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Nominated by their peers and selected by Staff Council, the staff members below exemplify service to the University, showing leadership in their staff role and elsewhere. Below is a list of current and past Staff Members of the Month. Click on each staff member's name to learn more about them!

Do you know someone who should be the Staff Member of the Month?  Nominate him or her today!


2018

2020 Staff Members of the Month



Do you know someone who should be the November 2018 Staff Member of the Month? Nominate him or her today!

Image RemovedNeal DeWitt

Multi-Skilled Trades 11 Mch/El
Facility and Project Management

Hometown: Vernonia, Oregon

How long have you
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July 2020

Image AddedSally Thunselle

Director of Health Services, Family Nurse Practitioner
Student Health Services
Hometown: Snohomish, Washington (originally Westport, Connecticut)

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How long have you been at SPU? 

17½ yearsI started as a grad student in 2011, and working here since 2017.

Tell us about a memorable good day at work. Everyday working here

Working in health care is a good day at work.

Also, there was the time I was allowed to shadow my child who was in the 4th or 5th grade at the time. His class was visiting campus, and I was allowed the time off to join him in a tour of the campus, which made for a memorable time for the both of us.

How does your faith impact your work? 

To always be open to teach, or be taught, with an open mind, while striving to do the work with an attitude of humility. 

Tell us the piece privilege, every day being a part of other people’s best and worst days and supporting them through both. But a particularly memorable day would be one with little paperwork. I will let you know if that happens.

How does your faith impact your work?

In my work, I have been invited to be present with people during times of great happiness and great sorrow – and in many ordinary moments in between. Faith reminds me that it is in being together through all of life’s moments that we feel his love.

Tell us the piece of your life journey that brought you to Seattle Pacific University.

I was unhappy at my previous employers and was looking for a new job when I came across the job posting. Also, I wanted to work in a Christian workplace. I applied and was hiredremember thinking it was a random email that brought me to this opportunity at SPU, but in retrospect, I believe it was a God Nudge. I am grateful to be here.

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work? 

Bicycle riding, camping, and enjoying my 3-year-old granddaughters. 

I love my family and my little farm in Snohomish – all time spent with them is a blessing. We like to be outdoors, and to hike, ski, backpack, and explore with our unruly dogs.

What’s something that few people know about you? I was born at home

I have spent the night in a 1,000-year-old castle, and I have kayaked with wild ponies.

What’s your favorite part of about your job? 

Being tasked to find workable solutions to the issue at hand. 

What’s the most important thing that you’d want people to know about you? 

That I can find good in almost all challenges in life. Also it's about working smarter, not harder

I believe that successful education and good health are interdependent throughout our lives. We learn, we grow, we take care of our selves and our communities. In my job, in small ways, most days, I get to see that in motion. It’s so cool.

Anything else you 'd would like to share?

I feel really blessed and grateful to have a welcoming place to work.Two things and they are not equal:

First and most important, please fight injustice. Listen, learn, and lift up. Now.

And second, until there is a vaccine and even after that – Wash your hands, wash your hands, and please, wash your hands!

Please join Staff Council in congratulating Neal DeWitt Sally Thunselle as the September 2018 July 2020 Staff of the Month!






Image RemovedYohannes Abasseran

Operational Engineer
Facility and Project Management

Hometown: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Image RemovedJosh Kanehen

Director, Business Systems
Computer and Information Systems

Hometown: Bothell, Washington

How long have you been at SPU? 

Nine years.

Tell us about a memorable day at work. 

One of my favorite memories from my time at SPU was when we were working to roll out EMS for room management on campus. 

It was a chance to get to know many people around campus better, solve interesting problems, and build something that makes it easier for students and employees to find space on campus.

How does your faith impact your work? 

In my role, I get to be involved in a lot of big changes to how various offices do their day-to-day jobs. I take that role very seriously and am constantly looking to the Lord to help me find the insights needed to make something work well and to give me the wisdom in which route to go. All so that the end result serves the people using the system, the departments involved, and the University at large in the best way possible. 

Tell us the piece of your life journey that brought you to Seattle Pacific? 

My family has a lot of ties to SPU. Both my grandpa and dad served as pastors in the Free Methodist Church. My grandma, mom, brother, and many other relatives graduated from SPC/SPU. When I came to campus as a high school senior to preview campus, though, it was the community that convinced me to apply and enroll. 

After graduation, I went out into industry in firmware engineering, and that (SPU) community was the biggest thing I missed. When my company decided to downsize its operations in 2009, my old boss from when I was a student worker told me that, while he’d happily provide an excellent reference for me, he had a position open that I might be interested in. I took him up on the offer and have never looked back. 

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work? 

I really enjoy the new board and card games that have come out in the last 10 years or so. We have a group of people here at SPU who get together to play games once a week over lunch in our conference room. I also have two monthly game-nights with different friend groups. When it comes to board games, I can’t get enough. 

What’s something that few people know about you? 

I’ve recently started dabbling in baking. It’s pretty much exclusively breads at this point (nothing too fancy). A love of hearty breads was instilled in me by my babushka at a young age, so that’s driven me forward, and I find that I’m never at a loss for finding an appreciative home for a loaf when I end up baking too much.

What’s your favorite part of your job? 

Helping people. At the end of the day, that’s what brought me to this role. I want to be able to help people do their jobs and do them better. The biggest reward for me is when we finish resolving a problem, or implementing a system, and others can get back to doing what they do best, hopefully in a better and more efficient way than before. 

What’s the most important thing that you’d want people to know about you? 

I’m a people person. I’m not naturally outgoing, but love meeting people and getting to know them. So, don’t hesitate to come up and introduce yourself if you ever see me around campus. I’d love to meet you and would be happy to talk about your department, baking, board games, or anything that comes up! 

Anything else you'd like to share?

I love that I get to work with, and commute to SPU with, my wife, Kristi (SOE); we have lunch together as often as our schedules allow. We have two sons: Caleb (3) and Daniel (1).

Please join Staff Council in congratulating Josh Kanehen as the July 2018 Staff of the Month!

Image RemovedLynne Hall

Executive Assistant to the Vice President for University Advancement
University Advancement

Hometown: Seattle, Washington

How long have you been at SPU? 

Almost 18 years

How does your faith impact your work? 

I am so blessed to be surrounded by co-workers who live out their faith every day at work. We genuinely care about each other, pray together, and encourage one another daily.

Tell us the piece of your life journey that brought you to Seattle Pacific? 

Going way back ... This may sound corny, but as a young person I loved looking at my parents’ SPC yearbooks (both are grads of the Class of 1950). I dreamed about attending someday, as I poured over the photos of their experiences here. They met many of their lifelong friends in college and both continued to stay very involved here throughout my life.

My dream came true as I enrolled, got my first job (cleaning bathrooms at $1.60 an hour), met my husband, and graduated with a degree in education. 

I stayed involved in alumni activities through the years and in the late ’90s I was asked to join the SPU Alumni Board. A few years later, my oldest son decided to apply here, and at the same time a position in the Alumni Office was posted. I applied and was hired. 

It was the perfect fit and I loved it. (Of course, the tuition discount was especially helpful!) Since then I’ve also been privileged to work alongside three vice presidents.

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work? 

I have a few favorite things:

I’m a bargain shopper. On Saturdays you can find me driving around, looking for the best price on almost anything! 

I also love to take walks with Ken, my wonderful husband of 40 years, and our 7-month-old puppy, Fynn.

And I do enjoy watching movies and binge-watching British crime dramas ...

What’s something that few people know about you? 

My paternal grandparents’ wedding was officiated by  Alexander Beers .

What’s your favorite part of your job? 

Coming to work is a joy. Every person that I work alongside is so gifted, and I’m continually thankful for the work and time they spend with our faithful donors.

I love helping my co-workers with their jobs however I can, even if it’s just answering a question! 

Please join Staff Council in congratulating Lynne Hall as the June 2018 Staff of the Month!

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2020

Image AddedRashmi Shrestha

Administrative Assistant to the Vice Provost of Academic Affairs
Academic Affairs
Hometown: Kathmandu, Nepal

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How long have you been at SPU? 

11 yearsmonths.

Tell us about a memorable good day at work. 

Whenever I solve a heat and ventilation issue on campus, that is a good workday for me. 

One day I was checking boiler rooms as usual. I walked into the Ames Library boiler room and found a waterline raptured. It had started flooding the floor. First, I just shut down the main waterline and, second, I reported to the host what I did.

I feel lucky that I was there on time to save the damage, and that is one of the good days I rememberIt felt really good when I was able to train a member in my department in budget-related items. A part of my role is being a budget manager. When I first started this job, I really did not have a lot of experience in budget management, so when I was able to help this person, it gave me a sense of fulfillment.

How does your faith impact your work? My faith helps me to be positive and friendly at work. And I always pray for my work to be accomplish correctly. Thanks to God that so far nothing has turned out to be bad. 

I believe that God has placed me at SPU for a reason, and I try to do my job as faithfully as I can. I share my office space with a few other staff and I enjoy getting to know about their lives and praying for them.

Tell us the piece of your life journey that brought you to Seattle Pacific University.

I was born and grew up in the Ethiopian capital city of Addis Ababa. Ethiopia is located in the East side of Africa. 

After I finished technical school for auto mechanics 1984, I started working at a shipyard as a mechanic. Later, after a year, I was assigned to work on cargo ships. That gave me a chance to see the world — ports in Djibouti, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Yemen, India, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Korea, Japan, Egypt, Greece, Cyprus, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Holland, Germany, and Sweden.

In November 2002, I came to the U.S. My first entry city was Las Vegas. But I noticed Vegas is not convenient for living. I moved to Seattle in February 2003 and started working in maintenance.

I learned about SPU from my longtime friend, Michael Tesfaye. Michaël Tesfaye and I have known each other since back home.

I applied and was hired by SPU June 2007.

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work? 

Playing soccer and watching sports. working at a Christian nonprofit organization before coming to SPU. Starting January of 2019, I felt that my season at this particular organization was coming to an end. Through different circumstances, God was promoting me to leave this job. Even though I was scared, I left this job without having any future prospects. When I had my interview at SPU, I was offered the position on the very same day, and I believe that it was a confirmation from God that I was moving in the right direction.

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work?

I LOVE reading books!!!

What’s something that few people know about you? 

I come from a family of 10. Two of my sisters and one of my brothers live in Seattle.am from Nepal and I speak three languages.

What’s your favorite part of about your job? 

Every day facing different challenges, that is my favorite part of my job. 

What’s the most important thing that you’d want people to know about you? 

I want people to know that I am so happy to be part of SPU family. 

Anything else you'd like to share?

I just want say thanks for recognizing me as Employee of the Month. I never think of myself as a hard worker.

Please join Staff Council in congratulating Yohannes Abasseran as the August 2018 Staff of the Month!

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Image RemovedClint Kelly

Communications Specialist; Senior Response Writer
University Communications

Hometown: Portland, Oregon

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How long have you been at SPU? 

30 years

Tell us about a memorable day at work. 

To be a “teller” of SPU stories is one of the best jobs in the world. A good day at work is when I can interview a student, a donor, or a faculty/staff member, see them light up at what God has been doing in their lives, and then capture the story in 500 or 1,000 words or more. 

Strange to hear, probably, but I am especially captivated by the Footnotes section of Response magazine where in 75 words or less, I must provide snapshots of some pretty amazing lives — and passings. Obituaries are fertile ground for storytellers. I’ve had the honor of interviewing dozens of interesting Falcons, including POW Jake DeShazer, data scientist Christalyn Steers McCrum, and, posthumously, Kassa Wolde-Mariam, secretary to King Haile Selassie of Ethiopia. 

How does your faith impact your work? 

Part of SPU storytelling is drawing out the various ways that the Holy Spirit moves in people’s lives, be they Harold Crawford, the carrot king, or Bonnie Prather, Broadway wardrobe assistant. To handle the historic letters of one-time slave trader John Newton or hear hair-raising tales of jungle medicine from career missionary Marti Ensign, is to tell God’s story through his human agents. 

My faith allows me to write as boldly as they tell their stories. To share that faith with all of them, and with all my co-workers — through weekly devotions and prayer — is an unbelievable blessing in this secular and chaotic world. 

Tell us the piece of your life journey that brought you to Seattle Pacific? 

I was freelance writing and producing Northwest Christian News, a monthly for churches in Snohomish County, when I attended a writers conference at SPU. A fellow writer friend and SPU grad, Alice Kalso, was at that conference, told me about the job opening in University Communications, and urged me to apply. My only degree was an associate’s degree, and that in forestry, and my portfolio of published articles seemed all-too-thin. But I applied and, after running a gauntlet of interviews, was hired by John Glancy, who then was director of UC. 

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work? 

Read, sit on the dock of the bay, and spend time with my four kids and six grandkids. I guess that’s three things, but they sometimes merge.

I was recently in the shadow of Harborview Hospital with my daughter and two of my grandkids watching 120 goats clear six acres of weeds and tall grass. Did you know that a goat is considered “an old goat” at about 13 years? Same age as my grandson! Somehow it made me feel better. 

What’s something that few people know about you? 

I and a team of others ran a 24-hour marathon and set a world record for the most collective miles run in one place in one day as recognized by Runner’s World magazine.

What’s your favorite part of your job? 

Working with my talented and creative UC teammates. Among them are graphic design, web design, and web development experts; management gurus; editorial geniuses; grammatical wizards; and social media savants who are just plain fun and inspirational to be around.

What’s the most important thing that you’d want people to know about you? 

That God is my rock, my shield, and my deliverer. Almost half my life has been spent at SPU and it has been the Lord’s immeasurable blessing all the way.

Anything else you would like to share? 

Will work for bacon. 

Please join Staff Council in congratulating Clint Kelly as the May 2018

Having a great boss and team to work with!

Please join Staff Council in congratulating Rashmi Shrestha as the August 2020 Staff of the Month!




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Image AddedKristi Kanehen

Certification Officer
School of Education
Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii, and Culver City, California

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How long have you been at SPU? 

Twelve years in August as a staff member.

Tell us about a memorable good day at work. 

Once a student got so excited when I handed him his teaching certificate that he gave me a high five. I’m honestly not sure he meant to do that but to this day, every time I think about that I still laugh. I’ve had other good days, but that is the one that stands out the most.

How does your faith impact your work?

I interact with some prospective graduate students in my current role. Some of them come to SPU because of the faith community, but many do not. Even though many of my interactions are brief, I try to show them love through my actions.  I try to be present with them and listen to what they are saying about their lives, their concerns, and their confusion with the process, and I try to bring as much clarity as I can in a kind and loving way.

Tell us the piece of your life journey that brought you to Seattle Pacific University.

An admissions counselor came to my high school when I was living in Hawaii, and I had a few friends who were already at SPU, and I thought I would apply. Honestly, SPU gave me the most financial aid, so I decided to come here! I had never been to Washington before moving to campus that September. After I graduated college, Kenda Gatlin (my boss at the time) urged me to apply to a role in the Certification Office and I’ve been here ever since!

I also met my husband as a student here, and he also works here. 😊 (Hi Josh!)

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work?

Right now I’m spending most of my time with my two kids (ages 2 and 4), which means there’s not much time for anything else. My favorite thing at the moment is knitting this hue shift afghan blanket I’ve been working on.

What’s something that few people know about you?

My hobby seems to be collecting hobbies Knitting, running, biking, crocheting, gardening, photography, and most recently watercolor painting.

What’s your favorite part about your job?

Being able to break down complex concepts into easily understandable steps. State certification is tricky and can be needlessly convoluted and confusing; I try to make it more accessible to those who want to become teachers so they can focus on learning to be a teacher and not the extensive amount of paperwork that comes with it.

Anything else you would like to share?

I try to eat lunch with Josh and his coworkers in CIS as often as possible and it’s typically the highlight of my day!

Please join Staff Council in congratulating Kristi Kanehen as the May 2020 Staff of the Month!






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Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions
Undergraduate Admissions
Hometown: Newport, Oregon

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How long have you been at SPU? 

Ten years, as of this upcoming November.

Tell us about a memorable good day at work. 

The morning following the June 5 (2014) campus tragedy, I arrived on campus emotionally drained, having stayed really late the night before. I walked through Martin Square and encountered a sign that said, “He makes beautiful things out of dust.” I wept. I came to lean on this scripture throughout the coming days and weeks, and when I hear the song of the same name, even now, it still elicits strong emotion.

It was only nine days later that the Commencement team pulled off all of the different high events, and I was so proud of all of our staff and faculty in celebrating and honoring our graduating students so well, even through a time of mourning and tragedy. He truly does make beautiful things out of dust!

How does your faith impact your work?

On my good days, I walk into work praying that I would give God all the glory and blessing that he deserves through my work. I try to remember that each person I encounter is made in the image of God, and that I need to treat that person with respect, kindness, and dignity. I believe that God ordains our work, and that everything we do, big or small, is a way that we can worship him throughout our days.

Tell us the piece of your life journey that brought you to Seattle Pacific University.

I have lived near SPU for about 19 years, since moving to the Seattle area. Many of my friends from church, my kids’ schools and sports, etc., are faculty, staff, alumni, and students from SPU. I noted early on that there was something special about this place, and I was determined to be a part of it. I am grateful that God created a place for me here, and that I get the privilege of serving this community

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work?

I enjoy hanging with my family — husband Chuck, and kids Elsie (almost 15), Emmett (18), and Audrey (21). Audrey feels very far away, as she attends Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, so Facetime calls are frequent!

I also love gardening, kayaking, hiking, watching my kids’ sports, rooting on our Falcon athletic teams (Go, Falcons!), and traveling (hoping I can do more of that some day!). I am also mildly obsessed with African wildlife, and usually go to sleep each night listening and watching a “safari live” program. It gives me peace.

What’s something that few people know about you?

I played saxophone in middle school and early high school, and have been trying to re-learn it during this more “stay-at-home” season. Let’s just say my new hobby has not been as popular with those who share space with me. I also LOVE '80s music, so it’s been fun to (attempt to) play some tunes ranging from Spandau Ballet to the Eagles.

What’s your favorite part about your job?

Hands down, my favorite thing about my job is getting to work with amazing people. I learn so much from my colleagues — those who are younger and those who are older and wiser. And I have learned of so many faith stories along the way.

I have to pinch myself sometimes that here, in Seattle, I get to talk about God in my office or pray with someone I work with. In my new role, I love working more with students and families. What a privilege it is to be able to represent the good work that faculty and staff are doing here at SPU by sharing our mission and story with those who are in the midst of their college search process.

What's the most important thing that you want people to know about you?

Maybe not MOST important, but something that I feel is important to share … the importance of mental health, always, but more importantly, in this season. I have been seeing a counselor, with my husband, for the last number of years. It is one of the best decisions I ever made. Please consider seeking professional help, even if you think you’re in a good place!

Anything else you would like to share?

After having served in the Provost’s Office for nine years, I transitioned into my new role in the Undergraduate Admissions Office in November. What a blessing it has been to see how different parts of the University perform their roles well and serve the greater good, each in their own way. I am really proud to work here, and to be a member of such a rich, diverse, and faithful community!

Please join Staff Council in congratulating Michelle McFarland as the June 2020 Staff of the Month!





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Image RemovedDonna Coombs

Communication Office/Dispatcher
Safety and Security

Hometown: Seattle, Washington

How long have you been at SPU? 

16 years

Tell us about a memorable day at work. 

There is no one specific day that stands out. A good day is when we are emergency free. When I have helped someone in even a small way maneuver through a difficult situation and see them find a solution, it is so rewarding. 

How does your faith impact your work? 

I believe in an all-powerful God. There are times at work where I have been able to stop and pray over a situation and then watch God change it.

Also, I'm so blessed to be given a chance to share Jesus love with the students and staff. 

Tell us the piece of your life journey that brought you to Seattle Pacific? 

My friend Daphne, who worked for SPU, encouraged me to apply. I have always had a heart for missions and have been blessed to be able to continue sharing my faith in our community.

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work? 

Spending time with my nieces and nephews, whether playing games, bowling, swimming, or just sitting around talking. 

What’s something that few people know about you? 

I spent some time with Wycliffe Bible Translators as a helper to missionaries in the Philippines.

What’s your favorite part of your job? 

Interacting with a student who is excited about the University and sharing in their dreams and hopes. 

It is so refreshing to greet the new students and experience their enthusiasm, seeing the University in a fresh way through their eyes.

What’s the most important thing that you’d want people to know about you? 

I love the Lord Jesus Christ with all my heart and will not back down in how I believe. The Bible stands as complete truth, and I will not soft pedal the gospel to be politically correct. 

Anything else you would like to share? 

No matter what, God is able and his word is true. 

Please join Staff Council in congratulating Donna Coombs as the April 2018 Staff of the Month!

Image RemovedAlexis Cruikshank

Director of University Services
University Services

Hometown: Renton, Washington

How long have you been at SPU? 

This is my fourth year at SPU.

Tell us about a memorable day at work. 

My most memorable days are when my team and I see the culmination of a project that has been months in the making — a new software platform going live, the birth of Falcon Funds, the start of newly designed meal plans, a new process rolling out to students, etc. 

I love seeing our hard work put into action to expand or make our services to students, staff and faculty better. With eight different units under the umbrella of University Services, we get to see a lot of good memorable days! 

How does your faith impact your work? 

I believe that every job is an opportunity to do God’s work whether in a secular organization or a Christian one like SPU. God chooses to love people and distribute his gifts through our work. This is of particular encouragement to me, as University Services often works behind the scenes in a supportive role. 

Though often unseen, our work helps others flourish through our efforts. Since all work matters to God I try to ask myself daily, “how does God matter to my work?” and challenge myself to let him shape and effect my motivation, responses, and actions. 

Tell us the piece of your life journey that brought you to Seattle Pacific? 

I’d lived in New York City and worked at NYU for 13 years when my husband and I felt called to return to the Seattle area to be closer to our families. I loved working in academia, but I really wanted to find a smaller campus where I could be more connected and make a greater impact. I was very intrigued by the SPU position and thought it would be a wonderful bonus to work at a Christian University. 

I interviewed for the position just a few days before leaving NYC. We decided to spend a week on the road (we love cross-country road trips) and somewhere between Idaho and Oregon, I got the call that I had received the position! It was such a confirmation and relief to roll into town with a new position, though my husband was annoyed since it was the only one I had applied for! 

What’s something that few people know about you? 

I love to make things and have tried just about every kind of craft like sewing, scrapbooking, knitting, jewelry making, cake decorating, wood burning, and pretty much everything in between. 

Right now I am the costume co-chair for my daughter’s elementary school play, responsible for the production of 130+ “Beauty and the Beast” costumes! So in my spare time you will most likely find me in my craft room creating something new.

What’s your favorite part of your job? 

The best part of my job as director of OUS is finding ways to improve our operations. Designing, implementing and managing processes brings me a great deal of joy. 

The easiest part of my job is managing a truly exceptional and hardworking staff. They make it a pleasure to come to work each day and serve beside them. 

Please join Staff Council in congratulating Alexis Cruikshank as the March 2018 Staff of the Month!

Image RemovedTeresa Lewis

Accounting Assistant II Senior
Finance Office

Hometown: Bonney Lake, Washington

How long have you been at SPU? 

Working on seven years.

Tell us about a memorable day at work. 

More like a memorable good year! I love the people I work with and around; they’re more like family than co-workers. They’ve always been very supportive, but none more so than over the past 1+ years when I’ve required a lot of prayer and support for personal health reasons. They have allowed me to come and go during the day in order to take care of last-minute appointments, they covered my job (affording me the ability to take an extended leave) at a time Finance is very busy. 

The SPU community as a whole, has been great over this past year, and I’m thankful every day, to be a part of it all. 

How does your faith impact your work? 

I would say that my work impacts my faith, more so than the other way around. Working in a Christian environment has been a blessing. 

Tell us the piece of your life journey that brought you to Seattle Pacific? 

A LOT of prayer! I was in real estate, and when the market crashed, so did I. I was out of work for a couple years, doing odd jobs just to pay my bills, when a member of my church (Steve Whitehouse) approached me about an opening in the Finance Department at SPU. Never saw myself commuting to Seattle for work, but God had a plan, and here I am.

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work? 

Relax! But let’s get real, I rarely have time for that. I love to snow/water ski, but haven’t had much time to do either lately. I try to visit family (mom and aunt) and friends as much as possible, and I thoroughly enjoy planning our ladies annual retreats at church (two yrs ago we went to Camp Casey). 

I also love sports of all kind, and still play on the church co-ed softball team. 

What’s something that few people know about you? 

I’m a deaconess at church, the past president and current member of the Tacoma Downtown Lions Club. 

On a more fun note, I’ve jumped out of an airplane on a static line (that means all by myself!), which is possibly one of the most exhilarating things I’ve ever done, besides swimming with the dolphin’s in Bora Bora
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Click here to learn more about Donna...
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March 2020

Image AddedEsther Yun

Social Media Specialist
University Communications
Hometown: Marysville, Washington

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titleLearn more about Esther ...

How long have you been at SPU? 

Since October 2018.

Tell us about a memorable good day at work. 

One memorable day at work was when we hosted a “first day of school” photo booth this past fall. It was fun re-enacting photos we took as kids and seeing the future goals of our students!

How does your faith impact your work?

Before I began working at SPU, I prayed that I never wanted my job to consume my life. I have always been an all-in or all-out type of person, so I’ve struggled with tunnel vision and letting my job, relationships, or ministry consume my life. But my goal has been to love God more than all these things, and let the rest just be added blessings to my life.

I know that when I keep God at the center and love him more than all these things, I will be able to better serve my job, relationships, or church. I believe everything always starts with abiding in God, and there is nothing more important than knowing who he is, or who he has called me to be, because those beliefs will affect not only my work but also every single aspect of my life.

Tell us the piece of your life journey that brought you to Seattle Pacific University.

I had recently returned from my Discipleship Training School (through YWAM) and was searching for social-media jobs in big tech companies, because I felt called to the marketplace and thought it made sense to work where not many Christians may be gathered.

During my job search, I applied to a tech company and then saw SPU was hiring, so I applied here, as well, and landed interviews for both. As my interviews progressed, I was at a point where SPU had given me a job offer, and the other company was trying to schedule me for the final interview.

As I reflected on my interview journeys, I realized how stressed and frantic I felt trying to make ends meet while interviewing for the tech company, while my interviews at SPU had been such a smooth process, where everything seemed to fall into place without force and align with my values and interests. I felt at peace about giving up the final interview to take the offer at SPU, and am so relieved and grateful I did. God knew what I needed more than what I thought I wanted or needed.

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work?

I love to travel! I’ve been to 13 countries – Korea, Japan, Thailand, China, Kenya, Canada, Paris, London, Spain, Iceland, Amsterdam, Turkey, Greece– and hope to visit more. I have also recently developed a strong liking toward bowling.

What’s something that few people know about you?

I’ve gone on a solo backpacking trip to Europe and have gone skydiving in Hawaii.

What’s your favorite part about your job?

I absolutely love that I get to do what I’m passionate about, and every day is not the same. I’m so grateful that photography, video, content creation, design, and meeting so many new people are a part of my job. I also LOVE my UC family! They’ve taught me so much about the importance of celebrating not only the big wins, but also the little wins as well, and it’s been a game changer.

What’s the most important thing that you’d want people to know about you?

That I am a worshiper. In all that I do, no matter the season, I choose to worship God.

Please join Staff Council in congratulating Esther Yun as the March 2020 Staff of the Month!






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Image AddedRocky Riggins

Security Officer/Key Shop Manager
Office of Safety and Security
Hometown: Port Orchard, Washington

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How long have you been at SPU? 

Four years.

Tell us about a memorable good day at work. 

This is a tough question, I’ve had a lot of memorable days at work, but this one call comes to mind: I was on patrol with my partner, and dispatch told us over the radio that someone had locked their keys in the car with their child inside.

When we arrived, we were shocked to see two Seattle Police Department patrol officers standing with the lady in distress and that they couldn’t pop the lock! I grabbed my tools and got to work. The child was scared, and the mother was frantic, but my partner and I quickly figured out the best method to pop the lock, and we were able to get the child out of the car. The SPD officers thanked us, and the mother was very appreciative.  My patrol partner and I felt very good after that call.

How does your faith impact your work?

My faith impacts my work daily. In this job you lean on your faith a lot; you never know what type of call you may get. My faith reminds me to be thankful for my blessings, so I try and greet everyone with a smile and a positive attitude.   

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work?

I love watching my two daughters play softball and my son play baseball!

What’s something that few people know about you?

I sometimes work undercover as Talon the Falcon 😊

What’s your favorite part about your job?

The favorite part of my job is when I get to help someone

Please join Staff Council in congratulating Rocky Riggins as the April 2020 Staff of the Month!





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Image AddedStan McDonald

Budget and Equipment Coordinator
Athletics

Hometown: Longview, Washington

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How long have you been at SPU? 

Five years.

Tell us about a memorable good day at work. 

I can’t recall a specific day per say. I do know that when I go home feeling that I’ve well served my coworkers, coaches and student athletes those are the most fulfilling days that I have. 

How does your faith impact your work? 

Our workplace is just another space and opportunity presented to us daily to reflect Christ and find ways to show His goodness, love and reconciliation. I love that I get to live that out in an athletics setting and around student-athletes. 

Tell us the piece of your life journey that brought you to Seattle Pacific? 

I really felt a calling and passion for athletics that God had placed in me. When I was pursuing my master’s degree for athletic administration and leadership, I had always recalled Seattle Pacific for its academics, athletic excellence, and Christ-centered community. I was fortunate enough to intern here during my last year in graduate school. Lo and behold, there was an opening in Athletics when I finished, and I was hired. I been here ever since!

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work? 

My wife and I are the parents of five kids. That being said, we have no time for anything else right now but lean into the joys of parenthood knowing that these years are fleeting and move quickly. 

What’s something that few people know about you? 

My wife and I have been licensed foster parents for a little over a year now. We will be moving forward with an adoption process in the next calendar year.

What’s your favorite part of your job? 

The people! Sitting out front allows me the opportunity to meet new and existing, students/staff/faculty daily. I love laughing with and getting to know them all on a more personal level. It’s what makes my commute worthwhile.

Anything else you would like to share? 

I love my little Chihuahua, Shelby. She brings me great joy. :-) 

Please join Staff Council in congratulating Teresa Lewis as the February 2018 Staff of the Month!

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Image RemovedMark Sullivan

Associate Director, Academic Counseling
Student Academic Services

Hometown: Kirkland, Washington

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How long have you been at SPU? 

11 years.

Tell us about a memorable day at work. 

I love the busy days: Registration week, first week of the quarter, New Student Advising, Commencement, and that random Tuesday when you get an extra helping of student emails. Those days all have their crazy moments for sure, but they’re made fun when working with a great, supportive team. 

It’s also fulfilling to help students take something initially complex or overwhelming, and either make things more simple, or help them feel empowered to research and decide for themselves.

How does your faith impact your work? 

What a gift to work at a place where faith not only matters, but can also be lived out in our every day with students and colleagues. 

My own educational background included eight years of Jesuit education, and so practical Jesuit spirituality easily (and often unknowingly) finds its way into my work. A simplistic list would include concepts like cura personalis (care for the entire person), discernment, and finding God in all things. These are all very helpful in academic counseling. 

Tell us the piece of your life journey that brought you to Seattle Pacific? 

As an undergrad (at Gonzaga), it took me a long time to figure out that working in higher education was an actual thing. That was pretty silly, because I was lucky to be involved throughout college and had been working with lots of folks who were doing just that. 

The turning point was in the last week before graduation. I had just packed up an office and was holding a box of stuff in the doorway of our dean of students when she mentioned this (obvious to her) opportunity for me. Thanks, Dr. Hellwig!

That set me off on lots of conversations, including informational and real interviews with so many helpful people. I eventually connected with Ruth Adams (who like she always does) connected me with others, including Jordan Grant, who hired me in my first job at SPU to help with the great work in Student Financial Services.I really enjoy working with everyone in my department. I truly believe that SPU and our athletics department is unique and unlike anything other places have to offer. The people I work with everyday are the ones that make that a reality.

What’s the most important thing that you’d want people to know about you? 

That I really, really care about the excellence and joy my work does for others. Sometimes I feel I care too much. Serving others and Christ’s leading is deeply important to me. I have a special opportunity to reflect Christ and contend for his purposes in the midst of the challenges life can present.

Anything else you would like to share?

When I’m not cheering on our Falcons, I’m also an avid Huskies and Seahawks fan. Also, Diet Coke is my soda of choice.

Please join Staff Council in congratulating Stan McDonald as the January 2020 Staff of the Month!





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Debbie Crouch

Senior Associate Registrar for Academic Services
Student Academic Services

Hometown: Tacoma, Washington

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How long have you been at SPU? 

Since 1978, when I arrived as a freshman.

Tell us about a memorable good day at work. 

With 36 years behind me on staff, it’s hard to single out a single memorable good day. In general, a good day for me involves interacting directly with faculty, students, or staff colleagues to solve problems, answer questions, or improve processes. I’ll probably earn an eye roll or two by confessing this: I like meetings and usually find them energizing. (I know!) So a good day probably involves a meeting or two.

How does your faith impact your work? 

I’m ever conscious that I am the recipient of God’s love and boundless grace. In response, I strive do the work I’ve been given to do faithfully and to pay God’s grace forward — to assume good will, offer encouragement, consider others’ perspectives, and recognize that I’m too imperfect to expect perfection from others.

Tell us the piece of your life journey that brought you to Seattle Pacific? 

When I was in high school, I dated a guy from my church while he and his sister where attending SPU, and I spent a couple of weekends on campus. The relationship with the boyfriend didn’t last, but clearly my relationship with SPU did!

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work? I love to read more than anything, but I never make enough time for this! 

I’m never happier than when I’m with my 6-year-old granddaughter, Pippa — though spending time with her family (my daughter, son-in-law, and 1-year-old grandson) and with my son and husband are also favorite pastimes.

What’s something that few people know about you? 

I thought I didn’t like ice cream for the first 15 years of my life because my family only ever had mint chocolate chip — and I have a “strong dislike” for mint. I now love cookie dough ice cream, btwMy maiden name is Church. In 8th grade I (unsuccessfully) ran for ASSP president, and the last line of my campaign speech was, “So if you want to end your search, be an angel and vote for Church!” And yes, I really did hold a halo made out of foil above my head when I uttered those words.

What’s your favorite part of your job? 

The people. I get to work with incredible people every day, on my own team and in my department — but also all over this campus.

Students are amazing and hilarious and frustrating and teaching me new things every day. When my millennial-peer friends ask why I’ve been at the same one place when they’ve been at four, I always say it’s the people.

What’s the most important thing that you’d want people to know about you? 

I’m only bored when I’m not learning! When I entered SPU, my plan was to become a high school English teacher. Though I went in another direction (double-majoring in political science and home economics), I still most enjoy the parts of my job related to teaching, whether I’m explaining a policy or process, or pointing someone toward helpful resources.

Anything else you would like to share?

If you’ve ever read the “Staff of the Month” interviews and thought, “It must be hard to answer those questions,” I can attest that you are correct!

Please join Staff Council in congratulating mark Sullian Debbie Crouch as the January 2018 February 2020 Staff of the Month!