Richie Blosch named winner of Ouachita’s 2018 McBeth Concerto Competition Richie Blosch named winner of Ouachita’s 2018 McBeth Concerto Competition

Richie Blosch named winner of Ouachita’s 2018 McBeth Concerto Competition

Ouachita Baptist University junior Richie Blosch was named this year’s winner of the W. Francis and Mary McBeth Wind and Percussion Concerto Competition on Dec. 7. He performed “Concerto for Marimba – I. Despedida” by Ney Rosauro.

Blosch is a music major from Fort Worth, Texas. He received a monetary award of $500 and may be featured as a soloist with the Ouachita Wind Ensemble in the 2018 spring semester.

“It’s one of the greatest feelings to win a competition like that because it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the most talented, but it means the judges connected with you and your performance and they liked it,” said Blosch, who is a percussion student of Dr. Ryan Lewis, associate professor of music. “It made my heart feel so weightless and full of energy.”

Sierra Westberg, a senior instrumental music education major from Arkadelphia, Ark., earned second place for her alto saxophone performance, along with an award of $300. Morgan Taylor, a senior music industry major from Hot Springs, Ark., received third place and an award of $200for her saxophone performance.

Other students who competed include: Holli Barger (horn), a sophomore instrumental music education major from Carrollton, Texas; Cayli Campbell (trombone), a senior instrumental performance major from Texarkana, Texas; Danielle Schaal (horn), a senior biology major from Fayetteville, Ark.; C.J. Slatton (alto saxophone), a senior instrumental music education major from Paragould, Ark.; Ashlynne Turner (clarinet), a sophomore instrumental music education major from Burleson, Texas; and Blake Turner (trumpet), a senior instrumental music education major from Malvern, Ark.

This was the 13th year of the annual competition, which features outstanding Ouachita instrumental students. It is sponsored by Mary McBeth in honor of her late husband, Dr. W. Francis McBeth, former Arkansas composer laureate and longtime professor of music at Ouachita.

Pianists accompanying the students throughout the performance were Kristen La Madrid, Sunday Monroe and Elsen Portugal.

Cole Jester wins 10th annual Ouachita Business Plan Competition

Ouachita Baptist University’s Hickingbotham School of Business hosted its 10th annual Business Plan Competition on Dec. 5. Cole Jester, a senior Christian studies/biblical studies major from Benton, Ark., placed first in the competition with his business plan for Bone Dri and received a $4,000 cash prize. Jester was advised by Bryan McKinney, dean of the Hickingbotham School of Business, associate professor of business law and university counsel.

First place winner Cole Jester, a senior Christian studies/biblical studies major from Benton, Ark.

Bone Dri is based on a product designed to dry wet hunting waders and boots. A hunter himself, Jester said he “wanted to build a business on what I knew and understood.”

“One cold morning, I realized my duck hunting waders were always wet, and it made my feet horribly cold,” Jester said. “When our first prototype, a pouch of silica gel, first dried out my wader boot, I realized we had stumbled upon an amazing product.

“This business competition win was affirming, not only to the idea, but to the kind of education Ouachita provides,” he added.

Immunovate earned second place in the competition. Immunovate, which seeks to develop a better test for screening prostate cancer, was presented by Joey Dean, a senior biology major from Hot Springs, Ark.; Joshua Lantzsch, a junior finance major from Rogers, Ark.; and Sykes Martin, a senior biology major from Sheridan, Ark. They were advised by Dr. Blake Johnson, assistant professor of biology, and received a $3,000 cash prize.

Kailee Jones, a senior biology major from Redwater, Texas, and Mallory Tabler, a senior biology major from Bentonville, Ark., received third place for their business, Quikgive; they were advised by Jeanie Curry, assistant professor of accounting. Quikgive is an online platform that helps connect donors with homeless shelters in order for donors to give exactly what the shelters need. Jones and Tabler received a $2,000 cash prize.

These three teams will advance to compete against the winners of Henderson State University’s competition during the OBU/HSU Business Plan Competition, which will take place in February 2019.

Ouachita’s Business Plan Competition is open to students from any discipline. Students are advised by faculty as they develop and practice the presentation of their business plan.

“At the heart of this competition is a student pitching an idea to a panel of judges and that student having to respond to the judges’ questions,” McKinney said. “That opportunity is tremendous for the students in the 10th year just as it was in the first year.”

In recent years, Ouachita students also have competed and placed in the statewide Governor’s Cup Business Competition, the same competition that Ouachita’s is modeled after.

“Last year, three of the state’s 12 semi-finalist teams were Ouachita teams, and two of the six finalist teams were Ouachita teams. One of our teams finished second overall last year,” McKinney added. “We’ve done quite well in the statewide competition, which I believe points towards the progression of the Ouachita Business Plan Competition.”

Ouachita’s Ryan Lewis honored as guest artist during American Liszt Society Conference

Dr. Ryan Lewis, associate professor of percussion at Ouachita, recently was honored as a guest artist during the American Liszt Society Conference at Furman University in Greenville, S.C. Lewis, a 1999 Furman graduate, performed two rarely performed etudes alongside Ouachita graduate and pianist Tad Hardin.

Ryan Lewis, associate professor of percussion at Ouachita.

While the American Liszt Society Conference mainly focuses on performing the works of Hungarian composer Franz Liszt, this year’s conference also included a performance of a full-cycle of 12 piano etudes by 20th-century French Composer Maurice Ohana titled “Etudes d’interpretation.” The conference showcased all 12 etudes performed consecutively, which had not been done before.

Furman University’s Dr. Derek Parsons, Lewis’ former instructor, coordinated the conference and invited Lewis to perform the final two etudes, both of which required a variety of percussion instruments.

“Number 11 featured metal percussion including vibraphone, crotales, suspended cymbals, Chinese cymbals, Thai gongs, tam tams, bell tree and almglocken (tuned Alpine cowbells),” Lewis said. “Number 12 featured membranophones such as tom toms, bongos, congas and snare drum, as well as woodblocks, tambourine and temple blocks.

“I played over 30 different percussion instruments, which the university was very kind to provide along with a rehearsal space,” Lewis added.

Prior to the conference, Parsons provided rehearsal space for Lewis and Hardin, bringing back memories from Lewis’ undergraduate years.

“[Parson’s] old office, where I performed that proficiency test [in college], was the very office Tad and I rehearsed in while we were there for the conference,” he said.

Lewis (right) and Furman percussion students.

Lewis and Hardin have performed together since the early 2000s after meeting at Florida State University, where they were both pursuing their master’s degrees.

On the same weekend of the conference, Lewis also taught a master class for Furman percussion students on free improvisation and the style of Nexus Percussion Group. Nexus was the first professional percussion ensemble and an inspiration for Lewis. Aside from being a unique way to conduct and practice music, Lewis said improvisation is also a great way for students to cultivate creativity in music.

“It is special to be a part of creating musical compositions in the moment that are temporal and will never, ever be heard again,” Lewis said.

Ouachita offers after-school, community steel band program to Peake Elementary School students

Ouachita Baptist University has begun offering an after-school, community steel band program for fourth and fifth graders from Peake Elementary School in Arkadelphia. The steel band, called Pan Harmony, meets every Monday on Ouachita’s campus from 3 to 5 p.m.

The community steel band program began at the start of the 2018 fall semester with nine Peake Elementary students and student volunteers from Goza Middle School, Arkadelphia High School and Ouachita. The program is geared toward fourth and fifth graders specifically because they are not yet old enough to play school sports or join the school band. The students will have the opportunity to show the skills they have learned this semester during Ouachita’s fall and spring steel band concerts.

“To have young students excited about music, and excited about learning music from a different culture other than our own, is very exciting,” said Dr. Ryan Lewis, director of the steel band program and associate professor of music at Ouachita.

Something unique to the program is its goal not only to teach music but also respect. At the beginning of each rehearsal, Lewis leads the students in a chant about respecting the people around them. This emphasis on respect inspired the band’s name: Pan Harmony.

The students start each Monday afternoon with their school homework and a snack before beginning their music lessons. After each practice, while they wait to be picked up, students also have free reign to play the instruments and put their new knowledge to the test.

As they have watched the elementary students learn more about steel drums, Ouachita’s student volunteers have been reminded of their own love for music and are hoping to see the program grow. Hannah Terry, a sophomore Christian studies/missions major from Texarkana, Ark., is both a Pan Harmony volunteer and a member of the Ouachita Steel Band.

“This experience has humbled me in a way nothing else in my life has,” Terry said. “I played steel pans for four years in high school and, so far, two at OBU. These kids have shown me that even though I have been playing for six years, there is still a lot I can learn.”

Other Pan Harmony student volunteers include Maggie Foreman, a senior music major from Sherwood, Ark., and Karlee Sanders, a freshman music education major from Caraway, Ark.

For more information, contact Dr. Ryan Lewis at (870) 245-5421 or lewisr@obu.edu.

Ouachita vocal studies students earn eleven finalist honors in Southern Region NATS auditions Ouachita vocal studies students earn eleven finalist honors in Southern Region NATS auditions

Ouachita Baptist University music students earned 11 finalist honors at the 2018 Southern Region Conference and Student Auditions held at Northwestern Louisiana University in Natchitoches, La. The competition, which is organized by the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), was attended by nearly 400 students from colleges and universities in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. Of this total, 23 Ouachita students earned finalist or semifinalist honors.

“We competed extremely well, considering we’re in the region with SEC powerhouses like Louisiana State University, Ole Miss University, University of Arkansas and Mississippi State University as well as Southern Mississippi and Southeastern Louisiana University,” said Dr. Jon Secrest, coordinator of Ouachita’s vocal studies program and Addie Mae Maddox Professor of Music. “We had 11 places in the finals, and 13 if you include the two honorable mention recipients. This year, [NATS] has added honorable mention recipients to those who qualify for nationals. To have 13 finalists is outstanding, especially for a school our size.”

Several Ouachita students earned finalist honors at the recent Southern Region NATS auditions. Joined by faculty members John Alec Briggs, far left, and Glenda and Jon Secrest, far right, some of the student competitors included, from left: Sharayah Wallace, Dean Carmona, Madeline Martin, Clay Mobley, Logan Dooley, Cameron Connor, Katie Kuss and Payton Hickman.

The competition is a three-round audition process in which students first participate in a preliminary round of auditions and receive written feedback from voice professionals in the region on how to improve their performance skillset. Following the preliminary round, students advance through a semi-final round and then a final round depending on their scores. Finalists may be awarded first through fifth place or receive an honorable mention.

Dr. Secrest said NATS auditions provide students with an opportunity to “receive written critique, prestige, affirmation of their artistic development and modest cash awards.”

“To see and hear that the fruits of their labor were recognized in this manner is very exciting and gratifying to everyone involved,” Secrest said. “For these students, it means a big shot in the arm in terms of confidence and self-awareness. Also, it provides affirmation that the hours and hours of practice and preparation are worth the investment of time.”

“Being selected as a finalist, personally, is very encouraging,” said Sharayah Wallace, a junior musical theatre major from Sherwood, Ark., who placed second in the upper college music theatre women division. “It shows that what I am studying and the work I am putting toward my major is being noticed. No matter the placement, I believe the effect of these competitions motivates us to progress and be better than we were before.”

“It felt really good to become a finalist; I felt like all my hard work paid off,” said Logan Dooley, a sophomore musical theatre major from Allen, Texas. Dooley earned first place in the sophomore men division and second place in the lower college music theatre men division. “I’m glad to have made my teachers and my school proud.”

The following Ouachita students qualified for national competition, in order of hometown:

Allen, Texas – Logan Dooley, a sophomore musical theatre student of Dr. Jon Secrest, earned first place in the sophomore men division and second place in the lower college music theatre men division.

Austin, Texas – Hannah Anderson, a sophomore musical theatre student of Dr. Glenda Secrest, earned an honorable mention in the lower college music theatre women division. She also was a semifinalist in the sophomore women division.

Cabot, Ark. – Elizabeth Ring, a sophomore musical theatre student of Dr. Margaret Garrett, earned an honorable mention in lower college music theatre women. She also was a semi-finalist in the sophomore women.

North Little Rock, Ark. – Cameron Conner, a sophomore music industry student of Dr. Jon Secrest, earned fourth place in lower college music theatre men.

Monument, Colo. – Katie Kuss, a freshman vocal performance student of Dr. Glenda Secrest, earned third place in the freshman women division.

Scott, Ark. – Dean Carmona, a sophomore music industry student of John Alec Briggs, earned fourth place in Hall Johnson Spiritual Category. Carmona also was a semifinalist in junior men and upper college music theatre men.

Sherwood, Ark. – Sharayah Wallace, a junior musical theatre student of John Alec Briggs, earned second place in upper college music theatre women.

Sheridan, Ark. – Madeline Martin, a sophomore musical theatre student of Dr. Jon Secrest, earned fourth place in lower college music theatre women.

Siloam Springs, Ark. – Payton Hickman, a freshman musical theatre student of Dr. Jon Secrest, earned second place in freshman men and fifth place in lower college music theatre men.

Wylie, Texas – Clay Mobley, a junior music industry student of Dr. Jon Secrest, earned first place in junior men and first place in upper college music theatre men.

 

Other Ouachita students named NATS semifinalists, in order of hometown, include:

Alma, Ark. – Michaela Finley, a senior musical theatre student of John Alec Briggs, was a semifinalist in upper college music theatre women.

Bono, Ark. – Jaden Rich, a freshman musical theatre student of John Alec Briggs, was a semi-finalist in lower college music theatre women.

Bryant, Ark. –  Ryan Lynch, a sophomore musical theatre student of Dr. Glenda Secrest, was a semi-finalist in lower college music theatre men.

Caraway, Ark. – Karlee Sanders, a freshman choral music education student of John Alec Briggs, was a semi-finalist in freshman women.

Cleveland, Texas – Hannah Gothard, a sophomore musical theatre student of Dr. Jon Secrest, was a semi-finalist in lower college music theatre women.

Evansville, Ind. – Lauren Terry, a senior musical theatre student of Dr. Glenda Secrest, was a semi-finalist in upper college music theatre women.

Holiday Island, Ark. – Ashlynn Lockhart, a freshman musical theatre student of Dr. Jon Secrest, was a semi-finalist in freshman women and lower college music theatre.

Minden, La. – Melodie DuBose, a sophomore musical theatre student of Dr. Glenda Secrest, was a semi-finalist in sophomore women and lower college music theatre.

Longview, Texas – Rachel Webber, a senior musical theatre student of Dr. Jon Secrest, was a semi-finalist in senior women and upper college music theatre women.

Pittsburg, Texas – Lizzy Griffin, a senior musical theatre student of Dr. Glenda Secrest, was a semi-finalist in senior women.

Rockwall, Texas – Micah Brooks, a senior musical theatre student of Dr. Jon Secrest, was a semi-finalist in senior men and upper college music theatre men.

Waxahachie, Texas – Sam Campione, a freshman musical theatre student of Dr. Jon Secrest, was a semi-finalist in lower college music theatre men.

White Oak, Texas – Paige Bagley, a junior choral music education student of Dr. Margaret Garrett, was a semi-finalist in junior women.

 

Ouachita’s collaborative pianists for the competition included Kristen La Madrid, Susan Monroe and Phyllis Walker.

Ouachita Baptist receives $1 million unrestricted gift

For the second consecutive year, Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia has received an unrestricted $1 million gift from an anonymous donor.

“The gift is significant for its size and nature as well as its impact,” said Dr. Ben Sells, Ouachita president. “The contribution supports the President’s Innovation Fund that is focused on advancing the university’s new strategic plan, which includes new academic programs.”

An unrestricted gift means that Ouachita can freely decide where to use the money – no strings attached. According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, colleges and universities in the United States received only 15 unrestricted gifts of $1 million or more in 2017.

“Ouachita is becoming more innovative, which is crucial to meeting the needs of students and responding to challenges in society,” Sells said. “For example, we recently launched a partnership with Baptist Health for students to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at a pace that helps nurses enter the workforce faster, thus addressing Arkansas’ nursing shortage issue.”

The President’s Innovation Fund also supports enrollment and fundraising efforts. Earlier in the fall, Ouachita announced a 7.5% increase in enrollment including its highest freshman-to-sophomore retention rate of 83%. The university also reported receiving a record $17.2 million in private support in academic year 2017-2018.

“We are so thankful for this friend’s confidence in the vision, mission and values of Ouachita and hope it encourages others to do likewise,” Sells said. “Ouachita is rising, and we are empowered by students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends who embrace and invest in dreaming a larger dream to advance our university.”

Ouachita music students chosen to sing and study in Italy

Ouachita Baptist University students filled one third of the competitive spots for this year’s Opera in Concert in Italy program. Five Ouachita students were selected for the three-week program for college students to study opera and Italian language while submerged in Italian culture. Students from around the nation and Canada auditioned, and 15 were selected in total.

The following Ouachita students studied with the program in 2018: Micah Brooks, a senior musical theatre major from Rockwall, Texas; Bonnie Gentry, a junior musical theatre major from Arlington, Texas; Lizzy Griffin, a senior musical theatre major from Pittsburg, Texas; Hannah Saunders, a senior musical theater major from St. Paul, Ark.; and Rachel Webber, a senior musical theater from Longview, Texas.

(From left) Ouachita students Micah Brooks, Hannah Saunders, Lizzy Griffin, Rachel Webber and Bonnie Gentry with Dr. Gary Gerber, dean of the School of Fine Arts.

“It is an honor to have any Ouachita student chosen for this program, but to have five students selected to attend the program is outstanding,” said Gary Gerber, dean of Ouachita’s School of Fine Arts. “It is such a rich cultural, educational and musical experience for them. They are immersed into the culture of Italy and are using the language every day. They are singing Italian operatic arias that are at the heart of the music in that country. It is truly a wonderful program for our students to experience and have on their resumes.”

“This experience was so beneficial in so many ways,” Saunders said. “I had the opportunity to study with world-class vocal coaches and teachers. I was immersed in the Italian language in a way that I never would have been able to in a classroom or lecture setting, and I got to experience an entirely new culture in an incredibly personal way.”

Through Opera in Concert in Italy, which is based in Urbino, Italy, students studied Italian language and opera business, received vocal coaching, auditioned for area opera companies and performed at various concert venues and opera houses throughout Italy. Students also traveled to Venice, Ravenna and the Adriatic coast.

“Studying in Italy this summer not only gave me the opportunity to learn another language, but it opened my eyes to another culture,” Brooks said. “It’s helped me decide what I want to accomplish before I graduate and gave me an outlook into my career beyond school.”

“Besides making some amazing connections in the field that I want to enter, I’ve learned a lot about not just music and performing, but also how to better understand different cultures,” Saunders added.

To learn more about the program Opera in Concert in Italy, visit www.operainconcert.org/study-in-italy/. To learn more about Ouachita’s vocal music programs, contact Gary Gerber at gerberg@obu.edu or (870) 245-5128.

Ouachita receives second recognition from the American College of Sports Medicine

Ouachita Baptist University has received, for the second time, the credential of Silver Status from the Exercise is Medicine® program, an initiative of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). ACSM is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world.

Exercise is Medicine On Campus - Ouachita Baptist UniversityOuachita was awarded Silver Status for its Department of Kinesiology and Leisure Studies’ work with the Exercise is Medicine program; it first earned Silver Status recognition in 2016. ACSM launched its recognition program in 2014 to honor campuses for their participation and engagement in living a healthy lifestyle; universities can earn gold, silver or bronze status based on their involvement and commitment to health.

Ouachita received the honor at the ACSM Summit in Minneapolis this summer alongside larger universities such as Georgetown and Arizona State University. Dr. Amber Chelette, assistant professor of kinesiology and leisure studies, accepted the award for Ouachita.

“It is a very humbling credential and award to have,” said Dr. Terry DeWitt, chair of Ouachita’s Department of Kinesiology and Leisure Studies. “It shows what we do in our department in regards to physical well-being for college students and other people.

“For a small school like Ouachita to be on the same level as some of the larger schools is phenomenal, so I am excited for our whole program,” DeWitt added.

In order to earn the credential, universities in the organization must host a noncompetitive event that promotes exercise and shows people how to improve their everyday life by doing things such as: improving their flexibility, eating a healthy diet and learning how to exercise.

Ouachita’s kinesiology department hosts events in both the fall and spring semesters. In the fall, typically during a home basketball or volleyball game, they place stations around the building targeting college students and their health needs. This spring, Ouachita partnered with local elementary schools to work specifically with second and third graders. OBU students taught healthy lifestyle skills in a way that was fun for the kids.

“We’re not only on our campus but also on elementary campuses, and I think that’s a really neat thing,” DeWitt said.

This past year, Ouachita advanced the program by partnering with Baptist Health to provided water bottles, pedometers to measure steps and other health promotion literature for OBU students and faculty to pass out at their events.

The kinesiology department has many plans to continue to achieve goals and grow its academic program. In the last ten years, it has seen a 40 percent increase in the number of declared majors. In addition to its major in kinesiology and leisure studies, the department offers emphases in teaching K-12, recreation & sports administration, recreation & sports ministry and pre-professional studies. It also offers minors in exercise science, recreation & sports administration, recreation & sports ministry and coaching, as well as a teaching endorsement in coaching.

Ouachita Department of Communications & Marketing honored at ARCom Awards

Ouachita Baptist University’s Department of Communications and Marketing was honored with two Prism Awards during the 2018 ARcom Awards ceremony held Thursday, Sept. 13, at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center in Little Rock.

Ouachita at ARCom Awards

Tyler Rosenthal, left, and Brooke Zimny, right, accepted two Prism Awards on behalf of Ouachita’s Office of Communications and Marketing at the annual ARCom Awards banquet.

The ARcom Awards were presented by the Arkansas chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and the International Association of Business Communicators of Arkansas. PRSA and IABC hosted the joint event to recognize exceptional marketing and communications professionals from a variety of organizations around Arkansas.

“We have so much respect for our peers across the state who participate in the ARcom awards, and we’re grateful to participate and be honored this way,” Zimny said.

Ouachita’s Department of Communications and Marketing was recognized as a finalist in three categories and took home two winning awards. Ouachita’s recognitions included:

  • Prism winner in “Marketing Communications: NonProfit” for their “Texas Recruiting Campaign.”
  • Prism winner in “Multimedia: More than One Minute” for “Ouachita Campus Life Video.”
  • Finalist in “Promotional Printed Pieces” for “Ouachita Baptist University Viewbook.”

“It’s always nice to be recognized for a job well done, but these awards are particularly special since we put so much work into each of these projects,” said Brooke Zimny, director of communications and marketing. “I’m thankful for each member of our team and their key roles in creating this outstanding work.”

More than 30 PRSA professionals from across the nation served as judges to select the 2018 Prism finalists for each division, and each judge held an Accreditation in Public Relations certification.

In addition to Zimny, Ouachita’s Department of Communications and Marketing staff includes Ashley Carozza, graphic design coordinator; Rachel Moreno, editorial coordinator; Tiffany Pickett, recruitment communications coordinator; and Tyler Rosenthal, digital content coordinator. Former staff members who contributed to the work that was honored include Trennis Henderson, former vice president for communications, and René Zimny, former assistant director of graphic services.

For more information, contact Ouachita’s Department of Communications and Marketing at 870-245-5208.

Ouachita receives $500,000 National Science Foundation grant for biology education

Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the prestigious National Science Foundation to advance the incorporation of cell culture-based research into undergraduate classes. Through the creation of the Cell Biology Education Consortium, Ouachita is now leading a national effort for innovation in undergraduate biology education.

The grant capitalizes on Ouachita’s strengths of high-impact learning and a tradition of incorporating research in the classroom.

The foundation for the grant was a three-year pilot program at Ouachita centered on cancer metastasis and neuron differentiation, which was funded by Arkansas Idea Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) and the Center for Advanced Surface Engineering (CASE).

“Since we started this journey three years ago, we’ve been able to improve and expand the modules created in the initial pilot research project,” said Dr. Nathan Reyna, Associate Professor of biology at Ouachita. “This course-based research experience will transform the cell biology learning experience for our students because they will be able to take what they’ve learned in the classroom and directly apply it in the lab.”

Ouachita has incorporated research into all phases of the undergraduate biology curriculum, allowing hundreds of students to conduct authentic research.

As part of the Cell Biology Education Consortium, students work on new techniques to use in research and develop written and video protocols for those techniques. Additionally, students have the opportunity to interact with scientists from around the world to expand their professional development experiences and create their own independent research projects.

Students are also building on class projects as independent research projects. To date, 16 students have worked in Dr. Reyna’s lab and have co-authored a cancer research publication.

“The fact that students are not only doing the research but are able to publish the data in a peer-reviewed science journal shows our combination of teaching and research works,” said Dr. Reyna. “This innovative, student-centered approach was recognized by the National Science Foundation and was one of the deciding factors for our funding. Students are more engaged, have ownership of their projects and are growing in their knowledge of cell biology.”

The ultimate objective is to send more Ouachita students into graduate level coursework or directly into the workforce.

“The National Science Foundation award – along with the university’s growing enrollment, highest retention rate ever and record level giving – provides further evidence that Ouachita is rising,” said Dr. Ben Sells, president of Ouachita. “I’m grateful for the leadership of Dr. Reyna and others in securing this competitive funding for the benefit of our students.”