News Archives: School of Humanities

HPU graduates 90 students at fall Commencement ceremony

BROWNWOOD – January 15, 2020 – Howard Payne University awarded degrees to 90 students during its Commencement ceremony held at the close of the fall 2019 semester.

Those receiving diplomas included August 2019 and December 2019 graduates. Dr. Cory Hines, HPU president, and other university representatives conferred the degrees. Dr. Steve Bezner, senior pastor of Houston Northwest Baptist Church, delivered the charge to graduates.

Students must have a 3.55-3.69 grade-point average to graduate Cum Laude; a 3.70-3.84 GPA to graduate Magna Cum Laude; and a 3.85-4.0 GPA to graduate Summa Cum Laude.

Arlington

James Ryan Cook – Bachelor of Science in kinesiology (general)

Austin

Travis Lynn Folmar – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in criminal justice

Cody Tyler Hastings – Master of Business Administration

Matthew Richard Prall – Bachelor of Science in kinesiology (general)

Bangs

Shannon Irene McNeill – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Christian studies (composite concentration)

Michael Talon Taylor – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in general studies

Beaumont

Rickey Andrew Guillory – Master of Business Administration

Djimonii Rai¢ Jackson – Master of Business Administration

Bridgeport

Jessica Leanne Meeks – Bachelor of Arts in family studies

Brownwood

Bobbie Jo Anderson – Bachelor of Arts in elementary education (early childhood – grade 6)

Bryan Dustin Bachus – Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science (all-level certification)

Jordan Terrell Beasley – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in criminal justice

Thomas Alexander Bingham – Bachelor of Arts in Bible

Amanda Arleans Collins – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood – grade 6)

Lydia Melissa Conrad – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in general studies

Matthew Jeffrey Davis – Bachelor of Arts in Christian education

Matthew Don Gomez – Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice

Emmanuel Lee Jimenez – Master of Arts in theology and ministry

Weston Drew Kirbo – Bachelor of Business Administration in management, Magna Cum Laude

Cheyanne Denise Lovelady – Master of Business Administration

Katrina Dene Lynn – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in business administration

Timothy Michael Murphy – Bachelor of Science in kinesiology (personal trainer)

Rachel Mary Myers – Bachelor of Arts in cross cultural studies

Shantel Oplotnik – Bachelor of Science in social work

Austin James Robinson – Master of Science in criminal justice

Michael A. Westerman – Bachelor of Science in business administration

Eli David Williams – Bachelor of Arts in Biblical languages

Burleson

Eliajia Donnell Pruitt – Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science (personal trainer)

Caddo Mills

Tabatha Marie Moore – Bachelor of Science in kinesiology (general), Cum Laude

Canutillo

Jazmin Susana Amezcua – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in criminal justice

Childress

Chanda Kay King – Bachelor of Science in kinesiology (general)

Cisco

Robert Devin Caraway – Bachelor of Science business administration and psychology (general), Magna Cum Laude

Camille Lindsey Webb – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood – grade 6), Summa Cum Laude

Cleburne

Anna Elizabeth Goains – Bachelor of Science in kinesiology (general)

Coleman

Murry Roy Clingerman – Master of Business Administration

Faye-Nita Lyn Norway – Bachelor of Arts in social work

College Station

Hannah Noel McCain – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Christian studies (composite concentration)

Cross Plains

Joel Thomas Hinten – Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science (all-level certification)

DeSoto

Levie Smith – Bachelor of Science in criminal justice (forensic science)

Early

Conner Mac Drew – Bachelor of Science in business administration, Summa Cum Laude

Dylan Scott Person – Bachelor of Arts in social studies composite (high school: grade 7-12)

James Douglas Turner – Bachelor of Science in business administration, Summa Cum Laude

El Paso

Victor Hugo Almanza – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in criminal justice

Jeffrey Brewer – Master of Business Administration

Rose Anne Chavez – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in business administration

Raquel Cowans – Master of Business Administration

Luis Martin Jimenez – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in criminal justice

Sandra Saucedo – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in business administration

Flatonia

Abraham Esteban Centeno – Bachelor of Science in exercise and sports science (general)

Forney

Jarrid Wade Hawkins – Master of Arts in youth ministry

Gatesville

Madison Leigh Sims – Bachelor of Science in science (middle school: grade 4-8)

Goldthwaite

Jeffrey Gilbert – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood – grade 6)

Grandview

James Jarod Dowling – Bachelor of Music in music education (all-level certification)

Greenville

Jordan Alexandria Sweat – Bachelor of Science in kinesiology (all-level certification), Cum Laude

Haslet

Kailey Rebekah Doering – Bachelor of Science elementary education (early childhood – grade 6), Summa Cum Laude

Horizon City

Santiago Felipe Mejia – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in criminal justice

Brenda Jeanette Palma – Master of Business Administration

Huntington

Jeremy Randell Batten – Bachelor of Science in kinesiology (general)

Kennedale

Hailey Anne Green – Bachelor of Arts in communication studies (public and media), Cum Laude

Killeen

Haley Kristine Slater – Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting

May

Jordan Dale Easterling – Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice

Midland

Britt Thomas Boler – Bachelor of Business Administration in management, Cum Laude

Eric Trey Haverstock – Bachelor of Business Administration in management

Natalia

Hailey Stewart – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood – grade 6)

New Braunfels

Chad Eric Campbell – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in criminal justice

Melodee Lynne Carrier – Master of Arts in theology and ministry

Genaro Garza – Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice

Adelaide Anne Joralemon – Bachelor of Science in business administration, Summa Cum Laude

Eric Lehr – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in criminal justice, Summa Cum Laude

Alison Leanne Posey – Master of Business Administration

Tina Rocha – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences business administration

Rakisha Williams – Master of Business Administration

Odessa

Larry Dwayne Potter – Bachelor of Arts in social studies composite (high school: grade 7-12)

Destiny Reyann Ramirez – Bachelor of Science elementary education (early childhood – grade 6), Magna Cum Laude

Pasadena

Kyra Alyse Chapa – Bachelor of Arts in communication studies (public and media)

Plainview

Yancy Justyne Flores – Bachelor of Science in communication studies (public and media)

Plano

Troy Zachariah Moseley – Bachelor of Arts in history

Grant Michael Saltar – Bachelor of Music in music education (all-level certification), Cum Laude

Richardson

Scott Walton Wright – Bachelor of Arts in psychology (general), Magna Cum Laude

Round Rock

Kailey Ann Cargill – Bachelor of Science in psychology (counseling/clinical psychology)

Jonathan Michael George – Bachelor of Science in engineering science

San Angelo

Juan Andres Luna – Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice, Cum Laude

San Antonio

Marzena Marroquin – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in business administration

Alexandra Irene Thompson – Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting, Cum Laude

San Saba

Caelob Dane Hardman – Bachelor of Science in computer information systems (systems development)

Hollee Anne Ragsdale – Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice

Seguin

Shelli Suzanne De La Garza – Bachelor of Science in business administration

Trinity

Jade Elise Taylor – Bachelor of Science in psychology (general psychology)

Tulia

Bryce Wayne Shelton – Bachelor of Arts in practical theology

Woodsboro

Cory Dean Edwards – Master of Arts in theology and ministry

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Cutline: Dr. Steve Bezner, senior pastor of Houston Northwest Baptist Church, delivers charge to graduates at HPU’s December 2019 Commencement ceremony.

Eight from HPU’s social work program participate in Mission Waco Poverty Simulation

Six Howard Payne University students, a faculty member and a retired faculty member recently took part in Mission Waco’s Poverty Simulation. The goal of the trip was to give participants a firsthand look at poverty in America. This was HPU’s 10th year to participate in the event.

Mission Waco creates a safe, controlled weekend of experiences that are designed to increase empathy for those living in poverty. HPU students joined approximately 25 other people of various ages to go through this simulation together.

Those who made the trip included Rachel Derrington Bourke, professor of social work and director of the social work program; sophomore Felicia Guzman of Natalia; senior David Manolof of Midway, Arkansas; senior Shantel Oplotnik of Brownwood; senior Destiny Sharp of Brownwood; senior Andrew Taylor of Brookesmith; and sophomore Diana Torres from Houston.

Dan Humeniuk, assistant professor emeritus of social work, also accompanied the group, making this his 10th time participating in the poverty simulation.

“It was a privilege to once again participate in the weekend with a group of HPU students,” he said. “The experience always serves to emphasize how people of faith should respond to poverty. It is always my hope that the students bring back a greater sensitivity to those who live in the margins of society and a clearer understanding of their obligation as Christians to advocate and assist those in need.”

Attendees experienced a very small sample of the hunger, tiredness and hardship many homeless people have to endure on a daily basis. With the exception of travel to a service project, they walked everywhere they needed to go, which totaled about 14 miles over the weekend.

“The experience helps social work students better understand the needs of the marginalized and oppressed,” said Derrington Bourke. “When it is time for the students to go into practice, they will be better informed to provide services and create community initiatives to build pathways out of poverty.”

The group had the opportunity to attend a church service and worship at the Magnolia Market Silos in Waco on Sunday morning. Mission Waco conducts the church services and, as part of the simulation, participants walked one-and-a-half miles to the worship site. Groups of people from all over Waco, including college students, families and homeless people, join together to worship there.

“Once at the Silos we were greeted by the biggest smiles and warmest welcomes,” said Shantel Oplotnik. “The congregation was full of homeless people. What an inspiration it was to see those who have absolutely nothing praising God.”

Derrington Bourke expressed the importance of these types of experiences for students going into the social field.

“Our future social work leaders are tasked to help communities break down the stereotypes about people in poverty and build partnerships,” said Derrington Bourke. “The goal is to provide resources so each and every individual will be able to reach his or her full potential.”

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Cutline: Eight from HPU participated in the 2019 Poverty Simulation in Waco. From left to right are Rachel Derrington Bourke, assistant professor of social work and director of HPU’s social work program; Diana Torres; David Manolof; Felicia Guzman; Andrew Taylor; Destiny Sharp; and Dan Humeniuk, assistant professor emeritus. Not pictured is Shantel Oplotnik.

HPU freshman Brianna Lopez receives UPS scholarship

Howard Payne University freshman Brianna Lopez, a criminal justice major from Corpus Christi, has been selected to receive a UPS scholarship provided by the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas (ICUT) Foundation and its national partner, the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC).

Lopez is the daughter of Roxanne and Daniel Lopez and graduated from W.B. Ray High School in 2019. She is a member of the Lady Jackets softball team.

“Receiving this scholarship means a lot to me,” said Lopez. “I’m very thankful for this scholarship – it will really help me and my parents.”

At the national level, CIC works with the UPS Foundation to distribute funding of the UPS Scholarship. Each year, the organizations allocate thousands of dollars in scholarships to students at private institutions throughout the state.

The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) is an association of more than 700 nonprofit independent colleges and universities and higher education affiliates and organizations that has worked since 1956 to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence and enhance public understanding of private higher education’s contributions to society. CIC is the major national organization focused on providing services to leaders of independent colleges and universities as well as conferences, seminars and other programs that help institutions improve educational quality, administrative and financial performance and institutional visibility. CIC conducts the largest annual conferences of college and university presidents and of chief academic officers. CIC also provides support to state associations that organize programs and generate contributions for their member colleges and universities, including the ICUT Foundation. The council is headquartered at One Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.cic.edu.

Applications for admission are being accepted for the spring 2020 and fall 2020 semesters at Howard Payne University (www.hputx.edu/apply). For more information about HPU, including the wide range of available financial aid options, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.

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Cutline: HPU freshman Brianna Lopez, a criminal justice major from Corpus Christi, was selected to receive a UPS Foundation scholarship, provided by the ICUT Foundation and the CIC.

HPU sophomore Haleigh Clevenger receives PACCAR Foundation scholarship

Howard Payne University sophomore Haleigh Clevenger, a sophomore from Brownwood majoring in English and studio art, has been selected to receive a scholarship from the PACCAR Foundation provided by the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas (ICUT) Foundation and its national partner, the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC).

Her parents are Patrick ’95, who graduated from HPU with a major in practical theology and Spanish, and Elizabeth, who worked at the university from 1993 to 1995 with the university’s English as a Second Language program. Clevenger attended Midland Classical Academy until her junior year of high school. After moving to Brownwood, she graduated from Brownwood High School in 2018.

“I am so very thankful for what the PACCAR Foundation has done for my family and me,” Clevenger said. “Their generosity in granting me this scholarship is greatly appreciated and will bless my time here at HPU immensely. This gift will allow me to continue growing academically, in an environment that will, likewise, be maturing me spiritually. The foundation’s support is such an encouragement to me and inspires me to keep learning, achieving and setting goals within this community that I love.”

The PACCAR Foundation is a philanthropic branch of the auto production and financial corporation PACCAR. The foundation was formed in 1951 and grants millions of dollars each year for education, social services and the arts.

The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) is an association of more than 700 nonprofit independent colleges and universities and higher education affiliates and organizations that has worked since 1956 to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence and enhance public understanding of private higher education’s contributions to society. CIC is the major national organization focused on providing services to leaders of independent colleges and universities as well as conferences, seminars and other programs that help institutions improve educational quality, administrative and financial performance and institutional visibility. CIC conducts the largest annual conferences of college and university presidents and of chief academic officers. CIC also provides support to state associations that organize programs and generate contributions for their member colleges and universities, including the ICUT Foundation. The council is headquartered at One Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.cic.edu.

Applications for admission are being accepted for the spring 2020 and fall 2020 semesters at Howard Payne University (www.hputx.edu/apply). For more information about HPU, including the wide range of available financial aid options, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.

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Cutline: HPU sophomore Haleigh Clevenger, an English and studio art major from Brownwood, was recently named a recipient of a PACCAR Foundation scholarship.

HPU student organizations participate in evening of community building

Students in Howard Payne University’s Social Work Club and Criminal Justice Club recently participated in National Night Out, a community wide event for crime and drug prevention through community awareness and interaction with public servants.

Members of the Social Work Club volunteered with Good Samaritan Ministries of Brownwood to help collect canned goods donated during the event. The Criminal Justice Club hosted a registered National Night Out stop on the HPU campus to honor first responders.

Local residents were encouraged to spend time with their neighbors and local law enforcement during National Night Out. According to Good Samaritan, many neighborhoods in the Brown County area planned block parties, cookouts and visits with local police and city officials as part of the event.

Law enforcement from the Brownwood Police Department, Brown County Sheriff’s Office, Early Police Department, Bangs Police Department, area fire departments and other officials were represented at local NNO events.

Destiny Sharp, president of the HPU Social Work Club and a senior from Brownwood majoring in social work, emphasized the evening’s value to help create a unified community that will contribute to positive change in individual citizens’ lives.

“National Night Out brings back the sense of community,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity to bring everyone together. It’s also amazing to see how much of an impact we can make on the community by coming together as one. It was important for the Social Work Club to be involved because we each truly have a heart for helping others – it’s important to us to help others feel worthy.”

Sierra Ross, president of the HPU Criminal Justice Club and a junior from Galveston majoring in the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy and social science with an emphasis in jurisprudence, said the opportunity the event provides to connect with public servants in a personal setting is particularly valuable.

“National Night Out is a fantastic event that allows the community to thank our first responders – policemen, firemen and EMTs – for their service,” said Ross. “The Criminal Justice Club has participated in this event for several years and it continues to be a fun and educational experience. Our interactions with local first responders have provided us with first-hand knowledge of their duties.”

For more information about the National Night Out and Good Samaritan Ministries of Brownwood, visit www.goodsambwd.org.

Applications are being accepted for the spring 2020 semester at Howard Payne University (www.hputx.edu/apply). For more information about HPU, including the wide range of available financial aid options, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.

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Cutline #1: Members of HPU’s Social Work Club collect canned donations during National Night Out.

Cutline #2: Students in HPU’s Criminal Justice Club are pictured with Brownwood first responders during National Night Out.

 

Brownwood Fire Marshal Buddy Preston and arson dog visit HPU criminal justice class

Brownwood Fire Marshal Buddy Preston and Nika the arson dog recently visited a Howard Payne University criminal justice class to demonstrate evidence-gathering techniques following acts of arson.

“I try to invite Buddy Preston and Nika every semester to demonstrate to my Introduction to Criminal Justice class the career opportunities they have to choose from, one of which is working with K9s,” said Lynn Humeniuk, associate professor emeritus of criminal justice and sociology. “By the time class is over, students have expanded their knowledge of evidence related to arson and some students now are entertaining the thought of one day becoming an arson investigator.”

Preston hid mock arson evidence in the classroom the day before the demonstration. The following morning, he returned with Nika, who found all the mock evidence. Preston also discussed several solved arson cases in Brown County.

Nika, a Labrador Retriever, has served with the Brownwood Fire Marshal’s office for nine years. During this time, Preston and Nika have had a 98.8% success rate in obtaining evidence for arson cases.

“Buddy Preston is an incredible community servant who loves his job,” said Humeniuk. “He is one of our on-site supervisors for criminal justice interns and he provides excellent guidance in that process. As for Nika, every student wanted to take her home after class.”

Applications are being accepted for the spring 2020 semester at Howard Payne University (www.hputx.edu/apply). For more information about HPU, including the wide range of available financial aid options, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.

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Cutline:Brownwood Fire Marshal Buddy Preston and Nika, an arson dog, recently visited a HPU criminal justice class. Preston and Nika are pictured demonstrating evidence-gathering techniques to the class.

HPU honors 61 students at Academic Awards Convocation

Howard Payne University honored 61 students for academic achievements at the university’s annual Academic Awards Convocation, held near the end of the spring 2019 semester.

Receiving awards were:

Abbott
Kylie Johnson, Honor Award in Spanish

Allen
Brianna Weaver, Outstanding New Secondary Teacher and English Academic Achievement Award

Alleyton
Jessica Catlett, Honor Award in Social Work

Arlington
Emma Reed, Outstanding Model United Nations Student

Austin
Riley G. Morrison, Outstanding Student in Marketing and Outstanding Graduate in Engineering Science

Bartlesville, Oklahoma
Xavier Haines, HPU Outstanding Male Scholar-Athlete

Brownwood
Kaitlyn Bush, Outstanding Student in Practical Theology and Outstanding Student in Christian Studies
Cameron Butler, Outstanding Spanish Minor
Kristen Herring, Outstanding New Elementary Teacher
Hannah Justice, Outstanding Graduate in Biomedical Science
Joel Justice, Outstanding Student in Biblical Languages
Grace Milcherska, Outstanding New Elementary Teacher
Bailey Myler, Outstanding Moot Court Student
Seth Owen, Outstanding Student in Physical Education
Tanner Pennington, Outstanding History Student
Grant Saltar, Outstanding Music Major (Instrumental) Upper Division
Anna Vallejo, Outstanding Nontraditional Student
Tricia S. Webb, Outstanding Perseverance Award

Briggs
Suzanne Schad, Outstanding Music Major (Piano) Upper Division

Bulverde
Preston Davis, English Academic Achievement Award

Canton
Sierra Ross, Outstanding Mock Trial Student and Honor Award in Spanish

Canyon Country, California
Matthew Davis, Outstanding Student in Christian Education

Carlsbad
Kathryn Grice, Outstanding Swarm Yearbook Staff Member

Clifton, Colorado
Caleb Kostreva, Outstanding Government Student

Corpus Christi
Ethan Cerna, Outstanding Upper Division Student in Biology

Cisco
Jaime Dodson, Honor Award in Psychology

Cuero
Audrey Joan Simpson, Outstanding Student in the School of Business and Tami Pattillo Memorial Award

Dallas
Richard Treviso, Outstanding Upper Division Student in Chemistry

Dayton
Cecily McIlwain, Outstanding Student in Cross-Cultural Studies and Outstanding Student in Christian Studies
DeSoto
Spencer Wolverton, Outstanding Upper Division Student in Communication Studies

Early
Caleb Callaway, Outstanding Lower Division Student in Communication Studies
Abraham Cooper, Distinguished Music Major Achievement Award and Excellence in Chemistry Award
MaKayla De Leon, Outstanding Lower Division Student in Mathematics
Tanya Glasscock, Outstanding Nontraditional Student in Education

Fort Worth
Reed Alexander Shelley, Outstanding Student in Marketing and ASC Medal of Honor Award

Garden Ridge
Camila Cotter, Outstanding New All-Level Teacher and Outstanding Music Major (Vocal)

Gonzales
Seth Rainey, Outstanding Yellow Jacket Newspaper Staff Member

Haltom City
Dayane Gutierrez, Outstanding Student in Management

Harlingen
Cody Harrison Hughes, Outstanding Student in Accounting

Howe
Lindsey Krueger, Outstanding Music Service Award
Tyler Olin, Outstanding Student Speaker Bureau Member and Texas All-State Forensics Squad

Humble
Noah Payne, Paul Jay Cunningham Memorial Award

Huntsville
Kathleen Cravey, Outstanding Academic Achievement in Communication Studies

Kaufman
Talen Davis-Rentfro, Outstanding Lower Division Engineering Science Student

Kennedale
Hailey Green, Outstanding Achievement in Theatre

Kermit
David Dingle, Outstanding Graduate in Biology

Lake Jackson
Hogan Stogner, Outstanding Lower Division Engineering Student

Lindale
Graham White, Outstanding Student in General Studies

Llano
Justin Hughes, Outstanding Upper Division Student in Engineering Science

May
Sarah Abigail Brown, Jack White Character Award in Art
Eli Williams, Outstanding Student in Biblical Languages
Deejay Moses, The Servant Artist Award

Midland
Kimberly Bogart, Outstanding Upper Division Student in Mathematics

Midway, Arkansas
Jessica Swonger, HPU Outstanding Female Scholar-Athlete

Newport, Arkansas
Mikala Meadows, Outstanding Student in General Biology

Paradise
Dalton Pendergrass, Outstanding Music Major (Instrumental) Lower Division

Rockdale
Brian Blanchard, Outstanding Music Major (Piano) Lower Division

Rowlett
Rachel Carpenter, Outstanding Student in Bible

San Angelo
Juan Luna, Honor Award in Criminal Justice

Valley Mills
Lance Bracco, Outstanding Lower Division Student in Biology

Watauga
Kaitlyn Harrison, Kinesiology/Athletic Training Highest GPA – 4.0, Outstanding Athletic Training Student and ASC Medal of Honor Award

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2019 semester at Howard Payne University (www.hputx.edu/apply). For more information about HPU, including the wide range of available financial aid options, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.

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HPU student organizations to host charity drive for Children’s Advocacy Center

BROWNWOOD – April 8, 2019 – Howard Payne University’s Criminal Justice Club and Amigos Unidos Club will host an event this Saturday, April 13, to collect new and gently used items for the Heart of Texas Children’s Advocacy Center in Early. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the parking lot of Abundant Life Church on West Commerce in Brownwood.

The organizations are requesting donations of blankets, backpacks, stuffed animals and hygiene products. Dr. Danny Brunette-López, associate professor of Spanish and chair of HPU’s Department of Spanish and Hispanic Studies, serves as adviser of the Amigos Unidos Club.

“The students of both clubs would like to give back to the community and show the true giving spirit of Howard Payne, especially to the children in our area who have suffered greatly,” he said.

For more information, contact Dr. Brunette-López via e-mail at dbrunette@hputx.edu.

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HPU Social Work Club to distribute free prom dresses to area high school students this Friday and Saturday

BROWNWOOD – April 1, 2019 – Howard Payne University’s Social Work Club will host its annual Project Cinderella this Friday and Saturday, April 5 and 6. Young women from area high schools are invited to stop by HPU’s Girling Center for Social Justice (1308 Austin Avenue) between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. and noon on Saturday to choose from among the free, like-new prom dresses.

The Social Work Club aims to make this a fun experience for young women and their families by creating a boutique-like setting with music, fitting rooms and a large selection of stylish dresses.

“We’re excited to welcome high school students on HPU’s campus and help make prom a memorable experience for them,” said Toni Damron, assistant professor of social work.

For more information, contact Damron at tdamron@hputx.edu.

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Cutline: Diana Torres (left), sophomore social work major from Houston, and Destiny Bible, junior social work major from Brownwood and member of the Social Work Club, display two of the dresses that will be available at HPU’s Project Cinderella event this weekend.

HPU social work program focuses on Christian approach to challenges

BROWNWOOD – February 22, 2019 – Social workers deal often with the darkest forces humanity has to offer – abuse, trauma and addictions among others. Perhaps none are better equipped, therefore, to become social workers than Christians walking daily in the light of Jesus. That is the premise of the social work program at Howard Payne University.

“Social workers are always dealing with the fallouts of evil in the world,” said Rachel Derrington, assistant professor of social work and director of HPU’s social work program. “If they are not rooted in Christ, are not relying on Jesus to empower them, it’s really hard to maintain a healthy balance in their lives and avoid burnout.”

Though a secular emphasis is often placed on social work, the field’s principles are in line with Christian values and the teachings of Jesus.

“Jesus taught us to take care of the vulnerable, the oppressed, orphans, displaced people,” said Derrington. “One of the values of social work is holding people in unconditional positive regard and protecting human dignity and the worth of people. That’s all in line with what the Bible tells us.”

Derrington, who lives in San Saba, spoke with her pastor, Sam Crosby of First Baptist Church of San Saba, about Jesus’ teachings.

“He said there are 13 references in the King James Version of the Gospels involving Jesus blessing or ministering to the poor,” she said. “Though opinions differ based on interpretations, some scholars argue that the Bible commands compassion toward those in need some 300 times.”

Derrington joined HPU’s faculty in the fall 2018 semester from the University of Denver where she was employed as an adjunct faculty member and curriculum developer. Prior to that, she worked in child welfare, helping to place children with adoptive families and providing the families with post-adoptive support. She additionally worked in child welfare policy analysis and marriage/family strengthening activities for the federal government, and for the state government in Colorado providing policy communications for the state regulatory agency. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of Denver and a Master of Social Work degree in policy and program management from the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work.

“I worked in secular social work higher education in Colorado for eight years and always recognized the parallels between social work values and ethics and Jesus’ teachings but I couldn’t figure out a way to combine the two,” she said.

Derrington said she prayed over the situation consistently for two years.

“Last summer, out of the blue, I got a call from Toni Damron, assistant professor of social work at HPU,” she said. “She got my number from a friend of a friend and told me she heard I had moved to the area from a colleague I had only met once. It was quite serendipitous.”

Christian social workers are better positioned to see God’s redemptive powers at work in the lives of the people with which they interact.

“Secularly, social work promotes the idea of empowering others to reach their full potential,” said Derrington. “When you add in the Christian influences, social work is about reaching this potential within an individual’s relationship with Christ.”

Though the social work field can often be incredibly challenging, it is equally rewarding.

“Your entire life is centered around the principles of Jesus’ teachings,” said Derrington. “Your career, the way you relate to people in your personal life – even who you are in the community and in the world. Folks who have it in their hearts to serve and really want to model the life of Jesus will find that the social work field is a good way to accomplish that.”

It is also important, Derrington noted, to understand that social work is as much about preventing evil in the world as it is about dealing with the fallouts of it.

“Social work is also about promoting positive youth development and healthy relationships and strengthening marriages and parenting skills,” she said.

Those with a social work education are prepared to practice in organizations or institutions or to work with small groups or families. Careers include positions with adult protective services, child welfare, community organizations, schools, correctional facilities, prisons, hospitals and treatment facilities among many others. Social workers may also choose to go into politics, research, policy analysis or administrative roles.

“There are also opportunities to do international social work in any type of setting anywhere in the world,” said Derrington.

Students who earn a bachelor’s degree in social work from an accredited program, such as HPU’s, and go on to graduate school may earn a master’s degree in social work in just one year.

Many may wonder if they have “what it takes” for a career in social work, but Derrington is certain that Christians do.

“You need a solid relationship with Jesus and a good understanding of how he taught us to treat others,” she said. “When put together with the concrete tools that social workers develop in higher education, there are really no limits on how you can impact positive changes in individuals, families, organizations and communities.”

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Cutline: Rachel Derrington serves as assistant professor of social work and director of HPU’s social work program.