Graduating Seniors Give Advice to the Incoming Freshmen Class of 2018

Graduation is only a few days away and it’s the time of year we sadly say goodbye to our graduating seniors. We are proud of our students and we’d like to introduce you to a few of them on this blog, letting you know how their time at ACU has molded them, where they are headed after graduation, and what advice they have for the new freshmen class coming in the fall.

Allie Cawyer, Marketing major from Plano, Texas

After graduation, I will be moving back to Dallas and hoping to work in the corporate event industry.

For the last year, I have been working with University Events here at ACU and it has only made me more excited to pursue events full time. So, getting to actually do events all the time and working in that position is making me excited for graduation. Plus, no event is the same so I will not have to worry about doing the same thing every day. 

Allie Cawyer

 
My favorite ACU memory was probably when I studied abroad two summers ago. The experience was unlike any other and I not only learned about all of the other cultures but also about myself.
 
My favorite class was Leadership Summit because I got credit for taking a class in the mountains of Colorado, but the takeaway was much more than just the credit hours. So many people poured into us during that week with life lessons, truth and God’s word that nothing can compare to it.
 
My advice would be to be as involved as you can within your department, no matter what it may be. Get to know not only your classmates but also your professors because they truly care about you and your life. Start it early on, so that you get the full experience all four years. 
Steven Yang, English major and COBA Student Worker from Chiang Rai, Thailand 

After graduation, I am going to Regent University of Law in Virginia Beach, Virginia. I am excited to be done with my undergrad and be able to travel home and see my family in Thailand.

Steven (tan jacket in the middle) and friends hiking over Spring Break.

My favorite memory at ACU is climbing different buildings, having game nights, and biking around Abilene.

My favorite class was Literature for Young Adults because reading stories from this class connects me to my past and helps me find my identity. 

I would tell incoming freshmen  to work hard

but never lose the ability to see the silver-lining in life. Life is too short and too hard to not be happy. 

Katie Isham, Accounting major from Decatur, Texas

After graduation, I plan to work at PwC in Dallas as an Audit Associate. I’m most excited to go out and use the skills and knowledge I’ve learned throughout college to bless others. I’m not sure what that will look like, but I know that God has big plans- I’m just glad to be a part of them! 

Katie Isham

My favorite ACU memory…. hmmm. There’s not a certain memory that sticks out to me, rather my favorite thing about ACU is the people. Finding and creating friendships with diverse people who have the same aim, to love the Lord by loving others, has been instrumental in making me who I am. 
 
My advice to incoming freshmen is don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. You’ll regret the opportunities you didn’t take and the friends you didn’t make. Keep your relationship with the Lord your main priority and join a church and Bible study right away! Regardless of what happens in your next four years, know that God so loved you that he sent his son to die for you as an atonement for your sins, so that through GRACE you are saved, not by your own works. Give all the glory to God! 

Jack Oduro, Accounting major from Garland, Texas

After graduation, I am going to take a missional focused trip to Ghana for

Jack Oduro

the summer. Then, I begin getting ready for my full time job with Weaver & Tidwell LLP in Dallas. I am excited about graduation and grateful that all of my family is in one place for the first time in two years

 
My favorite ACU memory is…truly, any time I got to spend time with the people at this school was inspiring. Some of my best moments may include late night strolls around campus and potential trespassing with life-long friends, friendships which began here. 
 
My favorite classes were Social Entrepreneurship with Laura Philips and Leadership Summit with the Lytle Center for Faith and Leadership. They are both up there in the extraordinary classes category. They both live up to ACU’s commitment of creating leaders for Christian service around the world. 
 
My advice for the fishy is to seek to genuinely serve others because big changes start with the little acts of service.
 
Congratulations to the class of 2018! As Minor Meyers said, “Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.”
 

Spring Break in Honduras

Caleb Casas, junior management and marketing major from Houston, TX.

Over spring break, the Griggs Center and Halbert Institute partnered to send a group of students led by Dodd Roberts with Dr. Sarah Easter to Honduras. The group collaborated with Mission Lazarus to work within the communities on a service trip. Caleb Casas, a junior marketing and management major from Houston, was one of the students who went and served. Part of the trip entailed meeting with small business owners to help them with current endeavors and to develop new business ideas. Led by Dr. Sarah Easter and Erika Teilmann, a junior management major from Houston, the group of students met for several weeks before their departure to learn about the business climate of the communities they would be working amidst in Honduras. They researched the businesses, resource availability, education levels, income levels, and more. The group kept it a priority to remember that they were not the experts and that they need to trust the people that actually live and work with people in those communities, the people that understand the everyday circumstances, to determine the feasibility of an idea. The students were challenged to read Philippians 2:1-8 before going into the communities to prepare a servant heart within themselves and to learn of and how to imitate Christ’s humility.

Caleb and the other students met with locals in Namasigue and Cedeño, villages in Honduras, to help build existing businesses and develop new ideas. The people talked about how they would use their businesses to help out the community: to make it possible for everyone to have a little money to buy from one another, to send kids to school, to give to the church, to employ others, and more. In the Namasigue village, all of the businesses are tied together. If only a few people operate a business, then the rest of the village would be unable to purchase from them and would force business owners to sell to ‘coyotes,’ people from bigger cities who come to purchase products in the villages at an extremely low price. It seemed to Caleb that the people had an excellent grasp of how to operate a business in the village but desired feedback on their ideas. They taught the villagers basic accounting so that they could better run their businesses by keeping accurate records, financial statements, and balancing the cost of the business. Both the students and the villagers were able to learn a lot from each other. For example, they met with a woman who planned to sell pigs and wanted to start off with ten. The group encouraged her to start off with three and to buy three pigs every few months so that she had a cycle of product and a steady stream of income instead of trying to sell all of her pigs at the same time. The group suggested that she purchase a male and female to begin breeding so that she wouldn’t have to buy pigs to resell but the women explained that the time and money it takes to breed with the resources available to her was too great for her to ever make a profit.

The students also built latrines in the villages as a part of Mission Lazarus’ public health campaigns that aim to engage the community through health promotion and prevention and share essential health teachings with families and communities. The latrines were a tremendous step in both sanitation and privacy for families in the communities. Caleb was struck by how something as small as a latch on a bathroom door gave people basic human dignity. “In America, we don’t have to ever worry about finding a private bathroom to use no matter where we go,” said Caleb. “But the simple act of installing a two-dollar latch allowed these people to go about their business in private and gave them dignity. There was a man who had gone over eighty years without a private bathroom and I was struck by how often I take something like a toilet for granted.” Caleb was also moved by the Hondurans’ gratitude and willingness to work. “They didn’t want us to do the work for them but wanted to work alongside us,” he noted. For the families to even receive a latrine, they had to dig the hole themselves before people would come install the physical latrine. For some people, this meant digging a twelve-foot hole with nothing but a shovel and a chisel. One man chiseled through two feet of solid rock alone. Even though they had done all of this back-breaking work to lay the foundation for the latrines, when the students came to install them, the villagers worked alongside them, helping mix and lay concrete, drilling, and installing the roof. After they had finished installing one of the latrines, a man came and gave them mangoes, which was all he had to give. Caleb was amazed that the people were so grateful that they were willing to give up all that they had to say thank you to the students.

In Honduras, Caleb experienced and was impacted by was God’s purpose and design in bringing us to a specific time and place. Caleb’s grandfather was a pastor in Mexico but came to the US to start a Spanish-speaking congregation within Bammel Church in Houston. Caleb remembered hearing stories about his grandma growing up in Saltillo – no running water, an outhouse that was a mile away, playing soccer with rocks – and realized that, if it had not been for his grandfather saying “yes” to the Lord and leaving his work in Mexico,  Caleb could have been in a similar situation to the people he was serving in Honduras. “I was serving what could have been my grandpa,” Caleb realized. “Maybe in three generations, like my family, those people could be in America or helping grow Honduras. You never know what impact you or God will have on people and their life trajectory.”

Another surreal moment that Caleb experienced in Honduras was meeting Luis, the preacher of the Honduran church the group was working with. Luis was born in Honduras but moved to the US and actually attended Caleb’s Bammel. Bammel Church sponsored Luis to attend the Baxter Institute, a seminary school in Guatemala. Caleb’s grandfather also taught classes at Baxter during Luis’ time there. Once Luis graduated, he had twenty-three churches where he could have served but felt a calling to go to Namasigue. Caleb was amazed at how God brought them together and connected them at this specific time and place where they were both serving together. “There were so many points in our lives where things could have happened differently,” Caleb said. “Nonetheless, God intersected our lives and that made an impact on me.”

Caleb was absolutely impacted during his time in Honduras. The opportunity to serve and work alongside the people in Namasigue and Cedeño showed him how God works in incredible and mind-blowing ways and His plan is always good. Caleb looks forward to the potential to return to Honduras soon and is even talking about going back this summer.

COBA Meet the Dean Tour stops in Texas and Silicon Valley

Dr. Brad Crisp officially began his tenure as the Dean of the College of Business Administration in June and has been building an agenda since for his new role. One of the items on that agenda has been to reach out to and connect with alumni from the College of Business and the School of Information Technology and Computing, giving alumni and friends an opportunity to meet or reacquaint themselves with Dr. Crisp as well as learning more about the state of our college and what our plans are for the future. Thus, the idea for the “Meet the Dean Tour” was born and implemented in partnership with the Alumni Relations Office.

Dr. Brad Crisp, Dean of the College of Business Administration

Dr. Brad Crisp, Dean of the College of Business Administration

The tour began in Abilene with 56 alumni and friends and at each stop, Dr. Crisp illustrated ACU’s long standing success in business education and our recent path of progress with our School of IT and Computing.  Along with our first event in Abilene, alumni and friends gathered in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and Silicon Valley at networking breakfasts and lunches. Alumni who graduated within the past 10 years were invited to join Dr. Crisp for a “Beat the Dean” event at Top Golf in several of these cities, as they attempted to best the new Dean. It was a fun time of networking and Dr. Crisp was able to withstand the challenge brought by our young alums.

Young Alums in Dallas

Young Alums in Dallas

Dr. Crisp aims to win

Dr. Crisp aims to win

COBA Beat the Dean at Top Golf in Dallas

COBA Beat the Dean at Top Golf in Dallas

Not only were we able to reconnect with alumni, but we also met with parents of current students as well as prospective students and their families as they sought to learn more about the College and our programs and opportunities. Recent graduates were hard at work at these events, helping us connect students to internships and job opportunities in their organization. Alumni who have risen to leadership roles in their companies expressed their desire to create and sustain pipelines of ACU talent to their organizations. Many of our alums shared stories of the encouragement and strengthening they received both professionally and personally while attending ACU. They were encouraged by Dr. Crisp’s consistent reference to our heritage of business excellence, rooted in our personal commitment to living out the mission of Christ and bringing this mission to the workplace.

Meet the Dean lunch stop in Austin

Meet the Dean lunch stop in Austin

Today, Dr. Crisp leads a College offering 5 business degrees and 4 technology degrees at our Abilene campus, the Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy which is leading the nation in student engagement for entrepreneurship programs, and the new Lytle Center for Leadership and Faith Development which is continuing our Distinguished Speaker Series and Leadership Summit course.  The reach of ACU’s mission to educate Christian servants and leaders has expanded with the on-line MBA program, offered through the ACU Dallas campus in addition to our residential Master of Accountancy program and additional on-line graduate programs are in the discussion phase. The College of Business enjoyed an enrollment of exactly 1,000 total students this fall and is positioned for additional growth.  Our Master of Accountancy and Computer Science programs supply a steady stream of employers coming to campus to interview for talent as the changing landscape of business is driven by technology and entrepreneurship, demanding ethical leaders in this rapidly transforming environment.

alums top golf

Young alums at Beat the Dean in San Antonio

Young alums at Beat the Dean in San Antonio

The opportunity to begin Dr. Crisp’s tenure by connecting with alumni was emphasized by an intentional effort to listen to and involve alumni and friends in our efforts to develop the next generation of business and technology servant leaders. All in attendance were encouraged to give us feedback via an on-line survey. If you were unable to attend one of the stops but would like to give feedback as we continue to shape the direction and future of ACU’s College of Business and School of Information Technology and Computing, please fill out the survey by clicking on this link.

Your support of our work to educate business and technology professionals for Christian service and leadership throughout the world is a great encouragement to us and we cannot achieve our goals without support from alumni and friends. Thank you!

 

 

Spotlight on Amanda Pittman

What is your educational background?

I graduated from ACU in 2001 with a degree in advertising and public relations with a marketing minor.

 

Amanda Pittman and the Pittman Family

Amanda Pittman and the Pittman Family

 

 

What is your work background?

I’m starting my eleventh year here at ACU. I’ve had the privilege to work in Student Life, University Marketing and here in the College of Business. I’ve loved my time in each spot and have loved learning more about ACU from different perspectives.

 

What do you do at ACU/COBA?

I’ve recently joined the Griggs Center team to launch and manage our mentor programs for the student leaders who are interested in entrepreneurship. So far, we’ve matched 20 students with successful entrepreneurs. I’m looking forward to hearing how the conversations are going!

 

What drew you to work at ACU? Why did you want to work with students?

I love the energy on campus – I think students keep you young and keep the desire burning to always learn, grow and change. My grandparents both taught here and I remember them saying the same thing! After working in industries outside of the university, I came to really love and appreciate the rhythm of the school year, as well.

 

What’s the best part of working with students?

Hands down, the best part to me is the opportunity to form relationships with students. My family has been blessed by countless students that have loved on our kiddos, interned for us, introduced us to their families when they came to campus, invited us to their weddings and on and on. I’m thankful for social media and the chance I have to follow their adventures once they leave this place!

 

Outside of ACU, what passions and hobbies do you have?

We are pretty involved with our church family at Highland and our small group. My husband, David, and I enjoy every chance we get to hang out with these sweet families. Our three kiddos, Easton who is 8, Gentry who is 5 and Findley who is 4, keep us very busy between soccer, dance classes and school activities. We love living in Abilene and we love the sense of community and family we feel here.

 

Pittman 11

The Pittman Family

 

What is a good, early story about your first job or when you were in college?

When I was doing my first internship in Los Angeles at a film studio, it really did matter if you could get the coffee order right. I was sent on many a trip to Starbucks and I definitely earned more opportunities in the office because I always got their coffee order correct and got it back to them quickly. While that might sound lame and cliche, it proved early on that I could take and follow directions and complete a task quickly and efficiently. When you take care of the little things (and don’t complain about them or while you are doing them!), they begin to trust you with a little bit bigger things. Eventually, I landed a job at the film studio!

 

Do you do any charity or non-profit work?

I have the privilege of serving as chair for the Board at Rainbow Bible School.

 

Who is your role model and why?

My role models are all the women in our small group. They are each accomplished and intelligent women who are doing beautiful jobs managing their families, careers, friendships and interests/passions. It’s never an easy journey, but I am blessed tremendously by their examples, support, friendship and encouragement as we figure out how to do life! As you begin your career, whether you are married or not, it’s vital to find a community or group that challenges you and supports you.

 

Amanda and her small group

Amanda and her small group

 

Who was your most inspirational professor and why?

I really learned a lot from Dr. Jeff Warr and Dr. Charlie Marler in the JMC department. They are no longer teaching full time at ACU, but they were really amazing professors. They had high expectations and demanded our best. They each also had unique ways of making what they were teaching really fascinating and relevant.

 

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

Probably something like freezing, rewinding and/or fast-forwarding time. So like, altering time. Is that even a thing?

 

What is something that students might be surprised to find out about you?

I’m older than my husband!! Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh….

 

Spotlight on Karen Heflin

What is your educational background?

BS Communication Disorders, (Speech Pathology).

 

Karen Heflin

Karen Heflin

 

What is your work background?

I have been at home with my children for the past 13 years, with small part-time jobs on the side.  Now that they are all in school, I’m enjoying the opportunity to work for the Griggs Center.

 

What do you do at ACU/COBA?

I am the Springboard Program Coordinator for the Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy.  I help with fundraising, coordinate our business model competitions for both students and the community, and provide training events for aspiring entrepreneurs.

 

What’s the best part of working with students?

I enjoy their energy, creativity and enthusiasm.

 

Outside of ACU, what passions and hobbies do you have?

I love being with my husband and four children.  I love to travel and eat and experience other cultures–this may be because I’m a ‘Third Culture Kid.’  I enjoy reading and singing.  Also, I love to climb things.  Especially trees.

 

The Heflin Family

The Heflin Family

 

What is a good, early story about your first job or when you were in college?

My very first job was scooping ice cream for a family-owned, homemade ice cream shop.  I had a very strong right arm at the end of that summer!

 

Do you do any charity or non-profit work?

My family and I are a mentors for arriving refugee families through the International Rescue Committee. These families have become our real life heroes as well as our dear friends. Their stories are humbling and inspiring. I am very passionate about serving this community of people and would love to tell you more if you’re interested in volunteering!

 

Karen and Houston Heflin

Karen and Houston Heflin

 

Who is your role model and why?

Corrie ten Boom and Rosa Parks- I admire their strength and tenacity and their willingness to take great risks for ideas they believed to be important.

 

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

Teleportation.  This would allow me to travel anytime to anywhere.

 

What is something that students might be surprised to find out about you?

I lived in Iceland in the late 80’s.

Tis the Season for Internships!

COBA encourages students to go outside of the classroom and gain real working experience from companies in the business world via internships. In addition to classroom preparation for job and internship searches, the COBA Connections and Career Development team aids students by connecting them with internships to businesses and industries that the individual student is interested in. These internship experiences allow students to learn from experienced mentors and discover what field of work they may have a passion or interest for. Some of the companies COBA students have interned with in the last year include World Vision, Holt Lunsford Commercial, PFSweb, USAA, Sam’s Club, Walmart, and Northern Trust.

Cason Ford, a senior marketing major from Burleson, TX, learned a lot about the oil and gas industry through his internship with Dunaway Associates, L.P., an engineering consulting services company. At Dunaway, Cason spent time working with a project manager in the office as well as working on a land surveying crew, learning about project management and the process of business operations. After graduation, Cason will work as a financial professional for AXA Advisors in Austin. With the help of the COBA Connections Career Development office, Cason was able to connect with an ACU alum who is on the AXA team in Austin. In addition to the Connections Office, Cason is also thankful for the experience he gained with Dr. Terry Pope and the STAR (Student Trading and Research) program, enabling him to learn the business terminology and financial knowledge that he will need for his career.

Cason Ford

“I feel confident entering this position because of the knowledge and skills I have learned while studying in COBA. I have learned the value of possessing and practicing with an entrepreneurial spirit, which is what I will need in my career,” says Cason.

Connor Osburn, a senior finance major from Southlake, TX, and the current President of Wildcat Ventures, has interned with both Holt Lunsford Commercial and Heil Trailer International. While at Holt Lunsford Commercial, he learned the ins and outs of commercial real estate, discovering how new developments can reflect the strength of a region’s economy and that location is key in any real estate investment. Going forward, Connor would like to pursue a finance role, specifically in analytics to identify young, promising companies. He is also interested in alternative energy/green technology and can see himself working with projects and companies in this industry.

connor osborne

Connor says, “COBA and the Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy exposed me to interesting new ideas, creative thinkers, inspiring entrepreneurs and opportunities to learn about all different types of career paths. I owe a lot to the COBA professors who have been more than willing to offer me advice or point me in the right direction.”

Natalie Lemieux, a junior from McKinney, TX, has excelled with her internship experience. Natalie is pursuing a major in information systems with a minor in international studies and information technology. Last summer, she interned with Lennox International as a Commercial Business Systems Intern. Her biggest takeaway from the internship was learning how to deal with project management and the flexibility within handling those projects. This summer, she will be interning with PricewaterhouseCoopers with the Technology Consulting team. Eventually, Natalie wants to pursue her MBA in international business. Natalie is grateful for the Connections Office and COBA professors, like Dr. Brad Crisp, who helped her find these particular internships.

natalie L.

“COBA’s atmosphere really helped to prepare me to be in a professional environment. I know that I have set myself apart from many other applicants that have applied for these positions because of the relevant hands-on experience and projects I have done inside of the classroom,” says Natalie.

Cason, Connor, and Natalie are only a few of many students who have interned while at ACU. Through faculty and the Connections Office, COBA aims to provide students with internship opportunities in the specific career fields that students are interested in pursuing. Internships are the perfect way for students to gain exposure to different companies and industries, allowing them to gain an advantage when looking for jobs after graduation. Congrats to all students who have interned and are planning to intern this next summer.