The Dallas Comedy House Was More Than Just Funny

Dallas Comedy House - Expert Game

Brennan (blue shirt) playing the game, “Be the Expert!”

Well to start off, the trip to the Dallas Comedy House was an eye-opening experience. Being a member of Cricket City Improv at Texas A&M University-Commerce, taking the opportunity to spend the day with professional improvisers was an opportunity that could not be over-looked. To see firsthand how improv can work as a vehicle to develop leadership skills is something that reinforced my love for it. Improv is all about living in that moment and accepting the circumstances that are given and building upon that; it’s what leaders do. One exercise that I particularly liked was being a master of whatever subject was given. Learning how to own whatever situation is definitely a great way in building that confidence that is necessary not only a position of leadership but all aspects of life, doing everything with a purpose. After that exercise, the trip only got better.

Dallas Comedy House Show

The Dallas Comedy House starts of their show with a game called “Mr. Know it All” with students Brennan and Donovan.

The performance.  Now I can’t think of a time where I was able to see something that means so much to me done live. It’s almost like watching giants. Imagine you’ve been playing football and being invited down by professionals to really show you how it’s done. That’s what it was like; only better. Better because not only do you watch the performance, they offer you a chance to do it with them. Suddenly, you find yourself tasting what it’s like to have your career be something you love. It’s an addictive taste that motivates me to make that dream into a reality.  After being chosen from the audience to play a game with them, it came so effortlessly. The game was in progress and it eventually was my turn to speak: without thinking, I responded (I can’t remember the specific details) and not only did the audience laugh, the performers laughed as well. It definitely was validating!

Dallas Comedy House Eating

Eating at Twisted Root after the show!

Then we ate! I like to try foods I haven’t tasted before. To cap off the night, we went down the street to Twisted Root. It is a restaurant that I’ve only recently learned about from a very good friend. I ordered a burger, but not just an ordinary burger… a bison burger. I’ve never had a bison burger before. Now I want them all the time (nothing like good food). So if you are ever looking for a good time, let me make a suggestion: grab some friends, watch a performance at the Dallas Comedy House, have a good time and then go ahead and grab a bite to eat at Twisted Root.

Brennan Jones                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Junior – Texas A&M University Commerce

Jumping Out of Your Comfort Zone at the Dallas Comedy House

I attended the Extraordinary Leadership Series program at the Dallas Comedy House and it was by far the best experience I have ever had. As a Theatre Major and a young woman who has been involved with Theatre since the seventh grade, I have always been afraid of improvisational comedy. I have always been most comfortable in receiving one character and mastering that one person with the script at hand to guide me. When practicing improv in the past, I was never quick enough to keep up. My parents always laughed and told me I did improv on a daily basis but when I was told to just do it, I would freeze up. I feel that in attending improv camps and the Dallas Comedy House improv workshop, it helped me loosen up a little more.

Stevonna (far left) performs an improv set with some of the Dallas Comedy House performers

Stevonna (far left) performs an improv set with some of the Dallas Comedy House regulars

I feel that improv is very effective when being a leader. At times, you must learn to go with what you are handed and make it work. And just like improv, you never know what is going to happen; so you must listen and respond accordingly. Doing improv and doing it correctly is a skillset that many try to grasp but simply cannot master. And just like leadership, many people also lead in ways that others may not. My experience at the Dallas Comedy House was beyond amazing and I will cherish the opportunity I had to go and work on my leadership skills in such a helpful and unique way. If you have never been to an improv show or participated in improv comedy, I highly encourage you to research the opportunity. Jump out of your comfort zone and you might be surprised at what you may discover.

Stevonna, Jack and Sara took a moment to be goofy while eating dinner at the Twisted Root

Stevonna, Jack and Sara took a moment to be goofy while eating dinner at the Twisted Root

Stevonna Harrison
Junior – Texas A&M University-Commerce

Shelbea Discovers What Diversity Actually Means

Before listening to Justin Jones-Fosu speak on diversity I, like most people, thought diversity only consisted of different ethnicities, religions, cultures, and gender. After listening to him speak, my view on diversity completely changed. During his presentation, he was full of energy and had the crowd laughing and interested. His enthusiasm, plus his message, were what I really liked about his presentation.


Justin Jones-Fosu talking about hugging elephants and kissing giraffes!

Diversity is all around us, especially here at Texas A&M University – Commerce, where we are preparing for QEP week. When we think of diversity, we need to think about what it really means. Yes, we have different ethnicities, religions, and genders but it goes far beyond that. Diversity just means different. Justin Jones-Fosu really hit on this one aspect – different.  When dealing with leadership, diversity is all around us. We deal on a daily basis with people who think differently from us, who lead differently, and who are just different in many aspects than us. This is what makes leadership so amazing because we receive unique ideas, plans, and so forth from members. As we are preparing for QEP week, we are talking about diversity in many aspects of our lives here on campus. We expand diversity to the cultures on campus, the way people think, organizations and their purposes here. So the one thing that we can do when approaching diversity according to Justin Jones-Fosu is to respect others’ ideas, their opinions, and be open to new ideas, challenges, cultures, everything.


Shelbea (closest to camera) enjoying the presentation!

While listening to Justin speak, it reminded me of the John Maxwell’s book, The Five Levels of Leadership. Justin Jones-Fosu briefly talked about different types of leaders and in The Five Levels of Leadership John Maxwell talks about working your way up the five levels to be a better leader. Maxwell describes how each level builds on the other and the type of leader one has to be to accomplish the different levels. Jones-Fosu described this in his presentation and related so closely to Maxwell’s book. I thought this was interesting because I was able to see how leadership, diversity, and people’s leadership styles are all interconnected together.

Shelbea Saunders – Fraternity & Sorority Life Intern (

More Than a Resume: Reflecting on MC2

Relius leading his group's discussion about coaches and mentors.

Relius leading his group’s discussion about coaches and mentors.

MC2: Beyond Wins and Losses intrigued me just from the title. When I graduate from Commerce I plan on starting my career as a Math Teacher and Track Coach where I will be a mentor and obviously a coach. I realized that your resume is much more than what a paper says and decided to do my final project for First-Year Leadership Class on my thoughts from MC2. When you think of a resume you traditionally think as a document used to sell or present your backgrounds and skills to most often get employment. A typical resume contains a summary of relevant job experience and education. For a coach their resume of wins, losses, and titles are usually what defines them by others. A mentor career typically does not depend on their resume in the essences of if they will keep their job. But, a resume is much more than what is on paper. A resume can also be the way people perceive you because when you die most people are not going to remember you for what jobs and titles you had but for what you did and the type of person you were. While doing my Final Project assignment for FLC I realized there were significant differences between coaching and mentoring.

The 4 panelists who talked about the difference between coaching and mentoring.

The 4 panelists who talked about the difference between coaching and mentoring.

Coaching is task oriented vs. Mentoring is relationship oriented
Coaching is short term vs. Mentoring is long term
Coaching is performance driven vs. Mentoring is development driven

I also realized from MC2 and doing this assignment that you need to be a coach and a mentor depending on the situation. In FLC we are constantly talking about servant-leadership and there is no better way to serve than to help nurture, develop, and give them your insight on life. Everyone has guidance that they can give in some area. You do not need to have the title Coach in front of your name or be appointed as a mentor for someone. Sometimes you just have to take the initiative of wanting to help others. I nor you would not be where we are without the guidance and support of others. There is no greater gift than to give your time to help others grow and develop. Rather you are coaching or mentoring when the person accomplishes something it makes you feel good as well. To me that speaks more volume then what you resume says. It is about the dash because when you die a few might remember the position you held, but all will remember the type of person you were.

Relius Johnson
Freshman – Texas A&M University-Commerce

Creativity in the Teaching Profession – Ralph’s Take on Sir Ken Robinson

This was my first L.E.A.D. program experience and I have to say that it was top-notch and a very enjoyable time. We started the evening off meeting at Café Brazil in Dallas, who has an excellent breakfast menu! I met and chatted with Undergraduate and Graduate students from multiple TAMUC campuses. It was nice to chat with students outside of the classroom environment; as a non-traditional student, my interaction is limited to students enrolled in the same courses I am in.

Ralph's ticket and program to the Sir Ken Robison program

Ralph’s ticket and program to the Sir Ken Robison program

After dinner we headed to the McFarlin Auditorium on the SMU campus. I had been looking forward to this event once I heard I was selected to participate. Sir Ken Robinson’s ideas on the need for a drastic change in the education system in his TED talks hits home for me because I am an aspiring teacher. During his talk, he discussed his childhood and when he moved from England to Los Angeles, CA in detail. Sir Ken made an interesting comment during his talk that I never really thought about until he mentioned it. He stated that a millennium is a long time to Europeans; however, a decade is a long time to Americans.

The 20 students (and L.E.A.D. staff) who were selected to attend the event. Ralph is 2ndfrom the left in the 2nd row.

The 20 students (and L.E.A.D. staff) who were selected to attend the event. Ralph is 2ndfrom the left in the 2nd row.

I like that he embraces technology and how crucial he says it is to education. Sir Ken Robinson started in academia but his ideas have spilled over into business and politics. I have started reading his book Out of our Minds and have trouble putting it down. I have plan on reading his other book Finding Your Element. Kudos to Danielle, Kyle, Lauren, and Kelsey for making this happen!

A glimpse of Sir Ken Robinson immediately following his program

A glimpse of Sir Ken Robinson immediately following his program

Ralph Ferguson
Graduate Student – Texas A&M University-Commerce

Habitat for Humanity – Building Hope

The morning of October 5th, 2013 was a little chilly, yet there were almost 40 eager students waiting patiently for the busses to arrive. Well, not everyone was eager at first: it was 6:30 a.m., so most of us would normally still be all cozy in our beds. I, myself, can attest that I was neither fully awake, nor ready for the Paris/Lamar County Habitat for Humanity project. It certainly helped that breakfast was provided, yay! Having a muffin, a banana, and some orange juice really hit the spot in my stomach and all of a sudden I was fully awake. I guess many of us viewed this opportunity as a way to help others out who really needed the help. This is why we rendered one of our Saturdays in order to volunteer. During the bus ride, I comfortably sat down on one of the seats which I shared with a fellow friend of mine, Carime. Throughout the 40 minute drive, at least 2/3 of the students were awake because Julian was playing some pretty sweet jams on the bus.

Halfway through the project, Luis had made some serious headway

Halfway through the project, Luis had made some serious headway

Upon our arrival the wind gust seemed to have accumulated a tad bit more and the weather was definitely much cooler. As we all got off of the busses, we were greeted by 7-8 elderly folks and the man whom the house was being built for, Wesley. The older folks began to either break us down into groups or the students volunteered themselves on doing a specific task. First, I took on the task of cleaning out an entire fence row which was covered with a lot of debris ranging from small shrubs, vines, and a lot of leaves. Luckily, there were plenty of ladies helping me out with cleaning the fence. As I stopped for a short break, I noticed that the attitude of the students was effervescent and everyone was working as a team. We all were slowly working towards a common goal which was to accomplish as much building of the house as possible. Wesley was more than ecstatic that we cared so much about helping him out. He was just about everywhere at all given times trying to assist with anything that needed to be done. The joy and glimpse of hope on his face was priceless.
Luis finishes the last of the fence-cleaning portion of the Habitat for Humanity project

Luis finishes the last of the fence-cleaning portion of the Habitat for Humanity project

Ultimately, the end of our time at the building site was coming to a close end. We had been served a scrumptious lunch consisting of beans, rolls, sweet tea, and chicken. The food certainly gave me a boost to continue working hard on getting stuff done. Joey and I managed to dig up 3 ½ posts up from the ground in no time. Half of one post got stuck in the ground, but with hard work we managed to yank it up from the ground. A few students and I finished clearing all of the fence lines, and all of the debris was picked up and carted away to the dumpster. After a long day of helping out it was time to head back home. By this time I felt like we ALL had made a difference on this windy and chilly Saturday morning. The amazing thing is that the building which was now completely standing symbolized a new glimpse of hope for Wesley. All of the students took part in building hope by helping with the house and all the little things that each and every one of us did. I deeply enjoyed spending my Saturday with fellow A&M-Commerce students in Paris, Texas. Thanks to the L.E.A.D. department and everyone who made it possible for us to be able to make a difference in Wesley’s life in, “Building Hope”, towards a new path in his life.
There's no better way to enjoy a great Habitat for Humanity project than to relax in the dumpster

There’s no better way to enjoy a great Habitat for Humanity project than to relax in the dumpster

Luis Arteaga
Junior – Texas A&M University-Commerce

Habitat for Humanity: A Spiritual, Mental and Emotional Experience

The Habitat for Humanity experience was phenomenal. It was wonderful to work side by side with so many wonderful students who wanted to help someone else have a home. I truly enjoyed the interaction with the older gentlemen who regularly build houses and support the program in Paris, Texas. They were so supportive and PATIENT!! I found the experience to be rewarding spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. I was also wiped out by the physical work that went into the weekend but it was all worth it to see the smile on the home owner’s face (his name is Wesley)!

Nicole and the eventual homeowner, Wesley, share a moment of friendship

Nicole and the eventual homeowner, Wesley, share a moment of friendship

I am looking forward to spending another weekend in Paris working on the same house with the members of the Women’s basketball and softball teams from Texas A&M University-Commerce in the near future.
Nicole takes a moment from all of the rigorous gravel work to smile

Nicole takes a moment from all of the rigorous gravel work to smile

Nicole Anderson
Head Coach – Women’s Basketball
Texas A&M University-Commerce