Rebecca and Peter Bjorklund, both ’06, are hardly the first Occidental alumni to walk down the aisle, but they may be one of the more perfect matches out of Eagle Rock.
Both grew up in the Bay Area and were drawn to the College to compete in athletics – Rebecca competed on the volleyball team, and Pete, a member of the track and field team, focused on discus and shotput before turning to the decathlon his senior year. The pair also both majored in history and minored in education while Pete also minored in Russian Studies.
Since graduation, Pete has taught social studies at his alma mater, Los Altos High School; Rebecca is co-founder and partner of the College Advising Team, which assists clients with college and graduate school applications, and offers career counseling and professional support services.
The couple, who are parents to 2 ½-year-old twins, trace much of their success to their time at Oxy. “The uniqueness of Oxy comes through in so many different ways,” Rebecca says. “From intense classroom discussions with your professor and passionate classmates who are excited to learn and expand their worldviews, to the lifelong friendships that start in the freshman dorms and continue through studying abroad, first jobs, career changes, marriages, and now children.”
“It sounds trite, but my experience at Oxy was life changing,” adds Peter, who piloted a teacher training program at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya during graduate school. He’s now pursuing his doctorate in education studies through UC San Diego. “Many of the things I learned in my classes still color my worldview. Without the relationships I had with friends and professors at Oxy I would not be doing the things I am doing. I continue to value everything about my Oxy experience.”
The Bjorklunds continue to apply their writing and communication skills, hallmarks of their time at Oxy, in their everyday lives.
“I truly believe I wouldn’t be the person I am, the professional I am, the mother I am, if it weren’t for my time and experiences at Occidental,” Rebecca says.
The couple continue their involvement with the College as members of the Oxy Fund Executive Committee. Their participation and support for The Oxy Campaign for Good, the Bjorklunds say, are necessary to ensure the future health of athletic programs, internships, research opportunities, and helps professors to develop new academic programs.
“If we want Occidental to continue to remain competitive and respected as a top liberal arts school,” Rebecca says, “it’s crucial that we have the funds to allow the campus to grow, develop, and change with the times.”