Hollywood actress finds commonality through faith while studying online with LU
Espensen, who lives in Los Angeles, chose to enroll in online courses with Liberty University last year. She was so interested in Liberty that she drove from Georgia (where she was filming “Spider-Man: Homecoming”) with her mom to visit campus.
“Education has always been so important to me,” she said. Espensen was homeschooled and graduated high school at age 15. “I always loved to learn, and I knew that as I got older, college was something that I needed to do. … I wanted to get an education with a biblical worldview, but I knew I couldn’t just drop everything and leave. I prayed about it and I said, ‘Lord I really want to keep learning; I really want to go to college; I really want to get a degree.’”
Because Liberty is a leader in online education, Espensen knew that she wouldn’t have to put her career on pause in order to get a quality education. The format fits perfectly with the life of an actress. However, the primary factor that attracted Espensen was much more personal — she identifies with Liberty’s biblical foundation and core mission of Training Champions for Christ.
“I tried to visit other colleges, too, but I could not get past Liberty,” she said. “I genuinely really love what Liberty is doing and what it stands for. It is so important because you don’t see many colleges today that stand for truth, and that is very important because you are training young minds.”
“I love Liberty,” Espensen said, noting that she watches Convocation online and follows the university on social media. “I love the curriculum that I am reading. I love how flexible it is, that I can go anywhere and communicate with my teachers.”
But playing multiple characters has not made her lose sight of who she is as a Christian.
“My faith always comes first in everything that I do,” Espensen said. “In the roles I choose and the auditions I go on, I am very careful because I know that I represent Christ.”
“Living in Hollywood has actually increased my faith,” she added. “I find myself hanging onto Jesus more tightly. (Being on set) has helped me to really dig deeper into my faith; I’m dependent on Him more.”
In addition to acting, Espensen is active in humanitarian causes, including Compassion International and the Starlight Children’s Foundation. She went on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic last summer and is an official Wildlife Warriors Global Ambassador, dedicated to saving and preserving wildlife. She was an executive intern for a California state senator and served on the Youth Preparedness Council. Espensen is also a black belt in Wushu, a Chinese martial art.
In all her endeavors, Espensen said she credits God with her success.
“We try to control things and we try to be like God, because that is how we were born,” she said. “But as you get older with your career, life, friends, and relationships, it is just important to trust God and know that He has immeasurably more (in store) than we can imagine. For me, it is just trusting God and knowing that He is good in all seasons.”