Taylor Faranda

Anticipated Graduation Year: 2012

Majors: Cross-Cultural Studies; Spanish

Hometown: Colorado Springs, Colo.

Whitworth activities/clubs: Residence life, where I have served as a resident assistant in East Hall for the past two years; Intramural Frisbee; Internship with Partners International, a Spokane-based ministry

Favorite book: A toss-up between: Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers and The Only Road North by Erik Mirandette

Favorite food: I love Mexican and Italian food.

Favorite quote: "The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." -- Frederick Buechner

Favorite thing about Whitworth: The professors and staff. I am beyond grateful for the way in which I have been supported and encouraged by them during my time here at Whitworth. They have shared life with me, and this has helped me grow into the person I was created to be more than anything else in these college years. I know that as I graduate from Whitworth, these people will continue to play a foundational role in my life and future.

Favorite off-campus study program experience: If you love learning about the culture and politics of other countries, are interested in the Spanish language, and desire an intense study program that will completely reshape your view of our world, then the Central America Study Program (CASP) is for you. I wholeheartedly recommend that all Whitworth students try to study abroad before they graduate, because it adds enrichment to your education that will serve you for the rest of your life. I chose the CASP program, which was a unique, informative, and life-defining four-month journey through Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. From learning a life of simplicity and the importance of relationships in one-month Honduran home stays to recognizing the impact every choice we make has on those around us in Costa Rica, and all the millions of stories and lessons in between, my life was changed. And I have come to realize that if we really desire to grow as children of God, created in His image to "bring good news to the poor…bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound…to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes" (Isaiah 61), then we must seek all opportunities we can to learn about our fellow mankind and to insist that justice be delivered in the here and now. Study-abroad trips allow you to learn about the world we live in and the people we call "neighbors"—all humanity. They teach you to think critically about how to make decisions for ourselves and our world that create a better place, a healthier world to live in, and relationships of peace and ultimately, the greatest gift, love.

Favorite professor: I would have to say Michael LeRoy, the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty. He taught our Latin American Politics class the fall of my junior year, and he also traveled with the Central America Study Program during our time in Costa Rica. He teaches with a fortitude and passion to share with his students all that he has learned and seen in his life and travels. I believe the exact moment he became one of my favorite professors was right before he showed us the film Romero about Archbishop Oscar Romero's life and work in El Salvador. With tears forming in his eyes, he looked at each of us and told us how hard it was for him to have to teach us the painful parts of history. He'd rather not have to put us through that. But he has to, because we need to see it to understand and learn from mistakes so that we can make a better world for ourselves and others. This heartfelt statement proved to me that Whitworth professors aren't just here to have a job, they desire from the depths of their hearts that students take something meaningful out of their classes and become passionate about it. This is why I believe Whitworth graduates are so successful—they've been inspired by the best.  

My best Whitworth moment or experience: The three traditiations I have been a part of—one as a freshman and two as leadership. I met some of my closest friends during this time! I cannot begin to explain the bonds and friendship that is formed over these couple of days at the beginning of the school year. It is so, so special—and so uniquely Whitworth. There's nothing quite like dorm pride—which at Whitworth means the beginning of a new family and a new place to call home.
Advice for incoming students: My freshmen year was an amazing time, and looking back, I wish I would have known how special and unique those moments were, times lived only once in a person's life. Take advantage of every second, from your parents embarrassing you in front of your new roommate as you move in to Mock Rock in the first few days of Traditiation. And laugh a lot. I wish that in all the hustle and bustle of meeting new people, I would have remembered to take time alone to reflect--to remember my purpose and calling and to extend gratefulness to God for the opportunity to be in such a great place.

How Whitworth is preparing me for graduate school or a career: Whitworth has, more than anything, allowed me space and inspired creativity to ask the hard questions and to really dig deep and discover what I'm passionate about and what talents I possess. I may not know exactly what my future holds—teaching English abroad, some sort of volunteer corps, graduate school for international development, working for a non-profit—but I trust a Creator who "knows the plans He has for me" (Jeremiah 29:11). Whitworth has taught me to believe in myself and in His guidance.