Once stepping on campus, it does not take long to tell that Freed-Hardeman University offers the chance to be part of something not many other college campuses can: a close Christian family. It was this loving, friendly Christian atmosphere that first drew senior English major Stephanie Pounders toward FHU. It was its outstanding academics and opportunities for social involvement that made her decision. Because of her interest in writing and politics, as a high school senior Stephanie looked at a variety of big-name journalism schools. FHU’s spiritual growth and social involvement, however, was unparalleled and once she realized that she could receive a superior education in English studies and have the chance to live in a Christian atmosphere, she knew FHU was the place to be.
As a freshman, Stephanie was excited to become part of the social scene. She joined Phi Kappa Alpha social club and was involved in a variety of on-campus activities. In spring of 2007 she was voted Public Relations Officer of Phi Kappa Alpha and was a participant in Makin’ Music in 2007 and 2009. But it is not the organized events that make FHU special, Stephanie says. It is the individual friendships that are formed. “The difference I feel at FHU can be summed up in one word: genuine. The people here are unique. They are sincere and caring in a way I had never seen before. The reason people choose FHU over other schools is because of the people that live and work here.” Stephanie has also grown through the spiritual events at FHU. She has spoken in Honors Women’s Bible Forum, participated in on-campus devotionals, club devotionals and various service projects. She attributes the largest portion of her spiritual growth, however, to her church family at Jack’s Creek Church of Christ.
Stephanie also decided to widen her horizons by studying abroad. Living in Europe had always been a dream of Stephanie’s, and through FHU she was able to do just that. Living for three months in Verviers, Belgium, however, was just the start. Stephanie visited 15 countries during her stay in Europe, traveling all the way from Budapest, Hungary to Dublin, Ireland. In short, Stephanie says, “FHU helped me see the world.”
While Stephanie was busy growing socially and spiritually, academics were also at the top of her priorities list. Stephanie joined the Honors College as an incoming freshman, and has been an active member of the English department since 2007. She is a member of Sigma Tau Delta, an international English honor society, with whom she has participated in a variety of academic events such as a research trip to the Library of Congress and University of Maryland, a day-trip to William Faulkner’s house in Oxford, MS, a sleepover celebration of Edgar Allen Poe’s 300th birthday and a service project helping freshman composition students learn to document MLA style.
Stephanie is also a staff member of FHU’s biweekly newspaper, The Bell Tower. In the spring of her freshman year, Stephanie came on staff as an opinion columnist. The following semester she accepted the position of Editor in Chief. After experiencing newspaper production from both a writer’s and manager’s perspective, she decided it was time to gain experience with the artistic side of newspaper production by helping with layout design. She is now currently working as Layout Editor of The Bell Tower.
Stephanie has recently started applying her experience at FHU in the professional world as a journalist. During the summer of 2008, Stephanie held an internship as a writer and photographer for Hernando Magazine, a yearly publication of the Hernando Chamber of Commerce in Hernando, MS. She produced nine articles for that publication which came out in February 2009. Stephanie will be working as an editorial intern for Mid-South Magazine for the summer of 2009 and is also currently a writer for FHU’s Office of Marketing and University Relations. “Without the experience of working for The Bell Tower and the guidance of the English faculty at FHU, I would have never been ready to enter into the field of journalism. The writing techniques I learned in class paired with the production experience I gained from The Bell Tower has allowed me to get a head start on a career as a professional writer.”
Stephanie’s story is a testament to FHU’s motto. Her spiritual and social involvement has helped her to learn how to live, while outstanding academic opportunities have prepared her to make a living.