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Stories from Eastern Alumni


Lara '09, MEd '13 | PA Teacher of the Year Finalist
"My journey to become a teacher actually began with a trip to France. My world was expanded and I thought, 'I would love to open up this other world to students.'  I received a BA in French (and later an MEd) from Eastern University and accepted a job as a French teacher in a rural town. Teaching at a small school, I am with the same students for up to five years. Because of this, I need resilient courage to walk alongside students through various stages of their lives and education until they find success. Recently I was chosen as a finalist for the Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year award. I hope that courage continues to push me outside of my comfort zone." Video: Lara's story


Marvin, MS ’01 | Mayor of Bristol, United Kingdom
"Being the first directly elected black mayor in Europe is important to me - it really matters. It’s also nuanced. I am mixed race and that matters too. From that place I can try and find the space within all the other noise to speak across divides.  My MS in Economic Development from Eastern has given me principles that have guided me in my time as Mayor. Exploring Economic Development is essential, not just because of the need to grow sustainability but also the moral aspect to do this.” Read Eastern's interview with Marvin.


Lenise '18 | Artist. Athlete. Leader.
"Eastern, in a way, gave me permission to be brave. Professors, staff and friends began calling me things like "leader" and "influencer" before I even believed myself to be any of these things. The Eastern community is like a breeding ground for the courageous. It is filled with organizations, clubs and athletic teams wired to bring out the best in men and women. I took leaps of faith by joining organizations that I would never have pictured myself to be in. I am the chair of the Leadership Fellows Program, captain of the Women's Track and Field Team, and vice president of Wednesday Night Worship." Watch a video of Lenise's story and an original song.


George, MBA '07 | Director, Business Transformation
"I am constantly managing initiatives to transform business to meet the demands of customers today. Being responsible for implementing successful change in business can be challenging, but I view challenges as opportunities. Eastern University gave me the flexible platform to be successful. Furthermore, Eastern's mission to help students lead thoughtful and productive lives of Christian faith, leadership, and service is what helped me be more courageous. I have made it a priority to take the necessary actions required to influence the world in substantive ways."  Video: George's MBA experience at Eastern


Sam '17 | Modern Dancer
"As a blind student who wanted to study dance, getting my degree meant doing something others thought was unthinkable. My courage was primarily fueled by an Eastern professor. Other schools told me, 'We don’t know how to handle someone like should try something else.'  This professor, on the other hand, told me, 'You’re here for a reason.'  She was willing to take on the challenge of figuring it out. My dual degrees in dance and psychology gave me the knowledge behind what I want to do in the future - start a program for dancers who are visually impaired or blind."  Video: Sam's story as a dancer at Eastern


Don, MS '17 & Alex '17 | Father and Daughter
Don: "Getting this degree not only required courage from me, but also my entire family. Dad was going to be busy for 2 years and they needed to understand that. They did wonderful! This would not have been possible without the full support of my wife." 

Alex: "My professors at EU pushed me to do my best and supported me along the way. This made me more confident in my chosen career path, social work. Social work requires courage because I am working with a lot of broken people who come to me looking for support and help."


Somer '17 | Social Entrepreneur
"I struggled all four years of college, and I had non-academic obstacles that changed my entire life. In the matter of four years, I went from being homeless to a homeowner. I went from having a mom to losing her after a ten-year-long breast cancer battle. I mustered the courage to be resilient, and it worked out in my favor. Eastern University gave my business ideas a platform; I took second place in an entrepreneurial competition. Currently, I am in the process of converting my house into a shelter for homeless teen girls, and teaching them how to be self-sufficient. Hopefully, my story can provoke them to be game-changers in their own lives, families, and communities." 


Marisol, MBA '13 |TD Bank AVP & Store Manager
"When I enrolled in Eastern's MBA, I was a working single mom with a daughter who had juvenile diabetes. My professors and classmates truly cared about me and didn't give up on me. I especially loved Eastern's leadership courses, which increased my ability to develop, manage, and have difficult conversations. I am now an assistant vice president and store manager for a bank. We need managerial courage to face day-to-day operations associated to risk management, customer issues, employee development, operational efficiencies, and obtaining successful results. For me, courage means the ability to take the unpaven road."


Nikki, MA '08 | Executive Director, Evangelicals for Social Action/The Sider Center
"We are working to engage people who are tethered to Jesus to engage in justice issues. It takes courage to imagine a world free of poverty. But I feel emboldened by my faith to imagine something different than the reality of injustice we see. It takes courage to advocate, to step into the gap, to ask the church to take a look at injustice and fight for people on the margins. Eastern's MA in Organizational Leadership created a space for lots of different people to learn from each other. By having my thinking refined in a global culture, I have courage that I can figure out a way in an unknown place."


Adam, MA '10 | Co-Founder/Executive Director, eduKenya
"Our team requires courage to stand up against societal injustice, an unwillingness to allow people to be defined by poverty, but rather as God’s children made in his image. The ethos of Eastern teaches social impact, justice for those that are forgotten.  It continued the process for me to not accept the normal expected life path, and focus on what God has called me to."


Jodina Hicks '93 | Executive Director, UrbanPromise
"My career path has been focused on empowering people who have been disenfranchised – both in Camden and in the prison system. Sometimes this work requires me to walk in the darkness and courage is what allows me to put one foot in front of the other. My commitment to Camden has been made stronger by the courage exhibited by the children and teens growing up in a city where the deck is stacked against them. My professors at Eastern celebrated my choices and exposed me to authors, leaders, and movements that until then were hidden to me. Their belief in me and encouragement to be courageous gave me the strength and backbone to follow my calling."  


David, MBA '07 | Vice President of Ambulatory Services, Inspira Health Network
"I was a middle manager working in a hospital health care system with a wife and three kids at home. I knew that in order to advance my career, I needed to have an advanced degree. My time at Eastern helped shape me into the professional that I am today. My decision to get an MBA also showed my son the importance of investing in postgraduate studies. He ended up staying for a 5th year to complete his post-graduate master's in accounting."  Video: David's MBA in Health Administration experience


Chelsie, MA '15, BCBA, LBS | Behavior Analyst
“I work with children with autism in an interdisciplinary clinic as well as inner-city youth in the Philadelphia schools, both struggling with challenging behaviors.  It takes courage to be able to coach families through extreme behavioral needs. Eastern taught me the courage to look at the world through the lens of others instead of always my own, which has been invaluable in my life and career.”


Brenda, DMin ’00 | Associate Professor of Reconciliation Studies, Seattle Pacific University
“My thinking and understanding of reconciliation was forged and shaped during my doctoral work. My studies at Palmer greatly shaped and informed me as a minister, consultant and thought leader of reconciliation. What people see as courage is really my commitment to the path of discipleship. It is faithfully trying to follow what God has called me to do."

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