Horned Frog Blog

Musings from the TCU Admission Office

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Student Submission: TCU’s Balance Between “Study” and “Abroad”

pisaWhen students see the words “Study Abroad,” they often get more excited about the word “abroad” than the word “study.” The reason is that “abroad” implies “fun” and “study” implies work. But both work and fun are equally important. The former without the latter makes life dull, and the latter without the former makes you irresponsible.

TCU’s study abroad programs are phenomenal, and in order to make the most of them, you should maintain a balance between having fun and studying.

I’ve been fortunate to study abroad twice in my two years at TCU so far, and maintaining this balance has been more than worth it. I learn best experiencing and seeing things firsthand, so studying abroad has greatly enhanced my TCU education. It’s one thing to read about the Port of Hong Kong and how to do business in China, and it’s another thing to walk around the Port of HK and converse with local businessmen. It’s one thing to read about the Berlin Wall in a textbook; it’s another thing to touch the Wall’s remains and see how it affected the daily lives of Berliners.overlook

Whatever your TCU study abroad story will be, make the most of it by working hard to learn about the culture and the history and by embracing the spontaneous adventures that will inevitably occur. Thoroughly read about Germany’s complicated history in the Munich museums, but then go cliff jumping beneath a castle into a Bavarian mountain lake. Learn as much as you can about the Nike shoe factory in Shenzhen, China but then go ride a toboggan down the Great Wall.

TCU’s study abroad programs have enabled me to understand the world in a whole new light. The Honors Abroad trip Cultural Routes taught me the importance of understanding where we have come from, on a national and a personal level, and how we can use that knowledge to guide where we are going. Neeley’s Global Supply Chain class in China showed me the significance of China’s development as it relates to the world economy and taught me practical knowledge about working in a globalized business world.hammock

I learned so much on study abroad trips because of how they were structured. If all we did was work the entire trip, I would’ve gotten burnt out and annoyed that we weren’t engaging in the culture more. If all we did was play, I would’ve been upset that I just wasted a bunch of money and time with little long-term return-on-investment. Thankfully, TCU is a fantastic school that prides itself on being well-rounded, and I am immensely satisfied with my study abroad experiences.

hummelChad Hummel is a junior Supply and Value Chain Management major from Seattle, Washington. He is a member of the Neeley Fellows Program and the Chancellor’s Leadership Program, a Frog Camp facilitator, and the director of the Exodus Retreat.

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Ask the Counselors: What’s your favorite spot on campus?

Hallmarked with yellow brick and red roofs, our campus has a special look and certain feel. We asked our counselors to tell us about their favorite pieces of campus.

Kristy Borneman – Frog Fountain

David Stein – The back porch of Clark Hall. This is where I met most of the people I’m still great friends with to this day. It was just such a cool place to hang out and meet different people.

JarvisfallDalton Goodier – The swing outside of Jarvis

Caitlin Provost – The main dining hall. Aside from having great food, it’s a wonderful place to see student, staff, and faculty interaction. There is a lot of purple in that room!

John Andrew Willis – The incubator lab on the top floor of Rees-Jones Hall. You have to see it to understand. You have no choice but to be inspired by the amazing space.

ccommonsSara Sorenson – The campus commons will always be my favorite spot on campus, because I can sit and watch campus life happen right in front of me. In my opinion, this is where the true spirit of TCU can be seen crystal clear with so much life and diversity represented.

fisheyeAGCAllie Sevall – Since I am a BIG fan of college football, one of my favorite spots on campus is Amon G. Carter Stadium. This is a place filled with a lot of school pride, a lot of noise, and a lot of purple. If you like sports, this will definitely become one of your favorite spots on campus!

Margaret McCarthy – My favorite spot is definitely the commons – there is always something fun going on, and I love Frog Fountain!

Mollie RichardsonRees-Jones Hall. I’ve never before encountered a building that has been such an inspiration for learning and knowledge.

Heath Einstein – As cliche as it sounds, Frog Fountain is my favorite spot. Its central location and beautiful sight lines are perfect for meeting a friend, reading a book or just catching your breath in the middle of a busy day.

Beatriz Gutierrez – The tennis courts. I don’t make it to as many matches as I wish I could.

These are our favorite spots on campus, but what are yours? Let us know below!

And if you haven’t been to campus yet, check out our virtual tour. It’s like you’re here!

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Faculty Feature: Dr. Curby Alexander, College of Education

Why would someone with no plans to be a teacher take an education course? It seems like there would not be much from an education course that Engineering, Business, or Communication majors could apply to their future careers. Or is there? The concepts and skills from education courses actually can be applied across all disciplines and careers, which makes this option more relevant than you might think.

Foremost, principles of education can be applied to just about every leadership situation, regardless of career choice. Whether you are coaching a youth sports team, volunteering for the PTA at your child’s school, facilitating a meeting for new employees, or giving a presentation to your coworkers, you will apply principles of teaching and learning in order to meet your goals. Teaching is much more than being in a room with children all day. It’s about understanding how motivation, relationships, communication, composition, and pedagogy work together to reach both individual and collective objectives.

baileyThe education system is one of the most enduring institutions in our society, and citizens should understand how it works. Every person, either as a student, education professional, or tax-paying citizen, is influenced in some way by the U.S. education system. As taxpayers, people should know how their money is used within education. As future parents, students should understand the qualities of an effective teacher, a positive learning environment, and pedagogically-sound teaching practices. As scholars, students need to know how this crucial aspect of our society affects, and is affected by, social issues such as poverty, race relations, gender equity, high school dropouts, crime, and public assistance.

Finally, courses in education give you an inside view of the depth, history, and diversity of the greater Fort Worth area. Through Education courses, students spend time in local schools observing teachers, working with students, and interacting with members of the community. In this way, you have the opportunity to form a unique connection to the broader community surrounding TCU.

OK, I’m interested. Now what?

We have different options for students interested in studying Education. Some students want to become teachers, so they major in Education, either as early childhood, middle, or high school teachers. Other students want to major in a content area of interest, such as English, foreign language, History, Science, or Math, so they choose to double major in Educational Studies, which will allow them to retain their primary major but also earn a teaching certificate. We also offer a Minor in Educational Studies for students who have an interest in education but do not want to seek teacher certification. This option allows students to pursue their primary major as they will complete various courses for the education minor. You can read more about the various options on the College of Education website. For students who just want to explore the College of Education, there are several education courses that count toward the TCU Heritage, Mission, Vision, and Values curriculum. For more information, you can contact the College of Education directly at coe@tcu.edu.

My hope is that students will consider adding the College of Education to their experience at TCU in some way. Education is more than teaching; it’s about understanding how education shapes, and is shaped by, every person in our society.

curbyCurby Alexander is an Assistant Professor of Professional Practice in the TCU College of Education. He teaches the introductory education course, Critical Investigation of Teaching and Learning in Today’s Schools, as well as a variety of other courses. He is starting his 4th year at TCU.

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Student Submission: Architect of a Dream

The saying goes: “you don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone.” Never have I understood this proverb more than this moment in my life. College has almost come and gone, and I can still remember my countless fears as an incoming freshmen. As I look back on my time at TCU, I know one lesson that will stay with me forever: that I should appreciate every special moment in life, because life goes faster than you think. Being a member of the TCU family is one of these moments.

TCU BlogThree years ago, I attended a little thing called Frog Camp. I didn’t realize it back then, but that was the official start of my journey as a Horned Frog. Now, as I am about to enter my senior year at TCU, I can see that a lot has happened in these past few years in college, but I am thankful for every piece of it. From the stressful exam days, to the late nights out with friends, and to watching TCU sports run the world, I could not imagine a better collegiate experience. I understand that I may be leaving TCU soon, but I know TCU will never leave me. This university has given me lifelong friends, priceless memories, and a passion for medicine that I will take into the future.

brothersIt is difficult for me to choose one experience at TCU to be my favorite. With so many to choose from, selecting a top 5 would drive me crazy. However, I know the part of the university I will miss most once I graduate, and that is the bond I share with all TCU students. Every day while walking on campus, it is so easy for me to strike up a conversation with a stranger. The friendliness I have seen from my classmates cannot be described in words, it can only be experienced. It is clear that TCU students just want to see each other succeed, and it is this shared passion that makes life at TCU so great. Professors can be found at every university, but the students at TCU are what make the college experience different than others. The greatest gift in life is friendship, and I have received it thanks to the Horned Frog family.

TCU BlogAndrew Trinh is a senior Pre-Med student from Fort Worth, Texas. Andrew is a member of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, a TCU Ambassador, a Chancellor Scholar, and a member of the Student Government.

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Student Submission: Frogs to Outer Space

“Stars are formed from clouds of gas and dust.”

“Galaxies are aggregates of stars. Large galaxies like the Milky Way deplete their gas reservoirs in about 1-2 billion years, which seems like a long time for us, but for a galaxy that is far shorter than its lifetime.”

“This means that we should see no active star formation in our Galaxy  however what we observe is quite the opposite.”

“How do we explain this mystery?”

These were the opening lines to the presentation I had the honor of giving at the end of my REU program this past summer. An REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) Program is an eight-to-ten week program hosted by a university to enable undergraduates to participate in cutting-edge research with faculty members at those institutions in preparation for graduate school and/or a career in research. I had the fabulous opportunity to work with Dr. Kat Barger, one of two astronomers at TCU, on the cannibalization of dwarf galaxies by our Galaxy. How did I get involved in research at TCU? Let’s rewind the videotape of my life to the spring semester of my freshman year.

Dr. Kat Barger, Jacqueline Antwi-Danso (TCU) and Madeline Horn (REU). They are at McDonald Observatory in front of the 2.1 meter telescope. This trip to McDonald was part of an REU trip this  summer. The students learned how to make astronomical measurements the telescope. A graduate student also accompanied them and used the telescope for observations for her research.

Dr. Kat Barger, Jacqueline Antwi-Danso (TCU) and Madeline Horn (REU). They are at McDonald Observatory in front of the 2.1 meter telescope. This trip to McDonald was part of an REU trip this summer. The students learned how to make astronomical measurements the telescope. A graduate student also accompanied them and used the telescope for observations for her research.

During that semester, I took my first small Honors class, Contemporary Issues in Biology, with Dr. Molly Weinburgh, who was the first professor at TCU to encourage me to pursue research. The concepts we learned in class fascinated me, and I began to take advantage of her office hours to ask questions that were relevant to those topics.  I started to do the same in my other classes, particularly those in my major, and chatting with my professors about the research they were doing. Fast forward to two semesters later, I was accepted to the TCU REU program to pursue research with Dr. Kat Barger. As a bonus to all the handy skills I learned this summer, including learning two new programming languages and writing my first scientific paper, I had the opportunity to visit McDonald Observatory as part of the REU program, where I got to see and learn about one of the largest telescopes in the world, the Hobby-Eberly telescope.

My job was to calculate the distance to the part of the dwarf galaxies that is directly interacting with the Milky Way. We think that this structure is “feeding” the Milky Way with the gas that it needs for star formation. That number can be used by other astronomers to compute the amount of “stuff” contained in this structure to see how much gas it is actually “feeding” to the Milky Way. Why does any of this even matter? Well, if the Milky Way should have stopped forming stars at less than a fifth of its lifetime, the Sun shouldn’t have been formed, which means the Earth could not have formed…unless something has been consistently fueling the Galaxy over time. The human race has come a long way to understanding our place in the universe, and how everything came to be. We can think of this number – the calculated distance – as one small piece of the gigantic puzzle of our observable universe.

In conclusion, I am forever indebted to TCU for this opportunity; for providing me with a faculty mentor that believed in me and challenged me to excel beyond what I thought possible and for ensuring that an international student fund existed to support my research. If you’re a freshman reading this or even a senior about to graduate…don’t be afraid to dabble in a little research. The first step is to ask questions, because research is basically finding answers to those questions.  While I wait for God to send me the next clip in the video tape of my life, TCU has gotten me well on my way to realizing my dream of becoming an astrophysicist.

TCU BlogJacqueline Antwi-Danso is a junior Physics and Astronomy major from Ghana. She is involved with TEDxTCU, is a member of the Chancellor’s Leadership Program, and is also a research assistant for the astrophysics lab.

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Ask the Counselors: What’s your favorite part of your job as an admission counselor?

Recently awarded by The Chronicle of Higher Education as one of the top “Great Colleges to Work For,” TCU is a great place to study AND work. Here are a few reasons why our counselors think they have the best job in the world.

TCU BlogMollie Richardson – I love serving as a resource and a friend for students during a really stressful and impactful time.

Sara Sorenson – I love getting to meet with students and hear about their accomplishments thus far and their dreams for the future. My hope is that by talking through those two things I can better assist them in finding a place that can aide in making their dreams a reality.

John Andrew Willis – Talking to young men and women about their future. At the end of the day, that’s what we do. Better put, that’s why we do what we do. A college application is a relationship initiated by a story. Being personal and engaging are hugely important.

Beatriz Gutierrez – It sounds cliché but we get to be a part of a major decision that will change a student’s life.  What is more amazing than that? It also helps that I love to travel.

Victoria Herrera – Making an impact on a student and making them realize that going to college can be a reality for them.

Margaret McCarthy – My favorite part of my job is seeing all of the new freshmen that I worked with the previous year arrive to campus in the fall!  It’s such an exciting time for everyone.  I also love working with current students (through advising TCU Ambassadors and Student Foundation), since I have the chance to see them transform throughout their TCU experience.

David Stein – That moment when a student realizes they have found their dream school and officially makes their decision to attend! It can be a very stressful process and students put so much pressure on themselves. I love being a part of that.

Allie Sevall – My favorite part of being an admission counselor is meeting a diverse group of students. No students are alike and each student has their own unique traits which makes this job a lot of fun!

Caitlin Provost – I really enjoy getting to know my applicants. Reach out to me. Emails, phone calls, and interviews can make an applicant really jump off the page.

Heath Einstein – Developing relationships with students as they experience this process of self-discovery is gratifying, particularly with those students who get excited about and ultimately enroll at TCU. To be able to do this in an office made up of such intelligent and passionate colleagues makes it all the more special.

Dalton Goodier – Getting to meet and work with interested students as they look for the college that’s perfect for them.

Kristy Borneman – Meeting prospective students on TCU’s campus. It is one thing to research a school or to hear about it, but to actually visit campus is what makes the impact. I remember how I felt when I visited TCU and I relive those emotions when I see other students visit TCU.

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Faculty Feature: Aaron Chimbel

This summer, while on a family vacation, my wife, daughter and I stopped for lunch while passing through Shreveport, Louisiana. I was wearing a Frog Camp T-shirt and noticed a woman pointed to show her husband the shirt.

I walked up to say hello and the man told me he graduated from TCU in the 1960s. He went on to talk about his inspiring geology professor, Art Ehlmann, who joined the TCU faculty in 1958 and, after retiring from the full-time faculty in 1993, continued to serve as curator of the Monnig Meteorite Gallery until 2009. Incidentally, I joined the journalism faculty full-time in 2009.

When you become a Horned Frog, you become linked to those who have come before and will come later. You become a part of the TCU family.

TCU BlogMy own family is certainly one of those TCU stories you will probably hear about as a Horned Frog. My wife, Bethanne, and I met in 1998 when we were both wide-eyed incoming students. Again, Frog Camp made the introduction. We were in the same small group and eventually were married in 2010 with half of our wedding party, the officiant and many of the guests TCU alums.

TCU BlogNow, we live a half-mile from campus and our daughter, Claire, uses TCU as her playground.

As a professor, my job is about more than just teaching students. It’s about being a mentor and a connector. We get to know our students and learn about their passions and goals. Then, we get to help them get there. Often that means connecting them with job opportunities with fellow Frogs. A couple years ago, I had an excellent student, Lexy Cruz, who was graduating a semester early in December. At the same time, a former classmate, Sam Eaton, the assistant news director at WRDW-TV in Augusta, Georgia, was looking for an entry-level producer. Lexy got the job and two years later she’s back in Dallas-Fort Worth working at KDFW-TV as a producer, and working along side another one of my former students, Emily Allen. And so it goes.

Professors at TCU like to get to know their students. You’ll often see students and professors chatting before and after classes, meeting during office hours or having lunch or coffee. Getting to know our students helps us mentor them and help guide their careers or graduate study.

That doesn’t mean professors will not push you or hold you to high standards. Like family, we expect the most of you and push you do better than you thought possible.

Likewise, we like staying in touch with former students to hear about their lives and careers. One of the best messages I’ve ever received from a student came from Kendall Morris not long after she began reporting for WBIR-TV in Knoxville, Tennessee.  She appreciated that I was critical of her work and, just days into her new job, realized even more why we must push our students to be their best.

TCU BlogThe connections and stories are seemingly endless because when you come to TCU, you’re not just going to school or taking classes, you’re building relationships with classmates and professors and staff and joining a family that spans generations and whose members will always greet with you a warm hello and a hearty GO FROGS!

TCU BlogAaron Chimbel is an associate professor of professional practice in the School of Journalism at TCU and a 2002 TCU graduate.


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