The Liberal Arts Ambassadors

Program Home Ambassador Profiles Resources

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

Steven Auclair

Steven Auclair '15


Social Science Major


Santa Barbara, CA


I am currently in my senior year here at Westmont, after having transferred from Allan Hancock College in the city of Santa Maria in the fall of 2013. At Allan Hancock College, I had the opportunity to explore my interests in many different academic fields in a caring, supportive campus environment. I completed Associate of Art degrees in Arts/Humanities and Social/Behavioral Science in May of 2013.


Through my experiences in college, I have learned the substantive difference that student support can make in the success of historically underrepresented students in higher education. With this perspective, I have chosen a social science major with an emphasis on political science. After graduating from Westmont, I am interested in working in the field of higher education policy particularly related to student support.


It is with great pleasure that I serve as a Liberal Arts Ambassador here in our local community. It is through this program that many like-minded Westmont students can interact with local students who are underrepresented in higher education. Through this interaction, the value and breadth of higher education rooted in the Christian liberal arts can be shared.




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


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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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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Rebekah Catron

Rebekah Catron '17


Politcal Science Major


Yorba Linda, CA


I am from a small, suburban town of Yorba Linda, located in Orange County, CA. Coming from large, public high school, I wanted to switch it up for my higher education. The moment I found Westmont, I knew that was where God was directing me.


I am studying Political Science but love the diverse education a liberal arts college offers. My goal with my education is not only hoping to attend graduate school, but also be a woman of knowledge and virtue; I hope when I graduate from Westmont I am able to impact people’s lives with the skillset I have acquired and global knowledge.


I am so grateful to be a part of the Westmont community and thank God for leading me here.


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Danielle Costa

Danielle Costa '17


Kinesiology Major


Santa Clara, CA


I was born in Santa Clara, CA and never really left until I made the decision to attend Westmont College. I am Mexican and Portuguese and the youngest of three children. I have an older sister and an older brother who has mental disabilities. I am a first generation college student, my parents didn't finish high school and my sister decided not to go to college. Ever since I can remember, people told me that I needed to go to college, but I never really thought of it as something that was actually possible for me until I started the AVID Program in 8th grade. AVID is a college readiness program that aims to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college and other postsecondary opportunities. Through AVID, college became a realistic goal that helped drive me to do well in all of my classes, take numerous AP and Honors classes, and get involved with extracurricular activities. I applied to many different colleges: a couple UC's, some CSU's and three private schools. Westmont was my top choice although it was way out of reach financially even with all the scholarships, but God has been faithful to allow me to continue my education at such an amazing place.


Here at Westmont I'm intending to pursue a Kinesiology major following the Occupational Therapy track with a possible minor in Biology. My brother has mental disabilities and has always held a huge place in my heart. I love being around him and working with children and adults like him. When I'm done with college, my family has chosen to pass on guardianship of my brother to me from my grandparents.



Isael Guzman

Isael Guzman '17


Communication Studies Major


Ontario, CA





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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



Breanna Celaya

Breanna Celaya '14


Economics & Business and Major


San Dimas, 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

Leah Sadoian

Leah Sadoian


Communication Studies Major


Dinuba, CA



Melissa Sanchez

Melissa Sanchez '14


Sociology Major


Carpinteria, 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