DC trip strengthens university connections
Relationships are critical to the vibrancy of Texas Woman’s, and during a mid-November trip to our nation’s capital, I had the honor of connecting with alumni, supporters, lawmakers and even the editors of a national publication. The visit was a rousing success.
I was joined by Vice President for University Advancement, Kimberly Russell, and Director of Governmental and Legislative Affairs, Kevin Cruser, and we used the occasion to meet with over 70 Texas Woman’s alumni and friends from Washington, D.C. I reported to alumni that 2021 was a banner year because the Texas Legislature established Texas Woman’s as the nation’s only university system with a woman-focused mission and authorized $100 million to build a new health sciences center on our Denton campus. The university also celebrated the official opening of the Jane Nelson Institute for Women’s Leadership.
Additionally, I had dinner with Texas Woman’s alumna and U.S. Rep. Sylvia Garcia, breakfast with U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, and visited with U.S. Reps. Ronny Jackson, John Carter, Beth Van Duyne, Al Green, Eddie Bernice Johnson, and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn. Another highlight was attending an editorial board meeting at the offices of Inside Higher Ed, a digital publication that covers national issues and trends related to higher education. It gave me the opportunity to point out the benefits of a woman-focused university, and to tout TWU’s ethnically diverse student population, distinct programs and its affordability, among other topics.
The trip was packed with activities, but well worth the effort to showcase how dynamic Texas Woman’s is and how its impact on the community and the state continues to grow.
TWU alumni and friends gathered for a special reception in Washington, D.C., in November.
All-female team takes top prize in NASA challenge
TWU’s The Oneiroi (Andrea Kim, Andrea Martinez, Natalie Wilkinson, Melanie Meek and Casey Rice)
I am ecstatic to report that Texas Woman’s all-female team of kinesiology seniors took first place in four of five categories, including best overall team, and second in the fifth category in the NASA-sponsored Texas Space Grant Consortium Design Challenge held Nov. 16-17. The team, named The Oneiroi, after the gods of dreams in Greek mythology, designed a wearable device that helps astronauts recalibrate their sleep cycles, which often get disrupted during space voyages. The design challenge gives students an opportunity to find solutions to some of space exploration’s most vexing issues and are helpful to NASA’s research mission.
In all, 17 teams competed in the challenge, with Texas Woman’s sending the only all-female team. I am equally thrilled to point out that this is the second time in four years a TWU team has won the top prize in the TSGC Design Challenge, and Texas Woman's had the only team without any engineering students on it. Kudos to this truly innovative team of women, whose members are all scheduled to graduate in December 2021.
Graduation ceremonies resume this fall
Two graduates pose for a photo during commencement: This is how graduation is supposed to look.
Speaking of graduation, I am pleased to report that roughly 1,650 fall graduates will be taking part in live graduation ceremonies this week. Houston’s ceremony will be Dec. 8 in The Woodlands and ceremonies for the Denton and Dallas campuses will be in Denton on Dec. 10-11. These ceremonies will be the first in-person commencement exercises since December 2019, before the pandemic caused Texas Woman’s to hold alternative graduation activities. Without a doubt, the pandemic created challenging academic conditions for students and faculty, so there is an extra measure of pride I hold for our December grads, who demonstrated exceptional perseverance in reaching their goal of graduation. A shout-out also is warranted for the family, friends and peers of graduates who provided crucial support during that time.
Saluting our veterans
Josh Pinson, a 2021 TWU nursing graduate, and his children.
Aside from our university’s participation in local events last month that honored our service members on Veterans Day, Texas Woman’s has a history of recognizing and supporting military veterans, and the university on numerous occasions has been named a Military Friendly® School and among the Military Times’ Best Colleges. We also make it a point to recognize the accomplishments of our veterans in the classroom during commencement. Among the veterans being singled out during graduation activities this month will be Josh Pinson, who will cross the stage with a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Pinson joined the U.S. Army in 2007 and during his six years of service completed a tour of duty in Iraq. He worked as a combat medic and later went on to become a licensed vocational nurse through an Army program. It was then he learned nursing would be his calling. We are forever grateful to Pinson and others like him, who selflessly serve others to keep them safe and healthy. We are proud to honor him and all other veterans.
Oakley stars in holiday greeting
Kudos to our marketing and communication team — with a strategic assist from our mascot, Oakley — for creating a wonderful holiday greeting video. With so much to be thankful for this season, I am especially pleased with this message, which captures the spirit of Texas Woman’s unity.
I am closing this final Boldly Go issue of 2021 with an image from the Nov. 4 official opening of the Jane Nelson Institute for Women’s Leadership, which features a celebratory toast with Arcilia Acosta, chair of JNIWL Advisory Council; Sue Bancroft, former regent and founding chair of the Advisory Council; Sen. Jane Nelson; First Lady Cecilia Abbott; and Mary Anne Alhadeff, executive director and chief officer of the JNIWL. All are ardent champions of women’s leadership activities, and I am grateful for their continued support of this pioneering institute at Texas Woman's University.
I look forward to sharing with you the highlights of Texas Woman’s activities in 2022, which keep our star shining brightly. As always, email me with your comments or questions. I am delighted that you have spent a few minutes with me today.
Follow Carine M. Feyten, Ph.D.
Page last updated 9:39 AM, May 8, 2023