The community at Concordia is guided each year by a theme, which is voted on by the faculty, staff and students and woven into daily chapel messages and other projects throughout the year. For 2012-2013, a verse from Ephesians challenged students to live a life worthy of their calling. For many students, coming to Concordia means furthering an education in an environment that allows them to figure out who they are and what they want to do. Some have decided their futures while others are still exploring ideas. Through opportunities to learn and serve, many find their calling, and that is certainly true of Liz Callahan, a 2013 graduate of the Director of Christian Education program.
Liz recently accepted an internship in Botswana, Africa, where she will be serving in a rural village through Global Lutheran Outreach. Her mission will be to work with the Tsoa and Kua groups, known as the ‘bushmen,’ where she will likely be working with villagers to teach them about basic healthcare, volunteering in local hospitals and teaching the largely unreached population about Jesus. She traveled there in May to explore the villages she will serve.
“Sixteen months in a new country will be a challenge,” Liz said. “I need to learn the language. And I don’t like being the center of attention. I was the only white person within about 150 miles.”
But those things aren’t deterring her from going. It’s a challenge she sought out during her training at Concordia where she also served on many mission trips, including relief efforts in Bastrop County after the wildfires of 2011, and a mission trip to El Salvador with Can-Do Missions where she helped build houses through Habitat for Humanity.
“It’s so rewarding to see people’s faces- their gratitude for what we’re doing,” Liz said. “I hope to help glorify Jesus [during placement in Botswana]. This will help me prepare for medical missions and be sure this is what I want to do with my whole life.”
Liz entered Concordia with intent to study both nursing and Christian education. She still hopes to pursue her nursing degree one day. For now, she’s focused on bringing the church to southern rural Africa.
‘I want to see everyone in Heaven,” Liz said with a giddy smile. “I am challenging myself to glorify God in everything I do, to be selfless in everything- for Him- and not for me.”
Liz credits her instructors for preparing her for this adventure, for inspiring her to challenge her faith and making her want to raise awareness among the Christian community.
“They’re mission-minded,” Liz said of her professors. “It’s like we’re being trained for a church that doesn’t exist yet. You won’t learn anywhere else what you learn at Concordia. DCE directors will pour their heart into you so you can pour your heart into Jesus.”
My experience at the NCAA Career in Sports Forum was enriching and unforgettable. Very few students were blessed with the opportunity to attend this forum and I am incredibly grateful that I was selected to represent Concordia University and the ASC. While at the forum, we considered how our values intersect with our opportunities for careers in intercollegiate athletics; we learned about our behavioral styles (through taking the DISC assessment) and how our style impacts our individual effectiveness; we developed plans to enhance our development and growth; we looked at the role of intercollegiate coaches and administrators; and we were given the opportunity to network with other athletes and key decision makers in the NCAA. There are so many incredible things I will take away from this experience and I cannot wait to share them with my fellow teammates and athletes.
While at the forum, we had a student-athlete huddle with NCAA President Dr. Mark Emmert. For over an hour, we were able to engage in dialogue and ask him questions. We discussed how other countries see the benefits of playing sports on developing young people in terms of their leadership and ingenuity; we are very fortunate to have an organization devoted exclusively to enriching and bettering the collegiate athlete's experience. Dr. Emmert also elaborated on his belief that an athletic program's true success is measured by how they reflect the values of their university. There were many other questions and thoughts addressed throughout the huddle that allowed me to understand the implementation of rules and how things are decided in the NCAA.
There was a session on branding by DeNita Turner, Founder of Image Builders Inc. Turner defined a “personal brand” as the process of differentiating yourself by identifying and articulating your unique value. She made the point that what people see and what we want people to see is not always the same. Turner gave us many statistics about how social media can affect your personal brand and your ability to get hired for the job you want. From my talks with other student-athletes, this session made us consider our own personal brand and if our social media was a distraction from our brand or if we used it appropriately to make statements about our character.
One of my favorite sessions of the weekend was the “Big Picture of Intercollegiate Athletics.” During this panel, Peter Roby, Sue Willey, and Dan McKane educated us about the different philosophies of Division I, Division II, and Division III. They were very insistent on the fact that no division is better or worse than another, they just aim towards different philosophies. One of their main points focused on finding a good fit for you. When you select both a division and a university, you need to make sure that their values match yours.
On the second day of the forum, we separated into groups and went through a series of three rotations titled “A Day in the Life.” These rotations educated us about the structure of athletic departments, the various roles and opportunities available within an athletic department, and the factors that influence our choice of career options in intercollegiate athletics. During these sessions, we also compared and contrasted the elements of working as intercollegiate administrators or coaches. These sessions were incredibly beneficial because they educated us about the internal and external functions, the skills required and the various job titles.
There was a panel consisting of Greg Pottorff (Lawyer in Indianapolis), Julie Arnold (Director of NCAA Special Projects), Bruce Wimbish (Director of Marketing and Communication), and Charley Casserly (NFL Network Analyst and former General Manager of the Houston Texans and Washington Redskins) concerning alternate careers in sports. Each of the panelists holds a position outside of the campus or conference setting and they discussed their roles and responsibilities. This panel was just another example of how many different job opportunities there are in the world of sports. Some of the most valuable information I took away from this panel is to make sure you are a self-starter, take chances that can extend your career in different directions, continue looking for things that challenge you so you can continue to evolve, and to make sure we find time in our busy schedules to volunteer, because it is the extra things that you do that make you stand out.
One of the most valued lessons I will take away from this experience is the importance of networking. Each and every session, we were given the opportunity to network with fellow student-athletes, our team's facilitators, other facilitators who all have jobs in intercollegiate athletics, and a variety of other professionals who have careers in athletics at varying levels. There were a total of 277 student-athletes from across the country, and while I did not meet everyone, I did have the pleasure of getting to know quite a few of them. It was incredible to see so many athletes with such drive and impeccable work ethic. The relationships I acquired throughout the forum are definitely ones I will cherish and maintain throughout my life. I was placed on the Red Team and we have already created a group on Facebook where we can continue to encourage each other as we work towards our careers in athletics.
Attending the NCAA Career in Sports Forum expanded and enhanced my knowledge about the NCAA and all the possible careers in intercollegiate athletics. I built many relationships with my fellow student-athletes, my team facilitators, other team facilitators, and with those who came to speak at the forum. I also learned more about my values, my priorities, and what interests me; this experience helped me to grow as a student, an athlete, and a leader at Concordia. The NCAA did an incredible job of making sure that this experience was invaluable for all who attended.
Most student-athletes will never have the opportunity to attend something like this, and I am very thankful that I was given this chance. I cannot wait to take what I learned and share it with my fellow student-athletes at Concordia. My desire is to get more involved and encourage others to do the same. We have such an incredible opportunity before us as not everyone is given the chance to compete in athletics at the college level. I look forward to using the tools and information gained from the NCAA Career in Sports Forum to establish a culture of school spirit, involvement, and dedication at Concordia.
It was an honor to be selected and take part in the NCAA Career in Sports Forum held in Indianapolis, Indiana from June 8-11. The forum was set up to prepare student-athletes for a future career in intercollegiate athletics. The program touched upon assisting individuals in making the transition from competition to choosing and acquiring their soon-to-be profession.
The forum began with a look at individual values and how these values play a role in choosing a career in athletics. It is important to know your abilities and understand who you are to be successful in life. Student-athletes took a behavioral style assessment before meeting in Indianapolis. At the forum, each individual was given a breakdown on their personal style and how it relates to choosing a suitable career. In addition, student-athletes learned how to recognize the styles of others in order to work effectively with colleagues.
The second day involved obtaining the “big picture of intercollegiate athletics.” Student-athletes were introduced to a variety of careers that exist in this field along with learning the different philosophies of the three NCAA divisions. From coaching and administration to working positions outside of the campus, professionals from each division spoke about their roles, responsibilities, and what it takes to be successful. One particular speaker, Mr. Charley Casserly, grasped everyone's attention with his insight into obtaining a job. Mr. Casserly, a 16-year veteran NFL General Manager and currently a part of the CBS Sports NFL Pre-Game Show, stressed the need to give your best from the start with goals in mind and to bring a strong work ethic. He quoted Lou Holtz and said, “The greatest investment you can make is in yourself.” This relayed the importance of creating a strong image of yourself and allowing others to see your strengths and abilities. The second day ending with a visit to the NCAA Hall of Champions to see the trophies, banners, statues, and displays exhibited.
Day three at the forum was based upon learning individual strategies and techniques needed to make a successful and smooth transition into a career in intercollegiate athletics. Student-athletes learned how to properly write resumes, network themselves, and make an impressive interview. We were given a chance to practice our interviewing techniques against our peers and receive feedback on how to improve our efforts.
Our final day at the forum highlighted the key components of transitioning into a career. As so often stressed during the forum, “the time is now.” Early preparations are needed to make a smooth transition, and this forum provided everything student-athletes need to get a head start. Each individual was sent home with the understanding on how to enhance their development and plan properly for their career choice.
I truly enjoyed attending this forum. It was fun getting acquainted with college students from all over the country along with meeting professionals within the NCAA. The four days spent at the forum were very informative and made me feel more confident in my abilities to obtain a career in my field. I would highly recommend to any upcoming qualified student-athletes to apply and attend this type of forum for guidance and direction in choosing their own individual careers.
Education majors, both traditional undergraduate students and adults in the master of education and superintendent certification programs, comprise a large percentage of Concordia’s enrollment. And one thing that Concordia seems to do very well is give these future educators many opportunities to learn from practical experience.
For special education students, opportunities abound. Concordia partners with Leander Independent School District (LISD) to host the SELF 30 program aimed at providing special needs students ages 18-22 from LISD with a chance to attend school in a college setting and hone skills they need to be successful in life.
“SELF 30 students are a part of CTX,” said Sharon Whightsil, a Concordia student and education major. “SELF kids learn what it’s like to be in college but also learn independence.”
Education majors are required to do five hours of field work with the SELF30 program, but many volunteer for much more. In fact, that experience is what prompted Whightsil to pursue a career in special education.
“These kids are not sheltered from reality,” said Whightsil, on having the SELF 30 program on Concordia’s campus. “They attend classes, chapel, and interact with students daily. Aline (the SELF 30 director) was the catalyst for me joining the special education program.”
Special education majors also benefit from travel courses. In May, a group of five students traveled to California and Nevada with Professor Cari Chittick to observe special education programs in Lutheran schools. It was an especially interesting experience for students pursuing a Lutheran Teaching Diploma to become a rostered teacher in the Lutheran school system.
“It’s our goal to be able to start something like that here,” said Joel Schildwachter, a student studying special education.
Chittick says these opportunities happen from networking and getting involved in the community. And they have been blessed with many opportunities to use classroom education in practical situations.
“You never know how God is going to call and use you,” said Kendall Ainsley, a student in Chittick’s class.
To learn more about these programs, visit
CTX – Houston Center will launch its latest M.Ed specialization, a Masters in Curriculum & Instruction with Teaching Certificate, in the spring of 2012. This program will allow students teaching in a private school or with a Bachelor’s Degree inanother discipline to earn their master’s degree and Texas teaching certification simultaneously.
Beginning in Spring 2012, CTX- DFW Center will add the Superintendent’s Certification Program to its graduate education offerings. This program is designed for individuals already holding a Master’s degree who wish to obtain Texas Superintendent Certification. Superintendent Certification programs are also offered at Austin’s North Lamar Center, Houston Center and San Antonio Centers.
The Concordia University Texas – San Antonio Center is pleased to announce the introduction of two new programs for the San Antonio education community. New programs include a new master’s degree with initial teacher certification. This program is ideal for the professional with a degree in an area other than education who wishes to enter the teaching profession. It is a two-year program and includes student teaching as its capstone course.
Another new program is the Superintendent Certificate Program. This program is offered to those educators with a master’s degree and administrative experience who wish to become school district superintendents. The Superintendent Certificate Program is a one-year program with an internship.
CTX- San Antonio will continue offering the masters level programs in advanced literacy, curriculum and instruction, and educational administration with an attached principal’s certification, as well as a principal certification program for those educators who already possess a master’s degree in education and wish to add the principal certificate to their resume.
For more information on the master’s of education programs offered at all locations, click here.
Concordia University Texas graduate student Erika Stevens was invited to sing “God Bless America” in the 7th inning stretch of the 4th game of the World Series on Oct. 23.
“It was exciting to be part of a winning game,” said Stevens, 46, who performed before a live crowd of 55,000 people at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. “The crowd, the cameras. It was exciting and scary all at the same time. The next morning I woke up (and thought) ‘Did I I dream that or did it really happen?”
Stevens, a vocalist in the Texas Air National Guard military band, received an invitation to sing at the game after her commander urged her to submit a recording to the Texas Rangers. The Rangers were looking for a representative from the military to sing “God Bless America.” A celebrity would be chosen to sing the national anthem, she explained. Steven’s invitation came just two days before the actual game.
“I was sitting at my desk at school when my phone rang,” Stevens said. “It was the Rangers calling. I almost passed out.”
The weekend was a whirlwind of activity in preparation for the Sunday game. The Rangers gave her tickets to four choice seats.
After her performance, Stevens changed out of her uniform and re-joined her sister and two friends in the 18th section of the stadium. She said reaction from her circle of acquaintances was immediate. “I got 19 text messages between the time I changed clothes and got back to my seat.”
Erika Stevens is in the Masters of Education program at Concordia University Texas’ Dallas-Fort Worth center. She will graduate in August 2012 with a specialization in Advanced Literacy. In addition to her role in the Texas Air National Guard, she teaches music at Leslie A. Stemmons and N.W. Hadllee elementary schools in the Dallas Independent School District.
Stevens’ performance at the World Series game can be viewed here.
Deandra Wright, 2008 graduate of Concordia, was selected Winderemere Elementary Teacher of the Year 2011. She teaches 4th grade in Pflugerville ISD.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010, Dr. Joanne Antrim’s Advanced Techniques in Reading students and Andrew Chapin’s sixth grade students at Hampstead Hill Academy in Baltimore, Maryland spent some time together. Earlier in the semester Andrew, a Concordia Texas 2010 graduate, and a teacher with the Teach America program, contacted Dr. Antrim to ask if his sixth grade students could, using Skype technology, have some of their questions about reading and college answered. The questions from the Hampstead Hill students were sent in advance and the Concordia students each chose a question that was answered “live” and also told the sixth graders the title of their favorite book and why they liked it. There were cheers from Baltimore as the students recognized many of the books the Concordia students enjoyed. The Concordia education students gave the sixth graders insights into college life and were wonderful role models for these future college students.
Andrew Chapin, May 2010 graduate, was selected to participate in Teach for America. He double- majored in History and Secondary Curriculum with an 8-12 Social Studies specialization. In June 2010, Andrew traveled to Philadelphia for 5 weeks of training before starting his teaching career at Hampstead Hill Academy, a Title I Charter school, part of the Baltimore City school system. He will teach 6th grade English and Social Studies. As part of his 2 years with the Teach for America program, Andrew will work on his Masters degree through John Hopkins University.