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First-Year Writing Class Explores ‘Freedom’ at Thistle Farms

Thistle Farms class VisitStudents from Charmion Gustke’s First-Year Writing class, “Why Freedom Matters,” spent a recent morning at Thistle Farms, a social enterprise that is run by the women of Magdalene House. Magdalene is a residential program for women who have survived lives of prostitution, trafficking, addiction and life on the streets. After meeting with the women for their Wednesday morning devotional, where stories are shared and blessings are celebrated, students toured the facility and experienced, first-hand, the community of Magdalene and the freedom that is found in cooperation. The morning ended with students relaxing next door at the Thistle Stop Café where they were asked to blog and reflect on their experience. This photo was used in the Thistle Farms newsletter of the week.

Honors Program Hosts Guests from Aquinas College

HonorsHostAquinas

Pictured from left to right: Pearce, Dr. Jonathan Thorndike (Belmont Honors Director) and Urbanczyk

Belmont’s Honors Program recently hosted two guests from Aquinas College in Nashville: Joseph Pearce, writer-in-residence and director for the Center for Faith and Culture, and Dr. Aaron Urbanczyk, dean of Arts and Sciences at Aquinas. Urbanczyk delivered a special lecture to the entering class of first-year Honors Program students on one of the foundational texts of Western philosophy and Christian theology, St. Augustine’s Confessions.  The Honors students read Augustine’s Confessions as a text in their entry course on “Classical Civilizations.” Urbanczyk talked about the importance of reading, literacy and the Roman education system in the life and conversion experience of St. Augustine.

Pearce has written on a wide variety of literary figures including William Shakespeare, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, Oscar Wilde and Alexander Solzhenitsyn. He was awarded the prestigious John C. Pollock Award for Christian biography for his book on Solzhenitsyn. His most recent books include Shakespeare on Love: Seeing the Catholic Presence in Romeo and Juliet (2013) and Bilbo’s Journey: Discovering the Hidden Meaning in the Hobbit (2012). Pearce is the editor of the St. Austin Review and editor for the Ignatius Critical Editions published by Ignatius Press.  Pearce will return to Belmont in January as a special guest lecturer in an Honors course on the Inklings of Oxford.

Dr. Urbanczyk’s teaching and scholarly interests include American literature, literary theory and 20th century Catholic fiction.  His essays, articles and reviews have appeared in Religion & the Arts, the St. Austin Review, The Intercollegiate Review, Modern Age, Essays in Arts & Sciences, Papers on Language & Literature, the Journal for Cultural & Religious Theory, Perspectives in Religious Studies, The Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Quarterly, The Catholic Thing, and the Ignatius Critical Editions of Frankenstein, The Scarlet Letter and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Biology and Education Faculty and Students Attend the Tennessee Environmental Education Association Meeting

(L to R) Jeffers, Lee, Millward, Panvini, Alsup, Pitts and Keast

(L to R) Jeffers, Lee, Millward, Panvini, Alsup, Pitts and Keast

Biology professor Darlene Panvini, education professors Lauren Lunsford and Sally Arwood and several Belmont students attended the annual Tennessee Environmental Education Association meeting at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, Tenn. on Sept. 26-28. The Belmont faculty members gave a presentation titled “Reading in the Garden: Integrating Science and ELA CCSS through Informational Texts,” which included information about the professional development institute. This institute was held for middle and high school teachers in summer 2014 at Belmont as part of a grant received from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. Biology students Katelyn Keast, Chelsea Lee and Lindsay Millward, environmental science student Alex Jeffers, as well as environmental science alumni Erin Pitts and Sylvia Alsup attended the event.

Belmont Approved for Actuarial Validation by Education Experience

Belmont University has been approved in all three actuarial categories for Validation by Education Experience (VEE).  As part of qualification for full actuary status, applicants must demonstrate knowledge in the areas of economics, corporate finance and applied statistical methods.  This is typically accomplished by taking approved undergraduate courses at approved universities.  Belmont submitted applications for course approval in these areas.  The VEE program is jointly sponsored by the Society of Actuaries, Casualty Actuarial Society and Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

The actuarial profession is usually ranked in the top five of career choices.  Actuaries work in the insurance and financial sectors and specialize in analyzing the financial impact of risk and uncertainty.  Contributing to this initiative were Belmont faculty Associate Professor of Economics and Music Business Jennifer Fowler, Associate Professor of Finance Joe Smolira, Associate Professor of Economics Marieta Velikova, Assistant Professor of Mathematics Barbara Ward and Professor of Mathematics Danny Biles. Current mathematics major, Mary Yang, and alumni, Nikki Finuf (2008), also contributed to these efforts.

College of Business Students Participate in First-Ever Cat Financial Case Competition

catTen Belmont College of Business students participated in the first-ever Case Competition hosted by Cat Financial Young Professional’s group on Sept. 16. The competition was created to use diversity of thought and inclusion to solve a real business problem at Cat Financial. Five teams, each comprised of two Belmont students and three Cat Financial employees including a six Sigma Black Belt, competed against each other to come up with the best and most innovative solution to the problem posed in the case study. The teams were given 24 hours to work as a team to come up with a solution and develop a presentation to present their recommendations. They each had 15 minutes to present in front of a judging panel and audience. Maggie Fincher, a junior entrepreneurship major, and Ananta Sharma, a senior economics and applied mathematics major, were members of the first place team.

Pharmacy Students Certified as Immunizers

ImmunizationsTraining2Sixty-seven second year pharmacy students enrolled in Pharmaceutical Care II course, taught by Dr. Elisa Greene and Dr. Alisa Spinelli, recently became certified immunizers.  Utilizing the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Pharmacy-Based Immunization Delivery program, students completed 20 hours of self-study, didactic and skills-based training. Topics included vaccine preventable diseases, the role of pharmacists as vaccine advocates and administrators, legal and regulatory issues and injection technique. This is the third year that students enrolled in the course have participated in the certification program.

Over 50,000 people die from vaccine preventable illnesses in the United States each year. Immunization-certified pharmacists have expanded community access to protection against vaccine preventable diseases, such as influenza, shingles, and pneumococcal disease.  The Institute of Medicine estimates that immunizations, including pharmacist-administered immunizations, have helped to prevent 14 million infections and 33,000 additional deaths from these conditions each year.

Belmont Equestrian Club Wins at First Competition of the Year

horse 2The Belmont Equestrian Club won three first place ribbons at the Intercollegiate Horse Show, the first competition of the year, which was hosted by Sewanee: The University of the South on Sept. 27-28.

Members Caitlyn Marsh, Courtney O’Connor, Mary Ritchea and Meg Anderson competed in the hunter/jumper discipline of equestrian sports against schools such as Vanderbilt University, the University of Tennessee, the University of the South and Murray State University. The riders brought back a total of eight ribbons.

“During my first show with the Belmont Equestrian Club, I learned that we were not only a club, but a team that supports one another in every way. I am a freshman who wanted to join the Belmont Equestrian Club to find a fun and diverse group of people that all shared a common love for horses, but I found so much more thanks to this supportive group,” Meg Anderson said about the Belmont Equestrian Club.

The Belmont Equestrian Club is open to all Belmont University students who express a passion for horses. Club members compete at two competitions each semester as well as attend monthly meetings, weekly lessons, and club events. For further information contact belmontequestrian@gmail.com.

 

Summer Scholars Present Undergraduate Research

summer_scholars_2014The Belmont Summer Scholars program recently hosted a poster session showcasing the research conducted by the student and faculty participants in the 2014 Summer Scholar Communities.  Summer Scholars is a program of undergraduate research in which faculty mentors in the College of Sciences and Mathematics guide students in the collection, analysis and sharing of data. It blends the structure of a summer session class with the format of a research team focused on a faculty-designed research project. The Summer Scholar Communities program students spend 16-18 hours per week for eight to ten weeks on a research project working with several other students and faculty mentors. The scholar communities gather throughout the summer to discuss their research challenges and successes.  The poster session provided a venue for sharing that experience with other students and faculty.

Dr. John Niedzwiecki mentored a group of students whose research focused on predator avoidance behavior.  These students collected snails from a nearby stream and measured the snails’ ability to detect and avoid predators.  The snails were able to detect differences in type and size of the predator as well as how long ago the predator was present.  Students Nicole Knowles, Taylor Mills, Raina Burley, Sonia Kadakia and Brielle Davis worked with Niedzwiecki on this project.  These students will also present their findings at the Tennessee Academy of Sciences meeting at Walter State Community College and Belmont’s Science Undergraduate Research Symposium (SURS) this fall.

Dr. Lori McGrew’s research group used zebrafish (Danio rerio) to assess differences in memory and anxiety following treatment with various chemicals.  The chemicals tested by this group included: nicotine, buproprion (an antidepressant), triclosan (an antimicrobial), a pre-workout supplement and a cannabinoid-like compound.  The students were able to determine that both triclosan and the pre-workout supplement increased anxiety while the cannabinoid compound and buproprion decreased anxiety as measured in the Danios. Student researchers included Karah Parker, Iqra Wahid, Hensley Barnes, Jaime Wesley and Cassie Wyatt. These students will present their findings at the Society for Neuroscience Conference in Washington, DC as well as SURS this fall at Belmont.

Belmont Faculty and Students Attend Actuarial Meeting

CASE_2014Dr. Danny Biles, professor of mathematics, and five of Belmont’s actuarial program students attended the 2014 annual fall meeting of the Casualty Actuaries of the Southeast (CAS) at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Ga. on Sept. 22.  Annie Brunelle, Stephen Sells, Savannah Halliday, Elly Fell and Katie Kruzan gained knowledge of current issues in the actuarial profession and made contacts with several practicing actuaries. The CAS focuses on supporting casualty actuaries who are committed to achieving their full professional potential while maintaining the highest standards of conduct and competence.

Belmont School of Nursing Recognized for Their Work with Freedom’s Promise

Taplin pictured here with her husband, Chaz, and Cambodian leaders.

Taplin pictured here with her husband, Chaz, and Cambodian leaders.

Belmont School of Nursing students and faculty were featured in a recent edition of the Freedom’s Promise newsletter for their work during this summer’s study abroad trip to Cambodia. The nursing program has long partnered with Sihanouk Hospital Center of HOPE in Cambodia but is now working more and more with Freedom’s Promise to help with their efforts.

Freedom’s Promise’s mission is to prevent human trafficking and child exploitation in Cambodia through individualized community development programs resulting in trafficking-free safe zones.  Through one of their programs, Belmont students interacted with villagers on a daily basis and taught them life-saving hand washing techniques. They also increased the quality of community health by providing education sessions focused on nutrition and disease prevention.

Dr. Susan Taplin, assistant professor of nursing and 2014 DNP graduate, leads the program’s efforts in Cambodia and has traveled there with students for more than 10 years.

“If you don’t take care of the illness first, you’re not going to get anywhere else. Teaching them something as simple as hand washing can increase their life expectancy and quality of life. You and I have always known to wash our hands, and we don’t know what it’s like to not have that education,” Talpin says.

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