayers to God without needing to articulate the right words is something that Samantha has found extremely refreshing and freeing in her faith. As a new graduate with a bright future ahead, Samantha knows that her heart is wrapped up in dance, and no matter where she ends up, she will always be dancing and discovering.


5


C O M M U N I T Y

New

city ave location B y K e l ly G o d d a r d

T H E E XC I T E D C H AT T E R A N D L AU G H T E R

Designed for adult students, the City Ave location

of students filled the air as they arrived for their very

offers a variety of accelerated bachelor’s and

first classes and the Grand Opening celebration

associate degree programs with evening and online

of Eastern University’s new City Ave, Philadelphia

classes tailored to working adults. The location is

location. A beautiful early spring day in March

conveniently located off of I-76 at the City Avenue

created the perfect backdrop for the opening of a

exit, providing easy access from anywhere in

gorgeous new EU site.

Philadelphia or the surrounding area. The site is

Eastern’s new City Ave location provides students with convenient highway and public transit access, beautiful modern classrooms with state-

also a short walking distance from SEPTA Transit bus and train stops, as well as a Panera Bread, Chipotle, and Target!

of-the-art instructional technology, a computer

Private student advising and support rooms enhance

lab, and free parking. A student lounge offers

Eastern’s mission of providing individualized

comfort and convenience to working adults, and

support for each student, with on-site services

a large meeting room provides an exciting space

meant to equip students for success through

for events and lectures.

academic advising, academic support, professional

development, and more.

With every new location, we are seeing Eastern's motto of Faith, Reason, and Justice extending into the community and beyond.

E A S T E R N

/

C O M M U N I T Y


“We are thrilled about the ways this new site will allow us to increase the level of excellent, dynamic education that we are committed to providing for our students,” shares Dr. Kent Sparks, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. The new City Ave location also hosts Eastern University’s Center for Community Engagement, which will provide Continuing Education courses, social justice programs like Eastern’s Prison Education Program, events, conferences, and internship experiences. Social justice-minded grassroots organizations and small non-profits now have the opportunity to partner with the CCE to host special events and meetings. Eastern’s mission has always been bigger than just the geographical boundaries of the St. Davids campus. With every new location, we are seeing Eastern’s motto of Faith, Reason, and Justice extending into the community and beyond. The City Ave location is full of promise for new partnerships and transformational education.

watch a video about eastern's new city ave location: eastern.edu/cityave

7


C O M M U N I T Y

R E F L EC T ION S Sacred Darkness: A Theological Perspective By rhonda burnette-bletsch, phd

WE D ON’ T H AV E TO LOOK FA R in the

God is punishing us or because we lack faith.

Bible to find a connection between God and

Such seasons are just part of being human.

light. In Genesis 1:3, God calls forth light from

Thankfully, biblical authors recognized that

primordial darkness and declares it good.

times of darkness can also be spiritually

Echoing Genesis, John’s Gospel describes Jesus as word and light made flesh (John 1:1-14). “I am the light of the world,” Jesus

light of life” (John 8:12).

thankfully, biblical authors recognized that times of darkness can also be spiritually sacred.

Many biblical authors draw a sharp distinction between light and darkness. Biblically

/

C O M M U N I T Y

(Gen. 15:5), and dark clouds covered

As a fourth century Cappadocian monk named Gregory of Nyssa pointed out, Moses’ experience of God began with the light of a burning bush, but as he matured in faith, Moses learned to see God in the darkness. Likewise, sixteenth century mystic St. John of the Cross encountered the divine in the complete darkness of a solitary prison cell. No matter what season we are in, the God of

speaking, light stands for things that we find

Light is with us. Here is the testimony of faith:

reassuring—truth, goodness, safety, life, and

God comes to those who walk in darkness,

the sustaining divine presence. Darkness,

because darkness is not dark to God; the

on the other hand, is shorthand for spiritual

night is as bright as the day (Ps. 139:11-12).

blindness and the many things that scare us: sorrow, pain, sickness, and death. The truth, however, is that all of us spend time in life’s darker seasons, not because

E A S T E R N

God showed Abraham the stars of heaven

descended upon it (Exod. 19:18).

will have the

life's darker seasons...

(Mark 15:33). It was on a dark night that

who follows

darkness, but

spend time in

earth when Jesus died on the cross

Mt. Sinai when God’s presence

not walk in

All of us

place in the dark. Darkness fell across the

declares. “He me will

sacred. Many significant biblical events take

rhonda burnette-bletsch is professor of biblical studies and chair of the undergraduate theology department at eastern university.


ON L IG H T Sustaining Light: A Biological Perspective B y r e b e c c a h ay s , p h d L I G HT IS FO UNDAT IONAL to almost all life on earth. Quite simply, life as we know it could not exist without light. Light is foundational, and yet we treat it so simplistically. We think about light in terms of what we can see, but there are so many wavelengths of light that we cannot see.

Life would be radically different in every way without light. Light not only illumines our way, but sustains the beauty of our world as we know it.

We could not exist without light, and yet we so often only think about light in the context of sunny days or lights turned on and off in our homes. Light is necessary to all life. Plants use light in photosynthesis to create sugars that sustain life. Through photosynthesis, plants, phytoplankton, and algae take light energy, and through biochemical pathways, create sugars (stored energy for later) and structural compounds. Without light, these organisms would not

because they ate those sugars. Predators, like

radically different in every way without light.

hawks and sharks, that eat the mice and fish

Light not only illumines our way, but sustains

then only grow because of photosynthesis too,

the beauty of our world as we know it.

even though it is indirect.

The importance of light becomes especially

Without light, any life that existed on earth

profound when we consider Jesus’ command for

would be quite different. There might only

us to be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14-16).

be life in hot springs and hydrothermal vents.

He calls us to illuminate the way for others and

The existence of humans, dogs, flowers, or

to sustain the beauty of the world around us —

birds would be uncertain.

just as physical light does. Our call to “be light”

be able to grow, as they would only be able

But, if by some miracle we did have humans,

to work off of their stored sugars. Plants will

there would be shocking differences. We

actually grow in different ways to get better

wouldn't need eyes to see if there was only

access to light. Animals, like mice and fish, that

darkness. There would be no color. There would

eat the plants and algae thus can only grow

be far less beauty in the world. Life would be

plays as necessary a role as light itself.

rebecca hays is associate professor of biology at eastern university.

9


F E A T U R E

BE Eastern students and alumni are bringing light and hope across a wide variety of fields b y k e l ly g o d d a r d

LIGHT IS POWERFUL.

and alumni who are vividly

It guides our paths, brightens our

exemplifying this call to “be

spirits, and causes new life to grow.

light” in a variety of fields. Their

Hearing Jesus call his followers

passions and degrees are unique,

to “be light” is both humbling and

but their lives reflect the unified

invigorating. Empowered by the

kaleidoscope of colors that shine

Holy Spirit, we can bring hope to

brightly from God’s children.

dark places, nurture creativity in difficult circumstances, and

Be inspired by the light that

radiate contagious joy.

radiates from these pages, and

FEATURED STORIES

keep shining your own. The stories gathered here display Eastern University students

12 16 17 18 E A S T E R N

/

I N T R O D U C T I O N

Nick & Patience Trombley '16/'17, Business Wany Deng '20, Biology Danielle Large '20, Nursing Ameera Sullivan, MA '14, School Counseling


You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand — shine! Matthew 5:14-16 The Message

11


F E A T U R E

Light Roast EXPERIENCING JESUS’ LIGHT THROUGH COFFEE & COMMUNITY B y A l ly ( H o l m e s ) R o s a r i o ’ 1 4 Sunlight pours through the storefront windows

Graduation loomed around the corner for Nick,

and rests on an almost-empty coffee cup.

but there was no doubt in his mind about his

The quiet hum of a coffee grinder pulsates in the

next step when he learned of 441’s newest project

background, and a steady murmur of laughter

launch: New City Café, a local nonprofit coffee

and conversation fills the air. A young barista

shop. The vision was ambitious: create jobs for

carefully passes a hot, drip coffee over to a

disadvantaged teens, provide a safe space in the

customer seated at the counter with a smile.

community, and pursue long-term, generational

Tucked away in the Beechwood neighborhood

reconciliation through relationships with God

of Rochester, New York, New City Café is a

and one another. That January, Nick accepted

glistening gem in the community.

the position of Assistant Director, and later

New City Café Director Nick Trombley ’16 and his then-girlfriend, Patience (Ackerman) Trombley ’17 first developed a passion for the Beechwood community through a wonderful volunteer opportunity that Nick had during the summer before his sophomore year. Nick was raised in a wealthier suburb of Rochester, and conversations initiated in his INST 150 class had convicted him to

E A S T E R N

/

F E A T U R E

became the Director of New City Café. Patience was eager to support the vision as well, and they were married in September 2017. In light of God’s faithfulness coming full circle, Nick shares that Patience will oversee 441’s Summer Meals program this coming year. “God’s providence through this whole journey is amazing,” Nick exclaims.

engage in the deep areas of poverty surrounding

The beauty of New City Café’s story is not only

his community. That summer, Nick served at 441

found in Nick and Patience’s journey to the café,

Ministries – a multi-faceted ministry committed

but also, in the birth of the café itself. Nick shares

to serving the local community. He plugged into

that New City Café was intentionally founded in

the ministry’s “Summer Meals” program – an

one of the poorest neighborhoods of Rochester.

initiative providing kids in the neighborhood with

Darkness seems to engulf every corner: drug deals

reliable and healthy meal options. Throughout the

across the street are common, truant children

remainder of college, Nick would always return

roam the neighborhood, broken relationships

to 441 Ministries and serve his community, feeling

and households abound, and hurting people are

called to dream of more for Beechwood.

searching for more.


13


“Our hope is that New City Café will be a light in the midst of

The nonprofit world is not for the faint of heart, but Nick believes

this darkness – that our neighbors will experience genuine

that by the grace of God, New City Café has been able to

kindness, peace, and community when they walk through our

function with excellence on a shoestring budget. The hope is to

doors,” Nick expresses.

provide rich coffee, an ambient atmosphere, the best service,

Through this intentional placement, Nick has come to see the abused find peace and freedom, basic needs met, youth cared for and mentored, and most significantly, broken and lost individuals

and a life-changing experience through an accessible, affordable, and servant-hearted vision. Razor-thin profit margins pale in comparison to partnering with God’s work.

connected to the local church and Jesus Christ. “Jesus is the

“Jesus invites us to be part of the light,” Nick explains, “not just to

light,” Nick explains, “and at New City Café, we try our best to

consume it and leave, but to take a seat at the counter and be part

reflect that light as His hands and feet in our neighborhood.”

of something bigger than any of us could be on our own.”

Nick credits much of his passion for this community to his time at

If, one day, you find yourself strolling through the Beechwood

Eastern as an Economic Development major. “I often summarize

neighborhood of Rochester, don’t miss stopping by New City Café

my major as ‘using business to alleviate poverty.’ At Eastern, I

for a freshly brewed, home-roasted drip coffee. Pull a stool up to

developed a worldview and a theological framework that shapes

the counter and soak in the sunlight as you sip your coffee and

how I live and serve my community,” Nick explains. “Faith, Reason,

experience the joy of what God is doing through his people.

and Justice are at the core of my life, and those concepts guide every decision that I make as the Director of New City Café.”

E A S T E R N

/

F E A T U R E


Our hope is that our neighbors will experience genuine kindness, peace, and community when they walk through

„

our doors.

nick Trombley

15


F E A T U R E

Lost Boy with A Found Purpose A Story of Redemption in the Midst of Civil War BY WA N Y D E N G ’20

I CA M E TO A M E R I CA from South Sudan

and nature. I am a biology major, and after

diseases that threaten populations in tropical

when I was young. At the young age of 4,

graduating, I intend to do research in either

climates. I saw many people die while we

civil war broke out in South Sudan, and I was

genetics or infectious diseases. I have loved

were traveling on the road to Ethiopia due

faced with many difficulties. Hope felt lost.

working in my cell biology lab here at Eastern

to a lack of doctors, medical supplies, and

My life was the life of a “Lost Boy of Sudan” –

– working with enzymes and cells has allowed

knowledge of preventive measures, which

we were young children displaced, orphaned,

me to celebrate who God is, His creation, and

caused me great pain to witness. But now,

and killed by the civil war, and at times, forced

His presence on earth.

I am ready to work hard and become a doctor

to become child soldiers.

After graduating from Eastern, I intend

in order to help alleviate the suffering of communities and people around the world.

This experience showed me how lost humanity

to pursue a career in the medical field,

is and how desperately we need to seek

specializing in infectious disease control.

For now, I will finish my studies and research

redemption. I believe that God saved me in

My desire is to help people and countries

at Eastern, and continue to serve others by

those predicaments and gave me the motivation

around the world that lack proper healthcare

volunteering with different homeless ministries.

to share my faith in my field and ministry.

and skilled doctors – countries like South

To this end, I will continue to share my faith and

Sudan, Rwanda, Zaire, and Uganda.

hope with others in this world, not as a “Lost

I came to Eastern University because I wanted to grow in my faith through Christian

Because of the health issues of my homeland,

fellowship, connection with the Word of God,

I am motivated to learn about infectious

E A S T E R N

/

F E A T U R E

Boy,” but a man of God with a found purpose.


W H E N I T H I N K A B O U T being light

After I graduate this spring, I hope to

in the world, I immediately think about

build up my nursing skills at a hospital

bearing the image of God. “Being light”

or community health position while

means bringing God’s freedom and justice

learning about the ways that we can

to others. For me, nursing and medical

serve communities with the healthcare

missions are the access roads that God

and education that they deeply desire.

has given me to be used by Him.

I would like to someday become a nurse

During the summer between my senior year of high school and my first semester here at Eastern, I participated in my first short-term missions trip to the Dominican

practitioner or possibly earn my master’s in global health. Eventually, I hope to that God allows. My journey up to this point has been

the next two summers — the third year as

incredible, and I would not have

an intern — I felt God putting a greater

made it this far without God and His

calling on my heart to be a long-term

faithfulness to me. I have loved being

medical missionary.

a part of Eastern’s community, not just

has provided me with all the tools I need to bring light to those around me as a nurse, wherever I may end up. My nursing professors have done an incredible job of being God’s guiding light for me. Over the last two winters,

A Nursing Student Reflects on Bringing Light through Medical Missions

dive into the mission field in the timing

Republic with my church. After returning

My time at Eastern as a nursing major

Bearing the Image of God

BY DANIELLE LARGE ’20

academically, but also through groups like Wednesday Night Worship and the student chaplain program. In a lot of ways, “being light” to me means being present. It is both humbling and wonderful to know that I can carry God’s light and presence with me wherever I go.

I was given the opportunity to visit Haiti and the Dominican Republic with other students and a professor from our own Nursing Department. It was eye-opening and life-giving to be able to use the skills I had acquired in school so far to serve others well!

It is both humbling and wonderful to know that I can carry God's light and presence with me wherever I go.

17


F E A T U R E

B Y K E L LY G O D D A R D

This dedicated school counselor is creating change in a school previously ranked among the most dangerous in America. M O S T F R E S H M E N S T U D E N T S F E E L some level of anxiety

about their first day of high school. However, imagine walking down hallways lined with over 94 security cameras at a school repeatedly ranked among the most dangerous in America. Known for poor graduation rates, low academics, and elevated neighborhood crime, Strawberry Mansion High School in Philadelphia, PA had a stretch of years where it seemed to consistently make the news for violence in the community, lockdowns, and fights. However, things at Strawberry Mansion have been turning around, due in no small part to the bright light that is school counselor Ameera Sullivan, MA ’14, CAGS ’16. By building strong connections with her students and committing to stick with them,

News crew from 6abc. (Watch the video at eastern.edu/ameera.) “The most rewarding part of my job is helping students work through some of their greatest challenges and witnessing them grow up to become productive members of society,” Ameera shares. That’s not to say that Ameera’s journey has been easy. “When I first started working at Strawberry Mansion, the school was almost everything the media made it out to be,” she recalls. “Most of the staff from my first year left and moved on to other schools. I made a promise to my freshman seminar students that I would stay at Strawberry Mansion and be here to give out their diplomas.”

Ameera is helping students graduate and get into college, trade

Over the years she has interacted daily with stories that break her

schools, and impactful careers. Her positive impact even drew the

heart. Many of her students struggle to make it to school because

attention of several Philadelphia Inquirer articles and an Action

they have to work to feed or provide for themselves.

E A S T E R N

/

F E A T U R E


“The most difficult part of my job is watching the students act

her MA in School Counseling and a Certificate of Advanced

out due to misplaced anger,” she explains. “Over 50% of our

Graduate Studies from EU.

students have IEPs, and that’s not to say that they are incapable. They were never taught how to properly cope.”

“Going into grad school, I wasn't sure what to expect, but my experience at Eastern provided me with so much more:

Despite the heartbreak and frustration she often feels, Ameera

my purpose,” she shares. “The prayers and support from my

is encouraged by the positive changes she has seen over the last

professors and classmates really got me through the program,

several years.

and that is something I try to do with my students and

“It feels good to be the last standing teacher/counselor since the

coworkers.”

2016 regime and to know that I kept my word to my first group of

The fluorescent lights in Strawberry Mansion hallways are bright,

ninth graders. A familiar face goes a long way to students.”

but Ameera’s light is brighter. She walks those hallways with

Ameera credits her graduate program at Eastern with wonderfully preparing her for her current work. She earned both

purpose, courage, and conviction – and the rays of her impact reflect far and wide.

ameera with some of her original students. Watch a video about Ameera's story at eastern.edu/ameera

19


A C A D E M I C S

A Lighter General Education Core Eastern's New GE Core Makes Life Easier for Students B y K e n t s pa r k s , m b a , p h d

Eastern is working every day to offer educational quality

T H E AV E R AG E C O L L E G E S T U D E N T

The new GE Core allows students to use some

spends about one-third of the classes they take

required major-specific credits toward their

on their General Education (GE) Core. Required

General Education credit bank, while also

by university accreditors across the nation, the

increasing the menu of classes available for

GE Core is designed to provide a well-rounded,

each GE category. These adjustments reduce

holistic educational experience across key

the required course load of “special” General

areas of study. Rather than a long list of boxes

Education Core credits that students must

to check before students move on to classes in

acquire in order to graduate — thus making life

their major, a dynamic core curriculum should be

easier for students. Required classes are divided

engaging, empowering — and easy to manage.

into three categories of Faith, Reason, and

This was our vision when we transformed our

Justice, based on Eastern’s core values.

that is also convenient

GE Core curriculum this year. The changes are

Eastern is working every day to offer educational

designed to help students better manage their

quality that is also convenient and affordable.

and affordable.

schedules, increase class scheduling options,

In 2018 we launched Eastern FastPass,TM which

take courses that interest them, and consolidate

provided groundbreaking new options for

core requirements — allowing students to focus

graduating early, double majoring, or lightening

on their interests and earn their degrees more

course loads through free online summer

conveniently. The revised core also makes it

classes. Our new General Education Core is

easier than ever before for transfer students to

another strong step in that direction.

seamlessly transition into Eastern’s programs.

Learn More about the new ge core curriculum at eastern.edu/general-education.

E A S T E R N

/

A C A D E M I C S


HOPELESSNESS TO How Esperanza College Impacted my Outlook on Life B y R i ta T h o r n , A A ’ 1 8 I CA M E FRO M O NE OF the neighboring

certification as a Medical Assistant even

offered me their gift of knowledge. After

public schools, the same schools that failed

though I was only 16 years old and the

a few semesters, I became the valedictorian

my parents, aunts, and uncles before me.

youngest student at that school. It was a great

of the December 2019 graduating class and

I did not put too much pressure on myself

accomplishment for me, but I struggled to

delivered a speech to hundreds of members

concerning my academics, since I told myself,

land a position in the medical field because

of my community. I never imagined such an

“Just get a C.” That is what I thought my

of my age. As a result, I labored in customer

achievement!

highest ability consisted of. My elementary

service, waitressing, and sales associate jobs.

school was on the news two years in a row

Despite the severity of my circumstances,

because children brought drugs and a gun into

I never gave up. Then, hope arrived for me in

the school. When I was 15 years old, I saw my

the form of a college called Esperanza.

Vice Principal get shot in the hip outside of my

My journey has taught me that you must keep believing in yourself and never live up to someone else’s limitations, no matter what the situation looks like. You must keep striving

Esperanza College has made a significant

and have faith that one day God will fulfill your

difference in changing my outlook from

hopes and dreams beyond your expectations.

I eventually dropped out of high school

hopelessness to fearlessness. Esperanza

You must never give up!

because I did not want to become another

College will forever hold a special place in

statistic. I immediately enrolled in GED

my heart. The warmth I felt every time I was

courses. Once I finished, I enrolled in a

on campus was genuine and sincere. My

Medical Assistant program. I obtained my

professors were nothing short of amazing and

classroom as he tried to break up a fight.

Rita thorn is currently working at a bilingual school in North Philadelphia and earning her BS in Early Childhood Education at Eastern.

21


P A L M E R

Holyin theMoments holy land Pa l m e r a n d e a s t e r n at t e n d e e s r e f l e c t o n t h e i r t r i p t o i s r a e l

I T ’ S H A R D TO T H I N K O F A M O R E M E M O R A B L E WAY to ring in a new decade than waking up on the first day of 2020 in the Holy Land. This is the experience that attendees of the Palmer Theological Seminary Trip to Israel had this winter. The 14-day study tour included stops in Jerusalem, Nazareth, Bethlehem, the Dead Sea, and more. Led by three biblical studies faculty members and attended by a group of 39 students, staff, and family members, the trip was a rich and meaningful experience for all involved. Here, a few attendees share some of their most impactful moments.

Learn more about the next holy land study tour, scheduled for 12/27/20 - 1/8/21, at Palmerseminary.edu/holyland

E A S T E R N

/

P A L M E R


impactful moment that currently comes to mind is the

experience climbing the steps to the temple mount, walking

cities on hills. Lights filled the crests of hilltops everywhere

through Hezekiah's tunnel, and praying at the Wailing/

I looked, with the space between each city and valley as

Western Wall. These moments shed so much light on the

dark as night. At that moment, the Word leapt off the pages

nearness of the eternal koinonia/community of God and my

of my Bible. This was what Jesus saw when He said those

place in it. As I climbed those steps, overlooked the city,

words! The history of God's people, our Lord's time on

burrowed through the wet tunnel, and prayed at the wall,

earth, and the lives of early century Christians sprang alive.

I could feel the presence of the “great cloud of witnesses”

At every subsequent location or historic site on our tour, my

described in Hebrews 12:1. I could hear their voices testify to

understanding and faith grew stronger.”

As I still process this epic pilgrimage, I’d say the most

As the pilot announced our approach into Tel Aviv, I leaned over to open my window shade and then I saw them...

the good news of salvation and God's sovereignty.”

— Erin Kincaid, MA '20

— Lori Banfield, mts '15, da '18

Eastern Student

Eastern & Palmer Alumna

Yardenit on the Jordan River. We witnessed a fellow Palmer

student being baptized for the first time by two of our

we experienced the land, its history, its people, and as

professors. Several members of our tour group renewed

we worshiped and read Scripture together. I visited new

their baptisms that morning also. I saw the Spirit of God

places and returned to familiar ones, rekindled precious

descending on those who were immersed in those waters.

relationships and began new ones, and I continue to

Some smiled, some shed silent tears, and some shouted for

experience the joy of memories which enlighten my heart

joy. But the hand, and approval, of God on each one was

and mind daily as I read Scripture, pray, worship, and work.”

Perhaps the most moving experience for me occurred at

made evident. My spirit was truly touched that morning.”

— Kevin Pope, MDIV '20

For me, the Palmer Study Tour to Israel was a return to a place I once called home. The tour illuminated my life as

— Deborah watson Palmer Faculty

Palmer Student

23


A T H L E T I C S

FALL/WINTER By dan mouw

WOMEN’S TRACK AND FIELD CLAIMS MAC INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIP With two tremendous days of competition, Eastern Women’s Track and Field claimed the 2020 MAC Indoor Track and Field Championship. Nicole Weenink ’20 took gold with a meet-record 5.80 meter long jump and the 4,000 Meter Distance Medley also claimed gold. Katelyn Bernotas ’21 anchored the relay

Emily Byrnes ’23 took second and third in the

The Eagles opened the MAC Freedom season at

800 Meters.

King’s in a rematch of the 2018 Championship.

In the 60, Courtney Moyer ’21 edged Weenink for third with a new program record. Senior Co-Captain Caitlin Newport ’20 leapt to bronze with a PR in the high jump. Cara Fordenbacher ’20 and Joelle Wash ’22 scored in the Pentathlon, and Katelyn Bernotas anchored two final relays to secure the win.

Aidan Link ’23 scored the only goal to lift the Eagles. In the semifinal game, the secondseeded Eagles needed an overtime gamewinner from rookie forward Derek Buhrman ’23 to beat Misericordia. King’s upset top-seeded Stevens to set up a rematch of the 2018 final. Eastern started four freshmen and four sophomores in the Championship. After falling behind early, Nik Kokolios ’23 leveled the score

Weenink earned meet-record 12.07 meter

YOUTHFUL MEN’S SOCCER SQUAD REPEATS

Triple Jump, and was also named Field Athlete

With only one senior, Eastern Men’s Soccer

’22 secured the win five minutes later. The

of the Year. The Bernotas sisters took second,

claimed the program’s fourth MAC Freedom

Eagles gained valuable experience and should

fourth, and fifth in the Mile, and Katelyn and

Championship in the last five years.

be a very exciting team to watch in the future.

for the first of her five medals on the weekend.

E A S T E R N

/

A T H L E T I C S

in the 21st minute. Buhrman buried his eighth of the year in the 62nd minute and Alex McGlynn


goeasterneagles.com

By dan mouw

EASTERN

EASTERN UNIVERSITY TO ADD ESPORTS IN FALL 2020

MEN’S BASKETBALL ENJOYS HISTORIC SUCCESS

Eastern will add esports to its list of athletic

With senior Victor Peña ’19 still recovering

offerings in Fall 2020. Esports, or electronic

from injury and out for the first six games,

sports, are competitive video games across

Eastern Men’s Basketball did not hit its stride

a variety of different platforms. The most

until mid-January. A 77-73 win at FDU-Flor-

popular are multiplayer games with complex

ham started the Eagles on a six-game

environments that require players to develop

winning streak, and Coach Pruessner’s group

a knowledge base and work on strategies

finished the regular season second behind

with teammates. Collegiate esports programs

league-newcomer Stevens.

are growing in popularity both locally and across the nation.

The Eagles hosted defending-champion DeSales in the opening game. In 14 confer-

“We see esports as a great platform for

ence-tournament appearances, the Eagles

growth in our University and Department,”

had not advanced to a championship game.

said Athletic Director Eric McNelley. “I look forward to seeing us build a winning program in this exciting and popular competition.” The Eagles will compete in up to five games in the 2020-21 academic year and the University is in the process of developing a facility to be completed in 2020. eastern.edu/esports

Draig Ruff ’22 scored 23 points in a 75-63 win to lift Eastern to the MAC Freedom Championship game against Stevens. The win was the team’s 11th home win in a row.

DAN MOUW IS DIRECTOR OF ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS AT EASTERN UNIVERSITY.

MAC CHAMPIONS

WOMEN'S INDOOR TRACK & FIELD

Nicole Weenink ’20

5.80

METER LONG JUMP GOLD MEDAL & MEET RECORD

11

home wins in a row MEN'S BASKETBALL

25


A L U M N I

2020

Alumnus of the Year James mast ’09, MA ’16

Guiding Light by Amanda (slade) lowman ’20 A S S H I P S S E E K G U I DA N C E I N T H E DA R K N E S S by way of

with thinking, feelings, and behavior continues to be an important part

a lighthouse, so Christians are called to be shining beacons of light

of my work as a mental health professional,” he shares. While continuing

in a world that, at times, feels very dark. Mental Health Outpatient

his partnership with Penn Foundation, a community mental health

Psychotherapist James Mast ’09 is a beacon of light in the mental health

organization, James is also excited to grow his new private practice in

world as he walks with his patients toward wellness while combating the

Harleysville, Pennsylvania.

often-negative stigmas surrounding mental health. James’ goal is to create a community that removes any negative stigmas During his time at Eastern University, James was meaningfully impacted

regarding mental health in order to create what he describes as a “more

by the passion and expertise of his professors in the psychology

welcoming and healing body of believers.” By always displaying positive

department. He recounts, “My professors taught me what it means to be

regard toward his patients and seeking to demonstrate Jesus’ love for

a Christian professional, putting ethics and human dignity above all else.”

them, James radiates light through his work. “My code of ethics as a

As a follower of Jesus, James was taught to love his enemies. He says,

follower of Jesus and my ethical standards as a professional counselor

“Loving my enemies became easier when I understood the principles of

inform one another,” he shares.

psychology. The more I understood why good people can do bad things, the fewer enemies I saw in the world.”

As James looks to the future, he is excited to continue integrating his faith into his new practice — as well as watching his daughter continue

As a licensed professional counselor, James believes that the integration

to grow. By walking in love and expanding his circles, the reach of his

of his faith into his practice has made him a more effective and

light promises to continue to grow wider and brighter.

empathetic therapist. “Understanding the ways in which faith interacts

E A S T E R N

/

A L U M N I


Mission Without a Passport

international mission field overseas and share the gospel. However, her parents encouraged her to utilize her passion for education, so Christina entered

Eastern University and became an early childhood education major, feeling as if her call to ministry had been abandoned to simmer on the back burner.

b y A l ly ( H o l m e s ) R o s a r i o ’ 1 4

But Christina quickly learned that mission work doesn’t always require a passport and a booked flight. “Eastern equipped me with the skills I needed

“ M I S S C H R I S T I N A , M I S S C H R I S T I N A!”

to enter the education field while also teaching me how to be the hands

The shouts resonate throughout the halls of Roxy Preschool. Around the

and feet of Jesus,” she shares. “I learned and truly believe that educators,

corner, Christina (Gann) Gomez ’14 sits on the floor of a classroom, book

especially those who work at the early childhood level, can impact students’

in hand, surrounded by wide-eyed, adoring students.

lives in tremendous ways and set them up for an amazing future.”

Christina serves as the director of Roxy Education, a non-profit ministry

After graduating, Christina accepted one of the first teaching positions

providing affordable Christian education in the Roxborough community

at the new Philadelphia Project Preschool based out of The Philadelphia

through a quality preschool, supportive after-school programs, and fun,

Project and Roxborough Church. “It was my ‘dream job’ using my

interactive summer camp opportunities.

education degree for ministry here in Philadelphia,” Christina beams. “Helping start a preschool was no small task, but I can see God’s specific

Christina has always been passionate about two things: ministry and

preparation for me in each stage as I followed His will for my life.” Christina

children. Ever since she was young, Christina was eager to enter the

became the Preschool Director, and eventually in 2019, she became the Director of Education for the newly re-branded Roxy Education, overseeing all of the Project’s and Church’s education programs.

2020

Distinguished Young Alumna of the Year

Christina (Gann) Gomez ’14, Ms Through this experience, Christina met her husband Ricky, the Children’s Pastor at Roxborough Church, and together they faithfully serve their community in various capacities. Our hope is that these students not only receive a solid foundation for success in life and school, but more importantly, that they come to know Jesus Christ, along with their families,” Christina shares. Her calling isn’t either ‘ministry’ or ‘education’, but is the perfect marriage of both. Christina’s life bears testimony to the truth that mission work doesn't always occur in distant, exotic places, but often happens as soon as you step out your front door.

27


A L U M N I

by Abigail brooke ’20

PA S S I O N AT E , LOV I N G , A N D D R I V E N are just a few of the ways that

Theresa Noye has been described. As the current Resident Director of Kea-Guffin Hall, Advisor of the Chapel Worship team, and Interim Director of the Office of Multicultural Students Initiatives and the Goode Scholars Program, Theresa is heavily involved in student life. She is an example and guide to countless students, making her an obvious candidate for the Lamplight Society Award.

2020

Lamplight Society Inductee

The Lamplight Society honors those who have left a legacy of light on the

theresa noye

Eastern University community. The award honors an individual who is part of our alumni, faculty, staff, or administration for the contributions they made during their time at Eastern.

In every sector of her life, Theresa aims to help others see themselves as they truly are. “Light is the natural agent that stimulates sight and makes

Theresa Noye has fanned the flames of a myriad of initiatives at Eastern,

things visible,” she says. “I have walked with a countless number of students

including EQUIP, Conquer the Night, the Meet Your Majors Fair, and the

— helping them to see the unique gifts, talents, and genius they possess;

Goode Scholars Success Seminar. This July marks her 25th year at Eastern,

clearing the doubts, fears and lies that tell them they are not worthy;

where she tirelessly works to ensure that students are as prepared as possible

and challenging them to step into new arenas equipped with the tools to

for life after college — spiritually, academically, and developmentally.

believe in themselves.”

“My greatest joy is the investment I have made in the lives of students

Theresa embodies the meaning of the Lamplight Society Award through the

over the years,” Theresa shares. “They are insightful, powerful, intelligent

abundance of ways that she guides both students and others around her.

leaders serving in various sectors. I am proud to have played a role in

Eastern University and its students will be forever grateful for the bright light

their development.”

that she brings to our campus.

E A S T E R N

/

A L U M N I


Alumni Class Notes Eastern and Palmer Alumni Class Notes

1950 S

1970 S

After 50 years of missionary and pastoral service,

In 2012, Earl G. Russell ’72 retired after 40 years

Robert Vance ’55 retired. At almost 87 years of

of pastoral ministry in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania,

age, he now serves as a security guard just to stay

and Delaware. He's been teaching English

busy! He meets many people during his current

Composition at Delaware State University for

forty-hour work week.

the past seven years. He also manages the

David Cutting, husband of Elizabeth (Hill)

Cutting ’58 passed away at the age of 84, on September 2, 2019, on their 59th wedding anniversary.

1960 S For 10 years, Alfred Cox ’60 has been working part-time in a family practice clinic. He is enjoying ministering to the whole person – body, soul, and spirit – with opportunities to teach people the interrelationship among physical, emotional, and spiritual health.

family history, and traveling. Reflecting back on her time at Eastern, Pamela found the most valuable experiences to be the Biology Department trip to the Florida Everglades, drama club productions, and of course, the Writing Program.

platforms for the American Baptist Churches

1980 S

of Pennsylvania and Delaware. Recent summer

Donna J. (Borkowski) Speeney ’89 reports that

travels with his wife, Carol Murr Russell ’75,

her son Rich graduated from Messiah College

have included several trips abroad and a

in 2018 and her daughter Maria is currently a

10-week, cross-country camping trip. They are

sophomore at Palm Beach Atlantic University.

regional website and several social media

leading an entourage to the Oberammergau Passion Play and tour of Italy in 2020.

After 23 years of working in the field of Relief and Development with World Relief and World

Pamela Powell ’79 has retired after 33 years

Renew (formerly CRWRC), Nick M. Armstrong,

of service as photo archivist for the Chester

MBA ’89 and his wife Laura returned to Boise, ID

County Historical Society in West Chester, PA.

and started a non-profit to help mobilize, train,

She is also celebrating 25 years of marriage

and connect volunteers with refugee families

with Ronald Maurer. The couple enjoys

that came to settle in the greater Boise area.

working around their home and garden,

29


A L U M N I 2000 S Donna Jones-Gardner ’00 was recently married to Cliff Gardner. Alisa Laska ’01 began a new position with Chesapeake Church as the Youth Ministry Assistant in April 2019. Renee Patrone ’03 married Ted Rhinehart on December 20, 2019. Dena (Pauling) Cipriano ’05 earned a Management of Nonprofit Organizations

E A S T E R N U N I V E R S I T Y A N D PA L M E R S E M I N A R Y IN MEMORY BY CLASS YEAR:

degree in Summer 2019 from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH. Dena

1950s

1990s

also founded her own marketing company,

Lacy Hall ’50 / October 11, 2019

Paul Spohn ’90 / November 11, 2019

Erie Shore Integrated Solutions, LLC.

Vincent DeGregoris ’52 / December 31, 2019

William Levesque ’91 / July 17, 2019

Kenneth Estep ’52 / December 28, 2019

Denton Lotz ’91 / April 23, 2019

David Goss ’05 and his wife Lindsey, along

Lloyd Kenyon ’52 / July 10, 2019

Barbara Marte ’94 / June 29, 2019

with their 4 children, have moved to Dalton,

Harry Light ’52 / December 13, 2019

Andrew Schielke ’95 / December 7, 2019

Vera (Gould) Witt ’52 / February 22, 2019

William DeCarme ’96 / December 20 2019

Charles Molnar ’59 / February 13, 2019

Mary Ann (Mascioni) Summers ’98 / August 17, 2019

Samuel Hofer (PTS) / September 28, 2019

Thomas Coan ’98 / September 14, 2019

GA. David joined Associates in Orthopedics and Sports Medicine after recently completing an orthopedic foot and ankle fellowship in Columbus, OH. Chloe Bass ’06 and Jared Bass ’07 welcomed their new bundle of joy, Caleb Andrew Bass, on January 24, 2020.

1960s Elmer Johnson ’60 / July 7, 2019 William Keyes ’60 / September 4, 2019

Shelley Leaphart-Williams ’99 / May 25, 2019 Jeanne Miller ’99 / November 2, 2019 Richard Womack, MDiv ’93 / July 7, 2019

Nora Day ’63 / February 6, 2020

2000s

Blair Hills ’63 / August 24, 2019

James Hanlon ’01 / December 17, 2019

Dante Vincenti ’63 / October 19, 2019

Karen Gibson ’02 / January 6, 2020

John Kilgore ’64 / August 15, 2019

Lester Williamson ’02 / July 12, 2019

C. Victoria Brown, MDiv ’06, continues her

James Frazer ’65 / November 2, 2019

Janelle (Wilson) Nemeth ’06 / October 4, 2019

mission pastoring churches since graduation.

Joyce (Heller) Hickling ’69 / July 8, 2019

Kristen (Meitzler) Oswald ’08 / July 28, 2019

Jane (Fletcher) Higgins ’69 / April 19, 2019

Ronnie Somerville ’09 / December 18, 2019

Michael Guernsey ’07 is now serving as

Herbert Byrd (PTS) / August 18, 2019

Cynthia Swogger, MDiv ’03 / July 25, 2019

the Dean of the Archbishop's Cathedral in

1970s

Loganville, GA.

Robert Hershey ’70 / September 9, 2019

2010s

Carol Heller ’71 / July 10, 2019

Karen Sellers, MDiv ’15 / July 27, 2019

Luther Gibbs ’72 / June 2019

Inez Shanks, MDiv ’15 / July 26, 2019

of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting and

Leonard Haseltine ’72 / December 19, 2019

Raul LeDuc, MDiv ’17 / August 8, 2019

Literature in May 2019 and is the newly

William Thomas ’74 / August 6, 2019

Kevin T. Padworski ’08 earned his Doctorate

appointed Director of Vocal Music at Colorado Academy in Denver, CO.

James Morrison ’75 / December 17, 2019 G. Alden Taylor (PTS) / September 18, 2019 1980s

Allan Campbell, MDiv ’08 / October 15, 2019

HONORARY ALUMNI Lois Evans / December 30, 2019 FA C U LT Y / S TA F F

Justin Tomevi, Esq. ’09 has been elected as

Doris Jean (McMurtie) Fishburn ’81 / August 9, 2019

Muriel VanBueren

a partner to his law firm, Barley Snyder LLP,

Kerry Martz ’84 / January 9, 2020

Dr. Helen Loeb

Richard Alberta ’89 / July 1, 2019

Malcolm Chandler

John Munday ’86 / October 26, 2019

Wanda Bailey-Green

which has over 100 attorneys based in Central PA, effective January 1, 2020.

E A S T E R N

/

A L U M N I


2010 S

Maggie (McGowan) Frey ’12 married Captain

Jasmine Bullock ’15 is now the Manager of Youth

Jason Frey at the USNA on May 11, 2019 and

Programs at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.

Daniel Ison ’11 was the recipient of the

they now reside in Monterey, CA.

Outstand Sound Design Award in the 2019 Barrymore Awards for "Gem of the Ocean" at the Arden Theater Company. The Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre are a

Yvreene Pierre-Louis ’13 recently became engaged to John G, Rogers III. The wedding is planned for October 24, 2020.

Matthew Cradduck ’19 and Kara (Timmons) Cradduck ’18 were married on May 18, 2019. Trevor J. Stacey ’18 currently works at Premier Orthopaedics as an Athletic Trainer and

nationally recognized symbol of excellence for

Angelique Gravely ’13 was selected as the

recently married Victoria (Farina) Stacey ’17

professional theatre in the Greater Philadelphia

ACLU-PA 2019-2020 Frankel Adair Scholar.

on May 26, 2019.

region, honoring local artists and theatre companies while increasing public awareness of the richness and diversity of our city's thriving theatre community.

Kelsey (Zimmerman) Kratz ’13 and Evan Kratz ’14 celebrated the birth of their son, Emmett Peter Kratz, on October 26, 2019.

MEET YOUR NEW ALUMNI & FAMILY ENGAGEMENT TEAM! Our team is committed to strengthening alumni connections with Eastern and will be working on a variety of projects including class and affinity reunions, area engagement events, online webinars, Homecoming, and more!

TIM

REBECCA

TIM WORTHAM, JR. ’15, MS Sr. Director of Alumni & Family Philanthropic Engagement

REBECCA CHARUK, MS Director of Alumni & Family Philanthropic Engagement

Tim earned a BS in Business Administration from Eastern and an MS in

A graduate of Rollins College (Winter Park, FL) with a BA in Political

Nonprofit Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. He served

Science, Rebecca also earned a MS in Higher Education from Drexel

the University of Pennsylvania in various roles for more than 20 years

University. Before coming to Eastern, she held positions of increasing

and most recently as Director of Alumni Engagement at Penn’s Carey

responsibility in alumni relations and engagement at Drexel University

Law School. Tim is an active member of his church in South Philadelphia

and Thomas Jefferson University. Rebecca loves to travel, try new

and a proud husband and father. Tim will have oversight of our alumni

restaurants, and meet new people. She enjoys planning creative and

and family engagement efforts. He is excited to serve the Eastern

exciting events that alumni can join both in-person and virtually, and

community in this capacity.

looks forward to strengthening the connections Eastern alumni have with each other, current students, and the Eastern community overall.

Ideas or questions? Feel free to reach out to Tim and Rebecca! alumni@eastern.edu.

31


ANSWERS AVAILABLE AT EASTERN.EDU/DIFFERENCES E A S T E R N

/

A L U M N I


We are better together! Support our community and students who have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic: THE EAGLES’ WINGS FUND Eastern University has not been immune to the negative financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic with unanticipated expenses and lost revenue. The Eagles’ Wings Fund supports the ongoing needs of students, faculty, and staff related to the pandemic, such as technology resources for remote learning and student support.

THE ANGEL FUND The impact of the coronavirus has placed significant financial hardships, including unexpected expenses and lost income from employment, on many Eastern students. The Angel Fund supports students who are experiencing these unexpected circumstances that may prevent them from returning to Eastern.

Y O U R G I F T M AT T E R S

PLEASE MAKE A GIFT BY JUNE 30, 2020 GIVING.EASTERN.EDU


19 25

1300 Eagle Road, St. Davids, PA 19087-3696

FORWARDING SERVICE REQUESTED

Homecoming & Family Weekend OCTOBER 9-10, 2020

SPECIAL EVENTS

R E G I S T E R T O D AY !

HOMECOMING OPENING CEREMONY & CELEBRATION (New this year!)

ONLINE: EASTERN.EDU/HOMECOMING

PALMER ALUMNI WORSHIP & GATHERING (New this year!)

PHONE: 1.800.600.8057

FALL FESTIVAL

E-MAIL: HOMECOMING@EASTERN.EDU

ATHLETIC EVENTS ALL CLASS & AFFINITY REUNION DINNER AT ST. DAVIDS GOLF CLUB (New this year!) AN UP-TO-THE MINUTE SCHEDULE WILL BE ONLINE AT: EASTERN.EDU/HOMECOMING

Profile for Eastern University

Eastern | Spring 2020  

EASTERN, the magazine of Eastern University, supports our mission to provide a Christian higher education for those who will make a differen...

Eastern | Spring 2020  

EASTERN, the magazine of Eastern University, supports our mission to provide a Christian higher education for those who will make a differen...

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded