If you go to any ACU home game, you are sure to see Dr. Jonathan Stewart, finance professor, sitting in the stands or standing on the sidelines, cheering on the Wildcats. This year, Dr. Stewart is ACU’s Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR). FARs are chosen to help create a caring and supportive campus environment to grow and advocate for student-athletes. The FAR is involved in helping make sure that student-athletes have the appropriate systems and environments in place so that they can succeed in academics and as a person.
Dr. Jonathan Stewart
Dr. Stewart has taught Financial Management, a required class for all business majors, for the last fifteen years and in doing so, has felt privileged to meet so many students. Being the FAR allows him to get to know students in other majors with whom he would not normally interact and build relationships and friendships with them. Dr. Stewart is in charge of overseeing a committee that checks student-athlete eligibility and making sure they are meeting NCAA and ACU requirements. ACU only allows student-athletes to miss a certain amount of classes, so Dr. Stewart approves travel schedules. A large part of his job is just being available to student-athletes so that they can feel comfortable talking to him about difficulties or just to chat. Dr. Stewart tries to go by practices and travels with each team at least once so they can see his face and become familiar with him. His favorite part of the job is coordinating the guest coaching program. Student-athletes nominate their favorite faculty and staff to be honored as guest coaches. Guest coaches can go to practices, watch film, attend pregame meals, and see what the student-athletes do day-to-day beyond the classroom. Dr. Stewart loves to see how it blesses the faculty and staff that get nominated and meeting those individuals who have such a strong positive influence on ACU’s student-athletes. “I get to meet the faculty and staff that the students love,” said Dr. Stewart. “It is also good for them to see how much time, dedication, and love the student-athletes put into what they do.”
Working as ACU’s FAR certainly aligns with Dr. Stewart’s calling to mentor and teach. It allows him to know and interact with a much bigger group of students, all with different concerns, majors, and backgrounds. “I am still learning and trying to find my way,” said Dr. Stewart. “It is fun to say hi to people while I am walking around campus or checking up on how things are with students in the Bean or in chapel.” Dr. Stewart tries to practice mindful prayer for the student-athletes. For example, there always injuries and physical struggles in athletics, so when Dr. Stewart sees someone in a brace or on crutches, he says that he prays for their healing and peace. “It can be stressful for an injured athlete to not compete and be with the team. I try to be really intentional about praying for them and following up on that,” says Dr. Stewart. Student-athletes also have to be exceptional time managers to succeed in the long run. Dr. Stewart prays for their ability to be well-organized and uncommonly focused and makes sure to be available to help students achieve those goals.
Like the rest of us, Dr. Stewart was very excited about having ACU football back on campus in the brand-new Anthony Stadium. In particular, Dr. Stewart has really enjoyed the opportunities that the stadium has provided for communities at ACU and in Abilene. He enjoys walking through tailgates and seeing students setting up their tents and alumni catching up with each other. In Dr. Stewart’s eyes, the stadium has brought about a great improvement and positive effect upon ACU culture, especially when it comes to athletics. “I hope that the excitement that having a home stadium has created will bleed over into other athletic events,” said Dr. Stewart. “We can use this as a way to support and encourage each other no matter if we are a professor, student, athlete, or alumni and focus on building relationships and improving our community.”
Be sure to come say hi to Dr. Stewart at all of our home games and cheer on our student-athletes. Go Wildcats!
When you walk into Dr. Monty Lynn’s office, you are struck with a sense of peace and quiet and are greeted with a warm handshake and an even warmer smile. Talking with him, you get the sense that you are heard and paid attention to, that everything said in that room is important to him. Recently, Dr. Lynn was honored with the Christian Business Faculty Association’s Teaching Award. Once a year, business faculties in a network of 110 faith-based schools meet to share ideas about teaching and research and to honor outstanding members in the CBFA. The CBFA Teaching Award was established by the Christian Business Faculty Association to perpetuate Christ-like teaching and to recognize Christian business faculty members who emulate the character, engagement, and calling of Christ to the work and ministry of transformational education. These are all certainly descriptors of Monty Lynn and we could not think of a more fitting person to receive this award.
Dr. Lynn is held in very high esteem by his peers and students. Mark Phillips, Professor and Management Sciences Department Chair, describes Dr. Lynn as the ‘face’ of COBA to many generations of new business students, as they begin their academic career in Dr. Lynn’s Intro to Business course. Phillips recalls students describing Dr. Lynn as incredibly, unbelievably nice, which made it all the more shocking when they learned that he gives such hard exams. “Everything he does is accomplished with excellence and grace,” says Phillips. “Monty exemplifies the type of faculty member we try to hire and retain.” Dr. Lynn treats everyone with the utmost respect; you are always given his undivided attention and he is very intentional in the curriculums that he teaches and the advice that he gives. He teaches business in a context that reflects how one can use their skills to benefit others and to be a selfless person in the world. Dr. Lynn invests in his students. He is gifted in his ability to leave a lasting impression on those who encounter his words of wisdom. While teaching students the fundamentals of business, he is also instilling in future generations how to combat the challenges of this world with an empathetic heart and a servant’s mentality. Elisabeth Danelski, a junior finance major, and Dr. Lynn’s student worker, said that Dr. Lynn is one of the biggest blessings she has received in her time here at ACU. “Now he is not only my mentor but someone who I share my daily stories with. I come to him when I’m at my wits end seeking advice and most importantly, someone who I hope to have in my life long after I graduate,” she said. “I am so excited the humblest person I know is receiving recognition for the dedication and passion he brings to his field in such a Christ-like manner.”
It is clear how others see Dr. Lynn – gracious, intentional, and Christ-like. Dr. Lynn says that he always imagines himself as a student when he teaches a class and asks himself what he would want to learn, what he would be curious about, and what he would need to know. Dr. Lynn said that no class of his is ever the same. “I always tweak my classes every semester,” he said. “You have to change because things change in business constantly; there are always new examples, insights, and experiences.” Dr. Lynn’s engagement with his students is evident in this way; he makes every semester better and more relevant to that specific group of students so that they can learn and grow in the specific ways they need. His intentionality with students makes him beloved. Dr. Lynn’s commitment to lifelong learning also contributes to his status as an excellent teacher. It says something when a teacher is more eager to learn than they are to teach and his love for learning shows in the way he carries himself in the classroom. He treats every day as an opportunity to gain a new perspective and to allow the experiences of others to change the way he sees this world. We could not be more proud to call Dr. Lynn one of our own and are excited to see how he continues to teach and impact every student that walks into his classroom.
In 2014, Wildcat Software was started as part of the Griggs Center’s Wildcat Ventures, a program where students create and run their own small business. Wildcat Software provides software development to clients. Employees of Wildcat Software are generally technology students – students with majors such as Computer Science, Information Technology, Digital Entertainment Technology, and Management Information Systems – and are given access to cutting edge technology to produce high quality work at a reasonable rate. Student developers take the requirements they receive from clients and build out the software to meet their demands. They break down tasks step by step and are in charge of meeting with the client throughout the process to ensure that the software is what the client wants. The overall goal of Wildcat Software is to provide custom software solutions to a wide range of clients, which include small local business as well as larger corporations and banks across the nation.
One of Wildcat Software’s most recent projects was developing an app for ACU Theatre. The ACU Theatre Department contacted Wildcat Software through the library’s Innovation Foundry, wanting a mobile platform that would help audiences look for shows as well as allow for mobile ticket sales. They also wanted users to be able to view showtimes for the current season and purchase tickets not just for a single show, but for the entire season. Colin Blanchard and Holly Buff, two senior developers at the company, and Gideon Luck, project manager, were the Wildcat Software employees assigned to this project. The WS team met with the client to get an idea of what they wanted and then began to build mock-ups, outlining the basic form of the app with wireframes so that the client could get a feel for what it would look like. After approval by ACU Theatre, the actual development began. The development team used PhoneGap with cross-platform HTML and Java, which allowed the app to work on both iPhones and Androids. In PhoneGap, developers tested the app, deployed it to a device, wrote the native code, and built the app into devices which were then brought to the client. The app was published to the App Store and Google Play in August. The ACU Theatre app was tested and ready in time to make ACU Theatre’s Homecoming production of Cats easy and accessible for students, alumni, and theatre lovers. You can download ACU Theatre in the App Store or Google Play for free today! (App Store:https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/acu-theatre/id1270835292?mt=8, Google Play:https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.acutheatre.app&hl=en)
Working for Wildcat Software gives student employees the skills and experience necessary for their future careers. Additionally, student employees get to see beyond the technical aspects of their job and learn how a business operates. Colin Blanchard, Senior Developer, said “it is very interesting working for a company run by my peers. I get to be more involved in the client and business side.” Blanchard noted that his favorite project with the company was building their own website. “It was fun because it was for us and by us, we got to make it what we wanted.” Virginia Pettit, Senior Developer, has also enjoyed her time as a student employee of Wildcat Software. She explained that the command structure is much more laidback because of the student-run aspect of the company, but thinks that there is a bigger sense of pride and accomplishment when they achieve things since they are students and it feels more like a team than a corporate environment. Pettit says she loves learning new things in her job and being able to teach them to others. “When we worked on making our own website, I got to mentor junior developers and teach them a lot about the job and working with web technologies,” she said. “I have input on big decisions and I know my opinion matters.”
Wildcat Software is constantly growing in numbers of employees and clients. Soon the company will be moving into their own office down the hall from the Griggs Center, which will help to establish the company and give them even more tools they need to continue doing excellent work. If you would like to learn more about Wildcat Software, you can visit their website at http://wildcatsoftware.net. At the moment, they are looking for someone to replace their current CEO, Nik Grau, who will graduate soon. If you are interested, apply today under the ‘Join Our Team’ tab on their website and email a resume and cover letter to Nik Grau at firstname.lastname@example.org. This position is a non-technical position and no technical experience is required. If you have any questions, email Brandon DeLano at email@example.com or stop by his office MBB 256.
Last week, eleven COBA students attended the HRSouthwest Conference (HRSWC) in Fort Worth, TX. The HRSWC is the largest regional educational and networking event for human resource professionals. HRSWC is organized by DallasHR, the Dallas-based SHRM Affiliate Chapter. More than 2,500 HR professionals attended the conference and had the opportunity to hear from keynote speakers Laura Bush and John O’Leary, attend educational sessions, and connect with other professionals as well as experience new ideas and technology in the HRSWC Marketplace.
Dr. Malcom Coco, Dr. Phil Vardiman, and students at the HRSWC.
Society of Human Resource Management Sponsor Dr. Malcom Coco said the conference “was an awesome opportunity for the eleven attending students to meet and network with the conference attendees”. This conference provided an opportunity for the students to learn more about their discipline. It also helped them to determine if they wanted to go into the HR field, what part of the field interested them, and gave them an opportunity to meet hundreds of HR professionals to expand their individual network for possible future jobs.
Tom Harris, a senior management major and full-time manager at The Men’s Wearhouse, was encouraged by Dr. Phil Vardiman to attend the conference so that he could connect with HR professionals. Harris said that his conversation with Linda Swindling was the standout of his conference experience. Swindling is a Certified Speaking Professional, “Recovering Attorney,” the past-president of the National Speaker Association, the current President of Journey On!, her own speaking and consulting company, and the author of more than 20 books. Harris talked with her at length before Swindling’s presentation about her history and experiences and was even called on stage during her presentation to share a few words. Harris said that the most helpful thing he learned at the conference was the importance of being intentional. Their full schedules during the conference required some creativity on his part so that he could connect with people. “If someone I wanted to talk to was in a hurry to get to a speaking session, I would try my best to be in a hurry with them,” he said. “Have your main course at one table, meet everyone that is sitting near you, shake their hands, and go get your dessert and do the same thing at a different table.” Harris believes that it is important to take advantage of every possible networking opportunity and felt that the HRSWC allowed him to do this and to practice his networking skills.
The Lytle Center for Faith and Leadership Development is an emerging organization within COBA. The mission of the Lytle Center is to challenge individuals to wholeheartedly follow Christ, equipping them to be leaders of integrity at home, work and in their community. The Lytle Center holds weekly chapel for students, with guest speakers from a variety of backgrounds who come speak to students about the ways in which they enact their faith in their leadership roles and how students can do the same. This semester, Lytle Center Chapel has had the pleasure of welcoming guests like Anthony Williams, the mayor of Abilene, who encouraged students to have the courage to get out of their comfort zones and face the issues before them in order to lead well.
Students have enjoyed learning from community leaders and being able to participate in the founding and forming of the Lytle Center. A student-run Advisory Board meets once a month to talk about the progress of the Lytle Center, to brainstorm new ideas, and to strategize how goals for the Center can be reached. We think that the student involvement is key; their help in structuring the center is essential to establishing the value and utility students will receive by involvement. The Lytle Center wants students of all majors – not just business – to become involved. A significant part of the foundation and forming of the Lytle Center has focused on how leadership extends beyond the business world. The Lytle Center believes that all students, regardless of major or career path, need to have the tools to lead in an effective, Christ-like manner. We look forward to seeing increased participation with students all over ACU’s campus.
The Lytle Center has become the point organization for many of COBA’s pre-existing leadership programs, uniting them under one body. Now in its 20th year, Leadership Summit is being planned within the Lytle Center, with guests like 2014 Time Person of the Year, Kent Brantley and President of Kellogg U.S. Specialty Channels, Wendy Davidson, scheduled to speak at the January short-course held in Colorado. Additionally, the Lytle Center is home to the Distinguished Speaker Series, which brings in Fortune 500 executives from around the country to speak to students about Christian business leadership perspectives they have learned through trial and error in their own careers.
The Lytle Center is working to form small groups for students who are interested in being mentored by older peers and ACU faculty and staff. The center is also working with churches around the city of Abilene to get students more involved in college ministries. The Lytle Center is in the early stages of exploring and planning a week-long service project for Spring Break to South Texas to help relief efforts for the victims of Hurricane Harvey. The service trip will be open for all students to participate.
We are excited to see what the Lytle Center will become and where it will take our students. We envision a new generation of leaders coming forth from involvement with the Lytle Center who rely on their faith to be effective in their communities. Keep up to date with the Lytle Center as it grows and develops by liking the Facebook page and watch for events like Leadership Summit and Distinguished Speaker Series for a chance to get involved. You can learn more by going to their blog: http://blogs.acu.edu/lytlecenter/
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”
Casey McMullin is a senior financial management major from Colorado Springs, Colorado. This summer, Casey traveled around the world interning and studying abroad. He visited countries in Africa and Asia. Casey returned to Abilene with a changed perspective, new skills, and many stories.
Q: Where did you go and what did you do in Africa?
A: I went to Arusha, Tanzania. It was two hours from Mt. Kilimanjaro, which was amazing to see every morning when we woke up. We were based at Neema Village, where they house 40 babies and at-risk or abandoned children. I helped start a microfinance program so that local mothers can start businesses for additional income.
Casey with children in Neema Village
Casey with a child in Tanzania.
Q: Did working with microfinance in Tanzania change your perspective on business?
A: I think that the most challenging part was the difference between Tanzanian and American business and legal environments. When we were building the microfinance program, we had to do everything in accordance with American not-for-profit laws and Tanzanian laws so that they could get loans. A better understanding of business law would have helped.
The nature of business was very different in Tanzania. It was very simple. I had to go back to the foundations and teach the locals so that they could understand what we were doing. At the same time, I had to maintain the financial complexities I had learned so as to ensure that the program would function properly and long past our departure.
Q: What was the most impactful interaction you had with a local?
A: I think that the coolest thing that happened to me happened at the very end of our time in Africa. We only did one test run of a business since it took a long time to set up. We were working with a woman who started a chicken business. We helped her get funding for a bigger coop, food, and medicine for the chickens. On our last day, we were saying goodbye and hugging her. She gave us eggs and then ran to chop down her whole sugar cane. We told her not to, but she cut it down regardless and gave it to us as a thank you.
Casey and Lexi Koon, junior, with the woman who started a chicken business.
Casey with the sugar cane that the woman gave in gratitude.
Q: Where did you go and what did you do in China?
A: We were based in Shanghai and also traveled to Beijing and Hong Kong on the weekends. I took a crash course in basic principles of entrepreneurship and Chinese principles of entrepreneurship. We examined
Casey sitting on the Great Wall of China.
the different opportunities to and ways of starting a company in China, visited start-ups, and talked with a number of entrepreneurs, both natives, and expatriates.
Q: What was different about studying business in another country?
A: One thing that struck me was the sheer size of China. The massive populations changed the way they did business in ways I didn’t think about. It was also interesting to see similar priorities between us as well as what each country values more. For example, the Chinese emphasize education starting at a young age and it was interesting to see how that affected business and the way people were.
Q: Did you have a big culture shock moment?
A: Oh yeah. After spending 8 weeks in Africa where there are no Chinese people, we were shocked as soon as we stepped off the plane. There were so many people walking around and they all seemed so busy. There was a class of 30 kids running around and yelling at each other in Chinese and the only thing we could think was “we are in China.”
Nicholas Weirzbach, Steven Yang, Dr. Andrew Little, Casey, and Jack Oduro smile in front of the Forbidden City.
Q: Compared to interning, how was study abroad different when it came to cultural immersion?
A: In Africa, I felt like I needed to immerse myself a lot more. I think that this was because I was there to help other people rather than studying for my own benefit. Being there for others drove me to learn the language and immerse myself more since I was not there for myself.
Q: Overall, what was your biggest takeaway from this summer?
A: Take any risk. This summer, I saw just how much people live with nothing. I think that the fear of losing something can hold people back, but that is a mindset that you just can’t live with. You should be doing what you love. Look for an outcome rather than a consequence.
Kate Hegi, senior, has had the amazing opportunity to intern in Denver working on the marketing side of the music industry with Denver Arts and Venues.
Kate Hegi is a senior marketing student from Fort Worth, TX. This summer Kate is interning with Denver Arts and Venues, specifically working with Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
Q: What have you done in your internship as of yet?
A: I mainly work with the sponsorship aspect of the venue. I help our sponsors activate with the concerts or events each night. So far, I have gotten to work with Coca-Cola, Chipotle, Clifbar, and many more sponsors. I also work on the ticketing process for the venues, sponsorship contracts, social media strategies and contests, and overall marketing plans for the summer.
Q: What has been your favorite part?
A: My favorite part is so hard to pick! Every time I work a concert, I say “okay, tonight is my favorite night.” Red Rocks is such a beautiful place. Being able to be outside and to bask in God’s creation almost every night is not a bad gig, to say the least.
Q: How do you see this experience aiding you in the future?
A: This experience has helped me in so many different ways. First and foremost, this job has really taught me more about sponsors, marketing, social media, and business contract law. Learning about these has been so beneficial. It has exposed me to different types of people and how to work with those types, whether that is based on age, experience, or personality.
Q: What has grown you as an individual the most in this internship?
A: Personally, the experience that has shaped me the most is simply living in a new state by myself. To be in a new place all by yourself can be intimidating and I would be lying if I said it was not hard at times. But overall it has been such a good way to really find myself and learn how to live in the real world. It’s been great!
Q: Do you have any tips for others?
A: Apply everywhere, no matter if you think it is too ‘far fetched’ or not! I never would have thought in a million years that I would actually get this internship, yet here I am, five weeks into it. Challenge yourself and I promise it will be worth it!
Our student spotlight this week is on Katherine Howell, a junior marketing major interning with a Financial Institution.
Katherine Howell is a junior marketing major from San Antonio, TX. This summer she has the opportunity to intern at a Financial Institution* and wanted to share about what she does and what she has learned so far.
Q: What have you done in your internship as of yet?
A: I am an IBM Marketing Operations intern for a Financial Institution. I have been learning the different marketing processes for each line of business (LOB; a general term describing the products or services offered by a business) at the Financial Institution. Soon, I will be helping IBM transition into new marketing roles for the Financial Institution
Q: What has been your favorite part?
A: My favorite part of working with the Financial Institution is learning the alliance LOB, which promotes the well-being of member households and provides support by leveraging relationships that provide value-added member solutions. I have also liked to see how the Financial Institution brands and markets with other companies.
Q: How do you see this experience aiding you in the future? What has grown you the most?
A: I have had to learn patience. It requires time to get used to how a company operates.
Q: What has been the most interesting aspect of your experience with this company?
A: It is interesting to me how the Financial Institution takes brand management very seriously. They have even outlined what the company would be like if it were a person!
*The name of the company at which Howell is interning has been removed due to client confidentiality agreements.