Students Lauded for Academic Success

PLAINVIEW – Jibrael Washington towered over the podium as he crouched to be nearer the microphone. At 6-foot-8, Washington was a defensive standout on the university basketball team. But on this night, decked out in a flashy gold jacket with a maroon paisley design, Washington stood out for another reason – his creative writing.

Wayland Baptist University celebrated academic excellence last week, recognizing top students for their performances in the classroom. The week was full of special events as each academic school named its research and performance champion for the 2021-22 academic year.

For the School of Languages and Literature, that celebration was held in the form of a writer’s symposium where students shared their original works. Washington, a senior from Waco who is graduating in May with a degree in English, was the first to present, telling a tale of life, love, hopes, dreams, drugs, violence and death that came too soon in his short story “We Die Soon.”

What followed was a list of students sharing poems, essays, poetry collections, flash fiction and speeches that touched on topics like, religious conviction, standardized testing, expressing oneself and the meaning of life.

A panel of faculty and administrative judges from outside of the School of Languages and Literature judged the readings to determine the school’s research champion. Samuel Daily, a graduating senior from Pearland, was named champion for his collection of free-verse poetry where casual and humorous insights led to personal revelation.

Other academic schools also celebrated their research champions, displaying their work and holding forums or symposiums where students presented their research in a competition format.

The School of Behavioral and Social Sciences held a reception for students and inducted a new class into the Phi Alpha Theta honor society. Justine Sandoval was named research and performance champion for her research on Title IX issues. Her qualitative analysis revealed that, while Title IX training increases awareness of violations, students still choose to deal with the problems on their own and not report them due to fear of stigma and isolation from other students within their social groups. Title IX issues range from sexual harassment and assault to discrimination in the classroom and on campus.

In the School of Business, Lewis Richmond, a senior from Blackburn, England, was named champion for his work on a paper about the integration of faith and learning and his journey from being an agnostic to becoming a Christian. The school also held a reception recognizing its spring graduates and Sigma Beta Delta inductees.

The School of Christian Studies selected Brenda Miller as its research and performance champion. Miller, a Master of Divinity student at WBU’s San Antonio campus, wrote a research paper that explored the cultural, political, economic and religious complexities of King Herod’s reign manifested in his building projects. Her selection marked the first time a student from an extension campus received research champion recognition in the School of Christian Studies.

The School of Creative Arts chose to focus on the senior art practicum as its contribution to academic excellence week. The art practicum is a show on display in the Abraham Art Gallery featuring the work of three graduating seniors, Madeline Alison, Bill Bridgwater and Evan Puckett. The show features both two-dimensional and three-dimensional artwork encompassing several creative genres.

Don Williams School of Education named Tatijana Markic, a senior from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, as its research and performance champion for her diligent work on the edTPA which is a performance-based assessment tool used through the United States. She was also recognized for her successful clinical teaching.

The Kenneth L. Mattox School of Mathematics and Sciences recognized several students for their research contributions throughout the year. The faculty awards went to Emily Franklin for Best Oral Presentation of her “Arithmagic Squares” research. Tierra Lozano won the Best Poster Presentation award for her work “Phosphates for Protection, not Detection: Development of a Non-Radiolabeled Strand Exchange Assay,” focusing on the study of DNA repair. The student choice awards went to Franklin and Ilan Joffe for Best Oral Presentation and Bruna Moureira for Best Poster.


Pictured Above: Tierra Lozano talks about her research poster during Academic Excellence Week at Wayland Baptist University. Lozano won the award for Best Poster Presentation in the Kenneth L. Mattox School of Mathematics and Sciences.