AT&T awards OBU $8,000 for STEM initiative

“I’m not sure that we’d be able to do it every year without this kind of sponsorship,” Murimi said.

By Chelsea Weeks, Assistant Features Editor

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OBU Photo by Jeremy Scott

“Robotics combines together computer science, engineering, math and physics. It’s a perfect applied sciences field,” Dr. Renita Murimi, Assistant Professor of Computer Information Science, said.

Oklahoma Baptist University hosted a ceremony on Feb. 17 to thank AT&T for their contributing check of $8,000. This check was presented to OBU to help the advancement of the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) initiative, which includes Summer Institute camps and VEX Robotics Competitions.

Dec. 3 was the first time a VEX Robotics Competition was hosted in Shawnee. Throughout the state of Oklahoma, 50 robotics teams gathered at the Recreation and Wellness Center (RAWC) to compete against each other using robots that they created.

The grant was able to increase motivation for participates to come by waiving the registration fee for the first 10 teams to register, give out bags to students, have a spare robots table and give a cash prize.

“I’m not sure that we’d be able to do it every year without this kind of sponsorship,” Murimi said.

In order to host the competition, OBU first had to contact Kirk Norrid, the Regional Support Manager for Robotics Education and Competition Foundation in the state of Oklahoma.

Norrid and David Bandy, a third-party vendor who supplied all the robotics equipment, toured the RAWC to see if it would qualify to have the competition.   

“They wanted to make sure that OBU has enough space to host as many playing fields tables for all of the incoming teams,” Murimi said.

The goal of VEX Robotics competition is to teach students a large array of skills ranging from engineering skills to teamwork skills.

OBU hopes to help by being able to continue to host VEX Robotics Competitions.

“Our plan is to expand this; eventually we want to be able to host the state competition. We’re working on making this a recurring event,” Murimi said.

Emily Chadwick, a freshman business management major, volunteered at the VEX Robotics Competition. Her job was to keep score during the Star Struck game.

“I gained more respect and interest in robotics,” Chadwick said. “This can be a very cool and fun environment to learn about stuff that can help and lead to a career. That was really cool.”

Not only did this impact the students, but it also impacted the public.

“The response from the OBU community was overwhelmingly positive,” according to the Robotics Education and Competition Foundation.

The foundation also states that there are more than 16,000 teams from 40 countries in over 1,350 competitions worldwide. Now, OBU is added to that list.

Students battle illness during the flu season

“Nutrition is the best thing you can do to keep from being susceptible to illness,” Campus Nurse Susan Donnelly said.

By Alyssa Sperrazza, News Editor

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Alena Blakley, The Bison

Long ago were the days where you actually wanted a sick day from school.

Any college student who misses classes on account of being sick knows the pain doesn’t end when you get better because catching up on assignments is a struggle of its own.

“I missed a test I had and had to write a paper while I was sick,” junior Amy Munger said.

The 2016-2017 influenza season, which the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) Acute Disease Service (ADS) say began October 2, 2016, will continued to be monitored through May of 2017.

The OSDH has been monitoring influenza-associated hospitalizations for ths flu season, reporting that hundreds of people have been hospitalized since Sept. 1, 2016.  OSDH has also reported eight deaths from the flu in Oklahoma.   

Students and faculty can take precautions during flu season by following some advice to help everyone stay healthy.

“Nutrition is the best thing you can do to keep from being susceptible to illness,” Campus Nurse Susan Donnelly said.

“Don’t skip meals or replace nutritious foods with high calorie fast foods, sweets or snacks.”

Healthy eating, plenty of sleep and downtime to relax are not often equated with college students schedules, but they are highly encouraged in order to remain healthy.

“If you are being healthy, your immune system is most likely going to keep you well,” Donnelly said. “Most college students are under a lot of stress which is a detriment to your health.”

Most cough, cold and flu symptoms are passed from person to person, making a college campus the perfect place become susceptible to illnesses.

“Keep your distance around people that appear to be sneezing and coughing because air droplets carry gems to others,” Donnelly said.

“Just like they tell you in grade school, wash your hands thoroughly throughout the day, especially if you are in the same room with someone that is sick.”

When asked what the school can do to help, more sanitation is at the top of the list.

“Maybe the school could get the hand sanitizer things working in the dorms and around campus for students to use as they go by them,” Munger said.

While the sanitizers are often out of stock, small travel-size hand sanitizers, available at stores, are optimal for students and faculty to carry around at all times.

Germs are also passed onto public surfaces, like counters and desks.

The flu virus can live for hours on surfaces like tables, doorknobs and other commonly used surfaces.

“Lysol can be sprayed in the room and all surfaces should be wiped down with Lysol wipes,” Donnelly said.

It is also highly encouraged to get the flu vaccine every year.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) releaed a report estimating that only five percent to twenty percent of Americans get the vaccine yearly.  This fluxuates yearly, depending how bad the influenza is.

While it does not always prevent you from contracting the flu, it can lessen your chances.

If you experience any symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills  or fatigue go get a check up as soon as possible.

Nurse Donnelly’s office is open Monday through Friday from 8a.m. to 5p.m.  For serious illnesses and other major problems, it is recommended to go directly to St. Anthony’s Urgent Care, located at 3208 Medical Park Dr.  Their phone number is 405-878-7160.

For flu vaccines, be sure to check out your local pharmacies.  Flu shots are offered at urgent care centers, pharmacies such as Walgreens and CVS and other health care centers.  The vaccine takes up to two weeks to start working effectively.

New minor in advocacy is approved

“It has been approved by OBU so it will officially become part of the catalog this fall.”

By Hannah Ledford, Assistant News Editor

Last fall, Oklahoma Baptist University approved a new Advocacy minor.

Dr. Karen Longest, OBU psychology professor and contact personnel for information about the minor, describes advocacy as bettering the world around us.

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Dr. Karen Longest, the prof who helped develop the new minor. / Courtesy Photo

“I would say that advocacy is bringing about change of some kind for something that’s important to you.”

Longest said the idea for this minor occurred during a meeting with some of her coworkers.

“We started a discussion in the Psychology department about the possibility of developing a minor in advocacy because we run across a lot of students who let us know that they really want to do something to make a difference in the world.” 

Although the minor’s origins are based in the Psychology department, the minor will be available and useful for all majors.

“I think also we were trying to find something that would let students major in a wide variety of areas, but still let them bring about change for a cause that’s important,” Longest said.

She said they expect students from a wide variety of majors to take interest in this minor.

“Dr. Roark did an interest survey when we were thinking about developing this and I think there were maybe fifteen different majors on campus of people who said ‘if you offer this I would be interested in it.’”

There will be meeting on Friday, February 24th at 10 a.m. to provide all students with information about the minor from a direct source.

The meeting will take place in the Tulsa Royalties Auditorium in the Bailey Business Center.

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Carrie Myles / Courtesy Photo

Carrie Myles, Executive Director of the Milburn Center, said this meeting will be a good chance for students to learn more about the requirements for this minor and the possibilities it can bring.

“The focus of the time will be oriented around reviewing the overall objectives of the Advocacy minor, the required coursework, and the ways that the Advocacy minor can help students advance their calling and career,” Myles said.

The speakers at this meeting will consist of OBU faculty, with Longest being the head speaker.

There will also be a time for students to respond with questions at the end of the meeting.

Myles agrees with  Longest in that this minor is a great opportunity for students with various majors, not just those in the Psychology department.

“There are many majors to which the Advocacy minor could be a great addition,” Myles said.

“We already have many students who find ways to use their majors and careers as an avenue for advocacy.”

Longest said this minor will soon be an option for students.

“It has been approved by OBU so it will officially become part of the catalog this fall.”

All but two of the classes required for this minor are classes that are already offered at OBU.

The two new classes, Cornerstone in Advocacy and Capstone in Advocacy, are designed to ensure students graduate with a better understanding of advocacy and how they plan to use it.

Longest and Myles both hold high hopes as to what this new minor could bring about.

“I’m excited to see the impact our students will have with the addition of more formalized and directed ways of learning how to be most effective in advocating for others,” Myles said.

This new Advocacy minor encompass the calling Christians have from Christ to live for Him and defend those who cannot defend themselves (Proverbs 31:8-9).

You can visit the Milburn Center to learn more.

Green and Gold Gala will feature Archie Manning

“Just as he took advantage of the opportunities he had in his football career, our students do likewise in the way they study, build community and worship while at OBU,” she said.

By Allison Jarboe, Features Editor

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NFL retiree Archie Manning will be featured at the Gala at 7:00 p.m. March 7. / Courtesy Photo

The OBU Green and Gold Gala is more than a fundraiser that makes a valuable education experience possible for so many, it is an opportunity to experience the traditions and values of OBU. In the past, this event has hosted public figures like Lou Holst and Benjamin Carson, and this year’s gala will feature retired NFL quarterback Archie Manning.

The event will be hosted in the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum at 7 p.m. March 7. Doors will open at 6 p.m. Tickets are now on sale for sponsorships or corporate tables, as well as individuals. and interested partied are encouraged to purchase as early as possible. Seating is determined from sponsorship level and purchase date. The price is $150 per ticket, with $75 going as a tax-deductible gift toward OBU scholarships. The cost of the ticket includes dinner.

Doors will open at 6 p.m. for a silent auction and live music.

“Our primary purpose in hosting the gala is to share the compelling story of Oklahoma Baptist University while raising crucial scholarship dollars for worthy students,” said Dr. Will Smallwood, senior vice president for advancement and university relations.

Crystal McKee, Director of Development for Annual Operations and Special Events, explained that many of the virtues that OBU stands for will be represented in Manning’s emphasis on the importance of faith and family and the value of hard work, among other values.

“Just as he took advantage of the opportunities he had in his football career, our students do likewise in the way they study, build community and worship while at OBU,” she said.

“This gala raises money for scholarships for students, to afford even more of these opportunities to more students in the future, so that they, too, may take advantage of those chances and excel in their calling.”

Individual tickets or tables may be purchased through OBU University Advancement at (405) 585-5427 or by emailing Crystal McKee.