Series Aging Grace-Fully

Balancing College with Being a Caregiver

BY NAZARÉ SIMAS I was not quite two years old when my younger sister, Lizzy, was born. She was tiny and fragile and came into the world quite likely surrounded by angels. I was too young to realize that my path as a caregiver was about to be set into place but also at the perfect age where I wouldn’t know the difference. I became the big sister to a beautiful baby girl whose disabilities would help to formulate my life’s path. Prenatally, Lizzy was diagnosed with Triple X syndrome, also known as 47, XXX. She is, in fact, a “super woman” in that she has an extra female chromosome. She was in the breech position at birth (not uncommon for little ones with chromosomal issues) and was born via C-section with both of her hips dislocated. At the age of five days, she was placed in her first body harness to keep her hips in place. It was also at this point in time that my mother realized my grandfather was slowly walking through the stages of dementia, and life was about to get even more interesting. My earliest memories include my sister in a pelvic brace struggling to stand and take simple steps. The brace replaced the harness and kept Lizzy’s legs in a “frog position.” She had a quiet and serene personality and always had a smile on her face. While I didn’t necessarily realize that anything was “wrong” with Lizzy, I did soon realize that we […]

The Gift of Time

Experienced caregiver Allyson Ledsam wants people to know the difference their friendships and time can make.

The Art of Aging

The Rev. Dr. Jim Jackson Sr. breaks the mold when it comes to aging. He shares his advice on growing older while maintaining a strong life purpose.

Distinguished Achievement Award Winners: Fall 2013

Dr. Jonathan Salgado (M.A. 73) Dr. Jonathan Salgado (M.A. 73) was born and raised in a Quaker home in Guatemala. Much of his education was completed at Nazarene institutions, however, and he was ordained as a minister in the Church of the Nazarene in Los Angeles in 1970. He earned his master’s degree in religion from Pasadena College three years later. “Because I was attending school while a young pastor, I was eager to learn all I could,” Salgado said. He was strongly influenced by Drs. Frank Carver, Ruben Welch, and William McCumber, who he said were not just teachers but friends. He also built lifelong relationships with many classmates, including PLNU’s dean of the School of Theology and Christian Ministry, Dr. Ron Benefiel. Salgado and his wife, Maggie, whom he met in college, have spent their lives in ministry. They began by pastoring a multicultural congregation in Los Angeles before being invited by Dr. Jerald D. Johnson, to join the staff of Nampa College Church located on the campus of Northwest Nazarene University. “Dr. Johnson became my mentor of many years,” Salgado said. In the latter role, Salgado became deeply involved in special ministries related to peace and justice, serving inmates and migrant workers among others. Salgado has always been passionate about academics, so the Church of the Nazarene’s Department of World Missions appointed him to teach homiletics and New Testament at the European Nazarene Seminary in Switzerland. “A turning point for me was when I visited Auschwitz and […]

Athletics: Fall 2013

Hall of Fame Honors New Inductees BY DANNY BARNTS The PLNU Athletic Hall of Fame will open its doors for the first time in five years to induct Bill Young (56), Mathias Sundberg (97), Erin Kellar-Hill (03), Jessica Mercado (05), Ashley (Strimple) (07) Bowman, Joe Prince (07), Amanda (Addie) (08) Dyla, and the 1991 men’s cross country team as the ninth Hall of Fame class in school history. “Many athletes, coaches, and support people have helped shape the storied history of PLNU athletics,” said Ethan Hamilton, PLNU’s athletic director. “I would like to commend the selection committee on recognizing an extremely worthy class that will receive our athletic department’s highest honor.” The ceremony will be held on Sunday, Nov. 24 at 1 p.m. at the Liberty Station Conference Center (LSCC). Tickets are $50 per person and can be reserved by contacting Dianne Rabello at or (619) 849-2265. Here is a quick look at the 2013 PLNU Athletic Hall of Fame class. Amanda (Addie) Dyla One of the most decorated softball student-athletes of the Sea Lions’ great teams in the late 2000s, Dyla played for PLNU from 2005-08. She was named an NAIA All-American as a senior. Also a two-time NAIA All-Tournament selection as an outfielder, Dyla helped lead PLNU to a third place finish in the NAIA in 2006, a second place finish in 2007, and a third place finish in 2008. She is PLNU’s all-time leader in hits (334), runs (216), and stolen bases (185) while ranking third […]

Caregiving: The Challenge, Choices, and Love

Family caregivers face physical, psychological, and emotional challenges and many difficult decisions as they assist their loved ones. But there are also opportunities for deep joy and gratitude.

Michelle Chen

BY SHARON AYALA To explain her field of study, Dr. Michelle Chen, PLNU associate professor of physics, refers to a ball on her desk. It is hand-sized and made up of hexagons, like a soccer ball you can see all the way through. She points to each part and explains: each intersection of lines symbolizes a carbon atom and each line is a bond between them. It’s a visual representation of a carbon buckyball—the angstrom-sized (one ten-billionth of a meter), perfectly round molecule. If that ball were to be laid out flat and rolled back up into a cylinder, it would represent a carbon nanotube. The carbon nanotube is what Chen has been studying since her days in graduate school, and it’s what her students at PLNU dedicate much of their time researching as well. For its complexity and practical applications, it fits Chen’s strengths and proclivities. “I was always interested in science,” said Chen. “In high school, I was really interested in superconductors and levitation trains.” Her atypical interests only strengthened throughout high school as she decided she would study physics. In college, she narrowed her sights to experimental physics, which focuses more on data acquisition and hands-on exploration than theoretical prediction and explanation of physics concepts. After earning her undergraduate and master’s degrees in physics at the University of Chicago, she earned her Ph.D. in material science and engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. “I thought physics would be a good thing to study in order to understand […]

Intensive Care

BY SHARON AYALA Carol Kibler (87) recalls one clear indication that she was made for the medical field—
the thrill of her family’s biannual trip to Oregon to help friends bring their cattle in from pasture. Twice a year since the age of 10, Kibler and her family would administer shots to the cows as well as tag and brand them. “The blood never bothered me,” said Kibler. When the cardiac field first began using parts of cows’ hearts in human transplants in the early ’80s, Kibler was in high school. That didn’t stop her from interviewing for a graveyard shift caring for transplant cows. But she wasn’t made for the doldrums of a barn at night; she had adventure on her mind. Early in high school, she experienced her first professional adrenaline rush during an overnight ride-along on an ambulance. Kibler was hooked. She had suspected that one day she would work in the medical field, but this proved it, narrowing her sights to emergency medicine. She went to PLNU to study pre-med, 
but soon discovered that nursing was her perfect fit. “I found out just one piece of what nursing could be in college,” said Kibler. 
“I fell in love with nursing and being out 
on the scene.” It was only fitting that she took her studies outside the classroom and into the field. Kibler held many jobs in college —serving as a camp nurse in Yosemite, working the night shift at San Diego’s Sharp Memorial Hospital before her […]

PLNU in Costa Rica

BY DR. MIKE MOORING Since 2009, PLNU’s Department of Biology has led a biennial neotropical ecology field course in Costa Rica that has garnered rave reviews by students. In 2010, Dr. Mike Mooring, professor of biology, began leading his summer research students to Costa Rica to conduct field research on the large mammals of the Talamanca cloud forests. At the same time, Mooring and his colleague Dr. David Cummings began teaching in the spring semester program run by Southern Nazarene University (SNU) at its Costa Rica field station. And since 2012, Dr. Scott Bennett of the Department of Literature, Journalism & Modern Languages, has directed a Spanish language course in Costa Rica. To date, these new programs have involved the participation of five PLNU faculty members, dozens of students, and collaboration with SNU and Northwest Nazarene University. We asked Mooring to share about these programs and their bright future. Central to our biological initiatives in Costa Rica has been the Quetzal Education and Research Center (QERC) in the upper Savegre River Valley. Established in the 1980s through a partnership between Dr. Leo Finkenbinder of SNU and Don Efrain Chacon (who first pioneered the Savegre Valley in 1954), QERC is the base for our neotropical ecology course, my large mammal research, and the QERC spring semester. Jordan Young (10) and his wife, Meghan, are QERC’s full-time managers. The current facility was built in 2001 and provides a comfortable setting at 7,200 feet above sea level with housing for faculty and students, […]

Q&A with Dr. Ron Benefiel

Q&A with Dr. Ron Benefiel BY BRIAN BECKER PLNU was founded by P.F. Breese and is affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene, a holiness denomination birthed out of Wesleyan Methodism. PLNU’S dean of the School of Theology and Christian Ministry shares some of the ways this tradition informs life at PLNU today. Q: What are some distinctives at PLNU that are formed by Wesleyan/ Holiness thought? A: For me, it is really important to see the Methodist movement and the American Holiness movement, this Wesleyan tradition, as part of a larger Church of Jesus Christ. [The movement] is in unity with the Church through the creeds and through the history of the Church. This becomes a really important point. Rather than talking about Wesleyan distinctives, it’s Wesleyan affirmations. We’re not trying to show how we’re different from the rest of the Church. If anything, it’s about how we are a part of the Church—this is a movement that we believe has been raised up by God, in history, through the Wesleyan/Methodist revival that is a renewal movement within the Church catholic, not distinct from it. So it’s not Wesleyan distinctives, but out of the particularity of this movement, it’s Wesleyan affirmations. Q: So what are those affirmations for us? A: Right at the heart of that is holiness—holiness of heart and life. The Church of the Nazarene is a people with a story and a calling and a sense of being raised of God with a particular emphasis that we offer as a gift to the Church. That emphasis means that we have thought long and hard about the holiness of God and about the Holy Spirit, who calls us not only to reconciliation and redemption and salvation in the narrow sense but […]

From the Archives

This year, Homecoming celebrates 40 years since PLNU moved from its Pasadena location to the oceanfront Point Loma campus. In that time, a lot has changed, but the important things have remained the same. PLNU’s commitment to providing students with a quality education in a community founded on faith, service, and relationships is still the heartbeat of the school. Prescott Prayer Chapel is a symbol of that consistency. Originally built on the Pasadena campus, Prescott Prayer Chapel made the move to San Diego in 1973 along with the rest of the campus body. Today, it still stands in the center of campus as a beloved place of reflection and prayer and as a cherished monument to the character of PLNU, which, like the chapel, has stood the test of time. Reminisce by clicking on the photos below.


Our culture’s messages and our own fears can contribute to stereotypes about aging that are quite contrary to a biblical view of growing older.