Barbara Hays–Innovation in Education

Barbara Hays–Innovation in Education

Barbara Hays, 2018 Valedictorian (photo by Craig Shaw)


Receiving the Outstanding Student Award from Professor Paula Armstrong (photo by Ken West)


With her family (photo by Tania Kalamara)


With Dora Pollack at the opening of the Little Free Pantry near the MUM Golden Dome Market, which Barbara built and maintains (photo by Edward Caplan)

“Teaching is not what you do, it’s who you are,” says Barbara Hays, who has always been a teacher. She was inquisitive as a child, and enjoyed sharing her discoveries with her peers. Her interest in science and dedication to education paid off: she graduated this year as MUM’s Valedictorian and received the Outstanding Student Award from the Department of Education.

Barbara moved to Fairfield in 1996, so that her three children could attend Maharishi School. She worked at Maharishi School in administrative positions and then moved on to teaching science and math. Although she studied engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, Barbara didn’t graduate. So after 14 years of teaching, she decided to obtain her education degree at MUM.

Going to school was hard, Barbara says, and she had to use all the techniques she had taught her students to help her retain the knowledge. At the same time, she was excited by the challenge, and accomplishing a difficult task made it all the more satisfying.

For her student teaching, Barbara spent a semester at Mount Pleasant Community High School, where she taught seven classes five days a week, which is typical for public school teachers. “The number one thing I learned at Maharishi School and MUM is that if you are well-rested, children are delightful,” she said. “I don’t know how public school teachers teach without being able to practice TM. It’s such an essential tool. Especially for teachers.”

Barbara noticed that many of her students didn’t do their homework simply because they had too many other obligations. To improve their test scores, she restructured her classes so that students could get enough practice even if they skipped homework. She recognizes that learning seven different subjects each day is challenging for students, and she feels her job is to find the most efficient ways to teach them.

Barbara is not new to innovation. At Maharishi School she and co-teacher Richard Incorvia spent five years creating a project-based curriculum, which turned out to be an effective and fun learning method for students. Barbara likes pushing her limits and trying out new things, which is one of the reasons why Cardinal High School in Eldon hired her to teach math starting this fall.

Corine Alexandra Brooks—Supporting Youth with PTSD

Corine Alexandra Brooks—Supporting Youth with PTSD

MUM student Corine Alexandra Brooks


With the Pride ROC Chicago on a farm tour


One of the Pride ROC members with farm owner John Freeberg


The logo for Corine’s ranch

MUM student Corine Alexandra Brooks grew up 20 miles from Fairfield, Iowa. When she was a senior in high school, she saw a pamphlet about MUM and came to a Visitors Weekend. She didn’t enroll then because she had started a family, but six years later she returned with her three children to attend MUM.

Corine is working on an individualized major in sustainability and a minor in business. The name of her individualized major is “Cultivating Holistic Sustainability” and is centered around a therapeutic ranch she plans to open in Fairfield. “The mission of Sustainable Roots Therapeutic Ranch is to help children and adults coming from crisis situations by offering holistic therapies, hands-on experiences, one-on-one education, and job training,” said Corine.

Corine is passionate about helping young people recover from PTSD and, after ten years of research, she is starting a nonprofit organization. Her ranch will be open to anyone and will offer art, music, and equine therapy, training in trade skills, regenerative organic agriculture, and the practice of the Transcendental Meditation® technique. She wants to include the local community by offering services to people in the area, as well as utilizing local therapists and trainers to work on the ranch.

She finds MUM a great fit for her and her family because the block system allows her to focus on one class at a time, spend time with her children, and practice the Transcendental Meditation technique. “Taking time for myself to meditate is very beneficial,” she said. “I knew what I wanted to do but the TM technique made me centered and gave me the energy to make it happen.”

Two months ago, Corine had a chance to test some of her ideas. During the ChangeMakers conference in early April, she became intrigued by guest speaker Barry “Ra” Frye and his rehabilitation program for gang members in Chicago. A few weeks later Corine organized a week-long retreat on campus for Mr. Frye’s youth group, Pride ROC Chicago, which included visits to local farms, hands-on experience on the MUM Regenerative Organic Agriculture Farm, a discussion about preventing violence, and a performance at Dalby Hall.

Garden upgrades 2018

Garden upgrades 2018

Master MUM Landscape Designer Everett Day announces the full blossoming of two recent garden upgrade projects. The first three photos are near Hildenbrand Hall and the latter two near Verrill Hall.

Click on the thumbnails to see full size images.

Suhaib Mohamed–Creating Social and Economic Change

Suhaib Mohamed–Creating Social and Economic Change

MBA Student Suhaib Mohamed


Giving a presentation in class


With classmates and Professor Tom Palladino


Helping refugees from Darfur in 2004

MUM student Suhaib Mohamed holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Al-Neelain University, Khartoum, Sudan. After coming to the U.S. in 2015, he was looking to expand his education towards sustainability, and when he discovered MUM’s MBA in sustainable business program he thought it was the perfect fit.

Suhaib says he met the greatest people at MUM, whom he considers his brothers from all over the world. He feels that all of his fellow students care about the future of the world and want to create change. He was also excited to discover the Transcendental Meditation® program. “I was looking for something like it, but didn’t know what it was, and I clearly found it here,” he said. “I wanted to connect to my Self. The idea of consciousness is a great idea; it connects us to all the human beings around the world.”

Suhaib is now working on his capstone project, which is a business plan in collaboration with the Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa (CWJEA) in Iowa City, where he lives. His plan is to create a kitchen co-op for immigrant business owners to share a kitchen to run their restaurants or food businesses. The co-op would reduce the start-up costs for entrepreneurs and allow them to train others how to cook. In the fall, Suhaib will also be doing an internship with the CWJEA, which helps low-wage workers achieve social and economic justice.

Suhaib has always been concerned with social, economical, and political issues. In 2004 during the Darfur crisis, he was part of a volunteer youth group helping deliver supplies and food to those displaced by the war. Prior to coming to the U.S., he had a weekly television program on Sudan TV discussing youth-related issues. For his efforts to impact the lives of young people, he received the 2014 most influential figures of Sudan award and the 2016 Jack Bakhit Encouraging Award.

After graduating from MUM, Suhaib wants to continue serving his country because he believes that is the best way to use his education. With his skills and knowledge of the media, business, sustainability, and social justice he wants to improve the lives of people and inspire them to stay in Sudan and reduce emigration.

Bunching Donations

Bunching Donations

If you’re charitably inclined but just short of surpassing the standard deduction, consider making two years’ worth of donations in 2018 to get over the hurdle so that you can itemize.

This is known as “bunching” or acclerated charitable deductions.

“My suggestion is to do zero or close to zero giving in one year and take the standard deduction,” said Jeff Fosselman, CPA and senior wealth advisor at Relative Value Partners in Northbrook, Illinois.

“The following year, load all of your charitable giving for two years into one,” he said.

If you’re over 70½ and taking required minimum distributions from a traditional IRA, consider transferring that money directly to a qualifying charity.

This move, known as the qualified charitable distribution, allows you to meet your RMDs and your charitable goals at the same time — and you won’t incur income taxes on the distribution.

“If you don’t get a tax deduction for the gift, you may as well do the qualified charitable distribution and not have to report it as income,” said Tom Steffen, director of advanced planning for Baird’s private wealth management group.

Article by MUM staff Member Brad Onasch, Co-Director, Invincible America Department