Nursing as a Calling – Student Reflection

Post by Rachel Edgren, senior nursing major

Rachel Edgren portraitI’ve wanted to be a nurse since I was in high school. As the older sister of three and the “mom” in many of my friend groups, I always enjoyed helping others. That, coupled with my curiosity, love for people and questioning nature, made nursing a fascinating and prospective choice for a career.

In the first week or two of nursing school one of my professors told the class that if we were here to simply make money, we were in the wrong profession. That struck me as poignant because for many going into the workforce, that is in fact the priority. However, for nursing there is something else that’s the ultimate goal. Going through each class, I began to learn more and more that nursing is the holistic care of a person. This particularly delighted me since I was passionate about the overall wellness of a being, such as emotional and spiritual health, and not just physical health.

In my short time as a nursing student working in the hospital, I have seen many different patients, each struggling with different physical, mental, spiritual and emotional ailments. Some patients have been difficult to care for, but all deserve love, kindness and respect.

I believe that nursing is the type of job that requires an overflow of love from the Lord. It is only when he pours into me that I am able to love and serve others with his love — the kind of love that does not give up and will bear all things.

Nursing is not merely a profession but a calling to the care and love of others, which was modeled best by Jesus. It is through him that I have the desire, compassion and patience to work toward becoming an excellent nurse. He is the one who has been with me each step of the way, and I know that he will continue to lead and restore me as I attempt to serve others.

Nurses, I believe, can be the very hands and feet of Jesus. Now that’s a calling I want to be a part of.

Boston trip provides inside look at PR in action for communication arts students

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Post by Anna Claire Sewell, PRSSA President
Photos by Ashley Fitch Blair and Shelby Kee

As I glanced around at my peers on the flight home, I couldn’t help but think about what an awesome experience we had in Boston. As students in Union University’s communication arts department, we are presented with opportunities through our PRSSA chapter that are not only educationally enriching, but also exciting.

PRSSA, Public Relations Student Society of America, is an on-campus organization that allows students to lead and learn through the integration of knowledge and professional development. Along with a day trip to meet with communication professionals in the fall, Union’s PRSSA chapter takes a trip to a larger market during the spring semester.

During our stay in Boston, we met with communication specialists in three different areas of the field. The first morning there was freezing — actually, quite below freezing. It did not faze us! We grabbed our coffee and were excited for the day ahead.

Our first meeting was with Shawn McBride, executive vice president of sports at Ketchum Sports & Entertainment. McBride shared about his love of working in a fast-paced international PR firm and gave us advice as we enter the work force.

A few short train rides later, we found ourselves stepping into a broadcast dreamland. The communications team at WGBH Boston gave us a behind-the-scenes look at how they handle strategic communication for such a large station. Here’s the most exciting part: WGBH Boston produces one-third of the national programming on PBS. A few of the shows produced by this station include Arthur, Zoom, Antiques Roadshow, The American Experience and NOVA!

To see the amount of work put into the shows I enjoyed throughout my childhood into adulthood really put my future career into perspective. This visit showed me that while I will only be one communications specialist, my work has the potential to affect millions of people.

Our list of professional visits concluded T.K. Skenderian, director of communication for the Boston Athletic Association and its signature event, the Boston Marathon. This meeting provided us with a chance to ask questions about nonprofit work and crisis communication. Skenderian shared some powerful insights through his experience with the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing on how to carefully handle crisis communication during a tragedy. From that experience, Skenderian tied in his love for working for a cause bigger than himself.

In addition to the professional development aspect of the trip, we also spent some time checking out historical sites and taking in the local flare that Boston has to offer. From the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum visit, to the multiple cannoli consumed, to the large amounts of coffee purchased to keep us warm in the cold wind, we got a small glimpse at how Boston culture plays into the work environments in the Northeast.

When I decided to declare my major as public relations, I had no idea how many doors could be opened with a degree in the communications field. Our trip to Boston provided each member of PRSSA the chance to dive deeper into what exactly it means to be a communication professional. This Boston experience was an excellent way to top off my time at Union with peers who have become friends and professors who have become mentors.

As I picked up my bags at the airport to head back to Jackson, I left with a feeling of purpose and excitement for what is ahead for me and each of my fellow communications majors.

Meet Our Faculty – Part 2

Union University attracts some of the nation’s leading Christian intellectuals. They are dedicated to classroom teaching, mentorship, collaboration and the success of their students. Here are some faculty members we would like you to meet.


Earnest Easley

Ernest Easley – Professor of Evangelism

“We want evangelism to be in the DNA of every student that walks off this campus.”

Learn more about Ernest Easley here.

 

 

 

 


Colene Trent

Colene Trent – Assistant Professor of Economics

“We teach economics in a very specific way. We teach students to be good stewards.”

Read more about Colene Trent’s approach to teaching economics here.

 

 

 

 


Haifei Li

Haifei Li – Associate Professor of Computer Science

“It is important to me that students know not only how the software works, but how to deal with the hardware, the machines.”

Learn more about Haifei Li’s history with computer science here.

Make Yourself Make: An Art Student’s Reflection

Post by Mary Scarlett Greenway, senior art major

In January I had the amazing opportunity to study abroad in Europe with a great group of students – including fellow members of the art department. During our 11-day trip, we visited many great artistic and historical sites in Paris, Venice, Florence, Pisa and Rome.

As an art student seeking Art History credit, this was a dream. Getting to graduate on time by visiting practically the art capitals of the world seemed like cheating…and I wasn’t going to waste the opportunity. I wanted to remember every second and soak in each unique city as much as I could in such a short time.

In every city that I visited, I created a typography piece with the name of the city and held it up in front of an iconic landmark or scene (or at least, I did my best to do that – it really is hard to stop and take a picture of your journal when your leader moves at about 40 miles an hour and will leave you behind).

 

A project like this was incredibly fun and challenging – trying to capture the personality of a city in letter forms (without smudging anything on a rattling train).

In addition to my typography pieces, two other art students (Kayli Sommers and Josh Smith) and I agreed to make a conscious effort to sit down and sketch something in each city. So we did. We sketched the Arc de Triomphe, the courtyard of statues in the Louvre, Michelangelo’s statue of David in Florence, the Trevi Fountain in Rome and many others.

As an art student, the discipline of sketching things you see is often a hard one to hold yourself to – it’s at once a desire and a chore. But I cannot overstate how important and fulfilling it is to make it an instinct.

Despite all the little mistakes, I captured my experience in my journal in a way that I never could have with my camera. I remember every little side stop and place we got lost and times I almost cried (sometimes because of hunger but usually out of excitement and awe). I remember every bridge we crossed and alley we took and staircase we climbed (the stairs, the STAIRS). I remember all the shops – the little old print maker and the woman who made pigments and the aggressive leather salesmen in the streets.

Though I loved seeing every landmark and museum and cathedral, one of my favorite aspects of this trip was simply exploring the cities in our free time. My favorite city to explore was Venice by far. Never in my life have I seen such a cinematic city. Every back alley, every uneven street, every clothes line, every stretch of ivy, every hole-in-the-wall cannoli shop – they seemed so accidentally and authentically beautiful. I wanted to take all of it with me.

Hands down, I have never been on such an inspiring, exhausting, creatively stimulating trip in my life. Even if you aren’t an art student, I encourage you to draw something. Write something. Anything. Take down what you see and what you find interesting or funny or odd – no matter how trifling it seems. Don’t rely on Instagram or Facebook to keep your memories for you. Life reminds you how rare and beautiful it is when you don’t just look, but see. To my fellow art students, keep making.

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Follow Mary Scarlett on Instagram for more images of her impressive work: @mary.scarlett

 

BIO 100 Class Visits Memphis Zoo

Each winter term Mark Bolyard, professor of biology, teaches a session of BIO 100, during which students have the opportunity to go on three field trips. The first trip is to the Memphis Zoo, where the class attends two sessions taught by a zoo employee.

This year, the Spineless Wonders and Endangered Species classes were led by Union University alumna, Lindsey Bock Stephens (’11). During the first class, students learned about different species of invertebrates and had the opportunity to see and touch some live critters.  The Endangered Species class provided even more opportunities to see live animals. Students were able to see and touch the rare Louisiana pinesnake, which is part of a new breeding program at the Memphis Zoo.

In addition to the two class sessions, students were each given a endangered species to research as they toured the zoo. The trip provided an up-close look at many of the animals discussed in the BIO 100 curriculum.

Story and photos by Kristi Woody

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Top Ten Photos of 2016

Throughout the year, staff photographer Kristi Woody and four student photographers took more than 40,000 photos documenting life at Union University. Here are 10 photos from 2016 that give an overview of the year at Union. We are looking forward to even more great moments in 2017!

Nadaskay demonstrates drawing techniques outdoors.

Chris Nadaskay, university professor of art, coaches Madison Borden, a sophomore pre-professional art therapy major, during an outdoor drawing session. Nadasky often takes his drawing classes outdoors to practice basic drawing techniques. He uses the trees on campus to teach students how to see negative space between the branches. Photo by Kristi Woody.

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Freshman nursing major RoNesha Davis performs during an open mic night at Barefoots Joe. The coffee house hosts concerts each semester featuring recording artists from across the country, but the open mic nights give students an opportunity to share their talents with their peers. Photo by Gretchen Foels.

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Charlie Wilson leaps over Tray Boyd for his final dunk in a dunk contest during Bulldog Madness. Bulldog Madness kicks off basketball season for the Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs. Each team has a scrimmage, and the athletics department hosts giveaways, throws out t-shirts and holds a dunking contest. Photo by Kristi Woody.

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The live Buster the Bulldog mascot has been a huge hit on campus! He was welcomed into the Union family in 2016 and was featured in his Santa hat on the annual Christmas card. Photo by Kristi Woody.

Election night watch party.

Sean Evans, professor of political science, and Hunter Baker, associate professor of political science, keep up with election results as they are announced at a presidential election watch party in the Bowld Student Commons. The Department of Political Science hosts a party  during each major election, where students and professors gather to watch the results together. Photo by Kristi Woody.

Cast of theater production takes a bow.

The Union University players bow after a production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The large cast performed the show six times under the direction of John Klonowski, assistant professor of theatre, in the W.D. Powell Theatre. Photo by Kristi Woody.

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Vernon Stafford, senior chemistry major, works on a lab assignment. Photo by Kristi Woody.

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A supermoon rises behind Miller Tower on the Union University campus in November. Several community members came to campus to watch and photograph the event. Photo by Kristi Woody.

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Ulylanders Kent, BSOL graduate, waves to family and friends after receiving his diploma at fall commencement. Kent was one of 302 students who received their degrees at the Dec. 17 ceremony. There is always an abundance of smiles and wonderful moments as students are celebrated for their achievements. Photo by Kristi Woody.

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Buster the Bulldog revealed his new look at Family Weekend 2016. Buster, along with the cheer team, enjoyed greeting Union friends and family during Union Night. Photo by Elizabeth Wilson.

Why I Don’t Regret Choosing My Private College Education

Post by Kallan Parker, senior public relations major. 

kallanparkerMy senior year of high school consisted of a persistent mental battle between attending a public college very close to home or a private college a little further away. I wrestled between the ideas of graduating from the public college debt free or graduating from the school I loved with an evident chunk of debt. The public college’s “debt free aspect” was the only pro, in my mind, to attending. That environment was not what I wanted and not the place I needed to be in order to grow and network on my own. Needless to say, I chose the private college: Union University.

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Setting aside the fact that Union’s campus is beautiful and relatively new, their public relations program is accredited, academics are taken seriously, the faculty is caring, the students are friendly and the environment is encouraging and Christ-like. After day one at Union, I knew without a doubt that I made the right decision. Sure, I could have been set to graduate debt free from another school, but would I have been happy?… Not at all.

The truth is that college is four years of your life, which is much too long of a time to spend unhappy and much too short of a time not to take full advantage of each second. My college experience thus far is something that I would not trade for the world. I love my school. The people I have met, the professors I have had and the classes I have taken have all taught me so much. I have been allowed so many great networking opportunities that I would have never received if it were not for my decision to attend school at Union.

The truth is that college debt is temporary. College education is a worthy investment. I am currently enrolled in 1 of 37 PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) accredited undergraduate programs in the world. I love every faculty member in the Communications department and have gained wisdom from them that I feel certain I could not have learned anywhere else. I may leave with thousands of dollars in debt, but I will be leaving with the skill sets that I need in order to find a job to pay it all off. To be honest, I am happy with the idea of living in a cruddy apartment for a couple years after graduation and eating ramen noodles so that I can get my debt out of the way, if that is what it takes. I will leave Union University knowing that it was worth it to me and that I took full advantage of all my time. College is something you only get to do once, so you might as well choose the school you love.

The truth is that there is no price tag for a valuable experience. Even setting all of the educational classroom aspects aside, Union has its evident advantages. Nothing feels better than walking around campus with the knowledge that so many people around you are devout, God-fearing Christians. There are no words that express the level of gratitude for professors who not only lead by example in their careers but also in their walks with Christ. Being able to join campus organizations and Greek life without entering a stereotypical “ trashy, party scene” is great. Campus organizations are filled with students who share a common love for Christ. Because of that common bond, there is a sense of community on campus that I know I could not have found at the other school I was considering.

Not a day goes by that I regret my decision to attend a private university. I would not hesitate to pick Union again and again.

This post was originally published on The Odyssey in December 2015. 

Meet Our Students – Part 3

Union students work hard and set lofty goals. They enjoy building community, pursuing leadership roles and having fun. Here are just a few of the stellar students we would like you to meet.

Part 1 | Part 2

 


 

Austin Orr

Austin Orr – exercise science/wellness major from Jackson, Tennessee

“Pretty much every aspect of campus life I’m involved with, either in class or on the field, faith is always that overarching theme that ties everything together about Union.”

Learn more about Austin here.

 

 


 

Ryne Roper

Ryne Roper – elementary education major from Harrisburg, Illinois

“The sense of community that Union brings is very different and something I was really longing for. It’s been nothing short of remarkable.”

Read more about Ryne’s Union story here.

 

 


 

Bailey Howell

Bailey Howell – teaching English as a second language major from Jackson, Tennessee

“I look at my time at Union so far, and I think that the tight-knit community with the professors and staff and students here makes it exactly what I want. I’m the person I am today because of a lot of people at Union.”

Read more about Bailey here.

Cell Biology Project Uses Bio-Rad qPCR

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Students in the department of biology have been working throughout the summer on research projects. Many of the projects, including Benton Hurt’s, are focused on the thyroid and thyroid irregularities.

Benton is a senior cell and molecular biology major, and his project is focused specifically on how cells regulate the thyroid under different types of stress.

“We’re looking to see if there is a marked difference in RNA expression in the macrophages, which are immune cells,” Benton said. “The goal ties into broader research going on in the department to better understand hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.”

William Thierfelder, associate professor of biology, has been working on the project with Benton. He said some of the things they are studying are possible because of new equipment provided by donors.

“This machine, the Bio-Rad qPCR, is a complex piece of machinery,” he said. “But it basically allows us to measure gene expression in these cells.”

Thierfelder said the research may help find ways of treating thyroid irregularities that cause metabolism issues and other symptoms. Benton said even though the project does not sound exciting to most people, he has enjoyed the process.

“It’s nice to be able to work on something like this and later be able to see how it ties into the bigger picture,” he said. “We’re not looking for a major discovery, but every part of the research is important.”

Story by Nathan Handley, photos by Kristi Woody

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Summer Music Camp 2016 Photos

Another successful Summer Music Camp wraps up today. The Department of Music has enjoyed teaching kids of all ages about music this week through choir and instrumental classes. It has been a wonderful week, and the students will practice what they’ve learned during a concert this evening for their friends and family.

Please enjoy these photos from the camp!