A Spotlight on 30 Young Asbury Alums
Year after year, Asbury University graduates become some of the most impactful young leaders in a broad range of industries. They forge partnerships, solve problems, blaze trails, and serve the world for Christ all across the world. Asbury’s 30 Under 30 recognizes selected young alumni, under 30 years old, across a variety of vocations making an impact in business, education, the sciences, media, the arts, research, leadership, ministry, public service and/or philanthropic endeavors.
View the 30 Under 30 from 2021
Business Administration major
Instructor of Business Administration, New Brunswick Community College
Part-Time Lecturer of Organizational Management, Crandall University
Ty Abraham ’17, a business administration major, is now an Instructor of Business Administration for New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) and a part-time Lecturer of Organizational Management for Crandall University.
Abraham, originally from Trinidad and Tobago, moved to the United States to start his journey in higher education. He arrived with a scholarship to play tennis and began as an exercise science major. After taking classes in Asbury’s Dayton School of Business, he realized his calling was to study business.
Obtaining his bachelor’s degree from Asbury and completing both a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree and a Master of Organizational Management degree (M.Org.M.), Abraham felt a calling to shift his vocational perspective from strictly business to mentorship. This passion for helping other’s find their full potential and teaching practical skills and useful lessons led Abraham to become an instructor and lecturer.
“In my younger years, I was a part-time tennis coach,” said Abraham, “I loved the feeling of helping someone learn a new skill, and aiding people to become their full potential. I began to feel the calling to coach and mentor again. However, I wanted to do so from the classroom. I wanted to help students learn business skills that would help develop them into competent and motivated professionals in the workplace. I truly believe gaining an education can be a transformative experience.”
Abraham discussed one of his favorite Asbury memories, an Organizational Behavior and Structure class taught by Asbury Professor, Dr. Mike Yoder.
“Dr. Yoder brought business concepts to life and had creative teaching methods that furthered my understanding,” said Abraham, “It was during this course with Dr. Yoder that I knew I wanted to learn more about the influence of human behavior in the workplace, which began my journey to graduate studies.”
Abraham also touched on the impact that Asbury had throughout his college years.
“Asbury is more than an educational institution; it is a place you can call home during your four years there. It is a place that goes beyond learning about a subject matter. Asbury has professors that take the time to know you, to invest in you. You will have the opportunity to make new friends and memories; to be bold and adventurous; and to grow spiritually.”
He continued, “If you are looking for a Christ-centered place to prepare you for the world, Asbury University is your answer.”
Nurse, University of Cincinnati Medical Center
Emma Wittekind ’18 Arensman, a biology major, is a Neonatal ICU nurse at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
After graduating from Asbury, Arensman started her accelerated BSN program at the University of Akron, earning her nursing license in 2019. After positions in both an Acute Care Unit and a Cardiovascular ICU, she accepted her dream job of being an NICU nurse.
“Being a nurse right now is challenging to say the least, but I have the honor of touching the lives of those who need it the most,” said Arensman. “As a NICU nurse, this is the most humbling and rewarding experience—providing critical care and advocating for the smallest of God’s creation.”
Through the challenges that come with working in the medical field, Arensman has learned much about the importance of her role as a nurse.
“As a nurse, I have learned even more that people and stories are messy and broken,” she said. “I believe that it is a reflection of how all of us are, but we have a Great Physician who cares for us at our messiest. He has held me up when I was helpless, and He holds my patients and their families, as well. While my job can be incredibly difficult, I have the unique opportunity to reflect that kind of love in my care and work as a team to provide healing.”
Her advice to current students and young alums:
“My advice for current students is get involved in community. Study hard, but go to those events, hang out at the Hiccup, and push yourself out of your comfort zone to meet new friends and travel abroad. My advice for young alums is stay involved in community. It is much harder to be plugged in when you don’t have your best friend living across the hall. Find a community or small group, continue to volunteer, look for opportunities to travel, and don’t forget the community you made while at Asbury.”
Equine Studies major
Human Resources Administrator, Hagyard Equine Medical Institute
Hope Beers ’20, an equine studies major, is currently working as a Human Resources Administrator at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, an equine veterinary hospital.
At Hagyard, Beers has been learning all about working in human resources and how she can best directly work and support the other staff members.
“Although my primary background had been working hands-on with horses, training and riding, I am proud to now support ‘behind the scenes’ at one of the top performing equine veterinary hospitals. We have a phenomenal staff that makes serving the industry a joy,” said Beers.
While the equine program at Asbury allowed Beers the opportunity to work directly with horses, she was also prepared to work in the business aspect of the equine field.
“With a degree in Equine Management, I am well-equipped to be on the business side of the equine industry,” said Beers. “My experience at the Equine Center prepared me well to be a capable interviewer for all sorts of positions at our clinic, from members of the billing team to surgical technicians. I am able to speak knowledgably about both company policies and day-to-day work tasks.”
Aside from classes and experiences in the different equine clubs available on-campus, Beers was able to take advantage of off-campus opportunities and internships as well, thanks to one of her equine professors.
“Jessica Hayes took me under her wing in my final few semesters at Asbury. Without her, I would not have had the opportunity to bring along several horses to compete in an internationally-recognized horse show called the Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover,” said Beers. “She gave up much of her personal time to teach me and many other students riding and management techniques, providing us with a unique internship opportunity.”
Her advice to current students:
“I would advise other young professionals and current students to seek out a mentor in your field who will help develop your skill set, and to seek every opportunity to practice them!”
Secondary Social Studies Education major
7th Grade Social Studies Teacher, Woodford County Middle School
Clay Bisher ’20, a Secondary Social Studies Education major, is a 7th Grade Social Studies Teacher at Woodford County Middle School in Kentucky.
Growing up with various members of his family in the education system, Bisher desired to do something different when he first came to Asbury. He started out as a Media Communication major but felt God pulling him in a different direction.
“I opened the bulletin and started thumbing through the different majors and quickly settled in the education section,” said Bisher. “I immediately knew that this was what I was meant to do and remember the sense of peace I had once I signed my major change form.”
A handful of years later, Bisher is now releasing all of the love and care that was exhibited by his teachers onto his middle school students.
“Knowing how teachers have affected me influences the ways that I interact with and guide my students today,” said the Asbury alum. “As a teacher you see their potential through the walls, fronts, immaturity, shyness, and other things that students are navigating as they find their identities. The greatest joy in teaching is seeing a student rise to meet their potential and realize who they truly are.”
Along with Bisher’s triumphs, there were also obstacles and adversity posed by the pandemic immediately into his start of teaching.
“Without my Asbury education I would not have been prepared to become a teacher during a global pandemic. I honestly could have buckled under the pressure without their guidance. My experience at Asbury prepared me to adapt and perform in a job that changed almost weekly for the first few months of my career.”
Bisher advises students “to soak up every moment and to be present.”
“College can either be a means to an end or a transformative experience,” Bisher stated. “The liberal arts approach to higher education is a gift to those who want to become well rounded. You will grow personally and professionally.”
Reporter, ABC 36 News
Annie Brown ’21, a journalism major, is a reporter at Lexington’s ABC affiliate Channel 36 News.
A native of Lexington, Ky., Brown wanted to stay close to home to be near her family. She enjoyed English and History growing up, creating and editing home movies with her siblings. Because of this experience, she felt that the field of journalism chose her.
“I’ve always loved the creative outlet photography and video give me,” she said. “I wanted to be in a field where I could blend these loves and do something meaningful for my community. Now, I get to be a part of watching, writing and recording history, and I get to tell it in my own creative way. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do broadcast journalism, but I fell in love with it through anchoring and producing Newswatch 3 at Asbury in my senior year.”
Pitching, shooting, writing and editing all of her own stories allows her to tell the stories happening in her community.
“I think what brings me most joy is knowing that my stories shed light on important things in the community I grew up in and love so much,” Brown responded. “I tell stories of people experiencing deep grief and hurt. I’ve witnessed moments of pure joy. I’ve laughed. I’ve cried. And I’ve gotten a front row seat to the human experience in all its forms. It’s a privilege to tell these stories.”
When asked about integrating her faith into her profession, she replied:
“I was taught to bring my Christian values into my work, approaching it with compassion, empathy and love, instead of turning that off. Not only has this made my writing and storytelling much more powerful, it’s also made my sources for stories more willing to open up to me and let me be a part of situations they may not let other media be a part of. People recognize when you are genuine.”
For Brown, the relationships with professors left a significant impact on her, personally and professionally. The encouragement and nurturing throughout her learning process continues to impact her as she navigates her industry.
“Prof. Rich Manieri always pushed me to become better at my work, and to never shy away from difficult or controversial topics for my stories. He continues to do so and I consider him an industry mentor and friend,” said the young alum. “Without him, I never would have sat in front of a prompter and been asked to read it (which was literally the moment I realized I wanted to do broadcast journalism).”
As for why she would recommend Asbury for your college education, she says:
“The quality of education I got at Asbury has made me stand out, even as a very young reporter, in my field. Not only was the education fantastic, Asbury also encourages you to develop your character, which I have found is extremely important in any career field. I am endlessly grateful to the nurturing professors I had at Asbury. Asbury truly is a place to learn, grow, be nurtured, and succeed–in the classroom and beyond it.”
Journalism and Communication double major
Communications Officer, UK College of Medicine
Co-Director, Treehouse Ministries
Jorge Castorena ’16, a Journalism and Communication (Public Relations) double major, is a Communications Officer at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. He is also the Co-Director of Treehouse Ministries, a grassroots ministry in Central Kentucky primarily focused on creating a safe space, providing resources, and advocating for at-risk children and youth.
Castorena’s work, after graduating, consisted of involvement in both “traditional” ministry work and developing a career in the marketplace. With the experience from various positions in communications and marketing, Castorena was led to the University of Kentucky.
As the Communications Officer, he works with strategy, social media and web management for internal, external and prospective audiences. In his ministry, he works with kids and families.
Castorena commented on his fusion of the two different vocations and how God works through both areas.
“I often felt torn between my desire for a career in the marketplace and what I’ve always perceived as a call to ministry. But I just kept taking steps forward and found opportunities to be involved in the two areas. Eventually, I realized it was possible to do both!”
He continued, “They are not mutually exclusive, and God certainly is present in both. It has been a lot to juggle at times, but it’s very rewarding to get to invest and develop my professional skills (and see them help advance medicine and health care in Kentucky) while having the opportunity to serve God among the “least of these” in our community.”
He also acknowledged the strong spiritual foundation that Asbury instilled in him to further his passion for his Christ-centered work.
“Asbury’s Christian liberal arts education keeps Christ in perspective — and this has been vital for me,” Castorena said. “Academia, growth, study, exploration, careers can be great in and of themselves, but at Asbury I learned that they’re gifts from God and opportunities for us to learn more about Him and the world He created.”
His advice to students and young alumni is to slow down and remember that God will help you.
“It’s okay to explore things and to make a few mistakes along the way! There’s time. Take an elective outside of your field, get to know yourself, and get to know others. Ask questions. Talk to the experts around you. Say no when you need to, even when it’s to a good thing. And as you work really hard, aim to trust God with your future. All things in this season of your life will work together for your good.”
Media Communication major
Event Producer, Studio46 Media
Renner Clements ’20, a media communication major, is the Event Producer for Studio46 Media, a video and event production company in Lexington, Kentucky.
“I chose this field because I want to use my heart, head and hands to bring people together using the tools available to my generation,” said Clements. “By utilizing multimedia production technology, I can help create specific moments of elevated communal experience. These experiences are exciting, energetic, and critical in reminding ourselves that, in the midst of an increasingly isolated world, there is joy to be found in gathering.”
During his time at Asbury, Clements learned the value of relationships and community—a value which he has incorporated into his professional career.
“The technical information I gained from my education is critical,” said Clements, “but what sustains my career is how I relate to my coworkers and how I make the decisions that dictate the course of my vocational experience.”
According to Clements, Asbury’s number one resource is its professors. Despite being a media communication major, one of his favorite classes came from a required general electives course in chemistry.
“In the spirit of full disclosure, I have no interest in chemistry. I never have. However, this chemistry course turned out to become one of my favorite classes I have ever taken, thanks to Dr. Stull’s stalwart leadership and camaraderie,” said Clements. “I am different now because of that class. I see challenges differently; difficult problems come my way and I am now more capable of caring enough to solve them than I was before.”
Clements continued, “Be the reason why professors dread their office hours. Joking aside, I owe a sizable percentage of my current success because I would linger after class and engage with my professors one-on-one. The conversations held after class were every bit as valuable as the ones my tuition was paying for in class. You will not be able to find a more universally supportive and qualified professorship.”
J.D. Candidate, University of Kentucky
Milcah Cobb ’19, a marketing major, is in her first year of law school at the University of Kentucky.
Cobb is a first-generation college graduate who was involved in several leadership positions during her time at Asbury, including serving as a RA (Resident Assistant) and as a member of her Merciful Class cabinet.
After graduating from Asbury, Cobb worked for the Kentucky Department of Revenue for eighteen months and then as a paralegal for eight months. Since then, she has felt God calling her to pursue an education in law, which led her to apply for law school at the J. David Rosenberg School of Law at the University of Kentucky.
“I felt the Lord leading me to practice law,” said Cobb. “I am passionate about justice and repairing the brokenness of our legal system.”
Cobb continues, “I enjoy learning how to become an advocate in the legal sense of the word. Standing for those who can’t stand for themselves is a privilege I do not take lightly.”
Throughout the course of her previous work experience, her new studies at law school and her Asbury education, Cobb has learned much about the American Justice system and how it functions. Along with gaining a strong education, she has continued to grow, not only in her passion for law, but also in her faith.
“Because of my Asbury education, I took my first law class,” she said. “Asbury provided me with a strong foundation in education but also in my faith, which I have relied on heavily.”
Cobb’s advice to current and prospective Asbury students:
“Don’t rush anything, savor where you are and learn from it. The rest will come. Asbury is dedicated to its students. The professors want to know you and take the initiative to do so. Asbury is a place where you will be challenged to grow in your faith and character.”
Exercise Science major, Master’s in Business Administration
Owner/Operator, Gaines Contracting LLC
Derek Gaines ’17 received his BA in Exercise Science before pursuing his MBA from Asbury’s Dayton School of Business. After earning his MBA in 2018, he launched his own business—Gaines Contracting LLC, which started as a residential remodeling company and has since shifted its focus to custom home building.
The construction world is nothing new to Gaines, having grown up with a father and grandfather who have both had successful flooring businesses. This experience paved the way for Gaines to start his own business.
“I wanted to take my love for business and combine it with something I had prior knowledge of, so that’s how I ended up in construction,” said Gaines.
Fostering relationships, building community and having clear communication are all skills needed in the construction world. Gaines spends time working with homeowners, subcontractors and his team to turn visions into completed projects.
“The best part about being in construction is being able to work side by side with homeowners and subcontractors to complete a project,” he said. “It is a great feeling whenever a job is completed and the homeowners are able to enjoy whatever it is they have been needing and/or wanting.”
Having received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Asbury, Gaines had a lot to say about the impact the University had on him during his time here.
“Overall, the Business department had a huge impact on me. The idea of doing business God’s Way is a great basis of how everyone should approach their role in whatever profession they find themselves in. The significance of treating those around you, whether co-workers or customers, with respect and love, is great,” said Gaines.
His advice to current students:
“I would just say enjoy your time, it really does go a lot faster than you realize. Don’t take for granted the relationships that you will make and the friendships that will last a lifetime.”
Accounting major, Master’s of Business Administration
Senior Accountant, VonLehman CPA & Advisory Firm
Rachyl Miller ’17 Gibson, an accounting major and MBA graduate, is a senior accountant in the audit department at VonLehman CPA & Advisory, a regional accounting firm located in Fort Wright, Kentucky.
Gibson knew she wanted to go into the accounting field after graduating, but it was not until taking an auditing class at Asbury that she realized she specifically wanted to go into auditing.
“While nothing can portray exactly what the workforce will look like, this class really gave me a good perspective of public accounting,” said Gibson. “The audit we did throughout the course of the class gave me an advantage heading into my career. Knowing what to expect during an audit and how to work as a team on a task helped me feel prepared going into my job.”
While all of the major courses and general credits offered at Asbury have been foundational to Gibson’s career, she says that there is more to her college education that has helped her in her current role.
“My Asbury education was foundational to my career, not only in business courses and learning soft skills, but I learning how to treat people with kindness, respect, and love,” she said. “Learning how to treat people with each of these three things is the key to not only a successful career but a fulfilling life.”
Gibson encourages current Asbury students to enjoy their time at college and to learn and grow as much as they can in Asbury’s Christ-centered environment.
“Attending Asbury was one of the best decisions I ever made,” said Gibson. “The relationships that I built there with professors, friends, and coaches are relationships that I will carry on for life.”
Gibson continues, “The time while you are in college you are molding into the person you will become and the lifestyle you will live after college. I can’t think of a better place and environment to do that than Asbury.”
Elementary Education major
1st grade teacher, Fayette County Public Schools
Maddye Hahn ‘17, an Elementary Education major, is a 1st grade teacher for Breckinridge Elementary in the Fayette County Public School Sector.
Hahn was raised in Wilmore and, while witnessing her mother as a preschool director during her childhood, fell in love with teaching. Before graduating from Asbury, she began her practicum and student teaching at Breckinridge Elementary, which has stayed her passion even after graduation.
“I love when my students come to me and hardly know how to read. Then by the end of the year, they are fluently reading and writing,” said Hahn. “Seeing them succeed has brought so much joy over the last five years.”
Hahn touched on the impact of Asbury’s School of Education and how it efficiently prepared her for teaching.
“The Education program at Asbury prepared me so well for this position. I feel highly qualified to teach and the transition from graduation to teaching went very easily,” said the Asbury alum. “Dr. Riel and Dr. Crook had a huge impact on my career. They believed in me and prepared me so well.”
Not only was her vocational sphere developed, but Hahn thrived in her spiritual walk, as well.
“I felt like my walk with Jesus flourished at Asbury and I felt highly challenged in my walk with Christ. It really helped lay the foundation of my faith.”
Music Education major
Assistant Band and Choir Director, Scott County School District 2
Victoria Hall ’20, a Music Education major, is an Assistant Band and Choir Director for Indiana’s Scott County School District 2.
For a year and a half, Hall has been teaching middle school and high school choir and band, impacting her students inside and outside of the classroom.
“I get joy from watching students have that “light bulb” moment,” said Hall. “All of a sudden something will click, and they’ll suddenly understand what we are doing or talking about.”
She continued, “I also get immense joy from being on the podium conducting the band or choir. The students have put in so much hard work. To be able to show their progress to an audience and to be a facilitator of that work is a joy and privilege.”
Two Asbury professors that encouraged and impacted Hall’s college journey and post-college circumstances were Dr. Daniel Strait, who is the Associate Dean of the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, and Professor of Music Education, Dr. Glen Flanigan.
“I was particularly impacted by Dr. Strait’s ENG205 course. His deep schema of knowledge regarding every book we read helped challenge me to think creatively and critically,” Hall said. “Another professor who had a profound impact on me was Dr. Flanigan, he poured numerous hours of knowledge and advice into me and there was never a doubt in my mind that he cared deeply for me and my education.”
Hall urges students and alumni to become aware of God’s perfectly designed plan for them.
“Don’t give up on dreams that seem far away,” she said. “Keep working towards them but be patient. God’s plan takes more time than we often want it to, but I promise you the end result is worth the wait.”
Dual Certification in Elementary Education and Learning and Behavior Disorders
Emotional Behavior Disorder Self-Contained Classroom Teacher, Kanawha County Schools, W. Va.
Abby Jeffrey ’20, who majored in Elementary Education and Learning and Behavior Disorders, is an Emotional Behavior Disorder Classroom Teacher for Kanawha County Schools in West Virginia.
A fourth generation Asburian, Jeffrey enjoyed playing basketball while pursuing her degree in Education. Her experience on the court provided an additional opportunity for her to invest in students, coaching the girls high school basketball team.
“I chose teaching because I wanted to help kids become the best version of themselves,” said Jeffrey. “I fell in love specifically with teaching emotional behavior students because of the teachings of Asbury’s School of Education, as well as a placement at Red Oak Elementary my junior year.”
In a self-contained classroom, she works with her students with the goal of transferring them back fully into the general education classroom. Her students are emotionally and behaviorally unable to function in a normal classroom and it’s a challenge that Jeffrey enjoys.
“Their achievements bring me so much joy,” said Jeffrey. “When s student moves from flipping desks and punching to completing his work before I even ask makes me smile bigger than ever. I form relationships with each student, and when I see them get it, my heart does flips. For my students, it’s not just excelling academically, but rather it’s excelling at becoming functional, kind, loving, honest human beings. I love what I do!”
While this is a challenging job, she is learning that she can’t change the world all at once and that God is faithful.
“God will use the smallest things in our lives to change the world, as long as we are willing to be faithful to the small tasks He has given us,” said the young alum.
“My Asbury Education prepared me for my field work. It prepared me to be a teacher at the top level. However, it has also taught me a whole lot more. Asbury has taught me how to be a successful adult. They have taught me the values of being a leader, the power of my faith, and that my success story is never truly mine, but rather Christ’s. Every single bit I have taken away from Asbury shows up in my classroom. Whether it be the bulletin board I created, the test I designed, or the way I address a conversation in my classroom. Asbury has prepared me to be a successful teacher.”
“Enjoy this! Live each day, even the hard ones, to its fullest. God loves you no matter what. The smallest thing that you do, He can use to change the world. Be faithful and don’t waste your days away.” Romans 8:28
Assurance Staff, Ernst & Young, LLP
Evan Kelly ’20, an accounting major, works in EY’s Financial Services Assurance practice at their office in Cincinnati, Ohio. Kelly became a licensed CPA in January, working with a couple of major insurance clients and auditing EY’s investment portfolios.
“I chose this field because I enjoyed studying accounting at Asbury,” said Kelly. “I find joy in my vocation by interacting with my team members and getting to build relationships with them.”
His time at Asbury has shaped the way he views his career, thinking of his place at EY not only as a job, but also a mission field.
“I have learned that this career path can be very consuming of my time and frustrating at times,” said Kelly. “But I know that this job is ultimately my mission field at this moment in my life so I try to make sure I am reflecting Christ at all times, whether that is towards my coworkers or clients.”
The education Kelly received during his time at Asbury has played a foundational role in shaping his career.
“I was pushed to learn as much as possible about accounting and business,” he said. “Many times, I have been able to recall lessons I learned in classes and apply them to real experiences throughout my career.”
Kelly credits not only the professors at Asbury’s Dayton School of Business, but also his baseball coach for helping shape him into the person he is today.
“My accounting professors, Prof. Walsh and Prof. Graves, were both instrumental in helping me realize that I wanted to pursue a career in accounting. They also helped equip me with what I needed to learn to get a head start in my career,” said Kelly. “Dr. Lewis impacted showed me that my job is in my mission field and to have that mindset every day. My baseball coach, Coach Cervantes, also made a great impact on me and helped mold me on and off the field during my time at Asbury.”
Political Science (International Affairs) major
Chairperson of the Political Science Department, United Methodist University, Liberia
Josh Kulah ’16, a political science major, is now a chairperson of the United Methodist University’s Political Science Department. Kulah lectures courses in international affairs and contextual politics while serving as the University’s chairperson. He also works as an Associate with The Gbaintor Firm in the civil and transactional law department.
After law school in the States, Kulah transitioned back to Liberia, developing a career in international development and law by educating the younger generation at two of the Country’s top three universities.
“It took me a while to figure out my true passion. My time at Asbury affirmed that I am called to pursue a life of service in dedication to the leadership development and capacity building of young people in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Kulah.
When securing his later position as the United Methodist University’s Chairperson, Kulah discussed how Asbury’s academic impact aided in his hiring.
“My biggest selling point for getting this particular position was that I studied Political Science in undergrad,” the alum expressed. “I still thank Dr. Steve Clements every time we talk for exposing me to the styles of learning and teaching in Political Science.”
Not only has Kulah acknowledged the impact that Asbury had in his vocational achievements, but he recognizes the benefit the Institution had on his spiritual formation.
“Asbury taught me that everything I do in my professional and personal lives are related and not separate identities,” said Kulah. “I feel everyone needs an opportunity to see and live out the notion that a whole life, grounded in faith, is equally necessary as is finding a purpose in this confusing world to fulfill.”
Biology major, Business minor
Anatomy Instructor and Lab Technician, Centre of Emergency Health Sciences, Texas
Rachel Lopez ’21, a biology major and business minor, is currently working as an Anatomy Instructor and Lab Technician at Texas’s Centre of Emergency Health Sciences training center.
Taking a gap year immediately following graduation, Lopez focused on retaking the MCAT (Medical College Acceptance Test) and applying to Medical School. Within a few months into the routine of studying and writing for applications, she was introduced to an organization and lab that was willing to hire her on the spot.
“I never thought I would find myself working in a lab, considering I didn’t see myself in research beyond what was necessary to complete my educational requirements,” said Lopez.
At the Centre of Emergency Health Science’s research and educational facility, she has been able to witness and assist in many surgical procedures like spine, hip and knee replacements, and learn critical care skills to the caliber of being able to teach these skills to a variety of students and professionals.
“Working at this facility has taught me and prepared me for my next steps as an aspiring and future physician beyond what I could have dreamed,” said Lopez. “To say the Lord has divinely placed me here for such a time as this would be an understatement.”
Lopez has also had the opportunity to teach pre-hospital personnel, radiologists, respiratory therapists and nursing students, as well as some anatomy classes held at the facility.
“Teaching brings me great joy. As a daughter of two teachers and as one who has taught in some capacity all my life, whether that be in the Church or through fitness or discipleship on my hall and in my dorm, being able to teach has been a gift,” said Lopez. “I am in a vocation where I get to both learn and teach daily. Moreover, I am teaching something I truly have been given great admiration and passionate love for — the awestriking wonder of the human body.”
Her advice to current students:
“Lean into the community made available at Asbury. Be an active participant, not simply a passive recipient and seek to find that community where the Lord places you post-Asbury. It won’t always look like hall Gathers, Chapel or Banded Discipleship, but it may look like community with those across the street neighbors, co-workers, or church group. Whatever the Lord brings, receive it openly and without stipulations, allowing the Holy Spirit to do what only He can do.”
Youth Ministry major
Associate Director of Student Discipleship, Chapelwood United Methodist Church
Ethan Mayo ’21, a youth ministry major, is an Associate Director of Student Discipleship (youth pastor) at Chapelwood United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas.
Mayo was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and grew up in Kampala, Uganda until he moved to America to attend Asbury. During his high school years, his plan was to obtain an engineering undergraduate degree and play soccer, until an 11th grade basketball trip to Ethiopia changed Mayo’s perspective.
“God flipped my priorities from my selfish plan to His way, pursuing ministry, and it ultimately led me to attend Asbury,” said Mayo.
Needing an internship, the Asbury alum was presented with a position at a United Methodist Church in Houston.
“I expected to go straight into seminary or leave the Country, but through honestly praying and consulting key figures in my life, I felt God leading me to stay in Houston,” said Mayo. “From there I decided to join the staff at Chapelwood.”
Mayo was offered multiple positions but took a job working with the younger generation.
“I absolutely believe that youths are leaders and world-changers, both inside and outside the church,” he said. “They not only have potential but key insights to offer now. So that is part of my passion to develop current leaders and disciple youth.”
Mayo expanded on how Asbury’s Christian Studies program and professors impacted his vocational knowledge and passion.
“The Asbury Youth Ministry degree equips and empowers you not only to succeed but to be miles ahead of your vocational peers,” expressed Mayo. “I have to thank and recognize Dr. Hull. The way he approaches Youth Ministry from an intercultural perspective develops students who think differently and help change ministries for the better.”
Mayo advised students and young alumni to build community with those around them to help their spiritual and vocational walks.
“Realize that life outside of Asbury will look very different,” Mayo said. “Maybe it’s fewer friends, a bad job or major transitions. Continually seek mentors that can help you walk in life and in your profession.”
Physician, University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center
Jacob Meece ’16, a biochemistry major, is a resident physician at the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky.
At Chandler Medical Center, Meece is working towards completing a residency in combined Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, which will allow him to care for both adults and kids.
“A large factor behind choosing my medical specialty was the joy involved in developing a breadth and depth of knowledge that can help in the care for patients of all ages,” said Meece. “My work takes me to all parts of the hospital, from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unity (NICU) helping care for premature newborns to the Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) helping care for critically ill adults, and many outpatient clinics and inpatient wards in between.”
Since becoming a physician, Meece has learned many valuable life lessons.
“It is okay to not know everything,” he said. “‘Leaning in’ to your weaknesses or fears often will yield the most personal growth. When you are uncomfortable, oftentimes you are learning.”
Meece credits his education at Asbury for how prepared he was to enter into the medical field.
“Asbury was absolutely foundational to my work as a physician,” he said. “Coursework at Asbury was rigorous to the point that it prepared me very well for medical school. My faculty mentors were instrumental in encouraging me to set my sights for medical school and motivate me along the way. Relationships formed with friends at Asbury have carried me through difficult times and will no doubt last a lifetime.”
His advice to current students and young alums:
“My advice to our young alums and current students would be that it is never too early or too late to set a goal or realize a dream/calling. I knew what I wanted to do before coming to Asbury, but my wife took an opposite path and found a love for the field of law after majoring in media communication. The things you learn at Asbury are a robust foundation for whatever direction you end up going.”
Exercise Science major
Physical Therapist, Bluegrass Orthopaedics
Craig Moberly ’16, an exercise science major, is a Physical Therapist with Bluegrass Orthopaedics in Kentucky.
As a former collegiate athlete, Moberly understands the value of good care, strength and endurance. He found interest in this field while a student at Asbury.
“During my time at Asbury, I was a member of the Men’s Soccer program. This opportunity exposed me to several experiences which have greatly shaped my purpose and perspective as a professional. Once aspect of being a college athlete is teamwork. This is a vital skill to develop and sharpen as one goes into any field. The opportunity to participate in a mission trip is another experience that allowed me to learn, grow, love and serve others. These are very fond and influential memories,” said Moberly.
“Time in training and physical therapy provoked my interest in the field,” said the young alum. Members of the training staff were very supportive and full of knowledge, always giving encouragement and advice. I also had a professor who helped lead and challenge me to attend graduate school.”
Moberly has seen the impact of helping people regain their health, weaving his faith into these interactions.
“I enjoy this profession because I can develop relationships with each patient I encounter. Although I may not frequently discuss my faith with patients, I am able to be a vessel for Christ through my actions and interactions with these individuals,” he said. “I also enjoy being able to positively impact the quality of life of each patient I encounter.”
The coursework at Asbury enabled him to transition smoothly into Physical Therapy school.
“The academic rigor is designed to be challenging,” said the young alum. “This allows important life skills such as hard work and perseverance to be sharpened. Asbury is designed to prepare and inspire each class of graduates to go and make a difference throughout the world and spread the love of God. The value of having a professor who would pray with and for you, guide and direct you, and invest time in you was vital to my success post Asbury.”
Live Wedding/Event painting
Katie Nelson ’16, an art major, is a live wedding/events painter. This artistic and creative avenue chose Nelson years ago, when she was asked by a good friend and Asbury alum (Mandy Smith 16’) to paint her wedding. She has been painting memories ever since.
“The act of creating brings me so much joy, whether I’m painting a wedding or creating my own body of work in my studio,” said Nelson, “I also love getting to meet new people and bringing joy to couples on their wedding day.”
Nelson’s vocation not only gives her the freedom to express herself creatively but has also been a liaison for vital lessons in her spiritual life.
“I have learned so much in business, and skill, but in this moment, the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that God is constant. It’s nothing crazy deep, and I’m sure everyone ‘knows’ this, but His grace has carried me through times when I have not been constant or worthy of His blessing or mercy,” continued Nelson, “Even in those times, He was there with open arms.”
Nelson was able to form and cultivate the foundations of a God-centered life through her time at Asbury.
“My education at Asbury was foundational because I learned that in everything, whether science, art or history, God is there. God is the foundation and in the culture at Asbury. The University was teaching me how to incorporate God into every area of my life.”
Along with spiritual guidance through the University, Nelson found personal mentorship with one of Asbury’s professors.
“Professor Chris Segre-Lewis impacted me deeply. His connection to the Holy Spirit and sensitivity to how God interacts with creativity was really inspiring. And his gallery showing was so impactful. In one of my classes, I remember him saying something along the lines of, ‘color is light, God is light, so God is color.’ I cannot really pinpoint why that hit so deeply, but there is something to be said about God being the greatest Artist.”
Nelson’s advice to Asbury’s young alums and current students:
“You have so much time to figure things out. Even if you get your dream job immediately after college, you may not be ready for it. You may not be able to appreciate it fully without the period of waiting.”
Art Education major
High School Art Teacher, Rosslyn Academy, Nairobi, Kenya
Natasha Oduor-Owino ’18, an Art Education major, is a high school Art Teacher at the International, American-curriculum based, Christian school, Rosslyn Academy, in Nairobi, Kenya, where she grew up. Not only does she teach there, she also is the coach/trainer for the Swim Team.
Teaching pottery and 3D design provides Oduor-Owino an opportunity to share her love of and skill in art, while investing in the students in her classroom.
“I have always known I wanted to be in a school setting, because of how special it is to be a part of a children’s learning and growth,” she said. “It is interesting to learn about students at all age levels in relation to art. I find it refreshing. I love that art, as a subject, has more leeway and a very inclusive aspect, especially for those who may typically struggle in school academically. As a teacher, you have such influence on your students to encourage, support and help. I enjoy being that for my students. Creatively, I love to make my own artwork on the side, consisting mostly of paintings and ceramic pieces.”
Oduor-Owino finds the diversity beautiful as she teaches in an international school with more than 50 different nationalities. This diversity provides a great space for creativity.
“Art has this very intuitive aspect to it,” responded Oduor-Owino. “It is beautiful to watch my students slowly catch on to that and just have this natural understanding of what they need to do when it comes to the particular medium they are working with, whether it is clay, plaster, cardboard or even wood. I see students warm up to it and end up enjoying it more than they might have thought at the start.”
Providing a safe and serene environment for her students is part of her responsibility. Understanding that creativity can sometimes be frustrating, she does her best to create a space for students to feel supported.
“Making art has a mental aspect to it. Students can get in their own way, especially in high school,” said the young alum. “Some can talk themselves out of a great idea or be so fixated on having the “perfect” piece when there really is no perfect. There is also a vulnerability to making art. Students can’t hide what they are making, it is all out in the open for everyone to see. It is important as a teacher to make sure that students feel seen, heard and understood so they can be their most authentic selves while going through the creative process.”
“At Asbury, the professors I had always integrated their faith into their teaching in a very organic, natural way, helping me as a teacher to understand what it means to build a trusting relationship with students. Many professors have modeled for me the kind of teacher I strive to be for my students.”
Political Science Major (International Affairs)
Executive Assistant, Revenue, State of Wisconsin
Nicole Pegram ’16, a political science major with a concentration in international affairs, is the Executive Assistant for the Secretary of Revenue for the State of Wisconsin.
Pegram first started her career in government by working in the Wisconsin Legislature. Since then, she has moved into the role of assistant for a Cabinet Secretary, where she serves in a variety of ways.
“In the legislature, I worked on a variety of policy topics, learned to write a bill and get it passed, signed, and enacted into law,” said Pegram. “Working in the legislature and then for a cabinet secretary, there is never a boring day. There is always something exciting happening, and you never know what kind of day you’re going to have when you wake up.”
While working in government for the last several years, Pegram has learned several valuable lessons.
“One of the lessons I learned very quickly was just how complex and not black and white a lot of policy issues are. I think as Christians we are often pushed to think of social issues as black and white, and frankly, when it comes to actually writing policy and seeing the impact it has on real people, that’s just not the case.”
Pegram continues, “Humans are complex, because we’re made in the image of God. You can’t legislate for God because He is way bigger than the American political systems, but we can legislate with the lens of caring for ‘the least of these.’ That’s what I strive to do every day both at work and in my personal life.”
While Pegram values the professors and community of Asbury, one of her favorite things about her college education is Asbury’s cross-cultural requirement.
“The cross-cultural experience requirement and the consistent emphasis on cross-cultural influence throughout all my education really set me up to better understand people, where they come from and how policies will affect them. I believe it also helped foster a greater sense of empathy, which is critical in my field of work.”
Computational Mathematics major
Associate Director of Strategy Advancement, Humana
Cali Runtas ’14, a computational mathematics major, is now an Associate Director of Strategy Advancement at the health-insurance company, Humana, in Louisville, Ky.
At Humana, Runtas runs a team of analytics-centered employees working to forecast, track and grow the pharmacy business.
“My team and I joke that we sit at the intersection of science and art because of how much creativity is required to solve many of our problems,” said Runtas. “I really love being at that intersection with them.”
While in grad school, she stumbled upon Humana’s entry level analytics job and has stayed in the field ever since, now serving the company with a role mixture of data science, business strategy and leadership.
Runtas explained that her foundational understanding of business skills started at Asbury.
“The Asbury math department did a fantastic job of teaching us how to learn for ourselves, which seemed to have set AU Math grads apart compared to our colleges when we first entered the work force,” said Runtas.
More specifically, an Asbury programming course in the Math Department solidified her mathematical principles.
“The amount that I struggled with my first C++ course made me (along with most of the class) a Google & stack overflow ninja, which is at least half the requirement of any programming job.” Runtas continues, “Professor Searls taught us how to struggle through solving problems without feeling like we had enough direction. As frustrating as it was at the time, it’s something I’m very thankful for now — he definitely deserves a shout-out. Mere mortals count from one, God and computer scientists count from 0, after all.”
Her advice to current students:
“During my time at Asbury the professors truly cared about the students as people and made difficult classes really, really fun,” she prefaced. “Take full advantage of your time with your professors, learn everything you can from them.”
Health & Physical Education major
Health and Physical Education High School Teacher, Christian Academy of Louisville
Phil Salmen ’18, a Health and Physical Education major, is a Boys Health and Physical Education high school teacher at the Christian Academy of Louisville in Kentucky.
“I am currently teaching students, coaching athletics, and managing events here at Christian Academy of Louisville at their English Station campus.,” said Salmen. “In the past year, I have coached the startup of the school’s eSports Rocket League team while assisting as part of the support staff for the Boy’s JV/Varsity basketball team. Outside of the school, I maintain intentional friendships with former Asbury alumni here in Louisville and we are avid fans and supporters of the USL Championship team Louisville City, here in the city. Go Lou City!”
“After leaving Australia in the fall of 2019, I was led to teach here because of the immense connection to Christian Education that CAL had excelled at for so many years. I chose to work here because of the heart and mission of CAL which is rooted in the hopes of producing Godly individuals that serve to honor God’s truth and spirit.”
Building relationships with teachers, administrators, students, players and co-workers brings this teacher great joy.
“One of the greatest joys in my experience so far has been the moments where students have come to me for advice or encouragement in their daily walk of life,” said the young alum. “The array of questions that high school students have asked me can be described from odd to thought-provoking. There is never a dull moment with the students I have been blessed to teach.”
Salmen has learned many lessons from his teaching experience, in and outside of the classroom.
“The first lesson learned would be the importance of maintaining a healthy focus on your personal walk with Christ,” Salmen responded. “I have learned that I have to focus on maintaining a good balance of prayer, reading my Bible and investing in the community God has so fortunately placed me.”
“Secondly, I have learned to make sure to always listen to my students first when they approach me in times of assistance. I can never know what exactly is going on in a student’s life, so I want to recognize the importance of when a student is sharing something with me, whether it’s personal or regarding the in-class work. It is always beneficial to find support alongside their counselor at the school to better assist and benefit the student in mind. A bonus lesson for me has always been to look out for the small moments in each day that can bring me joy which takes intentionality and thought.”
When asked how Asbury prepared him for his journey as a teacher. He spoke highly of professors who had the best intentions for developing him as a teacher and follower of Christ.
“Dr. Bland and Dr. Pickerill were foundational in my growth as they helped me build my foundation within the walls of the classroom,” Salmen reflected. “They were able to build scenarios and examples that allowed me to make mistakes while building rapport in handling situations and students that made me the teacher I am today. Lastly, the examples they upheld as instructors enabled me to build a model of an intentional teacher who truly cares for their students.”
When asked for advice to share with prospective students and young alums, Salmen shared this:
“The advice I have to share to those reading this is to stay intentional in every aspect of your life that is important and meaningful. If you find importance in your family and friends, you should take time out of your day to look outside yourself. Lastly, when you choose to commit to something or someone, make sure you give them every effort you are able to offer. Asbury is an amazing community because of the continual respect and action of their faculty and staff towards the development of their students, athletes and the world around them. To God be the glory and honor.”
Journalism and Media Communication major
Production Assistant, NBC Sports
Ty Schadt ’20, a journalism and media communication major, is a production assistant in the features and documentaries group with NBC Sports, based out of South Jersey.
In this field, he has found that he can combine his two greatest passions, sports and storytelling. Recently, he helped produce several docu-style shows featuring the athletes competing in the 2022 Winter Paralympic Games.
“I grew up consuming the type content I now get to help create, and I think that exposure early in my life is what led me to this industry,” said Schadt. “The access it provides to athletes and sports in general makes this the ideal job. Before anything else, I’m just a major sports fan. So, the fact that I get to take such a unique peek behind the curtain is the stuff of dreams for me.”
As he creates more content, Schadt has learned that ideas are foundational for a good story.
“I’ve learned that when writing, or really creating anything for that matter, ideas are what matter most,” said the young alum. “Whether it’s a script or an essay or a video — the words or footage mean little if the concept isn’t there. That understanding has been foundational to the way I approach storytelling and changed the way I think about the creative process.”
Schadt credits the confidence he brings to his professional life to the many opportunities he had at Asbury. His professors developed him as a storyteller, challenged him in his personal growth and encouraged him to complete an internship in his senior year. That internship with NFL Films led to a Sports Emmy for his Outstanding Writing — Long Form on the “The Lumberman Quarterback.”
Says Schadt, “I was able to experience so many things in the media world through different classes and extracurricular activities, which provided me the confidence to comfortably enter the professional world and the ability to learn and adapt to different work settings quickly upon graduation.”
When asked what he is learning, he provided some sound advice.
“My friend said ‘don’t confuse comparison with accountability.’ The idea of comparing yourself to others afflicts people in all stages of life, but especially the pool of young alums and current students,” said Schadt. “Because it’s so easy to scroll through LinkedIn or Twitter or even this 30 under 30 campaign and feel like you’re behind everyone else – like he or she has already done x, y, and z, or landed this cool job, or is making that amount of money. But my friend’s advice is such a great grounding principal that turns something you have no control over —what everyone else is doing — into something you can clearly command — doing the best you can with what you have, where you are. It’s a perspective that has helped reframe my mind and allowed me to not only remain ready but feel confident when opportunities present themselves.”
Business Administration major
Financial Advisor, Edward Jones
Jackson Thomas ’20, a business administration major, is a financial advisor for Edward Jones. The youngest of eight, he has learned to appreciate the intentionality of his parents and the perspective of their backgrounds as they raised their boys to see the world in a unique way. (His dad is from Trinidad and his mom is from Ohio.)
“I grew up on sports teams with my brothers — soccer, basketball, skiing, anything outside that was competitive, we were there. My family also holds the world record for the number of Eagle Scouts in one family, all 8 of us! As the youngest, I was blessed to learn from and see what paths all my brother chose to endeavor upon, which helped me understand what career and life I wanted to live.”
“I very quickly realized I wanted to be in business because of the freedom it allows; the impact you can have on your clients by going above and beyond; and because of the impact it can have on your family. My time at Asbury, as well as selling each summer with Southwestern Advantage, confirmed that I wanted to be in business,” Thomas said.
As a financial advisor, Thomas helps individuals with their investments. He utilizes the resources of large firms while growing his own practice.
“Everyone has an initial gut reaction when they hear “investments” and I get to partner with my clients to help relieve that stress of money,” says the young alum. “Money is not everything but it does impact each area of life and I truly enjoy helping my clients hit their financial goals. Clients don’t just want money, they want the freedom which allows them to pay for their kid’s schooling, give more to charitable organizations, go on family trips and so on. In my role, I get to partner with clients and walk through each stage of life and it is a blessing to serve in that way.”
“Because I ran my own business from the ground up, worked in business to business sales, and completed my education at Asbury, I am able to serve my clients best by having a real understanding of what drives business and where to invest their money.”
When he reflects on his Asbury experience, he speaks of the investment of the faculty and the rigor of his classes.
“After you leave Asbury, you appreciate what you have learned and how it still helps you in your everyday life,” Thomas explained. “Dr. Allen truly cares about his students. He is a wonderful teacher and knowledgeable in many areas, has a servant’s heart, is a wicked good salesman and always pushed me to be better and dig deeper for what God wanted me to do with my talents. He and his wife invested in me and my girlfriend at that time, now wife, Renee. We truly enjoyed that relationship. One of my main focuses in life is to live in such a way that when I am gone, I am confident that I used my gifts and talents well for Him.”
‘I made lifelong friendships with the other students and professors who mentored me, as well as getting a wonderful education.You will be pushed by your friends and professors to be the best that God created you to be. The professors help you with connections and our alumni are very willing to help. Asbury is so much more than just a college.”
History and Latin double major
Ancient Literature, History, and Latin Teacher, David Bryant School
Seth Ury ’17, a History and Latin double major, is an Ancient Literature, History, and Latin Teacher at David Bryant.
Ury accepted the teaching position at a small school consisting of around 120 students. He was hired by to teach Latin to students, as well as faculty, but the position quickly expanded into more opportunities.
“I realized that, at a school of that size, one does not simply have one title,” said Ury. “I became a coach, lead teacher of ancient studies, athletic director, and head of the Tolkien House within the last four years.”
With this myriad of educational positions, Ury tapped deeper into a passion that segued into his classrooms.
“I was given an obnoxious affinity to poetry, imagination, and story,” said Ury. “Being able to wrap my students’ minds with the timeline of ancient history, binding the nations within it together through the similar themes in its literature, and finding definitive communication in it all by parsing the ancient grammar might sound like boredom incarnate, but it’s the way the Lord speaks to me.”
The alum continued on to thank Asbury for the cultivation of his vocational skills that aided in his success.
“The doors that Asbury opened for the kind of education I received were innumerable,” he said. “The humility and relational posture of Asbury and its members gave me loads of what I now have to give as a young educator.”
Ury’s advice to students:
“Do not try and make your classes or jobs what you think they should be but let the labor of whatever it is breathe into you. Trust the Lord to tell you what it might be teaching you. Not a single moment of anything you could ever do, or study, is wasted if you are looking at His face.”
Family Medicine Resident, Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital
Rebecca Whitworth ’17, a biology major, works as a first-year family medicine resident at Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital. After graduating from the University of Louisville School of Medicine in 2021, Whitworth started working at the Hospital, where she will be for the next three years until she finishes her residency for family medicine.
“I chose family medicine specifically because I wanted a broad general medical training that would allow me to care for people of all ages and provide me a lot of skills needed in a rural community and on the mission field,” Whitworth said.
Whitworth credits her time at Asbury for giving her the skills and foundation she needed to succeed in medical school, especially concerning the relationship between faith and science.
“My education was unique because faith was integrated into our courses, which is especially important in the sciences,” she said. “I had some very important conversations with some of my wonderful professors that helped me navigate my deepening knowledge of science and its interplay with my faith. These conversations were invaluable and allowed me to learn while being rooted in truth.”
Whitworth shared some advice for current Asbury students:
“Take in all that you can while you are at Asbury. Be involved on campus and grow deep connections with your friends and professors. Learn as much as you can about how your faith interplays with your future profession and strive to build a solid foundation for your future career path.”
Whitworth added that she would encourage prospective students to attend Asbury because of its wonderful community. “It is truly like no other and is a wonderful place to build a solid foundation on your faith prior to starting out in your career. Conversations about the Lord are happening everywhere on campus and it is just so refreshing to be a part of the Asbury community.”
Communication Major and Graphic Design Minor
Account Coordinator, GRM Marketing
Jack Widener ’21, a Communication (Public Relations) Major with a Graphic Design Minor, is now an Account Coordinator at GRM Marketing on the Proctor & Gamble account.
Starting his Asbury journey with an undeclared major, Widener utilized the wide array of opportunities to find what he enjoyed doing. Through his involvement with the Asbury Admission Office, Intercultural Affairs Life, Student Government and the SEARCH Symposium, Widener was able to craft a skillset that he could utilize for his future career.
After graduation, he aligned his cultivated skillset to his calling in GRM’s Account Coordinator position.
“Our team provides strategic counsel and insight pertaining to their Worldwide Partnership (TOP) with the Olympics and Paralympics movement,” said Widener. “A few things I do to support my team are providing overall counsel to P&G in commercial rights activation of Olympic partnership and athlete management. I also monitor and summarize relevant OLYPARA trends and athlete news that helps inform clients regarding their approach to their respective programs.”
He went on to say that his involvement through Asbury’s internship at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics helped him envision what the work environment would look like in the Olympic and Paralympic movement.
“Working alongside people from 24 different countries in my department, I knew I wanted to stay in this environment,” said Widener. “This job allows me to work with teams from all over the world and be exposed to the agency world.”
Widener also expressed that one of the refreshing aspects of his position is that he is able to use both English and Mandarin in his work providing Olympic rights activation support for P&G China brands, complimenting his childhood experience in Taiwan.
One of greatest memories at Asbury was forming a deep mentor connection with one of his professors.
“I was lucky enough to approach Dr. Jim Shores my freshmen year to get coffee, which turned into a mentor relationship during my whole time at Asbury. I appreciated how Dr. Shores challenged the way I think and the way I connect with people around me. And, of course, I appreciated his reciting of the differences between epistemology, ontology, and axiology.”
Media Communication major
Technical Gameplay Animator, That’s No Moon
Nathaniel Winckler ’14, a media communication major, is now a Technical Gameplay Animator for the video game studio That’s No Moon.
He initially wanted to animate for the film industry and work at Pixar, but God called Winckler to the realm of video game animation.
“I chose to stay in the video game industry because it combines my passions for storytelling, animation and technical excellence. I love engaging players through the interactive dimension of video games,” said Winckler. “I’m grateful that God opened this door for my career, and I was able to flourish in a field I wasn’t expecting.”
His first job was at Skydance Interactive, a video game company in Los Angeles. After God motivated Winckler’s love for technical challenges and passion for animation, his role was promoted to the Technical Gameplay Animator position he currently holds with That’s No Moon.
“I love going down a rabbit hole to solve technical challenges,” said Winckler. “My job places me at the intersection of animation, art, design and programming, so I am uniquely suited to come up with solutions that can span all of those disciplines.”
The Asbury alum touched on the significant impact that Asbury had on his “soft skills” during his time in undergrad. Winckler specifically mentioned the profound learning experience that can be gained from Asbury’s Media Communication Department.
“Media Comm encourages students to head up their own projects, recruiting and managing a team along the way. Because of this, I directed several short films while at Asbury. Those experiences directly impacted how I interact with people on a daily basis,” continued Winckler. “I learned how to carefully guide people and give them ownership over their own work, all while striving for excellence in the final product.”
Winckler’s advice to students and young alums — leave room for God to work!
“It turns out that the best way to live life is to follow the Lord wherever He leads,” Winckler said. “He can take us seemingly way off our ideal path, but He knows what’s best for us, and you never know, you might find something that you love even more!”