Shawn Brogan Diddy–Miss Iowa Pursues PhD at MUM

Shawn Brogan Diddy–Miss Iowa Pursues PhD at MUM

Shawn Diddy, Miss Iowa USA 1997


Shawn (on the right) working as a health reporter for Electronic News Network at the American Psychological Association’s annual meeting in San Francisco in 2007


On the set at ShopNBC in 2010


Shawn hosting the ChangeMakers event at MUM in June 2019

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Shawn Brogan Diddy has been a performer since age 14. She became Miss Iowa USA in 1997 and has enjoyed a productive career in the music and television industries. Shawn is currently pursuing a PhD in management at MUM.

Shawn began her entrepreneurial adventures at age 20 by operating a karaoke and DJ business on cruise ships out of Florida. She has also recorded a country music album in Nashville and performed as a vocalist with various bands. She has acted on stage, in film, and on television, and worked as a news correspondent in Los Angeles.

However, she spent most of her time being a product expert on multiple shopping channels and acting in commercials. Shawn was an on-camera brand expert on the QCV Channel, hosted a show with Chef Emeril Lagasse from the Food Network, and hosted Jewelry Television and ShopNBC. She has also worked as a corporate coach, brand consultant, and speaker.

Getting a PhD degree has always been part of Shawn’s carefully crafted life plan. She earned an MA in mass communications from Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland, and entered into a doctoral program in 2009, which she wasn’t able to pursue due to work commitments.

Shawn describes herself as a “recovering perfectionist,” and while she loves entertaining and being on camera, she has had her struggles with anxiety and burnout. In 2011 she switched her focus to becoming a health and wellness expert. Her desire to become a “stress scientist and joy detective” led her to learn the Transcendental Meditation® technique in 2016, and in 2018 she enrolled at MUM.

“The MUM PhD program offers university level teaching experience and research opportunities, as well as the integration of a regular TM practice, so I can work toward my professional goals while balancing personal health and well-being,” said Shawn.

Shawn wants to continue working on television as a lifestyle expert, and having a doctorate can help her achieve that. She is currently acting as a product expert on ShopLC, where she mentions MUM from time to time.

“My entire life’s mission has been to make people’s lives easier,” she said. “I want to use my PhD research to show people what TM can do in corporate America. It can really help people in this high-pressure and highly creative environment.”

Pia Fritsch Publishes Paper on National Environmental Responsibility

Pia Fritsch Publishes Paper on National Environmental Responsibility

MUM alumna Pia Fritsch in Utrecht, the Netherlands


Pia (second from left) at MUM with fellow students and Professor Travis Cox (third from right)


Tending the gardens at the Prairiewoods Franciscan Spirituality Center in Iowa during an MUM internship

MUM alumna Pia Fritsch recently published a paper in World Futures: The Journal of New Paradigm Research. In her article, titled 1.5 Degrees Celsius: The Metamorphosis of the AMERICAN Way of Life, A Transition in Collective Maturation, Pia argues that in order for the United States to become a sustainable society, it must go through a complex transformation process similar to adolescence.

Pia grew up in a family that practices the Transcendental Meditation® technique and, after three of her siblings graduated from MUM, she decided to attend as well. Pia was interested in psychology, philosophy, and sustainability, so she pursued the philosophies of sustainability track in the Sustainable Living Department.

Pia enjoyed the block system and the courses offered by the Sustainable Living Program at MUM. “Most other programs are under environmental philosophies, but sustainable living is an apt name and subject highlighting how humans interact with the environment, rather than thinking of the environment as something separate you need to preserve.”

During her studies at MUM Pia encountered the concept of ecofeminism, a small sub-field of feminism that studies the intersection of feminism, environmentalism, and environmental justice. This discovery also served as inspiration for her article on American attitudes towards climate change examined from the perspective of developmental ecopsychology and ecofeminism.

Pia graduated from MUM in 2015 and is now completing a master’s program in gender studies at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Pia is passionate about sustainability and gender equality. “Because of the gender division of labor in many parts of the world, a lot of the burdens of a changing environment fall on women. That’s why ecofeminism is becoming more pertinent.”

Pia is currently working on her graduate thesis on ecofeminism as exemplified by a woman-led art collective in Amsterdam which enacts art demonstrations at cultural institutions that accept money from the fossil fuel industry.

Julie Hope Graduates with Two Outstanding Student Awards

Julie Hope Graduates with Two Outstanding Student Awards

MUM graduate Julie Hope


With Dr. Jim Davis, Dr. Dinesh Gyawali, and fellow students in the Integrative Wellness Center during clinical practicum.


Visiting the Taj Mahal on the MUM Rotating University course to India


Receiving her certificate in Maharishi AyurVeda Science-Based Aromatherapy with instructor Diane Malaison and fellow student Annemarie Dariano

Julie Hope graduated Magna Cum Laude with a double major in physiology and health and Maharishi Vedic ScienceSM and received the Outstanding Student Award from both departments at the 2019 awards ceremony.

Julie hails from Nebraska, where she raised two children and worked in her family’s trucking business for 20 years. She heard about MUM during a lecture on Ayurveda, which she was exploring to improve her health. She had not attended college before, and the idea of going to a nearby college to study Ayurveda intrigued her. She came to a Visitors Weekend, liked the block system, the vegetarian dining, and the programs the university offered, so she decided to apply.

“Physiology and health was my first choice but when I was reading about Maharishi Vedic Science, it really piqued my interest to learn about consciousness and myself,” she said. “I couldn’t choose — they seemed equally important. So I decided to double major.”

Julie approached her studies with extreme focus, and she discovered that the practice of the TM® and TM-Sidhi®programs helped her become organized and create a healthy routine. “It was important to me when I started my college career to do it with the utmost excellence that I was capable of,” she said. “I credit the TM-Sidhi program for helping me through my four years of college experience at MUM.”

During her studies in Maharishi AyurVeda®, she enjoyed giving wellness consultations and helping people improve their health with easy lifestyle recommendations. She has experienced great improvements in her life following an ayurvedic routine, and in the future she wants to share her knowledge with others. Starting in the fall, Julie is continuing her studies at MUM in the online masters degree program in Maharishi AyurVeda and Integrative Medicine.

MBA Team Performs in 94th Percentile on International Business Simulation

MBA Team Performs in 94th Percentile on International Business Simulation

The best-performing team of Tsion Woge (Ethiopia), Molla Mekonnen (Ethiopia), Daniel Ayalew Belay (Ethiopia), and Haofang Dong (China)


Team 2: Birkti Gebremariam (Ethiopia), Thembo Harrison (Uganda), Endale Jiru (Ethiopia), Shreya Kothari (India)


Team 3: Sharmila Prajapati (Nepal), Kisi Fufa (Ethiopia), Henok Gelaw (Ethiopia)


Professor Anil Maheshwari; guest speaker Jim Cody, a retired Caterpillar executive; and Andrew Bargerstock

Three student teams from MUM’s MBA program recently participated in the Capsim Capstone online business simulation, a leading Chicago-based provider of business games. One of the teams achieved results better than 94 percent of the 1150 graduate-level teams worldwide. Team members included Tsion Woge, Molla Mekonnen, and Daniel Ayalew Belay, all from Ethiopia, and Haofang Dong from China.

According to Dr. Andrew Bargerstock, who uses the Capstone Simulation in his Enterprise Performance Management course, MUM’s MBA teams have participated in this online simulation since 2010. In all 20 incidents of MUM’s participation at least one MUM team has finished in the top 10th percentile.

During the course, students learn about Maharishi’s Five Qualities of the Executive Mind: comprehension, creativity, initiative, vigilance, and foresight. “Students are asked to select two specific activities from the simulation for each quality and describe how those activities have cultivated each of the five qualities,” said Dr. Bargerstock. “Students report their findings in an essay, which is a valuable reflection of their growing maturity in decision making.”

“From this simulation, I learned that creativity is a key skill in business,” said Haofang Dong. “All the groups start on an equal footing. What you do to run the business will make a different story. All aspects of running a business need creativity.”

“During the simulation I developed my level of vigilance,” said Molla Mekonnen. “As a team member, I was watchful about the competitors’ actions. Therefore, I was identifying our strengths and weaknesses in each round in each product segment and the opportunities and threats we would face in the coming rounds.”

Learning to work effectively in a team is also an essential skill the simulation cultivates. “We had to adopt certain principles such as: respect for one another, focusing on ideas not people, and data should lead the way,” said Daniel Ayalew Belay. “For example, the executive team members could come up with differing and, at times, conflicting decisions.”

Other high-performing universities in the top ten percent included University of Northern Iowa, The University of Texas, Ohio University, University of Washington, DePaul University, Brigham Young University, The Citadel, Georgia Institute of Technology, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, and Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.

Daniel Bramlett – Integrating Maharishi Vedic Science and Human Services

Daniel Bramlett – Integrating Maharishi Vedic Science and Human Services

MUM graduate Daniel Bramlett


With Professor John Collins, director of the Individualized Major Program


At the Graduation Awards Ceremony
(photo by Jim Davis)

Daniel Bramlett came to MUM already following his path of self-development. A veteran of the U.S. Army, he had earned two associate degrees and considered entering the field of drug and alcohol addiction counseling.

He was searching for a Vedic university online when he found MUM. He wanted to integrate what he had learned about human services and psychology with Maharishi Vedic ScienceSM, so he created an individualized degree, which he called Consciousness-BasedSM Human Services.

“Maharishi Vedic Science could be considered a deep psychology of the nature of being human,” said Daniel. For his senior project, he wrote a paper about the beneficial effects of different types of meditation and how they can support recovery from substance abuse. During the 2019 Graduation Awards Ceremony, he received the Outstanding Student Award for his individualized major.

Having had personal experience with substance addiction, Daniel is motivated to help others in their recovery. “I suffered consequences from an extremely unhealthy way of life,” he said, “and the pain got so bad that the only thing left was to seek happiness. I came here as a seeker. I want happiness, and I want joy, and I want bliss, and I want love, and I want courage, and I want to put my heart into everything I do. And this place has helped me to do that. For the rest of my life, I will be a forever changed person.”

Daniel found that the supportive atmosphere at MUM and the practice of the TM® and TM®-Sidhi programs have helped him create a well-rounded and balanced life. He has experienced clearer thinking, emotional stability, and a deeper self-awareness as a result of his practice. To establish a solid foundation for his future, he decided to stay in Fairfield while pursuing a master’s degree in transpersonal psychology online at Atlantic University.

“Daniel is a man with a mission,” said Professor John Collins. “Through his hard work and compassion, I believe he will help a lot of people escape the perils of drug addiction and be able to create better lives.”

Daniel is also a certified fitness nutrition and bodybuilding specialist. In his free time he enjoys exercising and improving his diet. In the future, he intends to work in the fitness and human services fields.