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.

2022 Community Engaged Learning Award

  • Brianne Ebli

    Youth and Family Ministry Major

    Brianne has spent her time at APU serving in various ways, such as working with Habitat for Humanity; being a CSA drama/theater team lead for Mexico Outreach, a Summer Blast color lead for Hillside Community Church, and an Alpha orientation leader for APU’s Alpha Program; and volunteering at the Los Angeles Dream Center, the Heart to Serve Skid Row on Christmas day in conjunction with Inland Hills Church, the worship team at Fellowship Monrovia Church, and the college program at Forest Home Christian Camp.

    Brianne feels that we all are called to engage with our communities and says that “being able to see people face to face, hear from those who are typically voiceless, and partner with long-standing organizations is the best way to see the body and hands and feet of Christ practically moving in our own backyards! Allowing ourselves to tend to our own communities, while also being attentive to the Spirit, sets us up to watch seeds grow, experience life change, and notice the work that God is doing, which we have missed right underneath our noses. God works on and through us as we partner with Him by working in our community.”

    She plans to go into vocational ministry, where her theology of service will impact how she trains her students to serve in their communities, homes, and churches: “These present realities—of white savior complexes, missionaries forgetting to see and experience the culture they’re headed to, and students, such as myself, completely unaware of how their own neighborhood experience affects the way they serve in another—need to be addressed in my future of youth ministry, especially regarding serving.”

  • Jada Tarvin Abu-Bekr

    Social Work Major

    In her time at APU, Jada has served in numerous ways—as an APU ambassador, CAVIM Mexico Outreach member, Young Life Philippines volunteer, social work intern in State Senator Rubio’s office, Alpha leader for APU’s Alpha Program, Bridges Program participant, Seek Delight public relations coordinator, TRIO Summer Academy leader, social work intern with the Center for Student Action, and Global Engagement team leader for Selma and Spain.

    She believes that community engagement and development is a way for us to seek change in the world, a way to help one another by loving our neighbor and community in the ways we live. Jada says that “servant leadership is the practice that we get to take part in to love, the way Jesus loves us. Deeply invested in the core of my being is service through the lens of sacrifice and advocacy. I believe that faith, justice, and service are significant pieces in following Jesus, and I firmly believe that this is crucial to be lived out in each circle and element of my life.”

    Jada plans to pursue a graduate degree in social work, where “as an aspiring professional with a social work background, I hope to be an advocate for minoritized and oppressed communities and equip leaders who come from challenging backgrounds to live transformed lives based on the Gospel message. Not only in my future profession do I plan to engage in community development and leadership, but within the ways I choose to live my life sacrificially and as a follower of Christ.”

Past Recipients


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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