SHSU Update For Week Of April 18




Registry Encourages Students To ‘Be The Match’

The SHSU and Huntsville communities will have the opportunity to save lives in several ways during the Colleges Against Cancer bone marrow registry and blood drive beginning Monday (April 19).

Colleges Against Cancer and Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center representatives will be set up from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Lowman Student Center Mall Area, Johnson Coliseum and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Building through April 22 for the bone marrow registry. The blood drive will be held on Monday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. between the Lee Drain and CHSS buildings.

“Many cancer patients, especially those with leukemia and lymphoma, require blood transfusions or marrow transplants for their treatment,” said Cortney Martin, Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center public relations coordinator. “Jerry Shorten, whose mother works at SHSU, received a life-saving marrow transplant from his 2-year-old sister when he was just two weeks old.

“However, only 30 percent of patients have a suitably matched marrow donor in their family, so the majority of patients must find a match from the National Marrow Donor Program’s ‘Be The Match Registry,’” she said. “Students have the opportunity to ‘Be The Match’ and save lives of patients like Shorten by participating in the on-campus drives.”

Registering for the “Be The Match” program is easy, according to Vicki Barrilleaux, Colleges Against Cancer adviser.

“The first step is to confirm you meet the basic guide lines, complete the registration form and provide a Buccal Swab (cheek swab),” she said.

Swabs are matched against patient tissue, and in the event of a match, donors are tested further to ensure the best possible match for a patient. Those selected as a best donor will be scheduled for an informational session about the donation process, risks and side effects, according to the National Marrow Donor Program Web site.

Bone marrow and umbilical cord blood transplants are used to treat people with leukemia and other diseases. Because of diversity in tissue types, race and ethnicity matter.

“Because the markers used in matching are inherited, patients are more likely to match someone from their own race or ethnicity,” according to the Web site. “Adding more donors and cord blood units from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds to the ‘Be The Match Registry’ increases the likelihood that all patients will find the match they need.”

For more information, contact Barrilleaux at or 936.294.1054.


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SHSU Relay For Life To Be Held April 23

Sam Houston State University will relay for the American Cancer Society with an all-night walk at Bowers Stadium on Friday (April 23).

Relay for Life, a fundraising event to help fight cancer, will be held from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

During the event, individuals or teams walk for 12 hours to “celebrate those who have survived, to remember those who we have lost, and to fight back against the disease.”

The event will also consist of a luminaria ceremony, which can be purchased for $5 in honor or memory of those with cancer.

Last year’s SHSU Relay for Life had more than 600 student participants, in addition to the volunteers, local survivors and community members in attendance, according to Pamela Saldivar, sponsorship committee chair.

For more information, contact Kristian Cross, Relay For Life logistics chair, at, or visit to either sign up or make a donation.


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McNair To Host Informational Session For Future PhDs

SHSU sophomores, juniors and seniors who are interested in future doctoral studies can learn more about the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program during an informational meeting on Wednesday (April 21).

The session will be held from 11 a.m. to noon in Lowman Student Center Room 315.

The McNair program is a federally-funded undergraduate research program that offers a stipend to first-generation, low-income or minority students.

“We target those three groups because they are underrepresented, and we want to increase their representation in graduate schools,” said Lydia Cruz Fox, McNair program director. “We try to search for students who are interested in getting a doctoral degree.”

Students who are accepted into the program receive a $1,600 stipend, disbursed in three payments throughout the academic year, and are paired with a faculty member in their discipline to complete a research project.

McNair scholars also receive other benefits, such as free graduate school preparation workshops, a tuition waver for a three-hour spring research class, paid travel to research conferences and for visits to prospective graduate programs, and the use of a laptop computer, as well as graduate application fee wavers, among other incentives.

Applicants must be classified as at least a junior at SHSU, have a minimum of a 3.0 grade point average and be a permanent U.S. resident.

The application deadline is Sept. 10, and application forms are available online at

For more information, contact Laura Buccafurni, McNair Scholars Program staff assistant, at or 936.294.3279 or visit the McNair Office, in Academic Building III Room 216.


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Production ‘Rents’ Erica Starr Theatre

The Sam Houston State University Department of Theatre and Dance will explore the importance of friendship and the need to live every moment of one’s life fully with its presentation of Jonathan Larson’s “Rent,” Wednesday through Saturday (April 21-24).

Show times are at 8 p.m. each evening, with a 2 p.m. Saturday matinee, in the University Theatre Center’s Erica Starr Theatre.

Directed by SHSU theatre and dance department chair Penelope Hasekoester, “Rent” tells the story of a community of young bohemians who struggle to survive in New York’s Lower East Side in the1980s at the height of the HIV/AIDS outbreak.

In 1996, “Rent” received the Pulitzer Prize for drama, four Tony Awards, and six Drama Desk awards, including “Best Musical” for both award shows. A film adaptation of the musical was made in 2005.

The cast includes SHSU musical theatre majors in major roles Eric Aultman (Benny), Mitchell Greco (Angel), Michael McClure (Mark), Chelsea McCurdy (Maureen), Destinee McGinnis (Mimi), Kendrick Mitchell (Tom Collins), Garret Storms (Roger), Christina Stroup (Joanne), and ensemble members Yliana Arredondo, Monica Brown, Randall Carpenter, Justin Finch, Brittany Halen, Mark Jackson and Kris Ward.

Musical direction is by SHSU theatre faculty Laura Avery, and the choreography is by SHSU dance faculty member Andrew Noble.

Designers include SHSU theatre faculty member Eric Marsh, scenes and lights; Avery and Eric Gundersen, sound; theatre adjunct faculty and costume shop supervisor April Keith, costumes; and sophomore theatre major Vilija Tuminas, properties. The stage manager is senior theatre major Faith Looten.

Tickets are $12 for general admission and $10 for SHSU students and senior citizens. Group rates are available.

“Rent” contains adult content, language, and partial nudity; therefore, children under the age of three will not be admitted.

For more information, call the UTC box office at 936.294.1339.


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School Concerts To Feature Student Musicians

Two of SHSU’s vocal jazz ensembles and piano students will perform two concerts for the week beginning on Monday (April 19).

The new women’s vocal jazz ensemble Misbehavin’ will debut during the Artistry in Rhythm's Vocal Jazz Concert on that day.

The concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. in Music Building Room 201.

“The concert will feature the mixed vocal jazz ensemble, Artistry in Rhythm, singing arrangements of ‘Georgia On My Mind,’ ‘Imagine,’ ‘Embraceable You,’ and other classic songs,” said sophomore music major Rebecca Castillo.

“The concert will also feature the new women's vocal jazz ensemble, Misbehavin', singing arrangements of ‘Keep Holding On’ from (the TV show) ‘Glee,’ ‘When I Fall in Love’ and premiering a women's piece by SHSU student Maria Roos,” she said.

On Wednesday (April 21) student pianists will perform works by Schubert, Rachmaninoff, Larregla, and Albeniz, and Bach at 7 30 p.m. in the Recital Hall.

Admission is free for both concerts.

For more information on the piano recital, call the School of Music at 936.294.1360, and for more information on the vocal jazz concert, contact Castillo at or 281.683.8683.


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Professor, Dancers Given Greenbriar Encore

After choreographing two dances for the Greenbriar Consortium last month, SHSU dance professor Cindy Gratz was invited to create another choreography for the “Channing Concerts Series” in Houston to music that will be played by the Greenbriar Consortium.

The April 6 piece was performed by SHSU dance and theatre major Wes Miles and Houston High School for the Performing and Visual Arts senior Miriam Leek, both of whom performed Gratz’s dances in March, as well as graduate student Marian Hart and sophomore dance major Joseph Shepherd.

“I can not work without Marian Hart,” Gratz said. “She has been my arms and legs ever since my car accident in 2006. Hart demonstrates the dancing that I am too physically unstable to do. And Joe Shepherd is a wonderful young performer who is undoubtedly going to succeed in the dance field.”

The work was danced to William Grant Still’s “Miniatures for Oboe, Flute and Piano.”

“It consists of five short pieces which, altogether, meant ten minutes of choreography,” Gratz said. “We’ve had very little time for rehearsals, but these dancers are just superb and it has been a joy to work with them.”

The association between SHSU’s dance program and the Greenbriar Consortium “provides dance students with opportunities to dance with not only live musicians, but with some of the best musicians in the Houston area, and with guest artists who have performed throughout the world,” according to Gratz.

The concert was held at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Houston.


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Group Turns Area Teens Into ‘Cinderella For A Day’

dressesSHSU education students recently helped to ensure that the teens of Walker County would be the belles of their balls with a “Cinderella for a Day” drive that collected almost 100 formal dresses for the Good Shepherd Mission Thrift Shop.

The SHSU Texas State Teachers Association–Student Program, Kappa Delta Pi and Zeta Phi Beta donated 93 dresses to the organization in an effort to provide Walker County high school students with free dresses for prom or other special events for the end of the school year activities.

“We decided to do this project because we wanted to help out girls going to school in Walker County that may not have the resources to buy a beautiful dress for their prom,” said Lauren Fulcher SHSU TSTA-SP vice president. “Usually dresses can run $100 or more...not many families in this economy can afford those costs.

“Every girl in high school always dreamed of their prom night, and we just wanted to make sure that all girls had the opportunity to look and FEEL beautiful on the inside and outside,” Fulcher said. “Our goals were not only to help girls feel amazing on their prom night, but for any other occasion as well.”

Dresses previously used for sports banquets, weddings and homecoming, including less formal dresses, were collected over the course of a year and were delivered on March 23, according to Fulcher.

Young women interested in obtaining one of the donated dresses can visit the Good Shepherd Mission Thrift Store to pick out a dress.

“This was our first year to do this project and it honestly went so much better than any of us expected,” Fulcher said. “Our No. 1 goal was to see the look on a young woman’s face when she realized her dream of feeling beautiful can come true.”

Next year, Fulcher said she plans to arrange donations for things such as shoes, make-up, hair up-dos and purses, because “every girl deserves to feel like a princess.”


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SHSU Media Contacts: Bruce Erickson, Julia May, Jennifer Gauntt
April 16, 2010
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