The 2016–2017 David Allan Hubbard Achievement Award, an esteemed recognition given annually to a graduating student from each of Fuller’s three schools, has been granted to Monica Ellis for the School of Psychology, Tanya Riches for the School of Intercultural Studies, and Estella Low for the School of Theology. These accomplished graduates were each chosen by the faculty of their respective school.
Monica Ellis, who graduated with a PhD in Clinical Psychology, will soon begin a postdoctoral fellowship at the Loma Linda Veteran Affairs Medical Center focusing on health promotion and disease prevention. She also continues her pursuit of social justice initiatives and development of mentoring programs through her service in the American Psychological Association’s Society for the Psychology of Women.
“I am humbled and honored to be named this year’s recipient of the Hubbard Award,” said Ellis. “I came to Fuller searching for a spiritually integrative model of psychological practice and research. However, what I found during my tenure was so much more. I found the assurance of God’s unstoppable love that soothed my tears and questions on why suffering exists (and persists). I found dynamic laughter and awesome friendship among fellow students and my professors.”
Tanya Riches graduated this past year with a PhD in Intercultural Studies. She currently works for the Centre for Disability Studies, an affiliate of the University of Sydney, where she manages an inclusive research team that amplifies the voices of people with intellectual or learning disabilities, as well as engaging in research projects that focus on various issues related to disability. She also works at Hillsong College, where she oversees the master’s programs as well as teaching theology and anthropology.
“This week I rang one of the three Aboriginal senior pastors I worked with and I mentioned the award. He was so excited for me, but I was so excited for him,” said Riches. “I am honored to stand in a long line of people who found something greater than themselves to expend their efforts on, and a depth of faith in Christ that sustains them in the midnight hours.”
Estella Low will graduate in September with her MDiv. After graduating, she intends to return home to Singapore to serve the local church and community. Low hopes to pastor a missional church that actively engages with its local contexts, and seeks to partner with the community in ways that are faithful to what God is already doing ahead of her.
In recounting her time at Fuller, Low said: “My time at Fuller has been challenging and sometimes painful, but also deeply formative. To be recognized by School of Theology faculty—people whom I respect and trust, and who have been an integral part of this journey—is an honor that I really do not deserve. My teachers and mentors at Fuller have been instrumental in naming gifts and strengths in me that I was not able to recognize before. This award is another example of that. I am grateful for this award, but even more than that I am grateful for the faculty behind this award. Their continued support, encouragement, instruction, and challenge have pushed me to step into the fullness of who God has created me to be.”
The David Allan Hubbard Achievement Award is intended to recognize students whose accomplishments clearly reflect the academic, spiritual, and professional goals of their respective schools, and who show promise in their chosen ministries. The award comes from an initial endowment fund created by Homer and Margaret Surbeck who, as laypersons, are active in Christian organizations. Their gift was given to signify their appreciation for the work of the seminary and in particular for the outstanding leadership by former president, David Allan Hubbard.