News Archives: School of Humanities

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.

HPU criminal justice students attend Elizabeth Smart lecture

CRJ Group with Elizabeth Smart for webBROWNWOOD – September 25, 2014 – Several Howard Payne University criminal justice students recently attended a lecture by Elizabeth Smart at a luncheon hosted by the Alliance for Women and Children in Abilene.

Smart first received national attention in 2002 when, at the age of 14, she was abducted from her home near Salt Lake City. She was rescued nine months later. Today, she serves as president of the Elizabeth Smart Foundation, through which she works to prevent future crimes against children.

“Many of us still vividly remember following Elizabeth Smart’s harrowing ordeal through television and newspaper reports,” said Lynn Humeniuk, associate professor of criminal justice/sociology and director of HPU’s criminal justice program. “She has become a force for positive action and it was a great blessing to hear her speak.”

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Photo cutline: Six HPU students recently attended a lecture by Elizabeth Smart. Back row: Patricia Boisse, junior from Blanket; Adrianna Perez, senior from Rowlett; Danyel Bradley, junior from Desoto; Paola Guzman, senior from Brownwood; Christina Calleros, junior from Brownwood; and Sylvia Nowlin, junior from Coleman. Front row: Cynthia Givan, administrative assistant for English and criminal justice; Elizabeth Smart and Lynn Humeniuk, associate professor of criminal justice/sociology and director of HPU’s criminal justice program.

HPU faculty member’s book recommended by FCA Magazine

john nickols with book for webBROWNWOOD – Aug. 7, 2014 – “The Last Three Outs,” a novel by John Nickols, assistant professor of history and political science at Howard Payne University, was recently recommended by FCA Magazine, a national publication of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The novel was the only work of fiction recommended by the magazine in its July/August issue.

“The Last Three Outs,” a baseball novel with Christian themes, tells the story of Danny Hill, a bright pitching prospect whose baseball career is suddenly threatened by a shoulder injury. According to Nickols, the book loosely parallels the life of Joseph in the Old Testament.

“Joseph’s story has always intrigued me,” Nickols said. “There were many injustices in his life, but God redeemed him in a much greater way. In a very trivial way, the same thing happens to Danny in my story.”

The book was published by Tate Publishing and is available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

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Photo cutline: “The Last Three Outs” by John Nickols, assistant professor of history and political science at HPU, was recently recommended by FCA Magazine.

HPU students complete criminal justice internships

criminal justice interns for webBROWNWOOD – May 15, 2014 – Fifteen Howard Payne University students were recently honored for the completion of internships in the field of criminal justice.

The students completed 150 hours of service which reflected three credit hours toward their major in criminal justice. Internships included 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 service organizations that help students prepare for a future in the field of criminal justice.

“We’re very thankful to the many agencies who hosted our students and to the individuals who served as supervisors, sharing their skills and knowledge with our interns,” said Lynn Humeniuk, associate professor of criminal justice/sociology and director of HPU’s criminal justice program. “Internships are an invaluable resource to our students and a great pathway to future employment.”

Participating students included Mitchell Bailey, senior from Early, intern at Ron Jackson Juvenile Correctional Facility; Ashley Biering, senior from Spring Branch, intern at Brown Country District Attorney’s Office; Carlton Brown, senior from Brownwood, intern at Brownwood Fire Department’s Office of Arson Investigation; John Gramling, senior from Brownwood, intern at Brown County Sheriff’s Office; Alejandro Guerrero, December 2013 graduate from Dallas, intern at Brownwood Police Department; Manuela Holguin, senior from El Paso, intern at Vista College Office of Financial Aid; Taylor Jordan, senior from Brownwood, intern at Ron Jackson Juvenile Correctional Facility, Texas Juvenile Justice Department; Wesley Livingston, senior from Wylie, intern at HPU Department of Public Safety; Pricilla Patino, senior from Abilene, intern at HPU Department of Public Safety; Josh Simons, senior from Bangs, intern at Brown County Sheriff’s Office; Daniel Taylor, senior from Florence, intern at Glorieta Baptist Encampment; Jarrod Tipton, senior from Brownwood, intern at Texas Department of Public Safety; Tommy Valencia, senior from Brownwood, intern at Texas Parks and Wildlife; Eric Villanueba, senior from Paradise, intern at Texas Department of Public Safety; and Eric Young, senior from Yantis, intern at Early Police Department.

Individuals serving as supervisors were Tony Aaron, captain, Brown County Sheriff’s Office; Elisha Bird, assistant district attorney for Brown County; Rebecca Cadena, case manager, Texas Juvenile Justice Department; Bobby Duvall, assistant chief deputy, Brown County Sheriff’s Office; James Fuller, assistant chief, Brownwood Police Department; Susan Gunn, case manager, Texas Juvenile Justice Department; Carl Kesee, sergeant, Texas Department of Public Safety; David Mercer, chief of police, Early Police Department; Josh Modt, director of Fuge Camps, Glorieta Baptist Encampment; Lt. Bob Pacatte, assistant chief, HPU Department of Public Safety; Buddy Preston, fire marshal, Brownwood Fire Department; Grady Suey, assistant fire chief, Brownwood Fire Department; Arika Vallejo, Vista College Office of Financial Aid; and Capt. Malcolm Wilkes, district director, Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Others serving as mentors to students included Dave Bosecker, game warden, Texas Parks and Wildlife; Chris Delgado, corporal, Texas Department of Public Safety; Sandra Garcia, administrative assistant, Early Police Department; David Modgling, captain, Texas Parks and Wildlife; and John Moody, trooper, Texas Department of Public Safety.

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Photo cutline: HPU students were recently honored for the successful completion of criminal justice internships. They are pictured with supervisors and other mentors as well as with HPU faculty. Standing, from left, are: Carlton Brown, Buddy Preston, John Moody, David Modgling, Chris Delgado, Dave Bosecker, Wesley Livingston, Bob Pacatte, Susan Gunn, James Fuller, Jarrod Tipton, Josh Simons, Eric Young and David Mercer. Seated, from left, are Tommy Valencia, Lynn Humeniuk, Taylor Jordan, Sandra Garcia and Daniel Taylor.

HPU students participate in Social Work Student Day at the Legislature

social work students in Austin for webBROWNWOOD – April 23, 2014 – Six Howard Payne University students recently traveled to the Texas State Capitol in Austin to take part in the Social Work Student Day at the Legislature, sponsored by the Texas Association of Social Work Deans and Directors. The travelers are students in Dan Humeniuk’s Social Welfare Policies, Programs and Issues course.

“The purpose of the trip was for our students to get a sense of their opportunities for participation in advocacy and government processes,” said Humeniuk, assistant professor of social work and chair of the Department of Criminal Justice, Social Work and Sociology.

HPU students, joining students from universities across the state, participated in a legislative training session led by keynote speaker Ana DeFrates, assistant general counsel and legislative analyst for Senator Kirk Watson. The HPU group also met with Texas State Representative Jim Keffer’s legislative staff.

“Social workers and other human service professionals typically work with disenfranchised clients,” Humeniuk said. “This session taught them advocacy skills which can be applied at the local, state and federal levels.”

HPU students in attendance included Carolyn Barnes, a senior from Glen Rose; Brooke Goad, a junior from Carbon; Jennifer Goff, a senior from Austin; Angelica Gray, a junior from San Antonio; Paula Johnson, a junior from Spring; and Vanessa Marquez, a sophomore from Seguin.

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Photo cutline: HPU students recently traveled to Austin to participate in the Social Work Student Day at the Legislature. Left to right: Angelica Gray, Carolyn Barnes, Jennifer Goff, Vanessa Marquez, Brooke Goad and Paula Johnson.

HPU Model United Nations team wins five awards at Rome conference

HPU Rome Model UN 2014 for webBy Kendyl Moore, HPU senior

BROWNWOOD – April 4, 2014 – The Howard Payne University Model United Nations team traveled to Rome during Spring Break to participate in a conference held March 13-17. HPU students won five delegate awards, more than any other university at the event. With more than 1,500 students in attendance, the Rome conference is one of the largest Model UN conferences in the world.

Model UN is a simulation in which students gather to emulate UN proceedings and topics of discussion. The opening ceremony was held at the actual meeting place of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. HPU students were assigned to represent the Russian Federation throughout the proceedings.

HPU awards included Cara DeLoach, a senior from San Angelo, and Caleb McConnell, a senior from Burleson – Best Delegation in the General Assembly; Kerrie Ford, a senior from Houston – Best Delegate in the Security Council; Cody Perrin, a sophomore from Eastland – Best Delegate in the International Telecommunication Unit; Elizabeth Rogers, a senior from Grand Junction, Colo. – Best Delegate in the International Court of Justice; and Erik Swenson, a senior from Carrollton – Champion Debater on the Security Council. All of the HPU delegates received high praise from committee chairs and directors.

“I am extremely proud of the HPU team’s performance at the Rome Model UN Conference,” stated 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. “It was an honor in itself to be invited to participate and to play the role of the Russian Federation. Six of our twelve students received awards, which was the most achieved by any university. I also want to thank the members of the Academy Board of Directors for their generous support which made it possible for us to attend the conference.”

Additional student participants included Camryn D’Rubio, a junior from Wallis; Kendyl Moore, a senior from Farmington, N.M.; Jason Murphy, a junior from Brownwood; Nicole Nehf, a junior from May; Ivy Nichols, a sophomore from Richardson; and Jessica Ramirez, a senior from Bangs.

The students also had a day to explore Rome, visiting sites such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Forum, the Catacombs and other locations around the city.

“Traveling to Rome for the HPU Model UN trip was an incredible experience,” said Cara DeLoach. “I was able to meet college students from all across Europe. Representing Russia at the conference enabled my partner and me to adopt a different perspective, especially in light of current events. After attending, I have gained more confidence in being an effective delegate and have personally benefited from the amazing cultural experience we were able to have in Italy.”

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Photo cutline: HPU’s Model United Nations team won five awards at the recent Rome conference. Pictured at the Roman Pantheon are, from left, Nicole Nehf, Cody Perrin, Camryn D’Rubio, Elizabeth Rogers, Ivy Nichols, Jessica Ramirez, Cara DeLoach, Kerrie Ford, Erik Swenson, Kendyl Moore, Jason Murphy and Caleb McConnell.

HPU faculty member publishes Christian baseball novel

john nickols with book for webBROWNWOOD – March 4, 2014 – Just in time for spring training, a Howard Payne University faculty member has published “The Last Three Outs,” a baseball novel with Christian themes. The author is John Nickols, assistant professor of history and political science at HPU.

Nickols serves as special assistant to the athletic director at HPU and spent many years as a high school and college basketball coach. His sports background and former career as an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation heavily influenced his writing.

“The Last Three Outs” tells the story of Danny Hill, a bright pitching prospect whose baseball career is suddenly threatened by a shoulder injury. According to Nickols, the book loosely parallels the life of Joseph in the Old Testament.

“Joseph’s story has always intrigued me,” Nickols said. “There were many injustices in his life, but God redeemed him in a much greater way. In a very trivial way, the same thing happens to Danny in my story.”

The best part about writing a book, according to Nickols, is the use of imagination.

“It is fun to create something where there was nothing before,” he said.

The book, the entirety of which was handwritten by Nickols on a legal pad before being transcribed to the computer, also features a mafia story and a love connection. The author stated, however, that it was written to be encouraging.

“The book is intentionally Christian,” he said. “There is no profanity. It is a clean and moral story.”

“The Last Three Outs” (Tate Publishing) is available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. There will be a book signing at Hastings in Brownwood on Saturday, April 12, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

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Photo cutline: John Nickols, assistant professor of history and political science at HPU, recently published a Christian baseball novel, “The Last Three Outs.”

HPU Moot Court students named regional champs, advance to nationals

Moot CourtBROWNWOOD – December 18, 2013 – Howard Payne University recently dominated the Southwestern Regional Moot Court Championship at Baylor University Law School, with an HPU team beating the top team from Texas A&M University in the final round. Katie Rose Bonner, a junior from Lytle, and Elizabeth Rogers, a senior from Grand Junction, Colo., were named Southwestern Regional Champions and received an automatic invitation to the National Championship of Intercollegiate Moot Court on January 17-18, at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.

An additional HPU team comprised of Cayden McDonald, a senior from Whitehouse, and Christopher Mitchell, a junior from Pecos, advanced to quarter-finals and later received an invitation to compete in the national competition as well.

Awards were given to the top 10 speakers at the competition, including Bonner, Rogers and McDonald. This is a further testament to their practice and preparation, according to their sponsor Lorianna Kelley, assistant professor of political science at HPU.

“I am extremely proud of the hard work and dedication the students have demonstrated over the course of the semester, evidenced by the results at this most recent tournament,” she said. “Most of our team was new to moot court, and had no prior exposure to this form of oral advocacy. This did not stop them from besting more seasoned teams.”

Undergraduate moot court competitions simulate the experience of arguing a case before the United States Supreme Court. According to the American Collegiate Moot Court Association’s website, teams that finish in the top 20 percent of each regional event earn an automatic bid to the national tournament.

Also competing from HPU were Zachary Eller, a freshman from Temple; Zachary Gafford, a senior from Brownwood; Colton McCabe, a junior from Gatesville; and Ryan Young, a senior from Mesquite.

Dr. Justin D. Murphy, Brand professor of history, dean of the School of Humanities, and director of the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy, said he is also pleased with the successes of the Moot Court team.

“I am especially proud of Professor Kelley’s role in leading the team,” he said. “She is an outstanding asset to HPU and the Moot Court program.”

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Photo cutline: Eight HPU students recently competed at the Southwestern Regional Moot Court Championship at Baylor University Law School, with four advancing to the national championships in January. Left to right: Elizabeth Rogers, champion; Katie Rose Bonner, champion; Cayden McDonald, quarterfinalist; and Christopher Mitchell, quarterfinalist.

HPU social work students get first-hand lessons in poverty

Poverty SimulationBROWNWOOD – December 17, 2013 – Five Howard Payne University social work students recently participated in Mission Waco’s Poverty Simulation, a weekend experience created to challenge students to “see the world through different eyes.”

Dan Humeniuk, assistant professor of social work and chair of HPU’s criminal justice, social work and sociology department, has had a class participate in Poverty Simulation for the past five years.

“More than 15 percent of the American population lives below the poverty line,” he said, referencing U.S. Census Bureau statistics. “We’re increasingly becoming a society in which there is a great division between those who are economically disadvantaged and those who have substantial resources.”

Approximately 50 individuals participated in this year’s simulation, a safe experience designed to increase empathy for those living in poverty. In addition to planned activities, participants slept outdoors and experienced what it is like to find meals with very little money.

According to Humeniuk, these activities promote compassion for those who are less fortunate.

“The Bible addresses our responsibilities as Christians toward those who are struggling,” he said.

Rebekah Steadman, a junior social work major from Fort Worth, was one of two students who returned to Poverty Simulation a second year, despite only being required to participate once.

“I learned something different each time that I participated in the simulation,” she said. “This year, the great lesson that affected me was the importance of relationships and community. We met many people in poverty and heard many stories throughout the weekend that brought the truths of poverty to life. The one thing all the people had in common was that they lacked material possessions but were rich in their relationships with one another. It is a beautiful lesson we all must learn whether we are in poverty or not. How valuable are our relationships and friendships to us versus our material possessions?”

Humeniuk said social work is a “spiritual calling.”

“A social worker’s life’s goal is not to make a lot of money,” he said. “A social worker is more concerned with doing something rather than being somebody.”

Said Steadman, “Those who are impoverished should not be ignored by those of us who have been blessed to give and have the knowledge of how to do so. This simulation truly opens a person’s heart and eyes to the everyday lives of people in poverty and all the extreme struggles they face to survive.”

In addition to Steadman, other students on the trip included Shannon Bundy, a senior from Port Aransas; Jeffery Fennell, a junior from Converse; Jessica Ferrell-Raborn, a senior from Salado; and Paula Johnson, a junior from Spring.

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Photo cutline: Five HPU students and a faculty member recently participated in Mission Waco’s Poverty Simulation. Left to right: Dan Humeniuk, Jessica Ferrell-Raborn, Shannon Bundy, Paula Johnson, Jeffery Fennell and Rebekah Steadman.