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SHSU Update For Week Of Dec. 4

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Seminar To Explore Wetlands Ecology

Amy Burgin, an assistant professor in the University of Nebraska’s School of Natural Resources, will connect the causes and consequences of global change for the wetland ecosystems on Thursday (Dec. 8) during the Biological Sciences Department Seminar Series lecture.

The presentation will be from 4-5 p.m. in Lee Drain Building Room 214.

Wetlands are among the most valuable ecosystems on Earth because they provide an estimated $13 billion in ecosystem services including water quality improvement and carbon storage, according to Burgin.

“Like all ecosystems, wetlands increasingly face challenges associated with altered hydrology and carbon cycling due to anthropogenic global change in addition to the decades of alteration from more direct human activities (e.g., agriculture),” she said.

“Wetland restoration is generally considered to be of universal benefit; thus, various U.S. governmental agencies have established policies to protect and increase the numbers of wetlands,” she said. “Created wetlands, however, are criticized for not being functionally equivalent to natural wetlands in terms of water quality improvements or carbon storage".

Two current projects in Burgin’s lab explore if restoring agricultural lands to wetlands is synergistic or antagonistic with the goals of climate change mitigation.

“In this talk, I will explore the challenge of understanding how the construction of wetlands from former aglands affects water quality, greenhouse gas fluxes and carbon storage for an Atlantic Coastal (North Carolina) wetland experiencing saltwater intrusion, as well as a Midwestern (Ohio) wetland influenced by intensive agriculture,” she said.

Burgin has taught at UN since September 2011, after completing two years as an assistant professor of Earth and environmental sciences at Wright State University in Ohio.

Among her funded research are two grants that focus on nitrogen transformation and greenhouse gas production in the wetlands, funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Wetlands are particularly difficult ecosystems to study because of their complex hydrology, yet they a well-recognized as important ‘filters’ of contaminants on the landscape scale,” she said. “The goal of the NSF grant is to understand how increased inputs of salt and sulfur from sea level rise will alter a coastal wetland’s ability to remove nitrogen loading from nearby agricultural fields.

“The goal of the USDA grant is to understand the implications of wetland restoration on agricultural lands for carbon and greenhouse gas balances.”

A third grant, funded by the State of Ohio, studies the addition of aluminum sulfate to a hyper-eutrophic lake to combat harmful algal blooms.

“These three projects highlight the connections between human activities and biogeochemical cycling in freshwater ecosystems, and the implications for those actions under changing land use and climate,” Burgin said.

The lecture is open to the public.

For more information, contact Madhu Choudhary, SHSU assistant professor of biological sciences, at 936.294.4850.


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Program To Feature ‘Character-Driven’ Student Animations

Students and faculty in SHSU’s computer animation program will showcase their talent and work from the year during the Animation from Sam Fall 2011 on Thursday (Dec. 8).

The “showing of the best work by undergraduates in the SHSU computer animation program this year,” will begin with a reception at 5 p.m. in the Smith-Hutson Building’s Mafrige Auditorium, followed by an animation screening at 6 p.m., according to Diana Salles, assistant professor of computer animation.

The animations will include “character-driven short films,” said Salles, who will also be presenting her work.

“This year all of the work will be done by computer animation majors here at SHSU, from this past year,” she said. “The selection of work is intended to show the variety of techniques taught in the program and to show the most successfully executed work.

“The purpose is to increase the awareness of the program in the Huntsville and SHSU communities and to give students an opportunity to showcase the product of their hard work,” she said.

During the reception, an exhibit of prints from the “Shading Rendering and Lighting” class and 3-D games from the “Interactive Games” class will be on display.

Animation from Sam is sponsored by the SHSU art department and SHSU Siggraph, an organization of students creating animation, games, computer graphics and comics.

For more information, contact Salles at 936.294.3200 or dms033@shsu.edu.


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Center To Show Students How To Save For Spring Break

Though the holiday break is probably the thing on most students’ minds, the Student Money Management Center is looking ahead to Spring Break, hoping to show students how to start planning for potential trips with a workshop on Tuesday (Dec. 6).

The "Saving for Spring Break" presentation will be from 3:30-4:20 p.m. in Lowman Student Center Room 315.

Led by senior math major Tara Richardson, the workshop will show students the advantages of planning early, how to get the best deals, and provice financial tips every college student planning to travel during Spring Break should know, according to SMMC peer counselor Erik Johnson.

“It is common for students to travel to Mexico, Florida, and many other destinations during Spring Break. These trips can cost up to $1,000, sometimes more,” he said. “We want students to be able to travel and have fun without taking out loans, putting it on credit cards, and other financial no-nos.”

The workshop will also cover the costs of traveling, room reservations, and budgeting, as well as tips and ideas on inexpensive Spring Break trips.

“This workshop will cover a range of information associated with the costs of spring break and the students will be able to plan in a timely manner for vacations,” Johnson said.

For more information, contact the Student Money Management Center at 936.294.2600 or smmc@shsu.edu.


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Bands To End Semester With Contemporary Concert

The Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble will feature contemporary works during their final concert of the semester on Tuesday (Dec. 6), at 7:30 in the Performing Arts Center Concert Hall.

The Symphonic Band, directed by Brian Gibbs, will play “Apollonian Ascent” by SHSU alumnus Daniel Pfannstiel, a “Psalm for Band” by Vincent Persichetti, the opera transcription “Mediation from Thais” by Jules Massenet, and “Sketches on a Tudor Psalm” by Fisher Tull.

Tull, a former School of Music faculty member, came to Sam Houston State University in 1957 and served as chair of the department of music from 1965 to 1982.

Music graduate assistant Rachel Denson will serve as conductor for the Persichetti piece.
The Wind Ensemble, directed by Matthew McInturf, will play such pieces as “Tenfold,” by Jennifer Higdon; “Concertino for 12 Instruments,” by Igor Stravinsky; “October,” by Eric Whitacre; and “Snake Alley,” by David Dzubay.

Graduate assistants Jon Whitelock and Kevin Wood will conduct the Stravinsky and Whitacre pieces, respectively.

“Most of the Wind Ensemble's selections are being played in preparation for their concert at the College Band Directors National Association Convention in February,” Denson said.

Tickets are $17 for general admission and $14 for senior citizens and SHSU students. They can be purchased or reserved in advance by contacting the PAC Box Office at 936.294.2339 or tickets@shsu.edu.

For more information, call the School of Music at 936.294.1360.


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Studio Concert To Give ‘Last Call’ To Senior Dancers

Graduating dance majors will have their “last call” at SHSU during the senior studio concert Dec. 13-14.

Performances will begin at 8 p.m. each evening in the Performing Arts Center Dance Theatre.

“Last Call” will feature the choreographic works of graduating dance majors in fulfillment of their undergraduate dance requirements, which allows “dancers complete three levels of choreography classes that help sharpen and enhance their creative skills,” according to senior Leslie Dockery.

The concert will include works by Ashley Clos, Dockery, Ashlee Drake, Monica Druen, Caitlin Franco, Kara Greiner, Shohei Iwahama, Kelsi Livesay, Seth McPhail, Mary Orr, Sarah Peterson, Zakiya Reed, Alina Seiter, Joe Shepherd, Maggie Topelian, and Reuben Nicolas Trevenio.

“This concert is the culminating work of our choreographic studies meant to demonstrate our abilities and proficiency in this area of study,” Dockery said.

“The show ranges from comical, melancholic, dark, and romantic,” she said. “It employs various props, live vocalists and musicians, and gratifyingly capturing lighting designs.”

Tickets are $12 and can be purchased through the PAC Box Office at 936.294.2339 or tickets@shsu.edu.

The senior studio concert is sponsored by the department of theatre and dance and the College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication.

For more information, call the dance program at 936.294.1875.


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Graduating Seniors To Host Final SHSU Exhibit

The culmination of the work of seven SHSU art students during their time in college will be on display in the Gaddis Geeslin Gallery Dec. 12-16.

The Graduating Senior Exhibition will feature works in all media from the fall Bachelor of Fine Arts degree candidates, according to Annie Strader, assistant professor of art and gallery committee chair.

“The Senior Exhibition is a capstone experience for students completing the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree,” she said. “It is a celebration of the work of our accomplished students.”

A closing reception will be held immediately following the graduation ceremony on Dec. 16 in the Gaddis Geeslin Gallery for the graduates and their family and friends, as well as the public.

Refreshments will be served.

The Gaddis Geeslin Gallery, located in Art Building F, is open Monday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m.

For more information, call the art department at 936.294.1317 or visit http://www.shsu.edu/~gallery/.


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Group Collects 70 Backpacks For Bastrop

Cindy Simpson (far right) and representatives from SHSU's College of Education recently delivered 70 backpacks filled with school supplies to Bastrop school district after a drive was held on campus to benefit families impacted by the Texas wildfires. —Submitted photo

More than 70 backpacks filled with school supplies were collected for the children of families in Bastrop during the Sam Houston Council for Exceptional Children’s backpack donation drive earlier this semester.

The Disaster Relief Backpack Collection sought pens, pencils, paper, markers, folders, spirals, binders and other items for families impacted by the Texas Wildfires earlier this year.

SHCEC officers collectively gathered donations and promoted the event, and on Oct. 28, faculty co-advisers Cynthia Simpson and Jessica Rueter delivered the backpacks to Bastrop ISD where the donations were unloaded and prepared for delivery by the district.

“The SHCEC officers worked around the clock in the collection process and generated not only material donations but also cash donations used to purchase additional supplies,” Simpson said. “Both Dr. Rueter and I commended the officers, not only for their support of these families, but for the complete dedication they have shown towards continuously serving the community.

"SHCEC has been very active in supporting the community and in the past have worked with disaster relief efforts such as providing childcare and books to children after Hurricane Ike and delivering supplies to those children impacted by Hurricane Rita,” Simpson said. “The student organization was made aware that many children returning to school would be without the necessary educational materials. We immediately brainstormed ways to assist these children and felt that collecting backpacks filled with supplies would be a meaningful way for our students to support the children and families impacted by the wildfires."

For more information on the SHCEC or their activities, contact Simpson, associate professor of special education, at cindysimpson@shsu.edu.


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Rodeo Teams Share Winnings With Vice Presidents

Frank Holmes and women's rodeo members
Women's rodeo team members Stormie Haynie, Megan Vincik and Liz Combs presented the team's winning buckle from the SHSU-sponsored rodeo to Vice President Frank Holmes (above). Men's coach Bubba Miller, Jeremy Melancon, Matt Love, Bill Tudor, Tyler Gibson and National Champion presented their team's winning buckle to Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Jaimie Hebert (below).
Jaimie Hebert and men's rodeo members

Members of the SHSU men’s and women’s rodeo teams shared some of the cowboy culture with two administrators on Tuesday (Nov. 29), when they presented university Vice Presidents Jaimie Hebert and Frank Holmes with belt buckles won by both teams at a recent competition.

Women’s team members Megan Vincik, Liz Combs and Stormie Haynie presented the buckle won by the team at the Sam Houston-sponsored rodeo to Holmes, vice president for University Advancement.

Men’s team members Jeremy Melancon, Tyler Gibson, Matt Love, National Champion and Bill Tutor presented their team’s buckle to Hebert, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

he buckle was also won by the team during the SHSU rodeo, held Nov. 10-12.

The reigning national champion men’s team currently sits in first place in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s Southern region rankings. Melancon earned fifth place in the saddle bronc competition during the national finals rodeo held over the summer.

The team won the SHSU rodeo with 755 points, more than double the amount of points accrued by the second place Northeast Texas Community College Team.

The women’s team, which earned second place in the national finals rodeo last year, won SHSU’s rodeo with 295 points, more than 100 points more than second place Hill College.

Combs is currently the reigning national champion in barrel racing.

The NIRA Southern region includes such universities as Texas A&M, McNeese State, Wharton Junior College and Lone Star College.


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Submit Update Items Here

In order to assist members of the Sam Houston State University community in publicizing events, the SHSU Communications Office (Today@Sam) is now requesting that students, faculty and staff submit information about events, accomplishments or ideas for feature stories online.

Submission criteria and guidelines, including deadlines, have now been placed online, at http://www.shsu.edu/~pin_www/guidelines.html. This information is also accessible through the “Submissions” link in the right-hand navigation on Today@Sam.

From there, those submitting ideas can access forms that will allow them to provide detailed information about their idea, as well as attach event calendars, vitas/resumes or photos, depending on the type of submission.

Ideas submitted to the SHSU Communications Office are directly utilized in several ways: as news stories, “slider” or SHSU home page stories, hometown releases, and on the Today@Sam calendar.

If your submission qualifies for distribution, we will either contact you for more detailed information, or we will edit the information using SHSU/journalistic style and forward the final release to the appropriate media.

All information is verified before release, so please provide complete, accurate and timely information. Please type all responses in appropriate upper and lower cases.

For more information, contact the Communications Office at 936.294.1836 or today@sam.edu.



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SHSU Media Contacts: Julia May, Jennifer Gauntt
Dec. 2, 2011
Please send comments, corrections, news tips to Today@Sam.edu




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