Engineering Student Wins STEM Scholarship

Jayden Parris (Engineering, ‘22) was recently awarded the first-ever Lockheed Martin STEM scholarship. This $10,000 scholarship was granted on behalf of the Lockheed Martin Corporation, a global aerospace and advanced technologies company. Only 200 winners were chosen from a pool of over 6,300 applicants.

Winners of the highly competitive scholarship were selected based on academic record, strong example of leadership and extracurricular service and achievements. As a freshman in the Vogel School of Engineering, Parris displayed excellence in all three categories, winning the Outstanding Underclassmen in Engineering Award and running as a member of the Cross Country team.

“The Bryan Vogel School of Engineering is amazing and quite literally state of the art,” Jayden stated. “ God has blessed the school and students so that they can pay it forward. Engineering students will discover ways to manufacture more efficient engines, creates appendages for amputees, or even [get] clean water to a village in South America… The Vogel School of Engineering takes leaders and teaches them how to engineer the future.”

Congratulations, Jayden, on your achievement!

Students Serve Over Spring Break

Twenty-seven Bryan students and four faculty and staff recently returned from spending their spring break on various missions trips in the U.S. and Central America. This year, each trip was sponsored by an academic department or a student organization on campus to further build on the skills and interests of individual student groups.

The engineering department took an inaugural trip to Belize to assist H.O.P.E. Mission for Belize with multiple engineering projects, both onsite and at a local school. SSTOP (Students Stopping the Trafficking of Persons) visited the YMCA in Houston, Texas to learn about immigration policy, refugee work, and anti-human trafficking efforts. The education department continued their annual tradition of partnering with Hope for Opelousas in Louisiana to work with local youth in achieving important life milestones. Finally, the Christian Studies department traveled to Costa Rica to help ESEPA Seminary and a local summer camp, where they focused on community evangelism and construction.

A fifth trip to Grand Goave, Haiti was cancelled due to political unrest. The trip has been rescheduled for next spring break.

Michaela Thomas, Graduate Assistant for Short-Term Missions, said – “All of the teams accomplished their specific goals, each of which fulfilled a specific need in the communities they went to serve. It was a great experience for them to get off the Hill and put into practice what they are learning in classrooms and at Bryan.”

Four more international trips are scheduled for the summer to the Bahamas, Jamaica, India, and Germany. For more information regarding short-term missions opportunities at Bryan, contact

Fine Arts Department Presents ‘The Marriage of Figaro’

The Bryan College Fine and Performing Arts Department recently completed a weekend showing of The Marriage of Figaro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Lorenzo da Ponte. The traditionally Italian opera was performed in English under the direction of Dr. Kimberly Keck. Dr. Vaughn Cardona served as the orchestra conductor.

The opera tells the story of servants Figaro and Susanna and their attempts to marry, despite the attempts of their philandering employer, Count Almaviva. Isaac Mullet (‘20) and Rebekah Runner (‘19) played the roles of Figaro and Susanna, respectively. William Darby played the role of Count Almaviva, with Alexis Reese (‘19) in the supporting role of his wife, the Countess Almaviva.

A continuation of The Barber of Seville, the 18th century opera is based on a stage comedy written by French playwright Pierre Beaumarchais known as La folle journée, ou le Mariage de Figaro (“The Mad Day, or The Marriage of Figaro”). The show takes a playful romp through a day of misadventures and deception as the two servants work to foil the Count’s attempts to woo Susanna.

Reflecting on the experience of playing Susanna, Runner commented that the character was “delightful to play because she is smart and very emotional… Her love for Figaro is her constant source of joy and protection throughout the opera, which was a fun character trait to explore”.

When asked about a fond memory from the performance, she said:

I think one of my favorite parts of the opera was the times when I got to “beat up” Figaro (played by Isaac Mullet). Any kind of stage fighting has to be carefully choreographed so that is looks real from the audience’s perspective and yet causes no harm to the actors. Isaac and I spent a lot of time working on the sections of the show when I would slap or hit him. Our hard work paid off when the audience reacted to it with such big gasps!

Congratulations to the Fine Arts Department on another wonderful performance!

For more information about Bryan’s Fine Arts Departments and for information about future performances, visit .

Bryan College to Host Q Union Event

Bryan College has the unique opportunity to host a Q Union on the Hill, Thursday, February 28th, sponsored by the Department of Leadership and Culture. This collaborative event seeks to provide guidance and inspiration for how to engage some of society’s most relevant and difficult conversations from a Christian perspective. The evening will feature three prerecorded speakers broadcasted via simulcast, as well as three live student speakers who will present nationally through livestream. The theme,‘The Power of We’, focuses on utilizing hospitality to create vibrant, thriving communities where others can flourish.

Speakers include:

New York Times bestselling author, Bob Goff (Everybody Always, Love Does)
Topic: Everybody Always
Jo Saxton, author, leadership coach and church planter
Topic: The Gift of Hospitality
Scott Harrison, Founder and CEO of charity: water
Topic: Solving Problems Together
Titus Prude, Junior, Politics and Government Major
Topic: Embracing My Suffering Neighbor
Emily Brown, Junior, Psychology Major
Topic: Asking for Empathy
Jake Poulakis, Junior, Politics and History
Topic: Re-Imagining Tolerance

Each brief, nine-minute talk will be followed by time for response conversations. Other participants from around the nation will attend the broadcasted talks via livestream.

This event is free to attend and will be held in Latimer Student Center from 7 pm -9 pm. Attendees are asked to RSVP at to ensure adequate seating.

Q is an organization “dedicated to equipping Christians to engage thoughtfully in our cultural moment”. Learn more at

SSTOP Conference Counters Horror with H.O.P.E.

The Bryan College chapter of SSTOP (Students Stopping the Trafficking of Persons) hosted its biannual chapel conference February 18th-20th. The theme focused on “H.O.P.E.- Healing, Opportunity, Purpose, and Empowerment,” and the hope that our savior gives to us in even the darkest of situations. The conference featured speakers Jolien Haggard (Monday, February 18th) and Tammy Kennedy (Wednesday, February 20th). Both women shared their own stories of abuse and stressed that, no matter the circumstances, God can bring about redemption. Shame and the lies it brings have no place in the lives of God’s redeemed, as Ms. Kennedy powerfully reminded the audience.

Jolien Haggard and her husband, David, are the founders of Blazing Hope Ranch, a therapeutic horse ranch that provides healing and hope to female survivors of sex trafficking through long-term aftercare. She has a Master’s in Christian Counseling from Philadelphia Biblical University (PBU) and 10 years of experience as a therapist in residential mental health and managing therapeutic group homes. A former counselor at Bryan, she developed her passion for the outdoors and caring for the vulnerable into what is now Blazing Hope.

Tammy Kennedy is an abuse survivor and the founder of King’s Treasure Box Ministries, a non-profit organization helping other survivors learn the truth in order to reclaim their true identity as children of the King. She has a Master’s degree in counseling and has authored two books: Jingles Lost Her Jingle (a therapeutic resource for abuse survivors) and From Rubble to Royalty, her autobiography. Her personal story of recovery after abuse, including being trafficked for sexual purposes by her mentally ill mother, is a profound illustration of the power of God’s love and redemption.

SSTOP (est. 2007) is a branch of Practical Christian Involvement at Bryan (PCI), falling under the ‘Advocates’ branch that promotes awareness and activism regarding the sanctity of human life. In addition to hosting a conference biannually since 2008, SSTOP hosts monthly educational meetings, and organizes various prayer and educational events regarding the prevention of human trafficking throughout the year. SSTOP also volunteers regularly at Blazing Hope Ranch. They are currently planning an event to recognize National Human Trafficking Awareness Month in April.

To learn more about SSTOP and how you can be involved, contact Titus Prude at

You can learn more about Blazing Hope Ranch at and King’s Treasure Box Ministries at

Bryan Lion Signs with Kansas City Royals

The Bryan Lions have more to roar about- Brandon Marklund (‘18, Politics & Government) recently signed a professional contract with the Kansas City Royals.

Hailing from North Vancouver, Canada, Marklund played varsity baseball throughout his four years at Bryan. After graduating in May, he served as a relief pitcher for the Auckland Tuatara during their inaugural season in the Australian Baseball League (ABL). He also played for the Morehead City Marlins, a collegiate summer baseball team in the Coastal Plains League.

“A huge thank you to my family and friends who have supported me every step of the way,” Marklund stated via his Twitter account. “As well as a huge thank you to Bryan College, its amazing baseball coaching staff and faculty, who have helped me become not only a better player, but a man as well.”

“Lastly an enormous thank you to both the Morehead City Marlins and the Auckland Tuatara for giving me the opportunity to play for two great franchises following the expiration of my college eligibility. None of this would be possible without all of you and for that I am forever grateful.”

Stay up-to-date with the latest in Lion news at or via Twitter @bryanathletics.

Debating Lions Brings Home State Championship

On Saturday, February 9th, the Bryan Debate Team competed at Carson-Newman University for the annual Tennessee Intercollegiate Forensics Association (TIFA) Tournament. TIFA represents Tennessee’s State Championships for one-person and two-person debate.

Bryan’s Debate Team is currently comprised of Spencer Baker, Emily Webber, Alex Daniels, and Jack Dunn. Chris Absher of Lee University joined Baker, Webber, and Daniels to complete two, two-person teams for the Varsity level NPDA debate. Dunn competed in the Novice division as a ‘Maverick,’ giving all speeches normally presented by a two person team in each round.

From left to right: Alex Daniels, Spencer Baker, Jack Dunn, and Emily Webber

Competition was tough in the championship tournament, but the Debating Lions held their own, capturing three of the top four speaking awards and two of the top four debate awards.

Awards were presented to:

1st Place Speaker Award and State Champion – Spencer Baker
2nd Place Speaker Award – Chris Absher
4th Place Speaker Award – Emily Webber

1st Place Varsity Debate and State Champions – Spencer Baker/Emily Webber
4th Place Varsity Debate – Alex Daniels/Chris Absher

Coach Liz Absher noted the team’s dedication to their work before competition even began; the night before the tournament, the team gathered in the hotel to practice on the topic ‘The US Should Stay Out of Venezuela.” Their practice paid off – the resolution for the Round 3 of the tournament the following day was, “The US Should Intervene in Venezuela.”

“I am so thankful for a team that will practice rather than play,” Ms. Absher said of her team, “and for the Lord helping us pick a relevant practice topic!”

The semifinal round of competition saw both Bryan Varsity teams pitted against each other. “The great thing going into that debate was that we knew there would be a Debating Lions team in the finals. After the completion of that semi-final round, one of the judges reported to me that it was one of the best rounds she had ever seen, and congratulated me on the speaking skills of our students,” reported Ms. Absher.

For the championship round, the teams were given the resolution “Tennessee Should Pass House Resolution H493 (Sensible Enforcement of Cannabis Act)”. The entire team aided in the fifteen-minute prep period, and Baker and Webber won the round.

In the Novice Division, Dunn claimed a win in two of four preliminary rounds, holding his own as a single person team and coming short of the semifinals by only one round. Regarding Dunn, a sophomore, Ms. Absher remarked: “He has a bright debating future!”

Other teams competing included UTK, MTSU, Carson-Newman, Tennessee Tech, Vols State, University of Memphis, Pellissippi State, and Walter’s State.

In addition to their multiple awards, the Debating Lions will host Bryan’s first-ever debate tournament Saturday, March 2nd, at 7:30 pm.

The Bryan Debate Team meets on Monday evenings from 6-8:30 pm in Mercer 117. All students are welcome to observe and/or join the team. For more information, contact Coach Liz Absher at

The team with Coach Liz Absher

Hilltop Players Capture Audiences With ‘Almost, Maine’

Bryan College’s Hilltop Players recently completed a two-week run of John Cariani’s Almost, Maine, a series of scenes featuring characters in different stages of love and heartache. In addition to the familiar faces of seniors Isaac Hendrix and Teagan Hughes, the show featured an impressive array of freshman talent. Carlos Portillo, Dillon Melvin, Sophia McCosh, and Katrina Ingalls all made their Hilltop debut. The show also saw performances from Larissa Carroll (‘21), Seaton Dasher (‘21), and Alyssa Swann (‘20). Behind the curtain, Kristen Lawrence served as Props Mistress, Savannah Bitterling as Stage Manager, and Teagan Hughes as Costumer. Bernie Belisle acted as technical director. Austin Marsh was the Assistant Director.

Dillon Melvin and Teagan Hughes in the scene “This Hurts.”

The show was a fresh approach to theater not previously seen on the Hill. When asked why Almost, Maine was chosen over a more traditional show, Director Alexis Landry stated:

I was very drawn to the raw honesty portrayed in the relationships between characters in Almost, Maine. John Cariani does an incredible job of writing dialogue that sounds and flows exactly like we talk in real life with one another. It doesn’t feel like a script; most of the time it feels like you’re listening to a conversation you’ve had with someone in your own experiences. It’s a type of story that the Hilltop Players have never told before, and I think that contemporary dramatic literature is just as important to expose our students/audiences to as the classics with which we’re so familiar…

I believe in the importance of doing theatre that makes you think. I also believe it is necessary to perform theatre which reflect the brokenness of humanity… Almost every character in Almost, Maine is hurt, scarred or troubled by something: abandonment, heartache, loneliness, anger, defeat, or insecurity. Who can honestly say they have never been plagued by one of these struggles? No one. And that’s why I love this play, because everyone can relate to these broken people and what they’re going through…
I hope that the audience walked away having been connected to the relationships displayed onstage, and perhaps they were reminded of similar situations that have happened in their own lives. I hope that they enjoyed seeing an honest portrayal of life as it is, and that they were able to see that, as followers of Christ, we have been saved from a life of loneliness, despair, and regret through His grace, forgiveness and love.

Carlos Portillo and Katrina Ingalls in the scene “Where It Went.”

The show experimented with light, music, and time throughout the production, creating a seamless flow between scenes. Audience members were immersed in the show the moment they entered Brock Hall — the first scene was already staged and underway as the crowd took their seats. On the uniqueness of the show, Ms. Landry said:

It is a style of theatre that’s never been done here before. The way we set the atmosphere in the room before the audiences walked in, the playlists of acoustic love songs we compiled, and the silence between scenes were all theatrical tactics that our regular audiences were extremely unfamiliar with. I was excited to see how people reacted to the change, and how willing they were to embrace the unfamiliar and get caught up in the stories unfolding before them in a new, fresh way.

This is the Hilltop Player’s second production under Ms. Landry (‘13), who returned to Bryan as an Instructor of Theatre this past fall.

Their next production, My Fair Lady, will run April 11th-13th.

Outreach Team Hosts International Voices Panel

On January 16th, Bryan College’s Outreach Team hosted ‘International Voices’, a panel dedicated to showcasing the thoughts and experiences of multicultural students. Panelists included Jesus Astudillo, a senior from Caracas, Venezuela; Daniella Banda, a junior from Harare, Zimbabwe; and Wade Weinburger, a senior from James Cistern, Bahamas. Graduate Assistant of Short-Term Missions, Michaela Thomas, served as the moderator.

When asked why the Outreach Team chose to host the event, Thomas stated, “There is a lot of talk about crossing bridges and connecting groups on campus, but few strides are actually taken to accomplish that. This event is an action step towards making Bryan an all-inclusive campus.”

Panelists, from left to right: Banda, Weinburger, Astudillo, & Thomas.

All three students shared their experiences at Bryan over the course of an hour and a half, discussing the transition from their home country to America, misconceptions surrounding their culture, and how the Bryan community can better support its international students. In addition to their studies, all three members of the panel were also able to discuss their unique experiences as international athletes; Weinburger and Astudillo are varsity baseball players, and Banda is a member of the golf team. Weinburger reflected on the baseball team’s efforts to attend campus-wide events, and challenged the crowd to reciprocate the support by attending athletic games.

The three students kept the crowd of fifty attendees entertained with stories about their first experiences in different cultures, American expressions they find strange, and aspects of their home that they miss at Bryan. The panelists carried on conversation with several students even after the end of the event. “It is very meaningful when people are intentional about knowing your story and how it has molded your journey,” Banda remarked. “I am grateful that Michaela pushed through with this idea and asked me to be on the panel. I’m excited for more events that are focused on celebrating the diversity and various cultures we have on campus.”

Pictures provided by Daniella Banda.

Banda at a display highlighting pieces of Zimbabwean culture


Inaugural engineering student retreat gives students hands-on experience

Students explore why a 1930s “hit-and-miss” engine is not working and apply their skills and knowledge to fix it.

October 9, 2018 – Bryan College engineering students recently visited Mt. Liberty, Ohio, for a class on missional engineering. The course is an intensive weekend retreat with multiple workshops and activities geared to equip students for a life of missions as engineers.

Through hands-on activities and biblical teaching, students were encouraged to find God’s calling for their life and challenged to pursue a lifetime of service. Students also got to see what happens when engineering is done poorly, highlighting the importance of experienced engineers in third-world countries.

Each student worked on a mission project related to engineering. The projects were intended to give students a vision of what engineering ministry might look like in third world countries. Students completed the Myers-Briggs personality assessment. Project teams were then assigned based on conflicting personality types. Students were challenged to learn to work with people who are different than themselves.

Dr. Marshall, dean of the Vogel school of engineering, preached on Romans 8 and Genesis 1 throughout the weekend. His focus was showing students how engineering relates theologically to our role as caretakers, and how students can give glory to God as engineers.

Dr. Marshall explains how UV light works in the water purification process at a multi-million dollar facility build.

“While we were sitting outside in the cold on Sunday morning drinking coffee, I looked around at all the amazing, new people that seemed to have spontaneously appeared in my life, and I remembered just how close I had come to not coming to Bryan.” said freshman Peyton Lawyer. “At the end of the retreat, which included 18 hours in the car, a baptism, broken bikes, and a long hike in the woods, I just knew I was where God wanted me.”

Intended to show students the vision for what engineering can accomplish and improve retention, the inaugural engineering retreat was a huge success. The Vogel School of Engineering is going to be a strong program for Bryan College, with many bright young men and women graduating to carry out the Great Commission and give glory to God through engineering.