Mathematician, former joke writer for Jay Leno speaks
Nov16

Mathematician, former joke writer for Jay Leno speaks

Mathematical geniuses and comedic geniuses are quite rare. Even more rare are mathematical comedians. Thursday evening the university was fortunate enough to have Edward B. Burger lecture, sponsored by the Honors Program and the College of Sciences. He is a self proclaimed semi-expert of humor as well as a professor of mathematics. An esteemed teacher, Burger, who once wrote jokes for Jay Leno, has been in the classroom for more than 20 years. Some of his posts have been at the University of Texas at Austin, Waterloo University and Williams College. Currently he is teaching two courses at Baylor University. Along with his busy schedule of teaching, Burger has produced teaching videos with Thinkwell. They were part of one of the first interactive virtual textbooks. The videos  are online and have been used as textbooks and supplementary material for students. Freshman honors student and psychology major Brooke Cox watched the videos in her junior year of high school to help in an algebra class she was having difficulties with. “The Thinkwell videos were really interesting just because he is making direct eye contact through the camera. It is really personal, kind of like you are with a tutor, and they are helping you through the math problems you have,” she said. Throughout his teaching career, Burger has received numerous awards. Reader’s Digest in 2006 named him America’s best math teacher in the annual “100 Bests of America.”  His most recent award was Baylor’s Robert Foster Cherry award which he received in 2010. Burger had this to say about the award: “The Robert Foster Cherry award for great teaching, (is) probably the biggest award I’ve received because it is a big international prize that is amongst all the English speaking faculty in the world in all subjects, and they only give it once every two years.” While he certainly appreciates receiving awards like the Cherry award, he finds it more rewarding when a middle school student sends him an e-mail thanking him for helping through one of his video lectures about math. Burger’s UMHB lecture was titled “Monkeys, Mathematics, and Mischief.” In spite of the title, the lecture was not strictly mathematical. It was really about the lifelong lessons of learning. At the end of the talk, Burger challenged the students to make the invisible visible. “By doing so, you will not only see the richness of the individual things that you are thinking about, but you’ll begin to see a new way of looking at everything. It is a habit of living, and it is the greatest habit we can embrace because that’s the habit of living that will...

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Jazz concert based on board game concepts

“Do Not Pass Go” is based on the concept of the Monopoly man. This may seem strange for a jazz concert, but it makes a statement that this ensemble means business. Director of the university’s jazz ensemble Nils Landsberg wants people to attend the concert Nov. 19 because “we take what we do seriously.” Sophomore psychology major Brandon Rodriguez, who plays the trumpet, said, “What’s different about this concert compared to one in the past is that what we’re playing is harder. We’re being more musically challenged than last year.” The songs will come from a wide spectrum ranging from blues, ballads, shuffle charts, modern funk and many others. There will be songs from 1931 as well as tunes from 2003. Landsberg said, “Jazz is an ensemble that has truly been an American art form since it was born in America. It creates music for the sake of art.” Because it is such a diverse  genre, jazz brings students from all walks of life together. Rodriguez said, “Everyone brings something different to the table. We all come from different musical backgrounds like rock, funk, classical. One of the girls, Sabrina Ozio, is even making her own country album now.” The ensemble practices Tuesdays and Thursdays for an hour and a half. Each of the 20 members is also responsible for a 30-minute sectional outside of rehearsal. Landsberg said, “I make them (practice) so the students can have more ownership of the group. They can get involved, give me ideas and ask questions.” After their upcoming concert, the ensemble will not perform again until March 4 when they go on tour to Memphis where they will sing in  churches and high schools. This is used as a recruiting tool to get the name of UMHB out there. Trombone player and junior music education major Andrea Mercer said, “It’s really neat to see how far we come musically in a few short days while we’re on tour.” The concert is Nov. 19  at 7:30 p.m. at Hughes Recital Hall. The director encourages “people on campus to hear what we have. This concert is going to be really good, and I’ll be completely surprised if no one likes it,” he said. Landsberg thinks very highly of the opening number  for the “Do Not Pass Go” performance. He said,  “Not only are we featuring one of our faculty, Stephen Crawford, but our opening tune is basically going to punch the audience in the jaw. It’s going to have a big...

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Classes face off in annual flag football game
Nov02

Classes face off in annual flag football game

It was the year of the seniors as each class went head to head for the title of Sader Puff champions. With a big freshmen class, a senior class that wanted to win and a combination team of the juniors and sophomores, everyone seemed to have enjoyed themselves playing a friendly game of flag football. The winning team, the seniors, took it more seriously than the others. With wrist bands full of different plays, four-year player senior Julia Bishop liked the intensity. “Even though at first I thought they were all taking this way too seriously, I still had fun,” Bishop said. “I just like to be out there and have fun with my friends.” While some of the players take it seriously, the coaches do not. Guys coach the women and are even seen jokingly harassing the refs. Bishop said it’s all good fun. “All the guys are just big dorks. They will be running up and down the sidelines, holding their heads. Some even throw their clip boards down just to be funny,” she said. “I think Sader Puff is more of a fun time for them than it is for us.” Sophomore Jenny Binford went out to see some of the games. “Despite the cold, it was interesting to watch,” Binford said. “Some of the girls are really tough about it, but for the most part, I thought everyone was out there just for fun.” The food was a big hit as well. “The fact that they had hotdogs and drinks was a definite plus,” Binford said. “People just came out and would eat, watch and socialize. It was fun.” Only three games were played. First, the combined junior and sophomore classes took on the freshmen class.  The freshmen lost. Then the seniors took the field to knock off the junior and sophomore team. And then the seniors played the freshmen. For some it was the end of a tradition that they had been a part of since their first year of college. “I have played on the team all four years, and it’s sad because I know I won’t be able to play anymore because I’m graduating,” Bishop said. “Even though it was so much fun to play, it also showed that my days in college are ending soon, and that’s sad.” For sophomore Mandi Watts, this was the first time she went out to watch some of her her fellow classmates play ball. She said, “I wanted to see what everyone was talking about. After watching them, if I go next year, I will definitely be watching again. Some of those girls played rough...

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Visitors to share faith and world travels
Oct19

Visitors to share faith and world travels

Missionaries from all over the world will come to campus Oct. 25-29 to share their experiences of spreading Christ’s love and service to others for Missions Emphasis Week, an annual event held by the Baptist Student Ministry. Some will speak in classrooms, at hour-long seminars and in chapel. Different information stations will be set up in the Student Union Building. Missionaries will be there to talk, show photos and prepare ethnic food. Several visitors are graduates of UMHB and use their degrees to serve in other countries such as East Asia, Ecuador, Ireland, Afghanistan, Germany and even the U.S. Senior psychology major Erica Jenkins is on the special events subcommittee for MEW. She helped set up the poverty simulation event, which takes place Oct. 27-28. “Our goal with the poverty simulation is to give UMHB students a taste of what it is like to live homeless for over 24 hours,” she said. “This is a good start to understanding the poor and the needy.” The guidelines are derived from Mission Waco, and the committee hopes to raise awareness of  homeless people in Central Texas. Jenkins said students who participate in the experience will be “pushed and stretched out of their comfort zones.” She is looking forward to going through the experience. Sophomore Christian studies major Andrew Steubben is on the publicity committee and helped design MEW’s T-shirt and flyers. He has enjoyed the work and fellowship of being on the committee. “Getting to know people and spending time with Shawn Shannon has been rewarding,” he said. “That woman is full of wisdom.” BSM Assistant Director, Jena Coulson sees the committee’s compassion through their work. “I’m excited to see the missionaries interact with UMHB students, faculty and staff.” Jenkins  is ready for others to see how important it is to love those around us — no matter where we are. “I say all the time that I have a heart for the ‘least of these,’ but I don’t want that to end in words,” Jenkins said. “Looking for ways to experience and understand the true needs of others makes us better at serving and ministering to...

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Evening of Indian Culture
Oct19

Evening of Indian Culture

The colors of India decorated Brindley Auditorium Oct. 16 as students and faculty gathered to experience the culture.  Platters of chicken, seasoned rice and red curry lined long white tables in the hallway filling the air with a fragrant aroma of Indian spices. To begin the evening’s festivities, President of the Indian Student Association and graduate student Kiran Kumar Kasireddy welcomed guests and invited them to stand for a moment of silence to honor Adarsh Johnson Din Basco who passed away this past summer. Basco was influential in the founding of the association at UMHB. When he first arrived, there were only two Indian students on campus, but in three years the program has seen tremendous growth.  There are currently 54 Indian students involved with the organization. Graduate student Margret Daiva came to UMHB because of Basco who was a childhood friend from India. “He told me it is one of the best places to come,” she said. “He started this organization and now it’s growing so much.” Although more and more people from India are furthering their education at UMHB, their culture is somewhat of a mystery to American and other international students. “We are a small group here and we want to get together and show a little bit of Indian culture to other people like our dances and our food,” said Kasireddy. After guests of the Indian culture night sampled dishes native to India they were entertained by several performances including a traditional dance, a choreographed Bollywood style routine and a hip hop number. The crowd was very involved in the show by clapping along with the music and cheering for the dancers. The night could have ended there, but the students wanted to share more about their home country. A slideshow was prepared to enlighten the guests about the ancient history and traditions of India.  Pictures of breathtaking waterfalls, peaceful lakes, elaborate palaces, gourmet food and famous landmarks flashed across the screen. To continue the emphasis on India’s diversity the stage was transformed into a catwalk as women showcased a variety of dresses worn in the 25 states.  Fabric swayed, golden bracelets jingled and heels clicked as the audience continued to witness India’s culture first hand. One of the models, a graduate student, Sara Yasmeen enjoys the fashion of India. “Here in America, everyone is dressed the same way,” she said. “We wanted to show how unique our culture is – every state has its unique dress.” The Indian students were grateful for the opportunity to share their own culture with the people who are sharing the American culture with them.  They are very thankful...

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Well-known Bands Play at ACL
Oct05

Well-known Bands Play at ACL

Written by Faith Forester Austin City Limits, the famous music festival of the ever hip Austin, makes its ninth run Oct. 8-10. The festival, held in Zilker Park in  the city’s downtown, has become an autumn tradition. It brings together music lovers to the live music capital of the country for three days each fall. The lineup of more than 130 bands includes The Eagles, Phish and alternative favorite Muse. A small sampling of the lineup includes The Black Keys, Vampire Weekend, Monsters of Folk, Manchester Orchestra, Band of Horses and Cage the Elephant. Christian alternative group Switchfoot is also making an appearance Sunday evening. In addition to the all-you-can-hear musical buffet, the art community of Austin presents its creations in the SoCo Art Market. More than 30 vendors will be present, including Austin Art Garage, SoLa and TOMS Shoes. Other attractions are the Hope Farmer’s Market, a 4G internet tent to check e-mail and Rock Island Hideaway. A taste of Austin is provided through locally grown cuisine, including gluten-free and vegan options. The Hideaway screens NFL and NCAA football games throughout the weekend on two 12 x 9 foot monitors. So if you are torn between watching College Game Day or your favorite band, you can do both while eating delicious food grown right here in Central Texas. Austin, quite possibly the most environmentally conscious city in Texas, boasts ACL as being “100 percent carbon neutral.” The festival is planned to eliminate waste and offset the concert goers’ individual emissions. Organizers encourage attendees to ride their bicycles or take the shuttle that  departs from 4th and Guadalupe. There is no parking offered at the event. Tickets for the main festival are officially sold out on the ACL website. Some may still be found online at such sites as ticketliquidator.com, ticketcity.com and craigslist.com.  However, those tickets are being sold far above face value. The Facebook page for ACL also has several networkers offering to sell their tickets to any interested individual. The official ACL website is still selling pre-show  as well as aftershow tickets for many different bands located at various venues around Austin. Senior nursing major Ellen O’Meara attended the event for the first time last year. “I fell in love,” she said. “They cater to every type of music-loving audience by getting performers from all different music genres.  Austin City Limits is a weekend full of great music, fun, and authentic Austin culture. If you haven’t experienced it, you need...

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