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Alumni Profile: Jessica Monroe

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Jessica Monroe graduated Summa Cum Laude from Gonzaga University with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 2012. She was then awarded a full-ride graduate fellowship to Stanford University to pursue a master’s degree in Structural Engineering. JESSICA

She learned the value of being well rounded while at Westside:
“I definitely felt that I received a rigorous academic experience at Westside. We had to work hard in our classes, and it paid off when I got to college. I seemed to have a leg up on my peers. Westside also encouraged students to get involved and find other interests outside of books. I certainly did that…leadership, sports, you name it! I’m so glad I did; it taught me solid time management skills.”

These are skills that Jessica carried with her when she headed to Gonzaga. Every semester she played on two or three intramural sports teams, took full advantage of recreational activities in the Spokane area, taught Sunday School, served as an officer in a Civil Engineering Society, participated in a national honor society, was a Gonzaga Ambassador, and ran her first marathon during her senior year…among other things.

 

Alumni Profile: Karen Osborn

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Karen Osborn has been working in the Entertainment Industry since moving to LA after college. She has been employed as a makeup artist, director’s assistant, publicist, worked in business affairs and is now an agent. She is presently the Director of Booking for Sports + Lifestyle Unlimited’s (sluagency.com) Los Angeles office, which she opened in 2006.

Untitled-1 copyWhile at Westside, Karen was a 3-sport athlete, and played a little basketball in college. During a trip to Malawi, Africa in 2008, she used her athletic experience to teach groups of youth new sports. She saw an immediate growth in the confidence of the kids throughout the week, and soon recognized she had a passion to continue encouraging kids through active play. As a result of this experience, Karen founded Kusewera (kusewera.org), an organization with the mission to “empower and educate children in impoverished countries through active and creative PLAY.”

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Karen’s goal is to reach kids all over the world, by giving them the support and encouragement to grow as positive individuals and leaders in their community. Kusewera means “to play” in Chichewa, the language of Malawi. While Kusewera’s main focus is in Malawi, the Philippines was added as a team trip location in 2014 and Karen is excited for the way an active lifestyle will impact children in that region as well.

 

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Karen and some Kusewera kids in Malawi.

 

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Alumni Profile: Austin Prentice

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Austin Prentice graduated from Southern Methodist University in 2012 with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Biology. While at SMU, Austin became involved with many aspects of campus life, student affairs and public service. He was elected Student Body President, appointed to the Board of Trustees – Student Affairs Committee, and awarded a grant to research health literacy in North Texas. Upon graduation, Austin was honored with the “M Award,” the most highly prized recognition bestowed upon students.

Following graduation, Austin moved to Boston, MA to work on the Mitt Romney for President campaign. After the campaign concluded, Austin accepted a job in Houston, TX with Citi as an investment banking analyst, where he advised on mergers and acquisitions, capital markets activities, and other strategic transactions across multiple verticals in the oil and gas industry. Austin then joined Blue Sage Capital, a middle market private equity fund in Austin, TX, as an associate assisting with the team’s investment efforts by evaluating new investment opportunities and managing existing portfolio companies.

Austin is currently a member at Providence Church, and actively involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas and the SMU Alumni Association.

Austin attributes much of his personal growth and development to the time he spent at Westside. The academic rigor and support system allowed Austin to develop the necessary fundamentals needed for continued educational, professional, and spiritual growth. While at Westside, Austin competed in multiple varsity sports, including cross country, basketball, and golf. He considers the time spent with teammates traveling around the state to be some of his fondest memories.

 

Alumni Profile: Andrew Ledbetter

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A career in higher education was not what Andrew Ledbetter originally planned to pursue after his Westside graduation. A love of technology had him pointed toward a degree, and career, in computer science. And while he did receive a college computer science degree, he paired it with another from Wheaton’s communication studies department. Andrew was a double major at Wheaton (computer science & communication) before earning his masters, and eventually Ph.D., from the University of Kansas.

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Andrew, wife Jessica, and daughters Sydney and Kira

Andrew is currently a Associate Professor at TCU’s College of Communication, and teachers the following courses: Communication Theory, Social Networking Sites, Interpersonal Communication, and Quantitative Research Methods. Since questions about human beings originally drew Andrew to explore communication classes at Wheaton, it is quite appropriate that he now specializes in understanding how people use communication technology to maintain their interpersonal relationships. He has received multiple top paper awards for contributions as an active member of the National Communication Association and Central States Communication Association, in addition to co-authoring a best-selling textbook, A First Look at Communication Theory.

Andrew met and married his wife, Jessica, while at Kansas, and they have two daughters Sydney and Kira.

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Alumni Profile: John Hanscom

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John graduated Cum Laude from Biola University in 2016 with a degree in Business Administration, with a marketing concentration, as well as a minor in Biblical Studies. At Biola, John played on the men’s varsity soccer team. He was honored with All-Conference and All-American awards his senior season. He also served as the Director for Biola’s PR firm, 6th Street PR, during his final year at Biola.

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Biola All-American John Hanscom

Following graduation, John landed a job at Nike WHQ. After interning for Nike in 2015, John was happy to return to the company he loves. Currently he works as a Social Media Specialist. He works on a team that manages the day-to-day voice of Nike’s numerous social media accounts.

At Westside, John competed in soccer, cross country, and track. He was also part of Student Council for three years and traveled to Thailand with the annual team. His favorite memory from his time at Westside came from the Thailand trip. Playing soccer in rural Thailand with kids who didn’t speak the same language helped open his eyes to how he could share Christ’s love with people with something as simple as sports.

 

Alumni Profile: Ryan Smith

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Alumni Ryan Smith holds a $10,000 check from his organization Spirit of Blue to the Philadelphia Police Department.Seven years as a Reserve Police Officer in Beaverton, Oregon led Ryan Smith to care deeply about the needs of those in law enforcement. His experience serving in the Beaverton Police Department eventually led him to transition away from for-profit work into his current role as Executive Director of the Spirit of Blue Foundation (www.spiritofblue.org), a national law enforcement public charity that protects police officers by granting safety equipment and training.

In addition to his work with the Spirit of Blue Foundation, Ryan is also the President and Board Chairman of Flower City Outreach (www.flowercityoutreach.org), a non-profit in Rochester, NY. Flower City Outreach operates Flower City Work Camp, which deploys middle and high school students into the city. This year 765 middle and high school students and 640 adult volunteers will perform work on 53 homes, hold two basketball camps, one soccer camp, and host 32 Sidewalk Clubs, a mini-VBS, for younger neighborhood children. Collectively Flower City Work Camp will deliver over 25,000 hours of service in one week. See more at (https://vimeo.com/193626100) Ryan is also an elder at Browncroft Community Church, where he and his wife lead a weekly ministry for young families focused on marriage building and parenting skills.

Ryan graduated from Westside Christian High School in 1994. While at Westside, Ryan was the Student Body Vice President, but more importantly, met his wife Kimberly McReynolds ‘96. Ryan and Kimberly have two children, Lauren (13) and Nolan (9) who attend a private Christian school where they live in Western, New York.