Recent Alumni Recognition

Each year Columbia International University recognizes 12 recent alumni who have graduated within the last 12 years for their distinguished accomplishments in the marketplace, on the mission field or in church ministry. They are a faithful example of CIU’s five core values. These are: Authority of Scripture, the Necessity of the Spirit Filled Life, World Evangelization, Prayer and Faith, and Evangelical Unity.

Nominate recent alumni for honors


2019- Erin Elizabeth Austin

Erin is the founder of Broken but Priceless Ministries, an interdenominational, nonprofit Christian ministry that seeks to encourage individuals suffering with a chronic illness. She also works part time at Connie Maxwell Children’s Home in Virginia.


2019- Timmy Dahlstrom

Timmy works as a professional counselor and chaplain with the Air Force Reserve at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Washington. He also works part time with Teachbeyond, as a professional counselor providing care to missionaries globally. After graduating from CIU, Timmy served in Germany as a missionary with Teachbeyond at Black Forest Academy from 2008-2018. In 2018, Timmy and his wife, Kristi returned to the United States with their two children: Luci, 3 and newborn Ellie.


2019- Crystal Hughes

Crystal is a fourth grade teacher at Sandhills Classical Christian School in North Carolina. After graduating from CIU, Crystal earned a Master of Arts in Human Services, and while working at Automatic Data Processing (ADP), earned her second Master of Arts in Middle Grades Education. Her favorite subjects to teach are Bible and History, using song, recitation/memorization and movement to help her students learn.


2019- Dustin Ventura

Dustin taught in public schools for several years. In 2011, he became the director of Child Evangelism Fellowship of the Greater Pee Dee area of South Carolina. His leadership has had a profound impact for the kingdom through evangelizing children. He is married to Leslie and they have three children: Carlee 4, Bennett 2, and newborn Allie.


2019- Betsy Killins

Betsy is the merging leader women’s director and women’s global coordinator at Downline Ministries in Memphis, Tennessee. Her responsibilities include mentoring, coaching, discipleship, and teaching courses on biblical womanhood. Betsy also travels on three to four international trips each year, training and equipping teams to teach around the world on discipleship.


2019- David & Dylia Sasso Haron

David and Dylia are full-time missionaries in Italy working with refugees and ministering to Muslims. Prior to that, they served for seven years at Theos Place in Costa Rica working with youth of indigenous people groups and launching satellite church campuses. They met at CIU and married in 2009. They have two children: Sara, 5 and Isaac, 4.

Faith Kenoyer

2018- Faith Kenoyer

Faith has served for 24 years in North Africa as head of a private international school. She has a passion for helping third culture kids adapt and thrive in a new culture. “This year we have 14 different cultures in the school. Children growing up away from their parents’ home country have specific challenges as they adjust to a culture that is not their own. Staff members help these ‘third culture kids’ adjust to the local culture, learn a foreign language, and provide them with a supportive environment where they can thrive." Full Interview

Caleb Hankin

2018- Caleb Hankin

Since graduating, Caleb has worked at Freedom Christian Academy in Fayetteville, North Carolina as a third grade teacher, and serves as a mentor/supervisor with Child Evangelism Fellowship during the summer. Caleb has been recognized for fostering an environment in his classroom that encourages kids to grow academically and spiritually. He openly leads his students to Christ and encourages them in their walk with the Lord. Full Interview

Amelia McNeilly

2018- Amelia McNeilly

Amelia lives and blogs from her home base in North Carolina. From 2009-2015, she served as a booking agent for three Christian comedians in Hollywood while reviewing over 480 books on the website Goodreads. Despite having Cerebral Palsy, she doesn’t stop! “I saw the Lord at work in what some call a dark and crazy place. I saw Jesus lived out in Hollywood — which is my dream." Full Interview

Jacob Pursley

2018- Jacob Pursley

Jacob has been ministering in the Middle East since 2002 serving as an elder at a church he planted and at a sister church. He is an evangelist, apologist, and founder of a ministry school in the Middle East. He also facilitates reconciliation between Turkish and Armenian Christians over the Armenian Genocide that took place 100 years ago. “It has been a joy and privilege to serve our King in the Middle East for over 15 years. Experienced and knowledgeable CIU professors prepared me to serve in the Middle East, and I established ministry partners in the classroom who serve with me today."

Erich and Kelley Schindler

2018- Erich and Kelley Schindler

Erich and Kelley have served as missionaries in Taipei, Taiwan for 10 years. They assist in operating two gospel coffee houses and a church, as well as ministering to moms and their children at a local mission center. “We don’t go to church. We are the Church. We believe God has called us to take the church into places where it currently doesn’t exist. Using a non-traditional church-planting platform such as a gospel coffee house, gives us opportunities to interact with and bless our community, while at the same time sharing the love of Jesus with many who have never heard about Him." Full Interview

Todd Marrah

2018- Todd Marrah

Todd serves as superintendent at Tree of Life Christian School and as executive pastor of Rock City Church in Columbus, Ohio where he recently helped launch a business and incubator center in the area. He is also a board member of the Columbus Dream Center and the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). “I had a professor who told me in the first week of CIU classes, ‘Don’t be overwhelmed by all that you have to do. Simply persevere in the next thing we ask you do. You’ll learn what you’re supposed to learn and you’ll graduate!’ That’s not just good for school, that’s good for life."