Graduates share moments of their educational journeys: ‘I learned to be a part of something greater’
Riverside, Calif. (April 21, 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.
Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design
Bachelor of Arts in Photography
While Kylee Price is leaving with two degrees, she did not have a major when she started at CBU.
“I was still determining what I wanted to do,” Price said. “I took a photography class in the spring of my first year, which reignited my passion for photography. Shortly after I took that class, I learned that CBU had an interior design program and wanted to explore those interests as well.”
When the pandemic made classes virtual, she went home to Michigan. Taking a full load with a three-hour time difference was a challenge. And when she decided to double major, it added an extra year at CBU. However, she is grateful to have had an additional year to enjoy CBU in a normal capacity, she said.
“CBU is where I learned who I am as an individual and how I can impact the world through photographs and interiors,” Price said. “CBU is where I learned to be a part of something greater than myself. The professors here constantly push you to dig deeper and improve yourself — always challenging you to be the best that you can be.”
She wants to work at an interior design firm and as a freelance photographer. Price is especially thankful for Christopher Kern, program lead for photographer, who helped her on her educational journey.
“He is the type of professor who is always rooting for you and wants you to do your best work but also be the best version of yourself that you can be,” Price said. “He is a mentor with abundant knowledge that he is always willing to share.”
Bachelor of Science in Accounting
Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies
Rachel Blom chose to attend CBU because being a part of a Christian community was very important to her.
“When I set foot on campus as a senior in high school, I knew that this could be a place where I could really do well and where I could grow both academically and spiritually,” Blom said.
Blom said a lot of professors poured into her life during her time at CBU. Two of them were Dr. Jeffrey Mooney, professor of Old Testament interpretation and theology, and Dr. Chris Morgan, dean of the School of Christian Ministries.
“It was [Dr. Mooney’s] teaching that really got me excited about reading the Word. Prior to taking his class, I did not have a desire to read the Old Testament because I didn’t understand it. … I have truly discovered a newfound desire to read and study the Word of God,” Blom said. “Dr. Morgan has always been intentional about getting to know his students and cares more about us as people than the grades we receive in his class.”
She wants to go on to earn an MBA and become a certified public accountant.
In upper-division courses, she said assignments and presentations were preparing her for life after college – from research to critical thinking to public speaking.
“My professors did an amazing job of taking classroom concepts and teaching them so that we could apply them to the real world,” Blom said.
Bachelor of Computer Science
Nick DiSanto chose to attend CBU for a couple reasons. He is a passionate trumpet player, and the Shelby and Ferne Collinsworth School of Performing Arts provided a scholarship for playing in the ensembles.
“Additionally, as compared to large public universities, CBU's culture made me feel much more at home and desired, not just a simple number on a page,” DiSanto said.DiSanto started out as an electrical engineering major before changing to computer science. (It’s OK to switch majors, he said.) His sophomore year all classes were virtual due to COVID, but he still lived on campus, providing him time to work on research projects.
By senior year, DiSanto knew he wanted to continue artificial intelligence research. DiSanto has a job at General Electric, and he also wants to pursue a graduate degree in computer science.
“My plan is to pursue a career in researching safe and efficient ways to advance AI applications,” he said.
Faculty helped along the way as he conducted research and pursued grad school. He enjoyed working with Dr. Dan Grissom, associate professor of computer science, and Dr. Benjamin Sanders, assistant professor of computing, software and data sciences. Also, Dr. Anthony Corso, professor of computing, software and data sciences, provided experience in a research lab.
“I am incredibly thankful for them as I move forward as an aspiring computer science researcher,” DiSanto said. “The smaller class sizes, especially in upper-division courses, made professors extremely accessible and allowed for a lot of hands-on support.”