Baylor Arts & Sciences Fall 2015

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Fall 2015

Magnolia Blossoming Joanna Gaines’ journey from Baylor Arts & Sciences student to television star

>>Baylor Geologists are Studying New Ways to Find Oil >>A Timely Gift Gives Film and Digital Media a Wider Angle >>James Vardaman Taught Lessons About History and Life >>The Incomparable Ann Miller


fellowship and merit scholar programs, as these opportunities are very important to students wishing to advance into the health professions or graduate school.

THEME 2 – Becoming a Nationally Recognized Research Institution

The past year has been one of exciting changes. In September 2014 the College of Arts & Sciences released the comprehensive strategic plan A&Spire to provide a 10-year vision for our major initiatives. Since then, 12 task forces have been assessing various aspects of the plan, and we have produced our first annual report of accomplishments. The work performed by these task forces has been paramount to our achievements so far –– and I’d like to share a few of these accomplishments from A&Spire’s first year.

THEME 1 – Advancing Liberal Education in the 21st Century The Arts & Sciences core curriculum is critical to the general education of our students. Complementing a student’s major field of study, the core curriculum provides the fundamental underpinnings of a liberal arts and sciences education. A faculty task force has been formed to study best practices and national trends of curricular offerings, but with certain inviolable foundational assumptions unique to Baylor’s mission. Another task force, the enrollment management committee, is working to improve strategies to better manage the increased size of our incoming freshman classes. Improving retention rates is another important goal of Arts & Sciences as this benefits both students and the University alike. Another task force has made good progress towards assessing the current status of the technology we use in teaching, and will soon provide recommendations on how we can adapt to the changing landscape of information delivery. Yet another task force is assessing best practices and resources for our

Task forces have been studying ways to advance our scholarly reputation in both the sciences and the humanities. This includes a reassessment of departmental tenure guidelines, the need for additional faculty positions (with their associated start-up requirements), goals for producing more doctoral graduates, the need for more research centers and plans for acquiring more clerical and technical staff. In light of an institutional emphasis on doctoral programs, an evaluation of the master’s programs in Arts & Sciences is underway to find ways to strengthen and incorporate those programs into our future goals. Our research initiatives are important for the overall reputation of Baylor, and are tied to benchmarks in the Carnegie classification system to enable Baylor to achieve its goal of becoming a “Very High Research Activity” institution.

THEME 3 – Strengthening Community Engagement This task force is assessing strategies to improve: 1) internal communications within Arts & Sciences regarding seminars, speaker series and other special events, 2) communications between Arts & Sciences and other Baylor academic units, and 3) communications with the Waco community and Baylor alumni outside Waco. The task force has recommended creating the position of “events coordinator” to help meet the needs arising from the complexities of special events occurring within Arts & Sciences.

THEME 4 – Investing in the Health Sciences This theme overlaps with the undergraduate and graduate initiatives in Themes 1 and 2. While these themes emphasize strengthening the sciences at Baylor, a strong subset of that must be to strengthen the health sciences –– because of the importance of health to the Baylor brand, to our science

reputation, and to a student body that demands excellence in its prehealth programs for entry into the medical professions. The health science task force has recommended greater collaborative efforts among the various health constituencies internal to Arts & Sciences and with other academic units at Baylor, as well as with the broader health community beyond the University. The task force recommends appointing a “health science coordinator” to help manage and lead efforts across the collective health spectrum in Arts & Sciences and beyond.

THEME 5 – Building the Financial Foundation Resources to fund initiatives proposed in A&Spire will come from a combination of fundraising, judicious stewardship and University contributions. Three key upcoming fundraising initiatives are for the creation of the Arts District (including the renovation and expansion of the Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center), to increase the number of our endowed professorships and continue efforts to increase student scholarships. We also seek to endow additional academic programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels as the need arises. Stewardship initiatives cover a broad spectrum of operational activities as we find ways to work more efficiently with what we already have. The University has and will continue to provide resources each year based on strategic arguments proposed by Arts & Sciences (with A&Spire serving as a basis for those requests). We look forward to much success in Arts & Sciences in the coming years as a consequence of A&Spire. I encourage you to examine all of the strategic plan documents, including the first year’s accomplishments, at artsandsciences/strategicplan.



Magnolia Blossoming

A&S alumna Joanna Gaines’ transformation from Baylor student to television star



Oil Explorers Baylor geologists are researching new ways to recover North America’s fossil fuel reserves





Wider Angle, Deeper Focus

aylor’s celebrated B film and digital media program is using a timely gift to expand its offerings


News & Notes

Updates on students, faculty, staff and alumni


Giving Back


Life-changing Legacy

Both here and abroad, Arts & Sciences students are using their varied passions and skills to serve others Longtime professor James Vardaman has taught generations of students about history and life

34 Q&A Dr. Scott Harper of the Centers for Disease Control

and Prevention talks about preventing and treating infectious diseases


First Person


Our Back Pages

Baylor graduates Taylor and Jaden Kohn are married to medical school –– and each other Masterful teacher Ann Miller

Baylor Arts & Sciences is the magazine of the Baylor University College of Arts & Sciences. As the University’s oldest and largest academic unit, the College of Arts & Sciences is a community of 25 academic departments dedicated to the discovery and dissemination of knowledge. It is the foundation upon which all Baylor students’ educational experiences are built.

Fall 2015

Baylor Arts & Sciences is produced for the College of Arts & Sciences by Baylor’s Division of Marketing and Communications.

PRESIDENT Ken Starr | EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND PROVOST Edwin Trevathan| DEAN, COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES Lee Nordt DIVISIONAL DEAN FOR HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES Robyn Driskell | DIVISIONAL DEAN FOR SCIENCES Kenneth T. Wilkins EDITOR Randy Fiedler | CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Julie Carlson, Todd Copeland, Lane Murphy | PHOTOGRAPHY Jess Barfield, Andrew Bowles, Matthew Minard, Robert Rogers, Agapito Sanchez | ART DIRECTION Clayton Thompson DIRECTORS OF DEVELOPMENT Clayton Ellis, Jim Shepelwich, Rose Youngblood One Bear Place #97344 | Waco, TX 76798 | |

NEW MUSEUM DIRECTORS Two of Baylor University’s museums are under new leadership. Charles H. Walter, a longtime museum executive and the former chief operating officer of the San Antonio Children’s Museum, is the new director of the Sue and Frank Mayborn Natural Science and Cultural History Museum Complex. “I am passionate about museums. They are places where you can meet science and history directly and on your own terms. These powerful experiences can lead to a lifelong love of learning,” Walter said. “I look forward to continuing the great work started by Ellie Caston and working with the students, faculty and staff to set a course for what is next.” Allison Syltie succeeds the retiring Karin Gilliam as the director of Baylor’s Martin Museum of Art. Syltie comes to Baylor from Corsicana, where she directed the Pearce Museum at Navarro College. She also serves as the chair of the museum planning committee for the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in Texas. In her new position as the Martin Museum’s director emeritus, Gilliam will work part-time on special outreach projects. TOP CHARLES H. WALTER / BOTTOM ALLISON SYLTIE

THE HUMANITIES AND SCIENCES MEET The Baylor University College of Arts & Sciences’ inaugural STEM and Humanities Symposium was held on April 9, 2015. The all-day event was aimed at highlighting the value of studies in the humanities as well as research and teaching at Baylor that combines humanities and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). “Baylor is uniquely equipped to have really perceptive conversations about the intersections between STEM and the humanities,” said Dr. Heidi Bostic, chair of modern languages and cultures and professor of French, as well as symposium chair. “Students will find in the workplace that challenges cannot always be solved with just one discipline.” Symposium participants heard from two guest speakers Baylor alumnus Dr. Scott Harper (BA ’88), a physician specializing in infectious diseases with the Centers for Disease Control (see related story on page 34) and Dr. Roger Malina, a professor of physics and the Arts and Technology Distinguished Chair at the University of Texas. TOP SCOTT HARPER / BOTTOM ROGER MALINA


Baylor University again has been named a “Best Buy” in the 2016 edition of the best-selling Fiske Guide to Colleges. Baylor is one of only 44 public and private colleges and universities included on Fiske’s “Best Buy List,” which is based on four- or five-star academics rankings, affordable cost and high quality of student life on campus. Baylor is one of three Big 12 universities and five Texas institutions named to the list.

For many years, Baylor’s Institute for Air Science has trained future pilots, but starting this fall the program is offering an additional course of study aimed at training students interested in the business side of aviation. Dr. Trey Cade, director of the Institute, says the new major in aviation administration was developed after a number of collegiate aviation programs began offering management or administration major options. “In conjunction with our current aviation sciences major, this gives our students a more complete range of options when considering how they wish to pursue the aviation profession,” Cade said.

For the fifth consecutive year, Baylor has attained elite honor roll status in the “Great Colleges to Work For” survey released by The Chronicle of Higher Education. No other university has made the honor roll more than Baylor in the history of the annual survey, which queries faculty and staff at 281 colleges and universities about workforce practices and policies.

Baylor University’s chapter of Mortar Board was awarded the Silver Torch Award from the Mortar Board National College Honor Society. Mortar Board is a national honor society that recognizes college seniors for outstanding achievement in scholarship, leadership and service. “The Laurel Chapter of Mortar Board is very pleased to have received this recognition from the national office in recognition of our commitment to service on the Baylor campus,” said Dr. James SoRelle, professor of history and faculty advisor to Baylor’s chapter.

Baylor has joined more than 1,200 higher education institutions across the United States that are deploying the Rave Campus Guardian Safety App to increase protection for those on campus. By downloading Rave Guardian and making an account with their Baylor email address, users will have direct access to the Baylor Police Department through text messages and instant picture messages. The manufacturer says the app “greatly improves communication and officials’ ability to respond to incidents and protect students, faculty and staff by delivering critical information in real time.”

STUDENT GEOLOGISTS SHINE Baylor geology students have been receiving some welldeserved recognition lately. The Baylor student chapter of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists has been named National Student Chapter of the Year for 2015. The chapter is led by geology doctoral students Hunter Harlow (president) and Caitlin Leslie (vice president). “The American Association of Petroleum Geologists is the world’s largest petroleum geoscience organization,” said Dr. Stacy Atchley, chair and professor of geology. “This is quite an honor for our students.” Baylor doctoral candidate Stephanie Wong has become a three-time winner of a national award given to students who excel in doing and presenting scientific research. Wong won the Farvolden Award after presenting her paper on groundwater and stream interactions at the 2015 National Groundwater Association Summit. The $1,000 award is presented to only four students in the United States each year, and Wong had won it previously in 2010 and 2011.



Colleen Peters, who is pursuing a doctorate in environmental studies, has been busy fishing lately, but not for fun. Peters has caught hundreds of fish in the Brazos River near Waco as part of research to determine how much indigestible plastic they have swallowed. And the answers she’s gotten so far show that many of the fish are carrying bits of plastic river trash in their systems.

The 16th annual Baylor Black Glasses Film Festival was a sold-out smash at the Hippodrome in downtown Waco. In the festival, designed to introduce work done by film and digital media students to a larger audience, Brynn Sankey’s “Stray” won Best Picture, while Cory Ewing and Emily Durkin’s “The Track Jacket” won the Audience Award. Zachary Korpi and Cory Ewing shared the Best Cinematography award, while the Best Editing award went to Michael McHugh and Sydney King won for Best Screenplay.

Arts & Sciences doctoral students –– Brandon Martinez (sociology), V.H. Satheeshkumar (physics) and Logan Gage (philosophy) –– took all three Outstanding Dissertation Awards for 2015 from the Baylor Graduate School, recognizing exceptional scholarship, research and writing. The Outstanding Dissertation Award was founded three years ago by a group of graduate faculty and students in order to foster and recognize graduate research. Each winner received a certificate and a check for $1,000.

Emily Peirce, who graduated in May 2015 with an undergraduate degree in mathematics, is the recipient of the inaugural Beth Wilson Memorial Award, presented to Baylor’s top mathematics student for the academic year. Beth Wilson was a brilliant mathematics student who graduated with honors from Baylor in 2005 and died in March of this year.


After winning the Dallas regionals of the 2015 Texas State Japanese Speech Contest, senior Miki Wang recorded another first-place victory at the Texas State Japanese Speech Contest. Her prizes included a round trip ticket to Japan. “The best thing I received that day was the honor of being able to represent Baylor University and show the state of Texas what an amazing modern language and culture department we have,” Wang said.

Senior environmental science major Sarah Guberman became only the second Baylor student to receive a prestigious fellowship from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). She was awarded the fellowship through the EPA’s Greater Research Opportunities Fellowship Program, which will pay her $50,000 in scholarship money and allow her to complete a paid internship at an EPA facility.

ABOVE AND BEYOND Baylor Arts & Sciences faculty have been recognized with some of the University’s most prestigious awards. Dr. Kevin J. Gutzwiller, professor of biology, and Dr. Jay Pulliam, The W.M. Keck Foundation Professor of Geophysics, have been selected as the 2015 Baylor Centennial Professors by the Centennial Faculty Development Review Committee. Created by the Baylor Centennial Class of 1945, the award gives tenured professors $5,000 each for research projects that will provide for more indepth study in his or her field. The committee selected Gutzwiller’s proposal to research the ecological impact of whitebark pine decline in the northern Rocky Mountains and Pulliam’s proposal to take part in a delegation to Cuba to assess earthquake hazards and earthquake response preparations. KEVIN J. GUTZWILLER





Dr. Devan Jonklaas, senior lecturer in chemistry and biochemistry, has received the 2015 Collins Outstanding Professor Award, which is an honor awarded by a vote of Baylor’s senior class each year. The award, provided by the Carr P. Collins Foundation to recognize and honor outstanding Baylor teachers, includes $10,000, recognition at commencement and the opportunity to deliver a special lecture on a subject of the recipient’s choosing. Meanwhile, four other Arts & Sciences faculty members received Outstanding Professor recognition during Spring 2015 Commencement ceremonies. Rita Abercrombie (German), Dr. Kevin Dougherty (sociology) and Dr. Trent Dougherty (philosophy) were recognized for teaching, while Dr. Kevin Chambliss (chemistry) was recognized for scholarship.




Dr. George Cobb, chair and professor of environmental science, was named a 2015 American Chemical Society (ACS) Fellow. “Being designated an ACS fellow is humbling and very gratifying,” he said. “This is one of the highest honors awarded by ACS and only about two percent of its members receive this honor.” Cobb was recognized for his contribution to the science and profession through his collaborative development and implementation of sensitive analytical techniques for exposure assessment, focusing on pesticides, explosives, nanomaterials and waste site assessment.

The Baylor Department of Religion marked the 50th anniversary of its Graduate Studies Program this fall with a campus reception attended by alumni, faculty and students. “Graduates of the Baylor PhD program in religion have made significant contributions in research, teaching and service in both church and academy,” said department chair Dr. William H. Bellinger Jr. The Ph.D. program in religion has been ranked in the Top 10 nationally in the number of books and articles published by faculty members.

Dr. Dwayne Simmons will become the new chair of Baylor’s biology department starting with the 2016-2017 academic year. Simmons is a professor in neuroscience at UCLA and is currently a visiting Fulbright Scholar at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom. His research interests include factors causing nerve damage in ALS sufferers as well as studying the causes of hearing loss.

Dr. Heidi Bostic, chair of Baylor’s Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, has been named the 2015 Texas Foreign Language Association Higher Education Administrator of the Year. “We are humbled and inspired by the excellence Bostic has demonstrated during her years in world language education,” said TFLA past president Susan Sworaczyk.

QUADRUPLETS PAST AND PRESENT The 10 children and many other descendants of Baylor University’s famous Keys Quaduplets gathered in Waco this past summer for a family reunion in advance of the 100th anniversary of the Quads' birth. Roberta, Mona, Mary and Leota Keys were born on June 4, 1915, and were brought to Baylor on full scholarships by President Pat Neff in September 1933. Between then and their graduation in 1937, the Keys Quads became the first female members of the Baylor band (all playing saxophone) and represented the University at numerous events. All four Keys Quads married, and members of their families –– the Andersons, Fowlers, Halls and Torns –– came together at Waco’s Dr Pepper Museum for the special anniversary reunion. In related news, a member of Baylor’s other famous group of female quadruplets, the Hansen Quads of San Antonio, achieved a major milestone recently. Arts & Sciences alumna Claire Hansen (BA ’97) became one of the newest law graduates of Oxford University. Claire and her sisters –– Alison, Brooke and Darcy –– were the second set of quadruplets to attend and graduate from Baylor. KEYS QUADRUPLETS DESCENDANTS

Dr. J. Bradley Creed (BA ’79) became the fifth president of Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C., on July 1. Before joining Campbell, Creed served as dean of Baylor’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary and provost and executive vice president of Samford University.


NISOD, a national organization that promotes and celebrates excellence in teaching at community and technical colleges, recognized Elizabeth (Wickersham) Ginn (BA ’98, MA ’00) for excellence in teaching at the 2015 NISOD Excellence Awards. Ginn is lead instructor of speech at Palo Alto College.

Fourth-generation Dallasite Shannon Roberts (BA ’86) is the new executive director of the Dallas Historical Society. The Society was created in 1922 and is housed at the Hall of State in Fair Park, where it hosts more than 160,000 visitors and 20,000 students each year.

Dr. Michael Attas (BA ’69), the founding director of Baylor University’s groundbreaking medical humanities program, has retired after spending years as a Waco cardiologist. Attas was one of six University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston alumni recently honored as a Distinguished Alumnus of the institution. Jeff Dunham (BA '86), the world-famous entertainer and ventriloquist, took time off from his hit show in Las Vegas recently to meet with some Arts & Sciences faculty and staff attending the National Association of Broadcasters convention. Dunham poses with senior A&S development director Rose Youngblood.

Elise Banks (BS ’11) was crowned Miss Texas International 2015. Banks, who earned a psychology degree from Baylor, is now a therapist and academic coach in Houston. She competed with a platform of “Healthy Mind, Successful Life,” which is an outreach initiative she founded to help others understand the power they have to create mental health, and to remove the stigma of asking for help.

The short film “Shotgun” by director Maverick Moore (MA ’14), which started out as a student project at Baylor, was shown at the prestigious 2015 Cannes Film Festival in France. The 11-minute film is the story of three girls on a wild automobile ride that “mixes French New Wave pastiche with pulpy, postmodern stylization.”

Maj. Christopher Scheibler (BA ’05), who studied mathematics and graduated from Baylor’s Air Force ROTC program, is now a flight surgeon for the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. He was back in Bear Country for the 2015 Heart of Texas Airshow as the Thunderbirds presented their first performance in Waco in 23 years.

Magnolia Blossoming BY LANE MURPHY

Arts & Sciences alumna Joanna Gaines has transformed herself from a Baylor communication student into a television star PHOTOS JESS BARFIELD


During the first two seasons of the Waco-based “Fixer Upper” television series, fans of the hit HGTV show may have been able to tell that it was not the first time co-host Joanna (Stevens) Gaines (BA ’01) spent time in front of the camera. In fact, Joanna was rehearsing to be on television from a very early age. “Sitting at the breakfast table at 6, 7, 8 years old, I was one of those kids who read the cereal box like I was doing a commercial,” she recalls. “I was the kid reading the shampoo bottle… I’d always pretend I was doing a commercial.” When her family moved from Austin to Waco before Joanna’s junior year of high school, it was for practical reasons. Her father owned and operated a Waco tire store, Jerry Stevens Firestone, where Joanna helped with the family business. While Joanna dreamed big, her strong family bonds and naturally shy demeanor meant Stevens was much more practical and less of a risk-taker than one might expect. In fact, Jerry and Joanna, the second of the three Stevens daughters, had plans for Joanna to one day take over the Firestone franchise. After all, she was responsible, businessminded and enjoyed working with her father. In order to prepare for taking over the tire shop one day, after high school Joanna spent two years at McLennan Community College, majoring in business, while continuing to work at the shop. “Originally, I thought I was eventually going to take over his store, do business. That’s why I went to MCC to learn more about business while continuing to work at my dad’s store, and I started doing local television commercials for him while I was a student at MCC,” she explains. “When I saw the filming and production process, I was really intrigued. I loved the editing side of it,” Joanna says. “So when I transferred to Baylor for the fall of 1998, that’s when I decided to study broadcast journalism. I wanted to be on the news.”à

HONING HER SKILLS At Baylor, Joanna chose to be a communication specialist major and found joy in learning, especially within her major courses. She credits her experience at the University for many of the communication skills she developed and still uses professionally today. “One thing I loved about my time as a Baylor student is that I was just intrigued by all my classes. It is really interesting information. Before classes at Baylor, I’d often sit there and daydream, but those classes really captured my attention and made me fascinated by the history of media.” Interpersonal Communication is a Baylor course Joanna credits with helping her become completely comfortable in front of the camera. “I loved that because I am really a shy person, so learning how to communicate well when you’re nervous, learning the communication skills of others, and figuring out how to better your own in different situations was very beneficial to me.”



Joanna says she has particular fondness for classes she took with Dr. Michael Korpi, John Cunningham, Dr. Mark Morman and Dr. Blair Browning. “I think with all of the professors, maybe in part because it’s a smaller department, it felt so much more personal and I just really enjoyed my classes.” Her professors remember Joanna fondly as someone who stood out from the crowd. “Joanna was a fantastic student,” says John Cunningham, senior lecturer in communication. “She was very smart, hardworking and a great presenter –– always the leader in the groups she was in.” During the time Joanna was taking classes from Cunningham, the commercials she appeared in promoting her dad’s Firestone business were still running on Waco television –– and her on-air acumen had not gone unnoticed. “It’s funny, but most local commercials look local,” Cunningham says. “But when you saw her on her dad’s commercials,

she was a natural. She had a natural affinity for being in front of the camera.” Cunningham says what stood out most to him with Joanna, even more than her broadcasting or academic skills, was her strong faith. “She is a strong Christian with personality plus,” he says. “I know that’s always been an important part of her family. I remember her telling me that her dad’s shop was closed on Sundays because of their religious beliefs. The way she treated people and lived her life made the Christian aspect of her character shine through brightly.” Dr. Blair Browning, associate professor of communication, taught Joanna in his class on small group communication. He remembers that despite the fact the class met at 8 a.m. three days a week, she had perfect attendance and was never late. “That tells you she was conscientious,” Browning says. “She was kind of a curve setter even back then, so it’s not a surprise to see that she’s at the leading edge of a lot of trends and forging a great path.”

FROM WACO TO NEW YORK Joanna also landed several internship opportunities, including Baylor’s KWBU radio station, KWTX Channel 10 and 48 Hours with Dan Rather in New York. “At KWBU radio, I loved doing the morning show’s news,” she remembers. “I would come in every 20 minutes and deliver the local and national news. I would be in charge of gathering it, delivering it, and then I’d have a friend play all the music, because I was never really cool enough to DJ. I always like saying ‘KWBU.’” Joanna also interned for two years at Waco’s KWTX Channel 10. “At the TV station, I did editing, a little writing, and followed the reporters around, but I never did à

“She is a strong Christian with personality plus.”


anything on camera. I also did some work for some others, local commercials, radio commercials, and I wrote for a few news outlets. I like to write and I like the idea of voiceover work. “I really tried to take on every opportunity possible for an internship at the local news station.” Joanna’s biggest break came when she landed an internship in New York at the long-running CBS show, 48 Hours, with Dan Rather. Joanna’s professors informed her that she was the first student from Baylor or from any university in the area to snag a 48 Hours internship. “I remember it was kind of a long shot because there wasn’t a Baylor connection there yet,” she says. Gaines recalls that a 48 Hours employee told her that her resume stood out because Joanna had already had considerable experience interning with a variety of local news outlets, while most applications they received showed little or no previous experience. “Being in New York for a semester in 2000 right after Y2K, that’s where I discovered I loved working in the newsroom. I loved the editing side, and I learned a lot about that,” she says.

Gaines says the 48 Hours internship included 10- and 11-hour days working directly with the senior story editor, reading every national newspaper and combing for stories to feature on the show. “I was trying to find stories that fit the premise of 48 Hours –– it’s mystery and murder –– so for me, coming from Waco, that just blew me away,” she recalls. “I wasn’t looking for a car accident or a fire, which is what I was used to with the local news. I was looking for stories of national interest. “So my job was to find these stories that were intriguing with some mystery to them. I was involved with cold cases, missing person stories, we would try to reopen those from a reporting perspective. It was fascinating work,” Joanna says. “I learned so much, almost like a

detective. It was more than just media coverage. My job was to write up the story and explain why I thought we should pursue this story or take this approach, pitch it to the senior story editor, and she then would say yes or no.”

A TIME OF TRANSITION When Joanna returned to Waco after the internship, she experienced a heart change. “Once I left New York, I realized I didn’t want to do news anymore. At that point, I started thinking I wanted to do something a little more creative, and I put pursuing a news career on pause.” Over the next few years, Joanna found her creative outlet in opening her retail home décor shop, Magnolia, in 2003, and designing




rooms for clients, and renovating and flipping houses with her husband, Chip Gaines, who graduated from Baylor with a BBA degree in 1998. Joanna had first met Chip when he came in her father’s business for some brake repairs. “The first thing he said to me was, ‘Hey, you’re the girl on the commercials.’ And we ended up sitting outside and talking for like 30 minutes. Very romantic,” she laughs. “The next day he called the shop and asked me out. He called the store, because I sure did not give him my number. I thought, ‘This could be a weird customer.’” Joanna decided to close her retail shop in 2005 to focus on raising the first two of their children while also partnering with Chip in their renovation and construction business. Joanna continued designing and writing about design on her blog and through outlets such as Wacoan magazine. Fast forward to 2011. Joanna was invited to do a guest post about child friendly home design for DesignMom. com, a nationally recognized website named as a 2010 top website of the year by Time Magazine, among other accolades. That post drew the attention of High Noon Productions, who then contacted the Gaineses about doing a pilot episode about their family business, which eventually turned into the wildly successful HGTV series “Fixer Upper.” The Gaineses are currently filming Season 3 and thus far, they have signed on to film through Season 6, with all episodes to be produced in the Waco area. Additionally, the Gaines have moved their Magnolia Homes headquarters from Bosque Blvd. to downtown Waco at 6th Street and Webster Ave., about five blocks from the Baylor campus. Business is booming, with a number of successful ventures now under the Magnolia name, including home renovation and construction, a retail home décor business, a realty company, and even a new furniture line called Magnolia Home. Joanna is designing all the pieces, which will then be sold by furniture stores around the country. Joanna did not end up taking over her father’s business (he has since sold the tire shop), but she convinced

her dad to join her at her newer family business. Today, Jerry Stevens helps run the retail part of Magnolia Market, bringing father and daughter full circle, working together again.

TRANSLATABLE SKILLS Even though Joanna chose not to become a broadcast journalist, she says she utilizes the communication skills she honed at Baylor and at her internships in her work every day. “The classes that you have to take within the communication degree taught me how to articulate my thoughts and how to present things so that you can appeal to the masses,” she says. “Also, with my experience with KWBU and the studio at Baylor where you’re practicing on camera, it’s constant repetition working on you’re delivery, how you say things, how you inflect. All those things that Baylor trained us on, those are the skills that have really helped me and still do today.” “Who would have known –– I was always thinking I was going to do news, when now it’s more like a reality TV design thing, but still, I really feel like those skills that I learned at Baylor make me much more comfortable on camera,” Joanna continues. “It was something that I was taught, even though I didn’t know I was going to be using those skills in the way I am today.

Joanna says that the editing skills she learned at Baylor help her in filming her segments for “Fixer Upper.” She is ever mindful of editors at the other end of the production process. “I know there’s an editor on the other side of this, and I know that for them, they could have hundreds of hours of footage to go through, but I have an understanding of what they are looking for,” she says. “It’s funny –– I think talent, but I also think editor, because I’ve been on both sides of it. I think, ‘How will this help the editor?’ and if there’s a storyline, I say ‘Hey, that didn’t tie in –– we’ve got to do it differently.’” She also learned by watching local television reporters at KWTX. “There is a big difference in edited footage and live action, so just seeing live reporting firsthand was so fascinating. I loved how it’s just, game on,” she says. “What Baylor did is prepare me for those times when I am nervous and when it’s live television. That helps now because we do a ton of speaking engagements, like The Today Show and others,” she explains. “The core of my ability to gather myself, tell myself, ‘you better get it together, you better get it together,’ is an important skill I learned in the communications department at Baylor. I learned that when you’re nervous, this is how you still deliver.”n





Baylor geologists are researching new ways to tap North America’s fossil fuel reserves

As the world searches frantically for newer and more sustainable sources of energy, geologists remain committed to finding better ways to locate and extract new supplies of the fossil fuels that have powered our society for more than a century and a half. While much of the world’s remaining reserves of fossil fuels are hidden away inside geological formations that are increasingly difficult and expensive to exploit, Baylor University geology faculty and students are taking part in research that might one day make those sources of oil and gas more accessible. The majority of faculty in Baylor’s geology department are teaching and researching in areas not primarily concerned with oil and gas, such as geophysics, paleoclimatology and sedimentary and structural geology, but the professors and students who are interested in the oil industry have made the University’s popular Applied Petroleum Studies Program respected throughout the industry. Dr. Stacy Atchley, professor of geology, chairs Baylor’s geology department and came to the University after a successful career in the oil industry. In his view, economic and technological factors are driving today’s renewed interest in the study and exploration of fossil fuels. “Ten years ago I would have said that while there is a lot of oil left in the ground, it’s contained in reservoirs where you can’t easily extract it,” Atchley said. “But with modern technological advancements, oil and gas are being recovered from reservoirs that 10 years ago I didn’t think possible. That’s what has caused North America to be one of the world’s current leading oil producers.” Atchley said that while most oil wells in the past were drilled


vertically into deposits that flowed easily, much of the considerable remaining supply of North American oil and gas is located in “unconventional reservoirs” composed of rocks with tiny pores that make extraction virtually impossible using traditional means. To recover oil and gas from these unconventional reservoirs, geologists are now using techniques such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing –– more commonly known as “fracking.” “What oil companies do is orient the wellbore [drilled down into the ground] horizontally over a great distance, perhaps a mile or more, rather than vertically within unconventional reservoirs,” Atchley said. “They will then inject fluid into the unconventional reservoir at a very high rate, causing the rock to spontaneously fracture.” The many fractures that are created by “fracking” serve as flow conduits that allow the oil and gas to be produced at rates that are economically feasible. One example of an unconventional oil-bearing formation is the Cline Shale, which underlies a 10-county area of west Texas near Midland. Some industry estimates say it may contain as much as 30 billion barrels of oil. Two recent Baylor geology Master’s students, Brian Crass and Kieron Prince, were sponsored by the Tulsa-based oil company Nadel and Gussman to research and analyze their acreage in the Cline Shale. “They’ve known for a long time that there is oil there, but the technology

has not been advanced enough to extract it and make it economical. The type of rock that it is in is very tight…but by using fracking and horizontal drilling, you are able to produce economical amounts of oil,” Crass said. “Kieron and I were hired to go in and look at core samples, describe the core and then with that information –– combined with (the company’s) data –– come up with some way to predict whether the Cline was going to be productive or not in any given area.” The students used core samples –– continuous cylindrical sections of rock collected during the drilling of a well that show the different rock layers underneath –– from a single well to describe the type and quality of the rock found at each depth. They then designed a computer model that took their findings and applied them across a broader area of the Cline Shale. “Our computer tool was designed to give the company an estimation of where the sweet spots are,” Crass said. “They would use it to predict areas where they might want to (purchase) leases, or areas where maybe they already had leases that didn’t look (as promising for oil).” Using computer models to search for new oil deposits happens to be an area of expertise of Baylor’s Dr. Scott James, assistant professor of geology. James came to the University after an industry career that included the design and use of computer models that evaluate the effects of

groundwater flow on nuclear waste disposal facilities. Most recently, James is conducting research at Baylor funded by the Canadian energy company RII North America Inc., aimed at increasing the amount of oil that can be extracted from Canada’s sizeable unconventional oil reserves. “Typically when you produce oil from a formation it’s considered depleted when you remove 5 percent of the oil,” James said. “We are seeking enhanced oil recovery technologies to access an additional 30 percent.” The Canadian formation James is concerned with contains “heavy” oil –– crude oil that is incredibly thick and as a result does not flow easily through rock. The traditional method to extract heavy oil from such formations is called Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage, or SAGD for short. Using SAGD technology, a company first drills a well into a reservoir that contains heavy oil. Then, a large boiler on the surface heats water to produce steam that is introduced at high pressure into the wellbore. The steam will heat the heavy oil so that it will flow to the surface much easier. SAGD is commonly applied to a pair of horizontal wells placed one above the other. The steam is pumped through the upper well, which heats the oil that is then captured in the lower well. However, SAGD technology has some significant drawbacks. Boiling the water on the surface emits carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and when the water is injected below ground, large quantities of saltwater and natural gas are created as byproducts that must be disposed of. In addition, the technique is inefficient because the steam created on the surface loses as much as 50 percent of its heat energy due to cooling on its way underground. James is researching a new technology developed by RII called downhole steam generation that promises to eliminate many of SAGD’s drawbacks.

“Instead of generating the steam at the surface, we’re now generating steam within the oil reservoir itself,” James said. “We put equipment down an existing well with three separate coaxial tubes –– one carrying methane or natural gas, one carrying oxygen and the third carrying water. We ignite the system underground, burning the natural gas and oxygen to boil the water and create steam. Every bit of the heat generated is delivered right to the pay zone.” The new method leaves the released carbon dioxide underground, instead of introducing it to the atmosphere. The saltwater that is produced as a formerly unwanted byproduct does not end up above ground, but instead is recycled and made into the steam used underground. James creates the computer models that will tell RII how to optimize the operation of the system and remove the largest amounts of oil. “The beauty of downhole steam generation is its simplicity. There are very few moving parts, it’s environmentally friendly and we get 100 percent thermal efficiency,” James said. “There are a lot of benefits to it.” Canadian oil fields have also been rich sources of research for Atchley and his students. In 2014, he and two doctoral students –– Hunter Harlow and Caitlin Leslie –– did important work for the Canadian firm GLJ Petroleum Consultants. à

“Oil and gas are being recovered from reservoirs that 10 years ago I didn’t think possible.” DR. STACY ATCHLEY

“They asked us if we could do a detailed geological assessment of a conventional reservoir in east central Alberta,” Atchley said. “The reservoir has a lot of really large pores, and the oil could conceivably flow easily through it, but oil in that area has been degraded to tar. The reservoir has never produced because of the tar it contains, so GLJ asked us to characterize the reservoir and the associated tar to determine those areas most suitable for potential production.” Instead of being limited to using core samples from a single well, as the Baylor students studying the Cline Shale were, Atchley and his students were able to make use of almost 100 core samples over a wide area.

“We matched up all that core data with information from well logs, and then used our software in the Baylor petroleum lab to create maps over a hundred square mile area,” Harlow said. “We made 12 maps and 12 cross sections. It took us an entire semester to work on it, and we came up with a recommendation –– saying these are the best zones, with the best rock types we think there are. We found a lot of in-place oil reserves up there.” “The company loved it,” Leslie added. “They thought we did good work and were pleased with the results.” Atchley has prepared a journal article describing his team’s work and presented their findings at a conference in Banff, Alberta, this past summer.

The kind of hands-on research that Baylor graduate students interested in petroleum geology are able to do in American and Canadian oilfields is helping Baylor students to be more marketable than graduates from many other universities that don’t provide students with applied research opportunities. “What’s unique about Baylor is that we’re leveraging our students’ geoscience skills towards oil and gas production. Most schools don’t do that,” Atchley said. “It might take someone working for an oil company two to three years to get the experience and the skills Baylor students graduate with. Our students stand out, and we’re having great success in placing them.” n


An Arts & Sciences Alumni Roundtable Topics that touch on geology are increasingly in the news today –– everything from whether new oil-drilling techniques such as fracking are dangerous to the environment, to whether oil and gas are in decline and will soon be replaced by new alternative sources of energy. To get a seasoned perspective on a few of these issues, we asked three prominent Baylor geology alumni who have gone on to distinguished careers in the oil and gas industry to take part in a roundtable discussion. KENNETH “KEN” Q. CARLILE of Marshall (BA


(BS ’78, MS ’83) is chief geophysicist at Santo Petroleum LLC. He has spent more than 35 years working in the oil and gas industry as a geophysicist, manager and partner in various small and large companies. At Baylor, he maintains a close relationship with the math and geology departments and serves on the advisory board for the Center for Christian Music Studies.

’69, DDS ’73, PhD ’96) is co-chair of The Carlile Companies, which consist of Martex Well Services Inc., Unitex Properties LLP and Camterra Resources Inc. He is also co-owner of Camterra Resources Inc., an oil and gas exploration company which operates in four states and the Gulf of Mexico, and serves on the Baylor Board of Regents.

TOM MOORE of Whitney (BS

’66, MS ’68) has spent more than 40 years in the oil and gas industry. During that time he has held many executive positions, including president of Clayton Williams’ oil operations in the 1980s. He was also a founding partner in Magnum Energy, Titan Resources, Pure Resources and Celero Energy. He serves as chair of the Baylor College of Arts & Sciences Board of Advocates.


FRACKING –– injecting liquid at

high pressure underground to force open rocks and extract oil or gas –– has come under fire by a number of environmentalists and policymakers who say it’s environmentally harmful. Some believe that it may contribute to increased seismic activity, while others maintain that it risks contamination of groundwater because of the oil and gas it frees up underground. From your perspective, is fracking as much a liability as these detractors claim it is?

KEN CARLILE: Fracking has been going on a long time –– for more than 60 years. And of the thousand or so examples of fracking I’ve seen being used, there’s only maybe one instance where there was a possible problem. JIM MEYERHOFF: People are afraid of it because of misunderstanding. It’s a very controlled process and very safe. Tens of thousands of wells have been fracked since the 1960s, so this is nothing new. What is new is that fracking is taking place in horizontal wells, but they aren’t that new, either. The first horizontal wells were drilled in 1989, and fracking of these horizontal wells have been going on for at least 20 years. It’s only because it’s become so in vogue that people are being alarmists. TOM MOORE: I don’t buy all the arguments claiming that fracking contaminates groundwater. I think most of the things that have been raised in that regard haven’t proven to be true. They are all just things people are theoretically concerned about. MEYERHOFF: As far as creating an

environmental problem goes, those who say fracking is ruining groundwater are not being truthful. There have been thousands of pipelines across the Ogallala aquifer for generations. There are thousands of wells –– oil and gas wells –– that have been drilled through the Ogallala aquifer down to deeper depths 50 years ago. Did we ruin the aquifer then? No. So why is fracking a problem? A lot of this is scare tactics and not rooted in truth.

CARLILE: If you really go down to try to find water supplies that have been contaminated with actual natural gas or residual frac fluid, it is a rare occasion when you can find that. And you’ve got to be sure that the natural gas is not being generated in the near surface, soil or rock which is biogenic production of methane. MOORE: There was an HBO special

that showed somebody lighting water coming out of their faucet that contained natural gas, supposedly as a result of fracking. But they were lighting faucets in that area a hundred years ago because there is biogenic natural gas [gas produced by natural biological processes] that is actually formed in the aquifers there.

CARLILE: If fracking was being unmonitored and unchecked, that would be one thing. But in Texas and in other states, every time a major procedure is completed, there is a government official out there to sign off on each step and make sure it’s done correctly. Now, in every industry there’s always someone who cannot follow procedure. However, it’s just not the norm in the oil and gas industry. If the frac doesn’t stimulate the rock at a depth (1,000 to 12,000 feet below the surface) it would be an economic failure. MEYERHOFF: What people don’t

understand is that gasoline is roughly $2.30 a gallon today because of fracking. If we didn’t have fracking, gasoline would be well north of $4 a gallon right now. We would have a huge worldwide shortage of oil if it wasn’t for fracking.


–– such as solar and wind power –– prove to be a viable replacement for oil and gas any time soon?

MOORE: Not in my lifetime and

probably not in my kids’ lifetime. The mix of energy that we use will always change, but to survive, (energy) has to be cost effective. Right now there is nothing out there –– solar, wind or anything else –– the economics of which will stand on its own. These are all subsidized.

MEYERHOFF: Widespread use of

alternative fuels is way in the future. There are those who believe that we’re on the cusp of it now, and from a technology standpoint you can argue we are, but so many environmentally minded people are ignoring the facts of economics. Everyone says –– well, they use more solar power in Germany and other parts of Europe and the world. That’s because the governments (in Europe) tax oil and gas production at higher levels, so therefore alternative fuels can become economically feasible and can compete. But in the United States, solar energy and wind energy still cannot compete even with oil priced at $100 a barrel.

CARLILE: I really don’t believe that the United States can restrict itself not to have an energy source that is as efficient as oil and gas –– with as high BTU per volume. In addition, we are going to have to utilize state-of-the-art technology to be able to develop oil and gas deposits. MEYERHOFF: Some people don’t understand what it takes to get (alternative energy) –– how many windmills need to be built and how many solar panels (need to be) put out to create enough energy for everyone. There are those who say, let’s get rid of oil right now entirely and just switch. That’s not possible. There aren’t enough materials, people and supplies to build what needs to be built. And every one of those windmills you see costs $5 million dollars to build, and it takes them up to 10 years to break even. However, government taxpayer subsidies greatly improve the economics of wind power. n


Baylor’s nationally recognized film and digital media program is using a timely gift to expand its offerings


As graduates of Baylor’s film and digital media (FDM) program continue to expand their influence in the American entertainment industry, the University is using the generosity of an alumnus and his family to greatly enhance learning opportunities for the next generation of Baylor filmmakers. In May 2015, Baylor announced that FDM alumnus Matthew B. Lindner (BA ’12) and his father, Carl H. Lindner III, of Cincinnati, Ohio, had given a gift of $2 million to create the Matthew B. Lindner Endowment for Excellence in Film and Digital Media. Each man gave $1 million as part of the collective gift. “The faculty members in Baylor’s film and digital media program provided me with the kind of well-rounded education I needed to turn a love for film into the reality of a professional career in movies,” said Matthew Lindner, now a producer and investor in the independent film industry. “Words can’t describe the impact Baylor had on me, and I’m very happy to give back in some way. My hope is for Baylor to one day be known as one of the best film departments in the nation.” Matthew’s father Carl serves as the coCEO of American Financial Group Inc., a Fortune 500 Company. Carl Lindner and his wife Martha are graduates of the University of Cincinnati, where they met. Besides their interest in the Baylor FDM program, the couple has provided substantial support to the Global Mission Leadership Initiative in Baylor’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work. “I am very pleased to come alongside Matthew in supporting Baylor’s film and digital media program as it seeks to advance the Christian values of Baylor University and make a difference in the world through film and other forms of media,” Carl Lindner said. “Matthew’s love of Baylor, his passion for his chosen profession and his philanthropic efforts as a young man have inspired me and provide a wonderful example to the Baylor family.”à


A HIGHER PROFILE The creation of the Lindner Endowment has enabled Baylor to achieve its goal of giving film and digital media a higher profile. Once classified as a program under the Department of Communication, the endowment funds made it possible to elevate the program into a separate Department of Film and Digital Media on June 1, 2015. Chris Hansen, the associate professor of film and digital media and independent filmmaker who served as director of the FDM program, is the department’s inaugural chair. “The film and digital media program has reached a critical mass of faculty and students that, in association with its emerging national recognition in filmmaking and technology, warrants greater visibility and branding of its discipline as a Department of Film and Digital Media,” said Dr. Lee Nordt, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences (where the new FDM department resides).

IMMEDIATE BENEFITS But paving the way for the FDM program to become a department is not the only goal that the Lindners’ gift will help Baylor meet. The money


generated by the endowment fund is enabling existing programs to expand in size and scope. One of the main enhancements the fund will make possible is the strengthening of Baylor’s summer film production program. Each summer, FDM faculty members write and direct a feature-length film that is shot and edited in Waco using professional actors. Hansen has directed four of these Baylor-produced films, which include The Proper Care and Feeding of An American Messiah (2006), Endings (2010), Where We Started (2013) and Blur Circle, which was shot in the summer of 2014 and is being released in 2015. All four have received good critical notices, and most have been screened at prestigious U.S. film festivals, providing valuable exposure for Baylor. The latest Baylor-produced film, The River House Inheritance, was shot in the summer of 2015 in Waco by the newest FDM faculty member, assistant professor Sandra Lee. The film is being edited and should be released in 2016. Even though the lead positions in Baylor’s summer film productions involving cinematography and sound recording are typically filled by paid industry veterans to insure professional-quality results, the

majority of each film’s crew is made up of Baylor students to provide them with hands-on experience. “Our students are offered a fantastic opportunity with the production of these films,” Hansen said. “It’s cited by many of them as one of their best learning experiences in the entire FDM program. We can teach a lot of things about filmmaking in a classroom setting, but until you put it all together with a complete crew in the field, it’s hard for students to understand how it all works. It’s a culmination of pulling everything together and saying, ‘This is what it’s really like.’ Our students learn a lot, and come away from each film with a number of success stories to take with them.” The proficiency that Baylor FDM students gain through the summer films and other productions has attracted industry attention. This past spring, four students –– undergraduate Darien Wulf and graduate students Clint Keller, Zachary Korpi and Brynn Sankey –– were named to Variety Magazine’s “110 Students to Watch” list. In the past, each Baylor film has of necessity been produced with a relatively modest budget. The Lindner Endowment will allow for the summer films to be made with considerably larger budgets, which should expand opportunities for students. “It’s very hard to make a film for $20,000, which is what we’ve been doing,” Hansen said. “But thanks to the Lindner gift, we’ll have access each year to more and better equipment and resources, and we can do a lot more than we’ve been doing. We can give our students a greater experience on films of a larger scope.” A second way that funds from the Lindner Endowment are being put to use is by expanding the number of top industry professionals that are brought to campus each year. “Recently we had Garrett Brown, who invented the Steadicam [a

camera stabilization system] and has operated a Steadicam on films by Stanley Kubrick and Steven Spielberg, come to Baylor and do a workshop with our students. That was a fantastic experience, but we need to be able to do things such as that more often,” Hansen said. “We need to bring more working professionals here each year, and the endowment fund will help make that happen. It will also allow us to send our faculty out to Los Angeles more often to expand Baylor’s relationships with film industry professionals.”

LONG-RANGE GOALS Hansen and his FDM colleagues see the Lindner Endowment as the very important first step in a longrange plan –– requiring additional resources –– that would expand the department’s impact even further and achieve new goals. The first of these long-range goals is to establish a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree program in film and digital media at Baylor. “The MFA is the terminal degree in film from the standpoint of academic training,” Hansen said. “We always teach that the best way to learn how to make films is to make films, so we want to develop a productionoriented, three-year MFA program that will focus on working individually with graduate students to strengthen them where their weaknesses are.” Another long-range goal is to replicate FDM’s successful New York internship program on the West Coast. Under the Baylor in New York program, a group of FDM students spends a fall or spring semester in New York City. Students take 12 hours of upper-level FDM classes from a Baylor instructor based in New York, and they also complete internships with leading media and entertainment companies. “Our students get internships with major companies such as ABC and

other television networks as well as with production and post-production companies,” Hansen said. “They are learning about media and culture in New York by going to film festivals such as Tribeca as part of their curriculum. Our FDM program is very good at combining theory and practice, and Baylor in New York is a good example of that in miniature.” Hansen said when additional funds become available they want to create a corresponding “Baylor in Los Angeles” program. “New York is great for certain aspects of the industry, but Los Angeles is where the film industry is really much stronger,” Hansen said. “We want to get our students more into the Hollywood side of things and the film industry in general, and Baylor in Los Angeles would do that using the same model of internships combined with academic course work that’s been such a success in New York.” A final long-range goal is to move FDM out of its cramped quarters in the Castellaw Communications Center –– possibly into an “arts

district” in an expanded HooperSchaefer Fine Arts Center that would provide for new FDM studio space and editing facilities, and also allow for new synergies with Baylor’s art and theatre arts departments. Hansen is excited by all the new opportunities opening up for his faculty and students. “During the past decade, our program has established a growing reputation as a place where students with drive and talent can find their artistic voice and develop skills as storytellers. (Our) graduates have gone on to careers as noted writers, directors, cinematographers and producers across the country, establishing a strong link between the Baylor name and industry success,” Hansen said. “We have such an amazing team assembled now on campus, and the Lindner Endowment will help us to extend our legacy and achieve many new dreams.” n



“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.� Those immortal words of Charles Dickens are being taken to heart by Baylor Arts & Sciences students as they give thousands of hours of service to others each year. Whether in Waco or around the world, each act of service is as varied as the student body itself, and the College of Arts & Sciences is working to encourage altruism with programs to guide students who feel led to give back.


LEARNING HOW TO GIVE Future philanthropists not only need a heart for giving, but they often require instruction in the best ways to use resources to help others. That’s the philosophy behind Baylor’s newest service opportunity –– a semester-long course titled “Philanthropy and the Public Good.” The course, known as the Philanthropy Lab, has been offered since fall 2014 and is taught by Dr. Andy Hogue, formerly a lecturer in political science who is now in the Honors College. It introduces students to the world of nonprofit agencies in a concrete way and is open to all Baylor students. In the class, students operate a “foundation board of directors” that provides grants of real money to Waco-area nonprofits. That funding –– $100,000 during the initial semester alone –– comes from the Once Upon a Time Foundation, a Fort Worthbased organization working to increase philanthropy education at U.S. universities. Students in the inaugural class were divided into five teams that looked at various community need areas as well as the nonprofits that service each area. Carissa Carlson, who graduated in May 2015 with a BA in international studies, served on the Human Services and Civil Rights team. “The team ended up shaping my desire to work with legal aid, public policy or social justice organizations in the future,” Carlson said. “I learned how influential civil rights and human service organizations are to fighting poverty in Waco.” Carlson’s team worked with 11 nonprofits, including Compassion Ministries, Lone Star Legal Aid and the Family Abuse Center. They learned more about the agencies through telephone interviews, site visits and meetings with directors. Throughout the course each team studies various aspects of the nonprofit organizations assigned to it, such as financials, governing board members and the group’s impact and reputation in Waco. Students learn how to determine which nonprofits have the greatest impact on their target population, then each team chooses one or two organizations for possible grant funding. Carlson’s team selected Compassion Ministries, which received an $18,500 grant. Seven


other agencies also received funds during the inaugural semester. Will Simmons, a neuroscience major who also graduated in May 2015, served on the Health, Wellness and Basic Human Needs team. He saw the philanthropy class as a great way to integrate his learning — particularly from his science courses –– into something beyond textbooks and exams. “I was able to use knowledge about the human body and its development to inform my interactions with medical nonprofits in the Waco area, and I was able to understand why their projects were truly impactful to our community,” Simmons said. Simmons also learned how to make better decisions about which nonprofits to engage with. “There will never be a shortage of worthwhile organizations to which I can dedicate my time or donate

my resources,” he said. “However, we as community members must be selective in our decisions. This is not because some organizations are more ‘worthy’ than others –– it is simply that each person can have greater impact when focused upon one or two recipients. We must each find organizations that align with our personal values and that are working effectively and passionately for their respective causes.”

A HEALTHIER COMMUNITY While the philanthropy class provides a new opportunity to give back, students in Baylor’s medical humanities program have been using their interest in medicine for some time to aid community health. Medical humanities has teamed up with Waco’s Family Health Center to provide students with real-world experience helping à

Chronic Disease Management Team, which allows her to provides diabetic counseling to patients. Tran worked with White to create the first Facebook page for the Family Health Center, and her experiences at the FHC have influenced her career plans after she finishes medical school. “I plan to practice in a medically underserved region, and it would be an honor to come back to the Family Health Center after residency,” Tran said. “It is important for those who are entering the medical profession to participate in service because that’s what they are going to do for the rest of their lives.”



underserved populations in Waco. Laura White served as student volunteer coordinator at the Center while at Baylor. Since graduating in May 2014 she has worked as volunteer coordinator there for Community HealthCorps –– a branch of AmeriCorps, an organization established to provide opportunities for intensive service focused on improving community health. “My role as volunteer coordinator is quite diverse and allows for a lot of flexibility,” White said. “When I started in this position, two volunteer programs existed at two separate clinics with approximately 40 volunteers between the two programs. Now after a year of work, over 200 student volunteers are involved within seven programs stationed in eight of the FHC clinics.” White said Baylor student volunteers at the health clinics come from the pre-dental and pre-physician assistant groups on campus as well as from residents of Hallie Earle Hall, which houses the Science and Health Living Learning Community. Volunteers perform tasks ranging from making patient phone call reminders and filing patient charts to organizing clinic


supplies, sanitizing exam rooms and other tasks that assist the clinic. At the FHC, White implemented a survey project to better understand patients’ perception of access to care, and has worked to improve the aesthetics of several clinics by redecorating and reorganizing reception areas. With the assistance of medical humanities and prehealth students from Baylor, White has also helped raise money for the FHC Friends Fund, funded children’s play areas at eight clinics and obtained a corporate donation of 30,000 books given out to all pediatric patients. Tina Tran chose to minor in medical humanities at Baylor as a way to learn and discuss the human side of medicine. She was able to help fulfill that desire by volunteering at the Family Health Center, which eventually led to a position with Community HealthCorps. “I serve as an eligibility screener at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Clinic. I help patients apply for three different medical assistance programs,” Tran said. She also serves as research coordinator for a health anxiety study and as a member of the

Baylor public relations students have discovered that the communication and marketing skills they learn in class can be put to use helping nonprofit organizations achieve their goals. Elizabeth Starr, a senior journalism, public relations and new media major, served an internship with Waco’s faith-based Talitha Koum Institute. It’s one of the few childcare facilities in the nation providing therapeutic early nurture for children and families experiencing the stress and challenges of overcoming multigenerational urban poverty. One of the highlights is the Nurture Center, which offers brain development and all-day care to young at-risk children. Baylor public relations students are required to complete an internship as part of their studies, and instead of working with a PR agency or business, Starr chose Talitha Koum. “I first learned about Talitha Koum from my social work friends who volunteered there,” Starr said. “I visited the Nurture Center and went on a tour, and after learning about how Talitha Koum is changing lives in one of Waco’s most deserving neighborhoods, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the children, staff and mission. I had so much excitement about what was being accomplished.” During her internship, Starr used her PR skills to promote the Institute. She interviewed and photographed children and staff to produce feature stories and news releases, made promotional videos, gathered content and wrote posts on Talitha Koum’s social media sites. “I have discovered that every day at a nonprofit is different –– there are always new PR challenges arising,” Starr said. “I’ve also found that the

only way you can truly serve others is by discovering where your skills are, and then using them to the best of your ability. You never know who might be infinitely blessed by the gifts only you can offer.”

MISSION-MINDED Calley Jones, who graduated in May 2015 with a BS in biology, was one of many Arts & Sciences students who chose more traditional means of service to others. She participated in Baylor Urban Missions, which partners with Waco organizations and churches to provide opportunities for students to engage in the local community through relationship building and service. “I began serving with Urban Missions in the spring of 2012, and became the student leader for my Urban Missions team the following fall,” Jones said. Jones led a team from Urban Missions that works with an established afterschool program to provide tutoring to children in grades K-12. She and her fellow Baylor students went two nights a week to East Waco to help kids with their homework assignments and strengthen their skills in math and reading. While helping with academics, the Baylor team also focused on building relationships with the children and


showing them God’s love by doing a weekly Bible study. Jones also took part in Baylor Urban Missions’ annual trips to Eagle Pass, Texas. By partnering with local nonprofits and churches, participating students are able to serve the community while learning about and discussing topics such as rural poverty, early childhood literacy and immigration. “We partnered with spring break programs for children to give them a structured, safe place to go for the week and to learn reading skills from us,” Jones said. “Our other primary focus was helping out with a spring break program through Restorative Justice — which helps rehabilitate youth who have committed crimes.” Andrew Bowles, who majored both in religion and corporate communications and graduated in May 2015, was led to serve others on another continent. Through Baylor Missions, he journeyed to Ghana in 2012, 2013 and 2014. “I’ve always been attracted to global mission work,” Bowles said. “Having had grandparents who were career missionaries in Nigeria, I grew up hearing stories about life in Africa. For as long as I can remember, I’d always wanted to go to Africa to be a part of the work that is being done there, and to be in community with native Africans.”

Bowles said that Baylor’s emphasis on encouraging students to apply the knowledge they’ve learned from college courses in their service activities inspired him to use his communications skills in Ghana. “I use my videography skills to tell a story,” he said. “When people think of Africa, they think of poverty, desperation, hopelessness, orphans and so much more. While the poverty levels are dramatic, the stories of the people of Ghana are so much more than that. They have a story of hope, a story of joy and a story of love. I want people who view my videos to see the reality of what is happening in Ghana.” Both Jones and Bowles believe that Baylor teaches its students to think of mission work not as an occasional activity, but as a mindset they should carry with them throughout life. “Baylor seeks to emphasize that service is not something passive that can be checked off of a to-do list,” Jones said. “Whether on a global trip or in a domestic setting, simply doing tasks for others falls short of accomplishing the overall goal. Instead, you truly have to invest in people and communities and help them accomplish their goals.”n



Sitting in his library at home, where built-in bookshelves run from floor to ceiling on every wall, Dr. James “Jim” Vardaman is in his natural habitat — surrounded by thousands of books and the world of ideas contained between each set of covers. Books were the primary tools Vardaman used during more than three decades of teaching history at Baylor. His students had to read many scholarly texts for his classes, of course. But there was also the larger library of the books in his head, the ones he had read and drew upon while lecturing — always without notes — each day in class. Books were the foundation for his masterful presence in the classroom. Today, Vardaman still reads one or two books a week, adding to his voluminous collection. Another thing he has collected over the years are the letters of former students. He said he has no idea how many men and women he taught over the years — “I always just say ‘thousands,’” he said — but he recently was asked to make a list of Baylor alumni whom he has kept up with, usually through correspondence. “I figured there’d probably be about 50,” he said. “But incredibly, there were many more than that.” In compiling the list, as an aid to memory he pulled out a box from a closet where he has stored those former students’ letters. “I read over some of them, and some were pretty heady, I must confess,” Vardaman said. “You take pride in your students. To hear about one of them doing well — that’s your bonus. It’s very satisfying.”

STUDENTS, TEACHING AND CONVERSATIONS Students were always at the heart of Vardaman’s career, and he was glad to give them the best hours of each day at work. A 1951 graduate of Baylor, he returned to Waco to teach in 1967. In addition to serving as a professor of history, he participated in and directed international programs –– in Egypt, Vienna, Austria, Britain, China and Maastricht, The Netherlands, and he led Baylor alumni on numerous overseas study trips. Vardaman chaired the BeallRussell Lectures in the Humanities for 10 years and held the Jo Murphy Chair in International Education. He was also named a Master Teacher, the highest honor given to a Baylor faculty member. He retired in 2000. Baylor has always been known as a place where great teachers give individualized attention to their students. Few embodied that more than Vardaman. Early in his tenure at Baylor, he realized he was trying to focus fully on research and scholarly writing intended for publication, but he was also very drawn to teaching, both in and outside the classroom. He continued to do scholarly work in British history throughout his career, but he highly valued his time with students, too –– both at home and abroad. “It was important to Jim to open his door in the afternoons to receive anyone who wanted to visit,” said his wife, Elizabeth “Betsy” Vardaman (BA ’65, MA ’80), who serves as an associate

dean in the College of Arts & Sciences. “Through the years, many students came and many had great memories of those open hours –– when anyone could come and any subject was open for discussion.” “It was stimulating,” Jim Vardaman said, remembering all of those conversations. “There were times when you felt like you had something to say, that they heard it, internalized it to a certain degree, and that it might — just might — make some difference. Not the difference, not the almighty difference, but some difference in the way they saw things, appreciated things.” Vardaman said he owed his determination to become a history professor to the influence of Baylor’s Dr. E. Bruce Thompson, who allowed him to be his grader during his senior year. “His door was always open,” Vardaman said. “I thought that was just the way it is, until I began graduate study for my MA degree at the University of Minnesota and discovered it wasn’t. At Minnesota, not one single professor had his door open. I liked the school very much, but it made me realize how different Baylor was and how much I liked that part of Baylor.”

A FAMILY MATTER Vardaman’s connection to Baylor is part of a larger bond between the University and his family. He and his four siblings grew up in Dallas and attended First Baptist Church of Dallas, where Baylor alumnus and legendary à

Baptist leader George W. Truett was pastor. Truett played an important role in the life of the Vardamans, especially after Jim’s father died two weeks before he was born. In fact, one of his brothers was named George Truett Vardaman in honor of their pastor. Vardaman began his studies at Baylor after serving in the U.S. Marine Corps for four years, matriculating in the spring of 1949. He was preceded on campus by his older brother Jerry, who had likewise served in the Marine Corps (and later became professor of archeology and religion at Mississippi State University), and by his sister, Ann. Ann was better known as Ann Vardaman Miller –– a distinguished Baylor English professor and Master Teacher who was the wife of Dr. Robert T. Miller, chair of political science at Baylor. It was Ann, in fact, who played a vital role in determining that her youngest brother would become a Baylor student. “When she determined to do something, Lord help the poor guy in the way,” Vardaman said. “She worked miracles. First, she got me transferred down to the Marine Corps depot in McAlester, Oklahoma, so I could be discharged close enough to Baylor to make it there on the last

day I would be eligible to receive G.I. Bill benefits. Then, Ann sat me down on a hard bench in Pat Neff Hall to help me prepare for an English proficiency exam, and we went over all of the rules of grammar.” Vardaman passed the exam, and thus began what became a connection to Baylor that has been strong for the rest of his life. After earning his doctorate at Vanderbilt, Vardaman taught at TCU and Virginia Military Institute (VMI). Although he said he was quite happy at VMI — “I figured everyone in the world wanted to vacation in the Shenandoah Valley,” he said — the pull of Baylor was too strong to resist when he was offered a job at his alma mater.

FITTING TRIBUTES Over the years, several scholarships have been endowed at Baylor in honor of Vardaman. It’s something Vardaman said means much to him, both personally and because it helps another student realize his or her dreams of a Baylor education. “I never dreamed of anything like that. Each time, it’s been totally unexpected,” Vardaman said. “When I heard about the first scholarship being named after me, it felt like someone




saying you’ve just been elected president of Kenya.” And to Vardaman’s surprise, the desire to honor him has remained important to his former students and friends. In 2011 he was honored by being inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. Recently, the College of Arts & Sciences established the James Vardaman Endowed Faculty Development Fund. Gifts to the fund will have an immediate benefit to Baylor’s Department of History, with proceeds being used to finance various history department needs, including faculty research and development, student travel and guest speakers. When total gifts to the fund reach a sufficient level, the fund will become an endowed professorship. “It’s quite satisfying, and let’s face it — there’s a bit of pride in it,” Vardaman said of such an honor. “I love every brick in Baylor University. To have the pleasure and the privilege of attending this university was probably the greatest thing that ever happened to me.”n

For more information on the James Vardaman Endowed Faculty Development Fund or to make a gift, visit artsandsciences/vardaman.

SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT DR. JAMES W. VARDAMAN FROM HIS COLLEAGUES AND FORMER STUDENTS I can safely say that the quality “ and good reputation that Baylor’s

The expansive reservoir of “ knowledge he holds and the passion

history department now enjoys rests upon the efforts of brilliant, caring professors such as Jim Vardaman. It’s evident from the high regard he is held in by those who know him that he has played a significant role in their lives.

he showed for his work truly made an impression on me. We used to call him the Walking Library of Congress.

Dr. Lee C. Nordt Dean, Baylor College of Arts & Sciences You always saw more in me than I “ saw in myself. You always inspired me to try to be a better person. ”

Marianne (Sawyer) Stambaugh (BA ’81)

Clarissa Cutrell (BA ’96)

The time with Vardaman was an intellectual turning point in my life. I still think about Vardaman every day when I go in the classroom. His impact on me has been enormous. I hope that I can someday impact a student’s life in the same way.

Dr. Timothy Fehler (BA ’88, MA ’90) Professor of history and teaching award winner, Furman University

When I became a teacher, you My friends and I responded to “ “ were the standard by which I judged your teaching and encouragement myself…I am certain of two things –– I never reached the standard you set for me, and because of your example I am a much better teacher than I ever would have been.

Dr. William B. English Professor of Communication at Baylor

It is one of the greatest treasures of my life to be able to say, ‘I took history with Jim Vardaman.’

Kevin Reynolds (BA ’74, JD ’76) Acclaimed Hollywood film director

by blossoming, beginning to realize the potential within ourselves that you could already see. We responded toward you with admiration and devotion.

Beth (Harkreader) Kick (BA ’80) I took your history class as a “ freshman…I remember writing a note at the end of my final exam blue book saying that you were the most incredible teacher I had ever studied with.

David Kent (BA ’75, JD ’78) National college debate champion, 1975


You personified what was good and “ special about the Baylor I attended. You are one of those rare, brilliant faculty who cared so much about this university that all you did was for the betterment of Baylor.

Dr. J. Larry Lyon (BA ’71, MA ’72) Dean of the Graduate School Baylor University does not have “ a Hall of Fame for professors, but if it did, Dr. Vardaman, by unanimous choice, would be in it.

Dr. Wallace L. Daniel Dean, Baylor College of Arts & Sciences (1996-2005)



Dr. Scott Harper’s curiosity and desire to learn was so strong that he majored in three subjects as a Baylor undergraduate. After earning his medical degree, he went on to a stellar career as an epidemiology field officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At the CDC he has fought outbreaks of Ebola and influenza and taken part in the medical response to tragedies such as 9/11. In this installment of Q&A, Randy Fiedler talked with Dr. Harper about his calling and how Baylor influenced his career choice.

You began your time with the CDC by spending five years at their influenza division in Atlanta. What were your responsibilities there? The first two years were on-the-job training –– an applied epidemiology fellowship called the Epidemic Intelligence Service, or EIS. What EIS means is you are learning how to do applied public health, how to do outbreak investigations and how to collect and analyze large data sets. It can involve a number of things, (such


as) being shipped out on outbreaks. I worked on an Ebola outbreak in Africa during that period. One of my jobs was (also) to be in charge of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ influenza subsection, making recommendations on how to use influenza vaccines. Would you talk more about the Ebola outbreak you worked on? It was my first outbreak, in 2000, and I was pretty green. I went with a team

of five other people to Uganda. I had a few different jobs there. One was to do the surveillance and epidemiology, which included going out into the villages and doing healthcare community education to make people more aware that this was going on, and telling them what they should do if they felt as though they had been infected with Ebola. It also involved actually finding people who were sick and bringing them in, and finding people who had died and getting specimens

from them to see if they had (indeed) died of Ebola, so we would know whether to trace their contacts. Ebola has been all over American news in recent years, and at times the coverage seems to have a touch of hysteria. Has the danger of Ebola coming to the United States and killing people been overblown? I think with any new illness that the United States is not familiar with, there is a propensity to have that fear overblown a little bit. We’ve certainly seen that not just with Ebola but with SARS, MERS (the Middle East respiratory syndrome) and avian influenza. We have hundreds of thousands of deaths in this country every year from obesity, tobacco use and alcohol use. We had only two imported cases of Ebola in 2014, one in Dallas and one in New York City. This is actually not a virus that spreads very efficiently. You have to have direct contact with a patient or their blood or body fluids. Here in the United States, the way our infrastructure and our healthcare system works, there is not a risk for a pathogen like Ebola to take off in our communities the way it does in Africa. What are your main responsibilities in your current position with the CDC in New York City? I’m a CDC field officer with New York City as my primary jurisdiction. I direct a unit in our health department called the Zoonotic Influenza and Vector-borne Disease Unit that covers respiratory

viruses like influenza, but also things like respiratory syncytial virus. There are a lot of respiratory viruses that we track. The other side of that is that I have a colleague who is a veterinarian, and we complement each other because she is covering a lot of zoonotic and vectorborne diseases –– diseases that are primarily seen in animals or bugs and can be transmitted into people, such as Lyme disease. Ebola is another example. Day to day we do a lot of surveillance for all these different kinds of diseases, and it’s surprising how many cases you see in New York City. For instance, (there’s) a lot of malaria there because we have so many returning travelers. We mainly do surveillance for these kinds of diseases and sometimes do responses for them if there is an outbreak. For instance, there are a lot of facility outbreaks of influenza during the influenza season. This last year I think we had around 130 outbreaks of influenza in nursing homes. We (also) do a lot of work with the animal rabies in the city, so we are constantly getting calls about that. I understand that you were sent to New York City as a public health official in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in 2001. What did you do there? Our role was to pitch in and help with something called syndromic surveillance, which was just being developed about that time. What syndromic surveillance means is that instead of looking for specific diseases like influenza or Lyme disease, you are looking for a

syndrome. A syndrome might be composed of fever and pneumonia and bleeding or something like that. What you are trying to do is find statistical aberrations from underlying populations by looking at the data pool of all the emergency department visits in the city. At the time we were looking for bioterrorism events, basically. The other big response was with the bioterrorism events that occurred with anthrax. It was about a month after 9/11 and I was in Washington, D.C., for a meeting when I got a call from the EIS officer supervisor in Atlanta, saying there has been an anthrax release in the Capitol. I went with this small team to the Capitol and started doing the preliminary epidemiologic work on that to try and figure out who had been exposed, who should be receiving prophylaxis [disease prevention treatment] for anthrax. About three or four days after doing that work at the Capitol, we heard about a postal worker in a suburban hospital. They highly suspected he might have anthrax. Not everybody at the CDC has an infectious diseases background, but I did, so I was shipped out to the hospital that day. In fact, that patient did have inhalational anthrax. The day after that, a second postal worker came to the same hospital with inhalational anthrax, so my particular responsibility shifted from being part of the Capitolbased epidemiologic team to being more of a clinical liaison going out to hospitals and overseeing potential cases of (anthrax), which was quite fascinating.

How did you come to Baylor? My wife and I are from San Antonio. We went to high school together and we were in the same church in San Antonio –– Trinity Baptist Church. Our pastor there [Dr. Buckner Fanning] had gone to Baylor. All our friends had gone to Baylor or were going to go to Baylor. There was such a strong academic sense to the school, and mixed with the underlying philosophy that Baylor has, we knew it was a good fit for both of us. You triple majored in English, German and biology while you were at Baylor. Was that something that you knew you wanted to do, or did you just keep adding majors as you went along? The latter. My parents were both chemistry majors and math minors. When I came here I started as a chemistry major, and part of the reason I studied German was because it was either German or Russian required as a language for a chemistry major. I ended up really enjoying German and enjoying my professors. I was maybe less skilled in chemistry than my parents were, so I ended up not pursuing that as a major. I knew I wanted to go to medical school, and so I stuck with biology. Then, (majoring in) English was actually foundational (because) having more than one course with Ann Miller and other terrific professors really changed my worldview in a number of ways, and made me realize at the time that for my own selfish pleasure I wanted to study English. I realized later on it had a lot of other benefits, both professionally and personally.

Has that melding of the sciences and the humanities in your Baylor studies affected your career? It has affected me professionally –– for example, in things such as communication skills. As hard as I tried to get out of Baylor without writing well, the professors here just wouldn’t have it, thankfully. Developing excellence in writing and accuracy in grammar (is) vitally important. Seventyfive percent of what I do right now involves writing. A lot of what we do (at the CDC) involves interacting with politicians, the media and the general public, and in my experience those are skills that are developed mainly in the humanities. Besides the need to acquire communication skills, do you have any more advice for students wanting to pursue healthcare careers? First, do what you love to do and not what you think somebody else wants you to do. Second, there are a lot more opportunities nowadays while you are in college to go out in the medical community and find out what it’s all about. See what it really is like, because the reality of medicine and how medicine is portrayed in a book or on TV are very different. Make sure you want to do it. n



First Person

Married to Medical School and Each Other



We all know that making it through medical school is one of life’s greatest challenges, but is it worth the long hours and sleepless nights? And are medical students able to maintain some semblance of a social life? Can they even, pray tell, be successful and –– married? To find answers to these and other questions, we turned to one of Baylor’s best and brightest couples, who are both attending Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston. Taylor Kohn, a University Scholar graduate from Baylor in 2013, was a Fulbright Scholar who is now in his second year at BCM. His wife, Jaden (Schupp) Kohn, was a Rhodes Scholarship finalist who graduated from Baylor in 2012 with a degree in biochemistry and medical humanities. She’s in her third year at BCM. à


“Being a couple while in medical school –– dating, becoming engaged and getting married –– has been an exercise in teamwork.”


TAYLOR AND JADEN Before we talk about our experiences in medical school, allow us to tell you a bit about our history together. We met at Baylor University as freshmen when we joined the prehealth honor society, Alpha Epsilon Delta. During our junior year, as student leaders of the same organization, we began dating but swore that dating wouldn’t interfere with our professional ambitions or our choice of medical school to attend. One year later, in January of our senior year, we had both been accepted to and decided to attend Baylor College of Medicine in Houston together. However, a few months later, Taylor was selected as a Fulbright Scholar to spend a year engaged in research at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom before starting medical school. So, Jaden started her first year of medical school at BCM while Taylor moved to the UK to study Alzheimer’s disease in a laboratory. New environments, the stress of school and research and living


6,000 miles and six time zones apart challenged our relationship, but we learned more about one another and ourselves than ever before. And over Christmas break that year, Jaden visited Taylor in the UK and we got engaged! After returning to the States, Taylor completed his first year of medical school while Jaden finished her second year. Then, we got married in Jaden’s hometown in Colorado this past summer before heading back to Houston to jump into another year of studies. Now, let’s talk about medical school. The first 18 months at Baylor College of Medicine are spent in the classroom, learning via lectures and in small groups. Halfway through the second year, students transition to learning in a clinical setting on “clerkships” or “rotations,” in which they participate as a member of the healthcare team and start putting faces and stories to the diseases so laboriously studied in the classroom. Being a couple while in medical school –– dating, becoming engaged and getting married –– has been an exercise in teamwork

and alternating responsibility and support for one another. Some weeks, when one of us is studying extra hard for an exam or is particularly busy at the hospital, the other will make an extra effort to cook food for the both of us, run errands or do other small things to help the other. While there is always something more to learn or study, we have discovered that is vital to take a step back and relax and be intentional about our time with one another. These are the times when we will grab a bite to eat or take a walk through the park or just lay on the couch –– exhausted, but talking and sharing together. Even in these rare moments of rest, medical school seeps through. We share about the cool things we learned in class, the meaningful interaction we had with a patient, or the amazing surgery we saw that day. We are both so grateful to have someone who understands the challenges and the joys of medical school and who can help and encourage us each step of the way. So, exactly what has studying at Baylor College of Medicine been like? Since we’re at different points in the process, we’ll take turns talking about our past year (2014-2015).

TAYLOR Sitting in a large classroom with 180 classmates, a wave of information washes over us about the different signaling pathways of the cerebellum in the brain, as we calmly and methodically take notes and synthesize the information. For the next several hours, we will learn more neurologic pathways and then more the next day, and still more the following week, and

he could be bribed to stay if I brought in some fresh pineapple the next day. I never felt more fulfilled about my purchases at the grocery store. All the specialists coordinated so he could receive his biopsy, and he was able to go home to enjoy living while he waited for the results. He returned unexpectedly a few days later, and passed away that night. His wife was devastated and I was crushed –– we had tried so hard, and it seemed futile. But the sweet words of his wife, letting us know how much we had meant to her family as we cared for her late husband, renewed my commitment to caring for people in their sickest and often darkest days. In contrast to medicine, surgery was focused and operated at a full run –– arriving at 4 a.m., leaving at 7 p.m., and feeling like I had barely blinked and the day had passed. I loved the precision of the operating room and the feeling that there you could, in a few hours, actually fix a person’s problem. I watched as the surgeons saved the life of a 10-month-old baby by transplanting a new liver into his tiny body. It was demanding, but incredible.

Just as the first 18 months of pre-clinical curriculum stretched and challenged us to learn more than we thought we ever could, the past 10 months of clinical curriculum have challenged me to grow both intellectually and personally, as I learned the intricacies of caring for human lives.n

“Medicine was an ocean of information, requiring me to learn to synthesize knowledge in a new way to arrive at a diagnosis and plan for patients with an enormous variety of illnesses.”


somehow more and more over the following months. As first-year medical students, the material is never hard –– rather, the challenge is waking up every morning to face the same wave of new information while trying to retain and ingrain into your mind what you have already learned. However, the moments of wonder and insight make up for the endless slog. One such moment of awe came in gross anatomy lab during our first semester. Upon removing the heart of our cadaver and dissecting out its various valves, I was blown away that these seemingly flimsy valves had opened and closed with absolute consistency more than 3 billion times in our cadaver’s lifetime! The human body is truly stunning. Outside of the classroom, it is incredible how much my classmates and I learned and grew that first year. If they had instructed us to memorize all those complex neurologic pathways on the first day of medical school, we would have despaired and not even known how to begin. Ten months later, there we were –– calmly stuffing more information into our brains than we had ever believed we could. Medical school slowly stretches you until you are able to learn and do more than you ever thought possible.

JADEN During my second year of medical school, I completed the “Big Two” clinical rotations –– medicine and surgery. Medicine was an ocean of information, requiring me to learn to synthesize knowledge in a new way to arrive at a diagnosis and plan for patients with an enormous variety of illnesses. Medicine was thoughtful and vast, and often slow. Medicine was when I realized the joy, and the pain, inherent in developing relationships with patients and their loved ones. One example of this occurred when we worked very hard to coordinate services on behalf of a patient, to ensure he would receive a biopsy that could determine his course of treatment and possibly save his life. He was frustrated and homesick and did not want to stay for the biopsy, but I talked with him and discovered



Our Back Pages

A Masterful Teacher BY RANDY FIEDLER


If you contacted Baylor alumni who graduated during the past 60 years and asked them to come up with a list of their most memorable Baylor professors, there’s no doubt that the name “Ann Miller” would be included in many of those rankings –– and topping quite a few of them. Professor Miller’s Baylor pedigree couldn’t have been more solid. After growing up in Dallas, she came to Baylor and studied English under the legendary Dr. A.J. Armstrong, eventually serving as his assistant. She went on to earn a BA in English from Baylor in 1949 –– one of two students to earn an honors degree that year. Miller then pursued advanced studies at the University of Texas under the tutelage of the celebrated Harry Ransom and returned to Baylor to earn an MA degree in English in 1951. THE FUTURE SCHOLAR



One of most prominent professors in Baylor’s English department at the time, Dr. Charles G. Smith, said Miller was one of the three most outstanding students he had in his Baylor career. After teaching some classes at Baylor during the 1950s, Miller joined the English faculty full-time in 1961, and that’s when her classroom magic began truly to flourish. Students marveled at the way Miller would leave her audiences spellbound, weaving in lines of poetry and prose from across the centuries to punctuate her incisive explorations of the world’s greatest authors. Her enthusiasm for literature and the strong passion for life that permeated Miller’s classroom turned many undergraduates into lifelong lovers of the power of words, short stories and poems. An impressive number of her students have given Miller credit for their decision to follow in her footsteps and become English professors themselves. Miller was, additionally, a fine poet. She wrote admiring tributes to Baylor legends (including Dr. Armstrong and Dr. Smith). One stanza in her poem “Legacy” in Smith’s memory reads: “We saw the road would open into days / without your voice to teach us Spenser’s song. / And clocks would stop. For time would be all wrong / to dare a step without your steady grace.”


Miller and her husband, Dr. Robert T. Miller, who served as chairman of Baylor’s political science department until his death in 1996, provided much “steady grace” themselves –– sponsoring many campus functions and taking enjoyment in entertaining students in their home. Her Baylor ties were legion, and were made even stronger by the fact that she was the sister of celebrated history professor Dr. James W. Vardaman (see related story on page 30). In 1982 when Baylor decided to create the distinction of Master Teacher, Miller was one of the first two professors chosen to receive the title, sharing the honors with beloved history professor Robert Reid. She was named Outstanding Professor by Mortar Board 12 times, and her teaching received acclaim from the student body, Student Congress and alumni groups repeatedly during her time at Baylor. In 2003, Baylor recognized Miller with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Her degree citation read, in part, “Having now been a professor herself in the English department for over 40 years, Professor Miller continues to be pronounced ‘brilliant’ as she brings literature to life for and in her students. Her abilities to challenge, encourage, inspire and exhort students to reach beyond themselves are legendary.” After a long battle with cancer, Ann Miller died on Aug. 12, 2006, at age 80. Following her death, a stained glass window in Armstrong Browning Library, known as the Vallombrosa Window, was provided by anonymous donors in her honor. In a tribute printed in the Dallas Morning News, former Baylor College of Arts & Sciences Dean Wallace Daniel said, “The capacity to inspire, to connect with others, to challenge dogma and to uplift aspirations are qualities that are ingrained in teaching. While the current emphasis on technology in teaching and learning offers many advantages, Ann Miller’s example causes us to reaffirm the central importance of the teacher.”n

One Bear Place #97344 Waco, TX 76798-7344



Thousands of pieces by the late Harding Black, one of America’s premier ceramicists, are part of a permanent collection at Baylor University.