Carmen Roth ’12, recipient of the Ronald Outstanding Graduating Senior Award, APU’s highest student recognition, loves nature, academics, people, and most of all, God. After an undergraduate career filled with adventures, learning, friendships, and spiritual growth, Roth embarked on a God-ordained excursion to Argentina, where she shares the Good News and prepares for wherever He leads her next.
As a freshman, Roth spent her spring semester at APU’s High Sierra campus near Yosemite, where she hiked, rock climbed, mountain biked, slacklined, and backpacked with fellow APU students and professors.
“I value spending time in nature because it makes me feel more alive,” said Roth. “There’s something about fresh air, direct sunlight, and peaks to climb that reminds me how infinitely small I am in the grand scheme of things. It’s humbling to have that perspective, but also joyful because our God still uses us for His Kingdom.”
Later as a resident advisor at High Sierra, Roth planned weekly community-building meetings and fun, inspiring events for the 23 female students. She drew upon these leadership skills the following summer as a guide in the Wilderness Orientation Program, where she led a group of incoming freshmen on a six-day backpacking trip near Yosemite. “It was a blessing to bond with other students during this summer program and start the school year with established friends who love God.”
Roth’s wilderness guide role continued when she interned with Communiversity’s Outdoor Adventures, organizing and guiding year-round activities and trips that included hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, and backpacking.
Eager to explore another part of the world, Roth next ventured to South Africa. Immersing herself in the culture, she went on safari trips and learned the local Zulu language. In addition, she worked at Walk in the Light, a local ministry. “As part of Walk in the Light, we built houses, led Bible studies, went on home visits, and more.” Roth said she was most impacted by the time spent getting to know several Zulu women. “About 10 women worked in the nearby greenhouse, and I spent most of my free time with them, weeding geraniums and singing Zulu Gospel songs.”
Roth continued this life of serving and connecting with others when she spent her junior year spring break as a Spanish translator for a medical mission team through APU’s Mexico Outreach. There, she helped patients express their health needs so they could receive free medical care and prescriptions. “My time in Mexico gave me the confidence to go into full-time missions in Patagonia, where I now share the Gospel with backpackers in Spanish.”
During her time at APU, Roth’s love for academics grew as well. As a student in the Honors Program, she participated in courses with teachers and students seeking academic excellence and deeper understanding. “Learning is reciprocal,” said Roth. “Care for the subject is contagious in the classroom. The Honors classes kept me engaged and encouraged by teachers who truly wanted me to learn and succeed.” Graduating magna cum laude with a 3.9 grade-point average, Roth certainly placed her education as a high priority. “The body of Christ needs deep thinking minds, and for me, that’s what pursuing an education is all about.”
Now working with Life in Messiah, a nonprofit organization based in Argentina, Roth exercises her love for nature, academics, people, and God as part of a small team sharing the Gospel with backpackers traveling through Argentina. “Backpackers are travelers usually searching for some sort of meaning.”
She utilizes her outdoor skills alongside backpackers and shares her solid spiritual foundation. “I’ve learned how to articulate humanity’s sinful nature, the necessity of Jesus’ sacrifice, and the implications that Christ’s gift has on our salvation. My years of debate and philosophy classes at APU taught me to analyze arguments and explain the Good News in a way that is comprehendible and relevant.”
After her time in Argentina, Roth plans to continue evangelizing. “As Christ followers, we are commanded to speak the truth. I intend to share the Gospel wherever God takes me.”
Ultimately, Roth seeks to live a life of service. “When I look back on my life, I hope to have a story that tells of the wonders of God through the works He has done in my life. I hope to have creases on my cheeks from years of smiling too much and calloused hands from working hard for Him. If I can do all things through love, I will be able to look back on my life as a job well done.”