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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!


2019

2020 Staff Members of the Month



February 2019
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Image AddedSally Thunselle

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

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Learn more about Sally ...

How long have you been at SPU? 

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

Tell us about a memorable good day at work. 

Working in health care is a 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 remember 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?

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

What’s your favorite part about your job?

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 would like to share?

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 Sally Thunselle as the July 2020 Staff of the Month!






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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 months.

Tell us about a memorable good day at work. 

It 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?

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 working at a Christian nonprofit organization before coming to SPU. Starting January of 2019

Image RemovedDaniel Wright

Biology Laboratory Coordinator and Adjunct Professor
College of Arts and Sciences/Biology

Hometown: Paradise

, 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 am from Nepal and I speak three languages.

What’s your favorite part about your job?

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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titleClick here to learn Learn more about Daniel Kristi ...

How long have you been at SPU? 

1.5 yearsTwelve 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 most memorable day for me was my first time going to the Blakely Island Research Station. The opportunity to work there for the weekend was an amazing experience. It was a lot of fun taking students into the outdoors and for some it was their first time leaving the city streets and taking on dirt trails. 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? For me the ability to work with people that have the same core beliefs and are working towards the same goals is fulfilling. 

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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Social Media Specialist
University Communications
Hometown: Marysville, Washington

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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 God has opened and closed many doors for me to direct me to where I am today. I’m just now am in the part of my story where you don’t know how its going to end up.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? When I’m not at SPU I’m working a second job. When I’m not working I’m taking my dog on a hike or walk. I really enjoy the outdoors and try to spend as much time as possible exploring new areas

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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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? 

I enjoy cookingMy 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 day to day interactions with fellow employees and studentsI 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’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? 

If you want to get to know more, come talk to me, Eaton Hall 212.

My 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? 

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 Daniel Wright Debbie Crouch as the January 2019 February 2020 Staff of the Month!