Baylor Arts & Sciences Fall 2017

Page 1

Fall 2017


>>Finding the God Particle >>Successful Graduate Education >>A Round-the-World Mission Trip >>The Hansen Quadruplets: Baylor + 20


We at Baylor write, speak and editorialize about our undergraduate student body on a regular basis. We support them, contribute to their causes and celebrate their successes. We should and must do these things, as our undergraduates are the lifeblood of our beloved institution. I know from numerous conversations that our students feel the same devotion towards the faculty. But note that the word “student” in this context is plural. It includes, or it at least it should include, our graduate students. This sometimes forgotten constituency

six percent are students from minority ethnic groups, while 15 percent are international students who come here from six continents. Of our 25 academic departments in Arts & Sciences, most offer masters degrees while 14 offer doctoral degrees, and many departments offer both. Our two newest doctoral degrees are in history and environmental science. Our graduate students are teachers, too. They educate and mentor the undergraduate students in laboratory settings and serve as teachers-of-record in lecture settings. They also receive strong student evaluations and conduct research of the highest order. Just this past year our doctoral students published 332 peer-reviewed articles –– a very impressive achievement. Graduate

Our graduate students in Arts & Sciences number about 625 at any given time. Last year alone we graduated 169 of them (98 masters, 71 doctoral). is every bit as important –– not because of their numbers, but because of their potential to help bring the Baylor message of excellence around the world. Our graduate students in Arts & Sciences number about 625 at any given time. Last year alone we graduated 169 of them (98 masters, 71 doctoral). The graduate student body is a diverse group, with women last year making up 43 percent and men 57 percent. Twenty-

students attend national and international conferences, sharing their discoveries and meeting people of influence. Upon graduation, Baylor graduate students obtain jobs in academia, industry and government. With their advanced degrees they are positioned to quickly become influential as policymakers, trendsetters, researchers and leaders of important causes.

Many of our undergraduates go on to graduate school, sometimes here at Baylor and sometimes elsewhere. Some of you, the alumni and other readers of this magazine, can relate because you, too, went on to obtain a postbaccalaureate degree. In fact, in some fields the working degree today is the master’s degree. I have heard many stories about the preparedness of our students taking this career path. We provide a strong intellectual foundation in the liberal arts tradition here at Baylor. Our graduates are smart, professionally trained, steeped in fundamentals and all are grounded in a moral Christian ethos. No wonder they are successful! You will read in this issue of Baylor Arts & Sciences magazine testimonials of graduate students on why they came to Baylor to pursue a graduate degree, and their subsequent experiences here. I think you will be surprised at the incredible quality of these future leaders, and will have an even stronger impression of our outstanding graduate programs and faculty. This forgotten group — our graduate students — should be forgotten no longer. They are some of our best students, and they are important in helping Baylor fling the green and gold far and wide.




Home Sweet Campus

When Baylor faculty members live next door to students, the benefits are mutual


News & Notes


Success Story

Updates on students, faculty, staff and alumni

As Baylor implements its long-range plans, the University is attracting more accomplished graduate students


Adventure of a Lifetime

Alumna Brianna Childs spent almost a year traveling the globe to share Christ with the world’s poor

40 Our Back Pages Twenty years after their Baylor graduation, the

Hansen Quadruplets are thriving around the world

Q&A Col. Walter “Sparky” Matthews (BA ’92) is making sure that our soldiers in Afghanistan get the excellent medical care they deserve





Finding the God Particle

Baylor physicists are helping discover the building blocks of the universe

Baylor Arts & Sciences is a publication of the Baylor College of Arts & Sciences that shares news of interest with the Baylor family. 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 2017

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

PRESIDENT Linda A. Livingstone | INTERIM PROVOST Michael K. McLendon | DEAN, COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES Lee Nordt EDITOR Randy Fiedler | CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Julie Carlson, Julie Engebretson, Jeff Hampton | PHOTOGRAPHY Matthew Minard, Robert Rogers ART DIRECTION & DESIGN Clayton Thompson DIRECTORS OF DEVELOPMENT David Cortes, Clayton Ellis, Jim Shepelwich One Bear Place #97344 | Waco, TX 76798 | |

BAYLOR THEATRE IN INDIA This past summer, Baylor theatre arts majors took part in a groundbreaking cultural exchange, sharing their talents and Christian faith in India. As part of the inaugural University-sponsored field trip called “Baylor Theatre in India,” students and faculty traveled to Christ University in Bangalore to take the first steps in building a relationship between the two schools. “I think that it is important that we have a presence in the largest democracy in the world, especially since this country of more than 1.3 billion people only has a two percent Christian representation,” said Dr. Stan Denman, chair and professor of theatre arts, who led the trip. Christ University was chosen as a partner because the school — a private university with Catholic ties that is ranked among the top private universities in India — has an outlook much like Baylor’s. A highlight of the trip was when 18 Baylor theatre arts majors performed with students from Christ University in a series of scenes from American plays and musicals. The two-hour performance garnered spirited applause from a packed house of more than 600 theatergoers in Bangalore. It was directed by Denman and two other Baylor faculty members — John-Michael Marrs, assistant professor of acting, and Guilherme Almeida, lecturer in musical theatre.

NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR RESEARCH Two new undergraduate programs that are providing Arts & Sciences students enriched research experiences have debuted at Baylor. This past summer, the B-TRUE Program (Baylor Transdisciplinary Undergraduate Research Experience) was launched. A dozen current students spent 10 weeks on campus working in six Arts & Sciences departments doing research on the topic “Stress and Stressors.” This fall, the inaugural group of 10 Science Research Fellows (SRF) started classes at Baylor. The SRF major is an interdisciplinary degree plan that allows students to earn a bachelor of science degree with increased opportunities for research, and is attracting high-achieving students in the areas of biology, chemistry, biochemistry, psychology, neuroscience, environmental science, anthropology, geosciences and physics.


A gift of more than $1 million to Baylor’s Department of Geosciences is allowing both graduate and undergraduate students to do more research under the guidance of faculty members. The gift was given by the parents of a Baylor student who wish to remain anonymous. It provides endowments for both undergraduate and graduate research and establishes the Hammer-Chisel Endowed Fund, which will purchase hammers, chisels and other geological equipment.

Dr. Brian Raines, professor of mathematics, has succeeded the retiring Frank Mathis as the new associate dean for undergraduate studies (sciences) in the College of Arts & Sciences. Raines received his doctorate in mathematics from Oxford University before joining the Baylor faculty in 2002.

The College of Arts & Sciences appreciates the generosity of the family of emeritus Baylor English professor and former Graduate School Dean Robert Collmer, PhD (seated). The Baylor alum-filled family has provided the funds to create the Robert G. Collmer Family Archival Research Fellowship, which will allow doctoral students in English to do research in libraries or archives outside Baylor. Back in 1982, gifts from the family created the Linne B. Collmer Seminar Room in the Carroll Science Building.

HONORING FAITHFUL SERVICE During the Spring 2017 meeting of the College of Arts & Sciences Board of Advocates, two longtime board members who have completed their terms were honored by Dean Lee Nordt for their service: rheumatologist Dr. Elaine Lambert (BS ’79) (center) and retired geologist Tom Moore (BS ’66, MS ’68) (at right), who also served as board chair.


Dr. Roberta Trites (PhD, English ’91) is the first woman to win a prestigious international award in children’s literature. Trites is a faculty member at Illinois State University, and she won the 16th International Brothers Grimm Award, presented every other year by the International Institute for Children’s Literature to a scholar honoring their outstanding research in children’s literature.

Thanks to a generous donation from Arts & Sciences alumnus Tony Robert (BA ’61) and his wife Donna (at far right), Baylor University was able to cut the ribbon on its new VETS (Veterans Educational and Transition Services) Lounge. The room in the new Student Success Initiatives space, located in the basement of the Paul L. Foster Success Center in the Sid Richardson Building, gives veterans studying at Baylor a comfortable place to meet, study and relax.


Allene Rosalind Jeanes (BA ’28) was a native Wacoan who went on after her time at Baylor to earn a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Illinois. She died in 1995 at age 89, but earlier this year, Jeanes was inducted posthumously into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. She had received 10 patents before her death, and helped develop dextran, a substance that saved the lives of wounded soldiers during the Korean War.

Dr. Paul Stripling (BA ’58), executive director emeritus of the Waco Baptist Association, received one of two 2017 Texas Baptist Legacy Awards at the historic Independence Baptist Church near the site of Baylor’s original campus. During his career, Stripling has pastored a number of churches, including Gaston Avenue Baptist Church in Dallas, and has authored four books as well as numerous published articles.

Famous ventriloquist Jeff Dunham (BA ’86) and his food-blogging wife Audrey are co-hosts of a new Food Network series “Incredible Edibles with the Dunhams,” which takes viewers on culinary adventures visiting restaurants in major cities, joined by some of Jeff’s most-loved characters.

END-OF-SCHOOL HONORS Dr. Alden Smith, chair and professor of classics in the College of Arts & Sciences and associate dean of the Honors College, was named the 2017 Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year. “It is a testimony to my students, for they are the ones who bring the best out of me and my colleagues. The award really is theirs,” Smith said. SMITH

Dr. Sara Alexander, associate professor of anthropology, was one of two Baylor professors selected as a 2017 Baylor Centennial Professor. The award was created by the Baylor Centennial Class of 1945.




Dr. Jonathan Tran, associate professor of religion and the faculty master for Baylor’s Honors Residential College, was chosen by members of the senior class to receive the 2017 Collins Outstanding Professor Award.

Three Arts & Sciences faculty members were honored by Baylor with Outstanding Faculty Awards at the Spring 2017 commencement. Robert Darden, professor of journalism, public relations and new media, received the Tenured Teaching Award; Dr. Jeff Hunt, senior lecturer in classics, received the Non-Tenure Track Teaching Award; and Dr. Richard Russell, professor and graduate program director of English, received the Tenured Scholarship Award.

Three Arts & Sciences staff members were among those presented with 2017 Baylor Outstanding Staff Awards. They are (L to R): Barbara Rauls, administrative associate in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry; Suzie Anderson, assistant to associate deans in the Arts & Sciences Dean’s Office; and Tonja Aycock, advising program coordinator in College of Arts & Sciences Advisement (CASA).




One of the ways that academicians can honor the teaching and research done over a career by one of their own is to publish a festschrift, a special book filled with contributions by the honoree’s academic colleagues. Dr. Bill Bellinger, a professor of religion who serves as chair of Baylor’s religion department, was recently presented with a festschrift titled “Theology and the Psalms: Essays in Honor of William H. Bellinger, Jr.” by the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion.

Dr. Howard Lee, assistant professor of physics, received one of the 2017 Young Faculty Awards from DARPA, a U.S. government agency responsible for the development of emerging technologies for use by the military.

Dr. Wade Rowatt, professor of psychology and neuroscience, has won the Godin Prize for the Scientific Study of Religion from the International Association for the Psychology of Religion. Rowatt’s research focuses on the connections between religion, pro-sociality and prejudice.


Dr. Todd Buras, associate professor of philosophy, and Dr. Jacquelyn Duke, senior lecturer in biology, are the two Arts & Sciences faculty members selected to serve as Baylor Fellows this year because of their excellent teaching.



Dr. Amanda Hering, associate professor of statistics, received the Early Investigator Award from the American Statistical Association for her excellence in research, mentorship of students and service to the profession.



INTERNATIONAL SCHOLARS SHINE Two Baylor students with ties to programs within the College of Arts & Sciences have been studying and working abroad this year thanks to recent international scholarships. Emily Martin of Frisco, a University Scholar who graduated in Summer 2017, received a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship to study Russian this past summer in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. She is now in Germany as part of the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program, which places recipients in classrooms abroad to assist local English teachers. Martin concentrated her studies at Baylor in the Spanish, German and Russian languages. Taylor Demons, who earned a BA in international studies from Baylor (with a minor in Chinese) in December 2016, is in Taiwan this year –– also thanks to the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program.






Bulbul Ahmmed, a doctoral student in geology at Baylor, received a prestigious award from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science that allowed him to pursue high-level research in geophysics. Bulbul (shown here with his wife Afroja) teaches classes in earthquakes and seismology at Baylor, and the DOE award enabled him to carry out a research proposal this past summer at Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico to study fracture networks in geologic formations. Only about 100 of these research awards are presented each year to graduate students across the country. 8 / BAYLOR ARTS & SCIENCES

Shannon Sandridge (BA ’17), a University Scholar major with concentrations in philosophy and German, was one of only 10 students across the country selected to become a Lilly Graduate Fellow. The program supports outstanding students who want to explore the connections among Christianity, higher education and the vocation of the teacher-scholar as they pursue graduate degrees in humanities and the arts.

Kaitlyn Gibbens, a junior communication studies major from Sonora, won first place in the 92nd Annual Battle of Flowers Association Oratorical Contest in San Antonio. The topic of the 2017 contest was Texas forts, and Gibbens’ speech was on “Ft. Davis: The Jewel at the Bottom of the Mountains.” By winning the oration contest, Gibbens received a cash award and took part in the 2017 Battle of Flowers Parade in San Antonio (shown here in the parade with Baylor communication professor Dr. Rich Edwards).

The Baylor Lariat was named the best student newspaper in the state at the Houston Press Club’s Lone Star Awards in 2017. Lariat reporter Jessica Babb won four awards; photographer Richard Hirst took home two honors; and reporters Jacquelun Kellar and Katie Mahaffey were honored as well.











When Brian Elliott, a senior lecturer in film and digital media, joined the Baylor faculty in 1990 after finishing a master’s degree at the University, he would typically end his day driving down Interstate 35 as he commuted back to his house in a Waco suburb. At that time, he had no way of knowing that one day his “drive” home would instead be a walk of just a few hundred feet to an on-campus residence hall. Thanks to Baylor’s Faculty-in-Residence (FIR) program, Elliott and other faculty members are taking their desire to mentor students to a higher level, as they live and interact with them each day in campus residence halls. à


THE “D” WORD Don’t use the word “dorm” at Baylor. That four-letter word has been retired from official language because it’s no longer accurate. Many of today’s Baylor students live and learn in “residence halls” with students of similar academic aspirations. It’s the result of a mindset that sees residence halls as much more than a place for students to eat, sleep and study, and the Faculty-in-Residence program has become an important part of the mix. “With faculty living with the students, our residence halls are extensions of a student’s academic life,” said Dr. Terri Garrett, Baylor’s associate director for academic initiatives. The FIR program began in the fall of 2004 when Dr. Walter Bradley, distinguished professor of engineering, and his wife, Ann, volunteered to join 600 students living in the brand-new North Village Community, the first Baylor residence hall built since the 1960s. “We quickly made an apartment for them and we’ve been running ever since in that direction,” Garrett said. “We targeted living-learning programs first as a way to intentionally engage faculty from that academic unit in the life of the community. It’s been so impactful that we said we need to do this in all of our residence halls.” The program has evolved and grown in every possible way since that beginning, Garrett said. Because no previous residence halls had been designed with faculty apartments, they have been added as the older halls –– including North and South Russell, Penland and Martin –– have been renovated. There are now faculty-in-residence in 15 Baylor residence halls, with only 60-year-old Ruth Collins Hall left to be transformed. The earliest faculty members in the program were recruited by word of mouth, but now the process has become competitive with numerous applicants vying for open positions. 12 / BAYLOR ARTS & SCIENCES


“Back then at the beginning, there wasn’t a job description, faculty-inresidence training or a manual,” Garrett said. All of that is in place today, including guidelines for student engagement and when and how to contact other staff and resources when serious issues arise. FIR candidates must be either senior lecturers or late tenure-track or tenured professors, and they’re asked to make a five-year commitment, after which there is an evaluation. The requirements keep newer faculty on track with their departmental obligations and ensure faculty continuity in the residence hall. A telling measure of the success of the program is the response of the students who live next door to faculty.

“We have students who want to live on campus beyond their freshman year,” Garrett said. “They’re seeing the connection. They’re having that seamless experience between their academic life and their living experience.”

LIGHTS, CAMERA, REAL LIFE Unlike a film that Brian Elliott or one of his students might write and produce, real life never stays on script. There are plenty of twists and turns, and Elliott is using his role as a faculty-in-residence to help students resolve the plot changes.

“One of the things I get to communicate to students is that rather than having this thing perfectly planned out, our life is much more of an adventure where we’re having to learn to pivot and be flexible,” he said. “Helping them embrace that as a lifestyle is really important.” Elliott is in his 27th year at Baylor and his fourth year as a faculty-inresidence. He began by living with 175 freshmen women at Texana House in North Village, when he and his wife, Susan, took up the faculty-in-residence challenge as their youngest son was leaving for college. “I had a conversation with God and decided, ‘I can sit in this house by myself, or I can go do an adventure and let’s see what happens.’ My wife was all in. She loves doing this sort of thing,” he said. After living at Texana House, the Elliotts moved next door to Heritage House, which is the Fine Arts LivingLearning Center where 250 film, theatre, art and music majors live. With students often maxed out with their studies and other activities, Elliott avoids creating too many new events and instead connects with what students are already doing. In his case that means concerts, plays, film screenings and art exhibits. “We’re running pretty fast and hard,” he said.


On Tuesday nights Elliott sponsors “Lounge in the Lobby,” a study break with snacks, and on Sunday nights he invites small groups from different floors and wings for dinner in his apartment. Sometimes there’s a topic for the night, and sometimes there’s just random conversation. And then there are field trips Elliott takes with students –– to the Dallas Opera, the Austin Film Festival or to Chicago to see “Hamilton.” Sometimes he scores backstage tours and visits with successful Baylor alumni such as filmmaker John Lee Hancock. The North Village residence hall director and living-learning center program director help him plan these larger events. Elliot appreciates the opportunity to interact with students at this critical time in their lives, but he also has learned to practice what he preaches. “I think the greatest challenge is trying to juggle all the constituencies I’m invested in –– my family, professional projects, teaching class and hopefully doing that effectively, and investing in students who aren’t necessarily part of the Fine Arts LivingLearning Center but are still people I care about,” Elliott said. “And one of the things that I care about is the students when they’re off and gone doing something else.”

The Elliotts’ Heritage House apartment was adapted from an existing suite, and that’s okay with them. “We’re fairly user-friendly. We don’t have high expectations in those regards,” Elliott said. Besides, there are wonderful benefits just outside their door. “There’s a symphony across the way, there’s an art gallery. Plus it’s a beautiful place to walk and it’s safe,” Elliott said. “The quality of life here can be really nurturing.”

BEYOND THE CLASSROOM Dr. Jennifer Good has long believed there is more to teaching than standing at the front of a classroom, and the time she spent as a faculty-in-residence has expanded that notion. “There is that little niggling thing called grades that makes students not necessarily see you in the same light as someone who is there to advocate for them,” Good said. “As I learned about the Faculty-in-Residence program, it seemed that it was a way I could remove the barrier that sometimes keeps students from engaging or believing I am there for them.” Good is in her 15th year at Baylor, where she is an associate professor of German and serves as director of the à

University Scholars Program. Good was a faculty-in-residence in Brooks Flats for two years before moving to North Russell to help launch the Baylor & Beyond Living-Learning Center. The LLC has 380 students with global interests in areas as broad as international studies, languages, history, pre-health and business. Good’s background helped her prepare for the new challenge. She had a positive experience with a caring professor while an undergraduate at the University of Missouri-Columbia, and she leads the Baylor in Germany summer program, where she is with students all day, traveling and learning together. “I really treasure being here for the experiences students have, and the fact is that they have to learn such hard lessons sometimes while other times they have moments of great joy,” Good said. “I get to be present for them and sometimes I’m able to help. And sometimes I’m just the person who happens to be there to empathize or celebrate with them.” Good often makes those connections during activities she plans, ranging



from small group dinners or game nights in her apartment to residence hall-wide come-and-go gatherings during finals. But the heart of the FIR experience for her is being there with students through the ebb and flow of college life. “Sometimes it’s easy for professors to forget that the students haven’t done this before,” she said. “I think living in the residence hall has helped me be a better teacher, more able to see how to reach students. I don’t think it’s changed what I have to teach necessarily, but I don’t have any problem anymore sitting down with students, encouraging them and finding out what’s keeping them from being able to do their best work.” Good shares the FIR experience with her husband, George, a career social worker in the mental health field, her nine-year-old daughter and a son who lived across the street in Penland Hall during his freshman year at Baylor. A bonus for students in North Russell has been George’s conversations with them as he completes a master’s degree in social work at Baylor.

“He showed them you don’t have to be in a rush because he went back to school 15-plus years after his bachelor’s degree,” Good said. “And he showed them it was still hard work but worth it, and he still had to stay up after midnight sometimes.” The Goods are renting out their home near Lake Waco while they live on campus. “When we are ready, I think we’ll go back to that house and our garden,” Good said. “That’s the main thing that we don’t have here that we spent a lot of time on.”

DRINKS WITH THE OLD GUY Dr. Scott Wilde is a faculty member who embodies several Baylor experiences. First and foremost he’s a senior lecturer in mathematics, but he’s also a non-degree-seeking German student trying to make the grade. Overlapping both of those responsibilities is his role as facultyin-residence for 320 male and female students of all classifications and disciplines in Brooks Flats, including some students in Baylor’s Business & Innovation Living-Learning Center. Wilde says the diverse population in Brooks Flats makes programming more challenging than in other halls, but so does the rhythm of student life. “I realize how busy these kids are academically, and to do an academic program is not going to really appeal to very many students,” he said. Instead, Wilde focuses on hosting informal gatherings, such as one he calls “Drinks With the Old Guy” on Thursday afternoons. “It’s just a come-and-go chance for me to get to know a few students,” he said. “A lot of them will come grab a cookie, get a water or a soft drink and zip out. There’s no burden on them.” During finals, Wilde will step things up a bit by providing coffee and donuts in the morning. And every other week he invites the hall’s community leaders –– the student leaders assigned to each floor –– to his apartment for breakfast. “That’s been a major positive,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed getting to know these students in a deeper way. You wish you could do that with all 320, but there’s just no way.” à



Wilde learned about the faculty-inresidence program during his orientation as a new Baylor faculty member in 2004. “It was very intriguing and I thought that’d be something I’d enjoy,” he said. “I started applying as soon as I became a senior lecturer. It took three or four years to be selected.” Wilde traces some of his interest in the FIR program to when he taught and served as a campus minister at the University of Texas at Arlington before coming to Baylor. “I liked to spend time around college students,” he said. “It’s a neat age. They’re adults, they’re kids, they’re going through a lot of changes in those four years and I’ve always enjoyed being a part of it.” Wilde shares his Brooks Flats apartment with his wife, Shari, who is a public school nurse with 800 students of her own, as well as a 15-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son. While their high school-age daughter is not entirely thrilled with the arrangement, his son loves it. “He hangs out in the lobby and he’s my PR guy,” Wilde said. “He can remember everybody’s name, remember their class schedule and where they’re from.” When the Wildes complete the FIR program they’ll have to decide what to do next because they don’t own a house in Waco. “This is home,” Wilde said.

MAMA MONA “Mama Mona!” That greeting from students is not unusual as Dr. Mona Choucair walks from her office in the Carroll Science Building to her FIR apartment in South Russell. It’s also not unwanted. “Students can see me as a mama if they want. That’s beautiful –– that’s what this job is for,” she said. “I’m their touchstone, somebody to talk to them and help them if there’s anything going on in their lives.” Choucair is the faculty-in-residence for more than 300 students in South Russell’s Impact Living-Learning Center. A Baylor alumna who has been on faculty for 17 years, she divides her academic time by serving as a senior lecturer in English and teaching classes in the School of Education. But as faculty-in-residence, Choucair gives everyone her undivided attention.


“It can be exhausting, so you have to have quite a bit of energy,” she said. By living in her large faculty apartment, Choucair is able to host up to 40 students for dinner. “They’re called Mama Mona Dinners, and I’m not a mom, I’m not married, and so it’s wonderful to be called Mama,” she said. “I measure success not in the number who come to my dinner table but by those relationships that are forged over a meal that I can follow up on two months or a year later.” Every now and then on Thursday mornings, Choucair will sit in the South Russell lobby and provide donuts and conversation to whomever might stop by. She’s thrown a dessert party for the entire hall, but she prefers to keep things small to promote personal relationships. “We see each other at our best and our worst because we live among one another, so it’s a very authentic relationship that’s forged,” she said. Choucair said the FIR experience has taught her how to listen. “At first I thought, in this role I will have to ask how they’re doing. But now I know that if I am just present, they will talk,” she said. “I’m not saying I’m the answer, because they also have pastors, they have youth ministers, they have community leaders, they have our


wonderful program director and hall director and they have our chaplain.” Choucair said living next to students in the residence hall has also enhanced her teaching. “I’m a better teacher knowing where they’ve just come from. Knowing they’re having roommate problems. Or they’re sick of the food, or they didn’t make it to breakfast so they’re not in the best mood. Or they just failed three tests and feel like they’re not Baylor material anymore,” Choucair said. “It makes me realize there are so many things going on with those kids in that class.” During her first year as faculty-inresidence, Choucair had a student in the hall whose parent died just before the beginning of the semester. A chance encounter with her across campus led to a yearlong conversation, during which Choucair shared the loss of her own father at age 16. “I remember talking to her and thinking –– this is not an accident, I was supposed to talk to this girl,” she said. “Chance encounters are some of the coolest things that come from this job. One encounter might change that kid, and that’s a huge responsibility.” n



FINDING (the) GOD (Particle)

Partnering with scientists from across the world, Baylor physicists are helping discover the building blocks of the universe BY JULIE ENGEBRETSON


Five years after they contributed to the Nobel Prize-winning discovery of the Higgs boson –– also called “the God particle” –– researchers in Baylor’s highenergy physics program are continuing their investigations into the building blocks of the universe. And while they probe these mysteries, they’re also kindling a passion for scientific discovery among their students. On the morning of July 4, 2012, Dr. Jay Dittmann and Dr. Kenichi “Ken” Hatakeyama, both associate professors of physics at Baylor, woke in the middle of the night to watch a live broadcast as the greatest scientific discovery of their lives was announced. After more than two years of collecting data at the European Organization for ARTS & SCIENCES 20 / BAYLOR ARTS & SCIENCES

Nuclear Research (CERN), near Geneva, Switzerland, scientists had observed an elusive subatomic particle known as the Higgs boson. “The Higgs boson discovery, I think a lot of people would say, is just one of the biggest discoveries of the century in physics,” Dittmann said. “It certainly is for a lot of younger high-energy physicists. They’ve never seen anything on this level before. There may have been 4,000 people working on this single experiment, but [Ken and I] felt very much a part of this discovery. It was exciting.” Just what is a Higgs boson? For non-scientists, the full and unabridged answer to that question becomes very complicated very quickly. Simply put,

every object or substance we know is made up of atoms, which were long assumed to be life’s most elementary particles –– atom being Greek for “indivisible” or “unable to cut.” By the 1930s, however, scientists observed even smaller subatomic particles, including the electron and the proton. As high-energy physics research advanced, a theory emerged called the Standard Model of particle physics which predicted a collection of elementary particles that behave and interact in specific ways and make up all of the known universe. By the late 1990s, every particle predicted by the Standard Model had indeed been observed, except one –– the Higgs boson. It’s referred to as “the God particle” by some because it completes

the puzzle in a sense, serving to define or explain the mass of all the other elementary particles. The Baylor high-energy physics team –– including Dittmann and Hatakeyama, a couple of postdoctoral fellows and a select group of graduate and undergraduate students –– represents the University as one of about 50 institutions worldwide chosen to work on the very experiment that detected the Higgs boson using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) more than five years ago. The LHC is the most powerful proton collider –– and the largest single machine –– in the world. Its purpose is to circulate protons at speeds approaching the speed of light and generate billions of proton collisions. “Those collisions are what interest us as physicists,” Dittmann said. “Scientists can observe entirely new, massive or energetic particles that are produced and go flying in every direction as a result of these collisions.” A kind of ‘map’ of the collision is generated by a highly sophisticated particle detector, and these data are then analyzed.


When the Higgs boson discovery was announced in 2012, the world watched and many asked, “What do these discoveries have to do with everyday life?” “In high-energy physics, the broad pursuit is to understand the fundamental nature of matter and energy. We want to test broad theories like the Standard Model and explore whether new theories are correct and can explain the things we still don’t know,” Dittmann said. “So, very broadly, that’s what we’re doing.”

“By colliding these particles, we can replicate some of the conditions that would have existed in the early universe and there is simply no other easy or inexpensive way to do that.” JAY DITTMAN

John Lawrence, a senior physics major who was a member of the Baylor team in 2017 at CERN, is no stranger to the question of practical application. “I have received this question many times. There are many applications that began with discoveries in highenergy physics, and even more yet to be discovered,” Lawrence said. “For instance, some physicists have used ideas from CERN to create neutron beams that may be used to treat cancer. The same question might be posed to most academic pursuits. Similarly, we are looking for new things that improve ourselves and the whole of humanity.” From another perspective, the theoretical physicists, engineers and computer scientists engaged in the various experiments at CERN are stoking a kind of primordial fire. The billions of tiny collisions which take place there on an annual cycle –– beginning in late spring and continuing through the beginning of November –– are reenacting, as closely as technologically possible, the very origins of the universe. “You can look at it that way,” Dittmann said. “By colliding these particles, we can replicate some of the conditions that would have existed in the early universe and there is simply no other easy or inexpensive way to do that.”


While the observation of the Higgs boson was and remains one of the most groundbreaking discoveries in the field, Dittman and Hatakeyama are quick to put the “God particle” in perspective against the continuum of high-energy physics and its unsolved mysteries. “With the discovery of the Higgs, the Standard Model is complete, but only in a sense,” Hatakeyama said. “There are many things that we cannot quite explain. For instance, in our astronomical observation, we know there is dark matter, but we don’t know what that consists of. There is no particle in the Standard Model that explains the identity of dark matter.” Dark matter is so called because it does not interact with light –– it is invisible and, thus far, unobservable, but its properties are inferred from its gravitational effects and other factors. “In our work now, we are trying to glimpse some ‘extension’ of the Standard Model in a way that can explain, for instance, the existence of dark matter,” Hatakeyama said. “We are trying to find the additional particles that can answer these questions. The particles we have observed only account for about five percent of the entire universe. So, the rest is unknown.” à

Dr. Ken Hatakeyama in the Remote Operations Center at Fermilab, the nation's particle physics and accelerator laboratory located near Chicago.

At CERN, there are seven ongoing experiments focused on different areas or questions in high-energy physics. Following the Higgs discovery, the team from Baylor is working specifically on the mystery of dark matter and searching for evidence of a popular theory that doubles the number of elementary particles in the Standard Model, hypothesizing that each is associated with a “shadow” or partner-particle far more massive. “At Baylor, we’re particularly interested in this theory, which is called supersymmetry,” Dittman said. “But there are many different facets of high-energy physics worth exploring. Some university groups are taking increasingly precise measurements of the Higgs boson now that’s it’s been observed, while others are trying to understand the top quark (a type of elementary particle) in greater detail. Here at Baylor, we’re searching for evidence of supersymmetry that could help us understand dark matter.” In June 2017, the Baylor team working in Switzerland at CERN enjoyed additional on-site help from three undergraduate students –– senior physics majors John Lawrence, Andrew Baas and Jordan Potarf. “This summer we had the opportunity to install upgraded electronics and to 20 / BAYLOR ARTS & SCIENCES 22

ensure they would function properly in the experimental environment,” said Lawrence. “It was also a great personal experience just being there and exploring. There were beautiful mountains everywhere I turned. I’m grateful to Dr. Hatakeyama, my honors thesis advisor, who has really helped me pick up new topics in physics. I’m also grateful to Dr. Dittman, who has not only taught several of my physics classes, but he was always willing to lend a hand [while at CERN] even in non-physics areas, like how to shop for food when I don’t speak French.”


Striving to learn more about the elements involved in the creation of the universe prompts the question ––can a Christian scientist inform his faith through study of “the God particle?” While some scientists equate evangelical faith with an indifference or even resistance to scientific inquiry, Dittmann has found that the more he understands about science, the deeper his personal faith becomes. “Science and religion answer different questions, so I think we can be Christians and do science just as well as scientists at other secular universities,” Dittmann said. “We are doing exactly the same quality of science that they are, but it doesn’t conflict with our faith and beliefs.

If anything, I think that what we learn about the universe just points to the wonder of Creation. I think this area of science is so big –– we’re studying tiny particles –– but we’re also studying the nature of the universe, and it’s just aweinspiring. I think that’s one big appeal for me.” Potarf, a junior physics and mathematics major, expresses a similar sentiment. The opportunity he had through Baylor to work at CERN in the summer of 2017 was more than a chance to learn a bit of French – it gave him a rare glimpse of God’s handiwork. “I have dreamed of working at CERN since third grade, and it was as great as I had hoped,” Potarf said. “I got to participate in something I have admired from afar and in doing so, I continue to better myself, learning new workrelated and collaborative skills. It also gave me an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of Creation from one of the best seats in the house.” n TO LEARN MORE about Baylor’s high-energy physics program, visit


“I have dreamed of working at CERN since third grade, and it was as great as I had hoped.� JORDAN POTARF

Baylor physics student Jordan Potarf (Left) and graduate student Caleb Smith performing tests at Fermilab.

Success Story: GRADUATE EDUCATION As Baylor successfully implements its long-range plans, the University is attracting smarter and more accomplished graduate students BY JEFF HAMPTON


When it came time for Malcolm Foley to decide where he wanted to pursue a doctoral degree in religion, his impressive academic background presented him with many good choices. With baccalaureate degrees from Washington University in religious studies and finance, as well as a master of divinity degree earned at Yale, the Rockville, Maryland, native could have easily moved on to one of the prestigious universities in the East that his colleagues suggested –– Notre Dame, Harvard, or maybe Yale again. But Foley surprised those well-meaning colleagues when, after much study and thought, he chose to earn his doctorate in theology at Baylor University. And the factors that brought him to Waco from Yale are some of the same ones that have been transforming graduate education at Baylor during the past two decades. à

“Widely recognized scholars in American religious history are here.” MALCOLM FOLEY

BIGGER AND BETTER Baylor has offered graduate degrees since 1891, and in the fall of 2017 the University enrolled 2,743 students in graduate and professional degree programs –– 637 of those in the College of Arts & Sciences. “We have 34 master’s programs and 17 doctoral programs in Arts & Sciences, and we expect to grow many of them in the future,” said Dr. Lee C. Nordt, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. The number and size of Baylor’s graduate programs –– and the quality of its graduate students –– have grown significantly in the past 15 years, largely due to the emphasis on strengthening research and graduate education stated in the University’s recent long-term strategic 26 / BAYLOR ARTS & SCIENCES

plans –– Baylor 2012 and the current plan, Pro Futuris. For example, GRE scores for incoming graduate students at Baylor have improved by more than 60 percent since the two strategic plans were launched. Among its goals, Pro Futuris challenges Baylor to approach the profile of Carnegie Foundation’s Research Universities with “Highest Research Activity” by adding master’s graduate and professional programs and increasing the number of doctoral degrees awarded each year, including degrees in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines. “As part of becoming a top tier Christian research university, graduate program education is critical to the

achievement of goals articulated in Pro Futuris and affirmed in the College of Arts & Sciences’ strategic plan, A&Spire,” Nordt said. “It has taken a lot of time, effort and money to build Baylor’s graduate and professional programs to their current levels, and we still have a way to go,” said Dr. Larry Lyon, vice provost and dean of the Graduate School. “However, if we take our vision of becoming a great Christian research university seriously, that is what we must do.” But the expansion of opportunities to do high-level research is not the only reason increasingly betterqualified graduate students are coming to Baylor, as a quick survey of students demonstrates.

and the study of the history of Christianity,” he said. “I have friends at other institutions that feel like the atmosphere is more cutthroat, and I get none of that here.” After the interview, Foley knew Baylor was the place he should earn his doctorate in theology, but then came a twist. “One of the church history professors called me and said, ‘we actually want to take you as a church history student’,” Foley said. That was not a problem. “There are a number of significant resources for American religious history at Baylor,” he said. “Widely recognized scholars in American religious history are here.” As Foley pursues a doctorate in the history of Christianity, he plans to focus his dissertation on the church’s resistance to and justification of the lynching of African Americans in the 19th and 20th centuries. “For the past three to four months I’ve just been kind of stewing in those materials,” he said. “It’s been an intense few months.” Foley has lectured in some Baylor classes, and in his fifth year he will teach the Christian Scriptures and Christian Heritage classes that all undergraduate students must take. “The fact that I’ll have this opportunity to shape the kind of scholarly narrative that these students are going to come into contact with when it comes to scriptures, Christian theology and the



As he considered doctoral programs in theology, Baylor was not on Foley’s radar until one of his Yale professors came to Baylor to teach. “He’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever met in my life, and so when he went to Baylor, I thought maybe I should consider Baylor,” Foley said. During his interview at Baylor, Foley immediately sensed the University and the academic program were different from others where he applied. “I’ve found this to be totally true in the years that I’ve been here –– Baylor has a different collegial environment, especially in the religion department

history of Christianity –– I’m humbled by it and also excited,” Foley said.


A NEW PERCEPTION “Oh, you got your bachelor’s degree here at Baylor and you’ve just stayed on, right?” It’s a question that Elise Leal heard regularly after she arrived at Baylor for graduate school. But her answer was, “No, I came from somewhere else and intentionally chose Baylor for my graduate work.” Leal, who is at Baylor pursuing a PhD in history, was president of the Baylor Graduate Student Association from 2015 to 2017. Born in Austin and raised in Georgetown, Leal earned a BA in communication studies from Regent University in Virginia. When her interest shifted to history, she went to Texas State University to get her masters degree. Leal’s perception of Baylor as an institution focused on undergraduate education changed when she began looking at whom she might study with in pursuit of her doctorate. “Honestly, growing up so close to Baylor, it was a bit of a perspective shift for me when I started to think of Baylor as a research institution or a place for graduate school,” she said. “When I was considering PhD programs à


I was looking first and foremost at the different scholars I could study with. I knew I wanted to do something on 18th and 19th century America and I knew that Dr. Thomas Kidd at Baylor was one of the leading scholars in that field. At that time I didn’t even realize how much of a big deal he was, but I knew he was important.” Leal had kept Baylor near the bottom of her list because it was so close to home, but a visit with Kidd and the graduate program director, and exposure to all the resources that would be available to her, pushed it to the top. “I let myself admit that Baylor was my top choice,” she said. “In applying, that’s when I started paying more attention to Baylor’s mission and Pro Futuris, and I saw in the history department this very sincere, very intentional push for research and the desire to start a top-notch graduate program.” Baylor’s PhD program in history is relatively new, and Leal is in the third cohort to be admitted, with the first group of history PhDs graduating this year. 28 / BAYLOR ARTS & SCIENCES

“In that sense I knew I was taking a bit of a risk with a young PhD program, but the sincerity of the commitment to the research mission that I saw in the history department and also the graduate school helped outweigh that risk,” said Leal, whose dissertation concerns how the Sunday school movement was started and its impact on children in the church. Beyond the classroom, Baylor has exceeded Leal’s expectations. “It’s been more than academics. It’s been community of a kind that I’ve never seen before in academic settings,” she said. “Baylor has helped me grow as a whole person. It’s been a very holistic experience, which is more than I would have hoped for from a PhD program.”


IN SEARCH OF GOOD SCIENCE Elias Oziolor wanted to know how fish overcome the impact of pollutants, and he traveled all the way from Bulgaria to Baylor to find the answers.

“I knew I wanted to do science, and the state of science back home is not up to par,” he said. Oziolor began his academic journey at DePauw University in Indiana because he wanted a small liberal arts college experience at a university with a strong biology department. With only 2,400 undergraduates, DePauw was a good fit and gave Oziolor a BA in biology and biochemistry. “My senior year I got an email from the Baylor Department of Environmental Science advertising open positions, and Baylor was the only school I applied to,” he said. Oziolor soon paid a visit to Waco and spent time with his potential major advisor at Baylor, discussing what his studies would look like and what expectations would be placed on him in the program. “I chose Baylor mostly because of my advisor, Dr. Cole Matson (associate professor of environmental science), and the quality of research that he did. The level of support the university gives to graduate students also helped my choice,” Oziolor said. That support included, among other things, a graduate stipend.

“Baylor is definitely up-and-coming in environmental toxicology and has incredible promise in building a program that is one of the best in the country.” ELIAS OZIOLOR

In changing addresses from Indiana to Texas, Oziolor also changed his academic direction. “I was oriented towards the medical field beforehand, but I chose to study evolutionary toxicology at Baylor,” he said. Evolutionary toxicology is a subset of environmental toxicology, and Oziolor’s dissertation looked at how Gulf killifish populations have evolved to resist the negative effects of industrial

contaminants in the Houston Ship Channel. “Baylor is definitely up-and-coming in environmental toxicology and has incredible promise in building a program that is one of the best in the country,” said Oziolor, who received his PhD in environmental science from Baylor in August 2017. “This can only come with investment into the department.”



Jacob Robinson, who earned his second Baylor degree in August 2017, said the personal and collaborative nature of his graduate school experience allowed him to discover his true calling. Robinson, a Burnet native, first came to Baylor to earn a BA in film à


and digital media in 2012. In his undergraduate studies, he concentrated on cinematography and the more technical aspects of filmmaking. After graduation he spent time as a freelance cinematographer, and also worked for a year in Baylor’s Department of Spiritual Life. But when he felt the need to get more training in cinematography, he returned to Baylor and enrolled in the MA in Communication program, with an emphasis on film. Soon after beginning his graduate studies, Robinson found that he had incredible access to his professors. “Because there were only three of us who came in at the same time in the master's program in film, the professors were able to say, ‘Jacob, what do you want to do? Let’s sit down this week and talk about this stuff.’ I could talk to multiple professors about that,” he said. One of his professors helped him find a summer internship through the Baylor in New York program, which allows both undergraduate and graduate students to get hands-on experience through internships in the Big Apple. Robinson spent two months one summer in New York City working with a special effects cinematographer and his wife. “Whenever they had a big shoot in the studio I would help them. And getting to meet and talk to writers and directors on the sets was helpful for me,” he said. As he continued on in the masters program, Robinson found that his experiences in class and his talks with professors helped him acknowledge a growing feeling that the technical aspects of filmmaking were not what he wanted to study. “My professors were really helpful to say, ‘Do you like this? Maybe you should try that instead. You seem to be into writing –– maybe you should try writing a project,’” he said. Robinson explored his passion for writing and found that he was most interested in becoming a screenwriter and playwright, as well as a director. He changed his plans, and the flexible and interdisciplinary nature of the program allowed him to affirm his new focus. “There’s a lot of freedom in the master's program to shape what you want. So, I was able to take two classes in the theatre arts department and focus more on the history and theory of directing in a theater setting, and I was able to do that because the program is so open,” Robinson said. “It’s focused on what you want to do, and it shapes the program around that.” 30 / BAYLOR ARTS & SCIENCES


While Baylor wasn’t Lyndsay DiPietro’s first choice for either her undergraduate or graduate studies, it has proven to be the best choice every step of the way in her chosen field. DiPietro, a PhD candidate in geosciences who will graduate in December 2017, came to Baylor as an undergraduate from Frisco, when the University offered her the best scholarship. “I’d been hoping to get out of Texas for college, but Baylor just made the most sense financially at the time,” she said. As she worked toward dual BS degrees at Baylor in geology and anthropology, both of which she completed in 2011, DiPietro began considering her career options and decided that graduate school was the best step to take next. “The kinds of jobs you can get with a bachelor’s degree in either field weren’t what I was looking for long term,” she said. “Aside from that, I’ve always enjoyed school, so graduate school seemed like a logical next step.”

“Baylor has one of the best terrestrial paleoclimate research groups in the country.” LYNDSAY DIPIETRO

DiPietro narrowed her focus to geology, and was advised by graduate students and professors in the field that choosing a location wasn’t as important as choosing an advisor and a program. She was also told that a different school might offer her a fresh perspective. “With that in mind, I started looking for schools that had strong terrestrial paleoclimate research groups and projects that had some sort of archaeological component,” she said. DiPietro sent applications to SMU, Rutgers, the University of Utah, the University of California, Davis and the University of Arizona.

“The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that Baylor has one of the best terrestrial paleoclimate research groups in the country and that, if I were an undergrad anywhere else, I would have applied here, so I wound up sending an application to Baylor as well,” she said. While waiting to hear back from SMU and Rutgers, DiPietro got an acceptance letter from Baylor, and said it just felt right. “My current advisor, Dr. Steven Driese, was someone I really wanted to work with, whose work I respected,” she said. “I liked Waco, the department is extremely close-knit and everyone has a great working relationship. In terms of research it was a good fit. Socially I was already really happy here and felt like it was somewhere that I could really grow as a person and a scientist, so I accepted the offer. The geosciences department at Baylor also has great funding for its grad students, which helped the decision along.”

FULL SPEED AHEAD As Baylor continues to work toward achieving the goals outlined in Pro Futuris, and as the College of Arts & Sciences completes the acts of determination found in A&Spire, each will carry forward plans to strengthen graduate education because of the value it adds to the University –– and to the world. “Baylor is a university that proudly claims its Protestant, free church heritage while offering more than 60 strong master's-level degrees and 40 nationally competitive doctorallevel degrees,” Lyon said. “No other university can make that claim, and in the final analysis that’s why we devote resources to graduate education.” “Improving graduate education and research will always be a priority for the College of Arts & Sciences,” Nordt said. “After commencement, our graduate students leave here and make an impact on society by assuming key leadership positions in academia, industry and government. They join our undergraduates in flinging the green and gold far and wide across the globe.” n


Graduate Programs in the College of Arts & Sciences

n American Studies n Biology n Chemistry & Biochemistry n Clinical Psychology n Communication n Directing (Theatre Arts) n English n Environmental Biology n Environmental Science n Environmental Studies n Geosciences n History n International Journalism n International Relations

TO LEARN MORE about Baylor graduate programs, visit

n Journalism, Public Relations and New Media n Limnology n Mathematics n Museum Studies n Philosophy n Physics n Political Science n Psychology & Neuroscience n Religion n Sociology n Spanish n Statistical Science n Theatre Arts


ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME Baylor Arts & Sciences alumna Brianna Childs spent almost a year traveling the globe to share Christ with the world’s poor BY JULIE CARLSON


When most of us imagine taking a trip around the world, we think of travel –– maybe via a cruise or guided tour –– to some of the world’s most beautiful and exciting locales, with luxurious hotels and fine dining thrown into the mix. But when Baylor Arts & Sciences alumna Brianna Childs (BA ’16) recently spent almost a year traveling through three continents, her focus was a bit different –– to serve “the least of these” and spread the Gospel in some of the world’s poorest countries. There’s a reality TV show called “The Amazing Race” where participants take part in activities such as bungee jumping, skydiving and spelunking as they travel from country to country. But Childs took part in a quite different program, called the World Race, where she spent 11 months on a unique

mission trip through 11 countries, where young adults immerse themselves in a challenging adventure that has them abandoning their worldly possessions and traditional lifestyle to serve others where they live. “I found out about the World Race the summer before my senior year of high school at a Texas Baptists summer camp called Super Summer,” Childs said. “One of the team leaders there had just returned from the World Race and spoke about her life-changing experience in front of the group one afternoon. I was hooked. As soon as I returned home that weekend, I looked it up online and discovered that I needed to be 21 years old to apply, so I put it on hold as a possibility for the future.” Childs grew up in the small town of Early, Texas, about a two-hour drive

from Waco. At Baylor, Brianna majored in psychology with minors in religion and poverty studies/social justice. Those minors served her well for the World Race, in which many of her efforts dealt with human trafficking and other issues affecting women and children, including domestic violence. “I heard about trafficking late in high school, and when I went to the Passion Conference in January 2013 I really realized the horrors of human trafficking occurring in the world. We heard the story of a woman rescued from trafficking, and she was actually there in the audience with her psychologist,” Childs said. “I had already declared my major as psychology at that point, and that’s when God really brought to light what it would look like to use that major as ministry. As a part of the executive à

board in the sorority Alpha Chi Omega, I really became informed and passionate about our philanthropy, which is domestic violence awareness.” The World Race was not Childs’ first experience with missions. She had been to Uganda twice and spent 10 weeks as a summer missionary at The Living Vine Maternity Home in Savannah, Ga. For the World Race, she was part of a squad of about 50 people, ranging in age from 22 to 31, who were separated into teams of six or seven. In each country, team members were assigned to a different ministry. “I had actually never met any of my teammates until June 2016 when we went through 10 days of training at the Adventures in Missions headquarters in Georgia. Now, since we lived essentially 24 hours, 7 days a week together, we have deep, deep friendships that will last for many years to come,” she said. During the World Race, Childs traveled to Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nepal, India, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and

situation. Yes, a hostage situation,” Childs said. “The kids were tied up and part of the group was assigned to solve a puzzle before the ‘bomb’ went off.” Childs’ mother was able to share part of the World Race with her as part of a Parent Vision Trip in Thailand, and the two helped in various ministries together. “I will never forget walking through the streets of Chiang Mai, Thailand, with my mom as we prayed for bar after bar where women sell themselves. In spite of our speaking minimal Thai and the women speaking broken English, we attempted to show them love,” Childs said. “I’m thankful to say I could go on and on with other pretty amazing experiences.” Childs points to a number of people at Baylor for helping her find her passion for ministry. She served as a Community Leader in Collins Residence Hall for two years and relied on the mentorship from her hall directors, assistant hall directors, and chaplain. “Lauren Weber, Emily First and Taylor Post were especially formative

For his part, Holleyman said if all his students were like Childs, his job would be easy. “Because of students like Brianna my job is the best job in the world. She has the full package,” Holleyman said. “What do you want in a student? Name it, she has it. I am not surprised at what she is doing with the World Race, and I believe she will be quite successful. It is an adventure that combines compassion and educational opportunity. That fits with the student I have encountered.” When Childs returned to the U.S. in the summer of 2017 after almost a year away, she spent much-needed time with family and friends. This fall, she is back in Waco pursuing a dual master’s degree. “I’m attending Truett Seminary to get a Master of Divinity and the Baylor School of Social Work to get a Master of Social Work,” Childs said. “I couldn’t wait to invest my life in Waco again, because the city really has my heart. I’m so grateful to call it home for at least another four years.”

“ONE OF THE LESSONS THAT REALLY JUST ENCOMPASSES ALL THE OTHERS IS HOW POWERFULLY AND BEAUTIFULLY THE LORD BROKE OUT OF BOXES I HAD FORMED IN MY MIND.” Belize. In each country, she and her colleagues had different opportunities to serve alongside various ministries. These included evangelism, teaching various subjects (especially English), praying door-to-door in villages, preaching, organizing games and lessons for children, working in a hostel ministry, providing outreach to prostitutes, performing manual labor and leading worship. As she served in each of these capacities, Childs had many transformative experiences. “In Nepal, I had my favorite adventure of paragliding while surrounded by the Himalayas. I was honestly breathless looking at creation, and I felt so near to the Lord,” she said. Childs mentioned an incident in Thailand that was funny, but eyeopening. She was helping teach English at a school on “Scout Day,” which is similar to Boy or Girl Scout day in the United States. “It was similar, except one of the scenarios during the day was a hostage 34 / BAYLOR ARTS & SCIENCES

in my faith, as they showed me what unconditional love looks like and pointed me toward an expanded viewpoint of the world,” she said. Childs took a Cross-Cultural Ministry class with Dr. Dennis Horton, an associate professor of religion and The J. David Slover Professor of Ministry Guidance, and a Poverty in Waco class with Jimmy Dorrell, executive director of Mission Waco and a part-time lecturer at Baylor’s Truett Seminary. Both classes caused her to reevaluate what missions should really look like. “Other classes like Introduction to Ministry with Dr. Eric Holleyman, (senior lecturer in religion) and Foundations for Social Justice with Dr. Gaynor Yancey (professor of social work and Master Teacher) shaped my passions, equipped me for ministry, and helped me to form stances on many aspects of my faith,” Childs said. “These faculty and staff plus many more showed me what living as a missionary really is, and therefore continued to inspire me on this trip.”

And when she reflects on her time ministering to people around the world living lives often much unlike her own, Childs makes use of a new perspective. “One of the lessons that really just encompasses all the others is how powerfully and beautifully the Lord broke out of boxes I had formed in my mind. Over and over again throughout my walk, God has lovingly shown me how much bigger and greater and even more welcoming His love and grace are than what I could ever imagine,” she said. “Though I have been blessed beyond measure to see the work of God in so many places in the world, I look forward to remembering that wherever we are, that is our mission field.” n


2 3

1. Childs at the elephant jungle sanctuary in Chiangmai, Thailand 2. Teaching song and dance to the words of Proverbs 3:5-6 to children in Guatemala 3. A boy counts in English in front of his class in a village in India

Q&A: Q&A: Col.

Col. Sparky Matthews

Walter "Spark"

With your family background, did you have any doubts you would one day attend Baylor?

group New Guard. It served as a student liaison to the board of trustees, and the trustees eventually decided that this function should not be limited to men, so they picked six of us to start Sentinel. We would attend trustee meetings so that they could meet and talk with students. I was also in ODK, which is a national leadership honor society.

when I came to Baylor because I had graduated high school early, and to me it’s a lot to ask someone at that age what they want to do the rest of their life.

Col. Walter “Sparky” Matthews graduated with a No. I think I applied to maybe two Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from Baylor in 1992. other places, but I knew I was coming Did you have any favorite here.The My mom said something like, professors while you were here? former pre-med student went on to become both “You can visit anywhere, but I will pay for Growing up, we Yes, surgeon I did. Anita Baker, who taught a Baylor.” doctor and a decorated officer and flight always came to Homecoming, we education, was one. Glenn Hilburn was camein to athe lot of U.S. football games, and my religion professor, and I adored Air Force. In May 2017, Matthews became with my grandparents’ and mother’s him. I decided I wanted to make When you started at Baylor, did you connections to Baylor it wasn’t muchof the American medical an “A” justforce to prove to him what a the commander task know what you wanted to do with of a decision. I always thought I was great professor he was. I was a child your life, was that something of the 455th in here. Afghanistan, as well asorcommander coming development minor, and there was a that you discovered while you were lady named Sadie Jo Black who taught in college? Medical Group at Bagram Airfield As aExpeditionary student at Baylor, what kind of in what we usedin to call “Home Ec.” things where you involved in? I had to take flat pattern or sewing always thought I wantedFiedler to teach, Afghanistan. In this IQ&A, Randy talks him from her,with and if you’ve never done which is why I was in the School of something like that and you’re in class I was a Tri Delta, serving as assistant But in are retrospect, while to provide quality about what he and Education. his team doing with all of these girls who are fashion rush chairman one year and I did end up teaching I wish I had design majors and know what they are president my senior year. That was healthcare in one ofthought the about world’s most war-torn areas.à other career options. doing, it’s horrible. Out of the kindness a lot of fun. I was in the founding group of Sentinel, which was the female counterpart to the men’s 36 ARTS & SCIENCES 36 //BAYLOR BAYLOR ARTS & SCIENCES

I felt like I didn’t think it through as much as kids do nowadays. I was 17

of her heart, Professor Black said, “I’m going to give you a ‘B’ because you

You’ve spent much of your career either working as a flight surgeon or supervising medical teams containing flight surgeons. What exactly does a flight surgeon do?

I understand that for security reasons you cannot discuss some of the things that you do in your current position, but as much as you are able to, can you tell us what your current duties are?

Aerospace medicine (the discipline practiced by a flight surgeon) is occupational medicine for a very specific occupation –– flying. Every other discipline of medicine deals with abnormal physiology in a normal environment, while aerospace medicine deals with normal physiology in an abnormal environment. Flight surgeons are the personal physicians for pilots, other aircrew and their families. We apply medical standards to the environment of flight, ensuring pilots are physically qualified and maximally prepared to endure the rigors of flight. Flight surgeons also ensure the work and living environment at an Air Force installation is safe and healthy. We tie together public health, bioenvironmental engineering, occupational and environmental medicine, ergonomics and workplace safety. The bottom line is, if something can affect the human weapons system, the flight surgeon seeks to harness and control it.

I wear two hats in my current assignment. As the 455th Expeditionary Medical Group Commander, I lead the busiest Role III medical facility in Afghanistan, which includes the aeromedical evacuation origination hub for U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. A Role III facility is a hospital with emergency/trauma resuscitation services, outpatient services, inpatient and intensive care, advanced trauma surgery and medical/surgical subspecialties. As the Task Force Medical-Afghanistan Commander, I command all U.S. Role II and Role III facilities in Afghanistan, with the exception of Special Forces medical units. Essentially, if U.S., NATO or Afghan military personnel require surgical care in Afghanistan, they receive care from one of my Task Force Role II teams, and usually end up in the Craig Joint Theater Hospital at Bagram Airfield. U.S. and NATO military personnel are then typically moved to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, either by traditional aeromedical evacuation or by Critical Care Air Transport Teams. These teams turn the back of a cargo aircraft into a flying Intensive Care Unit.

What part do flight surgeons play in the Air Force mission? One might say that flight surgeons are the “warrior class” of Air Force medicine. We’re the bridge between the operational (warfighting) and medical worlds. The physician is the natural enemy in a pilot’s mind because he or she can ground a pilot forever for something beyond the pilot’s control. Flight surgeons spend much of their time building trust and confidence in their aircrew –– we fly with them, work with them, play with them, go to war with them and live next door to them. We become one of them –– it’s how we earn a pilot’s trust. This trust is tremendously powerful –– when a pilot goes to war, they don’t worry about their family at home because they know the flight doc is going to take care of their family, no matter what. This frees the warfighter to fight the war, without worry and without fear. When you consider that an aircraft, missile or satellite is the weapon of war for the Air Force, and the pilot, missileer or satellite operator is the brain at the center of that weapon, you should realize that the flight surgeon is the maintainer of that weapon’s brain.


In my job, I ensure that the Craig Joint Theater Hospital is ready to receive any and all casualties in Afghanistan, day or night, 365 days a year. I also work with Combined Joint Operations AreaAfghanistan Command (NATO), U.S. Forces-Afghanistan Command, Air Force Central Command and the U.S. Central Command to ensure the right personnel and equipment are placed strategically throughout Afghanistan. The strategic placement of our medical forces ensures that no military operation involving U.S. forces occurs with more than 60 minutes transport time from a surgical resuscitation team. What is the quality of medical care that soldiers are receiving from your team? The family of medics –– U.S. and NATO –– at Craig Joint Theater Hospital is simply beyond belief. We recently received an Afghan military casualty with a Grade 5 liver laceration. Essentially, his liver was fractured, and the blood vessels feeding the liver were torn away. This is an injury that has an 80 percent

mortality rate, even at a hepato-biliary surgery center of excellence in a U.S. major medical center. My two trauma surgeons and my general surgeon spent five hours in surgery saving this man’s life –– they removed half his liver and reattached his vasculature. As we speak, the patient is recovering in our ICU. No hospital in the world could have done better. On Fathers’ Day this year, we received six trauma casualties –– four American and two Afghan. Our operating rooms ran all night, and in the morning all six men were recovering in the ICU. We gave six fathers back to their kids that day. That is why I do what I do. How did your career begin? Did you know from a young age that you wanted a career in the U.S. Air Force? I never considered the Air Force at all until college. From my earliest memories, I always wanted to be a doctor. When I was a senior at Baylor, my mentor, Dr. Bill Hillis, announced at the end of immunology class one day that Army and Air Force medical recruiters were on campus. As I left the lecture hall, Dr. Hillis grasped me on the shoulder and said, “You should really talk to the Air Force recruiter. I was a flight surgeon in the Air Force, and I think that would be a really good fit for you.” That was more than enough for me. I visited with the recruiter, applied for the Health Professions Scholarship Program, and the rest is history. Twenty-five years later, I would make that decision all over again. I owe an unpayable debt to my friend Bill Hillis –– he’s the reason I am a career Air Force officer. Were you in Air Force ROTC at Baylor? Believe it or not, I was not. I was just a plain vanilla pre-med student. I am a mentor for the Baylor AFROTC detachment now, particularly for the pre-med cadets. Did you enjoy your time at Baylor? That question is incomprehensible to me –– of course I enjoyed my time at Baylor! To this day, they remain the best four years of my life. I enjoyed performing in the Baylor University Golden Wave Marching Band, pledging Kappa Kappa Psi, serving at First Baptist Church and singing in Thee Power and Light. I loved learning for a living, and preparing for my life as a doctor. But most of all, I enjoyed meeting the love

of my life, my wife Monica. If I was to list all the things I look back on fondly, this magazine issue would be two volumes. Any favorite professors? I have several, primary among them Dr. Bill Hillis (biology) and Dr. David Pennington (chemistry). I have maintained a relationship with these mentors, visiting them every time I return to campus. Sadly for me, they have now both retired. Dr. Lynn Tatum (religion) is another favorite, from whom I learned the history of the Bible. Finally, Dr. Ken Wilkins, my comparative chordate anatomy professor, has become a good friend. My ambition, after retirement from the Air Force, is to join them as a Baylor professor and be for students what these great men have been to me. You were invited back to Baylor in March 2017 to give a lecture, and you spoke on General George Washington and the inoculation of his soldiers against smallpox. Why did you choose this as your subject? My talk was based on a paper I wrote as a student at the National War College. It examined the strategic impact of the decision by General Washington to inoculate the Continental Army against smallpox at Valley Forge. Benjamin

Franklin stated that this decision was Washington’s most important of the entire American Revolution. Essentially, for America to gain its independence, the Continentals simply had to not lose the war. Ultimately, the smallpox epidemic in North America at the time posed a greater risk to Washington’s army than the British –– it was the only enemy that truly threatened the Army’s existence, because they could not escape it. Is medical history a special interest of yours? I have always loved history, and the American Revolution is my favorite time period. Medical history is a more recent, but no less fascinating focus for me. In fact, my hope is that, after retirement from the Air Force, I might return to Baylor University and teach the history of medicine. Finally, are we as aware as we should be what the U.S. Air Force is doing now in Afghanistan? Is there something about your mission that we don’t appreciate? The U.S. Air Force delivers air power –– at the right time, every time, all the time. As a medic, my part of that delivery is to provide world-class medical care and aeromedical evacuation to support

our U.S. and partner nation forces. One thing about our medical mission in Afghanistan that may not be obvious to the public is the morale our safety net provides. I hear daily from U.S., NATO and Afghan leaders that the assurance of the world’s best medical care emboldens our fighting forces to dare great and courageous action on the battlefield. To quote a senior Afghan military officer, “Our fighters have courage to do great things because they know, if they are injured, they will come to your hospital and then go home to their families.” At the same time, we are helping the Afghan government and military develop their own medical capabilities. Our goal as U.S. Air Force medics in Afghanistan is to work and teach ourselves out of a job. n

Our Back Pages

Hansen Quadruplets + 20



An event took place at Baylor 20 years ago that had occurred only once before in the University’s long history. On May 17, 1997, a set of identical quadruplets — Alison, Brooke, Claire and Darcy Hansen of San Antonio — walked the stage in the Ferrell Center during commencement and received their diplomas. Three of the quads — Alison, Claire and Darcy — graduated with BA degrees in journalism from the College of Arts & Sciences. Brooke earned a BBA degree from Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business. The Hansens were the second set of quadruplets to graduate from Baylor, following the Keys Quads of Oklahoma, who received their degrees 60 years earlier on May 31, 1937. 40 / BAYLOR ARTS & SCIENCES

The Hansen Quads were born within 17 minutes of each other on Oct. 24, 1974. At the hospital, staff members put tags on the quads identifying them by birth order as “A, B, C and D,” and their parents gave them names beginning with the same consecutive letters. The girls grew up in a family of eight, which includes two older sisters. They became honor students at San Antonio’s Lee High School, becoming proficient in Spanish and German along the way, and occasionally appeared on national television programs including The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. When Baylor President Herbert H. Reynolds (1981-1995) saw the quads on The Tonight Show, he was impressed with the young women’s intelligence

and engaging personalities. He soon offered them full academic scholarships to Baylor, and they arrived on campus during Welcome Week on Aug. 23, 1993, with a CNN news crew recording their move into Collins Hall. As the Keys did before them, the Hansens represented Baylor University at a number of functions each year, and were often seen at important campus events such as football games and the Homecoming Parade. All four Hansens also had campus jobs as writers in Baylor’s public relations office. Soon after they received their Baylor degrees, the quads scattered across Europe — alone — to begin the newest chapters of their lives. Alison left for Madrid, Spain, to study on a Fulbright


grant, while Brooke headed to Salzburg, Austria, to study German. Claire used a Fulbright grant to study in Vienna and Darcy began a series of journalism internships across the continent. As the Hansen Quads have settled down in one city or another, at least one of them has always been based outside the United States, usually in Europe or the Far East, and they are as comfortable with international travel and shifting languages, currencies and climates as anyone could be. But they make it a priority to keep in contact with each other across the miles, getting together for family reunions and occasional “quad vacations.”

Where Are They Now? Alison is living in the Dallas area, where she graduated in December 2015 from SMU with an MA degree in dispute resolution and conflict management. She works at PepsiCo as director of the PepsiCo University team. When not at work she enjoys spending time with husband Mike Strong and her son Spencer Strong, who is three-and-a-half years old. Brooke is one of two Hansen Quads now living overseas. After stays in Amsterdam and other cities in the Netherlands (including the completion of a master’s degree at Maastricht University) she has been in Munich, Germany, for the past three years — first working for Accenture Interactive, and at present working at a specialist marketing agency. Brooke is married to a Dutchman, Roeland Nieuwenhuis, and has a two-year-old son, Gustav, “who is being raised with three different cultures.”

Claire lived in Singapore for a while and earned a master’s degree in international publishing and marketing from the University of Vienna in Austria. She now calls England home, living in London “right on the Thames River, next to the Cutty Sark ship.” She is the global head of marketing for the technology conglomerate Cisco, managing the British Telecom (BT) account. While living in England, Claire has completed an accelerated law degree (a BA in jurisprudence) from Oxford University. After receiving some additional training she plans to enter a London law firm as an apprentice, and after two years of in-house training there she will be a qualified lawyer under the British system. We should also mention that Claire now has dual citizenship, adding British citizenship to her American credentials.

Darcy lived for 11 years in New York City, where she met husband Justin Bachman, an aviation/aerospace reporter for Bloomberg. They have two children — Nils, age 4, and Nora, age 2. She and her family moved to the Dallas area in late 2015, and she’s now doing freelance technology communications work after taking four years off to raise her children. “My last corporate job was at IBM,” she said. Darcy enjoys living close to fellow quad Alison and one of their older sisters, who lives in Denton. Darcy said she can’t believe it’s been two decades since she and her sisters graduated from Baylor. “I remember when some Baylor officials came to our house in San Antonio on a recruiting trip while we were in high school. They told us that where you choose to go to university will inform every aspect of the rest of your life, and attending Baylor certainly has for the better,” she said. n

"(Baylor officials) told us that where you choose to go to university will inform every aspect of the rest of your life." DARCY HANSEN


One Bear Place #97344 Waco, TX 76798-7344

Art Making

A student making a screen print in Berry Klingman’s printmaking class. Klingman joined the Baylor Art Department faculty in 1975. He directs Baylor’s BFA printmaking program and teaches figure drawing courses.