Wesleynotes Volume 2, Issue 1 Fall 2014

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Read about what faculty, staff, students and alumni of the School of Arts and Letters at Texas Wesleyan University have been doing this summer and Fall. Give us your feedback and story ideas at sdaniell@txwes.edu.


  • Wesleynotes AbThe View from

    Poly HeightsVol. 2 / Issue 1

    Fall 2014Texas Wesleyan University visiting assistant professor of

    religion, Dr. Kendra Irons, has written a book on Christian feminism in the hope that she can inspire women to be all they can.

    Irons is working alongside a colleague from George Fox University, Dr. Melanie Springer Mock. Irons and Mock have been writing a blog together for more than two years titled Aint I a Woman, and from there came the inspiration for their book.

    We started this blog where we examined Christian popular culture, and what were looking for are ways in which these artifacts in Christian popular culture are used to essentially keep women in a specific box. Irons said.

    The book, Meant to be: A Christian Feminist Guide to Be-ing Yourself, Accepting Your Faith, and Changing the World is scheduled for release in April 2015.

    The book is essentially geared toward women attending Christian colleges such as Liberty University.

    Through Irons extensive research and studies she found that women in Christian colleges start out with higher self-esteem, and by the time they graduate, they have much lower self-esteem.

    What we have come to believe is that it is this kind of Chris-tian popular culture that essentially provides these messages to women that tell them: on the one hand God loves them, and on the other hand they are sinful like Eve. They are not as bright as their male peers [and] they should be leaders in only certain places, Irons said. There are mixed messages that women in particular get.

    Irons and Mock seek to provide a more accurate and Biblical understanding of the roles women play within Christianity by targeting subjects such as purity culture and the Proverbs 31 woman who is an example of virtue, responsibility and good sense.

    The women who attend Christian colleges are more exposed to a world where men are still the head of household. These women are far less exposed to strong women in executive po-sitions than they would be if they had attended a traditional or

    public college or university. The purpose of Irons book is to provide an alternative and

    change the stigmas associated with Christian women by tar-geting the women at Christian colleges.

    Its [the book] really driven by wanting women to have a sense that they should be all that they can be, Irons said. In Meant to Be, we critique the messages about gender that are ubiquitous in evangelical Christian popular culture. These messages are often labeled biblical or godly, but are based more on cultural stereotype than on anything the Bible might say. Meant to Be intends to be an echo of the groundbreaking book written by Letha Dawson Scanzoni and Nancy Hardesty published in 1974 titled All Were Meant to Be.

    Blog leads to book for Christian women

    Courtesy of Dr. Kendra IronsDr. Kendra Irons

  • Arts & Letters 2 School of Arts & Letters

    For Texas Wesleyan University asso-ciate professor Julie McCoy, singing is more than a hobby - it is a passion and a science.

    McCoy has been teaching choral music at Wesleyan for nine years. She has two degrees from the University of Texas at Austin, bachelors in music ed-ucation, and masters in music in vocal performance.

    McCoy is a soprano singer for a pro-fessional chamber choir, Conspirare, which means to breathe together in Latin. The Austin-based choir is one of the top chamber choirs in the world, and the group has had five recordings that have been nominated for Grammy Awards since 2006.

    Conspirare selects its performers from all over the nation, and McCoy was se-lected to do two concerts and a record-ing for the group in September. The re-cording is called The Poet Sings: Pablo Neruda.

    The songs lyrics are poems from Ner-uda, a Chilean poet who won a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1971. McCoy also performed a solo in a song, The Beati-tudes.

    The two concerts were held at the University of Texas at Austin in Bates Recital Hall, and the recording was done at Goshen College in Goshen, Ind. Goshen College has a recital hall that

    is completely sound-proof, making it a perfect place to record the music. The recording is expected to be released in September 2015.

    McCoy has been singing for Conspir-are for roughly seven years.

    It is very much an honor and a privi-lege to sing with this group, she said.

    She has done four recordings for the group, including Threshold of Night, which was nominated for two Grammy Awards in Best Choral Performance and Best Classical Album in 2008. She has also done several concerts with them, including one in Copenhagen at the World Symposium on Choral Music in 2008.

    McCoy is very fond of the choir and is really inspired by the founder and direc-tor, Craig Hella Johnson.

    The way he picks repertoire every single time is incredible, McCoy said. He is one of the finest musicians I have ever known, and also one of the most beautiful people I have ever known and is just a joy to work with.

    McCoy said she loves the challenge of singing for such a proficient group.

    When you are working at this level, every moment is a challenge for your brain and for your body, she said. I feel such a sense of accomplishment.

    McCoy wants to continue to keep learning about choral music, which in-

    volves studying the rapidly growing field of science behind singing.

    My goal is to keep up with informa-tion and the latest findings about sing-ing, McCoy said. I always try to keep learning for teaching purposes.

    McCoy is also a member of the Na-tional Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the group which selects the Grammy winners. She was selected into this Academy because of her profession-al recordings.

    When the group votes, McCoy re-ceives a ballot for the choral music se-lection because she is considered to be an expert.

    Choral music has been a passion throughout her whole life.

    McCoy grew up in Canyon, Texas, which is located in the Panhandle. She attended many choral concerts and lis-tened to recordings growing up. She also received excellent musical edu-cation and started singing in choirs in middle school.

    She began taking singing lessons as a freshman in high school.

    McCoy enjoys being able to combine her love for choral music and teaching into her career.

    Ive always loved school, McCoy said. Music is also a passion, and I was lucky enough to find those two and put them together.

    McCoy sings with Grammy-nominated choir

    Courtesy of Danny BrodGrammy nominee and Wesleyan professor Julie McCoy sings with Austin-based Conspirare.

  • Arts & Letters 3School of Arts & Letters

    Texas Wesleyan Universitys The-atre Department has been producing student-written plays on campus since the 1990s, and this year was no differ-ent. Theatre professor Connie Whitt-Lambert knew that one of her students, Logan Rodgers, had a story that needed to be on stage.

    You wont have a good play unless you have a good story, Whitt-Lambert said. First the story has to be interest-ing; without an interesting story, you are just boring the pants off your audience.

    Rodgers definitely has an interesting story. The junior theatre majors play, In & Between, was performed on the Wes-leyan stage August 17-19 with encore performances on October 19-20.

    In & Between was created in Whitt- Lamberts playwriting class in 2013.

    I was very excited to read the first draft, Whitt-Lambert said. Even in that early developmental stage, it was very evident that this was a unique and interesting piece.

    After the semester in the playwriting class, the script was developed into a short play and was read in the Wes-leyan Playmarket Series in February 2014. Rodgers has rewritten In & Between a total of nine times since the last performance on campus. In & Between is a two-act play about

    two characters, Nyles and Armin, who become trapped in a forest with no way out. With help from a special friend, Kae, they realized why they were trapped and discovered how to escape.

    Rodgers is not only a playwright; he is also an accomplished actor. He has per-formed on the Wesleyan Stage in The Drowsy Chaperone, The Heiress, A Man for All Seasons, Certificate of Death and will perform in the upcom-ing production of Fuddy Meers.

    Rodgers intends to direct his first play, Mafia on Prozac, on December 2. He plays five instruments as well.

    I played the alto saxophone when I was part of my high school band, and since then I have dabbled with piano, guitar and mandolin, he said. I can play the uku-lele well. I can

    strum a mean four string.Rodgers involvement on campus in-

    cludes being the head representative for the Student Government Association and president of the theatre organiza-tion, Alpha Psi Omega.

    However, Rodgers believes he balanc-es his extracurricular activities and class work very poorly. He remains passion-ate about being a good storyteller.

    Thats the thing that I am most in-terested in; in life is storytelling and be-ing able to, Rodgers said. There are so many different avenues, which you can give justice to the story and share it with other people. I think thats why Im into it.

    As for his future, Rodgers wants to continue telling stories in his own way.

    Id like to voice act. Thats always been something that interested me, he said. Alternatively, Id like to also write for television shows and film and maybe get a few plays published.

    Whitt-Lambert has little doubt about his future success.

    Without question Logan Rodgers has a future as a playwright, Whitt-Lambert said. Hes already got a great start with In & Between. Im very proud of him.

    In & Between produced on campus

    Photo by Bryan StevensonFreshman theatre major Jacob Myers, alumnus Jeremy Jackson, and senior theatre major Kaila Saffle during a performance of In & Between.

  • 1984 graduate Cheryl Penland is now doing what she loves, which is teaching theatre at Trimble Tech High School in Fort Worth.

    Penland received her degree in theater and then moved on to commercials and films. It wasnt until later that she discov-

    ered her passion for teaching.I agreed to fill in as a substitute teacher for my friend Erin

    McGrann (a fellow TWU Theatre Grad) in a high school The-ater classroom. I never thought I would teach, but fell in love with the job and actually went back to Wesleyan in order to get

    Arts & Letters 4 School of Arts & Letters

    Eddye Gallagher is a 1969 alumna of Texas Wesleyan. She majored in English and minored in journalism and foreign language. At Wesleyan she was involved in working on the school publications and getting to know her professors, fac-ulty and fellow classmates.

    Texas Wesleyan gave her a lot of hands

    on experiences that she believes she wouldnt have gotten had she gone to a bigger university.

    After graduating she began her career at a business journal magazine as a writ-er, but after given an ultimatum to sign a long-term contract she decided to leave.

    She worked at Texas Christian Uni-

    versity in its public relations department for a short time before going to graduate school and taking a part-time position at the University of North Texas.

    Gallagher now serves as the director of student publications, adviser of The Col-legian, Tarrant Coutny Colleges student newspaper, and an assistant professor of journalism at Tarrant County College.

    Gallagher and her husband Ed, who is also an alumnus of Texas Wesleyan, con-tinue to support the university.

    Gallagher was recently named the Distinguished 2-Year Newspaper Ad-viser by the College Media Association. She was presented the award on October 30 at the College Media Associations na-tional convention in Philadelphia. Her predecessor, Joe Norton, won the same award in 1975.

    Gallagher has taught at Tarrant County College since 1970 and has di-rected the colleges student publications unit since 1999. In that time, her staffs have won numerous national, regional and state awards. More importantly she has seen a number of students go on to beome successes in various media.

    Gallagher is heavily involved in the Fort Worth professional chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and currently serves as SPJ region 8 director.

    I think its a great school, and I think its wonderful that Wesleyan is growing. Im glad that the journalism program is growing. I am just really pleased what Wesleyan has done for me, Gallagher said.

    Courtesy of Eddye GallagherEddye Gallagher was named the Distinguished 2-Year Newspaper Adviser by the College Me-dia Association.

    Wesleyan alumni continue to make their markEddye Gallagher

    Cheryl Penland

    CHERYL, page 5

  • my teaching certificate. I am now in my 26th year as a Theatre Arts educator, Penland said.

    Even though she enjoyed her time at Wesleyan, she wishes she would have taken advantage of the advanced technical classes that were offered.

    As a teacher, I now make sure my students are as skilled behind the curtain as they are in front of it. Texas Wesleyan is a great place for them to get training in all aspects of the theatre arts, Penland said.

    She believes that experiences at Wesleyan will serve as a strong foundation regardless of what career one pursues.

    I encourage current students to take time to nurture the relationships they will make in their time at Texas Wesleyan. They are working with some of the most talented and gifted people they will ever encounter, and they are fortunate to have that opportunity, Penland said.

    Sderbaum is a fall 2010 graduate. The Wesleyan faculty had a substantial impact on his career.

    I really came to Wesleyan intending to play some soccer and have an adven-ture studying abroad, but the Wesleyan faculty and staff soon saw something in me that I was unaware of, and they challenged me to reach for my full po-tential. I am convinced that I would not be where I am - or who I am - today, if it were not for Texas Wesleyan. Sder-baum said.

    Sderbaum received a B.A. in English with a writing concentration and a B.S. in Exercise Science. He then attended law school at Texas A&M and graduated in 2014.

    He currently works at the Supreme Court of Texas in Austin as a law clerk for the Honorable Justice Debra H. Leh-rmann.

    A few things Sderbaum may do on a typical day include research, writing, and legal analysis.

    Sderbaum advises all students to, build relationships with faculty, staff, and fellow students; utilize all the re-sources available to you, and try to make a difference while at Wesleyan.

    Sderbaum passed the Texas Bar Exam and he is now able to be sowrn in as a licensed attorney in Texas.

    Arts & Letters 5School of Arts & Letters

    Joakim Sderbaum

    Courtesy of Cheryl PenlandCheryl Penland discovered a love for teaching and returned to Wes-leyan for a teaching certificate.

    CHERYL continued from page 4

    Photographer/Rambler StaffJoakim Sderbaum recieves his Aggie class ring from Professor Kelly at the law school this spring.

  • Arts & Letters 6 School of Arts & LettersThree Wesleyan professors explore China

    Dr. Mark Hanshaw, along with two other Wesleyan faculty members, Dr. Jay Brown and Dr. Kalpana Pai, traveled...