Servant Leadership Award

APU’s Servant Leadership 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.

2021 Servant Leadership Award Recipients

  • Tatyahna Costello

    Social Work

    During Tatyahna’s time at Azusa Pacific, she has served in numerous ways: social work intern in Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio’s office, youth mentor, coordinator and Conscious Classroom Facilitator for the California Conference for Equality and Justice, crew lead at Forest Home Neighborhood Day Camp, Cause 4 Life Intern at Joni and Friends, secretary and internal affairs officer for APU’s Black Student Association, administrative assistant and youth resource coordinator intern at My Third Place, intern in APU’s Office of Women’s Development, co-lead director of Disciples in Action, intake volunteer for Salvation Army Homeless Connect, faculty liaison for APU’s Club Social Work, CSA Thailand Action Team, Lily Grant participant, and working-group member for APU’s Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

    She feels servant leadership is about supporting those who trust you enough to lead them, and feels that “there is something special about serving with folks that are...often disregarded; it is in them that I have seen the love of God the most. I have more empathy and understanding of the darkest part of society that often holds the brightest stars. I have learned to be self-aware at the hand of the experiences of the people that allowed me to serve them, no matter how diverse or big their problem.”

    She hopes to start a nonprofit organization that restores underserved communities, founded on the idea that everyone deserves the opportunity to experience wholeness: “This nonprofit aligns well with my future profession in social work where I can pursue serving and selflessness, a few basic principles of the field.”

  • Tania Maradiaga


    Tania has served in multiple ways during her time at Azusa Pacific: as a teacher’s aide at the Saint Frances of Rome School, teaching remotely and doing graphic design for My Third Place, as a case manager for homeless and former homeless families with Door of Hope, helping low-income families who have a child with a disability, serving meals at Union Station Homeless Services in Pasadena, and sharing the Gospel through an APU Action Team in Spain.

    Tania uses her strengths to serve the most vulnerable and needy populations in our community. “When I volunteer,” she said, “I learn more about communicating with diverse groups of people, and I learn more about Christ’s love, not only for myself but also for others. Being able to give back to those experiencing homelessness and who were homelessness is a true gift and reminder of God’s power to use others to transform families.”

    After graduation, Tania plans to help the community as a clinical therapist working with low-income and middle-class families: “I plan to continue my research project, which asks clinicians and probation officers which community resources are most effective in helping child sex offenders; and plan to learn as much as I can in graduate school about protecting children from sexual abuse. I would like to publish books relating to my research as well as what I have learned doing face-to-face counseling with a broad clientele. Further, I hope to serve the community by becoming a congresswoman and reflecting Christian values in the laws I pass.”

Past Recipients


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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