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Rising senior Athena Martinez has had the heart of a lion ever since visiting the bluff with her kindergarten class. She recalls taking an instant liking to the warm community of students and picturesque setting. Flashforward many years and the English major and Chicana/o & Latina/o Studies minor is now a member of that very community – and making the most of every moment.
“The community and family I’ve created at LMU have been beyond wonderful,” the Los Angeles native said. “Just going to LMU bonds everyone together… everyone is so willing to help one another out.”
She says that goes double for the faculty, many of whom she has developed close working relationships with over the course of her LMU career. In fact, LMU currently boasts a student to teacher ratio of 11-to-1 and average class size of just 20.
Outside of her rigorous coursework, Athena is involved in a number of clubs and organizations, including the First To Go Scholars Program, MEChA de LMU, Gryphon Circle and Grupo Folklorico de LMU (traditional Mexican dancing), of which she serves as president.
Looking to the future, she hopes to pursue her MBA and work in public relations and marketing.
“My dream job would be with the Dodgers Foundation,” Athena said. “I love how they work with the local community, promote education and help bring together all the different cultures present in LA – much like LMU.”
Junior political science major and varsity soccer goalkeeper Carl Rubschlager guards his time wisely, successfully juggling classes, soccer, and a campus job – all with a smile on his face.
A native of Pasadena, Calif., Carl says he was drawn to LMU not only for the chance to play Division I soccer, but also for its stellar academic reputation, prime location, and vibrant campus community.
“LMU is an incredibly diverse, open, and academically challenging place,” Carl said. “And I’ve been happily surprised by how engaged the teachers are with students.” LMU currently boasts an average class size of 21, and a student-to-teacher ratio of 11:1.
Even with his busy schedule, Carl still finds time to embrace LMU’s Jesuit spirit by partaking in community service and volunteer work with his soccer teammates. Most recently, he traveled to Costa Rica for an international team-bonding experience.
Looking to the future, Carl plans on hanging up his cleats to pursue a career in law — perhaps even attending LMU’s top-ranked law school.
As for what advice he might have for incoming Lions…?
“Go into the experience with open arms and be accepting of everything that comes your way,” Carl said. “Enjoy this rare experience… it goes by really fast.”
Senior Communication Studies major Dylan Levitt knew he wanted to spend his undergraduate career on the west coast, not only for the warm weather, but also for the culture.
“I visited LMU and instantly fell in love,” Dylan, a native of Massachusetts, said. “I only applied to one other school, the University of the Pacific. But for me, LMU was it.”
Dylan says that post-LMU his ultimate career goal is sports broadcasting, which comes as little surprise, for he’s on a variety of intramural sports teams, taking part in everything from flag football to soccer. He’s also a member of the Mixed Martial Arts club.
But Dylan also took time out last year to spend a semester studying abroad in Melbourne, Australia.
“It was an incredible, eye-opening experience,” Dylan said. “I got a different perspective on life, and was forced out of my comfort zone… and nothing beats snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef.”
Additionally, Dylan had a hand in colonizing a chapter of Phi Delta Theta fraternity on campus.
“It was so very cool to have a bunch of guys coming together creating this new thing and deciding on a direction to take,” Dylan said. “It’ll be great to have a legacy to leave behind.”
Looking to the future, Dylan hopes to snag an internship in the sports journalism arena, and as for what advice he might have for incoming Lions:
“Definitely go into it with an open mind,” Dylan said. “Commit yourself fully, and most importantly, be passionate.”
Junior Economics major Eric Sitko comes from a long line of Lions and is carrying on the family legacy in classic LMU style.
“I was so proud to get into LMU,” Eric said. “And so far it’s living up to its great reputation.”
Eric, who hails from Orange County, certainly has that go-getter Lion spirit. For example, he finished his economics major early and decided to tackle another: sociology.
“I’ve loved my majors,” Eric said, “and I can’t wait to apply them in the real world and help others, and hopefully myself as well.”
And Eric is no stranger to helping others. He’s treasurer of LMU’s Silver Wings chapter, a civilian branch of the Air Force dedicated to developing civilians’ leadership skills and providing service to the community.
“My roommate who is in ROTC turned me onto the idea,” Eric said. “We basically helped start it from the ground up.”
Additionally, Eric is involved with LMU’s Roar Network and swing dancing club.
Looking to the future, Eric hopes to become a financial consultant, but he thinks his sociology degree will come in handy.
“Sociology is the psychology of society,” Eric said,” so before you go out into the world I think it’s good to have an idea of how society works. I definitely think it’s a good match for my economics degree.”
And what advice might Eric have for future Lions?
“Come to LMU with no expectations,” Eric said. “Have an open, sociable demeanor, go out for a variety of different things, see what you like… get involved. And when it comes to deciding on a major, make sure it’s something that makes you happy.”
LMU pride runs in Santy family
When Eviania Santy kicks off her freshman year at LMU come fall she’ll be following in her elder sister Madeline’s footsteps, but certainly not living in her shadow. For Eviania, an accounting major, has big plans… go Greek, join consort choir, Accounting Society, a service organization or two…
The Torrance, Calif. native says she was drawn to Loyola Marymount University by its strong Jesuit tradition and the way in which faith is incorporated into one’s education – not to mention the handsome scholarship she received from the College of Business Administration.
While attending Orientation, Eviania says she was struck but what a strong support system LMU seems to have.
“I’m just really excited to get started, meet new people and be in amore interactive environment learning what I want to learn” Eviania said.
And her big sister has even given her a little advice:
“She tells me that everyone at LMU really wants to see you succeed,” Eviana said, “but it’s your job to find balance.”
And that’s just what Eviania hopes to do.
A self-proclaimed army brat, freshman Jacob McCarthy has lived all over the United States, but LMU already feels like home.
“I was pleasantly surprised by how welcoming and open LMU students and professors are,” the mechanical engineering major said.
Jacob attributes much of his seamless transition to the bluff to the support and camaraderie of LMU’s Campus Ministry, with whom he attended First Year Retreat.
“I highly recommend attending,” Jacob said. “It was an amazing experience where I made a lot of great new friends and had time to reflect on what I wanted to get out of my first year at LMU.”
Originally drawn to the LMU for its Jesuit values and stellar academic reputation, Jacob is thriving on campus. Among his many campus pursuits, he is involved with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Robotics Club, Animation Club, and sings in the Campus Ministry Choir.
As for what advice Jacob has for incoming freshmen…?
“There’s so much opportunity at LMU,” Jacob said, “the key is to get involved and meet people.”
Junior Screenwriting major Jordan Goodman was drawn to Loyola Marymount not only for its nationally ranked film school, but also for its mission to educate the ‘whole person.’
“I didn’t want to go to a specifically film-oriented school like AFI,” the Monterey, Calif. native said. “I wanted a well-rounded, diverse student body and curriculum – the full college experience. And LMU is giving me just that.”
Thus far, Jordan says that she has found LMU’s film program to be an ultra-collaborative, supportive environment, where the internship opportunities are plentiful. In fact, she has already interned at several industry hotspots, including Lionsgate and Sonar Entertainment.
And Jordan advises accepted students still mulling over a final college decision to attend LMU’s annual “Preview Day,” which she found to be a great opportunity to scope out campus and get a feel for the academic landscape.
“I got so much insight into LMU and the film school on Preview Day,” Jordan said. “It really helped make up my mind.”
Looking to the future, Jordan hopes to one day write for television. She has a particular love for shows with a fantastical bent, such as HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” and hopes to find herself working in a similar genre.
As for what advice she might have for new and incoming LMU students?
“Get a sense of where you want to find yourself in the LMU community, and then just go for it,” Jordan said. “LMU has an awful lot to offer its students, and it is yours for the taking.”
Transferring colleges can be a tricky business, but senior mechanical engineering major Katherine Rubschlager found the transition to LMU her sophomore year to be relatively seamless.
“It was the best decision I ever made,” Katherine, a Pasadena, Calif. native said. “It didn’t take me long at all to acclimate myself to LMU’s culture and find my place on campus.”
Katherine says she grew up attending Catholic schools and that LMU’s Jesuit principles really made her feel at home.
She adds the best thing a transfer student can do is to get involved. Katherine is a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority, studied abroad in Bonn, Germany and Hong Kong, and participated in an Alternative Break Trip to Haiti.
Looking to the future, Katherine hopes to attend law school in order to study intellectual property and patent law, already having applied to schools such as Fordham, University of San Diego, and of course, Loyola.
As for what advice Katherine might have for students considering a transfer to LMU?
“Don’t be afraid to transfer,” Katherine said, “be willing to take that risk.”
All good things come to those who wait. This is certainly a key mantra for LMU transfer student Kevin Kamar. “I absolutely loved LMU,” Kevin said, “but I didn’t get in immediately.”
So Kevin decided to bide his time, spending his freshman year at Marymount College, then transferring to LMU for his sophomore year.
The hard work paid off and for Kevin, becoming a Lion was all he had hoped.
“I’ve loved meeting so many new people,” Kevin said. “College is all about the connections you make.”
The mechanical engineering major has been making the most of opportunities at LMU. Kevin joined the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, plays intramural sports, and is taking part in the student worker program.
Over the summer Kevin journeyed to Bonn, Germany through LMU’s study abroad program to take in Europe and knock out a couple of classes.
“Seeing as I’ve never been abroad it’s a brand new experience culture-wise,” Kevin said, “I’m excited to see what else the world and LMU has to offer.”
Drawn to LMU by its Jesuit mission and commitment to service, ASLMU President LaShyra ‘Lash’ Nolen strives to be a woman with and for others while tackling the rigorous coursework of a Health and Human Sciences major.
“LMU has definitely influenced how I will live out the rest of life,” the Carson, Calif. native said. “I was afforded the opportunity to not only take part in service work on campus and in the local community, but around the world as well.”
Come January 2017 LaShyra will venture to Haiti on one of LMU’s popular Ignacio Companions trips. While there she will work alongside local Haitians at a transition home for homeless men and will learn about the border relations between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
A recipient of the Clinton Global Initiative Grant, LaShyra teaches a heath and wellness course at an L.A. domestic violence shelter and is also a volunteer Spanish translator at the Venice Family Clinic. Additionally, she is a member of LMU’s Belles service organization.
“LMU became a lot more of a home than I ever expected it to be,” LaShyra said. “The community has really become a family to me, with a whole host of mentors and best friends.”
Looking to the future, LaShyra hopes to land a Fulbright Scholarship in order to teach English in Spain for a year before pursuing medical school and a Masters in Public Health.
As for what advice LaShyra has for incoming Lions…?
“Keep an open mind and take every opportunity that LMU provides you with because you never know what doors might open.”
Matt Fissinger is the Director of Admission at LMU, a post he has held since 1990. His responsibilities include directing the university’s recruitment efforts and the application review process. His blog will cover topics ranging from an inside look at LMU’s admission process to reflections on national trends and high profile topics in the world of college admission. Comments welcome!
Junior Morgan Wilkins studies entrepreneurship and dance – an unlikely pairing for most, but the Bakersfield, Calif. native enjoys blending the pragmatic with the creative, something she hopes to continue in her career.
“It’s a balancing act, for sure,” Morgan said, “but I’m driven to combine business with art.”
Morgan says that she hopes to work for a consulting firm before starting a business of her own, and that LMU’s Office of Career and Professional Development is already helping her get on the path to post-grad success.
“I have worked with resident Career Coach Sean Cain a lot,” Morgan said. “He has become somewhat of a mentor, helping me to develop my resume and seek out professional opportunities… and he is always available if I have any questions.”
The past two summers Morgan has worked as a financial analyst intern at Grimmway Farms in Bakersfield, the largest carrot producer in the world.
“I have had the opportunity to work directly with Grimmway’s financial analysts,” Morgan said, “and it’s been really cool to take what I’ve learned in my classes at LMU and apply it in a real-world setting.”
As for what advice she might have for new LMU Lions…
“Don’t be afraid to be involved in a lot of different things,” Morgan said. “It’ll expose you to more, get you connected to more people — immerse yourself in the LMU community.”
Freshmen Natalie Lavacca was drawn to LMU for its esteemed music program, in particular the vocal performance track. A native of Westlake Village, California, Natalie is already a skilled vocalist in French, Italian, and German, and was seeking a school that would both nurture and challenge her talent.
“LMU has a very tight-knit music department and I really value that,” Natalie said. “The one on one attention from professors and peers is is so important, especially in fine arts.”
She adds that she was happy to discover the level of diversity present at LMU, which she believes will enrich her overall college experience.
While juggling a rigorous course-load and as a member of both the Women’s Choir and Concert Choir, Natalie still finds time to attend the free, weekly concerts in Murphy Recital Hall.
“One week you can see your professors up on stage practicing their craft,” Natalie said, “and the next you might be able to see an acclaimed European pianist perform.”
Looking to the future, Natalie hopes to become involved with LMU’s theatre program and intends to pursue a career in the entertainment industry.
“I think LMU is providing me with a clear pathway to my goals,” Natalie said.
As for what advice she might have for incoming Lions…?
“Don’t stay in your comfort zone or be afraid to make big mistakes,” Natalie said, “they will make you a better performer.”
It’s been said that a goal without a plan is but a dream, a piece of wisdom junior Nathalie Rubin has taken to heart. When deciding on a college, Rubin saw LMU as the perfect four-year plan to one day reaching her goal of working in entertainment public relations, pointing to its plum location, industry connections, not to mention top-notch internship program.
“I’ve come to love L.A. and my communication classes,” the D.C. native said. “So far, LMU has lived up to my expectations in every way.”
In addition to blogging, Nathalie is the vice-president of LMU’s Public Relations Society, works in LMU’s Student Affairs department, and hosts her own radio show on the KLMU station.
When asked if she has any advice for prospective Lions, Nathalie says, “Make sure you get involved and get off campus to explore L.A.”
Nathalie recalls the time she and a group of friends from LMU hiked along the Griffith Park trail at sunset. “It was beautiful,” Nathalie said. “When the sun went down, you could see out across the whole city, twinkling lights for miles.”
And as for the future: “I’m eager to see where LMU and the many internship opportunities I have at my disposal can take me in L.A.”
When senior Nikki Fernandez is not in class or at her on-campus job, one can usually find her sitting by the bluff strumming tunes on her guitar. Her personal favorites include “Hotel California” by the Eagles and Santana’s “Smooth.”
Originally from Torrance, Calif., Nikki transferred to LMU after a brief spell spent at El Camino College, joining the university’s top-ranked business management program and flourishing.
“Honestly, going to LMU is like going to school in a postcard,” Nikki said. “I have grown to love the university’s Jesuit ideals and feel them becoming more and more a part of who I am everyday.”
She is especially a fan of the openness and compassion she sees present in LMU community and in her classes.
“I feel like LMU has made me a lot more open to other people’s opinions and ideas, and how to handle those who may not be as open,” Nikki said.
Due to her late-arrival on the LMU scene, Nikki said she had to miss out on a few collegiate rites of passage, such as living on campus her freshman year, but says that the quality of your LMU experience is really dependent on your willingness to put yourself out there and explore new things
Looking to the future, Nikki hopes to work in marketing sales, and has her sights set on one day being the CEO of Coca-Cola.
As for what advice she has for incoming Lions?
“Time goes by really quickly here,” Nikki said. “Get involved in as many things as possible, live on campus your first year if you can and just get out there and be seen!”
Sophomore Niko Klein is no stranger to LMU’s campus – in fact, he grew up just five blocks away, at the corner of Agnew and 80th.
The Business Management major says that campus was a bit like his childhood playground, often having soccer practice on one of the practice fields, and that he always saw LMU students as “stand-up leaders.”
Now as a student himself, Niko says his transition from campus neighbor to resident Lion has been seamless and all sorts of wonderful.
“It has been beyond anything I expected from college,” Niko said. “I went to a Jesuit high school, so I thought I knew what the Jesuit mind-set was like — but LMU is ten times that just in terms of the encouragement I’ve gotten and the way I’ve grown.”
In addition to playing for LMU’s club rugby team, Niko is also an active member of the Crimson Circle service organization and one of the Office of Admission’s most popular tour guides.
Looking to the future, he hopes to one day work in Sports Management, but until then says he will happily settle to just attend more LMU basketball games played by their Division I team.
As for what advice he has for new Lions…
“Be a ‘yes’ man, don’t say no to opportunities because they seem daunting to you. If an opportunity arises, at least try it out.”
Junior Theatre Arts major Parisa Loftis is eager to create more opportunities for women in the arts — and LMU is giving her the chance to do just that. The San Jose native is currently directing a stage adaptation of “Lord of the Flies” with all female cast for the student-led theatre troupe, the Del Rey Players.
“Going this route allows female actors to tackle meatier roles,” Parisa said, “and completely shows women in a different light.”
Parisa says that these sorts of opportunities are not only characteristic of LMU’s Theatre program, but the university in general.
Originally drawn to LMU for its top-ranked fine arts school, Parisa says the deciding factor was its study abroad program at the world-famous Moscow Arts Theatre.
Outside of theatre, Paris is double minoring in business and studio arts and is actively involved in Campus Ministry, the public relations society (PRSSA) and Christian Life community.
Parisa says she is interested in lending her voice to arts and media projects that speak to and spark social change.
“I work with the Center for Service and Reconciliation and Justice to put on ‘Artists Speak,’” Parisa said. “It showcases all different kinds of artists from the community whose work focuses on social justice. This year’s theme was ‘human dignity.’”
As for what advice Parisa has for incoming Lions?
“I remember my freshman year I wanted to get involved with everything possible,” Parisa said. “But you can’t. Know that you will eventually find your place on campus. It just takes time to figure out where and how you want to be a part of LMU’s amazing community.
Freshman electrical engineering major Roberto Ventura was drawn to LMU for its stellar academic programs and small school vibe, which includes a student-to-teacher ratio of 11:1 and average class sizes of 21.
A native of Inglewood, Calif. and full-time commuter student, Roberto believes LMU is providing him with the skills and know-how to one-day work in his desired field at a tech company.
“LMU has the best atmosphere,” Roberto said, “you can walk up to anyone and start a conversation or ask for help. The bluff has already started to feel like a second home.”
He added that the university’s ACCESS program (A Community Committed to Excellence in Scientific Scholarship), a three-week residential program for incoming Freshman enrolled in the College of Science and Engineering, really helped him transition to the bluff prior to the start of his freshman year.
“ACCESS was a great way to make connections and prepare for college life,” Roberto said.”
And despite not living on campus, Roberto has already gotten involved in several campus pursuits, including the Latino Student Union, Society of Professional Hispanic Engineers, the Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineering, and the E-sports gaming club.
Looking to the future, Roberto is considering giving on-campus living the old college try next year, and as for what advice he might have for his fellow commuter peers…?
“Always have a back-up if your original plan to get to school falls through,” Roberto said.
Senior Communication Studies major Samantha Larson already has her eye on the post-grad prize, hoping to land a job in public relations for a cosmetics company.
“I see the use of cosmetics almost as an art form,” Samantha said. “It’s like art you can wear all day.”
Samantha, who hails from San Jose, Calif., says she was originally attracted to LMU by its small class sizes, not to mention that her sister attended and loved her experience.
“I wanted to be in L.A. and I found LMU to be the perfect fit for what I needed,” Samantha said.
Last fall, Samantha interned with the highbrow public relations firm EMC Bowery.
“It was really different from what I expected,” Samantha said, “a lot of behind the scenes work, but I loved it. And I discovered that I like the corporate side of things as opposed to dealing with talent.”
Samantha adds that she found out about the internship opening through one of her fellow Kappa Alpha Theta sorority sisters, who has previously interned with EMC. She goes on to call going Greek one of her best LMU experiences thus far.
“It really opened up another world to me,” Samantha said, “to friends, to give back through philanthropic efforts…”
At present, Samantha is taking part in one of LMU’s popular summer study abroad programs in Greece, where she’s taking classes in Classical Greek Mythology, exploring the ancient city of Athens and much more!
As for what advice she might have for prospective Lions:
“Keep an open mind,” Samantha said, “LMU has so much to offer and don’t be afraid to get involved. It makes you feel so much more connected to the campus!”
Sophomore Entrepreneurship major Samuel Walters first heard of Loyola Marymount when his family hosted some LMU baseball players taking part in Cape Cod’s Summer Baseball League.
Sam says that during their stay, the players sold him on the idea of seriously looking into LMU for college.
He also entertained the idea of other California schools, including USC, Chapman and University of San Diego, but Sam says LMU won his heart during a Presidential Preview Day visit, where he interviewed for and won a full-ride Trustee Scholarship.
“That was certainly the tipping point,” Sam said, sporting a wry smile. “Another key difference is that I met people here I liked.”
And since starting his undergraduate journey as a part of LMU’s Honors program, Sam is quite content with his decision.
“I feel very fortunate to have some great people who have put me on the right track,” Sam said.
For example, for the past few months Sam has been interning for a start-up beverage company in L.A. called Liquid IV, doing PR and marketing. The company is headed by two LMU alums who kick-started their business while taking part in the business school’s prestigious Incubator program.
Sam is also a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.
“It’s been an awesome experience thus far,” Sam said. “You get a bid and suddenly you have a hundred guys who become your best friends.”
Looking to the future, Sam hopes to land a coveted spot in the Incubator program next semester.
“I think it would allow me the chance to get creative and hopefully a project will emerge that’s successful.”
Freshman Steven Nassif is pairing an entrepreneurship major with his dream of one day working in the entertainment industry, hoping to fuse business savvy with his own signature brand of creativity.
The Santa Clarita, Calif. native, who also plans on minoring in film, says he was drawn to LMU for its prime L.A. location and stellar academic programs.
“I am growing to really love LMU,” Steven said. “I was surprised by just how friendly everyone is, but I’ve come to realize that is just the culture of the school.”
A resident of freshmen dorm Del Rey South, Steven says dorm-life is a great, fun way to discover one’s newfound independence.
“You literally have all your friends living right next to you,” he said.
In addition to being a member of the Entrepreneurship society, Steven also enjoys taking part in a variety of the intramural sports LMU offers to students, including kickball.
Looking to the future, Steven has high hopes for his LMU education: “Ideally I would like to direct, and I’m confident LMU is giving me access to the resources and know-how to succeed down the line.”
Junior Urban Studies major Taylor Kay was originally drawn to LMU for a variety of reasons: small class sizes, location, and the range of opportunities within her chosen field of study.
A native of Hawthorne, Calif., Taylor hopes to one day work in commercial development, and says that the experiences she’s had thus far at LMU are certainly setting her down the right path.
“LMU fosters a social and academic environment that is very desirable,” Taylor said. “It’s a very holistic learning experience, and I’ve definitely benefited from it.”
She added that she had the distinct opportunity to partake in research with the Chair of Urban Studies, researching variances and whether or not municipal governments grant them accordingly. The sort of opportunity not afforded to most students at larger universities.
Additionally, Taylor had the chance to live in Rome last summer through LMU’s popular study abroad program, saying one major highlight was a weekend visit to Istanbul.
“There’s just so much history there,” she said. “Not only was it the capital of the Catholic empire, but it was also the coveted capital of the Muslim empire as well throughout ancient history. It was fascinating to see traces of this in the architecture.”
Taylor is involved with a myriad of on-campus activities, including the Intercultural Facilitators, Academic Community of Excellence, Urban Studies Society, Center for the Study of Los Angeles, and as a campus tour guide.
Looking to the future, Taylor is considering pursuing a Master’s in Urban Studies, possibly even applying for a Fulbright Scholarship, in hopes of doing research abroad.
Tom Gutto currently serves as Director of Transfer Enrollment Services at Loyola Marymount University. He is responsible for leading programs and initiatives within Enrollment Management, and collaborating across the institution, to create partnerships and systems that best support transfer students both as incoming students as well as during their time at LMU. In addition, to serve as the institutional academic director for transfer services with internal and external constituencies.
Tom works very closely with the associate deans and academic coordinators in each college to ensure not only the matriculation and smooth transition of our new students, but also the successful completion of their LMU academic experience. He continuously strives to strengthen relationships with our community college partners with the goal of achieving a more efficient and transparent transfer to LMU, while promoting the benefits of an education at our University.
In addition to his regular responsibilities, Tom is also an active member in several professional associations including: The National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students (NISTS), The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), The Western Association for College Admission Counseling (WACAC), and the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers (AACRAO). Most recently, he was honored to receive the Bonita C. Jacobs Transfer Champion Rising Star Award from the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students, which recognizes individuals who have demonstrated exceptional advocacy and leadership in the development and implementation of transfer-focused activities that have significantly improved transfer student access, persistence, and success.
Tom earned his Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Arts in Counseling from LMU. His daughters, Gianna and Nicola, keep Tom and his wife Patricia (also an LMU alumna) busy outside of the office.
Freshman Communication Studies major and First to Go Scholar Victoria Arevalo was drawn to LMU for its strong sense of community, small-class sizes, and eco-friendly campus.
“The sense of community that the students have here is much more than I expected,” Victoria said. “I never thought I would feel this welcome, but I do.”
Additionally, she appreciates LMU’s aim to “educate the whole person” and its devotion to service. In fact, Victoria has already taken part in her first De Colores immersion trip, journeying to Tijuana, Mexico to help rebuild a church with some fellow Lions while working alongside members of the local community.
“After my De Colores trip experience I am hoping to have many more global experiences,” Victoria said. “Hopefully, I will even study abroad – the opportunities to go abroad at LMU are amazing.”
Among her many campus pursuits, Victoria is an Assistant Sports Editor for The Loyolan, a member of the Latino Student Union, and plays intramural volleyball and soccer.
Looking to the future, Victoria hopes to one-day work in either sports broadcasting or practice law, and feels confident LMU is preparing her to head down either of those paths with successful results.
As for what advice Victoria might have for future Lions…?
“Starting your college journey can be scary, but don’t feel discouraged — LMU is a very welcoming place with so much opportunity at your fingertips.”
Senior Theatre Arts major Wendolyn Sims-Rucker was determined to pursue her undergraduate degree in L.A. in order to be near the entertainment industry, considering everywhere from USC to Chapman, before finally settling on LMU.
“It was not too big, not too small, near Hollywood,” Wendolyn said, “it was just right.”
The Chicago native says her mind was made up after she visited LMU for one of their “Overnight” events, where she got a strong sense of community and was able to rub elbows with upper-class Theater majors who happily answered all her questions.
Though she says the move across country was “challenging,” LMU has nevertheless lived up to her expectations and given her a greater world view, not to mention some great chances to act on stage, including an upcoming role as Humpty Dumpty in “Alice in Wonderland.”
“The professors in the theatre department are so knowledgeable and many are working professionals themselves,” Wendolyn said. “And they’re willing to work with your style of acting.”
Outside of LMU’s theatre circle, Wendloyn is involved with the Christian Life Community and is a Resident Advisor for Del Rey North dormitory. And this spring break she plans to take advantage of LMU’s widely popular Alternative Break program, traveling to Louisiana and Mississippi in order to volunteer with migrant workers, talking with them about immigration issues and reform.
Wendolyn has many goals for the future, including snagging a talent agent and is also interested in looking into graduate school for broadcast journalism, with a focus on entertainment news.
As for what advice she might have for prospective Lions?
“Some people get homesick and want to transfer out after the first semester,” Wendolyn said. “But tough it out. LMU is worth it.”
Sophomore English major Xochitl Pasten is inspired by the power of the written word and has set her sights on becoming a book editor one day — no easy feat considering today’s competitive publishing industry. But the Eagle Rock, Calif. native is confident that LMU is giving her the innovative tools to succeed.
“My literature classes have given me the chance to read and analyze an array of diverse books so far,” Xochitl said. “I love studying how a certain literary work is influenced by the time period in which it was written, like Twain’s ‘Huckleberry Finn.’”
In her spare time Xochitl works as a writing tutor at the Academic Resource Center in Hannon Library helping students polish writing assignments and calls it a labor of love. Additionally, she sits on the planning committee for LMU’s Latino Overnight and helps organize Latino Scholars Day.
When originally searching for colleges, Xochitl says she was drawn to LMU because of its Jesuit ideals, small-class sizes, and had always heard great things about the school on the bluff because her aunt is a Lion alum.
“On my first visit to LMU’s campus I found it to be incredibly warm and welcoming,” Xochitl said, “even more so since starting here as a student.”
Looking ahead, Xochitl hopes to get even more involved on campus, perhaps spending a semester abroad or taking an Alternative Break trip to some far-off locale.