Meet Your Alumni Council

Meet Your Alumni Council

Angela Angela Mannino (BA ’14)
Creative Designer for Morgan Hill Bible Church

Q: What is your favorite college memory?
A: Some of my favorite memories took place when I spent time sitting in the Forest talking to friends or doing a little bit of homework. The Forest is like our own little oasis in Fresno; our whole campus, really, is an oasis.
Q: What was your favorite college class?
A: Seriously, I think my favorite class of all time was Philosophy of Language with Adam Schrag. I still, to this day, cannot get that class out of my mind. All the things we discussed and the papers we wrote and the books we read . . . I have never remembered and understood so much of a class in my life. I felt like I could really explore the concepts in the context of current culture—like getting to write a paper about how glasses are cultural artifacts that symbolically represent personality types. What other class/instructor would let you write a paper (and earn a good grade) like that? Well, of course, there was Ancient/Medieval Rhetoric with Pam Johnston, too! That one was awesome as well! I wrote a paper about why Edward Cullen was better than Jacob Black and got an A. That class was so fun and so useful in life. Thank you, Adam Schrag and Pam Johnston. I love you guys!
Q: What was the best book you read in college?
A: I’ve never been very talented at sitting down and reading my required texts, but the two books I really remember were actually novels. Dante’s Inferno (read in Medieval/Modern History) was an amazing read for multiple reasons—one being that it was so relevant to my faith. I really appreciated that; but also that it was a strong historical source that we had the chance to modernize with our Dante papers. The other book was Embassytown by China Meiville (read in Philosophy of Language). Many of my fellow classmates struggled with that book and I’m really surprised I did not. It was a difficult book to wrap your head around, playing with the very fundamentals of language and communication, challenging the way you understand language without signification… But somehow, I understood it and remember it! I highly recommend both of these amazing books!

JenniferEileen_fpu_U1A9428 (2) Bobby Martin (BA ’12)
Undergraduate Admissions Counselor for Fresno Pacific University
Q: What is your favorite college memory?
A: My favorite college memory was traveling to Australia and New Zealand with the Concert Choir under the direction of Dr. Roy Klassen. It was my first time traveling outside of North America, and I celebrated my 20th birthday while on the trip. Taking in a show at the Sydney Opera House, petting kangaroos on a nature walkabout in New South Wales, enjoying authentic New Zealand cuisine and entertainment in a Maori village; this trip is definitely a highlight in my memory thus far.
Q: What was your favorite college class?
A: Hands down, I would have to say Ancient and Medieval Rhetoric with Dr. Pamela Johnston was my favorite class in my undergraduate experience. Dr. Pam is uniquely gifted in her ability to make subject matter come to life in the minds of her students. In Ancient and Medieval Rhetoric, I learned the art of persuasion, and the beauty of rhetoric in crafting well-organized and thoughtful arguments. A paper was due nearly every week in this class, and nearly every week, I was inspired to express my personal creativity in the words that I penned. I read the works of ancient scholars such as Aristotle, who viewed language and public discourse as the height of social and academic life. From this course, I developed a passion for writing, for critical thinking, and for using language as a tool to better understand and inform the world around me.
Q: What activities were you involved in while a student?
A: Pretty much anything musical… I participated in the Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, Vocal Performance Workshop (opera), Pacific Bronze hand bell choir, and the College Hour Worship Team. My senior year, I was elected to serve in student government as a senator for the class of 2012. During that time, we were able to see tremendous student support for campus projects such as remodeling the university Fitness Center.

Christina Morris Christina Morris (BA ’06)
Director of Customer Service for Valley Fleet Clean
Q: What was your favorite college class?
A: Theological Ethics of Conflict and Peacemaking taught by Sheri Wiedenhofer. The class was intense and we tackled some heavy topics like the ethics of war, sex, and systems of power and society. However, this one class defines my experience at FPU and I learned the absolute most about myself and the world around me during the semester that I took it. Sheri was incredible and it was obvious that she cared about each and every one of her students. I wish that every university had a class like this and I feel incredibly fortunate to have chosen FPU where I could receive such quality and caring instruction and be encouraged to think about things in a new way that shapes my life even still. A very close second would be Business Ethics with Steve Varvis. We read C.S. Lewis to delve into the origin of ethics apart from and alongside theology and then translated that to how to behave as a leader in business—with case studies! What?! So amazing.
Q: What activities were you involved in while a student?
A: I mostly studied and danced! But when I wasn’t doing that, I also was the Documentation Director for Students In Free Enterprise my senior year. That was a great experience and was a good way to see how someone in the realm of business and enterprise can bring about change in the world and exemplify service to others. As a college student I got to network with local schools as well as international businesses to accomplish our goals of educating children about a global market economy and providing help to those in need in a sustainable way. What a unique opportunity that was. In addition to that, I worked for the university in the Professional Development department for 3 years. The training I received there provided the foundation for my philosophy regarding customer service. Now I am the Director of Customer Service at a successful local corporation.
Q: What is a fun fact about you?
A: I’ve studied classical ballet since the age of 6 (as well as several other dance styles through the years) and now I teach several classes per week for children and adults. The most fun thing about that is seeing the progress and enthusiasm of my students as well as my vision for choreography realized on stage.

Lisa Ovalle (BA ’02, TC ’03, MA ’13)
Seventh Grade Math Teacher for Fowler Unified School District
Q:What did your time as an FPU student teach you?
A: I was taught the valuable lesson of being a life-long learner. As a middle school teacher I use this approach on a daily basis with my students. I feel blessed everyday I was able to attend FPU and not another school. I can see the value of our FPU practices everyday. It is becoming increasingly present as we transition to Common Core and education is geared more towards problem-solving.
Q:  What activities were you involved in while a student?
A: I was part of Commuter Council at FPU and a regular at the Commuter House. I feel very lucky that commuters at FPU are given a place to hang out and feel connected to campus, outside of class. The Commuter House became THE place to be when you were waiting between classes or wanted to hang out with other Sunbirds. I made a lot of good friends there, many of which I still talk to today. Even residents would come over to hang out and it was only natural that I would want to help out by being part of the Alumni Council.
Q:  How do you spend your free time?
A:  I like to enjoy time with friends and family, whether it’s trying out a new restaurant, looking for the next bargain or seeing the newest movie/show at a theater. I also have a 2 year old Sheltie named Cesar that I spend most my time with. He is adorable and full of energy.

Mattie (2) Mattie Parker (BA ’15)
Soon to be law school student
Q: What did your time as an FPU student teach you?
A: My time at FPU has taught me to go beyond my comfort zone and learn about current events and issues in order to be an informed member of society. FPU has taught me to think critically about issues and understand that there are multiple perspectives and ways to answer a question.
Q: What was the best book you read in college?
A: My favorite book I read in college was Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide written by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. This book opened my eyes to the realties of women in developing countries around the world and the many daily obstacles they face. The text motivated me to take action and become involved international human rights in hopes of bettering the lives of women.
Q: How do you spend your free time?
A: I spend my free time catching up on my TV shows with my roommate, reading for fun and volunteering for different organizations!

Chuck Spencer Chuck Spencer (BA ’70)
Broker for Barlocker Insurance Services / Leavitt Financial Group
Q: What is your favorite college memory?
A: My favorite memories were being with friends in a community of learners. Students with various viewpoints and cultures let me see the world from another perspective. Being able to share lunch in the cafeteria with your professors was access I did not experience at another university I had attended.
Q: What was your favorite college class?
A: I had several classes I seriously enjoyed. I always seemed to be two chapters ahead of the class in my favorite courses. Psychology professor, Dr. Vogt, could even make Psych. 101 interesting. Edmund Janzen introduced me to Philosophy. I remember Gary Nachtigall’s World Geography question: “Travel from the tip of Africa by water without going against the flow.” I will never forget that one! Dr. Dalton Reimer’s Group Dynamics was one of the most interesting classes to me. Dr. Arthur J. Wiebe had to be one of the best math professors I have ever had.
Q: What is one word or phrase that describes you?
A: Loyal to a fault and generous.

Joan Minasian, Director of Annual Giving, and Ali Sena, Director of Alumni Development, also sit on the Alumni Council.

Top image: Alumni Council members (Back row: Chuck Spencer, Lisa Ovalle, Christian Morris, Bobby Martin. Front row: Ali Sena, Mattie Parker, Joan Minasian, Angela Mannino)

Sena Ali

Sena Ali