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Standing up for what’s right in a not-so-black-and-white world

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Jane Metcalf
2008 BA in Political Science, Minor in Intercultural Studies
District Director for Assemblyman Jim Patterson

“Helping people—that’s what I care about. If I can be instrumental in changing a law that helps people, it makes my job worth it.”

Born and raised in Fresno, California, Jane (Chakhlasyan) Metcalf (BA ’08) didn’t plan to stay in town for college. She was accepted to four other universities outside of the Central Valley. “I really prayed for guidance as to where I should go,” Jane said. She ended up checking out FPU and in her words “it felt like I was supposed to be here that first day walking on campus.”

Jane studied political science under Richard Unruh, Ph.D. “He tried to help us understand that the political sphere is very complex. It is definitely not black and white,” she said. “His courses were some of the most challenging courses I ever had because there wasn’t necessarily a clear and easy answer. Politics is ever-changing with many moving parts, and he taught us to keep that in mind. He challenged us and pushed us constantly. He really tried to get us to think holistically when tackling problems. Professor Unruh was definitely a mentor to me.”

One course that stood out was Religion and Politics. “The first thing he asked the class that very first day was: ‘Should Christians be involved in politics?’” Jane recounted. By the end of the semester she concluded: “We absolutely must be involved, because if we don’t stand up for what’s right, either someone else will stand up for what they believe in or no one will stand up at all.”

Jim Patterson
President Richard Kriegbaum, Assemblyman Jim Patterson, Jane Metcalf (9 months pregnant) and FPU History Professor Marshall Johnston

Today Jane works as district director for Assemblyman Jim Patterson. “FPU, and especially Professor Unruh, absolutely prepared me for the job,” she said. She meets with constituents and community members to look for legislative solutions to their issues and concerns. “Another big part of my job is to reach out to state departments on behalf of constituents in hopes of meeting their individual needs.” About six months into her career she realized the truth of what Unruh had been saying all along. “Politics changes every single day. Therefore, the same approach to a problem doesn’t necessarily provide the same solution. You have to be creative and resourceful to be truly helpful.”

FPU impacted more than Jane’s career. Here she met Scott Metcalf, a biblical studies major; they married and now have two little girls: Addisyn (2 ½) and Felicity (4 months).

Jane is just one example of how transforming lives is more than just a motto at FPU. “FPU made me aware of the care and compassion we should have for our community and that, as Christians, it is our responsibility to make an impact.”

By Katie Jerkovich

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