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.
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!
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
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.”
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.
COBA students studying abroad in Leipzig, Germany, continued their coursework and site visits this week. Pictured below is the group on a typical Thursday morning sitting in a Financial Management class from 9:00 am – noon in Leipzig.
During breaks, the group has met and had the opportunity to visit with refugees from Syria and Iraq. The refugees are taking an intensive German class so they can live and work here in Germany.
Wednesday, the group went to Social Impact Leipzig, an early-stage incubator for social entrepreneurship ventures. Their host was Jennifer Pauli.
She showed the group around the location, which is primarily shared office space for firms that are participating in the incubator program. Then they heard pitches from some of the firms that are currently in the program.
One of the pitches was given by Mike from Night Bank. His firm is similar to AirB&B, but with a socially minded twist. People with unused rooms donate them to Night Bank for a specified number of nights. Night Bank books tourists and guests in the rooms and charges them a fee. Night Bank then uses 90% of the fees they collect to support aid projects around the world. One recent project was a water collection tower in Kenya. The person who donates their room to rent gets to select the project they would like their fees to support.
We’ll continue to blog about the adventures of our group in Leipzig as their time starts to wind down and another group travels to Asia. Keep checking back and share this blog with your friends!
COBA offers students opportunities every summer to visit the world, earn course credit, and learn about international businesses by touring companies in host countries. This summer, we have students in Leipzig, Germany with Dr. Jonathan Stewart. In addition to coursework, this week students were given a video assignment while visiting Luma Lenscraft, a video production company in Leipzig. COBA’s hosts at Luma Lenscraft gave a short video workshop, taught students about translation services in Europe, and asked the students to create a one minute video about their time in Germany. The assignment was to shoot the entire video on a smart phone in a single shot.
Luke Stevens, Taylor Spencer, John Baker and Lincoln Jones working on their video assignment.
Mackenzie Dalton, Addy Taylor, Hunter Hays, and KayAnn Orr working on their video assignment.
Students also visited SpinLab. SpinLab is a startup incubator based in the old Spinnererei district of Leipzig and at one time, was a hub for cotton markets in Germany in the early and mid-1900’s.
The group first heard from Shawn Segundo, Online Marketing and Event Manager. He explained how SpinLab hosts 12 startups per year. Two of the twelve made their pitches to the COBA group, Shark Tank style.
The first pitch came from Andreas Dunsch of FlyNex, a drone services company that provides start to finish drone services and data analysis. The second pitch was from Sebastian Leppert of OKIKO. OKIKO is an online payment systems providing safe and intuitive payment options for children, ages 7-17. It was an educational and enlightening trip and we want to thank our hosts at Luma Lenscraft and SpinLab for welcoming our students.
Check back with us for updates from Leipzig as students visit Red Bull Arena and Porsche next week.
COBA in Switzerland: June 21st by Griffin Pedigo
Happy Fathers Day! Our day started out in Geneva, Switzerland.
After a little confusion on flight times & dates, Edhwin left for the airport earlier than Chris and I. While Edhwin hurried to the airport, Chris and I went to Starbucks (because that’s what every American does) and had some tea and coffee.
We left Starbucks and headed to the airport to catch up with Edhwin to make sure his flight was straightened out and to meet the girls. IT WAS! Praise the Lord. We met the girls and got on the plane for London.
Swiss Air has been one of the best airlines to fly with. They gave us sandwiches, drinks, and chocolate – talk about great customer service. We landed and sprinted to immigration and then sprinted to the bus in order to make it to 9@9.
People probably thought we were crazy running through the airport, but we just laughed about it. After a good, fun, and relaxing weekend we sat together as a group and worshiped our Heavenly Father with singing and reading of scripture. Dr. Lytle pushed us to answer this question after reading out of Isaiah 6: “What needs to die in your life, so you can be closer to Christ?” What a great question – something for us to think and journal about.
COBA in Oxford: June 22nd by Lydia Pinson
This morning at Oxford Analytica there were many things discussed. Something that stuck out to me was how we, as Americans, do things in life that seem simple to us without thinking about them very much even though they may have a lot of meaning in other places around the world.
This afternoon in class, Dr. Lytle talked about how to make a brand which, in his terms, is making a promise. He also talked about many more specific aspects of branding which were very interesting. Included in this were the factors that increase brand strengths such as product quality, consistent advertising, distribution intensity, and brand personality. Dr. Lytle also emphasized that brands are very important for making decisions.
Overall, it was a good day with lots of great opportunities to learn!
COBA in Oxford: June 18th by Michelle Lytle
The much anticipated “free” travel weekend is official upon us! Group travel is over and students are going out to places with smaller groups of friends such as; Budapest, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, London, and more. We had class this morning with Dr. Lytle and learned that SERVICE MATTERS.
We talked through how great customer service is common sense but strangely rare and hard to accomplish without the correct vision, values, and leadership set in place. Next, we split to our different classes after lunch and were only there for about an hour so students could head out to their anticipated destinations. Traveling in Europe is a whole new ball game and we are all learning/trying to maneuver it in the most efficient way possible to maximize our time and minimize the amount of money we have to spend.
The majority of the students hit the road this afternoon, but there are a few of us holding down the fort tonight and getting up way too early to catch our flights!
We are so blessed to be here and excited to see what the Lord teaches us through experiencing different cultures and seeing His world from a whole new perspective. Thanks for letting me be historian of the day!!
COBA in Rome: June 19th by Morgan Mosley
On June 19th we started out the day at a hotel near the Rome airport. Our small group had what the hotel called an American Buffet breakfast with bacon, sausage and eggs with coffee. Soon after, we left the hotel by riding the Leonardo Di Vinci express train into the main city at Termini Station. We were so excited to get into the city and see the different sights! I got off at the train station at the stop right near Vatican City.
We learned that Vatican City is actually a separate country inside Italy. We walked around St. Peter’s square and got a great view of the Vatican! We kept walking a short distance until we arrived at our rented apartment during the duration of the trip. It was hard navigating in the streets at first, but we quickly learned our way. We left the apartment shortly after arrival to walk around our town, called Aurelia. We found a meat butcher shop and bought some beef and chicken to cook for dinner.
We also grabbed some pasta and other items to cook dinner in our apartment. On our way back to the apartment we grabbed some Gelato at a café and headed back to cook dinner.
Yes. We had dessert before dinner, and it did not spoil our appetite. We made dinner, and then had a quiet evening all together in the apartment.
It was a great 1st day in Rome!
COBA in London: June 20th by Temi Ogunleye and Spencer Woolfolk
What a fun Saturday in London! Spencer and I started our day early trying to find the London Zoo.
After roaming around for about an hour we found it but decided that tickets were a tad bit too expensive for our liking. We then decided to walk to the Big Ben/Hyde Park area to have lunch and explore.
My favorite part of Hyde Park was an area by a lake where there were a bunch of pigeons, herons, and geese. We concluded our excursion by going to the Sherlock Holmes Museum and walking across Abbey Road.
After this, we took the tube back to Oxford and headed home.