Clarks Summit University alumna Seneca Lewis (’16) has combined her passion for photography, entrepreneurship and her love of serving others into a life characterized by creative faith. Lewis owns two businesses, co-owns another and serves in a variety of ministry settings.
In 2016 Lewis graduated from CSU with an Associate in Business Administration. A homeschooled student who simultaneously studied college-level courses through CSU’s High School Dual Enrollment, Lewis opened her own photography business, Photography by Seneca, in 2010. The week before she graduated high school, she opened Seneca’s Bridal in Montrose, Pennsylvania.
The oldest of 10 siblings, Lewis knew that she was interested in photography when her younger sister was born. She spent her childhood cultivating that love along with an interest in business. Lewis admits that she was never one much for the traditional educational setting, “I would much rather have been editing photos or trying a new marketing technique than doing math.”
At the age of 13, Lewis decided to pursue her passion for photography. Following the example of her father, owner of Spectrum Electrical Services, and her natural business sense, she began Photography by Seneca. She began her business by photographing families and taking senior portraits until she had the opportunity to shoot her first wedding at the age of 14. As a result of that experience she realized that weddings were her niche.
From a young age, Lewis has pursued big dreams and has sought to honor and serve God through every opportunity, whether business, personal or missional.
As a young girl, Lewis created a handmade greeting card business with friends and collected aluminum cans to raise money to sponsor an orphaned girl in Guatemala as well as to help build an orphanage in Liberia. These are just two examples of multiple ways that she has sought to combine her love of business and her faith to serve the less fortunate.
The very week that Lewis graduated high school was the week that her plans for the future drastically changed. After attending meetings and through much prayerful consideration, Lewis purchased Seneca’s Bridal & Dress Boutique. She was just 18 years old.
Of the experience, Lewis said, “Owning the bridal boutique was never in my plans or even on my radar. I confidently knew that it was what God had planned for me, and that gave me the strength to get through that first year of lessons and learning.”
Between online classes and a year of commuting, Lewis was able to successfully complete her degree at CSU.
Although she already had two businesses before becoming a full-time student at CSU, Lewis admits, “My training at CSU taught me how you can conduct your business as a Christ-centered business. It was helpful for me to see how I could use my business as a mission field.”
While a student, Lewis enjoyed learning business concepts under Professor Dave Bosket. “He was an encouragement to me with my own businesses. As someone who learns better ‘hands on,’ it was helpful to be able to apply what I was learning to my own business and be able to talk through the different business related things with him.” Lewis also enjoyed speech communication class taught by Jonathan Strayer. “I grew so much in that class, and it taught me how to communicate more effectively. I use what I learned in Mr. Strayer’s class on a regular basis as I have had the opportunity to do different presentations.”
In addition to her success in the business world, Lewis has been involved in a variety of missional pursuits. This includes being a Junior High Youth Group leader in the Fusion program at Bridgewater Baptist church in Montrose, Pennsylvania. She is the leader of a high school girls Bible study. She is a leader for the Scranton Rising Tide Society, a worldwide organization that believes in community over competition in the creative business world. And she founded Young & Free Junior High Model Program, which is designed to teach self-love and servant mindedness to young women. She is also involved in different organizations in the Montrose area including the Chamber of Commerce and the Christmas in Montrose committee.
Lewis has been a part of three mission trips to Liberia where she worked alongside her parents and sister to build a new school and conduct teacher training. In August 2016, during her most recent mission trip, Lewis used her creative talents to capture a women’s conference in photographs and written word for missional fundraising purposes.
“Our biggest goal is to not just give them things, but instead come alongside them and help them problem solve and mentor them… It’s all about relationships and [having the ability to point people to Christ through those relationships],” says Lewis.
Giving It All To God
Through all her endeavors, Lewis marvels at how she has seen God work not only within herself but within her business life. “I have some dreams of what this may look like, but ultimately I have given it to God. From the very beginning, I’ve never wanted to be a slave to my business and have wanted to keep it, so I am able to take advantage of different opportunities that have come my way.”
-Jessica Eddy, sophomore in the Communications-Writing program