The 2014 theme for Social Work month ties to the mission and purpose of the accredited Social Work program at PLNU. 2014 is the year that "All People Matter".  The Social Work profession in America has a strong history focused on ensuring that immigrants and other vulnerable people are able to escape economic and social poverty and lead productive and fulfilling lives.  At PLNU all people matter.  As a Christian Social Work program, this is particularly important.

“Christian professional social workers contribute to the functioning of the ‘whole’ person,” said Patricia Leslie, director of PLNU’s social work program. “Our grads engage in caring, curing, and changing so that the world is a more grace-filled place to live.”

PLNU's accredited B.A. program is one of only 23 in the CSWE Western region.  National accreditation validates that PLNU’s social work program can meet high level professional standards while preserving and integrating a clear foundation in faith. Accreditation also provides an opportunity for “advanced standing” in graduate social work programs as well as validates the quality of the program and enhances PLNU students’ applications to graduate study at other high caliber programs.

Sociology & Social Work

The Fermanian School of Business and those affiliated with the school encourage students to actively pursue networking opportunities.  There is a consistent emphasis put on effective business communication and the details of how we ought to dress, what we should say, and who we should say it to.  As a student, I have heard many of my peers dismiss the idea of networking with comments like, "That's too much work."  We have heard spiels advocating for these professional social interactions, but we haven't heard a lot from the perspectives of students.  Is networking really as important as the professors say it is?  My answer to that: absolutely. 

When I first came to Point Loma Nazarene University, the Fermanian Business & Economic Institute was still located on-campus.  Their focus on undergraduate students at this time filled the year with events that we were encouraged to attend.  Even as a freshman I made valuable connections.  At the very first event I went to my freshman year I met a small business owner, Kim Jones.  Initially the connection seemed irrelevant to me because she was in marketing and I was an Industrial Organizational Psycholoy major interested in Human Resources.  Regardless, I connected with her on LinkedIn and the summer before sophomore year she became an extremely valuable connection to me -- since I had switched my major to marketing.  After reaching out to her I scored an awesome marketing internship working as her intern at Canopy Marketing.  An internship obtained thanks to attending a networking event.  But this isn't the only time my presence at a networking event benefited me.

On February 6, 2014 the Office of Strengths and Vocation sponsored a 'Succesful Branding' event that I went to.  The event featured 5 professional panelists that I had the pleasure of conversing with afterwards.  Having already gotten a great internship, I was not really interested in hunting for a job.  Though this was not my pursuit, a few days following the event one of the panelists, Scott Schimmel, contacted me with a job opportunity as a PR/event planning intern for his company, YouSchool.

Clearly events faciliate a great environment to make great connections.  The good news is that one of these exciting opportunities is coming up.  The annual "Dealmakers of the Year" Business Breakfast is going to be held April 10, 2014 at the Liberty Station Conference Center.  Although the primary purpose of the event is to recognize individuals and businesses that display honorable practices for the San Diego region, it is also strategically set up to be the premiere networking event for us students.  The way this is designed is for students to be seated with one of our top industry choices.  They have set it all up for us, now all we have to do is register, show up, and network!

Click here and register for your seat at #Dealmakers2014 and choose your top three industries to build your network! 

(Written by Alicia Wagoner)


(San Diego, Calif. – February 19, 2014) – Thursday, February 20th PLNU will kick off the 19th Annual Writer’s Symposium by the Sea on the Point Loma campus with featured guest, Samuel Freedman. 


An award-winning author, professor and New York Times columnist, Freedman is a master storyteller, known for his insightful, well-researched writing that creates powerful narratives of people engaged with the issues of race, faith, and other issues of social justice faced by modern American culture. Books include Breaking the Line, Jew vs. Jew, Small Victories, Letters to a Young Journalist, and more.


Thursday’s event begins at 7p.m. with a conversation between Freedman and PLNU Journalism Professor, Dean Nelson in Salomon Theatre on PLNU’s main campus. Freedman is also presenting an afternoon workshop on Thursday at 1:30, “Trust Me, I’m A Writer”. Full details and registration information can be found here. The Writer’s Symposium continues with full force into the following week and runs through February 27th. The 19th annual event features a number of workshops and key note conversations with Siddhartha Mukherjee, Jeannette Walls and Anne Lamott. 


Writer’s Symposium by the Sea is an annual event that brings interviews with cutting edge creators, life stories, examples of great writing, and evocative conversation that will inspire the reader and writer alike. The evening interviews, conducted by symposium founder Dean Nelson, feature lively conversations about the stories behind the author’s stories. The audience gets to eavesdrop on these exchanges and even interact with the writer during a Q&A session that follows. Specialized afternoon workshops, conducted by published writers, provide tips and insight into the writing process. You are invited to join us and listen in on what some of today’s cutting edge writers have to say! Past guests have included Ray Bradbury, Anne Lamott, Philip Yancey, Dave Eggers, Amy Tan, Bill McKibben, Donald Miller, George Plimpton, and many more.


The offices of Strengths and Vocation put together another successful evening of networking which gave our students the chance to meet and learn from professionals in their fields of interest.  This event allowed them to learn more about what the professionals do, where they work, and how they got started - all at an event that was  small enough to promote real conversations.


Undergraduate students from PLNU's Fermanian School of Business, many eager to begin careers in the field of marketing, dressed in their professional best to hear a group of five experts present insight on successful branding for the "Successful Branding: From Corporate Brand to Personal Brand" event sponsored by the Office of Strengths and Vocation (OSV) on February 6, 2014.  Each panelist shared insight from their specialized area of expertise, with one unmistakable overarching theme: authenticity and passion.

Scott Schimmel, a professional trainer and coach at YouSchool, Inc., kicked off the night sharing the concept of "developing a story" in personal branding; he told a story of his friend who, not knowing what exactly he wanted to do in life, went into law because that is what his brother did.  Although this made for a "good story" it wasn't his story.  "Who would want to walk up to the pearly gates and hear God say, 'Hey, why did you do someone else's life?" he asked the attentive audience.

While Scott generally works with youth, panelist Simon Vetter, who works with corporate leaders and managers, was in agreement.  He encouraged the students to start with what is important to them and find what they are passionate about.

Simon has worked with corporations like Microsoft and Dell to address and solve leadership issues.  He shared an experience where a leader was innovative and great at solving problems, yet his coworkers hated working for him due to his inability to listen and tendency to stifle creativity from his workforce.  Simon helped him learn to listen better and the employee feedback was encouraging.

For Simon, corporate internal branding is about reputation.  In conversation during the networking portion of the event, he shared that unfortunately many times people are not good leaders but their brand remains in high esteem.  "Take NBA, the highest scoring basketball player can be a real jerk but he's still the highest scoring basketball player and they're not going to fire him,"  he said.  If the reputation can be sustained in the absence of integrity, what is the motivation behind trying to improve a leader's interaction with their coworkers?  What is the point if they are going to be successful anyways?  Panelist Denise Yohn had an answer.  For Denise, it is not about how the public perceives you.  It is about being the way you want the public to perceive you.

Denise Yohn has worked with companies like Frito-Lay and Oakley, helping them find their company's target range and conveying it to the entire team.  She dislikes the term 'branding' and swaps it for the term 'brand building.'  When conversing with Denise, a marketing sophomore student mentioned the word "reputation" - an idea favored by Simon - only to watch her cringe.  For Yohn, the implication is that the company has to be good at putting up a convincing facade.

Liz Goodgold, branding expert and motivational speaker, is not 100% in agreement.  Liz shared that there is a "7-second-hook."  In other words, we have only seconds when meeting someone to impress them.  For Goodgold, it is about presentation.  

Liz shared three important keys in branding: consistency, alertness, and relevancy.  In regards to being alert, Liz encouraged students to "R&D" or rather "Rip-Off and Duplicate."  The panelists shook their heads in agreement with this idea of noticing what great brands do well, and emulating them.  Her relevancy concept was very similar to Scott's message of "authenticity."

One of the most impactful things Liz shared in regards to authenticity was that it takes great courage to maintain a brand.  Some companies may not want to hire you because your personal brand is inconsistent with theirs.  When this happened to Goodgold she said, "Good!"  She does not want a company to hire her if she cannot stay true to her authentic brand.

Perhaps the most unique of the panelists was Terry Hogelucht, a graphic designer who unlike the other panelists took a much more tangible angle of branding.  Though he went a different route, the theme prevailed.  This first questions he asks his clients are "Who are you?  Who do you want to be?"  After grasping these answers, Terry proceeds to the design phase to find a visual representation that is timeless.  Later during networking conversations, Hogelucht mentioned that once a logo is developed, it stays with you.  Like the other panelists mentioning consistency and authenticity, Terry's logo and visual brand development equally emphasizes a similar theme.

Scott Schimmel said it best when he said, "What does God want me to do?  Is there one thing? ...I don't think God cares what we do nearly as much as we think He does."  When discovering your personal brand, he advised the students to not get caught up in searching for a predetermined plan.  "Find what you're passionate about,"  he said, "Find what irritates you."  Often what irritates you reveals what you are passionate about.  Discovering who we are uncovers what our personal, timeless brand will be.

Written by Alicia Wagoner


Calvin College is hosting a conference on Faith and International Development. This is a great opportunity to hear from some amazing people doing great work in the International Development sector. Check out the page linked above and email with any questions. We are looking to provide some scholarhsip for a few students interested in going and would love for many more to attend. If you are interested in attending and applying for a partial scholarship email us and we will forward on more information. 

Center for International Development