Enactus Team Places Third in the Nation
Southern’s Enactus team, housed in the School of Business, placed third at the 2023 Enactus United States National Exposition. This is the second time the team has made it to the final four in this competition, and the first time to do so in person, as the last time was in 2021 when the competition was virtual. It’s also their third time making it to semifinals.
“This is a huge accomplishment, and I am so proud of their hard work,” said Michelle Doucoumes, ’05 and ’10, assistant professor and Enactus faculty adviser.
Worldwide, Enactus has chapters at 2,064 colleges and universities in 33 countries. More than 300 of these schools are in the United States, so placing third puts Southern’s team in the top 1% nationally! As social entrepreneurs, teams develop projects that use innovation and business principles to improve people’s lives and livelihoods. At Southern, the Enactus team considers this part of their Christian commission as well.
The Southern Enactus team’s projects this year were:
• The Akuna Soap Industry: Empowering women and youth in Zambia by producing natural, high quality, affordable soap that helps them to open their own businesses and support their education and families by selling the soap.
• BringIt: Empowering student entrepreneurs, including putting on the Hyve Creators conference in March with more than 850 people attending.
• Tomorrowpreneurs: Inspiring underprivileged children in Chattanooga and equipping them with the knowledge and confidence they need to become tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.
• HIRE: Creating a job network and training that is specifically for unsheltered individuals in Chattanooga.
• Illuminate Marketing: Assisting small businesses with marketing and promotion.
Congratulations to these Southern students for their dedication to making a difference for others in ways that are meaningful and sustainable. Learn more about Enactus at Southern.
Southern Awarded $3 Million Federal Grant as Hispanic-Serving Institution
Southern is set to receive $3 million over the next five years as part of the Department of Education’s Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program. This marks the largest-ever grant awarded to the university, which has a current enrollment of nearly 3,000.
The federal government considers colleges and universities with Hispanic student enrollment of 25% or higher to be Hispanic-Serving Institutions, a designation which allows the schools to apply for select funds that help expand and enhance academic offerings, program quality, and institutional stability. Southern is the only Hispanic-Serving Institution in Tennessee.
Goals established by Southern as part of the grant include: increasing financial-aid education and STEM-career inspiration among high school students and their families; improving student retention and workforce readiness once enrolled in college; and boosting graduation rates.
“We are delighted that our proposal was selected for funding and will support the improved success of Hispanic, low-income, and other underserved populations,” said Robert Young, PhD, senior vice president for Academic Administration. “A side benefit of the grant is that programs put in place will also support the success of all students enrolled in STEM programs.”
One third of the total grant has been earmarked for STEM equipment and upgrades to campus labs, better equipping students with tools for independent research. Training on any new instruments also will help students be more attractive to local businesses for meaningful internships and employment in a highly competitive job market.
Other grant monies will help create an endowment, matched by Southern funds, for undergraduate student research and internships. In related efforts, faculty workshops will explore curricula modifications for core general education and STEM major gateway courses with below average passing rates.
Young Alum Promotes Networking
Cinthya Molina graduated from Southern Adventist University in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication, emphasis in photography. Being part of the School of Journalism and Communication played a huge role in her life; she says, “I was able to learn from really great professors who truly believed in me and always encouraged me to grow.”
When Molina enrolled at Southern, she dreamed of being a photojournalist, but as is often the case, God’s path for her life included unexpected turns. In her last year at Southern, she took the Media Ministry class with Pablo Fernandez, associate professor, and was inspired to put her communications to work for the church.
Now, almost four years later, Molina has been able to work with multiple Adventist organizations, which have helped her to continue to work for God and inspire her peers to work for the church.
In the early days of the pandemic in summer 2020, Molina came across a social media post that introduced her to Adventist Young Professionals (AYP), an international network of young Adventists who believe in a culture of collaboration, innovation, and ambition centered around Christ. She was immediately interested and signed up to join the community through their online platform. Being able to connect with other young people with similar roles and values felt like a gift during that time, and when she saw the opportunity to attend the AYP convention in summer 2022, she jumped at the chance. That’s when she felt called to serve on the leadership team, and she accepted the role of assistant to the president for strategy that fall.
“To be able to be part of an organization led by members my age is a very different experience but one that is very valuable,” Molina said. “I have been able to learn new skills and tools in the past few months, and make meaningful connections with the other leadership members.”
One of the things Molina loves about her role is that she can be a resource for her fellow alumni to build community, network with fellow young Adventists, and thrive as Christ-centered professionals.
“I am very grateful to Southern Adventist University and the School of Journalism and Communication for preparing me for my professional life and providing me with many different opportunities that helped to shape me into the person that I am today,” Molina said.
Southern alumni are invited to use the code SOUTHERN for a 10% discount to this summer’s AYP convention.
A New Bear in Town
When Kenneth Bautista, now a senior management major, ran for Student Association president last year, his platform was developing a mascot for campus with the aim to uplift students. After winning the election, he has made the mascot one of his priorities during this school year. After months of research and committee work by Bautista and his team, the President’s Cabinet at Southern Adventist University officially approved SA’s proposed bear mascot on March 27, 2023.
The mascot committee, composed of Bautista and SA Senate members Wilson Hannawi, junior biology major, and Anna Mihaescu, junior accounting major, sought input from more than 300 students through voting forms and focus groups. They then presented the mascot to a number of university committees.
“This was a student-led effort that was valued,” said President Ken Shaw, ’80, EdD. “With the mascot being an important decision for the university, it was important to obtain broad input, which was done in meetings such as University Senate, University Assembly, and our Board of Trustees.”
To soft launch the bear this semester, SA introduced bear-associated elements to campus activities, including distributing “bear bucks” at SA’s recent 423 Night Market—an event focused on highlighting student-run businesses.
The mascot’s official costume will be revealed next year, and Bautista expects that SA will “create a clear blueprint for what a mascot on Southern’s campus will look like for future mascot committees.”
He noted that SA Senate had voted to create an official mascot for the university years ago, but nobody had taken the initiative to complete the task. “The goal of a mascot on campus is to build camaraderie, grow school spirit and become a common symbol that Southern students can get behind,” Bautista added.
-by Amanda Blake, senior journalism major; adapted from an article originally published by the Southern Accent
A note from Alumni Relations: Many of us have been used to seeing a duck pop up here and there as Southern’s unofficial mascot. The bear is a new look, and we are celebrating our students’ passion for bringing a symbol of school spirit to our campus! We hope as we embrace the new mascot that it will become a reminder for all of us of our most meaningful experiences while at Southern.
Commencement – May 7
Southern celebrates our spring Class of 2023 during two commencement ceremonies on Sunday, May 7. While seating is reserved for students and their guests, we invite you to join us via livestream during the 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. (EDT) services.
Alumni Event: Carolinas Conference Camp Meeting – June 2
Join the Alumni Association at Lake Junaluska in Waynesville, North Carolina, for a picnic lunch with fellow alumni at the tent by the main auditorium on Friday, June 2, at 12-1 p.m. To RSVP, visit southern.edu/carolinas-alumni.
Alumni Event: Kentucky-Tennessee Conference Camp Meeting – June 3
Come by to connect with fellow alumni and enjoy dessert on Sabbath, June 3, between 12:30-1 p.m. at the Highland Elementary School pavilion in Portland, Tennessee. All alumni and attendees are welcome!
Alumni Event: Georgia-Cumberland Conference Camp Meeting – June 3
Connect with fellow alumni and enjoy dessert on Sabbath, June 3, between 1-2:30 p.m. at Southern’s Lynn H. Wood Archaeological Museum in Hackman Hall. Retired School of Religion professor Edwin Reynolds will offer a short introduction to the museum, which features a new exhibition titled “Peace and War: The Assyrian Conquest of Lachish.” The museum will be open to alumni during this event. All alumni and attendees are welcome!
WELLkids – May 30 to June 2, June 12-16 and 26-30, July 10-14
Keep your kids moving and exploring the great outdoors this summer with “WELLkids in the Wild,” a day-camp program at Southern. Each week-long session offers outdoor adventures facilitated by the university’s Adventure Programming staff. Activities include rock climbing, hiking, canoeing, ropes course, caving, rafting, and more. Available for ages 10-16. Spots are limited, so don't wait! For fees and other information or to register, visit southern.edu/wellkids.
Academic Summer Camps – June 12-14
Southern is hosting camps for high school students in automotive repair, computing, filmmaking, journalism, media production, outdoor leadership, photography, pre-med, and vegetarian culinary arts. For fees and other information or to register, visit southern.edu/camps or call 423.236.2807.
SmartStart Begins – July 24
New students at Southern can earn three credit hours for free during the summer (a savings of more than $2,300). To learn more, visit southern.edu/smartstart.