Rebecca Smith, Host
Executive Director, The Offices of Strengths & Vocation
Rebecca Smith is a Believer, Maximizer and Connector. She is committed to making San Diego a better place to work, play, learn and visit. She is Executive Director of The Offices of Strengths & Vocation at Point Loma Nazarene University, the campus career center. Rebecca has served on the Board of Directors for the United Way of San Diego County since 2011. She was appointed in 2012 as a Commissioner for the City of San Diego, Commission for Arts & Culture.
Thriving at the intersection of business and education, her career includes working as a Senior Recruiter at Eastridge Workforce Solutions, Vice President at San Diego Workforce Partnership, Career Coach at QUALCOMM, Associate Principal at High Tech High, and Employer Relations Coordinator at San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. She holds a Master of Education in Counseling from University of San Diego and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from University of California, San Diego. Rebecca, and her husband, Jimmy, are active members of The Rock Church. Their son, Ezra, attends the United States Naval Academy.
Melissa Newman, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Communication & Theater
Dr. Melissa Newman joined the Communication & Theatre Department in 2015. She has served as a communication professor for the past 14 years at schools in Texas, Nebraska, and California. Newman is personally committed to the mission of PLNU as one who shapes, instructs, and mentors students in a “learning community where grace is foundational, truth is pursued and holiness is a way of life.” She loves teaching, advising students, and mentoring them as they pursue their vocational calling. In 2004, she was awarded the Academic Advisor of the Year at Dallas Baptist University for her excellence and dedication to serving students.
As a communication scholar, Newman is interested in how people use messages to create meaning, interpersonally and within organizations, and how the social influence of communication affects all aspects of public and private life. For her dissertation, she conducted in-depth interviews with Christian young adults across the U.S. to explore how they used Facebook for religious and/or spiritual purposes and if they perceived any satisfaction from doing so. She has also written on the importance of media literacy as it relates to young adult Instagram use and the messages mothers send their children regarding parasocial relationships with Disney princesses.
Prior to working in higher education, Newman worked as a national event planner for two major national ministry conventions, served as an international sales representative for a publishing company, and worked in marketing for a sports news network.
Jessica Matthews, DBH
Assistant Professor, Kinesiology & Integrative Wellness
Dr. Jessica Matthews is an innovative educator who has designed and implemented degree and professional certificate programs at several colleges in San Diego, including the Master of Kinesiology in Integrative Wellness program at PLNU. One of the first national board certified health and wellness coaches (NBC-HWC) in the country, Matthews serves on the research team within the UC San Diego Centers for Integrative Health, leading the design and implementation of behavioral interventions within clinical lifestyle medicine studies.
In addition to creating and teaching a variety of graduate courses in areas such as integrative health and mind-body medicine, for more than 10 years Matthews has regularly contributed as a wellness expert to numerous publications and media outlets, including, but not limited to, The New York Times, NPR, Women’s Health, Oprah.com and Doctor Radio. She has also authored and edited several books, including The Professional’s Guide to Health and Wellness Coaching: Empower Transformation Through Lifestyle Behavior Change.
Matthews is genuinely passionate about inspiring others to thrive in their lives—physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and socially—while simultaneously serving the greater good. As such, she guides donation-based oceanfront yoga classes in which 100% of proceeds from every class are donated to various non-profit organizations which speak to her heart.
For her superior instructional abilities and positive influence within her local community and the global health and fitness industry, Matthews was honored as the 2017 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year.
Randal Schober, Ed.D.
Associate Professor, Management
Dr. Randal Schober began at PLNU in 2009 as an adjunct faculty member before becoming a full-time associate professor of management in 2014. He came to PLNU with over 20 years of experience in for-profit and not-for-profit executive leadership and entrepreneurship. As the former executive director of SurfAid, he provided much-needed humanitarian programs to remote islands in Indonesia. Schober also gained valuable experience while serving as the founder and executive director for HeadNorth, director of education for EFI Sports Medicine (TotalGym), and exercise physiologist at Sharp Memorial Hospital. During his time at PLNU, he has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in entrepreneurship and international business, has been involved in a number of Fermanian School of Business committees, currently serves on PLNU's Intercollegiate Athletic Committee, and is the lead faculty advisor for the Entrepreneurship Club. In addition to his teaching and committee involvement, Schober is a current board member for several local San Diego nonprofit organizations and has focused his research on innovation and entrepreneurship, presenting at the last two USASBE annual conferences.
Jonathan Villafuerte, M.A.
Jonathan Villafuerte personifies a story of courage and resiliency. His family escaped social injustices in Mexico only to encounter similar oppression when they relocated to San Diego’s inner-city. As a teenager, Mr. Villafuerte fell into street culture and began to cope with his problems by affiliating with a local gang. Fortunately, he transformed his life in high school and earned a full-ride scholarship to Point Loma Nazarene University. In 2009, he became a first-generation college graduate with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Mr. Villafuerte is passionate about social justice, diversity and inclusion, and will gain a master’s degree in Counseling from San Diego State University, in 2019. As an educated man of color, he is cognizant of the fact that without positive role models and services, marginalized children do not have an equitable chance of attending college. Jonathan Villafuerte has made a long-term commitment to serve students from all backgrounds as an established educator.
Undergraduate Pre-Law, Business, and Criminal Justice