Thursday, April 27, 2017

2017 LETU Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees

Friday night was a special evening in the Allen Family Student Center Great Room as we inducted two new members to LeTourneau University Athletic Hall of Fame.

Golfer Leslie Lee ('11) and the late cross country runner Nicole Leman ('13) were the first new Hall of Fame inductees since 2005.

These excellent former student-athletes were the first LeTourneau YellowJackets to compete at the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III championship levels in their respective sports and were the first to represent LETU at the national level.

Qualifications for a Hall of Fame inductee including having significant athletic recognition at LETU in at least one sport and must be out of LETU athletics for at least five years. The character and integrity of these young women made them both excellent choices for this honor. Their names have been placed on the new Hall of Fame wall in the Solheim Recreation Center Leslie and Nicole's parents were presented with a replica plaque to keep.

Leslie Lee was the first LETU athlete in any sport to reach NCAA DIII Championship.  

She also is the only back-to back ASC individual medalist in conference history. She won in 2009 and 2010 and finished only one stroke off the leader in 2011. 

She competed at the national level and finished 8th place among the nation's top golfers. She played 76 rounds in 38 tournaments and, in her four-year college career, earned five tournament wins and marked the four best season scoring averages in school history.

Leslie was named to the Division III All-West Region Team by the National Golf Coaches Association in 2010-11 and was also named a National Golf Coaches Association All-America Honorable Mention in that same season. She earned the LETU Athletics Female Student-Athlete of the Year award in both the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons.

She also earned Academic All-Southwest Conference honors with a minimum 3.0 GPA in 2009, 2010 and 2011. She graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and earned her Master of Science in Quantitative Finance in 2013 and Master of Business Administration in December 2013 from the University of Texas at Arlington. Today she is an accountant associate at P2 Energy Solutions in Fort Worth. She and her husband, Nick, have a son, Elder.

Her former golf coaches Lauren Gentry and Andy Woodring shared about Leslie's coachability, consistency and persistence that helped her be a champion.

Our other 2017 Hall of Fame inductee Nicole Leman was the best female runner in LETU cross country program history. 

By her senior year, she was the first YellowJacket to win the individual title at the ASC Championships. Leman, who originally planned to play volleyball before joining the cross-country team before the 2010 season, finished 10th at the NCAA South/Southeast Regional Championship, which secured her a spot at the 2012 NCAA Cross Country Championships--making her the first cross country runner in program history to represent LETU nationally, and only the second YellowJacket athlete to represent LETU nationally after Leslie Lee.

Leman had five first-place finishes and three awards for "Runner of the Week." She was named to the Academic All-ASC Team in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and earned the ASC Distinguished Scholar-Athlete Award in 2012. She received Sportsmanship Athlete of the Year for cross country in 2012 and following the 2012-13 season, was named LETU Athletic's Scholar-Athlete and Student-Athlete of the Year.

After graduating in 2013, Leman worked as a personal trainer at the Alaska Club, where she worked with and coached people with disabilities. On December 9, 2015, she died in a tragic hiking accident in a mountainous region of New Zealand.

Her head coach Markeith Brown spoke about her kind and competitive spirit. Her father, former Lieutenant Governor of Alaska Loren Leman, and her mother, Carolyn, accepted her award on her behalf.

To watch a video of the entire 2017 LeTourneau University Athletics Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony , click here.

LETU President Dr. Dale A. Lunsford welcomed the guests to honor 2017 Hall of Fame inductees Leslie Lee and Nicole Leman.

2017 Hall of Fame inductee Leslie Lee received her plaque from LETU Athletics Director Terri Deike.

Carolyn and Loren Leman received the plaque honoring their late daughter, Nicole Leman, from LETU Athletic Director Terri Deike.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Recognizing Faculty of Excellent Service & Innovative Research

At Tuesday's TFO meeting, LETU Provost Steve Mason awarded $12,000 in faculty research grants to selected faculty members to continue the wonderful work they are doing to advance their academic disciplines. 

The Grant Application Review Panel, chaired by Dr. Duane Trogdon, carefully reviewed each application to determine the eligibility of the applicants and proposed activities. Assisting with the presentations was TFO President-elect Dr. Wayne Jacobs. The following were awarded:

David Dittenber, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering
$4,500 - Modular Light Gauge Steel Wall Panels for Disaster Shelters
The SafeHome senior design team has begun developing a promising and innovative wall panel system for use in disaster relief shelters.  This modular wall panel is manufactured from light-gauge steel tracks, studs and sheets of various sheathing materials.  Constructing and adapting two load frames will allow for testing of these modular panels, opening new avenues for continuing research and development.  The goal is to design housing that can ease human suffering for people who are displaced from their homes, such as in the Syrian refugee crisis or following weather disasters.  Funding was awarded to Dr. Dittenber and the design team for equipment and materials to conduct the proposed research.

Kotaro Sasaki, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering
$4,000 - Transfemoral Amputee Knee Stabilizer
The ultimate goal of the project is to develop a mechanical assistive device to stabilize prosthetic knee joints for transfemoral amputees (also called "above-knee" amputees), and help increase their mobility and safety. Dr. Sasaki's specific goals of this project include: 1) to design and refine a prosthetic-knee stabilizing device that is affordable and simple enough to be used in under-resourced settings; 2) to validate the efficacy of the device by comparing physiological and biomechanical data obtained from "simulated transfemoral amputee)" with and without using the device.

Robert Wharton, Professor of Business Administration, with co-Principle Investigators: 
Karen Jacobs, Associate Professor Business Administration
Doug Waldo, Associate Professor Business Administration (not pictured)
$1,800 - Study of Emotional Intelligence in College Students
Studies have indicated a relationship between linking Emotional Intelligence to human performance, personal health, and resilience. Emotional knowledge, skills, and intelligence hold a major key to improving education and helping students, teachers, faculty, and student development professionals attain higher degrees of achievement, career success, leadership, and personal well-being. The grant awarded to Dr. Wharton's team would provide for the dissemination of the instrument to all incoming freshmen in fall 2017 and the accompanying research.

Jodie Hilburn, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education
$1,100 - Across the Pacific - Educational and Cultural Perspectives
The grant awarded to Jodie Hilburn will allow her to accept the invitation extended by Hannam University to travel to Daejeon, S. Korea during the summer of 2017. She will explore the Korean Summer Studies Program (KSSP), develop corresponding/supplemental curriculum for LeTourneau based on the KSSP, and provide a faculty member chaperone to accompany the LeTourneau students participating in the KSSP.

Vicki Sheafer, Professor of Psychology
$600 - Faith Integration and Metacognition
The focus of Dr. Sheafer's project is to develop an assignment that accomplishes three goals:  (1) the integration of faith and learning, (2) the development of metacognitive skills, and (3) the improvement of student learning outcomes as reflected by exam scores. The assignment is called "Question, Quotation and Reflection" (QQR) and is completed for daily assigned readings.

Congratulations to all these fine grant winners! We will look forward to hearing about your research next year at the LETU Research Symposium.

Also, at Tuesday's TFO meeting, Steve awarded the Teaching Faculty Organization Excellence in Teaching Award to theology associate professor Luke Tallon. This award recognizes outstanding teaching from faculty members who have contributed to students, to scholarship and to this campus in ways that advance performance in the classroom and the student experience.

Previous Excellence in Teaching winners for 2016-2017 include applied aviation sciences instructor Ricky Hellings, civil engineering associate professor David Dittenber, associate professor in computer science Ken Rouse, math professor Larry Anderson and engineering instructor Joel Koblich.   

Our faculty are the primary reason our university excels in preparing students for the future as they pursue God's calling on their lives to serve him in every workplace in every nation. We are indeed blessed that our faculty continue to serve Him so eloquently here at LeTourneau University.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Happy Easter, LeTourneau Nation!

The cry of a hurting world seems amplified this week. In every season of the year, hopelessness can be found in every workplace in every nation.

But at Easter, when the remedy to hopelessness is celebrated and new life is all around us, the need for a Savior is even more a burden on my heart.

So, I turn again to C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity:
"Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world.  There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise...something has evaded us...If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." 
Yes, indeed. We were created for another world and the Lamb of God was sacrificed to restore us with our Creator.

Let's allow God this Easter to again break our hearts for workplaces filled with the unfulfilled. And let's commit ourselves anew to the transforming work of Christian higher education at LETU.

Friday, April 7, 2017

The Sharon A. Myers Premedical Studies Endowed Scholarship Fund

Friday during Homecoming, we celebrated one of our newly fully funded endowed scholarships and recognized a special family with a new plaque on the wall in the lobby S.E. Belcher Jr. Chapel and Performance Center.

The Sharon A. Myers Premedical Studies Endowed Scholarship Fund was established in 2014 and now has been fully funded and will begin providing scholarship assistance for all the years to come to LETU students studying in the biological sciences.

The scholarship was set up by Dr. Michael and Lisa Myers and is in honor of Michael's mother, Sharon A. Myers, who instilled in her children a love for God and an appreciation for His creation. Sharon studied piano and violin performance in college, but medicine was her first love. She ensured that her children had opportunities to grow in character, intellect and in their relationship with God and His Son Jesus Christ. 

Michael began attending LeTourneau in 1986, majoring in engineering, but a diagnosis of lymphoma during his sophomore year derailed his educational plans, and he withdrew from college.   

By God's grace and mercy, and after much prayer and medical intervention, Michael's cancer went into remission and he was ultimately cured. That experience led him to pursue a calling in the field of medicine.

He returned to college, switched his major to biology, then was accepted into medical school in San Antonio, where he met and married his wife, Lisa. Michael earned his medical degree in 1999 and today is a staff psychiatrist at the health center at Baylor University.     

Both Michael and Lisa profoundly believe in the mission of LeTourneau University and support the role of Christian higher education today. Michael has served as an LETU trustee and served on the Alumni Advisory Council and in LeTourneau University's Alumni-in-Action activities. 

The Myers family knows the value of supporting premedical students as they prepare to be God's hands and feet in the field of medicine. At LETU, we have two students in the Joint Admission Medical Program and one biology student who, at age 17, just recently won 2nd place for his human genome research. LETU students like these seek to integrate their faith and work as they pursue careers in the medical field and live out a holy calling with eternal impact.