Faculty art inspires students
Sep01

Faculty art inspires students

Professors of the College of Visual Arts have a chance to show off their talents through the 2015 Faculty Art Exhibition. The exhibit opened Monday in the art gallery of the Baugh Center for the Visual Arts and features works of 10 professors. The department holds a faculty exhibit every other year, but this year’s exhibit serves a dual purpose as the department is a candidate to receive accreditation from the National Association for Schools of Art and Design. “We’re having a sight visit team come and they’re interested in seeing both the student art and faculty art, so we’ll have both displayed all over the building,” said Department Chairperson Hershall Seals. The exhibit is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Sept. 17. A reception will be held Thursday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. and is open to the public. The exhibit offers a wide variety of media including: painting, drawing, ceramics, sculpting and graphic design. Seals said this opportunity allows professors to put concepts they’ve taught their students into practice. “This exhibit displays for the student that their teachers know what they’re talking about, and shows a variety of art practices,” he said. “We have a range of two and three dimensional work in the gallery, and it brings legitimacy to what we preach and practice in the studios and the classrooms.” The gallery is a way for professors to serve as inspiration for their students outside of a traditional classroom setting. “The teachers are role models for our students, and this display is a visual way that we can communicate to our students what we’re all about as creative people,” Seals said. Professor John Hancock has a series of mixed-media pieces on display that combine painting and printmaking. He believes it’s important for art professors to practice what they preach. “I like to put my money where my mouth is and let them know that I’m not just a teacher, but an artist,” he said. “I make art without purpose or reason, other than I make art, and they should make art too because that’s what an artist does.” Seals said Hancock’s work allows the viewer to find meaning in what they see. “They are works of art that are intended to be confrontational,” Seals said. “It’s highly charged with the possibility of interpretation. Anybody can imagine what they want to from his work and it tells a lot about the person that’s imagining what they see.” The work of Professor Ted Barnes on display include paintings that were inspired by his travels. “I have made trips to Egypt, Rome, Israel and the Canary...

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Cru For Life brings awareness through diaper drive
Apr15

Cru For Life brings awareness through diaper drive

Hope Pregnancy Centers serves Central Texas by offering compassion, accurate information and practical help to men and women facing unplanned pregnancies and past abortions.   “We want to help them in any way possible,” Junior Christian Studies major and Cru for Life officer Mike Perry said, referring to the group’s dedication to bolster relations with other ministries and to promote pro-life causes.   To serve an immediate need of Hope Pregnancy Centers, Cru for Life held a Diaper Drive from March 23 to 27.   “All the donations from the Diaper Drive went to Hope Pregnancy Center in Temple, TX,” Junior Psychology major Cru for Life President and Rachel Booth said.   “The center’s director was very thankful when we delivered the baby items. Pregnancy centers rely on the donations and support of others, so we are always looking for ways to serve them, especially since they provide such incredible resources for mothers, fathers, and their babies.”   Cru for Life received several diaper donations and nearly $300 in donations, which they used to buy infant supplies at Walmart.   The gifts served to meet more than a physical need Perry added.   He said the infant supplies will help break some ill-seeded beliefs about the pro-life cause.   “Hope took all of the diapers and items that we collected and is giving them to families and mothers within their first year of pregnancy that are in need of help. This is a crucial part of the pro-life movement, as the popular opinion is that pro-lifers don’t care for the women after they have the baby, but Hope and Cru for Life are looking to break that false stigma,” Perry said.   Today, the group heads to the Temple center to help plant flowers for its garden, “and we encourage all students to join us.” Booth added.   The Temple center is located at 2010 W. Avenue H.   “This semester has been awesome for Cru for Life. It’s been wonderful to connect with Hope and learn more about their ministry,” Booth said.   There’s more to come from Cru for Life this semester, though, as the work continues to spread their message.   “On April 28 at 7 p.m. in Shannon Commons, Cru for Life will be hosting a guest speaker named Arland Nichols, who is the founding president of John Paul II Foundation for Life and Family. He will be speaking to our group about birth control and Plan B,” Booth said.   As the world’s mentality is constantly bombarded with a pro-choice message, a talk on the issues is welcomed by a group seeking change.  ...

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Alumnus connects businesses to customers
Apr15

Alumnus connects businesses to customers

UMHB alumnus and former football player Dawson Barksdale has been busy lately. During a thirty minute brainstorming exercise with a couple of guys at their website design company in Houston, Barksdale and his co-founders came up with the raw version of what is now Cyphr.   The Cyphr app is a way for businesses to communicate with their preferred customers. Users can choose which businesses to “unlock” and receive “secrets,” or deals, from. Rather than bombarding the masses with advertisements,   Cyphr allows businesses to directly target specific customers with offers that are relevant to them.   “We love local businesses and knew there had to be a better way for them to get the attention of their favorite customers without wasting money” Barksdale said. The Cyphr team found a niche in the market where Facebook has become cluttered, and traditional marketing media often goes ignored.   Neither of the co-founders knew how to code an app, but Barksdale was put in touch with Cindy Fry in the computer science department at Baylor University.   “I called at 9 a.m. on Monday morning, and by 2 p.m., I was sitting down with a young man named Blake Copeland, and he is now our app developer.”   Once the development team got together, the app took about three months to create, a month of troubleshooting and a couple weeks of testing in the App Store. Barksdale remembers many late-night development meetings during those months. “They were so funny for me because our entire development team would be on a Skype call and we would say, ‘Okay let’s test this,’ or ‘Can you fix that?’ Then for minutes and minutes all we could hear was the punching of keyboards and silence. After about 10 to 15 minutes of silence, one of them would say, ‘Okay, try it again.’ That would happen for what seemed like hours every night for a few months,” he said.   Barksdale and his team don’t hail from Silicon Valley or Wall Street like one might imagine founders of a tech start-up would. He attributes his passion for small businesses to his experience at UMHB’s business school.   “We didn’t focus a lot on corporations or big business, but rather how to build a family business that can endure for generations.”   Small businesses in cities across the country such as New Orleans, Seattle, Atlanta, Boston and Miami are using Cyphr as a medium to connect with their customers. Cyphr has made its way into over 20 cities and is looking to be in every major city by the end of the semester.   Staying true to...

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Softball seeks to finish strong on home stretch
Apr15

Softball seeks to finish strong on home stretch

By Michael Crosson   In Texas, spring means sunny skies and warmer weather.   But to local sports fans, spring means baseball and softball season for spirited Crusaders.   The Lady Cru started the season slow by losing seven of their first 13 contests, but then went on a streak to win 10 consecutive games the last month.   Tiffany Birdwell is a pitcher for the softball team. She said the team’s recent success is the result of good team chemistry.   “I feel we need to continue to bond as a team,” she said.   Third baseman Leah Brown said the team is pleased so far with its play, but knows there’s plenty of games left to be played in the season.   “I always feel like we can improve, but I feel we’re doing really well as a team,” Brown said.   Head coach Larry Hennig believes this year’s squad is special because of the good team work ethic on and off the field.   He said, “I guess that the fact that the girls came here and we’re on a mission and they understand that every day is important, teamwork is important.”   Julie Norris, the assistant softball coach, said the thing she loves most about this team is how the players genuinely care for one another.   “We have a really resilient team they’re never out of ball games and the team chemistry is really good this year, the girls get along and play hard for each other all the time,” Norris said.   Catcher Cori Drake said the players have had to rely on each other to get through the mental hurdles of the season.   Drake said, “I think we possess a lot of confidence because we’re really good about motivating our own teammates and keeping a positive attitude during the games, and that really contributes to our success.”   Drake added that as the team continues to improve, they could very well be a tough club to beat.   “I believe the more we play the better we get and the more we come together as a team, so I believe we have a very good shot at going to regionals this year,” she said.   Right fielder Karley Free said the team’s unity and hard work is what makes her most proud to be a part of the squad.   “The team chemistry and how well we can all get along when we’re out on the field, and encouraging others during the game,” Free said.   The team is currently sitting fourth in the American Southwest Conference standings and will host...

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Get pumped for summer flicks
Apr15

Get pumped for summer flicks

Summer is right around the corner and for most college students, that means relaxing, binge-watching Netflix and checking out the new movies expected to be released during the few months of a much-needed break.   A highly anticipated film premiering on June 12 is Jurassic World, the fourth movie in the well-known prehistoric series released in the late ’90s and early 2000s. It has been 22 years since the first Jurassic Park was released in 1993. After the chaos in the third movie in 2001, audience members were left to think the dinosaur world had fallen apart.   The storyline for Jurassic World is telling us otherwise; it goes into depth about the success of the park in the last 10 years and how they are trying to regain their visitors by creating a new attraction. It has taken almost a decade and a half for a new movie, but longtime fans have been ranting about it since the trailer came out last year. The wait might be worth it considering CGI effects and movie quality has only improved.   Last summer, John Green’s book The Fault in Our Stars was adapted into a film and was a huge success. This year, another one of his books is taking to the big screen. Paper Towns is about a teen who is searching for his missing friend. It’s apparently as much of a tear-jerker as his last book and movie, so there are only high expectations from his fans. The movie is set to be released on July 24 with a lot of fresh, young faces portraying the main characters.   A popular theme in Hollywood right now is remaking well-known kids’ movies with a twist. Pan is an adaptation of Disney’s Peter Pan. Warner Brothers has set the release date for July 24. The movie explores Peter Pan’s life before he lived in Neverland, how he got to Neverland and his relationship with Captain Hook before he was his arch nemesis. Popular actors such as Hugh Jackman and Amanda Seyfried play supporting roles alongside Levi Miller, who is Peter Pan.   After more than two years, the Barden Bellas are back in Pitch Perfect 2. The girls have entered a competition that no American Team has ever won, and though the stakes are high and the competition is fierce, they definitely didn’t leave out the humor from the first movie that made us fall in love. This one is coming to theaters May 15, just in time to kick off the summer after finals.   From scary movies, to sequels, dramas and anywhere in between, there’s most likely a...

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Goodwill gives jobs to local vets
Mar04

Goodwill gives jobs to local vets

HALO (High-altitude, low opening) jumping: it’s a free-fall from 21,000 feet. Paratroopers release chutes moments before meeting mother earth in the most unfortunate way. The jump’s purpose is to avoid enemy radar detection.   Our military personnel preform extraordinary tasks during service years, yet many find the leap back into the civilian world a formidable foe.   “They’re used to military jargon, military everything,” Goodwill’s Operation Good Jobs program manager Katie Martin said. “They hit the reality of what the actual standard salary is in the Temple/Killeen area.”   She serves clients, some of which made an “upwards of $70,000 a year,” in the military, by helping them succeed in the workplace.   Operation Good Jobs is a non-covert mission to thank our military persons. It’s a program funded by a $5 million grant from the Walmart Foundation.   Goodwill expects to serve more than 4,000 veterans and military families over the grant period that extends into July 2016.   Heart of Texas Goodwill Industries is one of 12 Goodwill store participants.   “Our area covers from Killeen to Waco, so we have exactly 220 people enrolled in the grant right now,” Martin said.   The grant is performance based. Heart of Texas Goodwill’s potential funds from the grant sits at $300,000.   Martin added that it’s not a program just for veterans: “it’ active duty transitioning out, family members, both spouses and dependents, and it’s even Reserves and National Guard,” she said. “Just as long as they don’t have a dishonorable discharge, we’ll absolutely take them.”   The goal of the program is geared to find participants a job that is “career sustaining, family sustaining,” she said.   Heart of Texas Goodwill Learning Center Coordinator for Temple and Belton, Victoria Cairo, said they would help participants in any way possible.   So, whether it’s helping clients get a bus pass, enrolling them in a computer class, providing them with interview clothes or even advice on resume and portfolio building, the learning center staff will help.   She echoed Martin’s statements of the long-term placement being the backbone of the program.   “There’s only so long you can work at a minimum wage paying job with three kids,” Cairo said.   The learning centers are for everyone, not just those who meet the Operation Good Jobs requirements.   “We’ll help you find a quick job if that’s what you want, but our goal is, what’s long term?” she said. “If you’re real goal is to make a certain amount of money and be employed full-time, come back in. Let’s make sure we update that resume and we’ll check in...

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