Belmont students Louisa Wendorff, junior songwriting major, Devin Dawson, senior songwriting major, Jacob Durrett, sophomore audio engineering technology major and 2014 alumna Blythe Thomas received the Christmas gift of a lifetime when their Taylor Swift mash-up was noticed by the country music star herself.
The song is an arrangement of Swift’s “Blank Space” and “Style” and features Wendorff and Dawson in a folk/acoustic style duet. The video, created and produced by Thomas, showcases both singer-songwriters and the song’s audio was done by Durrett.
To endorse Wendorff and Dawson’s rendition of her popular songs, Swift tweeted the link to the video on Dec. 27 with one word – “OBSESSED.” In addition to Swift’s post, the mash-up cover has been featured on TIME, TeenVogue, Huffington Post and Entertainment Weekly, among others.
Since the song’s coverage, Wendorff’s EP has grown to #2 on the iTunes singer songwriter chart and #57 on the overall charts.
The University celebrated the graduation of approximately 400 students and conferred 308 undergraduate, 90 master’s and 1 doctoral degree during the ceremony.
Dr. Robert C. Fisher, president of the University, presided over the event. Dr. Jonathan Thorndike, professor and director of Belmont’s Honors Program, presented the commencement address. In April, Dr. Thorndike was given Belmont’s 2013-2014 Presidential Faculty Achievement Award, an award presented each year to the faculty member who has made outstanding contributions to student life outside the classroom.
Belmont University made a big impact in last night’s Next Awards, which recognizes innovation in business and entrepreneurship in Middle Tennessee. The competition, which rewards both individuals and companies and is built around the concept of “what’s NEXT in the entrepreneurial landscape of Nashville and Middle Tennessee,” is run by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Nashville Entrepreneur Center.
Three Belmont students—Tim Downey (Picd.us), Ben McIntyre (Internpreneur) and Channing Moreland (What’s Hubbin’)—were named in September as the top finalists in the Young Entrepreneur of the Year field with Downey taking home last night’s trophy.
Downey’s business, Picd.us, was started with co-founder and fellow Belmont student Geoffrey Gross in July 2014 around the idea to incentivize a company’s customers to post brand-related content to their social media accounts. This in-turn will broaden the company’s digital market reach. Downey and Gross have been busy with launching their website, starting the patent process, working on web design and product mockups as well as pitching their ideas to potential investors.
Downey said, “To have this award from Nashville is an incredible form of validation that my work is really making an impact… Belmont assisted me in my success through the incredible entrepreneurship professors. The time and attention that every Belmont entrepreneurship professor has shown me is unreal. This award is going to benefit my future just by continuing to push what I expect from myself. I honestly did not think I was going to get it, because the work Ben McIntyre and Channing Moreland have done is absolutely incredible, and I look up to both of them so much.
Junior Moreland was nominated for her work with fellow Belmont students Makenzie Stokel and Seth Clarke to expand the success of their startup What’s Hubbin,’ a company founded to help Nashvillians navigate through the local music scene. The trio also were the winners of the 2014 Belmont Student Business Plan Competition hosted by the Center for Entrepreneurship.
Launched last year, What’s Hubbin’ has more than 3,000 users in the Nashville area including students, area residents and tourists. Users can view a calendar of shows at various stages and explore short profiles of all the local venues and local artists, tailoring their user profile to their own musical preferences.
Entrepreneurship major Ben McIntyre, who was also chosen to compete in the National Entrepreneurship Organization’s (EO) Global Student Entrepreneur Award competition, was named a finalist for his business, Internpreneur, a company which partners with employers to create “high-impact internship programs where businesses get real projects done and students get the experience and hands on learning they need to move into full-time employment after graduation.”
The young entrepreneurs were scored by a panel of judges who graded candidates on their entrepreneurial spirit, their product/service and their company’s ability to create jobs and add value for stakeholders.
Companies and organizations, meanwhile, were judged across five industry categories: digital media/entertainment, health care, social enterprise/sustainability, technology and products/services. Corporate eligibility was measured by each stage of growth regardless of industry with the categories titled Startup, Growth and Market Mover. Belmont University won the Market Mover field in the social enterprise/sustainability category.
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher, who was on hand to accept the University’s award, wrote in the University’s Next application, “While many higher education institutions focus on career training and personal success, Belmont seeks to offer a truly transformational education. The university aims to develop individuals holistically—intellectually, spiritually, socially and physically—and to empower students to develop their gifts so that they can engage and transform the world. These efforts attract the best and brightest students from every state and 25 countries. With a focus on efficiency and cost control, Belmont carefully manages resources and diligently analyzes the budgeting process to ensure fiscal strength. As a nonprofit institution, our priority is on serving our students well.”
To learn more, visit www.nextawardsnashville.com.
For a audio recap by Belmont alumnus and Online Events Manager at Nashville’s TechnologyAdvice, Clark Buckner, see below.
Belmont’s College of Law National Health Law Moot Court Team competed against schools from all over the country at the National Health Law Moot Court Competition on Nov. 8 in Carbondale, Illinois. After six rounds of arguments, the team was named National Champions. Comprised of law students Courtney Lutz, Heath Henley and Ben Conrady and led by College of Law faculty member Amy Moore, the team also received commendation for a second place brief. A second team of students—Samantha Simpson, Jordan Kennamer and Parker Brown—made it to the competition’s top 16, the Octofinals, before being beat by their Belmont peers. The Belmont teams were accompanied by Professor Jeffrey Usman and Sean Alexander, a 3L student member of the Board of Advocates and team assistant coach.
Participants in the National Health Law Moot Court Competition hailed from the following law schools: Chicago-Kent College of Law, Drexel University School of Law, Faulkner University School of Law, Georgia State University College of Law, Hamline University School of Law, Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Notre Dame Law School, Nova Southeastern University, Saint Louis University School of Law, Seton Hall School of Law, South Texas College of Law, Suffolk University Law School, Texas Tech University School of Law, Thomas M. Cooley Law School, University of California-Hastings College of Law, University of Colorado, University of Maryland School of Law, University of Pittsburgh School of Law, University of Tulsa College of Law and University of Washington School of Law.
“They [the students] faced a constant barrage of difficult questions from practicing attorneys and state and federal judges who were playing the role of the United States Supreme Court for these arguments. The questions required the team members to understand the administrative, disability, employment and healthcare law issues presented by the case with great sophistication and to be able to think on their feet,” Usman said. “Belmont Professor Amy Moore, the director of advocacy for the College of Law, had the students extremely well prepared, not only in terms of their oral advocacy skills, but also to represent themselves and Belmont with great civility.”
The competition, the only one in the nation devoted to health law, is co-sponsored by the Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Law Center for Health Law and Policy, the SIU School of Medicine’s Department of Medical Humanities, the American College of Legal Medicine and the American College of Legal Medicine Foundation.
Meanwhile, Belmont College of Law’s National Moot Team—comprised of Michael Holder, Travis Brown and Chandler Farmer—competed in Birmingham, Alabama and won both preliminary rounds of oral arguments against Samford University and the University of Alabama before missing the cut to the semi-final round.
With an emphasis on experiential learning, Belmont’s School of Nursing provides students with the opportunity to participate in human simulation labs. For Nursing Instructor Sara Camp’s Adult Health II students, this meant taking part in an End of Life lab that simulated the death of a patient, with a volunteer acting as a grieving family member.
When the participating students arrived, they were aware of their patient, Lisa’s, prognosis. Equipped with her report, they were tasked with guiding Lisa and her family member through her final stages of life. As Lisa’s heart rate and pulse slowed, the volunteer family member’s questions sped up. Similar to what would occur in a hospital setting, students were responsible for providing care and comfort for the patient, while assisting the family during a particularly challenging time.
Belmont University Web and Marketing Developer Jon Blankenship participated in the simulation because of a personal connection he has to caregivers who specialize in end of life treatment. His father was recently diagnosed with end stage colon cancer and through the experience, “the one constant we have is how wonderful Dad’s nurses are to him and to us,” Blankenship said. The opportunity to contribute to the education of a nurse who could play that same role for a family in the future was what made Jon sign on. For those nurses, “there aren’t enough thanks to give,” he said.
Camp is committed to equipping students with the skills needed to care for the family system, not just the patients they are assigned. Often, nurses are expected to be experts on caring for patients in their final stages of life in a hospital, regardless of their training or comfort level. Camp said many bedside nurses aren’t confident in the end of life training they have received and because of that, are not adequate resources for new nurses to turn to. “Given that the end of life is such an important event in the life of our patients and their families, it seems irresponsible to leave this to on the job training,” she said.
Senior nursing major and simulation participant Blair Bailey would agree. “It is nice to have practiced skills in lab, prior to actually performing the skills in the hospital,” she said. “I will definitely be able to take what I learned from this simulation and take the experience into the real world as a nurse.”
In a debrief following the simulation, senior nursing major Mark Wolter, discussed the challenge of moving from a proactive treatment mentality to one that comforts the family and patient through the final stages of life. Because of Lisa’s signed DNR and DNI, once the final stages of life had come, there was no medical intervention that could be done. Instead of working to raise a heartbeat once it had dropped, the care team was responsible for ensuring the comfort and ease of both the patient and the family. “At this point in a patient’s care, you are treating everyone close to the patient, and you realize the impact that you can have as a nurse in keeping the situation as peaceful as possible,” he said.
Through this and countless other simulations included in Belmont’s program, students are given the opportunity to practice their skills through first hand experiences, preparing them for clinicals and post-graduation careers. Wolter said he is grateful for the emphasis Belmont puts on experiential learning and knows the program continues to advocate for more and more opportunities. “I’m a nail and hammer kind of learner, so that has helped me in a profound way,” he said. “The experiences I have had while at Belmont are beneficial because I have had varying experiences that I will build from in my first job and first few years as a nurse. I am thankful.”