2014 Senior Recognition Banquet

aagradAs we approach the graduation of our 2014 BIC class, last week we paused to celebrate their many accomplishments at the BIC Senior Recognition Banquet. Among those who shared with the graduating class was Dr. Sam Perry, Assistant Professor in BIC. Dr. Perry was gracious enough to allow his remarks to be posted here. Enjoy.


It is funny to stand in front of you all and think that nine years ago I was sitting in a chair listening to closing remarks at my own Senior Recognition Banquet, and I recall thinking in that moment that I was closing a chapter of my life. I suppose that was true in some ways, but in preparing these remarks for you all this evening it occurs to me that your graduation might more aptly be thought of as an epigraph—not to be confused with an epitaph. Often one of the most interesting and telling parts of any writing is the quotation that one finds at the beginning of the piece. So, I think it more fitting to consider your college career an epigraph to all of things that you now find yourself prepared to do: start a job, start an internship, graduate school, a fellowship, or setting off on a different path. You all are poised to do great things.

Rather than talking about one thing coming to an end, I would talk about words that I find particularly meaningful at the outset of things. So, I will offer you a few potential epigraphs that a BIC’er might carry with them into the wild blue yonder beyond the green and gold that you have called home for the past few years.

First, “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.”  - Ludwig van Wittgenstein.

You all have learned languages over your courses of study that have expanded your world. Each of you has earned a degree- you have majored in something or multiple things, you might have picked up a minor or minors along the way, too. I’d suggest that each of your specializations is a fluency in a particular language that you will set about putting to various purposes. This fluency in your area of study means one very important thing- that you have learned how to study a language: physics, biology, history, political science, philosophy, history, social work, etc… academic subjects predicated on solving problems by employing specialized languages. I encourage you to continue learning your languages and expanding the limits of your worlds. As lifelong learners you will expand you language and your world, you will learn new languages and explore new worlds. Continue reading

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BIC and Pre-Law – Raymond Panneton (’10)

Raymond L. Panneton, an associate with the Talaska Law Firm in Houston

Since its inception, the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core has helped many Baylor students prepare for the rigors of law school. One of our many pre-law graduates, Raymond Panneton (’10), recently contacted us with the following update:

After graduating from Baylor with a B.A. in Political Science, I earned a J.D. at Texas Southern University—Thurgood Marshall School of Law, where I served as an executive board member. I currently practice law with the Talaska Law Firm in Houston, focusing on complex medical malpractice and mass torts. In addition to my legal practice, I am a regular contributing columnist in the Texas Lawyer where I publish on technological advances in the practice of law.  I am married to Hailey Panneton (Baylor ’12- Philosophy/Political Science), and we share our home with our three dogs, Leah, Riley, and Cannoli.

In addition to this update, Raymond was also kind enough to send us a few words of reflection on his experience in BIC and how it helped prepare him for both law school and his work as an attorney. You can read Raymond’s reflection below.


Reflection by Raymond Panneton (’10)

As a practicing attorney, I have the benefit of retrospection.  I am now able to look back on my educational experiences and determine what contributed to my overall academic growth and success.  As I look back, I can without a doubt point to my BIC experience as one of the best academic decisions I made.

The BIC is designed to be a program that attempts to integrate core academic requirements into one cohesive academic program.  This integration of ideas and concepts challenges students to break the compartmentalized nature of higher education, that is, to realize that areas of study often affect and overlap each other.  The BIC program not only highlights these areas of overlap, but also trains their students to synthesize this information to see the larger, global picture.  Continue reading

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BIC Bowl 2014

bic bowl

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BIC Faculty Blogs

blogThere are two BIC faculty blogs you should explore (if I’m missing any others, please let me know). One is from our Director, Anne-Marie Schultz, and the other is from Paul Larson, Professor of Spanish.

Dr. Schultz’s primary blog is called “Thoughts on Teaching Yoga and Philosophy,” and you can also find a blog for her BIC Yoga Capstone course. In a post from 2009, Dr. Schultz reflects on the impact of the BIC. She writes,

“Overall, I think the BIC teaches students to question. The motto of the BIC is the Socratic exhortation that ‘the unexamined life is not worth living,’ and there is a genuine sense in which the BIC promotes this sustained engagement with ideas as the real goal of learning more than the learning of the content of those ideas themselves. BIC teaches the great texts of the world but also the context of texts and the conversation that those texts have with each other, their cultures, and of course how that conversation influences us as contemporary Americans and how we reshape that conversation of texts through our sustained engagement with the texts.”

You can find Dr. Larson’s blog at “The Spanish Medievalist,” where recent posts address topics as diverse as selfies, bookstores, Columbo, and Spam. In a recent post, Dr. Larson considers technology and the “ghost in the machine.” He writes:

“For now, I get random dialogue boxes that are the direct result of many of those ghosts. Boxes asking for passwords and pass phrases that the machine really doesn’t need–I just click them closed and move on. Conflicting programs, questioning software, weird heuristics, and unintended results all combine to create a sort of buggy interactive digital chaos. I’m just waiting for the day when the computer turns itself on and off, and gives itself orders, exiling its interactive human partner to analogue hell.”

If you are a BIC alumni and would like to share your own blog, writings, or publications, please let us know (send an email to Adam Moore, BIC Program Coordinator).

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BIC and Business – Kenny Wolfe (’04)


Over the past (nearly) 20 years, the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core has graduated over 250 students with Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degrees. The BIC strives to include students from all areas of the university—arts and sciences, social work, engineering and computer science, education, nursing, and business. We recently heard from BIC graduate, Kenny Wolfe (’04), who sends in the following update:

“I graduated early (due to the BIC) in December of ’03. After graduating Baylor I got an accounting job at a small oil and gas firm and attended night classes at University of Texas at Arlington to get my MBA. I worked my way up to partner in the oil and gas firm. Three years ago I started to get into real estate and have nearly made the full transition. My wife (Baylor ’04) and I now run Wolfe RE Mgmt, LLC. We are principals in 576 apartment units here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and looking to grow further.”

Looking back on his BIC education, Kenny believes the BIC helped him prepare for the business world and gave him the means to be a more effective leader. Kenny writes,

“The BIC is a great place for business majors for a few reasons.

“The first is grasping the idea of seeing the world through other peoples’ eyes. This comes in handy whether you are trying to relate to an employee, supervisor, or potential customer. This type of mindset also allows you to recognize a good or service not offered in the market. The second benefit is the extra load of work compared to your peers in “regular” classes, [which] teaches you to manage your work tasks and extra-curricular activities. And, last but not least, is the ability to write and communicate effectively. I use this on a regular basis when writing business letters, emails, or talking in front of an audience.

“The BIC is a great place for business majors to enhance their Baylor experience and get some of the intangible skills that we use in the business world.”

It’s great to hear from Kenny. If you would like to send us an update or reflection, or if you have other ideas for the blog, please email Adam Moore, BIC Program Coordinator. We’d love to hear from you.

[Image: drawing of the new Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation, which will house the Hankamer School of Business. Via: Baylor Media Communications.]

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Relay For Life

photo 3 (cropped)Each year the BIC organizes a ‘Team BICtory” to participate in and support Relay For Life, an annual event that raises money for the American Cancer Society. ‘Team BICtory’ is currently working to raise money before the overnight fundraising walk at Baylor on March 28, 2014. One way the BIC raises money is through a Valentines Bake Sale, taking place this year on February 13 and 14 in Morrison Hall. You can also donate to ‘Team BICtory’ at our Relay For Life team page. Anyone is welcome to contribute and help support this good cause.

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Note from the Director – Spring 2014

“And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.” Rilke

Dear BIC alumni,

I hope this letter finds each of you flourishing in the activity of the new year. The new year is well underway here at Baylor. In December we gained twenty-five new BIC alumni–new graduates in fields as varied as fine art, marketing, anthropology and bioinformatics. We are also proud that four of our students were recently initiated into Phi Beta Kappa. We anticipate approximately ninety graduates in May, and we are busy recruiting our 20th BIC class, which will arrive in the fall. This semester we are offering two new capstone courses, one on “Exploring Personal Identity,” taught by Ivo Novakovic and Kyle Welty, and one offered by Tom Hibbs and Stacey Hibbs, “God, Nihilism, and Beauty.” Sam Perry and Sarah Walden, both BIC alumni themselves, have been hard at work revamping the World of Rhetoric curriculum. We are also thrilled to report that Melanie Nogalski, our Program Manager, has won Baylor’s outstanding staff award for this year.

We are currently in the process of creating two graduate assistantships in the BIC. The first will work directly with the BIC director and staff on a variety of administrative tasks. The second is a joint venture with the Speech Communications department and will work with the World of Rhetoric team. Our hope is to develop more graduate assistantship lines in the future.

Finally, I’ll mention our new undergraduate research initiative. We have paired undergraduate students with six of our faculty members. We look forward to seeing the good work that will come from these partnerships.

As you can see, the BIC continues to thrive with new ventures. Please keep us informed about your activities as well (email your updates to Adam Moore , BIC Program Coordinator). We always love to hear the latest news from our graduates.


Anne-Marie Schultz
Director, Baylor Interdisciplinary Core

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Welcome to the BIC Blog

Welcome to our new blog. This space will serve as a place for BIC faculty and staff to communicate with our growing number of alumni and friends. We hope to offer updates from our alumni, reflections from current students, and notes from our outstanding faculty. We will also continue to stay in touch with our alumni through emails a couple times each year, which will include a note from our Director and links to the best content from the blog. If you are not on our alumni email list, and would like to be, please email Adam Moore, BIC Program Coordinator, to be added to the list. Also, ‘like’ us on Facebook for links to new blog articles and other interesting information. Lastly, if you would like to contribute to the blog, please email Adam. We would love to use this space to publish reflections and updates from our alumni. Please let us know if you want to contribute to the blog, or if you have any other ideas for how we can stay in touch.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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Remembering the BIC — Nabi Shaikh

NABIReflection by Nabi Shaikh (’13) — submitted summer 2013

Rustling papers, labels, copy machines, mail box keys, new student files and reports with ten thousand numbers on them. This was my first day as a BIC summer intern and I was overjoyed to be there, but overloaded with information. My young colleague looks at me sympathetically as she sees my weighed down expression and tries her best to comfort me. “The fun part is talking to the new incoming students, don’t worry, this is all boring busywork”. Oh no, what am I supposed to say to freshman joining the BIC? I’m centuries ahead of them as a new college grad with a fortune of debt and a future of uncertainty, what could they possibly want to learn from me? As I bravely man the front desk in the BIC advising office, I ask the obvious question to get some conversation started in the pin drop silent room. “So do you have any questions about the program?” Their enquiries about the BIC and my decision to join came as no surprise to me. What was a surprise was my response to the students.

I thought back to my freshman year and how I joined not so much on a whim, but probably with more hesitation than I would have liked. However, it only took me a few weeks into the program to be sold to the challenging and integrated curriculum. I loved the diverse faculty, experts in their own fields at Baylor, that I was introduced to as a freshman. I felt comforted with the small group meetings and one on one interaction in a class smaller than any I had taken in high school. I enjoyed engaging in thoughtful conversations about meaningful subjects with my colleagues that had nothing to do with any of our fields of study. However, more than anything I truly appreciated the community and family that the BIC provided me as a student away from home. The faculty members were warm and welcoming like parents, the teaching assistants took on the role of older siblings and the friends I made within my class felt like ones I had left behind in my hometown. Before I knew it I was a sophomore in college with more knowledge and understanding of diverse subjects than my contemporaries not in the BIC.

As I answered the inquisitive freshman, I realized how much more the BIC truly contributed to my education and development into the woman that I am today. Continue reading

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Phi Beta Kappa Initiation

On Wednesday, December 4, 2013 the Baylor chapter of Phi Beta Kappa (Zeta of Texas) initiated 16 new members at Baylor’s Armstrong Browning Library. Phi Beta Kappa is our nation’s oldest scholastic honor society (founded in 1776) and is dedicated to recognizing and encouraging scholarship in the liberal arts and sciences. We are especially proud that four of these new initiates are BIC students:

Ashley Augustino: psychology major from Pearland who plans to earn a doctorate in clinical psychology, December 2013 graduate (photo: not pictured)

Elyse Cunningham: senior psychology major from Bee Cave who plans to serve as a missionary with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (photo: sixth from left)

Christina Walther: history major from Rockwall who is considering possible graduate work in Russian history, December 2013 graduate (photo: fourth from left)

Katy Winslow: anthropology major from League City who plans to seek a graduate degree in public administration, December 2013 graduate (photo: not pictured)

Congratulations to Ashley, Elyse, Christina, and Katy! You can read more about the PBK initiates at the College of Arts & Sciences blog.

(Photo credit: Randy Fiedler)

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