Madison Kay Stoner
Why did you choose your major? What interested you in this particular field of study?
I have been interested in people for as long as I can remember! Private experiences and thoughts that relate to relational dynamics throughout one’s life – how can you not find that fascinating? It felt so natural and right to declare my major at CBU as psychology.
What did you think about your professors?
The material that I studied during my time in undergraduate studies at CBU was just beyond amazing. However, it was my professors who elevated my experience—their knowledge of the subjects was clearly evident in their lectures and classes. Their passion to share their knowledge and experience was so palpable in class, I couldn’t help but be inspired. Even now, their support is freely given and is something that I am truly grateful for. Additionally, the spiritual component they provided was such an important piece of my educational journey. Tied into their material or lived out by example, I learned so much about Christ’s compassion, grace and intended purpose for his creation.
One powerful example, for me, happened in my junior year of undergrad. My older sister was in a very serious car accident a few hours away. My parents and I immediately drove to the hospital and stayed with her in the hospital for about a week’s time. This happened right around midterms and I was nervous about due dates and the impending makeup work when I was able to return. Each and every professor that I emailed responded with some sort of variation of, “Please do not worry about any school work during this time, we will discuss a plan of action upon your return. Also, know that I will be praying for your sister’s recovery as well as for you and the rest of your family.” I was so incredibly touched and remain grateful for their compassion and kindness.
Did you participate in anything else at CBU?
I was able to be a part of the psychology and sociology clubs at CBU as well as part of the Alpha Phi chapter of Alpha Kappa Delta. These organizations provided many opportunities for insightful discussion and further learning.
How did you grow as a person (spiritually, socially, educationally) while in this
program at CBU?
18 to 22 years old—this age range is usually marked by extensive personal growth. For me, CBU was a huge part of that growth. The education growth I experienced was almost immeasurable. Upon graduation, I went through what I would classify as a fairly normal period of reflection and hesitation; I lacked confidence in my knowledge. However, I quickly realized that a large part of that hesitation came from wrongly assuming that much of my knowledge was common – that I didn't know any more than the average person. CBU's program did such an effective job, that it all seemed second nature to me! Socially, CBU was such a blessing. I actually spent my first semester of undergrad at a different university. It was that university's lack of community and on-campus life that led me to look for another option. From the moment I emailed someone about potential enrollment, there was a friendliness that I had not experienced previously. Additionally, I met my close group of friends at CBU. They have all been such immeasurable blessings to my life—providing me with an amazing network of support and community.
I truly believe that I am a better version of myself because of my experience at CBU and more specifically because of the behavioral sciences program. My sense of empathy was exercised and grew as a result, my interpersonal dynamics have morphed to incorporate healthy boundaries for myself as well as an understanding of other people, their innate worth and the factors contributing to their perspective.
Did your major help you figure out your purpose?
I feel like I've known my purpose for a long time, but both of my majors definitely helped me confirm it. They also helped me hone in on my strengths and weaknesses and how they play into my intended future career. I believe my purpose is to empower others and help them heal. Luckily for me, this purpose can be lived out not only in my career but also in my general day-to-day life.
What have you done since graduating?
I have not achieved as much as I would have liked to achieve since graduation. During my last semester of undergrad my father was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's and I myself had some health concerns that needed to be addressed. So the time following graduation has been spent trying to get back on my feet and get my bearings.
I started volunteering at the residential youth program Trinity Youth Services in Yucaipa. I started substitute teaching for Colton Unified School District. I am now in my second year of CBU's M.S. in Counseling Psychology program in which I will be pursuing dual licensure as LMFT and LPCC.
Is there anything you learned at CBU that you still use in your professional life
How are you making a difference in the world? How are you living your purpose?
Making a difference in the world felt something akin to reaching the peak of a mountain climb. However, the more I live and reflect the more I understand that making a difference in the world starts with the smallest of things. I believe I'm making a difference in the world by working on myself as a person; working to be a better partner, citizen, voter, friend, peer, daughter and scholar. As a result of this, I believe I am making a difference in the world with every task that I do and every job that I take.
Career wise, I believe I'm making a difference by helping other people through brokenness. Whether it's clinical or relational, most people who come to counseling or therapy are experiencing some type of brokenness. It keeps me motivated knowing that I will be a part of getting someone through something difficult. I will be able to show God's light and love to so many people, simply by being His hands and being there for His people in their time of need.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I am so incredibly grateful for CBU's CBSS. It has played a huge part of shaping me into who I am today, how I interact with the larger world and how I view Christ.