Anthony’s Story: Why PLU?

Hello All! My name is Anthony, and this is my story of how I got to PLU.

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During my senior year in high school, I wasn’t really interested in going to college. I remember my mom telling me that I should go to college to better myself and to just try and find a place that I love.  When I was applying for schools I had no idea where I wanted to go so I look a test online, “What is the perfect college for you?” I took the test and a school came up with 100%! Now this school was in Virginia, and no one had ever heard of it so I began looking for schools by myself and not trying to take the easy way out by taking quizzes online. I remember going into my college connection center in my high school and begging them to help me find a school. Admission counselors would come from many different universities to talk to students at my school and I would attend the talks. One day an Admission Counselor from PLU, Hannah Middlebrook, came to talk. I decided to attend and after hearing  about the school, I was hooked! The school sounded like a perfect match for me because it was in the Pacific Northwest (which is where I preferred my school to be), it was a Lutheran school, and they had programs and clubs I was interested in. I told my mom that I wanted to go visit the university, so we did. I went and took a tour of the school, I got to talk with a theatre professor, and even speak with actual students about what they thought of the school. It was great! I remember seeing myself attending the school the following year.

AnthonyNow that I am actually attending PLU, I can honestly say I LOVE IT! I am a first year, who is undeclared and has many hopes and dreams for the future. I am involved with the theatre program here on campus, acting in 3 productions, also apart of Clay Crows, which is our improv group. I love that improv team dearly! They took me in as a first year and I can honestly say I felt like family from the first day. I am also apart of the crew team (rowing), and a tour guide around campus. PLU is the perfect match for me and I can’t wait to see what it has to offer as I continue my education for the next 4 years!

Katie’s Story: Why PLU?

Katie 3Hello! My name is Katie Coddington, and I’m a sophomore majoring in psychology and minoring in biology and statistics, and I am from the beautiful city of Golden, CO! I honestly couldn’t be happier with my choice to venture into the Pacific Northwest and attend PLU. As a junior in high school who was just beginning to look into options for college, I was completely overwhelmed. I didn’t know whether I wanted to attend a huge state school or a tiny private school or whether I wanted to stay instate or go out of state. So, I applied to schools of all types just to keep my options open to allow me time to figure out what I was really looking for in a school. Then, later that year, I ventured into the beautiful state of Washington to visit three colleges, Pacific Lutheran University being one of them. I visited the other two schools before I went to PLU—I liked them, but I wasn’t blown away.

However, after I visited PLU for the first time, I finally felt like I knew where I belonged. The second I set foot on campus, I felt an overwhelming sense of comfort and optimism. As I went on my tour, people all over said “hello” to me and kindly smiled, even though none of them had met me. I saw students sitting outside on picnic blankets, tossing Frisbees around, and studying; every student seemed so happy and at home. I couldn’t believe a school could have such a sense of community! Everyone at PLU was so personable and seemed genuinely interested in my success—it was the first time in my college search that I felt like an actual person and not just a statistic. From the beginning, I knew I wanted to study biology and psychology, but I also had a passion for vocal music that I wanted to pursue. When I heard I could be equally involved in the three programs at PLU, my decision was made.

In addition to singing in Choir of the West and HERmonic, one of my favorite experiences thus far at PLU has been getting to be in the fall “Night of Musical Theater” production for both my freshman and sophomore years. Being in these productions was a great way for me to stay involved in theater even though it’s not my major. My sophomore year, I even got a lead in the show and got to perform center-stage in our stunning, new $13 million performing arts complex, the Karen Hille Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

Katie 3Moving on to my major/minors—why did I choose psychology, biology and statistics, anyway? Honestly, biology has been an interest of mine for as long as I can remember. I was totally that kid who was obsessed with becoming a doctor (my favorite book as a kid was a family health encyclopedia, no joke!). I guess I was just born a scientist.  I think it’s truly amazing that everything in this whole world is built from tiny atoms, and that a simple amino acid chains control all of human genetics. I’ve loved every science class I’ve taken at PLU so far. Every professor is incredibly knowledgeable, and they all care about students’ success so deeply; I honestly feel like they’re truly preparing me for a career in a science field. The department has made me so excited about my future, and I’m constantly finding myself wanting to learn more. It’s definitely been the right place for me.

On the psychology side of things, it took me longer to acknowledge my vocation for the field—I did not declare a psychology majorKatie 4 until a month into my sophomore year. My interest in psychology was first sparked when I took an AP Psychology class in high school. I was instantly intrigued by human behavior and the way that the mind works. I constantly found myself asking: Why do we do the things we do, why do we make the choices we make, and what exactly makes me me? When I got to college I knew I wanted to at least minor in this field, so I started right off by taking a 300-level developmental psychology class in my first semester. Then, the first semester of my sophomore year, I took Personality Theories with Dr. Katie Crowell and my life was instantly changed. Dr. Crowell inspired me within minutes of the first class; I could tell she was a professor who truly cared about each and every student. After that class, I went and visited her office hours, which resulted in a conversation that ultimately lead me to not only add a psychology major, but to also do student-faculty research with Dr. Crowell. Our research has been a major success, and she and I plan to publish our research to psychology journals. We also just finished presenting  our findings at the Washington Psychological Association Conference in Portland. It was an incredible experience, and it made me realize my true love for psychology even more. The picture below is of Dr. Crowell and I at the conference, in front of the poster we presented. Psychology makes me come alive, and if that’s not finding your vocation, I don’t know what is.

Jessika’s Story: Why PLU?

JessikaI chose PLU because it is where my dad, two uncles, two aunts, one cousin and grandparents went to school. At first the strong family connection made me skeptical, I didn’t want people to think I chose PLU just because it was where so many members of my family had gone before me. But after attending Fall Preview Day during my senior year of high school, I knew PLU was the place for me. The campus was gorgeous and it was a place that I could see myself. I loved the fact that it was a smaller school with smaller classes; that was something that I wanted in a school. But for me, what really sealed the deal was the Natural Science breakout session. I remember sitting in Leraas, the big lecture hall in Reike Science Center, and looking over at my mom and telling her that this it was now my goal to take a class in that room. Grocery BingI just loved the feel of it, the giant periodic table on the wall, the big row of whiteboards and the professor in the front giving information about all the different programs that a student can pursue in the natural sciences. After that, PLU was my top choice and it was one of the best decisions I have made.

“Proud I am able to call myself a Lute”- Andrew’s Story

T-Staff Color RunI chose to attend Pacific Lutheran University, because it fit my academic interests, is thought of highly by employers, and was close to home.

I grew up in Bonney Lake, WA and did not even start seriously thinking about what college was best for me until my Junior year of high school. I had many friends that went to Western Washington University so I visited frequently and loved the environment. I narrowed my college choice down to University of Washington, Western Washington University, or Pacific Lutheran University. What made me finally choose PLU was the proximity to my family, it’s globally focused education, and the tight knit community that is so evident on campus. I desired to study either Global Studies or International Relations, and I am so pleased with the Global Studies program that is here at PLU. It has allowed me to find new passions that I would not otherwise know that I possessed through the studying of Economics, Anthropology, Religion, Political Science, and History courses. After considering psychology, environmental studies, political science, and anthropology as a second major, I finally decided to pursue Religion as my other major. This decision is one that I am so happy I made. The insight to historical and modern day events that are occurring that religion has allowed me to realize is vital to understanding the complexity of issues around the world. I am also minoring in Greek which is something I never even thought of as an option before attending PLU. It is such a rich language to study, and it is fascinating to discover how many of English grammar and words are derived from Ancient Greek.

Currently in my four classes, three of them are taught by a professor who wrote a book that we are studying in the class, and my fourth professor personally knows most of the authors we are studying and has worked extensively in two of the countries we have examined through case studies. Their expertise is so evident and it is amazing to work so closely with such accomplished scholars.

Since coming to PLU, I have discovered that a passion of mine has always been teaching, and I had just not reflected on how much I thrive off of a classroom environment before coming here. My new goal is to pursue a Masters of Education here at PLU after graduating in 2015 with my degree in Global Studies and Religion.Spring Soiree

The deep and sincere friendships I have made here at Pacific Lutheran University are one of the things I hold the dearest. Everywhere one goes, they are bound to meet some unbelievably inspiring and truly amazing students, faculty and staff here at PLU. Since day one at PLU, it has been overwhelmingly obvious that some truly amazing things are happening here, and I met some of my closest friends that I know I will stay in contact with post-graduation, my first weekend at this institution. The more people I have met, come to know, and collaborated with, the more proud I am to be able to call myself a Lute.

“I know I’m not a number,” – Martha’s story

Hello prospective Lutes! My name is Martha Spieker, and I am a sophomore double majoring in Political Science and Hispanic Studies here at PLU. Over the past year and a half, I have come to love my family here, and I know that I am excited to find such a supportive group of inspired people. Before I continue, I think there is one thing that I should be clear about upfront: PLU was not my first choice school. In fact, it is the closest school to my hometown of Gig Harbor, Washington that I applied to. I came to PLU primarily because of their great financial aid package.

Yet the more that I am here, the more I realize how amazing of a place this school is. Yes, it is academic. Yes, it does follow the liberal arts model. But the combination of these and other factors has been the best part of my experience. Last year, as a first year, I already felt I had opportunities that I wouldn’t have had at nearly any other institution.  I took an American Government course from a great professor, Imagewho also helped me travel on her J-Term trip to Washington, D.C. I got to tour the White House, go to the Inauguration, and meet with various influential think tanks. This helped focus my interests in politics in a way that little else could have. Back in spring semester, I had a P.E. class with seven students, where the professor would join in the games. My other classes only had twenty students and I felt connected to professors who really want me to succeed—no matter how many times I visited their office hours to correct an essay. Professors have suggested internships, encouraged concentrations, and guide my study away plans (I’ll be in Granada, Spain this spring!). Here, I know I’m not a number, but a real person (and seriously, people are SO nice. If you aren’t saying hi to at least four people when you cross campus, you’re asleep). I’ve been on the Outdoor Recreation Spring Break trip to Utah and Arizona, interviewed a couple who graduated in 1953, mentored a student at local Keithely Middle School, and hiked Mount Rainier. What fantastic experiences I’ve had, both inside and outside the classroom!

As I continue in my education, I am certain that guidance and access to activities will only continue to help me find my passions. The possibilities are endless—it only requires an ambitious Lute who can see the unbelievable opportunities that PLU has to offer and takes advantage of them.


“I could see myself at PLU”- Jp Avila, Department of Art & Design Chair

ImageAs chair of the Department of Art & Design, I often meet with prospective students that are interested in the visual arts. A typical visit goes something like this: we sit, we chat, we tour, they ask questions, I answer questions. It’s what you would expect from any campus visit. But the real experience of visiting PLU comes when the prospective student gets to meet with the students that are already here. I’ve found that what sells interested high schoolers on PLU is not always just the academics or financial aid package, it’s that they can envision themselves here, hanging out with our students. 

That same experience played a large part in my choosing to teach at PLU. Before teaching at PLU, I had been living in Chicago and, while I loved the big city life, it was the sense of adventure and the idea that I could see myself at PLU that brought me here. I could envision myself in the classroom teaching, in my office consulting, around campus with colleagues, attending events and supporting my students. It’s all about fit. And, for me, PLU fits. 

I received my bachelor’s degree from a school similar to PLU and I have fond memories of that experience and how it help to mold my sense of purpose, my goals and aspirations for myself, and my sense of duty and honor. I saw in PLU an opportunity to help other people find those traits in them. It is what brought me here; actually seeing it happen on the faces of students is what keeps me here.Image

Several of my colleagues have told me how they love that “ah-ha” moment when students grasp a complex theory; when they achieve a better understanding of a text, or when they come back, years after graduating, and thank them for pushing them to their full potential. 

 It’s those types of stories that are the glue to PLU. Making connections. Finding the right fit. Trying, failing, then trying again. It’s that sweet success that I enjoy and what keeps me coming back for more.

“The Overwhelming Sense of Community”-Isabellah’s Story

Isabellah 2As an Oregon native with much family in the greater Seattle area, I always knew I wanted to attend college in the Pacific Northwest. Preferably somewhere that wasn’t too close to home but not somewhere so far away that going home would be an inconvenience. During Spring Break of my junior year, I set out on my search for the school that was most suited to my needs. What I didn’t realize is that I would soon come to find that PLU is so much more than a school that simply “meets my needs”. Rather, it has become my second home.

I visited several school s in the Tacoma/Seattle area and was impressed by the beautiful facilities and surrounding area in almost all of them. However, PLU had distinctive features that set itself apart from the rest. In my opinion, what really distinguished PLU from the others was the big, open, grassy campus and the overwhelming sense of community I felt while on my visit.

Isabellah 1

Becoming a Lute was definitely one of the better decisions I’ve made in my life. PLU has proven to be everything I wanted and more! Since coming here, I’ve met some of the greatest people, found a major that I’m truly passionate about, and have learned SO much about myself and the world that surrounds me.  I can’t imagine being anywhere else.


Josh on Psychology, research, and life-changing professors

Josh and his theatre crew!

I chose PLU because of it’s academically focused, hardworking, and welcoming community.  My time spent at PLU thus far has been a true life

A faculty member that has especially impacted my life while at PLU is Professor Katie Crowell of the Psychology Department.  Dr. Crowell is a new professor here at PLU and is currently teaching my Personality Theories Class.  Even though she has only been my professor for a short while, she has impacted my life in so many ways.  On the first week of classes she had approached me after class and started talking to me and asking what my specific interests were in Psychology.  I had told her that I was interested in identity development, body image issues, and LGBTQ issues.  She then set up an appointment so we could sit down and further talk about my interests.  By the end of our 1 1/2 hour talk she had asked me to become her research assistant on one project and was going to help me with a project of my own research.  She has not only influenced me to learn and expand my interests within Psychology but she has also shown to be an amazing friend.  She has been able to help me out with the stresses I go through on a daily basis, help steer me to the right direction for my career, and has come to support and cheer me on at my improv shows and other theatre productions.changing experience. Each professor I have had wanted to learned who I was and has pushed my critical thinking to the max potential.  The professors I have had here have inspired me to learn and to go out explore my options, inside and outside of PLU.

I have met people here that have truly influenced and changed my life, as well as the person I am to this day.
Josh in KHP

Mamie Howard on being an out-of-state student, LuteNation and PLU

Lute Nation 1My name is Mamie J. Howard.

I am from the sunny city of San Diego, California. Uprooting myself from the only hometown I have ever known and moving to a place I hadn’t even visited until it was time for my first classes to begin was very difficult for me to do. However, I do not regret my decision on bit. I always hear people say “you only live once” so I decided to do something spontaneous with my life and move to a different state to pursue my Bachelor’s. What I like most about PLU is that in my experience as an out of state student, the university did a wonderful job welcoming me to campus and checking in to make sure that I was doing o.k. making the change. I decided to major in Sociology with a double minor in Communications and Political Science as an aspiring attorney because my options for a major to pursue law school were truly limitless. One day I would like to become a District Attorney and maybe someday even a judge, but I am really interested in the youth and helping the youth find a better path of life.

On campus I am heavily involved in the Diversity center and with Lute Nation. These two places have made me feel like PLU was a place for me to call home and keep me excited to return year after year. In the Diversity Center I am a Rieke Scholar which allows me to delve into social justice while also gaining the knowledge and tools on how to begin to change the world around me. I am also the President and Founder of the Lute Nation brand. Before I came to PLU as well as during my first-year, the University had a Step Club which was really exciting and quickly became my niche as a person new to the art for of step/stomp. Though at the end of my first-year I was given the title of Captain as the team and I really wanted to take the team to a new level. Lute Nation entails more than just stepping but rather a team that has become an inspiration to the youth in surrounding schools. When I cam to PLU, I decided I wanted to be someone that made a difference in people’s lives rather than just someone that watches the change happen and being a leader in Lute Nation has allowed me to do so. Our adviser, Melannie Cunningham (the admission counselor also responsible for my enrollment at PLU) and I make a wonderful team thinking of new ways to create change in the community and marketing Lute Nation members as Scholars before Steppers. It is a wonderful opportunity to be a part of a group that both has fun and does great things while doing so.

One of the biggest reasons I chose PLU was because of the scholarship I was offered because during these hard financial times, college isn’t as affordable as one would like to think (though my mother was adamant about sending me wherever I wanted to attend school). However, I also thought it would be great to get out of San Diego, meet new people, and start fresh. I really wanted a change of scenery and a change in weather. Lastly, Melannie did a wonderful job selling PLU to me by telling me what a prestigious degree I could earn if I dedicated four years to this school. If I had to choose all over again, I would never admit that I’d chose PLU (ha) however the experiences I have gained from attending PLU have began to define me as a person and shape my adult beliefs and I wouldn’t trade this transformation for anything because I know that I have made and will continue to make my family proud!