Nursing School Helping Babies Breathe

Globally, close to a million babies die within the first week of life from simple and preventable breathing issues, known as birth asphyxia. Many infants would respond to resuscitative measures if this lack of oxygen during late-term labor were recognized. To ameliorate this problem, the American Academy of Pediatrics and World Health Organization have collaborated to develop Helping Babies Breathe, a program to prepare nurses, midwives, and skilled birth attendants with simple yet lifesaving skills.

Teaching “Helping Babies Breathe” in Rural India

With the help of a BU Missions research grant, the support of Dean Shelley Conroy, and the leadership of Dr. Lori Spies and Dr. Cheryl Riley, nurses from Baylor University’s School of Nursing have and are continuing to initiate sustainable culturally congruent initiatives by working with global agencies and existing well-established regional partners in Ethiopia, India, Vietnam, and Zambia. LHSON nurses provide Helping Babies Breathe workshops and equip partners with the necessary tools to help babies breathe. Conducting Helping Babies Breathe workshops to APNs, nurses, midwives, and traditional birth attendants can increase workforce capacity and provide training for basic newborn care in vulnerable populations. Incorporating the Helping Babies Breathe program into existing research, clinical courses, and service learning global endeavors led by Advanced Practice Nurses can significantly contribute to decreased infant mortality.

Teaching “Helping Babies Breathe” in Rural Ethiopia

An inspiring example from LHSON serves as a testament to the immense benefits of Helping Babies Breathe: after teaching in Langano, Ethiopia, an LHSON team traveled to remote Makki to teach Helping Babies Breathe. While the LHSON team was gone, a woman who was pregnant with twins and had placenta previa went into labor early at the Langano clinic. The first twin was born, and the woman was bleeding profusely. Nurses at the Langano clinic loaded her into the clinic van/ambulance and headed to the nearest hospital. The first hospital turned them away, so they headed to the second hospital, which meant 2-3 hours of driving. Meanwhile, the second twin was born blue and floppy. While a nurse worked to save the mother’s life, the clinic assistant/translator, who had attended LHSON’s Helping Babies Breathe course, was handed the second baby and immediately knew what to do. After performing the actions he had learned during training, the baby cried; the mother and her two children survived. Our Ethiopian colleagues attributed this baby’s survival to the LHSON team having taught the Helping Babies Breathe course.

BU CyberSecurity Student Organization Advances in the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition

The Baylor Cyber team participated in the Southwest Regional qualifying round for the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (NCCDC) the weekend of February 18. Collegiate-level cyber defense teams from across Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Arkansas competed in a four-hour event to determine who would advance to the regional finals in Tulsa, OK.  The Baylor CyberSecurity team, coached by Baylor faculty members Matt Pirko (Management Information Systems), Jeff Donahoo (Computer Science), and Randall Vaughn (Management Information Systems), finished as one of the top 8 teams in the region, beating powerhouses like UNT, U of Houston, UT Austin, UT Arlington, and others. As a top team, Baylor will advance to the next round of competition in mid-March. As seen in recent news reports, cyber attacks are increasing in number and complexity. The cyber defense skills learned and employed by the team are vital to the protection of critical information technology infrastructures for both businesses and the community at large. During the NCCDC competitions, teams of students representing their university test their cybersecurity skills by defending a commercial network against attacks by a “red team” of professional hackers. Teams are scored on their ability to minimize system infiltration, keep critical services in operation, and prevent exfiltration of sensitive data.

Baylor and Waco from Space

R. Shane Kimbrough
(Col., U.S. Army, Ret.)
NASA Astronaut

NASA Astronaut Shane Kimbrough, who is the current commander of the International Space Station (ISS), recently took photos of Waco from aboard the ISS. Even though Kimbrough has not been on Earth since October 19, 2016, when he and two other astronauts were transported to the ISS as part of Expedition 49/50, his connections to Texas run deep: Kimbrough was born in nearby Killeen, Texas, and he now has a child at Baylor. His photos of Waco from space illumine both the wonder and breadth of God’s Creation and the intimacy of personal relationships in our small corner of the world. Kimbrough regularly posts awe-inspiring photos taken from the International Space Station on his Twitter. Kimbrough is expected to return to Earth April 10, 2017.

Psalm 8

O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouths of babes and infants
you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,
to silence the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them?
Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under their feet,
all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Photo of Waco taken from the International Space Station
Baylor University Campus, as seen from the International Space Station

Baylor Student Finds Renewed Hope through Christian Friendship

“When I lost my boyfriend August 4, 2016, I stepped back and reevaluated where my time is going, what my priorities are, what I’m studying in school, my career path, and I thought, ‘What’s important?’ Loving people is important.” Lauren Rosen transferred to Baylor shortly after her long-time boyfriend, Baylor student Jared Frame, died from complications of an unexpected illness. As she became part of the Baylor family, she reflected on the best ways to build community and strengthen relationships, and she shared some of this journey with us:

Instead of following the more traditional route of joining various clubs, teams, and Greek Life, Lauren decided to commit to reaching out consistently to both old and new friends by scheduling significant time on her calendar each week for developing relationships. “I’m good at one-on-one very personal interactions, and I didn’t think organizations were a good way for me to carry that out. I have found that through blocking out time for others I’ve been able to reach out to people who were struggling and be the person who is consistently there. I’ve also been able to see what somebody is doing really well and recognize that they need to be celebrated for it, and I have time – so we go out and get ice cream or whatever it may be. That’s been the way I’ve gotten involved. It’s not technically an organization but I kind of think of it that way – of investing time in people on a very personal level instead of a large scale in the community.”

Through these experiences, Lauren has learned about the value of reciprocity in relationships: “I had never thought of what it might be like to speak to somebody whom you didn’t know much about, and so I had underestimated the importance of sharing about myself and being vulnerable to the people from whom I was hoping for vulnerability. So if someone were planning to follow a similar path to mine, I would encourage him or her to be prepared to be vulnerable. That increases the depth of the relationships really quickly.”

Despite Lauren’s apparent wisdom and earnestness, this journey hasn’t always been easy: “The thing that has been a struggle is wondering, ‘Am I missing out? Am I doing something wrong?’ But then I look at why people choose to join [Greek Life and other organizations]: community and relationships. And I’m accomplishing the same goal in a way that fits me best, so it’s a decision I’ve stood by and really benefitted from.”

Baylor Named Top 50 School for Latinos

Latino Leaders Magazine rated Baylor University as one of the top 50 universities for Latinos in the U.S. The list represents the top universities that excelled in their performance, outreach, and academic level in their relation with the Latino student population, according to data compiled from the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, U.S. News & World Report, and other reporting agencies.

Latino Leaders Magazine highlighted Baylor’s variety of academic programs: 142 undergraduate degree programs, 75 master’s programs and 42 doctoral programs, which are “assets for Latino students who want both high academic standards and proximity to their families, who live primarily in the Lone Star State,” as well our Hispanic Student Association, which can “foster an enriching experience of the Hispanic culture, heritage and traditions in the Baylor and Waco communities while empowering and supporting students with their personal development, and advocating for a diverse and inclusive environment.”

Baylor has been committed to supporting Latino students for many years. Baylor has been an institutional member of the Hispanic Association for Colleges and Universities (HACU) for over twenty-five years, through which students have been selected as student fellows at national conferences. HACU provides scholarships, internships, international meetings, and opportunities to meet Latino scholars as well as business leaders. Baylor has also been a long-time institutional member of the Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education (TACHE) and recently partnered with McLennan Community College and Texas State Technical College to create the inaugural Heart of Texas TACHE Chapter. Officers and members consist of representatives from all three Waco institutions.

Last fall, the Latino student enrollment rate reached 15%, resulting in Baylor University’s identification as an “Emerging” Hispanic-Serving Institution through the U.S. Department of Education. Baylor also held the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference on October 18, 2016, at which around 250 people gathered from around the country to discuss strategies and solutions to increase Latino student college graduation rates.

Dr. Elizabeth Palacios, Dean for Student Development, said, “After 35 years at Baylor, I am excited to see the Latino community has not only grown in numbers, but in impact as well. The Hispanic population is the largest minority group and second fastest growing community in the United States. Our Baylor Latino students come from a diverse array of cities, states, and countries! The Latino culture is rich in traditions, including faith and spirituality. As Baylor University continues to be intentional in reaching out to all students of color, no doubt our campus will continue to benefit from the rich tapestry of heritages!”

School of Music Students to Perform in Carnegie Hall

On Sunday, February 12, 2017 fifteen soloists and four chamber groups participated in the finals of the Semper Pro Musica Solo and Chamber Music Competition in Jones Hall in the McCrary Music Building. This was the last step in a two-round process that began late in the fall 2016 semester and involved 25% of the Music School’s student population.

A panel of three external judges began hearing solo finalists at 1:00 pm in the afternoon and ended at the conclusion of the chamber music finals at 6:00 pm after which they began their deliberations. Student winners were announced during a brief ceremony that concluded a day of high-level music making from each and every competitor. The judges for the finals were Bradley Moore (Houston Grand Opera), John Owings (Texas Christian University), and Mary Ellen Poole (The University of Texas at Austin).

The five winners of the solo competition included: Ricardo Gomez (violin), Yera Kim (piano), Casey Klopp (mezzo soprano), David Medina (percussion), and Spencer Sosnowski (saxophone). The three chamber groups selected as winners included a trio composed of Zachary Barba (tenor voice), Stephen Buley (horn), and Sara Steele (piano); the Morpheme Saxophone Quartet whose members include Spencer Sosnowski (soprano sax), Patrick Lenz (alto sax), Mollie McInnis (tenor sax), and Mitchell Brackett (baritone sax); and the Ursino String Quartet that included Ricardo Gomez and Molly Hines (violin), Joshua Thaver (viola), and William Danheim (cello).

Winners of the 2017 Semper Pro Musica Solo and Chamber Music Competition

The fourteen students named above will travel to New York City May 24-27 and will perform in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall on Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 8:00 pm. Tickets are available for this performance through the Carnegie Hall Box Office, beginning on March 1, or through the Baylor University School of Music by contacting Jillian Gusukuma (

Nursing Providential Connections

At the beginning of each fall and spring semester the Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing Parents Network hosts a J1 Cookout to welcome new students and their families to LHSON. In early January the weather was a bit too chilly to sit outside for the cookout, so many guests congregated inside around large round tables.

Missy & Jenny Reimer

Dr. Linda Plank, associate dean for academic affairs at LHSON, sat down at a random table to get better acquainted with nursing student Jennifer (Jenny) Reimer and her family. Dr. Plank welcomed Jenny to LHSON and said she had heard that Jenny had recently taken a year-long break from school and asked why. Jenny’s mother proudly explained that her daughter had taken a year off from her studies to care for her while she recovered from a serious stem cell transplant. She endured rigorous chemo and a tough hospitalization before and after the stem cell treatment, but her daughter was by her side giving her hope and support.

Missy Reimer

The story instantly hit home personally for Dr. Plank since her husband was getting ready to go through the very same surgery in just a matter of days.
Together the families delighted in God’s gift of bringing them to each other that night, and they shared hope for a brighter tomorrow and renewed health for their loved ones.

Why Chase Loved Baylor So Much

Last December, the Baylor family mourned the loss of Chase Cantrell, a senior journalism and public relations major and entrepreneurship minor from Franklin, Tennessee. Over Thanksgiving break, Chase suffered a seizure and fell into a coma. In the days following, his Baylor friends rallied around him, even organizing a prayer vigil where dozens of students and faculty came together to pray for his healing.

On December 6, Chase passed away at the age of 21. In the midst of their grief, the Cantrell family was moved by the support of the Baylor family hundreds of miles away. Chase’s father, Mark, requested we share the following letter on behalf of his family.

My son, Heflin Chase Cantrell, was a senior at Baylor until his passing on December 6th, 2016. While visiting relatives in Mississippi for Thanksgiving, he had an epileptic seizure and stayed in a coma until his untimely passing to be with our Creator.

During his hospital stay, Baylor friends, faculty, Sigma Chi brothers, and many more were so very supportive and loving. I came to understand why Chase loved Baylor so much, as it is more than just a university – it is a family that comes together to love the Lord and celebrate life.

The prayer vigil and memorial service that were held on campus were live streamed and meant so much to us as Chase has family spread out all over the southeast. I never understood how much prayer meant to those in need until we were in this unfortunate situation.

Once again, thank you for being such a wonderful place for my son to have studied, worshipped, and enjoyed life. God bless. I took this picture of his boots after the Kansas State game while we were playing football. I had no idea they would soon be empty for good, or until we meet again in heaven.    

Thank you,

Mark Cantrell


Thank you, Mark, for sharing with the Baylor family. As a university, our prayers remain with the Cantrell family.

First in Line Program Equips First Generation Students

Baylor University’s First in Line program is helping first generation students navigate a successful transition to campus life. According to Michelle Cohenour, director of the First in Line program, approximately one out of every eight Baylor students qualifies as a first generation student. These students often need help navigating the higher education landscape, learning everything from terminology and how to meet with academic advisors to gaining an understanding of financial aid and campus office hours.

The First in Line Summer Advantage program, first offered in 2015, allows new first generation students to complete two classes (out of a possible 15 that are offered) during the second summer school session while receiving academic mentoring, tutoring, weekly success seminars and team building activities. For a flat fee of $3,000, they are not only enrolled in the two classes, but receive meals and lodging in a campus residence hall and are eligible for all program activities. The summer 2015 program had 30 participants, while the 2016 version had 31.

During the fall and spring semesters, events for First in Line students continue with monthly workshops, a welcome-back barbecue, faculty dinners and more. One faculty member, Dr. Todd Buras, associate professor of philosophy and a former first generation college student himself, remarked, “The transition to college is not easy for anyone, but it is especially challenging for these students. A little effort at the beginning to make sure they know the ropes pays huge dividends for these students and for the university. I am proud to be part of Baylor’s effort to throw our doors wide open to first generation students.”

To learn more, visit: Baylor Arts & Sciences Magazine: First in Line

Baylor Social Innovation Collaborative

At the heart of our mission as a Christian research university is a belief that we honor God when we align resources to promote human flourishing.  We do this in many ways—through our teaching and research, as well as the myriad ways we serve neighbors near and far.  On January 12 we announced the creation of the Baylor Social Innovation Collaborative (BAY-SIC), a new initiative designed to help us align nimbly and strategically around “wicked” problems, those complex tangles of issues that require imaginative thought and transdisciplinary action.

In just over three weeks since the announcement, we have seen an overwhelming response. Framed as a sort of “all call,” we asked faculty and staff to assemble and design collaborative experiments, pathways that might help us develop generative and transformational new approaches to the world’s big challenges. Nearly 30 distinct ideas have emerged, representing, in some form, almost all of our colleges and schools, plus Student Life, University Libraries, and several institutes, centers, and programs. The range of proposed issues is inspiring, with projects initiated on such topics as food security, healthcare access, immigration, incarceration, human trafficking, water use, and the flourishing of persons with disabilities and their caretakers.  The collaborative diversity impresses, too, matching, for example, engineers with social work faculty, computer scientists with nursing and business faculty, environmental scientists with education faculty and staff of the Mayborn Museum, and all with collaborators embedded in the communities we aim to serve.

You will see in coming days all sorts of new activities on our campus: new forms of collaborative teaching that encourages the mindsets and skills of innovation; new models for mixing graduates and undergraduates in problem-driven laboratories; new prototypes for joint research, with internal and external resources aimed toward the development of transdisciplinary models of engagement with the world.

These are hopeful days, and many promising opportunities lie ahead. If you wish to join forces with colleagues working on these and other initiatives, please let us know by emailing