News Archives

Criminal justice students recognized for completion of internships

The Howard Payne University Department of Criminal Justice recently recognized ten students and their internship supervisors for the completion and facilitation of internships.

Criminal justice majors are required to complete 150 hours of service with an agency or organization, which reflects three credit hours toward their degrees. Internships include working with “at-risk” students and adults at local, state and federal agencies as well as positions with law firms, law enforcement agencies and many other opportunities that help students prepare for a future in the field of criminal justice.

Students interned with the Brown County Sheriff’s Office, the Brownwood Police Department, the Early Police Department, the Eastland County Crisis Center, the Mills County Sheriff’s Office, the Ron Jackson State Juvenile Correctional Complex and the Texas Department of Public Safety.

“We are blessed at HPU to be engaged in this community collaboration with our interns and the agencies that they served,” said Lynn Humeniuk, associate professor of criminal justice and sociology and director of the criminal justice program. “Many of our criminal justice majors upon graduation are hired directly from internships into full-time employment. I believe this is because many of the agencies that supervise our on-site internships offer our students valuable experience.”

Criminal justice interns for the 2018-2019 academic year included Jordan Beasley, senior from San Antonio; Francisco Benitez, junior from Houston also majoring in exercise and sport science with all-level certification; Capricia Brooks, senior from Copperas Cove; Travis Folmar, senior from Austin; Jessica Huckaby, senior from Brownwood; Juan Luna, senior from San Angelo; Blake Null, senior from Auburn, Washington; Crystal Ochoa, senior from Early; Hollee Ragsdale, senior from San Saba; and Trishawn Townes, senior from Brownwood.

Applications are being accepted for the fall 2019 semester at Howard Payne University ( 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


Cutline: Pictured at a recent luncheon are criminal justice interns and their supervisors with HPU personnel. From left to right are Dr. Millard Kimery, dean of the School of Humanities and professor of English; Terrie Wells, administrative assistant for the School of Humanities; Lt. Pete Bastardo, Brown County Sheriff’s Office; Dan Humeniuk, adjunct faculty member in criminal justice; Officer Andre Smoot, Early Police Department; Trooper Tyler Moses, Texas Department of Public Safety; Trishawn Townes, student; Juan Luna, student; Gina Gibbs, associate professor of criminal justice; Travis Folmar, student; Francisco Benitez, student; Jordan Beasley, student; Capricia Brooks, student; Lynn Humeniuk, associate professor of criminal justice and sociology and director of the criminal justice program; Assistant Chief James Fuller, Brownwood Police Department; Hollee Ragsdale, student; Chief Deputy Chris Green, Mills County Sheriff’s Office; Stephanie Brown, investigator, Mills County Sheriff’s Office; and Dr. Cory Hines, HPU president.

HPU students study advocacy, legislative process at Texas Capitol

A group of Howard Payne University students from the Social Welfare Programs, Policies and Issues class and the Principles of Restorative Justice class recently traveled to the Texas Capitol in Austin for Advocacy Day. The classes are taught by Rachel Derrington, assistant professor of social work and director of the social work program, and Lynn Humeniuk, associate professor of sociology, respectively.

The annual event is sponsored by the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Christian Life Commission (CLC). According to the CLC website, Advocacy Day provides attendees with an opportunity to learn about public policy, its impact on community and how to get involved in advocacy. Those who attend the event have the opportunity to participate in workshops featuring a wide range of issues including religious liberty, educational equity and immigration.

“Being able to participate in Advocacy Day was incredibly beneficial, because it provided me with an environment to constructively talk about issues that I am passionate about,” said Lillie McDonald, junior practical theology major from Tuscola. “I especially liked the workshop on immigration, because we discussed the topic in a new and hopeful light.”

This year, students from HPU heard from keynote speaker Michael Gerson, syndicated columnist with the “Washington Post” and former top aide to President George W. Bush. His message emphasized that, in the midst of a divisive political climate, Christians can offer a message of hope through a commitment to the common good of society, grounded in the conviction that all people are created in the image of God.

Trishawn Townes, senior criminal justice major from Brownwood, said his experience was very informative.

“Keeping up with current events keeps us connected to our world,” he said.

Derrington’s class also participated in legislative education. These students met with Texas House Representative Mike Lang’s chief of staff, communications director and legislative director. Derrington and her class were recognized on the floor of the House of Representatives at the start of the session that day.

“I was so impressed with the interaction the students had with Mike Lang’s team,” she said. “I’m glad they were able to see firsthand just how important participation in advocacy is to so many individuals.”

According to Humeniuk, students and faculty greatly benefited from the trip.

“The HPU faculty and students returned from the experience better informed on current social issues and on how to advocate for change with Christian love and empathy,” she said. “As Michael Gerson noted, ‘The moment is difficult, not impossible. The bonds of our country are frayed, not broken, but we need healing influences and the church should be one of those influences.’”

In addition to McDonald and Townes, those in attendance were:
Jordan Barrs, junior criminal justice major from Austin;
Jordan Beasley, senior criminal justice major from San Antonio;
Destiny Bible, junior social work major from Brownwood;
Tia Campos, sophomore criminal justice major from Winters;
Clarissa Carranco, junior family studies major from Georgetown;
Jakayli Coppic, junior social work major from Zephyr;
Guadalupe Coronado, sophomore criminal justice major from Shallowater;
Kashtyn Eoff, junior social work major from Brownwood;
Nathan Haggerton, freshman criminal justice major from Burnet;
Lainee Hasty, senior psychology and social science global studies major from Runaway Bay;
Julissa Ibarra, sophomore criminal justice major from San Antonio;
Payton Jones, sophomore criminal justice major from Whitewright;
Caleb Kostreva, senior social science and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Clifton, Colorado;
David Manolof, junior social work major from Midway, Arkansas;
Marisa Miller, junior social work major from San Antonio;
Shantel Oplotnik, senior social work major from Brownwood;
Kayla Rayos, junior criminal justice major from Houston;
Shelby Smart, junior family studies major from Brady;
Levie Smith, junior criminal justice forensic science major from DeSoto; and
Diana Torres, sophomore social work major from Houston.

Accompanying the group was Dr. Millard Kimery, dean of HPU’s School of Humanities and professor of English, and Dan Humeniuk, adjunct faculty member in criminal justice.

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2019 semester at Howard Payne University ( HPU offers a variety of financial aid options. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


Cutline: A group of Howard Payne University students and faculty recently traveled to the Texas Capitol for Advocacy Day. Pictured are, front row from left are Dr. Millard Kimery, Rachel Derrington, Lynn Humeniuk, Lillie McDonald, Julissa Ibarra, Destiny Bible and Jakayli Coppic; second row from left, Caleb Kostreva, Trishawn Townes, Tia Campos, Kayla Rayos, Diana Torres and Dan Humeniuk; third row from left, Noah Coronado, Jordan Beasley, Jordan Barrs, Paton Jones, Levie Smith and Nathan Haggerton.

HPU’s Spirit of Social Work Award presented to Michele King Doud of Brownwood

Howard Payne University’s Social Work Advisory Board recently presented its Spirit of Social Work Award to Michele King Doud of Brownwood. The award is presented annually to an individual whose career reflects an outstanding contribution to the social work profession or to the field of human services in general.

“It is always such a privilege to present the Spirit of Social Work Award to someone who serves the Brownwood community in such an impactful way,” said Rachel Derrington, assistant professor of social work and director of HPU’s social work program. “Recognizing Michele is just a small way to say ‘thank you’ for years of faithful service.”
Doud graduated from HPU in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science in social work. The youngest of six children, Doud was one of five siblings who attended HPU. After graduating, Doud immediately began work at Brownwood Regional Medical Center, where she served for 20 years. She also spent six years in home health, one year at a local nursing home and 11 years at Solaris Hospice. She now serves as a social worker in Kaufman.

“We selected Michele because of her tireless service to the Brownwood community and her dedication to her clients,” Derrington said. “She certainly represents the true spirit of social work.”
Doud has two sons, Hunter and Mitchel, as well a nephew and a niece, Joshua Eargle and Lottie Burch Bullock, who she helped raise.
The award was received on Doud’s behalf by her sister, Melissa King.

Cutline: Michele King Doud of Brownwood is the recipient of this year’s Spirit of Social Work Award.

HPU’s Dr. Craig Younce returns to Zambia with students

After a mission trip to Zambia in fall 2018, Howard Payne University’s Dr. Craig Younce, assistant professor of biology, returned this spring with a group of students to serve at New Day Orphanage (NDO).

“My expectation for the students was that they would see that the ways they are talented and the abilities God has given them can be used to bring glory and honor to Him,” said Dr. Younce. “In our culture, talent is often used for personal gain, but this opportunity showed them that you can use your talents to help others.”

Those who made the trip were Paulo Flores, junior chemistry major from Chandler; Hannah Justice, senior biomedical sciences major from Brownwood; Angelica Ramirez, senior biology major from Austin; and Brittany Rideau, junior biology major from Beaumont. Sydney Spencer, administrative assistant for the School of Science and Mathematics, also made the journey.

“This isn’t just a trip for one type of student – it is a trip for students of nearly every discipline,” said Spencer, who graduated from HPU through the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy program in 2017. “God is so clearly at work in the lives of the children and workers at the orphanage and it is wonderful to see a population with so little rely on their faith to carry them through. I think we can all take something away from their reverence and trust for our Creator.”

New Day Orphanage takes in children of all ages, provides them with an education and raises them to adulthood. The HPU group served the orphanage by assisting in the refinement of its science curriculum and helping with science demonstrations.

“We worked with the classes almost every morning and performed science, technology, engineering and math demonstrations,” said Dr. Younce. “In the afternoons, we sat with the teachers and explained to them what we did and answered any questions they had.”

Students from HPU were also able to take part in National Youth Day, a holiday recognizing the significance of youth in Zambia. The students from the orphanage had a day off school, which enabled the HPU group to interact with them through games and activities.

“I had the opportunity to be partners with David, a young boy who lives at New Day with his parents,” said Paulo Flores. “We bonded very well and became good friends.”

While in Zambia, the group also had the opportunity to go on a safari.

“The safari was very educational and the overall trip really opened my eyes and challenged me in my spiritual walk,” said Brittany Rideau.

The idea for the trip took shape after Dr. Younce traveled to Zambia with Coggin Avenue Baptist Church in 2018 and felt a call to return and assist the orphanage, where the church group stayed for a night.

“I could hear God telling me that we needed to do something with them,” said Dr. Younce.

Dr. Younce and Dr. Pam Bryant, dean of HPU’s School of Science and Mathematics, coordinated with NDO on a plan to bring chemistry and biology majors from HPU to Zambia. Dr. Younce was impressed by God’s timing.

“This year, the university is really emphasizing the life of the mind and the life of the Spirit,” said Dr. Younce. “It’s fascinating that, when all of this was coming to fruition, I wasn’t even aware that was going to be a focus.”

Younce hopes that the trip helped show his students how to bridge the gap between the life of the mind and the life of the Spirit by allowing them to incorporate both their education and God’s vision while serving. He plans to continue making the trip with students in years to come.

“We are currently working on plans to return to Zambia,” he said. “We’ve talked with the orphanage and they said, ‘Yes, come back.’”

Dr. Younce stated he was impressed with his students, who not only demonstrated that they were grasping lessons at HPU but showed tremendous spiritual maturity.

“We are all created for a purpose and that is to carry out God’s mission,” said Dr. Younce. “If nothing else, one of the biggest things that Christ calls us to do is to serve. We all have different skills with which to do that. These students are getting an education and now they can apply it in a way of service.”


Photo cutline one: Senior Hannah Justice and junior Brittany Rideau teach a class at New Day Orphanage in Zambia.
Photo cutline two: Dr. Craig Younce and senior Angelica Ramirez speak to students at New Day Orphanage in Zambia.
Photo cutline three: The group from HPU’s School of Science and Mathematics stands in front of Victoria Falls in Zambia.

HPU hosts 122nd Texas Academy of Science Annual Meeting

Howard Payne University recently hosted the annual meeting of the Texas Academy of Science. The meeting involved presentations from undergraduate and graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields and recognitions of academy members. Almost 400 students and faculty from 30 institutions in Texas attended the conference, the 122nd in the organization’s history.

HPU students who presented during the conference were Hannah Justice, a senior from Brownwood majoring in biomedical science, and Paulo Flores, a junior from Chandler majoring in biochemistry.

“I was encouraged seeing all the hard work that other students have put into making discoveries that benefit humanity – from agricultural research to wildlife biology to cancer research and so much more,” said Justice. “I am grateful for the opportunity to share my research with fellow scientists. I have spent three semesters working on my research and thesis, and to be able to share what I’ve learned with others was rewarding.”

Dr. Craig Younce, chair of the Department of Biological Sciences and associate professor of biology, coordinated the event with the TAS. He stated that the event carries benefits for all students, whether they presented projects or simply attended the conference.

“What’s nice about having this meeting on our campus is that it allows us to have more HPU students involved than would normally attend,” said Dr. Younce. “This gives them the opportunity to see what these presentations should look like, giving them experience before learning these methods in class.”

Dr. David L. Lambert and Celene Rosen were honored during the conference as the 2019 Texas Distinguished Scientist and the 2019 Outstanding Texas Educator, respectively.

Dr. Lambert earned both his BA and DPhil degrees from the University of Oxford. He has taught at The University of Texas in Austin since 1969, serving as the university’s director of the McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis from 2003 until 2014. Rosen graduated from the University of Wisconsin and obtained her master’s degree from Lamar University. She currently teaches in the Plano Independent School District.

First organized in 1880 and in its current form since 1929, the TAS promotes scientific research in Texas colleges and universities, encourages research as a part of student learning and enhances the professional development of its professional and student members.

Applications are being accepted for the fall 2019 semester at Howard Payne University ( HPU offers a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships for students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


Cutline: Pictured at the Texas Academy of Science banquet held at the conclusion of the meeting are (left to right) Cole Bené, a senior from Allen majoring in biology; Angelica Ramirez, a senior from Austin majoring in biology; and Hannah Justice, a senior from Brownwood majoring in biomedical science. The three were among the HPU students who attended the TAS meeting.

Students and faculty from HPU’s Department of Communication visit Austin

Students and faculty from Howard Payne University’s Department of Communication classes recently toured several Austin-area businesses and the Texas Capitol. Twenty-three students from three communication classes took part in the trip, led by Dr. Julie Welker, chair of the Department of Communication and professor of communication, and Richelle Hair, instructor of communication.

The trip was an opportunity for students to visit businesses and organizations that represent high levels of achievement in their respective industries.

“Each spring, as part of our curriculum, we include an experiential learning component in our communication classes,” said Dr. Welker. “By meeting with professionals in the communication field, our students gain valuable insight into future careers. These contacts have provided communication majors with helpful insights and networking.”

The group spent two days in Austin, toured the Texas Capitol and met with the communications staff of Sen. Dawn Buckingham, state senator for Texas State Senate District 24. The group visited GSD&M, an advertising agency whose clients include the United States Air Force, Pizza Hut and Southwest Airlines. Students and faculty also visited Raise Your Hand Texas, a non-profit public education advocacy organization founded by Charles Butt, CEO and chairperson of H-E-B.

Communication majors on the trip were Audrey Binion, senior from Brownwood; Caleb Callaway, junior from Early; Kyra Chapa, senior from Pasadena; Mackynlie Conklin, sophomore from Midland; Katie Cravey, junior from Huntsville; Jaime Dodson, senior from Cisco also majoring in psychology; Bailey Farmer, sophomore from Alvin; Yancy Flores, senior from Plainview; Hailey Green, senior from Kennedale; Haylee Maddox, senior from Bellville also majoring in practical theology; Esmeralda Maldonado, sophomore from Whitney also majoring in social sciences with an emphasis in jurisprudence; Noah Marlin, senior from Brownwood; Madi Neal, junior from Chandler also majoring in social sciences with an emphasis in jurisprudence; Aimee Orozco, senior from Shepherd also majoring in Spanish; Seth Rainey, senior from Gonzales; and Spencer Wolverton, senior from DeSoto.

Other students on the trip were Sawyer Fisher, senior from Bertram majoring in business administration; Abigail Fraser, junior from Wylie majoring in Christian education; Jessica Meeks, senior from Bridgeport majoring family studies; Alek Mendoza, sophomore from Bangs majoring in theatre; Tyler Olin, senior from Howe majoring in the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy, social sciences with an emphasis in jurisprudence and psychology; and Madisynn Thames, junior from Euless majoring in cross-cultural studies.

Applications are being accepted for the fall 2019 semester at Howard Payne University ( For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


Cutline: HPU students and faculty from the Department of Communication are pictured giving the HPU Yellow Jackets’ “Sting ’em” sign on the steps of the Texas Capitol during a recent tour of Austin.

HPU senior Hailey Osborne has worked to turn an inspiration into a career

Howard Payne University senior Hailey Osborne of Corsicana has been a part of a big family for a significant part of her life, something that has shaped and inspired her vision for the future.

Osborne, who will graduate from HPU on Saturday, is majoring in social sciences with an emphasis in jurisprudence and minoring in psychology. Her academic pursuits are rooted in her life story. Her family served as a foster family from 2010 until 2017, also adopting three children they fostered. She finds inspiration for her future in her experiences serving as a supplementary caretaker for the children in her life.

“I’ve always loved kids,” she said. “I’ve always had a kid on my hip since I was young. I was always the oldest – the oldest grandchild, oldest kid. Since we were a foster family, I actually want to be a child advocate.”

Since coming to HPU, the students, faculty and staff of HPU have helped to teach her a valuable lesson, one that extends beyond the classroom.

“You can always grow, but everybody thinks about growing in their jobs or growing in other things,” she said. “I’ve learned from these people how to grow, not only in my job but with Christ as well.”

Similar to its impact on her potential career choice, family influenced her decision to attend HPU. Her grandmother graduated from HPU in 1977 and her grandfather graduated in 1982. An aunt also graduated from the university in 2002. As she prepared to choose what university to attend, her family encouraged her to look at HPU. Osborne attended Navarro College after her graduation from high school in 2016 and planned to attend the University of Houston following the completion of an associate’s degree. However, with continued prompting from family, she looked to HPU.

“I got accepted to HPU within a month and got everything together scholarship-wise – it was a pretty quick process,” she said, “I was really surprised by the quick turnaround. I decided to come here, and here I am.”

Osborne has become involved in many aspects of student life during her time in college. She is a member of the executive councils of local HPU sorority Chi Alpha Omega and the recently formed Black Student Association. She also plays for the Yellow Jacket women’s tennis team.

Her natural inclination for leadership has influenced the roles she now fills within various areas of student life.

“Leadership has always been in my blood, especially being the oldest sibling,” she said. “I’ve always had a driven mindset – my parents have always instilled that into me, since I was young.”

However, Osborne also noted that the faith-led leadership she has experienced at HPU has influenced positive change in the way she chooses to lead, as well as how she lives out her own faith.

“I know when I was younger, in certain situations I would turn to praying with a person, but that wasn’t the first option,” she said. “Before, I might have been kind of hesitant, but now I’m more open to praying with people about their problems.”

As she looks to life after graduation, she is making plans to attend Sam Houston State University to earn a master’s degree in criminal justice. Before leaving HPU, she has been sure to continue the Osborne legacy at the university.

“My brother will be here in the fall,” she said. “I’ve been talking HPU up since I’ve been here. I told him, if you allow it to, it will change you.”

Applications are being accepted for the fall 2019 semester at Howard Payne University ( For more information about HPU, contact the Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


Cutline: HPU graduating senior Hailey Osborne has turned a passion to work with children into a pursuit of a career as a child advocate.

Students in HPU’s Pre-College Music program honored

Thirty-six students from Howard Payne University’s Pre-College Music Program recently participated in the District 8-4 Junior Festival, held in conjunction with the National Federation of Music Clubs and hosted on the HPU campus.

Students entered in the competitive category who receive a superior rating at the local festival are entitled to advance to the State Competition at Texas State University in San Marcos on May 18.

“Our congratulations go out to these students and their teachers for their accomplishments,” said Diane Owens, director of the Pre-College Music program. “We also send our best wishes to those who will compete at Texas State University in May.”

The superior rating in the piano solo category was awarded to Andrew Boren, Alecs Butka, Maddox Butka, Sophia Butka, Vic Cooper, Abigail Dean, Emma Ewen, Christian Fijer, Kirsten Fijer, Christopher Ivy, Cashlyn Kearney, Austin Luker, Avery Luker, Aishwarya Nigalye, Braylee Reeves, Jordan Roberts, Cate Smith, Evan Smith and Matthew Till. The excellent rating in the same category was awarded to Abigail Burks, Brooklyn Butka, Angie Calfa, Tony Calfa and Bethanie Ewen.

The superior rating in the vocal solo: musical theatre category was awarded to Riley Abernathy, Angie Calfa, Kylie Harris, Marti Millwee, Emmagrace Quillin, and Jordan Roberts. The superior rating in the vocal solo: art song category was awarded to Angie Calfa, Marti Millwee, Sydney Neel and Jordan Roberts. Michael Morales, Emma Soto, Ava Sparks-Hansen and Drew Walker participated in the non-competitive category.

For more information about the National Federation of Music Clubs or to inquire about HPU’s Pre-College Music program, contact Diane Owens at 325-649-8501 or

Applications are being accepted for the fall 2019 semester at Howard Payne University ( HPU offers a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships for students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at

Community Band to present spring concert at HPU

The Central Texas Community Band will present its spring concert on Thursday, May 9, at Howard Payne University’s Mims Auditorium. The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. and is free to the public.

The band is comprised of musicians from Bangs, Brownwood, Coleman, Cross Plains, Dublin, Early, Lake Brownwood, May, Santa Anna and Zephyr. The band has practiced together every Monday evening since mid-January and is conducted by Frank Nelson, assistant professor of music and director of bands at HPU.

The band portion of the concert will include marches, a ragtime piece and several light, energetic program pieces. Also performing will be the Heartland Harmonizers, a local barbershop singing group under the direction of Dr. Derek Smith, associate professor of chemistry at HPU. The Heartland Harmonizers will perform works such as “Let Me Call You Sweetheart,” “God Bless America” and “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.”

“This is such an exciting opportunity to join with musicians from all over central Texas and to bring a musical offering to the community at large,” said Nelson. “We have musicians ranging from 15 to 70 years of age. I hope everyone will make an effort to come and support this musical community project.”

For more information, contact the HPU School of Music and Fine Arts at 325-649-8500.

HPU presents Commencement ceremony this Saturday

 Howard Payne University will hold its spring Commencement ceremony this Saturday, May 11, beginning at 10:00 a.m. at the Brownwood Coliseum. The coliseum is located at 500 E. Baker Street in Brownwood.

Dr. Cory Hines, president, and other university representatives will confer the undergraduate and graduate degrees. Delivering the charge to the graduates is Robert Morrison, member of HPU’s Board of Trustees and retired educator from Abilene.

The Commencement ceremony will be preceded on Friday, May 10, by Chime Out, an HPU tradition in which graduating seniors pass a chain of ivy to underclassmen, representing the passing of authority, responsibility and privileges to students who remain on campus to carry on the traditions of the university. Chime Out begins at 6:00 p.m. at HPU’s Mims Auditorium.

For more information, including details on how to access HPU’s livestream of the events, please visit the HPU website at


Cutline: HPU’s Commencement ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, May 11, at the Brownwood Coliseum.