Pharmacy students show Christ’s love through medical mission trip in Egypt

Story by Sarah Goff

Six Union pharmacy students spent a week this summer as part of a medical mission team that served in Cairo, Egypt. The students — Bailee Esch, Hunter Hanson, Payton Pulse, Firas Quran, Brooke Sanders and Ali Ward — spent four days working in medical clinics, each day in a different local Christian church, as well as spending two days sightseeing during their July 12-21 trip.

photo 4On the very first day of clinic, Pulse, a second-year Doctor of Pharmacy candidate from Bolivar, Tennessee, met a mother and her three children. The first two children had common, easily treatable cases of parasites. The mother expressed concern for her youngest child, a small 3-year-old boy who was sleeping in her arms. A few months ago, she explained, he had undergone surgery for an intestinal issue.

She then showed them his incision: it had burst open, and his intestines were protruding from his abdomen. Shocked, the team worked quickly to get the family to the emergency room.

“My heart hurt for this family, but at the same time it was bursting at the seams with happiness because we helped make an impact on someone, and possibly saved a life just by using our skills God blessed us with,” Pulse wrote in a blog post about the day.

This trip was the culmination of the Medical Missions class taught by Adrian Cross, adjunct professor of pharmacy practice at Union and registered store manager at the Walgreens Community Specialty Pharmacy on Skyline Drive in Jackson. This trip was in partnership with Englewood Baptist Church of Jackson, where Cross has been a member for 24 years. The mission team consisted of a veterinarian, dentist, schoolteacher and pharmacist in addition to the pharmacy students.

photo 5A local Christian ministry in Cairo helped set up the clinics, provide translators and bring in patients. The medical mission team offered an eyeglasses station, pharmacy stations, a health education station and a station to entertain waiting children.

In the Egyptian healthcare context, the role of a pharmacist is different than in the United States — they are the ones who diagnose common issues and then send the patient to the local pharmacy, where they dispense the needed medication. This was an answer to prayer, Pulse said, since the team did not include a doctor or nurse who typically would have examined and diagnosed patients.

This made the trip different from his 16 years of medical missions experience, Cross said. They were able to interact more with the patients and pray with them, too.

For Pulse, this trip was out of her comfort zone. She had never been outside the U.S. before and had never even considered going on an international mission trip. Although it is easy for pharmacy students to be consumed with their studies, she said it is important to venture out and experience new things.

“It’s definitely impacted the way I look at these disease states that we’re learning about and look at the drugs that treat them,” Pulse said. “It makes you appreciate what you’re learning and appreciate the patients you’re going to be helping more.”

Cross said he loves to see young professionals get involved in missions and use their talents to help people. He encourages students who feel called to go on a medical mission trip to pray about serving.

“If you go and you make yourself available, God will use you in ways that you would never imagine, and I think that happened this year with each one of the students,” he said.

Learn more about Union’s College of Pharmacy at uu.edu/pharmacy.

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Sophomore Wesley Jennings serves those in need on mission in Honduras

Post by Corey Morris

This summer, Wesley Jennings, an incoming sophomore at Union University, followed the charge in James 1:27 to serve those in need while being different from the world. While many young men his age would be looking to advance themselves in this world and spend the summer relaxing, Wesley has shown his true faith and altruistic nature.

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As a member of our Honduras Mission Team, Wesley served in the impoverished regions of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, in various capacities. Our church in McMinnville, Tennessee, partners with Baxter Institute in Tegucigalpa. We visit Honduras for one week each summer to help in humanitarian, medical, dental and evangelical efforts and to share the love of Christ to those around us. As a vital member of our team, Wesley went above and beyond in his call of duty to help serve the underserved.

While with our missionary group, Wesley jumped in full-force in many ways. He helped on construction teams to build homes given only a few nails, a hammer and a chainsaw as his tools of the trade. In addition, he helped in our dental clinic doing various tasks, from trying to make a crying child laugh with puppets to helping sanitize extraction instruments.

Wesley also helped assist in our medical clinic by triaging over 170 patients (in two days) without medical care to be seen by our medical missionaries. He was involved in the intake of these patients and taking their vital signs. The professionalism he showed, as well as the care he gave to patients, was unmatched with someone his age.

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Not only did Wesley help these fellow brother and sisters in Christ with their immediate medical and survival needs, he also assisted in their spiritual needs. When Wesley wasn’t working hard in our clinics, you could see him playing with children who don’t regularly receive attention. He didn’t let a language barrier stop him, and you could see the love of Christ reflecting through him.

Wesley also helped assist with our Vacation Bible School for these children. He is an honorable young man, and I am blessed to have the opportunity to have served with him. Union University is doing something right in developing Christ-centered individuals, and I’m glad I was able to see that education through one of Union’s students.

Corey Morris is a medical student at Lincoln Memorial University’s DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine in Harrogate, Tennessee, and a missionary with Westwood Church in McMinnville, Tennessee.

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Forever Bulldogs – Homecoming 2018

The Union University community gathered to celebrate alumni and current students during Homecoming weekend Nov. 1-3. Events included a 50 year reunion for the class of 1969, food and games on the Great Lawn, basketball and volleyball games and the crowning of the 2018 homecoming queen.

We’ve put together our favorite photos from the events of the weekend here for you all to enjoy.

Bulldog Olympics, student competition. Photos by Lynn Tucker

Class of 1969 welcome, mix and mingle. Photos by Kristi Woody

Homecoming chapel, featuring members of the Class of 1969 and the presentation of the gift from the Class of 1968. Photos by Kristi Woody

Meritorious Service Awards Banquet with 14 awards given. Photos by Kristi Woody

Bulldog Madness. Photos by Joey Echeverria

Basketball games: Lady Bulldogs vs. Martin Methodist and Bulldogs vs. Freed Hardeman. Photos by Riley Boggs and Kristi Woody

President’s Cup winners SAE; Mr. & Miss Union, Grant Allen and Corinne Olund; and Homecoming Queen 2018, Sallie Norman. Photos by Kristi Woody

Forever Bulldogs event on the Great Lawn. Photos by Joey Echeverria and Kristi Woody

Blank Slate Improv performance. Photos by Nikki Grim

Anthem Lights performance. Photos by Nikki Grim and Kristi Woody

The Value and Purpose of Pharmacy

Post written by Drew Wells, doctor of pharmacy student

DrewSills_0003Pharmacy was an interest of mine for several years before entering pharmacy school. I liked the idea of developing a vast knowledge of medications and incorporating that directly into patient care.

But being a pharmacist is more than counting pills, knowing mechanism of actions, counseling patients on side effects of medications, or catching drug-drug interactions. While that is a major part of our skillset and training, we have more to offer!

Pharmacists serve as a first-line resource for patients. Pharmacists listen to patients’ stories and enjoy seeing a smile on a patient’s face. Pharmacists see a patient struggling with a diagnosis or at a low moment in life. Pharmacists must be ready to meet people where they are and serve them well!

Union’s College of Pharmacy is a great place to be educated, trained, equipped, and mentored to be a great pharmacist. A pharmacist willing to take the time to invest in patients and provide comprehensive care. A pharmacist who understands the potential impact one can have on a patient’s life. The comprehensive training Union provides, ranging from learning the details of the human body in gross anatomy to discussing moral and ethical considerations, has only strengthened my passion and desire to be a pharmacist.

Pharmacy has already taught me many skills and lessons. I have learned how to study efficiently, manage my time, effectively communicate, and serve my peers and patients. Most importantly, I have learned how to rest in God’s grace. The latter of those lessons seems increasingly important each and every day. No matter if you are in the grind of a long semester of pharmacy school or entering into a busy season of life, learning to rest in God’s grace is a must.

God does not need our work to keep him on his throne. He is the one who leaves his throne to work for us. Trusting God in your work means learning to put it to the side and enthrone him in your rest. To trust God in my work has brought joy, confidence, and reassurance that my desire to serve people as a pharmacist has true value and a greater purpose. I am excited to see God’s plan continue to unfold here at Union and in my future career as a pharmacist.

 

Family Weekend Photos – 2018

Last weekend was our annual Family Weekend. There were various family-oriented events on campus such as a corn-hole tournament, ultimate frisbee game, and Union Night with fireworks. Here are some of our favorite photos from the events of the weekend.

Photos by Kristi Woody, Joey Echeverria, Nikki Grim, Lynn Tucker

 

 

Engineering Professor on Research Sabbatical in Germany

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For Georg Pingen, his sabbatical during this fall semester was an opportunity to go home.

Pingen, originally from Germany, is spending the fall semester doing research at a University in Aachen, Germany — RWTH Aachen. Since most of his time as an associate professor of engineering at Union is spent teaching, the sabbatical is an opportunity for Pingen to devote himself full-time to scholarly projects and research that began during his days as a doctoral student.

The work is technical and complex in nature.

“We try to develop models that help engineers improve their designs so that the engineering design process can be accelerated or enhanced — so that when we’re getting into a new area of engineering, not everything takes us as long as it took us from the Wright Brothers’ first plane to the jet planes that we have today,” Pingen said.

“If we want to build something, let’s say we want to design a small bio-medical sensor, we don’t want to spend 100 years to arrive at a good design,” he explains. “And so coming up with computer models that can help in the design process is the underlying goal of the work that I’m doing.”

The research flowed from Pingen’s doctoral studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder.  He’s continued working with students and researchers there over the last eight years. Some of the theory they are trying to implement was developed by the applied math department at RWTH Aachen, a prestigious engineering, science and mathematics institution.

Over the years, he has met some of his colleagues from Aachen at different conferences, and Pingen says his time in Germany thus far has been an outstanding opportunity to work with those mathematicians on a day-to-day basis.

“To be honest, we’ve been stuck a little bit with trying to implement the theory that they have developed in Aachen into our computer model,” Pingen says. “And so it has been nice to just get up from my desk, walk over into the next office, and talk to Dr. Torrilhon or one of his graduate students who actually developed the theory.”

Pingen’s research allows him to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the engineering field, but it also gives him an opportunity to include Union students in his work.

“I just exchanged a text message with Gabriel Garneau, who is one of our current seniors in the engineering program,” Pingen says. “He is working on a project with me that’s directly related to the work that I’m doing in Aachen.”

In addition to the professional benefits that Pingen is deriving from his time in Germany, he’s enjoying the personal side of things, too. His wife Betsy and their three sons are with him, and the university in Aachen is only about 30 minutes from Pingen’s parents.

After growing up in Germany, Pingen came to the United States in high school as an exchange student at Jackson Christian School. He met Betsy during his time at JCS and convinced his parents that he needed to go to college where Betsy did. So he followed her to Samford University for his undergraduate work.

The Pingens are looking for a church home in Germany, and although the Christian communities in Germany are smaller than those in the United States, Pingen says there are some vibrant evangelical churches.

He’ll be in Germany until early January and will resume his teaching responsibilities at Union in the spring semester.

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Students Celebrate Arbor Day by Expanding Union Arboretum

Mark Bolyard, university professor of biology, and Michael Schiebout, associate professor of biology, went out this week with about 15 students to plant nine varieties of trees around campus to celebrate Arbor Day.

These additions bring the total trees in the Union University Arboretum to about 60. Students also helped place signs beside existing trees on campus, which will help educate visitors on what is planted here. Bolyard said he looks forward to continuing this tradition for Campus and Community Day each fall and Arbor Day each spring.

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The trees planted this week:

  1. Two Monkey Puzzle trees. These are endangered in their native range, and there are few of them planted in the state of Tennessee. They are unusual looking evergreen trees native to Chile (pictured above).
  2. Two small Catalpa trees, with plans to add a third one, which should become medium sized flowering trees.
  3. Shumard oak, which should have nice fall color.
  4. Burr oak
  5. Warei oak
  6. Black poplar
  7. Black Alder
  8. Kentucky coffee tree
  9. Basswood, which replaces a tree near the BAC that was struggling.

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Comm Arts Students Intern with MLK50 Event

Post by Austin Maddox, public relations major

I am a huge fan of several different Christian publications. Articles from websites such as Desiring God, Radical, The Gospel Coalition and the ERLC fill my news feeds from various social platforms throughout any given day.

Often, I will read an article that catches my attention, be inspired or convicted, and then share with close friends who I know will appreciate the content as well. There have even been times where we have joked about how incredible it would be to write and work for one of these publications alongside the great minds of John Piper, Kevin DeYoung or Russell Moore. What a dream that would be.

So, you can imagine how I felt when my adviser, Ashley Blair, offered me an internship with the ERLC for their MLK50 event in Memphis.

As soon as I receive the email, I freaked out. The ERLC? Are you kidding? I transferred from my community college in the fall of 2017 and had only been at Union University for a full semester at this point, and I was already getting unbelievable opportunities to serve in my desired field. It was nuts!

Of course, I accepted the offer, and on April 3-4, I woke up at 5:30 a.m., put on a tie (which felt super cool), and Corinne Olund and I headed to Memphis with nerves and excitement filling our spirits. The entire trip down we talked about what we would possibly be doing, as well as praising God for generously giving us such an amazing chance to work with a prestigious organization such as the ERLC.

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I can honestly say that those two days were probably some of the busiest of my life. As soon as we arrived, we met with Dan Darling, VP for communications for the ERLC, and talked about our life goals and why chose to study public relations. The meeting ended with a valuable offer for a recommendation whenever we needed one, and possible future job offers.

Afterwards, we worked alongside Elizabeth Bristow, press secretary for the ERLC. She showed us the ropes on her job during events like this, such as organizing the press that would come to interview the speakers, as well as keeping up with the buzz about the event on social media and writing press releases and emails. It was a very eye-opening experience.

Not only did we work hard, but we also got the opportunity to meet some of my personal role models, such as Russell Moore, Matt Chandler and John Piper. It was such a surreal experience.

After the work was done the last day, Corinne and I said our goodbyes to all of our new friends at the ERLC and headed back towards Union. The whole way home we talked about our experience, and how thankful we are for a school that values their students, knows them personally and matches them with opportunities that will further their professional careers and allow personal growth.

I can’t thank you enough, Union Communication Arts!

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Snow Days – January 2018

Union University has experienced an unusually snowy and cold January so far. The days off have given students and alumni in the area plenty of opportunities to get out and play in the snow. Here are a few of our favorite photos taken by our staff photographer, Kristi Woody, as well as photos submitted by students and alumni.

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Below are images submitted by students and alumni in the area.

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Top Ten Photos of 2017

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 2017 that give an overview of the year at Union. We are looking forward to even more great moments in 2018!

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For Variety Show, members of Chi Omega performed a Mario-themed number complete with Mario, Luigi and Princess Peach. Their performance won them first place in the large group category. Photo by Gretchen Foels.

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Dr. Dub Oliver, president of the university, walks out of The Logos with Buster the Bulldog. Photo by Kristi Woody.

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Members of the Bulldog soccer team celebrate after scoring a goal against Auburn University Montgomery. Photo by Hannah Heckart.

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The New Respects, who Rolling Stone described as “funky, exuberant blues-rock,” performed in Barefoots Joe in the fall. Photo by Gretchen Foels.

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On Aug. 21, Jackson experienced 96 percent totality during a solar eclipse. The event coincided with Welcome Week, so new students gathered on the Great Lawn to observe the eclipse. The physics department gave a short presentation and had viewing instruments out for use. Photo by Kristi Woody.

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The Union University players performed in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead under the direction of David Burke, professor of theatre, in the W.D. Powell Theatre. Photo by Kristi Woody.

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Each building in the residence life complexes forms a team of students that competes for points throughout the year. These points are tallied up at the end of the spring semester, and the Union Cup is awarded to the team with the most points. The final event in the competition is Field Day, where students compete in a balloon toss. Photo by Kristi Woody.

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Fireworks go off at the conclusion of Union Night during Family Weekend. Photo by Kristi Woody.

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Undergraduate Admissions passed out free stadium horns during a community appreciation event at a soccer game. This event coincided with Bulldog Days so several prospective students had the opportunity to enjoy a Bulldog sporting event during their stay. Photo by Kristi Woody.

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The Student Government Association hosted a Christmas tree lighting outside of The Logos with the hope that it will become a new Union tradition. Students sang a few Christmas songs and enjoyed some hot chocolate before the tree was lit. Photo by Kristi Woody.