The arrival of a new school year often brings with it a wide range of emotions. Feeling fear, excitement, loneliness, and everything in between is a common marker of a new beginning as well as the passing of time. School is an especially hard transition for some because of the academic stress it adds to the already turbulent emotional rollercoaster going on inside us. At times like this, a community can be the spoon full of sugar that helps the medicine go down. “But will they really understand me?” Here are some people who will.

From one woman to another, the ladies in your department have a word of encouragement for you! 

Cook School of Intercultural Studies

“I can’t think of any better representation of beauty than someone who is unafraid to be herself.” ~ Emma Stone.

This is a great quote about beauty because it breaks the definition of an ideal out of its physical limits into one that can bend into all forms including culture. True beauty comes from the ability to be yourself, no matter what sort of person you are. You ladies are placed in our society to bring back the real beauty we have lost sight of. There isn’t just one ideal when it comes to beauty as far as looks go, and this extends out to cultures as well. So why walk when you can fly! Go on out into the world with passion and power!

An encouraging note from Dr. Dzubinski, Associate Dean of Intercultural Education and Studies.

“To the GRIT-ty women studying ICS:

Remember that God has always called women to Kingdom work. From the women who followed Jesus, to the women at the tomb, to Phoebe and Junia and Priscilla, to the desert mothers, to the medieval nuns and mystics, to the missionary women, married and single, who've worked around the globe, to the women who fought for abolition and votes and temperance, God has called and blessed women. Young and old, of every tribe, race, tongue, nation, and ethnicity, God calls and blesses women to his work. Each of you ICS students is part of a chain of faithful women stretching back for two millennia. Be strong and courageous as you move into this semester and this year. May God bless you in every step on the path as you follow his calling.” - Dr. Dzubinski, Associate Dean of Intercultural Education and Studies.

Crowell School of  Business

Women in leadership, women in business. Though we do not discount the amazing progress that has been made for equality, women are still underrepresented in business. We want you to know that you are strong, you are fearless and you are commissioned to go out, go make your mark. 

An encouraging note from Professor Laureen Mgrdichian, Associate Professor of Marketing.

“God has gifted each of you in such wonderful and unique ways. Press into your relationship with the Lord, and you will be amazed to see how He opens your eyes to His direction in your life. As women of God, you have the opportunity to impact the workplace in a culture that needs your influence. May this year ahead not only better prepare you for the workplace, but my prayer is that you are reminded of God's faithfulness to you daily.” - Professor Laureen Mgrdichian, Associate Professor of Marketing.

Rosemead School of Psychology

The mind is such a precious, complex organ wired and crafted uniquely for each of us by God. With such a delicate grasp of the mind, you have the ability to make change in a positive way. Always strive to be the best and hone your ear to listen to for emotions as it is the key to guiding one through life. You have a gift and we are so excited to see how far you’ll go. 

An encouraging note from Mary Ann Brizuela.

“To all the girls in the department. Learning psychology is a lifetime skill. It will better you as a woman, it will nourish your soul, it will nourish your heart and it will nourish your mind. You will learn not only about yourself but also about the people that will enter your life. I look forward to seeing you develop mentally and psychologically as a woman over the years with us. Psychology lined up with God’s word will give you the lifetime balance of  skills you need to take on whatever comes both when you are with us and after you have moved on to greater things.” - Mary Ann Brizuela, Undergrad Psychology Administrative Assistant. 

School of Cinema & Media Arts

Leaps and bounds have been made over the past years for women in film. Even Biola shows signs of this progress with the CMA department debuting a Biola film produced by a full female team, “The Bacchae”. If a film about menstruation can win an Oscar, you can make the film of your wildest dreams. Associate Professor of Writing for Film and TV, Camille Tucker is here to support you for your upcoming years with Biola!

An encouraging note from Professor Camille Tucker, Associate Professor of Writing for Film and TV.

“Congratulations to all of the Cinema and Media Arts incoming and returning students. No matter how old you are, where you come from, how much you think you know or don’t know, just remember we all have a story to tell and a voice to be heard. You are in the lab and now is your time to experiment. To find your calling and find your stories. As you pursue them, remember to be kind to yourself and others. This is your family now. Open your hearts because part of storytelling is living. Your living is where your stories are born. I want to send a special shout out to all of the female students. Growing up, I never saw a woman operating a camera. Now, we get to see all of you pursuing careers as directors, cinematographers, editors, production designers, grips— and all of the roles where women are making inroads. Just like Alice Guy-Blaché was one of the first women directors, you too will be blazing a trail with Grit. To all of the CMA students, welcome! I pray your year is blessed.” - Professor Camille Tucker, Associate Professor of Writing for Film and TV.

School of Education

As Diane Mariechild says, “A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.” Being a woman is amazing, you’re the very nurturing force. Never forget that you have these powers within you. You are the hold the hearts of our precious futures. With the vulnerable minds of the future generations in your hands, you have been commissioned to plant seeds of virtue that you will reap in the years to come.

An encouraging note from Dr. June Hetzel, Dean of Education.

“Dear Liberal Studies Majors,

Welcome to your major! You're on your way to becoming a professional educator, and this journey is critically important for the next generation. You will make sacrifices to study, prepare, volunteer in schools, tutor, and student teach ... but every moment will be worth it! Some of you will even decide to do half of your student teaching overseas! Don't give up - no matter what. Yes, the major is challenging, but there is nothing more exciting than influencing the next generation for Christ. My prayers are with you as you embark upon the adventure of becoming a professional educator! Congratulations! The Lord is with you and so are we - your professors, advisors, and mentors. We are here for you and ready to meet with you, pray with you, and mentor you in your journey. Stop by and see us - upstairs Sutherland Hall!” - Dr. June Hetzel, Dean of Education.

School of Fine Arts & Communication

Though it may take you a little to find your voice in your own unique way, once you do have it you won’t ever want to let it go. You are the woman who speaks out in her personal color and special sound. Be it through public comm, a newspaper, a song or a piece of art you are going to do big things! Go forth and win the media for the Lord! The world is yours to conquer. 

An encouraging note from a few of the ladies of your school.

“I was the girl who was told that she talked too much.  I was the one that did not understand that you would live in the tension of being not enough for some people and too much for others—but that it was their issue and not mine.  As a verbal processor, I often worried that people would misunderstand my words. What I found, however, was that God took all of these things, the way I work out my stuff, the ways in which I could use words to connect with a variety of people, and that talking was really a gift.  A gift that has undergirded my calling. I don’t know why God has called you to Communication, but he knows the gifts and the talents he has given to you. You are not too much. You are just enough. May the words of your mouth and the meditations of your heart be pleasing unto you, oh God.” - Joy Qualls. Chair, Department of Communication Studies.

“I love how Nelson Mandela talked about fear. He said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it." Mandela said that not feeling afraid does not make for a brave person but conquering over fear does. As this fall semester gets underway, I want to encourage us all to step into spaces where we may have fear, to allow God to use our passions, gifts, skills, and heart to fulfill His purposes in and through us. The college years hand you a perfect space to risk and to fail. In those moments when bravery has resulted in failure, a more honest opportunity for growth is revealed. So I encourage you to be open to taking risks, walking into spaces where fear may urge you to stay behind. I'm not sharing this without living it myself. I grapple with my own fears in a space where I'm a woman, leading among peers who are often men. I've experienced rejection of my leadership because of my gender; I've experienced my own questioning of my leadership because of qualities that are natural for me as a woman. When I've allowed fear to enslave me, I've missed opportunities to engage in some of God's great work. So I encourage you this semester -- just as I challenge myself --  to step out and allow God to use you to lead, among men and women alike, to achieve His purposes in our community.” - Professor Tamara Welter, Chair of the Department of Media, Journalism & Public Relations.

“The life of a music student is challenging. Not just from external forms of expectation and stress, but also the internal mindset we choose to embrace—especially as artists and women. When we measure ourselves by our last audition, theory grade or recital, or the things others say about us, we allow an unbiblical trap to be set for our emotions. We will always struggle with being “enough” until we actually believe and live out the profound reality of our value apart from our performance. I encourage you this semester, not to allow the anxiety of your inner critic and the opinions of people to trump your true identity and worth in Jesus, and the significant work He is accomplishing in and through you!” - Professor Sherri Alden, Adjunct Professor of Worship Arts.

School of Humanities & Social Sciences

Mother Teresa says, “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.” Small things can lead to great things in not only our own lives but the lives of those around us as well. Mother Teresa was the perfect model for doing small things with great love. You are the women who we know will go out and do one small thing at a time for it to eventually accumulate into a world-changing, butterfly effect.

An encouraging note from a few of the ladies of your school.

“Dear Soc Majors, This world needs you more than ever. My prayer is that this year you would do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God. Shine light into the darkness, care for those on the margins, speak up for what is good and right, and remember that in our weakness God is strong.” - Dr. Stephanie Chan, Chair of Department of Sociology

“¡Échenle ganas es la frase que siempre usaba mi madre para motivarnos a mi hermana y a mí! ¡Así que chicas, échenle ganas y como dicen los cubanos, “Pa'lante, pa'lante, pa'tras ni pa' coger impulso." La duda y el miedo son normales siempre y cuando no sean paralizantes; nunca olviden que la fortaleza y el empoderamiento vienen del Señor.” (Échenle ganas (roughly translated as “give it your all”) is the phrase that my mom would say to motivate my sister and I. So, girls, give it your all and like a popular Cuban phrase says, Forward, forward; don’t step back, not even to gain momentum. Sometimes, doubt and fear are normal as long as they are not paralyzing; do not forget that strength and empowerment come from the Lord.)   - Professor Itzel Reyes, Associate Professor of Modern Languages

School of Science, Technology & Health

The first person to discover the first evidence for dark matter, the scientist who runs the linear accelerator at Stanford, the physicist who stopped light in her lab at Harvard, all these people share something in common, they are women! You are all sent out and accountable to tear down the barriers facing women in science. Had one of the women mentioned above been discouraged by her obstacles, the science that we know today might be very different. Being a woman in this intensely male-dominated empire is disheartening and challenging but with some encouragement, we hope that you’ll wake up ready to take on another day with valor!

An encouraging note from a few of the ladies of STEM.

“It has been my pleasure for nearly 15 years, to be the face of an academic department as the Administrative Coordinator. I would have to say that my candy jar on the counter is responsible for starting many conversations. It's an ice breaker of sorts (or sometimes, jaw breakers!!!) The jar welcomes students from the hallway, not always our majors, but students walking by. Sometimes, they just stop in for candy, sometimes, need a shoulder to vent on, or cry. I just listen. If advice is requested, I try to use the time to ask questions and encourage them to not give up, not beat themselves up. Life throws curves sometimes, and having lived over 6 decades, I become the mom or grandma they miss by being away at school. I bake and make candy, and anyone passing by knows when there's a container on the counter, they just can't walk by!!! I have been able to encourage, bolster, and send out over 30 graduating classes. Miss them when they are gone, I surely do.” - Jerrianne Smith, Math Department Administrative Coordinator.

“Do you ever walk around campus or sit in a classroom, look at the other students, and think that you are insufficient – that you are a poser and that you really don’t belong at Biola? I sometimes feel that way – that the other faculty are more educated, better scholars, or truly amazing teachers. It’s possible that Timothy felt the same way, because the Apostle Paul, his mentor, wrote to him, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” (1 Tim 4:12 NIV) Timothy was a young pastor. He had been chosen by Paul to be his successor; he must have been an amazing person. Yet, he must have also felt insufficient, because Paul wrote these words to him. When you are feeling insufficient remember that you were chosen by God to be His daughter, and chosen by Biola to be a student. Also, remember the encouraging words that Paul wrote to Timothy, and have a wonderful semester.” - Professor Valerie Baggett, Instructor of Chemistry.

Talbot School of Theology

Women are strategically scattered throughout the Bible and used by God in mighty ways. We are blessed to worship an intentional God and we hope that you know without a doubt that he has a plan for you. Go forth as image-bearers of God and leaders as we march towards the Kingdom that is to come!

An encouraging note from Joanne Jung.

“Welcome to a new academic year. As you study God‘s word and learn to be even more present before him, growing sensitive to his Spirit, may you hear his words of absolute delight in you. Allow the ways he has proven himself so faithful to you in your past to be reminders of his abiding presence now. Blessings as you do, loved ones.” - Professor Joanne Jung, Associate Dean of Online Education and Faculty Development and Associate Professor of New Testament.