Tag Archives: Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Mike Dorrell

What if effective cancer treatments didn’t cause serious and uncomfortable side effects? What if people with vision loss could have their sight fully restored? These challenging, worthy feats are the end goals of the research to which Dr. Mike Dorrell, PLNU professor of biology, has devoted his career. A full-time, tenured faculty member at PLNU, Dorrell also spends one day a week overseeing research as a senior staff scientist at the Lowy Medical Research Institute (LMRI), which is dedicated to understanding and treating the eye…

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Ines Irawati

Ines Irawati, vocal coach and pianist, has a long list of impressive musical credentials. But it’s the less tangible elements of her career, the experiences beyond those offered by any degree, program, or performance, that have impacted Irawati’s life the most. Irawati’s musical journey began at the age of three, after being separated from her parents overnight to undergo surgery. Unable to have them by her side, she was left fearful of being apart from them. To help deal with the anxiety that resulted from…

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From Private Grief to Community Concern

On a Saturday evening in early January 2014, PLNU associate dean of education Dr. Conni Campbell’s 22-year-old son, Brady, was desert camping in Imperial County with old friends from Point Loma High School (PLHS). He was off-roading his truck with two of them. Brady’s friend made a sudden and too sharp turn. The truck rolled. Brady was ejected from the vehicle. Campbell’s phone rang that evening in San Diego, relaying the unthinkable, shattering news that Brady had died at the scene of the crash. By…

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Restoring the Past, Healing the Present

Last year, PLNU psychology professor Dr. Dan Jenkins was invited to preach at a Thanksgiving Day service. Considering what to share, he felt prompted to write a letter of gratitude to his father, to then read during the service. “Dear Dad,” Jenkins began, his father beaming in the second row. “I have never written a letter of gratitude to you before.” Jenkins thanked his father for blessings great and small. He thanked him for wrestling together on the living room floor when Jenkins was a…

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Q&A with Jamie Gates

A groundbreaking, three-year study examining the relationship between gangs, the community and sex trafficking in San Diego County was recently published by Dr. Jamie Gates, PLNU director of the Center for Justice and Reconciliation, and Dr. Ami Carpenter, associate professor of peace and conflict resolution from the University of San Diego. We sat down with Gates to learn more about this large-scale research project titled “Measuring the Nature and Extent of Gang Involvement in Sex Trafficking in San Diego.” Q: What type of data informed…

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Ronda Winderl

For Dr. Ronda Winderl, professor of communication and theatre and director of the London Semester Program at PLNU, performing has always been as natural as breathing. With a dramatist for a mom, Winderl grew up learning that everything could have a theatrical base, and was often the assistant and resident actor for her mom’s creative endeavors. Those seeds took root, prompting Winderl to earn a bachelor’s in drama and speech from Olivet Nazarene University, a master’s in directing from Emerson College, and a doctorate in…

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Scott Bennett

Dr. Scott Bennett’s students know what it’s like to be challenged, to be pushed beyond their comfort zones. Whether they are encouraged to visit a less-traveled country like Colombia, or asked to stretch themselves creatively by crafting a poem, Bennett’s Spanish major and minor students have felt his push to connect them with Latin American culture in a transformative way. The best classroom for Bennett is being fully immersed within another culture, exploring the vibrant European heart of Buenos Aires, walking along the ancient stone…

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David Phillips

BY WENDY ROBINSON In Apple Valley, Calif., a volunteer deputy sheriff heaved a sorrowful sigh before walking up to a house belonging to a family that had just lost their child in a drunk driving accident. It wasn’t his first experience delivering this type of news. Over his 10 years as a deputy sheriff, he would walk up to many doors of families in similar circumstances. Whether it was sharing the news of a suicide or answering a domestic violence call, it was the deputy…

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Heather Ross

BY WENDY ROBINSON When you sit in a classroom during a discussion led by Heather Ross, associate professor of philosophy, you’ll most likely sit in a circle, surrounded by peers and Ross herself. Ross intentionally chooses a circle of chairs for learning so every participant is both teacher and learner. Accountability is formed, trust is earned, and respect is fostered, she explained. Because of the deep nature of the subject of philosophy, she added, a strong sense of community is not just helpful but necessary. “It’s…

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Michael Lodahl

BY CHRISTOPHER HAZELL As you step into Dr. Michael Lodahl’s office, you’re instantly immersed into the heart of academia. Shelves brimming with countless books, ranging from rabbinic theology to 18th century philosophy, adorn the quaint, scholarly room. Lodahl sits with a view of the Pacific stretched out before him. He is a lover of books, ideas, deep conversation, and, as any student of his will tell you, thoughtful questions. “I love reading and thinking about ideas,” said Lodahl. “And I’ve always loved writing.” It’s these inner proclivities that eventually led Lodahl to PLNU as a professor of…

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Jeff Sullivan

BY TIFFANY MUSICK MATTHEWS When students ask PLNU professor and chair of the Department of Kinesiology Dr. Jeff Sullivan for career advice, he tells them to find what they’re passionate about and distinctly gifted in and use that to partner with God in what He’s doing. For Sullivan, this is more than advice; these are the words he lives by. “I feel incredibly and uniquely called to be a teacher,” he said. “It wakes me up in the morning.” As blessed as he feels to teach,…

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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…

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