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MBU

MAGAZINE

a p u b l i c at i o n o f m i s s o u r i b a p t i s t u n i v e r s i t y

What Happens When You Have the Courage to Take a Step of Faith

winter 2016


President | Dr. R. Alton Lacey Provost & Senior VP for Academic Affairs | Dr. Arlen Dykstra Senior VP for University Advancement | Dr. Keith Ross ‘87 Senior VP for Business Affairs | Ken Revenaugh Associate Provost & Senior VP for Student Development | Dr. Andy Chambers Editor | Bryce Chapman Managing Editor | Coral Christopher ‘14 Staff Writer | Katlyn Moncada Graphic Designers | David Rygiol & Jenny Sinamon Photographers | Jenny Sinamon, Jess & Jenn Photography and Matchless Gem | Event Styling & Design (pg. 16) Contributors | Dr. R. Alton Lacey, Kelly Leavitt, Linda Myers, Sandra Riutcel, Kelsey Waananen and Matt Williams www.mobap.edu

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The mbu Magazine is published by the University Communications Office of Missouri Baptist University, One College Park Drive, Saint Louis, Mo. 63141-8698. Copyright 2016. All rights reserved. Issues are published in summer and winter. Send change of address notification at least a month before effective date, including both old and new addresses. Postmaster send address changes to mbu Magazine, Missouri Baptist University, One College Park Drive, Saint Louis, MO. 63141-8698. Articles and letters to the editor are welcome. Email submissions to editor@mobap.edu. All submissions are subject to editing and will not be returned. Free subscriptions are provided to University alumni, donors and friends. Contact 314.392.2304 or editor@mobap.edu for details. We are serious and intentional about our Christian faith. We will freely and responsibly search for truth. We strive for excellence. We believe in the importance and cultivation of character. We believe in social change through service and leadership.


& then pg. 12 From personal life plans to career changes, a new direction can be the chance of a lifetime. In fact, career changes are becoming a new normal.

News pg. 5

The Sound of Hope pg. 22

Nice to Meet You pg. 9

Stereotypes: Hurt & Redemption pg. 26

Dr. Amber Pyatt, mbu's founding director of nursing

The Perk 20 pg. 10

Celebrating 20 years of coffee, music and fellowship

Dr. Amanda Ortmann's research may reverse the fate of many

The wounds of racism & discord and the promise of our savior

Where Are They Now? pg. 28

Updates on the successes of mbu’s ever-growing alumni community

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the president

Higher Education: An Engine of Common Good

Dr. R. Alton Lacey, mbu President

We want our students to excel not only in the classroom but as human beings. We want citizens who can contribute but also make thoughtful informed decisions about matters that affect our world. We do not tell them what to think, but how to think and solve problems, albeit informed by their own faith.

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I am a fortunate son of parents who put a great deal of importance on the value of education. They both came from large families and were the products of the depression and a World War. My mother went to business school to learn secretarial skills and worked her way up to an executive secretary for the vice president of a paper mill. She was a high school graduate and later in life took a few college classes related to her work. My father dropped out of high school, enlisted in the Marine Corps, and spent almost four years in the South Pacific. After the war he got his GED, the highest level of formal education he attained. Both my parents were hard working and determined to give their children the best life possible. In their minds that included getting a college education. They admired and supported teachers and respected them for preparing individuals to think critically and for helping them achieve a better life. They sacrificed so that my brother and I would be among the first in my family’s generation to earn college degrees. For the past forty years I have spent my every working day in higher education, as a faculty member, Dean of Students, Vice President and for the last 22 years, President. I have seen thousands of students pass through the two institutions I served. I watched them grow into adults who are working, raising kids, paying taxes, and making invaluable contributions to their communities. Some of them have overcome tremendous odds to make that happen. We have featured many of them in this magazine. I am the first to admit that higher education in general deserves some of the criticism it gets. In an environment that encourages differences of opinion and the questioning of traditional thought there is bound to be

occasional tensions. Colleges and universities have erred at times by uninviting speakers who held different opinions from a vocal minority, allowing students to stifle free speech from those who disagreed with them, encouraging the use of “trigger points” that mitigate against learning to deal with and handle differences, and generally coddling students instead of preparing them for the real world. However, that does not represent what goes on at most schools. The public has been led to believe that all colleges and universities are alike, be they large, small, public, independent, research, liberal arts, or faith based. In fact, the genius of higher education is its diversity and it is in the best interest of American higher education to keep it that way. mbu’s niche in higher education is to offer a quality academic program from a faith based perspective. We emphasize truth, character, service, leadership, and excellence along with faith. We want our students to excel not only in the classroom but as human beings. We want citizens who can contribute but also make thoughtful informed decisions about matters that affect our world. We do not tell them what to think, but how to think and solve problems, albeit informed by their own faith. When I speak to prospective students I always tell them that even if they do not choose mbu, they should be determined to get their college education. There has yet to be a study that proves it is not worth it. In fact, quite the opposite. We hope that education will continue to be seen as an engine of the common good. We hope to gain and keep the trust of the general public as we seek to prepare the next generation of leaders. ■


N EWS · WINTE R 2016

MBU Welcomes Largest Freshman Class Ever, Sees Unprecedented Main Campus Gains mbu began classes this fall with the largest freshman class and the most main campus students in the University’s history. The 2016-2017 full-time freshman class increased by 10 percent and the total of new main campus students grew by four percent compared to last year’s enrollment. Furthermore, campus housing reached capacity even with the addition of Spartan Village South, an 80-bed campus housing unit. Overall, mbu’s main campus enrollment increased by six percent from last year, making the number of students studying on mbu’s main campus the most in its 51-year history. This year, 76 percent of freshmen—the most ever—live on campus, which is mostly credited to the University’s commitment to community-building through initiatives such as the addition of Spartan Village. The unique living-learning community is now comprised of three new state-of-the-art housing units, all built within the past five years. “The record-breaking gains in enrollment and housing are a result of strategic efforts to further create an environment in which students can develop academically, spiritually and socially as they find their place in the world,” said Dr. R. Alton Lacey, mbu president. “mbu offers a second-to-none education within a supportive community that allows students to find their strengths and develop the passion and skills necessary to be a light in their careers and communities.” Spartan Village South is the third phase of mbu’s housing development, Spartan Village. In addition, enrollment for the new undergraduate degrees of mbu’s Adult and Online division surpassed projections by nearly 20 percent. The division, announced last fall, is designed to offer higher education in a way that meets the challenges of busy adult learners, particularly those who have started and stopped their pursuit for a college degree. The University has also seen gains in its established academic programs including exercise science, business, education and healthcare management. In 2013, mbu entered a partnership with BJC Healthcare, the largest employer in St. Louis, to offer a bachelor’s degree in healthcare management. ■

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N EWS · WINTE R 2016

New Programs Further Adult & Online Initiative Under New Associate VP Next semester the University will add two new degrees to the Adult and Online Learning division, opening up further opportunities to busy adults. The newest undergraduate addition is the B.S. in ministry and leadership for those interested in pursuing a career such as a pastor, teacher or missionary. The 39-semester-hour major is geared to develop leaders while emphasizing applicability to life, orientation toward the church and fidelity to the biblical revelation. The emerging doctorate in Higher Education and Leadership will be offered online as well beginning in March. The program prepares students to become the next generation of higher education leaders. The program functions in a unique practitioner-scholar model; mbu’s faculty emphasize the practical application of scholarly knowledge to aid students to make substantive contributions to the field and their institution.

This November, Dr. Amber Henry was appointed associate vice president for extended learning. In her new role, Henry will work to strategically build the University's online programs while continuing to oversee the Jefferson County and Farmington regional learning centers. Henry has been a member of mbu’s faculty and staff since 1999. ■

English Instructor Announced as Recipient of 2016 Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award MBU's Kelly Leavitt was recognized for adding passion and excitement for the English language and world in the classroom and abroad. mbu Instructor Kelly Leavitt was recognized this November as a leader in education with the 2016 Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award. Emerson Electric Co., which has its world headquarters in St. Louis, has sponsored this program since 1989 as part of its commitment to promote quality education throughout the St. Louis area. This is the only public recognition award of its kind in the state of Missouri. At mbu, where she has worked for six years, Leavitt invests in the lives of her students as she imparts her knowledge and passion for the English language. Leavitt has worked at mbu since 2010. “It is quickly evident to anyone who meets Leavitt that she has a heart for her students 6   mbu magazine

to grow in their worldview, and she works daily to cultivate that passion,” said Dr. Arlen Dykstra, mbu provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “Kelly Leavitt has a unique ability to identify and cultivate the unique talents of each of her students.” Leavitt’s impact at mbu transcends the classroom. She regularly leads students on short-term travel study opportunities. This summer Leavitt will be guiding students throughout Ireland as the group studies Irish literature and culture. Leavitt holds a master of arts in Comparative Literature from University College London and a bachelor’s degree in English from Samford University. In 2013, she earned a certificate in teaching English to speakers of other languages (CELTA). ■


N EWS · WINTE R 2016

MBU Honors Outstanding Alumni For Homecoming 2016, Missouri Baptist University’s Alumni Association honored outstanding alumni who have made a significant impact in the community and society. The event was held Oct. 20 in the Pillsbury Chapel and Dale Williams Fine Arts Center during the University’s annual homecoming chapel. Distinguished Alumnus Award: Michele Miller Settel Cordant Health Solutions Vice President and General Manager for Workers’ Compensation Michele Miller Settel (’99) has more than 26 years of experience developing and implementing cost containment solutions to insurance payers. Cordant recruited Settel in 2013 in order to have her lead the strategic initiative of expanding market share in workers’ compensation. In response to the growing nationwide opioid epidemic, Settel also designed an opioid medication monitoring solution incorporating comprehensive drug testing. The program implementing injured workers’ safety and compliance with their treatment plan is successfully reducing the costs and strength of prescribed opioid medications across the country. For more than 30 years, she has also lead youth ministry programs for Southern Baptist churches across the country in addition to participating in music ministry as both a soloist and worship leader. Settel holds a B.S. degree in business administration from mbu. Outstanding Young Alumnus Award: Lauren Maniaci The Outstanding Young Alumnus award is granted to an alumnus who is distinguished among their peers for contributions made to society that display leadership, responsibility and expertise. Lauren Maniaci earned her elementary education degree from mbu

From left to right: Sherry LaNell Lewis Jones, Ashleigh Poteete, Mark Baden, Michele Miller Settel, Lauren Maniaci

in 2013. She went on to live in Chicago after graduation where she serves as director to an urban nonprofit called the Center for Student Missions. Her responsibilities include partnering with more than 70 nonprofit organizations with a passion to see the Lord work in powerful ways in a hurting city. Educator of the Year Award: Sherry LaNell Lewis Jones A proud alumna of Missouri Baptist University, Sherry LaNell Lewis Jones (’08, ’10) comes from a long bloodline of musicians. By the age of five, Jones learned how to read music and knew she would become a music teacher. As a member of the Jennings School District’s fine arts department, Jones enjoys teaching courses centered on vocal music, piano, music appreciation and hand chimes. She is a proud mother and grandmother and is thankful for mbu’s strong foundation of faith that kept her motivated as an adult, nontraditional student on campus. Service to the University Award: Mark Baden A 2008 graduate with a degree in communications, Mark Baden received the award for

his continued volunteer efforts that enhance the mission of mbu. He credits the University for getting him to this point in his career by offering him a second chance to earn a college degree. He currently serves as assistant vice president and commercial relationship manager at Royal Banks of Missouri. He has served as the mbu alumni board vice president for more than two years. He and his wife Crissy have three children. Mission in Action Award: Ashleigh Poteete The University recognized current student Ashleigh Poteete for her demonstrated ability to live out the mission and core values of mbu. Currently a senior studying human services and psychology with a sociology minor, she has served as a peer mentor, resident assistant, student fellow and attended a Guatemala mission trip last year with mbu campus ministries. Outside of mbu, Poteete works with Relay for Life and is a mentor to two young ladies through We Love St. Charles. Upon graduating, she plans to serve the St. Louis metro area by working with foster children who have been, or are currently, at risk of being sex trafficked. ■

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NORTH RESIDENCE HALL

Worth the Walk

est. 1996

This year North Hall celebrates its twentieth year as a home away from home for MBU's female residents. Situated on a hill near the farthest of reaches on Missouri Baptist University’s campus lies a home for some 90 female resident students every semester. North Hall is one of mbu’s most cherished resident halls, and for one family it is much more than the temporary home it was designed to be. In the summer of 1995, LeBron James was shooting hoops in his back yard. “Toy Story” was becoming film of the year. Ozzie Smith was perfecting his opening-day backflip. And Jamie Ellison was preparing to begin a new phase of life, one that would include a recently built dorm atop a hill on the eastern-most edge of then Missouri Baptist College. Ellison’s niece, Ashleigh Poteete was just two years old when her aunt discovered what was then a small commuter school nestled in West County. Turns out, that new all-female dorm would have a formidable impact on two generations of that family. Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, North Hall was the first construction project to be completed under the University’s new president, Dr. R. Alton Lacey. It would mark the beginning of a season of unprecedented growth and campus expansion under our president’s leadership. At the time of its opening, the new facility boasted the largest rooms of any dormitory in the state. And while the spacious living quarters continue to be a major attraction to the students who reside there, over the years North Hall has become known for something perhaps more meaningful than square footage.

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For former Resident Director Diana (Biby) Foster, the memories and relationships are formative and integral to the North Hall experience. “Some of the best memories came from spontaneous events like whip cream and water fights between the floors, making pancakes for everyone in the lobby at mid night and watching movies,” said Foster. "The most rewarding was being able to be a small piece of so many different lives during their college experience. The gift God gave me and the relationships built were amazing." Foster left North Hall in 2003, and in 2005 the warm-hearted Taira Schertz moved into North Hall. The nurturing and mentoring tendencies of the now Resident Director “Mama Schertz” became a cornerstone to North Hall’s culture. “College is a pivotal time in a person’s life,” said Schertz. “North Hall residents are discovering who they are, and navigating challenges without coming home to their parents everyday.” From holding the hands of sick residents during emergency department visits to baking her signature gooey butter cookies, Schertz is the reassuring and wise voice that helps students navigate their life trials. When the Schertz family of five moved to their new apartment in Spartan Row, Kayla Knapp quickly adapted to the new role. With girls-only weekends, and motherly wisdom at night over hot chocolate, Knapp wants to provide an opportunity for students to gain independence while pursuing a life and

calling in Christ. “I remember how formative my relationships and experiences in resident life were on my life,” said Knapp. “I want to continue the history of North Hall developing students into students who genuinely care for others and have the confidence in Christ to pursue their life calling.” This spring will mark the graduation of the first class that Knapp has seen for all four years in North. These students, once nervous freshmen, are now confident, caring women that are destined for excellence. The once two-year-old niece—Ashleigh Poteete—is one of those women. Poteete is not the same person that moved into North Hall four years ago. In 2013 — 16 years after the grand opening — a wide-eyed and deep-hearted Poteete dropped her bags on the now 20-year-old concrete that once greeted her Aunt. Having been set on going to a different university, Ashleigh visited mbu after her Aunt suggested she take a tour. That suggestion has turned into four years of Ashleigh calling North Hall home and feeling the love that is cultivated from an all-girls dorm on the campus of a private Christian University. ■


Nice to Meet You

Dr. Amber Pyatt

| F  ounding Director of Nursing, Associate Professor of Nursing

Last year, mbu announced the intent to begin the process of developing the University’s Bachelor of Science in nursing program. Fast forward to the summer of 2016: Dr. Amber Pyatt joined the mbu faculty as Founding Director of Nursing. Building a strong nursing program consumes much of Pyatt's attention these days, but she still manages to make time for adventures with friends and family—accompanied by the sounds of country tunes.

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1 Don’t Touch This

Sometimes simple meals like grilled cheese sandwiches make for the most joyful memories. Rather than going out for lavish meals, Pyatt is most content with spending her evenings at the table with her husband and two children, Kaden and Kyler— as well as one on the way in May 2017. When eating with Pyatt, it’s likely to notice her foods distinctly separate on the plate, as foods touching is one of her most notable pet peeves.

2 The Best of the Best Fans of Baseball Pyatt does not miss a single Cardinals baseball game. Without cable television, she makes sure to purchase the Major League Baseball (MLB) application to make sure she can keep track of the Red Birds’ every play. Even before living in Cardinal Nation, her family took annual trips to St. Louis to attend a game. She has already cheered them on at four games this year while wearing her favorite Yadier Molina jersey.

3 That Disney Magic

Disney World is at the top of most childhood bucket lists. This summer, Pyatt’s family was able to make a first-time check mark off that list. The family of four got to spend a busy, yet fun few days together at the magical theme parks after accepting her position at mbu. Her husband, Robbie, would finish the summer at his previous job in Kansas before the move to St. Louis, so Disney became a final fun getaway before their time apart.

4 Still We Rise Chosen to participate in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City was a cheerleading dream come true for Pyatt as a high school student in Van Buren, Mo. The trip was set for 2001, which ended up being even more memorable and emotional due to landing in the aftermath of Sept. 11. Pyatt recalled the city as being dirty and covered in soot from the wreckage of the terrorist attacks. Her cheering also continued into college, where she was able to perform in London’s New Year’s Day Parade.

5 Country Fan Girl As an avid country music fan, look for Pyatt among the crowds next summer at St. Louis’ Country Megaticket concert series with her husband. Her keepsake book is filled with autographs and photos from her country celebrity encounters—including meeting Carrie Underwood four times out of the 10 times she has seen the megastar in concert.

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Pyatt grew up knowing she wanted to get her doctorate, and her path turned into a passion for teaching nursing. She found her calling to become a labor and delivery nurse after the birth of her oldest, and began to pursue a BSN a few months after from Newman University in Wichita, Kansas. From there, she received her MSN in administration and education from the University of Cincinnati, Ohio before completing her DNP from American Sentinel University in Colorado earlier this year, where she received the Award for Academic Excellence for maintaining a 4.0 GPA. ■

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thePerk 20 Celebrating 20 years of coffee, music and a culture all of its own

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1 The landscape of Missouri Baptist University may have vastly changed in the past 20 years, but one tradition remains that keeps students, alumni, faculty and staff united: thePerk. In 1996, Krista and Paul Huse were living on campus as resident directors with a mission to stray away from the typical college pizza parties and create memorable mbu resident life traditions. Students gathered in the lobby of Pillsbury-Huff Men’s Dorm that semester to hear a concert by ’90s popular artist Sixpence None the Richer while drinking coffee from what would become a coveted keepsake mug each year.

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After years of growth and moving to various locations around campus, like the dining hall and outside on The Quad, thePerk has become one of mbu’s most cherished events. When the campus coffeehouse opened years ago, it was named after the beloved event. mbu alumni continue to return to campus for the gathering—which is now held during homecoming weekend each year—to receive the collectible mug and catch up over coffee with friends, faculty and staff. “It’s a consistent tradition, and while it’s morphed to be what it is now, it’s something that is organically mbu,” said Bryanna Hartmann (’12), who also participated behind

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the scenes for the event as a student. “I like hearing fellow alumni stories beginning with, ‘When I went to thePerk,’ and learning how the event has grown and changed. It’s clear our university as a whole is growing and changing, but as long as you keep what’s integral the same — be it a coffee mug or providing an education and empowerment to students — people will keep coming back.” The planning process takes months to make it the production it is today. For 2016's 20th anniversary of thePerk, St. Louis artist Kenny DeShields took the stage as the featured act. Support from student and alumni opening talent and comedic stage games kept the


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5 audience entertained between sets. “It’s cool to see the tradition continue,” said Krista Huse, who now works as mbu’s administrative assistant to the senior vice president of student development and associate provost. “It’s surreal knowing we were able to make an mbu tradition become a part of students’ lives for 20 years now.” Huse also noted it has been great being able to see Aaron Chastain (’11), mbu technical coordinator, take the lead for the past two years. With his passion, she says Chastain has taken the event to a new level. “Our goal each year is to elevate the experience with everything from the coffee mug to

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8 student talent and the headlining performers," said Chastain. "I think we had one of our best events yet celebrating 20 years.” As the University looks to the future with new programs and buildings filled with new students and staff, there is comfort in knowing some things may never change with mbu. Spartans continuing to unite once again each year, creating new memories at thePerk. ■

1 Christian recording artist Jimmy Needham performs original music at thePerk in 2015. 2 Students pose with props in front of the Fish Eye Fun photo booth at thePerk: After Dark in 2013. 3 The cast of Godspell—dressed in costume from the ‘70s—performs during 2010’s thePerk. 4 Local gospel hip-hop artist Kenny DeShields performs during thePerk’s 20th anniversary on Oct. 21, 2016. 5 The Pitts Family performs several covers of popular music in 2016. 6 President Dr. R. Alton Lacey takes the stage in 2005. 7 A student captures moments from thePerk 2016 to share on social media. 8 The Fern Bywaters Lounge housed thePerk’s performances in 2003. mbu magazine  11


What Happens When You Have the Courage to Take a Step of Faith

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Life plans are rather laughable things, really. They assume that one's life can be written out as some sort of choose-your-own adventure, or minimized to a simple equation. Everything fits neatly in order, until the unexpected happens—throwing your carefully strategized plans to the wayside. & then what? From personal life plans to career changes, a new direction can be the chance of a lifetime. In fact, career changes are becoming a new normal. While 40 percent of baby boomers worked for the same employer for at least 20 years, changes in the workforce environment are changing this status quo, according to a 2016 Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research study. Career changes will exponentially increase as new positions and industries emerge. In turn, the U.S. Department of Labor projects that 65 percent of today’s schoolchildren will eventually be employed in jobs that have yet to be created. With the World Series, election and the

return of Gilmore Girls, 2016's legacy may be to expect the unexpected in life. In these cases, higher education is paramount. Higher education is a cornerstone for students’ success in these emerging industries. At its core, the mbu’s mission is to provide a steadfast liberal arts education that allows students to shine brightly in a tumultuous world. Students expand their minds, learn to discover and live as an example of God’s true love. With these values, students and alumni are empowered to trust God and journey down a twisty road, following whatever adventures it may bring.

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Scott Snodgrass Director of Strategy and Business Development for SSM Health’s Behavioral Health Services M.A. in Counseling 2012

& then I stopped playing it safe. Scott Snodgrass is among the countless number of adults who pursued the American dream, complete with a white picket fence, two and a half kids and a life that mirrored “Leave it to Beaver.” Four kids and two career changes later, Snodgrass’s life resembles something far better than a ‘60s television show—his life resembles a plan God had for Snodgrass all along. When Snodgrass began his career, he started at a non-profit organization determined to better the world. A few years later, he switched to a career in the insurance industry in order to pay off his student loans. But when his job needed him to relocate, Snodgrass realized he needed to return to a non-profit mission. He landed a job in healthcare— behavioral health— but needed a graduate degree for his career. He pursued a master’s degree in counseling at mbu while working for Crider Health. Following the birth of their daughter, his wife felt led to adopt. However, after working with adopted children and seeing how much struggle could be involved, Snodgrass didn't feel the same calling as his wife. But later, he realized the “no” really was, “not yet.” After graduating from mbu, Snodgrass landed a new position as the director of adolescent services with Bridgeway Health. Shortly after, he and his wife welcomed a smiling baby boy, Graham. His son’s diagnosis of Down syndrome influenced Snodgrass to reconsider his white picket fence plans. When Snodgrass planned out his life, he never planned for a child with a developmental disability. Turns out, the birth of Graham marked a pivotal moment in the Snodgrass family. “After Graham’s birth, God began to work on my heart with adoption,” said

Snodgrass. “If I would have had a healthy boy and a healthy girl, I would have said no. I have a good thing going, this is easy, I don’t want to mess this up. But then I decided I didn’t want to play it safe.” It was then James 1:27 came to mind as reassurance, and Snodgrass felt a need to fulfill the command. Snodgrass and his wife pursued the adoption process. After a year and a half, they were matched with their two Ghanaian sons: Francis and JoJo. Francis previously lived on the streets of Accra with his mother, and JoJo lived in Cape Coast with his uncle. JoJo's family worked for just scraps of food, and the young boy was near death from malnourishment when the orphanage took him into their care. Snodgrass knew that someone would have to stay home with his sons as they transitioned into the family and life in the United States. At the time, the Snodgrasses could not financially afford to have a stay-at-home parent, but they continued with the adoption journey, trusting God to provide. “Not knowing how that was going to all

work out—we had to trust God’s timing,” said Snodgrass. “It required a lot of faith.” Last year, God once again provided as Snodgrass began his new position as the director of strategy and business development This role combines the skills built with his time in nonprofits, for-profits and counseling. “The job at SSM met our needs and I believe rewarded our obedience,” said Snodgrass. “It’s a beautiful picture of following God’s timing and promises if you are obedient.” The Snodgrasses visited their two sons several times before they came home, and moved the boys to the same Ghanaian orphanage to bond. This August, his sons finally came home. Having his sons in his home is a relief, but the trials of adoption are not over. However, any hardship is far worth the cost, he insists. “However, any hardship is outweighed by the reward. “Adoption is tough,” said Snodgrass. "It’s hard, but beautifully hard. Their needs are so much, you constantly pour out. It can be a very lonely but fulfilling journey, but at the same time you know it’s for God’s glory.”

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. –James 1:27 mbu magazine  15


While I may not be managing a classroom, I manage a growing team. A person is a person, and leading a classroom translates to leading employees.

Andrew Black Owner of Ezekiel and Stearns Ed.S. in 2009, Ed.D in 2011

& then I stopped climbing the career ladder, and built it instead. 16   mbu magazine


There is a furniture shop in Pacific, Missouri, that at first glance appears to belong in another era. The warehouse has what it needs— no frills— just sawdust and work tables. Mid-afternoon, talk show radio is playing in background and “Made in America” stickers adorn the wall. The high-quality furniture is made with craftsmanship techniques passed down through generations. Except it's not. Andrew Black is a first-generation craftsman taught by YouTube videos alongside trial and error. When he was an undergraduate student in Tennessee, Black and a friend decided to build and sell sailboats— something that was new to both of them— to pay for tuition. They taught themselves, and after sinking their first boat, they built one that could float. “To be honest, we sunk the first boat on purpose because we knew there were too many errors to sell it— but we learned, and our next boat floated and sold,” he explained. When Black lost the space to build boats, he moved on to furniture. As he moved

back to St. Louis to attend mbu’s education specialist program, he began to teach at the Special School District and continue crafting furniture. After Black earned his doctorate at mbu, his business picked up and he realized the side business could become his sole job. “Elements of my studies in education definitely come in play,” said Black. “While I may not be managing a classroom, I manage a growing team. A person is a person, and leading a classroom translates to leading employees.” Five years later, Black’s business—Ezekiel and Stearns—is situated in its own warehouse, with seven employees under Black and lumber everywhere. The classic techniques and styling of Black’s rustic furniture is timeless, and orders regularly come in from across the United States. “Our furniture is identical to the furniture an old carpenter would make,” said Black. “But instead of learning as an apprentice, we learned through videos.” Tradition continues to take a backseat during the actual manufacturing process as

well. Sturdy craftsmanship pieces are large and heavy, making shipping cumbersome and costly. But through a highly engineered process, Black is able to sell furniture pieces up to $1,000 less than comparable companies. Through competitive prices, classic quality and a fast turnaround on orders, Black’s business continues to grow. In fact, Amazon approached Black several years ago with an offer to start selling his tables through its e-commerce business, and Wayfair, Black may not have a MBA, but his ability to manage and innovate offer a solid foundation for a thriving business. Perhaps just as importantly, Black’s knack at taking on new situations and finding innovative solutions suggest that he is well-primed for whatever nontraditional path may come next.

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Lauren Maniaci Chicago City Director for the Center for Student Missions B.S. in Education 2013

& then I put teaching on pause to pursue another calling When die-hard Cardinals fan Lauren Maniaci began mbu’s education program years ago, she never thought she would live in Cubs territory. She never thought the Cubs would win a World Series in our lifetime, but that happened too. As the Chicago river turned Cubs blue, the devoted Cardinals fan couldn’t help but smile and feel joy. The win brought a city in turmoil together— something Maniaci works toward every day. Maniaci works as the Chicago city director for the Center for Student Missions (CSM), an organization that hosts mission trips and teaches young people how to minister in the city in a combined effort to share Christ and meet the needs of cities throughout the United States, including Chicago. “There are 77 different neighborhoods of Chicago, and each is very different with a strong neighborhood pride. There is also the biggest difference in lifestyles. Impoverished children are going to the same school as children with triple-figure-salary parents. To see these groups come together is rewarding. There is so much brokenness in Chicago, but so much beauty.” Maniaci is from a large Italian family full of children. Her time with nieces and nephews—along with the influence of her mentor, mbu math professor Kim Cochran—led her to study education at mbu with plans of becoming a teacher. However, in 2009 Cochran recruited Maniaci to serve in Chicago as a student through CSM. She returned in 2010, 2011 and 2012. During her junior and senior years, she was invited to be a host and guide for the mission trips. Maniaci’s summer work had meaning, and gave her the ability to reach out to the people in a hurting city. “I fell in love with urban ministry,” she said. “I would spend time with kids in the inner city and use my gifts in that way, help

out in soup kitchens and other avenues.” In 2014, Maniaci was student teaching at a public elementary school in East St. Louis for her last semester at mbu. Her years of college classes were put to use, and Maniaci felt that her work had purpose. As she strategized her career in St. Louis’ education system, she received an unexpected phone call. It was the CSM Chicago city director, asking her to put her dream of becoming a teacher on hold. The proposal was that she would head up to Chicago mere days after graduation and begin full-time work on Chicago missions. After struggling with her choice of a career as a teacher or following a not-so-straightforward path, she realized her calling. With the encouragement of Cochran, Maniaci decided to trust Christ and move to Chicago for one year, then begin working as a teacher. The one year has now extended to at least four years. As the city director for Chicago, Maniaci builds relationships with mission-minded organizations throughout Chicago, and then finds ways to support them financially, prayerfully and through volunteer staffing. Maniaci has built relationships with tutoring programs, homeless shelters and beautification projects that are now supported fiscally and by volunteers through CSM. Maniaci’s mission for Chicago continues outside of her job. Since moving to the Windy City, she’s worked with her church on after-school tutoring programs for at-risk youth. These programs are crucial in the neighborhood where the church is located, which is home to a concentrated population of Costa Rican immigrants. It’s a path that Maniaci was prepared to live. With mbu’s Campus Ministries, Maniaci planned service days for the mbu community to serve in urban St. Louis at

local churches, refugee centers and other organizations. She attended mbu’s Haiti mission trip twice, serving children and people with little support. “Lauren Maniaci was passionate for ministry,” said Campus Minister Jonathan White. “She also put much care in organizing ministry opportunities and encouraging people to come along. Her love for others was contagious, and a true example of servant leadership.” For Maniaci, looking back to how God prepared her to work in Chicago is a reminder of God’s faithfulness and divine plan. “I have no doubt that working in Chicago was a part of God’s plan for me,” said Maniaci. “But it is a testament to the fact that God knows what He is doing, and His plans are superior to ours—a lesson I am still learning.” ■

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MY MOMENT to SHINE Sophomore Dontrail Johnson, a defensive back for the mbu football team, prepares for battle during the Homecoming football game against Saint Ambrose on Oct. 22. Johnson of Webster Groves recorded 79 tackles this past season and received an Honorable Mention from Mid-States Football Association's Mideast League. Though the mbu Spartan Football program won just three games, the 2016 Season marked a notable shift in momentum for the still-young team. The Spartans ended their season with a 70-38 victory against Lyon College. â–

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the sound of hope

The Sound of Hope A diagnosis changed the course of a young alumna’s life, and in return, her national research may reverse the seemed fate of many.

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r. Amanda Ortmann is unforgettable. Her humble yet confident presence commands notice, even on the home campus of some of the world’s leading physicians. Her intelligence and charismatic personality is engaging, and her laugh is contagious. But what is even more remarkable is her ability to captivate not just by what she has to say, but how well she listens. But what more would you expect from a deaf audiologist? Ortmann, a Missouri Baptist University alumna (’01), was diagnosed with severe to profound hearing loss after a bout of meningitis at the age of two. Her parents were determined to give Ortmann a chance to succeed in the hearing world, opting for lip reading, therapy and hearing aids instead of sign language. Now years later, Ortmann works as an audiologist and postdoctoral research associate at Washington University School of Medicine to provide others an even greater chance to do the same. Ortmann knew she wanted to become an audiologist at a young age, and used her time at Missouri Baptist University to prepare. In addition to coursework, Ortmann worked

20-30 hours a week as a hearing aid technician in a private doctor’s office all four years of college. In 2001, she graduated summa cum laude (highest honors) with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and communication. Ortmann strategically chose her programs to further her ability to become an excellent audiologist. “I knew mathematics would be important in the physics and measurements of hearing—and math interested me more than biology at the time.” Her communications degree built up the softer skills of audiology, but also prepared her for the life of a respected researcher. “When I’m giving presentations on my research, I rely on my communications classes at mbu, and that gives me an edge,” said Ortmann And research is an integral part of Ortmann’s life. In fact, it is one of the reasons she pursued a Ph.D. after becoming an audiologist. “When I was studying audiology at WashU, I knew I wanted to learn more,” reflected Ortmann. “I wanted to know the intricacies of how the ear works, and research ways to

assist those with hearing loss.”

Researching Hope She then headed to the East Coast to pursue a doctorate degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Pittsburgh. There, she worked with the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System and exposed her to an emerging problem brought by the war: the combination of traumatic brain injuries and the loss of hearing. The extensive injuries of the soldiers took away not just the ability to hear sound, but the ability to process sounds. This problem led Ortmann’s dissertation research on cochlear implants. These devices work directly with the brain and auditory nerve to process sound. Cochlear implants are beneficial to those with a small percentage of natural hearing left as well. Since the cochlear implant operates differently than a hearing aid, some problems are present including an irritating echo-effect. The cochlear implant doesn’t amplify sounds, but allows the cochlea to send auditory messages to the brain. The cochlear implant takes a split second longer to process and diminish

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confusing background noise than the natural ear if some level of hearing is still present. While working on her dissertation, “The impact of spectrally asynchronous delay on the intelligibility of conversational speech,” her academic career was sideswiped when she was hit by a car while walking in the city of Pittsburgh. She sustained significant injuries. This led her to take a semester off, and head home to St. Louis. As Ortmann began to heal, she realized she needed a job to pay for her climbing medical bills. Fortunately, Washington University unconventionally hired Ortmann with an incomplete Ph.D., and the University of Pittsburgh allowed her to work on her dissertation at night in St. Louis. During this time, Ortmann saw patients as an audiologist and managed the adult clinic located at the Central Institute for the Deaf for five years. Each year, she tripled the amount of patients seen by the clinic. She also taught audiology doctorate students during their first, second and third years and mentored capstone projects. In 2012, 24   mbu magazine

Ortmann successfully defended her dissertation and received her Ph.D., but desperately desired to return to the lab. She then was offered a post-doctorate research position at the University of Southern California. Ortmann researched a more precise methodology of measuring hearing capability through a grant provided by the National Institute for Health. Upon the completion of her research study, she returned home to St. Louis to work once again at Washington University. Today, her research is intertwined with the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. When infants are born, their senses are overwhelmed— especially hearing— and babies at low birth-rates and born prematurely are at greater risk for hearing impairment. “In premature babies, the auditory nerve and auditory cortex are forming quickly,” said Ortmann. “Before birth, babies are in a safe and quiet environment for the synapses to form and grow and then at birth they are introduced to a world of noise.”


“When   my patients and their families are confronted with hearing loss, I’m able to relate.” Her research will study if the noise of the NICU affects the health of an infant and whether growth of auditory synapses can be promoted by isolating sounds— a replication of the auditory environment inside the womb, where sounds are limited to a mother's heartbeat and voice. At Children’s Hospital, many of the infant patients seen are rushed by helicopter from rural hospitals. Ortmann’s research will also focus on the effect of loud noise from a helicopter on infants, and if reducing noise reduces hearing loss in the infant. In addition, Ortmann is involved with a study with cochlear implant surgeries. As a surgeon inserts the implant in the peasized cochlea, Ortmann takes measurements to gauge the success of the surgeon. With these measurements, the surgery moves a step closer to a surgery performed by a robot— reducing human error and providing the utmost stability needed for the delicate procedure.

Living Hope When Ortmann lost her hearing, a cochlear implant was in the testing phase, and not readably available like today. The technologies available today were merely dreams and in early stages of research when Ortmann was diagnosed at St. Louis’ Central Institute for the Deaf— the same building in which she works today. Ortmann’s hearing loss allows her to connect with patients, and provide hope to combat fear. “When my patients and their families are confronted with hearing loss, I’m able to relate,” said Ortmann. “They find it reassuring that I have been through these struggles, and believe me when I say, ‘It is going to be okay.’” This is especially true as children diagnosed with hearing loss today have even more hope. Thanks to early intervention and scientific progress, the children Ortmann sees playing basketball in the Central Institute for the Deaf’s school gym are far more likely to fully

engage with the hearing world by first grade. Comparatively, Ortmann was considered ahead of the curve by attending a class with hearing classmates in fourth grade nearly thirty years ago. When Ortmann sees the children’s success, she and her coworkers take heart that all of the time and effort in research are paying off. “We time our afternoon breaks to when school lets out and the students are running around and integrating with the world in a way that was improbable years ago,” said Ortmann. “Seeing these successes motivate me to continue to push further even during long, hard days in the lab.” It’s such motivation from researchers— now academic peers— that gave Ortmann the ability to thrive in the hearing world. And now in return, her dedication to research and her patients provide a light of reassuring hope and inspiration to the deaf and hearing alike. ■

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ALUM N I EDI TORI AL

AUTHOR'S BIO Dr. Joshua Mugg is an alumnus of Missouri Baptist University and faculty at University of Indiana Kokomo. He received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from York University. and graduated with a B.A. in Religion and B.S. in History from Missouri Baptist University in 2008. Mugg works in philosophy of psychology, mind, and metaphysics. His research centers on the architecture of human rationality, the nature of belief, and the implications of these two areas for philosophy of religion.

M

Stereotypes:

Hurt & Redemption The wounds of racism & discord healed by the promise of our Savior

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y spring semester at mbu in 2006 forever changed my views on race. My journey that semester started with Dr. Keith Beutler’s class on the history of the Civil War and Reconstruction Era, in which we read David Blight’s "Race and Reunion." In this book, Blight focuses on the history of the memory of the Civil War, in which the centrality of race was replaced with more neutral issues, such as states’ rights. Talking about race is messy and hard, talking about states’ rights is not. Then, issues surrounding race became personal when my family became biracial through the adoption of my little sister. The Spring Chapel speaker spoke on racism through the lens of the Gospel, arguing that the church was both part of the problem, but was also the only solution, to the persistence of racism in our world. Now, I spend a fair amount of my time thinking about racism as a philosopher. One issue I have been particularly worried about is how racial classification seems unavoidable, yet doing so leads to moral problems. Psychologists have done a lot of work to show us how even if we explicitly believe that all races are equal, we retain implicit biases that operate outside our direct control. Think of implicit biases as a cognitive habit or reflex: you can’t control it directly (as you can raise your arm), but you can slowly alter that habit indirectly (as you can lower your cholesterol by diet and exercise). While we cannot directly perceive implicit biases, we can observe their effects. Let me outline just one of those effects I have


I am not entirely sure how to get out of the tragic dilemma, but I think we can start by thinking about our Christian faith.

been researching: stereotype-threat. Suppose you have green eyes, and you live in a society where green-eyed folks are stereotyped as bad at math. You yourself don’t think the stereotype is true. In fact, most folks (green-eyed or not) don’t think the stereotype is true. However, in most movies the greeneyed characters can’t do math, green-eyed comedians joke about how they can’t do math, and so on. Everyone knows about the stereotype, even if they don’t agree with it. Here is the scary part: the mere awareness of that green-eyed stereotype can affect your performance on math. Time after time, researchers have found that when folks are primed with their membership in a group that is stereotyped (i.e. calling someone green-eyed) tends to cause them to act more in accordance with the stereotype (i.e. doing poorly on a math test)— even for those who do not agree with the stereotype. OK. We don’t live in a society that stereotypes green-eyed folks this way, but we are all aware of racial stereotypes. I am not saying that you agree the stereotypes are true, but you know what they are. So when, say, a black male is about to take a standardized test, if his blackness is mentioned right before the exam, he may succumb to stereotype-threat and do poorly on the test. Back in the day, every standardized test began with demographic information— activating every stereotype! Thanks to the work of these psychologists, we now collect demographic information at the end of the test.

So maybe we just shouldn’t stereotype (that seemed to be the message of the recent kid’s movie, "Zootopia"). It’s a simple solution, and, unfortunately, it has some problems. Stereotype-threat works like a self-fulfilling prophecy: some folks are stereotyped against, they succumb to stereotype-threat, and that just reinforces the stereotype, which makes the stereotype-threat all the more pressing, and on and on it goes. I’ve argued that the frightening result is that some of these stereotypes are often true, not because of inherent differences in the races, but because of our society’s history and how it is currently set up. After the Civil War, former slaves were promised 40 acres and a mule, in payment for hundreds of years of unpaid labor, but it didn’t happen. Instead, something like slavery continued in the form of sharecrop farming and Jim Crow laws. Today black people are arrested at much higher rates than white people and tend to face greater prison sentences for the exact same crimes. We are still stuck in that vicious cycle I was talking about a moment ago. So we face a tragic dilemma: using stereotypes hurts those stereotyped against, but we cannot avoid an awareness of stereotypes, and denying them would be irrational— since many of them are true (we set up society that way!). In my previous research, I have claimed that we can either be rational, or we can be moral. I am not entirely sure how to get out of the tragic dilemma, but I think we can start by thinking about our Christian faith.

The problem seems to be that right now society is structured so that some stereotypes are often true. How can it be rational to ignore them? Philosophers tend to think of knowledge and morality as two separate fields of study, but why do we care about knowledge at all? Certainly we need knowledge in order to build bridges, cure diseases, and get to our destination, but isn’t it more than that? Ultimately, knowledge is a gift from God, given to us that we might glorify our creator. The world is a broken place, and sometimes our knowing this broken world can cause more breaking. Stereotype is one example. If God gives us knowledge so that we might turn it back to him, we must let morality govern knowledge. In other words, what goodness is and how we should act dictate how we should know. Theology can help here. We live in a time between the resurrection of Christ, when Jesus conquered death, and the second coming of Christ, when God will put everything on Earth as it is meant to be. Theologians say that there is a tension between what God has already done and what he has not yet redeemed. Until Christ comes again, we live in this tension, but this is a call to us as Christians. We must live in anticipation of the fact that God will put things aright, and this, with the Holy Spirit indwelling us, gives us the strength to love God, love the world, and work for a world without racism. ■

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Where Are They Now? Kathleen Wendt (McCaffrey)

Jessica Arnold (Fears)

lives in University City, Missouri and serves as mbu’s director of teacher certification advising. She was selected as mbu’s Outstanding Staff Employee of the Year for 2016. One of Wendt’s favorite memories as a student was sledding on cafeteria trays down the hill behind the library, which is now the area that houses Spartan Village and The Perk.

lives in Hillsboro, Missouri with her husband, Tim, and two children. While at mbu, she enjoyed being a part of performance groups like chorale, chamber singers and Spirit Wing. Arnold began a new position as a 5th and 6th grade music teacher last year in the Hillsboro School District.

(B.A. in History ’79)

Craig Stout

(B.A. in Business ’81)

(B.A. in Music Education ’00)

Shawn Key

(B.S. in Psychology ’93) lives in Sofia, Bulgaria, where his family transplanted in 2015 to become full-time missionaries to the community. He is married to Natalie and they have two children, Chris and Josh.

lives in Princeton, West Virginia with his wife, Jane. He is currently a territory manager for Lawson Products, serves on the Board of Directors for the Princeton Rotary, the Board of Trustees for Bluefield College and is the baseball chaplain for the Tampa Bay Rays rookie team. He was involved in soccer and theater as a student and his favorite mbu memory was playing King Arthur in a production of “Camelot.”

(B.A. in Music Education ‘90)

lives in Mascoutah, Illinois, with her husband, John and has three children. Link taught music for 18 years before deciding to try something different. She began working at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport before transferring to her current job as lead transportation security officer (TSA) at MidAmerica Airport.

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(B.S. in Education '01, M.S. in Education, M.A.T. '05) was recognized this semester as one of three inductees to Missouri Baptist University’s Hall of Fame. Sinn was a First-Team AllAmerican for the Spartans in 2000 and one of the top players for four seasons. She was also named Missouri Baptist Female Athlete of the Year in 2001.

Melissa Payton (Gowen) Heather Claggett (Hayes)

Colleen Link (Sterling)

Jennifer (Freund) Sinn

(B.A. in Music Education ’97)

lives in O’Fallon, Missouri with her husband and two sons. Their family moved back to the St. Louis area two years ago after living in Indianapolis for 16 years. Her husband, Jason, (’96) serves as vice president of technology for 2W Technologies. She currently works as an elementary curriculum coordinator at First Baptist Church Harvester, volunteers and is an accompanist at Mount Hope Elementary as well Fort Zumwalt North High School.

(B.A. in Music Performance ’03)

lives in St. Louis with her husband, Ryan, and their daughter. She serves as the executive director for the Bach Society of St. Louis, an organization dedicated to performing classical and contemporary works since 1941.

Cheryl Wehde (Vaughn) (M.A. in Counseling ’03)

lives in St. Paul, Missouri with her husband. After 19 years working at Monsanto, she returned with a goal to teach before attending mbu and becoming a counselor. She currently serves as a school counselor for the Troy School District.


prepared for success

Tommy Wright (B.S. in Criminal Justice ’12; M.S. in Criminal Justice ’14) Tommy Wright Sr. knew from a young age that he had a desire to serve and protect through law enforcement. After years of experience in nearly every level of law enforcement, Wright currently serves as the Chief of Police in Trenton, Missouri. Growing up around police officers at a local café, Wright viewed them as role models. “The time these officers took to let me get in their patrol cars, play with the siren, and show me police equipment greatly influenced my perspective of police and increased my desire to become one,” Wright said. Wright received his bachelor’s degree in 2010 before earning a master’s in criminal

justice and law enforcement administration. While pursuing his degrees from mbu, he appreciated curriculum preparing him to step up as a leader while maintaining a Christian worldview. He noted that it was the professors who went above and beyond to create a lasting impression and to make mbu a welcoming place to learn. “Their level of selfless concern for student learning was second to none,” Wright said.

“They demonstrated a genuine concern for me and my education. They always greeted me with a smile, an encouraging word, and displayed an enthusiastic attitude toward student success.” Wright started his journey as a lieutenant at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office in 1993. Since then, he has had his hand in many different aspects of law enforcement, whether it be through teaching or practicing. A story of shining on.

Dr. Robert Anthony

(B.S. in Education ’05; M.S. in Education ’07) lives in St. Louis with his wife. He is a teacher for the Fox C6 School District and earned his doctorate of biblical studies with an emphasis in historical theology this year.

Anna Wright

Lisa Hessel (Donnici)

lives in Wentzville, Missouri with her husband, Matthew, and four children. She fondly remembers playing the Bösendorfer, an Austrian piano created in the 1800s, and participating in chorale, chamber singers and mbu Ringers. She teaches piano and is an accompanist, in addition to raising her family.

lives in Ballwin, Missouri with her husband, Jon (B.A. in Religion ’03) and their three children Kaden, Max and Ivy. Jon serves as pastor at The Journey West County and Lisa is a wedding and portrait photographer.

(B.M. in Piano Performance ’03)

(B.A. in English ’04)

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prepared for success

Kelly Barns (B.S. in Exercise Science ’16) Recent alumna Kelly Barns is on the move to continue her education and advance her career in exercise science. Currently pursuing a master’s degree in nutrition and exercise science, Barns dove into her new community at Southeast Missouri State University. Encouragement from mbu faculty led Barns to challenge herself at SEMO, where she met the professor who hired her as a lab director while working on her continuing education. “mbu provided me with a community of believers who not only lifted me up but helped propel me closer to my dreams and aspirations,” Barnes said. “I was constantly poured into and prayed for, which helped me survive and succeed through four years of my undergraduate degree.”

While at mbu, she developed a “pretend” program that would allow individuals with disabilities and special needs to jump and learn new skills in a safe and controlled environment. Her dream came to life when Sky Zone Fenton took on her idea. Defying Gravity has since been occurring once or twice a month at Sky Zone Fenton. Through this project, Barnes participated in conversations that ultimately led her to continue her education

in an effort to keep changing the world. She also serves as a female bike technician for the iCan Bike organization during the summer, where individuals with special needs are taught how to ride a two-wheeled bicycle. Barns plans to bring this camp to SEMO in the summer of 2017 to impact the individuals within the community. A story of shining on.

United States Air Force Band. While at mbu, he enjoyed mbu ringers, participating as first clarinetist with concert band, touring with Chamber Singers as a guest instrumentalist and performing for many local churches around the St. Louis area.

Jose Silva

John Brocato

Joe Myers

lives in St. Louis and works as a private tutor and adjunct professor at mbu. He is also an instrumentalist with the Air National Guard Band of the Midwest, which will be marching in the Tournament of the Roses parade in Pasadena, California in January 2017 with the

lives in Hazelwood, Missouri. He recently published his first book called, “Road Trips, Routes, and Royals: A Baseball Fan’s Journey Across the United States (and Canada),” which highlights baseball-filled trips made throughout his life. It is available for purchase on Amazon.

and his wife, Linda, reside in Lake St. Louis, Missouri. Myers was recently inducted into the Hall of Fame for Meritorious Service. In addition to playing for the mbu Men’s Basketball team as a student, Myers volunteered with the Men’s Basketball program as the junior varsity coach from 2011-2015.

(B.A. in Music Performance ’06)

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(M.A. in Teaching ’08)

(M.S. in Education, ’09)


wife, Torre (’11), and their two children. He was recently promoted to Trainer Manager for both St. Louis locations of The Exercise Coach, and will oversee an upcoming third location. He met his wife, Torre, at mbu, who started writing a newsletter that is distributed to approximately 400 homes in the Herculaneum area.

Ben and Stacie Chapman (B.A. in Education ‘10 and B.S. in Psychology ’10, M.A. in Teaching ’16)

live in Valley Park, Missouri. They welcomed their first child, Peter Morgan, on June 21. Ben is employed by the Special School District.

Michelle Keim

Lauren Surdyke (Peters) (B.S. in History ’12)

lives in Fenton, Missouri with her husband, Elliot, two daughters and son. After graduating from law school in 2015, Surdyke started her own small law practice in 2016, Surdyke Law LLC.

(M.S.E. ’09)

lives in Waterloo, Illinois. She has worked as a youth services coordinator for Southwestern Illinois College since 2014, where she helps youths obtain education and employment.

Dustin Stockmann

(B.S. in Education ’10; M.S. in Education ’12) lives in O’Fallon, Missouri with his wife, Denise. He is a teacher with Normandy Schools Collaborative and recently defended his dissertation and earned a doctorate in education leadership.

Danielle Berges (M.A. in Teaching ’13)

lives in Eureka, Missouri, with her husband, Ben, and daughter Paisley, who was born in March of 2016. She works as a teacher of middle school mathematics for the St. Clair R-XIII School District.

Jamie DeGeare (Banks)

Aaron Basler

(B.A. in Sports Management ’14) lives in Creve Coeur, Missouri. His favorite mbu memory is playing Spartan baseball and going with the team to the World Series in 2013. Basler is currently the vice president of 314 Sports Management, LLC. The company consists of the summer traveling baseball organization St. Louis Redbirds, 314 Tournaments between high school baseball teams in the area and 314 Training Academy, which serves as an indoor baseball or softball facility in Brentwood.

Leigh Burnett

(M.A. in Counseling ’14) lives in Royersford, Pennsylvania, where she recently started her second year in a doctoral program at Immaculata University, in addition to completing an externship with the Department of Veterans Affairs. She presented at the Pennsylvania Psychological Association’s Annual Convention on the psychology of human sex trafficking and will be presenting in June on Military Sexual Trauma. Burnett began her time at mbu right after getting out of the military and is thankful to the faculty and staff for helping her transition back into the civilian role.

(B.S. in Criminal Justices ’13)

lives in Hillsboro, Missouri with her husband, who is currently attending mbu to receive his doctorate of education. Jamie works as a legal assistant for the law office of Karie Pennington. A lover of animals and animal rights, she also works as a pet detective for Blue Buffalo to help pet owners establish a healthy relationship and learn about pet health, needs and activities.

Richard Carter III (B.S. in Accounting ’14)

lives in Hillsboro, Missouri. He graduated from Webster University with his MBA earlier this year and is currently pursuing a doctor of management degree from Webster as well. Carter is an auditor for the Jefferson County Government.

Justin Seffens

(B.S. in Exercise Sciences ’11) lives in Herculaneum, Missouri with his

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prepared for success

Ken Parker (B.A. in Church Music, Vocal Performance ‘88) Ken Parker, a former mbu Trustee from 1998-2007, is a pastor and president of the Missouri Baptist Convention. He began his term in the fall of 2016, and was previously the first vice-president from 2014-2016. Parker has served First Baptist Church in Kearney, Missouri as senior pastor for ten years. Under Parker’s leadership, the congregation has increased service efforts on a local, national and international scale. Parker also led an initiative that redeemed the church’s financial standing, and baptized nearly 300 individuals. Previously, Parker held leadership roles at churches located in Ill., Mo. and Ark. In 1988, Parker graduated from mbu with a B.A. in church music and vocal performance. He then continued his education at

John Hartin

(B.S. in History, 2014) was inducted into Missouri Baptist University’s Hall of Fame for his success in baseball and basketball. He was drafted by the Chicago Cubs after graduating from mbu. While at mbu, he averaged 20 points scored per game.

Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, earning a M.Div., D. Div, and a M.A. in counseling. He has been married to his wife, Lori, since 1998. Parker also teaches courses at the

School District. She recently finished her master’s in curriculum and instruction. Her favorite mbu memories are with her roommates and the friendships that are still strong today.

Oscar Rojas

(B.S. in Sport Management ’14)

Ashley McRoy

(B.S. In Elementary Ed ’14; M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction ’16) lives in O’Fallon, Missouri and works as a second grade teacher for the Wright City

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Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, in addition to other colleges in Missouri and Arkansas. A story of shining on.

lives in St. Charles, Missouri. He was married in July of this year and serves as assistant director of Soccer Shots.

Jessica Stamps

(B.S. in Health Science ’14) lives in St. Peters, Missouri. She recently began a new job with Mercy Hospital as a patient access representative. While attending mbu, Jessica was a cheerleader and enjoyed being a part of the homecoming activities every year.


Sam Youngblood

Genevieve Woodward (Sullivan)

(B.S. in Exercise Science ‘14; M.S. in Fitness Management ‘15) lives in St. Louis and works part-time with the health and sport sciences department at mbu. He is also currently in the process of starting a nonprofit, Benefit Fitness, where he will be using fitness as a way to build community, giving and health. Youngblood has a goal to grow his new business from a single church class to multiple classes at one church, then multiple classes at multiple churches.

(M.S.E. ’15)

Jammie Hogan (M.A. in Teaching ’15)

lives in St. Clair, Missouri where she works as a process coordinator in the local school district. She lives with her husband and four daughters. Hogan’s favorite memory was the day she received her diploma and is thankful for the opportunity mbu gave her to complete her degree while working.

lives in Eureka, Missouri. She is a performing arts department chair and works with dance education at Ursuline Academy, which recently received membership in the National Honor Society for Dance Arts (NHSDA). Woodward was selected by the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) to pilot the National Standards for dance education last spring. She found the pilot program to be very affirming of the education she received from mbu for her master’s degree in curriculum and teaching.

Tyler Oesch

(B.A. in Theatre ’15)

Ryan Arnold

(B.A. in Broadcast Media ’15) lives in St. Louis and works as a freelance videographer for Higher Education Channel Television. He was married to Glynis Sekarski, who is also an mbu alumna, this year.

Katie Green

(B.A. in Sport Management ’15; M.S. in Sport Management ’16) moved to Monroe, Louisiana after graduating in the spring of 2016, where she began working as the assistant director of athletics and media relations at University of Louisiana Monroe. While attending mbu, Green was active in volleyball and the Health and Sport Sciences Club. She was also a sports information graduate assistant and junior marshal.

began his first teaching position in August 2016 as a middle and high school social studies teacher in Vandalia, Missouri. While attending mbu, he was active in the chapel band, SpiritWing, chorale, InCharactre, jazz band and more. He lives with his wife in Troy, Missouri.

Christine Platter (M.A. in Counseling ’15)

lives in Hillsboro, Missouri, where she works as disability support services coordinator at Jefferson College. She is married to Eric and has seven children. Platter is currently pursuing an education specialist degree from mbu to expand on her education background.

Betty Scott (McDermott) (M.B.A. ’15)

lives in St. Louis and is a research assistant at the Orthopedic Center of St Louis. She was married in May of 2016 at The Club at Porto Cima in the Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri.

Victoria Byrd

(B.S. in Human Services ‘16) lives in Sullivan, Missouri. She recently began working at McCallum Place Eating Disorder Center in St. Louis where she works as a direct care worker, meal therapist and occasional group leader. Her favorite mbu memories include working as a resident assistant for three years. She also served on mbu mission trips to Guatemala twice in the past four years. Victoria writes for Odyssey, a social media platform where she has popular posts about being an American and more.

Kaye Nelson (Munsil) (B.A. in Liberal Arts ’16)

lives in Champaign, Illinois with her husband, Brett. The couple was married June 18. Kaye works for Serionix, Inc., coordinating their marketing and customer relations efforts. While at mbu, Nelson worked as a public relations assistant in the Office of University Communications.

mbu magazine  3 3


in memoriam

Ronald G. Brandly Education professor Ronald G. Brandly passed away on Sept. 25, 2016, at the age of 70 after a year-long battle with cancer. Brandly worked within the field of education for 47 years and recently served as an adjunct professor of education at mbu’s Troy/ Wentzville Regional Learning Center. He is survived by his wife of 35 years, Debby, and their sons, Mark and James (Ashley) Brandly.

Angela Harrelson Cruz mbu alumna Angela Harrelson Cruz passed away at the age 42 in Franklin, Tenn. on Nov. 13, 2016. Cruz received her B.A. in social and behavioral science in 1995. She was involved in SpiritWing at mbu before embarking on a career as a professional singer for more than 20 years. Cruz is survived by her husband, Alexis, and sons Joshua and Benjamin, who live in Franklin, Tenn.

Teresa (Williams) Brown Teresa (Williams) Brown passed away on Nov. 20, 2016. She served as a proud mbu employee working as a full-time bus driver, where she drove athletic teams and student groups on long distant trips and shuttled students around campus. She leaves behind her husband Clinton C. Brown, four children and five grandchildren.

Cynthia Darlene Payne After a courageous battle with cancer, Cynthia Darlene Payne passed away on Nov. 23, 2016 at age 52. As the University receptionist, she was the greeting face and voice of mbu. She is survived by her two sons, Jason (Neely) and Justin (Natasha). Payne was known for her proud support of mbu and investing in the lives of students.

Freshman Destiny Shocklee listens to the mbu Chamber Singers perform "Silent Night"during the University's 33rd Hanging of the Green Nov. 29 .

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the cru x o f the i ssu e

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9 Amen. mbu magazine  3 5


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MBU Magazine | Winter 2016  

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