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HPU alumni couple lead summer camp participants in astronomy lessons

BROWNWOOD – September 1, 2022 – Two Howard Payne University alumni gave back to their alma mater this summer by sharing their passion for astronomy with several of the university’s youngest students. Brad ’65 and Joy ’66 Riza participated in the university’s Summer Scholars program in July for students entering fourth, fifth and sixth grades.

The couple brought special solar telescopes, allowing the students a rare view of the sun’s surface. Brad serves as the resident astronomer for Badlands National Park in South Dakota and Joy is a retired science teacher.

HPU’s Summer Scholars and Young Scholars programs are held each summer on the university’s campus. The Young Scholars program is open to students entering first through third grades.

Dr. Julie Welker ’94, professor of communication and chair of HPU’s Department of Communication, directs the programs each year.

“The Rizas’ presentation was a great way to kick off the weeklong camp and get the kids excited for learning,” she said. “We’re extremely grateful to alumni and other community members who invest in our students each year.”

Young Scholars teachers included Tasha Carter ’93, art teacher at Early High School; Dalton Hutchins, assistant tennis coach at Brownwood ISD; Sarah Langford ’12, instructor of mathematics at HPU; and Dr. Nancy Romig ’04, associate professor of English at HPU.

Teachers in the Summers Scholars program included Dalton Hutchins; Tami Hull, science teacher and robotics coach at Early Middle School; Dr. Kristen Hutchins, professor of biology and chair of HPU’s Department of Biological Sciences; and Frank Ritter ’17, engineering, chemistry and robotics teacher at Early High School.

“I am grateful for these teachers who devote their expertise to our summer camp each year,” said Dr. Welker. “Our students love the hands-on activities and getting to learn in a university environment.”


Photo: HPU alumnus Brad Riza leads a group of Summer Scholar participants in viewing the sun with a special telescope.