Outstanding Graduates Liberal Studies
Amanda Keelin & Linda Ngo
Amanda Keelin '21 is a person with deep convictions; she is someone who’s not afraid to defend an unpopular opinion. A thinker and a feeler, she’s also good with her hands––whether working with clay on the potter’s wheel or baking delectable sourdough bread. Education Faculty describe Amanda as a conscientious student who takes on leadership roles confidently, while at the same time acknowledges and respects the voices of her peers. She is articulate and thoughtful and loves working with young children. In her preprofessional placement, her cooperating teacher notes, “Amanda has been a fantastic addition to our classroom team. She has a kind and easy manner that the students are immediately drawn to, and my students quickly bonded with her. Amanda stepped into the classroom setting with confidence, easily assisting students one-on-one and in small groups. She is able to problem solve and has the flexibility needed to succeed in the elementary education setting.” Amanda’s enthusiasm for learning and her inquisitive spirit will take her far in the future!
Rock-solid reliable and gifted with a beautiful smile, Linda Ngo '21 consistently brightens the classroom or the Zoom-session screen. She is a super-planner, always thinking ahead and eager to finish assignments. Education Faculty describe Linda as a thoughtful student who cares deeply for others and desires to promote equity as a future teacher. She is always engaged in classroom conversations, asks great questions, and is a leader when working with her peers. Linda also has the inside scoop on every aspect of Trader Joe’s, where she’s been a committed crew member since high school. Whether she is at work, serving at an elementary school, or engaged in Westmont classes, she takes each role seriously. Linda’s cooperating teacher from her preprofessional placement praises Linda for her creativity: “She is so observant and is already a natural at creating an enthusiastic learning environment…even via Zoom! I am impressed with her attention to detail and her incredible cultural sensitivity.” Linda plans to pursue a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential with Westmont’s Credential Program in 2021-22.
Kaitlin Judson and Kate Chase
Katie Judson '20 is a resilient fighter -- she looks adversity in the eye, faces it down, and keeps going. She is organized, sets goals, and takes thoughtful initiative to grow and learn well. Katie stretches herself and takes risks; she isn’t afraid to pose and wrestle with difficult questions in class or one-on-one with a professor or peer. Katie’s education professors are thrilled she has chosen to pursue an Elementary Teaching Credential in the fall at Westmont. She will bring resilience, fresh ideas, and passion to her elementary classroom and students.
Kate Chase '20 is a bright senior full of humility and honesty; she continually demonstrates an openness and willingness to new ideas and perspectives. Kate is a dedicated student who takes initiative, reflects, and embraces deep, constructive thinking and dialogue. Dr. Andrew Mullen, education professor, recently shared, “I would love to have an elementary teacher like Kate for my daughters. The students she will work with in San Antonio next year through Teach for America will be blessed.” Kate models being a lifelong learner, she will make a difference with children, and will be a change agent for good.
Lauren Hayward '19, who graduated in three years, exudes energy and determination in every class and activity, according to her professors. She was features section editor for the Horizon, Westmont’s student newspaper, directed Clark Women’s Spring Sing skit before serving as Logistic’s Coordinator of Spring Sing. She also served an internship with the Westmont admission’s department. “I am the third generation in my family to attend Westmont, so it has been my dream to come here since I was in kindergarten,” she says. “My favorite part of being at Westmont is having the balance of being able to participate in fun events, such as Spring Sing, but also growing deeper in my faith and my education.”
Hayward will attend Vanderbilt University to earn a master’s degree in education and an elementary teaching credential. “I plan on teaching 4th or 5th grade, and then working in educational policy because my life-long goal is to change the public education system in America,” she says.
Elle Arnold '18 returns to Westmont next year to earn her teaching credential. She has been going on medical missions with her father, a pediatric ophthalmologist, since she was 11. Eventually, she started teaching English in a Buddhist Thai school on the Thai-Burma border. She spent a semester in Kurdistan working with the Free Burma Rangers, helping refugees who had survived genocide and interviewing ISIS victims, as well as girls who had been taken and sold as ISIS sex slaves. She also studied abroad in Uganda and lived and taught as an intern in a primary school. She hopes to return home to Alaska and teach and someday work with English learners (at home or overseas) and refugees and possibly pursue international journalism.
Articulate, athletic, artistic, and an all-round-achiever, Amanda Litchl '17 is graduating in three years with a liberal studies major and a Spanish concentration. Earning multiple community service awards prior to college, Amanda has brought the same spirit of service to our campus, keeping statistics for Westmont’s sports teams and serving fellow students through Dial-a-Ride. Conversation with Amanda inevitably includes family and pride in her Cuban heritage. She looks forward in the year ahead to earning a teaching credential, a path of service where her empathy and enthusiasm will be major assets. Also—according to her Westmont Transcript—her success in PEA 11: Boot Camp! Amanda aspires eventually to be a volleyball coach and Girl Scout leader in her own hometown—providing another generation the same formative opportunities that others gave to Amanda.
Rachel La Commare
Raised in Santa Barbara, Rachel La Commare '16 was inspired to pursue a liberal studies major and music minor thanks to her former teachers and mentors at Hollister School, La Colina Junior High, and San Marcos High School. After graduation, she intends to pursue a double credential in elementary education and music at Westmont College. Rachel works tirelessly, is well prepared, and has an exemplary work ethic. Additionally, she is a multi-talented student, singer, worship leader, and musician. In tune and sensitive to the needs of others, she will make an impact on her future students with her engaging and gentle presence, passion for learning, beautiful voice, and reflective spirit.
Emily Pihl '15 is an inquisitive, thoughtful, interdisciplinary thinker. For the last three years, Emily has attended Westmont classes with a keen and contagious enthusiasm to seize every opportunity to learn. She has embraced all facets of her double major, Liberal Studies and Spanish, on campus and in Westmont in Mexico. Emily is thoroughly prepared for class; she notices how ideas and concepts relate across disciplines and she carefully considers how she can apply new knowledge. Emily’s thoughtful insights raise the bar for her peers and professors. Additionally, Emily's winning smile and warmth add to her joy for learning; she is a model student that will make an impact in an elementary school classroom in the future. Department faculty eagerly anticipate Emily’s contributions to the field of education as a teacher-leader.