Kristina Gibbs-Ruby, Master of Arts in Transformational Leadership / Juris Doctor
Kristina Gibbs-Ruby comes from a diverse academic background, with a bachelors in cultural studies focusing on women’s history and creative writing. Her work experience ranges from a career as a goldsmith to being a pre-school teacher, which adds a unique perspective to her studies in multiple graduate programs. Looking for a challenge and yearning to develop personal growth, Kristina was attracted to the School of Theology and Ministry because of the social justice focus.
With the goal of working in the poverty law field, Kristina chose to purse the Master of Arts in Transformational Leadership-Juris Doctor degree. This dual degree, in partnership with the Seattle University School of Law, prepares students to become a positive force for social justice in a dynamic world. “I wanted tools to care for myself and my clients in a more authentic way than what is offered by a law degree alone. I wanted to do work that addresses the systematic issues facing our society, and the MATL degree gave me a solid foundation in looking at the underlying systems causing oppression,” Kristina explains.
For Kristina, the combination of degrees gave her great flexibility in terms of career options: “I can work as an attorney, a non-profit manager, a mediator, or several other things. My hope is that I will have all the tools I need to do meaningful work for the rest of my life.”
When reflecting upon the personal growth she has experienced while pursuing her studies, Kristina remarks, “I know myself better. My work in the MATL program gave me a chance to learn about myself at the deepest levels. I have a solid understanding of what motivates me as a leader, and what my stumbling blocks are. I also know how to evaluate those things about myself in evolving situations, so I am able to be my most present, solid self. I’ve learned how to lead from a place of power within, rather than power over.”
When Kristina is not in school or preparing for the Bar exam, she interns at the Center for Children & Youth Justice – a place helping to redesign child welfare and juvenile justice systems – where she is involved in the Lawyers Fostering Independence Program. In addition, as a part of her legal externship, she performs client counseling, where the deep listening skills she learned in our pastoral skills class have been an important part of Kristina’s interactions with clients.
Kristina offers this advice to students, “Be prepared to change more than you could ever expect. The School of Theology and Ministry is transformative. You will get to know yourself in ways you never expected, and you will leave stronger and more joyful than you imagined you could be.”