Friday, September 2, 2016

Sophomore Finds Potential Treatment for Antibiotic-Resistant Tuberculosis

Could this LETU sophomore have found the solution to extreme antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis? 

Sophomore Blake Maxfeldt, right, and Dr. Greg Frederick
Sophomore biology major Blake Maxfeldt discovered a new virus through LETU's Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science (PHAGES) program. It's an undergraduate research project partnering with Howard Hughes Medical Institute that LETU biology students started working on last year. These students have been hunting for a specific type of virus: the bacteriophage, often referred to as the "phage." 

Here's the importance of the phage: a phage is a virus that attacks bacteria. Unlike antibiotics, which don't change once entered in the body, a phage can mutate in accordance with the bacteria in order to kill it. 

"Certain strains of tuberculosis are particularly antibiotic-resistant and mutate quickly," Dr. Greg Frederick, LETU Department Chair of Biology and Kinesiology, said. "This alternative treatment could potentially solve the problem of this antibiotic-resistant disease." 

Blake tested a soil sample from LETU's campus last year and isolated the phage that was determined to be a new discovery. He says he's grateful for the rare opportunity to do hands-on research as an undergraduate. 

"I've learned so many skills throughout the process that I feel will put me at a great advantage when I apply for graduate school," he said.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Why I Chose LeTourneau

Welcome to the 2016-2017 school year! We at LeTourneau have enjoyed getting to know our new students as well as greeting familiar faces. Choosing a college is a major decision, so we asked a few new students to share why they're choosing to spend these important years at LETU. Whether you're a new or returning student or an alumnus, we'd love to know your reason for choosing LeTourneau. Tell us in the comments below!  

"I really liked the idea of going to school close to home. I was really looking for a rigorous academic challenge and I'm fortunate that that was available to me locally."

-Konnor Timmons/computer science engineering major/Longview, TX

"The engineering program–I like that I'm going to get to build things with my own hands and not just sit in a lecture hall all the time. LeTourneau is the best Christian school for engineering."

Josh Kessler/mechanical engineering major/Lancaster, PA

"I was recruited to play golf. The athletics department was so inviting and friendly, it made me decide that this is where I wanted to spend the next four years."

Stephanie Starr/criminal justice major/Gilmer, TX

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

From Fiji to Texas: What it's Like to be an International Student

“I arrived with one suitcase, and I wasn’t scared at all.”

Meet Cecilia Kim, junior aviation student. A self-described “third-culture kid,” she was born in South Korea and moved to Fiji at the age of eight. When it came time for her to choose a university, Cecilia considered going to college internationally. Her goal was to earn a bachelor’s degree in aviation; no such programs exist in Fiji, but she found her answer at LETU. 

Cecilia Kim
“There are a lot of aviation schools in the States, but LETU’s program had the best reputation and the most impressive alumni.”

With the decision made, Cecilia traveled to the U.S. for the very first time as a brand-new college freshman. This transition didn’t come without adjustments, but she had help from LETU faculty, staff and students through every step.

“Being an international aviation student, I had to go through the process of getting TSA approval. Professors were very supportive during that time. If I went to someone for help, they’d always find a way to make it work.”

“I also had to deal with learning adjustments–cultural learning styles are different here than in Fiji. With the help and encouragement of faculty, I have achieved my academic goals. I just flew my first solo flight!”

This new way of life wasn’t just full of difficult changes; it also brought some welcome developments for Cecilia.  

“Students here are very open. Where I’m from, friends aren’t as open with their feelings with each other. Fiji is very individualistic, and we do a lot of things by ourselves there. Students here take initiative and people become friends faster. At LETU, I have learned to trust people more.”

Cecilia, right after completing her first solo flight.
“There’s also a difference with professors. Here, you can address a professor in a friendly manner, but that wouldn’t be acceptable in Fiji.”

As a freshman, Cecilia immediately found her place in life groups:

“Life groups give us time to be together. We have dinner, messages and good discussions. We are like a family to each other. We pray for one another and are there for each other in hard situations.”

Cecilia wasn’t done traveling after she arrived in Texas. She’s spent her breaks from school visiting 15 different states in only two years. Boston and Chicago are her favorite cities so far.

“America feels like each state is its own country. The people, accents, land are all different. I feel like I’ve gotten to visit a bunch of different countries. I also now completely understand why people say Texas is its own country.”

The consensus on going to college internationally from this third-culture kid?

“Every day has favorite moments for me. This has been such an enjoyable transition, and I feel like God brought me to LETU for a reason.”

Monday, June 20, 2016

Student Perspectives: Audra in Israel

Below is a first-hand account of LETU's recent Israel trip from Audra Cole. Audra will be senior this fall and is studying civil engineering. 

This May, I was blessed to have the incredible opportunity to go on an academic trip to Israel. When I first heard the announcement about the upcoming trip, I knew that I wanted to go. I have wanted to visit Israel since I was a young girl. I thought college was the perfect time to go, and the trip counted towards six credit hours as well. Little did I know that God was planning on transforming my heart and mindset while I dove into a rich Biblical and historical learning experience.

The first couple days of our trip were spent in the Sea of Galilee region. For me, this was the most impactful portion of the trip spiritually. This past semester, I was extremely sick with a viral infection, pneumonia and strep all at the same time. Up until this point on the trip I had been struggling in my personal relationship with God and questioning where He was when I was so sick. When I was standing on the shores of Galilee, I was able to reconnect with God and get some perspective on what I was supposed to learn through the season that I had just walked through. I realized that God had been carrying me the whole way.

I would love to tell you every single site that we visited and how amazing they were, but that would be much too long of a post. Instead, I will highlight some of my other favorite spots. 

On our way from the Sea of Galilee to Jerusalem, we stayed the night in a Bedouin camp in the wilderness. It was at this time I started to realize the friendships that I was forming with my fellow students and professors were going to be something that I will cherish for years to come. At the Bedouin camp, we had the opportunity to ride camels and it was a blast, except for the fact that the camel behind me thought my hair looked pretty tasty!

After the Bedouin Camp, we traveled to Jerusalem. On our way, we had the opportunity to climb Masada. When we arrived at the site, I was slightly afraid that my lungs would not be able to help me make it to the top. However, I was able to, and the whole way back down my lungs were working wonderfully. This moment on the trip was a huge victory for me because I realized that I no longer needed to be worried about my health and that I was completely healed.
After Masada, we had the opportunity to swim in the Dead Sea. I absolutely loved this experience. Being in water in which you cannot sink was one of the strangest feelings, but it was so awesome to share this memory with the group. We then spent the rest of our trip in Jerusalem. It was absolutely amazing. I loved every site that we visited; it really made the Bible come to life in my mind. Being able to tangibly see the places that we had been studying in our Bible and history classes enriched our learning experience exponentially. The whole time I was in Jerusalem I kept thinking, "This is where so much history from the Bible has occurred and I get to be here to experience it.”

I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to go on this trip. It changed my life in more ways than one. I grew so much spiritually, academically and recovered physically while I was in Israel. I would emphatically recommend this trip to anyone who is considering it. The richness that our tour guides Mishi and Diane, as well as Professors Ostendorff and Roudkovski, brought to this trip was invaluable. Being able to complete my personal pilgrimage to Israel has changed my life forever.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

10 Signs You Know You’re a LeTourneau Student

1. When half your wardrobe is free LeTourneau shirts.
Whether it’s sports, music, events or freshman orientation, LETU loves to give out t-shirts. One day you look up and realize they’ve taken over your closet.

2. You know the difference between a cape and a cloak.
Cloaks have hoods. C’mon that’s just common knowledge (here at LeTourneau).

Get it right.

3. Everyone has a 3D printer.
Ever since the freshman started building their own 3D printers, it’s not uncommon to pass at least a dozen people carrying one while on your way to class.

They literally broke a world record.

4. You’ve been ponded.
Ponding (noun): throwing an LETU peer into the pond.
Some people see ponding as a right of passage; others see it as a birthday celebration. Either way, it happens quite frequently and is usually well deserved.

It's not that deep...we think.

5. Hootenanny is above all.
Hootenanny is the best event that LeTourneau University puts on every year during Homecoming. It’s the big one. Nothing will ever top it.


6. You know walking the loop makes you official.
Everyone knows if you walk the loop around campus with another person, you’re practically married.

7. You thought the dance was an April Fool’s joke.
This is a recent phenomenon. YAC announced there would be a dance on April 1st and everyone was skeptical. It was a barn dance and it was awesome. It also actually did happen.

It took an official announcement to convince everyone it was real.

8. You own a longboard, have almost been run over by a longboard, or have watched someone fall off a longboard.
This one is pretty self-explanatory.

9. The bell tower has made you jump.

You know it’s 11:59 and the bell tower will ring in one minute. You still jump. 

10. Your floor is home.
Dorm floors are much more than a place to live. Your floor is who you eat with, play intramurals with, hang out with and live life with. It is a community unlike any other.

Fam for life.