PLU Roommates!

Living on campus is one of the best ways to get easily connected and start creating your own community. Check out this video produced by Residential Life! (Be sure to watch until the end, you won’t want to miss a minute of it.)


“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.

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

Sam Angel – Why PLU?

My name is Sam Angel and I am a sophomore at PLU.  PLU is a long way from my hometown of Missoula Montana.  I plan to graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Geosciences.  I am also the captain of the men’s tennis team.  In high school I would have never pictured where I am today and the road to my place at PLU has been a wonderful experience.

As a senior in high school, my college choice was mainly between schools in the northwest conference, the University of Montana and Montana State University.  Each option had its pros and cons so I was still on the fence until late in my college search.  PLU was the last school I visited and I immediately knew I wanted to attend.  My tour guide was very easy to relate to and knowledgeable about PLU.  He has recently become my friend, close neighbor and coworker.  The experience with my guide set the tone for the rest of my visit.  The tennis coaches met one on one with me personally and could not be nicer people.  Every person I came in contact with at PLU was enthusiastic, kind and ready to answer any questions I had.  Later during my visit I stayed with my high school friend and his roommate who, conveniently, played on the tennis team.  After a night of learning more about PLU, hanging out with the tennis team, and way too much Mariokart, I knew PLU was the school for me.


Since I began at PLU, I have had so many memorable experiences.  My very first month of my first year, I dislocated my shoulder while playing in a monsoon on Foss field.  During my time here I have attended two Mariners games, gone to the glass museum in Tacoma twice, visited Point Defiance Zoo, hiked on Mt. Rainier upwards of ten times, gone to California for our Spring Break tennis trip twice and attended the Bumbershoot music festival.  These are just some of the many experiences around campus that I got to enjoy.  The PLU campus itself is just as great.  My friends I have made will be with me for life and the people at PLU make campus a great place to get an education.  Another reason I love campus is because of the faculty at PLU.  The professors are approachable and personal.  I feel comfortable going to my geosciences professors for anything and they make campus even better.

I am lucky to call PLU not only my place of education, but also my home.  I couldn’t ask for a better college experience and would choose PLU again every time.

Thanks for reading and good luck with your college search!

Sam Angel




After graduation, I am moving to Chicago to become a 9th grade algebra teacher. The challenges of the last four years will not have exactly prepared me for what I am getting myself into, but they have prepared me for how to ask for help when needed, what to do when times get tough, and reminded me that there will always be people around to support me. My coach, professors, family, friends, coworkers and countless other people have celebrated my success, helped me through my failures, and continually made me a better person.Just 10 days away from graduation, it is hard to pinpoint exactly how I got here. My PLU experience has been one of a lot of variety. From athletics to admission, tutoring to volunteer teaching, classes to community, I have been involved in many aspects of the University. On May 26th, I will be the Student Commencement Speaker. My speech is about the PLU slogan of Challenge – Support – Success. There were countless challenges along the way to arrive to where I am today, but it is because of those challenges that I have grown, been successful, and developed a strong support system.

My time here at PLU has taught me many things. I know how to make friends. I know how to live on my own (for the most part). I know what academic rigor means. I know how to write mathematical proofs, analyze religious texts, study for finals, and get everything done that needs to be done. I know how to win a National Championship. But more importantly than all of that I know who I am, where I am going, and that any challenge that comes in my way is just another  pportunity to succeed.

As you venture of your own college experience, I know there will be challenges. For each of us they are different. But with those challenges comes a lot of fun, a lot of personal growth, and relationships that will stand the test of time. I am so thankful that I came to PLU and had these last four years. I would not be where I am today without each of those moments…just days away from graduation, like many of you!

:)Kaaren Hatlen


Craig Chamberlain… Why PLU?

Hey everybody! My name is Craig Chamberlain and I am a senior here at Pacific Lutheran. I am graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and a minor in Computer Science. A few years passed by before I decided to declare math as my major. Believe it or not, I changed my intended about 5 different times and am still graduating in four years.

All of my life I have been around PLU. Ever since my brother  and sister, Brent and Brie, went here, I have been hanging out in the residence halls, throwing the Frisbee, or experiencing various PLU adventures. I was so sure when I was younger that I would never come to PLU because my siblings went here and I wanted to start my own legacy. However, that quickly changed when I took a tour of PLU’s campus and felt like I was home. From then on out I knew I had to come here!

601209_444301585638120_1976027814_nAs of the last two years I have been involved in PLU Reign, the ultimate Frisbee team at PLU. We have travelled anywhere from Las Vegas to Los Angeles to play in nationally competitive tournaments! Also, we have been playing in our regional tournament to go to nationals the last two years, but have fallen just short each time. I currently work for the Office of Admission giving tours and hosting lunches (hint: come visit!)  as well as volunteering in the elementary schools around this area.

Ever since my first day moving into Tingelstad Hall, I have felt as if this is my home. I have gained life long friends and most importantly, received an education that is second to none. If I had to do it all over again there is no choice – PLU would be my 1st pick!


Good luck with your college searches!

How I Came to PLU- Tiana Wamba

As a senior in High School, and the oldest child in the family, I had no idea where I wanted to go to school and had no one to really follow in the footsteps of. All I knew was that I wanted to be a dentist and to do that I needed a great education. I began my search for schools by applying to every type of school you could think of. I thought that if I applied to every type of school then it would help me decide which one I wanted to go to. This didn’t end up being the case at all. I ended up getting in to at least one of each type of school I had applied to. This was a problem, considering I was relying on my applications to help me decide or at least narrow down my choices. A few weeks later I had a conversation about what type of school would be the best fit for me, placing my goals as the top priority. Through this conversation I decided that the place for me was definitely a smaller private school.

After making this decision, it was time to start the visits. When visiting PLU, there was a feeling when stepping on to the campus that I hadn’t felt anywhere else. There was a sense of community and welcoming that felt amazing. I loved that I felt so included in the campus without even being a student yet. All of the people seemed so excited to talk to me and tell me about the school, and their experiences.

After my visit I had decided that I loved PLU, the community, professors, and my admission counselors were all so helpful with my decision. The only think that I felt was stopping me from attending PLU was the distance. I am from Colorado, and moving to Washington seemed like huge change for me. All of my friends had decided to stay in state and I really wasn’t sure if I could be away from everyone. My closest family was six hours away which was something else that kept coming to mind. I decided that I was just going to have to do it, I loved PLU so much when visiting I convinced myself that it had to be fine.

tiana 5

This feeling lasted up until the day before I was going to move in. I   remember being so nervous when driving to campus and thinking of everything that could possibly go wrong. Right when I arrived the feeling that I had when visiting the campus came back, everyone was excited to see me and help me move in. This was when I felt like PLU was my new home away from home. One of my favorite memories about the first week of school was my mom calling me when I was at one of the welcoming events, and I answered and said, “I’m going to go home now.” When I used the word home I was referring to my room, in my residence hall. This was the point that I realized PLU really was my home now, not just a place to stay for the next few years.

Soon after moving in classes started and I was so excited for the first day. I walked in and the professor was so excited to meet everyone, she talked about office hours and how she wanted us to meet with her. The open and welcoming personalities continued throughout my first day of class. It was something that to this day I will never forget. All of the professors at PLU are so excited to have you in their class; they want to help you learn more than just the subject.

After attending PLU for a semester I had become a different person. I had found who I was a bit more, made new friends and found that my passions had changed. I started wanting to major in Biology so I could become a dentist, and I found that this just wasn’t for me anymore. When I came to this conclusion I felt so confused and honestly scared. Being a dentist was something that I had wanted to do since I was in middle school. At this point I had to find another major since biology was not the place for me. Through the help of my academic advisor I found psychology.

Today, it is my passion. If you would have asked me anything about psychology a few years ago I probably would have laughed and said I would never do that. Things have changed for me so much since coming to PLU. I have found myself, through the help of those at PLU. Finding something to be passionate about and helping those in the world is something PLU strives for every student to discover. Since I have made my decision to attend PLU I have never regretted it. I have found what I want to do with my life, made some of the best friends I could have ever hoped for and had an unreal amount of fun. Things are much different than I had planned during senior year, but I’m so glad that I made the decision to come to PLU, things would not be how they are today without it!

Here are a few pictures from my time at PLU! I love hanging out with my friends, going to sporting events, and spending time outside- whether it’s sunny or snowy!

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I also got to be an Orientation Guide, helping incoming first-year students adjust to PLU! It was awesome!

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Thanks for letting me share my life as a Lute!!

Tiana Wamba


Denae McGaha- Why PLU

Hello future Lute!

Hello future Lute! My name is Denae McGaha and I’m a first year Communications major here at Pacific Lutheran University. I’m getting sad to think that this school year is almost at the end, but I’m glad to know that I’ll never forget the beginning!


One of my fondest memories of PLU was the first week of school (known as Orientation Weekend) where we got to do all sorts of get-to-know-PLU activities, one of which was the On the Road trip. I opted for hiking. Little did I know that I would end up summiting on a mountain in Mount Rainier National Park! I literally started college on top of the world!

That trip got me so excited to start the school year! After all, I had just climbed a mountain! I had been given the ability to conquer one of the most often used metaphors for adversity. The school year could bring it! And it did bring a lot of things.

It really reaffirmed all the reasons I had chosen PLU. Even from the start of the school year, PLU had that friendly atmosphere I had experienced on all of my visits. I’m very relationship-oriented, and PLU has an environment that encourages growing relationships. And I’ve been able to meet some great friends, from the blessed buddy who stayed up until 1 with me to study for midterms, to the fantastic girl who’s going to be my roommate next year, friends have really helped make this experience.

Aside from personable students, I also discovered the friendly faculty—especially those in academic advising. They are there for you when you enter college thinking you’re going to major in political science, take a political science course, and then realize you have no idea what you want to major in. I do believe they have tissues in their office. But those very kind and very patient people helped me guide me to a Communications major—one I am completely stoked to pursue (especially while studying away in London next spring)!

And life outside of the classroom did not disappoint either. This year I got to go to my first big concert in Seattle, learn a whole bunch in great Bible studies, start writing for the school newspaper, and discover new skills in the open-audition Dance Ensemble.

Made by Samsung DVCMy beautiful picture

And that’s a great thing about college: discovery. I have definitely discovered new things like ultimate Frisbee culture, a love for Mexican food (check out Reyna’s on Garfield Street!), the Puyallup Fair, and a passion for baseball! And you’ll get to have exploratory experiences like those too!

There are countless other things that I could include about my first year here at PLU. But long story short, if I had to sum up my whole first year at PLU in one word, it would be this: right.

Happy spring Lutes!

Denae McGaha

PLU or Hogwarts?

When you read your acceptance letter to PLU did you feel a little bit like you were being invited to attend Hogwarts? I know it did for me! We take Harry Potter books and movies pretty seriously here at PLU! We had a Harry Potter themed meal last year in The Commons and a Harry Potter movie party in Xavier, with our former president dressed up as Dumbledore. There are lots of places on campus reminiscent of  Hogwarts. We also play Quidditch!

Potter PartyPotter Party

This is the Harry Potter Party in Xavier in our second largest lecture hall called Nordquist. People dressed up and congregated in our very own Great Hall!

Potter Party

Here is our former president, President Anderson who served as our president for 20 years, dressed as Headmaster Dumbledore, with our university pastors Nancy and Dennis dressed as Professor Mcgonagall and Hagrid!


Through these Harry Potter type doors is the Cave, which is a great student space for concerts, art showings, and games! Its sort of like the Room of Requirement, where the room becomes whatever you need it to be! Great for secret Defense Against the Dark Arts training!


We have our own Forbidden Forest!

And our own lake complete with giant squid…just kidding. We do have fish and some ducks that visit often!


Hagrid’s hut!


We also play Quidditch at PLU…yes, Quidditch.

Quiditch 1



And if PLU isn’t enough like Hogwarts, you can visit the real deal by studying away! I spent a semester in London and visited Oxford several times which is where the filmed a lot of scenes from the movies! Here are some pictures!


This is the grand stair case!


The Great Hall!

So….PLU or Hogwarts? You don’t have to decide! PLU is the best of both worlds, minus the magic!!!


Hannah Procter and Why She Chose PLU

Hannah Proctor In my family, Cougar blood runs thick. We are die hard Washington State fans (and always will be!) My entire life, my plan for college had been to follow in my father’s footsteps and go to WSU. Making the choice seemed like a no brainer for me. It was what I had always planned. Throughout my life, I was active in sports, especially swimming. I started swimming at five and continued through my first year of college. My high school swim coach was a PLU alum. For three years, he told me “Hannah, you’ll go to PLU.” “Hannah, you’d love PLU”, “PLU would be a great fit for you.” I was always defiant, saying, “no, I’m going to go to WSU.” My senior year of high school, I swam at the state swim meet in Federal Way, and the PLU swim team had a swim meet the same weekend. My coach decided it would be fun to go watch them swim. Little did I know he was setting me up to fall in love with PLU.

It was early November, cold outside and the ground was covered in leaves. I don’t think I have ever seen campus look as beautiful as I did that day! From the moment I got out of the car, I knew I loved PLU. I came back for the Backyard BBQ in January with my parents, and they fell in love with PLU as well. One of my biggest fears in going to college was getting lost in the crowd. I didn’t want to be one of 500 like I could have been at other schools. The class sizes at PLU are smaller than in my high school. PLU was also close to home for me, only an hour and a half away, so I could go home to see my family as often as I wanted. PLU ended up being the only school I applied to. Applying to one school usually isn’t a good idea, but for me, I knew that PLU was the only place I wanted to be.

pflueger hannah

Why I chose to be an English Major and a Religion Minor
My whole life I knew that whatever I did with a career, I wanted to be helping people. I started my first year at PLU as a nursing major. It wasn’t until I was half way through a very difficult anatomy course that I realized nursing was not the best career path for me. I had always thought about teaching because I loved reading and writing, and had always been a good student. All first year students are required to take a Writing 101 class. I ended up in a class that was challenging, and to be honest, I didn’t like at all. I struggled with the topic matter and constantly the opposite point of view of most of my classmates. But that is what made me love the English department. I was able to express my views in a way I was comfortable. I was able to write everything out and share my opinion.

After that class, I decided that maybe English was the way I wanted to go with my degree. I took a poetry and fiction writing class in the spring semester of my first year, and from then on, it has been all English, all the time (well, not all the time, I have to take GenEd’s too!) I also found a great interest in Religion classes. The passion of the professors is really what brought me in. These professors and knowledgeable and love what they are teaching. Every time I take a religion class, I find myself wanting to know more than just what we are talking about in class. I think that if I hadn’t waited until the end of my sophomore year to begin in the religion department, I would be double majoring in English and Religion. Now I am in my junior year. I’ll be taking my senior capstone this spring, a semester early, and then looking into grad schools for a Masters in Education. I’m not sure if I will take time off between my undergrad and grad school. English offers opportunities in so many different career fields that I am having a hard time narrowing down my options!

Hannah Procter