discussion over coffee

Contact an Admissions Counselor

Contact an Admissions Counselor

We'd love to help you discover if Western Seminary is the right place for you. Our Admissions Counselors are equipped to answer your questions about our training programs, visiting campus, the application process, what it's like to be a student at Western, and more. We hope that we'll be able to come alongside you in the transition to seminary life.

Select your preferred study location below to find contact information for the staff member at that location who can best meet your needs. 

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Portland & Online Campus

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Phone: 503.517.1800
Address: 5511 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Portland, OR 97215

Armstrong Hall
Cole Atkinson
Cole Atkinson
Admissions Counselor
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503.517.1825

Get to know me

Where are you originally from?

Small town eastern Washington, Moses Lake to be exact. I’m loving life here in the city but I think I’m most at home in the countryside.

How have you benefited from your training at Western?

Oh man, I feel like every day I’m discovering new ways in which I’ve benefited. I can honestly say that I have been blown away by every class that I’ve taken. I remember coming out of my first class and thanking God over and over and over again for this school. Just as much as Western has gifted me knowledge, it has shaped my character. The staff is not just highly intelligent, they are incredibly thoughtful and wonderfully faithful. It seems impossible not to come away deeply impacted in your person after spending time around the faculty here. They teach with their lives, and it has challenged me and encouraged me to be a better lover of God and a better lover of people!

What do you want to do with the degree program you are pursuing?

I’d love to end up in a pastorate role, that’s the dream. I love teaching, preaching, counseling and being with people. To have an opportunity to reveal the goodness of God in all His infinite facets would be the most fulfilling thing in the world. Teaching Bible to high school students comes in at a close second; making theology accessible to the youth is an exciting prospect.

If you could have an all-expense paid vacation, where would you go?

Well as long as we’re dealing in hypotheticals I’d go for an “Around-The-World” vacation so I can visit as many places as possible. I’m a huge fan of world travel and it’s just too difficult to pick any one place! So I’ll pick a few: Japan, Montenegro, Germany, Norway, Switzerland, China and end up in Seychelles for some R&R.

What is your favorite movie of all time?

Favorite is such a strong word, but I think that outside of Dumb and Dumber I’ve probably watched Inception the most out of any movie.

What made you decide to come to Western Seminary?

After college I was pretty lost. I had a degree I didn’t like and didn’t care to use and had no idea where to go from there. I spent a few years working on my relationship with the Lord and going through an intense discipleship process. Through my process, I realized that ministry was all I wanted to do with my life. Not that you can’t make your life ministry outside of a formal capacity, yet I couldn’t get the idea out of my brain. I wanted more than anything to not just learn about God, but to help others come to see just how wonderful and beautiful and awesome our God is. Western seemed like absolutely the best place to get help me get the academic and spiritual education I wanted (and needed!)

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love to play soccer, go hiking (during the few nice months in Portland), watch movies, go out for food or coffee, or join in the occasional video game. Anything, really. I just like to be with friends.

What's your favorite quote?

I end up quoting a lot of Community, but one of the first quotes that ever really struck a chord with my life came out of C. S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity: “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”

Who has had a powerful influence in your life (living or non-living)?

My parents to be sure, I couldn’t be more thankful to them for the way they have shaped me. The mentors and leaders at Portland Fellowship have given me a new lease on life and I’m eternally grateful. John Piper revolutionized how I see God and continues to have a strong influence on me and my family. I’ve also picked up a few influential characters from beyond the grave, including C. S. Lewis and Oswald Chambers.

Why do you think seminary training is necessary?

Randy Roberts once gave the analogy that Christian leaders are like “surgeons and doctors for the soul.” We all want our physical doctors to be well trained so that they can rightly diagnose our hurts and operate on our bodies, so we wouldn’t want those who operate on our heart and soul to be well trained also? Personally, I want to do everything that I can to better learn how to love God and love others well, and that includes learning from those who have dedicated their life to understanding the Bible and what it means to live out God’s Word.

Tirzah Radford
Tirzah Radford
Admissions Counselor
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503.517.1805

Get to know me

Where are you originally from?

I grew up in the rugged, snow-laden woods of Alaska, home to the midnight sun, the Aurora Borealis, and Moose's Tooth Pub and Pizzeria!

If you could have an all-expense paid vacation, where would you go?

If I could dream big: I would first visit the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland; then go for a traditional cup of English tea in London; from there I would go to the International Hot Air Balloon Festival in Switzerland; topped off with sushi in Tokyo, Japan!

What is your favorite movie of all time?

This question is never easy for me to answer. What could be considered a “favorite” movie to me is directly impacted by what mood I am in on any given day. I will go with the top 5 movies that shaped my childhood:

  1. Singin’ in the Rain
  2. Rocky (1976)
  3. Tron (1982)
  4. Thumbelina
  5. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

What made you decide to come to Western Seminary?

My husband, who is a MAC student at Western, told me about the admission counselor position. But more than that, he told me about his experiences within the community here. He shared about how the staff and faculty went the extra mile to make students feel welcome, seen, and heard. “Western feels like family”. A community of broken people who love imperfectly but who also deeply love God and care for one another. At the time, my perspective of Christian private institutions was deeply wounded and jaded; so, the idea of a Christian institution feeling like home was a bit of an anomalous concept. Thankfully, I was wrong. Western turned out to be everything my husband had stated and more. I am so grateful that I took a leap of faith and applied. God’s timing is perfect.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I am a great lover of tea, books, hikes, plants (30+ and growing). I am currently pursuing my creative writing endeavors and published my first children’s book: The Girl & Her Dragon. I am a facilitator at Refuge, Imago Dei. I enjoy deep conversation and like to acquire different skills and hobbies.

What's your favorite quote?

Here are my top 3 (for now):

  • Isaiah 40:31: But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
  • Haruki Murakami: And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.
  • Brene Brown: Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.

Who has had a powerful influence in your life (living or non-living)?

Anyone, fictional or non, who has planted deep roots.

Why do you think seminary training is necessary?

To establish a rich, contextual framework for understanding God’s word, as well as, providing the tools for practical application and furthering one’s ministry goals. Also, to be challenged and strengthened by a Christian community that works towards helping others achieve their calling.

Jane Carter
Jane Carter
Admissions Counselor
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503.517.1824

Get to know me

Where are you originally from?

For the first 12 years of my life, I lived in Camarillo, California - a sleepy little town in Ventura County. My parents followed a dream given by God to build a homestead in Boring, Oregon. They built the house and farm and soon we were surrounded by all kinds of animals, a huge vegetable garden and an orchard. My teen years felt like "Little House on the Prairie." It was a drastic move that forever changed our lives and led my entire family to Christ. We actually all were baptized together one Resurrection Sunday, just like in the book of Acts!

If you could have an all-expense paid vacation, where would you go?

I'd go back to Israel! I have been there twice with Ha Yovel, spending the majority of my time in Judea and Samaria (what the world calls the "West Bank") over the five weeks of tourism, agricultural work and beautiful interactions with the locals. 

What is your favorite movie of all time?

I love the powerful imagery of "Life is Beautiful" (Robert Benigni, 1997). The main character plays the part of a pauper but is a prince at heart, using humor and beauty and music to keep hearts hopeful during the Holocaust. I too, am a huge "Lord of the Rings" fan (of course, the extended version!). But there is a strange side of me that just loves Bruce Willis in "RED" - I just laugh so much every time I see it!

What made you decide to come to Western Seminary?

I studied at Oregon State University (Go, Beavs!) earning a BS in social science education and one year of graduate work in education. I home-schooled my kids all the way to college and completed my volunteer work with American Heritage Girls, freeing me up to work. I had been praying about this and literally sensed God say, "Western Seminary." So, I looked online, seeing the job for Admissions Counselor and thought, "Yeah... I could do that!" The rest is history. 

I can honestly say it is a privilege to stand in this sacred place of helping believers worldwide as they step into seminary for the sake of the Kingdom. I treasure reading the applicants' testimonies and hearing their dreams and goals. And I love it when we can pray together! (Ask me if you want to do this!)

I am now enrolled as a Master of Divinity student, fulfilling a dream over 35 years to study theology. I'm delighted to have an opportunity to study here and hope to become a chaplain.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I have many joys: worship, Bible study, playing piano, reading, paper crafts (scrapbooking and card making mostly), floral gardening, camping, Israeli dancing. My husband and I enjoy watching "The Chosen", taking road trips (just finished visiting all the county courthouses in Oregon!), going for walks, and playing card games. Shabbat is an integral part of our week enjoyed with a lovely dinner of traditions on Friday and a meeting with friends on Saturday to talk about the Bible. We are also attending Real Life Foursquare Church in Vancouver, WA.

What's your favorite quote?

"Just because you can, doesn't mean you should."

Who has had a powerful influence in your life (living or non-living)?

Ken & Jackie Meier are a married couple who served as youth group leaders of our little Baptist church in Boring. I treasure the way my "spiritual parents" fielded my curious questions about scripture and conundrums about how to live out my faith. They spent time writing dozens of notes to me that I still have today. They aptly filled a vast hole in which I lacked knowledge, wisdom, unconditional love, and role models. 

Additionally, I am deeply touched by my "adopted" mom, LaVerna Ruckman, who is the most generous and kind person I know. She consistently thinks of others, coming up with ingenious ways to bless them with her talents and resources. I cannot look anywhere in my life and not see her touch of grace on it!

Why do you think seminary training is necessary?

I believe it is crucial for believers to challenge their paradigms and be intentionally sharpened through loving mentors. There's too much fluff and secular rhetoric out there that sidetracks believers and non-believers. The Kingdom needs people who will train themselves to be excellent intellectually and spiritually - to gain souls, but also to disciple the souls that have been won over to the Kingdom. We need people who will love the Lord with all their hearts, souls, AND minds.

San Jose Campus

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: 408.356.6889
Address: 1000 South Park Victoria Dr. Milpitas, CA 95035

Sacramento Campus

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Phone: 916.488.3720
Address: 290 Technology Way, Ste. 200,
Rocklin, CA 95765  
Zack Myers
Zack Myers
Admissions Counselor
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916.488.3720 x300

Get to know me

Where are you originally from?

Grass Valley, CA. It's a small town about an hour northeast of Sacramento.

How have you benefited from your training at Western?

I think what I have benefited from the most is thinking about the Church as a redemptive force in the world and what it looks like to engage the culture around us. It has been really interesting to look at how the church has shaped the Western World and how instrumental the church has been in advancing the plight of mankind. The world is a better place because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the work of the Church, so now the question is how we continue that work in a changing world?

What do you want to do with the degree program you are pursuing?

I am working on my M.Div. and I would would love to eventually get my Ph.D. My desire is to equip the saints and local churches to think biblically about everything so that they will be prepared to be a redemptive force in the world. I truly believe that high school and college students have endless potential to change the world for Christ and I would love to be a part of training and raising up the next generation of leaders, teachers, and evangelists.

What is your favorite movie of all time?

There’s so many good movies! I love (almost) everything Pixar has created (looking at you Good Dinosaur). I also love O Brother, Where Art Thou? That movie is probably my go-to.

What made you decide to come to Western Seminary?

I got my bachelor's degree in Biblical and Theological Studies at Biola and I knew that I wanted to continue my education. I was looking for something local and flexible that would work with raising a young family, and friends and pastors recommended Western. When I began to look into Western, I loved the focus on Christ-centered education and biblical thinking. I also was really impressed by a lot of the faculty and some of the projects they have worked on. Long story short, I came to Western because of its commitment to the Bible, Christ-centered education, and helping each individual student succeed.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love baseball: watching baseball, talking about baseball, playing baseball, reading about baseball... I also love spending time with my wife, daughter, and extended family. I enjoy reading, listening to music, and watching movies. I love camping, backpacking, hammocking, and swimming.

What's your favorite quote?

Oh wow. This one is hard. I have a note in my phone that is full of quotes that I like… I’m going to go with a Tolkien quote from the Return of the King: "'King! Did you hear that? What did I say? The hands of the healer, I said.' And soon the word had gone out from the house that the king was indeed come among them, and after war he brought healing; and the news ran through the City."

Who has had a powerful influence in your life (living or non-living)?

The list of influential people is too long to give everyone credit. At the top of that list is my wife and parents, who have supported, encouraged, and challenged me to become a more godly man and to constantly seek after Jesus.

Why do you think seminary training is necessary?

I think seminary is important because I think that Christian Education is important. Once upon a time, theology was rightly regarded as "queen of the sciences." This title recognized theology’s importance, influence, and impact on every other field of study and on the way that theology makes every other field practical, and translates it to relate to everyday human life. Apart from contextualizing human knowledge, theology also helps us to understand and communicate God, the Gospel, and the Bible. I think that Seminary equips the Church to not only share the Gospel, but to claim, display, and live under God’s sovereignty over all spheres of life. Seminary helps us prepare ourselves and the Church to redemptively live in the fallen world and to work towards the recreation of all things.