Alumni Interviews — Dr. Candace Weddle Livingston (’99)

With each year that passes there are more and more BIC graduates doing great work all over the world. Each spring we publish brief “Alumni Updates” where our alumni can tell us some about their post-BIC lives. In addition to these annual updates, we post interviews with our alumni. Today we are excited to post an interview with Dr. Candace Weddle Livingston (’99). We hope you enjoy, and if you are interested in being interviewed for a future blog post, email us at BIC@baylor.edu.

What year did you graduate from Baylor? What did you study?

I graduated in 1999 with a BA in Classics and a Minor in Art History. I also took quite a few courses in Museum Studies (in addition to my BIC core).

What are you doing currently for work/career? What do you enjoy most about your work?

I am an Assistant Professor of Art History at The South Carolina School of the Arts at Anderson University (in Anderson, SC, near Greenville). My university is smaller than Baylor but it is also a private Baptist institution, so it feels comfortable to me. The most enjoyable aspect of my career is that I am constantly learning new things. The research I carry out to develop new courses for our Art History curriculum keeps me feeling engaged and invigorated.

Although it’s not technically a job, I also spend several weeks each summer in Europe and sometimes the Middle East, giving lectures about art and archaeology on a cruise ship that specializes in visiting places of historical and archaeological interest. I enjoy interacting with audiences made up of interesting people from around the world who share a love of history, while visiting many sites I might not otherwise have had the opportunity to see. For example, while on the ship I have visited six of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World (I just need the Hanging Gardens of Babylon to complete the set, a tricky one because they are located in Iraq).

How has your BIC education influenced your life/career since leaving Baylor?

There are many ways I could answer this question, because the BIC experience has had an impact on many areas of my life. In a general sense, it gave me a great curiosity about the world around me, which has led me down career paths that involve much international travel. Although I was not able to travel abroad with the BIC while at Baylor (though I did participate in the wonderful Baylor in Italy program with the Classics department!), the World Cultures sequence opened my eyes to the rich cultural mosaic of the world and made me thirst to see it all.

Because I have made a career in academia, the BIC has impacted me in a very direct way in my approach to teaching. One of my BIC professors, Dr. Alden Smith of the Classics department, counseled me once – years after I had graduated from Baylor and was finishing my PhD at the University of Southern California –  that I should never shy away from teaching a course just because it did not fall within my area of expertise. The broad range of material to which I was introduced in the BIC, and the opportunity to see the approaches of scholars from a variety of disciplines in action, gave me the confidence to put his advice into practice. Diving in to prepare and teach classes on material outside my comfort zone – such as the arts of the Pacific islands or of West Africa – is not as daunting a task as it might have been had I not had the BIC experience. Interdisciplinary training teaches one, most importantly, that no area of inquiry is off-limits or inherently foreign, as long as it is approached with an open mind and genuine curiosity. In addition, interdisciplinary training conveys the invaluable lesson that no one person need be a master of all trades, and that admitting our own limitations is not a weakness but a strength, as it can lead to collaboration, which in turn leads to exciting new knowledge.

Do you have a favorite memory from your time in BIC?

What comes to mind immediately is all the cool technology we got to play with! Those were the early days of portable GPS units, and I remember being divided into teams and taken into a field and tasked with finding our way back out. The fact that most of us have that capability on our cellphones now is incredible. Another time, we participated in a weekend training course to become amateur storm watchers and had the opportunity to tour the interior of a tornado-chasing van, which was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Probably the thing that has had the most long-term impact, however, was my BIC World Cultures IV course. I don’t know what it looks like in its current version, but those of us in the first BIC cohort were assigned a world culture with which we had little or no previous experience and asked to apply as many of the methods we had learned in earlier courses as possible to an analysis of that culture. I was randomly placed in a class on the Zulu culture, which was incredibly foreign to me, with a professor who had grown up in Zululand (as the son of missionaries, I believe). I loved learning about a topic I might not otherwise have had the opportunity to study in depth, and that experience has aided me in understanding certain aspects of African tribal art and culture, something I now teach in a limited fashion in my own courses.

Is there something you learned in BIC that still sticks with you today?

The benefits of cross-disciplinary collaboration continue to inform my career. My research on the sensory experience of Greco-Roman sacrifices has been enriched immeasurably by the inclusion of methodologies from fields outside of classics and art history – notably anthropology – which is a path I would likely never have taken without having seen interdisciplinary scholarship modeled for me so strongly in the BIC. Not surprisingly, I am a proponent of similar approaches in the classroom. Over the past two years I have been involved in a ground-up redesign of my university’s Core Curriculum and have lobbied strongly for the inclusion of team-taught courses with an interdisciplinary focus, which did make it into the final plan approved by our faculty. I hope to be involved in teaching one of those courses in the near future.

What are your goals for the future?

A short-term goal is to involve Anderson University students in archaeological field work, specifically by bringing them to the Baylor field school in Italy (co-led by Dr. Davide Zori of the BIC and Dr. Colleen Zori of the Anthropology department) at the amazing Etruscan/Roman/medieval site of San Giuliano. I was excited to be involved as a classical archaeology consultant in the inaugural year of the excavation in 2016, and am eager to see how the project evolves in coming years.

A goal that will take more time is the completion of my current book manuscript, a study of the sensory experience of Greek and Roman animal sacrifices. I would also like to write a historical fiction novel (my favorite genre for pleasure reading), putting my knowledge of the ancient world to use in a different way. I’ve even kicked around the idea of making it into a graphic novel with the help of my husband Todd Livingston, an award-winning author of numerous comics and graphic novels.

A long-term life goal is to visit all seven continents (3 to go!).

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Alumni Interview — Ross Natividad (’10)

With each year that passes there are more and more BIC graduates doing great work all over the world. Each spring we publish brief “Alumni Updates” where our alumni can tell us some about their post-BIC lives. In addition to these annual updates, we post interviews with our alumni. Today we are excited to post an interview with Ross Natividad (’10). We hope you enjoy, and if you are interested in being interviewed for a future blog post, email us at BIC@baylor.edu.

What year did you graduate from Baylor? What did you study?

I graduated in 2010 with a BA in Spanish and International Studies and in 2012 with an MA in Spanish.  After teaching English in Indonesia for a year (read about Ross’s experience as a Fulbright Scholar in Indonesia), I attended William & Mary Law School and graduated in 2016.

What are you doing currently for work/career? What do you enjoy most about your work?

I am currently clerking for the 23rd Judicial Circuit of Virginia (Roanoke).  I work closely with five judges and assist them with their court hearings and opinions.  I really enjoy being exposed to different aspects of the law, ranging from criminal, civil, family, and administrative issues.  By attending court on a daily basis, I’m able to appreciate the various ways attorneys advocate for their clients and, in turn, how justice is fairly administered.  Many people rely on the courts to resolve disputes, seek relief, or express their rights—being a part of this process is the most rewarding part of my job.

How has your BIC education influenced your life/career since leaving Baylor?

In so many ways!  Particularly, BIC encouraged me to embrace and immerse myself in other cultures.  After graduating, I took advantage of an opportunity to live and teach English in West Timor, Indonesia.  The experience was life-changing. From learning how to adapt to a new way of life to making lasting friendships along the way, I experienced first-hand—just as BIC continues to teach its students—the importance of cultural awareness.

Do you have a favorite memory from your time in BIC?

Hands down, my capstone course with Professors Wright and Hanks.  I especially enjoyed our class discussions and assigned readings (like Life of Pi).  The professors did an AMAZING job of structuring our classes, which led to lively conversations not just on the text but about our lives in general.  It was probably the best class I’ve ever had.

Is there something you learned in BIC that still sticks with you today?

Of course, we’ve been trained to never forget that the unexamined life is not worth living! On top of that, BIC helped me embrace—and not shy away from—challenges in life.  Whether it’s educational, professional, or personal, I know there’s always something to be learned from those challenges.

What are your plans for the future?

I will be getting married this September in Roanoke, VA.  My fiancé and I are excited to be moving back to Texas, where we’ll be working and both have family and close friends.

Is there anything else would you like to share?

Thank you BIC faculty and staff for everything you do for your students.  You’ve given us many tools and skills in preparation for the “real world.”  It’s a truly remarkable experience once we start applying what you’ve taught us.

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Faculty Interview — Dr. Davide Zori

Dr. Davide Zori is an assistant professor in the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core, teaching World Cultures I and II, Social World I, and medieval history courses in the history department. Dr. Zori also directs the San Giuliano Archaeological Research Project, which is part of the Baylor in Italy summer study abroad trip. We hope you enjoy learning more about one of our BIC faculty members.

Tell us some about your background and journey to becoming a professor in the BIC.

I was born on the island of Fyn in Denmark to a Danish mother and an Italian-born American father. My parents were committed to our family’s multiculturalism. Every summer my parents put down the backseat of our Fiat Uno and piled my brother and me into the back for the 24-hour drive to the Italy. From the start, I have lived between cultures. This was challenging sometimes, such as the period during my early teens when my parents traded the Fiat Uno for a slew of plane tickets as we moved back and forth from Denmark to Florida multiple times. The cultural shifts were difficult, but they made me adaptable and able to ‘fit in’ in different cultures. Being an American teen is different from being a Danish team, which in turn is very different from being an Italian teen. I do firmly believe, however, that cultural adaptability is one of our human strengths. In my experience, I could change languages, stress particular interests, change my clothes (a bit), and find the right shoes for each country while embracing the “non-definability” of Danish-Italian-American identity. Possibly the greatest gift from this experience was the ability to speak several languages. My experiences informed many of my basic assumptions about past cultures that I now study through archaeological excavation and ancient texts. Looking back now, I see that my childhood experiences set the stage for my professional interests in cultural variation and an academic career facilitated by successful inter-cultural communication.

After finishing my PhD at UCLA in interdisciplinary archaeology, I spent three years in Iceland doing post-doctoral research and excavation at a Viking chieftain’s farm. My archaeological work there was inherently interdisciplinary, combining Viking sagas, archaeological data, and the newest technological advances in geophysics and computing. Through my work I became further convinced that interdisciplinarity—particularly work at the intersections of sciences and humanities—is the major engine that drives innovative research. In Iceland, I also found my son speaking three languages (Danish with me, English with his mother, and Icelandic in school), and realized I had inadvertently replicated my own multi-cultural childhood for the next generation. Iceland was wonderful, but America called and I really wanted to pursue a career in academia that combined interdisciplinary research and with interdisciplinary teaching. The BIC was and remains perfect. Now in Waco we might find less opportunity for speaking Icelandic, but we have added to our family’s multiculturalism a certain Texan culture with great appreciation among my children of such local delicacies as Dr. Pepper and barbecued brisket.

What do you find most rewarding about teaching in BIC and working with BIC students?

I find the interaction with BIC students to be the most rewarding part of teaching. I most enjoy the classes where I can feel the enthusiasm for a primary text building as we peel back the layers of a text. I still get excited before each class to have the opportunity to sit together and discuss ancient texts and archaeology with students who share my enthusiasm. This makes my job easy to love. I am fortunate to teach courses covering the first three semester of the BIC curriculum. Through these first three semesters, I see the impact that BIC (and the wider college experience) can have on students as they grow in confidence and in their abilities to make concise arguments with specific evidence drawn from ancient texts, material culture, and social theory.

Tell us some about your current research. Where do you see your research going in the future?

My research seeks to unravel medieval political constellations and identify underlying strategies for creating the social relationships. I conduct archaeological field research to build new interpretations of early medieval power. My primary specialization is Viking Age Europe, with a particular focus on the political strategies of reciprocity and feasting. I conduct archaeological excavations in the North Atlantic, mostly in Iceland, although last summer I was searching for Vikings in Newfoundland. Simultaneously, I am using interdisciplinary archaeology methods and my interest in medieval social power to extend my research into other regions of medieval Europe, including most significantly medieval Italy, but also the material culture of the Crusades in the Levant. I am enjoying the expansion of my research area, which has allowed me to stand one summer in the remains of an Icelandic chieftain’s longhouse and the next summer to uncover the ruins of a medieval castle atop an Etrurian plateau in central Italy.

You are the Director of the San Giuliano Archaeological Research Project, which is also part of the Baylor in Italy summer study abroad trip. Tell us some about this project and how you have been able to get BIC students involved in the research.

The San Giuliano Archaeological Research Project (SGARP) is a new transdisciplinary project that targets the archaeological past of San Giuliano, a site located approximately 70 km northwest of Rome within Marturanum Park in Lazio. SGARP’s goal is to reconstruct the long-term changes in human occupation of the San Giuliano plateau and the surrounding hills. Hundreds of rock-cut Etruscan tombs ring the plateau, while the plateau was likely the site of the associated Etruscan town. We seek to investigate the Etruscan occupation and understand the transitions that followed, including incorporation into the Roman Empire, transformations in the medieval settlement pattern, and the final abandonment of the site sometime before AD 1300. We have focused our attention on the Etruscan and medieval periods as eras of particularly significant societal change. These two periods saw the most intensified use of the San Giuliano plateau. We are seeking to understand both the rise and fall of the Etruscan urban center and the medieval incastellamento (castle-building) process that reshaped the Italian landscape in the 10th and 11th centuries.

This project has given me the opportunity to broaden my contact with BIC students. Last year five BIC students joined us in Italy – Emily Harding, Brad Sherrill, Lauren Sides, Charlotte Weston, and Ryan White. This has allowed me to continue working with some really great students and to further a university-wide initiative to get undergraduates involved in original research. From this work at least one student is writing an honors thesis on the archaeological material we uncovered in Italy.

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Alumni Interviews — Cameron Boone (’04)

With each year that passes there are more and more BIC graduates doing great work all over the world. Each spring we publish brief “Alumni Updates” where our alumni can tell us some about their post-BIC lives. In addition to these annual updates, we post interviews with our alumni. Today we are excited to post an interview with Cameron Boone (’04). We hope you enjoy, and if you are interested in being interviewed for a future blog post, email us at BIC@baylor.edu.

What year did you graduate from Baylor? What did you study?

I graduated in December, 2004 with a B.A. in history.

What are you doing currently for work/career? What do you enjoy most about your work?

I am currently a Vice President with Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) in Houston.  I work as a commercial real estate appraiser in Valuation and Advisory Services where I focus on primarily on eminent domain and litigation support.

I look at appraisal like solving a puzzle; it can be very satisfying when all the pieces finally match up.  I also enjoy testifying as an expert witness.

How has your BIC education influenced your life/career since leaving Baylor?

The BIC provided an integrated liberal arts education in a larger university setting – the best of both worlds!  I think my BIC education really shaped my view of the world.  It provided context for all types of thought – Christian, Western, Eastern, Modern, Postmodern, etc.

Do you have a favorite memory from your time in BIC?

I really enjoyed visiting a Hindu temple, synagogue and mosque.  The perspective you get from actually attending a worship service is so much different than something you may read in a book or online.

I also fondly remember listening to music with Dr. Long in his office.  We shared the same taste in composers and artists and would turn each other on to new discoveries.

Is there something you learned in BIC that still sticks with you today?

That the unexamined life is not worth living, of course!  I also learned that there is always another side to a story.  Instead of tuning out or immediately denigrating those who might think different than we do, we should do our best to first try and understand their perspective and worldview.

What are your goals for the future?

God has blessed me with a wonderful Baylor Bear wife and three precious children.  I want to work hard so that one day my kids will be able to have the same educational opportunities that I had.  My hope is that one day they will chose to follow Christ and leave a positive legacy in this world.

Is there anything else would you like to share?

I recall having some of my Baylor professors attend my wedding.  I think that speaks volumes about the caliber of faculty we have at Baylor and the relationships that can be formed.

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Alumni Interviews — Farrah Najmuddin Lang (’09)

With each year that passes there are more and more BIC graduates doing great work all over the world. Each spring we publish brief “Alumni Updates” where our alumni can tell us some about their post-BIC lives. In addition to these annual updates, we post interviews with our alumni. Today we are excited to post an interview with Farrah Najmuddin Lang (’09). We hope you enjoy, and if you are interested in being interviewed for a future blog post, email us at BIC@baylor.edu.

What year did you graduate from Baylor? What did you study?

I graduated from Baylor in December 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and a minor in Political Science. I then went on to get my J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center and was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in November 2013.

What are you doing currently for work/career? What do you enjoy most about your work?

I currently practice law with Alimohammad & Zafar, PLLC, a boutique law firm in Sugar Land, TX. I primarily practice family litigation and breach of contract litigation. I really enjoy litigating. Only a few cases will get to the point that I have to be in front of a judge arguing my case, but those few are really exhilarating. I also really enjoy the closure and resolution when a case is completed, regardless of whether it’s at trial or through a settlement. Knowing that a client can now move forward with their life and I was able to help them get to that point is very satisfying.

How has your BIC education influenced your life/career since leaving Baylor?

BIC taught me not to look at the world in a vacuum, both personally and professionally. Everything we do touches and affects the world around us. It’s important to understand the power of education and communication. As a society, the more we can learn about each other and from each other, the better our likelihood at making actual and substantial progress.

BIC taught me that people, in general, are more similar then they are different, but we have to be open to the differences.

Do you have a favorite memory from your time in BIC?

I have lots of wonderful memories from BIC and I loved all of the field trips. But, I have to say that some of favorite memories are from just studying for exams, usually for a Cultures class. We would get together either somewhere on campus or at someone’s apartment and sit in a big circle and quiz each other about the material for hours the night before an exam. There was always a lot of laughter and good discussion.

Is there something you learned in BIC that still sticks with you today?

In my capstone course, with Drs. Lynn Tatum and Ann McGlashan, we read Letters to a Young Poet, by Ranier Marie Rilke. There’s a passage in the book that says “And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now.” I think about this passage quite often. Life is always presenting more questions than answers and this quote reminds me that it is the questions themselves that make life interesting. The answers will come in their own time.

What are your goals for the future?

I hope to continue to practice law for a while, but I would like to eventually move into public policy. While I was at Baylor, I had the opportunity to work in the Texas legislature, which was an unforgettable and priceless experience. I think one day, I would like to get back to a more policy-based career.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I want to thank my BIC professors. I won’t list them, out of fear of leaving someone out, but I can easily think of many professors, and their classes, that have had a lasting impact on me. I don’t know that I appreciated their enthusiasm for the material and the program while I was at Baylor. I think BIC is a wonderful program that not only prepared me for law school and practicing law, but also taught me to strive to be a better person.

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Reflections from Auschwitz — Jake Shanley

Article by Jake Shanley, current BIC student

This past summer, I had the chance to travel to Europe for two weeks on a Christian pilgrimage. Every 3 years, 2.5 million young Catholic Christians (usually between 15 to 25 years old) travel to a designated place in the world for an event called “World Youth Day.” This past summer, the destination was Krakow, Poland. While there are many things I could talk about, I want to discuss my time in Auschwitz and how it relates to the theme of the pilgrimage: God’s Mercy.

The concentration camp Auschwitz is located two or so hours outside of Krakow. I’ll attempt to describe our moment there. As you walk into the camp of Auschwitz, the foreboding sign “Arbeit macht frei” hangs over the archway. It’s an obvious lie—“work sets you free”—used by the Nazis to coerce Jewish and other religious and ethnic prisoners to work until their deaths. While walking around one can read signs describing the function of certain buildings. “This was a gas chamber,” or “this was where the Jewish prisoners lived.”

There’s a sign on the corner of a bare wall on one of the buildings, with a picture of a Catholic priest, named Maximilian Kolbe. He had been captured by the Nazis and taken to Auschwitz, and ministered to other prisoners with spiritual help during their occupation. One day, a prisoner escaped, and the concentration camp staff decided to execute twelve Jewish prisoners in his place. One man started weeping, crying out that he had a wife and kids, and they would be fatherless and have no way of support for themselves. Maximilian Kolbe stepped out of a group watching the execution, and volunteered to take the man’s place instead. For two weeks, Kolbe and the prisoners were sent to a “starving room,” where they would be starved out until their deaths. Kolbe was the last one to survive, and was injected by the guards with a lethal injection of carbolic acid to finish him off.

Seeing the site of his martyrdom, and all of the other one million Jewish prisoners, begged multiple questions. One we had to ask was this: for a pilgrimage revolving around “God’s Mercy,” where was His Mercy in all of this?

God’s mercy lies in the fact that every single person is made in His image—Nazi ideology distorted this truth. The example of Maximilian Kolbe and similar figures like Dietrich Bonheoffer shows that this truth extends to every person regardless of race, religion, or class. As BIC students, when we read the holy book of a different religion in World Cultures or simply converse with someone we do not agree with, we need to “love our neighbor” and not let differences get in the way seeing every person through the lens of God’s Mercy. Auschwitz did not happen overnight—it occurred from German citizens forgetting to love daily across the differences around them, and recognizing the dignity of all people made in His Image.

Jake Shanley is a sophomore BIC student majoring in philosophy.

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Alumni Interviews — Dr. Brian Dixon (’02)

With each year that passes there are more and more BIC graduates doing great work all over the world. Each spring we publish brief “Alumni Updates” where our alumni can tell us some about their post-BIC lives. In addition to these annual updates, we post interviews with our alumni. Today we are excited to post an interview with Dr. Brian Dixon (’02). We hope you enjoy, and if you are interested in being interviewed for a future blog post, email us at BIC@baylor.edu.

What year did you graduate from Baylor? What did you study?

I was BIC Delta Class, from 1998 to 2002. I received a BA in Psychology and completed the pre-med curricula.

What are you doing currently for work/career? What do you enjoy most about your work?

Currently I have a thriving private psychiatry practice in Fort Worth where I spend most of my days working with adult and child patients on mental health concerns. I’m also the current Medical Director for Behavioral Health Services at BaylorScott&White All Saints Medical Center.

What I enjoy the most about my work? Hope. The best part of my day is seeing restored hope in my patients eyes at the end of every appointment. Many come in for various reasons (anxiety, depression, PTSD, ADHD) and they leave feeling hopeful about their lives and their dreams. I have the best job in the world.

How has your BIC education influenced your life/career since leaving Baylor?

BIC taught me critical thinking; to question “why, what, how” with practically everything I do. While it made for some painful growing through medical school and residency, questioning the status quo has expanded my worldview far more than I could have ever dreamed.

Do you have a favorite memory from your time in BIC?

Hands-down, the best experience from BIC was the camaraderie. We were an oddly close group of strangers who came together the fall of 1998. This was epitomized in the BIC Bulletin Board. Us “BIC(ker)ers” would discuss and argue about all sorts of things and the memory that sticks out the most if the musings about the idea of “Christian university” being mutually exclusive or not. I think those discussions still resound today.

Is there something you learned in BIC that still sticks with you today?

Social World and “paradigm shifts.” When I experienced physician burnout, I started a nonprofit as a vehicle for healthcare reform and have built it into a movement to reform a 3.2 trillion dollar industry. My website: www.changehealth.today tackles the uncomfortable fundamentals of healthcare and social responsibility. Like the painful shift from geocentrism to heliocentrism, our understanding of healthcare needs a foundational paradigm shift. I hope to spark that discussion in 2017.

What are your goals for the future?

In addition to healthcare reform and eliminating mental health stigma, I aim to foster authentic and meaningful discussions on race and culture. As an African-American in the age of post-Obama America, I have a unique perspective on how we can celebrate variations in culture without disparagement or alienation. I aim to help bring this into our collective social consciousness.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I can say, without a hint of doubt, that BIC helped me become the person I am today.

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Baylor in Denia — Becca Munroe

becca-munroe-denia

Article by Becca Munroe, current BIC student

As I arrived in Denia, Spain my stomach danced with butterflies over my roommates and classes the next day, yet I was enthralled by the view in front of me. From our upstairs balcony of Alpha y Omega where the Baylor in Denia program stays one can see the Mediterranean, the Castle of Denia, and the city. I had no idea at the time what adventures and lessons this city would allow me, but I knew that I was lucky to be there. My roommates Nichole and Andrea were some of the best roommates a girl could have, and I was so lucky to be their friend. The bonds we formed will hopefully last a lifetime as we recollect on late nights studying, goofy jokes, trips to the beach, playing at the pool, and drinking chocolate milk to celebrate our success. Our group as a whole was extraordinarily well suited, almost everyone getting along well, allowing us to share our experiences and practice our Spanish.

The first week in Denia the students participate in Kids Camp, where we are supposed to be teaching the kids English and playing with them for two hours every day. However, I think that the kids taught me more Spanish than I taught them. My four year olds would run up to me and say “Becca! Sabes que…..” meaning “you know what?” and tell me all about their days before. These kids did not care if I messed up my conjugations or if I did not understand every word they spoke, but allowed me to practice Spanish uninhibited and taught me new phrases.  Although most people in Spain speak some English, it was challenging and fun to be able to go into town and practice what we were learning in class in a real life application. We were capable of talking to store clerks, restaurant servers, and general inhabitants of the city in Spanish, accurately communicating our desires and wishes. After struggling with Spanish at Baylor in my spring semester I was not sure that I would ever be conversational in Spanish. Through living in Spain for five weeks I was able to develop my skills more than I thought possible and in the end even talk to a Spanish friend for an hour about futbol- soccer.

More than anything the people in Spain were amazing. Every Spaniard I met was super friendly. They would patiently wait while we talked in Spanish, they would tell us about different events and other places they thought we would like to try, and they were generally kind.  I am so grateful that I had the chance to study abroad.

Becca Munroe is a senior BIC student studying biology.

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Alumni Interview — Dr. Katie Root (’05)

With each year that passes there are more and more BIC graduates doing great work all over the world. Each spring we  publish brief “Alumni Updates” where our alumni can tell us some about their post-BIC lives. In addition to these annual updates, we post interviews with our alumni. Today we are excited to post an interview with Dr. Katie Root (’05). We hope you enjoy, and if you are interested in being interviewed for a future blog post, email us at BIC@baylor.edu.

katie-rootWhat year did you graduate from Baylor? What did you study?

I graduated in 2005 with a BS in Forensic Science.

What are you doing currently for work/career? What do you enjoy most about your work?

I am now an internal medicine physician and practice in an outpatient primary care clinic. I also am developing a new Medical Weight Management clinic with East Texas Medical Center, where I work, which should launch later this year. I enjoy having the opportunity to live my life-long dream of becoming a physician. I get to meet so many different people and am blessed to help them achieve their health and lifestyle goals.

How has your BIC education influenced your life/career since leaving Baylor?

One important thing that I learned in BIC was to always ask questions. I never settle for believing something without doing my own research into it. I have utilized this throughout my medical training.

Do you have a favorite memory from your time in BIC?

I really enjoyed the opportunity to go to several places of worship for different religions. It helped me to better understand these religions and experience first-hand what they are like. As a strong Christian, it was interesting to see and experience others’ beliefs, and better understand them when sharing my faith.

What are your goals for the future?

I am excited about the opening of our new Medical Weight Management clinic. I look forward to seeing this grow and help so many of the people in my community. My husband and I also plan to start a family and become further involved in our church and community.

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BIC Faculty Updates — Fall 2016

cann_perry-chapelCandi Cann: Hello BIC Alums! This August marked my five-year anniversary here at Baylor, and Baylor’s campus keeps growing more beautiful every year. Maia is now in fourth grade, an avid reader of anime, and learning to play the cello. This past year I published several articles on death and dying, and my next book Dying to Eat (UKY Press) is in the final stages of production. In June, I participated in an NEH Seminar at UVA, in Charlottesville, Virginia, where Maia and I stayed for a month, while I began research on the first and oldest African-American funeral home in Virginia. Later I traveled to Brazil and gave the opening keynote at the VII International Conference Imagens da Morte in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and this fall over fall break, I am giving two invited university lectures—at FSU, and the University of Florida. Maia and I are hoping to sneak in a trip to Harry Potter World in between the lectures. As Dumbledore said, “Let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.” May your own adventures be worthy ones full of excitement and knowledge.

paul-carronPaul Carron: I just finished my second year on tenure track in the BIC, but my seventh year teaching Social World I, which I once again coordinated. I taught a revamped Biblical Heritage with Dr. Novakovic that spent a lot more time on ethical issues and the students really seemed to enjoy that focus. I also taught Social World II and had the opportunity to teach my first upper division elective in the philosophy department on contemporary issues in ethics. The course focused on the intersection of social psychology and virtue ethics. I am looking forward to teaching the course again this spring. My paper “Monkeys, Men, and Moral Responsibility” was accepted for publication, and I wrote two articles on Kierkegaard’s psychology that are currently under review. My children just keep growing! Ellie had her first piano recital this summer (pictured left) and just began the third grade. The twins have one more year before kindergarten, and Nora is talking our ears off!

sharon-conrySharon Conry: This is my 15th year to teach in the BIC, and it has been wonderful!  Each new semester brings a great new group of students who teach ME, more than I think I teach them.  I have also had the opportunity to develop, write, and try out new labs in Natural World.  Some have worked out fabulously, others not so much!  Luckily, BIC students are great about adjusting to new things, and it has worked out well for us.  After much thought, prayer and saving, we built a small home in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Georgia.  What a wonderful respite from the summer heat in Texas!  We also had the opportunity to take care of two of our three grandchildren for several weeks while their mother, father, and our oldest grandson went on a mission trip to Ecuador.  The time together was a great time to bond and create long-term memories with our grandchildren.  During our months in Georgia, we also had plenty of time to do our favorite things:  hiking and eating!   However, coming back to Texas and its 104 degree heat was a shock!  I can’t wait for fall to get here!

Stacey Hibbs:  Dr. Hibbs continues to teach in both BIC and Great Texts. This semester she is teaching World Cultures I and Social World I, and in the spring she taught a BIC Capstone, “Friendship: Happiness, Virtue, and Love,” with her husband, Dean Thomas Hibbs.

mark-long-2Mark Long: This year, my wife and I traveled back to the Air Force Academy, where I taught previously, and we took our 11 year old granddaughter to San Francisco and Monterey, California.  Of note, several BIC students aided in my quest to grow a blue beard. My joint work continues with Sam Perry on the rhetorical strategies of Daesh.  My focus now is on the rise of Daesh-sponsored, extra-territorial violence as its self-proclaimed caliphate crumbles.  In particular, I am interested in the neologism that Daesh uses to describe and promote suicide operations, inghimas.

mcdaniel-tellurideCharles McDaniel: My wife and I escaped the Texas heat long enough to breathe in some mountain air in New Mexico and Colorado (pictured left).  We stayed in a 7000-square-foot Sears kit house in Canyon, Texas, that was built in 1906 and was the boarding house where Georgia O’Keefe took most of her meals when she was teaching at West Texas Normal College (now West Texas A&M).  We also stayed with a nice lady in Ridgway, Colorado, who was the personal assistant to actor Dennis Weaver of “Gunsmoke” and “McCloud” TV fame and had some interesting stories about the Hollywood life and why Weaver came to be a committed ecologist.

As for research/publications, I’m working on a paper titled “Religion, Social Justice, and the New Eugenics: Transcending the Market for Human Enhancement” that will be presented at the annual conference of the Society for Ethics Across the Curriculum in October.  I’m also developing a grant proposal for submission to the National Endowment for the Humanities that could help bolster the academic connection between the Honors College and Hankamer School of Business.  A couple of BICers are lending support to this effort.

Sam Perry: I continue to research representations of violence in protest movements, and I am currently looking at the analogous rhetorical structures present in the anti-lynching movement, the Civil Rights movement, and current protests of racial violence. I am also coauthoring work with Dr. Long on Daesh recruitment videos and speeches. We are looking at the ways representations of violence are used to radicalize and recruit people to extremist causes. Additionally, Dr. Walden and I have completed one new rhetoric textbook and will be completing a second textbook in the spring. I will teach both rhetoric classes, Social World I, and World Cultures IV this year. When I take a break from all things BIC and research, my wife Mary and I love to travel, and this summer we took a road trip through the Southeast with stops in Atlanta, Tampa, and New Orleans. When in Waco, we enjoy time with family, friends, and our dogs (Seamus and Remy).

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