Thirty years ago, Dorina and Marius Mitrea left everything behind in Romania to come to the United States and pursue a career in higher education. In this Baylor Connections, Dr. Dorina Mitrea, Chair and Professor of Mathematics, and Dr. Marius Mitrea, Professor of Mathematics, share their story of life and work together, the drive to teach, research and impact students, and the factors that brought them to Baylor after more than two decades at Missouri.
No one knows Joy and Lady, Baylor’s beloved black bears, better than their caretakers. Dakota Farquhar-Caddell, associate director of Student Activities and the Robert Reid Director of the Baylor Chamber of Commerce, oversees the Baylor Bear program and Bailey Havis, a rising senior student, is one of two lead caretakers for the bears. In this Baylor Connections, they help us get to know Joy and Lady better—their favorite foods, personalities, what it takes to care for them, Lady’s recovery from a health scare and more.
The uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 public health crisis has placed added focus on mental health. Dr. Holly Oxhandler, Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development and Assistant Professor in Baylor’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, is a recognized expert on the intersection of faith and mental health. In this Baylor Connections, she shares how individuals can prioritize their own mental wellbeing through both immediate and long-term practices, and discusses the role of an individual’s faith in their mental health.
What happens when Christianity enters a new market? Throughout history, Christians have shared the gospel around the world, and the way people receive that message is inevitably informed by their own customs and culture. In this Baylor Connections, Dr. Carlos Cardoza-Orlandi, the Frederick E. Roach Professor of World Christianity in Baylor’s Department of Religion, examines interpretations of the Christian movement and shares trends that shape the transmission of the faith across the globe
Get to know Baylor University’s First Gentleman. Brad Livingstone is an educator, basketball player, World War II expert, and Baylor’s inaugural “First Gent.” As a high school history teacher, Livingstone has brought hundreds of veterans into his classroom to share their stories with students, and the impact of those moments have become a hallmark of his classes. In this Baylor Connections, he shares how those experiences have been so meaningful, reminisces about meeting President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., in college, and offers insights into his role as First Gent.
Like many people, Dr. Ashley Otto doesn’t enjoy making decisions; however, she’s become an expert on the topic. Dr. Otto, Assistant Professor of Marketing in Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business, focuses her highly-regarded research on how people make decisions. In this Baylor Connections, she defines terms like “decision-averse” and “decision sidestepping” and explains how such individuals strategically approach the choices they face at home, work and more.
John Morris capped off his 25th season as “The Voice of the Bears” with a meaningful honor, being selected as the 2019 Texas Co-Sportscaster of the Year. In this Baylor Connections, he reflects on great Baylor moments and working with longtime Baylor announcer Frank Fallon, shares how he prepares for games and spent a spring without sports, and talks about the meaning of the Sportscaster of the Year honor.
Patricia Shih is an internationally-renowned violinist who has performed as a recitalist and soloist with top global musicians in some of the world’s most prestigious venues. Last year, she joined the Baylor faculty as Associate Professor of Violin in the Baylor University School of Music, and still maintains an active performing schedule. In this Baylor Connections, she shares her appreciation for her instrument, love of music, and why she felt the call to teach.
Vaccine development and public health approaches to contagious diseases have captured public attention in recent months. Dr. Peter Hotez is an international leader in tropical medicine and vaccine development. He serves as the Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Co-Director of Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development and University Professor of Biology at Baylor University, and leads a unique partnership with Baylor to provide a summer tropical medicine institute experience for Baylor undergraduate students. In this Baylor Connections, Dr. Lee Nordt, Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Baylor, engages Dr. Hotez on a variety of subjects such as COVID-19, vaccines, undergraduate research and more.
Chemical compounds found in many household products can be major contributors to obesity and other lipid diseases, a Baylor study has found. In this Baylor Connections, Dr. Ramon Lavado, Assistant Professor of Environmental Science, shares important information from his research. Learn more about where such compounds are found, the impact of early exposure to those chemicals, and the ways the study expands our understanding of weight gain and disease.
How do you help students maintain social connections and meaningful traditions amidst a time of social distancing? In this Baylor Connections, Dr. Matt Burchett, Director of Student Activities, shares ways Baylor helped students stay connected to campus during the semester and honored the Class of 2020 during a different kind of Senior Week. Learn more about what Burchett and student life professionals have learned about interpersonal connections, the power of social media and other online tools, and ways these unplanned adjustments can shape future interactions.
Dr. Daniel Romo, The Schotts Professor of Chemistry at Baylor, describes his lab’s role as “construction engineering at the molecular level,” spurring potential drug leads for cancer, neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, and more. In this Baylor Connections, Dr. Romo shares how he and his lab students go about that process through the synthesis of natural compounds, the innovation of new synthesis strategies and more.
As a semester like no other draws to a close, President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., shares insights into Baylor University’s response to COVID-19 and leadership during a crisis on this Baylor Connections. From ensuring that student support services remained readily available to planning for potential challenges to higher education institutions everyone, she shares how Baylor adjusted and communicated those changes. Looking ahead, she highlights new programs and talks about Baylor’s plans for a phased re-opening of campus for the fall.
COVID-19 has forced the global supply chain into the spotlight as consumers seek products that have been, at times, difficult to find. What factors impact the supply chain, and how do industries respond? In this Baylor Connections, Dr. Pedro Reyes, Associate Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Management in Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business and longtime operations leader, shares lessons in “Supply Chain 101.” He details how disruptions lead to a domino effect and analyzes how supply chain professionals can process current challenges to ensure more products on the shelves when consumers need them.
On this Baylor Connections, Baylor faculty share lessons in building community and engaging with students remotely during COVID-19. Dr. Mona Choucair, Senior Lecturer of English and Faculty-in-Residence at South Russell Hall, has spoken to many students after the suspension of in-person classes, and talks about maintaining community ties and being there for them amidst uncertainty. Dr. Anne Jeffrey, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, pivoted her Bioethics class to focus on real-world ethical questions related to resource allocation and more during the pandemic. She shares how students can engage with classmates and topics from separate locations.
While the Baylor campus is sparsely populated during the COVID-19 public health crisis, the University continues to provide services and resources to address students’ educational, spiritual and emotional needs. In this Baylor Connections, Dr. Kevin Jackson, Vice President for Student Life, shares how the University quickly ramped up a number of key programs when it became apparent that instruction would be moving online. Learn more about Bear Care, where Baylor faculty coach and support students amidst today’s myriad changes, telecounseling, Spiritual Life programming, and adjustments to longstanding Spring campus traditions like Diadeloso and Steppin’ Out.
How does the Church celebrate Easter amidst a worldwide pandemic? In this Good Friday edition of Baylor Connections, Dr. Todd Still, The Charles J. and Eleanor McLerran DeLancey Dean and The William M. Hinson Professor of Christian Scriptures in Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary, examines what it means to be the Church when we’re physically separated, recounts how the Church has grown during past times of plague and crisis and shares how the current moment compels us to find hope more deeply in Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection.
For each of the last nine years, Baylor has been recognized as a “Great College to Work For” by the Chronicle of Higher Education. In this Baylor Connections, Cheryl Gochis, vice president of human resources and chief human resources officer at Baylor, shares reasons why. From the university culture to benefits and more, Gochis examines ways that Baylor supports faculty and staff year-round, and specifically talks about the University’s response to help employees transition to remote work during the COVID-19 public health crisis.
The Baylor University Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty recently announced a partnership to provide nearly one million nutritious meals weekly across the U.S. through a private/public partnership to ensure more children are fed when school is not in session. The COVID-19 public health crisis has forced the closure of schools across the country, and the United States Department of Agriculture has called on Baylor to help meet the escalating need. In this Baylor Connections, Jeremy Everett, founder and executive director of the Collaborative, shares how they have responded to COVID-19, ramping up long-standing efforts to end hunger across the state of Texas and around the nation.
The response to the COVID-19 public health emergency means that many across the U.S. will be working from home in the weeks ahead to promote social distancing and slow the spread of the virus. Dr. Sara Perry, associate professor of management in Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business, is a leading expert and researcher on remote work. In this Baylor Connections, she shares how individuals and families can approach working from home from a variety of angles—a work-from-home checklist, parenting considerations for children home from school, physical workspace, routines, connectedness with coworkers and more.
Dr. Juan Carlos Esparza Ochoa is a leading expert on religion across Latin America and the Global South. He joined the Baylor faculty at the start of the 2019-20 season after managing the Pew Research Center’s religious demography projects. In this Baylor Connections, he paints a picture of the impact of religion on Latin American life and culture and shares his Baylor journey.
Dr. Amanda Hering applies her statistical expertise to a “once in a generation effort” to improve water treatment in the U.S. Hering, associate professor of statistical science, is an internationally-recognized leader in data sciences and their intersection with the environment. In this Baylor Connections, she shares about how data can help us utilize new paradigms of water treatment and delivery and examines the need for students trained in the data sciences in the years ahead.
Dr. Linda Olafsen, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, researches semiconductors for a variety of applications from her lab in the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative. In this Baylor Connections, she shares how her research advances the search for lasers and other products that are more safe, useful and efficient, and talks about the impact of Baylor’s Tier 1 research vision in the School of Engineering and Computer Science.
Alan Schultz’s research takes him deep into the Amazon rainforests of Bolivia, where he studies the Tsimane’, an indigenous people group who have lived a pre-industrial forager-farmer lifestyle for generations. In this Baylor Connections, Schultz, an assistant professor of anthropology, examines the forces of change on the Tsimane’. As the outside world encroaches on their traditional lifestyle, he shares the impact on community, health, families and more.
Baylor University’s Black Gospel Music Restoration Project houses more than 14,000 digital copies of classic black gospel music songs and albums, preserving them for future generations. In this Baylor Connections, Robert Darden, Professor of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media and founder of the Project, shares how black gospel music tells the story of the African-American experience through the generations and examines its underappreciated role in the Civil Rights movement.
Baylor University recently partnered with Texas Business Journals for a survey highlighting the insights of Texas business leaders into the state’s economy and attitudes towards industry-university research partnerships. In this Baylor Connections, President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., and Jason Cook, Vice President for Marketing and Communications and Chief Marketing officer, analyze the results and share how Baylor’s research focus drives innovation, uncovers solutions and prepares leaders for the future workforce.
Biblical scholar Stephen Reid’s research is an example of the ways modern technology can give voice to individuals who might otherwise go unheard. Dr. Reid, Professor of Christian Scriptures in Baylor’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary, recently utilized text mining to learn how African-Americans in the 1700s and 1800s interpreted the book of Deuteronomy. Inside University Libraries, Baylor Digital Scholarship offers powerful technologies to enhance research in the digital humanities. Learn more about how Reid’s experience accelerated his research and provided deep insight into the ways African-Americans shared the Bible on the path to emancipation.
Stress, and its impact on health, is the broad focus of Annie Ginty’s work. Dr. Ginty, assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor, is an Association for Psychological Science Rising Star whose research bridges understanding of the ways the mind and body react to stress. In this Baylor Connections, Ginty defines stress, shares tips for recognizing the body’s response to stress and offers practical approaches to managing the unique stressors that listeners face.
Baylor’s Department of Public Health seeks solutions to global health issues related to disease, lifestyle, community factors and more. In this Baylor Connections, Dr. Eva Doyle, Department Chair of Public Health and Professor of Community Health, discusses the ways Baylor Public Health professionals conduct meaningful research, enrich students through studies around the globe, and partner with other disciplines to solve critical health challenges.
An internationally-recognized leader in water quality, the environment and health, Bryan Brooks has galvanized stakeholders from around the world to partner, identify and address the planet’s most significant environmental challenges. In this Baylor Connections, Brooks, the distinguished professor of environmental science and biomedical studies and director of Baylor’s environmental health science program, examines meaningful environmental issues and shares how partnerships with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Environmental Health Association have launched initiatives designed to spark meaningful change.
2019 was an exciting year at Baylor University, providing many successes on which to build in the new year. In this Baylor Connections, President Linda A. Livingstone looks back at successes in areas like athletics, fundraising, hiring and more, and examines how Baylor is poised to build on those superlatives in 2020 as the University celebrates its 175th birthday.