Community-Engaged Learning Award

APU’s Community Engaged Learning Award was established in 2003 and is funded by the Berdena Ruth Foundation. The aim of this award is to promote the ideals of servant leadership in the area of community service. Service performed by the nominated students may have been performed within APU, in the community, internationally, and/or through an academic course. The award is given to two graduating undergraduate seniors. Each student receives a monetary award of $1,200, $200 of which is donated to a charity of their choice.

There are four areas of servant leadership for which students can be recognized:

  • Service within APU
  • Service in the community
  • Service through an academic course
  • Service internationally

This program is funded by an annual gift of $2,500 from the Berdena Ruth Scholarship.

2023 Community Engaged Learning Award

  • Abigail Brown

    International Relations Major Honors Humanities, Christian Ministries & Biblical Studies Minor

    During her time at APU, Abigail has been an Alpha leader for APU’s Alpha program where she participated in Vision L.A. That allowed her the opportunity to work with Union Rescue Mission and the L.A. Regional Food Bank. She was a co-lead for APU’s Global Engagement team to Amsterdam, and a co-lead for the team that served in Wauchula, Fort Meyers, and Sarasota, Florida that helped with relief efforts after Hurricane Ian in partnership with Praying Pelican Ministries.

    Abigail says her involvement with service has shaped her growth and development by learning from the people she served and seeing how God reveals himself in each of these individuals. She stated, “Jesus, if we look closely, is in the people we serve. He is walking alongside us as we enter their pain. He is and always will be there; when we enter their context, He welcomes us into the work of compassion. The work that we were never worthy of doing but that He invites us to do anyways.”

    After graduation, Abigail is planning to travel to Banja Luka in Bosnia and Herzegovina where she will be spending two years to serve college students as part of APU’s “Go and Prepare” cohort to share the truth of the Gospel.

  • Matthew Campos

    Matthew Campos, Psychology Major Sociology & Spanish Minor

    Matthew has been a part of service during his time at APU by being an APU Alpha leader, an APU Alpha coordinator, a local engagement coordinator with the Office of Service & Discipleship, a Young Life Capernaum leader, a tutor and mentor for APU’s TRiO Upward Bound, a volunteer Resident Companion at Mankowski Homes, and a tutor and mentor for Our Neighborhood Homework House. He has also participated in the APU Global Engagement team to Guatemala and is also a co-lead of the Global Engagement Team going to Avance Mexico City.

    Matthew believes that by engaging with our communities we are able to better understand the heart of our Creator. He stated, “the more we celebrate, uplift, partner with, and engage those around us, the more we are aware of the Lord’s heart for the community we are in. We serve in a community to know that community. While service can be a tangible contribution, community engagement for myself has often looked like seeking to uplift the stories and experiences of the diverse communities around me.”

    Matthew plans to pursue a Master’s of Public Health where he will use his knowledge and experiences to partner with underserved communities to promote health equity. He states, “when we seek to serve through community-centered and community-led approaches, we emulate the heart of Jesus by honoring diverse communities in culturally competent ways.”

Past Recipients


Brianne Ebli, Youth and Family Ministry
Jada Tarvin Abu-Bekr, Social Work


Tatyahna Costello, Social Work
Tania Maradiaga, Psychology


Breeann Blumenthal, Christian Ministries
Seth Zomermaand, Social Work


Alexis Diaz, Social Work
Hunter Roberts, Biology


Charles Henderson, Allied Health
Xitlali Topete, LVN to BSN


Rebekah Guerra, Psychology
Shea Suiter, Business: Marketing


Bridgette Kielhack, Business
Tobias Brown, Nursing


Kaitlyn Lee, History
Tyler Jamison, History


Lauren McNair, Social Work
Curtis Isozaki, Liberal Studies


Marissa Hilmes, Nursing
Christopher Waks, Theology


Gabrielle Aquino, Psychology
Brett Johnson, Communications


Cameron Justice, Service in the Community
Ricky Chao, Service Internationally
Jonathan Garcia, Service within APU
Rebecca Borst, Service through Academics


Allison Risley, Service in the Community
Adah Fisher, Service Internationally
Elisabet Medina, Service within APU
Stacey Kim, Service through an Academic Course


Luke Spink, Service in the Community
Angel Gonzalez, Service Internationally
Bradley Bedsole, Service within APU
Laurel Bishop, Service through an Academic Course


Lauren Metzig, Service in Community
Rhoman Goyenechea, Service Internationally
Bethany Ulrich, Service through an Academic Course
Phil Brazell, Service within APU


Matt Brannon, Service in Community
Megan Klingensmith, Service through an Academic Course
Giovanna Miraya, Service within APU
Megan Sievert, Service Internationally


Danielle Pruitt, Service within APU
Melanie Seawright, Service in Community
Michelle Siemens, Service Internationally
Rebekah Clark, Service within APU


Amy Thurber, Service in Community
Faith Lee, Service Internationally
Rosa Gaeta, Service through an Academic Course
Andre Borgmann, Service within APU


Bet Freed
Kyle Thompson
Michelle Asbill
Kari Mandl

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