Student business plans win awards in regional contest

Five business plans presented by Whitworth students won cash awards at the 2012 Inland Northwest Business Plan Competition finals on April 19. The competition gave nine awards for plans in three categories, totaling $22,500 awarded to students. According to the competition’s web site, it is the “largest of its kind in the Inland Northwest.” The competition accepted more than 40 applications this year from undergraduate and graduate students from Whitworth, Eastern Washington University and Spokane Community Colleges.

Students submitted multiple plans, either individually or in teams, for three categories: student-generated, community-based and social enterprise. Student-generated plans are for original business ideas developed by the students. Community-based plans serve the businesses of community entrepreneurs. Social enterprise plans may apply to current local non-profits or a new non-profit organization the students create.

Senior Kyle Jordan placed first in the student-generated category for his plan, “Whitworth Lawn Boys,” to expand his current lawn-care business. He also won second place with his “Hoop Dreams” plan in the social enterprise category to create a non-profit organization that would give Spokane’s underprivileged youth the chance to play in competitive youth sports leagues.

An accounting major, Jordan has been mowing lawns throughout his Whitworth career and presented “Whitworth Lawn Boys” as a way to continue managing his business after he graduates.

“It’s a business that incorporates Whitworth students to do lawn work,” Jordan said. “I have some other students working with me, so I’m in the entry level steps of doing that.

A team of Whitworth graduate students took first place in the community-based category. Tara Lambert, Kimberlee Betts and Mandell Campbell presented a plan for management and growth in Spokane-based business, MaidNaturally.

Other Whitworth winners were seniors Jeffrey Aly and Jacob Klein. Aly’s “Up & Down Golf Apparel” plan won second place in the student-generated category, while Klein’s plan for Inland Mobility Services won third in the social enterprise category.

Four Whitworth teams placed in last year’s competition, with two teams taking first.

Mike Allen, the business plan competition program coordinator, organized and facilitated the competition the past two years, as well as mentored Whitworth participants. He resigned from the position for next year after being elected to the Spokane city council.

“In some ways, it makes me sad because I really enjoyed working with the Whitworth students and we had some great success the past couple years,” Allen said. “I’m really hoping they continue the success.”

Allen taught a class that specifically prepared students for the business plan competition. He welcomed students from any major into his class.

“Businesses can come from the sciences. They can come from education,” Allen said. “They don’t all have to come out of the business department, so I would encourage all students on campus to get engaged with that program.”

Tate White, associate director of graduate studies in business, will be the program coordinator the competition next year.

Students who competed had to submit an online application in February and an executive summary of each plan in March. Nine teams in each category were selected to send a completed business plan in early April. Five finalists from each category came to Whitworth April 19 to give oral presentations of their plans and attend the awards ceremony and reception.

This was the first year Jordan participated in the competition. He regrets he did not try it earlier and said more students should enter, if not for the cash award, for the opportunity to network with local business owners.

“I think kids are kind of lazy, because there’s so much school stuff going on that they just think, ‘Oh, that’s just something else to do on top of school,’ so they don’t really pursue it,” Jordan said.

Jordan took the class last fall and worked with Allen outside of class to further prepare for the competition. He suggested students who are considering competing should first take the class.

“For the Whitworth Lawn Boys, I was able to do everything in the class and when it came time to turn everything in, I already had everything done,” Jordan said. “You get credit for school, and at the same time, you get your competition stuff done.”

Students interested in next year’s competition can review the rules and guidelines on the competition website.

“Students that worked really hard are the ones that are successful in the business plan competition,” Allen said. “If somebody is interested, no matter what their discipline is, across the university, if they have an idea and want to explore it, more than likely whoever teaches the class next year will let them in.”


Story by Emily Roth Staff Writer


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Whitworth students show Math is Cool

The Whitworth campus hosted crowds of fourth graders during the Math is Cool event on Friday April 20. The tournament lasted more than four hours, challenging students with a range of math questions at the fourth grade level. Whitworth helped with smaller schools like Arcadia Elementary and Lake Spokane. Whitworth math professor Martha Gady, who helped run the event, has been involved since her children were competitors. Whitworth became a backdrop for fourth graders when there proved to be too many entrants for other schools to handle. “This year there were too many fourth graders for Mt. Spokane so they took the bigger schools and we took the smaller schools like Kettle Falls,” Gady said.

The competition consisted of individual tests that had both multiple choice and open-ended problems.Group tests consisted of open-ended questions, relays, pressure rounds and college bowl rounds. Training for the event ranged from last minute to year round.

“Different schools do different things,” Gady said. “Some take it very seriously. One of the schools has a Math is Cool coach who is paid like an athletic coach and teaches year round.”

Whitworth students volunteered to help run the event for the young mathematicians. Students made up 28 proctors, nine runners, six greeters and six sellers. Junior Tanner Tyson worked as a proctor during the competition.

“I’m majoring in elementary education and I thought it would be a good thing to help out in a competition that involved math and young students,” Tyson said.

Each grade school was allowed to bring up to six teams. There were four students per team.  Calculators and other electronic devices were not allowed during the contest. Parents were allowed in the room after the first break unless the proctor did not want them in the room.

Proctors received special training for the competition. Students were advised on how to administer the test, what to do if problems arrived among parents and coaches, and how to work electronic devices for timed events. Proctors were also in charge of disqualifying any student if he or she displayed unsportsmanlike behavior. Tyson was pleased with how the children and parents handled themselves.

“Everyone was great,” Tyson said. “Coaches that sat in were very cooperative. Students were very well behaved. It was really fun.”

The event ended with a closing ceremony for test results and awards. Winners of the event will go on to compete at a state final held in Moses Lake. This was the first year that Whitworth has hosted any of the schools involved on its campus, but with the positive feedback from students and participants, it may not be the last.


Story by Sandra Tully Staff Writer

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Pre-med student follows in sibling’s footsteps for college


Junior pre-med student Kyle Darbonne juggles class, work, being a student visit assistant in the Admissions Office and being vice president of the Pre-Med and Science Club.

Caitlyn Starkey: How did you decide to come to Whitworth?

Kyle Darbonne: My brother and sister actually both attended Whitworth. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do the whole smaller private school thing or if I wanted to stay in Colorado, because I love Colorado, and do the state school thing. After I came up and visited my brother, I got to stay here at Whitworth for four days I just fell in love with the campus, and the classes and the whole community.

CS: What would you ideally like to do in your free time?

KD: I’d be camping or fishing as much as I possibly could. But its hard to get away on weekends to go camping for a night or to when you and all your friend have so much going on. That or I am on a frisbee team, I go to as many games as possible, which hasn’t be a lot this semester. It’s still a lot of fun.

CS: What do you plan to do after graduation?

KD: Well, I came in thinking I wanted to do med school, and it’s still a possibility that I’ll go the whole med school route. But lately I have been thinking about the two front runners, teaching high school science, biology, because that was a big part of why I wanted to go the science route was because of my high school science teachers, one guy science teacher that I had in particular. Also physical therapy, which I haven’t looked into much. From what I have heard about it, it would be an awesome field to go into.

CS: How did you get involved with working for the Admissions Office?

KD: Freshman year my roommate was a host [admissions overnight host], so I was a host’s roommate which made me a host. Especially when they would be gone and you would have to take care of the kid for a while. I was like, “This is kind of fun getting to meet a bunch of new people for a night,” and then they would leave. Then sophomore year, I was actually a host as well as tour guide. I really love that aspect of admissions. So this year, I applied to be one of the student visit assistants, which has been awesome getting to work in the admissions office with all the people. They are all happy and love meeting people, so it’s a great work environment. I am actually signed on for the summer as well which will be a blast, as well as next year. I think I will have a little bit more responsibility than I do this year just because I will have been there for so long. Some visit assistants were kind of above me this year, so I will be stepping in to and teaching the newer visit assistants for next year. It will be fun but a lot more responsibility, which I am looking forward to.


Story by Caitlyn Starkey Staff Writer

Photography by Michael Locatell


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Senior art students finish education with final exhibit


“Daedal” — “ingenious and complex in design or function, intricate” — labels the entrance of the Bryan Oliver Art Gallery. Senior art majors opened their senior exhibit on April 17 to display the  finale of their four years in the art program.

The exhibit features works of 12 Whitworth seniors specializing in various forms of art, from graphic design to ceramics and photography.

“This is a culmination of their entire education here,” said Stephen Rue, professor of art and director of the Bryan Oliver Art Gallery. “It’s representative of their growth and success in the department.”

Senior art major Jake Allen’s piece, “Age of Type,” is one such example. Using letterpress, intaglio and digital print techniques, the piece features layers of type overlapping one another. Allen created the piece over Jan Term during an independent study.

“The art department just got a letter press,” Allen said. “I then worked with it in Photoshop to blend the layers.”

The piece was one of four pieces Allen submitted to the show, but was the only one accepted.

One can not help but be drawn in by senior Meghan Eremeyeff’s “Seven Seas Wine” or “Duds Chocolate Bars.” While the food is not real, the wine labels show hand-drawn, twisting waves and product information on the back. Eremeyeff had done both wine and chocolate bar designs for her Imaging II and Typography I classes, based on made-up companies, she said.

“Part of doing graphic design is putting your style out into the world,” Eremeyeff said. “Product design is fun because what you’re doing has to stand out on the shelf.”

Eremeyeff said she appreciated the opportunity to use sans serif and handwritten fonts. The wine bottle labels were designed by hand, she said. The project also included research on government regulations regarding nutrition labels.

Each student in the exhibit is in the Senior Exhibition Project class, a class which is required for art majors, Rue said.

Students submitted artwork, which was then reviewed by a juror for acceptance into the exhibit. Jurors are usually local artists. Each student is guaranteed to have one piece in the exhibit, but most is left up to juror discretion. This year’s juror was Jan Erickson, a painter from Coeur d’Alene.

“The juror has authority to pick pieces he or she deems quality work,” Rue said.

Seniors had complete control over the naming and design of the exhibit displaying their works, Rue said.

“They really put a lot of thought into it,” he said. “I’m impressed; they did a great job doing it this year.”

From plants in glazed clay pots to sculptures and cloth and string, there is much to be explored at the exhibit, which will be up until May 12.

“I like the diversity there is,” said senior English major Alexa Foster, who attended the opening reception. “I wasn’t expecting the different types of art — a mixture of abstracts and real images.”


Story by Heather Kennison Staff Writer

Photography by Linnea Goold

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Whitworth earns sweep of Willamette

The Whitworth baseball team kept its playoff hopes alive with a three-game sweep of Willamette University in Salem, Ore., last weekend.

Freshman pitcher Dan Scheibe pitched nine innings and struck out 13 batters in game one of Whitworth’s three game contest against Willamette at Merkel Field last weekend to help the Bucs grab an 8-1 victory in the front end of Saturday’s doubleheader before they secured a 7-6 win in the tenth inning of the nightcap. The action continued Sunday as the Bucs completed the three-game series and improved their record to 16-5 in Northwest Conference action, still close behind first place Pacific University.

“What really stood out this weekend was our guys’ ability to pick one another up,” head coach Dan Ramsay said. “If one guy failed the next guy behind him seemed to come through with a big hit or shut down inning out of the bullpen.”

Whitworth took the lead early when senior center fielder Kevin Valerio scored right fielder Erik Nikssarian with a squeeze bunt and freshman catcher Joshua Davis scored off of freshman shortstop Nick Motsinger’s RBI single in the second inning. In the third, senior first baseman JR Jarrell scored sophomore second baseman Gerhard Muelheims with an RBI single and freshman left fielder Tyler Pfeffer’s league-leading 11th homerun of the season boosted the Pirates to a 5-1 lead in the fifth.

“Tyler has also been playing lights out,” Ramsay said. “If he can finish what he’s started he should be a candidate for NWC Player of the Year.”

The final three runs came in the seventh when senior third baseman Landon Scott scored off Motsinger’s RBI double to center field, Nikssarian’s RBI single scored Miller and Valerio’s RBI double brought Nikssarian home.

After rolling past the Bearcats in game one, Whitworth trailed 1-0 until the sixth inning in game two. Davis hit a two-run single that gave the Pirates the lead, but Willamette answered in the seventh with another run.

“They really struggled against Scheibe in game one [but] did a good job of battling against our pitchers in game two,” Ramsay said.

Whitworth scored three runs in the eighth inning sparked by Nikssarian’s single that brought home Pfeffer, who had singled to shortstop. Jarrell and Nikssarian scored when, with the bases loaded, Scott and Valerio were hit by pitches.

The Bearcats tied it up in the bottom of the ninth to force an extra inning, but Whitworth scored two runs in the tenth when Muelheim’s RBI single brought Davis home and Pfeffer’s RBI single scored senior center fielder Ryan Beecroft.

illamette scored one run in the bottom of the 10th, but it wasn’t enough to steal the Bucs’ lead.

On Sunday, Whitworth drove in eight runs in the second inning to grab a significant early lead against the visiting Bearcats en route to a 10-6 win.

“When each guy trusts and has confidence that his teammates are going to come through, he plays with more confidence and it eases the pressure,” Ramsay said.

Willamette fought for six runs, but the Pirates secured the win with an extra two runs in the eighth inning when Davis walked, Valerio singled, and Pfeffer drove them home with a double up the left side.

Whitworth will host its final conference games with a three-game series against Whitman on April 28 and 29. The Pirates currently sit one game back of conference-leader Pacific.  Each team has three games remaining; however, the Boxers hold the tiebreaker advantage over the Bucs.


Story by Corina Gebbers Staff Writer

File Photo by Chrissy Roach


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Congo escapee joins incoming freshmen

Whitworth University sends out letters of acceptance to new students all over the world. This year, a letter of acceptance was sent to the home of Wilondja Muyoma, a 19-year-old living in Seattle. Muyoma, like many other prospective students, came to visit the Whitworth campus last November and fell in love with the university. He attended a few classes and said he was very impressed with the school.

“I visited several other colleges but my experiences at Whitworth were so different and unique,” Muyoma said.  “And as I did more research on the school, I saw what an amazing job they are doing in academics and I wanted to go there.”

He is now looking forward to studying philosophy and economics and perhaps taking a few French classes.

Muyoma is soon planning to pack up his things and make the trek from Seattle to Spokane.

The transition should be quite easy for him, for his journey to Whitworth began in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Specifically, he has traveled from the city Bukavu in Eastern Congo.

Muyoma’s native tongue is Swahili, but at the private Christian school he attended he mostly spoke French. Muyoma said that in Bukavu everyone lives in a tightly knit area. He said everyone is so close that he would consider the members of his community to be like relatives. He cared deeply for his friends and family.

Muyoma’s home was directly affected by one of the deadliest wars in Africa’s history, the Second Congo War. A peace treaty was signed in 2003 but fighting prevailed in the eastern part of Congo. When Muyoma was 12, the war that brought malnutrition and disease was forcing young men to join the army and leave their families.  All of those conditions became too much for Muyoma and he decided it was time to leave.

“Congo is pretty close to Rwanda, so we decided just to run there,” Muyoma said. “But along the way, my parents got lost and we were separated.”

There is estimated to be nearly 3 million refugees across Africa who have fled their homes due to violent conflict and persecution. There is a program established in Kenya that is designed to help reconnect families that might have been separated during the war. After nearly three years of searching for his family, Muyoma learned his parents were located back in the Congo.

Not wanting to risk going back to Bukavu, Muyoma was taken to an overcrowded, English-speaking refugee camp. Mapendo International, also known as RefugePoint, is an organization that happened to be visiting Muyoma’s camp at that time. RefugePoint goes to Kenya to assist families and individuals fleeing war who need urgent and lifesaving help. The foundation works with the United States and the U.N. to identify durable solutions for people in danger.

“The camp was such a blessing, because Mapendo International was there and offered to take me to America,” Muyoma said. “They offered me safety from the Congo and a chance to study in America and get a real education.”

The youngest of the group, Muyoma was the only one under 18 to travel to America. He and several others left Nairobi and flew to Europe, then to New York, and finally to Seattle.

“It was a very long flight, but just knowing I was going back to school made it worth it,” Muyoma said.

Muyoma settled into his new home in Seattle and quickly taught himself to speak English fluently. He said when he came to America he was excited to learn about business. So, he applied for an internship with Microsoft in the summer of 2011 and was one of 20 finalists accepted into the program.

“I had no clue what it was going to be like,” Muyoma said.

Muyoma was put into a group which would focus on the social aspect of marketing in the U.S. He worked with real Microsoft clients and learned persuasive marketing skills to get people to buy his products.

Muyoma then decided it was time to start a new chapter of his life. He was accepted into Whitworth’s Act Six program and is excited to move to Spokane and live on campus.

“When I visited I really liked East and Duvall,” Muyoma said. “But as I researched more, BJ looks fun because it’s all freshmen and it’s a close and tight community, kind of like my home was in Bukavu.”


Story by Jennifer Ingram Staff Writer

Photography by Corey Hage, courtesy of Waggener Edstrom Worldwide  


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Spotted from the crow's nest: Alli Marshall, women’s tennis

Senior tennis player Alli Marshall is on the verge of finishing a strong four year career at Whitworth. In her Whitworth career, Marshall has won three Northwest Conference Championships, been Second Team All-NWC once and First Team All-NWC twice. Currently, she is Whitworth’s No. 1 singles player and is part of the No. 1 doubles team.

Marshall has won at least 20 games in each of her four seasons on the team, the most coming in her freshman year when she won 29 games. Recently she won her 100th game as a Pirate after she and her doubles partner, senior Erica Bosman, beat George Fox’s No. 1 doubles team 8-4 last Saturday.

“She has been a really solid No. 1 for us,” head coach Jo Ann Wagstaff said. “She is a great example of a person that plays hard and never gives up on a point. She goes for every ball as hard as she can and it inspires the rest of the team to play hard.”

The senior from Salem, Ore., has been playing tennis since she was 8 years old and excelled at the sport at Sprague High School. Marshall wanted to continue playing tennis after high school, which led her to Whitworth. “I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go but my sister, who’s a year older, went here [Whitworth] so I came to check out the campus,” Marshall said. “I loved it.”

Throughout her four years Marshall has made a lot of memories.

“Every Spring Break trip we went on was amazing,” Marshall said. “All the girls get along so well. We won conference and went to nationals in California my freshman year. It was also really fun to win conference three years in a row, too, it was wonderful.”

Marshall works hard on and off the court as she is double majoring in journalism and mass communication and kinesiology. She is currently planning on taking a year off after school is over to prepare for her Graduate Record Exam for graduate school.

“Since her freshman year she has worked really hard on becoming a more consistent and powerful player, and it’s paid off,” Wagstaff said.

That hard work has paid off on the court as Marshall currently leads the team in doubles wins and is third in the conference in singles win percentage as Whitworth’s No. 1 singles player.

“Her forehand is really great, definitely her best shot,” teammate Claire Hemming said.

Hemming, a fellow senior and roommate, had a lot of good things to say about Marshall when asked what she is like off the court.

“I have lived with Alli for a couple of years,” Hemming said. “She is very personable, always engaging people and making them feel good.”

Marshall is sitting at 21 wins so far this season and  said she hopes to continue her streak on April 21 when the tennis team takes on Whitman in the first round of the Northwest Conference Tournament. The team, and Marshall, are striving for their third tournament championship in three years.


Story by Nathan Webber Staff Writer

Photography by Greg Moser


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Whitworth softball season comes to a close

With a Northwest Conference Tournament berth on the line, the Whitworth softball team traveled to Newberg, Ore., last weekend to take on the Bruins of George Fox University. Whitworth needed to sweep the series in order to reach the conference tournament.  The Pirates went down in a hard-fought battle on Saturday afternoon, zapping their playoff hopes.

Still, head coach Cristal Brown was optimistic in her reflections.

“I’d say we actually did really well overall all weekend,” Brown said on Sunday. “Our loss yesterday came down yesterday to one pitch that could have made a difference.”

The series was ultimately split 2-2. Neither team won two consecutive games.

In Saturday’s first game, the Pirates came out energized and crushed the Bruins in a 9-1 victory, called off after six innings in compliance with the NCAA eight-run mercy rule. Taylor Gilbert allowed just two hits in the game and would be the backbone of the Whitworth team for the rest of the weekend.

“Taylor Gilbert did an awesome job,” Brown said. “She threw all but 1.2 innings for us this weekend and did amazing.”

Whitworth didn’t quite have what it would have taken to round the corner in game two. Senior second basemen Sami Parr led the team with one run, one hit and two RBIs on the game. The Bruins won 5-4, thanks to pitching, which held Whitworth to no hits following the second inning.

Gilbert was again phenomenal in Sunday’s earlier game, leading Whitworth to the 6-0 victory. Junior Jamie Brunner dominated offensively with a pair of runs, hits and RBIs, respectively.

The final game of the season for the Bucs came down to one inning. All three of GFU’s runs were scored during the fourth, and Whitworth never recovered. Again, Brunner led the team with two hits and one run. Gilbert was relieved from the circle for the first time all weekend for the final 1.2 innings.

The Pirates finish their season 19-21 overall and 13-15 in the Northwest Conference.

“I think the weekend was a little bit indicative of what the season was like, where we played some good softball and it didn’t always turn out how we wanted it to,” Brown said. “We’re excited for next year.”


Story by Sena Hughes Staff Writer

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Forensics team to compete in national tournament

With its victory at the Oregon State University Forensics Tournament on Feb. 27 and yet another successful tournament at Spokane Falls Community College this past weekend, Whitworth University’s debate team is on its way to Tennessee. This week the team will participate in the National Christian College Forensics Association’s tournament. Despite its continued success, the motivation of the debate team is not exactly victory.

Freshman Jacob Wilson, who placed first in the extemporaneous division at OSU, said the team is more like a family, and said he enjoys competing on the team and spending time with his teammates who feel closer than friends.

“You sit in a van with them for eight hours,” Wilson said.  “You’re destined to get to know each other very well.”

Of the many things learned while being a part of the team, Wilson said the majority of the team consists of freshmen who have competed on a debate team since middle school years.

“But the debate style is different from high school,” Wilson said, adding that collegiate debates allow 15 minutes to prepare a debate on a given subject at the tournament.

“In high school, we were given two months,” he said.

But Wilson said the challenge is embraced, and the pride in the team’s identity is contagious.

The most prominent subject of discussion among Wilson and his teammates is on the upcoming national tournament at Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Mo., coach Mike Ingram’s alma mater.

The debate style at the tournament will be much different than the style used by the Whitworth team at Northwest conferences.

“They intentionally talk fast, around 300 words a minute, use dirty tactics and de-emphasize good communication to win,” Wilson said.

Because of this, the Whitworth team will only be participating in the tournament’s speech events and avoiding the debate events.

“Our coach always challenges us, ‘If the president of the university came to watch us, would he be proud?’” Wilson said. “And that’s why we’re avoiding playing games with the debate teams at the tournament.” The team, however, remains excited for the National Christian College tournament. As it is a Christian school association event, the topics will be mostly faith-based, which Wilson said he enjoys hearing  other opinions on.

The debate team allows him to learn more on various subjects, which makes the upcoming tournament exciting, Wilson said.

Story by Rosie Brown Staff Writer

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