Written by Nicole Johnson
Sometimes career paths are not as much a conscious decision, but a natural pull and innate calling. This is how Rachel Baydian, who graduated in 2015 with a B.A. in Studio Art felt at Azusa Pacific. She has always had a deep desire to create and wanted to develop her artist's voice, so she utilized a liberal arts education as a holistic way to inform her art practice.
Baydian says the fruition of her senior thesis exhibition was when she truly felt in line with what she was meant to do. With the unwavering support of faculty, peers, and friends, she felt equipped to showcase a message that was important to her. Baydian worked extremely hard to create a meaningful experience and highlight the culmination of her time at the university.
Due to the influence of incredible professors and well-rounded academics, Baydian has chosen to continue on to receive a graduate degree from Claremont Graduate University in 2020. After her graduation from APU, she still has a network of faculty she is close with who support her artistic, personal, and professional endeavors.
Baydian describes her most memorable semester at APU as the semester she spent at High Sierra. The program completely changed her life in many different ways. Everything from the humanities-based curriculum, genuine community of scholars, mountainous location, community involvement, intimate relationships, faculty, staff and peers, to spiritual growth made the greatest impact on her. She said, “I will forever be grateful for my time there. It was a time when I felt the most loved, known and challenged. High Sierra provided me with the ability to live in equilibrium: on an emotional, spiritual, relational, academic and physical level.
Faith has been a big part of her APU journey as it has been nurtured, challenged and strengthened. Her faith has helped to build a network of friendships and connections of fellow believers that provide a foundation of support in a highly secular field. She strives to be genuine and transparent with who she is and what she values. Baydian wants to encourage students to follow their passions and to do what they love most. She wishes for APU students to be lifelong learners and scholars and to continue to refine and elevate their skill sets and abilities.