Campus Notes

Drury Enactus team helps launch high-end resale boutique

Drury Enactus continues its partnership with Art Inspired for a new business enterprise: Inspired Boutique is a resale store offering a variety of upscale retail items including name-brand clothing, shoes, purses, accessories and high-quality furniture. All proceeds are used to meet the needs of individuals served by Abilities First.

Inspired Boutique offers a variety of upscale retail items including name brand clothing, shoes, purses, accessories and high-quality furniture. The store also provides employment opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities.

In collaboration with Abilities First, Drury Enactus (formerly known as SIFE) helped develop Art Inspired four years ago to provide meaningful employment to individuals with disabilities. Art Inspired sells paper artwork, stationary and furniture, and acts as an internship site for students in the special education department at Central High School.

“The boutique is a direct growth of Art Inspired,” says Katie Pearson, a junior Drury Enactus member. “It started as just an idea one of our team members had and now it’s grown to provide employment opportunities and acts as a source of empowerment for people living with disabilities in Springfield.”

Katie Pearson at Inspired Boutique

Katie Pearson at Inspired Boutique

For Inspired Boutique, Drury Enactus team members have been involved with the selection, sorting and collection of donations, marketing, event planning and volunteer coordination. All volunteer opportunities at the boutique are also Panther Passport events, which are Drury sponsored activities that help initiate greater involvement on campus and in the community.

“This store has such a great cause behind it and we’re excited to get students and the community involved with it,” says Pearson. “Everything is washed, dried, and steamed before going out to the floor and there’s anything from casual college wear, to professional attire, to clothes for a night out.”

One of the strengths of the Drury Enactus is the diversity of its members. Pearson, a psychology and behavioral neuroscience major, was able to combine her passion for the cause and her previous working experience at a resale store to benefit Inspired Boutique and the Enactus team.

“I’ve learned so much about event planning, marketing and business relations, but also have been able to draw from my own work background,” Pearson said. “I’ve definitely gained a lot of leadership skills from working on this project and it’s pushed me outside of my comfort zone.”

For more information about Inspired Boutique, visit its website  or the store location at 230 S. Market Ave.

The Drury team will present their work and compete at the 2015 Enactus National Exposition in April.

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Story by Kaleigh Jurgensmeyer, English and Writing major at Drury. A version of this story first appeared in the Springfield News-Leader.

Students engage in Service-Learning during Study Abroad trip to Greece

Students got a break from the cold this winter with a study abroad trip to The Drury Center in Aigina, Greece. This wasn’t an island getaway — it was a service-learning experience that taught students about community, sustainability and culture. It also met the study abroad requirement for the Breech School of Business, emphasizing Drury’s mission of global awareness.

During the 16-day trip, students learned about the history of Greece, visited local businesses, ate traditional Greek food and worked to build a garden for a food bank on the island of Aigina.

The 2015 Breech study abroad group in Greece.

The 2015 Breech study abroad group in Greece.

“Studying abroad exposes students to a variety of cultures and opens their minds to other ways of considering business,” said Dr. Robin Sronce, a management professor at Drury who led the trip along with finance professor Dr. James Simmerman. “That’s what we’re trying to achieve — this intercultural competence. It gives them more confidence to interact in global settings.”

Abby Schumacher, a junior marketing and management major, took part in the trip and enjoyed volunteering with local community members on the service project.

“We were so passionate about helping and it was cool seeing us working together to get this big project done,” said Schumacher. “We were able to work together to make something happen.”

For the service project, students worked with an Aigina volunteer organization to clean and preserve trails on the island, and planted a garden. The harvested food would later be distributed to families in need.

From left to right, Drury seniors Brett Steere, Alex Fowler, Dallas Williams and Derek Hoerman work to prepare a garden to feed families in need during a Breech Business School study abroad experience in Aigina, Greece.

From left to right, Drury seniors Brett Steere, Alex Fowler, Dallas Williams and Derek Hoerman work to prepare a garden to feed families in need during a Breech Business School study abroad experience in Aigina, Greece.

This is the third year that Drury students have helped grow and maintain a community garden in Greece, where DU has maintained a campus since 2002. This year, however, the garden was relocated and the students had to start nearly from scratch. They planted rows of lettuce, onion, spinach, broccoli and other vegetables.

Schumacher also noted how the trip changed her perspective about the global community.

“This trip definitely made me more aware of my surroundings and how different cultures interact,” said Schumacher. “It was an amazing experience and I hope to get the chance to travel more in the future.”

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By Kaleigh Jurgensmeyer, a senior English and writing major at Drury. A version of this story originally appeared in the Springfield News-Leader.

 

Solar Decathlon Team passes design milestones

Drury University and Crowder College continue to make headway on their Solar Decathlon project. The Decathlon is the U.S Department of Energy’s national competition challenging selected college teams to build solar-powered homes as a way of educating students and the public about the benefits and viability of renewable energy.

“The Solar Decathlon is an incubator for solar energy,” says Evan Melgren, a team member from Drury. “By tasking young and creative engineers to implement this technology, the Department of Energy is nurturing the possibilities presented by one of the most consumer-viable sources of renewable energy. By requiring the tech to be designed into a real home, they’re showing just how appealing the energy source is.”

About 10 members of the Solar Decathlon team traveled to California in January.

About 10 members of the Solar Decathlon team traveled to California in January.

Drury has partnered with Crowder College in Neosho, a state community college offering programs in renewable energy, to take a multi-disciplinary approach to design, build, and operate an off-the-grid home. There are about 50 Drury students with various majors involved in the project.

In recent weeks the team has gained professional feedback, created 3D models of its design and met numerous competition deadlines. One requirement was to generate a 63-page package of drawings displaying the house from every angle, including elevation drawings and the workings of the entire electrical system.

In January, a few members of the Crowder/Drury team traveled to Irvine, California – the site of the final showdown this October – for industry feedback on the project. Working professionals evaluated the project and had praise for the designs, especially the electrical schematics and the health and safety plans.

“I can’t say how fortunate we all felt that we were able to go to California and be in the presence of such forward thinking engineers and designers who really care about ecologically conscious design,” Melgren says. “The energy was like nothing else I’ve ever been a part of.”

They also had the opportunity to meet some of the other teams in the competition, including the likes of Yale, Vanderbilt and Missouri S&T.

“The biggest takeaway from Cali was the fact that it made the whole project feel a lot more real,” says Alaa Al-Radwan, a Drury team member. “Getting to meet the other teams and seeing everyone’s progress made us only want to work harder.”

Bird's eye view of the Shelter3 house.

Bird’s eye view of the ShelteR3 house.

With plans now finalized, the next major requirement is to build the house locally (it will be deconstructed, shipped to Irvine and rebuilt for the competition this fall). The construction will take place on the Crowder campus in Neosho, before the house is then deconstructed, shipped to Irvine and rebuilt on the competition site.

For more information about the Crowder/Drury Solar Decathlon project, including sponsorship and donor opportunities, visit shelter.drury.edu.

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Story by Kaleigh Jurgensmeyer, English and Writing major at Drury. A version of this story originally appeared in the Springfield News-Leader.

Seeking global insights in Morocco, a cultural crossroads

A recent study abroad trip brought 10 Drury students to a place where two continents, myriad cultures and hundreds of years of history intersect: Morocco.

The group included students majoring in history, political science, business and more, including two minoring in Middle East studies. All sought to gain a better understanding of the Islamic world through their travels and coursework.

It was a “hands-on experience in a country that is the meeting point of Europe and the Islamic world,” said professor of political science Dr. Jeffery VanDenBerg, who led the trip along with Dr. Shelley Wolbrink, professor of history.

Among the cultural sites Drury's group visited in Morocco was the Hassan II mosque in Casablanca, the largest mosque in Africa.

Among the cultural sites the group visited in Morocco was the Hassan II mosque in Casablanca, the largest mosque in Africa.

Located in North Africa, Morocco is just nine miles from Spain across the Strait of Gibraltar. In the Middle Ages, Muslim rule and influence spread from Morocco across the Mediterranean Sea into what is now Spain. European colonization and influence in North Africa would later flow the other direction into Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria.

Senior international political studies major Mai Baldwin[cq] says studying a culture through literature, textbooks or film is worthwhile but no substitute for actually being there.

“I understood not just the macro-level things I read about such as economic structures and how the government worked, but also the day-to-day way of life for many Moroccans,” she says. “I loved experiencing their renowned hospitality, seeing the vibrant food markets, and witnessing the joy with which so many people lived.”

The Drury study abroad group with Berber guides in the Sahara Desert while exploring Morocco.

The Drury study abroad group with Berber guides in the Sahara Desert while exploring Morocco.

More than half of Drury undergraduates study abroad during their college careers. But this trip took on an added impact when the terrorist attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris occurred just as the group prepared to return to Springfield.

That act clashed with the way students saw religion in everyday life during the prior two weeks in Morocco, a majority Muslim country that cultivates a strong national identity.

“The trip allowed us to form our own opinion,” said John Cantrell, a sophomore accounting and finance major. “We got to go over there and see for ourselves.”

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Story by Mike Brothers, Drury’s director of media relations. A version of this story first appeared in the Springfield News-Leader.

Grant will send professor back to his native Kenya to teach

Academic life brought Dr. Albert Korir from Kenya to the United States. Now, academics are taking him back home.

Korir, an associate professor of chemistry at Drury, is one of 60 scholars in the United States and Canada from a variety of fields to be selected for the latest round of Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowships. The program facilitates engagement between U.S. and Canadian scholars born in Africa with their African counterparts.

Albert Korir

Albert Korir

Korir will teach at Moi University this summer. His project will involve co-developing a curriculum that uses innovative technological strategies for teaching chemistry using the “flipped-class” model. While there, he’ll have the opportunity to teach using a set of web-based tools he and a group of colleagues have been developing for several years called the Analytical Sciences Digital Library (ASDL).

“We’ve developed web-based material that is peer-reviewed and freely available to both instructors and students,” he says.

There’s no shortage of online tools for learning, Korir says, but few are peer-reviewed in this way.

Korir became involved with ASDL after coming to a typical crossroads for chemistry graduates: research industry or academia? A faculty mentor during his graduate school years at the University of Kansas saw Korir’s potential as a teacher and encouraged him to remain in academia while at the same time conducting research.

A handful of students have worked directly with Korir on research projects every year since he joined the Drury faculty in 2008, giving him a chance to pass on the mentorship and guidance that helped him find his own career footing.

Korir will bring this personalized style of teaching with him to Kenya. The “flipped” classroom model sees students take in the lectures at home via the web and come to class for discussions and apply their knowledge and collaborate with others on projects.

“My colleagues in Africa tell me the students have become very receptive to this style of learning – they’re getting to interact with the professors more closely now,” Korir says.

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Story by Mike Brothers, Drury’s director of media relations. A version of this story first appeared in the Springfield News-Leader.

Professor’s photos capture small town “relics” & celebrations

Greg Booker has a keen eye for out-of-the-way places.

The assistant professor of art and communication at Drury has for several years now been photographing and documenting everyday scenes in small – sometimes very small – towns in Missouri, Oklahoma and some southern states.

A barbershop scene in Clinton, Missouri.

A barbershop scene in Clinton, Missouri.

An exhibit of Booker’s work, titled “Small Town & Quiet Spaces” is now open at the Lightwell Gallery at the University of Oklahoma’s School of Art and Art History. The exhibit will come to Drury’s Pool Art Center this fall.

It’s a passion project that began when Booker returned to Springfield to join Drury’s faculty in 2009. Born in Chicago and raised in St. Louis, Booker earned an art degree from Drury in 1987 before moving to Oklahoma, where he earned a graduate degree in art at OU. He later landed on the photo staff of the Kansas City Star.

An abandoned storefront in Niangua, Missouri.

An abandoned storefront in Niangua, Missouri.

When he and his wife returned to the area, they bought a home outside of Marshfield. That was the first time Booker had lived in the country.

“I’m used to city life,” he says, and the change of scenery brought small and sometimes even forgotten places into focus for him. With camera in hand, he began seeking out the kind of tiny towns that are today little more than places on a map because highways passed them by or because they were simply too small to survive.

“They’re almost like relics,” Booker says. “It just seems like that was a bit of history that needed to be documented, so it was a chance for me to explore the small towns and document them.”

A four-way stop in the heart of Houston, Missouri.

A four-way stop in the heart of Houston, Missouri.

Booker later began shooting the larger but still small towns where people live, work and play. He’s captured celebrations like parades and fall festivals and everyday moments in local shops and sidewalks – the “places where the community can come together and celebrate their heritage, their small towns and their neighbors,” he says.

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Story by Mike Brothers, Drury’s director of media relations.

Memphis trip brings classroom lessons to life for freshmen

Nearly 30 Drury University freshmen had the chance to travel to Memphis to spend a weekend visiting the National Civil Rights Museum and the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum as part of their first-year experience

The trip was tied to Drury’s general education curriculum, called Drury CORE. CORE classes are designed for incoming students and emphasize the interconnectedness of all areas of study.

Experiences like the Memphis trip help form bonds that carry students through the transition into college life. Those bonds are also formed though “Living Learning Communities” – students with common interests and areas of study who are grouped together in residence halls.

Drury freshmen at the Lorriane Motel, now the site of the National Civil Rights Museum.

Drury freshmen at the Lorraine Motel, now the site of the National Civil Rights Museum.

“It’s a really comfortable environment – it’s really easy to open up,” says Jacob Wyatt, one the students who was on the Memphis trip. “No one is afraid to say how they feel and we have a lot of good classroom discussions.”

Two CORE classes joined together for the Memphis trip: Dr. Charles Taylor’s class, themed “The Politics of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” and Dr. Rick Maxon’s class, themed “On Propaganda and Protest.” The museum trips helped bring to life some of the topics explored in the classroom throughout the semester.

At the Civil Rights Museum, students in the “Propaganda and Protest” class analyzed the variety of methods of protest seen during the Civil Rights movement in America. The “Politics of Rock n’ Roll” students gained a greater understanding of African-American influence on rock music and, in turn, society at large. In the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum[cq], students learned more about rock music as a powerful medium for social change.

Through these activities, the students not only learned about their chosen topics, but were exposed to a much broader perspective on just how powerful these cultural change agents have been over the years.

While learning is the primary purpose, the trips certainly build connections and lasting memories for the students. Taylor says trips such as this “provide another forum in which students can get connected to each other and the university.”

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Story by Trevor Cobb, writing major at Drury. A version of this story first appeared in the Springfield News-Leader. 

Disney internship is “dream come true” for architecture student

Dreams do come true, as fifth-year architecture student Billy Miller proved after completing two internships at “The Happiest Place on Earth.” Miller interned with Disney Imagineering in 2010 and again in 2013.

“I’ve wanted to work for Disney since I was 7 years old,” Miller says.

Disney’s “Imagineers” are responsible for designing and building theme parks, resorts, and other entertainment venues. More than 140 different job titles fall under the banner of Imagineering, according to Disney, including illustrators, architects, engineers, writers, graphic designers and more.

Billy Miller

Drury architecture student Billy Miller

Miller worked with other Imagineers on a variety of projects such as Splash Mountain, as well as buildings, lighting and even animal pens. He also took on a key role on the team designing Disney Springs, a transformation of what is now Downtown Disney inside Walt Disney World into a space modeled after a classic Florida lakeside town.

The experience taught him the importance of collaboration with other disciplines both in and outside of the architectural field and about how to use architecture to tell a story. But he also took a great deal of knowledge with him into the job.

“Drury and the Hammons School of Architecture not only helped foster my design style, but gave me the confidence and knowledge that allowed me to become a leader at Disney,” he says. Miller cites mentors such as professor Jay Garrott and instructor Jeff Barber as specific influences at the beginning of his architectural career.

“I honestly did not realize the breadth of what I had learned until I got down to Disney and saw how many jobs I was able to accomplish that other interns could not,” he says.

Managers within the company gave interns the latitude to lead projects if they showed promise, Miller says. He adds that he was able to take hold of such an opportunity after only three weeks working under another architect.

But the biggest opportunity was simply a chance “to make people happy.”

“There is honestly nothing like seeing someone smile because of something you worked on,” Miller says

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Story by Trevor Cobb, writing major at Drury.

Students study future of genetics by examining their own past

DNA tells a story – a story about one’s past and, potentially, about one’s future.

A group of Drury science students learned more about their own genetic past this semester, and in the process learned important lessons about the future of medicine.

Twenty-four students in Dr. Roger Young’s advanced molecular genetics class took samples of their own spit before the class began and sent it to a company called 23andMe, which provides ancestry-related genetic reports for a fee. These reports, called genotypes, can help people generally understand their ancestry and also identify certain traits and health risks.

Just a few years ago, this testing was highly expensive, Young says. Today it can be done “for less than 100 bucks, which is incredible,” he says. That cost trajectory means genetic profiles will soon be an essential – and common – part of the medical industry.

“It seemed like a natural step forward to take this kind of modern business model and apply it to an academic setting,” Young says.

The students learned they each carry some Neanderthal DNA. They learned they might be pre-disposed to certain health conditions or be carriers for diseases that could manifest themselves in their children, if their partners are also carriers. The results largely remained private amongst the students, but it forced them to think about what they’ll do with the information.

“There’s the raw interpretation of the data, then there’s the philosophy and ethical implications of what you do with that information,” Young says.

In Drury’s typical liberal arts fashion, connections were drawn to other disciplines. Philosophy professor Dr. Chris Panza and a genetic counselor from CoxHealth spoke to the class about philosophical and ethical impacts. And the students even entered – and won – a photo contest with 23andMe. Titled “Human Karyotype,” the photo was of 23 of the students lying on the ground representing both the number and the shape of the 23 human chromosomes.

“Human Karyotype," by Drury student Ashleigh Spalding. The photo depicts Spalding's 23 classmates posing as human chromosomes.

“Human Karyotype,” by Drury student Ashleigh Spalding.

The students used a $300 prize from the contest to hold an event on campus and spoke to about 100 people about the process of genetic testing, condensing their 15-week journey into about a 15-minute presentation.

“A fair number of these students are going into the medical field on some level, and because genetics will be ubiquitous in a decade or less, these students will be prepared to understand this, and teach other people about it,” Young says. “When they sit for their MCATs or medical school interviews, they’ll be able to talk on a knowledgeable level about the future of medicine.”

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Story by Mike Brothers, Drury’s director of media relations. 

Vietnam veteran earns art degree — and respect from faculty

Drury art student Richard Hunter is proof that it’s never too late to learn something new. The 64-year-old graduated on Dec. 13 with an art degree. Hunter is a retired Vietnam veteran, and though he doesn’t consider himself a natural artist, he certainly has made an impression on his professors and classmates.

This year he received the Boyko Weltanschauung Award, which is presented to students who have made the biggest impact on art department faculty, and challenge instructors to re-examine their teaching strategies and think about why they teach. Hunter is just the second recipient in 11 years.

“As one of our older students, I find him completely open to critiques of his works and is one of the hardest working students that I have ever known,” said Rebecca Miller, a photography professor. “His life experiences bring so much to the classroom that he will be one of those students I will remember fondly for years to come because of his positive outlook on life.”

Richard Hunter in the ceramics workshop at Pool Art Center.

Richard Hunter in the ceramics workshop at Pool Art Center.

Hunter prefers working with ceramics and photography. As a beekeeper, he’s particularly inspired by bees and the hexagon shapes they make, which he’s incorporated into his art. He is also drawn to graffiti art and has photographed the traveling artwork on trains rolling through town.

One of Hunter’s biggest inspirations is his younger classmates.

“One of things I’ve absolutely loved is that I get to be around young artists and that I have had a chance to see art through their eyes,” said Hunter. “Being with young artists makes me feel young again! It stirs up my imagination.”

Hunter has also enjoyed working on the art department’s annual Veterans Day tradition of taking portrait photos of veterans free of charge. He would eventually like to start a volunteer art therapy program to aid disabled veterans.

“Art really helps disabled veterans to relax and seems to help heal people both mentally and physically,” said Hunter. “I just want to share what I have learned and maybe even learn from them.”

Hunter appreciated that his professors adjusted to his learning style and worked with him on an individual basis. The small school environment made him feel comfortable, he says.

“The teachers have really bent over backward to inspire me, encourage me to do good work and look at my art in different ways,” he says. “They’re willing to be more personal and they’re willing to listen.”

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Story by Kaleigh Jurgensmeyer, English and Writing major at Drury. A version of this story first appeared in the Springfield News-Leader.