Baylor Arts & Sciences

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Baylor Arts & Sciences

Expanding horizons: Baylor Army ROTC cadets learn valuable skills during summer training

September 24, 2014 · No Comments · Students

In the following essay, Baylor Army ROTC cadet Anthony Rifaat, a senior astrophysics major from Houston, describes what kinds of training cadets take part in during the summer, and what new skills they come away with as a result. A number of photos of summer training follow the essay.

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Cadet Summer Training
By Cadet Anthony Rifaat

Every summer, after working hard throughout the spring semester, cadets in the Baylor Army ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) program continue to work by attending several different training opportunities offered through the program. These trainings include CULP (Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency), Air Assault School, LDAC (Leadership Development and Assessment Course) and CTLT (Cadet Troop Leader Training). They provide cadets experience in critical leadership and cultural, social and physical skills to succeed, not just in their future Army career but also in the private workplace.

CTLT, usually conducted after the completion of the third year in ROTC, provides cadets an opportunity to serve in platoon leader positions within active duty units around the world. A unit mentor is assigned to each cadet, and guides them through the nuts and bolts of running an active duty platoon in the Army. CTLT takes place immediately after successfully completing LDAC and lasts about three weeks.

After graduating with the 8th Regiment, Cadet Tara Hutchison traveled to Fort Wainwright, Alaska, where she trained with the 1st Brigade 25th Infantry Division. Among her activities, she completed training for the EIB (Expert Infantry Badge) as well as the EFMB (Expert Field Medic Badge). Hutchison also was able to “shadow a medical service platoon leader, learning the additional responsibilities…that better prepare myself for the future,” as she remarked. The program allows cadets a glimpse of the daily activities of Army life on military installations, which they otherwise would not get until after commissioning.

CULP goes beyond units inside the Army. Cadets travel to different countries throughout Europe, Asia and Africa, and work hand in hand with foreign military units to conduct a variety of missions in the local areas. The missions, which can be humanitarian, educational or military based, immerse cadets in a foreign culture and society, giving them invaluable experiences and memories.

Cadet Clayton Crenshaw, a junior management information systems major, participated in an educational CELTT (Cadet English Language Training Team) mission in Thailand, where cadets instructed high school students in English conversation at the Armed Forces Academy Prep School. The instruction that was provided assisted students preparing to enter one of four Thai service academies.

When not teaching, teams may help run community activities, explore the city or travel throughout the country and visit popular and historical destinations. In his free time and on weekends, Crenshaw explored what not only “Bangkok had to offer” but also “other parts of the country with sites, such as the Bridge on the River Kwai (famous battle of WWII) and historical landmarks that have been around for 500 years.” With so much to see and do, cadets never have enough time but the roughly 21-day trip was “truly an unforgettable experience.”

All the hard work and dedication cadets pour into their first three years in ROTC accumulates at LDAC where thousands of cadets are evaluated on all skills and knowledge learned up to that point. The course, previously located at Fort Lewis, Washington, took place at Fort Knox, Kentucky, for the first time. It was spread out over 13 regiments, from June to August, with each regiment actively engaged for 29 days.

Training events that cadets were evaluated in included First Aid Readiness Training, a confidence course, rappelling, CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) Training and confidence drill, Land Navigation, and Platoon Operation STX (Situational Training Exercises). Each event brought its own challenges and forced cadets to persevere regardless of any setbacks.

For some, the familiar turned to a new surprise. Martin Kudra, a senior political science major from Chicago, said the confidence obstacle course proved to be a “completely different experience…I wasn’t tethered to anything,” he said. “There were pads for safety but we were pretty high up…I was scared I would fall.” But despite Kudra’s fear of heights, he “pushed past that and found new confidence” in himself.

For others, the new and unexplored trainings were more nerve-racking. “From the time I arrived at Fort Knox”, said Cadet Renae Hagood, a nutrition sciences graduate student, “people kept talking about how daunting the gas chamber would be.” The goal of CBRN training is to build confidence in military equipment, by entering a gas chamber filled with CS (tear) gas and then taking off the protective mask for a few seconds inside. “It was great training that helped me develop confidence in my equipment, so that I may be able to protect myself and my battle buddies in a CBRN combat situation,” Hagood said.

Although LDAC is required, it nevertheless encourages cadets to perform their best on an individual and team level, and hones their overall leadership qualities and expertise.

Though not your typical summer vacation to the Bahamas, cadets enjoyed meaningful, productive, developmental and exciting experiences that shaped their future careers as Army officers. They met challenges and roadblocks with confidence and perseverance. They grew as individual leaders as well, as members of a team. They enhanced their awareness of what it takes to lead an actual platoon.

Most importantly, the cadets expanded their horizon outside the classroom and into the real world. Only the Baylor Army ROTC cadets can say, “I did that during my summer,” here on campus.

A Thai cadet participates in class, learning new English vocabulary and grammar.

A Thai cadet participates in class, learning new English vocabulary and grammar.

Cadet Crenshaw’s team hikes through the hot Thai jungle, exploring far outside the capitol of Bangkok.

Cadet Crenshaw’s team hikes through the hot Thai jungle, exploring far outside the capitol of Bangkok.

Cadet Hutchison helps set up the Expert Field Medic Badge course.

Cadet Hutchison helps set up the Expert Field Medic Badge course.

The 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division conducts training to earn the Expert Field Medic Badge.

The 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division conducts training to earn the Expert Field Medic Badge.

Cadet Hagood walks out of the gas chamber after breathing in CS gas. She was instructed to immediately start fanning her arms up and down and continually spit out any chemical residue breathed in.

Cadet Hagood walks out of the gas chamber after breathing in CS gas. She was instructed to immediately start fanning her arms up and down and continually spit out any chemical residue breathed in.

Cadet Kudra, far left, looks on as other cadets being climbing up the first obstacle.

Cadet Kudra, far left, looks on as other cadets being climbing up the first obstacle.

Cadets from the 6th Regiment climb up, unaided and unattached, a high, spaced out wooden ladder.

Cadets from the 6th Regiment climb up, unaided and unattached, a high, spaced out wooden ladder.

Cadet McAnally assists in facilitating a training class.

Cadet McAnally assists in facilitating a training class.


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Medical humanities students fashion quilt for Waco’s Avance Center

September 18, 2014 · No Comments · Students

In this post, Linda W. Bostwick, family nurse practitioner in Baylor Health Services, discusses a recent project completed by Baylor medical humanities students.

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Baylor Medical Humanities Class Photo and Sue copy

In designing the interdisciplinary course “Visual Arts and Healing” for Baylor’s medical humanities curriculum, the cornerstone of the course was to be a service learning project. This past spring, medical humanities students worked with fabric artist Sue Benner and art professors Mary Ruth Smith and Leah Force to design a quilt for the new Avance Center, a non-profit organization that focuses on early childhood development and parent education.

Students spent time observing the environment at the Avance Center, located in East Waco. Based on these observations, students chose a size, theme and location for the quilt. Each student then designed a quilt square incorporating a serape theme and one letter of the alphabet.

Avance Letter Quilt_full view copy

Through this project, students explored how art effects an environment. Furthermore, by making art, our students are utilizing some of the same motor skills they will need in the health care profession. They also gain the satisfaction of creating a beautiful gift.

Finally, the students experienced the therapeutic effects of creating art –- a discovery that will provide them a healthy outlet for the rest of their lives.

Linda W. Bostwick, CRN, MN
Family Nurse Practitioner
Baylor University Health Services

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STUDENTS IN PHOTO AT TOP:

Back row, L to R: Breanna Davis, Kirstin Manka, Nipa Patel, Sue Benner, Stephanie Frawley, Ann Dyer, Jessica Gonzales, Dylan Magee, Hayden Smith
Front row, L to R: Cesar Davila Chapa, Hillary Villarreal, Erin Witter, Bianca Jimenez, Anji Patel, Brinda Chellappan, Estela Rodriquez Alonso, Caroline Tessler, Nadia Ullah

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Baylor University College of Arts & Sciences Releases Long-Range Strategic Plan

September 12, 2014 · No Comments · Academics, Administration, Faculty and staff, Special events

A&Spire report cover image copyWACO, Texas (Sept. 12, 2014) – After two years of planning that included the active participation of its senior administration and deans, department chairs, faculty and staff, the Baylor University College of Arts & Sciences today released a long-range strategic plan titled A&Spire: Acts of Determination in Support of Baylor University Pro Futuris.

As reflected in the title, A&Spire is intended to guide the College of Arts & Sciences in helping to achieve the goals expressed in Pro Futuris, the University’s 10-year strategic vision approved by Baylor Regents in May 2012.

“The College of Arts & Sciences has desired a coherent plan of action in the form of a strategic plan for some time,” said Lee C. Nordt, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. “Pro Futuris was the catalyst that led us to the creation of our A&Spire plan.”

Nordt said the strategic plan process began by identifying the key initiatives present in Pro Futuris. The dean then appointed committees of faculty and staff, charging them with exploring five major themes within Arts & Sciences corresponding to Pro Futuris and proposing initiatives related to those themes.

In the completed A&Spire strategic plan, Theme 1 looks at ways to advance liberal education. It recognizes the importance of undergraduate students at Baylor and the critically important role Arts & Sciences plays in providing a mission-centered and core-driven education through cutting-edge approaches.

A&Spire directs us to seriously assess and promote the many facets of undergraduate education,” Nordt said. “The College of Arts & Sciences provides the important core curriculum not only for our own students, but for all students at Baylor. However, higher education and the needs of students are constantly changing. We need to be sensitive to that in how we shape the knowledge base, character and well-being of our students by making use of cutting-edge technology and modern methods of instruction.”

Theme 2 of A&Spire examines the part the College of Arts & Sciences will play to further Baylor’s goal of becoming a nationally recognized research institution. It emphasizes the need to accelerate first-rate faculty scholarship with the help of graduate and undergraduate students, and acknowledges that Arts & Sciences will continue to create cross-disciplinary collaborations between the sciences and the humanities.

“We cannot forget the importance of research in elevating Baylor’s standing in the academic community,” Nordt said.

Theme 3 calls for the College of Arts & Sciences to strengthen its engagement with the community. It recognizes the need to improve communications, both internally on campus and externally among alumni and others, concerning the valuable clinical services and outreach Arts & Sciences provides and the many culturally relevant activities it offers. These include theatre productions, lectures, exhibits, publications and online resources.

Theme 4 surveys the timely topic of investing in the health sciences. It recognizes the importance of healthcare to the Baylor brand and the central role that Arts & Sciences plays in maintaining the University’s reputation for excellence, since Arts & Sciences houses the prehealth program, serves most of Baylor’s prehealth majors and conducts much of the University’s research at the graduate level in health and health-related disciplines.

The final section of A&Spire, Theme 5, proposes strategies to fund Arts & Sciences initiatives and addresses methods to diversify the ways resources will be procured.

A&Spire will improve the College of Arts & Sciences in many ways, but it runs deeper than that,” Nordt said. “We are Baylor’s oldest and largest academic unit. By successfully completing our own long-range plans, we will play a major role in helping Baylor University to achieve the admirable goals set forth in Pro Futuris.”

David E. Garland, Ph.D., interim provost, said A&Spire will make an important contribution to the University.

“The College of Arts & Sciences has prepared an exciting, challenging, and farsighted long-range strategic plan. I greatly appreciate all those who contributed to its development and the faculty and staff who will help to make it a rousing success in its implementation,” Garland said. “This plan reveals the College’s investment in providing the best education possible for its students while bolstering the faculty’s significant contribution in making Baylor a premier research university.”

Truell Hyde, Ph.D., vice provost for research, said strategic plans such as Pro Futuris and A&Spire provide calls to action for a university community, reaching audiences from regents to community stakeholders to alumni.

“While administrators can develop strategies and establish supporting frameworks, the elements required to successfully navigate from vision to reality will always be faculty research and scholarship,” Hyde said. “The Acts of Determination within A&Spire, produced with the guidance of College of Arts & Sciences faculty, bear witness that Baylor’s greatest days are ahead.”

“I commend the College of Arts & Sciences for creating this remarkable, inspirational, visionary planning document,” said Larry Lyon, Ph.D., dean of the Graduate School, said. “Graduate education will be especially enhanced by the Acts of Determination associated with Theme 2 [to help Baylor become a nationally recognized research institution]. I look forward to working with Dean Nordt and his colleagues in implementing this ambitious plan.”

The complete text of A&Spire is available online.

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Move-in Day at Hallie Earle Hall

August 20, 2014 · No Comments · Special events, Students

Baylor students, including members of the largest freshman class in the University’s history, began moving into their campus homes on Wednesday, Aug. 20, to begin the 2014-2015 academic year. The students in these photos are predominantly College of Arts & Sciences students who are moving into Hallie Earle Hall, home of the Baylor Science & Health Living-Learning Center.

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These are not your mother’s student films — at least not quite: A review of “Black Glasses”

May 8, 2014 · 1 Comment · Academics, Special events, Students

Art and Science Collide at the Baylor Film and Digital Media
15th Annual Black Glasses Film Festival

A review by Lisa Stepp and Kathy Tinius of Sandbox Productions, Inc.

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Black Glasses 10011625_10152075628406027_6541945605218038840_o

There was a time when films made by new filmmakers included scantily clad girls, someone speaking French, and an ending no one understood except the director.

While the students in the Film and Digital Media division at Baylor University have certainly taken their craft to a new level, they still showed love and respect for the styles of the past on April 25, 2014, at Baylor’s 15th annual Black Glasses Film Festival — which was directed by Dr. Jim Kendrick, associate professor of communication.

Shotgun CrewMaverick Moore, absolutely true to his name, provided a blast from the past and a nod to Tarantino with his Best Picture and Audience Choice Award-winning film, “Shotgun.” Three girls, dressed like they are on their way to a Beatles concert, follow a path of revenge while speaking French, badly. A simple and universal theme, but Maverick and his team managed to execute flawlessly as he “broke all the rules” and made a film that was engaging and an absolute joy to watch. (In the photo above, winning director Maverick Moore poses with the crew of the film.)

But the fun didn’t stop there. Alec Weaver managed to remind us that going to the bathroom while wearing roller skates can be challenging in “A Wheel Predicament,” as Faith Korpi and Zachary Korpi showed us the joy of dance through their mesmerizing cinematography in “Patchwork Girlfriend.”

There was a unique mix in the festival of narratives, documentaries and music videos, providing a broad showcase of talent. Casey Floyd’s film “Molly,” a documentary about a young girl’s struggle against terminal disease while exhibiting a tenacious spirit, had the audience laughing, crying and embracing the memory of someone they had never met, yet felt they knew well.

Brianna Carbonara and Alec Weaver explored the possibilities that new technology can afford in “Companion Apps” and demonstrated Baylor’s commitment to providing comprehensive preparation for students moving in to the film industry.

This year, the students also participated in the 10 Below Short Film Contest. Alec Weaver won first place with his film “The Good Samaritan, But Mostly a Fish.” Second place was awarded to Philip Heinrich with his unique and insightful exploration of grace and forgiveness in “Samaritan.”

Overall, the students of the Baylor Film and Digital Media division (which is directed by Dr. Chris Hansen, associate professor of communication) brought their talent and love of filmmaking to new heights this year, and it looks as though there is no limit to their potential for success in the future.

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Complete list of 2014 Black Glasses winners

Best Picture: “Shotgun” (directed by Maverick Moore)

Audience Award: “Shotgun” (directed by Maverick Moore)

Best Cinematography: Brent Bailey, “3:33″

Best Editing: Alec Weaver, “A Wheel Predicament”

Screenplay Awards:

1st Place: Lauren Sheldon, “Fat vs. Evil”

2nd Place: Aaron Carter, “The Great American Grovel”

3rd Place: Chad Hayes, “Crowley”

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Comprehensive Black Glasses 2014 screening list

“Rest” (Cameron Bohls)
“Layne Lynch, ‘With or Without You’” (Jackie Fernandez, Brittney Devine, et al.)
“Companion Apps” (Brianna Carbonara and Alec Weaver)
“The Argument” (Aaron Carter)
“Molly” (Casey Floyd)
“Mobile DTV Project” (Casey Floyd, et al.)
“Samaritan” (Philip Heinrich)
“In Paradise” trailer (Philip Heinrich and Aaron Youngblood)
“Patchwork Girlfriend” (Faith Korpi and Zachary Korpi)
“Shotgun” (Maverick Moore)
“3:33″ (Steven Trebus)
“A Wheel Predicament” (Alec Weaver)
“Dead End” (Alec Weaver)
“The Good Samaritan, But Mostly a Fish” (Alec Weaver)
“Zombie Western, ‘If I Stay I’ll Never Leave’” (Aaron Youngblood)

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Baylor Arts & Sciences magazine, Spring 2014

May 1, 2014 · No Comments · A&S magazine

The Spring 2014 issue of Baylor Arts & Sciences magazine is now available online!

Features include:

* “Capitol Bears,” a look at 14 Arts & Sciences alumni making a difference in Wasgington, D.C.;

* A profile of Baylor’s three “Model” diplomacy programs for students: the Model United Nations, Model Organization of American States and the Model Arab League;

* A look at Baylor’s popular new Arabic and Middle East Studies major, which prepares students for leadership roles in the Middle East;

* A tour of the treasures of in the Martin Museum of Art; and

* An essay by Dr. Bill Bellinger on how all Baylor students benefit from studying the Old Testament.

A&SCover2014Sp copy

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Looking back with Dr. Robert Baird

April 23, 2014 · 1 Comment · Academics, Faculty

By Sara Katherine Johnson

Baird 1 20131122_rr_60973Dr. Robert M. Baird, professor of philosophy and Master Teacher, has been teaching on Baylor University’s philosophy faculty continuously since 1968. He is retiring this spring after a career spanning more than a half century and full of many academic, administrative and service milestones.

Writer Sara Katherine Johnson sat down recently with Dr. Baird to talk about his life at Baylor and his future plans.

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One rainy day, on a front porch sat a father and his teenage son. The father, a civil engineer not known for his life lesson talks, gave his son a word of advice: “Whatever you do, just be sure you pursue a career that you enjoy every day getting up and doing.”

That lesson from his father has stayed with Dr. Robert Baird ever since.

“I have loved being in the classroom,” Baird said. “There are few things more exciting to me than standing in front of a group of students, engaged in conversation.”

When asked how to describe themselves, most people begin by listing concrete accomplishments, or possibly adjectives describing personal characteristics. Baird is retiring this spring after 47 years of teaching at Baylor, and he begins talking about himself by discussing his relationships with others.

Before he talked about his students, Baird began our conversation discussing his family. With a wide smile, he bragged on his children and grandchildren. But he said his key relationship is the one he enjoys with his wife of 54 years, Alice. In fact, he said without having met her he might not have ended up where he is now.

Baird began his undergraduate years at a small school in Arkansas, and never imagined he would become a philosophy professor. Instead, after being very involved in high school politics, he planned to study law in college and was considering seminary as well.

After his first year of college, an English professor pulled Baird aside and told him that the questions he was bringing up about literature were rooted in philosophy. Because the small school did not have a philosophy department, the teacher suggested he transfer to Baylor, which he did his sophomore year with philosophy as his new major.

During his senior year at Baylor, he met Alice Cheavens and fell in love. But Alice was not a senior, and Baird did not want to go to seminary and leave her behind. He needed a way to stay at Baylor.

Since he was minoring in history, Baird knew about some good fellowship programs offered in that subject, so he went ahead and applied for graduate study. The dean of Baylor’s graduate school happened to be a member of the philosophy department, and he called Baird in and asked him –– why not study philosophy?

Baylor offered him money to stay and pursue a master’s degree in philosophy, and Baird accepted.

After a year, Baird had his master’s degree and Alice had completed her undergraduate degree. Baylor just so happened to have a faculty vacancy, and they asked Baird to stay on for a year as an instructor of philosophy. He agreed, and soon found out that he truly enjoyed teaching.

“It was the year that turned my life around,” Baird said. “I remember being so anxious for the Christmas holiday to be over so I could get back in the classroom.”

Leaving Baylor after a year for Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Baird was able to follow up on his desire to study religion. After earning a bachelor of divinity degree, he pursued plans to teach by earning a PhD in philosophy from Emory University.

After earning his doctorate, Baird spent a few years teaching in Nebraska at Wesleyan University. He never dreamed teaching again at Baylor would be a possibility, but an unexpected phone call about an opening brought him back to campus in the fall of 1968. He’s been happily teaching in Waco ever since.

Baird said that among other things, philosophy professors ask their students to consider the question, “How should we live?”

“The only difference between someone who teaches philosophy and someone who doesn’t is the opportunity to focus on that question in a lifelong way,” Baird said. Some of his favorite classes to teach have concerned the history of modern philosophy, or social and political aspects of philosophy.

Baird is one of a select few Baylor faculty members who have received the designation of Master Teacher.

“I just take teaching so seriously that to be called a Master Teacher is greatly appreciated,” he said. “I really appreciate the designation, though I don’t think of myself as a ‘master teacher.’ I think of myself as a student of good teaching — I try to always improve my teaching.”

In the classroom, Baird said he has tried to emulate one of Baylor’s legendary professors.

“The model professor for me was Ralph Lynn in the history department,” Baird said. “Ralph Lynn was such a marvelous teacher. When I took courses with him I couldn’t wait to get to class. I really was viscerally sad when the class was over — that’s how good he was. There were a lot of teachers at Baylor like that (when I was an undergraduate). I think that’s been one of Baylor’s strong suits.”

One favorite memory that Baird shares is when he received Baylor’s Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year Award in 2005. What made the experience special, he said, was not only the award itself, but also the accompanying public lecture he got to deliver to an overflow crowd, which addressed the question, “Is the choice to die ever morally permissible?”

“The reason (the lecture) is such a good memory for me is because it was so controversial, but Baylor provided a framework for me to argue. And my argument was yes, it is sometimes morally permissible to choose to die,” Baird said. “Baylor was providing me a framework for advancing an argument in defense of a point of view that most people around here wouldn’t agree with.”

Baird recalled that back in his undergraduate days, Baylor was much smaller than it is now, having only about 5,000 students. Now three times as large, Baylor’s campus has grown as well with new buildings that have cropped up. Baird said the University also emphasizes research more now than it did before, and enjoys a greater racial and religious diversity as well.

“The more diversity you have, the more stimulation there is to think new thoughts and consider new possibilities,” Baird said.

During his time at Baylor, Baird served 18 years as the chair of the philosophy department. He has done extensive research in contemporary moral problems, writing essays on the nature of the self and publishing many book chapters, encyclopedia articles, books and journal articles. Through it all, he maintains that relationships are the most valuable thing in life.

“It’s what gives life its richness, its excitement and its happiness,” Baird said.

Looking back over his time at Baylor, Baird is pleased with his decision to return to his alma mater.

“There’s been a great deal of emotional satisfaction in coming back to a place and trying to stimulate students to think in new and creative ways, in a way that Baylor teachers stimulated me to think when I was an undergraduate,” he said. “There’s been great emotional satisfaction in living out my life here. I don’t even begin to think of myself in the same category as the Ralph Lynns, Bob Reids and Ann Millers, but at least those are the ideals I strive for.”

While he is looking forward to his retirement, Baird plans to keep busy.

“I will never run out of books to read,” he said. “I will also be freer to spend time with my grandchildren in California and in Michigan. That will be a priority in Alice’s and my agenda — and enjoying the relationships I have with my dear friends.”

Photo courtesy of Baylor University Marketing & Communications

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Model UN team does well at national meet in NYC

April 22, 2014 · No Comments · Students

By Rebecca J. Flavin, lecturer in political science and Model UN advisor

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On April 12-18, 16 Baylor students traveled to New York City to participate in the National Model United Nations Conference, which brings together more than 5,000 university students from around the world to participate in two week-long simulations of the United Nations. The NMUN conference is unique among Model UN conferences in that more than half of the attendees are from universities outside the United States.

Our students represented the nation of Belize at the conference, and they researched and discussed issues such as chemical weapons, agriculture development and food security, green transportation, sustainable production of biofuels and violence against women.

At the conference, our students excelled and represented Baylor well. While the learning experience is always the most important part of these conferences and awards are not the emphasis of the conference or our team, I am delighted to announce that the entire team was recognized as a “Distinguished Delegation.” Only a small percentage of delegations receive any recognition as an Outstanding, Distinguished or Honorable Mention Delegation at this conference, so this is a noteworthy achievement.

In addition to the team recognition, two of the position papers submitted to the conference were named an “Outstanding Position Paper” –- those for General Assembly Second Committee and General Assembly Third Committee. The position paper is a short policy memo, no more the two pages long, that is researched and prepared in advance of the conference. These papers are completed as part of the course requirements for Political Science 3375 and the club requirements for Model United Nations.

Authors of the award-winning General Assembly Second Committee paper were S.K. Alagbada, Matt DeMond, Michael Saporito, Seti Tesefay and Ren Young.

Authors of the award-winning General Assembly Third Committee paper were Lola Akere, Taylor Marie Hanson, Caitlin Prud’homme, Kristin Roland and Marc Webb.

On behalf of our students, I want to thank everyone for their continued support of Baylor Model UN. These conferences offer our students a unique opportunity to take the knowledge and skills they acquire in the classroom and apply them to simulated experiences similar to those they will encounter in their postgraduate careers.

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STUDENTS IN ABOVE PHOTO:

Top row (L to R): Ben Betner (senior, political science); Paul Schlaudraff (senior, Baylor Business Fellows/accounting); Tyler Kopas (Senior, Baylor Model United Nations head delegate, professional sales); Laura Beth Hooper (junior, Baylor Model United Nations assistant head delegate, international studies); Emily Brizzolara-Dove (junior, international studies); Rebekah Stryker (senior, political science); Tiffany Clark (MA in international relations); Sikiru Alagbada (senior, economics); Marc Webb (freshman, international studies); and Caleb Gunnels (junior, political science).

Bottom row (L to R): Ruth Anne Holiday (junior, international studies); Taylor Marie Hanson (senior, political science); Jessica Abbey (junior, journalism, public relations and new media); Mary Margaret Hambuchen (junior, journalism, public relations and new media); Renie Saenz (sophomore, history); and Ren Young (senior, political science).

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Baylor journalism faculty interview first responders to create first-person account of the West tragedy

April 16, 2014 · No Comments · Faculty

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A year after an immense explosion in West, Texas, left death and destruction in its wake, faculty members from the Department of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media in the Baylor College of Arts & Sciences are releasing a book they researched and wrote, describing both the tragedy and heroism of that day.

The Last Alarm: First Responders’ Stories of the West Explosion includes the first-person accounts of more than 40 first responders who served in the aftermath of a fertilizer plant explosion on April 17, 2013, that killed 15 people and injured more than 160 others.

Amber Adamson, a part-time lecturer in journalism, public relations and new media, is the book’s author, while senior journalism lecturer Sharon Bracken served as the book’s editor and publisher. Baylor graduate Stephanie MacVeigh (BA ’99) did the graphic design for the book, which features photos taken by photographers from the Baylor Lariat student newspaper.

A portion of the profits from The Last Alarm will go to a fund that assists first responder families who were hurt or killed in the line of duty.

We talked with author Amber Adamson to find out more about just what it took to create the finished book.

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Where did the idea for this book come from? And what motivated you and your colleagues to tell this story?

Both my husband Alex, a member of the Waco Fire Department, and my brother Eric, from the Red Oak Fire Department, are career firefighters — so the idea of doing a book about this profession came naturally.

After the explosion I prayed that I might be able to help in some way, and I felt a strong calling that I should capture some of the stories of the first responders who were in West. The book tells the perspective of the fire and EMS personnel who responded in the minutes, hours and days after the explosion, doing fire suppression, triage, search and rescue and honoring the fallen.

Was it difficult to find first responders who would talk about what they experienced?

It was not difficult at all. In fact, I have pages of more contacts I never got the chance to interview. I ended up interviewing almost 50 first responders from two dozen departments — in McLennan County and at least a half dozen other counties beyond.

I started with firefighters I knew, and I always asked for the names and numbers of others who might be willing to talk to me. As the stories took shape I began to understand what perspectives I needed to have, and I reached out to those people. Almost no one told me no.

The amazing thing to me is that none of the first responders I talked to think that the work they do is extraordinary. They do it out of a sense of calling and duty — not for recognition.

Many were emotional as they recounted their stories, but almost all said they were honored to have been there to help. Events like this remind them of the dangers of their calling — but, if anything, it strengthens their resolve to serve.

What a great privilege it is for me to be entrusted with telling the stories of these first responders.

How did you, Sharon and Stephanie divide up the work required to get this book done?

I conducted the interviews and wrote the book. Sharon has been my content and concepts editor and encourager since day one. Stephanie brought an amazing eye for detail in proofreading and creative genius in layout and design of the book.

What do you hope this book will do for readers, and for the city of West?

It is my desire that the book will be a way of honoring the sacrifices of the 12 first responders who died on April 17, 2013.

I hope that people will realize that the men and women who are first responders, either volunteer or career, regularly put themselves in harm’s way for their communities. But they don’t do it for accolades or pats on the back — they don’t want to be referred to as heroes. They do it because it’s a calling, it’s in their blood. They wouldn’t know what to do otherwise.

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In doing her interviews for the book, Adamson worked with Baylor’s Institute for Oral History, which loaned her recording equipment. The interviews with first responders are now being transcribed and will be added to The Texas Collection at Baylor.

A video news story about the book’s publication can be viewed here.

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Arts & Sciences students win Fulbright, Rotary scholarships for graduate study in England

April 14, 2014 · No Comments · Academics, Alumni, Students

Two Baylor Arts & Sciences students and a recent Baylor graduate have been chosen for prestigious international scholarships to study abroad.

FULBRIGHT SCHOLARS

Jonathan Keim

Jonathan Keim (above), a senior chemistry major from Salisbury, Md., was selected to receive a Fulbright Scholarship to study at the University of Nottingham in England. Keim will pursue a Master of Science degree in synthetic organic chemistry during the 2014-2015 academic year.

In addition, Ta-Wei Lin, a 2008 Baylor University Scholar graduate, was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for the Master of Science program in technology entrepreneurship at University College, London, for the 2014-15 academic year.

ROTARY SCHOLAR

Jesus Sotelo

Jesus Sotelo, a senior biology major from Houston, has been named a Rotary Global Grant Scholar. He will pursue a master’s degree in public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London, England during the 2014-2015 academic year.

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