Making the Connections
Christina Accornero (PhD-ICS '99)
It is such a fun opportunity to write this piece for AlumNews, especially in my last year on the Alumni Council. What an amazing privilege it has been to work with the Alumni and Church Relations staff, administrators, and all the Council members. In these six years, they and you have helped me realize a longtime dream. Let me tell you how.
The friends and colleagues I met at Fuller have become people I can call, email, chat with, and ask for help at any time. As I have stayed in higher education, my Fuller professors have become colleagues who freely share their writings and materials. Friends who were with me on the Pasadena campus have become part of my global network, welcoming me on every continent. When I began to dream about building a new type of academic program, I called on everyone I could think of—and they all came through.
My dream has been to build an intercultural studies (ICS) program for undergraduates from the ground up. This year, my dream came to fruition as I launched the BA in Intercultural Studies at Southern Wesleyan University. Yes, there are many intercultural studies programs out there—but I’m a Californian in South Carolina, so it had to be different! SWU is located in a small town in the “upstate” area of South Carolina—so far away from my home city of Los Angeles and all that I knew about working cross-culturally.
The new program, offered as both a major and minor, is integrated with all the majors across SWU. There is a core of courses for all who want to work cross-culturally, but then half of the program allows for customization, internships, study abroad, and loads of creative specialization. My Fuller Seminary friends helped me build it—thanks, Jude, Chuck, Nita, and all.
So with this brief opportunity, as I leave the Alumni Council, I want to say to all of you alums: stay in touch, build a strong Fuller network, “use” each other and call on each other for friendship, help, and networking. We are sisters and brothers around the world—make the connections.