Recounting alumni’s life/career path
Apr11

Recounting alumni’s life/career path

Kari Sanders (formerly known as Kari Reitmeyer) is a 2004 alumna who graduated with a degree in business administration and a minor in marketing. She attended a small Baptist high school so she knew that she wanted to attend a smaller Christian college. While attending UMHB, Sanders participated in many events and intramural sports such as football, ultimate Frisbee and softball intramurals. Sanders also went to Mexico with the School of Business to study small businesses in developing countries and ended up meeting her husband, Keith Sanders (also class of 2004) on the trip. Since graduating, she married her husband, moved to Waco and the two started an insurance agency together. They have two children Austin, 9, and Abigail, 2. Both parents both serve on the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) board in Waco. “I knew since high school that I wanted to be in marketing. I have done different variations of marketing at each company and I have enjoyed them all,” Kari Sanders said. “I am still very happy that I chose marketing. It was the right path for me.” After graduating, Kari Sanders began working in the advertising and sales department at Time Warner Cable in Harker Heights and transferred over to the marketing department in Waco within a year as a marketing coordinator. Afterward, she transferred to The Dwyer Group as a marketing specialist and was promoted to a brand manager focusing on national franchise marketing. After nine years at Dwyer, Sanders decided it was time to try something else and moved over to Raising Cane’s. “[As a marketing advisor,] I support restaurants by assisting with national marketing campaign coordination, negotiating collegiate and high school sponsorships, developing local marketing/community involvement strategies and much more,” Sanders said. “I am field-based, meaning I do not drive into the office in Plano every day. I work from home when I am not visiting the restaurants that I support. My territory ranges from south DFW to College Station.” Sanders explained that each project she works on takes several months of planning and grand openings are usually the biggest events she plans. When preparing to open a new restaurant, Sanders must first develop marketing plans for it, as well as coordinate any events that will take place during the opening, such as the first 100 customers receive a T-shirt, etc. Her more recent projects involved opening the Temple restaurant in 2016 and the Copperas Cove restaurant in 2017. Sanders also said that later this year a Raising Cane’s will make its grand debut in Harker...

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Student amputee shares personal struggles and accomplishments
Apr11

Student amputee shares personal struggles and accomplishments

Emily Parker describes her life beginning after her surgery to remove her leg. She described her childhood as always being in pain, never being able to keep up with her classmates, and constantly dealing with the term “disabled.” Parker was born with a genetic disease, neurofibromatosis, which caused her tibia to break when she was nine months old. Parker and her family tried to fight the disease for 10 years while enduring 14 surgeries in the process. Multiple techniques were used to heal her leg, like casts, braces, bone rods and halo devices. After the second halo device was placed, her leg did actually heal for about a year. It wasn’t until a roller skating accident that it broke again because the bone itself was so brittle and fragile. Emily said she didn’t even realize the bone had broken again because the pain was not excruciating. Emily and her mother both went to the hospital soon after where they were given two options: a third halo device implant or amputation. Emily said she remembers thinking the halo device might have worked but amputation was a definite answer to life without suffering. She knew she would have a life outside her disability. After the surgery, Parker had to learn how to walk again, as if learning how to walk for the first time in her life. As she began this new experience, reality set in. “It was like –‘Wow. This is my life now. And this is how it is going to be forever.’ ” Parker currently serves in an amputee mentorship program. She says serving new amputees is one of her biggest passions in life. When giving them advice, she points out the realization that each amputee’s life is not over, it is a new beginning. She mentioned the hardest part is coping with the fact that a physical limb is now gone from the person’s body. Amputees can look at it as cutting away the wrong that is harming their body. Another piece of advice would be to find a physical activity that the amputee is passionate about. For Parker, that was snow skiing. Snow skiing was the first physical activity she was able to try and overcome. If being an amputee has taught Parker anything, it is that she can do anything she sets her mind to. She will have to make some adjustments in certain activities, but other than minor issues, the sky is the limit. Parker definitely credits amputation as her new form of confidence. “Being an amputee has really given me a true sense of purpose and life to where I am able to...

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UMHB Table Tennis Club brings an uncommon sport to campus
Feb21

UMHB Table Tennis Club brings an uncommon sport to campus

The university has many campus organizations that are not as well-known as others, but are still valued by students. The Table Tennis Club is one of the smaller novelty organizations here on campus. The Table Tennis club, also known as the Ping Pong Club, has been on campus for almost two years and is overseen by club president and founder Luke Hering, a senior business computer information system major. “I used to play ping pong with all my friends in McLane Hall and we thought that maybe we could get together with more people that wanted to play but didn’t have any friends to play with. It is fun because it is a way to get away from the schoolwork and into a relaxed environment,” Hering said. The Table Tennis Club meets every Friday at 5 p.m. in the Mayborn Campus Activities Center, where members play ping pong while hanging out with each other. Members describe the meetings as casual, relaxed, and entertaining all at the same time. Milana Vockovic, the club’s vice president, is a sophomore graphic design major who joined the club in the fall of 2017. “I didn’t know that the club was a thing until I was playing ping pong with my friends and I was like ‘we should start a club.’ Later, when I looked on the club roster, I found out we already had [a club], so I joined and became more involved,” Vockovic said. “It’s hard because we don’t have a lot of access to more ping pong tables and it is such a confined space. But we hope to expand in numbers and equipment.” Dr. Kaleb Heinrich is an Assistant Professor in the Biology Department who sponsors the club. “Early on I had a handful of them in lab and they had talked about getting together to play ping pong. We started meeting normally to do it and I then encouraged them to make a club,” Heinrich said. “The professional clubs are important but relative to that this club is very relaxed and very inclusive. Anyone of any level can come, we have even had staff and faculty come and play with us as well.” There are around thirty members and the meetings usually consist of two to ten people. John Swords is a sophomore business management major who comes to the club meetings often. “I was talking to Luke about tennis when Luke introduced me to the table tennis club and said I should try it out,” he said. “I enjoyed the thrill of the game and how it is fast paced, and it requires hand-eye coordination. It is a...

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Avery Polchinski, the back to school alum
Oct13

Avery Polchinski, the back to school alum

Avery Polchinski, class of 2016, earned his bachelor’s in marketing and his master’s degree in education from UMHB while earning accolades as a Cru basketball player. “I chose to attend UMHB not only because I wanted to play basketball there, but because it felt like home,” Polchinski said. “I can remember my first visit and I just felt like this was where I was supposed to attend college. It’s a special place filled with a lot of caring people.” It wasn’t long before Polchinski was settling in at his alma mater and playing with the Cru basketball team. He said that his time spent with his fellow players was life-changing. “It pushed me to my limits mentally and physically, and made me realize I can do things even when I think I can’t.” The alumnus said the rigors of being a disciplined player helped him manage his time better and ditch the excuses. “Everything that I have learned in basketball has prepared for me every aspect of life,” he said. “Through basketball I learned more about myself and life than the game of basketball itself.” As a freshman, Polchinski lived in the green hall of McLane in 2011. He remembers the ups and downs of being a first-year college student, and he has some words of wisdom for those who are just beginning their time at the university. “If I had any advice for a freshman it would have to be to follow the career choice that they would love doing, regardless of the money involved. No matter what it is, the path of happiness is far more important than the path of wealth.” Born and raised in Temple, Polchinski has a special connection to the central Texas community and chose to stay and teach in the area after graduating from UMHB. He currently works as a middle school math teacher and coach at Eastern Hills Middle School in Harker Heights. He finds being teacher difficult, but rewarding. “If I had to say one thing to future teachers, I would say this: treat each and every day as an opportunity to be a better teacher than you were the day before. Your students will be able to feed off of you, which will not only encourage them to do better, but it will make your classroom a better learning environment and help students thrive in school and in life.” He chose to become a teacher because he wanted to make a difference in the world. “There were many teachers that affected my life in a positive way, and I hope I can be a role model to some of...

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Hurricane affects students
Sep15

Hurricane affects students

By Emily Mahan Contributing Writer Many students experienced hurricane damage to their homes. Sophomore Kirsten DeSpain’s home, which is located north of Houston’s city limits, was flooded. “I think that the majority of relief efforts are focused in Central Houston, but what people don’t realize is that other communities lost their homes, and it’s important to remember those towns and cities as well.” Many other students like DeSpain live outside of Houston’s city limits in smaller communities that saw the effects of the hurricane. However, much of the media coverage has been on the impact inside the city. Smaller cities that saw massive flooding include Lake Jackson, Alvin, and Freeport, which are located in Brazoria County. Evacuees of this county were sent to Bell County on buses when the flooding reached dangerous levels. Many students have volunteered to assist these evacuees who arrived in Belton, Killeen, Temple and Harker Heights. Students donated clothing, food, toiletries, and a variety of other items to Vista Community Church, who collected donations for the evacuees. In addition to dropping off donations, many students volunteered to help sort through and organize these items throughout the week after the hurricane. Some students volunteered to spend time with and prepare meals for the evacuees at local churches. UMHB junior Kelly Taylor spent time with the children staying at First Baptist Church Belton, which served as a temporary home for refugees. “Getting to play with these kids who have already lost so much and…just being able to distract them and love on them was really cool.” She developed a special bond with two little girls in particular, and enjoyed playing games with them throughout the week. “One of them was old enough to understand what was going on, but the other was too young. She was just upset that she had to wear an identification bracelet.” Taylor said that she is glad that she volunteered with the evacuees, because it gave her a chance to comfort children who had lost everything they owned. UMHB has offered to help students who were affected by the storm. Students requiring additional financial support because of the hurricane are encouraged to contact the Financial Aid office in order to discuss their situation. In addition, the school has resources available for students who need extra academic support, prayer or...

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Universities hit hard by Hurricane Harvey
Sep15

Universities hit hard by Hurricane Harvey

By Dylan Jones Contributing Writer Fellow Texas universities and their campuses felt the impact of Hurricane Harvey as well. While some students may have been content with delayed classes, the affected universities were dealing with much larger problems. Joe Miller, the Director of Community Outreach at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, said the university lost power, which included a failing backup generator. Along with losing electricity, the campus was hit with some wind and water damage. While the physical damage and long lasting effects may not have been terminal, the university faced complications involving students and faculty. “Personally I have talked to one student whose parents lost their home, and I have talked to one colleague who lived in Rockport and commuted to TAMUCC who lost everything,” Miller said. He also made note that the university instructed faculty to be flexible with students facing challenges. Miller said universities at risk of natural disasters use a common system to prepare for such an event. “When there is a crisis, we go into incident command mode.” Miller said. He adds positions like “incident commander” take presidence over positions like provost and president. TAMUCC classes were originally scheduled to begin Aug. 28, but were delayed until Sept. 5. The university is unsure of an extended semester. That decision will be made by the Texas Higher Education Coordination Board. Damage assessment teams went through campus to examine the impacts of the storm. Miller said that there was more damage to housing than classrooms and that an insurance company came through and has begun working on housing. Islander Athletics faced some hurdles as well. The girls’ soccer team had a contest in San Marcos at Texas State on Aug. 24, the day TAMUCC closed their campus. The Islanders were sent one day early and spent time in a hotel for an extra day before, and multiple days after due to the closing of the campus. The team also had to cancel a home game on Sept. 1, and an away game at Prairie View A&M was cancelled as well. Despite the damage they suffered. TAMUCC sent out UAVs to the Rockport area. The unmanned aerial systems center has been going to Rockport every day for assessments of the affected region. Having assets in the air to provide information in regards to chemical spills and damage to local officials has been a huge help for Aransas County. Many other universities have bn affected as well. Texas State, Texas A&M, University of Houston, TAMU Kingsville, Prairie View A&M, and Houston Baptist among others, have seen delays in classes and other issues around campus. “I essentially just...

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