Students from Liberty Christian School in Argyle and their solar car placed fourth in the Advanced Division in the Solar Car Challenge held recently at Texas Motor Speedway. The race took them from Fort Worth to Minneapolis in July.

Liberty Christian’s solar car students raised money and worked on the car continuously during the last year, adding lithium batteries and a hub motor that connects to the wheels.

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“Nearly 30 solar car teams from across the United States had their sites in this race,” said Brent Dragoo, Liberty sponsor and teacher. “Only 21 made the race, and just 16 finished it.”

Liberty’s car came in behind schools in the Advanced Division from Mississippi and California.

Students from across the United States convened at the Texas Motor Speedway on July 13 for a public viewing of their solar cars. They attended a prerace orientation and required team safety meeting the following day. Meetings were also held for team navigators.

July 15 began a rigorous review of the car called scrutineering. Teams had to ensure that their car’s braking capability met the race requirements or the car could not race. After scrutineering, teams took their cars back to their hotel to make critical adjustments prior to the race start.

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“One of the many things I love about Liberty’s solar car program is the hands-on engineering experience our students are receiving that simply cannot be learned from a textbook,” said Dragoo.

Each day, teams traveled as far as their solar car would take them and logged the miles. The first day ended in Ardmore, Oklahoma. Day 2’s

destination was Ponca City, Oklahoma, and Day 3 took the students to Manhattan, Kansas.


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Trinity Valley School junior Tim Im was invited to the White House for President Barack Obama’s sixth and final Science Fair. In addition to doing cancer research at Texas Christian University labs, Im is co-concertmaster of the Fort Worth Youth Orchestra and Im studies violin with Dallas Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Jan Sloman.

Along with Im, Trinity Valley senior Mackenzie McClung was invited to attend the Women’s History Month reception at the White House as a result of an email correspondence with Obama about girls in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and other initiatives. “I met the most inspiring women, such as those who are spearheading the ‘Girls in STEM’ initiative at the White House; the brilliant Miss America 2014; the gracious first woman NFL coach (who, by the way, picked me up and thanked me for all my work!); former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi; and Rosanell Eaton, a champion for voting rights,” said McClung.

Texas Wesleyan names dean for new health school

Texas Wesleyan University is realigning its current health care professional programs to create the new School of Health Professions, which is set to open this fall.

The new school paves the way for the development of a nurse practitioner program, which the university hopes to launch by fall 2017.

To head the new school, Wesleyan has hired Heidi Taylor, – photo –

founding dean and nursing educator at West Texas A&M University’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

In addition to overseeing the university’s graduate nurse anesthesia program and graduate counseling program, Taylor will lead the university’s initiative in developing new health care professional programs such as the nurse practitioner degree.

Taylor has more than 26 years of experience in higher education. At West Texas A&M, she was also division head for nursing and founding associate vice president of learning outcomes. She is a board-certified nurse coach and holistic nurse.

Allen Henderson, senior vice president and provost, said the new school is part of Wesleyan’s 2020 Vision to increasse its academic program offerings and will help address the shortage of nurse practitioners in Texas.

“President [Frederick G.] Slabach and I met with CEOs from hospitals across North Texas to find out where they see a shortage in health care professionals,” Henderson said. “The resounding answer was ‘nurse practitioners’ because over the next 10 years, nurse practitioners are expected to start playing a major role in primary-care delivery.”

Texas Wesleyan’s nurse anesthesia program is the largest in the United States, and the counseling program, with more than 120 students, serves more than 1,500 clients from Tarrant County each year.



Midwestern State University will start preconstruction in September on a $29.2 million Health and Human Sciences Building on its Wichita Falls campus. Construction will begin in June and completion is scheduled for December 2018.

The building will house many of the programs in the Gunn College of Health Sciences and Human Services. Sundt Construction Inc. and joint venture partner Trinity Hughes Construction will build updated facilities and space for the college, including dental hygiene, social work, radiologic sciences, respiratory care, simulation center and the Wilson School of Nursing.

The same joint venture is working on the Wichita Falls Independent School District Career and Technical Education Center and made improvements at the Wichita Falls Regional Airport terminal.

“This is a great opportunity for Sundt to continue building projects that are important to this community,” said project executive Bob Aniol. “We are also proud to continue our partnership with Trinity Hughes.”

Midwestern State and North Central Texas College announced a partnership on Aug. 18 on a new 30,000-square-foot, two-story facility for MSU near NCTC’s Flower Mound campus, located in Parker Square.

The arrangement will allow students to earn an associate degree, and for students in some majors to complete their bachelor’s degree on the same campus.

The building will house eight classrooms, lecture halls, laboratories and interactive television classrooms, an MSU admissions office and an information technology office.

Architectural design of the new building is underway with groundbreaking expected by the end of the year. The building is expected to be open for students in August 2017.

NCTC has five campuses, with Flower Mound being the newest.

MSU will be responsible for 66 percent of the lease costs, and NCTC 33 percent. NCTC also will provide operational support, including services such as the library, police and other student services.

Founded in 1922, Midwestern State University has more than 6,000 students and is one of four public universities in Texas that are unaffiliated with the University of Texas System.



A $1.18 million Education Talent Search Grant from the U.S. Department of Education will help 500 students from 10 area schools pursue higher education at Tarleton State University.

Talent Search, one of eight programs collectively known as the federal TRIO programs, supports students facing difficult challenges and gets them back on track to finish high school and enroll at a university. Among the TRIO programs is Upward Bound.

Activities and services are designed for low-income and first-generation university students as well as those with disabilities and limited proficiency in English.

Tarleton’s Talent Search program will include students at Henderson Junior High School in Stephenville along with those at high schools in Brownwood, Cisco, Dublin, Eastland, Gorman, Hamilton, Hico, Ranger and Stephenville.

The grant funding will be divided equally over five years, beginning Sept. 1 and ending Aug. 31, 2021.



The University of Texas at Arlington’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation will begin offering a doctoral degree in kinesiology this fall.

The degree combines elements of curriculums in kinesiology and nursing, and will have three tracks: movement and rehabilitation sciences, applied physiology, and physical education.

There will be 11 students in the program’s first cohort who will work under 11 core faculty members, many of whom are renowned researchers. Graduates of the program will be prepared for research positions in their areas of specialization and faculty jobs.



Tarrant County College recently was awarded full reaccreditation for its nursing program from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). TCC is the only ACEN-accredited associate degree program in Tarrant County and one of only three in the Dallas-Fort Worth region.

TCC met all six accreditation standards that were verified during the ACEN evaluators’ three-day intensive site visit in February. The site visit included visits to clinical sites and classrooms and meetings with TCC administrators, faculty and the public.

ACEN will evaluation program again in 2024.

TCC’s nursing program began in 1967 with 25 students on its South Campus at what was then called Tarrant County Junior College. The college relocated the program to the Trinity River Campus East: Center for Health Care Professions in 2011. About 550 students are enrolled in the nursing program, which doubled in size over the last six years to meet increasing community need and the shortage of nurses.

TCC’s nursing program graduation rate averages 85 percent.



Southwest Christian School, a college preparatory school in southwest Fort Worth, recently debuted its new Theatre Shop and Design Studio.

Dubbed the shop, the new space is a fully equipped construction, design and classroom area that will support the curricular and extracurricular workings of SCS’s theater and visual arts department. Students will be able to take scenery, lighting, costumes, sound engineering and properties from concept to creation.

“Theatrical design education on the high school level can prepare our students for a multitude of industries – architecture, civil engineering, marketing, advertising, urban planning and many types of design,” said Cyndi Woodward, SCS director of fine arts.



SiNaCa Studios, a nonprofit school of glass art in Fort Worth, will host award-winning artist, writer and educator David Schnuckel on Sept. 9 for a series of free public events to kick off a new instructional year.

The fifth annual Artists in Heat event and membership drive will feature a lecture by Schnuckel from 2-3 p.m. at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art; a reception from 4-6 p.m. at The Space, located at 1309 S. Adams St.; and a tour and live glass-blowing demonstrations from 7-9 p.m. at SiNaCa Studios, 1013 W. Magnolia Ave.

Schnuckel also will create glass art pieces at SiNaCa Studios during the Fort Worth Art Dealers Association’s Fall Gallery Night on Sept. 10 from noon-9 p.m.

Also, SiNaCa will participate in Beads of Courage’s annual Bead Challenge, featuring volunteer flame-working artists on Sept. 17 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. SiNaCa Studios will host another Bead Challenge on Oct. 14 from 6-9 p.m.

Beads of Courage is a national arts-in-medicine program for children’s hospitals that provides beads to children coping with serious illness. For every treatment, procedure and milestone that the children in the program encounter, they receive a bead that helps tell their story.

For information about these events and about SiNaCa Studios’ membership levels, visit