Alumnus connects businesses to customers
Apr15

Alumnus connects businesses to customers

UMHB alumnus and former football player Dawson Barksdale has been busy lately. During a thirty minute brainstorming exercise with a couple of guys at their website design company in Houston, Barksdale and his co-founders came up with the raw version of what is now Cyphr.   The Cyphr app is a way for businesses to communicate with their preferred customers. Users can choose which businesses to “unlock” and receive “secrets,” or deals, from. Rather than bombarding the masses with advertisements,   Cyphr allows businesses to directly target specific customers with offers that are relevant to them.   “We love local businesses and knew there had to be a better way for them to get the attention of their favorite customers without wasting money” Barksdale said. The Cyphr team found a niche in the market where Facebook has become cluttered, and traditional marketing media often goes ignored.   Neither of the co-founders knew how to code an app, but Barksdale was put in touch with Cindy Fry in the computer science department at Baylor University.   “I called at 9 a.m. on Monday morning, and by 2 p.m., I was sitting down with a young man named Blake Copeland, and he is now our app developer.”   Once the development team got together, the app took about three months to create, a month of troubleshooting and a couple weeks of testing in the App Store. Barksdale remembers many late-night development meetings during those months. “They were so funny for me because our entire development team would be on a Skype call and we would say, ‘Okay let’s test this,’ or ‘Can you fix that?’ Then for minutes and minutes all we could hear was the punching of keyboards and silence. After about 10 to 15 minutes of silence, one of them would say, ‘Okay, try it again.’ That would happen for what seemed like hours every night for a few months,” he said.   Barksdale and his team don’t hail from Silicon Valley or Wall Street like one might imagine founders of a tech start-up would. He attributes his passion for small businesses to his experience at UMHB’s business school.   “We didn’t focus a lot on corporations or big business, but rather how to build a family business that can endure for generations.”   Small businesses in cities across the country such as New Orleans, Seattle, Atlanta, Boston and Miami are using Cyphr as a medium to connect with their customers. Cyphr has made its way into over 20 cities and is looking to be in every major city by the end of the semester.   Staying true to...

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Churches touch lives of Temple residents
Jan22

Churches touch lives of Temple residents

One thousand families ministered to, 725 families fed, 465 families clothed. The previous numbers are averages of families served each month by Churches Touching Lives for Christ (CTLC).   CTLC is a group of more than 30 churches that work to provide food, hygiene items, clothing and emergency assistance to people in need.   Since its inception in 1994, 14,000 different families have been served. CTLC operates in Temple, Texas, through the support of organizations and businesses in the community.   As an all-volunteer organization, CTLC depends on church groups and individuals to further its ministry.   On designated days, volunteers register clients, distribute food and clothing, and meet with clients to counsel and pray with them.   Their mission is to meet the needs of individuals in order to lead them to Christ. Executive Director Jim Hornsby is a volunteer who runs the organization as well as Feed My Sheep not far away.   CTLC aims to provide “an atmosphere of spiritual encouragement for those who some, regardless.”   The ministry gives Central Texans who qualify the basic necessities including but not limited to toilet paper, toothpaste, soap, a variety of food items, clothing, shoes and lunches for children for the weekend.   Their partnership does not stop with churches. Businesses and agencies in the community including Wal-Mart, Capital Area Food Bank, Holy Trinity Catholic High School and AARP are a few who either donate directly or help finance CTLC.   Tenille Smith is a client of Reaching Out Crisis Ministries, a ministry dedicated to “guiding and leading women that struggle with substance abuse problems and/or life-centered problems to victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”   She and other women from Reaching Out volunteer at CTLC every Tuesday.   “It’s very beneficial for the community. Mr. Jim does a lot of work back there. I think we’ve helped close to 80 people so far today,” Smith said.   The Tuesday before the Thanksgiving holiday was busy with client’s getting their monthly food cart in time to prepare a meal.   Hundreds of turkeys were donated, which contributed to the large numbers of clients and a hectic day for volunteers.   Women from Reaching Out, teams from churches, and individuals and families helped fill the food sacks.   They grabbed from stacks of peanut butter jars, loaves of bread, canned goods, meat and non-perishables to fulfill client’s food vouchers.   Denise Doyle is a retired special education teacher and band director. She and her autistic and deaf son David volunteer once a week. Doyle says it’s a good opportunity for David to get out and interact. They have been...

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Student takes gospel to India
Nov25

Student takes gospel to India

 After May graduation, some Crusaders will be off to work or to pursue a master’s degree. Others will be taking off for India.   A team of students led by Director of Student Organizations Tiffany Wurdemann will embark on a two-week mission trip. It is the first time a group from the university will spread the gospel in India. Students will be working with Supreme King Ministries to put on a Bible camp for their orphanage and local children. Wurdemann said that the team will also have the opportunity to meet and minister to students from their university. If time allows, they plan on starting a building project for the orphanage.   When pursuing her graduate degree, Wurdemann led mission trips to Vietnam and Mexico.   “Because of those trips, I am aware of the growth that happens to an individual when they are exposed to the global culture as well as the bond that happens with a team when you experience it all together,” she said.   Senior education major Maegan Loya went on a trip to India last year from May 18 to June 8. She and her fellow travelers visited Pune, Srinagar, New Delhi and Calcutta. They went to be exposed to India and see what it would be like to live and secretly minister.   “They are a part of one of the biggest unreached people group of the world, and they are most desperately in need of the word,” Loya said. “After being exposed to it from our trip… they don’t have access to the word until we physically take it there.”   Loya advises the students heading to India in May to be ready for a life changing trip. She says to prepare your eyes for what God will show you and have a humble heart to things He will teach you.   Wurdemann acknowledges that there will be cultural barriers to their ministry – language and time schedules.   “I know we will need to have patience and trust to know that God will design our schedule as well as work through language barriers to preach the gospel He wants shared.,” she said. “We have to be reminded that we are just vessels for God’s...

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Homecoming week brings joy to campus
Oct23

Homecoming week brings joy to campus

Homecoming. It’s a time for celebrating the past, living in the moment and excitement for the future.   During the week leading up to homecoming weekend, students participated in a sand volleyball tournament and hung out at Fest-of-Fun. They also spread out their blankets on the field at Crusader Stadium and bundled up to watch Little Giants.   The weekend officially kicked off on Friday evening with an alumni dinner in Millennium Oaks Park. After dinner and a carnival, alumni, students, parents, faculty and staff headed to W.W. Walton Chapel to watch Stunt Night and the crowning of the 2014 Homecoming king and queen.   Senior international business major Johnathon Kendall and senior interdiciplinary studies major Sarah Payne were voted by the student body as this year’s royalty.   Payne said being voted queen is “really overwhelming.”   “I wasn’t expecting this, and I certainly can’t describe how it feels right now. But it’s really great to know that UMHB students care about each other and these opportunities are available to us,” she said.   Stunt Night is a competition between all four of the classes that incorporates a skit and original song within a theme that is selected by each year’s Steering Committee.   Senior Katelyn Holm has been a director all four years for her class.   “I cant even begin to describe was Stunt Night has meant to me over the years…. I’ll never forget sitting around a table freshman year, trying to write an award-winning script with strangers. Then I look at us now, doing this production with the same people, some of my closest friends. It’s amazing. I’m so proud of my class,” she said.   The freshmen portrayed the story of Jacqueline and Aaron as they went through their first year at UMHB.   While they came across some bumps in the road, the class found they could do anything in unity.   The sophomores performed their rendition of Horton Hears a Who where Horton encourages his jungle friends to believe in something they can’t see—Cruville.   The junior class told the story of Ted who works so hard to win everything on campus to get a girl’s attention, but ends up losing his friends in the process. Ted eventually learns his lesson and finds that winning isn’t always everything.   The seniors performed a tribute to UMHB and told the story of Alec, a senior who is afraid to leave the university he loves so much. In the end, Alec finds that there’s a time to move on.   The senior class walked away with awards for best costume, song, dance and...

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Staying healthy in college culture
Sep17

Staying healthy in college culture

Worried about putting on a few more pounds with the opening of the on campus Chick-fil-A? Anticipating late night study sessions that wouldn’t be complete without cookies and Doritos? You’re not alone. It’s not easy to stay in shape when the college culture encourages you to sleep in rather than wake up early for a gym session or hit up Whataburger at 2 a.m. just because you can.   Studies show that 70 percent of students gain weight during college. They also suggest that the “freshman 15” is real.   Freshman biology major Austin Roden knows the challenges he’ll be facing as he transitions to campus life but intends to be proactive.   “My biggest worry about fitness in college is not finding time to work out. I haven’t had that problem yet, but as the semester goes on I might,” Roden said. “My plan to avoid that is to make sure I get my homework and studies done in time to leave extra hours for myself to work out.”   Roden has already used amenities UMHB offers to help students maintain a healthy lifestyle while on campus.   “I’ve definitely taken advantage of the Mayborn Campus Center’s facilities. It’s awesome that we have such an extensive amount of equipment available to us. I try to make sure to run two miles on the treadmill daily and also add fitness by playing soccer and basketball whenever I see people playing,” he said.   Campus Rec, the hub of fitness located between McLane Hall and Beall Hall, has something for everyone to enjoy. They sponsor fitness classes, intramural leagues, competitions and tournaments that are all available to students for no charge. Yoga, spinning, Zumba and aqua calorie burner are just a few of the classes offered at Mayborn Campus Center.   Junior pre-physical therapy major Madison Butler works in the Campus Rec office. She encourages students to participate in intramurals because “you make a lot of friends, and it’s a fun way to get involved in campus activities and stay in shape.”   Butler says that students looking to join an intramural team can register as a free agent or with a team through IM Leagues on the Campus Rec website.   Junior business administration major Tucker Saxton talked about the importance of incorporating fitness and healthy eating into his daily routine. He enjoys lifting weights at Mayborn Campus Center, playing intramural flag football and running around campus. Saxton knows the long-term benefits of a healthy lifestyle in college.   “I think it’s important because if we can devise a system of exercise and stick with it even while being...

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