Meet our summer staff, our Cohort Leaders. Positively extraordinary folks, handpicked and eager to guide, mentor, and encourage our campers. This peerless team will be shepherding our students (in groups of six) through Momentum. After camp, our staff commit to staying in communication with camp graduates throughout the following academic year, helping our graduates continue to apply what they’ve learned and to live up to their potential.  Below they introduce themselves, share some thoughts on “what I wish I’d learned prior to attending college” as well as a favorite memory from high school.

NOAH HARPER

I'm currently a freshman studying at Brandeis University, intending to major in both Film and English. My favorite class so far has been Intro to the Moving Image.  

Before attending college, I wish I had learned how to study. College is largely a trial by fire - learning time management skills and finding that motivation to keep studying difficult subjects. I also wish I'd known that college is, in a sense, what you make of it. There're tons of of ways to fill your free time, and it's all up to you. No one's holding your hand and telling you what to do.  Your overall experience is determined by what you put into it. 

I love being able to manage my own time. Once I got the hang of it, there was something fun in getting to plan out my own schedule for each and every day. It's like I finally have control over my life, but, to quote Uncle Ben from Spider-Man, "With great power comes great responsibility." 

I love discussing ideas, whether in writing or with other people. I really enjoy discoursing about meaningful topics. I also really love talking about Media (Movies, TV, Music, Comedy). This is possibly the same thing as talking about ideas but it's something I'm really passionate about. 

My favorite memory from high school would have to be making weekly school news videos, going to Italy for our Senior Class trip, or doing my Thesis on Revising MPAA Movie Ratings. It's a three-way tie. 

 

KENDALL DANLEY 

I’m currently a junior at Baylor University, earning a Professional Sales degree from Baylor’s business school, plus a minor in Communications. The best class I have taken in college so far would be my management class. It addresses real issues in the business world and coaches us how to face difficult situations in the work place. We are required to make a presentation that covers one of the chapters from our book about values in the business settings. I love how this course is discussion based, laid back, interesting, and actually applicable to my future. 

There are two things I wish I had known before I attended college. First, I wish I had taken dual credit classes, taken AP tests or taken classes over the summer after my senior year. Having a few course credits coming into college is a huge benefit. At Baylor, the students who have more credits register for classes first, so I normally end up with the classes and teachers that no one wanted. If you get some of the “basic” courses out of the way, then you are able to take more classes that are more pertinent to your major or minor, take fewer hours per semester, or even graduate early. 

Second, I wish I had identified my personal goals, something we discussed in my management class. When you take the time to sit down and identify your goals and priorities, you are more likely to make good decisions. For example, if your goal is to make good grades, then you should line up your tasks to align with that priority. Once that priority has been identified, then you can figure out what works for you to be successful in that area. Simple but powerful!

My favorite aspect of college is the amount of personal growth that takes place in such a short period of time. College is a special time where you move away from your family to a new place, discover the difficulties of living with other people, become involved in a new community with various organizations, develop your personal faith, and learn how to manage your time. I love the independence that college brings, as well as the amount of learning that takes place. I would pose the argument that most college students learn more outside of the classroom than inside of it. I love how I am learning about dealing with other people, learning how to eat healthy, learning how to make my own workout plan and schedule my time. College is the time to make mistakes and learn the lessons that you don’t want to have to learn down the road. Teachers and executives want to see you succeed and are willing to pour into you in order to help you develop in a way that gear you towards your future career.

During college I’ve discovered that I care about “why” more than most people. I’ve also learned that I am an awful memorizer. For me to do well in a class or on an exam I have to understand how that specific information relates to the bigger picture.

 My favorite memory from high school would have to be our class trip to Italy senior year. Traveling with my best friends to the places we had learned about together since kindergarten made the trip so much more special. This trip consisted of gelato runs, ancient museums, impulsive souvenir purchases, and incredible memories that I will never forget. 

 

ASHER OOSTERBAAN 

I’m wrapping up my sophomore year at Texas A&M University, earning a degree in Accounting (PPA).  My favorite class has been ACCT 229 (Financial Accounting), because in this class I discovered my passion for business. My whole life I’ve been told that accounting is boring and just something that people do to make money. Although I was determined to hate this class going into it, I found myself loving every second of it. Seriously. Accounting is just a gigantic puzzle with numbers attached to it. It’s difficult, but solving an accounting problem is so rewarding. Accounting is my life now. You should try it sometime! 

Before attending college, I wish someone would have told me how hard it is to go grocery shopping. Like, it means you actually have to get out of bed and get in your car and drive to the store and put things in your cart and then they ACTUALLY ASK YOU TO PAY FOR IT. It’s so much easier to not go to the store, but when you check your fridge/cabinet and all that’s left is one pack of Ramen noodles, that’s when you know you’ve hit rock bottom. Second, I would have liked to know just how hard it is to keep up with your own money. We completely take for granted just how much we need our parents’ support until we’re on our own and actually have to pay to feed ourselves. Had I known this, I would have practiced better spending habits early on, because, let me tell you, IT MATTERS. 

My favorite aspect of college is simply the unparalleled freedom. You no longer have your parents looming over your shoulders at all times (for the record, I love my mom and dad!), so this is your chance to figure out who YOU are without their influence. The beautiful thing about college is that you will make so many mistakes and mess-ups, but you will always (hopefully) learn from them. I’m only in my second year, but already I’ve learned so much more about myself in college than I ever did in high school. This is such an amazing opportunity to discover who you are, what you’re passionate about, and what you want to spend the rest of your life doing. I panicked so much about this in high school, but I swear, things have a way of just falling into place in college. This is where you discover YOU. 

In addition to truly being passionate about accounting, I have a true love for music (pop-punk in particular). It’s a great stress reliever, and it’s where I get to release the more creative side of Asher. Discovering music and going to concerts is something that has become essential to my being. 

One of my favorite memories from high school is from the last few weeks of school as a senior.  Another unnamed person and I found two gigantic cardboard boxes laying around, and did what was only natural: we got inside of them and had a “boxing” match in the middle of our Great Hall…during physics class. We crashed into each other until someone fell over.  Full success.

 

SYDNEY RICHBURG

I’m finishing up my freshman year at Baylor University, planning to major in Public Relations. My favorite class I have taken at Baylor is Sociology. My teacher was incredibly passionate about this subject and always kept the class interesting and interactive. We studied the current trends in America and were even prompted to do an undercover sociological experiment at one of our favorite hangout spots. 

Two things I wish I knew or learned before attending college are that friend groups change throughout college.  It’s entirely ok to not find all your best friends in the first week.  Next, I’ve learned to “take professors, don't take classes”; a good professor can make any class interesting and engaging, while a bad professor… 

My favorite aspect of college is being able to create my own schedule; however, that is also one of the most difficult aspects. You get to choose when you sleep, eat, take classes, workout, and hangout with friends. If you can achieve a balanced schedule based off your interests, college is really fun and fulfilling.

Two things I care more about than the average person are crafting aesthetically pleasing design as well as healthy living: nutritionally, emotionally and spiritually.   

My favorite memory from high school was deciding to join the cheerleading squad senior year. It was something new for me, something I never imagined myself doing, and I was shocked by how much fun it was, working hard alongside my best friends and simply enjoying our time together.

 

PARKER PATTILLO

I attend Baylor University, where I am currently studying Electrical Engineering.  Interestingly, my favorite class thus far has been Christian Scriptures. The professor was engaging, caring about each of his students, earnestly wanting them to gain the most from the class. He didn’t teach to the test, but instead allowed for serious talks and discussions about various ideas regarding the Christian Scriptures. But the main reason that that class was the best is that I was invested in it - the professor challenged me to think on a higher level regarding the subject and to get the most out of the class, I had to put in the work - not because I had to, but because I wanted to.   

Coming to college, you learn things quickly. If I were to rewind life to high school, I wish I had learned to maximize laundry efficiency and become proficient in that area (time, detergent, colors, etc).  I also wish I learned and knew how to say no, even to good things. In high school, I did as much as I could. I accepted most everything I could choose to do. However, in college, you are offered a plethora of events to participate in and attend, and if you say yes to everything that comes your way, you find yourself quickly overwhelmed with various activities. Your friends sometimes will ask you if you want to go do something for the day, or you have intramurals to participate in and a paper due tomorrow. Sometimes you have to say no to something really great, and I wish I had learned that it is alright to say no sometimes. However, that being said, I would say my favorite aspect of college is the many ways you can get involved and invested with those around you. There is so much to experience and enjoy, and every day brings something new. 

Two things I am passionate about are building strong, lasting relationships with my friends, as well as working hard to simply develop personally: being intentional about areas of personal growth, what my weaknesses are, etc. 

My favorite memory from high school is probably is embarking on spontaneous trips to Austin with friends or simply competing in sports in general. In both of those, I got to experience something new, oftentimes challenging, and develop deep relationships with friends.

 

JAMIE KHUC 

I attend TCU and am proud to be a die-hard Horned Frog, double majoring in Business Information Systems and Entrepreneurial Management. 

The most enjoyable class I have taken so far is Survey to Musical Theatre because I have met and connected with many friends in this quirky and highly entertaining class. I suppose you meet a lot of interesting people when you register for classes you never would have imagined taking. 

Coming into college I wish I would have known the propaganda colleges put forth about the “home cooked meals from the dining halls.”  Not the most accurate of statements… Also, the first day of classes, I wish I had understood that all of us freshmen were in the same boat – nervous, clueless, and giddy – truly a special scenario for making new friends, as we all shared a similar insecurity about the new chapter of our lives. Truthfully, I wish someone had told me that, in actuality, not everyone was starring at me like I was some alien…

My favorite part about college has to be living five minutes, or even a mere five steps, from my friends. The proximity of living near friends lends itself to many great shared experiences. Being the first in my family to attend college, I really didn’t know what to expect.

This past year, I’ve learned that I care very deeply – probably more so than most – about developing and cultivating deep, meaningful relationships.  I love all manner of retreats, you know, the ones people try to avoid because of the “heart to heart” moments… It’s because of shared, meaningful experiences – both pleasant and unpleasant – that I have the friendships I do today. I’ll never forget spending fourteen hours driving to the Grand Canyon with my friends from high school, fourteen hours that I’d never take back, as they were such special times stuck together in a bus: laughing, telling stories, maybe a tiny bit of complaining…true bonding.

 

JOE MEEK

I’m finishing my sophomore year at Baylor, majoring in English.  The best class I’ve had so far has been World History. I enjoyed it the most because I had a great professor who really engaged with the class and made the material fun to learn. I have always had a knack for history, as I find it fascinating how the events and people of the past are all interconnected and work together to shape today. 

Prior to coming to college, I wish I that I would have had more direction and a better idea of what I wanted to major in and work towards achieving. I also really wish I would have had someone older, kind of a role model/mentor to help me out, as the transition to college is a massive life adjustment. 

I absolutely love the freedom and social aspects of college. There are so many awesome people to get to know and so many different opportunities to engage in. 

I’ve learned that I truly love playing the guitar, singing, leading worship, and writing music.  I'm also a huge reader, and a bit obsessed with the game of basketball. 

My favorite high school memory would be the overall experience of playing sports with great friends.  Curiously, the thousands of hours of hard work, even a bit of toil, is something I look back on with much fondness. 

 

ALLIE METZGER

Although I’m wrapping up my sophomore year at Abilene Christian University, I write this from Europe, as I’m currently studying abroad in Leipzig, Germany. At ACU, I am studying Communication Science and Disorders, more commonly known as Speech Pathology. My favorite college course thus far has been Introduction to Psychology, primarily because teacher was relatable, the course material interesting, and class structure very engaging. 

At college, I’ve learned that the idea of ‘home’ is broader than simply where your parents live or where you grow up. ‘Home’ encompasses the places you have invested yourself and established significant relationships that make it worth returning to. So, clearly I’ve also discovered that college is so much more than just the learning that goes on inside the classrooms.

My favorite aspect of college has been the quantity, quality, and diversity of people. It’s unparalleled. 

Some of my favorite memories of high school have to be the many study halls during which we didn't actually get much studying done…but, some of my least favorite memories were the late nights and very early mornings of study that resulted.

Travel is something I really value; spending this semester abroad, meeting new people, trying new things, and seeing more of the world has been an incredibly stimulating, challenging, and rewarding experience. My studies and my interests in befriending others has led me to a deeper fascination with people – we are all so unique, endlessly fascinating, and, of course, important. No exceptions.