SOE Freshman Writing His Way Through Baylor

On a cold and rainy night in the downtown streets of Dallas, a young Baylor student found himself being mugged by thugs and right when he thinks he is about to die, a small blue dragon crawls out of his front pocket to save him. Or so was the dream that led School of Education freshman Alex Patterson to write his award-winning fantasy novel, Choices. Patterson always had a passion for reading and mythology and began wondering what it would be like to fight dragons, live like a king and venture into magical realms.

From that dream, Patterson had his first character, Aiden, a dragon meant to help the protagonist of the story, Richard Örlander find his way while waging war and dealing with temperamental Nordic gods. Set in the Germanic Iron Age around 1000 B.C., Patterson’s novel is all about the choices Örlander makes: good vs. evil, right vs. wrong and war vs. peace.

“Books are alive. The connection between reader and book is evident in our empathy with its characters. I see the characters as living, breathing, figments of my imagination,” Patterson wrote in his blog.

With such a passionate love for books it wasn’t that hard to spend over 500 hours writing, editing, and rewriting Choices during his junior and senior years in high school.

Patterson also took inspiration from his Norwegian heritage, some ideas from Beowulf and Fahrenheit 451. Although Patterson’s main character makes both good and bad choices, he believes readers should form their own ideas of Örlander’s character.

“In the book Fahrenheit 451, we view it as a story about government censorship but he (Ray Bradbury) wanted it to be about media and TV,” Patterson said. “So it is with Choices. The main message is that the ends do not justify the means, but if people come up with a different meaning it’s ok. It’s art. What you get out of it is your own personal experience.”

Choices went on sale on Amazon, iTunes, and Barnes & Noble in December 2015 still, Alex said the process of getting Choices published was a challenge. Patterson received a lot of rejection letters and a few acceptance letters. However, those publishers wanted Patterson to change the moral dilemma of the main character.

Alex Pat 1

“Eventually I decided I write for my own amusement and I don’t want to be a writer as a full time career,” he said.

But publishing wasn’t the biggest challenge. Patterson said the idea of not hating what he already had written was a problem. He had read his novel 12-13 times before the story was eventually accepted as publishable. He said he liked his characters, the themes, and the plot, but he was scared of making grammatical mistakes.

Although writing is his favorite hobby, Patterson wants to focus in on his career as a teacher. As a University Scholars freshman, Patterson is concentrating in secondary education social studies, creative writing, and religion. Currently tutoring at Cesar Chavez Middle School, he would like to be a religion or history teacher at a small private school after he graduates. Alex wants to teach because of the support he received inside and outside the classroom from his teachers in high school.

One message he hopes to convey to students is this: “If you find something you enjoy, you should do it.”

So can we expect another book from this driven freshman? Patterson said that even though he doesn’t want to be a full-time writer, he is currently 20,000 words deep into a new book about the Alaskan gold mining era, a story that explores Russian and American business conflicts.

“It (Choices) is maybe going to pay for a few cups of coffee at Common Grounds down the line, but I’m not going to retire off of this,” he said. “I’m still going to be a teacher.”

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Symposium Marketing – School of Education

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Made to market the Department of Curriculum and Instruction’s Symposium. Made on InDesign and Photoshop.

SOE Senior Internship Experience

Video published March 23rd for Baylor University School of Education on the senior internship experience. Shot on Nikon and edited on Adobe Premiere by myself with direction from supervisor.


Bowtaye founder supporting Kenyan education

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Co-founder Lindsay Adams models the MAX bow tie. Photo by Kate McGuire

Lindsay Adams is on a mission. She wants to save the world, one child at a time. And her desire stretches across the world. A senior in the Baylor School of Education, Adams traveled to Kenya in the summer of 2012 with Baylor’s Straw to Bread program. Upon arriving, she was shocked to learn that the orphan children in the community could not attend the Bethlehem Home Academy, the closest school, because they couldn’t afford it.
Adams wanted to find ways to make the children’s lives better, so she returned the following year, this time working on her thesis project in Bethlehem Home Academy, researching the success factors that make the school the best in the area.

“They have a huge orphan population,” Adams said. “Since it was a brand new school, there is not a lot of money involved. Even though it’s a resource-poor school, it’s phenomenal.”

After hearing about the children, Adams’ friend Maddie Danielson, a Baylor senior and fashion design major, was inspired to help through her own talents. But the idea of creating a collection of bow ties actually came from Danielson’s brother.

“He said, ‘Hey you should make bowties.’” Danielson said. “His text message struck some chord in me and set off this avalanche of ideas.”

Within the next month, Danielson created eight one-of-a-kind bow-tie designs from different materials. Once a website was created, sales rolled in.

Each bow tie had a name attached to it, so whenever a customer purchased a certain bow tie, a portion of the proceeds went to a specific orphan to send them to Bethlehem Home Academy. Once all bow ties for that specific child sold out, that child’s education (approximately $200 per year) was paid for throughout the entire year.

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Co-founder Lindsay Adams models the MAX bow tie. Photo by Kate McGuire

“It was fun to work with one of my friends and share this vision with Maddie,” Adams said. “I love telling people about Kenya, but when people jump on board and do something that supports what I love, it warms my heart.”

“For me, education is one thing that is too often taken for granted but has the power to change lives in epic proportion,” Danielson said. “One of my favorite parts of this company is that when you buy a tie, you have a name and picture of someone just like you that you are enabling to have the same shot at life that you do. You get a spiffy conversation started for parties, and they get a chance to rise above poverty. It’s a win-win!”

Adams is majoring in University Scholars — with concentrations in biology, sociology and educational psychology — while also working toward teacher certification in elementary education and gifted and talented education. She is currently an SOE teaching intern, working Monday – Thursday in a second-grade classroom at Woodway Elementary.

“I want to be a teacher so that I can can contribute to making the world a better place through education,” Adams said. “Working with students is my favorite part of every day as an intern. And making sure that children have the best classroom experience possible is a goal that goes with me to Kenya every May. I am passionate about giving the Kenyan students hope, just like my students here. I am confident that empowering students will change our world.”

Adams said she loves the program in Baylor SOE and would recommend it anyone passionate about education. “I have been challenged, encouraged and taught to love this career more than I ever thought possible,” she said.

While both Adams and Danielson are graduating this year, Danielson plans to continue making bow ties that support children and women in need. And Adams will continue to visit Kenya and to help children through her career in education.


Orginally posted on Instant Impact

High School Students in PACE Visit Baylor and SOE

Taken by Meg Cullar

In June, Baylor SOE helped welcome to campus the Promoting Achievement in Communities Everywhere (PACE) program, a nonprofit organization that serves upperclassmen high school students. Students visited Baylor as part of an annual two-week summer trip to explore different colleges.

Dr. Lakia Scott, assistant professor in the School of Education’s Department of Curriculum & Instruction, has led this summer trip since 2011, when she got involved with PACE.

“PACE is a college readiness initiative that provides exposure and enrichment to minority youth about entering and completing postsecondary education goals,” Scott said.

During the Baylor tour, Scott facilitated a discussion on the calling to teach and SOE programs available.

“Students understood the viability of being interdisciplinary and even becoming certified to teach,” Scott said.

The PACE students who visited campus are also a part of the ASCEND program, a mentoring program founded by the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. Scott said ASCEND focuses on achievement, self-awareness, communication, engagement, networking and developmental skills. Students from Baylor’s AKA chapter spoke to PACE students about their experiences attending Baylor.

One of the students of ASCEND and PACE, Elijah Howard, from Killeen, said he wants to be a social studies teacher and is interested in coming to Baylor.

“I really enjoyed the trip!” Howard said. “I didn’t know Baylor had so many activities to do on campus. It seems like a great school.”

Howard’s mother is an AKA alumna, and he joined the ASCEND program through her.

Because of PACE, Howard said, he feels more prepared to apply for college and now wants to come to Baylor.

“It (PACE) helps us get a feel for the college experience, getting to know where everything is and see all they have to offer at the colleges,” Howard said.

Based in Houston, PACE also hosts college readiness workshops for students from across the nation. These workshops helped students understand college student organizations, housing options, roommate selection, and emotional and physical health. During the school year, PACE provides community service opportunities for the students, and Howard is currently working on planting a garden in the Waco community.

On their two-week tour, students also visited Historically Black Colleges and Universities, including University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Philander Smith College, Langston University and Paul Quinn College. The students also stopped at major state schools like University of Arkansas at Little Rock, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University and the University of North Texas.

And what is a road trip without some sight-seeing and fun? Students visited the National Historic Site for Little Rock Central High School, met at local Black-Greek facilities, shopped in Oklahoma City outlets, played at Dave and Buster’s, and cooled off with a pool party.


Originally posted on Instant Impact


SOE’s Dr. Rishi Sriram Appointed to Editorial Board

Rishi-Blog-325-2jwqddfDr. Rishi Sriram, graduate program director in the Department of Educational Administration in the Baylor School of Education, has been selected as a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of College Student Development (JCSD).
JCSD is a higher-education student affairs journal published and founded by the American College Personnel Association (ACPA).

Sriram applied in November 2014 and was chosen as a member this spring. Members are chosen from a pool of applicants from public and private universities nationwide. Through serving on this board, Sriram hopes to bring awareness to university programs that affect college student affairs.

“Through my work with JCSD, I will have the opportunity to speak to matters concerning our institutions of higher education and college student success,” Sriram said. “I want to continue to speak about how the people, policies and programs of our colleges can make profound differences in college student retention, engagement, achievement and learning.”

According to the ACPA website, “The Journal of College Student Development (JCSD) is one of the world’s leading journals on higher education. Subscribers include the members of ACPA-College Student Educators International, individuals (subscriptions available through Johns Hopkins University Press), and academic libraries (as JCSD or Project Muse subscribers).”

Sriram’s research interests at Baylor include student affairs, collaboration between academic and student affairs, retention, engagement, teaching and learning. He feels that his work at Baylor has prepared him for this role.

“I am honored to be considered worthy of serving as a member of the editorial board,” Sriram said. “Beyond personal recognition, this position brings more attention to the great programs of Baylor’s School of Education, including our new Ph.D. in Higher Education Studies & Leadership,” he said.

Sriram also serves on the editorial/review boards for the College Student Affairs Journal, the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, the Journal of The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, the Journal of College and University Student Housing, ACPA’s Developments. He also serves as Director of Research for the Texas Association of College and University Student Personnel Administrators.

Sriram served for eight years as Baylor’s Assistant Dean for Student Learning and Engagement, where he developed living-learning programs and established a faculty-in-residence program at Baylor. Sriram is assistant professor in Higher Education and Student Affairs and faculty master in Baylor’s Brooks Residential College.


Originally posted on Instant Impact

SOE’s Master’s Students Raise Funds for Water Play Center

Baylor School of Education master’s students in the Sport Management finance class have been working to raise $10,000 to build a water play center at the Piper Center for Family Studies and Child Development. The Piper Center allows approximately 350 Baylor students a semester to study, observe, and experience child development behaviors in and outside the classroom.

Piper-Kids-170fnfzThe idea for the Piper Water Discovery Center began last fall semester with Dr. Mar Magnusen, assistant professor in the sport management graduate program, and Barbara Crosby, director of the Piper Center. They wanted to find a project that would benefit sport management students, the Piper Center and the Waco community. Funding and building a water feature for the kids sounded perfect.

When Magnusen began teaching his sport finance class this semester, he introduced the project to his students, and the ideas started flowing. Students formed teams and pitched ideas for a campaign to fund the water center, which will include a miniature fountain spouting water into a stream covered halfway by a bridge that eventually leads to a plant garden.

“The feature will provide geographic shape recognition, lessons on sinking, flotation, and surface descriptions,” Magnusen said. “The garden feature provides opportunities for the children to learn about nature, ecology, and God’s call for us to be good stewards of his creation.”

The winning team, comprising Sarah Langston, BSEd ’06 in Recreation, and Stephanie Davis, BA ’14 in International Studies, chose a “grass-roots” campaign that meant connecting to the Waco community through face-to-face interactions and fundraising on all forms of social media. So far, $3,000 out of $10,000 goal has been raised to create the Water Discovery Center.

The runoff from the stream will water the Texas-themed garden that will feature Texas plants, flowers and a bear cub statue.

Piper-Boy-2e9pu0w“The most exciting part of this is the realization of a dream of an amazing water feature. This water feature will provide for our children a safe and natural way to explore and study the water,” Crosby said. “Learning about the movement of the water and enjoying a beautiful, natural place where they can interact with water safely is of great advantage to children learning math, science, and English.”
Fundraising for the center began in January and will continue this summer until all $10,000 has been collected. Magnusen said they are planning on beginning construction in the fall of 2015 so the children can enjoy the feature beginning in the spring of 2016.

The biggest part of the campaign has been the social media aspect of fundraising. Langston and Davis have set up an Instagram account posting daily pictures, a Facebook page to generate interest, and a Twitter account to post pictures and updates of the fundraising campaign.

Donors can also support the campaign through the Piper Center’s GIVE website.

Follow their efforts through Facebook, Twitter @PiperDiscovery, and Instagram by following PiperWaterDiscovery.


Originally posted on Instant Impact

Three Memorable Teachers Honored by Baylor School of Education

Three Texas teachers were honored by the Baylor School of Education (SOE) April 13 on the Baylor campus. Each year, the Baylor SOE honors memorable teachers or mentors as part of its annual Senior Recognition Banquet. Memorable educators are nominated by the Baylor students, who submit an essay to support their nomination, and then chosen by a Baylor faculty committee.

Teachers honored were Becky Griffith of Nacogdoches, Jerry Sutterfield of Dallas, and Christy Walker of Crawford.

Blog-Griffith-2lwzr4fBecky Griffith was nominated by SOE senior Carley Redfield, an elementary education major. Griffith retired from Stephen F. Austin State University after 30 years of teaching elementary and university students. She taught first and second grade in Nacogdoches Independent School District and in the SFA Charter School and then taught at Stephen F. Austin State University. She was Redfield’s second-grade teacher in Nacogdoches.

At the banquet, Redfield presented her essay on Griffith, saying that Griffith showed her that the best teachers make their students feel like the most special person in the world. “She would look into our little eyes each and every morning, and we knew that she didn’t just see us as her students; she saw us as her very own children. . . . She exhibited how a teacher has the power to enhance the wonder within a child’s heart; she did exactly that to mine. Mrs. Becky Griffith, you are my hero.”
She said that Griffith inspired her to strive for the best as she begins her own teaching career as a Baylor graduate. “I strive every day to be someone’s Mrs. Becky, because if I can do that, I can make a child feel more loved than he or she ever has before.”

Griffith also spoke at the banquet, reflecting on her time as a teacher. “What do I remember most about my years in the classroom? The answer is joy — joy every day, every single day!” she said. “And most of it came from the little things . . . laughing, singing, dancing, sharing beloved books and poems, solving problems together, working through difficulties . . . the feel of a hot, sweaty hand slip into mine, the weight of their heads on me as we shared chapter books after lunch . . . these are what I hold closest to my heart.”

Griffith said building relationships “in the community we call a classroom” is the most important part. For a well-trained, hard-working teacher, everything else falls into place, she said.

Blog-Sutterfield-1qepkw5Jerry Sutterfield was nominated by Lauren Bagwell, a secondary social studies major, because of his impact on her as her cross-country coach. Sutterfield retired in 2013 after a successful career as a cross-country, football and track and field coach who taught industrial arts.

Sutterfield graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1979 with a degree in industrial arts and received his master’s in industrial technology from East Texas State University in 1987. His teaching career began at Carrollton-Farmers school district teaching and ended at Highland Park Independent School District where he taught and coached the girl’s cross-country team who were the 2013 Division 4A State Champions.

At the banquet, Bagwell shared her essay on Sutterfield’s influence on her stating, “He is a coach that holds everyone to the same standard regardless of their talent and skill level… He modeled what it looked like to be humble and have humility.”
Sutterfield reminded everyone at the banquet to stay true to who they were and their values. “You learn, as an educator, to adapt to many situations, but you are always you,” he said. “Use your knowledge of science, music and reading to teach children to believe in themselves to be more than they ever imagined.”

Blog-Walker-u7pfzjLastly, Christy Walker was nominated by Allie Smith, an SOE senior majoring in secondary mathematics.

Walker grew up in Waco, graduated from Baylor University with a teaching degree and began teaching at Crawford Independent School District (CISD) in 1975. She has taught at both the junior high and high school level. Walker currently teaches Honors Geometry, Algebra 2, Pre-Calculus and Calculus classes and has taught junior high mathematics and Algebra 1. At CISD, Walker helps direct the annual One-Act Play, coaches University Interscholastic League, sponsors Beta Club and supports Relay for Life.

Allie presented her essay which reflected on Walker’s determination and passion for teaching mathematics. “She has created a ripple effect, and through those she has inspired an equipped to become math teachers, she is continually impacting countless other students as they learn mathematics.”

“Mrs. Walker’s legacy lives on,” Smith said; as many of Walker’s former students have gone on to pursue careers in teaching and mathematics. Dr. Amy Maddox, Senior Lecturer of Statistical Science and Dr. Rachelle Rogers, Assistant Clinical Professor in Curriculum and Instruction in the School of Education have both been taught by Walker in high school.

Walker also spoke at the banquet, passing on her wisdom to graduating seniors. “Students need to realize that trying is equally as important as succeeding,” she said. “In fact, much more is learned in trying!”


Originally posted on Instant Impact