Tag: Alumni Back to Blog »
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sarah Staropoli attended Westside Christian High School for four years and graduated in 2009.
Sarah was primarily a goalkeeper in club soccer. But her lack of height prevented college coaches from showing much interest. At Westside she was a 1st team all league mid-fielder on the Eagles soccer team. As a result of her play in high school, she was offered an athletic scholarship to play mid-field for Northwest Nazarene University, a member of the highly competitive Greater Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC).
As a freshman at NNU Sarah fought her way into a starting position, and in her sophomore year was named a team Captain and led the team in scoring. Her senior year she was named first team all conference and was placed on the all region team.
Sarah had the additional privileging of earning a bachelor’s degree in biology from NNU’s top notch science department. She used the same work ethic she developed playing soccer to earn the highest GPA in the school of science’s graduating class with a 3.97.
Upon graduation, Sarah was accepted into Pacific University’s physical therapy program. She received her doctorate, graduating with distinction, this past spring (May ’16) and is now employed as a Physical Therapist at OHSU.
Sarah has fond memories of playing for the WCHS Eagles and counts a number of soccer teammates among her closest friends.
Emily Eastburn, Westside Alum Class of 2013, recently finished an epic cross country adventure. Along with 13 recent Azusa Pacific graduates, Emily embarked on a 50-day cross country trek in pursuit of justice regarding the global water crisis. They are partnering with the organization Charity: Water, which builds self-sustaining water projects in undeveloped countries. The 10 cyclists and 4 support team members have currently raised over $52,000 toward their $80,000 goal. It only takes $30 for someone to receive clean water for the rest of their life. If you would like to join their journey and/or donate, find more info at RideForWater.com or follow the journey on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) @RideForWater
Laura Jauch graduated from Westside Christian High School in 2013 and then attended Wheaton College, where she graduated a full year early this spring. Laura majored in computer science and is currently interning at Chick-fil-A’s corporate offices this summer. We asked Laura to share a few words about her internship, and she composed the below:
This summer I have the privilege of interning with Chick-fil-A, one of the most beloved fast-food brands in the country. As an intern in the information technology department, I’ve had the opportunity to assist in the development of enterprise-facing cloud infrastructure and applications. Beyond technical engagement, they have provided many chances to interact with the business and learn from company leaders, developing interns both in their specific fields and as people.
For further information on Laura’s Chick-fil-A internship, see the following blog post written up for her college alma mater Wheaton: My Internship at Chick-fil-A