CAA Design Institute
In December 2017, the Hammons School of Architecture sent two students, Christian Holzer and Hunter Brauer, to Hangzhou, China to participate in a 4-week internship at the China Academy of Art Design Institute (CAA-DI). The firm is associated with the China Academy of Art (CAA), one of the country’s most prestigious art and design schools. HSA’s visiting practitioner in residence and assistant professor Yong Huang accompanied the students. Together they worked on designs for the central business district and a lakeside park for Jinhua, a city located about 115 miles south of Hangzhou. Because of CAA-DI’s institutional character, the students approached these projects from an academic perspective: They were given the opportunity to research and explore ideas and designs through a variety of lenses, taking advantage of their liberal arts education. Huang recalls the team reminding the local architects how beautiful their natural and cultural environment is. “We paid more attention to the public spaces and the way people live…we showed them something new about their daily life.” This independent thinking provided meaningful designs and impressed the Chinese hosts, including Jinhua’s mayor and city officials. Prof. Huang and the students, as both researchers and visitors, traveled on their days off to cities and villages near Hangzhou. Wuzhen, a historic town that sits along the Jinghang Canal and a UNESCO World Heritage site, was a highlight for both students. The time spent in China expanded the Drury team’s understanding of architecture’s importance and its imbedding in local and regional communities and cultures. It further caused the team to reconsider and challenge conventional understandings of architecture’s place and role in the American context.
Treasure Island Returns
The Drury University Theatre Department performed the children’s classic “Treasure Island” in a series of performances in late April. The play, written by Aurand Harris and based on the classic story by Robert Louis Stevenson, promises to entertain young audiences with its timeless tale of adventure. Older audiences will recognize iconic characters like Jim Hawkins, Blind Pew, and the infamous Long John Silver as they swashbuckle about the stage of Drury’s Wilhoit Theater. “Treasure Island” is the latest production in Drury’s tradition of performances for children. The children’s show, once an annual tradition, had been on hiatus for several years before returning with last year’s production of “With Two Wings.” Beginning with “Treasure Island”, the children’s show will return as a regular production for Drury, occurring every-other year, says Professor of Theatre Dr. Mick Sokol. “For a lot of these kids who are going to come see the show it is their first interaction with theater,” says Mitchell Johnson, a junior theatre major and director of the production. “I think that is kind of a big deal, showing these kids some quality theater and what theater is all about.”
Autodesk University Conference
A Las Vegas arena, 10,000 people, and 100,000 square feet of innovative exhibits displaying the cutting edge of technology – these are the types of things that can be found at Autodesk Uni- versity, an annual global design conference that took place in Las Vegas last November. Mixed in with industry professionals and innovators was a small group of students from universities like MIT, Texas A&M, North Carolina State, University of Washington, University of Florida, and – amidst them all – Drury University. “It’s a pretty impressive list to be associated with,” says Drury Professor of Architecture David Beach. “You think, little Drury, Midwest provincial city, and we are right in there with schools like that.” The four-day conference offered students a one-of-a-kind opportunity to stand out, make real-world connections and take home knowledge of lasting value.
A one-of-a-kind experience
This year, Drury architecture students Bryan Williams, Nia Damgova and Ethan Kaplan were selected to attend the conference as part of Autodesk’s Student Expert Network. The elite group was made up of fewer than thirty students from universities around the world. This marks the third year in a row that Drury students have been invited to attend the prestigious event, a trend he hopes will continue. “Autodesk is just awesome,” says Williams, a fifth year architecture student attending the conference for his second time. “No matter where you walk, there is always something you haven’t seen.” The students were not just passive visitors to the conference. This year, Williams was selected to present his architectural design project to a panel of industry professionals in a session titled “Pitch to the Pros.” An audience of more than 100 people watched Williams as he presented his project, a hypothetical theater designed for Drury’s campus, and fielded questions from the panel. The four-minute presentation even included live virtual reality of the proposed theater using a new, then unreleased, VR backpack computer by HP. Williams wasn’t the only Drury student to show off his work. Beach has given presentations at Autodesk University for the past five years. This year, his presentation was titled “Connecting FormIt and Dynamo for Predesign Formal Thinking,” and focused on applications for several related design software tools. “Professor Beach invited Ethan and I to be co-speakers for this session,” recalls Damgova, a third- year architecture student. She presented as one of the youngest attendees at the conference.
As part of the Student Expert Network, the students also led tours of the exposition space, participated in a Q&A with Autodesk employees and attended an industry mixer. The latter was one of many opportunities to interact with fellow students and form new connections with industry professionals. “Another
thing that was very interesting about my AU experience was how many Drury alumni I met,” says Damgova. “It was great to see how far a Drury education has taken them.” Most notable among these connections was a chance meeting with Kelsey Stein, a 2008 graduate of the Hammons School of Architecture and Autodesk University keynote speaker. Stein is currently a Senior Preconstruction Technology Specialist at Skanska USA. She spoke in front of 8,000 people during this year’s Autodesk Technology Keynote.
“If you talk to those students, they’ll tell you about the value of getting to see the conference,” Beach says.
Paralegal Program a Top Rank
Drury University’s Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies program has once again been ranked among the best online programs in the country for its value, quality and convenience. In a national study, Open Education Database ranked Drury’s program as the third best online paralegal degree of 2018. This ranking follows another by TheBestSchools.org, which recently listed Drury at fourth in its list of best online paralegal programs.
The program is offered through Drury’s College of Continuing Professional Studies, and can be completed entirely online. By providing a conceptual appreciation for the essential principles, doctrines, rules and structural elements required for the practice of law, the degree provides a strong basis for paralegals seeking employment in a wide variety of legal practices. Open Education Database praises programs like Drury’s for “allowing students to complete their degree in less time and at a lower cost than traditional options.” Both rankings websites acknowledged Drury’s program for balancing classroom learning with real-world experience. As part of their education, Drury students participate in a law practicum internship with a practicing attorney. Job prospects for paralegal degree seekers are promising. The paralegal profession has been growing steadily and continues to accelerate as companies seek to employ more paralegals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, paralegal and legal assistant jobs are expected to grow by 15 percent through 2026, more than twice as fast as the average for all occupations.
Charles Koch Foundation Grant
The Breech School of Business received a grant from the Charles Koch Foundation to fund a student-faculty reading group and speaker series on the topic of the relationship between economic freedom and prosperity. Twelve students made up of business, political science and philosophy majors, and two faculty met and discussed two books during the fall semester. The grant funded a healthcare reform debate in April.
A Prestigious Fellowship
Professor Traci Sooter has been named to the prestigious College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects. Sooter will be recognized at an investiture ceremony at the AIA annual meeting in New York in June.
New Women's Triathlon Team
In fall 2018, Drury will field its first women’s triathlon team as part of the newest NCAA sport. Drury is the first university in the history of Missouri to have a women’s triathlon team, with the first female triathlete in the history of Missouri, Hailey Souter, as well as the first NCAA women’s triathlete from Arkansas, Melanie Abbott. This new team will be assisted by recent graduate and Hall of Fame inductee, Erin Dolan ‘xx, who is currently one of the top female triathletes in the world.
Illness of Mentality C-Street Exhibition
The Drury on C-Street gallery hosted a unique art exhibition in April called “Illness of Mentality.” Those who suffer from mental illness often find it difficult to express what living with their condition feels like through spoken word. The exhibit, which was open during the month of April, offered a new visual perspective to visitors by immersing them in a unique artistic representation of the experience. The exhibit offered a new visual perspective to visitors by immersing them in a unique artistic representation of the experience. In doing so, it hoped to remove barriers of understanding and combat stigmas surrounding mental illness.
The Mirror Earns Statewide Awards
Drury’s student-produced newspaper founded in 1886, The Mirror, earned five awards at the 2018 Missouri College Media Association (MCMA) Conference in April. Current students and recent graduates competed for awards with student staff from college newspapers at Maryville University, Missouri Southern State University, Missouri Western State University, Northwest Missouri State University, Truman State University, and Webster University.
Psychology Student to Study in Bali, Indonesia
Psychology major, Inga Nordgren ’18, will spend four weeks in Bali, Indonesia attending workshops, teaching locals English, working with patients with special needs and conducting sessions in a mental health facility as part of a volunteer placement program with SLV Global over the summer.
Small Press Publishing
Trevor Cobb ’18 published his student work, How to be Politically Involved: A Guide for Activists With a Lot on Their Plate, as part of his ENGL 355 Small Press Publishing class. The book brings together his interests in writing, graphic design and politics. In writing the book, he learned about the many ways he could be even more involved. Trevor appreciated the guidance and mentoring he received from Professor Jo Van Arkel, who provided with the resources and know-how to finish the project.
Drury history major, Ashley Simpson, received the Greene County Historical Society Fellowship to support her research on the medical practices in Missouri during the Civil War. The generous fellowship allowed Ashley to travel to Washington D.C. and examine the original archives at National Archives.
Online Education Among the Best and Most Affordable
Drury University’s online programs were recently recognized as some of the best and most affordable in the nation. In a study published by Best College Reviews, Drury was listed at No. 11 in a ranking of “The 25 Most Affordable Colleges Online for 2018.” Drury’s online programs cost $299 per credit hour for undergraduate degrees and $359 per credit hour for graduate degrees, not including fees. Recognizing the rising costs of higher education, Best College Reviews also recognized Drury for its ability to “place degree opportunities within reach of those students who would otherwise not be able to afford to pursue their education.”
31st Annual International Food Festival
Drury’s International Student Association hosted the 31st Annual International Food Festival in April. As in previous years, international students will prepare authentic food from their home countries to be shared with participants. The dinner will include dishes from 10 different countries, including Italy, Egypt, Pakistan, Slovenia, Costa Rica, and others. The meal will be accompanied by live performances of cultural songs and dances from across the globe, as well as a parade of world flags around the Commons. “I think food speaks to everything, and it sort of tells you about the lifestyle of a country or culture,” says Velona Tawfik, president of the Drury International Student Association. “If you just made it a showcase of different countries, people might not be interested. But food is something that will appeal to everyone.”