Trailblazer swimming races against clock to prepare for conference championship

Dixie State University women’s swimming raced against the clock, and themselves, on Saturday in wake of conference championships.

At time trials, team members swam their races while coaches observed closely at the Washington City Community Center. Coaches timed the athletes as they sped up and down the lanes and will use their findings to develop specific training plans.

Student Assistant Coach Madison Wawrzyniak, a senior communication major from St. George, said time trials are beneficial for the coaches and athletes.

 “We just want to see where the girls are at time wise,” Wawrzyniak said. “[Then we know] how much rest they need, and we can taper [workouts] going into our big meets.”

Katie Pack, a junior exercise science major from Spanish Fork, who holds four of the top 10 fastest 500 free times in program history, said training depends on the type of swimmer you are, but determining how to save energy before big races is  vital. 

“[Time trials] give us the opportunity to race,” Pack said. “Sometimes you go a long time without racing, so you forget the feel of it.”

The Trailblazer swim team first entered the NCAA in the 2016-17 season. Phebe James, a junior graphic design major from Heber City, said the team has become much faster since its creation.

“I think we’ve gotten closer as a team,” James said. “We’re a lot more open to talking to our coaches and [it helps]. We pound [training] the first half of the season… and then we slowly taper off toward conference.”

DSU’s strength is sprinters, but overall the team is well-rounded, said Mycah Ellis, a freshman pre-engineering major from Portland.

“We’re just getting better and better each year,” Ellis said. “I can even see how our team has changed and meshed as a group just this year.”

The Trailblazers regular season competition schedule ended on Jan. 13 with a win over Alaska-Fairbanks by a 318-256 count. Since then, the team has been practicing its aerobic work, technique, drills and weights. Athletes practice every day and have weights twice a week. 

“We need to just kind of work on the little nitty-gritty things,” Wawrzyniak said. “Like starts, turns, finishes and all that kind of stuff to make sure the girls feel confident and ready for conference.”

DSU will compete in the Pacific Collegiate Swim Conference Championships on Feb. 14 ­— Feb. 17 in La Mirada, California. 

DSU alumni discover new material, publish findings in peer-reviewed journal

Due to the dedication of two Dixie State University alumni to their independent research projects, their findings were published in peer-reviewed chemistry journals, and a new material was discovered.

DSU alumni Mattie Jones and Aimee Newsham researched and experimented with ionic liquids — salts that liquify at room temperature — over the span of two to three years. Rico DelSesto, assistant professor of chemistry, said ILs are unique because they don’t dissolve in water, but they can still interact with chemicals. DelSesto said with this research, they’ve found that by mixing ILs in contaminated water, the ILs will pull the contaminants out of the water. 

Another use for ILs, DelSesto said, is to extract precious metals from water. Most electronics use a specific class of metals that are naturally rare but exist in water, so ILs can be used to extract those precious metals. 

Newsham was in charge of extracting the metals from water. DelSesto said once they got the metals into ILs, a new phase of magnetic materials were discovered that they haven’t seen before.

On the other hand, Jones was distracting textile dyes, which are dyes used on fabric items like fibers and yarn, from water.

“(It’s) one of the greatest contaminants in water, especially outside of the U.S. because the U.S. is regulated,” DelSesto said. “There are textile dying factories just out in the middle of nowhere that are dumping all of the waste into the drinkable water system and making it toxic.”

Jones said it took many attempts to find the correct method for their work, but they were successful in the long run.

“By the time I joined this project, the ground work had been laid out and the direction had been chosen; it was just a matter of developing and achieving the end goal,” Jones said.

Even though Jones and Newsham worked on these projects for a few years, DelSesto said the overall project has been going on for 10 years and has involved a number of people: undergraduate students, other faculty in the region, and a partnership with Northern Arizona University. Undergraduate research projects like this one also don’t receive any funding from the university. He said the funding for this project came from the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.

Because the project is on-going, current DSU students have been involved in furthering the research, including Jayson Foster, a junior chemistry major from Duchesne. He’s been studying emergent phenomena that occur in ionic liquids since the beginning of fall semester. 

“In research, there isn’t anyone who can give the answers to your problems until you do the work and come up with a solution yourself,” Foster said. 

DelSesto said the whole project isn’t ready, but said that’s typical with science because scientists tackle pieces of their research project at a time. Because Jones and Newsham worked on those projects for a few years, they were able to get their work published, which DelSesto said isn’t possible for all students because most students don’t get much time to work on projects. 

Jones said she gained valuable knowledge regarding the scientific process and how to structure a science project.

“Seeing firsthand the necessity of inspiration and creativity on top of hard work and understanding provided a well-rounded experience,” Jones said. 

Jones and Newsham’s published work can be found in the academic journal called “Chemical Communications,” or by visiting pubs.acs.org

Youtube sensation Alex Boye’ to perform concert, make music video with film students

Singer and YouTube sensation Alex Boye’ will perform and make his next viral music video alongside DSU students.

Boye’s family is from Nigeria, he was raised in London, and then moved to Salt Lake City where he performed in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. He was also featured on shows like The X Factor UK, America’s Got Talent, and gained nearly one billion views on YouTube and was recently named Hard Rock’s Rising 2017’s Artist of the year. In March he will be coming back to attend the Fire & Ice Gala fundraiser for DSU, perform a large concert plus collaborate with DSU students and faculty for his next viral music video.

Jordan Sharp, chief marketing and communications officer, said they first reached out to Boye’ because they needed an MC for the Fire & Ice Gala, which is a needs based scholarship fundraiser for students at DSU. Boye’s agreed and is auctioning off a private concert during the event. Boye’ has also worked with other universities like BYU and Southern Virginia, and Sharp thought it would be a good idea to do a music video with him and tell the story of DSU while benefiting Boye’.

“I don’t want to give away too much, but it will involve hundreds of people from Dixie State and the community, ” Sharp said. “It will be visually just one of the most spectacular videos you have ever seen.  And it will highlight the unique environment and institution that we are in. I feel like it will just hopefully do its job and will go viral and just reach people that may have never heard about Dixie State University.”

Phillip Tuckett, emmy award winner and assistant professor of digital film, said it was a good opportunity to show off the university location and tap into Boye’s skills by being able to take an existing piece of song and “Africanize it” as Boye’ says. He puts African rhythms into his cover songs with a whole new musical arrangement. Boye’ was having creative meetings during Dixie’s Got Talent on Jan 18 with Tuckett, Sharp and other faculty.

“Dixie State University will be prominently featured in this music video,” Tuckett said. “But it’s still malleable state because he hasn’t finished doing his arrangement, and we haven’t finished doing the pre-production. We have to make sure we have everything we need to execute these ideas at the highest level because we spend most of that day, working on the ideas that would be expressed in the music video. So we have to be on our A game for this one.”

Boye’ showed excitement for the project and collaboration.

“I can definitely say that we are doing a cover of a very popular song from the Greatest Showman,” Boye’ said. “We are using many of the incredible talented students and faculty who like sing dance and perform, and they are all going to be in the video. We’re going to use a lot of extras and are going to be using a lot of the campus, places that people are familiar with. So it’s going to be a lot of fun and we’re really excited.”  

Boye’ said he is looking forward to being able to work with Tuckett because of his NFL music video and emmy award directing experience.

“I don’t think people understand who you have working there,” Boye’ said. “Phil Tuckett has done many cool music videos for some big huge artists and he chose to settle down at Dixie, so we have a wealth of experience here and it gives me so much confidence that this video is going to be amazing because of all the talent.”

Boye’ said another thing he hasn’t done before is having 22 talented film students and faculty from DSU’s film department shooting his whole music video.

“There are 22 students working on this video, coming together with the ideas.” Boye’ said. “This is not just, ‘Hey Alex has got an idea; let’s go and execute it’. No, this is more like, ‘This is a community event, and we’re all putting our heads together and coming out with the best possible video ever.”

Tucker said he is looking forward to seeing the film program grow and showing their capabilities.

“Clients could go anywhere, but they chose to come to DSU to have it produced by our students and our faculty, ” Tuckett said. “If we get a 100 million hits that’s not a bad thing; it’s the recognition that comes with that. It’s all about getting Dixie State University into the public consciousness.”

The music video will have a similar story line about Boye’s life in Nigeria, his parents, moving to England and finding a better life and discovering his talents.

“He is an immensely talented individual and is very entertaining. He has a very wide audience base.” Sharp said. “It is going to be a great show. He’s a great entertainer for older generations, for young kids, for families, and for students.

Boye’ said St. George is one of his favorite places to visit because he has made one of his favorite music videos in Sand Hollow. He has memories of summer events for the youth at Dixie College, and keynote speaking.

“I love the college, It’s not a college anymore.” Boye’ said. “I know so many people there. I have so many friends there anyways so it just makes sense to do the video. I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to come and perform at Dixie, so I’m glad it’s finally here. Plus it’s going to be warm, at least warmer than it is up here, I’m shoveling in snow right now. So please, please get me to Dixie right now.”

The Dixie Foundation will hold its 14annual Fire & Ice Gala funding need based scholarships for Dixie State University students on March 2. The concert will be on March 3 at the Burns Arena at 7:30 p.m. and the music video will be shot throughout those three days. 

2017 trends that should stay in 2017

As new trends and videos go viral this year, it’s time to say goodbye to some of the cringiest moments of 2017.

The 90s are never coming back, so why do I still see people trying to make those cheaply made, black elastic chokers cool again? Need I remind you of the lasting impression those chokers leave around your neck? Now, I am not saying do away with all choker necklaces, but if you actually harbor one of those tacky pieces of jewelry, it’s time to let it go. With today’s modern take on the choker-styled necklace, there are far better alternatives to wear.

Feathered eyebrows
As traumatic as it was seeing women willingly wax or pluck their eyebrows to make them appear nonexistent in the 90s, nothing prepared us for the feathered eyebrow trend in 2017. What originated as a joke by makeup artist Stella Sironen quickly turned into one of the most loved or hated trends. Not long after, beauty gurus and models began sporting the look to various degrees.

With the feathered brows in full swing, it opened the gates to explore even more ridiculous brow trends, including the squiggle brows, braided brows and ponytail brows. Now if you think “It” was horrifying to look at, just imagine the fact that people willingly went out in public wearing their eyebrows like this.

Starbucks unicorn drink
As an avid supporter of Starbucks, I was astonished when I first heard about these so-called unicorn frappuccinos.  Although I admit the drinks are fun to look at, I couldn’t wrap my mind around spending the same price for one of their signature coffee flavored frappuccinos, which only consisted of some colorful syrup, powder and whipped cream.

While I admit I may be salty knowing I never got to post a colorful photo of this disastrous drink on Instagram, I sincerely hope Starbucks learned from this questionable mix of ingredients. Rather than introduce a limited edition drink that apparently tastes awful and stresses out baristas across the nation, put some more thought and effort into designing a drink that doesn’t get everyone’s hopes up just to be a huge disappointment later on.

Anti-climatic makeup videos
It appears clickbait has taken a new form in various makeup artists’ videos on Instagram and Facebook. Rather than create a thumbnail photo from the finished makeup look, it’s become customary to see outrageous products in their hands as they attempt to create this “original” look. I loosely refer to these looks as original considering most makeup artists end up replicating the exact look from a previous social media user.

Realizing this harsh truth, they resorted to cheap methods to get viewers, such as showing their eyebrow half shaved off and then shaking their finger at you saying, “Ha! You really thought I was going to shave off my eyebrow?,” displaying photoshopped acne they manage to completely conceal, or unthinkable tools they use to apply their makeup. While the blatant photoshopped image is a clear indicator of how desperate the makeup artist has become, these videos can leave lasting impressions on viewers, and I still have yet to recover from seeing people use condoms to apply their makeup.

Check please: DSU’s card-unfriendly policy

Instead of credit or debit cards, students paying tuition and fees at the cashier window are required to pay with cash or check, which is something they don’t have easy access to.

Dixie State University students are accustomed to using plastic in their everyday lives. They use cards at the gas station, when buying groceries, or out with friends at the movies.

Mary Foremaster, a junior dance major from St. George, said she doesn’t always have cash on hand or use a checkbook, and for students who try to pay a fee, it can be a hassle when they are told they have to pay with cash or check.

“Barely any people really use checkbooks anymore or have cash at all — everyone just uses cards,” Foremaster said.

Students who are not eligible for federal loans and pay tuition with their own money are the most affected by the inability to use debit cards.

Foremaster said: “If someone’s like ‘Hey, you can only pay with cash and that’s it’…It’s definitely not the preferred thing.”

Christy Jensen, head cashier revenue specialist, said the decision to only accept cash or check payments was made by Business Services because there is a fee for processing debit and credit cards.

Scott Jensen, executive director of business services, said there is a lot of cost associated with accepting cards, which come from banks and the Payment Card Industry, who charge businesses a significant fee to process those types of payments. The administration had to look at the whole picture and decided it is cheaper for the school to not take card payments at the cashier window.

“By accepting cards at the window and not having a convenience fee, like this third party does, it increases the cost for the student who wants to pay cash or check because now they are basically supplementing those charge card fees,” Scott Jensen said.

According to an article called “The Complete Guide to Credit Card Processing Rates and Fees,” on the Merchant Maverick website,  the credit card companies — Visa, Mastercard and Discover to name a few — charge businesses a percentage of each transaction, plus a 2.10 percent flat rate. The business can account for some of this cost to them by charging the customer a convenience fee or pay the flat rate.

Other fees, according to the article, are charged by PCI, the IRS, terminal fees, payment gateway fees — the list goes on. With all these fees, providing the ability to pay with a card can get expensive.

Scott Jensen said, “The biggest three reasons we went that direction a few years ago were budget cuts, the simple cost of managing personal data — the required protection of that — and just the fact that we needed a different solution to manage our business.”

Christy Jensen said not accepting cards at the cashier window forces students who need to pay with a credit card, to pay online where they would be required to pay the accompanying fee.

There are other options available to students needing to pay fees other than the cashier window. They can go to my.dixie.edu and select make a payment, where they will be given the option to pay with credit card, debit card or electronic check. Banks such as Wells Fargo and Mountain America provide school loans for students who are eligible.

The ability to pay with a card at the cashier window will not happen in the foreseeable future, but having the option to pay online is a step toward making the payment process easier for students.

Shawn Denevan uses radio to create student opportunities

Radio at Dixie State University has changed dramatically in the past seven years, and Shawn Denevan has been there for all of it.

When Denevan started at DSU in late 2010, he took a 60 percent pay cut to work part time in hopes of the job becoming something better for him. After working his way through a master’s program and putting in his dues at DSU, he’s now full-time staff and as the Director of Radio Dixie, he takes care of the day-to-day needs of the radio stations housed on campus.

His time has seen some heavy changes, which he’s spearheaded. Two years back, he oversaw a change out of nearly all the equipment at the radio station and last summer brought new automation software and hardware to bring the station up to date with all the major local stations.

“We aren’t using Radioshack mixers and iTunes,” Denevan said. “These were all pipe dreams seven years ago… Now they’re here.”

DSU hosts two radio stations: 91.3 – Radio Dixie, which plays alternative and indy music during the day and rap and hip-hop in the evenings, and 100.3 – KDXI, which has a classical music focus at day and plays jazz at night. Radio Dixie is owned by the university while Utah Local Radio owns 100.3 and leases it to DSU to add to the variety of stations and increase opportunities for student involvement.

Because there’s so much available airtime, Denevan welcomes volunteers, students and professors who have some radio experience and want to be involved.

“We’re on the air 24/7, so when someone approaches me with an idea for programming, I always have time to fill,” Denevan said. “These community volunteers come in on their own time, are paid nothing and produce quality programming.”

Students who take Denevan’s radio course are expected to be on the air weekly. Other programming comes from local talent and even some of the staff at DSU. Matt Eschler, Bob Oxley and Matt Smith-Lahrman are a few of the number of professors who host talk shows on the air. 

Melanie Sponaugle, human resources coordinator at DSU, DJs for 91.3 Saturday nights from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

“When I moved to St. George, I heard the music at 91.3, and I got excited,” Sponaugle said. “It was more to my tastes than the other stuff. We’re playing the best music in town.”

Her interest caused her to seek out the radio course and get involved with campus radio where she met Denevan.

“Shawn’s amazing,” Sponaugle said. “He really facilitates our ideas. When you come to him with an idea he’ll say, ‘Let’s make it happen; let’s figure it out.’”

Denevan’s vision for Radio Dixie is completely student-oriented. He said DSU has the best student radio experience in the state, if not the region.

“You can go to BYU and watch, or you can come here and do,” Denevan said.

His main concern is exposure and letting everyone on campus know DSU has a radio station and that there are ever-growing opportunities for student involvement. Denevan encourages anyone and everyone to come sign up for his radio course, MDIA 2380R.

“I think everyone should take it,” Sponaugle said.

This semester, the radio course boasts a class size of four students. Denevan said that many students on campus haven’t heard anything about Radio Dixie.

“I really appreciate the classical music they play,” said Leighton Ipson, a freshman music major from Washington. “No one else in town really has that.”

Denevan wants more students to come and be involved with the radio, invite their friends to listen to the programming, and become a part of DSU’s identity. He has a goal to make more scholarship positions available in coming years.

“I get to come and do what I love every day, and they pay me for it,” Denevan said. “I just want to spread that around.”

Opportunities to provide service at DSU

Whether you have too much time on your hands, or not enough, there’s always an opportunity to give back to your community.

There are a wealth of options around Dixie State University that help you to do just that.

Dillon McKinney, a junior mathematics major from St. George, and the vice president of service for Dixie State University Student Association, began his contribution to the community in a small club that later became a branch in the DSUSA.

“[As a freshman] I joined a club that was called Dixie Serves at the time,” McKinney said. “…That club turned into the branch of service for student government.” 

The DSUSA Service branch works with approximately 14 non-profit organizations. McKinney mentioned that of those 14 non-profits what seems to be the most attended project are the ones hosted by Habitat for Humanity, an international non-profit organization devoted to building homes for individuals in poverty. 

Every student volunteer opportunity can be accessed through DSUSA’s website OrgSync, where a weekly service opportunity is posted with the date and details. 

Coming up next for DSUSA is the annual Campus to Community project happening Feb. 13. 

But DSUSA isn’t the only organization getting involved with Campus to Community. The Latter-day Saint Student Association will be participating in it as well, where it will be providing shirts and court memberships for those interested in joining. 

LDSSA is a way to look for service opportunities as well. Although not yet approved by DSU,  LDSSA is currently working with the Veterans Success Center to help provide an on-campus daycare center for student-parents, and every year the Institute of Religion hosts the Red Cross Blood Drive.

“[Also] around April we will be planning a large…initiative,” said Spencer Thatcher, a senior biology major from Logan, and president of LDSSA. “It will encourage students [to do] small [acts of service] every day.”

And those small acts can become bigger impacts.

“We don’t always get to see the fruits of our labors,” McKinney said. “…It’s the repeated small efforts that really do make the impact in the world and community we live in.” 

Another way to make an impact locally is through the non-profit organization Providing Animals with Support Adoption Center, better known as P.A.W.S. 

“Some of the main volunteer positions that we have students do is actually taking shifts with the animals,” P.A.W.S Communication Coordinator Kelsie Watters said. “All of [the pet] rooms need people to come and feed…clean up and care for the animals.”

After applying online and conducting just a few training shifts, you will be set to help provide volunteer service to those cats and dogs. 

“You get as much out of it as you give,” Watters said. “The animals know you and they love you…it’s enriching.”

Fostering pets is also a potential way students can provide a positive act of service for P.A.W.S. With the appropriate accommodations and the completion of a foster application, pets can be temporarily cared for within your own home. 

“If you can donate, if you foster or adopt those are things that can benefit not only P.A.W.S but the community as well,” Watters said. 

Internships are also provided by this local adoption center for students looking to improve their media skills through photography and videography. Through this internship, students can help P.A.W.S reach out to more of the St. George community with media.

Whether you are interested in caring for animals, spreading some love through small initiatives, or getting your hands a little dirty, there’s a place in the community for you.

DSU alumni choose to work for DSU after graduation

For many graduated students, working at your alma mater is a dream come true. 

With a handful of alumni working in each department at Dixie State University, the appealing career has grown of interest among students. In fact, four out of the five students interviewed by the Dixie Sun News said they would prefer to work at their alma mater rather than with any other employer.

Brittney Malone, a sophomore exercise science major from Las Vegas, said: “I would want to work for Dixie because of the genuine love I feel from everyone here. Setting foot on campus and being able to hear student government playing music and releasing their positive energy makes me want to be a part of Dixie forever.”

While there are some students who believe that just being able to find work after graduation is a blessing, there are others who can’t imagine themselves working anywhere else but Dixie. 

Kayla Coolbear is a 2016 DSU graduate from Livermore, California. She received her bachelor’s in art with an emphasis in graphic design. She started working for the DSU marketing department as the social media and digital marketing specialist weeks after she graduated. 

Coolbear said, “If I didn’t go to Dixie, I would probably be working at a grocery store.”

She said the faculty at DSU do everything they can to give as many opportunities to students. Once she found them, she said, “I had opportunities coming at me from every direction.”

DSU prides itself on offering countless opportunities to students and this is present through the number of students and alumni employed by the university. 

“I still work with people I went to school with,” Coolbear said. “There are people who were a year or two behind me in school who I still work with now.” 

However, just because a person is an alumnus or alumna, it does not always guarantee employment.

Matt Devore is a 2016 DSU graduate from Mesquite, Nevada. He received his bachelor’s of science in integrated studies with an emphasis in communication and business management. Devore was also the student body president through the 2015/ 2016 school year. He started working for the DSU housing office as the resident life coordinator three months after he graduated.

Devore said: “I’d like to think that because I am an alumni I have a greater sense of passion, but I don’t know if that had anything to do with who got the job… I think it was fair and everyone got an equal shot. I am just grateful that I was the one who got the job.”

For students looking to be employed by DSU, they should keep in mind that certain positions require specific skills. They also should not expect to be hired by the university based on the fact that they are alumni. 

However, there are some things you can do that will increase your chances of getting a job at DSU. 

“I got my job here because I had references from people all over campus,” Coolbear said. “I already knew most of the people in the marketing and communication department so when I went into my UMAC interview, I already knew everybody in the room — they had all worked with me.” 

Involving yourself on campus is one of the best things to do if you are looking to be a part of Dixie in the long-run, Coolbear said. Being able to expose yourself and your work ethic to the faculty is a critical step because then they recognize you, and know what working with you is like.

“Working for Dixie has been one of the greatest experiences,” Devore said. “The reason I think why you see so many students wanting to work for Dixie is because of that Dixie spirit. Students — they feel the love, and they feel that Dixie spirit, and it’s something they want to be a part of for years.”

Darkest Hour shows importance of unity in a nation

         My only motivation for seeing the film “Darkest Hour” was to see if I agree with its nomination for best picture — especially with my skepticism of the academy’s voting process. Read about that in my previous article.

   I thought the film would be a long, drawn out history of Winston Churchill leading up to his appointment as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and then tell the story of England’s darkest hour.

   Instead I got a film that was a chronicle of Churchill’s first month in office as Prime Minister, on whose shoulders it fell to lead the small country as the threat of Nazi invasion loomed, and while England’s army of 300,000 soldiers faced their darkest hour in Dunkirk.

   When I sat down before the film started, all I knew of Winston Churchill was what I learned in school and a portion of his address to Parliament June 4, 1940, which the band Iron Maiden featured in their song “Ace’s High.”

   Through Gary Oldman’s vivid portrayal of Churchill, I saw a man fighting against a parliament who had no faith in him, members of his own war cabinet seeking to remove him, and also struggling within himself in knowing whose leader he was supposed to be — a leader of the people, who would rage war against Hitler and defend England, or parliament’s puppet, negotiating for peace with a tyrannical regime.

   Oldman superbly epitomizes Churchill as the leader history remembers, but the man within as well.

   In a scene where Churchill is dictating a speech to his typist, Elizabeth Layton, he notices a picture of a young man in uniform and asks if the man is her beau. She confirms this and tells him her man had been traveling with his unit, but never made it to the destination they were traveling to. In that moment, the compassion the prime minister had was evident, as was his torment.

   It is the people of England whom Churchill was so torn over: Does he send men to their deaths, or instead find a way to reach an accord with Hitler and his allies — to guarantee the people of the United Kingdom safety and peace? Should he take a stand, or give in?

   There are three scenes in the film that illustrate the loyalty the prime minister had for the individuals under his leadership, and in my mind were integral to the overall message of the film.

   The first two scenes are beautifully shot moments in time, with people going about their day, living life and everything is slowed down — almost a still frame, yet still in motion. Here I had the thought that the director Joe Wright wanted to emphasize these slices of time and the people in them.

   The third scene was one of the most powerful in the movie and the one that changed my mind about the film.

   In this scene, Churchill has taken it upon himself to ride The Underground and while doing so, asks the passengers he meets if they would give up their country to Hitler, to become enslaved. The moment when a little girl responds with a resounding, “Never!” captured my heart as it did Churchill’s and aided him in realizing that the people of the UK were resolute in defending their island, whatever the cost may be and would never surrender — he, the leader of their country, needed to take a stand for them all.

   “Darkest Hour” has a powerful message of being united when standing against impossible odds, that it is the people of a country who matter. It succeeded in quelling my skepticism and touched my heart. It certainly deserves the nomination for best picture, and the film is a strong contender to win.

Board of Trustees makes history approving first master’s degree program

The Dixie State University board of trustees approved the first master’s degree program in the university’s history Jan. 26.

Immediately after the ratification of DSU’s first master’s program, the Master’s of Accountancy, over 200 balloons were released outside. The new academic sanction marks history for DSU as one of the first graduate programs offered to students.

“We’re pretty fired up about it,” said Steven Day, associate professor of accounting.

 To kick off the process, faculty and staff had to prove there was a need on campus for a master’s program, Day said.

Day said the biggest takeaway students will have is the ability to remain at DSU throughout their collegiate careers.

“In our accounting program, [DSU] has a unique way of delivering our material,” Day said. “We are very experiential in the concepts [we teach], very much active learning.”

Day said students who obtain degrees from DSU can often “walk the walk,” but feel out of place in the traditional classroom. This program is meant to prepare students for accounting careers while guiding them toward succeeding on the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Examination.

“We’re all excited,” Day said. “The faculty are excited, [and] the students are excited. Other universities probably aren’t that excited because we were sending them students every year, but they’re probably the only ones not excited.”

The path to offering a master’s program was not easy, said Kyle Wells, dean of business and communication, and it is not over yet.

“It was a big task,” Wells said. “I don’t think people realize what it takes to be the first.”

Wells said not only was there paperwork to design and propose the program, but there were also requirements to expand the goals of the university, acquire accreditation and secure funding for interested students.

The original proposal allowed for courses to be open and available to qualified students in the summer of 2018, with more courses available in fall 2018 and lighter courses in spring 2019. Due to the nature of the approval and accreditation process, faculty and staff now are hoping to have courses ready for students this fall, not this summer.

Approval via the board of trustees would have been the first step in creating a DSU master’s program until last September when it became the final step at the state level. Now, DSU must wait for national accreditation and financial aid before the university can advertise the program and offer applications.

Wells said this process should take no longer than four months, as the university has expedited the process.

“That sounds like a long time for an expedited process, but we’re hoping that by talking one-on-one with the committee that’s approving [the program] that we can get it done in a shorter time,” Wells said.

Wells said almost immediately after the approval, a Las Vegas business had already reached out to offer congratulations to DSU faculty and staff, and to express interest in the program.

“They wrote us and said, ‘We have never considered [DSU] because we only hire from programs that have graduate programs,’” Wells said. “What this does is it opens the doors for all of the employers that see us differently with a graduate program.”

Nate Staheli is the department chair of accounting and the lead faculty who worked on the proposal of the Master’s of Accountancy program.

“I look at all of the obstacles and struggles as opportunities,” Staheli said. “The struggle was just the time needed to put it together.”

Staheli said there were no problems in regards to having the faculty get together to design the program because they all knew it was about “creating a program that was going to be good for students.”

Wells said the biggest struggle facing the future of the project is resources, while Staheli said the biggest fear faculty and staff have regarding the future of the program is student involvement.

“I’ve always believed in this saying from Field of Dreams, ‘If you build it, they will come,’” Staheli said. “I believe that as we build this program, we’re going to have students who want to be here and do well at our university.”