I'm Lauren Speeth and I live in California. I've been associated with Bakke Graduate University since BGU was in Seattle. My first degree was DMin and I was very excited to be back in the Ph.D. program. I work for Elfenworks Productions, which is a media company and I work at Elfenworks Foundation, which is a non-profit organization with the tagline "In harmony with hope." We are trying to help foster hope where we are mostly working with students these days.
When I finished my DMin dissertation several years ago, I did not want it to just sit on the shelf, so I created a book called "Intelligence and Compassion in Action: The Seven Pillars for Social Entrepreneurs." It was based on the seven pieces of the seven aspects of advice that I was given. These pieces of advice have proven for me in my work, and they've also born out fruit wherever I've taught it. Since publishing the book, it's been translated into Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, and Ukrainian. It is freely available to students in the BGU library. I wanted to disseminate the knowledge. It's not about trying to make money on the book. It's about getting this information out. I could not have foreseen all the ripple effects that my DMin had for me. Part of it is I just trust God. It's like prevenient grace: it goes before me and it tells me what I'm supposed to do.
My Ph.D. is in urban, innovative leadership. My dissertation's title is: "A geographically diverse study of educational strategies to foster environmentally conscious global leaders." I was involved in a couple of different projects that had to do with environmental education. One of them was in Ukraine and one of them was in Jordan. They both had water education as part of it. My motivation for my research was that I've been worrying about students and their sense of environmental angst. I have been involved in student media, where we created a student social justice and environmental justice film award and organized a campus movie fest. I have been seeing what the students have been submitting for that event and it was really scary. I recognized how upset these students were and how hopeless they felt. Therefore, the idea of bringing transformational change, when it comes to environmental education, was really exciting to me. I have partners in both Ukraine and Jordan and they had really good ideas. Jordan is one of the driest countries in the world, so to have an innovative hydroponic farm and ranch sounded like a great idea. I'm still encouraged about Ukraine; they're going to need environmental education someday when the war is over. I like the idea of empowering students and really going after this sense of sadness and environmental angst that they have and giving them something that's empowering.
I think that my dissertation and Ph.D. research provides bridges between the theologically minded and the scientifically minded communities. Since the world around us is building silos, we need to break down those silos. I remember that the original name considered for BGU was "paradox university," because the school wanted to break down silos.