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Coding challenge tests skill, opens doors to job market

On the same day that Drury and Southwest Baptist universities went head-to-head on the basketball court in mid-November, two other groups of students were engaging in a different kind of rivalry in the classroom.

Each year, O’Reilly Auto Parts sponsors a hacking challenge between the two schools’ computer science departments. The event provides students hands-on experience solving problems within computer code, and it gives O’Reilly recruiters a chance to reach out to future talent. This year’s edition on the Drury campus saw teams of students examining code in a game of Tetris to find – and fix – various bugs.

“Our company is driven by technology,” says Ashley Warner, technical recruiter for O’Reilly. “We come out here to encourage the students to continue to pursue a career in the field, and hopefully they’ll remember we were here and they’ll think about careers at O’Reilly one day.”

Drury students (from left) Cory Harris, Kylie Pfaff and Sydney Stark work as a team to find and fix bugs in a video game application during a hacking challenge between Drury and SBU. O’Reilly Auto Parts sponsors the annual event as a way to connect to upcoming talent.

Drury students (from left) Cory Harris, Kylie Pfaff and Sydney Stark work as a team to find and fix bugs in a video game application during a hacking challenge between Drury and SBU. O’Reilly Auto Parts sponsors the annual event as a way to connect to upcoming talent.

Dane Wommack is a Drury senior who’s also currently an intern software developer at O’Reilly. He helped create the exercise and says these events help budding developers with problem solving skills.

“It helps you learn how to look at something,” he says. “It’s that ability to be able to take a problem and break it down into tiny sections.”

This was the first such experience for Ben High, a freshman computer science major at Drury. Though he’s been programming for six years already, he says the exercise helped him improve his ability to read and comprehend code written by others. He was on a team with two seniors, which was also a boon.

“I went for the experience but also to hang out with other programmers and be on the same level as people who are higher up in years,” he says.

A team of SBU students won the challenge, earning bragging rights and some Amazon gift certificates. Afterward, the students mingled and ate a catered dinner. They also participated in another short coding puzzle that came directly from O’Reilly’s corporate interview process.

The Drury-SBU rivalry is a great recruiting backdrop for O’Reilly, says Lori Newman, talent acquisition technical specialist with the company.

“We like problem solvers in our company and I think liberal arts colleges help develop those kinds of skills,” she says. “That’s huge for us from a human resources standpoint.”

Newman and Jeremy See, a software developer at O’Reilly, both praised the computer science programs at Drury and SBU.

“From a technical standpoint, the Drury interns that we get are at the top,” See says. “They are the most proficient and most efficient coders that we get. There’s apparently a pretty solid computer science program here because all of them are on their feet and running as soon as they get in the door.”

Nicholas Jaross, an applications development supervisor at O’Reilly, stressed the importance of keeping local talent pipelines open.

“When I went to school there was a prevailing idea that I’d have to move to Seattle, Silicon Valley or New York City to get a great job,” he says. “But there is a lot of technology here. You don’t have to leave. There’s a lot of great opportunity for wonderful careers right here in Springfield, Missouri.”

RELATED: Drury launches degree in game development

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Drury names four new members to its Board of Trustees

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Nov. 29, 2016 — Drury University’s Board of Trustees welcomed four new members to its ranks during its fall meeting, and began the process with new Drury President Dr. Tim Cloyd of engaging in a shared vision for the future of the school with the administration, faculty and staff.

Drury’s Board of Trustees meets in full twice annually, in spring and in fall. This was the first full board meeting for Cloyd, who assumed the office on July 1.

During the Board meeting, Dr. Cloyd spoke to trustees about accomplishments to date, including recruitment and restructuring of talent on the Senior Leadership Team, a renewed focus on empowering faculty and staff to do their best work, and the inherent strength that comes as a result of everyone across campus speaking about Drury with a positive, unified voice. He praised the work of faculty and staff so far this semester, including the broad-based efforts responsible for bringing in the largest incoming freshman class in many years.

Cloyd and members of Drury’s Senior Leadership Team also began meaningful discussions with trustees about what Cloyd referred to as “The Big Three” strategic initiatives for the University’s long-term future: Developing a market positioning platform that is unique and defining of the Drury experience; designing a campus master plan that advances institutional priorities; and undertaking a comprehensive, multi-year campaign that will support the mission of Drury through its 150th anniversary in 2023 and beyond.

Cloyd (center) presents board members Bill Hart (left) and Danny Lay (right) with GRATAHAD t-shirts signaling that “Great Remarkable Affirming Things are Happening at Drury.”

Cloyd (center) presents board members Bill Hart (left) and Danny Lay (right) with GRATAHAD t-shirts signaling that “Great Remarkable Affirming Things are Happening at Drury.”

“Dr. Cloyd’s leadership experience and strategic way of looking at every issue will serve Drury well,” said Lyle Reed, chair of the Drury Board of Trustees. “We look forward to working with him and the faculty as we guide the institution we all cherish to even greater heights.”

“This was certainly an exciting and energizing board meeting given the recent string of good news so far this fall, and because of the strategic roadmap laid out by Dr. Cloyd’s leadership team,” said Steve Edwards, CoxHealth CEO and Drury Trustee. “The task for all of us now is to continue to build on those recent successes and not limit our imagination as to what we can accomplish.”

The four newly appointed Trustees include:

Dickerson

Dickerson

Rob Dickerson, Springfield, Missouri – Dickerson is a commercial insurance agent with Barker, Phillips, Jackson. He graduated from Drury in 1990 with a degree in Business Administration and a minor in Economics. He went on to Southern Methodist University to earn his MBA in 1991. Prior to his current business activities, he was a large Papa Murphy’s franchisee and owner/officer for Laker Fishing. Dickerson was an adjunct faculty member at Drury and a member of the Business Advisory Board for Drury SIFE. Dickerson joined the Breech Advisory Board in 2008.

Frederick

Fredrick

Gail L. Fredrick, Springfield, Missouri – Fredrick graduated from Drury in 1969 with a B.A. in business administration and economics. He received an MBA from Drury in 1972, and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1975. Fredrick currently practices law in Springfield and has been active in Drury activities since graduation, including past president of the Drury Booster Club and member of the Sports Hall of Fame Committee. He has served as a member of the Missouri Public Defender Commission, Missouri Arts Council and currently serves on the Springfield Sports Commission and Springfield Area Hall of Fame Committee.

French

French

Lindsay French, Springfield, Missouri – French owns Dynamic Body, LLC in Springfield, a mind-body studio that includes over 100 movement classes a week, 25 employees, massage therapy, skin care, acupuncture, a wellness boutique featuring athleisure wear, and more. French earned a B.S. in Business Administration in 2002; and an MBA in 2004, both from Drury. She is a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority, and has served on boards for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the Developmental Center of the Ozarks and the Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks.

Scott

Scott

Suzanne (Suzie) Scott, Evergreen, Colorado – Dr. Scott has over 20 years of domestic and international experience in higher education. She has over 15 years’ experience in engineering design education in the Middle East and the United States. Scott holds a faculty position at the Colorado School of Mines where she participated in the development of the Petroleum Institute of Abu Dhabi, working on a team that adapted a western university model to Middle Eastern culture. She has also coordinated international engineering design competitions and organized intercultural forums between the two schools. Scott holds a B.A. from Drury, an M.A. from Washington University and a Ph.D. from the University of Denver.

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The Beauty of Studying Abroad

Story by Jessie Roller 

A recent exhibit at the Drury University art gallery on Commercial Street celebrated Drury’s study abroad programs and the beauty students found in their experiences.

“Study Abroad: The Student View” featured photos that gave an inside look at the different study abroad experiences of more than a dozen Drury students. Students who study abroad say they learn about other people and cultures, but also frequently say they learn about themselves, too. About 40 percent of all Drury undergraduates study abroad during their college career.

“Aphrodite,” Aphrodite, Cyprus 2016, by Mohannad Almazroa.

“Aphrodite” – photo by Mohannad Almazroa taken in Cyprus, 2016.

Kashif Masoud, an architecture major, was heavily influenced by the rich history of the places he traveled to during his study abroad experience. Being able to experience the history that he had read about in the cities where it had occurred gave him a stronger sense of what it would have been like to live through.

“In some cases it was an eye opening experience to learn about the skill and workmanship of those times and in other cases it was a realization of how humans have developed and advanced their way of life,” he says.

Kashif’s three photos tell the stories of the places he traveled, really capturing the essence and history of these places, as well as observing their architectural importance and beauty.

“They shed light on the value of a study abroad trip that opens one’s minds to great works of architecture that have influenced the world,” he said.

"Boathouse" - photo by Kashif Masoud taken in Italy

“Boathouse” – photo by Kashif Masoud taken in Italy, 2016.

Trevor Cobb, a Spanish major, traveled to Ecuador last summer to experience Latin and South American culture first hand, rather than just learning about the culture from books, in a classroom. Living within a different culture had him constantly learning and adapting to new ways of life.

“Nothing ever felt boring or old,” he says.

He said that even the everyday things, like going to class or to a café, were exciting simply because he was on a different continent. Cobb’s photos reflect the different experiences and moods of his experience in Ecuador. They also include the people that made his trip even more memorable.

"Deer" - photo by Claire Lennard taken in Glencoe, Scottish Highlands, 2016.

“Deer” – photo by Claire Lennard taken in Glencoe, Scottish Highlands, 2016.

“One of the most surprising things about the trip is how close I got to the other students from Drury that I went on the trip with,” he says. “I expected to gain new knowledge and discover another culture, but I didn’t expect to make such great friends that I would keep at Drury. The photos of people helped me to capture memories that I can share with my peers.”

Ultimately, study abroad experiences are meant to broaden one’s perspective on the wider world. That is exactly what architecture major Yasmeen Al Tamimi (an international student from Kuwait) says her travels – and her photographs – are all about.

“My photos illustrate the wonderful things in this world,” she says. “It is to show that there is so much more to see.”

“History’s Imprint on Today” - photo by Karis Kononiuk, taken in Northern Ireland 2016.

“History’s Imprint on Today” – photo by Karis Kononiuk, taken in Northern Ireland 2016.

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Drury and OTC sign agreement to benefit honors students

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., November 21, 2016 — Ozarks Technical Community College Honors program graduates who transfer to Drury University will automatically be eligible for honors-program admission and scholarships thanks to an articulation agreement signed today, Nov. 21 at Drury University.

“Many outstanding students attend OTC before pursuing a bachelor’s degree, and the OTC Honors program provides them with challenging curriculum in an atmosphere of scholarship,” said Todd Yerby, OTC Honors program director. “Now, we are thrilled to enter a great partnership with Drury that will provide these high-achieving students with financial and academic incentives to transfer.”

The agreement between OTC and Drury grants the first four OTC Honors program graduates ─ who have been accepted into Drury University and possess a grade point average of 3.75 or higher ─ admittance into the Drury Honors program. These four students will also receive a scholarship of at least $6,500 per academic year that is renewable for up to eight semesters.

otc-and-drury-honors-agreement-signing

The Drury Honors program will admit more OTC Honors program graduates if additional space in the program is available. Students with a GPA below 3.75 may still apply to the Drury Honors program if a letter of recommendation from the OTC Honors program director accompanies their application.

“OTC students will bring a wealth of experience and talent to our program,” said Dr. Richard Schur, director of the Drury Honors program. “We can expect great things from these students as they use Drury’s resources to complete research and service learning projects that will not only enhance their academic journeys but also benefit our local community.”

The OTC Honors program enrolls approximately 50 students each academic year. The program is open to current college students or incoming freshmen. For admittance into the program, students must meet a set of academic standards, complete an essay and provide three academic references. To graduate with OTC Honors program distinction, students must complete honors courses, volunteer at campus and community events, and maintain a high GPA.

Drury’s honors classes ask students to pose solutions to scientific, social, and cultural problems; engage in service learning projects throughout the region; complete research projects; and dig deeply into scholarly literature. The program spans a student’s entire academic career and caps off with an in-depth senior project of their own choosing. Honors graduates have recently been accepted into some of the best graduate schools in the country, including Harvard University, Georgetown University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Missouri.

This is the third articulation agreement signed between the OTC Honors program and a Missouri four-year university. OTC also has agreements with the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Missouri Southern State University in Joplin that provide OTC Honors students with academic and financial incentives to transfer.

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Drury bests Southwest Baptist in third annual CatFight Giving Challenge

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., November 16, 2016 — Alumni and supporters of Drury and Southwest Baptist universities raised a combined total of more than $104,000 during the third annual Bank of Bolivar CatFight Giving Challenge. Drury came out on top in the friendly competition, raising $78,343 to SBU’s $25,689. Bank of Bolivar has also contributed $2,000 to Drury as the competition’s winner and $500 to SBU.

Drury President Dr. Tim Cloyd receives a check from Bill Owen, Senior Vice President of Bank of Bolivar.

Drury President Dr. Tim Cloyd receives a check from Bill Owen, Senior Vice President of Bank of Bolivar, at halftime of the DU-SBU men’s basketball game.

The fundraising event has become an annual challenge adding to the longstanding on-court rivalry between the Panther and Bearcat basketball teams. The schools sought to raise $13,000 each over the 13 days leading up to game and aggressively surpassed their goals. The final push for donations took place during Tuesday’s CatFight double-header at Drury’s O’Reilly Family Event Center. Drury won both the men’s and women’s basketball games on the court as well.

“Drury Panthers rallied together to achieve victory in this year’s challenge,” said Wayne Chipman, Executive Vice President of University Advancement at Drury. “We were impressed with the support from our alumni and friends who rose to the challenge and supported annual student scholarships. This is a great competition between the two schools and a special thanks goes to Bank of Bolivar for encouraging this friendly competition.”

Money raised by Drury will support students through the Annual Drury Experience Fund. Money raised by SBU will go to the university’s annual scholarship fund.

The Annual Drury Experience Fund is an effort to raise $1.5 million in annual scholarship and financial aid support for students with limited financial resources. Gifts to the Annual Drury Experience Fund will:

  • Increase the number of students who receive financial support.
  • Provide engaged learning experiences and leadership development opportunities for students.
  • Create opportunities for students to continue their education and improve their desired skills.
  • Provide professional connections and skills development for students.
  • Award stipends for field research, classroom travel and business partnerships.
  • Provide on-site, real-world, engaged learning and professional development for students.

For more information about Advancement at Drury, visit alumni.drury.edu.

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Media Contact: Andrea Battaglia, Director of Annual Giving & Alumni Relations – (417) 873-7353 or abattaglia@drury.edu.

Drury University named a Military Friendly School for sixth year

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., November 10, 2016 — For the sixth year in a row, Victory Media has recognized Drury University as a Military Friendly School. The 2017 Military Friendly Schools list was announced today and honors the colleges, universities and trade schools doing the most to embrace America’s military service members, veterans and their spouses as students.

“Drury is proud and honored to receive this recognition yet again for our exceptionally strong programs that help our transitioning service members, veterans and their families earn a college degree,” says Aaron Jones, Dean of Drury’s College of Continuing Professional Studies and Chief of Staff. “Drury has always been known of taking a personalized approach to working with students, and that is especially true when it comes to working with those who have a military background.”

Military Friendly Schools align their military programs and services with employers to help students translate military experience, skills and training into successful careers after graduation. Victory Media’s Military Friendly Schools website features interactive lists and search tools to help military students find the best school to suit their unique needs and preferences. Those selected by Victory Media exhibit leading practices in the recruitment and retention of students with military experience.

 

Drury will host its annual Veterans Day Celebration at 11 a.m. Friday at the Plaster Gallery in the O’Reilly Family Event Center. Students, faculty and staff will be available for media interviews.

For more information on how Drury helps veterans find academic and career success, go to http://www.drury.edu/military.

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Drury University CCPS celebrates National Nontraditional Student Week

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., November 8, 2016 — Drury University’s College of Continuing Professional Studies is celebrating National Nontraditional Student Week.

“Drury has a long-standing commitment to continuing and professional education, and we’re pleased to have this chance to recognize our hard-working and dedicated students who often have to balance family and work responsibilities in addition to pursuing their degree,” said Aaron Jones, Dean of the College of Continuing Professional Studies.

Each branch campus is hosting special activities to honor their students. On Sunday, 37 students were inducted into the Alpha Sigma Lamda honor society. On Monday, CCPS staff gave out snacks and Drury swag to CCPS students. Other events include a “Bring A Friend to Class Night” on Wednesday evening and the annual Veterans Day Celebration at 11 a.m. on Friday in the Plaster Gallery of the O’Reilly Family Event Center. That event is open to the public.

Throughout the week, CCPS students can pick up free tickets to Saturday’s basketball game against Webster University. Tickets can be picked up between 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. in Burnham Hall 206.

Drury University’s College of Continuing Professional Studies offers classes in Springfield, Ava, Cabool, Fort Leonard Wood, Lebanon, Monett, St. Robert, Rolla, West Plains, and online in 8-week and 16-week terms as well as online and blended formats. For more information, visit www.drury.edu/ccps.

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Drury & Student Veterans of America to hold Veterans Day ceremony

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., November 7, 2016 — Drury University and the Drury chapter of Student Veterans of America will hold a public Veterans Day ceremony at 11 a.m., Friday, Nov. 11 at the Plaster Gallery in the O’Reilly Family Event Center.

The event will feature guest speaker Clayton Jones, an Army veteran who served in the Vietnam War and is a member of the Order of the Purple Heart. Also present as a special guest will be 96-year-old World War II veteran Jim Maudlin. University Chaplain Dr. Peter Browning will offer the invocation and Lorelei Valkenburg, treasurer of the Drury chapter of Student Veterans of America, will lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Drury choral music students will sing the national anthem and Dr. Tijuana Julian will play “Taps.”

Refreshments will be provided after the ceremony. Visitor parking is available in Lot 7 on Summit Avenue, just north of Harrison Stadium. For more information, call, (417) 873-6908.

Drury’s tradition of serving those who have served our country dates back to the days following World War II, when buses brought soldiers from Fort Leonard Wood to classes held on the Springfield campus. The commitment continues today. Drury has been named a “Military Friendly School” by Victory Media for five straight years. The university is also a supporter school of the Order of the Purple Heart and is a Yellow Ribbon School. Drury supports federal initiatives that help veterans and active-duty service members apply for, pay for and complete their degrees and has designated staff to help coordinate these services.

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Drury students offer veterans free portrait photos this month

Drury University photography students are again taking portraits of veterans and their families, free of charge, this November.

The project began several years ago as a way of giving back to those who have served our country while also allowing commercial photography students to hone their studio skills.

Jessica Barrows 2

Jessica Barrows and her two children

Abraham Clark, who was in the Marine Corps for 10 years in the 1960s and 70s and served in Vietnam, is a repeat customer – he’s been getting his photo taken by Drury students for a few years now.

“I’m about to run out of poses,” he jokes.

Clark says he finds the Drury students to be professional and kind. He enjoys getting to know them during the shoots, especially international students. He wishes more veterans would take up the opportunity.

Abraham Clark

Abraham Clark

“The thing about photos is they’re memories for families for a long time,” he says. “Sometimes we don’t do this, and then later the family doesn’t have anything to look back on. So I think it would be great if people took advantage of this for their families.”

The shoots begin on Saturday and run through next weekend. There are 50 slots available. Rebecca Miller is Drury’s Art, Art History & Arts Administration program chair and organizes the event, though students ultimately run the shoots.

“The students are on their own to take the photographs and solve any challenges that may come up like lighting, posing, energetic children, or even crying babies,” she says. “A lot of the time I’ll be working in my office making a family’s CD of the images and I hear a lot of laughter coming from the studio, which is always a wonderful moment. Many times I’ve stood outside the studio and just observed our students interacting with the community members and they always delight me with their abilities to solve problems, be professionals, and work together as a team.”

Cody Stepp was one of those students last year. He graduated in May with a degree in graphic design and visual communication. He says the candid shots in which veterans let some of their personality out were the most challenging, but also the most enjoyable.

“It helps engage you as a photographer because you’re investing in these people because they’re opening up a side of themselves to you,” Stepp says.

For example, Clark has worn Native American ceremonial clothing to reflect his heritage. Joe Snider, a 1953 Army draftee who served in Korea, sported a cowboy hat last year.

“That’s my uniform,” says Snider, who has family roots in rural Wyoming. “That’s what I wear. I’m a western man.”

Clark appreciates the opportunity for the portrait, but says he thinks the students get just as much out of the experience.

“Everybody has a different exposure, a different experience,” he says. “So I think it’s good when you put all of these people together. It’s good exposure for the kids.”

For more information or to make a reservation, contact Miller at rmiller01@drury.edu or (417) 873-6337.

Joe Snider and his wife, Dee.

Joe Snider and his wife, Dee.

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Barker connection brings free screening of award-winning “Lion Ark” to Drury

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., November 2, 2016 — The award-winning film “Lion Ark” – the story of the dramatic rescue of 25 lions from circuses in Bolivia – makes its Missouri premiere at 7 p.m., Monday, November 7 at Drury University’s Lay Hall Auditorium ahead of its release on DVD later this month.

Moviegoers can enjoy “Lion Ark” free of charge, followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers and rescue team. Director Tim Phillips and Jan Creamer of Animal Defenders International will be present. The film is opening a nationwide roadshow in Springfield in honor of Bob Barker, who funded the dramatic rescue mission documented in the movie. The Drury University Forum on Animal Rights, which is hosting the screening, is entirely supported by the Bob Barker Endowment Fund for the Study of Animal Rights.

Tickets can be claimed online or by calling (417) 873-7328.

“Lion Ark” tells the story of the daring rescue by Animal Defenders International (ADI) to enforce a ban on the use of animals in circuses in Bolivia. More action adventure than traditional documentary, “Lion Ark” is up close and personal, in the thick of the action. Circuses defy the law but are tracked down, animals are saved, and a joyous finale sees 25 lions airlifted to freedom. The critically acclaimed movie took film festivals by storm, earning 11 awards and garnering praise from critics and outlets such as the New York Times and National Geographic.

screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-10-32-25-am

“I am delighted to have helped ADI give these animals a wonderful new life after they have endured so much misery,” says Bob Barker, a 1947 Drury graduate. “Circuses are no place for animals, and lions and tigers should not be forced to live in small cages on the backs of trucks, or elephants forced to live in chains in the name of entertainment. Circuses with animals are cruel and archaic.”

“We are absolutely thrilled to be hosting the Missouri premiere of the dazzling, magical, and award-winning, ‘Lion Ark’ at Drury University,” says Dr. Patricia McEachern, Dorothy Jo Barker Endowed Professor for the Study of Animal Rights. “The evening will be made even more special by the presence of Jan Creamer and Tim Phillips who will share their amazing experiences with the audience. We are so proud of alumnus Bob Barker, a genuine hero to animals, without whom this event would not be possible.”

Find out more about “Lion Ark” and view a trailer at www.lionarkthemovie.com.

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