Name: Laura Igram-Edwards
Position: Director, Student Programming & AS Advisor
Education: B.A. in Psychology, Azusa Pacific; M.Ed. in College Student Affairs, Azusa Pacific.
At Biola since: August 2011.
Your StrengthsFinder top five? Strategic, Communication, Input, Empathy and Deliberative.
1. What do you do in your job (briefly)? I oversee AS, the student government and student programming body here at Biola. My role is to specifically provide leadership development, mentoring, vision casting and guidance to students in budget management for student sponsored initiatives that represent the student voice. This includes planning both small-scale and large-scale events, ranging from the Eddy, to lectures discussing the intersection of faith and academics, to Mock Rock, to social justice initiatives, to events that support the international students and multicultural student communities.
2. Five most influential books:
Naked Before God- Bill Williamson
Good News about Injustice- Gary Haugen
Traveling Mercies- Anne Lamott
Pilgrimage of A Soul- Phileena Heuertz
Searching for God Knows What- Donald Miller
3. An influential person in your life/A hero/Your best example of love? I lived and worked in the favelas (slums) in Brazil for 5 months time after college, where I met a teenage boy named Jeferson. He struggled to rise above the poverty he came from, building relationships with the missionaries I worked with and vowing to make something out of his life. Many of his friends and family were involved in the drug trade and prostitution, but Jeferson wanted to leave that life behind. He was killed by drug traffickers shortly after I left to return home. I think a lot about Jeferson. I miss him and his friendship, but his death also motivates me to become involved in issues of injustice and to speak out for people who are oppressed.
4. Why are you at Biola? I’ve worked at both faith-based on non-faith based institutions, and I feel called to dedicate my efforts in student development at a Christian university. I love that I can appeal to students on the basis of our shared faith and work with them to develop a mindset of servant leadership because of Jesus’ radical example of love and humility. This is what I am here for: not just to help students put on great events or develop effective leaders, but to help students learn their value as children of God, to treat others with kindness and grace, and to learn how to care for themselves.
5. If God put you completely in charge of creating Heaven, what would it be like? All I know is that it’s probably going to be a lot of meeting people and saying, “Wow, you are here, too!?” Other than that, I couldn’t even begin to imagine how to create a Heaven worthy of God’s ultimate plan for his creation. Maybe giant block parties?
6. What is the most difficult choice you’ve ever had to make? What made it difficult? What factors helped you make that choice? It sounds strange, but getting married. My husband and I knew that it would be hard, and that we were committing to something that’s pretty contrary to human nature: building an honest, selfless relationship that sticks for a lifetime, no matter what happens. Somehow I knew that the more I worked to be vulnerable and to press into relationship with Jon, the more I would be embracing the changes that God wants to make in me. We committed to be two people who would always be willing to admit our wrongs and try to change. That’s how I knew I could marry him.
7. What are five things you are most thankful for in your life right now?
My husband- he shows me grace every day.
My job- I get paid to do stuff that’s fun!
My dog- he is a constant reminder to enjoy what’s happening in the moment and love freely.
My church- I belong to a community of believers that tries to live justly in the world and share life together in a simple way.
My friends- they’ve seen me at my worst, and they still love me. It’s miraculous.
8. What job do you fantasize about having? A buyer for the store Anthropologie.
9. A brush with fame/celebrity? I went to high school with a now famous painter/artist who was considered a child genius. We were in computer class together and she was not good at computers. I also served “Stephanie Tanner” from Full House (Jodie Sweetin) a sandwich at a deli I worked at in college. That was fun.
10. Favorite electronic device? I am anti-electronics. My TV is from 1995 and I refuse to get a smart phone. I don’t get the purpose of iPads. I have a love/hate relationship with my Macbook.
11. What do your friends say is your best quality? Being honest, severely so. And seeing things for what they really are.
12. What natural talent do you wish you had? I used to be so embarrassed of my lack of athleticism. Now I wish I had the knack to pick up other languages easily.
13. What is your life theme song? This Too Shall Be Made Right by Derek Webb.
14. Do you believe in love at first sight? Nope. At least, it took me 7 years to realize that my friend Jon was the person I should marry.
15. Do you think it is possible to live with no regrets? No, but I envy people who try to live that way. I am an absolute perfectionist, so I often feel regret or shame about mistakes I make. I second-guess myself all the time. By the grace of God, I am slowly learning to find my value in who I am, not what I accomplish.
16. What is your definition of success? Do you consider yourself to be successful? I think success should be measured by my willingness to press into the work that God has me in right now, my commitment to the church and to my community. A commitment to living simply and in gratitude. I am not successful by the world’s standards, but I’m getting there when it comes to what really matters.
17. What is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen? I went to Easter service at the Vatican one year in Rome. That was pretty amazing.
18. In what areas of your life is it most difficult to trust God? My relationships. I get so frustrated with myself and the people I care about when we miscommunicate with each other or hurt each other. Then I get angry with God for some of the things I have had to overcome in life. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever become the person God created me to be. But I am comforted in knowing that we wait in eager anticipation for God’s kingdom to be established here on earth. We live in the tension of “not yet…” and then I force myself to enjoy things.