"Business is a great tool for anything. Nearly a year after graduating, I wrote and published my first novel about an impoverished village in the Philippines. As an artist, I constantly have to market myself."

Social entrepreneurship shaped the varied trajectory of this 2015 B.S. in Business Administration graduate’s career to date — from serving others through her faith to engaging audiences through her words and media.

Today, 2015 graduate Alyssa Mei Liu has a career in the entertainment industry — one part novelist and the other an actress, freelance writer and dancer involved in multiple Hollywood projects.

Her path to this point appears less straightforward. Liu began her journey toward her purpose in California Baptist University’s Bachelor of Science in Business Administration program. Early on, she expressed an interest in full-time mission work, and to direct her passion and curiosity toward a career, one of her professors mentioned the program’s social entrepreneurship concentration, a series of courses highlighting how business acumen can uplift others and contribute to social change.

The combination encouraged Liu to think about our world and her place in it from an innovative, less-typical angle. With mentorship from faculty helping her question her purpose and her influence on others, she eventually went overseas through one of CBU’s International Service Projects (ISPs) and, following graduation, wrote a book focusing on an impoverished community in the Philippines.

Quick Facts

Program: B.S. in Business Administration
Concentration: Social Entrepreneurship
Graduation Year: 2015
Current Job Title: Freelance Author, Dancer, Aerialist
Hometown: Corona, CA
Current City: Los Angeles, CA

Life at CBU

Why did you choose your major? What interested you in this particular field of study?
Originally, I was planning on moving to Africa to work with orphans as a long-term missionary. Professor Donaldson knew about my passion and encouraged me to join the brand-new social entrepreneurship program.

What did you like about being in this program at CBU?
I learned so much about the world! More than that, my concentration challenged me to think of outside-of-the-box techniques to have a positive impact on different cultures and socioeconomic structures.

What did you think about your professors?
LOVED THEM! I had some pretty incredible professors.

Professor Donaldson always believed in me and seemed to see something special in me even when I didn’t.

Professor Key took the time to meet with me and help me digest and understand Buddhism when my dad was exploring the religion.

Professor Alderson always took the time to meet with me and listen to all my grand ideas and plans. Then he’d help me work out the kinks.

Professor Updegraff taught me how to develop my stories. If it wasn’t for him, my novels would only be 10 pages long!

Professor Mobley is and always was like a grandfather to me. (I knew him long before I was a student at CBU.)

And, of course, Professor Dr. Carla Liu is and will forever be the most amazing life teacher and mother to me.

Did you participate in anything else at CBU?
I did ISP in my second year at CBU. It taught me so much about how to handle myself overseas. I continued traveling after graduating (often by myself). The lessons I learned really equipped me. I’m now always prepared in case something crazy happens in a third-world country or while walking down the streets of L.A. More than that, I can now twist my testimony and the good news into any conversation without thinking twice.

Did your major help you figure out your purpose?
Yes. My fascination and understanding of impoverished villages only grew. Nearly a year after graduating, I wrote and published my first novel about an impoverished village in the Philippines. Currently, I am working on a second book with my editor about a village in Uganda. I still have faith that I will one day develop a social entrepreneurship in Africa. For now, I will continue writing entertaining books that educate people, selling them and giving proceeds to the right organizations and building a network that will be involved on a grand scale when the time is right.

Life after CBU

What have you done since graduating?
Since graduating, I have published a book called A Step Outside. I’ve also pursued a career in Hollywood as a freelance writer, dancer, aerialist and actress. I’ve been featured on several television shows, including Heathers, On My Block and Criminal Minds. I’ve also danced for well-known music artists and at a couple of L.A. County events.

How has your major and time at CBU prepared you for your life and career after college?
Obviously, business is a great tool for anything. As an artist, I constantly have to market myself. It has also helped me break down and understand different cultures on a socioeconomic level for my books.

Is there anything you learned at CBU that you still use in your professional life today?
It wasn’t until my last year at CBU that I accepted who I was and settled into it fully. Once I did, the world unlocked for me. One of the best pieces of advice I got was from a coworker. My first job was as a wedding coordinator. I didn’t know anything about weddings at the time. When I asked my coworker how she was so good at the job, she said that she acts the part until she becomes it. 

CBU taught me how to carry myself professionally. But once I started to really act like a professional (even though I didn’t always feel like it), people started to take me more seriously. I audition at least twice a week (which is like interviewing all the time!). I don’t always feel like I have enough training or like I am the best role for the part. However, if I act the role and carry myself in a way that exudes confidence, I usually book the job.

How are you making a difference in the world? How are you living your purpose?
At first, I was surprised that I took such a dramatic shift in life. While in the Ugandan airport, getting ready to fly back to America, a man mentioned how completely different Uganda and Hollywood are. He thought it was odd that we were so involved in both. At first, I thought God made a mistake or I was drifting from my path. I thought I was supposed to help orphans. But, over time, I’ve come to understand that God is building a platform for me in the entertainment capital of the world to be an advocate for the less fortunate. I use my books as tools to educate people and move them into action to understand and help those overseas. I also use my books as tools to minister to people’s hearts, especially to those with mental illnesses. 

As for my role in the entertainment industry, I meet new people every day. Sometimes I’m stuck on set for 15 hours. It’s an incredible way to get to know people and minister to them. The best part is, many of the people I meet will be tomorrow’s most prominent voices in the world. The world looks to America and America’s loudest mouthpiece is Hollywood. Instead of being sent to one country or ministering to one person at a time, I can feel God cultivating me to reach millions at once whether through friends or myself.

Would you recommend CBU to others?
You don’t have to know who you are or what you want out of life to go to CBU. You don’t even have to fit in. I sure didn’t. But if you take advantage of every program, class and opportunity that fits who you are as an individual, CBU will make you soar.

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To Contact the CBU Alumni Association Directly:

Email: alumni@calbaptist.edu
Phone: (951) 343-4439