Belmont students Nicole Smart and Lisa Rybaczuk presented the colors before the women’s basketball game versus Mercer University on Nov. 11 in recognition of Veterans Day. Smart is studying public relations management, and Rybaczuk is studying accounting.
On Nov. 16, nine Belmont club tennis players traveled to the Champion’s Club in Chattanooga, Tenn. to compete in the team’s first tournament. Schools from all over the south came to compete in the USTA Tennis on Campus Southern Championship in hopes to win a bid to the USTA Tennis on Campus National Championship.
Belmont Team A beat Georgia State University and Belmont Team B beat University of Tennessee Chattanooga. There were also several other matches that Belmont came very close to winning. Each member of the club team greatly enjoyed being able to get back out on the courts to compete in a truly competitive match. It was an opportunity for the team to get to know each other outside of practice and build friendships while also playing a sport they all have a passion for. Now knowing what the competition is like and having learned the unique rules of the Tennis on Campus program, the team is ready to focus harder in practice to be prepared to compete again in the spring.
The Belmont Club Tennis team was approved in September, and players have been practicing hard to prepare for competition. The club practices twice a week by drilling, working on match play, and playing other tennis games at Centennial Sportsplex.
The Honors Program hosted a C. S. Lewis/ J. R. R. Tolkien reading group and discussion series this fall on the Chronicles of Narnia and finished the last book on Thursday night, Nov. 21, the day before the 50th anniversary of the death of C. S. Lewis in 1963. Beginning on October 10, the Belmont Narnia group met one afternoon a week at 6:30-7:30 p.m. for tea and cookies, fellowship and fun reflection on Lewis’ great Christian fantasy series. Each member of the group led discussion on one Narnia book and brought food and some questions. “The Narnia books are part of the enduring legacy of C. S. Lewis,” said Professor and Honors Chair Dr. Jonathan Thorndike noted. “Very few authors have instant recognition by name only 50 years following their death. The fact that people are still buying and reading books by C. S. Lewis shows that he gave us words of wisdom and engaging stories that have the power to transform lives.”
Thorndike will be teaching a special course on C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien next summer at King’s College-London through CCSA.
Dr. Lori McGrew, associate professor of biology, and two of her research students, Katie Farrell and Jordan Gann, attended the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) in San Diego, Calif. on Nov. 9-12. The international conference draws more than 30,000 neuroscientists who share the latest research in the field and is the world’s largest meeting focused on scientific discovery related to the brain and nervous system.
McGrew presented a poster in the “History and Teaching of Neuroscience” theme. Her poster was titled “How to Design Group Projects that Successfully Foster Collaborative Learning.” Farrell and Gann presented posters describing their undergraduate research projects during the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience chapter meeting and poster session. Gann’s poster was titled “Effects of Glyphosate Exposure on Anxiety-Like Behavior in Danio rerio” and Farrell’s poster was titled “Does Bacopa monniera Play a Significant Role in Improving Cognitive Function and Memory in Zebrafish?”
In addition to these presentations, McGrew and the students were able to meet other neuroscience researchers and learn about their current research. The group was able to attend a number of lectures concerning key events in neuroscience this year. One such lecture series focused on implementation of President Obama’s BRAIN initiative. In an address in April 2013, the president outlined why now is the ideal time to revolutionize our understanding of the mind and make real strides in curing brain disorders. The SfN lecture series included leaders from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency who discussed the plan for implementation of the BRAIN initiative. Other special lectures included “Behavioral Sciences in the Courtroom” and “Adjusting Brain Circuits for Learning and Memory.” Overall, McGrew and the students learned a great deal about current advances in neuroscience, shared some of their own discoveries, and returned to Nashville, Tenn. with a plethora of new ideas
The Nashville Children’s Choir (NCC), a Belmont ensemble, had the opportunity to sing back-up vocals for performing artists Michael W. Smith, Darius Rucker and Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles during the “CMA Country Christmas” special filmed Fri., Nov. 8, at Bridgestone Arena.
The NCC’s 23 Touring Choir choristers are coached by directors James Wells, an adjunct instructor in the School of Music, and Madeline Bridges, associate dean of the School of Music. The choir rehearsed the music, recorded their vocal parts at a local studio and then sang in the live taping in front of a capacity crowd at Bridgestone Arena.
“The choristers had a fantastic experience performing with these big-name artists and experiencing the behind-the scenes procedures and processes required to produce such a major event,” Bridges said.
The Nashville Children’s Choir is a city-wide choir program for boys and girls ages eight to 18. The choir is a part of the pre-college music program, the Belmont Academy. Since its founding in 1991, the NCC program has been in residence at Belmont and functions as an ensemble of Belmont University School of Music, singing regularly as a part of “Christmas at Belmont.”
In addition, many Belmont students and alumni performed in the orchestra during the special. The live orchestra on stage for the event included six string players who are current Belmont music majors or recent graduates.
Nettles hosted the special, and performers included Lady Antebellum, Mary J. Blige, Trace Adkins, Luke Bryan, Sheryl Crow, Jake Owen, Kellie Pickler, Rascal Flatts, Darius Rucker and Belmont Trustee Michael W. Smith. The program will air at 8 p.m. Central/9 p.m. Eastern on Mon., Dec. 2 on ABC.
Students and faculty from Belmont University School of Physical Therapy were again instrumental in coordinating two charitable events that occur annually in Nashville, Tenn. each fall. Over 100 student volunteers provided the main logistical support for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Nashville on Oct. 26, and again for Dierks Bentley’s Miles and Music for Kids motorcycle ride and concert in Middle Tennessee on Nov. 3.
The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure race attracted 26,000 people to the Maryland Farms YMCA to support the fight against breast cancer. Physical therapy students assisted with course setup and clean up, served as course marshals at the start and finish lines, and were available throughout the race to hand out water and help with crowd control. The student participation in race is facilitated annually by Belmont professor Michael Voight who co-chairs the event. Voight said he support Komen because 75 percent of every dollar raised in the region remains in Middle Tennessee and is granted to other local non‐profits.
“These non‐profits are working on the front lines to battle breast cancer, educating both women and men on the value of early detection and promoting awareness to low‐income and non‐insured individuals,” Voight said.
Dr. Pat Sells, associate professor of physical therapy, who leads the race volunteer program for the school said, “The manner in which our students conducted themselves overwhelms me. They were kind, energetic, dedicated and willing to do whatever was asked of them. I received so many positive comments on them, I was truly proud to be considered as part of their team. Managing a race course with 26,000 people and doing so flawlessly was an impressive feat.” (more…)
Faculty and students from the Gordon E. Inman College of Health Sciences & Nursing lent their expertise to the public last week at a Fall Awareness and Prevention event hosted by Williamson County Parks and Recreation. Health professionals from each discipline in the college were on hand to assist seniors with strategies to keep active and falls free: ideas about effective home modifications and the use of assistive devices from the School of Occupational Therapy, counsel on the proper use of medications from the School of Nursing, information on community resources from the Social Work Department and suggestions on shoe wear and exercises to increase flexibility, mobility and strength from the School of Physical Therapy.
“This was a great opportunity for our college’s faculty and students to work together in serving the seniors in our local community with ideas for preventing falls”, said Dr. Debra Gibbs, assistant professor of occupational therapy, who coordinated Belmont’s participation in the event.
Every 15 seconds, an older adult is seen in an emergency department for a fall-related injury. Nationally, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for those aged 65 and over, and the chances of falling and being seriously injured in a fall increase with age, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
The Tennessee Bar Association recently announced third-year law student Katie Blankenship will receive its 2014 Law Student Volunteer Award. The Law Student Volunteer Award recognizes a student who has provided dedicated and outstanding pro bono services to an organization that is primarily engaged in providing legal representation to the indigent. Award winners will be honored at the Tennessee Bar Association’s 2014 Public Service Luncheon on Jan. 18 in Nashville, Tenn.
Belmont University art students shared their time and talent Nov. 9 to help a local animal rescue with its largest fundraising event. More than 250 animal lovers attended the only animal-themed masquerade ball to help raise money for Agape Animal Rescue, a non-profit organization that has been fostering and finding homes for displaced dogs since 2004.
With admission, ball guests received custom animal masks made by local artists. Approximately 100 of the masks designed by art students from Belmont. The masquerade event was the biggest fundraising event in organization’s history and raised more than $30,000.
Each semester, art professor David Ribar chooses a large-scale art project for his senior capstone students to complete as part of their midterm grade.
“I was looking for a project that would stimulate and utilize their design and fine art skills, and I also wanted to reiterate Belmont’s mission of paying it forward,” said Ribar.
Agape Animal Ball committee member asked Ribar to have students help contribute to their fundraiser.
“Agape Animal Ball was built on the concept of having beautiful, one-of-a-kind animal masks. When reaching out to the community for support, Belmont, a school known for its excellence in the arts, was an obvious choice,” said Tanya Willis, executive director and founder of Agape Animal Rescue. “Fundraising events are vital to the work we do. With the support of the Nashville community, we have rescued, fostered and found incredible homes for more than 800 dogs. “
Belmont University received eight visitors from Japan in late October. The group consisted of six members of the Fujieda International Friendship Society (FIFS) and the parents of Belmont University’s Japanese language instructor Dr. Naoko Ozaki. On the Maymester Japan Trip last year, Belmont University students and faculty visited Ozaki’s hometown, Fujieda City, Shizuoka Prefecture, and the FIFS group arranged generous hospitality for them in the city and the homes of their members. With their help, Belmont students visited Fujieda Elementary School and were welcomed by fifth graders with songs and a calligraphy demonstration. FIFS group also arranged for the Belmont group to receive a warm welcome from the vice mayor of Fujieda City. Upon her return from Japan this summer, Ozaki stayed in touch with the FIFS members and extended an invitation for them to visit Belmont. It wasn’t long before the FIFS members decided to accept this invitation and came all the way to the United States just to visit Belmont and Nashville, Tenn.
Belmont Japanese language students and the Maymester Trip students held an “FIFS Appreciation” event and sang eleven songs in Japanese, Swahili and English. The visitors sang along and also danced with the students. The event concluded with a potluck party with the help of custodial staff who brought food unique to their home countries. The group stayed with Nashville host families in the area, visited the Nashville mayor’s office and went to the Office of the Consul General of Japan and met Consul-General Kato. The students also took the visitors to restaurants such as Cheesecake Factory and Hard Rock Café where the visitors took pictures of all-American hamburgers and large portions of cheesecake slices. The delegation was hosted at a luncheon given by Belmont’s Asian Studies department and members of the Japan Studies faculty.
Dr. Tohru Ozaki and Mrs. Atsuko Ozaki, parents of Ozaki, brought a Ryūkyū Doll to Dr. Bob Fisher and the University. This doll is from the southern part of Japan known as Okinawa today. The style and the fabric of the outfit represent those of the time Okinawa was called Ryūkyū Kingdom from the 15th century, and the outfit is different from Japan’s traditional kimono.
The Ozakis live in Fujieda City, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. Tohru Ozaki is one of a few elite scholars of Sumerian and cuneiform in the world. Much of his publication is studied and referenced by other Sumerian scholars. After retiring from teaching at the University of Shizuoka, he taught Sumerian, German, and French at Northeast Normal University in Changchun, China for four years. Atsuko Ozaki has spent her career working with people with autism, helping them to be participating citizens of the community. Being back in Japan now, they are looking forward to helping the students on Belmont’s Maymester 2014 Japan Trip experience the unique culture of Japan.