Westmont Magazine Excelling as a Writer, Proofreader and Lifeguard
Westmont junior wins a scholarship for proofreading and earns a commendation as lifeguard of the year.
Tammy Lang ’13 is making a name for herself both in and out of the water. The English major has earned the 2011 Proof-Reading Inc. Scholarship, and she was named Tower Guard of the Year for Orange County Lifeguards.
Her 1,500-word essay, which focused on U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan and the role personal beliefs play in influencing decisions, was the best of 211 submissions and earned $1,500. “I knew more about literary analysis than the legal side,” Lang says. “It was a liberal arts moment, and it worked out.”
Lang has a cumulative GPA of 3.96 and has appeared on the Dean’s List every semester. She received the Arthur Lynip Scholarship, given to only five English majors each year, and was a finalist in the 2011 Speech and Debate Tournament.
“I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing, but at Westmont I have come to love writing as something more than itself,” she says. “I think of my writing as uncovering the beauty in the world, whether that’s something exciting or in the small, menial details of our life. All beauty comes from God, and my writing is an active, expounded worship that comes from God.
“I’m in love with the ocean. It works as a metaphor for everything. There’s an abstract appreciation and feeling of being in and around the water, watching the way the ocean moves and changes.”
The water brought Lang to Westmont. The Long Beach native was competing in a regional lifeguard event at East Beach in Santa Barbara and ventured up to campus during the summer. “There was nobody on campus, but I liked the way it looked,” she said. “It was one of the only Christian colleges I applied to. Later, I looked at the finances and didn’t think I could afford a Christian education, but I was able to secure enough scholarships.”
Lang has worked as a lifeguard for four years after being a junior lifeguard since the age of 9. All her training paid off this past summer when she rescued four people and their dog, who were in a powerless motorboat that was drifting dangerously close to the crashing surf at Thousand Steps Beach in Orange County. While the boat was about 50 yards off shore, Lang radioed for backup, dove into the waves and swam out to the doomed vessel. “They were getting too close to shore,” Lang says. “I tied a rope from the boat around my rescue buoy and towed it offshore so it didn’t crash. By the time the harbor patrol got there, they were close to some rocks. It was exciting.”
At Westmont, Lang has been involved with several student ministries that assist the homeless, and she has volunteered for Spring Break in Santa Barbara. Since her sophomore year, she has worked as a peer tutor in Writers’ Corner, the student writing center in the Learning Commons of Voskuyl Library. “We brainstorm and find ways that they can become better writers,” she says. “Looking at other people’s writing critically and analyzing what can be fixed has been helpful in my own writing as well.”
In high school, Lang earned a Congressional Award Gold Medal for volunteering after serving on the school service club and at the Aquarium of the Pacific. She has also participated in missions trips to India and Ghana. This spring, the biology minor hopes to enroll in the semester-long Creation Care Studies Program in the South Pacific.
“In the ideal world, I would write creative non-fiction or join the faculty as an English professor,” she says. “I realize the former isn’t lucrative and the later requires a lot of school — we’ll just see where things go.”