Love for chemistry begins in youth, matures into passion
Mar31

Love for chemistry begins in youth, matures into passion

By Evangeline Ciupek Childress, Texas — Young Darrell Watson excitedly received a present from his father—a chemistry set. “I think (my father) was a little bit sorry, because I almost burned down our garage,” Dean of the College of Sciences Watson said. “But he was patient and always encouraged me … in science or basically anything I want.” His first chemistry course during his sophomore year of college, was taught by an enthusiastic instructor. “I just fell in love with chemistry after that,” Watson said. In 1983, the National Institutes of Health gave Dr. Harold Kohn a grant to produce a medicine to control seizures. The anticonvulsants on the market damaged patients’ livers. NIH was looking for a safer medication. Watson joined Kohn’s development team at the University of Houston. “I was kind of … a hired gun …. In all, there were about five of us that worked on the patent and the material,” Watson said. That summer, he finished the compound: a dipeptide formed from two amino acids. “It’s not all natural … but it is made from natural starting materials,” he said. A gram of the medicine was sent to the NIH for testing. At Bowling Green State University in 1998, Watson created a sensitizer molecule for stereolytho-graphy, the process of solidifying liquid plastic with a laser. “An item … that took anywhere from six to eight hours, with my new compound (took) less than two.” In 1992, Watson started Chem Camp, a yearly summer camp for elementary school kids. In 1994, he became dean of the College of Sciences. During National Chemistry Week in October, the Sigma Pi Chemistry Club puts on Demos in the Dark. “Anything that goes boom and burns, I like it.” Watson said. Senior chemistry and cell biology double-major Shannon Woodruff said, “We get a pretty good crowd with people coming in from as far as Cameron and Copperas Cove.” Secretary Lisa Maiden, has worked with Watson four years, and attends every year with her daughter. “There are exciting chemical demonstrations set to music, glowing chemical reactions, controlled explosions, cannons that shoot T-shirts and Nerf footballs,” Maiden said. “The children can make slime, and the students serve liquid nitrogen slushies.” In the summer, Watson’s students help him research, thanks to a $25,000 Welch grant. “He’s always willing to help his students in any fashion whatsoever,” Woodruff said. During the school semesters, they go to public schools “to get them excited about science,” Watson said. He hopes chemistry students stay motivated. “Perhaps they’ll go into industry, making new plastics or making better fuels. And I would encourage them very much to do...

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Class to kayak for credit on Alaska trip
Mar31

Class to kayak for credit on Alaska trip

By Andra Holbrooks Dr. Jamey Plunk, Dr. Chifta Foster and Dr. Mickey Kerr, exercise sports science professors, along with several students (with majors other than EXSS), are taking a ten-day adventure trip through America’s largest state, Alaska. The students enrolled can earn up to five credit hours in the EXSS department. Shane Schneider said, “I have always wanted to go to Alaska, and I’m going on this trip to get the experience I have been waiting for.” Schneider is also going to receive PE credits for his degree. Trip planning has been underway for quite some time. The costs, daily agenda and lodging are all set up for the Aug. 5-14 trip. Plunk said costs “include tuition for class hours plus $1,400 to $1,800 dollars for airfare and other trip expenses. The class is limited to a total of 17 students.” Several spots are still available for the “once in a lifetime experience to get away from the city life,” as Kelsey Greeson, a junior business management major, described it. “Very few people get the opportunity to see Alaska at a reasonable cost, and it will definitely be an adventure,” Greeson said. Plunk said, “Registration for the summer and fall semesters won’t begin until next week, so we’re not exactly sure how many will be going yet.” Many students have not heard trip details. Flyers are posted around Mayborn and a slide show plays on the TV behind the connection desk for more information. The idea of the trip didn’t just come out of the blue. There are high hopes this first-time trip through UMHB could be one to add to the list of its traditions. “Dr. Cliffa Foster has a close friend, Brenda Crimm, who is a NAMB (North American Mission Board) missionary in Alaska,” Plunk said. “The two of them originally came up with the idea with the notion that this trip could become an annual event.” Professors and students will be staying at Crimm’s church, which will provide food, transportation and lodging. “None of the faculty going have ever been before,” Plunk said. It is sure to be quite an adventure. He said a daily agenda has been organized, but “will be modified according to weather conditions.” Alaska weather tends to change on the dime. “A typical day will consist of camping, angling or kayaking,” Plunk said. “I am most excited about getting to go to Alaska period,” Schneider said. “It has always been one of the top spots on my list of places to visit. I am also excited about going fishing. I love the sport and cannot wait, and I probably won’t want to...

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Google mail to the rescue
Mar31

Google mail to the rescue

The return from spring break marks the time when students, faculty and staff begin preparing for the last sprint of the school year until finals. However, this year on March 23, an event known as G-Day went live in the SUB, allowing students to access their new campus Gmail accounts. Department of Information Technol-ogy application engineer, Tracy Martin, was on the team helping make implements in UMHB e-mail accounts. She explained that after the switch, the system is now “powered by Google.” This will allow users to have 2,000 times more space to hold information without having to continuously delete important e-mails. “We recognized there was a problem, and we needed to improve the student’s e-mail solution,” Martin said. “We asked for feedback from students. We did not just do it on our own. We got more than 200 Facebook surveys back, and students overwhelmingly supported a move to Gmail.” Angela Baker, hardware engineer, also helped organize G-Day and was impressed to see the outcome and reaction to all those involved in the switch. “It appears to be a really positive response. Students are coming in. A lot of them are excited,” Baker said. “Some of them are already familiar with Google and possibly already have an account there. So they realize the benefit available to them and all the other fun things that are coming along with the Google applications.” Sader mail used an older server, and IT felt that it was inconvenient for the students to face this issue. Baker said this will make e-mail entertaining and accessible. “The old account was really old, and it only allowed for so much space, and that was a big downfall for the students as far as using the e-mail for picture swapping, PowerPoint and other stuff,” she said. “They really had limited space. That alone is the biggest plus—the space that (Gmail) is going to give the students.” In many cases, students would access their Sader mail accounts, but would quickly have all their e-mail forwarded to other accounts. Freshman math major, Shaina Ryan, was excited to know that she could now have one mailing address. “I am really looking forward to actually being able to fully use my school e-mail address,” she said. “I already told all of my family and friends to start e-mailing me at my school account instead of my old one. I will most definitely start using my Sader mail as my primary e-mail account.” Junior Christian studies major Geoff Payne said, “I think the new Gmail accounts will provide a much simpler, more user-friendly interface for student e-mailing.” He thinks the goal was...

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Dr. Seuss meets Olympics games
Mar31

Dr. Seuss meets Olympics games

Normal Olympics don’t feature cross-dressing figure skaters. Or “Dr. Seuss” characters playing beach volleyball. But these were not normal Olympics; they were the 2009 Crusader Olympics, the theme of the 105th annual Stunt Night, held at W.W. Walton Chapel March 27. Each student class selected three Olympic sports and was asked to perform a skit based on their choices, straining to outdo each other in humor, creativity and style. They competed for a slate of awards given by the audience and a panel of judges that included future UMHB first lady, Julie O’Rear, current first lady, Vicky Bawcom, and former first ladies, Marietta Parker and Ellen Tanner. The freshman class chose tae kwon do, basketball and artistic skating as their sports. They blended glow-in-the-dark karate fights, male “artistic skaters” in sequin dresses and lively dances to come out on top with the Judges Choice, Best Dance and Best Actor award for freshman exercise sport science major Seth Dickinson. Freshman performance and film studies major, Rachel Jeske, freshmen class co-director, is thrilled at what they accomplished. “We put in so much hard work and dedication,” she said. “There was some stress at first, but it turned out to be amazing. It’s just incredible, and I am so proud of all the freshmen.” The sophomores added a “Dr. Seuss” theme to their skit by rhyming  through beach volleyball, trampoline gymnastics and curling. Their whimsical apparel, based on characters from Dr. Seuss’s books, earned the award for Best Costume, but that was not important for sophomore education major, Julia McDonald. “When our class gets together, we have a good time,” she said. “We don’t care about awards. It’s about us dancing, looking stupid and having a good time.” The juniors performed the most popular skit of the evening, combining thick foreign accents with enthusiastic acting to win the Campus Choice award. Their sports included fencing, water polo and synchronized swimming. “It’s so great because now I know the audience liked it,” said junior elementary education major, Katie Leibert. “I had so much fun.” In their final performance for Stunt Night, the senior class chose the events of running, wrestling and floor gymnastics. Their story about a team of underdogs competing in the Olympics earned the Best Actress award for senior nursing and performance studies major Layne Grisham. Participating in the skit’s antics was senior computer science and computer graphics design major Blake Smedley, who portrayed an Olympic weight-lifter. “My favorite part was probably wearing really tight shorts on  stage, ripping off my T-shirts and just hanging out with the other  seniors,” he said. Stunt Night Co-director, Emily Williams, believes the evening was...

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Library changes with times, offers more

By LaKeshia Sauls Look for entertainment, and the library would probably be the last place to venture, unless you stroll through the doors of the Townsend Memorial Library. Libraries have always held a stigma for opened books and tight lips. Although that has not changed drastically over the years, other aspects have. Seemingly the direction to head when resources are needed for a class report, now the library is the place to go for many entertainment needs as well. Anne Price, head of public services and assistant professor, said, “While fiction and non-fiction books may be our bread and butter, it’s become clear in this technological age that the other resources, services, and, yes, even the entertainments we provide are of growing importance.” While books are definitely here to stay — magazines, TVs, DVDs and even CDs, are now a part of the Townsend’s collection of resources. Today’s movies to watch With various movies, ranging from Blood Diamond, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, and even Akeelah and the Bee, students can borrow DVDs for entertainment pleasure. No DVD player? No problem. The next best thing to the movie itself is borrowing a portable DVD player overnight from the library. CDs for listening pleasure For the music lover, Townsend may not house all of the latest hits, but if you like Michael Bolton, ZZ Top, Duke Ellington or Donnie McClurkin, be sure to stop by the compact disc section and give the titles a browse. Portable CD players and headphones are also available for students to check out. Current magazines to thumb Even the magazine section has expanded. Back when National Geographic was one of the main magazines remotely entertaining, times have definitely changed. Lucky, Essence, Brides and even Good Housekeeping have become permanent fixtures on the library’s shelves. Being able to locate your favorite magazine and dropping the paid subscription can easily turn into a new form of saving money. Library steps into future What about the books, in the midst of all the technology floating around within the two levels of the Townsend? Are the books becoming just a show in upholding the library in its definition? Advancing technology may drown out the use of books as primary resources, but that doesn’t mean the library will stagnate as well. Librarians know their expansion in the same direction as current trends is essential to meet students’ needs. Increased traffic in Townsend For that, throughout the day, students are seen hustling and bustling through the doors of Townsend. Whether they are there to watch the latest news buzz on one of the televisions, check out books, DVDs...

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Women with life stories

Reaching within themselves, the women of Burt Hall discovered who God has called them to be in order to reach  others. Last weekend, the resident hall celebrated Women of Worship. Junior middle school education major Robyn Pharis was one of the Resident Assistants who planned for the weekend. “We had breakout sessions … on Friday where women from around campus came and told their life story,” Pharis said. “As a group we all went to Hardy and ate dinner and spent some time together. After that, we had a worship service that was led by former UMHB students and then (Rebeka) Retta’s best friend came and led the message for us.” The sessions had four speakers: Amanda Jane Foss, Kristy Brischke, Mindy Fuller and Julia Walker. Each had three sessions in a resident host’s room where the women could talk in a comfortable environment. “My favorite part was getting to talk with women who have the same struggles I do, and just encouraging each other, lifting each other up,” said freshman Christian studies major Tracie Byrd. Freshman education major Meghan Groat felt similarly. “I guess I didn’t realize that other people struggle with the same things that I struggle with every day,” she said. They gave their testimonies  of how God had worked in their lives and opened it up for questions. Byrd said, “It made us think about what the Lord’s doing in our lives that we don’t even know about yet.” After dinner, many residents gathered in Burt lobby for a time to sing and worship. Past “Burt Babes,” many who are alumnae, came together with RA Allye Guthrie to lead the time of praise. Pharis said, “My favorite part was definitely the worship service ….  It was a good time to get away from everything else and enjoy part of the weekend.” Groat said, “I haven’t had a worship like that in a really long time.” The speaker was Dorothy Foster, a local resident who knows many of the Burt RAs from Hope Community Church. She spoke about her past and how the women could apply the lessons God is teaching them. Groat said, “I really enjoyed it …. The speaker was also very fun, and I felt like it spoke to me.” The following morning, many of the Burt residents came together at Reaching Out. Pharis said, “We joined with about 200 other UMHB students and split up in about 20 different locations across Belton and Temple. It was a time to go serve. A lot of us went to Helping Hands, and we were able to help  clean the new facility and get ready...

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