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Lariat TV News: Tuition lawsuit dropped, Pi Day and March Madness returns

We’re back from Spring Break with the news you need around Baylor, stating with a lawsuit against the university dropped by a federal judge.

We’ll show you why Memorial and Alexander Residence Halls are in need of their incoming facelift and highlight a day dedicated to celebrating math.

In sports, the men’s and women’s basketball teams are jumping into the NCAA Tournament and we’ll show you Baylor softball’s double header.

Lariat TV News Today: Baylor community’s COVID numbers trend in the right direction, a look into the 2021 Baylor Line and this week’s football preview.

This week on Lariat TV News Today, we give you a look into Baylor University’s COVID-19 numbers are moving in the right direction, as campus returns to normal.

We hear from Director of Student Activities, Matt Burchett about what you need to know to run the Baylor line and spotlight an incoming student with a massive following on Spotify.

In sports, we preview Baylor’s upcoming season opener with Texas State as well as take a look at two international student athletes.

Student Spotlight: Freshman Tryston Obevoen

By Erianne Lewis | Arts and Life Editor, Video By Brittany Tankersley | Broadcast reporter

Houston freshman Tryston Obevoen has amassed quite a following on Spotify, with over 625,861 monthly listeners. Obevoen, who goes by the stage name Sinoda, said he gained his following mainly by luck.

Obevoen said he started releasing music his junior year of high school after a freestyle battle with his friend during lunch. His friend recorded the video and posted it on Snapchat, where it gained traction. A mutual friend suggested Obevoen start recording at a studio, which helped him gain more notoriety, and he started to take it more seriously.

“[My music] got a little bit of traction and people were like, ‘Oh this is actually not just like a regular Soundcloud high school rapper. This has potential,’” Obevoen said. “I did a little TikTok thing, just to see how it would go, and we offered 100 bucks to anyone who made a good TikTok — with my current biggest song — that blew up three different times. It got eight million streams during that fad, then the anime community picked it up and it blew up with that fad. Then a big TikToker named Poloboy did a trend with it, and that blew up tremendously. Now it’s at like 22 million streams on Spotify, and that’s all thanks to TikTok.”

Obevoen said he has always been into art and sports, but music is where his passion lies.

“The only thing that I have consistently done is music,” Obevoen said. “Since I was about five, I started playing guitar, then I taught myself how to play piano, drums, bass, a little violin and ukulele.”

Obevoen said he has been compared to Ski Mask the Slump God in regards to his voice and the music he makes. He said he considers him to be an inspiration with a couple of the songs he has made. Another major inspiration is A$AP Rocky.

“He does a lot more than just making music. He also is a very artistic person; whether it’s his team or him, the brand of A$AP Rocky is awesome,” Obevoen said. “More so than even wanting to be an artist, I’ve always wanted to model. He does runway fashion, he models, photoshoots, stuff like that. That is really cool to me.”

His biggest inspiration, Obevoen said, is Nirvana, more specifically Kurt Cobain.

“I was watching an interview once about how he makes music and then figures out the meaning behind the lyrics afterward, and I’ve done that for every single one of my songs,” Obevoen said. “I rarely ever have meaning behind the lyrics before I actually say them.”

Obevoen said his name Sinoda is the backward version of the Greek god of beauty and desire, Adonis.

“When I started out, I was [creating] more love songs, more R&B. I always thought the way people look at beauty and desire are backward. It’s very physical; people just stare at someone and is like, ‘Oh that’s a perfect person.’ So true beauty is Sinoda because it’s Adonis backward,” Obevoen said.

Obevoen, who is a finance major, said he has a backup plan just in case music doesn’t work out.

“If it isn’t successful, another goal I have is to open up my own record label,” Obevoen said. “Since I couldn’t become successful with [music], then I want to still be a part of the industry. Having a degree in finance is helpful for just about anything I decide to go into, music related or not.”

But Obevoen said his ultimate goal is “Drake-level stardom.”

“No matter where in the world I go, I could be recognized,” Obevoen said. “Being successful in music, the top dogs have so much influence on the world nowadays that they could pretty much ask for anything and could get it done. I could act, or model, or do anything in that sort of entertainment.”

Rage on: Brothers start Waco Rage Room amid pandemic

By Madalyn Watson | Editor-in-Chief

Even though coronavirus has everyone on edge, the Waco Rage Room gives locals a place to create what comes naturally in times of stress — destruction.

Winston Kail, the president and co-founder of Waco Rage Room, opened this business with his brother, David Stallings, on June 4.

“With just everything going on throughout the year, it just seemed like the perfect time to do it,” Kail said.

Although Kail has been dreaming of opening their business since 2017, the chaos that came with the coronavirus gave him and his brother a unique opportunity.

“As we were building and putting this thing together, things just kept happening and I could tell there was such tension,” Kail said.

A Waco Rage Room player smashes a windshield. Chase (Junyan) Li | Photographer
A Waco Rage Room player smashes a windshield. Chase (Junyan) Li | Photographer

The Waco Rage Room, located at 1007 Wooded Acres Drive, is a place where people de-stress by breaking as many things as they want within an enclosed room.

“We’re a stone’s throw from Valley Mills,” Kail said. “I love my neighbors. It seems like a very American thing. There’s a gun store, a bar and then a place where you break things.”

With all the tension in the world right now, Kail said he wants the Waco Rage Room to be a safe place for people to work through their emotions rather than taking it out on the people around them.

“It just kind of gives them some focus, it gives them an outlet,” Kail said. “I think a lot of times we suppress all those natural things, and then that’s when we walk around so sad and depressed and angry and frustrated.”

Although the Waco Rage Room provides several different packages, Kail said the most popular is their Date Night service.

“It’s people that would surprise you coming [in], very quiet couples, people who have very normal jobs,” Kail said. “But I think it is from having this very structured, desk job. It builds up inside of them.”

Kail said one couple came to the Waco Rage Room and treated it like couples therapy.

“They kept coming out of the room and they’d be upset, but then they add some more things and go back in there and yell and scream and break stuff,” Kail said. “By the end of it, they were lovey dovey. They were happy.”

The Date Night service starts at $75 for 45 minutes, according to the Waco Rage Room’s Facebook page and its Instagram. Like all of the sessions they offer, you can add more time and items during the reservation. The cheapest option they offer, Bring Your Own Breakables, is $25. You bring the items to be destroyed and they provide the room and the weapons.

Brianna St. John joined several of her coworkers at the Waco Rage Room on Tuesday night to celebrate a birthday and release some pent up frustrations.

“I’ve heard of [a Rage Room] before, but I’d never been to one,” St. John said. “And for the price, it’s really worth it.”

A Waco Rage Room player is smashing things. Chase (Junyan) Li | Photographers & Videographers
A Waco Rage Room player is smashing things. Chase (Junyan) Li | Photographers & Videographers

St. John and her friends said that where they worked as waitresses, a lot of their customers are not taking coronavirus seriously and even cuss them out when they ask them to wear a mask.

“People are really selfish and they don’t take the time to buy a mask or wear it and they want to make excuses,” St. John said. “And then that puts people’s health and our health at risk.”

The group smashed dishes, bottles, a door with lots of glass windows, windshields and a television to cope with their frustrations.

All of the items that you can destroy at the Waco Rage Room are donations.

“You’d be surprised to how excited people are to give us things,” Kail said.

Because of the stay-in-place orders and social distancing, Kail said he thinks that people were more likely to donate to them.

“[Because of coronavirus,] people were home. They were bored. They were doing little home improvement projects. They were cleaning out their house, they were getting rid of this, getting rid of that,” Kail said.

A decent amount of the items donated to be smashed at the Waco Rage Room include holiday decorations.

“A lot of times we’ll go in the room and then everything will just be smashed to pieces, but they won’t smash the baby Jesus,” Kail said.

The brothers also mentioned a deal they are promoting for Baylor students now that they are in town. If you show your Baylor student ID, you can get $5 off your session, Kail said.

“We don’t have very many rules,” Kail said. “We ask the people to be safe. Don’t go nuts, but have as much fun as you can.”

LGBTQ group sets sights on official charter

Gamma Alpha Upsilon, formerly known as Sexual Identity Forum, rebranded last year with new logos across its social media platforms. Photo Courtesy of ΓAY

By Carson Lewis | Page One Editor

The group is composed of Baylor students, has a president and officer positions and meets weekly for group activities. It functions in the same way as many Baylor clubs with activities like discussions and bowling nights. But this group of students can’t claim to have what other organizations have: an official charter from the university. That’s what they want to change.

Gamma Alpha Upsilon (ΓAY), an unofficial LGBTQ group on campus, is looking to the new semester with hopes of becoming an official chartered organization. Formerly known as SIF (Sexual Identity Forum), Gamma has functioned on campus since 2011 as an independent group with the purpose of giving a home to LGBTQ Baylor students and allies.

Members in the group expressed their appreciation and surprise last year from the support given to a letter sent by three Baylor alumni to administration which proposed acceptance for LGBTQ groups on campus.

“We ask that the university reconsider its exclusion of student organizations that are designed to provide a community for individuals in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (“LGBTQ”) and allied community,” part of the letter read. The letter accumulated over 3,200 signatures from Baylor students, faculty, alumni and supporters who agreed with the message.

Plano senior Elizabeth Benton, president of Gamma, described the group’s positive reaction to the news last semester.

“It’s nice to know that even people outside of Baylor support us… I honestly didn’t think anybody would care about this, really, besides LGBT people,” Benton said. “It’s so gratifying to hear people talk about that and to meet alumni that were LGBT at Baylor and want to help out. It’s absolutely amazing.”

The group used to meet weekly at 8 p.m. Thursdays at Bill Daniel Student Union Building but will meet away from their usual spot this semester, choosing instead Seventh and James Baptist Church.

Despite having a functional home for the group in the SUB next to Common Grounds, several members of Gamma said they’ve found reasons to move their meetings off campus while the group is unchartered.

Searcy, Ark., grad student Hayden Evans, Gamma’s treasurer, described some of the problems that the group had with the location.

“It’s very, very loud. They typically play music, and of course there’s tons of students all around talking and going about their day. It’s very distracting for us the whole meeting, especially when we invite people from outside the university to speak,” Evans said. “Also, people are uncertain about how they will be perceived… some people don’t come because they are afraid of the repercussions of them being seen there. We’re trying to move to a more private area.”

Benton echoed the statement made by Evans, saying that some prospective members of Gamma felt that the location wasn’t as private as they would have liked.

“I’ve talked to some people who have been threatened if they go to Gamma meetings,” Benton said. “There are people I know, people I talked to, who would come to our meetings and they just stopped coming. I asked, ‘Why don’t you come anymore?’ [They] would be threatened. They seemed scared. This happens a lot actually.”

As an official chartered organization at Baylor, Gamma would be able to rent rooms from the SUB for their meetings and events and advertise on campus to prospective members during events like fall semester’s Late Night.

Houston senior Anna Conner, vice president of Gamma, and other group members insist that being official would greatly help them in their mission to provide a safe space for members of the LGBTQ community on Baylor’s campus.

“People have a perception of what we’re trying to do. They think that we’re trying to go in and rip up this tradition that Baylor has and say, ‘No, we’re no longer a Christian university, you have to accept us because it’s 2019 and everyone needs to change,’” Conner said. “What we’re trying to do is create a space where people can have a conversation, maybe learn a few things and meet new people that have different viewpoints. The biggest challenge [this year] will be to get people to understand that.”

In a July 24 Office of the President email, Jerry K. Clements, chair of the Board of Regents, and president Dr. Linda Livingstone expressed that the board seeks to continue discussion about how to best include and provide support for LGBTQ students.

“The Board continued discussions that began at last summer’s retreat about providing a loving and caring community for all students, including those who identify as LGBTQ,” the email read. “This is an issue with which many faith-based colleges and universities – and our churches – struggle. We believe that Baylor is in a unique position to meet the needs of our LGBTQ students because of our Christian mission and the significant campus-wide support we already provide all students.”

Acai bowl, smoothie business to open this summer

Mamaka Bowls, an acai bowl and smoothie business from Fayetteville is bringing it business to Waco this summer.

By Bridget Sjoberg | Staff Writer

Mamaka Bowls, a popular California-inspired acai bowl and smoothie shop from Arkansas, is opening a second location in this summer, and it just so happens to be in Waco.

Mamaka was founded by mom-daughter duo Carrie and KK Hudson, who opened their first storefront in Fayetteville, Ark. In May 2018. Originally from the Dallas area, KK Hudson said she is excited to bring Mamaka to Texas, particularly in a college town like Waco.

“When we realized that we could open a second store, we really wanted to be back in Texas since it’s where my family is from. We love Texas and it’s also where Mamaka first started,” Hudson said. “My dad and I went to Waco back in December of last year and fell in love. There’s so much personality there and it felt similar to how Fayetteville is for us. There are also so many small businesses and the people are amazing—everyone we’ve interacted with is so kind and helpful. We also love the college town world and are excited to be close to a campus.”

Mamaka Bowls sells both acai bowls and smoothies, and Hudson sees the shop’s unique granola recipe and thick base consistency as two factors that make their bowls stand out.

“We are super transparent with all of our ingredients—everything listed on the menu is all that goes into the bowls,” Hudson said. “For our bowls, we use completely frozen fruit and nothing has any added sugar and we don’t add yogurt. The bowls are also super thick—we make them as close to an ice cream consistency as possible so you don’t feel like you’re eating a smoothie. Our granola is also to die for—my mom came up with the recipe.”

Hudson said that the “Mamaka” and “Pipeline” bowls are two of the shop’s most popular menu items, using toppings and base ingredients like strawberries, mangoes, cacao nibs and peanut butter.

“The Mamaka uses our original blend, which is banana, strawberry, blueberry, mango, acai and almond milk in the base, and it comes topped with our homemade granola, strawberries, bananas and blueberries,” Hudson said. “The Pipeline is chocolate almond milk, banana, peanut butter, strawberry and acai, and is topped with granola, banana, strawberry and cacao nibs.”

Despite their storefront opening just one year ago, Mamaka Bowls truly began when Hudson was in high school. She spent summers with her family in Laguna Beach, Calif., and loved the acai bowls and beach culture.

“Starting my freshman year of high school, we spent every summer in Laguna Beach and around that area—I ate acai bowls almost every day I was there,” Hudson said. “We came back to Dallas at the end of summer and felt like there was nowhere that had acai bowls. During the start of my junior year of high school, I didn’t want to go a whole school year without an acai bowl so my mom spent time in our kitchen coming up with a granola recipe and an original base.”

Hudson said that her mom began delivering homemade bowls to her in high school and that her friends and other students began to notice the bowls and request them as well. From there, a small delivery business began during Hudson’s high school lunches, continuing for a year. Hudson restarted Mamaka again while attending the University of Arkansas by making and delivering the bowls from her house.

“I made a website and was going to have my friends start ordering online to come pick up at my house. Two weeks into the summer, I began having moms, daughters, high schoolers, middle-aged men and just a lot of people ordering online and showing up at my door to pick up a bowl,” Hudson said. “Towards the end of the summer my mom and I realized we need to do this legitimately and stop making bowls out of our houses. We began looking for spaces and fell upon our location in Fayetteville.”

KK Hudson said that the new Waco shop will have a similar design and feel as the store in Fayetteville to create consistency between the locations.

“We fell in love with the design of our first space and researched a ton on what we wanted it to look like,” Hudson said. “We want to keep the Waco shop consistent so it will probably look similar. We’ll have garage doors and swings in the front, and keep blue floors with a bar counter where you can watch people make everything.”

Laguna Beach, Calif., sophomore Ashley Shelton is excited for a place in Waco to serve bowls inspired by southern California with healthy ingredients and toppings.

“When I found out another acai bowl place was opening I got super excited—acai bowls are probably my favorite taste of home in California,” Shelton said. “I also love the fact that the idea for Mamaka Bowls originated around Laguna. There are so many delicious and trendy food places in southern California but Laguna is especially known for their acai bowls and small-town health kick.”

Shelton sees Mamaka’s emphasis on quality ingredients and unique toppings as factors that will make Mamaka stand out and be successful in a new second location.

“I’ll always love the original acai bowl, but nowadays many companies are getting creative with serving different bases,” Shelton said. “I’m also a big fan of toppings—I love strawberries, bananas, almond butter, cacao nibs, chia seeds and more. I hope Mamaka inspires the community of Waco to eat and live healthier.”

Hudson sees the people who work at and frequent the shop as the reason Mamaka has been and can continue to be successful, and is grateful for the growth Mamaka has experienced since their first storefront opened in May of 2018.

“Our people are who make us who we are—our employees and the people who come to our store make everything worthwhile for us. The people who work at the store in Fayetteville are like our family and they create the vibe of the store,” Hudson said. “Our lives have taken a complete 180 because of Mamaka—it’s been so crazy but so fun, and it’s still baffling for us to look back on our first trip to Laguna Beach and realize that that had started it all so long ago.”

Mamaka Bowls will be located at 215 S University Drive, on the opposite corner of Fuzzy’s Taco Shop.

No. 14 Baylor men’s tennis to host No. 1 Ohio State in midweek bout

Ohio State's trip to Waco marks the third visiting No. 1 team in the last 10 seasons. Lilly Yablon | Photographer

By Daniel Taylor | Reporter

No. 14 Baylor men’s tennis has a rare opportunity on Wednesday.

It welcomes No. 1 Ohio State for a 6 p.m. contest at the Hurd Tennis Center, and head coach Michael Woodson said the team embraces the challenge.

“I don’t personally feel any pressure,” Woodson said. “In the position that our team is in, I think they’re excited to measure up against the current best team in the country.”

The Bears (12-1) currently have a 3-14 record all-time when facing No. 1-ranked teams, and they trail Ohio State 7-1 in the all-time series. The Buckeyes (14-0) are also currently the only undefeated team in the ITA’s Top-25 rankings.

Baylor is currently boasting a perfect home record, having won all eight to open the spring season.

After hard-fought victories over SMU and UTRGV on Sunday, Woodson said he hopes the team will carry over some of the key strengths from those matches, such as grit, strong fitness and the ability to handle tough situations.

“Our best tennis was right when we needed it the most,” Woodson said.

Woodson added that he’s excited the Bears get to play the Buckeyes in Waco. He said even just a few fans can make a huge impact on the game. To him, the crowd can bring so much energy and excitement, and seeing his guys perform for the fans is what he’s most excited to experience.

“I think that’s one of the most fun parts about being at Baylor with how well we draw support and how strong the home-court advantage is,” Woodson said.

Junior Oskar Brostrom Poulsen also said he doesn’t feel pressure for Wednesday’s match, as he focuses on playing to the best of his ability. Brostrom Poulsen said his preparation isn’t affected much outside of just knowing what the weather is like and what time his match starts.

“Preparation is more like we want to play outside under the lights, so we prepare to play at night,” Brostrom Poulsen said. “But at the end of the day, we prepare the same way for whoever we play, because that’s just who we are.”

After a singles win and two doubles wins on Sunday, the main thing Brostrom Poulsen said he wants to carry into the matchup with OSU is confidence and momentum. He said he enjoyed the hard-fought aspect of the matches versus SMU and UTRGV because he saw it as a chance to fight through adversity.

Following a doubles match win, Brostrom Poulsen said it’s important to carry the momentum into singles play, but in a doubles loss, he personally hits a reset to focus on his singles performance.

“The doubles is a key point to get; it sets the momentum for the whole match pretty much,” Brostrom Poulsen said. “At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that doubles is doubles and singles is singles, so it’s all about either keeping the momentum going or resetting the momentum.”

Brostrom Poulsen, a transfer from Middle Tennessee State, added that the biggest difference between programs was the professionalism, calling Baylor’s magnificent.

“It’s way better than what I was used to, and everything around the team is so much better, and at the same time the fan base here is unbelievable,” Brostrom Poulsen said. “The support we get for the matches is fantastic, and I think that helps us a lot to be better.”

Both Woodson and Brostrom Poulsen said they’re excited about the opportunity to take down a No. 1 team in Waco. They both added that they want to perform well in front of what they hope is a strong crowd.

Van Gytenbeek’s 19 leads No. 21 Baylor women’s basketball to 74-53 win at Cincinnati

Senior guard Jana Van Gytenbeek led No. 21 Baylor women's basketball in scoring for the first time this season. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Michael Haag | Sports Editor

The Bears appear to have righted the ship, at least, over the last four games.

No. 21 Baylor women’s basketball, led by senior guard Jana Van Gytenbeek’s career-high 19 points, made quick work of Cincinnati by a score of 74-53 on Tuesday evening in the Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati.

The Bears (22-6, 11-6) have won four straight — including five of the last six — and they hold the fourth-place tiebreaker over No. 24 West Virginia in the Big 12 standings.

“We have big goals still, and there’s no reason why we can’t go attain them at this point,” head coach Nicki Collen said. “We’re not limping into anything anymore, so it’s time to race into things and keep that mentality.”

Van Gytenbeek only missed three shots, as she connected on 8-of-11 attempts from the floor and three of her five 3-pointers. She’s scored in double figures in five of the last seven games.

Sophomore forward Bella Fontleroy (13) and graduate student forward Dre’Una Edwards (10) were the only other Bears in double-figure scoring.

Baylor held Cincinnati to 21 points in the first half, which is what the Bears totaled in the first quarter alone. They jumped out to a 39-21 lead going into the tunnel.

Van Gytenbeek scored 16 of her 19 points in the second half, as Baylor cruised to the 21-point victory. The Bears’ last two wins came on the road, and they finished the regular season 6-4 (5-4 in Big 12 play) in true road games.

Baylor returns to Waco for a Senior Day contest against Oklahoma State at 11 a.m. on Sunday in the Foster Pavilion.

Get the job, land the internship: Career Day companies weigh in on job application process

Baylor’s Career Fair hosted more than 115 employers offering internships and job opportunities for students. Assoah Ndomo | Photographer

By Josh Siatkowski | Staff Writer

The Baylor Career Center hosted over 115 employers for Career Day Tuesday in the Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center. The Lariat spoke to two of these companies to get their advice for students looking to give themselves the best shot at a selective job or internship.

Sharon Nelson is the executive team leader of human resources for Target in Waco. She and other recruiters for Target were at the career fair looking to fill internship and full-time leadership positions.

Bree Mury is a senior sales manager at Dell Technologies in Austin. It is also recruiting summer interns and full-time employees in a number of different fields.

What is the most important thing you want to see on an applicant’s resume?

Nelson: “We’re looking for leadership skills. You don’t have to have been in a leadership role from a work perspective; you can do leadership in your activities in school, volunteering, religious [groups]. There are lots of ways to do it, but we’re looking for evidence of leadership quality.”

Mury: “There’s no bad experience. Anything you have, I would definitely talk about. … It’s how you apply that when you’re interviewing that we care about.”

How can freshmen and sophomores make themselves competitive applicants when they may not have the same level of experience?

Nelson: “Many companies don’t offer internships to freshmen and sophomores. … If you’re really passionate about the company, that’s going to come out when you go talk to them. Companies will probably make exceptions if they see that something is really your passion.”

Mury: “Open your horizons. Don’t silo yourself when you’re so young into one specific field. Dip your feet into many different things, because you’re so much younger and you have so much time to figure out what you like.”

Mury also said in-class experience is often forgotten.

“The other side of that is when you are young and you’re applying for things, think about the project you’ve done in class. I think Baylor does a phenomenal job of preparing you guys for real-life situations.”

What is something you don’t want to see on a resume?

Nelson: “You need to make sure that you double or triple check [your resume]. … Make sure the information that you put on it is accurate.”

Nelson also said relevant experience is important.

“If it doesn’t seem like retail is where you’re going, then that’s someone we’re not really going to consider. Whatever genre you’re trying to get into, make sure that’s where you’re applying.”

Mury: “Honestly not much. As long as it’s actual experience that you can explain, I’m not going to turn it away. The only thing we will turn away is clearly bad grades, … grammatical errors. Take your time.”

Mury said high school experience also loses value as time goes on, so students should write what they have been doing recently.

What is more important: an interview or a resume?

Nelson: “I think they’re both equally important. If you don’t have the resume, you don’t get the interview, … but you really come through when we’re having a face-to-face conversation.”

Mury: “I put much more weight on your interview over your resume. Your resume is just a piece of paper. Your interview tells me who you are as a person.”

What are you looking for during an interview?

Nelson: “For [Target], we like to see our core values when we’re talking to you. Also, energy and enthusiasm — you cannot teach that. When you come speak to us and you’re engaged and enthusiastic, that’s going to mean more than how much experience you have. If you have leadership qualities and energy and enthusiasm, then we can teach you all the rest.”

Mury: “We want to get to know your personality.”

What is a component of an applicant’s resume that you value that students may undervalue?

Nelson: “Anything that supports our purpose. For Target, we’re about openness, diversity, inclusivity, connection and community, so anything you have on a resume that shows how your core values match our core values is important to us.”

Mury: “Really think about the projects you’ve done [in college classes], the real-life experiences that you put yourself in in class.”

How do you see AI impacting the job market?

Mury: “AI is everywhere. That’s very much where we’re going … in general. I think the technology field and most fields will use AI to help eliminate human error to where no humans can really focus on being creative, learning new things, going places we’ve never gone. The AI will handle the tasks that really bog down the creative [work].”

Should students be concerned about job stability with AI improving so quickly?

Mury: “Obviously, the job market is what it is. It’s going to be volatile at times — some good, some bad. I think the most important thing is, wherever you end up, showing your work ethic and showing you can help develop the business.”

Former Bearette Suzie Snider Eppers embraces impact, leaves hoops legacy

Former Bearette Suzie Snider Eppers finished her four-year Baylor career as the all-time leader in points and rebounds. Roundup file photo

By Michael Haag | Sports Editor

Baylor women’s basketball has a track record for producing notable athletes.

It’s easy to recognize names like Brittney Griner, Odyssey Sims, Kalani Brown or Sophia Young, who are all national champions at Baylor. Those are just a few former Lady Bears who have their jerseys retired.

But there’s one name that may fly under the radar. One that, if you asked all 7,093 Foster Pavilion fans who attended Griner’s recent jersey retirement if they knew who she was, the ones that answered “yes” would probably be in the minority.

Insert Suzie Snider Eppers, the first of a long line of stars to play in the green and gold. Eppers played at Baylor from 1973-77 and was the first women’s scholarship athlete in school history, boosted by her shot put throwing ability for Clyde Hart’s track and field program.

But for how good Eppers was at the shot put — she still holds the Central Texas high school record at 50 feet and 10 inches — her legacy was destined on the hardwood under Olga Fallen.

“I took being the [first] scholarship athlete to heart, and we were building a program,” Eppers said.

Eppers enrolled at Baylor following a stellar career at Robinson High School, which rests just down the road from campus. She grew up in Waco and moved to Robinson in the fourth grade, where she ended up leading the Rockettes to their first-ever state championship in 1970.

The 6-foot-1 forward said she only lost about seven games across four years in high school, and in junior high, her squad lost just once. Eppers said she went to Baylor with a winner’s mentality that she looked to continue.

But once Eppers realized she was stepping into something she called “a step above intramurals,” she knew it was important to trust the process.

“I knew I was a building block,” Eppers said. “I didn’t know to what degree, but I knew things were going to change. And my job and my responsibility at Baylor was to go and help that program get off the ground, and I wanted to win. I don’t get a lot of satisfaction out of playing a good game and not winning.”

The adjustment from high school to Baylor was also more than just putting on a different jersey. Eppers’ high school games were still 3-on-3, half-court style, and she had to pivot to a full-court game in which she had to play both offense and defense.

Giving credit to her junior high and Robinson High School coaches, Eppers had little issue transitioning, as she went on to score 3,861 career points with the then-named Bearettes. That point mark still stands as an overwhelming school record, as it’s over 500 more than Griner’s total (3,284).

Eppers averaged better than 22 points per game in her career. And her 3,861 points happened when the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) governed women’s basketball, so her mark isn’t an NCAA record. Yet her total holds as the highest recorded in collegiate women’s basketball history despite Iowa senior guard Caitlin Clark’s rising status (3,617 points and counting).

“That’s the freest I’ve ever felt as an athlete because I can play offense, I can play defense, rebound, outlet the ball, get it on a fast break,” Eppers said of her time at Baylor. “I could, a lot of times, shoot the ball on a fast break because I could get down the floor.”

She went on to become a Kodak All-American, marking the university’s first basketball All-American since 1948. Eppers’ No. 23 jersey was later retired by the Lady Bears, and she led Fallen’s fifth-place AIAW national tournament team in 1977 (33-12 record).

Eppers said she still keeps up with the Bears, who are now led by head coach Nicki Collen in her third year, as much as she can. Eppers has lost touch with most of her former Bearette teammates, but said they will always share a “strong bond.”

As someone who played nearly 50 years ago, Eppers added that she’s seen the growth of women’s sports, especially in terms of how different basketball looks now.

“It’s fantastic to watch,” Eppers said. “Obviously, there’s a lot of excitement right now with Caitlin Clark. … It’s good to see the game progress the way it has. It’s very athletic, and I like seeing that. I like seeing what girls are doing now in the game.”

She said she still reflects and wonders where basketball could’ve taken her if she had modern technology and equipment.

Eppers was also inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame as part of the 2022 class. She said she “still can’t believe” she was given the honor.

“I’m proud of the things I’ve accomplished, and I can recognize that, but to be up there with that class was something else and something I’ll never forget,” Eppers said. “And really in all honesty, the night was kind of a blur for me. … I think I know where my place was up there, but those were such great athletes, just beyond my thought that I would ever be up there sharing that stage with them.”

The forward who finished with a school-record 2,176 rebounds also said this new age of basketball makes her think she can go out and play still.

“I know I can’t, but I think I got it,” Eppers said.

She’s just grateful to have become a role model for future women’s hoopers, something she didn’t have growing up in the pre-Title IX days.

“I was watching Brittney Griner the other day and I think the best part about that whole game for me was watching the young girls go up to Brittney and having her autograph a shirt or whatever it was that they had,” Eppers said. “And they have heroes. We didn’t have them. We worshipped guys that played the game well. We had obstacles. One, we had gender obstacles. There was a lot of stereotyping going around for girls who wanted to continue to play. There were gender issues, there were equality issues with the schools that didn’t really want to fund the girls’ programs.

“My message to young girls is, now they have these heroes that they can look up to. Now the message to them should be ‘Go for it.’ Don’t let them stop you. Get out there, be what you want to be. For these kids to have this opportunity to see it, live it, have the heroes to look at, golly that just is a world of a difference than when I played.”

Cool girls don’t gatekeep: The best of Waco salons

EM Nails, located two minutes from campus, services the Baylor area and is one place to get a spring break manicure done. Mia Crawford | Photographer

By Erika Kuehl | Staff Writer

Most of us have gone to the same hairstylist for years, and sitting in a new chair gives me a fright like no other. There’s nothing worse than getting a bad manicure and reluctantly giving up $50 just to take it off when you get home. And don’t get me started on the risk of getting your eyebrows waxed by a stranger — those ’90s brows are never coming back in style.

This Women’s History Month, treat yourself to things that make you feel beautiful, inside and out. Here is a complete list of where to get your self-maintenance done without running the risk of streaky highlights.

Hair:

  • Looking for a blowout to refresh your identity? Check out On The Avenue for the best Victoria’s Secret Angel curls.
  • Get those roots touched up, and head to 202 Beauty Lounge for your bleach and tone.
  • For the women with 3c-4c curls, I’ve heard BraidupbyK and Beautee Braids are exceptional salons in Waco when you can’t get an appointment with your girl at home.

Nails:

  • Regarding the perfect manicure, I’m loyal to Nail Creations. If you don’t want to make the 15-minute drive from campus, though, EM Nails is just as amazing.

Waxing:

  • Glow Waxing Studio takes the cake when getting your eyebrows done. There’s nothing better than clean brows for that flawless car selfie.

Spray Tan:

  • With spring break right around the corner, I’m definitely in need of a spray tan before I head to Florida. Palm Beach Tan is the cheapest and easiest place to get bronzed before you hop on your flight.

Facials:

  • With the weather changing, our skin is not in the best shape. Hand & Stone will unclog your pores from all that midterm-week stress.

Massage:

  • In terms of massages, I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about Pura Vida Day Spa. It’s close to campus and right next to Spice Village if you want to do some shopping after.

Baylor’s bright stars: Female alumnae who have shaped the arts

Dorothy Scarborough (top left), Bess Whitehead Scott (top right), Angela Kinsey (bottom left) Candice Millard (middle) and Joanna Gaines (bottom right) have done iconic work in various fields. Photos courtesy of BaylorProud

By Bella Whitmore | Intern

It’s no secret that Baylor has produced a number of famous and talented alumni across all different fields, from prominent politicians to successful business owners. While those in the arts are often overlooked, numerous incredible women got their start here before entering the spotlight in acting, literature and the visual arts.

1. Angela Kinsey

First and arguably most notable on the list, Angela Kinsey got her bachelor’s degree in English from Baylor in 1993. She went on to join the entertainment industry, famously portraying the character of Angela Martin on “The Office.” During her time at Baylor, she was a member of Chi Omega, took countless theater classes and studied abroad with the Baylor in London program. Kinsey was known as kind and charming — quite different from her character.

2. Bess Whitehead Scott

Diving deeper into Baylor’s history, Bess Whitehead Scott graduated with her bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1912. She went on to become one of the first female news anchors in Houston and was a prominent member of The Houston Post. Scott is known for her accomplishments in reporting, public relations, advertising and teaching. She influenced journalism for women and helped demonstrate how women are capable in the workplace.

3. Dorothy Scarborough

Continuing in the early 19th and late 20th centuries, Dr. Dorothy Scarborough studied writing at Baylor and graduated in 1896 — only 10 years after women were allowed to attend the university. Scarborough was a noteworthy teacher, writer and folklorist who founded Baylor’s journalism department, which was the first in the southwest. She went on to get her Ph.D. from Columbia University, publish several novels that were adapted into movies and teach creative writing at the college level.

4. Candice Millard

More recently, Candice Millard graduated with her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in literature from Baylor in 1992. Millard became an incredibly successful writer and novelist, writing three New York Times bestsellers. In 2012, Millard won the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime Book for “Destiny of the Republic” — an account of President James Garfield. The book also received a PEN Center USA Award and the 34th Thorpe Menn Award for Literary Excellence from the American Association of University Women.

5. Joanna Gaines

It’s no secret that Joanna Gaines and her hit TV show “Fixer Upper” have become household names all across the world and put Waco on the map. Gaines graduated with her bachelor’s in communications in 2001, which is very fitting for the trajectory her career took post-grad. Her background in playing roles in local television commercials for her father’s local business, Jerry Stevens Firestone, helped make her comfortable on camera and propel her career to where it is today.

Women of Waco pursue church leadership roles, bridge the gap

Andie Pellicer, pastor of University Baptist Church in downtown Waco, strives to serve her church while making space for women in pastoral roles. Camie Jobe | Photographer

By Sarah Gallaher | Staff Writer

While the presence of women in ministry has long been a controversial topic within Christianity, Andie Pellicer is bridging the gap in her new role as the first female lead pastor of University Baptist Church of Waco.

Pellicer said she first felt a call to ministry in high school when she began attending church regularly. While she felt conflicted about the role of women in ministry, she said she knew the church was where she belonged.

“It was the first place that I felt genuinely wanted and loved,” Pellicer said.

Eventually, Pellicer decided to put her doubts aside and pursue ministry. She attended Fuller Theological Seminary to get her master of divinity and began serving as the lead pastor of a Presbyterian church in eastern Oregon.

“The first church job I ever had, I took it not even sure that women biblically could be in ministry,” Pellicer said. “It was a really strange space to enter — feeling such a strong call to ministry and also the fear of, ‘Am I doing something wrong?’”

Although Pellicer’s congregation accepted her as a leader, she said she still shied away from embracing traditionally feminine traits like tenderness to try to prove herself to others. Over time, she said she was able to embrace these traits along with being an “aggressively outgoing leader.”

To Pellicer, the biggest challenge as a woman in ministry was pushing back against theological and societal perspectives that told her women could not serve in leadership capacities within the church.

“You’re literally shifting a worldview,” Pellicer said. “When you’re bringing women into spaces of leadership, I think it’s really easy to keep them in the spaces they have been [in].”

However, Pellicer said she managed to overcome this challenge and fully believes women in ministry is a biblical concept.

At Baylor’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary, students study ministry and evaluate the role of women in the church through a biblical lens. Third-year seminary student Holly Massie said Truett is very affirming of women in ministry, which impacted her decision when choosing a seminary.

“To those who say it is not biblical, I would say they haven’t studied their Bible enough or in the proper context,” Massie said.

Massie cited Psalm 68:11 as a verse that supports women in ministry. In the New International Version, the verse reads, “The Lord announces the word, and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng.”

When Pellicer heard about University Baptist Church, she said she felt an immediate connection and applied for the lead pastor position. Although the church has long been affirming women in ministry, Pellicer is the first woman to serve in the lead pastor role.

“UBC unequivocally supports women in ministry,” the University Baptist Church website reads. “Women can serve in all capacities here, including preaching, pastoring and any form of leadership.”

After landing the lead pastor role, Pellicer said she decided to take a leap of faith and move her family across the country from their home in Walla Walla, Wash., to Waco.

“There was something really compelling about offering a place to heal and explore that I wanted to be a part of,” Pellicer said.

When University Baptist Church announced Pellicer’s appointment as lead pastor, she said she received an influx of messages from people supporting her and welcoming her to the church. Now, after months as lead pastor, Pellicer said she has not received any pushback from the congregation related to her gender.

In addition to the support from the entire congregation, Pellicer said she has received affirming messages from women at the church, many of whom never expected to see a woman at the head of church leadership.

“Representation is so wildly important, so for women to see another woman in the pulpit, there has been some healing among our congregation,” Pellicer said.

Although women have become church leaders in recent years, female lead pastors are still uncommon in the U.S. Despite the controversy, the growing role of women in ministry has inspired people like Pellicer and Massie to pursue careers in the church.

“I think it’s important for girls to see that women can be leaders in ministry and have a place to serve in God’s kingdom,” Massie said.

Baylor student explores experience of girlhood in poetry book

By Kalena Reynolds | Staff Writer

From girlhood to growing pains, Baylor sophomore Abbey Ferguson’s poetry book entitled “everything i didn’t say” is an in-depth look at her journey in love, life and college.

“It was sort of a combination of my roommate and my best friend from back home kind of encouraging me to put it together and create a collection of it,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson, who is a native of San Dimas, Calif., said amid every emotion that came with the chaos of college, she always turned to poetry for support.

“When I came to college was when it kind of became a lifeline,” Ferguson said. “I really just needed to write. I moved here from California and was experiencing homesickness and finding new friends and relationship troubles and trying to figure out who I was and my identity. And it kind of became like, ‘Oh, I need to write actually.'”

Ferguson explores many topics throughout the book, ranging from relationships to the feminine experience, with poetic expression and inspiration. When she compiled the poems for her manuscript, she kept everything chronological, as the poems begin the summer before she came to Baylor.

“I loved all of my philosophy classes [where] I read Virginia Woolf. I love Sylvia Plath, who’s another big writer, Simone de Beauvoir. I loved all their work,” Ferguson said. “So I kind of feel like a lot of it is definitely written out of a feminine, female perspective.”

After finishing the writing process, Ferguson began a six-month process of editing, designing and publishing, which she did all by herself leading up to the Jan. 15 release date.

“I ordered the [first] copy and had to redo the cover because it was kind of ugly and had to make sure all pages were aligned and everything like that,” Ferguson said. “And then it was like three weeks into January is when it was finally going out on Amazon for people to buy.”

Ferguson went into the editing and publishing process without prior knowledge and used Amazon’s “Kindle Direct Publishing” platform, which sends a royalty to the author every time a book is purchased.

“I looked into how to create a manuscript and published it through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, which basically allows anyone to upload a book manuscript,” Ferguson said. “So I kind of had to watch a lot of YouTube videos and look up a lot of things like how to create a real manuscript and how to format all of it.”

Grand Canyon University sophomore Alanay Banks, who is Ferguson’s best friend, was one of the first to read the manuscript and encourage the book’s release.

“She shared a Google Drive with me with all her poetry, and then from there, I just had access to the Google Drive,” Banks said. “So every once in a while, I’d go in and read her poetry and keep up to date on it, and I just wanted to encourage her to keep doing that.”

Banks said the topics covered in the book are incredibly deep and are not only personal to Ferguson but also related to the female experience.

“I think it’s some of the deepest things women go through without even realizing it,” Banks said. “I feel like it is personal to her, but a lot of poems in there connect to other people. Especially if you are a teenage girl during these times, then I think it just embodies how it is to be a teenage girl now.”

“everything i didn’t say” is available for purchase on Amazon.

Saints, goddesses and dolls: Baylor professors fill gaps in women’s stories

Dr. Lenore Wright’s work highlights forgotten women’s voice and delves into female characters across all time periods. Photo courtesy of Henry Wright

By Caitlyn Beebe | Reporter

From the birth of the Christian church to Barbie, women’s stories span across all of history — and the research of two Baylor professors is starting to fill in the gaps.

Dr. Beth Allison Barr, the James Vardaman Endowed Professor of History, explored how the role of women in the church has developed throughout history in her book titled “The Making of Biblical Womanhood.”

Despite the patriarchal impulses of the culture around them, Barr said women played an important role in the ancient world and the early church.

“We learn a lot about the church fathers, but what we don’t learn about are the church mothers,” Barr said. “And there’s just as many women running around in early monasticism who are influential in the beginning of the church.”

For example, Barr said St. Marcella, a fourth-century Roman woman, collected biblical manuscripts and taught women how to read biblical languages. St. Jerome’s Latin translation of the Bible relied on this collection and labor, Barr said.

Additionally, Barr said historical evidence suggests women served as presbyters, bishops and deaconesses throughout the sixth century, and it wasn’t until the central Middle Ages that clerical roles became more male-dominated. Even after then, Barr said women never stopped filling clerical roles.

For instance, Barr said St. Hildegard of Bingen, a 12th-century German abbess, wrote poetry, influenced leading bishops and advised the pope.

“She emphasizes the … idea that both women and men are made in the image of God and that both women and men complement each other,” Barr said.

Barr said these women’s stories tended to be left out when history textbooks were written in the 19th century, because the modern education system began to form when women had little legal or public power.

“History is written primarily by men, for men and about men, and women’s voices are left out of it,” Barr said. “We’re still trying to correct that today. We also see nonwhite voices left out of these histories as well.”

Dr. Lenore Wright, the director for the Academy for Teaching and Learning, analyzed motherhood archetypes using religious, mythological and pop culture figures in her work titled “Athena to Barbie.” Wright said she wanted to explore how these archetypes can be used to reinforce or disrupt norms of femininity.

Wright said the Virgin Mary represents the womb as a spiritual space, and some traditions view her as a mediator who stands in solidarity with those who pray to or through her.

“There are moments where she’s given a lot of agency,” Wright said. “Some scholars read her as making a rational choice and assenting to give birth to the Christ-child.”

Conversely, Wright said Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and war, represents the womb as a political space.

“[Athena’s] origin story is so fascinating,” Wright said. “She’s born out of the head of Zeus, so the male imagination creates Athena, and she never gives birth herself. She gives birth to the state.”

Wright said Athena is a symbol for professional women fighting for equal recognition in the public sphere, as society often stigmatizes professional women who aren’t mothers.

“Unless you’ve birthed a child and reared a child, there’s always some question about your legitimacy,” Wright said.

Wright said Venus represents the womb as an erotic space, but she said Venus is often oversimplified. Wright said Venus held the ability to calm violence and bring societal unity.

“Really, her purpose — at least in Roman mythology — was to help bring together men and women,” Wright said.

Meanwhile, Wright said Barbie represents the womb as a material space.

“She should be subversive in a way because she’s not a mother figure,” Wright said.

Wright noted that Barbie appears in several occupations and doesn’t marry or have children. Although contemporary artists have used Barbie to disrupt ideals about femininity, Wright said Barbie retains some of those standards.

“The packaging and the wrapping of Barbie still conforms to feminine ideals and normalization,” Wright said, “She’s not subversive because people look at her and think, ‘Well, she presents as if she could be married and have children.'”

Both Barr and Wright continue to write about gender issues that span history.

Barr is working on two more books about how the role of women in ministry has changed over time.

“As a historian, what I’m attempting to do is to show people that their belief about this is actually not rooted in the Bible, that it’s actually rooted in historical changes,” Barr said.

Wright is authoring a scholarly article relating Barbie to the writings of St. Augustine. She is also working on a companion to “Athena to Barbie” that will analyze masculine archetypes.

“It’s good for all of us just to think together and talk together about, not just feminist thought, but the status of women [and] gender,” Wright said. “Let’s not just give ourselves over to these cultural forces that I do think run the risk of impoverishing who and what we are.”

Why all-women’s acts don’t win All-University Sing

By Shelby Peck | Copy Editor

There’s something about watching 90 fraternity brothers wearing gingerbread costumes while singing and dancing to a compilation of ‘90s pop that you really can’t explain.

But at Baylor, it somehow makes sense.

All-University Sing brings out a little bit of everyone’s inner theater kid, and audiences are continually amazed at how dedicated college men are to their seven minutes of Waco Hall fame.

I’m not saying they don’t deserve the praise. It’s no easy task to perfectly sync choreography, not to mention create an entire act that’s not only entertaining but also compelling and excellently executed.

What I am saying, however, is that maybe some of the praise all-men’s acts receive is because of expectations placed upon them. No one expects a 20-year-old male college student to whip out a near-perfect rendition of “My Way” by Frank Sinatra or dance to The Rolling Stones and make it look impressive.

These expectations for men create sky-high expectations for women, which I argue is part of why an all-women’s act hasn’t won Sing since 2016.

Sing is judged on five categories: entertainment value (30 points), musical quality (20 points), choreography (20 points), creativity (15 points) and theme development (15 points). While creativity and theme development don’t seem to be as easily influenced by who comprises the group taking the stage, entertainment value, musical quality and choreography — 70% of the scorecard — carry more discrepancies.

Starting with entertainment value, the largest component of judging, audiences just seem to like all-men’s acts more. They’re more entertained by watching college men fight giant green swamp monsters than by seeing college women follow their counts perfectly (which, to some extent, I understand — that was one act you had to be there for).

However, all-women’s acts are already placed at a disadvantage, just because it’s infinitely harder for them to carry out that “wow” or “shock” factor that is so much more attainable for all-men’s acts. The humor typically evoked by all-men’s acts simply wouldn’t bring the same results if attempted by an all-women’s act.

This leads me to choreography — 20% of the scorecard. It’s impressive when college men dance in perfect sync. But it’s equally impressive when college women do the same. The expectation that all women who participate in Sing have danced their whole lives must be thrown out the window. In most all-women’s acts, the front two rows are the lifelong dancers, while the rest of the members are learning intricate and challenging choreography all within six weeks.

And while some men’s acts hire a choreographer, women’s acts typically choreograph their acts in house, showcasing the depth of talents and personalities present within their organizations. Just because women aren’t stomping and creating complex choreography by introducing more sound doesn’t mean the moves they use aren’t impressive or worthy of the same admiration.

Regarding musical quality — 20% of the scorecard — women’s voices are more harshly compared to one another. When a man sings a solo in his act, it’s said to sound impressive because he has a good voice. Sure, there might be differences between male soloists, such as if one sings more in the blues than another, but overall, their voices are pretty easily admired.

Female soloists, however, are compared and critiqued more harshly. It takes much more for their voices to transcend “just good” and to truly stand out because of previous expectations that women should have good voices.

All of the acts that have won Sing since 2016 are impressive, and I’m not trying to undermine their success. Sing is a beloved tradition that strengthens bonds between members of any organization, giving students a break from schoolwork and the chance to build memories of the good ol’ days.

As we watch Sing next year, however, I challenge us to revisit our expectations. Ask yourself what is entertaining and what is excellent, and why you believe an act fits in either category (or both). I don’t think it’s a coincidence all six of the people’s choice awards from this year went to all-women’s acts.

For now, the winners should enjoy their spotlight, and all organizations should be proud of the dedication and hard work they gave their respective acts, regardless of the outcome.

And I hope that in 2025, we see girls get the gold.

Women’s History Month isn’t just for the girls

Gwen Henry | Cartoonist

By The Editorial Board

Like any and all heritage months, Women’s History Month gets the same criticism. People often express the idea that Women’s History Month excludes men, but it’s time we realized that this month is for all of us — an opportunity to reflect on our history and grow from it together.

After all, what’s good for women is good for men. The International Psychoanalytical Association explained that patriarchy actually hurts both genders. Because gender roles can be extremely pervasive, many women struggle with the idea that if they command a room or put their career above having a family, they will be seen as bossy or domineering. Conversely, patriarchy tries to convince men that vulnerability is a liability, not a strength, and that being sensitive or being a caregiver is feminine or weak.

The pressure to “man up” is a contributing factor to poor mental health among men, which has resulted in higher suicide rates than ever. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were over 39,000 deaths by suicide among American men in 2022, compared to about 10,000 among women.

In a world where men are seen as weak for opening up about their mental health or for expressing emotion, bottling these feelings up leads directly to the isolation and depression that is causing these suicide rates. According to the National Institutes of Health, men are far less likely to seek therapy than women who, on the other hand, are expected to be emotional or even “weak,” so there is more stigma in reaching out for help.

That isn’t to say that women aren’t hurt by patriarchy and gender roles; they are just impacted in different ways. The National Eating Disorders Association reported that in 2020, eating disorders were twice as prevalent among women than men. The underlying cause of this is usually unrealistic beauty standards and social media trends that encourage unhealthy habits.

Outdated, restrictive ideas like these affect all of us, so it’s time to get rid of the “this has nothing to do with me” mentality.

It isn’t just about stereotypes, either. Women’s history is American history, and this month gives us all an opportunity to reflect on how women have impacted our country for centuries. Women’s movements were closely intertwined with abolition and other civil rights movements, and women have been at the forefront of social change, even when they weren’t able to vote. Denying that Women’s History Month has anything to do with men ignores how women have fought for the rights of others — and that includes men of color and working class men.

During Women’s History Month, it doesn’t matter if you’re a woman or not. If you aren’t a woman, take the time to listen to the women in your life. Hear their perspectives and learn from their experiences. This month provides a great opportunity for all of us to reflect on parts of our society that are negatively affecting us and to work to move past it together.

From separate universities to equal opportunities: The shared roots of Baylor, UMHB

The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor grew out of Baylor's female department and experienced five name changes before adopting its current one. Photo courtesy of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor

By Rory Dulock | Staff Writer

Like many older universities in the nation, Baylor has witnessed significant advances for women in education. From the creation of a separate university for women to the establishment of equal opportunities for them, Baylor has seen a transformation throughout its history.

Baylor was chartered by the Republic of Texas in 1845 through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, including its namesake, Judge R.E.B. Baylor. The university was co-educational until 1851, when a male department and a female department were created. Then, in 1866, the female department got its own charter and separated from Baylor University to become what is now known as the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.

Dr. Andrea Turpin, associate professor of history and graduate program director, said around 1837, before Baylor was founded, women were starting to be admitted into higher education in the U.S.

“For Baylor, which was not as progressive on average on these sorts of things, to go co-educational in 1845 was pretty progressive,” Turpin said. “Co-education [and] women’s higher education … was very new.”

Elizabeth Norvell, associate director of museum and alumni engagement at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, said the female department went through five name changes over the years. It became Baylor Female College in 1866, Baylor College for Women in 1925, Mary Hardin-Baylor College in 1934 and finally University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in 1978.

Originally, we were the female department that was allowed for in the original charter that was in 1845,” Norvell said. “In 1866, we got our own charter, and then we moved to Belton.”

At the time, Norvell said separating from the male department was done in the best interest of those in the female department.

“There was a lot of conflict on leadership and how leadership within the college should be conducted, whether the president of the university should also be the principal of the female department,” Norvell said. “Because of the separate physical locations, I think it was really hard to manage both under one umbrella of leadership, so separating actually made a lot of sense.”

Around 1887, Baylor began readmitting women and became co-educational again. Turpin said by 1900, almost 50% of undergraduates were women, which was a huge burst from 1870, when only 20% of undergraduates were women.

“It’s a huge floodgate, and a lot of it has to do with opportunities to teach, which is the expansion of common schooling, so public schooling in the new nation,” Turpin said. “Women don’t get paid the same as men until 1963 by law, and so with your tax dollars to fund a school, it’s easier and cheaper to have women teach it. And also, it went with the ideology at the time that mothers were good at teaching kids, so it was a profession for women that was accepted.”

Turpin said the advent of other professions also brought many women to university.

“In addition to teaching, there are new female professions of social work or nursing that women are sort of channeled into during this time, whereas men are channeled more into business, into positions in higher education or into science,” Turpin said.

Later on, during the second-wave feminism of the 1960s, Turpin said students began to demand new areas of study.

“The initial women to attend graduate education in large numbers in the field of history in the 1960s and 70s changed the field of history and started calling for more study of people like them, of women’s history,” Turpin said.

Turpin said this moment in the history of education changed the way subjects were taught, as the diversity of institutions required people to ask questions about equity and inclusion.

“It’s important when colleges integrate racially, it’s important when they admit women as well as men, because different students ask different questions,” Turpin said. “And that causes us to restudy the past, but to restudy any field from the perspective of different people. We learn more when more people are educated and asking different questions.”

Turpin said the advancements that have brought Baylor to where it is today enable those within the university to have meaningful conversations with one another.

“I think that Baylor has an opportunity to say unique things as an institution that has people of diverse backgrounds, … speaking from within the Christian tradition but also representing a lot of different faiths,” Turpin said. “It can have unique conversations that are not possible anywhere else.”

That co-ed Baylor Line: Beloved tradition celebrates 30 years since expansion

In 2017, Baylor alumnae from 1974-98 were invited to run the Line for the first time. Photo courtesy of Baylor Proud

By Ashlyn Kennedy | Reporter

While the Baylor Line has been showcasing school spirit on the football field since 1970, the beloved campus tradition has only been open to women for the past 30 years.

When the Baylor Line was first established, only men were allowed to run. The following year, the Baylor Sideline was created as a “parallel organization” for women so they could support the football team in alternate ways.

Baylor alumna Dana Lee Haines, who currently works in financial services, participated in the Sideline as a freshman.

“We made cookies and brownies for football players, and we had a shirt that said ‘Baylor Sideline,’” Haines said. “I didn’t consider [not running the Line] that big of a deal since we had that.”

Baylor alumna Dr. Kim Scott, who currently serves as director of campus recreation, grew up in the Waco area and began attending the university in the fall of 1980. She said she always wanted to run the Line but was told that “girls weren’t allowed to run” as a freshman.

I was just disappointed,” Scott said. “That’s just the way it was, and that’s what we knew at the time.”

In 1994 — 24 years after its founding — the Line became a co-ed line and paved the way for generations to come.

Baylor alumna Monica Pope started attending Baylor in 1999 and got to run the Line five years after it had expanded. She said her experience was “colored” by the recent changes.

“I felt fortunate that I had the opportunity to do it, because it was something other women hadn’t gotten a chance to do,” Pope said. “That drove me to do it.”

Pope said it is special for the Line to include all freshmen because it allows students to come together in school spirit.

“Being excited about Baylor football is not exclusive to men,” Pope said. “Having women there, it’s just a more collective experience for the people who are excited about Baylor football.

Over two decades of female Baylor graduates were unable to run the Line during their time at the university, but that changed in 2017 when President Linda Livingstone invited alumnae who were freshmen between 1970 and 1994 to participate in a ceremonial running of the Line. On Oct. 28, 2017, more than 800 women ran the Line for the first time.

Scott said the day was like a “mini homecoming,” and the enthusiasm was palpable.

“You could just feel the excitement,” Scott said. “It wasn’t born out of any pain we felt. It was just born out of a common experience we were excited to be a part of.”

Haines ran the Line with several friends from different graduating classes. She said the event was a special opportunity to connect alumnae back to the university.

Freshmen get to do it every game, but we’re not ever going to do it again,” Haines said. “For us to get to do it as the women who didn’t get to do it back then, it was such an honor.”

Jordy Dickey, director of Student Activities, said the Line is an important milestone for all students because it is “a tangible representation of the spirit of Baylor.”

“We’re positioning these traditions to really reflect our mission holistically,” Dickey said. “We look at how these moments, no matter how they were designed, really reflect today’s students but also reflect who we say that we are: a caring Christian community that loves and cares for all individuals.”

Baylor alumna Alison Cherry graduated from Baylor in 1995 and never ran the Line. She said she didn’t even think of the impact until touring the university with her daughter and getting to watch her run the Line.

“There’s a lot of things that have changed from when I was here to now,” Cherry said. “It’s little changes like [the Baylor Line becoming co-ed] that build the foundation for bigger changes.”

Dickey said it’s important to acknowledge the history of the Line while also moving forward in making traditions accessible to all future students.

“That’s the powerful thing about traditions — that they can be long-standing, but we can also make them better for future generations,” Dickey said. “We want to reconcile those moments so that it can provide a powerful way for our alumni to really feel a deeper connection to their institution.”

Society of Women Engineers challenges stereotypes in male-dominated field

The Society of Women Engineers gives a sense of community with opportunities for female engineers to reach their goals. Photo courtesy of Macy Schmetzer

By Ashlyn Beck | Staff Writer

In the midst of a male-dominated field, the Society of Women Engineers at Baylor is dedicated to giving female engineers a sense of community along with opportunities to further their career goals.

Kenosha, Wis., junior Lily Peterson serves as the program director and service outreach director for the organization. She said she first got involved after seeing its booth at Late Night. She then joined its freshman council, which trains freshmen to grow in their leadership abilities before becoming officers.

“[The Society of Women Engineers] really strives to just build a healthy community,” Peterson said. “We realize that this is more of a minority type of thing. Let’s find a way that we can advocate for that minority to build balance and equality in the field.”

Peterson said the organization is important for female engineers at Baylor because it provides a sense of belonging in an intimidating, male-dominated field.

“I like the idea that we have this commonality,” Peterson said. “We know the adversity that we’re all facing, and [we’re] doing it together.”

The commonality of the members helps build their confidence and gives them a safe space in the field, Peterson said.

“Those people that understand my situation are not going to judge me simply because I am not in the majority,” Peterson said.

Valparaiso, Ind., junior Macey Schmetzer is the president of the organization. She said participation in the Society of Women Engineers gives female engineers credibility and helps portray them as valid players in STEM, as it has been well-organized at Baylor for a very long time.

“[We’re] building that connection and giving women a route of success that they might not have known about, like giving them those paths and channels to succeed,” Peterson said.

Schmetzer said one of the best qualities of the organization is its size. While there is a small group of officers and consistent attendees, she said there are about 90 to 100 women who are considered members.

“It feels like there’s no women in my classes. It feels really small,” Schmetzer said. “But when you put everyone in a room and you look at this list of everyone who’s in [the Society of Women Engineers], there is a good amount of us.”

According to Peterson and Schemtzer, the presence of the Society of Women Engineers on campus challenges the sexism inherent in the field.

“I think [the Society of Women Engineers] makes it harder for men to ignore the female presence by saying, ‘Hey, there’s more than just one of us who has this belief, who has this passion for STEM. You kind of have to let us in at some point,’” Peterson said.

Peterson and Schmetzer both said being a woman in a male-dominated field is intimidating. They said women are usually one of very few in their engineering classes and tend to clump together as a defense mechanism.

“If you go in as a minority in situations like this, you go in expecting and fearing judgment,” Peterson said.

Peterson said the sexism she faces in the field is very subtle, but it manifests in things like her labs, where the men of the group naturally take charge and reject her ideas.

“It’s a little bit harder to get people’s attention or get them to listen to you and think what you’re saying is correct,” Schmetzer said. “They kind of write you off.”

Though the sexism is rarely explicit, Peterson said it still scares many women into remaining silent about their opinions. She said she notices herself and other women being afraid to ask questions out of fear of losing the respect of their peers.

“It’s kind of like [they’re] looking at you, waiting for you to fail, so they can say, ‘That makes sense. That’s what we expected,’” Peterson said.

Peterson and Schmetzer both said they must be hyperactive to share their ideas, and it usually takes a lot of effort to gain respect among their peers.

“People don’t take the things we say quite as seriously,” Schmetzer said. “We have to really convince them that we’re right.”

However, Peterson and Schmetzer both said the Society of Women Engineers challenges those ideas and gives women the confidence to challenge them themselves.

“Having multiple voices backing you up — I think that on its own helps women have that willingness to challenge the status quo and to kind of go about their passions and things like that, because they know they’re not alone,” Peterson said.

The Society of Women Engineers is a place that shows female engineers that there are others like them and that others will be on their side, Peterson said.

“You’re going to see challenges. You’re going to see that kind of daily casual sexism and just the presence of more males,” Peterson said. “[We’re] just encouraging them to keep going, encouraging women to have that passion for [STEM] as opposed to letting those stereotypes weigh them down.”

Meet the ‘cool aunt’ of Baylor’s science department

Dr. Rizalia Klausmeyer (second from left) stands with members of the Baylor chapter of Women in Science and Engineering. Photo courtesy of Dr. Rizalia Klausmeyer

By Josh Siatkowski | Staff Writer

Dr. Rizalia Klausmeyer, senior lecturer in Baylor’s chemistry department, never planned to become a professor. Now she’s in her 24th year at Baylor, serving the campus community in a myriad of different ways.

Klausmeyer arrived at Baylor in 2000, and she now balances teaching with her other roles, like director and co-founder of Science Research Fellows, director of undergraduate research and chair of Baylor’s branch of Women in Science and Engineering.

Dover, N.H., junior James Lotter is a Science Research Fellow and has known Klausmeyer since he came to Baylor in fall 2021. Lotter said he and his peers often call Klausmeyer the “cool aunt” of the university.

“She’s very charismatic,” Lotter said. “She makes you feel very comfortable. It can be very daunting as a freshman. … But when you’re around her, you can tell she knows her stuff, and you know it’s going to be OK.”

Lotter also said Klausmeyer has a strong will that has been helpful when advocating for students.

“She has a strong character and doesn’t deviate,” Lotter said. “You know she’s going to get it done.”

Although her personality is suited nicely for helping students navigate stressful professions in the sciences, teaching wasn’t in Klausmeyer’s original plan.

Klausmeyer was born in Puerto Rico and grew up on the dairy farm that her father managed. Although her mother was a school principal, Klausmeyer said she was never encouraged to go into teaching.

“Even though [my mother] loved teaching, she said, ‘Don’t go into teaching,’” Klausmeyer said. “You know how parents are. They want their kids to be doctors, lawyers or engineers. Those are the top three.”

Following her parents’ hopes for her, Klausmeyer enrolled at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, as a pre-medicine student. However, after an unsettling anatomy lab in which she and her classmates had to dissect an abnormally large cat, Klausmeyer learned she had no interest in medicine.

“That thing was apparently a well-fed cat because it was massive,” Klausmeyer said, laughing. “[The lab] is forever in my mind as the grossest experience ever.”

Deciding to nurture her love of science while avoiding any more dissections, Klausmeyer switched to an organic chemistry major with the intention of working for a chemical company in Puerto Rico after she got her degree. However, at the advice of a graduate student mentor, she applied for a Ph.D. program in organic chemistry, ending up at Texas A&M.

Though she was still expecting to return to Puerto Rico after her Ph.D. was completed, Klausmeyer’s trajectory changed while at Texas A&M.

“At Texas A&M, I met my husband, Dr. Kevin Klausmeyer,” Klausmeyer said. “And he wanted to be a professor, … and I knew that if he wanted to be a professor, we had to go wherever a position opened.”

Her husband took a brief role at the University of Illinois, so Klausmeyer applied to teach there too, even though the idea of becoming a professor “had never crossed [her] mind.”

Though a new one, the experience went quite well.

“Apparently, I did not know this at all, I had a knack for teaching,” Klausmeyer said. “And I loved it.”

Her husband, however, left just a few years after starting at Illinois, accepting an offer to teach at Baylor. This transition, along with the birth of their first daughter, seemed to be closing the door on a career in teaching.

“I was supposed to be a stay-at-home mom,” Klausmeyer said.

Klausmeyer was a stay-at-home mom for about a month. The Klausmeyers moved to Waco in August 2000, and by September, a sick professor’s leave had already opened a spot in Baylor’s chemistry department. Her husband suggested that she fill the role temporarily, to which the administration agreed.

“[The sick professor] never came back, and I am still here waiting here for her,” Klausmeyer said.

Klausmeyer did far more than simply wait, addressing needs whenever they came up. In 2013, feeling isolated after moving her office to Earle Hall, Klausmeyer founded a chapter of Women in Science and Engineering.

“I wanted the women in the building to be connected, because sometimes you just need someone to talk to,” Klausmeyer said.

In 2017, Klausmeyer helped found Science Research Fellows — a major that allows undergraduate students to participate in scientific research. Part of the exigence for the program, Klausmeyer said, came from her own experience.

“You can’t just knock on doors until someone accepts you. Why? Because I did that. It doesn’t work.”

Ultimately, Klausmeyer said she does it all for her students.

“I’m here to defend the students and protect the students. I will do anything for my students.”

Running shouldn’t be a death sentence

By Jenna Fitzgerald | Editor-in-Chief

Laken Riley did all the right things.

She ran in the daylight. She stuck to a popular route on the University of Georgia campus. She let her friend know when and where she was going.

And none of it mattered, because the 22-year-old nursing student was just the next woman in line to lace up her shoes and never make it back home.

In 2022, kindergarten teacher Eliza Fletcher left for her 8.2-mile run around the University of Memphis campus. She was found four days later with a gunshot wound to the head, blunt-force trauma to the leg and jaw fractures.

In 2020, nurse Sydney Sutherland went on a jog near Newport, Ark. Her body was discovered two days later, and she had been rammed with a truck, raped and beaten to death.

In 2018, University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts headed for a run in her rural hometown. She was found 34 days later, hidden under corn leaves and marked by stab wounds.

As I train for my first half-marathon and try to pack in 20 miles every week, I think about these women. After all, the ROAD iD that slides under my shoelaces serves as a constant reminder of the risk of crimes of opportunity — a risk female runners are taught to fear from the moment they step outside.

In a 2023 study by Adidas, 92% of female runners reported feeling concerned for their safety, while 38% reported having experienced physical or verbal harassment. Of the latter group, 56% received unwanted attention, 55% received sexist comments, 53% were honked at and 50% were followed.

How many women have to be murdered and harassed before we take their safety seriously?

In response to the 2023 study, Adidas released an ad called “The Ridiculous Run,” showcasing how absurd a run must become for a woman to feel safe. The woman is seen wearing loose clothing and one headphone, surrounded by other runners, bikers, skaters and a literal protective crew.

It’s crazy — almost as crazy as the fact that it’s true.

Women should be able to run in a sports bra with both of their AirPods without fearing for their lives. Women should be able to run alone on a trail without fearing for their lives. Women should be able to run in the dark without fearing for their lives. Women should be able to run without fearing for their lives.

My heart shattered when I read the news about Laken Riley. Her murder was the first homicide on the University of Georgia campus in almost 30 years, and it should serve as a humbling reminder that things like this can happen anywhere. The twists and turns of Cameron Park and the Bear Trail are certainly not much different terrain.

Women, be vigilant. Men, be conscious of your behavior when passing solo female runners. The running community is one of the most uplifting I have experienced, and we must come together to create a safe environment for everyone. I think we can all agree that women deserve to lace up their shoes without having to question whether they will make it back home.

Until that dream turns into reality, though, I will continue my ritual of taking a moment to look down at the ROAD iD under my shoelaces before I head out the door. Under all the usual information, like my name and emergency contacts, is a phrase: “ad majorem Dei gloriam” or “for the greater glory of God.”

I look down at it, and I pray — not for sunny weather or a personal best but for the simple chance to exercise peacefully in creation.

May the Lord bless Laken Riley.

‘If I can do it, you can do it’: First Black female Waco police chief talks importance of community outreach

Sheryl Victorian is the Waco Police Department’s first female and Black police chief.. Photo courtesy of Sheryl Victorian

By Luke Lattanzi | Staff Writer

Waco Police Chief Sheryl Victorian was sworn in as the first woman and Black police chief in the city’s history on March 15, 2021. Since then, her main priority has been to build a closer relationship between police officers and the community they serve.

Victorian started her career in law enforcement with the Houston Police Department, where she served for 28 years. She worked her way up to the assistant chief position and served in that capacity for three and a half years.

She also has a master’s in criminal justice from the University of Houston and a Ph.D. in administration of justice from Texas Southern University.

Despite her extensive career, Victorian’s first impression of law enforcement was a negative one. While she said her family never had any bad interactions with police officers growing up, she was nevertheless afraid of law enforcement as a little girl.

“My mom would take me to the store just to try to get me to shake this constable’s hand,” Victorian said. “And I would fall out, and … at 4 or 5 years old, I’m [like], ‘Ahh no!’”

Victorian said the fear may have come from someone in her neighborhood warning her that police officers would take her to jail, making her believe any interaction she had with them would result in her being arrested.

However, Victorian’s impression of law enforcement changed after her father died when she was 9 years old.

“There were police officers standing there when we came out of the [funeral home],” Victorian said. “And they were compassionate. They were empathetic. And I watched them — I guess just to keep my mind off what was going on.”

However, Victorian’s biggest childhood inspiration would come from the popular TV shows “Miami Vice” and “Beverly Hills Cops.” By the time she turned 15, she knew what she wanted to do.

“I always felt like cops had character, integrity,” Victorian said. “So I walked a straight and narrow [path], because I was like, ‘You can’t do that being a police officer. I’m not going to get into the academy if I make bad decisions or hang with this group of people, right?’”

Victorian’s dreams of becoming an undercover police officer eventually came true, as she graduated from college and went straight to the academy afterward. Throughout her law enforcement career, she did undercover work for over 11 years.

Victorian’s outlook would go through yet another major change when she was offered the job as Waco’s police chief. While she already had leadership experience as assistant chief in Houston, she still needed to seek approval from those above her in order to make certain decisions in that role.

“A lot of my family and friends came down [to Waco for the swearing-in ceremony] from Houston,” Victorian said. “My old chief pinned my badge on me, and I stood up with this new air of confidence because I knew now the buck stopped with me. And this was my opportunity to be able to form a culture and to be able to lead and guide a police department into the 21st century.”

While she said the Waco Police Department was already a great organization before her tenure as police chief, Victorian wanted to push the envelope even further and foster a stronger trust between police and the broader Waco community. She said this effort was especially important at the time, as the killing of George Floyd had sparked nationwide outrage and protests against police brutality in 2020.

That outreach would come in the form of “back-to-school bashes,” where the Waco Police Department worked closely with the community to give out free backpacks to children. After the first back-to-school bash in August 2021, Victorian said she was shocked by the department’s incredible effort as well as the community’s receptiveness.

“I had tears in my eyes because I was like, ‘Oh my God, [the department and the community] went above and beyond what I expected, and we gave away so many backpacks,’” Victorian said. “The kids had an opportunity to see our SWAT, our canine guys, our community partners. The McLennan County Sheriff’s Office helped out, [as well as the] neighborhood association. It was a fantastic response.”

Victorian said the event was a great way to humanize police officers, especially at a time when faith in them had been challenged by nationwide conversations about police brutality.

“We care about your future,” Victorian said. “That thing that somebody may have told me a long time ago about, ‘They’re going to put you in jail’ — no, we don’t want to have to put you in jail. We want to make sure that you’re successful in school.”

Last year’s back-to-school bash was held at Richland Mall, where about 1,500 backpacks were given away. That outreach has expanded over the years to include other events, such as the Waco Police Department’s annual Halloween “Trunk or Treat.”

Victorian said that while she wants the police department to have officers who can handle themselves in dangerous situations, she also looks for officers whose character lines up with this mission.

“We want people who are compassionate, people who are empathetic, people who can do some perspective-taking,” Victorian said. “Yeah, we still need people who can handle themselves in difficult situations and critical incidents. But we need people who love people. If you don’t love people, then you really shouldn’t do this job.”

In addition, Victorian said it is important to make the law enforcement profession more accessible to women. According to the 30×30 Initiative — an organization devoted to having women make up 30% of all police recruits by 2030 — women account for just 13% of all police officers in the U.S., while they make up just 3% of police leadership.

“There are a couple of schools … where I’ve had one young lady who stopped me and said, ‘I didn’t know girls could be the police,’” Victorian said. “And I go, ‘Yes, you can. If I can be the police, you can be the police.'”

Victorian said young women who have law enforcement aspirations should find female mentors in the profession. She said a great way to get involved is at the Women in Public Safety Symposium, which will be on March 11. This event will provide networking opportunities for women interested in policing as well as medical support services and firefighting.

“Last night, we had a Citizens Police Academy going on, and there were three young ladies in there, and all of them mentioned that at some point they wanted to be police officers,” Victorian said. “And I was like, ‘Come talk to me. Come sit down and talk to me, and ask me those questions and those things that may concern you. We can talk about it, and we can get over it, because if I can do it, you can do it.’”

Ja’Kobe Walter silences Frogs as No. 15 Baylor men’s basketball tops TCU 62-54

Freshman guard Ja'Kobe Walter (4) has scored in double figures in six straight games following a three-game stretch without scoring more than eight points. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Foster Nicholas | Sports Writer

After splashing a corner 3-pointer six minutes into the second half and giving No. 15 Baylor men’s basketball its first double-digit lead of the game, freshman guard Ja’Kobe Walter blew a kiss toward the TCU student section.

From there, it was all Bears as they snapped a two-game losing streak by taking down the Horned Frogs 62-54 on Monday night at Schollmaier Arena in Fort Worth.

“They were chanting ‘air ball’ after I missed, obviously I air-balled,” Walter said. “But next one I’m still shooting. Knocked it down, I had to shut them up, so I blew them a kiss.”

Following a triple-overtime loss to the Horned Frogs in Waco on Jan. 28, head coach Scott Drew and Baylor (20-8, 9-6 Big 12) claimed possession of fourth place in the Big 12 with Monday’s win over TCU (19-9, 8-7).

“Normally every game comes down to one possession, and we were blessed defensively to contest some shots,” Drew said. “They missed some shots. Coach [Jamie] Dixon is a great coach; they had some good looks. 5 for 19 [shooting from deep] is not a typical outing by them. But I’d like to credit our defense a little bit too, and I thought we did a good job of making things difficult for [them] some of the time.

“The big thing is, when you play TCU, you have to do a good job on the glass and we did that. You have to do a good job in transition and we did a good job of keeping them out of transition for most of the night.”

Walter and fellow freshman center Yves Missi each led the Bears with 16 points apiece, while senior forward Jalen Bridges added 15. Although senior guard RayJ Dennis didn’t reach double-digit points, he ended the game on a triple-double watch with nine points, nine rebounds and nine assists.

Bridges helped slingshot Baylor out of the gate, knocking down all four of his 3-point shots in the first 8:04. However, after Bridges’ tear, both offenses stalled out with each team only making eight first-half field goals and forfeiting nine turnovers each. Neither team scored in nearly the final five minutes of the half, and the Bears clung to a 25-23 lead at halftime.

“I thought Jalen has really been consistent, but then in the last couple of games he’s been more aggressive, and we need that,” Drew said. “He has the most experience. We have four guys who are starting who have never played in a Big 12 game before [this year]. So we need his leadership, we need him to be assertive, and he was great tonight.”

The Bears held the Frogs to just 33.3% shooting and bounced between different zone schemes and man defenses all night.

“I think it’s the mindset that we had coming into the game, considering we lost to them in triple-overtime last time,” Walter said when asked about the defensive effort. “We just had a lot of motivation and really wanted to focus on the defensive end, and just get out and score on the offensive end.”

Baylor mimicked its strong first-half start in the second half, going on a 10-0 run that was capped off by Walter’s kiss toward the TCU faithful. After finding their biggest lead of the game at the time — by a score of 42-31 — Dennis manned the ship and found Missi, who scored a bulk of his points in the painted area in the second half.

“If we can get in the paint, normally we get a pretty good shot,” Dennis said on ESPN 1660 Central Texas AM radio. “And I like to live in there anyway, and pass and make plays.”

The Bears fended off a late TCU run as Walter and Missi combined for more points in the second half (25) than the Frogs scored in the first 20 minutes of the game (23). In addition, Baylor tallied 16 points in the paint and 14 points off turnovers in the second half to roll to the 62-54 victory.

The Bears will look for redemption on Saturday when No. 7 Kansas (21-6, 9-5) comes to town. The Jayhawks took the first duel of the season between the two 64-61 back on Feb. 10 in Manhattan, Kan. Tipoff is scheduled for noon at Foster Pavilion on ABC.

“We’re looking forward to it,” Dennis said. “Don’t want to lose at home, right? I mean, we know how tough it is to win on the road, so we want to protect home court.”

Baylor baseball loses emerging outfielder Hunter Simmons to season-ending injury

Senior outfielder Hunter Simmons (9) suffered an ankle fracture in Baylor baseball's 8-4 loss to No. 22 Indiana on Friday at Baylor Ballpark. Kassidy Tsikitas | Photo Editor

By Foster Nicholas | Sports Writer

Baylor baseball senior outfielder Hunter Simmons suffered a season-ending right leg injury in Friday night’s series opener against No. 22 Indiana, head coach Mitch Thompson announced on Monday.

Simmons is the latest of four batters who will be sidelined for the entire 2024 season, as he had successful surgery on Saturday to repair an ankle fracture that he suffered after crashing into the left-field wall trying to chase down a deep fly ball. Redshirt sophomore outfielder Gavin Brzozowski, sophomore infielder Jack Little and freshman outfielder John Youens are the others who will miss the full season.

“Our team has been hit pretty hard by the injury bug here early in the season,” Thompson said in a press release. “While we were already dealing with the losses of Gavin Brzozowski, Jack Little and John Youens, we were very disappointed to lose Hunter Simmons for the season as well. Hunter is a beloved member of this team.

“His leadership, presence and experience will be missed in the middle of our lineup. While we understand that injuries are a part of the game, they are never something we want to see, especially when they are as major as what happened to Hunter on Friday night.”

Simmons was coming off a breakout 2023 season and was off to the races, hitting .353 across four games with six hits, including two doubles, a triple, a home run and six runs batted in. The senior played three games as the team’s designated hitter before getting his second start as the left fielder on Friday night.

“I am thankful for the great care that Gavin, Jack, John and Hunter have received from our athletic training staff and doctors, and want to give a special thanks to our athletic trainer Josh Barnhill, the game day personnel and the emergency medical staff at Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Hospital who all helped Hunter this weekend,” Thompson said. “We have already started the process of rehabbing these injuries and getting all four of these guys back to full health. I know the Baylor and Waco community will show up big time in helping all of them get back to being fully healthy and on the field.”

With all the injuries for the Bears piling up on the diamond, Baylor is without three outfield pieces and has seen its highly anticipated preseason depth quickly deplete.

“Well, we’re going to have to figure it out,” Thompson said when asked about who will fill in from here on out after Baylor’s 8-4 loss on Friday. “There’s going to be several different options. We have several different guys that we can go with, and we’ll see. But yeah, we’re going to have to come up with an answer, and there’s opportunity for other guys to step up and get after it.”

It’s unknown whether Simmons will take a medical redshirt to maintain eligibility.

“All of our prayers to their left fielder, the Simmons kid,” Indiana head coach Jeff Mercer told The Lariat on Friday. “He’s a great player. His numbers were terrific. And I always say a prayer before every game that everybody on both teams comes out healthy, and it just stinks. That’s really sad and terrible. I wish the best for him.”

The Bears (1-6) will continue their seasonlong nine-game homestand against Abilene Christian on Wednesday, with first pitch scheduled for 4 p.m. They were swept by the Hoosiers over the weekend.

ICYMI: No. 22 Baylor softball dominates, No. 1 acro & tumbling bests No. 2 Oregon

The Compulsory Pyramid, 7-element Acro and 6-element Tumbling heats all earned No. 1 Baylor acrobatics and tumbling's highest score of Sunday with a 9.95. Camie Jobe | Photographer

By Michael Haag | Sports Editor

With 17 total events from Friday to Sunday, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with everything regarding Baylor Athletics. If you’re new here, welcome to the springtime. Here is everything you may have missed over the stacked slate.

Baylor track and field completes final day of Big 12 Indoor Championship

Baylor track and field saw 12 individuals, as well as two relay teams, wrap up the Big 12 Indoor Track and Field Championships with All-Conference awards on Saturday evening at Texas Tech’s Sports Performance Center in Lubbock.

The Bears’ women’s squad took fifth place with 44 points, while the men’s side finished in 10th place with 31 points. Nineteen Baylor athletes ended up with All-Big 12 honors across the two-day event.

“Nate [Ezekiel] and Demar [Francis] both had great performances today, placing third in 400m and 200m,” head coach Michael Ford said. “Gary Moore’s personal best in the shot put was huge for us. Coach Chak had a great meet scoring in the weights and shots on both sides. Laurenz [Colbert] had a good meet placing in both the 200m and 60m, especially after being out most of last year due to injuries.

“Alexis Brown continues to amaze me, placing in the long jump yesterday and today scoring in the 60m in fourth place. I am also happy that the 4×4 got a season-best today and really competed hard. I am looking forward to the outdoor season with both teams, which starts this upcoming weekend, and I am excited for the NCAA indoor selections this week.”

Baylor announced on Monday that its Baylor Invitational is canceled due to limited entry numbers, but the Bears will head to the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships March 8-9 in Boston.

No. 11 Baylor’s rally comes up short in 82-76 overtime loss to No. 2 Houston

No. 11 Baylor men’s basketball had all the momentum when it scored the first two points of overtime, taking its first lead of the game over No. 2 Houston.

The Cougars put that to rest with a 9-1 run over the next four minutes though, and they pulled out their 10th win in 11 games with an 82-76 victory on Saturday afternoon in the Foster Pavilion.

“When you get easier buckets, you’re able to get some confidence, and then you get the crowd involved and get momentum and it all kind of snowballs,” head coach Scott Drew said. “And unfortunately, we couldn’t get any of that in the first half.”

Baylor has a quick turnaround game at TCU, as tipoff is set for 8 p.m. on Monday in the Schollmaier Arena in Fort Worth. The Big Monday contest will be broadcast on ESPN.

Van Gytenbeek’s two free throws lift No. 24 Baylor women’s basketball over No. 22 West Virginia 66-65

No. 24 Baylor women’s basketball pulled out a nail-biting 66-65 win against No. 22 West Virginia on Saturday afternoon in the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown, W.Va.

The Bears (21-6, 10-6 Big 12) lost a double-digit lead to the Mountaineers (22-5, 11-5 Big 12) when WVU junior guard JJ Quinerly scored a 3-pointer to make it 64-65. Baylor senior guard Jana Van Gytenbeek stepped in for junior guard Jada Walker after Quinerly was forced to foul.

“When your head coach gives you a bear hug and tells you she has all the faith in the world in you, it’s pretty easy for you to feel confident in that moment,” Van Gytenbeek said. “That could make me cry. I’m going to credit that to Nicki and all the other coaches and teammates who told me I was going to make this.”

The team will stay on the road, as it heads to Cincinnati to play Cincinnati (13-14, 5-11 Big 12) on Tuesday before wrapping up the regular season against Oklahoma State (13-14, 6-10 Big 12) on Sunday in the Foster Pavilion.

No. 22 Baylor softball secures pair of comeback wins over No. 19 UCLA, No. 13 Missouri to close Mary Nutter Classic

No. 22 Baylor softball rallied back on both No. 19 UCLA and No. 13 Missouri on Saturday night in Cathedral City, Calif., to close out the Mary Nutter Classic with a 5-0 record.

The second match against the Tigers ended via a walk-off in the bottom of the seventh, and the Bears have now won seven straight.

Baylor (7-3) will stick around this weekend, as it’ll face Morgan State in a three-game set Saturday and Sunday. The two squads will take part in a doubleheader on Saturday.

Seventh-inning splurge propels No. 22 Indiana to 15-5 run-rule win over Baylor

The game was right there for the taking when Baylor baseball trailed by one run through six innings. The Bears committed two errors and stranded seven runners at that point in the game, and head coach Mitch Thompson said the team felt good about its chances of salvaging the series against No. 22 Indiana.

But the Hoosiers scored 11 runs over the next two innings to force a 15-5 run-rule victory on Sunday afternoon at Baylor Ballpark.

“Until the seventh inning, it’s a ballgame,” head coach Mitch Thompson said. “They got after us in the seventh and eighth innings, and that’s disappointing that the game got away from us, because we had a shot. … We ended up needing six or seven attempts to get that third out in the seventh inning. We didn’t get it, and then a grand slam and all of a sudden, the game’s out of hand.”

Baylor (1-6) now welcomes Abilene Christian for a midweek bout, as the two teams will square off at 4 p.m. on Wednesday at Baylor Ballpark. The game will be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ and can be listened to on ESPN Central Texas 1660 AM/92.3 FM radio.

No. 1 Baylor acro & tumbling protects home mat with win over No. 2 Oregon

No.1 Baylor acrobatics and tumbling added to its winning streak, defeating No. 2 Oregon 278.935 to 271.835 on Sunday evening at the Ferrell Center in an NCATA National Championship final rematch.

The Bears (3-0) started off the meet with a compulsory score of 38.40. They racked up a 9.75 in acro, 9.95 in pyramid, 9.80 in toss and 8.70 in tumbling. Baylor edged Oregon’s (1-1) 37.85 score.

Baylor will head on the road to compete against Iona on Sunday and Long Island on March 5, with both programs being in their first year.

Baylor women’s tennis conquers Grand Canyon, falls to No. 19 Texas A&M

Baylor women’s tennis wrapped up its third and fourth matches of the weekend, defeating Grand Canyon 4-3 and falling to No. 19 Texas A&M 4-0 on Sunday at the Hurd Tennis Center.

The Bears (6-5) are zeroing in on conference play.

“I love the grit displayed by this team all weekend,” head coach Joey Scrivano said. “Their commitment to competition and prioritizing the ‘we over me’ mentality is something special. We have a group that is embracing challenges and avoiding complacency. Today marked a significant stride in the right direction, and now we need to prepare well this week for the start of conference play.”

Baylor opens Big 12 play at Cincinnati on Friday and at West Virginia on Sunday.

No. 17 Baylor men’s tennis bulls through SMU, UTRGV in doubleheader

No. 17 Baylor men’s tennis bested SMU 4-2 before taking down UTRGV 6-1 on Sunday afternoon at the Hurd Tennis Center. The Bears performed the first match of the doubleheader in front of nearly 350 fans.

“SMU was far better than their current ranking [No. 60], and they’re only going to go up from here,” head coach Michael Woodson said. “I have a ton of respect for that program and the veteran guys. … I thought our guys did a great job with their backs against the wall, playing the right way and backing themselves with each other.

“With a quick turnaround to play against UTRGV, a feisty team, it’s not as easy, and I think some guys really stepped up there. They had great energy early to get through doubles and stretch some singles leads.”

The Bears (12-1) stick around to host No. 1 Ohio State at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at the Hurd Tennis Center.

Prospective Baylor students impacted by FAFSA overhaul, delay in financial aid awards

Unlike many other schools, Baylor utilizes the CSS Profile — another method for determining how much institutional financial aid students are eligible for in accordance with their household income. Once Baylor receives its first round of FAFSA applications in March, it intends to turn those estimated award summaries into official aid offers. Abby Roper | Photographer

By Luke Lattanzi | Staff Writer

Baylor is being affected by nationwide changes made to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid by the U.S. Department of Education. The result has been a delay in when universities will be able to receive data from the new application, with data expected to start pouring in by the first half of March at the earliest.

The hold-up comes from a congressional overhaul of FAFSA to make it easier to use. While current students are not expected to be affected, it has caused issues for prospective students.

“The FAFSA initial delay is actually tied to FAFSA simplification,” Taryn Anderson, assistant vice president of Student Financial Services, said. “So normally, the FAFSA opens Oct. 1, and we knew going into this year it was not likely that the new version of the FAFSA would be ready by October.”

Due to the FAFSA delay, Anderson said Baylor decided to push the deadline for students to March 1 to accommodate. She said the university has made an effort to ensure students are informed of the delay, sending out campuswide emails and helping those who may have questions.

One student demographic that is particularly held up as a result of the FAFSA delay is those whose parents do not have social security numbers. Anderson said the university has sent those families special instructions to ensure they receive help in filling out the FAFSA.

Anderson said the delay is also caused by the Department of Education’s alteration of the FAFSA’s family income calculation for inflation. The calculation is meant to take into account where students live, what tax bracket their families are in, how many people are in their households and more. The remaining income is what is used to determine how much financial aid is available to help pay for college.

Anderson said the calculation adjustment will help students in the long term, as it will account for the rising cost of living necessities, such as housing and food.

“It took a little while for the Department of Education to go ahead and say, ‘We really do need to make that adjustment because it benefits students,’” Anderson said. “It delays everything, which is harmful to students in a way, but more students will show as [in need of financial aid]. And more students will qualify for Pell grants, and students who are Pell-eligible — which are our lowest-income students — will get higher Pell grants.”

While the timeline for current Baylor students has largely gone unaffected, the timeline for prospective students is very different. Many universities have had to push their commitment deadlines back for incoming freshmen as a result.

However, unlike many other schools, Baylor utilizes the CSS Profile — another method for determining how much institutional financial aid students are eligible for in accordance with their household income. The CSS Profile uses a different calculation than the FAFSA and is not dependent on the Department of Education.

“Our prospective students for fall of 2024 were actually able to send us financial information through the CSS Profile on Oct. 1 when that application opened up as normal,” Anderson said. “We’ve had their information and are able to go ahead and award them financial aid.”

Additionally, Baylor created a new process this year called the Initial Aid Summary, which consists of the university’s own internal calculations based on data from the CSS Profile to provide students with estimates for state and federal financial aid, as well as student loans and work study.

While the FAFSA is still necessary to determine official numbers, the Initial Aid Summary gives undecided prospective students an estimate to aid them in their decision-making.

“There’s 4,000 students who, on Feb. 1 or before, actually have an estimated financial aid package in hand and could make their decision,” Anderson said. “And the idea of that was to encourage them to do them faster, because in order for that estimated word to become an official word or an official offer, we do need them to do the FAFSA, but we wanted to give them information.”

Once Baylor receives its first round of FAFSA applications in March, it intends to turn those estimated award summaries into official aid offers. If the information on the FAFSA application matches that of the CSS Profile, then official aid offers will look very similar to the Initial Aid Summary. The challenge in that process lies ultimately in asking families to correct their CSS Profile if it does not match their FAFSA application.

Baylor spokesperson Lori Fogleman said via email that the university continues to watch the situation.

“We are continuing to monitor the situation with FAFSA closely, but the University is in a unique position because we can provide financial aid estimates now due to the CSS Profile, so we aren’t as dependent on the FAFSA as others,” the statement read.

Ethnic studies minor to be available for students fall 2024

The ethnic studies minor will include an introduction to ethnic studies course along with other electives. Photo illustration by Assoah Ndomo.

By Ashlyn Beck | Staff Writer

After six years of brainstorming and planning, a minor in ethnic studies will be available to students of all majors in fall 2024.

Dr. Coretta Pittman, associate dean for diversity and belonging, said the minor will explore different racial and ethnic groups in the United States.

“If a student wants to understand historically and culturally what’s going on between the U.S. based on racial and ethnic groups and the different issues and challenges that they face, this is the kind of minor that will give them that information,” Pittman said.

Pittman said one of the goals of the minor is to educate students on how racial and ethnic groups relate to the world.

“By taking these different classes, they can begin to see the parallels and intersections between those different racial and ethnic groups,” Pittman said.

While the minor will help students learn more about historical and current groups, Pittman said it will also be useful for students after college because it will provide the tools they need to communicate effectively in a global world.

“I think we can give students the language as undergraduates to use so that when they go out into their workplaces, they can have conversations because they understand the experiences of people who don’t look like them,” Pittman said.

Woodlands sophomore Ashlyn Manley said she is committed to pursuing an ethnic studies minor at Baylor.

“You do not have to be a minority to be an ethnic studies minor,” Manley said. “It is so important for everyone when it comes to problems of injustice, racism and equality. It’s one of those things where nothing will change unless it’s everyone’s problem.”

Manley said part of why she wants to study ethnic and racial groups is to learn more about her own culture and heritage.

“I always grew up in a predominantly white area,” Manley said. “With that, I always really wanted a place where I could learn about my own culture, because I’ve always been taught about everyone else’s.”

According to Pittman, the minor was first considered around 2018, but it gained considerable traction in 2020 after the death of George Floyd. She said his death motivated a “Dear Baylor” Instagram post by students, which pushed Pittman and eight of her colleagues to pursue the minor.

“They were just saying that in many ways, they felt a sense of belonging on campus, and some of the stories we were reading in the ‘Dear Baylor’ posts made us a bit upset,” Pittman said.

In summer 2020, Pittman and her colleagues talked about uniting all of their areas of expertise to move forward with the minor, and in spring 2023, it was approved by the provost.

“We thought about what courses we already have at Baylor that we can put together that students could take,” Pittman said.

The minor will include an introduction to ethnic studies course along with other electives. Pittman said it will hopefully encourage students to grow in their willingness to talk about ethnic issues.

“We want people to also be kind and to be nice and to be considerate and to value the scholarship around some of these concerns, because sometimes we think there’s only one way to do things,” Pittman said.

Pittman, who studied English and Black studies, said one of the reasons she has been dedicated to creating the ethnic studies minor at Baylor is her past experiences in school. She said she remembers enjoying her classes in Black studies because she was surrounded by students with shared experiences.

“When I came to Baylor — and particularly again in 2020 when I was reading those ‘Dear Baylor’ posts — it sort of reminded me of my own experiences as an undergraduate student,” Pittman said.

Similarly, Manley said growing up, she had only two Black teachers: her kindergarten teacher and an elective teacher in her junior year of high school. Manley said having Black people to look up to would help her see more potential in herself.

“It’s really nice to see kind of that representation because it gives you an idea of like what you can be,” Manley said.

There will be tabling events in March and April around Fountain Mall to spread the word about the opportunity.

Medical humanities program embraces Christian heritage, holistic care

The Baylor Sciences Building is where Baylor students go for the Medical Humanities Program, as students learn to understand the human experience of patients and practitioners. Lilly Yablon | Photographer

By Caitlyn Beebe | Reporter

Medical humanities students at Baylor go beyond scientific mastery to better understand the human experience of patients and practitioners, according to program director and chair Dr. Lauren Barron.

“[Medical humanities] is a recognition that it takes more than science alone to take good care of patients,” Barron said.

Barron said the medical humanities program encompasses the four interdisciplinary pillars: history, philosophy, literature and theology. It draws together clinicians from diverse professional backgrounds, including public health professionals, dentists and nursing home chaplains.

Barron said Baylor’s Christian identity aligns well with the study of medical humanities, as the programs at secular universities often omit discussing spirituality, religion and the human soul.

“At Baylor, we are able to reclaim that Christian voice in health care,” Barron said. “We don’t have to hide or ignore or skip over our Christian heritage.”

Barron said the first hospitals and hospices resulted from early Christians following Jesus’ command to care for others. She said Christian practitioners must recognize the dual importance of the spiritual and the physical, just as Jesus preached the Gospel while healing others.

“To be able to hold out hope for wholeness and healing even in the face of death is something that’s uniquely Christian,” Barron said.

First-year Truett seminarian Molly Shoemaker said she found her calling to health care chaplaincy as an undergraduate in the medical humanities program. In her junior year, she shifted her focus from medical school to ministry.

“The calling was still medicine,” Shoemaker said. “It was just ministry in medicine.”

Shoemaker said Barron helped her discern her care for people who are suffering and her interest in religion and medicine.

“It’s looking at this intersection of spirituality and medicine and health care, both for providers and for patients,” Shoemaker said.

The medical humanities program emphasizes taking care of patients as whole human beings. Shoemaker said they bring their spiritual, social and psychological lives to the table when they interact with the health care system.

“You can’t just attend to their bodies, because they’re not just bodies,” Shoemaker said. “They’re whole people.”

In her own experience practicing medicine, Barron said she saw how patients often experienced depression and anxiety following hospital stays. She said the health care system sometimes fixates on patients’ physical symptoms while forgetting to address their mental health concerns.

“I hope that my students with a medical humanities background are going to be more in tune with the psyche and the soul,” Barron said.

Barron teaches a supervised clinical medicine class, and every week, her students shadow different health care professionals in Waco, including oncologists, hospice workers and obstetricians. One student even witnessed an open-heart surgery while shadowing an anesthesiologist, she said.

Ultimately, Barron said the medical humanities program emphasizes interdisciplinary knowledge.

“None of us work alone,” Shoemaker said. “You can’t be a good physician unless you’re also working well with your nurses and your physical therapists and your chaplains and social workers and administrators. This is a team effort. It requires a lot of people to care well for the patient.”

Barron said medical humanities students pursue careers not just as physicians but also as health care administrators, physical therapists and legal advocates for disabled people.

“These are the people who are out there today who can help change the health care system,” Barron said.

Waco Block Party to combine music, film, podcasts, crafts in 3-day event

The first-ever Waco Block Party will be hosted downtown with live music, podcasts, movies and more. Photo courtesy of Louis Hunter

By Kalena Reynolds | Staff Writer

The first-ever “Waco Block Party” is coming downtown this weekend for three days full of music, movies, podcasts and crafts.

In 2023, Southern Roots Brewing Co. and Rogue Media Network collaborated to create a “battle of the bands” event. With the help of the Waco Independent Film Festival and Texas Music Cafe, they decided to expand the event into Waco Block Party this year. It will be free and family-friendly, taking place all day Thursday through Saturday at 500 Washington Ave.

Louis Hunter, operation director for the Waco Independent Film Festival, said the organizations have brought together different mediums to make the event what it is.

“We talked about it, and we figured since this is a music thing, we would bring in some music documentaries, and because it’s a local thing, we would bring in more local short films,” Hunter said.

The films of two Baylor alumni will be featured at the event: “Jimmy and Stevie Ray Vaughan: Brothers in Blues” by Kirby Warnock and “The Birth and History of Western Swing” by Mike Markwardt.

Hunter said the event will showcase a battle of the bands competition again, and the winning artist will open for the headlining musician, Don Louis.

“I think he’s fantastic because he is a total hybrid artist,” Hunter said. “He does a lot of country, but you’ll also hear raps in his act. There’s also some R&B in his act. There’s also some rock in his act. So just like Waco, he is multi-genre, and just like Waco, he’s going to get big. He has really upward trajectory, tons of Spotify [plays], so we’re excited to bring him to town.”

Mike Hamilton, chief creative officer for Rogue Media Network, said aside from film and music, the event will feature a lineup of podcasts on various topics, such as sports, family and true crime.

“We’ve got one flying in from South Carolina to do her show, and we’ve got a show coming from Dallas, and then I have my show, which is all about ‘King of the Hill,'” Hamilton said. “And we’re bringing a band in to play us on, so I’m pretty excited about that.”

The craft market will be open all day Saturday, featuring vendors with everything from pet accessories to jewelry.

“It’s all about getting people out of their homes and into the community, jiving with each other and rockin’ with each other,” Hunter said. “And it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

A full schedule of events and activities can be found here.

Baylor alumni to open local rug tufting studio

Fuzz Lab Waco, a new rug tufting studio, is set to open mid-March. Photo courtesy of Ashley Newberry

By Kalena Reynolds | Staff Writer

For Baylor alumni Ashley and Alpha Newberry, entrepreneurial journeys have been a familiar pursuit. In October 2023, Ashley went rug tufting with her friends in Austin and was instantly hit with a wave of inspiration and a new business idea for what will soon be Fuzz Lab Waco.

‘While I was there, I was like, ‘Wow, this is a great concept,'” Ashley said. “I’ve never seen anything like it. And it seemed really simple, and so I actually talked to some team members, and I was like, ‘Is the owner around?’ And she was one of the owners, and I started chatting with her about how she got started with their business, and we kind of just hit it off, relationship-wise.”

Once the Newberrys discussed the budding business idea, they began working out the details and location. In January, the couple signed a lease in downtown Waco and set a goal to open the sister studio by the middle of March.

“Our plan is to do our soft opening of just the friends and family, … and then our thought is to gather all the information we get from them and implement it for March,” Ashley said.

The studio will include a variety of rug tufting packages available for purchase as well as bears available for acrylic pour painting.

“Our mission statement is to provide beginner-friendly rug tufting and drip painting workshops in a fun and inviting environment, equipping you with all the tools and guidance to create unique pieces you’ll treasure,” Ashley said.

Customers will be able to craft any design of their choosing into a rug or can pick from a catalog of options.

“We offer four rug tufting sizes, ranging from a mini all the way up to a large canvas, which is 40×40,” Alpha said. “So the smalls and minis are as small as a 17×17, and the medium is a 24×24.”

Meanwhile, the bears come in five different sizes, ranging from as small as a keychain to almost three feet tall.

Ashley said the rugs can be taken home after the completion of the session, while the acrylic bears must have a three-day drying period afterward.

“The idea is to start it and finish it all on the same day, meaning tufting the rug, gluing the backing on and shaving it, and then being able to take it home the same day,” Ashley said. “As far as the bears go there, it does require a three-day drying period, so they will likely either have to come back and pick it up, or we can mail it to them.”

Fuzz Lab Waco will be located at 930 Austin Ave.

A&L Tunesday: Feb. 26

Illustration courtesy of Olivia Havre

By Emma Weidmann | Arts and Life Editor

Here’s your spring break playlist for that long car ride to the beach or your nap on an airplane.

“Me Before You” by Bleachers (Feb. 21)


The final single from Bleachers’ upcoming self-titled album is here: “Me Before You.” It’s a The 1975-esque, mellow, alternative pop tune that is reminiscent of the Matty Healy-fronted band’s first album.

That’s not shocking, considering Bleachers is signed to Healy’s label, Dirty Hit, and Jack Antonoff, lead singer of the band, produced The 1975’s latest album, “Being Funny in a Foreign Language.”

“Me Before You” is good for those slow moments and has the capacity to be calming, chill and, simultaneously, maybe a little bit boring. But not every Bleachers song has to be “Modern Girls,” so I’m more satisfied than disappointed with the variety that the band delivers.

“Saturn” by SZA (Feb. 22)


SZA debuted this track during the Grammy Awards earlier this month, and the studio version only just dropped. These lyrics are a little more intelligible than SZA’s usual M.O., where she forgets to sing consonants.

“Saturn” is all about saving the Earth and not using space travel as an alternative to caring for the climate. She satirically chides those who expect rewards for their good deeds, and she makes it sound pretty with her famously breathy-yet-deep vocals and an ethereal background instrumental.

“Find something worth saving/It’s all for the taking/I always say I’ll be better on Saturn/None of this matters” seems to point fingers at some ambitions to colonize Mars in lieu of implementing climate policy.

“Get Off My Phone” by THE DRIVER ERA (Feb. 22)


“Get Off My Phone” floats between a chorus that hits you in the face with loud guitar and kicking drums and a more laid-back verse. This is the kind of song that you can just tell will be amazing when played live.

“Lil Tune” by Gus Dapperton, Electric Guest (Feb. 23)


“Lil Tune” is exactly what I expect from Gus Dapperton, starting off with a vintage-inspired spoken part that gets you in the mood to open the sunroof of your car and risk your hair getting extremely tangled in the wind. It’s perfectly unique and a little quirky, just like Dapperton himself.

Board of Regents approves renovations, new undergraduate degree

In their regular quarterly meeting, the Baylor Board of Regents approved and renewed funding for a variety of projects. Assoah Ndomo | Photographer.

By Luke Lattanzi | Staff Writer

In their regular quarterly meeting, the Baylor Board of Regents participated in the ceremonial groundbreaking of the Memorial to Enslaved Persons, approved funding for the renovation of academic and residential spaces, renewed funding for the Baylor Benefit program, set the 2024-2025 tuition and approved a new computer engineering degree.

The board rounded out its Feb. 23 meeting with the ceremonial groundbreaking of the Memorial to Enslaved Persons — a recommendation originally made in the university’s Commission on Historic Campus Representations.

The memorial will be built in front of Pat Neff Hall behind the Judge R.E.B. Baylor statue and is meant to commemorate the enslaved men and women who helped build and maintain Baylor’s original campus in Independence.

Several regents participated in a “turning of the dirt” ceremony, using soil from Independence that will later be incorporated into the memorial. Construction is not expected to begin until after commencement in May.

The board also approved $3.2 million in funding for the renovation of Draper Academic Building, continuing efforts to create a dedicated space for the Honors College. The funding will go toward updating classrooms, restrooms, corridors and staircases. It will also include improvements for those with disabilities. Construction is expected to be completed in August.

Also approved was $36.5 million in funding for the renovation of Allen and Dawson residence halls, which will include an overhaul of the facilities’ mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems as well as an ADA-accessible entrance to 1845 at Memorial. Construction is set to begin in May and is expected to be completed in July 2025.

The board also approved $7.5 million for phase-one design and pre-construction of the renovation of Kokernot residence hall. Construction is expected to begin in May 2025 and be completed in July 2026.

The completion of the Allen, Dawson and Kokernot renovations will cap off the board’s original 2013 master plan to renovate all 10 of the university’s residence halls.

The board also approved a 5.9% increase in tuition and fees for the 2024-2025 academic year. The average net tuition increase per student is expected to be $573 per year. The board confirmed a 12.1% increase in scholarship funding to provide assistance to returning students with demonstrated financial need. Additionally, it renewed funding for the Baylor Benefit program and approved a second cohort for the grant, which covers tuition and fees for students with a household income under $50,000.

The board also approved its first new undergraduate degree since 2015, creating a bachelor of science in computer engineering, which is set to begin in fall 2024. The degree is meant to bridge the gap between electrical engineering and computer science.

Professor-student duo researches policy for Waco workforce

By Caleb Wheeler | Staff Writer

A new initiative by a Baylor faculty-student duo seeks to lower unemployment in Waco.

Calvert City, Ky., sophomore Jackson Boone received the Hatfield Prize in November 2023. With that, he was awarded the opportunity to work alongside Dr. Colby Humphrey, a professor of political science, to research social policy in Waco.

“The end goal [of the research] I see as twofold,” Boone said. “First, to have a report and to deliver a report to the [Center for Public Justice] about workforce development and Waco. … And then our secondary question on that is, are people’s needs being met? Are we able to connect people to the jobs they need?”

Boone said the central question they are looking to answer is the current landscape in terms of programs in the city. That means looking at nonprofit organizations, city governments, churches and industries to examine their workforces.

“I really see this as an opportunity to inform public policy in Waco,” Boone said. “Waco’s seen absolutely huge job growth, economic growth [and] population growth — along with other factors that are happening in the United States as a whole. … It was in a prime spot to be able to upskill their labor base, so we want to help not only the city government but also local nonprofits in informing their policy and their actions moving forward.”

Boone said he works a minimum of seven to eight hours a week, conducting interviews, drafting necessary documents and more. His research began in January and will conclude in May, with the final report of his findings being published in September.

“I’m kind of supervising [the research], editing the documents that [Boone] puts together,” Humphrey said. “I help with the strategy of what the research needs to look like and hopefully get some answers to the questions that we’re posing.”

Humphrey said that although he is working alongside Boone, he is not leading the project. Rather, Boone is doing most of the work and taking on the challenging aspects of reaching their final goal.

“[Boone is] definitely one of the better students I’ve worked with,” Humphrey said. “I think he’s very concerned about this topic in particular and what it means for Waco as a community and what story we can tell here that will help address some of the issues that we’re seeing with [the] workforce.”

Humphrey said they are working to identify the key players and problems within Waco’s holistic ecosystem. At the end of the project, a recommendation report will provide possible solutions the city could implement.

“I would love for people to read this and see these are some ways that we can improve the local economy for people in the city,” Humphrey said. “It’s not some theoretical concept. We’re actually developing some strategies that can really, at the ground level, improve people’s lives.”

While the duo has been working hard on the project for the past two months, most of the work is still ahead of them. Even though there’s a long way to go, Boone said he is happy with the current progress.

“We’re still in a kind of preliminary phase, but I will say the people that we have reached out to initially for interviews … have been incredibly helpful, and so that’s been great,” Boone said. “We’ve also already started to kind of identify some certain parts of workforce development that can use some work in Waco.”

The research is separated into three parts: discover, engage and frame. Boone said that while he is researching public policy, it does not mean what people often think of when they hear the term.

“I think a lot of times when you say public policy, you immediately think of government or federal action,” Boone said. “But what we really want to do is highlight … the people that are on the ground right now in our community that are volunteering or giving their time to better Waco.”

A message from a Sing chair: Be proud, be satisfied

By George Schroeder | LTVN Executive Producer

As they announced the last group headed to Pigskin Revue, I stood in silence behind the curtain, holding hands with my fellow chairs and with all the other groups who were not selected. That was the official end of my All-University Sing journey.

This was not just my first time as a Sing chair, but my first time in Sing at all.

As I was leaving the stage, one group was in tears. They weren’t drawing attention to themselves. They weren’t crying out of anger or some kind of perceived injustice. After months and months of hard work, they were simply disappointed.

I went up to them and complimented their act. I had talked about it with them the weekend prior. One of them reached out and hugged me while I talked. I saw every act in Sing this year. They had a killer performance, and in my book, they would have been a marquee performance in the fall.

Before I go any further, if you’re reading this and are happy some sorority girls were privately crying backstage, expressing perfectly reasonable feelings after not “winning,” then may I suggest you are at least a little toxic. Get a life.

We can debate all day long about who should be in Pigskin and who shouldn’t, but at the end of it all, the cards were dealt. Those arguments are fruitless. Now, it is time to be so proud of your work (you deserve it, I promise) and move on to whatever is next for you.

To those of you who made Pigskin, congratulations! Validation feels so good. You earned it — and that does not necessarily mean that other groups didn’t deserve it as well; they just got edged out on paper. Seriously though, some killer acts are going to Pigskin. I’m looking at you, Chi Omega (I mean, WOW). And KOT, you guys rock (they hyped us up before we went on stage every night; it, like their act, was awesome).

To those of you reading who will not be performing this fall, hold your head up. You’re in great company. You went out and accomplished something phenomenal, something you will likely never have another opportunity to do again outside of Baylor. Embrace the journey and the memories, not the “result.”

So what? Why am I writing all this?

We do not have many opportunities in college to work for essentially a full year on a project involving hundreds of friends and peers, on a stage surrounded by thousands more of our peers, that is performed in front of almost 15,000 people over six nights.

Moreover, no school does “Sing” like Baylor. Other schools have a version of All-University Sing, but if I am honest with you, it’s insulting to put them in the same ballpark. Don’t believe me? Just go look at some of them online. Sure, it’s fun stuff, but nothing — and I mean nothing — like Baylor.

Sing chairs are responsible for building entire performances from scratch every year. We pick the music; create, teach and execute the choreography (or pay for it to be done … I’m not a fan of this being allowed); paint our backdrops (or pay for them); audition our people; manage said people; and meet deadline after deadline. And we do it all for free.

Imagine turning in your absolute best work and not being picked for the sports team because it can only take so many. That feeling sucks; there is no way around it. No, I’m not complaining that my group didn’t make Pigskin. That’s just how it can feel. That’s how it felt backstage.

I don’t say that to brag or to score pity points. Plenty of students work very hard at various things all over campus. I am simply making the connection that pouring in hard work and not being called to Pigskin, just like anything else in life, is understandably tough.

I have never had more fun as a member of BYX, Brothers Under Christ, than I have over the last few months dedicating my time and energy to Sing. We were paired with Kappa Chi Alpha, and we all had a blast. Not to get sappy, but in the end, isn’t that what it’s all about?

From the very beginning, knowing the quality of the acts that hit the stage of Waco Hall, I knew Pigskin would be a tall order for us. We simply do not have the numbers that other organizations do. That being said, I could not be more proud of what we accomplished in the end.

No one can tell me we were not a Pigskin-capable and quality act. Nor could anyone tell me the same thing about many of the other acts that were not selected.

As an organization, BYX grew much closer. Naturally, pairing brought the entire chapter closer to an entire sorority, and it wasn’t just a partnership by the end. It was a bunch of friendships. That made the whole process worth it.

We also came out and put on a show that was just as good as anyone else’s. Both organizations looked great — both literally in the performance and also as representations of what you can expect from membership. Sing allowed us to have that opportunity.

As an individual, I got to lead. I got to watch firsthand the creation of an act that grew from nothing to a colorful, energetic and engaging performance. I love that we got to show it off to Baylor.

It was not easy. Did you know Sing planning starts in May of the year before? I didn’t.

There were a lot of long days and nights. It was stressful. There were deadlines we barely met when things went wrong. Initially, we had to recreate our entire theme and act when our first option was blocked for “being too similar” to another.

We had to audition vocalists and tell people no. We had to juggle individual schedules and absences. We had to fine people. We had to make tough decisions. We had to have serious conversations with our group. It wasn’t always a dream come true.

But for all the bad, there was so much more good. I think that’s the point of Sing.

The show itself is only the tip of the iceberg. What it took to get to the top of that mountain is the real story — and the one that nobody sees. If you do it right, your soul is connected to your act in the end, and it should be. We should do all things to the best of our abilities in a God-honoring way.

So no, you won’t see my act hitting the stage this fall. You will find that I have a happy, healthy heart after contributing to and participating in one of Baylor’s greatest traditions. Congratulations to every act, chair and performer who made it to this point. You accomplished something absolutely incredible. You should be so, so proud.

In defense of 8 a.m. classes

By Abby Roper | Photographer

College is such a fun chapter of your life — new friends, a new environment and a new and changing schedule. Though it can be hard to balance all the aspects of college life, I can tell you one thing for sure: Take 8 a.m. classes.

Now, you may be thinking, why in the world would I do such a thing if I like sleeping in? Trust me. I can say, from having just a semester and a half under my belt, that morning classes are where it’s at. Not only are you finished by lunchtime, but you have the rest of the day at your disposal to do whatever your heart desires.

Waking up early can truly determine how the rest of the day is going to pan out. Hitting the ground running by heading to class and getting your mind into the tasks of the day increases your productivity. You have the whole day to knock out your to-do list — and let me tell you, there is nothing better than seeing all your boxes checked off. Not only will you feel more in order about plans for the day, but you will be able to finish up schoolwork earlier, when your mind is fully awake.

In fact, a study done by St. Lawrence University found that students who wake up early for morning classes tend to get better grades. So, in your new free time, you can become an academic weapon while also balancing your social life.

Though waking up at 8 a.m. does not seem feasible to many college students, once you are out of class, it’s still early in the morning. This leaves time for a coffee date with a friend or lunch with the person you’ve been putting off making plans with. It means having more quality time doing things you want to do rather than things you have to do.

Now, this does mean that you night owls have to maintain a decent bedtime. There is no way you can stay up until dawn and then be expected to wake up as a functional human being at 8 a.m. It’s truly a give-and-take. If you go to bed earlier and wake up earlier, you get more daylight and more time to tackle the tasks. Most college students don’t prioritize going to bed, which leads to them hating morning classes, so the solution is to go to bed. Of course, there will be late nights. This is college, after all. However, on nights when you have an early class the next day and you don’t have plans, hit the hay.

The study done by St. Lawrence University also found that though students rationalize taking later classes by saying they are able to sleep in and be more well-rested, they are actually getting a lower quality of sleep.

Think about how many times there have been events or functions you want to attend but can’t because you have class. Imagine waking up, knocking your classes out in the morning, getting your homework done and being able to have your evening free. My favorite thing about early classes is having the ability to make spur-of-the-moment plans without having to worry about unfinished homework or afternoon classes.

Creating a schedule is so crucial when it comes to managing your time in college. It will all be gone before we know it — wouldn’t you love to leave knowing you invested in every part of it?