What if a 10-year-old built your house? On Monday, Belmont University student organization Enactus—a group dedicated to using entrepreneurial actions to transform lives and build a better, sustainable world—partnered with If I Had a Hammer to host a build on Belmont’s campus with school-age children serving as the construction crew. And it’s all for a great cause—promoting STEM education.
Hammer, as the program is known, emboldens and teaches children the value of math and other STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) through the fun, real-life experience of building a house. Though careers in STEM fields are increasing, studies show that children are becoming less interested and more intimidated by these areas.
“We are grateful that Belmont University is partnering with us to give a 5th grade class an educational day they won’t soon forget,” said Perry Wilson, founder of If I Had A Hammer. “The Hammer House Build is a fun and engaging experience that helps students connect what they are learning in the classroom to how they will use it in the real world. That’s why the foundation of the Hammer Math program is built on fractions and measurement. After working with over half a million children for the past 20 years, we realize that if children can master fractions, it can unlock their potential to do higher-level mathematics. It gives children the opportunity to master the skills needed for a career in the STEM fields.”
The Bridges to Belmont Scholars Council partnered with Metro Parks and Recreation, Edgehill Family Resource Center and MDHA’s Resident Association at Edgehill Apartments to host the fourth annual Halloween Bash on Oct. 31.
With a focus on safety and fun, the event featured activities including corn hole, human tic-tac-toe, pumpkin bowling, witch races and plenty of candy. Scholar Council Event Chair and Coordinator Anthony Buchanan said, “My main goals for this event were simple – just provide a safe place for kids to have a good time, have fun and eat as much candy as they can.”
The Halloween Bash started in 2011, when Belmont University Greek Life and Athletics pioneered the inaugural event with great success. Based on the response from the Belmont and Edgehill communities, the annual event has continued to garner more and more attention and participation.
This year’s event did not disappoint. Although temperatures were frigidly low and forced activities to be moved inside the community center, energy and excitement ran high as children from the Edgehill community participated in Halloween games, trick or treated for candy and proudly touted their costumes. With approximately 300 neighbors in attendance, the event continues to remain a staple in the Edgehill community and allows children an alternative, safe way to celebrate the holiday.
The Scholars Council was happy to take on the annual event, as community service and selflessness is a key component in the Bridges to Belmont program. Program Director Mary Clark said, “Events like this are always a great way to reach out to the local community and for Belmont faculty, staff and students to be a blessing to someone else.”
President and CEO of IEX and former Head of Electronic Sales and Trading at The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Brad Katsuyama spent Wednesday presenting to students and area executives at events sponsored by Belmont’s Center for Executive Education and Edward C. Kennedy Center for Business Ethics.
The subject of Michael Lewis’s international best-seller “Flash Boys,” Katsuyama is most known for his refusal to adopt Wall Street’s practices of high frequency trading and dark pools, and instead, create his own transparent market to conduct trading in the way he believes the stock market was originally intended.
Although leaving his job at RBC was a challenge, Katsuyama knew he was in a position of power and if he saw things he didn’t agree with, it was time to make a change. “I felt this compelling purpose to say, ‘I’m probably in this position for a reason, and I have to do something about it,’” he said. For Katsuyama that meant quitting his job and structuring a team to create a new exchange built around innovation, transparency and fairness.
Since IEX launched in October 2013, the organization has seen rapid growth, but it wasn’t immediate. It took the team many months to raise the required funds and because of that, employees, including Katsuyama, weren’t paid what they were making in previous positions.
With a family and young children, this posed a challenge for Katsuyama, who says he learned that money isn’t as important as he initially thought. “Money becomes so much less meaningful, but it’s only until you don’t have it that you realize how unimportant it really is,” he said.
Now that Katsuyama is finding himself at the heart of the high frequency trading controversy, he continues to be committed to his belief in what the stock market was created to be – a transparent, open exchange for consumers. IEX utilizes technology to ensure they are able to access information at the same speed as high frequency trading firms. Although some organizations have used technology to create an information sharing asymmetry, giving an advantage to one party over another, IEX and Katsuyama are committed to utilizing technology for the advantages it provides all parties.
“Technology is a great amplifier,” Kaysyama said. “We are using [it] to create fairness, as opposed to skirting around it or even distorting it.”
When asked about values that contribute to his commitment to best practices and information transparency, Katsuyama said, “I view myself as someone lucky enough to have found the right people and make some good choices.” At the end of the day, Katsuyama believes the market should operate on fairness, and he is willing to fight for it – even if it means going up against some of Wall Street’s biggest players.
Fowler shares insights on state of music business in Music City
This week 22 foreign ambassadors representing countries spanning six continents were welcomed to Nashville on a tour sponsored by the State Department. Intended toengage the ambassadors with prominent business and community leaders as well as local entrepreneurs, the group of dignitaries paid a visit to Belmont University Thursday morning as part of an event organized by the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, the Nashville Health Care Council and Belmont.
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher welcomed the special guests to campus, noting, “It’s exciting for us to have you here. You’ve come to a campus of 7,300 students representing every state in the U.S. and 38 countries, including some of yours… During your time in Nashville, you’ll hear that we’re Music City and that we’re a healthcare capital, but you’re also hearing from me that we’re a higher education city. We are approaching 100,000 higher education students here in Middle Tennessee at the various colleges and universities in this region.”
Following a welcome by Nashville Mayor Karl Dean—who jokingly encouraged the ambassadors to “feel free to spend all you want. You need those cowboy boots!”— His Excellency Ashok Mirpuri, Ambassador of the Republic of Singapore, took the podium to express his gratitude on behalf of the visitors. “Thank you to the city of Nashville for such a warm welcome. You have been gracious hosts, and thank you for being so open with the world. You are truly a globalized city.”
Belmont’s College of Theology and Christian Ministry (CTCM)hosted a Regional Festival for the Academy of Preachers on campus Oct. 24-25. The Academy of Preachers is an organization that seeks to inspire young adults ages 14-28 to explore their call to gospel preaching. The Academy hosts three regional festivals throughout the country and one national festival each year.
CTCM Dean Dr. Darrell Gwaltney said, “We welcomed 20 young preachers to campus who preached on the theme ‘Tell Me a Story,’ received feedback from evaluators, and encouragement from peers in preaching circles. Among the young preachers were CTCM alumni Larry Terrell Crudup (’10) and Sarah Garrett (’13) and current CTCM students Julia Crone and Brooke Pernice.”
All four Belmont students and alumni will likely participate in the national festival in Dallas in January.
In addition, the young preachers participated in peer group conversations about preaching and listened to sermons from Gwaltney, as well as professors from Sewanee: The University of the South, Trevecca Nazarene University and Vanderbilt Divinity School.
Belmont students Emily Dempsey, Nikhil Saxena and Jim Mixon were panel members for Tuesday’s convocation centered on their experiences growing up in Portugal, Abu Dhabi and Kenya, respectively. A presentation designed to engage students in dialogue surrounding Belmont’s campus theme, Living in a Global Community, the discussion included a question and answer structure where audience members asked about topics including cultural differences, transition challenges and religious tolerance.
Although the students grew up in a number of countries, their perspectives on global communities were similar. Dempsey, who grew up in Portugal, said that living abroad for much of her life has enhanced her communication skills. “Not necessarily expressing myself, but understanding people. When you have people from everywhere with all kinds of accents and English is their second or third language…understanding what they mean, not just what they say is important,” she said.
Both she and Mixon came to Belmont to pursue a love for music, a career they hope to couple with a love for service and people. Through music, the pair said they believe they are able to communicate on a deeper lever than with words and can use the global language to bypass barriers and cultural differences.
Despite living in the U.S. for college, Mixon said he will always call Kenya his “patriotic home.” Living in international communities teaches you that home is relational and communal. Often, friends in these communities only stay three to five years, so you learn to find a home internally. “Home is the thing that I take with me. I’m creating my home with me,” Mixon said.
The convocation was the first of a monthly series designed to bring Belmont’s campus theme to students in an engaging way.
Office currently enjoying one of institution’s highest ever first destination rates at 92 percent
Hundreds of people invaded Neely Dining Hall Wednesday, all dressed in their professional best, as representatives from more than 75 area companies came to campus to recruit Belmont students and alumni for job and internship opportunities.
The event represents just one of the numerous gatherings held year-round involving Belmont’s Office of Career & Professional Development. From organizing participation in large-scale community job fairs to meeting one-on-one with current students and graduates seeking professional career coaching, the Career Development staff plays a critical role in Belmont’s efforts to promote the best possible outcomes for students’ education.
Patricia Jacobs, director of the Office of Career & Professional Development, said, “We have an amazing Career Development staff who are focused on being student-centered, helping our students and alumni find their passions as well as where those passions intersect with the world’s needs. Everyone is focused on positive outcomes for our graduates, and we’re partnering with areas across campus on this important work.”
Until recently, the Office of Career & Professional Development was known as the Office of Career Services, but the change in name was made to better reflect the mission of Belmont University and the purpose of the office. The timing of the new nomenclature comes when Belmont is enjoying one of its highest First Destination Rates ever, 92 percent, a figure that represents the percentage of graduates who secured full-time employment, enrolled in graduate school or enlisted in military service within six months of graduation.
Belmont juniors Channing Moreland, Makenzie Stokel and Seth Clarke continue to expand the success of their startup What’s Hubbin,’ a company founded to help Nashvillians navigate through the local music scene, through local and national recognition. Moreland, Stokel and Clarke were the winners of the 2014 Belmont University Student Business Plan Competition hosted by the Belmont Center for Entrepreneurship.
WhatsHubbin.com was launched last year and 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.
Earlier this week, co-founder Moreland was selected to participate in the Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s Global Student Entrepreneurship Award pitch competition in Miami, Fla. on behalf of What’s Hubbin’. In addition, What’s Hubbin’ was one of 10 companies chosen to participate in the second annual Sparks pitch competition hosted by SouthernAlpha last month. This competition drew established entrepreneurs including Marci Harris from PopVox in Redwood City, Calif., and Sanjay Parekh, a founder of Startup Riot in Atlanta, to judge the competition.
Moreland is also a finalist for the 2014 NEXT Awards’ Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for her work with What’s Hubbin’. Presented by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, the NEXT Awards recognize entrepreneurial-minded companies in Middle Tennessee, as well as the entrepreneurs who make a significant impact on our local economy, helping to make Nashville one of the best cities in the U.S. to start a business.
Moreland credits the Belmont entrepreneurship program with much of the company’s success.
“Belmont has provided so many opportunities that we may not have had otherwise,” she said. “After we were accepted into the Student Business Accelerator program, we were introduced to the Entrepreneurship Village which introduced us to all of these pitch and business plan competitions.”
Moreland continued that their professors have continued to provide advice and support on the company’s future endeavors. The company is currently working on redesigning the website and creating a mobile app before expanding to other cities.
Dr. Karen Swanson spoke to students, faculty and staff about lessons to be learned from worship in prison at a convocation event in the Chapel on Monday. Swanson is director of the Institute for Prison Ministries (IPM) at the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College.
She began her presentation by challenging the audience to put themselves in the shoes of the imprisoned.
“Use your imagination as we enter into the world of incarceration,” she said.
She then described the harsh conditions of both national and local prisons and the unfortunate circumstances that lead to most of the inmates’ incarceration. She explained that many of these inmates turned to crime as a last resort to provide for themselves and their families. Because of the lack of resources, these individuals lacked opportunity and therefore turned to criminal activity for solace. She continued by stating that Christian worship, when done well, can help these inmates encounter God and transform their lives.
When these inmates were asked what “worshiping behind bars” meant to them, they responded, “I’m looking for mercy, not forgiveness.”
A New York City native who lived much of his childhood in California, Belmont junior Jackson Wells’ life to date has spanned both coasts of the United States, but it’s a faraway locale that has captured his imagination. For this songwriting major and pop performer the Belmont motto “From Here to Anywhere” has taken on dramatic significance as his long-held fascination with Chinese culture has carried him to the heights of fame overseas, with fans literally numbering in the hundreds of thousands.
“After taking eight years of Spanish in school, I just found myself getting tired of it and started developing a real interest in Chinese,” said Wells, who began studying Mandarin in high school and is also minoring now in Chinese at Belmont. Belmont was a perfect choice for Wells due to the University’s prominence in music business fields and its location in Music City, but it also keeps the young singer-songwriter close to home as his family moved to Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee several years ago. And the Tennessee connections helped launch an unexpected journey that’s led to unimaginable success.
Knowing his interest in the Chinese culture, the Chinese tutor of one Jackson’s school friends invited him to go to China in 2012, for what Jackson thought was an opportunity to teach English to students there. Instead, he was encouraged to bring his guitar and asked to perform in the International Youth Music Festival in Chengdu. That year Jackson played in front of about 5,000 people. Return trips saw his audience gradually grow, and his prominence also began to rise exponentially on YouTube, with three music videos garnering more than 1.8 million views internationally. Two years later, Wells’ popularity in China has exploded. His most recent trip in August found him performing as a headliner at the festival, this time playing to more than 470,000 fans over three nights.
Famed author and speaker Sheryl WuDunn spoke to students, faculty and staff about the growing global wealth gap and the solutions for bringing about change around the world during a campus-theme convocation event held in Neely Dining Room on Wednesday.
WuDuun is the first Asian-American Pulitzer Prize winner and is the co-author with her husband Nicholas D. Kristof of two best-selling books, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide and A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity. The latter work investigates the art and science of giving by determining the most successful local and global aid initiatives, evaluating the efficiency and impact of these charities and fundraising approaches. She currently works with entrepreneurs in new media, technology and social enterprise at a small investment banking boutique in New York City.
During this convocation, WuDunn discussed individuals and organizations that are making a difference both locally and globally in income inequality and other human rights issues. She explained that no individual can single-handedly solve all the world’s problems, but there are many solutions that can bring about change and a number of ways the public can get involved and support these notable organizations.
Belmont’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America scored significant acclaim this week with numerous national awards at the parent organization’s national conference, held Oct. 10-14 in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Bonnie Riechert, associate professor and chair of Belmont’s Department of Public Relations, was honored for her work as faculty adviser to the Belmont Chapter of PRSSA. Riechert received the national PRSSA Outstanding Faculty Adviser Award, based on service to the PRSSA Chapter through dedication and creative chapter guidance, effective student motivation, exceptional contributions to public relations education, supportive chapter advocacy and representation within the academic department and with the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) sponsor Chapter and its members. The award includes an engraved trophy and a cash prize. Accredited in Public Relations and a member of the PRSA College of Fellows, Riechert has served as the Belmont PRSSA faculty adviser since coming to the faculty in 2006. She is the current president of the PRSA Nashville Chapter.
New location serves to further advance region’s academic development in science, technology, engineering, math fields
Belmont University and Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) announced today that the Middle Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub will be moving to Belmont’s campus, effective immediately, providing a centralized location to support the region’s educational advancement in the academic disciplines of the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). More than 18 percent (or 125,230) of the region’s jobs require STEM skills, and positions are anticipated to continue to grow at a fast pace in STEM industries throughout Middle Tennessee. Further development of STEM programs—along with partnerships among higher education, K-12, nonprofits and businesses—will be crucial to national and regional economic stability and growth in the coming years.
Belmont Provost Dr. Thomas Burns said, “Belmont University is committed to being a higher education leader in STEM education as shown in the recent opening of our Wedgewood Academic Center, which features more than 20 science lab spaces and over $2 million of state-of-the-art lab equipment, not to mention our recent establishment of a new College of Sciences and Mathematics. We believe locating the STEM Innovation Hub on Belmont’s campus is a perfect next step to help position it to develop even more partnerships with K-12 schools, higher education institutions and businesses while also expanding our own impact in these vital STEM fields.”
Dr. Jay Steele, chief academic officer at MNPS, added, “The move of the STEM Hub to Belmont will lead to partnerships with a greater number of colleges and universities in the Middle Tennessee region for advancing STEM initiatives, the promotion of new partnerships with businesses for advancing STEM initiatives, and the promotion of curriculum and instruction related to STEM content that will promote STEM with teachers and students throughout Middle Tennessee. I look forward to our continued relationship with Belmont and the STEM Innovation Hub.”
Belmont University’s Jack C. Massey Graduate School of Business is an outstanding business school, according to education services company The Princeton Review. The company features the school in the new 2015 edition of its annual guidebook, “The Best 296 Business Schools.”
Jack C. Massey College of Business Dean Dr. Pat Raines said, “The Princeton Review is the most widely respected business school guide in the U.S. Belmont University MBA students say exactly what a top program would want: our programs are challenging, they prepare students for the dynamic global economy, and our faculty are accessible, knowledgeable and teach from experience. It is an honor to be listed for the ninth consecutive year.”
“Our students and alumni will be pleased to see that our Princeton Review rankings streak continues,” said Associate Dean Dr. Joe Alexander. “And I feel certain Mr. Massey himself would be very proud to see that the program he first envisioned in 1986 is now routinely mentioned in the same sentence as our nation’s other top graduate business programs.”
The Princeton Review’s survey asked 21,600 students at the 296 schools their opinions of their school’s academics, student body and campus life as well as about themselves and their career plans. The student surveys analyzed for this edition were conducted during academic years 2013-14, 2012-13 and 2011-12.“The Best 296 Business Schools” has two-page profiles of the schools, and the Princeton Review editors describe the program as a “great classroom-based education that is flexible enough for a working student” and “balanced between verbal, interpersonal and mathematical reasoning abilities.” The profile also highlights Massey’s mandatory study abroad program and many concentrations, including accounting, entrepreneurship, finance, general business, healthcare, marketing and music business.
Chapel marks launch of Belmont’s Shoebox Drive
Belmont students Alina-Sarai and David Gal-Chis spoke to faculty, staff and students about Operation Christmas Child and their experience with the program during a convocation event held on Wednesday in the Chapel. The Gal-Chis siblings received Operation Christmas Child boxes in Romania as young children.
The world’s largest Christmas project of its kind, Operation Christmas Child uses gift-filled shoeboxes to share God’s love in a tangible way with needy children around the world. Since 1993, nondenominational nonprofit Samaritan’s Purse has collected and delivered more than 113 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in over 150 countries through Operation Christmas Child. More than 500,000 volunteers worldwide, with more than 100,000 of those in the United States, are involved in collecting, shipping and distributing shoebox gifts.
“Their mission is not just to bring joy to children. It goes beyond that. It has to do with the love of Jesus Christ and being able to show that through the gift of giving,” said David.