Kathy: Professor, speech coach, survivor
Sep28

Kathy: Professor, speech coach, survivor

“It was devastating,” Kathy Owens, speech coach and speech communications professor at UMHB, said of her cancer diagnosis. “I will never forget that moment in the doctor’s office. That was truly one of those turning points in my life, and it was kind of hard to believe it was happening.” Kathy received her diagnosis of Stage II squamous cell rectal cancer on Jan. 4, which is such a rare form of cancer doctors hesitated to give a diagnosis. Kerry Owens, Kathy’s husband, who is also a speech communications professor at UMHB, said the diagnosis was difficult and took a while to pin down. Owens would eventually undergo chemo and radiation in the spring, surgery in the summer and another series of chemo treatments in the fall. “We really didn’t know what it was because the doctor wouldn’t commit one way or the other as to whether or not it was malignant. So, we had to wait a week to find out for sure. There’s not much of a reaction when you hear that; you’re just kind of numb,” Kerry said. An eight centimeter tumor was discovered during Kathy’s first baseline colonoscopy, which was performed to provide a reference point for future exams. Unfortunately, her results were anything but average. According to the World Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery, there have been fewer than 150 cases since 1919. Due to the lack of studies performed with squamous cell rectal cancer, doctors were reluctant to diagnose. “We were frustrated with the doctor at first because it felt like he was holding back information; like he just wouldn’t tell us anything. Then we found out it’s actually an incredibly rare form of cancer….[the doctor] was as lost as we were. This is truly one of those bad luck cancers,” Kathy said. Despite the unsure nature of their diagnosis journey, the couple found waiting to be the most difficult part. “Cancer could be a death sentence or something you recover from. The time we had to go through to find out if this was treatable or terminal was the worst part of it all,” Kerry said. Another obstacle the couple faced with such a rare cancer was the lack of an estimated recovery time. “The other scary thing about it being a very rare form of cancer is that there is no prognosis. They haven’t been able to do any long term studies to know what the outcome will be,” Kathy said. “We had lots and lots of questions but the doctors just didn’t have answers for them because most of us have never seen it before.” Kathy said even though the cancer diagnosis...

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League Cru vs. Cru Players
Sep14

League Cru vs. Cru Players

I sat down with two different gaming groups on campus, Cru Players and League Cru, hoping to discover tension between the two groups that would make for an entertaining story. What I discovered were two genuine, generous clubs with nothing but goodwill for their counterparts and the community of UMHB as a whole. Bells: Can you describe your organization? Jessie Moore, senior studio art major and president of Cru players: Cru players is a group for tabletop gaming and video games and anime and pretty much whatever we can get our hands on. It’s basically getting back to your childhood…We meet every Friday at the Moon building at 6:30 p.m. Maggie Rodriguez, junior graphic design major and president of League Cru: League Cru is pretty much the esports gaming community on campus. Matthew Boquiren, junior psychology major and vice president of League Cru: Esports is basically video games. In contrast to Cru players who play tabletop games like monopoly, we mostly stay online…We meet in Wells 131 biweekly. Set up is at 6:30 p.m. and we usually go until 11 p.m. Both clubs have a strong desire to serve the students at UMHB and do so through several different events. Rodriguez: We want to have teams enough to go to our sponsor’s competitions and win our students scholarship money. That’s our biggest goal right now. With our sponsors and with student orgs, we’re super thankful that we get to earn money and prizes that sometimes sum up to more than a thous and dollars. Moore: I like to provide at least a snack, because one thing we’re gonna do this year is raise awareness of student hunger. The basic meal plan is eight meals a week; and some students can’t afford or don’t have access to other meals. Bells: Events to look forward to? Moore: We’re going to have a chili cookout where anyone can cook, and a silent auction for student hunger. The chili cookout isn’t about the competition; it’s about hanging out with each other and raising awareness of the issue. We’re also doing a cosplay event for this first time this year. It’s open to everyone. The idea started with wanting to have a group of people from Cru players going to A-con [an anime convention]. One thing that will boost interest [in the anime group] is a cosplay contest. It’s a fun way to show off a costume and all of your nerdiness. Every other Thursday is anime night. We meet at the art building at 6:30 p.m. as well, and next week is our first meeting. We do it in art building lecture hall...

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Men’s soccer team prepared for conference play
Sep14

Men’s soccer team prepared for conference play

Men’s soccer kicks off their conference season Sept. 14 playing Le Tourneau in Lewisville, Texas. Brad Bankhead, head coach of men’s soccer, expressed high confidence in this season’s team. “We’re aged and seasoned and a little more experienced, so just from an experience standpoint, things should be better [this season].” With a whopping 11 seniors on a 51-person roster, nine of which are starters, the team is comparatively older and more experienced on the field than other teams, which facilitates their sense of community. “They are a special group of seniors and there’s good community in the group,” Bankhead said. “We’re very intentional about building team chemistry and making sure they love one another and enjoy what they’re doing.” Because the team is so focused on becoming a unit, the players are building a strong sense of camaraderie. “My favorite part about being on the team is definitely my teammates,” said reserve team sophomore Isaac Barcenas. “It’s great getting together knowing we’re all here for the same thing.” With a heavy focus on his seniors, Barcenas is preparing for the season as best as he can. “I’m looking forward to most enjoying games as much as possible, and making it the best experience for the seniors.” Barcenas also discussed the cathartic benefits of daily practice. “That’s what Bankhead tells us. With a lot of the players’ families in Houston, they played kind of distracted, so coach told us to use the two hours of practice as a pause from life and just focus on the sport.” Bankhead said that this season’s team is one of the better ones that he has coached in the 12 years that he’s been at the university. The coach hopes to inspire his players. “Our success relies on the players to make the goals. Players need to step up and have the mentality to score; that’s the biggest hurdle we have to overcome.” With tough practices, heavy filming sessions and raised expectations, losses are nothing to take lightly. “I think we can win every game,” said Bankhead. Following a 1-2 loss to Trinity University, he said Trinity university had a good team, but he doesn’t sleep well after any game the team loses. “Even though we don’t have punishments after we lose games, coach expects us to show it in the next practice. We better be working hard,” Barcenas said. With a perfect winning score as his goal, Bankhead speaks about a running theme that began from the team’s chaplain and continues throughout the season. “Our theme this year is ‘climbing the summit.’ And the summit for us is NCAA playoffs, making a deep...

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Hunter Rae Band  steals the show during  downtown performance
Aug23

Hunter Rae Band steals the show during downtown performance

Hunter Glaskae of the Hunter Rea Band performed an acoustic set of original songs from his new album Lovin’ Ain’t Free at the Gin complex Friday evening. His three-hour show included a series of blues-rock songs, personal anecdotes, and a five-minute break to hold a parrot brought in by an audience member. The full-length album’s release is the realization of a big dream for the band. “It’s always been our goal [to release an album],” Glaskae said. “Since its release, we’ve gotten some really good feedback and have gotten connected with a lot of good people.” The band’s music focuses heavily on three aspects: songwriting, making an impact for the Kingdom and creating a soulful sound. “We are a Christian-based band and the most important thing for us is our Christian identity,” he said. Their shared faith has been a consistent cornerstone of the Hunter Rea band since its inception in 2009. Glaskae and bandmate Adam Rea met at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor playing football. The pair’s career in music launched as they played various events for the university as well as around Waco and Belton. “[UMHB] gave us a lot of good opportunities,” Glaskae said. “Now, anytime we get to come back and play for UMHB, [we] love doing that.” Eventually the two members quit football to pursue their band’s dream, and added three other band members to complete their five-person band. Glaskae, who graduated with an international business degree, decided to pursue music full-time when he realized he didn’t feel quite right in corporate America. “I recently left my job at McLane Company,” he said. “I felt like the Lord was telling me to move. I felt like [He] was telling me to pursue some different goals and dreams.” Up next for the band is a radio tour around Texas and surrounding states, beginning in West Texas on Wednesday. The traveling tour will consist of a series of interviews with local country radio stations and will take them throughout Oklahoma and Kansas as well as Texas. “My greatest advice is to get out there and sound horrible,” Glaskae said. “I think the greatest thing is just to go out and be yourself and don’t let anybody change you.” Glaskae mentioned that their first few shows were full of missteps. “We were horrible. We weren’t seasoned musicians. We just threw together what we could,” he said. “As a matter of fact, my mic fell off the stage because the stage was so rocky. I asked an audience member, ‘would you mind putting that back there?’” Despite malfunctions of all kinds on stage, Glaskae and the Hunter Rea...

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Photography exhibit gives budding artists hands-on experience
Apr26

Photography exhibit gives budding artists hands-on experience

Published in the April 26, 2017 issue of The Bells Townsend Memorial Library is hosting a new kind of exhibit that will last through the end of the year in honor of Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day, which is celebrated April 30. The exhibit displays works of art created through pinhole photography, which professor John Hancock’s Photography 2 class is learning. “Pinhole photography uses a pinhole camera, or a camera obscura,” he said. “A camera obscura is basically a lightproof box with a small hole, or aperture, in it.” The lightproof box houses a piece of photo paper, which is light sensitive and records what the small hole sees, just like the eye does.” “After the paper is exposed, we take it to the dark room and develop it with chemicals using a wet darkroom technique. The image results in a negative photo, so we have to develop it twice to get an image.” This is Hancock’s first semester teaching in-depth pinhole photography. Although this technique of photography has been mentioned before in his classes, this semester’s students experienced the whole process, from building the cameras themselves to developing and hanging the images in the library. “We built [the pinhole cameras] in class as a part of a hands-on, student-based learning exercise. I think student-centered learning is far more effective than lecturing.” Besides the perk of avoiding lecturing, Hancock also enjoys the environment that is created through the process of developing the images. “I like that we’re able to bring in a classroom community that works together and helps each other. It was more of a community of just creating without worrying about the outcome of a grade.” Hancock jokingly said that his biggest goal for the semester was for his students to “have fun making art and wasting materials.” But he added that his actual desire was to teach his students to “take control of stealing light and time; taking [coal] and turning it into a diamond.” “Learning about the process and learning to appreciate it was my biggest takeaway,” said senior graphic design major, Kameryn Boggess. “We’re so used to snapping photos over and over, and just taking it again if we don’t like it.” “I’ve enjoyed [learning pinhole photography] immensely, but it definitely took a lot of patience,” she said. Though all parts of the pinhole photography process were fascinating to the class, Hancock’s favorite part is the hands-on aspect that developing photos in the darkroom demands. “As nerdy as it sounds, it kind of feels like alchemy; magic in the dark. It has a zen, soothing quality to it, with the running water and the red...

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