One of the best ways to truly understand a school’s impact is to ask students to tell their own stories. Join us in getting to know Crowell students and recent alumni and how they have been transformed — by professors, by fellow students, by God — during their time at Biola in our series, Character and Career: Stories of Transformation.
When May 2020 business management graduate Lydia Batanghari talks about diversity and inclusion, she does it from passion but also from experience. Batanghari grew up on the other side of the world. Born in the U.S., she grew up in Jakarta, Indonesia and moved back to the U.S. to start at college at Biola.
For Batanghari, diversity is a win-win — prioritizing diversity and inclusion will benefit organizations and also each member of the organization. Her time at Biola not only helped her learn to speak up, it became a place where God gave her a practical outlet for her passions.
“I have recently felt God tugging at me all the more,” she shared. “I believe that He has given me a passion for diversity for a reason. As a white-passing person, with my privilege comes a responsibility to help generate change and to amplify the voices of those intentionally or unintentionally silenced by the systems many institutions have in place.”
Here, Batanghari shares how God used Biola to uncover her passions and connect them to her career goals.
Why did you select Biola?
The main reasons I selected Biola were the programs for global students. Though I am half American, I lived in Indonesia all my life, and coming to the U.S. was a big transition for me. I knew I needed support from others who knew what I was going through, and Biola’s Global Student Programs and Development provided that. Being able to participate in the Torrey Honors College was definitely a perk as well!
I’d really like to go into human resources, so my major and minor worked together really well in preparing me for a people-facing career. Working for Student Enrichment and Intercultural Development (SEID) for two years was a welcome addition to my Biola experience and, though I did not expect it, the things I learned there fit really well with the corporate career I want to pursue.
I was the administrative coordinator for SEID, in the Division of Diversity and Inclusion at Biola, and working in that environment taught me how important diversity is, particularly in workplaces and educational institutions such as Biola. More companies have recognized the value of diversity and inclusion, so they’ve begun to create formal teams to do this type of work. Usually this task, formal or informal, falls to HR, where I’d like to be.
It was sometimes difficult for me to balance everything. I was typically taking Torrey Honors classes and 17 to18 units every semester, in addition to working. But I was very blessed that the things I learned in my classes and my on-campus job fit together well.
Why a business major?
I came into Biola undeclared. My freshman year, I was taking classes to experience different majors. That spring, I took a business class and a communication studies class. Both of them were really interesting, so I decided to do both — major in Business, minor in Communication Studies. What drew me to business was the HR unit in my Principles of Management class. Hearing about how HR works with the rest of an organization was fascinating. I also felt that business as a major was broad enough for me to do different things, in case I didn’t go into HR. I’ve definitely learned a lot!
What did you discover about yourself at Biola?
I’m surprised how much I came out of my shell, I think largely due to Torrey’s discussion-based classes. I remember barely speaking as a freshman because I felt I had nothing smart to contribute. However, I realized that not only are my opinions just as valuable as everyone else’s, but it’s okay to be wrong. My Torrey cohort was united in our pursuit of truth, and wrong answers were just as important to those pursuits as right ones. So I’m much more confident in myself, largely thanks to the loving community my cohort built the past four years.
Have you sensed God’s movement in your life at Biola?
I’ve seen God moving on the diversity and inclusion front at Biola. Having worked in SEID, and with my personal passion for diversity, I saw a lot of places where Biola needs to grow, in valuing diversity, in taking tangible steps toward making Biola a place where all people feel they belong, and achieving a culture of true respect and value for all people of all backgrounds.
But the lament session that was held before the pandemic, as well as the university’s efforts to create a strategic plan for diversity, are definitely steps in the right direction. God is moving at Biola and in the wider community, and I hope to use the gifts and passions He has given me to be part of that change.
What’s next, now that you’ve graduated?
I’ve been aiming at the corporate world, in human resources, administrative work, or diversity and inclusion. I have a passion for creating positive change on an individual and a systemic level, especially in creating more inclusive workplaces so that people from different backgrounds feel a sense of belonging. I want to make people feel supported and safe. My main goal is to help people grow personally and professionally, and it is a lot easier for us to grow when we have a sense of safety. So I’m excited to say that I'm starting at the beginning of November as an HR Assistant at MedBridge Development in Santa Barbara!
Learn more about Crowell’s undergraduate business degree.