Volume 5, Number 1; March 2013
Texas Tech Students of Integrated Scholarship of 2013
Written and produced by Bob Smith, Rachel Pierce, and Scott Irlbeck
Photography by Neal Hinkle
In the March 2012 edition of All Things Texas Tech (ATTT), we introduced a new series: “Texas Tech Students of Integrated Scholarship.” Since its publication, the article has received recognition for its adaption of the Integrated Scholar concept for students and its acknowledgment of ten outstanding individuals who exemplify this modified concept. Inspired by the positive reception, we turn our attention to twelve additional students who, akin to many faculty members, have been thriving as they follow a path of lifelong learning through self-study and scholarly engagement both within and external to the environs of Texas Tech University.
For the edification of new ATTT readers who are unfamiliar with the Integrated Scholar concept, we consider the metaphor of the “triple threat”—i.e., in football, the player who excels in running, kicking, and passing; in the performing arts, artists who are outstanding at acting, dancing, and singing. Analogously, Integrated Scholar faculty members are those who distinguish themselves in teaching, research, and service or outreach. These three efforts, when undertaken with a goal of interweaving or integration, generate synergy and strengthen every effort of the Integrated Scholar.
Although the triple-threat metaphor and the criteria determinant of an Integrated Scholar faculty member may not translate completely to students, we have embraced a partnership model for student learning (Smith, 2011A). This model is based on students working collaboratively with faculty, other students, and members of society, and it is our belief that this model has immense potential for personal and professional advancement. Additionally, the Integrated Scholarship model we see for students also involves modes of active learning (Smith, 2011B; Bailey and Smith, 2011; Smith, 1998; Smith and Allen, 2010B), including:
- Service learning and internships
- Undergraduate and graduate research
- Study abroad experiences and learning
We encourage students to adopt a commitment to lifelong learning, active learning, and integrated scholarship. Synergy generated among these efforts yields advantages for future scholars, professionals, and leading citizens of our world community. Moreover, many Texas Tech students have already discovered—whether consciously or not—the Integrated Scholar model. We hope that the student examples depicted in this article will assist in organizing our thinking about the Integrated Scholar model and its relevance to students’ personal and professional development.
Meet the 2013 Students of Integrated Scholarship
After appraising the criteria relevant to Students of Integrated Scholarship and receiving recommendations from deans’ offices across Texas Tech, we have chosen to spotlight twelve of Texas Tech’s standout undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate professional students. They are:
Originally from Lafayette, Louisiana, environmental engineering student Andrew Alleman has long been intrigued by science. He has been exploring the interconnections between the environment and engineering—cultivating research experience in the laboratories of Texas Tech civil and environmental engineering Professor Audra Morse, and soil and environmental microbiology Professor Jennifer Moore-Kucera. Yet Alleman began his undergraduate career on a slightly different path at another university. Although his interests lay in the environmental sciences, Alleman says he became fascinated by the positive societal impact accomplished through engineering. To incorporate his flourishing appreciation of engineering, Alleman decided to redirect the course of his education, changing majors and schools. He notes that Texas Tech’s strong environmental engineering program drew him to the university and has kept him here, as well as allowed him to study abroad in Brazil. Whether he will continue on to graduate school or enter the workforce without further ado after completing his bachelor’s degree, Alleman says he would ultimately like to make coastal system restoration the focus of his professional life. Fortunately, he will have a strong start as an intern for the Environmental Protection Agency in Oregon this summer. (Learn more about Andrew Alleman)
As a doctoral candidate, Angela Bourne brings a refreshing perspective to interior design education and practice. Bourne is a nontraditional student in the area of environmental design—a wife and a mother she is also an accomplished interior designer and has spent the past two decades as a professor in Canada. Bourne specializes in creating spaces for people with special needs, including those with autism and Down’s syndrome. To augment her credentials as an academician, she has been pursuing a PhD in environmental design from the College of Human Sciences at Texas Tech. Bourne has worked with design Professor Kristi Gaines, serving as a research assistant and a teaching assistant, in addition to helping Gaines with her forthcoming book. Bourne also has been successful at securing grant funding, resulting in part from collaboration with Gaines and Professor Debajyoti Pati. After she obtains her doctorate, Bourne says she plans to continue her research into design solutions for special-needs people. (Learn more about Angela Bourne)
Juan De Loera
Learning about new places and cultures never fails to inspire Juan De Loera. Born in Mexico and raised in California and Texas, he has managed to balance breadth and depth throughout his years as an undergraduate. De Loera is on his way to completing bachelor’s degrees in architecture and French. Still, the education he gained within the bounds of the Texas Tech campus was enhanced by his semester abroad in France. In addition to strengthening his conversational skills through courses with his fellow students and Professor Carole Edwards, De Loera had the opportunity to connect with several people from France and, as a result, he learned firsthand about the country’s society and culture. De Loera also is committed to giving back through the university’s chapter of Global Architecture Brigades, which he began at Texas Tech and now leads. The group designs and builds sustainable facilities in Central America. Beyond graduation, De Loera plans to continue studying architecture and French at the graduate level, ideally in France. (Learn more about Juan De Loera)
Marta Hoes is a student shaped by her experiences. She knew that medicine was her professional calling from an early age, and the time she has spent traveling has broadened her worldview and enriched her education. As an undergraduate at Texas Tech, Hoes realized her interest in law and decided to remain at her alma mater because of its distinct JD/MD dual-degree program. In fact, Hoes was the first candidate admitted to the program, which spans six years and allows accepted students to pursue both legal and medical educations. The program also engages its students in a number of active learning experiences. Hoes has helped to resolve disputes in the School of Law’s health care mediation clinic, served on the school’s Administrative Law Journal, and interacted with the community through her Early Clinical Experience course as a medical student. As for her career plans, Hoes says she looks forward to exploring the many opportunities available at the intersection of law and medicine. (Learn more about Marta Hoes)
Helping families to heal from trauma and abuse drives the scholarship of Lindsay Huffhines. The Lubbock native is a student in the marriage and family therapy graduate program. Huffhines says she was drawn to the mental health field as an undergraduate, and her volunteer work at a sexual assault resource center provided the impetus for her to follow her research interests. To that end, Huffhines was named a Student Fulbright Fellow and, with support from the fellowship, has been living in Iceland since the fall of 2012 to investigate parental support and how it might be influenced by social support systems. Additionally, she has been volunteering at a women’s shelter in Iceland, providing assistance for additional research projects, and taking a creative writing class. When she returns to Texas Tech in the fall, Huffhines plans to serve as a therapist in the Children’s Advocacy Center, in addition to reviving the yoga program she started at a local women’s shelter. Huffhines aims to attain a doctorate in clinical psychology or a related field so that she may continue researching and teaching at a university. (Learn more about Lindsay Huffhines)
Danica King has grown up with a traveler’s spirit. Since she was a girl, King and her family traveled internationally, and she always enjoyed learning about new places and cultures. Now a junior at Texas Tech, King is an international business major and pursuing a minor in French. Over the past summer she was part of a group of students that studied abroad in France with Professor Carole Edwards. She describes the experience as enlightening—not only for the opportunity to strengthen her language skills but to learn about French culture. Back in Lubbock, King has been involved in several service projects with her sorority to promote breast cancer education. Looking ahead, she has her eye on internships in Europe. King says she feels fortunate to have experienced so much in her life, and she hopes to give back through a career that supports humanitarian efforts around the world. (Learn more about Danica King)
Getting to the root of human behavior has been central to Sean Mitchell’s academic journey. After completing his undergraduate education at Texas Tech, Mitchell stayed at the university to matriculate into the clinical psychology doctoral program. Mitchell says involvement in research is essential to undergraduates, no matter their major, because it offers valuable learning experiences. Mitchell himself became involved in research during his sophomore year and has worked with psychology Professors Robert Morgan and Kelly Cukrowicz. Now a doctoral candidate, Mitchell still collaborates with Cukrowicz, who is his faculty mentor, and is leading a research project that allows him to work with psychology professors at two other universities. Outside the academic laboratory-clinic environs, Mitchell has been active in service projects associated with mental health and suicide prevention, including the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness community walk. Once he completes his PhD, Mitchell plans to stay on the path of integrated scholarship as an academician. (Learn more about Sean Mitchell)
Chinwe Obi is captivated by the power of words and relationship building. As a double major in public relations and technical communication, Obi has been able to apply her knowledge in the classroom, research, internships, work, and service projects. Among her most rewarding experiences was an internship with the nonprofit Lubbock Arts Alliance, during which she raised funds and recruited volunteers for the group’s four-day arts festival. Obi’s interest in media messages led her to work on research projects with public relations Professor Autumn Shafer. Additionally, Obi has been involved in a number of extracurricular activities, some of her most visible roles being with President’s Select, which allows her to interact with prospective students, and the College of Media and Communication Dean’s Council, which enables her to advocate on behalf of her fellow students in the college. Looking to advance her education, Obi will enroll in a master’s program for technical communication and then she plans to pursue a Ph.D. She intends to develop a career in grant writing for nonprofit organizations and to share her experience with others in higher education. (Learn more about Chinwe Obi)
DeMera Ollinger’s creative design capabilities and interest in environmental sustainability drew her to the field of landscape architecture. The curriculum constantly tests her thinking, however, Ollinger says she enjoys challenging both sides of her brain when it comes to the field she loves. Outside the classroom, Ollinger has served as a member of Agri-Techsans, promoting the departments within the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at events both on and off campus. She also is the events coordinator for the TTU chapter of the Student American Society of Landscape Architects, which created a residential landscape design for the television program “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” Though she is active on campus, Ollinger notes that her most rewarding service opportunity arose beyond the environs of Texas Tech. While studying abroad in Brazil, she volunteered to teach English to underprivileged children, some of whom had never attended school, and Ollinger notes that the experience was illuminating. On her way to completing the fourth year of a five-year bachelor’s program, Ollinger says environmental sustainability remains at the core of her outreach efforts and keeps her optimistic about the future. (Learn more about DeMera Ollinger)
Food science research has long been part of Graysen Ortega’s life. A Lubbock native, he began working in the lab with Mindy Brashears, a professor of food microbiology and food safety, during high school, and his sustained interest led him to declare food science as his major when he began college. Since coming to Texas Tech, Ortega has stayed active in the laboratory, gaining acceptance into the Texas Tech University/Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Research Scholar Program. He also has presented his research on foodborne pathogenic strains of Escherichia coli and species of Salmonella at the annual conference of the Institute of Food Technologists. Because food science has a global reach, Ortega has had the opportunity to travel to Mexico periodically with Brashears and other researchers. Additionally, Ortega has cultivated interests outside the laboratory. He has served as an intern for the US House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture in Washington, DC, in addition to his role as president of the TTU Food Science Club and involvement with the Research Chef’s Association. Ortega looks to continue his education, and while his plans are not yet final, he is leaning toward law school. (Learn more about Graysen Ortega)
Growing up in rural Iowa, Kendra Phelps imagined she would one-day work with animals. Her interest in zoology led her to Auburn University and Oklahoma State University, where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, respectively. Now a doctoral candidate at Texas Tech, Phelps has been working with adviser Tigga Kingston, a professor of zoology, and focusing on conservation biology, which strives to preserve wildlife amidst humans’ disruption of the environment. Phelps was named a Student Fulbright Fellow, and through funding from the fellowship, she has been based in the Philippines since May to investigate communities of cave-dwelling bats that have had varying degrees of exposure to humans. Her work will be used to develop policies that protect cave-dependent bat populations and their habitats. Back in Lubbock, Phelps has been committed to efforts that serve the university, the local community, and her field. As her department’s graduate coordinator, she has arranged for students and faculty to present their research at weekly seminars, and she has contributed to community service projects as a member of the TTU Association of Biologists. Additionally, she has served as a reviewer for scientific journals and reviewed grant applications and awards for scientific societies. After she completes her doctorate, Phelps hopes to continue preserving wildlife species and their habitats as conservation biologist. (Learn more about Kendra Phelps)
Irving native Jennifer Zavaleta is fascinated with the natural world. As a master’s student in the Department of Natural Resources Management, Zavaleta says she benefited greatly from enrolling in classes outside her major, incorporating her knowledge from agricultural education, communications, and sociology into her scholarship. Among her research opportunities, Zavaleta received a grant for her paper that highlighted assumptions made by government agents and researchers in regard to land management, as well as created a literature review about lesser prairie chickens, a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act—all through a collaboration with wildlife ecology Adjunct Professor David Haukos. Zavaleta’s thesis, which was based on data collected over thirteen years, evaluated the effect of tebuthiuron herbicide and rotational grazing on shinnery oak, a shrub that is native to Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. Since graduating last spring, Zavaleta has embarked on a journey taking her to Chile as part of her selection as a Student Fulbright Fellow. The first half of her fellowship consisted of a program evaluation of the country’s Long-Term Ecological Research Network, and the second half has involved assessing the land management plan for a community that lives in a national forest. (Learn more about Jennifer Zavaleta)
In reflection, we offer some advice for the engagement-minded student or the faculty adviser who wishes to emphasize the valuable experiences that students may gain both within and beyond the campus environs. Here are some points to consider from the TTU Office of the Provost:
- Broaden your learning opportunities, including courses that offer service-learning or internship experiences.
- Find an area of study (or areas of study) interesting to you. Also, find a professor who challenges your preconceptions and has opened up new avenues of observation.
- Determine what scholarly contributions might result from your studies. Additionally, your hobbies and extracurricular interests could affect this answer.
- Join a student organization on campus or create a local chapter of a national organization.
- Consider studying abroad as a means of augmenting your experiences in the classroom.
We have assessed the criteria of the Integrated Scholar concept and related principles to twelve Students of Integrated Scholarship. We have also provided valuable advice for organizing one’s thinking about Integrated Scholarship. Our hope is that this article may help other members of the TTU academic community further consider the Integrated Scholar model and its application in the personal and professional development of students—undergraduates, graduates, and postgraduate professionals, alike.
Let us know what you think, either through email or snail mail. If you craft a thought-provoking piece, we will consider it for publication in a future edition of ATTT. Ideas and suggestions are welcome and may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bailey, Guy and Bob Smith. “Undergraduate Research: A Core Element of Texas Tech’s Movement to Tier One.” All Things Texas Tech 3 (1) 2011; http://www.depts.ttu.edu/provost/attt/2011/02/undergrad-research.php.
Smith, Bob. “Integrated Scholars: You Will Find Many at Texas Tech.” All Things Texas Tech, 1 (2) 2009; http://www.depts.ttu.edu/provost/attt/2009/09/integratedscholar.php.
Smith, Bob. “Are Students Customers? Many Factors Should Inform Our Judgment.” All Things Texas Tech 3 (1) 2011A; http://www.depts.ttu.edu/provost/attt/2011/02/students-customers.php.
Smith, Bob. “Service Learning and Internships: The Third Component of Active Learning.” All Things Texas Tech 3 (2) 2011B; http://www.depts.ttu.edu/provost/attt/2011/09/service_learning.php.
Smith, Bob and Katie Allen. “Texas Tech Integrated Scholars 2010.” All Things Texas Tech 2 (2) 2010A; http://www.depts.ttu.edu/provost/attt/2010/09/integratedscholars.php.
Smith, Bob and Katie Allen. “Studying Abroad—Is it Worth it?” All Things Texas Tech 2 (2) 2010B; http://www.depts.ttu.edu/provost/attt/2010/09/studyabroad.php.
Smith, Bob, Katie Allen and Scott Irlbeck. “Texas Tech Integrated Scholars 2011.” All Things Texas Tech 3 (2) 2011; http://www.depts.ttu.edu/provost/attt/2011/09/integratedscholars.php.
Smith, R. V. Graduate Research: A Guide for Students in the Sciences. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1998.
About the Authors
Bob Smith serves as provost and senior vice president, and professor of chemistry at Texas Tech University.
Rachel Pierce and Scott Irlbeck are senior editors of research and academic communications at Texas Tech University.