Dr. Mary Mendoza, a faculty member of the Division of Communication, has never been afraid to learn and find ways to improve her skills and her work. By asking questions and working hard, she diligently seeks to serve the Lord in every position He has placed her in.
Now, Mendoza is getting ready for an exciting change as she prepares to become the new chair of the Division of Communication at BJU, replacing Dr. Lonnie Polson, who chose to step down but will continue teaching.
Mendoza grew up in Jerusalem, Israel, where her family served as missionaries. As a young adult, she came to the United States to study at Bob Jones University as a mass media major.
Before deciding on a mass media degree (which is now called journalism and mass communication), Mendoza spent her freshman year struggling to decide on a major. Like many students, Mendoza was interested in many different things, including science, math and more.
“I was one of those students who loved way too many things,” Mendoza said. “So there is hope for those students who don’t know what to major in.”
It was a Principles of Communication class, taught by now-retired faculty member Dr. Dewitt Jones, that lead Mendoza to mass media.
“I remember sitting in his class and thinking this would be really worthwhile, studying communication, because it touches every aspect of your life,” Mendoza said. “And if I wanted to invest my life in something, then this must be a good direction for me.”
After graduating, Mendoza pursued a master’s in counseling and worked as a graduate assistant for BJU Press and Distance Online Learning, formerly known as BJ Homesat. Mendoza worked for BJ Homesat for a couple years as a video director and producer before returning to BJU to teach.
Along with her degree in mass media, Mendoza also has a doctorate in education with a communications focus.
Mendoza had been interested in getting a doctorate and teaching since her sophomore year of college after seeing her professors getting their doctorates. She recognized then and still recognizes now the heavy impact professors have on their students.
Because of the Christian environment, BJU was first on Mendoza’s list of places she wanted to teach at.
“I could talk about communication from a biblical worldview, and I get to talk about what Scripture has to say about favoritism and racism. I don’t know how much I could do that at other universities,” Mendoza said.
Teaching communication from a Biblical worldview is very important to Mendoza. Mendoza believes that being able to communicate in ways that lift others up instead of tearing them down and being able to recognize areas of communication weaknesses and address them are important skills to have.
“God and people are eternal,” Mendoza said. “And it is worthwhile to be able to invest ourselves in knowing how to interact and communicate with others who are made in the image of God.”
Mendoza has progressed at BJU from student to graduate student and assistant and then from professor to future division chair. With each change has come new opportunities to learn and grow, and with each change she always strives to learn new things, seek advice from mentors and peers and ask a lot of questions in order to improve.
“Whenever you’re replacing someone as great as Dr. Lonnie Polson, that’s some big shoes to fill,” Mendoza said. “I’m just coming in there and doing my best with the skills that I have.”