Austin College’s Cunningham Lectures/Marsupial Mindfulness series continues Tuesday, September 24, at 11:15 a.m. in Wright Campus Center, Room 231, with a presentation by Dr. Stephanie Waitt entitled “Healing Self-Doubt and Body Discomfort.” The session is free and open to the public. Attendees may bring their lunch to the session.
Waitt, a licensed professional counselor, specializes in treating eating disorders, trauma, anxiety, and depression in her practice at Texoma Specialty Counseling in Sherman. She also uses mindfulness therapy in her practice.
In the campus session, she will discuss factors that contribute to self-doubt and body discomfort and the steps to overcome those in the moment. As she presents five barriers to self-doubt and discomfort, students will have the opportunity to discuss the barriers in an open forum and leave with practical tools to increase confidence.
Waitt earned a Ph.D. in health psychology and has worked for more than 10 years with women, men, and adolescents to overcome eating disorders, trauma, and adversity and to improve self-esteem and find self-worth. She is a member of the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals and has served on the DFW chapter’s board of directors. She is a member of the board for the North Texas Youth Commission and North Texas Young Professionals.
In October, Dr. Dee O’Neill and Dr. Melani Massey of the Center for Brain Health in Dallas will offer “Optimize Brain Performance, Stress, and Mindfulness” on October 22 at 11:15 in Hoxie Thompson Auditorium of Sherman Hall. Dr. John McGinn of Austin College’s Music Department will present “Creative Musical Mindfulness: ‘Becoming’ the Composer” on October 29 at 4:30 p.m. in Craig Hall, Room 206.
For 2019-2020, the Cunningham Lectures offer a series of interactive sessions themed around “Contemplative Mindfulness.” The sessions are designed to expose the community to the emerging field of contemplative studies in higher education, according to organizer Dr. Ivette Vargas-O’Bryan, Austin College professor of religious studies. “For the last few years, ‘mindfulness” has been the buzz word for new therapies in clinical practices and expansions in scientific research on brain plasticity,” O’Bryan said. “Most visible in Buddhist traditions, although present in several other religious traditions, mindfulness has been part of ongoing international dialogues between the 14th Dalai Lama and medical and scientific experts. Recently, because of increasing issues with mental health and new learning theories at colleges and universities, academic institutions have applied mindfulness to improve student learning, problem-solving, and understanding, as well as personal connection and awareness.”
Mr. and Mrs. Shem Cunningham of Wichita Falls made a gift to Austin College to establish the Cunningham Lectures so that the Austin College community might benefit from the visits of distinguished speakers. Mr. Cunningham was a 1920 graduate of Austin College. The current series is co-sponsored by the College’s Live Well program.
Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with 46 percent of students identifying as persons of color. The residential student body of approximately 1,300 students and more than 100 expert faculty members allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. This year, the campus recognizes 100 years of co-education and has had several opportunities to recognize the history of women and accomplishments of current alumnae. Austin College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.