Summer Music Camp

The Department of Music and the Community Music Center at Union University held their ninth annual Summer Music Camp this week. This camp for children grades 1-8 provides performance opportunities with expert clinicians, exposure to a wide variety of musical experiences, and a week of fun with friends.

All students sing in either the 1-5 grade or 6-8 grade choir, rehearsing several times during each day of camp. In addition, the younger students have a myriad of musical experiences with xylophones, handbells, piano, world drumming and beginning strings. Older students also participate in a variety of musical experiences in small groups including handbells, guitar, and technology.

Below are some photos of the many activities that camp participants enjoy throughout the week.

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.

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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Student Life Photos

Over the past few weeks, our student photographers have been hard at work capturing events across campus. In between those assignments, they’ve also photographed many student life moments. Here are some fun photos from our four student photographers taken during their time on campus and during some Residence Life activities.

Photos by Elizabeth Wilson, Gretchen Foels, Morgan Morfe and Janelle Vest

Bantu Addresses Culture and the Gospel

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Vince Bantu, visiting professor of missiology at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, said diversity is necessary for unity. Bantu spoke in Union University Chapel Sept. 7.

“God is a God of Unity, and you can’t have unity without diversity,” Bantu said. “You have to have different things to unite…We are united in Christ, but we’re also different. That should not be ignored or passed over, but it should be celebrated.”

Bantu said modern Americans often talk about moving beyond racial and cultural differences in an effort for equality, but he said equality is not achieved through racial colorblindness.

“God doesn’t want us to get beyond it,” Bantu said. “This is part of how he made us.”

He said the gospel is uniquely positioned to be translated into every culture, and the Bible offers many examples of this in the book of Acts. He said when the context of the dominant culture is added to the gospel it adds an unnecessary barrier to those in other cultures.

In addition to his chapel address, Bantu gave an evening lecture Sept. 6 titled “Culture and Context: Church History, Orthodoxy and #blacklivesmatter.” He said missions is how the gospel interacts with culture and is contextualized, and understanding current social issues is vital for Christians on mission.

“The gospel is universal in absolute truth, but it’s relative in how it hits us,” he said.

Bantu compared the gospel to a stage play. He said each person in a theater is watching the same play, but each person has a different perspective of the play based on where he or she is seated. He said when Christians recognize and embrace different perspectives of the gospel, it gives a more complete picture.

“Cross-cultural experiences are like an intermission,” Bantu said. “We get to hear about other perspectives and what other people have seen.”

Bantu encouraged students who are interested in mission work in other countries to first interact with other cultures in their own cities. He said the gospel embraces each person equally, and this is obvious when it is seen in an unfamiliar culture.

“We’re not bringing God to heathen nations,” Bantu said. “He’s already there at work, revealed in creation. We aren’t civilizing people or teaching them anything. We’re sharing good news.”

Story by Nathan Handley

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Dr. Vince Bantu’s evening lecture in the Bowld Student Commons

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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Students Present Research at Scholarship Symposium

More than 300 students from across Union’s campus presented research Tuesday at the Scholarship Symposium. 

160426_KMW_SymposiumPresentations005Ashley Akerson, art

Ashley presented research on the importance of African-American art. She said African-American art has been seen as insignificant or inferior, but it has had great influence on culture and art.

 “African-Americans began to develop a distinctive voice to tell the story that was different than any other American story.”

160426_KMW_SymposiumPresentations018 Gray Magee, cell and molecular biology

Gray’s research involved a regeneration method for African mahogany, an endangered tree. He researched a process called organogenesis, where hormones are added to mature leaf tissue to create calluses which can produce viable plants.

“If we can come up with a technique of organogenesis, this could have a significant impact on the African economy.”

160426_KMW_SymposiumPresentations011 MiKalla Cotton, Christian ministry and missions

MiKalla presented her research paper titled “Created to Create: Why Do We Create.” She said people create because they are made in the image of a creator, and creativity manifests itself in different ways.

“Men and women reflect the image of the creator through making something of the world they have been given. Not only is creativity a reflection of our creator, but it also allows us to reflect him to the world around us and build up the community of creative minds in our midst.”

Read more about the Scholarship Symposium in our news release.

Story by Nathan Handley, photos by Kristi Woody, Elizabeth Wilson and David Parks.

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Meet Our Students – Part 2

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


 

Reeves Garrett

Reeves Garrett – Biblical Studies major from Brownsville, Tennessee

“I like that Union’s community as a whole is pretty organic. Students build relationships because we’re a small campus – small enough that you can know a lot of people but big enough that you can always meet someone new.”

Learn more about Reeves here.

 


 

Emily Easter

Emily Easter – conservation biology major from Hendersonville, Tennessee

“I left Union [the day that I visited], and I remember thinking, ‘How am I ever going to decide where I want to go to school if every college campus feels like this?’ And none of the other ones ever did.”

Read more of Emily’s story here.

 

 


 

Joshua Stucky

Joshua Stucky – mathematics and computer science major from Maryville, Tennessee

“Having the skills that you learn in upper level mathematics allows me to better engage in theological discussions and philosophical discussions about God’s nature.”

Read more about Joshua here.