News Archives: School of Humanities

HPU students bring home sportsmanship award from first Mock Trial tournament

Mock Trial team 2015 for webBy Emily Peisker, HPU junior

BROWNWOOD – February 19, 2015 – Howard Payne University’s new Mock Trial team brought home a sportsmanship award from their first tournament held recently at The University of Texas at Dallas.

The American Mock Trial Association gives the “Spirit of the AMTA Award” to the team with the best expression of the values of civility, justice and fair play over the course of the whole tournament, before, during and after trials. The award is voted on by the competition teams and officials, and recognizes the team as best exemplifying the ethics and values of the association.

Mock Trial is a simulation of lower-court trials in the United States judicial system. AMTA acts as the governing body for intercollegiate Mock Trial competition and hosts tournaments at universities across the nation to provide opportunities for college students to gain experience for future law careers. Through the trial simulations, students develop critical thinking and public speaking skills, as well as a knowledge of legal practices and procedures.

According to the AMTA website, the organization hosts a series of competitions from February through April each year to foster the development of undergraduate students in the areas of leadership, public speaking, rhetoric and persuasion through a legal forum.

New to HPU this semester, Mock Trial is a team activity led by Lorianna Kelley, assistant professor of political science. Nicole Nehf, a senior from May, serves as team captain. Other members include TJ Counce, a senior from Lockhart; Zachary Eller, a junior from Temple; Christopher Mitchell, a senior from Pecos; Jakob Morgan, a sophomore from Blanket; Madeline Reigle, a sophomore from Brownwood; Skyler Schoolfield, a freshman from Aledo; and Andres Zambrano, a junior from Brownwood.

At tournaments, the team competes as either the plaintiff or prosecution and as the defense. On each side of the case, three students compete as attorneys and three students compete as witnesses.

“The students attended this competition with only three weeks of preparation time,” said Kelley. “They performed incredibly well, especially given the short amount of time they had been working on the case.”

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Photo cutline: HPU’s new Mock Trial team brought home a sportsmanship award from their first tournament held recently at The University of Texas at Dallas. Left to right: Christopher Mitchell, Nicole Nehf, Madeline Reigle, Zachary Eller, Jakob Morgan, Andres Zambrano and Skyler Schoolfield. Not pictured is TJ Counce.

Howard Payne receives continued funding for restorative justice emphasis

By Emily Peisker, HPU junior

Lynn Humeniuk in class for webBROWNWOOD – February 12, 2015 – Howard Payne University has received 2015 funding for the restorative justice emphasis of its criminal justice program from the Baptist General Convention of Texas. The BGCT has assisted with the emphasis since 2006.

The restorative justice emphasis is available for criminal justice majors and minors. HPU offers a four-class rotation that grants students certificates of completion after conclusion. The BGCT assists with funding to pay an adjunct instructor to teach the classes each semester. The funds have also been used to sponsor a trip to an academic conference for a professor and student.

Restorative justice is a theory that proposes assisting guilty parties in repairing damages caused by criminal behavior. Many churches believe in the theory and work with universities to provide programs that equip students with communication, social work and criminal justice training.

The BGCT met with Lynn Humeniuk, director of HPU’s criminal justice program and associate professor of criminal justice and sociology, and representatives from seven other private Christian universities nine years ago to propose starting a focus on restorative justice in the universities’ criminal justice programs. HPU was the only university to accept the funding and has since awarded eight students with certificates of completion.

Students in the program have gone on to assist the community by aiding juvenile and adult probation programs, the Ron Jackson Juvenile Correctional Complex, the Brown County Sheriff’s Office, G4S: The Oaks, local attorney offices, local youth ministries and more programs outside the Brownwood area.

Humeniuk and Kim Bryant, associate professor of communication, serve as fulltime professors with the restorative justice emphasis, while other instructors fill in part-time positions aided by the BGCT.

“This concept of bringing victims, offenders, families and communities together for forgiveness and healing is a perfect fit for a Christian university to offer to our students,” said Humeniuk.

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Photo cutline: Lynn Humeniuk directs the criminal justice program at Howard Payne University.

HPU students advance to semifinals at national Moot Court tournament

By Emily Peisker, HPU junior

BROWNWOOD – January 22, 2015 – Howard Payne University students Isaac Sommers and Katie Rose Bonner advanced to the semifinals at the American Collegiate Moot Court Association national tournament held at Florida International University in Miami on January 16 and 17.

ACMA National Tournament for webFor the individual speaker awards, Sommers, a freshman from Boerne, placed third overall, while Bonner, a senior from Lytle, placed thirteenth overall. The awards were given to the top 30 speakers, with a total of 160 at this year’s competition.

Moot Court offers undergraduate students the opportunity to cultivate their understanding of law interpretation, analytical debate, jurisprudence and case precedents through Supreme Court argument simulation. Approximately 400 teams competed at 10 regional tournaments from October to November, allowing the top 20 to 25 percent to proceed to nationals.

For the first day of the tournament, each team competed in three rounds of competition. Two-judge panels evaluated the rounds, resulting with only six out of 80 teams winning all six judges’ ballots at the end of the day. Sommers and Bonner were one of those six teams, securing them a top position in the round of 32.

The final day of the tournament showed Sommers and Bonner defeating the College of Wooster and Texas A&M University to face the former national champions from Patrick Henry College. The HPU team worked through a challenging round of arguments and a tough panel of judges to beat the Patrick Henry team and advance to the final four.

In the final four round, Sommers and Bonner faced another Patrick Henry team and were narrowly defeated by a two-to-one decision from the three-judge panel.

For the first time, HPU also competed in the national Brief-Writing Competition, during which Sommers and Bonner were awarded the ninth best respondent brief from the 10 best submitted from each side of the argument (petitioner and respondent).

Professor Lorianna Kelley coaches the Moot Court students and traveled with them to the event. Dr. Justin D. Murphy serves as HPU’s Brand professor of history, dean of the School of Humanities and director of the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy.

“HPU has not advanced this far at the national tournament since Professor Kelley and Rob Welker were partners as students and won the championship more than a decade ago,” said Dr. Murphy. “HPU and the Academy are blessed to have students of the caliber of Katie and Isaac, and we are also blessed to have professors of the caliber of Professor Kelley.”

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Photo cutline: Lorianna Kelley, center, coaches HPU Moot Court students including Katie Rose Bonner, left, and Isaac Sommers, right, who recently advanced to the semifinals at a national tournament.

HPU criminal justice students complete internships

crj interns december 2014 for webBROWNWOOD – December 12, 2014 – Five Howard Payne University students were recently honored for the successful completion of criminal justice internships. The students and their mentors were recognized at a luncheon held at a local restaurant.

Students are required to complete 150 hours of service which reflects three credit hours toward their major in criminal justice. 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.

According to Lynn Humeniuk, director of the criminal justice program and associate professor of criminal justice and sociology, the internships are designed to match students’ interests and career goals.

“We’re very appreciative of the agencies and organizations that offer expertise and guidance to our students,” she said. “We’re fortunate to be able to collaborate with them and we feel confident that our students are positive additions to their workforce as well.”

Participating students were Austin Burt, senior from Sweetwater, intern at HPU’s Department of Public Safety; Kyle Dennis, senior from Placentia, Calif., intern at Haynes Law Firm; Paola Guzman, senior from Brownwood, intern at Ron Jackson State Juvenile Correctional Complex; Matthew Simons, senior from Bangs, intern at G4S: The Oaks; and Luis Solis, senior from Prosper, intern at Brownwood Police Department.

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Photo cutline: Five HPU students recently completed internships in the field of criminal justice. The students are pictured with their internship mentors and members of the HPU faculty. Left to right: Dr. Paul Lilly, assistant professor of criminal justice, chief of police and director of HPU’s Department of Public Safety; Mike Smith, attorney with Haynes Law Firm; Kyle Dennis, intern at Haynes Law Firm; Bob Pacatte, assistant chief of police and assistant director of HPU’s Department of Public Safety; Lynn Humeniuk, associate professor of criminal justice and sociology and director of HPU’s criminal justice program; Austin Burt, intern at HPU’s Department of Public Safety; Paola Guzman, intern at Ron Jackson State Juvenile Correctional Complex; Bob Contreras, family liaison specialist at Ron Jackson State Juvenile Correctional Complex; Matthew Simons, intern at G4S: The Oaks; Tyrene Green, superintendent at G4S: The Oaks; Luis Solis, intern at Brownwood Police Department; and Mike Corley, chief of police at Brownwood Police Department.

HPU presents Spirit of Social Work Award to Brownwood’s Doak Givan

Spirit of Social Work Award 2014 for webBROWNWOOD – December 11, 2014 – Howard Payne University’s Social Work Advisory Board recently presented its Spirit of Social Work Award to Doak Givan 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.

Givan has served as executive director of Brownwood’s Family Services Center for 15 years, leading the program to increased outreach in the community. His previous career experience includes work with the Texas Department of Corrections, the Permian Basin Community Center for MHMR in Midland and the Betty Hardwick Center in Abilene.

He additionally has volunteered with the Boy Scouts of America and serves as the chairperson of the Community Interagency Committee, the Community Children’s Advisory Committee and the Brown County Home Solutions Board of Directors. He also initiated the “Inside Out Dad” parenting program at the TR Havins Unit in Brownwood.

Dan Humeniuk, assistant professor of social work and chair of the Department of Criminal Justice, Social Work and Sociology, is among the members of the Social Work Advisory Board.

“The board was honored to present this award to Mr. Givan,” he said. “His career and character greatly reflect everything that those in the field of human services strive to accomplish.”

Givan’s wife, Cynthia, serves as administrative assistant for the English and criminal justice departments at HPU. They have three sons – Wesley, Keith and Thomas, an HPU sophomore.

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Photo cutline: HPU’s Dan Humeniuk, left, recently presented the Spirit of Social Work Award to Doak Givan, executive director of Brownwood’s Family Services Center.

HPU introduces scholarship for local law enforcement officers

BROWNWOOD – December 10, 2014 – Howard Payne University has now made college degrees more affordable for local law enforcement officers. HPU recently announced that officers who are currently certified by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement may receive scholarships to take criminal justice classes at no cost for tuition. The officer must be working toward his or her first bachelor’s degree, meet unconditional admission requirements, major in criminal justice and be actively practicing in the field of law enforcement.

The scholarship is available at the Brownwood campus as well as at HPU’s New Braunfels and El Paso extension centers.

Chief Mike Corley of the Brownwood Police Department has worked closely with the faculty and students in HPU’s criminal justice program.

“We have HPU students intern at the police department almost every semester,” he said. “HPU’s criminal justice program is strong and growing by leaps and bounds. The scholarship for law enforcement personnel sounds awesome. What could be better?”

Lynn Humeniuk serves as associate professor of criminal justice and sociology and as director of HPU’s criminal justice program.

“HPU has a unique opportunity for peace officers who serve in the Central Texas area to aid them with obtaining their bachelor’s degrees,” she said. “It seems only fitting that we extend this scholarship to those men and women who choose to protect and serve.”

HPU is now enrolling for the spring semester. To get started, contact the Office of Admission at (325) 649-8020 or enroll@hputx.edu.

For more information about Howard Payne University, visit www.hputx.edu.

HPU Moot Court team wins regionals, advances to nationals

By Jaclyn Bonner, HPU sophomore

BROWNWOOD – December 3, 2014 –Howard Payne University pre-law students once again brought the university to the spotlight with successes in Moot Court. For the second year in a row, HPU students won the Texas Undergraduate Moot Court Association (TUMCA) regional competition and advanced to the national American Collegiate Moot Court Association (ACMA) tournament.

Sommers and Bonner for webKatie Rose Bonner, a senior political science pre-law, history and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Lytle, and Isaac Sommers, a freshman social sciences jurisprudence and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Boerne, recently earned the title of TUMCA champions at the Texas A&M School of Law Moot Court Tournament in Fort Worth.

The team dominated with Sommers receiving the prestigious Top Overall Speaker award and Bonner following closely with recognition as third overall speaker. The team’s success gave them an automatic bid to the ACMA National Tournament to be held at Florida International University College of Law in January.

Freshmen Moot Court partners Jakob Morgan, a social sciences jurisprudence and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Blanket, and Skyler Schoolfield, a social sciences jurisprudence, communication and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Aledo, also competed at the TUMCA tournament, finishing as quarterfinalists. Morgan and Schoolfield’s success later garnered them a bid to the national competition as well.

A portion of HPU’s Moot Court team also attended the recent Texas Tech School of Law Moot Court Tournament in Lubbock. Rebeca Puente, a sophomore political science pre-law and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Texarkana, placed as the eighth overall speaker.

Moot Court is an experiential learning program that offers students the opportunity to cultivate their understanding of law interpretation, analytical debate, jurisprudence and case precedents. Students learn to argue both sides of two theoretical cases involving constitutional issues before a simulated United States Supreme Court. The team is led by Lorianna Kelley, assistant professor of political science.

“Howard Payne University has consistently shown great success competing in collegiate Moot Court,” said Kelley. “The students put in countless hours of work and preparation, and we love seeing that hard work recognized.”

Bonner, a three-year member of the team and two-time regional champion, reflected on her experience as an HPU Moot Court participant.

“Moot Court is one of the greatest opportunities I have received through Howard Payne,” she said. “The program at this school is truly phenomenal, as evidenced by the long record of HPU tournament wins. I am honored to be a part of that tradition, along with my excellent partner, Isaac. I am also grateful for the chance to be coached by Professor Kelley, a past national Moot Court champion, and for the fun and great dynamic we have with everyone on the team.”

Sommers echoed her sentiment.

“As a freshman at Howard Payne and as someone planning to study law, Moot Court has proven to be an absolutely invaluable experience for me,” he said. “The skills I am learning will better equip me for law school and would be beneficial for anyone regardless of profession.”

Additional team members include Nicole Nehf, a senior from May; Christopher Mitchell, a senior from Wolf City; Colton McCabe, a senior from Gatesville; Zachary Eller, a junior from Temple; Andres Zambrano, a junior from Lake Brownwood; Caitlin Wood, a junior from Miles; J. Brian Bailey, a sophomore from Gunter; and Dani Coquat, a freshman from Three Rivers.

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, voiced his gratitude for those who give HPU students opportunities to succeed.

“God has blessed HPU and the Academy through the members of the Academy Board of Directors,” he said. “We would not be able to provide opportunities like this without their support over the years in establishing endowments and making gifts. I am also so very grateful to have a colleague with the credentials and leadership skills of Professor Kelley.”

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Photo cutline: HPU’s Isaac Sommers and Katie Rose Bonner were named Texas Undergraduate Moot Court Association regional champions at the recent Texas A&M School of Law Moot Court Tournament in Fort Worth.

HPU Model United Nations team excels at international conference

By Jaclyn Bonner, HPU sophomore

BROWNWOOD – December 2, 2014 – The Howard Payne University Model United Nations (MUN) team recently represented HPU at the Stockholm MUN 10th Anniversary Conference at the Stockholm School of Economics in Sweden. Six of the 14 participating HPU students received awards at the conference, making HPU the most recognized university in attendance.

MUN Stockholm 2014 for webMUN is a simulation of the United Nations, giving students the opportunity to confer and network with peers across the globe, become aware of and involved with international issues and produce potential solutions to contemporary problems. HPU was the only university from the U.S. to participate in the conference, which hosted approximately 200 individuals from around the world.

Jason Murphy, a senior accounting and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Brownwood, and James Abbatiello, a sophomore communication major from Kerrville, competed as the delegation of the United Kingdom in the Economic and Social Council, receiving the coveted Best Delegation award.

Group leaders Cara DeLoach, a senior English and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from San Angelo, and Mike McConnell, a senior political science, history and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Burleson, received the Honorable Mention commendation on the Security Council, on which they served as the delegation of the United Kingdom.

Senior Nicole Nehf, a political science, Spanish and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from May, and senior Justin Moore, a biology major from Brownwood, garnered an Honorable Mention commendation on the Human Rights Council as the delegation of Germany.

Additional students representing HPU included Ivy Nichols, a junior from Richardson, and Gavin Paul Stewart, a junior from Flower Mound, in the Disarmament and International Security Council; Jaclyn Bonner, a sophomore from Lytle, and Sydney Spencer, a sophomore from Georgetown, in the Human Rights Council; Samuel Hoffman, a junior from Corpus Christi, and Ashley Moon, a junior from Waxahachie, in the Economic and Social Council; and Cody Perrin, a sophomore from Eastland, and Patton McClatchy, a sophomore from Bangs, in the European Council.

Students also had the opportunity to sightsee in Stockholm for two days before the conference began. They enjoyed touring attractions such as the Vasa Museum, home of a restored Swedish warship that sank on its maiden voyage in 1628 and is the only preserved seventeenth-century ship in the world, and Gamla Stan, the historic district, as well as indulging in traditional Swedish cuisine and culture.

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, directs the MUN program.

“The Model United Nations students work hard throughout the year to represent HPU at conferences around the world,” he said. “I’m very proud of their efforts and their accomplishments. I am also very appreciative of the generous support from members of the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy Board of Directors who make opportunities and experiences such as this available for Academy and Howard Payne students.”

In February 2015, the team will travel to the Prague MUN Conference where Cara DeLoach will serve as Chair of the Security Council and Mike McConnel will serve as co-Chair of the Disarmament and International Security Committee.

“This will be the first time that HPU students have served as chairs or co-chairs at a major conference,” Dr. Murphy noted. “It is a great honor that reflects well upon Howard Payne University, the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy and the Model United Nations program.”

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Photo cutline: HPU’s Model United Nations team received six commendations at the Stockholm Model United Nations Conference. Pictured at Stockholm School of Economics are, back row from left, Cody Perrin, Justin Moore, Samuel Hoffman, Gavin Paul Stewart, James Abbatiello, Jason Murphy, Cara DeLoach and Mike McConnell. In the front row, from left, are Ashley Moon, Jaclyn Bonner, Nicole Nehf, Patton McClatchy, Ivy Nichols and Sydney Spencer.

HPU social work students receive lessons in poverty, blessings from strangers

Poverty Simulation 2014 for webBROWNWOOD – November 21, 2014 – Seven Howard Payne University social work students recently took part in Mission Waco’s annual Poverty Simulation, an experience designed to give participants a firsthand look at poverty in America.

Dan Humeniuk, assistant professor of social work and chair of HPU’s Department of Criminal Justice, Social Work and Sociology, takes a group of students to the simulation each year. He shared his takeaway from the experience.

“All of us are blessed to be where we are in our lives,” he said. “It also struck me how quickly we can fall into situations that are out of our control and end up destitute or homeless.”

Mission Waco creates safe and controlled weekend experiences that are designed to increase empathy for those living in poverty. In addition to other planned activities, participants slept outdoors and experienced what it is like to find meals with little or no money.

Humeniuk shared a story of a stranger who helped the HPU group acquire a meal.

“We had $2.88 to buy food for eight people,” he said. “We went to a restaurant and asked what we could purchase for that amount. The man working there offered us water but, after we left, he met us outside and told us he found money on the floor that we could have. He gave us six one-dollar bills.”

Humeniuk and the students were very appreciative and used the money to purchase inexpensive items from a fast-food restaurant. Humeniuk later wrote to the gentleman to thank him for his generosity.

“It really showed me how you can be blessed by strangers,” Humeniuk said.

Vanessa Marquez, a junior social work major from Seguin, said Poverty Simulation was one of the greatest experiences of her life.

“The simulation really opened my eyes to those who are homeless and in poverty,” she said. “I learned two specific things through this experience. Those who have less give more because they know what it is like to have little to nothing. I also learned that I chose the right major from the beginning.”

Paula Johnson, a junior social work major from Spring, has participated in Poverty Simulation twice.

“Since we got back, I have realized just how much poverty we have here in Brownwood,” she said. “I have learned that I am blessed with so many material things that I too often take for granted. As a Christian, it is my duty to help those who are in need and are less fortunate than myself.”

In addition to Johnson and Marquez, other students on the trip included Tonya Bloomer, senior from Houston; Mackenzie Gill, junior from Brownwood; Angelica Gray, junior from San Antonio; Stephanie Gutierrez, senior from Brownwood; and Rebekah Steadman, senior from Fort Worth.

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Photo cutline: Seven social work students and a faculty member recently participated in Mission Waco’s Poverty Simulation. Pictured on the HPU campus, from left, are Vanessa Marquez, Tonya Bloomer, Angelica Gray, Mackenzie Gill, Stephanie Gutierrez, Paula Johnson, Rebekah Steadman and Dan Humeniuk.

HPU students and faculty attend criminal justice seminar at South Padre Island

By Christy Ash, HPU freshman

CRJ faculty and students at South Padre Island for webBROWNWOOD – November 4, 2014 – Two Howard Payne University students recently attended the annual meeting of the Southwestern Association of Criminal Justice at South Padre Island. Stephanie Upfold, a junior from Brownwood, and Blake Wynn, a sophomore from Rockwall, are both criminal justice majors with an emphasis in forensic science.

The students attended the conference with Lynn Humeniuk, associate professor of criminal justice and sociology and director of HPU’s criminal justice program; and Dr. Paul Lilly, assistant professor of criminal justice and chief/director of the university’s Department of Public Safety.

Humeniuk participated in the roundtable discussion titled “Restorative Justice: Victims, Offenders and Communities,” while Dr. Lilly participated in the “Community Policing” and “Campus Victimization” roundtables.

Several universities from the southwestern United States were in attendance, as well as many criminal justice practitioners, EMTs and firefighters from surrounding states. The seminar’s keynote speaker was Sheriff Lupe Valdez from the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office.

Humeniuk said HPU provided an incredible opportunity for the participants from the university to meet other professionals and students who are interested in serving others through the criminal justice field.

“This conference allowed us to network, exchange ideas, review up-to-date research presentations and be able to represent Howard Payne University at roundtable presentations,” she said. “It was a tremendous blessing to the four of us who attended.”

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Photo cutline: HPU criminal justice students and faculty recently attended the annual meeting of the Southwest Association of Criminal Justice at South Padre Island. Pictured on the beach are, from left, Lynn Humeniuk, Dr. Paul Lilly, Stephanie Upfold and Blake Wynn.