News • December 13, 2022

Graduating students reflect on time at CBU

Graduating students reflect on time at CBU Riverside, Calif. (Dec. 13, 2022) – Excitement is in the air at California Baptist University as more than 900 students prepare to become part of the Class of 2022 during the fall commencement.

CBU will hold two ceremonies for graduates to celebrate with family and friends on Dec. 14. A total of 919 students are eligible to participate.

Combined applications for graduation consist of 24 candidates for doctoral degrees, 285 for master’s degrees and 610 candidates for undergraduate degrees. We interviewed a few graduates to find out about their time at CBU.

Graduating students reflect on time at CBU Jason Baron

Jason Baron will earn his Bachelor of Science in Nursing. He wants to pursue work in pediatrics.

Baron was diagnosed with bone cancer when he was 15 and again in his later teenage years. Then the cancer went into remission. In 2019, after almost 12 years, his cancer returned. He had surgery and stayed in school. But when cancer was discovered again in the fall of 2020, he took time off from school for chemotherapy.

The CBU professors have been supportive and understanding, Baron said.

“Even right now they're supporting me, making sure when I graduate, I'm going to have all the work that I need to have in,” Baron said. “Even other professors [outside of nursing] were very supportive and understanding and were very on my side, wanting to see me succeed.”

He pursued a college degree elsewhere before transferring to CBU.

“I liked the message — live your purpose,” Baron said. “I like how they incorporate the Christian values and the Christian application. I found that great to have in an education.”

Throughout the nursing program, Baron said he appreciated the skills taught and the experience provided along with the book information.

“They prepared us by not only the knowledge that they gave us in the program but also the clinical and skill knowledge,” Baron said. “They explained to us how important clinicals were and how they were a microcosm of what you'll be doing as a nurse. …  They had us doing various things in clinicals and ensuring that we were confident in terms of our skills and knowledge.”

Baron would tell incoming students that CBU professors will help them along the way.

“I would tell a new student that CBU professors are on your side and they'll work with you. Focus on the major that you want and CBU will support you on your journey, but it’s important to focus,” Baron said. “Once you follow that path, you'll see that it's so worth it, and there'll be so many wonderful rewards when you finish.”

Graduating students reflect on time at CBU Candice Cromwell

Candice Cromwell, who will receive a Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders, wants to work with children who have speech and language impairments. She also plans to attend graduate school.

Cromwell is grateful for the professors who made themselves available to the students.

“The professors in the CDS [communication sciences and disorders] department are as passionate and invested in our education and futures as much as we are,” Cromwell said. 

She said that many professors helped her, but she is especially appreciative of Dr. Namhee Kim, professor of communication sciences and disorders.

“Dr. Kim introduced me to many areas of the field of speech and language, which made me realize becoming a speech-language pathologist is my purpose,” Cromwell said.

Cromwell enjoyed being a member of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association CBU Chapter, building friendships with CDS students and networking with individuals in the field. She also appreciated the services at the Career Center, including mock interviews, resume reviews and career fairs.

Time management was crucial for Cromwell: She had to juggle being a single mom of four, being a full-time student, going to practicum sites for 18-plus hours a week, and volunteering at a speech and language therapy center every week.

“Finding the balance between school, family and volunteering was definitely a challenge and wouldn’t be possible without the support of all my family,” Cromwell said. “Being so involved in the field of speech and language has assured me that I am headed in the right direction and am living my purpose in life!”

She would encourage new students to use all the resources CBU offers, ranging from the Career Center and Disability Services to the Counseling Center and Campus Recreation.

“Also, never be afraid to ask questions. At CBU, the staff and professors are accommodating, and if they can't help you, they will guide you in the right direction to get the needed help,” Cromwell said.

Graduating students reflect on time at CBU Lillian McConnell

Lillian McConnell earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a minor in American Sign Language. She is in the middle of applying to law school.

“I chose to attend CBU because I genuinely felt as though I was the one being chosen. This university prioritizes their students above all else and I could feel that commitment to the student body when I was applying during my senior year of high school,” McConnell said. “Their support of me, even at the very beginning of my college journey, instilled a confidence within me about the quality of education and care I would receive at this university.”

McConnell is grateful for her professors, saying they have been friends and allies during her time at CBU. She said she is particularly thankful for the support of Dr. Chase Porter, assistant professor of political science.

“His personable style and wit in class made him immediately approachable. He also prioritizes the voices of the students and makes class a collaborative experience in which all the students have the freedom to voice their opinions freely and learn from one another,” McConnell said. “He has become a trusted friend and mentor.”

Another professor, Jim Bishop, associate professor of criminal justice and business law, took time to help her plan her educational journey with law school in mind, she said.

“He helped me to conceptualize the demands of law school. This meeting right at the beginning of my sophomore year, was vital in preparing me for the application process. I am grateful to [Professor] Bishop for his care and support,” McConnell said.

She encourages new students to be themselves.

“Do not change into a person you think people will like; do not hide away your true self out of fear. Promise yourself that you will be authentic no matter who you are with,” McConnell said. “If people cannot respect and appreciate you for who you are, do not give yourself to them. Set boundaries for yourself and prioritize people who are genuine and see you for who you truly are.”

Graduating students reflect on time at CBU Amber Stout

Amber Stout (‘20) will earn a Master of Science in Information Technology Management. She works in information technology for a government agency and hopes her new degree will help her advance in the workplace.

“CBU prepared me for my career as it is fast paced just like the IT environment,” Stout said. “With these new skills that I have learned, I cannot wait to use them at my workplace or in life.”

She earned her degree taking online classes.

“With my current schedule, [online classes] make it easy to work a full-time job and earn degrees at the same time,” Stout said.

Stout’s educational journey was a roller coaster, she said. In high school, she did not see herself going to college.

“I remember, high school me never wanted to go to college as I did not see myself being able to get a degree. When plans changed and I started my educational journey, I had a lot of up-and-down moments,” Stout said. “Once I got my bachelor’s degree, my family and boyfriend challenged me to get my master’s degree. I accepted the challenge and faced the same hardships. In the end, I went from never wanting to go to college to now finishing college with a master’s degree.”

Her advice to new students? Do not give up.

“No matter how hard it becomes, no matter how many times you must retake a class or must take a break, keep going. In the end it will be worth every hardship you face,” Stout said.

Contact CBU Marketing and Communication

Vice President for Marketing and Communication:
Angela Meluski

8432 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92504