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.

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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



Alex Devine

Back upon the playgrounds of Yakima, Washington, I reveled in order and persuasion. The swings were occupied? I could surely arrange a trade with my peers. Mom and Dad say no puppy? A short, yet logical presentation will definitely convince them of my competence. In not so many words, I was born for the business world.

Alex Devine (middle, next to Thomas Krise) welcoming new students into Pflueger Hall.

Alex Devine (middle, next to Thomas Krise) welcoming new students into Pflueger Hall.

After years in high school and running start, my passion and skills for business and communications were honed enough to dive into a college search. Pacific Lutheran University was at the top of my list due to their nationally accredited School of Business, 300 Plus alumni network, and prestigious reputation both regionally and internationally. When I was accepted however, I found that the reasons why PLU is right for me go so much deeper than the statistics and numbers I had originally looked at. Arriving on campus, I lunged at opportunities for involvement and, as my sophomore year draws to a close, I find myself on the Leadership Board of Red Carpet Club, President of the American Marketing Association, and a PR associate for PLU’s MediaLab! These experiences and a change of heart left me doubtful of continuing in the business school. While it was wonderful, I felt my skills and passions lay a little further up the hill in the School of Arts and Communication. So, I changed my major to communication with an emphasis in PR and advertising with the help of my advisor and didn’t skip a beat. After a full semester in the “SOAC” I am confident that I’m where I belong.

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Being so certain of my passions, my pathway through education has been easier than most. Even if I had no idea what I wanted to do however, the professors I have encountered would have ignited my curiosity and passion for my vocation! Perhaps the most helpful aspect of my program has been the real-life experience of all my instructors. They share their triumphs and failures with students, in addition to providing hands-on projects that put us immensely ahead of the game as far as competence goes. Not only that, professors and even the Dean are easily accessible and eager to share their knowledge with students. PLU has been the perfect fit for me because I can dabble in different subjects, becoming a well-rounded individual, and still feel supported in my career path.

If you are thinking about the School of Business or the School of Arts and Communication, I would share with you that upon making your choice to attend, you will be supported, challenged, and embraced from day one. Professors will ask you tough questions and hold you to a higher caliber than anything you may have experienced before. There will be projects that take forever, long lines at Coffee bar, and many late nights of hard work, but there will also be the sweet reward of success at the end of the road. You will proudly achieve whatever you set out to because you’ve had the support, experiences, and exposure to diversity held by the Lutes that have come before you.


Alex Devine

Stephanie’s Letter to a Potential Student

Dear Student,

I began my four years at PLU uncertain about what I wanted to do with my time here. I was interested in pre-veterinary medicine, and I had applied and been accepted into the International Honors program, but when I sat down with my advisor I felt uncertain about where I was going. I think that’s a feeling many students can relate to as they are entering college, and it’s important to remember that it’s perfectly normal–advisors, friends, mentors, and counselors are there to help.

I signed up for some introductory classes, including my first IHON class and my first introductory biology course. My advisor told me that it’s very hard to get into veterinary school, but if I chose to stick to it he could point me toward the right classes. That first semester was a difficult adjustment as I managed my own schedule and slowly built a sense of community with my hallmates. However, by the end of the semester I found that I had learned a lot about what I was capable of, and I had a tight-knit group of friends that I could lean on. Although my biology course was by far my most difficult class it was undoubtedly my favorite, so when registration for the next semester rolled around I signed up for both chemistry and biology.

stephanie stromberg  stephanie stromber

Here’s a picture of me at the Keck Observatory during the transit of Venus this summer!

Since then I have taken many, many more biology and IHON classes. I have found that the discussion-based, internationally focused IHON classes balance well with my science courses, rounding out my college experience. I strongly suggest getting involved in clubs and organizations to diversify your experience–I have participated in PLU’s exceptional choirs every semester that I’ve been here and it has been an invaluable opportunity. Another great opportunity that I have had is to work as a student-researcher with a faculty member. This gave me an idea of what it would be like to work in a research position, and was a great opportunity to build relationships with my fellow student researchers and with faculty. It is my opinion that one of PLU’s greatest strengths is in the education of the whole, well-rounded individual.

My time at PLU has provided me with opportunities to hone my academic skills, to grow personally, and to share in the collective experience of a liberal arts education. I can’t guarantee that all your wildest dreams will come true if you attend PLU, but I can tell you that you will be challenged, and that this is a supportive, healthy environment in which to explore what you want to do and who you want to be. For me, that is the best thing I could have asked for.


Dylan-Econ and Political Science

dylan bakkaWhy I chose PLU:

Growing up in Texas my entire life, I saw college as a great opportunity to go to an entirely new place. I began by looking at schools in regions that I felt I would enjoy (the Pacific Northwest, Colorado, etc.) and when I came up to PLU to visit I immediately felt a wonderful sense of belonging both with the campus and the people on it. I had narrowed my decision down to University of Texas (a large state school) and PLU, and chose PLU largely for the small class sizes, access to professors, and sense of community. Almost immediately I was reassured that my decision was the correct one by how small my classes were (less than 20) and by how easy it was to talk to and learn from your professors. Within my first year I had been to coffee with a professor and had spent numerous hours in their offices talking to them. Now I am currently a research assistant for one of my professors, and it’s amazing to be able to have these kinds of opportunities, especially when I talk to my friends at UT who rarely see their professor to begin with. I also chose PLU due to the great study away programs available and plan on going to London next fall for a semester.

Why I chose Political Science:

                Political science was a rather easy choice for me, since I had been interested in it all throughout High School. I was able to take a political science class my first semester, and enjoyed the material and the faculty tremendously. It was exciting to learn all the divisions and concentrations within the field, and to be able to take a variety of classes in order to find my niche. I have taken classes in political theory, international relations, the politics of Africa, constitutional law, and more. I love the combination of philosophy, history, and social science within the discipline, as well as the emphasis on current events. Politics in many ways will always be engrained within society, so gaining the tools to analyze relationships within the political realm is very valuable to me.

Why I chose Economics:

                Once I had chosen my political science major, I was deciding whether to major in economics or communications for my other major, and was able to take a communications class my first year as well. My second year I took an economics class and became very interested in the material. I would often find myself wondering about the political side of topics we discussed in economics, and the economic side of topics we discussed in political science. I’ve since found that the blurred line between political science and economics is the most interesting area of study for me. Political infrastructure easily affects economic growth, and knowledge of economics is useful in analyzing many aspects of society and its structure.  Like the political science faculty, the economics faculty is equally dynamic and approachable.

For me, the hardest decision I will have to make is which subject to study in graduate school, because I am so interested in both of them—particularly where they intersect.


Amy’s Letter to a Prospective Student

My name is Amy Olsen, I am a senior at PLU this year (2012-2013) and will graduate in May. I am majoring in Biology with minors in Hispanic Studies and Religion. I want to become a high school biology teacher and teach in a highly Spanish speaking school district.  I grew up in Caldwell, Idaho but after 3 years at PLU, I consider Washington my home. I am involved with a range of clubs and activities on campus. I have been involved with the Biology Club on campus for 4 years being secretary of the club for two years. I am very involved with Campus Ministry and University Congregation or UCong and am the Vice President of UCong council this year.

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I have danced since I was in 3rd grade and have loved being able to participate in so many dance related activates and productions on campus including various clubs and Dance Ensemble, a student lead production composed of all types of dance that takes place every Spring. I have also loved being involved with the community through volunteer and community service activities. My Junior year I volunteered at an elementary school with Spanish speaking children and this year I am teaching English to Spanish speaking adults in the area. Throughout the years I have worked for the Admissions Office as a PLU Tour Guide, with the Biology department as a Lab T.A for the introductory biology classes and as a Front Desk Worker in the Residence Halls.

new amy  Here I am in Oaxaca!

I choose PLU for a number of reasons.  When looking at prospective colleges and universities I knew small class size and campus size was what I wanted and needed. I loved interacting with my teachers in high school and knew I would want to be able to have that same interaction with my professors throughout college. I also loved how PLU offered a liberal arts education. I love learning and have a diverse range of interest and PLU has allowed me to be able to take many classes outside of my major and minors. When I visited campus I noticed a really tight knit community feel and that really drew me towards PLU. I have felt this community feel in every aspect of my life at PLU. I love the welcoming attitude that is present all over campus.

I could not be happier with my choice of PLU and if I had to do it all over again PLU would win every time. I have had so many amazing opportunities during my PLU education. Some of my favorites have been studying away in Oaxaca, Mexico for a semester and Budapest Hungary for the month of January, creating relationships with my professors, working at a Lutheran bible camp during the summers and being provided with the materials to transition from high school to college and now from college to graduate school. (I plan on attending a Masters Program next year and would love to have another year at PLU!!… that is how much I love it!) While I have been able to succeed in my classes, work on campus, be involved with clubs and organizations I have also loved making friends and having tons of fun! One other reason I love PLU is because there is always so much to do on campus, which I think goes hand in hand with the tight knit community we have here. I have loved going to dances in the Cave, homecoming and spring formal, participating in Relay for Life, listening to different speakers who have come to campus, going to sporting events of all types, residence hall and residence wing events and so much more. I really have felt like the opportunities at PLU are endless!


Kaaren Hatlen’s Letter to a Prospective Student

Kaaren Hatlen ‘13 new kaaren

I am a Mathematics major with Hispanic Studies and Coaching minors from Woodinville, WA. I chose PLU for a multitude of reasons. Both of my parents came here, as did my older sister, so I was wary to follow in everybody else’s footsteps. However, when I came on my visit, I was not “Rachel’s sister”; everyone treated me as an individual and I knew that I could make PLU my own experience. I met with faculty during my visit and they were very engaging and interested in me and what I wanted to do with my future. The softball coach, Erin Van Nostrand, had me come out and watch practice and get to know the program. All of these people investing themselves in my future, before I even became a student, really let me know that PLU was a place where I could be challenged to grow as a person, but supported by a great community and experience college success.

As a college student-athlete, I have learned so many skills that I will take with me in the future. First and foremost are time management skills. There is not a lot of downtime between class, workouts, practice, homework, jobs, and hanging out with friends, but through planning ahead and staying on top of your schedule it all fits in with a few moments to spare. I have also learned about hard work and dedication paying off. Making changes is not always comfortable, but as a freshman, I bought into the softball program and worked hard to become a First Team All-American my junior year. I have also learned the importance of communication. From the expectations on the field, to making sure that everything that needs to happen gets done, open and clear communication is a necessity. Aside from all of the life lessons that I will take with me, the best part about being a student-athlete is the camaraderie with my teammates and coaches. More than teammates, the other players on the softball team are my best friends. Through practice, conditioning, and team bonding we come together as one and that makes us better both on and off the field. The coaches obviously want to make us better softball players, but they also are dedicated to making us the best people that we can be in the world upon graduation.

This is me with my teammate being honored as the the national champions! softball-returns-462-5-22-12

In the classroom, I have enjoyed a wide variety of classes, typical of a liberal arts education. The professors are all passionate about their subjects and because of that, students become passionate as well. The math department has a diverse faculty, unified by each professor’s passion for math. Whether a student is struggling with the material, wants to further explore at topic, or just stops by to say hi, the professors have open doors to be of whatever assistance possible. I have enjoyed professors challenging me in the classroom to do more with the material and make the most of my time here at PLU. The Hispanic studies department covers a range of topics, countries, and time periods, giving students the opportunity to get the best knowledge of the language, culture, and history possible. The Movement Studies department has a coaching minor with a curriculum that covers everything needed to be a coach with classes like Nutrition, Applied Training and Conditioning, Sport Psychology and even a practicum (going out and coaching). Professors are experts who have not only teach and know the material, but also lived it through their own experiences coaching. Students come away knowing the most current information about being a coach, prepared to go out into the field of coaching, with on-the-job experience.