Thursday, August 28, 2014

Incredible Beginnings

It's the first week of the 2014-2015 academic year, and we took a moment to get the perspective of students, faculty, and staff on how they feel to be back in the swing of the semester, what they missed over the summer, and what they hope this year brings. 

It's the beginning of the end for Kate Hendrix (left) and Katie Carvalho, both mechanical engineering majors. "I've liked the time that I've had here and enjoyed the people I've met over the past few years," Kate said. 
"I'm excited to be on the home stretch but I want to make it last as long as I can. I realized this summer what a great place this is and how much I'm going to miss my friends," Katie said.

“As a staff member of LeTourneau University I am always happy to see students returning after being away all summer. Campus becomes alive again, and there are all sorts of activities going on. I love hearing conversations that students are having about their classes, about dorm activities, and even about something exciting they are learning on their spiritual journey. The start of a new school year definitely comes with craziness, and packed schedules, but feeling the hopeful energy pulsing around campus at this time is always an encouragement.”  - Grant Bridgman, Enrollment Officer

"It's good to be back. I'm energized by students." - Dr. Judy Taylor, professor of mathematics. 

"I'm excited to share with students the opportunities where they can take the kingdom of God with them and be the mission of LETU; literally every workplace, every nation." - Amanda Beck, Study Abroad Coordinator

Ryan Gadberry, who just transferred in as a junior, said "I only have three semesters here, but I love that I'm getting all the benefits of an excellent academic experience." (Ryan claims he's not photogenic enough for a photo of his face, but he did let us get a shot of him typing.

Kyle Jacobs, sophomore mechanical engineering major: "I'm glad to be back. It's great to see all my friends again. I also play baseball and it's good to get back into athletics and see my teammates."

"We start our athletic season on Friday - men's and women's soccer. It's a home game against Centenary. There will be free hot dogs!" - Terri Deike, Athletics Director

Sophomore Sarah Snyder, English language and literature major said of returning to LETU, "It's good. It's been a leap into the unknown for me. I just changed my major because, basically, I had a conversation with Jesus and I feel I need to be able to use my degree in a foreign country." 

"The thing I'm most excited about is to share Christ with and speak into the lives of international students, because it gives me the opportunity to interact with people groups I never would otherwise. That's what makes the difference for me teaching at a Christian university." Dr. Ken Rouse, professor of computer science. 

Senior political science major Kaylee Pritchett is looking forward: "I'm using this year to set my plans for the future. I'm planning on going to law school." 

Welcome home, LETU community! Needless to say, we're thrilled school's back in session.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Student Perspectives: Shaelyn Baas, Korean Summer Studies Program

Coming from the piney woods of East Texas, where Friday nights are spent eating out and playing cards, my world was enlarged when I signed up for Hannam University's Korean Summer Studies Program (KSSP).  My hometown, Longview, Texas, has a population of about 80,000.  Hannam University is located in Daejeon, the fifth largest city in South Korea, with a population around 1.5 million people.
I spent four weeks in Korea, taking classes, traveling across the country, and teaching English in an elementary school.  During the program, the KSSP students (about twenty of us) listened to several Hannam faculty members speak on various topics ranging from Korean society to intercultural communication, along with lessons in TaeKwonDo and K-pop dance!

In addition to days in the classroom, much of our time was spent traveling around the country, getting to know the culture and being able to observe first-hand the rich history of Korean tradition.

Visiting the Hanok Village in Jeonju, we acted out a traditional Korean wedding, cooked Bibimpap (Korean dish), and learned traditional Korean drumming.

Seoul War Memorial 
One of the field trips allowed us to visit the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), the area of land between North and South Korea, as well as the nation's War Memorial in Seoul. Although sobering to see what hardships Korea has come through and the reality of a nation still at war, it's amazing to realize how far the country has come in the past fifty years. It's risen from devastation to rank as one of the world's wealthiest nations. 

During the fourth week, I had the opportunity to teach English in an elementary school, along with with several other American KSSP students. Though slightly intimidated on the first day, most of us, by the end of the week, were learning to speak slowly and clearly (not an easy task for the southerners!), using words that the children could understand. Watching the students laughing over "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" or having fun with charades made me truly enjoy this experience and even begin to consider teaching ESL as a future career option. 

Shaelyn teaching English as a second language
The experiences during KSSP allowed me to meet people from all over the world.  Often, I would find myself to be one of the only white faces in a crowd, broadening my perspective on life and allowing me to experience more of the diversity of the people who God created and loves.  During my four weeks in Korea, I met students from Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Ukraine, Russia, Columbia, Mexico, Taiwan, America, and of course, Korea! I will never forget all the new friends I made during my month-long summer trip, and I cherish the memories of countless adventures we spent together. And I will truly miss the food; Korean barbeque has earned a special place in heart, along with Kimbap, Topokki, Bibimbap, Patbingzu, and yes, even Kimchi. 

To find out how you can study abroad, visit

Monday, August 11, 2014

Student Perspectives: Textron Aviation Summer Internship, Part II

Engineering student April Paul has spent her summer interning at Textron Aviation and has shared her take on this new step in her career with us. In case you missed it, check out her Part I

As I write, I have just walked back from the lab after having fixed the (hopefully) last problem on the ion streamer I’ve been designing and building. For my lunch break, I’ll sit here and type out a blog post, and then after lunch I’ll go back and give the ion streamer a test run. The previous model could charge an article to 30 kilovolts in 10 seconds, so we’ll see if his big brother can set a new record!
Since the time of my last post for the Incredibly LETU blog, some, frankly, amazing events have occurred. The most exciting of which being yesterday’s adventure: meeting the CEO of Textron Aviation. Yesterday, I spoke at Textron Aviation’s “End-of-Year Intern Report Out,” which meant I prepared a 7-minute spiel about my summer projects and how I developed professionally through my internship.

Well, as I’m up there speaking, (and rather enthusiastically, I might add!), about my work in the Electromagnetic Effects Laboratory with ion streamers, radiation chambers, and lightning generators, God granted me favor in the eyes of the head of the HR department and the CEO of Textron Aviation.
Did I mention I had been sitting beside them when I was waiting for my turn to speak? Yeah. Crazy. 

April and her roommates, future Textron Aviation employees
So, after the Report Out was over, the CEO of Textron Aviation himself comes up to me and the following exchange occurs.

CEO: “Good presentation. When do you graduate?”

Me: “Next year, sir.”

CEO: “Have we offered you a job yet?”

Me: “Yes sir, but for the avionics department, and I’m more interested doing design work in the laboratory.”

CEO: “You belong in the lab. You’ll work there next year.”

Me: “I want to, but you see there’s a budget issue and even though my boss wanted to hire me, he can’t because…”

CEO: “Nonsense, just shoot me and email when you get back to the office and we’ll get you all set up.”

Me: <speechless>

The CEO then turns to the his friend who was sitting beside him, the head of the HR department, and jokes: “Jim! You gave her the wrong job! She doesn’t belong in Avionics, go fix that.” With that, they turn and leave.

I turn around to see my three roommates around me, (they are fellow Textron Aviation interns), and we exchange thrilled and awestruck glances and silent high-fives, reserving our enthusiastic “THE-CEO-JUST-GAVE-ME-A-JOB!!!!!!!” screams for once we were safely locked in the car. Then we definitely only giddy interns can do.

On top of all this excitement, each of my roommates got job offers, too!! (Two of which at LeTourneau students! YAY!) God blessed us SO much! Praise the Lord!

Excited and Grateful,

LETU is extremely proud of students April, Amanda and Sarah for highly successful internships! For more information on our engineering program, go to

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Incredible Achievements: Carly Robinson, Texas Student Teacher of the Year

At LeTourneau, we take pride in providing our students with a world-class education. We could offer a plethora of examples of successful students and graduates. Today, though, we’re focusing on our newest CSOTTE Texas Student Teacher of the Year – the fifth LETU student to receive this honor in less than ten years.

Carly Robinson is a 2014 Teacher Education graduate, and completed her student teaching at Pine Tree Middle School in Longview. From her description of her experience there, her passion for teaching is undeniable.

Robinson in her element
“Having an entire year to get to know these students was a privilege, not only because of the deeper look at how they could be hilarious and difficult and gifted and shy at the same time, but because of the school year's pacing and the whole class' changes throughout 8h grade,” she said.

Being an educator is more of a calling than an occupation for Robinson: Teaching combines the ideal with the practical, since character and thought formation make a world of difference to individuals, who collectively can make an even greater difference in the world. I hope to live out the gospel though my profession in this way.”

There’s obviously something unique about LETU’s education program, Robinson being the most recent in a long line of its graduates named Texas Student Teacher of the Year.

“Every professor at LeTourneau has a very missional perspective on teaching. The training they offer is very thorough, hands-on in the field, well-versed in theory and research, and ready to apply after graduating,” Robinson said. “But the most impactful thing is how they model teaching as discipleship: seeing students as uniquely gifted and valuable, coming alongside them through the learning process so they grow holistically as well as academically.”

Promptly after graduating this past May, Robinson was offered a full-time position teaching fourth grade with Hutto ISD.

I am thrilled to teach some of my favorite subjects - language arts and Texas history - to students who are in what is often considered a golden age group. 4th graders have great potential and excitement to soak up information, and they're getting old enough to start owning study skills and reading motivation for themselves.”

Robinson, however, doesn’t take all the credit for her success.

“The process of applying and being offered a job at Hutto is one of the most significant, unmistakable examples of God's providence in my life recently. It will be challenging but very rewarding!” she said.

That’s one of the things that makes LETU a unique place: students who excel academically and professionally while viewing the workplace as a mission field.