News Archives: School of Humanities

HPU senior takes advantage of university-provided opportunities

By Emily Peisker, HPU senior

BROWNWOOD – February 2, 2016 – Howard Payne University offers many opportunities for study programs, internships and on-campus activities to supplement students’ education with hands-on experiences. Senior Dani Coquat has used her time at HPU to prepare for her future by taking advantage of such opportunities.

Coquat, a political science major with a pre-law emphasis, plans to use her major for criminal defense, global law or a hybrid of the two. As an HPU student, she has met with a current foreign relations professional, attended a law forum in Houston and traveled around the state for Moot Court competitions. One of her most memorable experiences at HPU was pursuing an internship in Washington, D.C., during the summer of 2015.

In June and July, Coquat interned for the Department of Commerce’s Initiative Business USA in D.C. She took an economics course through George Mason University and lived on the George Washington University campus. Coquat was also present for Supreme Court rulings and met with a few Congressmen and lobbyists. She took the opportunity to explore the area and visit potential law schools to see where she might practice after graduation.

“The friends and memories that I made while there will last a lifetime,” she said. “The experiences I had helped me to grow and realize that I can actually survive on my own. Living in the heart of the nation’s capital, I was able to see the lifestyle and learn how to balance having a social life and work, all while still furthering my education.”

Coquat has had many memorable experiences at home on HPU’s campus as well. She minors in theatre and works in HPU theatre productions with her fellow Alpha Psi Omega members.

“I pledged Alpha Psi Omega, which is the national theatre fraternity, this last spring,” she said. “Through Alpha Psi, I have helped with events such as a dunking booth to raise awareness of and money for leukemia and 24-hour theatre. I have been a part of a number of productions here at Howard Payne, including a children’s show this past fall, and will participate in the Christian University Theatre Festival this spring.”

Coquat made the decision to attend HPU after visiting the campus during band camp her junior year of high school. Along with her membership in Alpha Psi Omega, she has been part of the HPU Yellow Jacket Band during her first two years at HPU and the archery club during her freshman year.

“My time at HPU has helped to me to further my desire to make a difference in people’s lives,” she said. “With a career in criminal defense or global law, I will be in a position where I can help those who are most in need of it, those who don’t have voices of their own. I have made lasting friendships at HPU and I have been able to grow and change during my time here. I wouldn’t change it for anything.”

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Photo cutline: Dani Coquat, a Howard Payne University senior, is pictured on the HPU campus.

HPU student TJ Counce wins accolades at Baylor Mock Trial Tournament

By Emily Peisker, HPU senior

BROWNWOOD – January 20, 2016 – Howard Payne University’s Mock Trial team participated in the Green and Gold Invitational Mock Trial Tournament at Baylor University, with TJ Counce, senior from Lockhart, receiving the award for second-best overall witness.

Mock Trial is a simulation of lower-court trials in the United States judicial system. The American Mock Trial Association 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.

Other HPU participants were J Bailey, junior from Gunter; Joshua Dykes, junior from Mount Pleasant; Zachary Eller, senior from Temple; Katherine Hailey, junior from Waxahachie; Lainee Hasty, freshman from Runaway Bay; Rachel Hughes, sophomore from Llano; Caleb Kostreva, freshman from Clifton, Colorado; Daniel Lacy, sophomore from Kerrville; Sierra Mendez, sophomore from Brownwood; Jakob Morgan, sophomore from Blanket; Danya Rios, junior from Brownwood; Skyler Schoolfield, sophomore from Aledo; and Andres Zambrano, junior from Brownwood. The team is led by Lorianna Kelley, assistant professor of government.

The students played the roles of attorneys and witnesses during the conference. Team members who served as attorneys for the defense and prosecution prepared opening statements, closing arguments, and direct- and cross-examination for the witnesses. Counce served as a witness while playing several expert roles and won accolades from all the judges.

The three-day contest, which is sanctioned by the AMTA, attracted 30 teams of undergraduate students from across Texas. Local attorneys and law students served as judges for the tournament.

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Photo cutline: HPU senior TJ Counce was named second-best overall witness at the Green and Gold Invitational Mock Trial Tournament at Baylor University.

HPU social work students’ lives impacted as they experience poverty

BROWNWOOD – December 10, 2015 – Seven Howard Payne University students recently took part in one of Mission Waco’s Poverty Simulations, an experience designed to give participants a firsthand look at poverty in America.

Mission Waco creates a safe, controlled weekend of experiences that is designed to increase empathy for those living in poverty in America. HPU students joined approximately 40 other people of all ages to go through this simulation together.

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

“It’s a personal journey,” said Humeniuk. “You are certainly taken out of your comfort zone.”

The poverty simulation participants were not given any luxuries, including transportation. They had to walk everywhere they needed to go.

“By our estimates, and walking about three miles per hour, you walk about twelve to fourteen miles during the entire simulation,” said Humeniuk.

The group had the opportunity to experience a church service and worship under a bridge that Sunday morning as well. Mission Waco conducts the church services, and as part of the simulation, participants have to walk one and a half miles from the site to the bridge. On the way to Church Under the Bridge, they walk past two large, affluent churches. Groups of people from all over Waco, college students, families and homeless people all join together to worship under the bridge.

Rebecca Blohm, sophomore from Midlothian, was impacted greatly by Church Under the Bridge.

“The people made their way to worship God under a busy highway unashamed and ready to love,” said Blohm. “No matter what walk of life or struggle people were facing, they were so thankful and faithful to God and His grace. It was an amazing example that I wish everyone could experience at least once in their lives.”

Karina Garcia, junior from Brownwood, was also touched by attending Church Under the Bridge during the simulation.

“To see people who have almost nothing still have faith in God and to be able to hold their hands up high and praise God was a beautiful sight to see,” said Garcia. “I want to have faith as strong as them.”

According to Humeniuk, Church Under the Bridge is an aspect of the weekend that always grabs the students’ attention.

“Upon returning home, one of our students felt the need to make sure she and her family were more faithful in their worship,” Humeniuk said.

Amy Tyler, junior from Early, came away from the experience ready to give back to the local community. Humeniuk commented on her experience.

“Amy was so touched by what went on that she presented a project to the HPU Social Work Club about putting together hygiene packets for people in our community who are homeless,” said Humeniuk.

The HPU Social Work Club took Tyler’s recommendation and made packets by way of donations. Six members from the club and two faculty members served lunch at the Salvation Army this past Friday and were able to leave the packets with Salvation Army personnel. Those packets will be distributed to the homeless and those at risk of being homeless in Brownwood.

“Poverty is about more than just money,” said Blohm. “It is an attitude and lifestyle that involves loneliness and hopelessness. It is just as important to give a listening ear or some time to visit and show interest in others’ lives.”

Garcia took the time to just listen to some of the homeless people she met in Waco.

“They want you to know their stories,” said Garcia. “This experience and what I learned will make me a better social worker.”

In addition to Blohm, Garcia and Tyler, other students who attended were Melanie Hammond, senior from Springtown; Emily Selman, sophomore from Red Oak; Marshall Wirtz, sophomore from Comanche; and HPU graduate Paula Johnson ’15.

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Photo cutline: HPU students and faculty participated in a Poverty Simulation in Waco earlier this semester. They are pictured on the HPU campus. Left to right: Dan Humeniuk, Marshall Wirtz, Rebecca Blohm, Melanie Hammond, Paula Johnson, Amy Tyler, Karina Garcia and Emily Selman.

Graduating senior Margarita Solis reflects on HPU experiences

“Howard Payne is Home”

By Rachel Ellington, HPU senior

BROWNWOOD – December 10, 2015 – Saturday’s graduating class at Howard Payne University is characterized by many dedicated Yellow Jackets. One of them is Margarita Solis of Gonzales, a history major with minors in Bible and English.

She reflects on her first impression of HPU during her senior year of high school.

“It was the hand-written Christmas card from the admission office that caught my attention,” she says. “I liked the campus when I got here, but I had no idea that I would end up loving it so much.”

During her freshman year, she was on her way to lunch one day when a friend asked her to participate in IMPACT Weekend, an outreach event the Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) hosts each year. She has attended for the past four years and has been a part of the IMPACT task force for the past two years. She also part of the leadership team for the Nursing Home Ministry through the BSM.

“It is so important to get out into the community as students because we live in this town too,” remarks Solis. “I get to do this along with a group of other Howard Payne students who want to serve and be a part of something greater.”

When asked what she will miss most about Howard Payne, Solis laughs.

“Everything,” she says. “All the events HPU hosts, all the adventures I went on with my friends, the inside jokes with my classmates and professors – each day brought new things to remember.”

Solis has also been a part of Secret Service, the set-up crew for Jacket Journey, as well as a member of Blue Crew, the HPU spirit squad.

“Margarita is one of the kindest, most loving, and all around most joyful people in my life,” says Mike McConnell, fellow senior and student body president. “Her indomitable spirit and ever-present smile have brightened my day on countless occasions, and I am a better person for knowing her the past four years.”

She plans on taking a semester off then spending six months in Peru teaching English and working with a children’s ministry. She then hopes to begin graduate coursework in history and youth ministry.

Solis sums up her HPU experience.

“Howard Payne is a place where you can learn not just what to know for an exam, but things to take with you forever,” she says. “My professors taught me how to learn and how to be prepared. My friends and I grew up together here. I am not sure about my career goals. I just know that I want to make an impact and Howard Payne has prepared me to do that. Howard Payne is home.”

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Photo cutline: Margarita Solis will graduate Saturday from Howard Payne University.

HPU students win awards at Stockholm Model United Nations conference

By Emily Peisker, HPU Senior

BROWNWOOD – December 1, 2015 – Five Howard Payne University students won awards at the Stockholm Model United Nations (SMUN) conference on November 15, after a three-day conference with several committees discussing crucial global topics. This was the third time for HPU to attend SMUN, the largest collegiate MUN conference in Scandinavia.

MUN 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.

Gavin Paul Stewart, a senior from Flower Mound, and Jason Murphy, a senior from Brownwood, represented Italy on the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), earning them the best delegation award on their committee. While representing Portugal, Peyton Cooley, a freshman from Lindale, received the best delegate award for the European Council. James Abbatiello, a junior from Kerrville, and Mike McConnell, a senior from Burleson and head delegate of the MUN team, partnered as the People’s Republic of China on the Security Council and earned an honorable mention.

Nine other HPU students researched and portrayed countries at the conference. Sydney Spencer, a junior from Georgetown, and Jaclyn Bonner, a junior from Lytle, represented the United Kingdom on the General Assembly: Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC), while Sam Hoffman, a senior from Corpus Christi, and Danielle Parkhurst, a junior from Columbus, portrayed the United Kingdom on ECOSOC. Cody Perrin, a senior from Eastland, represented France on the European Council. Also on DISEC were Emily Peisker, a senior from Cedar Park, and Carrie Leach, a sophomore from Hurst, representing the Kingdom of Cambodia. Leo Baker, a freshman from Lindale, and Emma Reed, a freshman from Arlington, represented the United Kingdom on the UN Conference on Climate Change: Conference of the Parties 21 (COP 21).

The team is directed by Dr. Justin D. Murphy, Brand professor of history, dean of the School of Humanities and director of HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy.

“I am extremely proud of the Model UN Team,” said Dr. Murphy. “The members worked extremely hard to learn the positions of the countries they represented on the various committees and councils. In fact, one of the SMUN Conference leaders told me that the chairs of the committees and councils were very impressed with how well prepared our delegates were and how accurately they performed their roles.”

The group, including 14 students and three chaperones, left for Stockholm on November 10, arriving in Sweden the next day with time for the students to sightsee and explore the city through November 12. Students took the opportunity to shop in the Old Town, visit the Parliament building, catch up with old friends from previous conferences and immerse in Swedish history at museums.

“It is a blessing to have the opportunity to attend international conferences and learn about foreign relations from the perspective of people from more than 35 different countries,” said Sydney Spencer, co-head delegate of the MUN team. “I am very proud of our team and everything we accomplished and thankful to everyone who played a part in making this trip possible.”

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Photo cutline: HPU’s Model United Nations team recently competed in Stockholm, Sweden. Back row, left to right: Cody Perrin, Jason Murphy, Gavin Paul Stewart, Sam Hoffman, James Abbatiello, Mike McConnell, Leo Baker and Peyton Cooley. Front row, left to right: Emily Peisker, Emma Reed, Carrie Leach, Sydney Spencer, Jaclyn Bonner and Danielle Parkhurst.

HPU students win Moot Court tournament, advance to nationals

BROWNWOOD – December 1, 2015 – Continuing a succession of Moot Court wins for the university, Howard Payne University students Isaac Sommers and Rebeca Puente prevailed in their first Moot Court tournament of the year. The team will advance to nationals in the American Collegiate Moot Court Association, competing at California State University, Long Beach, in January.

The UNT Law Invitational Tournament was held at the University of North Texas Dallas Law School in October with 50 teams from across the nation competing.

After successfully completing round one, Sommers, a sophomore from Boerne, and Puente, a junior from Waskom, advanced to the octo-final round, quarterfinals and semifinals. They beat Texas A&M University and two teams from California State University, Long Beach, respectively. They then faced off against UNT Denton in the finals and won unanimously. Sommers also won the 4th place oralist award.

Additionally, Sommers and Puente were finalists at a regional tournament at Texas A&M University during which they both won Top Orator awards.

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, lauded the successes of the students and their coach, Lorianna Kelley, assistant professor of government.

“I cannot emphasize enough how valuable Professor Kelley’s contributions are to the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy and Howard Payne University,” Dr. Murphy said. “I commend her outstanding efforts and devotion to our students.”

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Photo cutline: HPU students Rebeca Puente, left, and Isaac Sommers took first place at a recent Moot Court tournament. The team will advance to nationals, competing at California State University, Long Beach, in January.

HPU’s Dr. Evelyn Romig named Distinguished Professor of Literature

BROWNWOOD – September 10, 2015 – After 34 years of extraordinary service to Howard Payne University, Dr. Evelyn Romig has accepted the position of HPU’s first Distinguished Professor of Literature.

Dr. Romig has served the university faculty as head of the Department of English, dean of the School of Humanities, president of the Faculty Assembly and, since 1988, as full professor of English.

“When Dr. Romig expressed the desire to reduce her teaching load or possibly retire, we discussed the opportunity for her to serve in a new role,” said Dr. W. Mark Tew, university provost and chief academic officer. “Known for her innovations in classroom teaching, Dr. Romig is again assisting the university to pioneer new avenues of educational excellence.”

As the university’s first Distinguished Professor of Literature, Dr. Romig will continue to teach on a limited basis, providing the same exemplary experience for which she is known.

“I can’t think of a teacher who better balances commitment to her subject matter with commitment to her students,” said Dr. Millard Kimery, professor of English and chair of the Department of English. “The English department is lucky to have more time to learn from her example.”

Dr. Romig is the recipient of numerous Excellence in Teaching Awards at HPU and the Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year Award in 1991. She is published by Salem Press and in scholarly publications such as Dickens Quarterly and Literature and Psychology. She earned a Master of Arts degree from Texas A&M University and Doctor of Philosophy degree from Rice University.

Dr. Romig has been very engaged in the community, serving as a leader at the United Methodist Church, as member of the American Association of University Women and with the Pecan Valley Arts Festival. She served for 12 years with the Brownwood Independent School District Board of Trustees, including a term as its president.

“I am excited for our students and the university that Dr. Romig will remain on the faculty through which she has served the Brownwood community so faithfully,” said Dr. Tew.

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Photo cutline: Dr. Evelyn Romig was recently named HPU’s first Distinguished Professor of Literature.

HPU’s Dr. Paul Lilly awarded the John Edgar Hoover Memorial Award

humeniuk and lilly for webBROWNWOOD – August 31, 2015 – Dr. Paul Lilly, assistant professor of criminal justice and director of Howard Payne University’s Department of Public Safety, was recently awarded the John Edgar Hoover Memorial Award of the National Awards program of the American Police Hall of Fame. Lynn Humeniuk, associate professor of criminal justice and sociology and director of HPU’s criminal justice program, presented the award on Friday during a faculty assembly.

In a letter to Dr. Lilly, Chief Jack L. Rinchich, national president of the American Police Hall of Fame, wrote, “Your dedication to continuing education and training to improve your law enforcement skills is proof of your commitment to serve the public. By striving for knowledge, you set an admirable standard for all officers to follow.”

Dr. Lilly said he was “honored beyond words” to receive this award.

“I had heard of this honor but never knew anyone who actually received it,” he said.

Humeniuk said she was delighted, but not surprised, to learn Dr. Lilly received the award.

“Dr. Lilly has a very distinguished career in law enforcement,” she said. “His lengthy career in law enforcement prior to teaching in higher education has been a tremendous help in making application of theory, principles and practices come true for our students in the classroom.”

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Photo cutline: Lynn Humeniuk, left, associate professor of criminal justice and sociology and director of HPU’s criminal justice program, presented the John Edgar Hoover Memorial Award to Dr. Paul Lilly, assistant professor of criminal justice and director of Howard Payne University’s Department of Public Safety.

HPU’s Dr. Nancy Romig presents Fitzgerald paper at Boston conference

Nancy Romig for webBROWNWOOD – July 31, 2015 – Dr. Nancy Romig, assistant professor of English at Howard Payne University, recently presented a paper at the 26th annual American Literature Association conference in Boston.

The ALA is a national association that encourages scholars to come together and share their research on and strategies for teaching American authors and writings.

Dr. Romig’s paper, titled “Fitzgerald’s Crisis of Masculinity in The Great Gatsby,” was presented during a discussion hosted by the F. Scott Fitzgerald Society. Each presentation for the panel centered on Fitzgerald’s life and his works.

“My paper examined Fitzgerald’s personal life and how his anxieties about and desires to meet social expectations for masculine behavior caused him to construct the central male characters in The Great Gatsby, like Nick Carraway and Tom Buchanan, in definite and extreme ways,” Dr. Romig 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, said he is proud of Dr. Romig’s academic accomplishments.

“Dr. Romig has struck a great balance between professional development and the needs of her students,” he said. “I’m impressed with the level of scholarship she is achieving.”

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Photo cutline: Dr. Nancy Romig, assistant professor of English at HPU, recently presented a paper on F. Scott Fitzgerald at the annual American Literature Association conference in Boston.

HPU students serve God and experience Spanish culture on Costa Rica trip

By Chandler Condra, HPU senior

BROWNWOOD – July 15, 2015 – Thirteen Howard Payne University students, faculty and staff members visited the country of Costa Rica following the end of the spring 2015 semester. The international experience was led by Carla Hawkins, then assistant professor of Spanish, and Keith Platte, director of HPU’s Baptist Student Ministry.

hpu group at irazu volcano for webThe expedition was HPU’s first hybrid trip combining students from Spanish class with mission volunteers of the BSM. However, all students participated in each of the activities during the 11-day trip.

The students and supervisors made their first stop at Hogar De Vida, an orphanage, where they witnessed to others by serving and repainting parts of the facility.

“We spent the first three days serving at this orphanage in Atenas,” said Platte. “The workers there rely on volunteers like us to help maintain or repair the facility. We also helped lead devotionals.”

The group then spent three days in Cahuita along the eastern coast experiencing the Caribbean culture, three days in the central mountainous region of Costa Rica at Paraíso and three days in San Jose, Costa Rica’s largest city.

Activities included guided tours of the mountain ranges, coffee plantations, art and history museums, churches, marketplaces and more. The goal was to give students an immersive experience in the Spanish-American and Caribbean cultures in a range of locations.

“The country has so much culture and a rich history,” said Platte. “We visited their oldest still-attended church, which is even older than the United States.”

A common greeting in the country is “pura vida,” or “pure life.” It epitomizes the cultural experience of the HPU group, according to the students.

“I love that they all say ‘pura vida’ because it shows that they aren’t worried about other things and that they love the life they live,” said Adrienne Sanchez, junior Spanish major from Ozona.

The diversity of the culture, geography and opportunity for service made Costa Rica a prime choice for HPU’s first hybrid trip. The students studied the country before arriving to better appreciate the experience.

“From the relaxing lifestyle of the coast, to the beautiful views from the volcanoes, to the ever-busy life of the markets in the cities, Costa Rica has it all,” said Ashley Chapman, senior Spanish and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Ennis.

Additional students on the trip included Kyndal Broome, senior management major from San Angelo; Anthony Bryant, criminal justice major and May 2015 graduate from Copperas Cove; Tara Carroll, sophomore Spanish major from McKinney; Yessenia Cazares, senior psychology major from El Paso; Camryn Lopez, senior Spanish major from Wallis; Cody Perrin, junior history and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Eastland; Trystin Teale, freshman liberal arts major from Midland; Hannah Williamson, junior Spanish major from Fort Worth; and Mikayla Warren, senior cross-cultural studies major from Salado.

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Photo cutline: A group from HPU is pictured at the top of the Irazú Volcano at a national park in Costa Rica. Back row, left to right: Keith Platte, Anthony Bryant, Cody Perrin and Trystin Teale. Middle row, left to right: Camryn Lopez, Mikayla Warren, Hannah Williamson, Adrienne Sanchez, Kyndal Broome, Yessenia Cazares and Tara Carroll. Front row, left to right: Ashley Chapman and Gustavo Abarca, the group’s tour guide. Not pictured is Carla Hawkins.