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6 Tips to Ace Adjusting to College

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The time has come and you’re beginning a new chapter of your life! With new beginnings come new feelings – often excitement of a fresh start combined with nervousness and confusion as to what this new adventure will hold. Staff members from Howard Payne University’s Office of Admission are here to give you a few helpful tips for acing this new adjustment.

1. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there – The best advice Whitney Hooper, assistant director of admission for extension centers, has been given is simply to remember: “Each person sitting at new-student orientation with you is in the same boat. Sure, someone might know his or her roommate in advance, but most people are desperately hoping someone will say hi to them and be their friend. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, and remember everyone is looking for a smiling face and a new friend.”

nbblog825152. Arrive early to class the first week (and always if you can) – The first week of class is a chance to make first impressions, claim your seat and show your professors you’re ready for this. This is definitely not the time to roll out of bed and run to class five minutes late. Set the tone for your semester and impress your professors.

3. Take care of yourself – This goes beyond just physical health – though watch out for the “Freshman 15.” It is important to care for yourself mentally and spiritually, as well. Sidni Kirby, HPU admission counselor, advises students to “seek peace, seek health and call home when life gets busy.”

4. Get involved – This can look different to different people. You can volunteer at a local food kitchen, get involved in your church in an area you feel called to serve or join organizations associated with your school. Seek opportunities and get involved. It can also be a great way to meet people.

5. Define your college experience – College is what you make of it. You can go to a large university, but if you sit inside all day your college experience will be similar to staying home and commuting to college. It’s all about how you decide to spend those magical four years. Get involved, make friends and serve the community or local church. Network. Take internships that build your experiences. Study abroad. Travel. Experience all that life can offer you in this short time because you’ll look back and realize it was one of the greatest seasons that life can bring.

Admission counselor Lacy Culpepper says, “Take advantage of every opportunity to make friends and acquaintances. College is a time during which you can meet some of the best friends you will ever have and lifelong mentors. It’s a time during which you are able to choose who you really want to be and what will define you.”

6. Remember that these years will change your life – College is only a short time in your life, but it can be the best four years if you allow it to challenge and shape you academically, spiritually and professionally. As mentioned above, travel and experience new things as you are able. Find yourself and, most importantly, your identity in Christ. You may find being on your own and making decisions for the rest of your life to be challenging, but remember that, in Christ, each day is a new beginning and a chance to get it right. Keep pressing on and you’ll be just fine.

William Massey, admission counselor, says “One must keep a still heart even in the most trying of circumstances. Don’t worry when things aren’t going according to your plan. College is an exciting and busy time. Just stay calm and keep moving forward.”

Your future is waiting on you! Get ready to define your experience and your life. It’s all up to you and what you choose to do. Best wishes on this new adventure. Remember, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13. Welcome to the HPU family, Yellow Jacket!

Student Spotlight: Alissa Brooks

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Name: Alissa Brooks

How long have you attended HPU NB? Two semesters

What is your favorite thing about HPU NB? The great Christian atmosphere, the openness to be who you really are and the standard of excellence

What do you enjoy doing in your free time? Walking, reading, being outside and enjoying God’s canvas, learning, spending time with friends, listening to music and spending time with family

If there were no limitations, what one thing would you like to accomplish? Have all the denominations work together to win people for Christ

What is the most unique thing you’ve accomplished in your life? I have sung the national anthem since I was 9 and I have been on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

What is your most memorable moment in the classroom? When Dr. Meinecke showed us how the Bible fit together and how understanding the Bible book-for-book made reading it easier

Summer in New Braunfels

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Guest post by Brittney Overstreet, 2014 graduate from HPU NB’s MBA program

Brittney Overstreet

Brittney Overstreet

With Texas’ scorching temperatures, what better way to cool off than one of the many water recreational activities in New Braunfels? From floating the river to riding one of the many rides at Schlitterbahn, New Braunfels is just the place to keep you cooled off this summer.

New Braunfels is known for floating the river, or “tubing” as we locals call it. Just hop into an inner tube and enjoy the ride. There are two rivers to choose from in New Braunfels: the Comal and the Guadalupe. Both rivers are natural so flow conditions and float lengths are subject to change. Make sure to check with a river outfitter before floating.

Tubing isn’t the only activity you can do on the river. Many kayakers enjoy navigating the rapids of the Guadalupe River. If you don’t own a kayak or canoe, many outfitters have them available to rent. They will make sure to put you on the best part of the river for your trip.

Located along the Comal River, Schlitterbahn Waterpark is more than 70 acres of water bliss with a variety of rides suitable for all ages. Ride down six stories on the Master Blaster or hop on The Falls to float around the park. Pack a picnic to take a break from this day-long water adventure. With more than 40 attractions, Schlitterbahn is sure to provide fun for the whole family.

Are you looking to wakeboard but don’t have a boat? No worries! Texas Ski Ranch is a cable park that allows you to wakeboard from a cable system on a man-made lake. Texas Ski Ranch also has a boat lake to allow riders to practice wakeboarding behind a boat with one of their professional drivers. The cable park is the perfect place to wakeboard for all skill levels.

Guadalupe RiverIf you have a boat, there are two lakes close by for you to use: Canyon Lake and Lake Dunlap. Canyon Lake has an 80-mile shoreline and is a short 30-minute drive from New Braunfels. Wakeboarding, jet skiing, hoverboarding and jetpacking are some fun activities for the whole family to do on Canyon Lake. Lake Dunlap is a 410-acre lake located in New Braunfels. Boating, water skiing, jet skiing and fishing are common activities along this lake. The public access ramp located off I-35 is the perfect place from which to fish or boat.

If you’re looking for a nice place to have a picnic with a great view, Hinman Island is the place to go! Pack your lunch, lounge in the grass and watch all the tubers float by on the Comal River. Surrounded by trees, Hinman Island even features a playground area for the kiddos to enjoy. Bring your bathing suit so you can jump into the river to cool off.

Landa Park features a spring-fed pool that stays 72 degrees year round. This 1900s historic body of water is one of the oldest bathing pools in Texas. The spring-fed pool has a mushroom fountain and water slide in the shallow end. In the deep end there is a two-story-tall waterslide and an overhead cargo net for climbing, rope swinging and zip lining.

So don’t sit inside this summer, check out some of the awesome water-recreation activities New Braunfels has to offer!

Welcome to the HPU NB Blog

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Welcome to the HPU NB Blog where we will share more information about Howard Payne University’s New Braunfels Center through blog posts, news articles and spotlights on our amazing students and staff. Bookmark this page or add to your blog reader to be kept in the loop on things involving HPU NB.

HPU NB Sign for webTo make sure everyone is up to speed on what’s going on at HPU NB, let us share a little background information on where we’ve been and where we’re headed.

Howard Payne University was established in 1889 in Brownwood, Texas. There’s a rich heritage of fun traditions, amazing faculty and staff, and many students whose lives were forever changed by their experiences at HPU.

How did HPU end up in New Braunfels? HPU was approached by Craig Hall, the real estate agent with the new, exciting Veramendi development. Through discussion and deliberation, HPU accepted the offer and opened doors in New Braunfels, Texas.

HPU has offered classes in New Braunfels since January 2013 when we started our very first program, the Master of Business Administration degree, with six students. Since that time, HPU NB has been very busy planting roots into this beautiful community with a rich history, growing to 50 students in the spring of 2015. We’ve already graduated 10 students in the past two years, with our first undergraduate student earning his degree in May 2015.

The growth we’ve seen is just a beginning! The community of New Braunfels is exploding with new growth and HPU is thrilled that we get to be a part of that. The excitement of HPU is already spreading throughout the community as new students join us each new semester.

To find out more about HPU NB, stay tuned by following us on Facebook or come visit us at 1259 Loop 337 North, Suite 100, in New Braunfels.

Want to know more? Here are some resources for you:

  • Register now for a preview event!

Chill with HPU NB – July 16

Master of Business Administration Luncheon – July 30

HPU’s Academy celebrates anniversary with former FOX News correspondent Jim Angle

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Jim Angle in Mims for webHoward Payne University’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy: The Program for Civic Leadership and Public Policy recently celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of its first graduating class with a ceremony featuring special guest speaker Jim Angle, former chief national correspondent for FOX News Channel.

Angle spoke on the topic “A Look at Wacky Washington and Those Who Want to Lead It.” Prior to his lecture were musical performances by Dr. Diana Ellis, HPU first lady; TaShana Hooker, a sophomore from Carrollton; and Hannah Strebeck, a senior from Royse City.

Following the lecture, a VIP dinner was hosted in the Bullion Suites of HPU’s Mabee University Center. Guest speakers during the dinner included Academy graduates Dr. Edward Daniel ’66, Mack DuBose ’65, Guy Ben Garner III ’74 and Tristan Summers ’09. DuBose was the first to receive a degree from the prestigious Academy and Garner is the grandson of Dr. Guy D. Newman, the program’s founder.

Other speakers included Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president; Dr. Justin D. Murphy, the Academy’s current director, Brand professor of history and dean of the School of Humanities; Dr. Matthew McNiece ’03, chair and associate professor of history and political science; and current students Katie Rose Bonner, a senior from Lytle, and Caitlin Wood, a junior from Miles.

Dr. Murphy and Dr. McNiece presented gifts to Angle and DuBose. At the end of the dinner, Dr. Murphy was also recognized for his involvement with the program since he began teaching at HPU and the Academy in 1991.

“It was humbling to be honored in this way and I’m proud to be associated with the program as well as its graduates and current students,” said Dr. Murphy.


Photo cutline: HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy recently hosted Jim Angle, former chief national correspondent for FOX News Channel, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the program’s first graduate.

HPU Model United Nations team brings home several awards from Münster conference

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By Emily Peisker, HPU junior

HPU’s Model United Nations team excelled at the Münster University International Model United Nations conference held in Münster, Germany, bringing home six awards from various committees. The Münster conference is the largest MUN conference in Germany, with students traveling from across Europe and as far away as Indonesia, Pakistan, China and Japan to participate.

Munster Spring 2015 for web“This was the first Model UN Conference in which our students were by themselves as single-member delegations, rather than two-member delegations,” said Dr. Justin D. Murphy, HPU’s Brand professor of history, dean of the School of Humanities and director of the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy. “This made for a much more challenging conference, especially since seven of our sixteen members were in MUN for the first time. Yet one of the conference leaders told me afterward that our students were the best-prepared team as a whole than any other university.”

This semester’s MUN team included head delegate Cara DeLoach, a senior from San Angelo; co-head delegate Mike McConnell, a junior from Burleson; Jason Murphy, a senior from Brownwood; Jimmy Abbatiello, a sophomore from Kerrville; Cody Perrin, a junior from Eastland; Nicole Nehf, a senior from May; Katie Rose Bonner, a senior from Lytle; Sydney Spencer, a junior from Georgetown; Gavin Stewart, a junior from Flower Mound; Sydnee Petty, a junior from Brownwood; Sam Hoffman, a junior from Corpus Christi; Emily Peisker, a junior from Cedar Park; Jessi Jordan, a senior from Spurger; Rachel White, a freshman from Arkadelphia, Ark.; Maggie Van Nes, a freshman from Keller; and Danielle Parkhurst, a junior from Alleyton. These HPU students represented the countries of China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and Germany on their councils.

On the Security Council, DeLoach received the outstanding delegate award for her representation of China, while on the United Nations Office of Drug and Crime Council, Abbatiello, also representing China, received the outstanding delegate award. Bonner took the outstanding delegate and best position paper awards for the International Court of Justice Committee. Stewart secured the outstanding delegate award for the Economic and Financial Committee, with Perrin taking the honorable mention award for the Special Political and Decolonization Committee.

After the conference, the team took a trip to Berlin to visit museums and see the remnants of the Berlin Wall. The day included seeing historical landmarks like the famous Checkpoint Charlie museum, the Topography of Terror museum, the Holocaust memorial, the Führerbunker and the Brandenburg Gate.

“It was such a moving and impactful experience to visit places where such great and horrible historical events occurred,” said Jimmy Abbatiello. “In Berlin we did more than visit tourist sites, we witnessed the aftermath of tragedy and the rebuilding of a bright future for the German people.”

With many new friends from all over the world and great experiences with collaboration and diplomacy, the HPU team looks forward to future conferences and more opportunities to prepare for the future through the learning experiences that come with Model United Nations.


Photo cutline: HPU’s Model United Nations team recently brought home several awards from a conference in Münster, Germany. Left to right: Sam Hoffman, Mike McConnell, Nicole Nehf, Gavin Stewart, Katie Rose Bonner, Danielle Parkhurst, Sydney Spencer, Emily Peisker, Sydnee Petty, Jessi Jordan, Cara DeLoach, Maggie Van Nes, Rachel White, Jimmy Abbatiello, Jason Murphy and Cody Perrin.

Ashley Moon – My second London semester

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Ashley Moon is a junior communication major from Waxahachie, TX. For more information on this and other CGE/CAPA programs, please visit or

moon blog 1

In late November of 2013, I found out that in less than two months, I would be spending a semester in London for the second time.

After my first semester, I started to appreciate Howard Payne for what it was; the professors are intelligent and understanding, the community is small and open, and the atmosphere is relaxed. Out of all the things HPU has done for me, I am most grateful for their flexibility in allowing me and encouraging me to study abroad.

If I didn’t go to Howard Payne, I would have never gone to London. That thought is impossible for me to comprehend. I can’t imagine what my life would be like had I never lived in Europe or experienced the spectacular city that London is.

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To my surprise, my second semester in London was even better than the first (didn’t think that was possible)! I decided to study the second time through an organization called CAPA International. Through this program, I was a part of a large group of American students from all over the country who learned from British professors in a classroom setting. Luckily, I was able to fill my entire schedule with upper-level communication classes. In addition to taking classes, CAPA gave me the opportunity to work an internship.

Prior to moving across the pond, CAPA had me fill out an extensive internship application in which I explained my interests and career goals. An internships team looked through all the applications and literally found me a perfect match!

I am a communication major with an emphasis in public & media relations. My goal is to use my media skills (photography, video, writing and/or graphic design) through journalism or advertising. In London, I interned with a photographer. We worked on fashion shoots, advertising product shots, packages for families and conceptual artistic shoots. I also wrote for his website and learned a lot about Photoshop and graphic design. In addition to getting experience in so many areas of interest, I became great friends with my boss and his wife. Together, they taught me so much about photography and even more about life.

Through CAPA, I also had the chance to live with a family in England. The previous year, I had stayed in an apartment in a central area with other American students. Since I already had this experience, I decided to live with a host family. The Moylettes made my experience in England so incredible. They had two daughters ages 15 and 12 and a 10-year-old son. I never felt homesick while I was in England because I was constantly surrounded by amazing people who cared about me.

I will always encourage students to study abroad. It truly is such an incredible experience, and Howard Payne is too accommodating to refuse. When I studied abroad this last semester, I actually spent less money than I would have if I stayed in Brownwood.

CAPA provided me with some financial assistance as well. They offered a scholarship to one person in their program to be the “official vlogger”. I competed for this scholarship and received it. I was to make one video blog per week, explaining what I was doing in London and how my semester was going. CAPA shared these videos on their social outlets, giving me exposure while promoting their organization.

Independently living in England gave me a sense of confidence that I couldn’t have learned anywhere else. So much of my time there was spent listening to or observing others. I can’t explain the exciting energy that is present in every area of London. There is always someone new to meet, something interesting to explore, and something challenging to be taught.

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Another awesome part of living in London is the opportunity to travel to other places. Because the countries in Europe are so geographically close, it is very easy to travel between them. I had the chance to travel to Scotland, Wales and France, all on a college student budget!

I have never regretted any aspect of my time abroad. There were challenges that I faced, such as homesickness or being short on money, but I learned how to deal with those things and they made me a stronger and well-rounded person.

After going abroad the first time, a hunger for travel was instilled in me. I will have traveled to 6 countries all before my 20th birthday! My life has become incredibly exciting through traveling and meeting people from around the world, and I pray that my fire for adventure never burns out.

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Jennifer Goff – My Summer Journey

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Jennifer Goff is a senior family studies major from Austin, TX.

This summer I went to Colorado Springs, Colo., for a program called Focus Leadership Institute. Focus Leadership Institute exists as a ministry of Focus on the Family that strives to train and equip future leaders with the skills and abilities needed to lead others.

As part of my time at the Institute, I worked at Boundless, an online community that discusses issues such as marriage, family, finances, conflict, and career choices among 20-30 year olds. I had the opportunity to write blog posts, participate in online podcasts, and meet rather interesting authors who shared their thoughts about the books that they wrote on those very topics. I was really encouraged to see that much of what I had studied as a part of my family studies major mattered to people with real needs.

The first three weeks I also sat through a Christian Worldview class led by Dr. Del Tackett, author and founder of the Truth Project. In this class, I learned how to systematically defend and explain my Christian worldview in regards to church, family, work, government, man, and God. One of my biggest takeaways was discovering that both “sacred” and “secular” vocations are important to the Lord. You do not technically have to be a minister or a missionary or a pastor in order to do God’s work. Everyone is called to be a minister in whichever profession they find themselves in. Being a stay-at-home mom can be an incredible ministry opportunity if that is what God is calling a woman to do.

After this three week intensive, my FLI group had the opportunity to visit DC during the week of the 4th of July. There my group of friends and I got to see how a cohesive Christian worldview plays out in the political realm. My favorite memory though was walking through the monuments and the Arlington cemetery. I was delighted when, on the plane home at the end of the summer, I saw the new Captain America movie and recognized all the monuments!

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Halfway through the week, we met with wealthy Focus on the Family donors who supported the ministry and toured many places with them, including the National Archives, the Newseum, and the Capital Building. It was neat to make so many amazing connections.

While I was there, I also nearly ran into three of my friends from Howard Payne: Glorianna Stolle, who was working with her dad at International Justice Mission; Katie Bonner, who was interning at the capitol; and Jake Aschmutat, an HPU grad who is now studying at law school.

goff blog 1

I heard speakers from various political platforms tell of the great need to impact the next generation and raise up Christian leaders. The political atmosphere can be dry for Christ, but just looking at where God positioned my friends from both Focus Leadership Institute and from Howard Payne during the nation’s 4th really encouraged me. God is already raising up Christ-like leaders and I get to be one of them.

The second class I took when we got back from D.C. was a Christian Leadership and Identity course, taught by Dr. Robert and Elena Thomason. In this class I took a personality assessment and strengths finder test. On the personality assessment, I was classified as an INFP. This meant that I had at least a moderate bent towards being introverted, am highly intuitive, think through things mostly on a feelings basis, and can be rather disorganized. I learned that although I may not get things done in an orderly fashion, that’s okay. It was encouraging to discover too, that most people who have the same personality type as me may take roundabout and adventurous ways to get things done- including making a career choice. That was great news for me since I am graduating and still have very little idea about my future plans.

My strengths, I learned, were adaptability, ideation, input, communication, and positivity. When I read about my strengths I learned how I could leverage them into a career that I could be really successful at and co-labor with other Christians to further the Kingdom of God- whether that was through a secular or sacred vocation.

As a whole though, the most important thing I learned about was the concept of community. I thought I had a good concept of what it meant to be a part of a healthy and thriving community, but what I learned at FLI healed some very broken ideas I had. While it was hard to grow close to people in such short amount of time, FLI challenged me to be open and vulnerable. In that vulnerability, I learned that I am free to be exactly who I am in Christ.

I’m great at what I do because I’m me, even though I’m not always sure what it is I need to be doing or where exactly I am going. FLI was an opportunity to begin understanding that about myself. I know graduating in December from Howard Payne may not change the fact that I’m only just beginning to find my own path.

The world just keeps getting bigger and it is so fun knowing adventures are just up ahead. I know I’m on a journey and God is definitely not through with me yet.