After graduating Cum Laude from Christian Brothers University in May 2008, I took a year to join AmeriCorps. After my year was done, I was able to finally attend graduate school at The University of Memphis. My major during my graduate studies was Counseling with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. After many days and nights of worrying, studying, more worrying, working, more worrying and finally completing an awesome internship, on August 12, 2012 I happily graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Master’s of Science in Counseling. Subsequently, I landed my first REAL job as a Crisis Specialist at the Crisis Assessment Center. My job includes assessing mental health consumers for possible psychiatric care, outpatient treatment, or detox treatment. Let’s just say I have seen a lot in my time as a Specialist, so there is never a dull moment. During my never-boring time at work, I was able to get the National Certified Counselor (NCC) credential, which is the first step into being a Licensed Professional Counselor with a Mental Health Service Provider credential (LPC-MHSP). Suffice to say, I have my work cut out for me. Nevertheless, I am truly blessed to have started my higher education with the AWESOME Psychology department at Christian Brothers University. Starting there with my future career was one of the best decisions I have ever made!
Dr. Ben Jordan (History and Political Science), Dr. Paul Haught (Dean), and the SOA’s administrative assistant Sean MacInnes, who all sit on CBU’s Sustainability Committee, are participating members of The Mid‐South Regional Greenprint Consortium.
The Consortium, established from a $2.6 million HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant, is formed by citizen, business and governmental leaders in the tri-state area, who are working to establish a unified vision for a region‐wide network of greenspace areas with the goal of enhancing regional sustainability by addressing recreation, housing and land use, resource conservation, environmental protection, accessibility, community health and wellness, transportation alternatives, economic development, and neighborhood engagement.
“What I find especially exciting about the Mid-South Greenprint project,” Haught explains, “is the opportunity it has provided us to take part in a massive civic initiative to provide a visual representation of the region’s efforts and needs with respect to sustainability. If Memphis and the Mid-South are to flourish deep into the Twenty-first Century, this project will no doubt play a role. Down the road, I also foresee a number of possibilities for our students and faculty to contribute their own research to the project, a major factor in my own decision to become involved.”
Visit the Mid-South Greenprint website for details and ways you can participate – like taking the online survey! The city needs and welcomes your input.
Coming to the United States was not much of a culture shock given that I had previously spent a lot of time in Europe and Canada. Having said that, the US is still a distinct and different country from the others – a country I had so much wanted to visit. And who wouldn’t want to visit the most powerful nation on earth? So gladly I came, and although the initial adjustment was slightly stressful, gladly I have stayed. Coming into the US in 2011 was a dream come true for me.
There are many cultural differences and similarities between Africa and the US Prominent among these was how little many Americans seem to know about other continents, especially Africa. Below is a sample of questions I have been asked by Americans since coming to the US.
Do you have universities in Africa? Do you have computers, TVs, cell-phones and internet services in Africa? Do you have fried chicken in Africa? How many schools do you have in Africa? I have a cousin working with **** organization in Namibia, do you know him? What language do you speak in Africa? What currency do you use in Africa? How many children in Africa attend school? If I come to Africa to visit, will I find good hotels with running water? Are there cars and paved roads in Africa?
The list is endless really. Some people even believe that Africans generally live in caves and in trees. To some Africans, these questions and assumptions are annoying, abusive, condescending and demeaning, but in truth many Americans whom I have met ask these questions innocently, curiously and ignorantly. It is the western media that has informed the western world only of the dark side of Africa. This unbalanced and dark view, however, has become the only picture of Africa that those who have never been to this beautiful continent know.
Many Americans who have traveled to Africa will laugh relentlessly at the questions above, and I am laughing too. When I tell people back home that these are the questions I am asked here in the US, they can’t stop laughing. Interestingly, many Africans have a clear sense of the geography and nature of the US except that many Africans who have not been here in the US believe that everyone in America is rich and that poverty is not a word that is associated with anyone who is an American. Isn’t the media so powerful? Therefore the amount of poverty I have seen in inner city neighborhoods in the US has surprised me greatly because in Africa, we believe that everyone in America is rich!
Africa is a continent of 54 different countries with different languages, cultures and governments. Africa is three times larger than the US in land mass and population. It will take the USA, Europe, China, India and Japan to cover the land mass of Africa. Africa is not just a continent of poverty, diseases and war; it is a continent that has richer nations and poorer nations. These nations whether rich or poor have big cities (Lagos in Nigeria for example is a city of 21 million people), towns and villages. It is a continent of vast agricultural activities, but in some nations of strong aridity, there is drought and famine. There is no doubt that of all the continents, Africa is clearly the poorest, but it is growing.
This YouTube video “The Africa They Never Show You” will surprise you of what African cities look like.
The biggest problem in Africa is corruption. This has meant that some public service offices and facilities are not found in every nook and corner of Africa except in the towns and cities. If Africa can work on these, then the continent can prepare the ground to surprise the world in the same manner China has quietly been able to do to the rest of the world.
The beauty of the United States (as in many developed nations) is that infrastructures are available to the greatest percentage of the population. Clean water, electricity, education, health facilities, good roads, and other social amenities are available to most if not all in the US, and not just for some like in Africa. In the US there are more job opportunities and better salaries, there is much less corruption, and better life prospects for young people than in the Africa. In terms of facilities and effectiveness of social amenities the US towers much higher than Africa. Rules, regulations, organizations and policies work much better in the US than they do in Africa.
In Africa though, people are more hospitable and caring towards each other at community and family levels. There is a greater sense of interdependence in Africa than there is in the US. The “mind your business” syndrome has not permeated as much of Africa as it has here. Community life is a strong value in Africa and the African adage of “I am because we are” is a big reality. Africa is still very religious and has not taken the strongly secular state that the US has taken. Faith and belief in the divine is a big part of many Africans including those who may not attend church, go to the mosque or visit the traditional shrine. Social life is more elaborate in Africa than it is here and it is the reason why many Africans come to the US to make money and return home to enjoy the harvest of their labor.
In poverty or wealth, I seem to think and actually believe that people are happier in Africa than I see here in America. In any case, culture is a way of life of a particular people. If we all had the same culture and lifestyle, wouldn’t the world be boring? I like America, but it is my mother continent of Africa that I love most! Who doesn’t like his mother’s cuisine? North, South, East and West, home is the best! I have just given you some appetite for Africa. The next time you are thinking of an international adventure, visit at least one of the 54 nations in Africa. Happy Safari!
Br Moses Msughter Abunya, FSC graduated from Mount La Salle College, Naka Benue State, Nigeria where he met the Brothers in High School. He joined the Brothers in 1995 and did his spiritual and religious formation in Nigeria and Kenya. He has an associate degree in Religious education and a Bachelors in Education. He was a member of the International Council of Young Lasallians in Rome, Italy for four years, representing Africa. And was a school Principal for six years in Nigeria before coming to Memphis. In Memphis, Brother Moses is rounding up a Master of Science degree in Educational Leadership at Christian Brothers University and hopes to proceed onto a doctoral program after graduation in May.
Three current CBU students (including myself) and two alumni had the opportunity to showcase our artwork at Gallery 56 alongside 7 other local artists for the “New Talent: 2013” exhibition during the month of January. The work of each artist varies widely from emotive figurative work to abstract explorations of texture. This eclectic blending of styles into one show drew an equally eclectic crowd, providing the artists a chance to extend the audience of their work.
Antoine Lever and Simon Hua are both 2012 Graphic Design graduates. Both show a direct interest in capturing nature through photography. Simon’s photography journeys the transitions of seasons, while Antoine’s is more focused on the relationship between people and nature. Myself, Mary-Michael Ryan, and Desiree Mitchell are senior CBU Art Majors and while we each dealt with figurative work, our styles differ greatly from one another. Mary-Michael’s piece abstract in its form with an electrifyingly rigid and intense color scheme of reds and grays. Desiree’s three paintings are all self-portraits done in oil. Her piece “Some of the Parts make One Hole” takes on a very ethereal and vulnerable feeling while “Can’t Fill a Thing” feels more weighted and confrontational. My paintings are self-portraits as well, in watercolor, and also implement an unnatural use of color to intensify the emotion of the portrait.
Some of my other favorites at the show are Claudia Santillan, Katie Faye and Anna Roach. Claudia’s larger than life portraits use vivid colors and beautiful gold and silver leafing while examining her Latin heritage. Katie Faye’s whimsical watercolor sequences of animals and abstractions allow the viewer to harness the imagination and form totally unique stories about each piece. Anna Roach’s portraits are all oil and graphite childhood portraits of politicians on wood. Anna’s work explores the notion of childhood innocence and its eventual end.
For many of us this was our first time having our work shown in a professional gallery space. Our professors have always told us artwork takes on a different feeling, even a different meaning once it is placed in a gallery. I never fully understood this idea of how my work could somehow be elevated just by putting it in a different sort of space. After all, the meaning and feeling should come from the work not what is going on around it.
Being in this show made me realize how seeing art in a space that is built to present art is totally different from seeing art hanging in my grandmother’s living room. A gallery space enhances the images by being a non-distracting environment with good lighting. Also, having so many different people come look at your work gives it a multitude of new meanings. Talking to people I met the night of the opening enlightened me as to how people interpret my work and has informed my decisions when I am working now. For those of us preparing for our senior exhibition, we feel more aware and confident about the work we are making.
In 2009, as my time in graduate school was drawing to a close and before I had been hired at CBU, I spent a few months working with a career counselor. Part of our work together was to help prepare me to find academic jobs, but another important aspect of our conversations concerned what I’d like to do in case I wasn’t able to find immediate work in a university setting.
One day, in the midst of skills assessments and personality profiles, the counselor gave me a writing assignment. “Don’t think about it, just write,” he said. “Write the first things that come to your mind about what you’d like to do for a job, before your brain has a chance to edit it.”
I was skeptical, but when I began to free-write, the result took me completely by surprise. I looked down at the page and saw the words I had just written: I have always wanted to be a voice on the radio.
Fast-forward to last spring. By now I am on faculty at CBU and settling in to the rhythms of the academic life. Like all my colleagues, I am busy. But summer is coming and I am starting to think about how I will organize my weeks of non-teaching time. Somewhere in April I was driving one day, flipping around the AM dial looking for talk radio (NPR in Memphis ends at 9 a.m. and doesn’t resume until mid-afternoon). I had settled for a while on The Dave Ramsey Show on local station KWAM 990AM.
Suddenly, in the middle of the ads, was an announcement from station manager George Bryant. “Have you ever wanted to have your own radio show?” he asked. “Give me a call.”
I wrote down the number.
For the next several weeks I kept coming back to that slip of paper with the number on it. I have always wanted to be a voice on the radio. But I’m busy. There’s no time. There are lots of other projects I need to finish. This is a silly dream.
It stayed with me though. I have always wanted to be a voice on the radio.
So, as school was ending and the summer began, I spoke to my wife about calling the station. With her agreement and support, I got in touch with George.
The information from that first conversation was helpful. No, I wouldn’t be an employee of the station. The show would function like an hour-long infomercial. I could program it any way I wished, so long as it met FCC guidelines. I would pay for each hour of time, and in exchange, I could use the studio at the station to record with an engineer, and they would air spots through each week to help promote the show.
After a lot of brainstorming (and some very forgettable names), the phrase from Hebrews 11 struck a chord: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” I wanted the show to be about faith, but especially about the invisible ways faith affects our lives. Plus, this was radio. The concept fit perfectly. “Things Not Seen.” Exactly.
All told, it took about seven weeks of solid time to plan the show and get it up and running. We had our first interview, with local pastor Stacy Smith, in mid-June. On July 8th, that interview was broadcast. We were on the air.
For the next six months, with the patient support of my family, a great deal of help and input from the KWAM staff, and a growing body of listeners, Things Not Seen: Conversations about Culture and Faith was on the air with a show a week, every week.
By the time we had finished the season, on December 30th, we had managed to highlight local ministries as well as feature guests with national profiles, who were also being interviewed on NPR and The Daily Show.
I am extraordinarily proud of the show. Our first season featured 25 episodes of great radio. Thanks to the internet, we now have hundreds of listeners downloading the podcasts each week from our website at thingsnotseenradio.com. The show is on a three month break right now, but we’re already planning for the 2013 season, with close to 30 shows and an even more ambitious array of guests.
I won’t lie. Producing this show was crazy. The schedule was insane, and there were several weeks I stayed up all night to get editing done in time to get the show to the station for broadcast. As busy as it was, though, I wouldn’t change a thing. I get to talk to people about their faith, and I enjoy that so much. I get to share those conversations with interested listeners, and I get to see the effects of that sharing in my community; most of all though, I get to be a voice on the radio. Thanks for listening.
Things Not Seen: Conversations about Culture and Faith, will resume in April 2013. In the meantime you can click the link about to listen to all of the 2012 shows for free, as well as sign up for podcasts of our new short series, Religion Moments.
Dr. David Dault holds advanced degrees in religious studies from Columbia Theological Seminary and Vanderbilt University. He currently teaches in the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Christian Brothers University. He got his start in journalism when he was sixteen years old, writing articles for his hometown newspaper and has been asking folks questions ever since.
The Business in Behavioral Sciences
Interested in a major in psychology but not sure what you want to do yet? Love the idea of working in the world of business but can’t figure out how the behavioral sciences could fit in? Look no further than consumer behavior!
What is consumer behavior?
- Consumer behavior deals with the “study of how people relate to the products and services that they purchase or use.”
What will you do in consumer behavior? You will…
- “provide information to companies and consumers on what the public needs or wants”
- “help an organization (either profit or nonprofit) effectively develop and market products, services, or ideas”
- “guide the work of government agencies that are responsible for product safety, identity of brand names, evaluation of advertising claims, and assessment of ethical marketing practices”
- and so much more, in a variety of settings!
What types of companies will you work in with a degree in consumer behavior?
- You could work anywhere! If Starbucks needs help designing a new logo, if Cheerios wants to know what type of actor in a commercial will best attract their target audience, if the Food and Drug Administration needs help deciding if a label is people friendly, a degree in consumer behavior will get you there!
So what do you need to do now to major in consumer behavior?
- First, talk to your advisor and the Registrar’s office to declare in the “Applied Psychology Major: Consumer Behavior.” This degree from Christian Brothers University will provide you with a successful, well-rounded background in psychology, marketing, economics, and the arts.
- After declaring, schedule an in-depth conversation with your advisor about where you want to be in your career in consumer behavior in the next few years. There are many tracks that you can take, including entering the field with just a bachelor’s or continuing on to receive a master’s or doctoral degree. The choice is yours!
The Honors Program September of Service was a huge success! Over 30 agencies in the Memphis area were served and 1,088 hours worked by a total of 254 volunteers, including 193 undergraduate students, 24 staff, 19 faculty, 8 relatives & friends, 5 Brothers, 2 graduate students, 2 alumni, and 1 Trustee – the equivalent of 425 volunteers!
Dr. Mary Campbell, Faculty Staff Advisor
When the Intercultural Club (ICC) had an interest meeting in January I thought it would be the perfect opportunity for me to get involved with a student organization. In thought my expertise in cultural anthropology would work well with a club devoted to diversity and cultural sharing. To my surprise, and delight, I was asked to be faculty advisor. And as faculty advisor I have done almost nothing. The students organized elections, a fiesta and mariachi band in Alfonso, and an international movie night. Often during our meetings students give PowerPoint presentations about their countries of origin. Yes, PowerPoint presentations, and everybody pays attention. How funny and wonderful that the exact same presentation from me would likely put people to sleep. We also listen to music and the rule is, if you play it you show us how to dance to it. No exceptions. The more time I spend with the ICC students the more amazed I am at their talents and uncontained excited. They are always so excited! They are teaching each other about the world and laughing the whole time. So, this anthropologist is going to sit back and enjoy the ride. Oh, and on Thursday October 4th, they are going to teach CBU how to play cricket. As I have no idea how to play cricket and they don’t trust us with real cricket balls, as faculty advisor I have been assigned the task of buying tennis balls. That I can do.
Dr. Karen Golightly, Faculty Staff Advisor
The creative writing club has elected new officers for the 2012-2013 school year. Chris Brack (psychology) is acting president, Emilly Phillips (fine arts) is vice-president, and Miles Malone (creative writing) is secretary. We have some new members this year, including students representing the School of Arts, Business, Engineering, and Sciences.
In addition to work-shopping our writing at our monthly meetings, our main activity for this year is attending the Southern Literary Festival in Columbus, Georgia in March. Any CBU student can attend this conference and submit work to the national literary contest. We plan to submit work to all seven categories of the literary competition, including Castings in the literary journal category. Any talented students who write incredible one-act plays, formal essays, short stories, creative nonfiction essays, or poems, should contact Karen B. Golightly at email@example.com.
Our growth in the Visual and Performing Arts Department continues to move at an exciting and rapid pace. Last spring we ended the 2012 semester with our largest BFA graduating class since the degree began in 2009. The senior Thesis Show was an exhibition in our newly renovated gallery space located in Kenrick Hall basement now called; Gallery B. There were nine students graduating with a BFA in various concentrations in art and two students receiving an art minor. Of those students graduating four were accepted into graduate programs (Bridget Fowler, Michelle Fair, Valerie Mills, and Dorian Durr Mister). Two other students; Justin McConnaughhay and Jayme McKeever, are working as Graphic Designers for local businesses. We look forward to hearing about the successes of our others graduates.
In the spring of 2012 the Art Club joined forces with the Honors Club to create the first campus wide art piece. The project was called “Art Break” and it gave students a chance to take a break from their studies for a few hours to create one collective and cohesive piece of art. We hope to find a place to show case this painting soon so that everyone can enjoy seeing the painting as much as we enjoyed making it.
During the summer our students continued to make art while giving back to the community through their work. Two of our seniors worked as interns at St. Jude’s ALSAC offices as graphic designers.
We also welcomed our newest edition to the Art Department. Mia Aurelia Pena, born on June 12th to Assistant Professor Nick Pena and his wife Catherine Pena.
On October 5th, 2012 the art students opened the first exhibition of the academic year in the new Gallery B. Exhibiting in this space will be returning alumni’s work as well as recent work of current CBU students.
Assistant Professor Matthew Hamner’s theatre students are currently working on the fall and spring productions. For the fall they will present a series of one act plays and then we look forward to the spring production of “Private Eyes”; he and his Theatre Production Workshop students are building audience risers for the production.
The International Initiatives Office is pleased to announce a number of exciting trips that will be taking place this spring and summer. Ms. Mary Burns (Global Studies) and Prof. Pat Papachristou (Economics) will be taking a group to Barcelona, Spain over spring break, while Dr. Neal Palmer (History) and Mrs. Cathy Palmer (English) will be traveling with students to Ormskirk, U.K. for three weeks. Registration for both trips is currently open. For more information please visit the website or speak with one of the professors leading the trips.