Parent News Student Happenings
Potter’s Clay by Caroline Thomas
For more than 40 years, students have worked with the community in Ensenada, Mexico, through Potter’s Clay, Westmont’s longest running student ministry. Student Caroline Thomas shares below how her involvement has greatly affected her life. After reading this article, you might think about encouraging your student to participate. Students and staff will travel to Mexico during spring break, March 8-15.
Each year, the students leading Potter’s Clay (PC) write their own mission and vision statement for their team and choose one word or phrase that encapsulates their focus for the current year. The 2018-2019 core team chose the Spanish word “convivencia.” This word (roughly translating to “fellowship” or “being with”) embodies our desire to build unhurried relationships and learn from God and the people of Ensenada.
I can attest to the incredible relationships formed with fellow Westmont students and church members in Ensenada during PC. On my first spring break in Ensenada freshman year, I met people who are now my closest friends at Westmont. I also had conversations with Ensenadans that motivated me to improve my language skills and learn more about multicultural views of God, effective short-term missions work, and U.S.-Mexico relations. I stayed involved in PC, serving as a VBS team leader for three years. My time in Ensenada each spring break motivated me to study abroad in Querétaro with the Westmont in Mexico semester. I also completed an internship with a ministry in Sinaloa through the Westmont Downtown program. Passions discovered and skills learned through PC have opened doors for me to hold summer jobs doing community development work in Latin America and even to apply for a Fulbright grant in Mexico after graduation.
I belong to this year’s core team of leaders and have the privilege of carrying out our vision by adding a new team. This year, a small group of students can apply to participate in the Cultural Immersion team. Members will stay in small groups with one host family for the week. They will focus on getting to know their host family and local sights in Ensenada and will gather each day to discuss their experiences. The team is tailored for students who speak Spanish and are interested in conversations centering on cross-cultural engagement and ethical short-term missions. The team will also complete some evaluations with community members in Ensenada. They will ask (either in formal meetings or informally) about the impact PC makes on the city and how the program could be improved in the future.
Our leadership team has also focused on revamping training materials to emphasize cross-cultural exchange. We want all PC participants to cultivate respect and cultural sensitivity, open themselves to learning, and reflect on how God is already working in Mexico.
If students would like to get involved, they can sign up for Potter’s Clay on Westmont’s website through the link emailed to them in January. The Potter’s Clay core team would love to spend time with them in Ensenada!
From workshops in class to discussions of jobs and internships with employers, students are learning to prepare for the road ahead. Career Development and Calling (CD&C) offers one-on-one career coaching and strategically focuses on speaking in class and at events to engage students. See recent and upcoming opportunities for your student below.
Workshops in Class: We presented a wide range of content (personal assessments, resume and interview skills, etc.) in conjunction with 12 professors.
Career Cafe: With more than 20 employers and 110 students attending, the September Career Cafe yielded twice the number of employers and a four-fold increase in the number of students stopping to chat with non-profit and for-profit organizations about jobs and internships.
Handshake: Students are actively engaging this new student/employer online portal. For example, the rates of completed profiles, account activations, weekly logins are between two and five times the rate of schools our size. Students (and recent alums) are actively using Handshake to apply for internships and employment.
Career Tech Basics: These two-hour workshops give students of all majors a basic literacy in technologies such as Google Analytics, Salesforce, and Excel.
Grad School Night: This panel discussion with Provost Mark Sargent, Professor Ed Song, a graduate school admissions representative, and an alum demystifies graduate school.
Industry Insights: A series of panel discussions features three executives within a sector (such as technology) who talk about the value of a liberal arts degree in their industry.
Overall Stats: This year to date, CD&C has reached 401 students through 19 group events and met with an additional 102 students through individual career-coaching sessions. Handshake has listed more than 2,500 jobs and internships from across the nation.
Meet Tim Miller, Resident Director at Armington
Outside of the classroom, your son or daughter spends a lot of time in and around the residence halls, where they do much more than just sleep. These facilities provide a nurturing ground for friendships, living in community, sharing ideas, working out conflicts, learning to accept differences—and relaxing and having fun!
A resident director lives in each hall, choosing to share space with your student because of their vision and passion for the growth and development of college students. They’ve received specific training through master’s degrees in student development, leadership, higher education or a seminary degree. They not only love college students, they know how to work with them.
Tim Miller, Westmont’s newest resident director oversees Armington Halls. He earned a master’s in Christian formation and ministry with an emphasis in student development from Wheaton College and originally comes from Orwell, New York.
Question: How did you end up at Westmont?
Answer: Through my work in student development, I kept hearing such great things about Westmont’s programs, and I consistently enjoyed the students and staff I met who were connected to the institution. While searching for my next opportunity to serve in higher education, Westmont was at the top of the list, and I am thrilled to join such an incredible team and community.
Question: What is your favorite thing about Westmont?
Answer: So far, I enjoy learning about the culture, which is both excellent and relaxed. Community members are driven and amiable, effective and kind.
Question: What is your favorite college memory?
Answer: Sharing a house my senior year with three of my best friends, riding my bike to campus, arguing over dish duty, being challenged in my cultural presumptions, and watching hours of The Office when I needed a break from kinesiology homework.
Question: What is your favorite book in your library?
Answer: The top three are: On the Incarnation, Saint Athanasius; Till We Have Faces, C.S. Lewis; Good Poems, compiled by Garrison Keillor.
Each year the Campus Pastor’s Office and student life staff choose a theme to explore throughout the year that resonates with our community. This year they present Presence with Self, Others and God.
The college will devote the first week of November to this theme, as you can see from the list of activities below. We hope your student will take advantage of some of these important sessions.
Does Your Student Need a Job?
Please read this important information from Julissa Delgado, student employment coordinator in our Career Development and Calling office, if your student plans to work on campus.
Students Spend Spring Break Giving Back
In a year of challenges with the Thomas Fire and the Montecito mudslides, more than 300 students chose to spend their spring break giving back in Ensenada, Mexico, with Potter’s Clay and with Urban Initiative, working with homeless, marginalized communities, and engaging in interfaith dialogue in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Salt Lake City.
Senior Art Explores ‘Degrees of Separation’
Fourteen graduating art majors will offer their capstone art projects, which span painting, drawing, printmaking, fiber sculpture, digital prints, welding, assemblage and a charcoal animation from April 5-May 5 at the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art.
Women’s & Men’s Basketball
The Women's Basketball team finished first in Golden State Athletic Conference standings and won the GSAC Tournament Championship for the third year in a row. Men's Basketball was runner up in the GSAC tournament and earned a berth at the NAIA Division I Men's National Championship in Kansas City, Mo.