Bowtaye founder supporting Kenyan education

Bowtaye-Product 2
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.

Bowtaye-Product 6
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

Smokey Savory Sausage – Focus Magazine

The rest of the state has brisket. We have sausage. 

Tree Decorating
Taken by Constance Atton

It is no doubt that German and Czech heritage run strong within the communities of Taylor and Walburg and can be seen most prominently in the delicious smoked and summer sausages that are made in Central Texas.


No matter how famous the sausages get, Tim Mikeska stays true to his family’s roots.

“We have such a strong Czech influence,” Mikeska said, recalling their history. “All of our recipes have been handed down for decades, even centuries.”

Humble yet proud, Mikeska is one of the most well-known barbecue players in the business. With more than six restaurants and multiple TV and festival appearances, Mikeska knows a thing or two about smoked and summer sausage. His family is dubbed as “The First Family of Texas Bar-B-Q” by both the Travel Channel and Texas Monthly.

Mikeska said his family has been making Czech styled sausage since the early 1880s, when his family immigrated to Galveston. In the 1920s, his family moved towards rural Taylor.

“During the Great Depression, they butchered animals for money and as part of being paid, got to keep parts of the butchered animal so our family never went hungry,” Mikeska said.

Since then, fourth-generation Mikeska has taken over the business as CEO of Mikeska Bar-B-Q. Located in Temple, Killeen, Cameron, Belton, Columbus and El Campo, Tim prizes his family’s success solely on their Czech-styled sausage.

“In the 1950s my dad sold sausage to beer joints in Taylor. One of the owners told him, ‘Mr. Rudy, if you could make this sausage a bit more spicy, I would have more business and so would you.’ My dad added more cayenne red pepper and it was great. This was now a hot sausage. His profits doubled as more people requested more beer,” Mikeska said, laughing.

Mikeska’s best-selling sausages in Texas are made by cutting and grinding beef or pork meat, seasoning the meat to the desired taste and smoking it to perfection. Smoking sausage brings out flavors one wouldn’t get from gas or electric cooking because different woods have different aromas that seep into the sausage. Mikeska uses natural gut casing to hold the sausage, which makes their sausage unique from competitors.

Their most popular sausage is pork sausage, followed by jalapeño-and-cheese-filled sausage. Mikeska’s sausages have grown so popular that Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern featured Mikeska and his family on their Texas Episode in 2008. Mikeska’s sausages have won numerous awards and now Tim travels to Chicago, speaking at barbecue festivals and conventions.


Only 30 minutes northwest of Taylor lies the even smaller community of Walburg, home to authentic German sausage and good hospitality.

Every year in November, around 200 volunteers bear the cool outside temperatures to soon be surrounded by rows of hot and ready-to-cook barbecue pits. This annual event, given the name “Wurstbraten,” is celebrated by hundreds of citizens of Walburg and thousands in the surrounding communities. Wurstbraten stems from the more commonly known German sausage, brätwurst; “wurst” meaning to pan fry and “bräten” meaning sausage.

Wurstbraten began in 1972 during the first week of November when the women’s group of Zion Lutheran Church and School needed to earn money to carpet the church, as Ethel Micken recalls. Micken, now 79, was one of the first women to begin Wurstbraten in the church group and remembers the fundraising event as if it were yesterday.

“We butchered two hogs, smoked them on Saturday and Sunday and served about 400 people on Monday,” Micken said.

Micken doesn’t let out many secrets about cooking the summer sausages, but did reveal that the meat is smoked with only live oak because of its aroma. Beginning Saturday morning, the volunteers flock to Zion Lutheran Church and School to cut, grind, cube, season and smoke the sausages. On Sunday, the sausages are hung in a smokehouse and on Monday are served to the hungry thousands.

When asked about the unique flavor of their sausage, Micken laughed and answered, “Our recipe is not given out; it is for old-timer’s use only.”

Micken’s own grandfather was the founder of Walburg. In the early 1880s Henry Doering settled there and opened a general store, adding a post office years later. Other Germans later immigrated to that area, such as her husband, Ray Micken, owner of Micken Motor Co. in Walburg.

“It is a wonderful event,” Micken said. “We have people from all over the state to buy sausage and to buy plates. Some profit goes to the church and other profits go to the community.”

Today, more than 4,500 people are served 12,500 pounds of smoked sausage within four hours on the first Monday of November. The homemade menu includes many German influences: summer and smoked sausage, mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, sweet potatoes, potato salad, coleslaw, green beans, bread and pickles.

“It is wonderful to see the generous folk of Walburg come and serve good food to good people,” Micken said with a smile.

Taylor isn’t only the home of the Mikeska family, it is the known as “The Heart of Texan Bar-B-Q,” according to their chamber of commerce. While the Mikeska family shares their rich Czech heritage, Taylor Meat Co. has risen in popularity by selling various meats from different ethnic backgrounds.


In 1947, two brothers saw the rising popularity of barbecue in Central Texas and founded Taylor Meat Co. Since then, there have been more than 84 different types of smoked and summer sausages drawing from German and Czech influences.

All recipes have been passed along since 1947, but new spins on old classics have become instant favorites among routine customers. Ron Ivy, president of R.L. Ivy Management and partner in Taylor Meat Co., described the ethnic smoked and summer sausages they sell.

“Our summer sausage is called cervelat, which can be eaten cold or heated, mostly as finger food,” Ivy said.

Cervelat (pronounced “serve-a-la”) stems from Swiss, French and German influence and is actually derived from the Latin word, “cerebellum,” for brain. Cervelat used to be made from the brains of pigs mixed with pork and beef, but that soon became unpopular. Taylor Meat Co. uses pork rind, pork and beef with spices for flavoring.

Two additionally popular sausage choices are liver ring, which is a German classic, and head cheese, which became popular around the Middle Ages in Europe. Liver Ring is made by chopping up the intestines of a pig, flavoring and smoking it, and hanging in a smokehouse, after which it can be served heated or cold.

“We use pork liver, kidneys and pork tongue smoked over hickory wood,” Ivy said. “After it’s smoked and pulled, we case it in gelatin to set.”

Head cheese is another summer sausage popular at Taylor’s Meat. Head cheese refers to using the head of the pig to make the meat of the sausage and the jelly found in the skull as a casing. Ivy said Taylor’s Meat uses the snout, ears and tongue of the pig for their head cheese.

“We are primarily a German and Czech community, and our food matches the town’s culture,” Ivy said.


This article for the Spring 2015 issue and more can be found on

Let’s Play Ball

Photo taken by Meg Cullar

The Baylor master’s program in Sport Management began as a way for both students and student-athletes interested in sport-related careers to develop off-the-field marketable skills. Now graduates are in high demand and land jobs managing professional, collegiate, or K-12 systems related to sports.

Founded in 1985 by Dr. Andy Pittman in the Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation, the program is now located in the School of Education’s Department of Educational Administration (EDA). Faculty members Dr. Jeffrey Petersen and Dr. Marshall Magnusen said the EDA department’s focus on leader development is a great fit for the program.

Baylor’s emphasis on values also attracts students. “We emphasize a strong moral compass with ethical leadership,” Petersen said. Classes are designed for students to think critically and synthesize information, and students apply what they learn through real-life projects and case studies.

Magnusen said there is an “allure” to working with professional sports teams, and many graduates find success there. But he is seeing more students, especially women, interested in working in high schools, where they can have an impact on younger athletes.

“The School of Education gives us the resources to get our graduates into schools and colleges that need competent leadership in their athletic departments,” Magnusen said.

Alexis Summers, MSEd ’14, always had a passion for sports and business and was able to combine those in the sport management program. Summers is now assistant athletic director in the Tyler Independent School District. She credits the Baylor program for her success and said she gained valuable experience through an internship in Waco ISD. Professional internships — whether in school districts, colleges or businesses — are required for all students.

“A mix of sport and education was the perfect fit for me,” Summers said. “I go to a game every night, and the kids love knowing someone is there cheering them on.”

Other graduates find success in a sports-related business. Will Baggett, MSEd ’14, is coordinator for product category management at The Collegiate Licensing Company. He was named the 2013-14 Outstanding Graduate of the program and founded the Sport Management Association as a student organization during his time at Baylor.

“The faculty helped design my curriculum around my career interests and gave me sound ethical leadership principles throughout my two years,” Baggett said.

Magnusen said, “Will worked hard to network and build connections. He is an excellent example of what we are encouraging our students to do.”

While the program still attracts athletes like quarterback Bryce Petty BSEd ’13, MSEd ’14, and ace softball pitcher Whitney Canion Reichenstein BBA ’13, MSEd ’14, it welcomes all students interested in sport within both the education and business fields. This year there were 33 students in the program, including four current student-athletes.


Published in the Spring 2015 Impact Newsletter