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.

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Originally posted on Instant Impact

Let’s Play Ball

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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.

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Published in the Spring 2015 Impact Newsletter