News • April 21, 2023

Graduates share moments of their educational journeys: ‘Remain committed to your dreams’

Graduates share moments of their educational journeys: ‘Remain committed to your dreams’

Riverside, Calif. (April 20, 2023) – As spring commencement approaches, excitement is in the air at California Baptist University as nearly 1,800 students prepare to become part of the Class of 2023.

CBU will hold five ceremonies for graduates to celebrate with family and friends on April 24-26.

Combined applications for graduation consist of 21 candidates for doctoral degrees, 600 for master’s degrees and 1,174 candidates for undergraduate degrees. We interviewed a few graduates to find out about their time at CBU.

Rosalee Tilden
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

Graduates share moments of their educational journeys: ‘Remain committed to your dreams’Rosalee Tilden chose California Baptist University for a few reasons — she enjoyed the campus’ atmosphere and had two siblings attend CBU.

“CBU has helped confirm my passion for psychology and I [now] feel prepared to go into counseling,” Tilden said. “I have a solid foundation in not only my knowledge of psychology but also in my faith and how I view the world from a biblical perspective.”

Tilden began at CBU in-person and then switched to online after her husband, who is in the military, was stationed in Florida. They then moved to Texas in fall 2022.

“The transition to online was great. I never took a break in my semesters because of that,” Tilden said. “Being able to continue my education through it all has been a blessing.”

She will next work toward her master’s in clinical mental health counseling.

A transfer student, Tilden realized her passion for counseling when she came to CBU. Two favorite teachers were Dr. Robert Crosby, professor of psychology, and Dr. Laura Freeman, professor of psychology.

 “My teachers recorded lectures that integrated their personalities into the lessons to keep it lively and engaging. They went off on minor tangents about things they are really passionate about, which helped me to see a future in the career of counseling,” Tilden said. “The lectures felt more like conversations, which made it feel like more of a classroom setting as opposed to disconnected as some online courses can feel.”

Jessica Johanson
Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders
Bachelor of Arts in Intercultural Studies

Two degrees from CBU isn’t enough for Jessica Johanson. She will pursue a master’s in speech-language pathology here in the fall. Her goal is to work as a speech-language pathologist overseas on the mission field. 

“I knew I always wanted to attend a Christian university, and when I toured CBU, I knew this was the place I needed to be,” Johanson said. “CBU had both of my degrees, and both had great programs with professors who cared about their students and wanted to help them, both inside the classroom and out.”

Johanson transferred to CBU after earning two associate degrees at a community college. She will graduate within the four years of starting college. She also performed in three theatre performances and went on two International Service Projects.

Johanson said many professors have supported her along the way. Dr. Candace Vickers, professor of communication sciences and disorders, helped her through a difficult time. Johanson continues to go to her when she needs advice or prayers. Damon Horton, the director of the intercultural studies program, helped her figure out how to combine the two degrees. He also showed her how she could work with children and families all over the world as a speech pathologist.

“CBU has great faculty and staff who truly want to see their students succeed. I had support and advice from professors and Academic Advising when I needed it,” Johanson said. “My professors not only taught me the material I needed to know but also helped me know how to apply it to the field.”

Fatemeh Davoodi Samiri
Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Fatemeh Davoodi Samiri moved with her daughter from Iran eight years ago. Her son – who was over 21 at the time – has still not been able to join them. As a single mother with no family in the U.S. for support, she worked and attended school full-time while learning English.

“My journey has taught me the importance of never giving up and to always remain committed to your dreams, as they can come true with dedication and hard work,” Davoodi Samiri said.

She chose CBU because of its nursing program, offering students a supportive environment to pursue their goals.

“I have been fortunate to have amazing professors and staff members who have provided me with support, guidance and motivation throughout my academic journey,” Davoodi Samiri said. “They have given me resources and advice to help me succeed, and I am grateful for their mentorship and friendship.”

Davoodi Samiri wants to work as an intensive care unit nurse.

“CBU provided me with a deep sense of compassion and a commitment to serving others through a Christian worldview and a strong connection with God,” she said. “These values have been invaluable in my nursing career, enabling me to provide quality patient care and make a positive impact in the lives of my patients.”

Contact CBU Marketing and Communication

Vice President for Marketing and Communication:
Angela Meluski

8432 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92504