Attention TWU Graduate Alumni

Dr. Leflore - preferred                                                                                                                      June 7, 2016

Greetings from the Dean of the Graduate School at Texas Woman’s University!

I’m writing you because I want to learn more about your career developments since graduating from TWU.  At the TWU Graduate School we want to become better communicators — we want to hear from you about your success and we want to share the successes of those who are currently a part of the TWU Graduate School.  You invested a lot in your studies while at TWU and we want to follow-up with encouragement and a show of appreciation for our association with you.

I have been in the position of Graduate Dean since November of 2013.  Since that time, I have noticed the rich history and accomplishments of our alumni who completed master’s and doctoral studies at TWU.  Our alums are all over this world, making a difference locally, nationally and internationally.  What I have learned about our alumni speaks volumes about the high quality of graduate students that have studied here at TWU.

Current students are carrying on that tradition of high achievement and involvement.  The newly formed Graduate Student Council is having quite an impact as a voice for current graduate students and I hope you will take a moment to visit their web page.

In addition, I want to know about as many of you as possible and learn what you are doing since graduating with your TWU degree.  Please take a moment to fill out this brief update form and share your activities and opinions with me.

I look forward to hearing from you and I invite you to visit with me via e-mail LLeflore@twu.edu.  Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Larry LeFlore, Ph.D.,Dean of the Graduate School

 

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Disasters Impact TWU Students

During the same week in April, TWU students in Denton and Houston were being impacted by the force of mother nature.

Denton – At approximately 3:45 a.m. on April 20 at TWU Select Housing at Lone Star  Apartments in Denton, a fire started following a lightning strike.  Some 45 students in 4 buildings were evacuated.  No injuries occurred but 16 students were unable to return to their apartments and all of their belonging were lost.  Impacted students were temporarily accommodated in the Student Union with Red Cross assisting.  The TWU community responded quickly and with great care to find places in other university housing, to help replace basic necessities, to provide counseling and to assure academic flexibility.

If you want to see more, here are some articles covering the Denton fire, including the initial report, the remarkable story of one young woman who helped save her fellow students and a letter from Chancellor Feyten to the Denton community.

Houston – Meanwhile, extraordinary flooding in Houston caused the campus to be closed for several days.  One TWU student reported losing her transportation and her class supplies when her car was destroyed in the flood.

A Student Emergency Fund was quickly established to assist students in both locations and alumni, faculty, staff and students donated more than $30,000 to the fund.

There are certain to be students in crisis at any time.  You may still donate to the Student Emergency Fund online with your credit card at the TWU Foundation online site.   Please choose “other” for the account designation and type “Student Life Emergency Fund.” 

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Coming Home 2016

Homecoming and Reunion Activities kicked off on Friday morning, April 15, under beautiful Texas skies. The day began with a Continental breakfast enjoyed on the elegantly decorated grounds of the Pioneer Oval. Following breakfast, a touching tribute was given to the Pioneers who had recently passed away. Dr. Carine Feyten opened the Pioneers Remembered ceremony with compassionate and heart-warming remarks. Family members placed a red rose in a vase in remembrance of their loved ones. A lovely flute melody concluded the Pioneers Remembered tribute leaving the crowd in reflection.

Following the breakfast and the ceremony, the TWU community entered Margo Jones performance hall for Honors Convocation – A Celebration of Excellence.  To read the list of faculty, staff, students and alumni recognized at this year’s Honors Convocation click here.

What do the Class of ’66, the former members of the BECA program, College of Nursing graduates and the members of the Students in Free Enterprise/ENACTUS all have in common? They all reunited over the Homecoming weekend!  The photos above show a few highlights from the Class of ’66 reunion celebrating 50 years since graduation from TWU.

The Bilingual Education Centro De Acciόn (BECA) reunited for the first time ever. BECA was a program at TWU during the 1970’s that pioneered bilingual education in the public schools.  TWU BECA students spent several days a week traveling to Fort Worth classrooms to assist and teach. The BECA alums had a lot of fun reconnecting, with some not having seen each other in over thirty years!

BECA Reunion - BESO Students with Dr. Rodriguez   Also in attendance were student representatives of TWU’s Bilingual Education Student Organization (BESO). These ladies gave an informative and humorous presentation about their organization.

NursingPin-gold The College of Nursing held a Meet and Greet on the Denton Campus on Saturday afternoon. Dr. Anita Hufft, Dean of the College of Nursing and Dr. Jo-Ann Stankus, Assistant Professor of Nursing were on hand to visit with alums and discuss the happenings in the TWU Nursing program.  The College of Nursing is “on the move” and the involvement of nursing alumni is needed to help move things forward.  If you would like more information about the TWU College of Nursing alumni group activities you may contact Mary Ann Baker maryannb46@yahoo.com  940-382-6977 or Gay Lynn Bynum 940-891-1638.

Alumni Lunch_2016  Another group reuniting this year to celebrate a 20 year anniversary was SIFE/ ENACTUS. First founded as Students in Free Enterprise but now called ENACTUS the group is an international non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring students to improve the world through entrepreneurial action. Tania Moya, Tiana (Fenno) James, and Lauren Hoebee represented the TWU chapter of the organization during  the Maroon and White Spirit Fair, showcasing the impressive trophies won this year.  ENACTUS went on to place among the top 20 teams at the USA national competition in May. Read about it here 

Plans are already underway for the 2017 Homecoming and Reunion activities so save the date and plan to attend, April 21 and 22, 2017.

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Join the Core Assessment Academy!

Below is a message from Gray Scott, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Assistant Director of Academic Assessment

stock-illustration-44930284-vector-document-check-icon    You can help us evaluate our students’ learning!

Remember all of those required non-major courses you had to take in college? Last year, we started a new approach for assessing how well students in those courses are meeting the state’s general-education learning objectives. Now, every term, we bring together a diverse group of stakeholders — staff, faculty, students, and alumni — to look closely at student work and to compare it to standards set by the Association of American Colleges & Universities.

If you’re interested in joining us for one of our rating sessions – and we’d love it if you did! – please contact the Assistant Director of Academic Assessment, Gray Scott, at grayscott@twu.edu (940-898-2327).

Alumni have valuable perspectives, knowing the university better than outsiders do, and knowing the non-academic workplace better than insiders do. By participating, you can help us evolve the quality of the education that we provide, not only strengthening the performance of current and future students, but also strengthening the TWU brand – your brand! – in the career marketplace.

Whatever your field is, we’d be happy to have you aboard. Our community of volunteers looks at work from a wide range of disciplines, including writing/communications; mathematics; life and physical sciences; creative arts; language, philosophy, and culture; and social and behavioral sciences.

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Aaron Diggins: Honoring Women – Paying it Forward

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Aaron and his grandmother, Leona Robinson while he was serving in the Marine Corps

When Aaron Diggins crossed the stage in May 2015 at TWU Commencement, he realized that his degree in criminal justice simply would not have been possible if it weren’t for the strong women in his life.  Aaron, now enrolled in law school at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law, credits his “granny,” mother, sister and his wife with supporting him throughout his life.  Shortly after completing his TWU degree, Aaron with his wife, Princess, set up the  Leona Robinson-Diggins Scholarship Endowment  Fund to keep the legacy of his caring grandmother, Leona Robinson, alive and to support the women of TWU who want to enter the legal field.  Aaron told TWU Alumni Connection the story of the decisions that shaped the 33 years of his life.

“In 2013, thirteen years after I had first enrolled in college, I decided to complete my bachelor’s degree requirements, which I achieved in May 2015.  The impetus came from my 2012 decision to become an attorney.  I learned that TWU administered a criminal justice program that would accommodate the life of a working professional and family man who sought to moonlight as a student,” said Aaron when asked how he came to enroll at TWU.  While completing his degree requirements, Aaron also got involved with the Barrister’s Club, a student-run legal-interest organization.  It was there he noticed that women were underrepresented in this field and learned that no scholarships currently existed at TWU for students interested in studying the law.

Aaron's mother and grandmother, known to him as Granny.

Aaron’s mother and grandmother, known to him as Granny.

Born in Los Angeles, CA and raised in the inner city, Aaron notes that in the communities where he grew up “gang activity and mistrust of the legal system by the Black community was ubiquitous.”  With the help of his “Granny” his single, working mother supported he and his sister.  His grandparents still lived in Cleveland, Ohio, and many summers were spent in their home.  “While there, I learned of Granny’s selfless habits and the consequences of those habits.  Often Granny’s house was visited by people who would help Granny run errands, clean house, entertain my sister and me or simply keep her company.”  As he grew older he realized that these were “strangers” that she had helped along the way.  “To her, everyone was a family member –the difference being whether they were known family members or not-yet-known family members.”  Granny, he says, opened her heart and home to those who needed spiritual guidance or a home until they were back on their feet.

Aaron in uniform with his mother

Aaron in uniform with his mother

After high school Aaron spent 8 years in the Marine Corps, then 6 years in the Air Force and during his service was deployed several times.  “In 2004, I moved to Dallas from New York after having returned to the U. S. from a deployment to Iraq.  I subsequently joined the Dallas Police Department.”  He recently moved from full-time to part-time service to focus on law school.  “I plan to use my law degree to build upon my professional experiences as a former military service member and police officer in order to cohere and advance America’s national-security and civil-justice interests.”

Aaron's sister, mother and grandmother.

Aaron’s sister, mother and grandmother.

Remembering the women in his life Aaron said, “My mother began her professional career over 30 years ago as a typist for the Department of Water and Power of the City of Los Angeles (DWP).  She rose thought the ranks and retired in 2015 as the Assistant Budget Director for DWP, a capacity in which she helped oversee a multi-billion dollar budget.”  Aaron’s sister is a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she served as an editor of UPenn’s law review and is an associate at a large law firm.  “My wife is a Sergeant of Police for the Dallas Police Department; she outranks me at the office and at home!” 

He summarizes, “Granny included, my life’s progress has been inspired by some incredibly intelligent, strong-willed, successful and powerful women who have mentored me along my journey; I was raised by these women, I served my country and my community with these women, and at TWU I had the privilege of learning alongside these women.”

Aaron's wife, Princess

Aaron’s wife, Princess

Aaron and his wife, parents to two children, believe in TWU’s mission to empower women.  “As long-standing members of our nation’s legal community, my wife and I have witnessed the positive impact women within that community have had on society.”  They feel that the fund they have established is a small gesture of support for these women.  They did so in the name of Granny to honor her and to perpetuate her idea of family.  “No one is a stranger, rather, we are all family members who are meant to support each other, the only difference being that some family members are already known to us while others are simply yet-to-be known to us.”

The TWU family thanks the Diggins family for their support of TWU students through the Leona Robinson-Diggins Scholarship Endowment Fund.

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TWU’s Innovative Summer Camps – 2015

TWU’S Innovative Summer Camps – 2015

The quest to educate is never on vacation at Texas Woman’s University.  Even in the summertime, the campus is alive.  Here is just a sampling of what happened this year,

Fashion_Camp_2014_Promo_Card_resize_20Fashion Design Camp More than 20 students from across north Texas, ages 10-13, showcased their creativity at a Junior Fashion Design Camp hosted by the TWU Department of Fashion and Textiles.

camp-abilitiesCamp Abilities“A Loss of Sight, Never a Loss of Vision” – Twenty-eight children, ages 9-18 who are blind, visually impaired or deaf-blind, attended Camp Abilities on the TWU campus.  Undergraduate and graduate students in the Department of Kinesiology serve as counselors for this camp designed to empower children with vision loss. More

06-27-15_050_perfect_lasagna_at_home_after_SNCCNutrition Culinary CampFor students 9-14 Summer Nutrition Culinary Camp (SNCC) at TWU is a fun-filled week with food science lab experiments, culinary nutrition cooking, exercise, healthy snacks, guest speaker, and creative activities. Sponsored by the department of Nutrition and Food Sciences  the camp ended with a Friday camper-led culinary presentation for the parents  Follow the campers day-by-day.

 cyber-campCyberCamp – Our society’s economic vitality and national security depend on a safe cyberspace and individual cybersecurity skills. TWU/AFA CyberCamp emphasizes fun, hands-on learning of cybersecurity principles that are relevant and applicable to everyday life. Developed by the Air Force Association (AFA), the camp curriculum covers new topics and hands-on activities each day, building up to an exciting, final team competition simulating real cybersecurity situations faced by industry professionals.  CyberCamp is sponsored by the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science.

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TWU’s Deaf Inaugural Education Forum

TWU’s Inaugural Deaf Education Forum – Saturday, July 18

Deaf Ed forum 3 Teachers of the deaf from across Texas meet every other year for a statewide conference. TWU is filling in the gap by providing a forum on the alternate year with the focus on teachers leading teachers. The first TWU Deaf Education forum was held in July on the Denton campus.  Teachers from throughout the state of Texas and as far away as Indiana gathered with friends, colleagues, TWU alumni, current students and faculty to share teacher experiences and innovative ideas.

Featured Deaf Ed speaker  Dr. Curt Radford, an award-winning instructor who developed the first interactive online ASL course for Utah State to effectively train teachers of the deaf, inspired teachers with his own personal experiences and practical advice as a deaf student in both a school for the deaf and in a regular education classroom.   His insights and concern for deaf children as a student, teacher and administrator brought a new understanding and new possibilities to attendees preparing for the new school year.

Deaf Ed forum 2  Practical teaching strategies were shared during afternoon break-out sessions led by experienced teachers and TWU alumni.  Sessions included strategies for using ASL literacy across the curriculum, technology that even Spiderman doesn’t know, tips for supporting students who are deaf or hard of hearing in general education settings and much, much more.

Gail Duck, a teacher of the year in Abilene, explained, “Our team from Abilene really enjoyed it and learned many wonderful strategies and great new resources that we plan to utilize for the coming school year. We enjoyed the honesty of Curt Radford and his message to educators to not hold back our students.”

Deaf Ed forum 1The inaugural TWU Deaf Education Forum was truly a team effort and supported by the Communication Sciences and Disorders department, Disabilities Support Services, the office of conference services, the office of alumni relations and the office of human resources.

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