Bison and Lady Bison shine at track indoor GAC Championships

By Michael Stewart, Assistant Sports Editor

The Oklahoma Baptist indoor track teams wrapped up the 2019 indoor regular season in style as they swept the top awards in the 2019 Great American Conference Indoor Championships.  

OBU served as host of the two-day meet that began Friday, Feb. 22 at Mosier Center on the campus of the University of Oklahoma in Norman.

The Lady Bison and Bison joined six other GAC teams in the event, including Arkansas Tech, East Central, Harding, Northwestern Oklahoma and Southern Nazarene.  

Other non-conference teams competing were West Texas A&M, Rogers State, Oklahoma Christian, Azusa Pacific, Le Tourneau, and Laverne.  

“We were really excited to compete,” junior JoziRose Mayfield said. “Heading into the meet, we knew we were going to have to come ready to compete.”  

In the meet, the OBU women nearly doubled the points of second-place Harding. OBU finished with 234 points while Harding managed 125.  

“The team really showed up in a big way,” Mayfield said. “This team is really special. Everyone shows support for one another and it really helps everyone perform their best.”  

When the Lady Bison are performing their best, they are tough to beat. Kaylee Crowson earned the title of top female athlete at the event winning the 5000 meters and finishing second in both the one mile and 3000 meters.  

“Kaylee (Crowson) made us all really proud,” Mayfield said. “The way she always competes is very contagious throughout the team.” 

There were plenty of bright spotlights for the Lady Bison, with Cameka Witter and Mckae Mitchell finishing first and second in the 400-meter dash. 

Four more Lady Bison finished in the top 10. Sher Van Der Westhuizen, Candis Rodgers, Beyel Tubbs and Mayfield were in the top 10. Tesa Potter finished first in the 800-meter dash. Brooklynn James finished sixth.

The 4×400 meter relay and distance medley went to the Lady Bison for first.

Peyton Worley got first in the pole vault. Isabella Lotz won the long jump.      

The Bison also cruised to a victory in the meet.

The OBU men scored 278 points more than the second through fifth place finishing teams combined.

Oklahoma Christian finished second with 80 points, which was 200 points behind OBU.  

“Everyone was very focused,” senior Nathan Crowson said. “When we are competing at our best, we are a hard team to beat, and we showed that.” 

The men also claimed top male athlete of the competition. Heptathlon athlete, Hayden Ashley, earned the honor after he won five of the ten competitions and had two other second-place finishes.  

“Hayden (Ashley) is such a competitor,” Crowson said. “He lives for big moments and always steps up to the plate.”  

For the Bison, Mahcoe Smith won the 60-meter dash. The 400-meter dash went to Shirvante Knauls with Sayvon Milton right behind him.

Logan Huslig won the 800-meter dash.

The 4×10 and the distance medley went to the Bison for first as well.

For the high jump, Nathan Worley, Hayden Ashley and Andrew Worley went for first, second and third.

Spencer Lashley finished first in the pole vault and Saleem Fadel finished first in shot put and weight throw.  

This was the first ever Great American Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships, and OBU made easy work of its competition.

The GAC event served as the last opportunity for OBU to add to its growing and lengthy list of NCAA meet qualifiers at next month’s meet in Pittsburg, Kansas. 

The OBU track teams will stay here for Mar. 14 and for Mar. 28 and 29 for the OBU Invitational on Bison Hill.


Bison Hill spotlight: Public relations professor appreciated by students

Robyn Kuylen, Contributing Writer

     For the past eight years, OBU has had the privilege of an alumni as part of the adjunct staff; Ann McNellis graduated from OBU in the year 1999 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in public relations.

     Throughout her time here, her students have loved being a part of her classes, and she is a favorite teacher for many communication and non-communication majors.
“I have been an adjunct professor since 2010, so I am in my eighth-year teaching,” she said.

     “The advisor I had when I was at OBU, Anne Hammond, asked me if I would be interested in teaching a class.  I tried it and loved it.  They haven’t gotten rid of me yet!” McNellis said.

     At OBU, she teaches English Composition both the first and second semester, as well as Contemporary Public Relations, Advertising, Public Relations Writing, and Public Relations Case Studies.

“The English classes are fun to teach because freshman always have interesting ideas and are excited about starting their college career,” she said.

“I [also] love teaching the communication classes.  It is a field that I always enjoyed working in, so getting to share my knowledge and enjoyment of the field is great,” McNellis said.  “I also really like giving real life scenarios as assignments and see what the students come up with. They are usually very creative and well done.”

Students share the impact Ann Mcnellis had in their public relations and advertising classes.

Kaylyn Medcalf is a 2016 graduate, currently working in Shawnee as a Communications Specialist.

 “What I really enjoyed about her classes is that she always had a ‘real life’ experience or example to go with the subject on hand; meaning, the classes were not just reading out of a textbook and memorizing definitions,” Medcalf said.

“For example, in one of her PR classes we would watch commercials and talk about what was being used to portray specific emotions and appeals,” Medcalf said.

“We did that almost every day of the semester… and still to this day; I can remember almost all the different aspects to those commercials and how advertisement affects Americans.”

Jordan Fraser is a 2016 graduate currently working toward a Masters of Public Administration and a teacher’s assistant at the University of Oklahoma.

“I enjoyed two parts [the] most,” Fraser said.

“First, learning to write press releases. It’s simpler than I was expecting, and it’s practical. Second, planning a hypothetical PR campaign. We started from the big-picture level and worked down to the smallest details. It was an effective teaching exercise,” Fraser said.

Fraser also praises the basic character and personality of McNellis.

“Professor McNellis is a personable, extroverted teacher. Her classes focus on business and nonprofit communication practices. She has a project-oriented style,” Fraser said.

McNellis has a way of incorporating real life scenarios to her students that have impacted their lives.

“Her class will impact me in a lot of ways, but the main way is making sure I know what I am doing in the work force with things related to PR,” a current communication studies senior Meagan Hill said.

“And I will be able to write the best press release out there.”

Hill said she is excited to begin her career and she is happy to know she is learning everything McNellis has to offer about Public Relations before she gets into the ‘real world.’

“Her classes were very practical,” a recent graduate and managing director of three newspapers, Lia Hillman said.

“Even working for newspapers, I’ve used a lot of the skills I learned from Mrs. McNellis’ PR, writing and advertising classes,”  she said.

McNellis is also a full-time mother of three kids (ages 12, 9, and five) and has been married to her husband for sixteen years.

“Trying to do the best job possible at being a professor, but also being a wife and mom is definitely the most challenging thing I do,” McNellis said.

“We have a really busy life keeping up with our kids and personal activities, so the work / life balance can be hard,” she said.

“I always work on my classes when my kids are at school Monday, Wednesday and Friday.”

Balancing both can really be tough but McNellis has proven her capabilities and won the Seven Who Care Faculty Award last spring.

“Professor McNellis was one of my favorite professors while at OBU,” Hillman said.

“She always had a smile on her face and truly cared about her students, which is why she was one of the recipients of the Seven Who Care,”

All the knowledge gained from McNellis has changed the life of these students.

They all shared the same sentiments about McNellis preparing them for the ‘real world,’ gaining ‘real life’ experiences ahead of time and realizing how practical this information was when dealing with public relations.

This is a teacher who has really made a difference at OBU and will continue to do so for the years to come. Check out her spring classes in Banner.

Senior Emma Williams presents graphic design art exhibit

Emma Williams debuted her award-winning art at her senior exhibit this week. The exhibit includes a suicide awareness campaign and many photography-based pieces.

Photo by Alena Blakley. 

By Abigail MeredithAssistant Arts Editor

Good art comes with a story, and Emma Williams’ senior art exhibit is chock-full of stories. Her show opened Monday, May 8th at 7 pm, and will stay open throughout the week.

From neon light to photography, viewers are invited to come appreciate the stories behind each piece.

“What makes it unique is probably the amount of photography I incorporate into my designs,” Williams said. “I came in with a pretty strong photography background, and I’ve learned how to incorporate that into my design style.”

Sarah Gilstad, a senior art major who was in several photographs on exhibit, said there are difficulties graphic designers can face with their exhibits.

“A really strong show can be difficult to accomplish for graphic designers since studio art is usually more appealing in the context of an art show,” she said.

Despite these difficulties, Gilstad said she had several favorite pieces for Williams’ show.

“I really like her “to write love on her arms” series because it’s for a good cause,” she said. “Also, I like the ‘keep living’ shirt which is a part of the series because it’s a reminder to keep going even when things get tough,” Gilstad said.

Williams also shared some of the stories behind her favorite works.

“My favorite pieces are a shoe campaign I did called “Daphne’s Shoes” and a suicide awareness campaign for the organization To Write Love on Her Arms. The shoe ads are heavily influenced by Roy Lichtenstein, who is one of my favorites. Plus I just love shoes! The other campaign is really important to me because I love the organization To Write Love on Her Arms. I also won an ADDY this year for it, which was super exciting and I didn’t expect it at all.” Williams said.

She also discussed one of her successful projects which played only during the opening night.

“My “Demanding Joy” project went really well. I built a slideshow to play throughout the opening and I’m excited about it. It looks nice and there are a lot of people who were able to be part of it.”

Gilstad explained how much work Williams put into the show.

“Emma prepared by coming up with a theme, actually making the working, figuring out where it’s going to hang, printing labels, business cards, setting up stands, picking out music, planning the food, actually making the food, framing… the list goes on and on.”

Williams offered details.

“A lot of preparation was creating a visual identity for myself, making a playlist because I’m heavily influenced by music, and also my project “Demanding Joy” started last semester and there was a lot of time that went into that.”

Gilstad made it clear the Williams was, luckily, not alone.

“Her mom was coming down and she helped a lot. And just about everyone in the art department has pitched in whether it’s critiquing a project, offering Inspiring ideas or help to accomplish those goals.” Gilstad said.

Gilstad also supported Willaims.

“We always help each other out whether it’s posing for a picture or gluing things together or just helping to clean up the mess.” Gilstad said.

Williams said the art show didn’t come without its difficulties.

“I had trouble printing at first because the nozzles needed to be cleaned. I also had an awkward run in with the guy in the mailroom,” she said.

“I ordered fake blood for a photo and the bottle opened up in the box, so there was a ton of realistic looking blood dripping all over the mail room. The guy looked really concerned and asked if I knew what was in the box. I felt so bad, he must have been horrified,” Williams said.

To see the art behind the stories, check out Williams’ exhibit in the art building any time this week.

Members of faculty rock band ‘The Profs’ talk music and their origin as band

One band, one name, six professors.
“My favorite concert was probably in 2011,” Jett said.

“The crowd was really into it. We played a Profs rendition of Miley Cyrus’s ‘Party in the U.S.A.’,” Dr. Crane said.

By Alena Blakley, Chief Photographer

One band, one name, six professors.

In 2007, six professors on Oklahoma Baptist University’s campus got together and formed a rock band called The Profs.

Every other year, the band hosts a concert in the lower Geiger Center where they play a variety of cover songs.

While none of them get paid for their work, they continue to perform because of the students on campus.

“Dr. Crane and I were playing in the stage band for OBU’s 2007 Theatrical production of ‘Godspell’ and afterwards we decided to create a faculty rock band,” professor of Biology Dr. Bradley Jett said.

While the students get to see a different side of the professors when they preform, the professors also get to see a different side of the students.

“My favorite concert was probably in 2011,” Jett said.  “The crowd was really into it.  We played a Profs rendition of Miley Cyrus’s ‘Party in the U.S.A.’,” he said.

“The OBU students actually picked up another OBU student and started ‘crowd surfing’ him above their heads and passed him all around the G.C.,” he said.

The band members have said they enjoy performing, and say they would change one thing if they could.

“If I could change one thing I would change us playing together more,” professor of music Dr. Jim Vernon said.

While Vernon said he wanted to change the amount of time spent together, assistant professor of history Dr. D.H. Dilbeck said he might address the matter of compensation.

“I haven’t made a dime off this gig, and I would really like to get paid soon,” Dilbeck said.

All jokes aside, the professors say they look up to each other for inspiration.

“For me personally, I am way influenced by the outstanding talent of the guys in the band,” Vernon said. “They are great musicians, and I am proud they have let me in the group,” he said.

Not only do they look up to each other, they also look up to those musicians who came before them.

“As the immortal Dewey Finn says in the movie ‘School of Rock,’ ‘One great rock show can change the world’ That’s my goal–for the world to never be the same,” Dilbeck said.

While being influenced is an important part of playing music, so is learning from those with whom you are playing.

“My favorite part is being able to play the songs I love with people who are way more talented than I am,” Jett said. “I learn a lot from these talented individuals.”

While The Profs have no plans of going on tour, they do recognize how they are different from other rock-and-roll bands.

“We are different because of our early bed times and [benign] lifestyles,” Dilbeck said.

But that is not the only thing that sets The Profs apart from other cover bands.

“We don’t do it for money, glory or our own ambition,” Jett said. “We do it for the students.  For us, as OBU Professors, it’s all about the students.”

Column: drone deliveries: so close, yet so far

Yes, everyone seems to be anticipating the arrival of drone deliveries, and while all the pieces seem to be coming into place, it may be more complicated than it seems to get drones up and running commercially.

By Jason Burger, Assistant News Editor

There are videos of them all over the internet.  The rumors have been circulating since 2015.

The technology has been around for even longer than that, and it seems like two days is too much time to wait for packages to be delivered.

Yes, everyone seems to be anticipating the arrival of drone deliveries, and while all the pieces seem to be coming into place, it may be more complicated than it seems to get drones up and running commercially.

In mid June of 2015, Paul Misener, Amazon’s vice-president of global public policy, spoke to a Congressional hearing on the topic of drone usage to further speed up the process of delivering packages to customers.

He stated that the company would be ready to launch the use of drones once “all the rules were in place,” and also noted that the drones would not become operational until the company demonstrated that they could operate them safely.

Here’s another bit of information:  The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) only allows the flight of drones up to 55 pounds, and would require commercial pilots to fly them, along with permission to fly over private property.

Even a powerful 55-pound drone can only lift so much weight, so for large orders, are drones still the answer?

There are other reasons why drones still have a long way to go before they become the main form of parcel delivery.

There are still many factors to take into account when putting a drone up in the air.  A big one involves obstacles.

In an interview with the online publication The Guardian, Professor Sajiv Singh of Carnegie Mellon University robotics institute stated,

“They’re [Amazon] not proposing to deliver from one uninhabited place to another uninhabited place; they’re proposing to deliver from a warehouse to where the consumer is, which is likely an urban area or a suburban area,” he said.

“In those particular cases, there are going to be hazards along the way that the vehicle is going to have to detect. Maybe there will be terrain that the map doesn’t know about, unless you’ve mapped that exact route before. Even then, maybe there’s construction equipment that wasn’t there but is there now. Maybe GPS signals are blocked or partially blocked in which case it’s going to have an incorrect idea about where it is.”

Bottom line, there are too many independent variables to take into account.

What if the customer’s dog is in the landing zone of the drone?  What if the resident black crow doesn’t like the drone and attacks it? 

What if Uncle Jed doesn’t like the drone, and decides to load up his shotgun and get some skeet shooting practice?

Heaven forbid, what if the drone can’t detect little Suzie Johnson running around in the yard, and the drone collides with her or drops something on her?

These are worst case scenarios, but who’s to say that these problems wouldn’t happen?

Another broader scale problem with drone delivery is the range the technology has.

In a demo video that Amazon posted, a drone that supposedly has a range of 15 miles delivers a pair of soccer cleats (video available at

This raises the obvious question, “What if a customer lives more than seven-and-a-half miles from where the drone takes off?”

That seems to limit the customer base that drones could influence.

Also, it is worth noting that it seems like these drones can only make one delivery per flight, as opposed to a delivery truck that can make hundreds of deliveries a day.

So are drones really that profitable? 

Amazon says yes, as they say it is estimated that it would only cost the company 88 cents per delivery. If they charge a dollar or more per delivery to the customer, that’s substantial profit. Due to the low starting cost, would drone shipping costs eventually be jacked way up due to popular demand?   

One other major problem that drone technology will have to overcome is the reality of delivering in urban areas.

Backtracking a little bit, Amazon will require its customers to have a designated “landing area” set up in the customer’s yard for the drone to land.

Despite the problems that could occur as discussed earlier, at least that type of system would deliver products in a private area, or on private property.

In a dense urban city area, how is that possible?  How is a drone going to deliver to an apartment, or a loft in a city block?

Maybe the building will have a designated drone landing area.

But even then, it seems like its going to be like the video game Call of Duty where everyone steals other players’ care packages that are dropped anywhere near their vicinity.

What kind of security can Amazon offer these customers?  Are drone pirates going to be the next big thing in organized crime? Who knows.

I get it.  Its 2017, and we are in a technological age.  Heck, it seems like we are finally living in the future that all the 1990’s movies said would come.

We have watches that make calls and receive texts, our phones can connect to our TV’s and we even have some electric cars that can drive themselves on cruise control.

Drone technology is very relevant, and it is also a growing, and very popular, industry.

In fact, I would even say I am all for drone deliveries.  I just think there is a need for many, many regulations, and further technology that has to be developed, before we let small, unmanned aircraft fly around our skies, drop boxes in our yards and become the main form of delivery service.

It’s pretty cool to think about philosophically, but may be terrifying in the immediate reality.     

Lady Bison finished runner-up in GAC season

With a 7-2 win over Harding University, the Lady Bison finished runner-up in the Great American Conference.

Clockwise from top, then left to right: Sophomore Madeleine Boepple, freshman Kim Moosbacher, senior Olivia Charvat and freshman Janse van Rensburg.

With a 7-2 win over Harding University, the Lady Bison finished runner-up in the Great American Conference. OBU women’s tennis will face Seminole State College next Tuesday, April 25 as the last home match of the season. Coach Peter McCorkle and seniors will be celebrated during this game at OBU.

Photos by Kervy Robles.

Profs and students participate in Nerf gun “assassin” game for Blitz Week 

The Nerf gun war heats up on campus as Bible professors try to defeat students in Blitz Week game of “assassin.”

By Emma Patton, Online Content Editor 

Theology professors Dr. Alan Bandy and Dr. Matthew Emerson were seen sprinting towards students on campus in a Nerf gun war today. 

While the Blitz Week tradition may be a game, the players’ mindsets are serious. 
After paying to participate in an “assassin” style game–all the money will support this year’s charity, the Beautiful Dream society–the players try to get one another out of the game by hitting each other with Nerf bullets.

As of this afternoon, Bandy and Emerson are still going strong. They can be seen taunting students with their Nerf guns in the following video: