Faculty & Student News

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Faculty & Student News

Student Leadership Awards and Trips

Joe "Sarge" Key Award Winners Selected

Thirteen rising seniors have been selected for the Joe Key Award, a trip that recognizes selfless character and involves seven days of sea-kayaking, hiking, and camping in the islands of Acadia National Park this August. The trip honors the late Joe Key, who worked at Baylor from 1961-1988 as a military instructor and study hall supervisor and was affectionally known as “Sarge.” The trip honors students of admirable character whose selfless efforts might otherwise go unrecognized by the school or their peers. Pictured are (front row, left to right) Shane Jones, Mack Whitcomb, Charlie Cushman, Cullen Roberts, (back row) Nicholas Short, Shriyaa Srihari, Sophia Baleeiro, Mallory Alling, Taylor Butts, Penelope Kwun, Lucy Good, Leighann Franklin, and Madisen Williams.

David M. Abshire Civic Leadership Award

Twelve rising seniors were selected to travel to Washington, D.C., this summer on the David M. Abshire Civic Leadership trip for an intensive week-long experiential course of study on national leadership, ethics, honor, and service. The program was created in partnership with the Center for the Study of the Presidency and the late Dr. David Abshire ’44, who served as president and CEO of that organization. Pictured are (front row, left to right) Vivi Christopoulos, Anne Russell Kibbe, Marshall McGahey, Addison Johnson, Mallory Alling, Claire Holtzclaw, (back row) Leighann Franklin, Tine Latimer, Rhet Johnson, Burke Murphy, Jeb Martin, and Lucy Good.

Seniors Named Presidential Scholar Candidates

Baylor seniors Rowe Cooper (right) and Owen Eastman (left) were selected as candidates for a 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholars Award. Established in 1964, the program recognizes and honors some of the nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors. The selection of approximately 4,000 program candidates is based largely on SAT and ACT scores. Applications are reviewed, and up to 161 U.S. Presidential Scholars are named each year. Since 2003 (the earliest records available), 22 Baylor seniors were selected as candidates, seven were named semifinalists, and two were chosen as U.S. Presidential Scholars.

Science and Research News

Baylor Sweeps Science and Engineering Fair

With 22 Baylor students competing and a tally of 24 awards, Baylor swept the Chattanooga Regional Science and Engineering Fair at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, March 16-17.

Seven schools participated in the Senior Division, and the Junior and Senior Divisions had more than 100 entries combined. As a team, the Baylor students took top prize for School Participation with the most student contributions and submissions. Baylor also received the School Achievement award in recognition of having the most entries that placed, as well as individually-earned prizes. Accompanying the students were Baylor faculty members Ben Holt, Dr. Mary Loveless, and Dr. Antonio Herrera.

Junior Sophia Baleeiro placed first in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, received the United States Air Force Award, earned an alternate spot for Regeron ISEF (International Science and Engineering Fair), and placed as ISEF Observer. Other individual first place awards included seniors Hannah Barger, Gunnar Garriques, Michael Kinsey, Iain Henderson, Kate Rogers, Kaan Volkan, and Maya Wiisanen; and sophomores Annie Marks and Ella Marks. Second place winners included juniors Cat Campbell, Tim George, and Luke Thompson. Third place winners included senior Aidan Shaw; juniors Nora Redding and Grace Burks, and sophomores Corinne Hessler and Abby Murchison.

Sixth Annual Science and Engineering Symposium

The sixth annual Science and Engineering Symposium took place on May 10 and showcased college-level work conducted by students in Baylor’s advanced scientific research program and featured more than 55 abstracts. The top winners and their abstracts were Aidan Shaw (middle) Identifying Amphibian Predators Using Clay Prey Models and Environmental DNA, first place; Kate Rogers (left) The Effects of Wastewater Treatment Plants on Microbial Community Composition and Distribution of Sulfamethoxazole Resistance on The Tennessee River, second place; and Hannah Barger (right), Production of a Spherical Air Bearing for Cubesat Testbed, third place.

Ohm Raiders Finish Spring Season

The Baylor Ohm Raiders robotics team finished the spring season at the Tennessee and the Alabama state tournaments, finishing third in the Tenn. state tournament and earning the Motivate Award in the Alabama tournament. Team members included senior Apple Zhou, along with juniors Javier Garcia Nieto, Leo Li, Mimi Masson, Jackson Rogers, Sergio Sergiyenko, Kaan Volkan, Chloe Wang, Michael Xing, Chris Yang, Kevin Yu, and Tony Zhang; sophomores Jack Champion and Amanda Lu; freshman Eric Zheng; and eighth grader Brandon Oakes. Team coaches are Dr. Mary Loveless, director of Baylor Research, and science instructor Kyle Di Tieri.

Fine Arts

Baylor Players Present You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, a Broadway Musical

The Baylor Players presented their first live musical production in three years, featuring the humble and heartfelt charm of Charlie Brown and the whole Peanuts gang in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, a Broadway Musical. The play showcased the talents of more than 50 cast, crew, and orchestra members from the Upper School, and 18 Middle School crew members. The production, directed by Beth Gumnick, also involved faculty members Mae Weiss, musical director; Ben Sposet, assistant musical director; Margaret Harman ’14, choreographer; Garrett Walsh, set designer; and Laura Smith, costume designer.

Pictured above (left to right) are Finley Burnette ’25 in lavender, Kennedy Ray ’25 in teal, Sharnima Jones ’22 in pink, Julian Arellano ’25 in purple stripe, Ollie Ellis ’25 in brown overalls, Jack Smith ’22 in yellow, Kara Anne Smith ’22 in white, Hannah Winchester ’23 in blue, Finn Ryan ’25 in dark green (behind Hannah), Nathaniel Smart ’23 in red, Mary Margaret Bender ’24 in light green, and Margaret Dowling ’22 in orange.

Vervé Presents 30th Annual Concert and Spring Collective

The 30th annual Vervé dance concert took place Jan. 26-29 in Roddy Theater. The show included 15 Middle School and Upper School dancers and featured choreography by faculty members Elizabeth Cox Roemer ’05 and Margaret Harman ’14, guest artist Sarah Long ’14, and senior Connie Ni and junior Lacy Creswell.

Work by student choreographers (pictured left to right) Riley Mauldin ’26, Lacy Creswell ’23, Shanina Dong ’26, Isabella Moore ’25, and Connie Ni ’22 was featured in the Vervé Spring Dance Collection on April 30. The production involved both Middle and Upper School students.

“Soft Landing,” Gold Key regional and national winner, sculpture by Meya Yangzhen '23

Meya Yangzhen is National Scholastic Art Award Winner

Regional and National Scholastic Art Award winner junior Meya Yangzhen received a Gold Key in the sculpture category and will attend a national reception in New York City’s Carnegie Hall in July. Recipients of Scholastic Regional Art Awards in the Gold Key category were sophomore Pierce Grantham, drawing and illustration; junior Sidney Kiner, sculpture; senior Michael Kinsey, sculpture; and sophomore David Wang, writing. Silver Key winners were senior Emily Dotson, sculpture; junior Punch Sakulvongtana, painting; and senior Tina Zheng, editorial cartoon. Senior Reade Smith received an Honorable Mention in mixed media. In addition, eighth grader Braylee Newell received a Gold Key in the drawing and illustration category.

Awards Day 2022

Outstanding Student Leaders Honored

Baylor named Maddie Kim (left) the 2022 valedictorian, announced Sanjit Pamidi (right) as salutatorian, and honored seven of its outstanding student leaders with Founders Awards, the highest the school bestows, at the annual Awards Day ceremony. Click here to see all the award winners.

Middle School Honors Student Leaders

Academic and leadership awards were presented to Middle School students, including valedictorian William Hubbard (left) and Piper Ryan (right) during the eighth grade ceremony on May 26. Click here for complete Middle School awards information.

Watch Awards Day Video 


Relationships are the Building Blocks of the Community Service Program

by Barbara Kennedy

When Joli Anderson was asked to lead a community service program at Baylor, she wanted to go to areas of the city that didn’t already have an established volunteer presence.

Her research led her to the Boys Club at the former Harriet Tubman federal housing site. “That first day I pulled into Harriet Tubman in my car with three Baylor students, and that was the beginning. I think I fell in love at that very moment. Two weeks later it was a van filled with Baylor students, and a month later it was a bus.”

It wasn’t long before she fielded a call from Westside and had enough students enrolled in service to help in a second location. Over time, Anderson grew the program to the point that it had around 300 students going out to the community each afternoon. She then added a regional component serving the homeless in Asheville, N.C., and an international experience in Kingston, Jamaica. The leadership aspects of the program gave students the opportunity to take on roles as site leaders, event managers, and grant writers.

“I don’t even call this a job,” reflects Anderson. “It has been a gift – not a job.” As her thoughts turn to the relationships and deep connections that she has established with children, students, and adults through service to others, she references the South African philosophy of Ubuntu, which speaks of humanity and connectedness: “I am a better person because of them. I am me because of the lessons learned by being in their presence.”

Over the years the program’s success has been built on Anderson’s passion for service as well as a steady commitment to establishing partnerships. “From the very beginning, I visited elementary schools, telling them about the program and building those relationships to open doors for partnerships.”

Another building block for the program has been the trust that develops as a result of the relationships between the children and Baylor students. “Relationships are formed through the sharing of time and the sharing of one another,” said Anderson.

Anderson admits that “a lot” of people keep in touch with her, and she often hears from alumni who reach out to her after something has prompted a memory of the Ferry community in Kingston or the Home for the Aged in Trench Town. She often encounters adults in Chattanooga who were involved in community service as children and now have children of their own studying with Baylor students every afternoon. “Moving forward, I hope to see third and fourth generations involved,” smiles Anderson. “Twenty years from now, I hope Baylor will be partnering with the fourth generation.”

Haynie Named New Head of Community Service

Takisha Haynie (right) has been named director of community service, replacing Elin Bunch ’09 who led the program through the challenges of COVID, and has decided to be a stay-at-home mom for her one-month old daughter, Bennett. Haynie joined Baylor in 1997 as an English instructor and was a dorm parent from 1998-2001. In 2001 she was named a dorm head for Riverfront Hall and was named the assistant director of residential life in 2017. In 2020 she began serving as dean of residential life for eleventh and twelfth grades. She has been a steady leader behind the scenes in the school’s community service program through Jamaica Education Fund fundraising efforts, the holiday party, and Trunk-or-Treat. She will be joined by Keelah Jackson (left), who came to Baylor in 2021 to serve both as a humanities specialist in the Middle School Learning Center and as an assistant for the community service program. Joli Anderson will continue to assist with the program on an as-needed basis while Haynie and Jackson settle into their new roles.

Heather Biebel Named Ireland Chair

Heather Biebel, who has been a Baylor faculty member since 1998 and is now chair of the history department and an AP Human Geography instructor, has been named a Glenn and Mallie Ireland Chair. The award recognizes exemplary teaching and other significant contributions in support of the mission of the school.

Biebel is the ninth longest-serving female teacher at Baylor. During her tenure she has taught U.S. History, economics, and AP Human Geography. She served as a dorm parent for many years, worked as an assistant coach for the varsity girls’ cross country team, and served as a Walkabout guide at various times on the senior trip, ski trips, and the Joe Key trip among others. She also took the reins of a fledgling exchange program and turned it into a significant life experience for an ever-growing number of students.

Previously named Ireland Chairs are Joli Anderson, Betsy Carmichael, Floyd Celapino, Amy Cohen, Dr. David Conwell, Perry Key ’81, Judy Millener, Jean Lau, Vic Oakes, Heather Ott, Dr. Dawn Richards, Lorraine Stewart, Chris Watkins, and Adam Weaver.

Mary Loveless Named Schaack Van Deusen Chair

Dr. Mary Loveless, engineering instructor and Director of Baylor Research, has been named this year’s Schaack Van Deusen Chair.

In her seven years at Baylor, Loveless has taught chemistry, designed the original Idea Lab, helped design and grow the Baylor Research Program, developed the engineering and design portion of Baylor Research, built Baylor’s robotics team in both the Middle and Upper Schools, taught at all levels of research engineering, and helped design and organize Baylor’s Annual Science and Engineering Symposium.

Recipients are chosen every three years by a selection committee composed of the Dean of Faculty, the Upper School Head, the Middle School Head, Director of Athletics, and one or more recipients of endowed chairs. The chair is named in honor of retired drama instructor and wrestling coach Schaack Van Deusen ’61. Former recipients are Bill Cox, Kristin Vines, and Tim Laramore ’99.

Conrow Miller Award Winners

The Conrow Miller Award is given annually to a faculty member whom class members celebrating their 10-year reunion feel had the
greatest influence on their time at Baylor. With two classes celebrating 10-year reunions this past fall, two award winners were named.

The Class of 2010, represented by faculty member Natalee Oldham Hindman (far right), selected English instructor Penny Batt (second from right), who joined the Baylor faculty in 1999. The Class of 2011, represented by Anna Glascock (far left), honored math instructor Allyson Arrington (second from left), who joined the faculty in 2010.

The award is named for Conrow Miller, a faculty member from 1941-1968, and includes with it a monetary prize.


Issue Elements

Volume 34
Issue 2