Previous Alumni Spotlights

Gina Marie Mammano

A spiritual director on Whidbey Island and Biola University graduate, Gina Marie Mammano spends her days helping people cultivate a deeper relationship with the God, the self, and the natural world around them. In her new book, Camino Divina- Walking the Divine Way, Mammano introduces readers to the practice of camino divina through a series of paired readings, spiritual exercises, and walking adventures designed to nurture contemplation and spiritual connection. Mammano highlights spiritual luminaries ranging from Wendell Berry, Annie Dillard and Mary Oliver to Rainer Maria Rilke, John Muir and T.S. Eliot. Her work was recently endorsed by best selling author, Richard Rohr: "For one who teaches walking meditation, I wish I could make this lovely book required reading for all my students. Although it is equally good for anybody--walking or not--on how to see, how to sense, and how to savor.  Walk with the saints-- and become one, it might just be saying!"

Velena jones ('12)

Velena Jones graduated from Biola University in 2012 with an emphasis in broadcast. While at Biola she interned at ABC7, Access Hollywood, and NBC Los Angeles. Shortly after graduation, she was hired as a reporter at WBKB in Alpena, Michigan. Two years later, she moved to Madison, Wisconsin, to work for the CBS affiliate there. Velena was also the anchor and executive producer of Eagle Vision News her senior year of Biola.

Mayor of Fullerton

Jennifer Fitzgerald ('95), was elected into the Fullerton City Council in November 2012. During her time, she has accomplished significant changes to the city including a public safety reform, an increase in funding to repair damaged roads, and adoption of new measures regarding public employee labor negotiations. With a degree in Communication Studies, Fitzgerald has now served and worked with public affairs in Orange County for 20 years. 

Fitzgerald has previously served on several boards, including the Planning Commision and General Plan Advisory Committee and the Board of Directors for the Orange County Tax Payers Association. Some of her volunteer involvements are working with educarion and community development, as well as serving as the Co-Chair of the Fullerton Women's Leadership Forum. Our local community is very thankful for her dedication, hard work and success in making Orange County a better place. 

Lessons Learned at Biola

Kent Ostby ('86) is a computer science major who has held a job at Hewlett-Packard Enterprises for the entirety of his career. His experience at Biola has traveled with him into the workplace. "Biola's experience taught me that we are all co-heirs with Christ and that while I can be proud of my upbringing and culture, I could learn from others of different backgrounds as well. This has served me well in an industry that crosses international boundaries in all areas." He specifically owes these learned lessons from an Asian Studies class he took during his undergrad. This awareness and passion for diversity has placed him in a role that focuses on cross-division/cross-country activites.

In addition, Ostby finds the power of prayer to be an essential way to start the day. "Prayer for my boss helps remind me that the ultimate leader that I follow is Christ.  It reminds me that God has an authority structure that is outside of the one constructed for me by the world.  That while I do engage in the world around me, I am not subject to its every whim." These practices formed during his Biola education have impacted his life greatly and those around him. 

Running In The Dark

Becky Hartung's ('15) first book, Running in the Dark, was released on September 8th. Since the release she has continued writing for online publications Conscious, Grit + Virtue, and To Write Love on Her Arms sharing her story of adoption, finding friendship, relearning faith and dealing with depression and anxiety. She has spent the past month traveling across college campuses speaking on the value of connection and vulnerability when dealing with mental health issues.

In November, she will travel to Las Vegas for the National Communication Convention to present on her work, Humor & Connection, which studies the impact humor has on our ability to connect and relate to others. She hopes to continue her work on humor in graduate school and continue to add research to the education space, and contribute those findings in creative spaces. 

Influential Education Professor

Dr. Christie Curtis ('06) is a professor of the School of Education at Biola University, and specializes in grammar and writing curriculum development. She earned her M.A from Biola University and her Ph.D from Azusa Pacific University.  Among some of her greatest accomplishments, Curtis recently published five grammar and writing textbooks, called Grammar and Writing (2013). Among these textbooks are student editions, teacher editions and supplemental workbooks. She is an expert in grammar, sentence structure, spelling, revising, communication and editing. In addition, Curtis has provided weekly "Grammar Gems" to Biola's Inside Story for Biola employees, and has presented seminars in the past.  She finds a deep joy in mentoring her students and walking alongside them. Our community is blessed by her hardwork and success. If you would like to learn more about her books, click here.

Dr. Paul & Laura Chinchen; Missionaries

Paul (86') and Laura (91') have spent the last 25 years serving as full time missionaries in Malawi, Ugnada, and Liberia. Paul is the president of African Bible Colleges and Laura is the Vice President of ABC Christian Academy in Malawi. Paul and Laura  feel that their time at Biola prepared them to be missionally minded and experienced in higher Christian education.

There are 54 countries in Africa, and Paul explained that dozens of those are in need of a good evangelical Christian university. "This is what is needed in Africa - Christian Universities just like Biola ...This is what we have been doing for the past 25 years, and where Laura and I see ourselves for the next 25". The couple now resides in Mississippi, but continues overseeing and expanding the three bible colleges and developing relationships with churches. As a very missionally driven family, their daughter Annabelle, a current Biola student, was the Missions Conference coordinator this past year.  

Apologetics Professor and Speaker

Melissa Cain Travis (‘12) holds an M.A in Science and Religion from Biola University and is currently a professor at Houston Baptist University,  a national speaker, and author for Apologia Press. Her work in apologetics has gained publicity as she was recently featured in an article in the April 2015 issue of Christianity Today. In the article, Cain Travis states that “Women have this misconception that theology and apologetics are something men do, but the more women we have entering apologetics at the lay and academic levels, the more women we can disciple and draw into loving God with their minds”.  The growing number of women studying apologetics is fostering well-rounded perspectives on apologetics in today's Christian culture. As a faculty member at HBU, she specializes in looking at arguments for God based on reason and scientific study. Her desire, along with the other apologetic professors at HBU, is to spread the gospel and make a case for Christ for future generations to come. To read the full article, click HERE.

InJOY Life Resources

Ann Paty (‘13) is currently employed at InJOY Life Resources, a day program for adults with mental and physical disabilities. InJOY is a local organization that was founded in 2007. While studying Psychology at Biola, Paty discovered deep compassion and love for the marginalized. Her desire to help people led her to become a coach at the program. The coaches help the members practice daily life-skills; further integrating them into society.

Last year she moved up and became a full-time program supervisor, and finds her job to be fun and rewarding. While at Biola, Paty learned that God puts great importance on all His children. "People are deeply valuable to the heart of God, and should therefore also be valuable to us," she said. "To be faithful in small things, and fully present in relationships". The program emphasizes the need to treat all of God's children as equals and as worthy of care and love. InJOY is a popular organization amongst the Biola community and offers great serving opportunities. To learn more, visit InJOY Life website.  

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