News Archives: School of Humanities

HPU Model United Nations team successful at second Münster conference

By Emily Peisker, HPU senior

BROWNWOOD – May 2, 2016 – The Howard Payne University Model United Nations team took home seven awards from the Münster University International Model United Nations conference held recently in Münster, Germany. The largest MUN conference in Germany, it sponsored delegates from around the world including delegations from Pakistan, Taiwan and Israel.

MUN Munster Spring 2016MUN takes current world issues and asks students, who represent the different countries as delegates, to try to solve them through diplomatic means. Students learn the art of diplomacy through caucusing, writing position papers and presenting in formal settings, all while following the model of the United Nations.

Those receiving awards included James Abbatiello, a junior from Kerrville, with the Outstanding Delegate award for his representation of the Russian Federation on the Security Council; Jaclyn Bonner, a junior from Lytle, with an Honorable Mention award and a Best Position Paper award as the Russian Federation for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR); Joel Justice, a sophomore from Brownwood, with an Honorable Mention award for representing Lebanon on the UNHCR; Sydney Spencer, a junior from Georgetown, with an Honorable Mention award from the Human Rights Council (HRC) for her representation of the Russian Federation; Braxton Clark, a junior from Southlake, with the Outstanding Delegate Award while portraying Syria for the Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC); and Cody Perrin, a junior from Eastland, with an Honorable Mention award for the Peace of Westphalia Committee for his portrayal of the Swedish Empire.

Other team members include Mike McConnell, a senior from Burleson and head delegate of the MUN team, who represented France on the Security Council, and Jason Murphy, a senior from Brownwood, who portrayed Indonesia on the General Assembly Second Committee: Economic and Finance (ECOFIN). Gavin Stewart, a senior from Flower Mound, portrayed the Spanish Empire on the Peace of Westphalia Committee, while Emily Peisker, a senior from Cedar Park, represented the Philippines on the UN Women committee. Also on ECOFIN, Rachel White, a junior from Arkadelphia, Arkansas, represented Germany, while Emma Reed, a freshman from Arlington, portrayed China on HRC. Vivian Nguyen, a sophomore from Keller, represented Thailand on UN Women and Augusta Johnson, a sophomore from Gatesville, represented the Republic of Korea on DISEC. Bringing their pre-law experience into play, Caitlin Wood, a senior from Miles, acted as a judge on the International Criminal Court (ICC) while J Bailey, a senior from Gunter, presented the prosecution on the same committee.

“I am so proud of the entire team,” said Sydney Spencer, co-head delegate of the team. “From what I was able to witness, everyone accurately portrayed their country assignments and represented HPU to the best of their abilities.”

According to Spencer, the team members worked diligently in class and on their own time to fully understand the governmental systems of the countries represented. This was the team’s second time to compete in Münster.

“Yet again, we brought home more awards than any other delegation and this is only due to each individual person’s commitment to research, ability to take constructive criticism and comprehension of how to understand the rules of procedure quickly,” she said.

After landing in Berlin on Easter Sunday, the group took the day to explore the city and see historical sites, which included the Brandenburg Gate, the Holocaust Memorial and Checkpoint Charlie. Team members also visited the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp in Oranienburg on the outskirts of Berlin the next day and immersed themselves in the history of that area.

HPU’s Model United Nations team is led by Dr. Kevin Kelley, assistant professor of organizational psychology, and Lorianna Kelley, assistant professor of government.

“Eighteen hours of travel led the victorious HPU MUN team back to Brownwood,” said Dr. Kelley. “Though tired and jetlagged, the belief that peace can be had through non-violent means, a tenet of Christian philosophy, proved powerful yet again to the team. Though some did not win, experience in formal speech, participation in an international conference and exploring the culture of a foreign country was gained by all. Congratulations to our winners and a hearty thanks to all participants who made HPU’s MUN trip a success.”


Cutline: HPU award winners at the Model United Nations conference in Münster, Germany, included (from left) James Abbatiello, Braxton Clark, Jaclyn Bonner, Sydney Spencer, Joel Justice and Cody Perrin.

HPU’s Psi Chi inducts six new members

Psi Chi Inductees 2016BROWNWOOD – April 26, 2016 – Howard Payne University’s chapter of the Psi Chi International Honor Society recently inducted six new members for 2016.

The purpose of Psi Chi is to encourage, stimulate and maintain excellence in scholarship of its individual members in all fields, particularly in psychology, and to advance the science of psychology.

This year’s inductees included Amy Baskin, junior from Blooming Grove; Lexie Farar, sophomore from Brownwood; Nicole Hamilton, senior from Nocona; Aryn Morris, sophomore from Pipe Creek; Brittony Walker, junior from Abilene; and Cameron Wong, senior from Georgetown.

“Psi Chi strives to honor excellence and scholarship within the discipline of psychology,” said Dr. Jennifer Clement, assistant professor of psychology and chapter adviser. “It is our great privilege to induct new members who exemplify these ideals.”

For more information, contact HPU’s School of Humanities at 325-649-8201.

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2016 semester at Howard Payne University. HPU offers a variety of financial aid options including the Heart of Texas Scholarship, which awards $60,000 to students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at (325) 649-8020 or by e-mail at


Cutline: Six HPU students were recently inducted into Psi Chi. Left to right: Cameron Wong; Dr. Jennifer Clement, chapter adviser; Nicole Hamilton; Lexie Farar; Aryn Morris; Amy Baskin; Brittony Walker; Katie Straach, chapter vice president; and Victoria Hardin, chapter president.

HPU’s Project Cinderella provides prom dresses for area high schoolers

Social Work ClubBROWNWOOD – April 25, 2016 – Howard Payne University’s annual Project Cinderella has again afforded many young women from area high schools the opportunity to attend prom with like-new dresses. HPU’s Social Work Club distributed 43 dresses between March 17 and April 18.

This year’s project doubled the total number of dresses distributed last year, benefitting students from Bangs, Blanket, Brownwood, Early, May, Mullin, Panther Creek, Priddy, Richland Springs and Zephyr. The Social Work Club created a boutique experience for the young women and their families, complete with dresses, music and a fitting room. The project was housed inside HPU’s Girling Center for Social Justice.

Amy Tyler, senior from Early, is club president.

“Ms. Tyler and members of the Social Work Club performed outstanding work in promoting the event with not only the usual high school contacts, but also by means of radio interviews and public service announcements as well,” said Dan Humeniuk, assistant professor of social work and chair of HPU’s Department of Criminal Justice, Social Work and Sociology. “The overall organization and presentation of the dresses also served to enhance the dress distribution.”

Applications for admission are still being accepted for the fall 2016 semester at Howard Payne University. HPU offers a variety of financial aid options including the Heart of Texas Scholarship, which awards $60,000 to students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at (325) 649-8020 or by e-mail at


Photo cutline: HPU’s Social Work Club recently distributed 43 prom dresses to young women from area high schools. Pictured in the back row, left to right, are club members Marina Sheets-Ochoa, freshman from El Paso; Jacey Martinez, sophomore from San Saba; Sydney Spencer, junior from Georgetown; Vanessa Marquez, senior from Seguin; and Elijah Garces, sophomore from Floresville. On the front row, pictured left to right, are Sierra Spruill, sophomore from Ranger; Amy Tyler, senior from Early; and Karina Garcia, junior from Brownwood. Photo courtesy of HPU’s Yellow Jacket student newspaper.

HPU criminal justice students honored for internships

Criminal Justice InternsBROWNWOOD – April 20, 2016 – Seventeen Howard Payne University students were recently recognized for the completion of internships in the field of criminal justice.

Each spring, HPU’s criminal justice program honors its interns and their supervisors at a luncheon or picnic. Each intern receives a certificate of completion along with a certificate of emphasis, if either a forensic science or restorative justice emphasis was completed. Most of the interns’ supervisors were on hand for the picnic and ceremony held recently at HPU’s Girling Center for Social 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 enforcement agencies and many other service organizations that help students prepare for a future in the field of criminal justice.

“The students’ internships strengthen their skills to become desirable candidates in the workforce upon graduation,” said Lynn Humeniuk, associate professor of criminal justice and sociology and director of the criminal justice program. “Many of our interns are hired after graduation into jobs with the very agency where they served in their internships.”

Students for the 2015-2016 school year included Matthew Aguirre from New Braunfels, intern for the New Braunfels Police Department; Michael Bailey from Georgetown, intern for the Brownwood Police Department; Danyel Bradley from De Soto, intern for the Brownwood Police Department; Lorenzo Flores from Conroe, intern for the Brown County Sheriff’s Office; Brandon Garrett from Burnet, intern for the Austin Police Department; Adrian Hopkins from Beaumont, intern for G4S: The Oaks; Doug Hurt from Brownwood, intern for the Brownwood Police Department; Sylvia Laureles from Brownwood, intern for the Ron Jackson Juvenile Correctional Facility; Justin Lawson from Brownwood, intern for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; Astin Murray from Lampasas, intern for Three Rivers Municipal Court; Celina Ortiz from White Settlement, intern for the Fort Worth Police Department; Amy Segura from Brownwood, intern for G4S: The Oaks; Gage Smith from Midland, intern for the Midland Police Department; Bruce Spruill from Brownwood, intern for the Brownwood Police Department; Stephanie Upfold from Brownwood, intern for the Brownwood Police Department; Evan Vaden from Houston, intern for Kidventure; and Austin Williamson from Jacksboro, intern for the Brown County Sheriff’s Office.

Individuals serving as supervisors for these students were David Ator, Ron Jackson Juvenile Correctional Facility, Brownwood; Sgt. Pete Bastardo, Brown County Sheriff’s Office; Judge Dawn Benham, Three Rivers Municipal Court; Officer David Bosecker, Texas Parks and Wildlife Regional Office, Brownwood; Officer Randall Bryan, training coordinator, New Braunfels Police Department; Officer John Choyce, training coordinator, Fort Worth Police Department; Sgt. Eric Fitzgerald, Austin Police Department; Assistant Chief James Fuller, Brownwood Police Department; Superintendent Tyrene Green, director of G4S: The Oaks; Chief Deputy Vance Hill, Brown County Sheriff’s Office; Sgt. Rosemary Sharp, Midland Police Department; Eartha Stalling, caseworker, G4S: The Oaks; and Michael Valka, director of Kidventure in Houston.

“Our onsite internship supervisors have been mentors and valuable practitioners beyond the classroom, and for that I am extremely grateful,” said Humeniuk.

For more information, contact HPU’s School of Humanities at 325-649-8201.

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2016 semester at Howard Payne University. HPU offers a variety of financial aid options including the Heart of Texas Scholarship, which awards $60,000 to students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at (325) 649-8020 or by e-mail at


Photo cutline: Seventeen HPU students recently completed internships in the field of criminal justice. Eleven of them are pictured with HPU faculty and several of the local supervisors at the recent picnic. Left to right: Tyrene Green; Amy Segura; Michael Bailey; Eartha Stalling; Doug Hurt; Adrian Hopkins; Bruce Spruill; Stephanie Upfold; Assistant Chief James Fuller; Lynn Humeniuk, associate professor of criminal justice and sociology and director of the criminal justice program; Dr. Paul Lilley, assistant professor of criminal justice; Astin Murray; Sylvia Laureles; Sheriff George Caldwell; Lorenzo Flores; Justin Lawson; and Austin Williamson.

HPU alumnus completes Abilene Police Academy

Dane Bryant police academy graduationBROWNWOOD – April 13, 2016 – Howard Payne University alumnus Anthony Dane Bryant of Copperas Cove recently graduated from Abilene Police Department’s Police Academy and was awarded his badge and the rank of commissioned police officer within the department.

During his time at HPU, Bryant was named the 2014-2015 Outstanding Criminal Justice Major. He additionally was president of the Sigma Theta Phi fraternity and served as a resident assistant. Bryant graduated from HPU in May 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice.

“We are so very proud of Dane and all of our HPU criminal justice graduates,” said Dr. Paul Lilly, assistant professor of criminal justice and director of HPU’s Department of Public Safety. “Dane is a shining example of what HPU students can become when they set clear goals and maintain a Christ-centered life. When he graduated, we told him that it was now his turn to go out and help make the world a better place. He is certainly doing just that.”

For more information about HPU’s criminal justice program, contact Lynn Humeniuk, director of the program and associate professor of criminal justice and sociology, at (325) 649-8703 or via e-mail at

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2016 semester at Howard Payne University. HPU offers a variety of financial aid options including the Heart of Texas Scholarship, which awards $60,000 to students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at (325) 649-8020 or by e-mail at


Photo cutline: HPU alumnus Anthony Dane Bryant, center, recently graduated from Abilene Police Department’s Police Academy. He is pictured with HPU criminal justice faculty members Lynn Humeniuk, left, and Dr. Paul Lilly.

HPU criminal justice students to get hands-on training with mock crime scene

BROWNWOOD – March 29, 2016 – Howard Payne University’s criminal justice program will conduct exercises as part of its Criminal Justice Investigations class on Friday, April 1, at 10:30 a.m. During this time, there will be crime scene tape, emergency vehicles and other normal police operations one would expect to see at a major crime scene. The event will be held at HPU’s campus location at the corner of Austin and Coggin Avenues in Brownwood.

Dr. Paul Lilly, chief of HPU’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) and assistant professor of criminal justice, said the community should not be alarmed at the proceedings.

“This is a staged event to help the students learn the many processes involved with investigating a crime scene,” he said.

The HPU DPS will again join the criminal justice program and its students in helping make the crime scene as realistic as possible. In addition to hands-on experience for the students, the DPS uses this scenario exercise each year to aid in providing the DPS officers with regular ongoing in-service training to help them remain current with modern technologies and procedures.

For more information, contact HPU’s Department of Public Safety at (325) 649-8609.

HPU alumnus and trustee addresses criminal justice students

Roy RobbBROWNWOOD – March 21, 2016 – Howard Payne University criminal justice students were recently visited by Roy Robb, 1967 HPU alumnus and current member of the university’s Board of Trustees. Robb, whose career in the criminal justice field spanned more than 40 years, was responsible for taking care of the 400 people removed from the Yearning for Zion Ranch following the arrest of Warren Jeffs, former president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Jeffs was later brought to Texas to stand trial on charges stemming from the raid on the YFZ Ranch by law enforcement officers. He is currently serving a sentence of life in prison plus 20 years. Robb, then court master for the 51st Judicial District Court, was tasked with daily briefings and written reports in the investigation of Jeffs prior to the arrest.

Lynn Humeniuk, associate professor of criminal justice and sociology and director of HPU’s criminal justice program, invited Robb to speak to HPU’s criminal justice students regarding the details of this politically and legally challenging case.

“Mr. Robb’s lecture was invaluable to our students who are planning to pursue careers in criminal justice,” she said. “We’re thankful for his dedication to the field and to HPU.”

Robb served as director of probation services for the 51st, 119th and 340th District Courts. He also served as secure program specialist with the Texas Youth Commission, a role from which he retired in 2005.

After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from HPU in 1967, he went on to receive a Master of Criminal Justice degree from American Technological University in 1976.

Though HPU did not offer a criminal justice degree during Robb’s time as a student at HPU, he said the education he received encouraged him to enter his chosen profession.

“At Howard Payne, I experienced how Christian professors never gave up on students,” he said. “I witnessed lives being changed and grew to care deeply for youth who had problems. Howard Payne shaped what I did in my life by giving me the deep desire to help others.”


Photo cutline: Roy Robb, HPU alumnus and trustee, recently addressed criminal justice students at the university.

HPU students place third in brief writing at national Moot Court tournament

By Emily Peisker, HPU senior

BROWNWOOD – February 22, 2016 – Howard Payne University’s Isaac Sommers, junior from Boerne, and Rebeca Puente, senior from Waskom, students in HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy, advanced to out rounds and ended in the top 32 at the 2015-16 American Collegiate Moot Court Association National Tournament. The duo placed third in the brief writing component of the ACMCA National Tournament held at California State University in Long Beach.

The ACMCA National Tournament hosted 80 teams from across the nation, representing the top 25 percent of all competing teams. The teams compete in 10 different regional tournaments around the nation to qualify for the national competition. Sommers and Puente placed first in the South Texas Regional ACMCA Tournament at Texas A&M University School of Law in November to qualify for the national competition. The pair also won top orator awards at the tournament.

Moot Court is a simulated oral argument, similar to an argument made before an appellate court. The argument lasts around 15 minutes, during which time the attorney presents an argument and answers questions posed by the panel of judges. The arguments are evaluated on the application of the law to the facts of the case.

Sommers and Puente completed a successful Moot Court season, including their unanimous win at the UNT Law Invitational Tournament held at the University of North Texas Dallas Law School in October. Sommers also received the fourth-place oralist award at that competition.

Lorianna Kelley, coach for the Moot Court team and assistant professor of government at HPU, serves as a member of the ACMCA board of directors. She praised her team for the success they have had during the last year.

“Isaac and Rebeca demonstrated that they were one of the best Moot Court teams in the nation, finishing in the top 32 of almost 400 teams,” said Kelley. “Their oral advocacy and brief-writing skills won them high praise at the tournament.”


Photo cutline: Howard Payne University’s Isaac Sommers (second from left) and Rebeca Puente (third from left) placed third in the brief writing component of the ACMCA National Tournament. They are pictured with competition judges.

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.”


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.


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