New deans are welcomed as Crusaders

This year has been one of change, and changes have reached the university in the form of the new deans in the College of Christian Studies and the Scott & White School of Nursing. Both new faculty members have much experience and plan to bring positive changes to their departments and to the campus. Dean of nursing, Dr. Sharon Souter, arrived at the campus in August and has felt welcome by faculty and administration from the moment she stepped into Vann Circle. She said of her colleagues, “I think the majority have been very supportive. We have an excellent faculty.” The things she has enjoyed most so far about the university are “how pretty it is and that the people are very friendly.” Souter intends to implement some positive change in the School of Nursing. Some of her ideas for the program include instituting a new curriculum and possibly acquiring a new building. She said, “This is going to be the best nursing program in the state — possibly in the nation.” Students have enjoyed Souter’s presence in the classroom. Junior nursing major Meg Roe is taking Souter’s Foundations of Nursing class and thinks that she has a love for the Lord and a desire to mold students into great nurses. “Because Dr. Souter has a passion for nursing education, I know that she will excel this nursing program,” she said. “Numerous changes will take place shortly in the Scott & White School of Nursing, but I am confident that all of these changes will be for the benefit of us, the students, here at UMHB.” Roe commends Souter for her ability to make Foundations of Nursing an interesting class. “Learning the theories and legalities of nursing is generally not very fun, but Dr. Souter brings real life application and excitement to the curriculum,” she said. The College of Christian Studies is also seeing excitement in its new building. Dean, Dr. Timothy Crawford, has big plans for the department and is thankful for the privilege to come into a brand-new building and an accepting staff. “Everybody has been really welcoming,” he said, “I have come into a position where I’m a little higher up the food chain than just a new faculty person, and sometimes there are issues that you walk into, but it has been remarkably smooth.” Crawford took over a program previously headed by friend and colleague, Dr. William Carrell. Crawford and Carrell worked together for a number of years at Crawford’s previous school, Bluefield College. Crawford plans on hiring more fulltime faculty for the Christian studies department in order to help ease the load on professors...

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Outreach extended to community groups
Nov04

Outreach extended to community groups

When it comes to extending a helping hand to Bell County, UMHB is not one to hesitate. On Oct. 25, students and faculty went to 15 locations to provide support to the extended community. The event is known as Reaching Out. It is organized by the Student Government Association chaplains, and it happens once every semester. Tommy Wilson, director of SGA spiritual life, was one of the main coordinators, and he said there is much more than just seeking to help others in need. “The biggest thing that I pray students walk away with is that it is not about me. I hear so many times people say you should serve others. It feels good to help someone,” Wilson said. “The reason we serve is not to feel good but to answer the call and command that God has placed on our lives. I pray that students know that we have been given a lot in Christ. So in the same love, we should give a lot to others.” The planning process for Reaching Out is detailed and comes down to being mindful of others. “We must first stop and seek what it is God would want us to do and from there plan the service projects out. We must think of every possible problem that could happen and how to correct it, then go into it praying for the best,” he said. This is Wilson’s first year to be in the position, and he has been gaining wisdom every step of the way. To him it’s about much more than just planning the event and people showing up to serve. “I am learning in all of this how to be a real servant leader and not just someone who holds a title, but to love the body I work with and lead them along the path of Christ.” Dr. George Harrison, director of student relations and community services, has been a part of putting the project together for the past six years. He is always amazed to see how many students attend the event and is grateful to know that each one has come to serve in some form. “Their time is so valuable, and I know that it is a sacrifice. It’s not only the students, but faculty and staff also,” Harrison said. Since Reaching Out started, the locations being helped have extended to places outside of Belton and have impacted surrounding areas. Reaching Out gives a new perspective and connection to the students, faculty and staff because they are ministering in an entirely different setting. “They are working together for a common goal, and they can...

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Student awarded social work state board position, honor

She is a mother, wife and student, yet time still permits facing the unthinkable challenges. Michelle Tucker is a senior social work major, and this past summer, she received an award that will impact her future career. Tucker was elected to be the Texas student representative on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Social Work. When Tucker found out she had received the nomination, she said that words could not express the gratitude and privilege she felt. “I was overwhelmed with emotion. I didn’t know how to react. I sat on my couch and began to weep with tears of joy. I felt honored and so grateful to be found qualified enough to serve in such an awesome position,” she said. The position was granted to Tucker and it was not something she obtained overnight. There was a process and hard work. Through a nomination, position statements and ballots the time came to view the results. Tucker said, “After the ballots came out, NASW members were given time to vote on whom they thought would be best suited for the position. Finally, the final results came out and my name was on it. I won.” She has been given a chance to influence other students in the field of social work and also to promote being a part of a committee that can benefit the future. “During my year of service, I will attend each board meeting that is held with the NASW and provide input from a student perspective on issues that may affect us now and in the future,” Tucker said. She will speak with students from other universities about their concerns and ideas, then deliver them back to the NASW board. She believes the nomination is something that will also benefit her career. “This award will help me in networking and getting to know others in this field that have already walked in my shoes and have experience   and wisdom about this profession,” she said. It will also add to her resume, giving insight to employers that she is an experienced leader and is willing to serve others. “I will show that I am passionate about the profession and dedicated to doing my best and reaching for higher heights as an individual,” Tucker said. There have been several people in her life who have left lasting impressions on her, including her parents, husband and professors. She said, “I will never forget them, no matter where my path leads me.” This fall Tucker has been working on her social work internship at Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Evalua-tions. She said it has been a wonderful...

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Bursting balloons enthrall audience
Nov04

Bursting balloons enthrall audience

Elementary school children and their parents gathered at the university amphitheater to see glow-in-the-dark liquids, exploding balloons and flames of every color at Demos in the Dark. The chemistry club sponsored event, Oct. 21 and 23, brought in elementary students from around the area, each excited about the things that science can do. Nine-year-old Logan Martenson, a student at Joe M. Pirtle Elementary school in Temple, found the show fascinating. “This is my first time out here, and it was pretty good for my first time,” he said. The fan-favorite at the show was the exploding balloons. Children and their parents cheered and clapped with excitement over the burning, bursting and booming balloons. “It was pretty awesome,” Martenson said. Dean of the College of Sciences Dr. Darrell Watson, the faculty adviser for the chemistry club and emcee for the demonstration, agrees. “No question—the balloons. I like exploding the balloons with hydrogen and oxygen.” Watson thinks the most rewarding thing for the kids is showing them science is cool. “Well, first of all, it excites them and motivates them to learn science. I wish that when I was younger that someone would have (turned) me on to science,” he said. “It lets them know that science can be exciting. Pretty soon they are going to be turned off by adults and other things. They say science is hard and math is hard, but it’s not. It can be fun. It can be exciting, and they are going to be the future.” Demos in the Dark is held one week each year, but the chemistry club visits elementary schools one afternoon each week for the length of the semester to teach kids about the “cool side” of science. However, they are not able to do the same explosions and fire-related demonstrations that they do at the UMHB event. Sophomore cell biology major Viktoria Meadows helped with demonstrations in the show and liked making “slime” for the kids, which consists of polyvinyl alcohol, borax and food coloring. She said, “I think learning to appreciate chemistry is the most rewarding thing for the kids.” Meadows also enjoyed seeing the children’s excitement over the experiments and said her favorite thing about the event was “seeing the kids’ reaction to the chemicals and glow-in-the-dark things.” The results of the demonstrations are positive for both the children and the chemistry club. While the children learn about science, the chemistry club practices experiments and gets to do things they might not otherwise be able to do in the classroom. Meadows said, “I think that it kind of beats the stereotype that chemistry kids are...

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Re-enactors straddle Civil War past, present in mock battles
Nov04

Re-enactors straddle Civil War past, present in mock battles

By Joshua Thiering First Hand Account One would be surprised by the thoughts that run through the mind when lying on the ground playing dead after succumbing for the second time during a Civil War re-enactment. A young recruit to the Confederates was one casualty who just happened to conveniently run into Union soldiers in front of a bleacher full of modern onlookers. I was the young recruit participating in the Battle of Ogletree Bay in Copperas Cove, Texas. While dying, this private wasn’t thinking about home and country, his lady, or who would look after his sister. He was thinking, “Why did I die with my face staring at the sun? I wish they had sunscreen back then. The next time I die, I will be more careful.” Like Lazarus, I died twice. The second time was much more convincing. Though the enemies were aiming above and away from the Confederates (for safety), a rogue Union “bullet,” powered by destiny, struck my chest, causing a violent effect. The redeeming thing about re-enactments is that participants die at their own discretion, and nobody want s to be the first to die. This spat of necrophobia led to 15 minutes of fighting without a single casualty. “It must have taken the soldiers about 15 minutes to perfect their aim,” Noelle Renfro, a spectator, said. The smoke from the rifle and cannon fire put a fog over the hard-fought territory of Ogletree Gap, a city park in Copperas Cove. The smell of sweat and gunpowder assaulted soldiers’ nostrils. As I was loading the rifle, cannon fire startled me. I poured half of the gunpowder down the barrel of the gun and the other half down the collar of my shirt. The blackened collar now served as a badge of rattled nerves. In order to load a Civil War era rifle, infantrymen have to pull a pouch of gun powder out of their back holster, tear a hole in the top, pour it down the barrel, and put a small cap over the pin while half cocked. Many of the men use their teeth to tear the powder pouch. Following their example, as a baby-faced private I earnestly bit a little too hard into my packet, getting a mouthful of gunpowder, which tasted like dirt. Once dead, I watched as Union soldiers walked past after the retreating Confederates. I began to entertain thoughts of last-second heroics. I could just climb to my feet daringly and fire shots with my pistol at the backs of the enemies as if I wasn’t really dead. I could even yell, “Die you bluecoat scum. I was...

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Professor’s art inspires, raises money for organization
Oct21

Professor’s art inspires, raises money for organization

No one would have guessed the boy playing in the mud during recess would go to grad school, become an art professor and sell some of his ceramic creations for upwards of $65 each. “Mud and boys go together,” Professor of art Dr. Philip Dunham, said. “(I) immediately fell in love with mud.” Dunham has been at the university for the past 22 years. He teaches ceramics I and II, 3D design and sculpture. “There is a parallel perception in my teaching to address a number of problems that focus on formal and psychological issues while stimulating the students to consider and clarify tactics of learning on their own.” During the past 10 years, Dunham has been working to perfect a method for creating unique ceramic crosses. Each cross has intricate swirls or flowers. Once the clay has been formed and becomes “bone dry,” it undergoes the firing process that turns the clay into stone. Dunham said, “When you fire, if you don’t use your technique properly, things can go wrong.” Five pieces Dunham donated were auctioned during family weekend. The $245 raised went to the Crusader Parent Organization, which purchases items such as the big screen TVs in the Mabee Student Center for the use of students. Administrative assistant of Student Affairs Joy Childress said, “To me, (the crosses) make me think of how God is with us. We’re all cracked clay in His hands, and He can take something that is cracked and make something unique and beautiful out of it.” The most common problems in the process are when air bubbles are captured within the clay, or when the clay is too thick or too wet when it is fired. “It will explode … and you will lose your pieces,” Dunham said. When he began making ceramic crosses, he was trying to better his own skills. Because the firing process is particularly risky, he had to learn to take chances. “The technique I had to study on several different types of approaches … in order to see what my percentage of danger would be in firing.” Students in Dunham’s ceramics class agree that the technique takes time to develop. Senior psychology major Meghan Bray said, “So far, my favorite piece to do is the cross. It’s so hard, but it still looks kind of cool … when it’s not sitting next to Dr. Dunham’s.” Sometimes molding the clay takes patience. “It’s very frustrating when you have an image in your head, and you can’t make your clay look like that image,” Bray said. “I imagine that it’s very frustrating when your sculptures blow up in the...

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