Stories Archive

Annie MacAulay ’11

Annie MacAulay ’11 founded Mountain and Sea Adventures (MSA), which provides educational science camps that benefit hundreds of students every year.

Juli (McGowan ’01) Boit

Juli (McGowan ’01) Boit recognizes the key to caring for the sick and dying goes beyond treatment and medicine to loving and caring for the whole person.

Darnell Abraham ’09

APU alumnus Darnell Abraham ’09 stars in Hamilton and uses the gift of his influence to build bridges in the entertainment industry.

Carrie Webber

Carrie Webber, Azusa Pacific’s head softball coach, serves as a mentor and advisor for her players on and off the field.

Rene Colon ’14, MDiv ’16

Rene Colon ’14, MDiv ’16, is formally trained in pastoral leadership, but his role in ministry is anything but conventional. With a gift for understanding and connecting with others, Rene helps people meet Christ wherever they happen to be—in a church pew, through a film, or amid times of great loss.

Paul Svagdis

Paul Svagdis loves cultivating great baseball players, but his real passion lies in preparing players to live victoriously off the field.

Tiffany (Porter ’06) Moore

Tiffany (Porter ’06) Moore sees miracles in action every day in the lives of more than 400 South and East Los Angeles students who attend KIPP Scholar Academy, the college-preparatory school she founded and leads.

Gabriel Martin ’17

Alpha leader. Resident advisor. Biology major. Nine-time Mexico Outreach participant. Gabriel Martin ’17 learned and served in each of these roles during his time at Azusa Pacific. A full-tuition Trustees’ Scholarship made all of it possible.

Kim Lu Lawe, Ed.D. ’16

Hope, perseverance, and the power of shared vision. A leader in secondary education, Kim Lu Lawe, Ed.D. ’16, applies this mindset every day as director of the Eastvale STEM Academy in Riverside County, California.

Robert Mullins, Ph.D.

Professor Robert A. Mullins, PhD, came to APU after spending a number of years in Israel. His interests encompass the fields of archaeology, history, geography, and biblical studies in an effort to better understand the world of the Ancient Near East.

Stephen Vogt ’07

Continuing an outstanding season with the Oakland A’s, former Azusa Pacific standout Stephen Vogt was selected for the 2015 Major League Baseball All-Star team as a reserve catcher for the American League.


Brandon Arbini '01 and Jeff Tanner '96, M.Ed. '99, are two Azusa Pacific University alumni entrepreneurs who have been thinking like difference makers.

Edgar Barron

Meet Edgar Barron, Cand. Ed.D., chair and assistant professor in the Department of Leadership and Organizational Psychology. With a passion for creating and nurturing curiosity in his students, Ed strives to help them discover who they are, believing that each of them has the ability to influence others and effect positive change.

Todd Williams ’13

For Todd, who was born with spastic cerebral palsy, Walkabout served as a reminder that life is about trusting God. “No matter how hard I think I have to work at something and use my own strength— it’s not enough. That’s something that God’s teaching me. I don’t have to depend on myself. I have to depend on Him.”

Victor Santa Cruz

As the head football coach at Azusa Pacific University, Victor Santa Cruz challenges his athletes toward excellence, on and off the field. “God gave us just one life. We are not going to waste it on mediocrity. We are going to run to be the best.”

Terrell Watson ’15

As a senior running back, Terrell Watson ‘15 is the unquestioned leader of defending Great Northwest Athletic Conference champion Azusa Pacific. In just three years, he has rewritten virtually every school rushing record, including a handful previously held by Cougar legend Christian Okoye ’86. But for Watson, this success is just the result of hard work and focus. He loves his team. He loves the game.

Lindsey Rehfeld ’86

Lindsey Rehfeld ’86 was deeply impacted during her time at APU by professors who modeled Christian leadership in the marketplace. As the owner and executive director of a thriving senior care agency, Lindsey intentionally placed herself at the intersection of entrepreneurial business and powerful ministry.

Jerson Anzola ’18

After experiencing many hardships, from losing his parents to a combat injury during his time in the U.S. Army, Jerson Anzola ’18 arrived at Azusa Pacific ready to cultivate a new mission for his life: inspiring others to face their own challenges with strength and purpose.

Ride for Water

A small group of intrepid Azusa Pacific University students sacrifice their time, sweat, and energy each year in a bicycle trek of more than 3,000 miles across the United States in 50+ days, raising money to provide clean water for some of the millions of people worldwide who don’t have daily access to this basic need.

Dave Canales ’03

From dreams of one day coaching high school football to becoming a position coach in the NFL for the Seattle Seahawks, Azusa Pacific alumnus and former wide receiver Dave Canales ’03 found himself at the pinnacle of his coaching career. What he didn’t expect was that this promotion would become a catalyst for the start of a journey that would transform how he viewed his career, his life, and especially his faith.

Tamala P. Kelly ’09, MDiv ’14, DMin ’19

Tamala Kelly co-pastors a church with her husband and is the founder of Empower 2 Purpose women’s ministry.

Emily LaVelle ’14

Emily LaVelle ’14 began her journey at Azusa Pacific as a nursing major, inspired by the health care workers who cared for her mother during her battle with cancer. But she quickly realized that she was called to something else, an interest she once shared with her mom—art.

Matt Holguin ’02, MBA ’05

Meet Azusa Pacific University alumnus Matt Holguin ’02, MBA ’05. While at APU, Matt was encouraged to pursue both his passion for business and his calling to be a pastor. This combination fueled him to form Working to Give, a for-profit business created for the sole purpose of earning money to give it away and make a difference in the lives of others.

Don Rogers ’81

While a student at Azusa Pacific University, Don Rogers '81 felt called to the mission field. He made his first trip to Kenya in 1986, and continued to return to East Africa year after year, later founding Empowering Lives International. Don's organization provides training, education, and care for more than 200 orphans. Don is continuing the Azusa Pacific mission in East Africa, empowering and transforming lives.

Skyla Herod, Ph.D.

As an associate professor of biology and chemistry at Azusa Pacific University, Skyla Herod, Ph.D., focuses on an integrative model of teaching, engaging students through group work and hands-on learning in the classroom, and including students in research opportunities in the lab. Through science, she hopes to help students go beyond learning facts to understanding the process of learning, deepening their knowledge of the brain and their bodies, and gaining greater appreciate of God’s creation.

Alex Aguas, M.Div. ’12, and Matthew Veling, M.Div. ’11

Matthew Veling, M.Div. ’11, and Alex Aguas, M.Div. ’12 graduated from Azusa Pacific Seminary and are now the pastors of Restoration Abbey in San Marcos, California. The church meets in a restaurant called Pizza Nova.

David Flores

Giving a prominent face to the School of Visual and Performing Arts’ commitment to cultural relevance and the classics, Los Angeles-based artist David Flores painted a mural of William Shakespeare on the east entrance of APU's Warehouse Theater.

Matt Klingler, DPT ’16

Azusa Pacific University alumnus Matt Klingler, DPT ’16, is applying his expertise as a movement science specialist to help people prevent injury and improve their fitness and function, thanks to the lessons he learned during his time in APU's Doctor of Physical Therapy program.

Margarita Ramirez ’12

When Margarita Ramirez ’12 stepped for the first time into a classroom in California’s Central Valley, she spoke virtually no English. Today, she is earning a Ph.D. at Georgetown, the latest step in an academic career that includes a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship.

Deshonna Collier-Goubil, Ph.D.

Deshonna Collier-Goubil is an Azusa Pacific associate professor and department chair committed to seeking justice for others.

Dustin McBride ’07 and Vaughn Spethman ’07

Zambikes employees and trains Zambians to build bicycles and bike trailers used for transportation, for taking goods to market, and for getting people to medical clinics.

Joy Collins Brodt ’07

Loved. Valued. Purposed. This is the personal message of hope Joy Collins Brodt ’07 helps to spread in her role as operations and program director for Treasures Ministries, a faith-based outreach and support group for women in the sex industry and sex trafficking victims.

Matthews Chacko ’93, MD

Meet Azusa Pacific University 2013 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year, Matthews Chacko ’93, MD. Chacko currently serves as assistant professor of medicine, director of peripheral vascular interventions, and faculty in interventional cardiology at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, where he uses his skills as a cardiologist and passion for healing to make a difference in people’s lives.