“Busy” is a tame word to describe the giant list of responsibilities Emma Newman carries this year. From long evenings spent in the library to savoring the “lasts” of senior year, her days are full of both purposeful reflection on her time at Biola and quiet anticipation for opportunities to come. 

Former captain of the Biola women’s basketball team, Emma stopped playing after sustaining an ACL injury during the 17–18 season. Emma reevaluated her priorities and made the tough decision to quit the sport she loves, choosing to instead dedicate her senior year solely to academics. Her athletic leadership skills easily translated to her passion for science as she exchanged the role of team captain to serve as president of the Health Sciences Club. 

Her focus on academics also led her to pursue an internship this past summer in the Vaccine Biology Laboratory at the University of Rochester in New York, where she conducted research on influenza vaccine administration in children. She worked with patients’ plasma samples and conducted “wet lab research” comparing live and dead u strains, observing them to discover which was more effective in producing an antibody response. 

The environment at Rochester was extremely career-focused, Emma said, and created a stark contrast to the faith-work balance she sees so evidently in the Biola community. 

“Life [at Biola] isn’t just about getting ahead but working together and working toward a goal of glorifying God,” Emma said. 

As a former student-athlete, Emma embraces healthy competition in both her work as an intern and her experiences as a gifted basketball player. She’s been playing basketball since fifth grade and has grown up learning the importance of determination and diligence in all areas of life. She hopes to maintain that mindset after graduation as she prepares for the academic demands of medical school. 

“Life should be competitive, we should do our best in a sense, but just bringing God’s grace into that in a loving environment [is important],” Emma said. 

This competitive spirit originally caused her to be skeptical of Biola — she had been determined to go to an Ivy League school to pursue her love of science and play basketball. However, after visiting Biola’s campus and meeting with science professors and the women’s basketball coach, all of that changed. 

Emma credits her decision to enroll at Biola to God’s direction, describing the university as “the perfect fit.” 

“It’s just been a continual journey of God just redirecting that path and showing me where he really wants me,” Emma said.