Honors Students Represent ACU at Regional and National Conferences Apr19

Honors Students Represent ACU at Regional and National Conferences...

The Honors College would like to acknowledge all Honors students who participated and received awards in recent conferences: At the Alpha Chi Convention in Washington, D.C.: Hailey Hendricks Amanda Stephens Tina Johnson Angela Fogle Andrew Brown Julia Taylor Jeffrey Wooliscroft received a regional scholarship Kristen Brehm won Best Presentation   At the Phi Alpha Theta Convention in Orlando, FL: Savannah Weeks Abigail Fransen won Best Undergraduate Paper   At the Pacific Sociological Association in Oakland, CA: Tessa Cave                    Barrett Corey                  Wes Robbins Samone Smith             Courtney Tee At ACU’s Undergraduate Research Festival: The award for Outstanding Oral Presentation in the Social Sciences was given to: Courtney Tee                    Barrett Corey                 Wesley Robbins Brie Heinrich The award for Outstanding Oral Presentation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics was given to: David Marolf           Jeffrey Wooliscroft       Tina Johnson Kayla Holcomb The award for Outstanding Poster Presentation in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences was given to: Claire Tyrrell The award for Outstanding Oral Presentation in the Arts and Humanities was given to: James Churchill Other participants include: Annie Bailey                    Maggie Mcalister          Michelle Weidenaar Savannah Weeks            Kylie Wilson                   Soo Hun Yoon Kristen Brehm                Paul Carsten                   Hannah Hamilton Lauren Selensky             Andrew Brown               Samone...

Tales From Abroad: An Ever-Constant Presence Feb02

Tales From Abroad: An Ever-Constant Presence...

When I first arrived in Montevideo, Uruguay, I never could have imagined that a place so new and unfamiliar, on the other side of the world from what I call home, would become a place so near and dear to my heart, a place where I would make memories and build friendships to last a lifetime. I also never could have imagined that during the next three and a half months, I would visit some of the most breathtakingly beautiful places on Earth. I had hoped for just as much, but to see it all unfold has been a true gift and an experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life. During this time of growth and change, I have learned many things, but the most important is this: God truly goes before us and is with us wherever we go. Prior to studying abroad in Uruguay, I had traveled alone internationally and had used foreign languages in my travels, but I had never left home for more than a month, and I had never been to South America. I felt that I would be somewhat prepared, but looking back, I realize that I knew much less than I thought I did. The quirky part about travel, which I had not previously understood, is that no prior trip or experience can fully prepare you for the next. The world, its people, and situations are constantly changing, and with each new journey, there will always be something surprising or unexpected that comes up. In these moments, we have no choice but to turn to the one constant we have, which is God. As I reflect on the last few months, I can say that I felt God’s presence everywhere we went. Standing...

Tales From Abroad: Vignette Carlos Jan27

Tales From Abroad: Vignette Carlos...

Like the perfectly planned spiral grooves on an old vinyl record, the creases on his weathered hands waited to tell their story. It is neither a story for the faint of heart nor one for the judgmental ears of those who think that salvation is met through the process of walking up a single staircase. It is not a story to be pitied. It is not a story to be criticized. It is not a story to be told and retold like some sort of folklore. It is the story of a man whose life is a great war, in constant battle with the world. But the world is not a merciful opponent and is not easily defeated. The world begins its attack at the birth of each child holding a newly sharpened blade to the newborn’s throat, looming over its soft pink flesh, a shadow awaiting its first opportunity to puncture such an innocent being. Many times the world is kept at bay for we, as people, tend to protect our young. We shelter them from the hard things in life and act as blinders for children so that they may not be distracted early on in the race. He was not so lucky; for the world seemed to have a personal vendetta against him and the day he was born the looming shadow snuck a thick leash around his neck and began its twisted game of cat-and-mouse, of loosening the slack on the leash just to rip away any shred of hope with the tense reminder of its grip on the other end and its ability to carve the grooves that tell the story of his life. I looked across the isle of the small over-crowded bus and saw a man who...

Tales From Abroad: Oxford Jan14

Tales From Abroad: Oxford...

Don’t Take Oxford For Granted One of the major draws to study abroad is the amount of travel you get to do. And it is by all means worth it. Just on my semester we had people go to Ireland, Greece, Scotland, Italy, Sweden, Austria, France, and the Czech Republic, not to mention our class trip to Spain. Each of these places are amazing and beautiful. They are filled with ancient architecture, a fascinating history, and a life-changing glimpse at a foreign culture. However, sometimes with the focus being on which far-away place to go next weekend, Oxford gets forgotten. Don’t take Oxford for granted. This is the home of Oxford University and its 38 distinct and unique colleges. The City of Dreaming Spires. A place where the likes of John Locke, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, T.S. Eliot, Stephen Hawking, Margaret Thatcher, Hugh Grant, and Emma Watson have all walked. Don’t overlook this beautiful treasure in the attempt to see the “bigger and better” of Europe. Don’t take Oxford for granted. Make sure you admire the buildings along the road you walk past every day. Stop for a cup of coffee in that cute, local cafe you keep meaning to, but always pass. Walk through parks as often as possible. Find a favorite restaurant with that one meal that you back to all the time. Go study out of the house on benches in parks, random cafes, or quiet spaces. Never go a day without leaving the house. Never opt to do something you can do at home or in Abilene over something unique to Oxford (studying and homework not included of course). Why watch a movie at home when you can explore some of the best museums in the world? Why spend your...

Tales From Abroad: JAM Summer 2015 Jan13

Tales From Abroad: JAM Summer 2015...

The JAM experience was unlike anything that I have ever experienced in my whole life. It was hard to truly call this experience completely integrated because we were only in each destination for two weeks, but it was the best attempt at integration in such a short amount of time. During these six weeks, we were introduced to three different cultures and religions. While exploring these contexts, I came in with an open mind and through this I was able to see the truth, goodness and beauty in each of these narratives.  The truth in the words of the children at Oasis and Dr. Azumah when he spoke on the five faces of Islam. Goodness in the hearts of the couple from House 244 and in the mind of Fred.  Beauty in the mountains by Poblet and the canopy walk we did in the rainforest. There were of course negatives aspects to each of these points of view that I did not line up with just like every point of view. This trip was the final experience that solidifies my beliefs and approaches to life. I am proud of the way that I currently view the world, and I look forward to continuing the adventure.  Justice was the number one theme that I saw in every place that we visited. In England, there was no shortage of NGO’s doing incredible things. From Oxfam to VIVA, there were all sorts of organizations trying to make an impact in the world. I especially appreciated the Oasis school who mostly works on preventing future problems for kids. I especially appreciated that they did not just work on the child, but also, they worked on the family system that the child lived in. I was glad to have seen programs...

Tales From Abroad: Maymester in Europe Jan13

Tales From Abroad: Maymester in Europe...

To you who have never taken your first bus ride from London Heathrow Airport to #9 Canterbury Road, Oxford, it is difficult to describe to you the magic of the English countryside. The grass is green in its purest form and the sky is blue behind the inevitable, gray rainclouds. If you’ve never walked down the streets of East Berlin, it’s impossible to express the incomparable mixture of wonder and tragedy woven into every structure and street sign. A homage to Harry Potter’s Platform 93/4 at King’s Cross Station in London, England In May, I was able to experience these historic cities and more on the JMC department’s study abroad program. Accompanied by over a dozen other students, I traveled to Oxford, London, Fredericksburg, Berlin, Weimar, and Mainz in three short weeks. As a JMC student, I am required to take Communication Law. It is typically a dreaded course amongst JMC students due to its inherent difficulty, but my experience was sweetened by the view of these six cities outside my window. A close-up of Westminster Abbey, London, England Communication Law is all about the constitutional rights afforded by American citizens, which allow us to communicate ideas freely. Many of the ideas outlined in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights find their roots in eastern European statutes. Therefore, it was appropriate for us to spend time discussing American law in Europe. In Oxford, we were able to discuss the ‘marketplace of ideas’ while visiting All Souls College, the educational home of William Blackstone. William Blackstone believed people should be free to express opposing ideas freely so that society as a whole can seek truth, an ideal we still revere most highly in the United States to this day. A view of the Radcliffe...

Tales From Abroad: JAM Summer 2015 Nov06

Tales From Abroad: JAM Summer 2015...

            Truth, goodness, and beauty. Those are certainly worthwhile things to seek in this life. So much of what I learned from Justice along the Meridian (JAM) came from being exposed to incredible people who’s ways of life are chock full of truth, goodness, and beauty. There’s a quote attributed to St. Augustine that says “the world is a book, and those who do not travel have only read the first page.” I always liked that quote, but now I think now I really understand what he meant. To travel is to expand your mind further than you could have ever dreamed before. To travel with an open heart is to undergo the incredibly humble task of reckoning with the jarring idea that your culture might not have a monopoly on truth, goodness, and beauty. To get outside of my white, American, Christian bubble and to be thrown into a different context was an incredible gift for which I will be forever grateful. “Never forget the grit, the grind, the hard times, the dirt. Always remember the poor people even though it makes your heart hurt.” In this excerpt from Lemon Anderson’s slam poem “Poor People”, I’m reminded of the obligation that comes with the gift of travel. To have an experience like this obliges you to really wrestle with different realities than you’re used to. To encounter marginalized and vulnerablepeople. To wrestle with the ideas and worldviews you encountered along the way. It obliges you to go looking for hard questions, and to refuse to be satisfied with easy answers; answers that don’t challenge your preconceived notions about the way things are. JAM was an incredibly formative experience for me. It challenged me with the reality that the world is a beautiful and terrible...

Tales From Abroad: Summer 2015 Oct09

Tales From Abroad: Summer 2015...

I studied abroad in England and Germany for three weeks during Maymester. The study abroad trip was through the JMC department and the trip was led by Dr. Kenneth Pybus. The class was Communication Law. Our communication law class primarily focussed on the 1st Amendment and its application to mass media today. Additionally, the class attempted to relate Christian principles to media ethics and legal situations. The communication law class was undoubtedly enhanced by the study abroad experience. Europe, particularly Germany and England, has a rich history of mass media and communication law. While abroad, we visited the Oxford University Press, All Souls College, the British Library, the Gutenberg Press, Wittenberg, and other important historical landmarks in mass communication. These extra-curricular excursions enhanced the class by bringing our historical and legal texts to life with concrete details and experiences impossible in the classroom at ACU.   In addition to the scheduled class trips, we were able to take two weekend trips with classmates. The first weekend four of trekked to Edinburgh, Scotland for three days and explored the city. The second weekend I explored London and the Oxford-area on my own. In addition to the weekend trips, I regularly wandered around Oxford and the surrounding countryside. Although the class excursions were great experiences and educational, my best memories were from Edinburgh and solo wanderings through the streets of Oxford. Classrooms and museums are great, however when I am in a new place I prefer to wander the streets, alleys, and parks. And so, that is exactly what I did every morning and afternoon before our evening lecture. I walked through dimly lit alleys, under overpasses, across grassy fields, next to streams, and around busy squares. I walked so much that the only pair of...

Tales From Abroad: JAM Summer 2015 Oct06

Tales From Abroad: JAM Summer 2015...

            Before this trip I loved getting to know people from other countries and trying new things, but being in another country changed my perspective on America. This trip abroad provided the perfect capstone to my time in Dallas with the Justice and Urban Studies Team by exploring ways that others are dealing with poverty and making connections with people who are different than me. Being in England was the first shock—this completely different world from mine is normal to the English people! Leaving Texas with its Christian culture behind, I saw for the first time what it looks like for Christians to be the minority. We met a couple, Katherine and Chris, who exemplify the counter-cultural Jesus move. Similarly to my experience in Dallas last year, they have chosen to live intentionally in a community house in order to make meaningful change through relationships. The way of life in Spain was far more relaxed than Oxford, and I loved my interactions with people and getting to practice communicating in Spanish. Our time at the Poblet Monastery in Spain was a time of reflection. Incredibly, men have prayed and sung in those halls since the twelfth century. Attending mass and evening prayers felt like joining in with those who have gone before me. After conversing with Spanish speakers, I am even more motivated to absorb as much as I can from my current Spanish class at ACU.   Spending two weeks in Ghana was emotionally and physically taxing. I had never seen this kind of poverty on such a huge scale. The lack of power, water, and paved roads were a few of the discomforts of living in Ghana. People live their whole lives outside—there is no a.c. and windows stay open. I was...

Tales From Abroad: Port-au-Prince 2015 Oct02

Tales From Abroad: Port-au-Prince 2015...

I spent two months this summer in Port-au-Prince, Haiti while conducting research through the ACU social work department as we partnered with Haiti Mama, a nonprofit organization reuniting street children with their families. Specifically, my research project aimed to measure the effectiveness of the Assertive Community Rehabilitation model in increasing appropriate emotional and physical development of adolescent youth in Haiti. To do this, I evaluated levels of peer and parental (or caregiver) attachment and self-care practices of children who were homeless but had been reunified with their parents compared with children who are in orphanages. I used two surveys and a demographic sheet to acquire this data for a total of 16 orphanage children and 16 children who have been reunified with their families. In practical terms, I would either arrange to visit an orphanage for the day or meet with kids who have been reunified. To start off, I weighed each child and measured their height to later compare any BMI or physical differences. Then, with the assistance of my social worker, we verbally translated each question on the survey and the child used the Likert scale to choose their response. In total, each interview took about 30-45 minutes to complete. There were several challenges that I faced while working on this project in Haiti. I very quickly learned that planning out my research process was going to involve a lot more “Plan B” approaches than “Plan A”.  First of all, there were a few transportation difficulties that we did not anticipate. Long story short, fixing a truck in Haiti can be a fairly complex, drawn-out process. During that time, my translator and I took public vans called tap-taps to different orphanages in the main part of Port-au-Prince. My entitled perspective quickly shifted when...

Tales From Abroad: JAM Summer 2015 Sep22

Tales From Abroad: JAM Summer 2015...

In his book Love Does, Bob Goff starts each chapter with short quip about how something that he once thought to be true has changed. Each statement follows the format “I used to think this, but now I think this,” and in these two refrains reflects with beautiful simplicity how really seeing and learning and acting in the world can challenge what you know to be true for the better. When I reflect on the Justice Along the Meridian experience as a whole, a statement of change of my own comes to mind. The Justice Along the Meridian trip came at a pivotal time in both my academic career and personal life. I was neck deep in questions about the world and myself, and while I knew I had a deep passion for justice, I felt a bit out to sea in the midst of all of it. It’s funny how sometimes it takes experiencing a worldview very different from our own to help us understand these personal moments more clearly. Theologian and author Barbra Brown Taylor suggests that the most qualified person to spring you from the prison of yourself is the person who is deeply “other” from you. I don’t suppose I really knew what this meant until I sat in meeting rooms and mosques and cathedrals with people who were literally a world apart from me and practiced paying disciplined attention to them. Paying disciplined attention required that I suspend my notions and judgments and allow myself to be shown the world from behind somone else’s eyes without imposing my own interpretation or understanding on it. It required that I begin to consider that this other was not someone to fear or compete with but rather someone with whom I could...

Tales From Abroad: JAM Summer 2015 Sep18

Tales From Abroad: JAM Summer 2015...

JAM has provided me with the ability to speak about other worldviews in a more nuanced way. Before this trip, I had very little understanding of both Catholicismand Islam. I believed that this was a detriment to myself and to my understanding of other people groups and cultures. How is a person fully able to live an integrated life when he or she does not understand the religious beliefs of several billion of the world’s population? Through learning about Catholicism, and visiting a monastery, I was able to better appreciate the deep and rich history of Christianity. I learned that it is important to slow down, and to appreciate the world around us. Sometimes the best way to love others is to take care of ourselves. I also learned, through both humanism and Catholicism, the importance of role models. The Catholic Church looks at Saints, and holds them up as examples of how to live a good life. Likewise in humanism, much of how to live a good life is gleaned from people who have lived before us. It is easier to be a moral person if one studies history rather than just focusing on one’s own whimsical feelings. Community and knowledge are needed if one wants to seriously evaluate his or her life. This trip had taught me that there is beauty in every place and in every person. Different religions and cultures, no matter how dissimilar to my own, have something to offer. Each group of people that we came into contact with had different ways to exemplify love and justice. In England and Spain, the environment, public health and green space were of particular importance. In Africa, the people that we met were so friendly. That culture promotes family unity, and...