The Liberal Arts Ambassadors

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Current Ambassadors

2015 Steven Auclair Rachel Harril Bradlee Trude Smith Andy Wood
2016 Kailie Grinder      
2017 Rebekah Catron Danielle Costa Isael Guzman  


Ambassador Alumni

Amy Armento Tanya Ayala Joseph Bagdanov Elizabeth Barrios
Leslie Bazan Benjamin Bisson Stefanie Burgess Anthony Campbell
Breanna Celaya Lanice Cooper Sabrina Dangc Emalie Diaz
Jane Dietrich Andrew Elia Jennie Estrada Stephanie Farnum
Ema Irene Gonzalez Jennifer Griffeth Kristiana Hatcher Fatima Jawad
Evelyn Martin Brandi Nakamoto Sally Pineda Toni Ramirez
Danica Rosendale Leah Sadoian Melissa Sanchez Talia Sheets
Leah Smith Gerardo Soria Ellee Stewart Teri Tan
Dallas Thueringer Lillian Yamase    


Current Ambassadors

Breanna Celaya '14


Economics/Business Major


San Dimas, CA


I have been blessed to grow up in little San Dimas, a small suburb just outside of Los Angeles, for the majority of my life.  Although I do love it here in Santa Barbara, home for me is a special place because of my amazing family.  I am the oldest daughter of two fantastic parents and the big sister to four crazy younger siblings.


Being a first-generation college student, God has helped me move through many trials and struggles getting to Westmont.  I hope to use my experience here at school to positively affect students within the community toward the goal of reaching college with the right resources.


Over my Westmont career I plan to major in Economics/Business and minor in Communications.  After graduation, I aspire to work in public relations with a non-profit organization with regards to helping either low-income families or the homeless community. God has given me a gift of endless compassion towards these people and my desire to utilize it for His glory.  My ultimate goal in life is to simply impact the world with love. 

Leah Sadoian '14


Communications Major


Dinuba, CA


I am from the Central Valley, more specifically Dinuba, CA where I was born and raised. The small town atmosphere is one that I love dearly, but I am enjoying life in Santa Barbara and all of the adventures that come with living in this exciting city!

I am a communications major, but I am also heavily involved with music. I play guitar, sing, and write original songs. In my spare time at Westmont, I also perform with the Women’s Chorale. I hope to pursue a career that will incorporate both my love for music and my interest in communications. I know God is going to lead me somewhere spectacular!

I hope to leave Westmont with not only a great education, but a broader understanding of my place in the world. More specifically, I plan on learning how I can use my talents and skills to make a positive impact in other people’s lives. I have a huge heart for helping others and being here at Westmont has definitely encouraged me to increase my capacity to love others. Together, I know God is doing amazing things in my life, and will continue to through my years at Westmont and beyond. 

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Melissa Sanchez

Melissa Sanchez '14


Sociology Major


Carpinteria, CA


I was born in Santa Barbara, CA but grew up in the wonderful beach town of Carpinteria, CA. After spending my first year of college at Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles, I knew that the big city was not for me and decided to transfer to Westmont College. God has blessed me with two amazing parents and an awesome younger sister.


I am the first in my family to go to college and the first in my extended family to attend a private, Christian liberal arts college. I am majoring in Sociology-Human Services and hope to work within the public education system. I want to help younger generations that lack resources to get to college, reach their goals and graduate college


I thank God everyday for leading me to Westmont because I have had the opportunity to meet great people that I hope to be friends with for a long time.

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Rachel Harril

Rachel Harril '15


Communication Studies Major


Long Beach, CA


I am originally from the South Bay/LA area; I grew up there all my life. My mom is Puerto Rican/Peruvian and my dad is African-American. I am a first-generation college student so I basically figured out the whole college process on my own. It was difficult but for some reason I was drawn to Christian colleges and Westmont made the top of my list! God totally worked in my life (and continues to do so!), but I was able financially to come to Westmont and God has provided miraculous blessings since freshman year. I really appreciate the Christian community by which I am surrounded, but I also appreciate all the differences present within my various friend groups.


I am studying Communications because it makes sense to me. Our motto for the Communication Studies department is “Sapientia et Eloquentia: Wisdom with Eloquence.” I think communication is essential to any field (and that is a big part of the liberal arts overall), and since I’m not quite sure what it is that I want to do with my life, I think communications is a great start. We focus a lot on being involved in conversations (and life generally) by presenting integrity, competence, and goodwill. I think as long as these things are present, you can be successful in any field. We must always be loving appropriately through speech so as to appear credible and honest children of God. I am also planning to minor is Spanish so I’m hoping to be able to do this in multiple languages!


I appreciate the liberal arts education I am getting at Westmont because it allows me to think critically and engage in conversations about various topics with varying perspectives. There is no one lens by which to view the world and I think Westmont really embraces that. It is not so much that faith and learning are integrated here, but that they are simply not separated, and that is helping me to grow on my spiritual journey.

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Bradlee Smith

Bradlee "Trude" Smith '15


Philosophy Major


Nuevo, CA

I was born in a small town called Nuevo in Southern California. My family has been there for almost 100 years, and I’m one of the first in my family to attend college.  Growing up in a place where I felt so connected with the land, the people, and the history, gave me something to be proud of and has given a desire to always be a part of something that I can take pride in.  That was a big factor in my decision to attend Westmont. Being here, I feel challenged regularly to strive for excellence and to humble myself before God. Those are things I can take pride in.

I am studying Philosophy in large part because I spent most of my life asking questions and never felt like I was getting the answers I wanted. So, when I was supposed to pick a major, I picked the one that asked as many questions as I had. I, therefore, ended up in the Philosophy department. I am glad I made the decision that I did. My hope is that the education I am receiving will help me to answer some of the questions being asked by individual people and large systems and entities. Hopefully, I will be able to enter into any situation, learn the questions being asked, sharpen them, and move everyone toward a satisfactory answer.


I have no definite hopes or plans after college. I have a few ideas and a few things that I am currently looking into, but I am mostly waiting to see what is put in front of me. I am keeping my eyes and ears open to the opportunities to serve and love within my immediate vicinity and seeing where those take me.

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Andy Wood

Andy Wood '15


English Major with History Minor


Ometepec, Mexico


I am so thankful to have been able to grow up in a town named Ometepec, in the state of Guerrero in southern Mexico. I grew up between cultures and made a choice to be a part of both my parents culture(American) and the culture that surrounded me (Mexican). My story has been one of adventure and contemplation, and of reconciliation within myself. I love hearing other people's stories and have been fascinated with the beauty of language and how it is a medium for sharing truth and perspective. This is probably why I chose to become an English Major and History Minor.


I love being a part of a liberal arts education because I can learn so many different things in so many different areas! My goal with my education, though it may sound cliche, is to be an educated person. Someone who is knowledgeable about the world and is prepared to learn all the fascinating secrets lay just beneath the world's surface, anxiously waiting to be discovered. I look forward to being an educated person because then I will be able to participate in the complex society around me wisely and meaningfully.


The future before me is a blank page. I feel excited to see what opportunities the Lord opens up. I hope to travel a lot in my life and want to be able to reach out and help others by teaching and writing as well. But who knows! I may all the same end up being an architect, a carpenter or a pastor!

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Nicole Birkholz

Nicole Birkholz '16


Kinesiology Major


Monrovia, CA


I grew up in the small town of Monrovia, CA (not to be confused with Genovia from The Princess Diaries). My parents sacrificed everything for me and my two younger siblings and I will always be grateful for their generosity. They showed me unconditional love and taught me the importance of perseverance in everything I do. The atmosphere of my family allowed me to pursue what I love in life with a strong support system to encourage me forward.

Relationships with my family and friends are two of the most important aspects of my life. I am hoping to purse a career that will allow me to build more relationships with the people around me. Studying Kinesiology at Westmont has opened my eyes to the career of a physical therapist where I can build relationships with patients and allow my actions to reflect Christ.

Kailie Grinder

Kailie Grinder '16


Art Major with Economic and Business Minor


Saitama, Japan


As a missionary kid born and raised in Japan by parents who were born and raised in Hawai’i, I had quite an unusual upbringing. From kindergarten until 6th grade, I attended Japanese public school where I learned all of my school subjects, communication and relational skills in the Japanese language. Despite my dominant use of Japanese with my friends and family, my parents also molded into me a sense of Hawaiian and American culture. Because of this, I have always questioned my cultural identity. Here I had three cultures and languages fighting inside of me to take control of how I act and think. Which one was I supposed to choose?


 After I graduated from Japanese elementary school, my parents enrolled me into a private international school in Tokyo to learn English. It was during the summer before my sophomore year of high school that my family moved from Japan to Hawai’i. After going through all the culture shocks and intense language learning, I now find myself here at Westmont College!


Although I am not entirely sure why, I think God has definitely had a hand in my life as he has gradually brought me across the Pacific Ocean to Westmont College. Along the way, he has given me many unique experiences and gifts that make me the person I am today. Being an English Language Learner during my middle and high school years, the immense trouble I went through trying to express what I thought and felt in English compromised my identity. However, the one way in which I could still fully be myself was through art. This was the one place where it did not matter that English was my second language. I could mold my emotions, thoughts, personality and beliefs into my art pieces and communicate myself to the world. In other words, the passion and love for art that God gave me saved my life.


My past and cultural background have inspired me to take advantage of the gifts and resources God has given me. Through my love for art and  pursuit of a career in the art world, I desire to be the bridge between different cultures as I myself have lived a life crossing many of these bridges.

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AJ Moore

Alexis "AJ" Moore '16

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Ambassador Alumni


Amy Armento '09


Mathematics and Spanish Majors


Solana Beach, CA

Tanya Ayala

Tanya Ayala '15


Communications and Spanish Major


Moraga, CA



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Joe Bagdanov

Joseph Bagdanov '14


Religious Studies and Philosophy Major


Nuevo, CA



Elizabeth Barrios

Elizabeth Barrios '16

Leslie Bazan

Leslie Bazan '15


Kinesiology Major


Buellton, CA




Benjamin Bisson '13


Art Major


Woolwich, ME



Stefanie Burgess '12


English Major


Yucaipa, CA



Anthony Campbell '11


Economics & Business and Philosophy Majors


Sacramento, CA




Lanice Cooper '13


Pre-med Major


Chowchilla, CA



Sabrina Dangc '11


Mathematics and Economics & Business Majors


Redding, CA

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Emalie Diaz '11


History Major


Truckee, CA


Jane Dietrich '14


Psychology Major


West Hartford, CT




Andrew Elia '09


Sociology Major


Turlock, CA


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Jennie Estrada '08

Stephanie Farnum '13


Theate Arts Major


Ema Irene Gonzalez '12


Secondary Education, History Majors


Frazier Park, CA



Jennifer Griffeth '09


Mathematics and Religious Studies Majors


Littleton, CO



Kristiana Hatcher '12


Social Science Major


Vienna, Austria




Fatima Jawad '13



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Evelyn Martin '11


Political Science Major


San Mateo, CA




Brandi Nakamoto '12


Sociology Major


Honolulu, HI

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Sally Pineda '11


Political Science and Theatre Arts Majors


Visalia, CA



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Christine "Toni" Ramirez '12


Music Performance & Communication Studies Majors


Glendora, CA


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Danica Rosendale '13


Liberal Studies Major


Murrieta, CA

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Talia Sheets '13


Art Major


San Diego, CA


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Leah Smith '13


Economics and Business Major


Phoenix, AZ

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Gerardo Soria '12


Biology Major


Ojai, CA




Ellee Stewart '12


Art Major


Houston, TX




Teri Tan '08


Communication Studies Major


Taichung, Taiwan


San Francisco, CA




Dallas Thueringer '13


Biochemistry, Biology Majors


Hemet, CA


Lillian Yamase '13


Liberal Studies Major

Tokyo, Japan