Friday, April 22, 2016

How Flooders Got its Name

We at LETU know that each floor of campus' residence halls have their own unique bond and history. Here's the story of how one floor was given its fitting name, as told by former resident and alumnus Phil Burks.

Flooders, circa 1970
When I was a new freshman in the fall of 1970, one of my roommates (we'll call him Rod) was a senior mechanical engineering student. We were in a room in Tyler Hall West on the third floor. That room was right across from the bathrooms, which are now a lounge. I was curious about the Flooder story and Rod was happy to tell me since it happened while he was an underclassman.

Rod described that he was sitting at his built-in desk on the wall that is adjacent to the hallway, deep in study. He heard huge commotion, then noticed his feet getting wet. Rod was also one of the LeTourneau EMTs who drove an ambulance for the City of Longview, so not much phased him. He simply tucked his feet under his seat and kept on studying while the water gushed into the room, then just as quickly disappeared.

A little background is appropriate. The bathrooms in Tyler Hall West include a shower that is a room with six shower heads, a passageway in, and a central drain. Back to the story...

Phil Burks with David Lingberg, current Flooders RA 
Finally Rod's curiosity got the best of him. It turns out that some of the third floor guys figured out that the bookshelf boards in their dorm rooms actually fit rather nicely into the shower door way! They learned that if they put a towel over the drain–yep–a swimming pool! I'm not really sure how long it lasted, but the techies learned a huge structural engineering lesson that day; water has a lot of weight and a lot of force! The boards gave way, water gushed out, went down the stairwells and went into the second floor electrical system.

I've since heard that in fact there is no evidence of any structural damage, but there were many light fixtures on the second floor and some on the first that had to be replaced. I've also confirmed the story with a friend who "may or may not have been involved in the science experiment that went awry."  Even though he and my roommate were there, we can't seem to pin down exactly when the flood happened. So, until someone confirms, we're calling it 1968-ish.

Many Flooders have gone on to be well-known and very successful in life and industry. All of us hope that every Flooder uses their ingenuity powers for good, not evil!  The following was posted on a Flooder Facebook page last week: "Let's all remember something...we all have a lot of fun with our heritage as Flooders. Wear the shirt with pride. But please use it as a conversation starter to tell people about Jesus. Tell people how he can flood their hearts with his love!"  

Flooders from across the decades will be gathering for a reunion this Homecoming Weekend, so if you see a Flooder, you might consider grabbing a pair of rubber boots. You never know when they'll decide they want to go swimming again. 

Flooders reunion t-shirt

Thursday, March 31, 2016

LETU Sophomore Guaranteed Medical School Acceptance

Acceptance into medical school can be a worrisome experience for students hoping to become physicians; competition is fierce and getting the grades to qualify is no easy feat. But LETU student Keren Engulu doesn't have to worry about getting into medical school. This sophomore is already in.

Keren is one of very few college students in Texas to have guaranteed acceptance into medical school. The biology major was chosen for the Joint Admissions Medical Program (JAMP), which offers only 100 spots in the state to highly-qualified college students studying biology, chemistry, math or physics. JAMP provides students paid summer internships, free MCAT preparation courses, and guaranteed acceptance to one of Texas' nine medical schools.

While JAMP holds a high GPA as a crucial factor for entering the program, they also consider "personal factors such as motivation, maturity, integrity, interpersonal communication, service to others and a demonstrated commitment to study medicine.

Read below to hear from Keren about her path toward JAMP acceptance and future plans as a physician. 

Keren Engulu
How did LETU prepare you for acceptance into JAMP?
LeTourneau has a distinct incorporation of Christ in its curriculum. It is very obvious that our school holds members of the body of Christ; professors speak of God in their classes and students show their love for the Lord through kindness for others and selflessly building community. How can one not learn and feel encouraged to do their best in this environment? I am at LeTourneau to learn and gain a strong foundation for whatever God has for me. For this reason, I feel I am prepared for the rigorous work JAMP will require of me as I prepare for medical school. I know God will be with me every step of the way.

Why did you choose to study biology?
Originally, I chose to major in chemistry with a biological concentration. After a reflection of the classes I would have to take, I chose to switch my major to biology. I enjoyed studying chemistry, but some of the courses required to graduate were not topics that I personally enjoyed studying. The courses I will take for my major in biology are much more suited to my interests and will prepare me for medical school.

Why did you choose LETU?
Two weeks before my high school graduation, I came to visit LeTourneau. Students had gone home for the summer, but my tour guide, Ally, made me feel like I was already part of the LeTourneau family, along with other staff and students who were still on campus. The Christian environment was so authentic.

What are your career plans? 
I want to become a physician and a medical missionary. With JAMP, I have been gifted with the opportunity to make these dreams of mine a reality. Though I am not entirely sure what specialty I will go into, I know I want to work with children and help those who are in most need. I am willing to do whatever God has for me and go wherever He calls me. The future is such a mystery to me, but I know God is already there. 

Interested in studying biology like Keren? Click here

Monday, March 21, 2016

Student Perspectives: Beach Reach 2016

Amman Beeftu is a senior communications major at LETU from Colorado Springs, CO. He's a proud resident of Tyler Hall and enjoys soccer and acrylic painting when he's not longboarding around campus. 

Spring break at a typical university involves parties, beaches, and drinks all around. LeTourneau, however, isn’t a typical university. Instead of traditional spring break partying, I had the opportunity to serve with LETU’s Beach Reach team. 

Beach Reach is a 36-year-old mission to reach out to people who are partying on South Padre Island during their spring break. It shows God’s love in a practical way by offering free van rides to anyone who may need one. During these van rides, Beach Reachers have the opportunity to share the gospel with their passengers or challenge them to think about their faith. Beach Reach effectively shares the love of Christ while keeping students safe and intoxicated drivers off the road. 

This spring break, I went on Beach Reach for the first time. From what I heard about previous years, God did amazing things in and through so many people who went on the trip. I knew that it would be a challenging environment, but I was excited for what God planned for me.

Beach Reach 2016 team
Looking back at my trip, I can say that I was a completely different person going into Beach Reach than I am now. I was so nervous about sharing my faith to strangers or how I would bring up God in conversations. I was looking at my own life and seeing how broken I was, but God showed up in the midst of my brokenness and healed my heart. He showed me His unconditional love; love that doesn’t give up on the broken, love that always heals, love that I can never fully understand. He gave me a heart for the countless broken people in this world and He showed me how His heart breaks for all His lost sons and daughters. He challenged me to rely on Him when I am completely physically, emotionally and spiritually drained. He taught me that the gospel isn’t just shared through eloquent words and refined speech, but can be expressed through actions as simple as loving someone regardless of what they do. 

When I first signed up for Beach Reach I was so excited for the opportunity to impact and change people’s lives with the love of Christ. I didn’t realize that God would so greatly impact my own life.

Beach Reach South Padre began in 1980 with 20 college students and has since grown to hundreds in number. The mission of Beach Reach is to provide for physical and spiritual needs of college students during their spring break. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Incredible Aviation: Top Hawk 2016

It's a powerhouse partnership: the renowned Cessna Aircraft Company has teamed up with LeTourneau University Aviation, Texas' only comprehensive, university-level aviation program.

LETU's Skyhawk 172S
Cessna, a subsidiary of Textron Aviation, chose LETU as one of four universities in the nation as a Top Hawk Partner University. Partners are chosen based on their commitment to excellence in aviation and training the next generation of pilots.

Along with the partnership, LETU has received a brand-new Cessna Skyhawk 172S, custom-branded with LETU colors and logo. The aircraft will be used to conduct flight training and for outreach and recruiting trips across the country.

Director of Flight Operations Laura Laster explains the benefit of adding the aircraft to LETU's fleet:

"The Top Hawk program will give LETU students and flight instructors a unique opportunity to build flight experience while sharing the joy of aviation with people all over Texas and beyond. All of our students will benefit from the use of a brand-new Cessna Skyhawk 172S, as they will be able to utilize the aircraft for flight training activities."

One LETU aviation student will land a coveted internship with Cessna, where he or she will job-shadow different positions and take part in marketing, sales and customer service events.

The Cessna Skyhawk 172S is officially presented to LETU.
The Skyhawk 172S was recently unveiled at LETU's world-class Abbott Aviation Center where it received a warm welcome from students and faculty.

"I have accepted a summer internship in flight operations at Textron Aviation (outside of the Top Hawk program). Working with Top Hawk will give me even more exposure to some of the products I may be working with this summer," LETU aviation student Kyle van Kooten said. "I'm excited to be a part of this program as it allows me to promote involvement in a field I am passionate about and in which LeTourneau excels."

Want to take a ride in the Cessna Skyhawk 172S? Schedule a free flight here


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Incredible Alumni: Shannon Toews Potter

Shannon Toews Potter graduated from LETU in 2006 with a Bachelor's degree in biology. She went on to attend the University of Texas School of Medicine, followed by a residency at St. Louis University School of Medicine, where she was named Best Teaching Resident. She now lives in Congo and works as an OB/GYN and Director of Maternity Services with Samaritan's Purse World Medical Mission. She spends her days bettering the lives of women and children and making LETU proud to call her an alumna.

What does an average day look like for you?
Shannon Toews Potter
The light from the sun and the sound of the community wake us around 6:00 a.m. I go in to the hospital at 7:00 a.m., discuss and treat patients with other doctors or medical students, and do surgery three times a week. We have a two hour lunch break and then it's back to the hospital until 5:00 p.m. Dinners are usually shared with another missionary family. It's a small community and easier to cook for a few extra than to cook every night. We have a gardener and house help, which replace the dishwasher or lawnmower that most people in the US have and gives people in the community a very respected job. In the evenings, we occasionally listen to a podcast, watch a movie, prepare teaching lessons for the next day, make homemade ice cream or play a board game. We are board game nerds and brought over 40 pounds in games.

What are some of your responsibilities in your current position?
Responsibilities include performing surgeries three days a week, participating in official teaching meetings and patient rounds with medical students and residents three times a week, improving the structure and quality of care in the maternity ward, seeing patients, performing and teaching ultrasound techniques and teaching nurses newborn resuscitation.

Describe a high point in your career since graduating from LeTourneau. 
I was named Best Teaching Resident out of all residents and fellows at St. Louis University, as voted by the medical students and received the medical student teaching award specifically for OB/GYN three times during residency. Passing on knowledge to the next generation is such a joy to me and being recognized for my efforts was very special.

How is your LeTourneau education benefitting your current position?
It's more often who you know that matters, rather than what you know. As I continued to add layers of knowledge in medical school, it is hard to know exactly when I learned specific information that I use every day, but the people I know from my time at LETU continue to benefit me. For instance, a fellow LETU student connected me with someone in admissions at the medical school I went to (it's hard to get in to a Texas medical school when one is from out-of-state). LETU professors and alumni support us financially and prayerfully as we are on the mission field. Some even promised that support over eight years before it happened! I email a fellow classmate surgical questions I need second opinions on. A former LETU professor visited us in language school in France and we are even working with LETU alumni here in Congo. The network of people, nerdy–ahem–smart enough to have taught or graduated from LETU is also crazy enough to follow God's call on their life, be that here in Congo, an oilfield in the Middle East, the business place in China, a farm in Texas, or giving back by teaching other LETU students.

What would you say to a current LETU student in your same major? What would you say to someone considering the same major? 
Dr. Jarstfer, then the dean and also my professor for many of my biology courses, counseled me not to settle. That's different for everyone, but don't settle just for lack of trying. If you can go for a PA or MPH or Master's level, don't settle with a Bachelor's. If you can go for an MD, DO, or Doctorate, then don't settle for an MPH, a Master's level or a PA. Get to the highest level you can that will open the doors that you don't even see yet. You won't regret it.