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SHSU Update For Week Of March 27



ATF Agent, Alumnus To Be Featured For ‘Real Talk’

Daniel CaseyBureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Agent Daniel Casey spent eight years on the border in McAllen, combating illegal guns on their way to Mexico and investigating arsons, fires and pipe bombs.

Those experiences will be among the ones the 1996 graduate of the College of Criminal Justice will discuss as the featured speaker for “Real Talk with CJ” on Tuesday (March 29), at 2 p.m. in CJava Café.

Casey also will discuss his career with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and give advice on the best way to get a job in criminal justice.

Since his assignment in the Valley from 2001-2009, Casey has been transferred to the Houston Division, where he serves as group supervisor of “Project Gunrunner,” an illegal weapons trafficking unit.

In Houston, ATF works collaboratively with other federal agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Marshals Service and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“I’ve seen how other agencies work together,” Casey said. “Depending on the investigation, it can include guns, narcotics, immigration issues and money laundering.”

Project Gunrunner, which began as a special task force in 2008 and was composed of ATF agents from around the country, targets the flow of guns from the United States to Mexico.

Texas is the No. 1 source of illegal weapons recovered in Mexico, and Houston leads the state in the supply of guns. While the guns are going to Mexico, they are being paid for by drugs sold by Mexican cartels in the United States. The unit continues to make inroads in stopping the flow, according to Casey.

During his career, Casey has worked on every aspect of the agency’s mission. He also has assisted other ATF offices with special projects, such as a large operation in Arizona involving the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Gang and protection detail at the United Nations in New York City, during which he was assigned to Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai.

“Everywhere he went, we went,” Casey said. “Whether he was driving in a car, going shopping, going out to dinner or to the ballet, we went with him.”

Before joining the ATF, Casey worked for the then Immigration and Naturalization Service, where he served as a district adjudication officer.

For more information, contact Beth Kuhles, College of Criminal Justice public relations officer, at 936.294.4425.


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Series ‘Extra’ To Target Prison Siege, Cybercrime

A state prison official who survived the longest prison siege in U.S. history and officers from a Harris County Cyber Crime Unit will provide two special “extra” presentations of “Real Talk with CJ” on Thursday (March 31).

Wayne Scott, retired executive director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, was a lieutenant at the Walls Unit in Huntsville when heroin kingpin Frederico “Fred” Carrasco and two other inmates held 11 prison workers and four inmates hostage in the institution’s library for 11 days in 1974.

Harris County Constable Corporal Gary Spurger and Deputy Jeff Lee, from the Harris County HighTech and Cyber Crime Unit, will share modern day tales of using technology to track down and catch Internet predators.

Scott will make his presentation on the prison siege from 1-2 p.m., and Spurger and Lee will speak from 2:30-3:30 p.m. Both will be in the Criminal Justice Center’s Kerper Courtroom.

Scott, Spurger and Lee will be on campus for the Honor’s Program benefit fundraiser “Let’s Talk” on Thursday evening.

Scott, who earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from SHSU in 1973, began his career as a correctional officer at the Huntsville (“Walls”) Unit at TDCJ as a student. He rose through the ranks of the agency to become its executive director, taking only a brief hiatus to work in the private sector.

He was a member of the prison security staff when the Walls Unit library was taken over during the Carrasco Siege and was shot, but not seriously injured, during the event. He plans to bring a video of the siege and items used by security forces in those days.

Spurger and Lee are members of the HighTech and Cyber Crime Unit at the Harris County Constable Precinct 4 Office, which was created to catch online sexual predators and other Internet criminals. To catch predators, the duo creates online profiles of under-aged children on social networking sites and chat rooms and sets up sting operations to meet them.

The unit has been successful in nabbing a pilot, teachers and other individuals on child pornography charges.

For more information, contact Beth Kuhles, College of Criminal Justice public relations officer, at 936.294.4425.


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Symposium To Focus On Texas History

History buffs will have the opportunity to learn even more about the State of Texas during the annual Sam Houston Symposium on Friday and Saturday (April 1-2).

The event will open at 4 p.m. on Friday with a reception at the Wynne Home Arts Center, followed by a screening at 5:30 p.m. of Denton Florian's new documentary “Sam Houston: American Statesman, Soldier, and Pioneer” in the Katy and E. Don Walker, Sr., Education Center at the Sam Houston Memorial Museum.

After the movie, a panel discussion will feature the filmmaker and scholars involved in the project, including preeminent Sam Houston scholar James Haley.

Saturday (April 2), a series of panel discussions covering a wide range of topics pertaining to Texas history, from early events to recent trends in historical study will kick off at 9 a.m. in the Walker Education Center.

Panelists for the three sessions will include history faculty members Jeff Littlejohn, Nancy Baker and Ty Cashion; SHSU undergraduate student Robert Ripkoski and graduate student Patrica Hale; Laura Lyons McLemore, from Austin College; Merline Pitre, from Texas Southern University; Carlos Blanton, from Texas A&M; and Randal Hall, from the Journal of Southern History at Rice.

Between panels, noted author and actress Naomi Mitchell Carrier will perform selections from her book "Go Down Old Hannah" about African Americans in Texas.

The event will conclude by 3:30 p.m. to allow time for touring the Sam Houston Memorial Museum.

“We host this with the museum to bring together students, scholars, and members of the community who share a love of history,” said Nancy Zey, assistant professor of history. “We hope that this event stimulates conversation and encourages future interactions. At the very least, we hope that everyone will have learned something new and had a good experience presenting and/or participating.”

The Sam Houston Symposium is funded in part by a grant from the Huntsville Arts Commission and the City of Huntsville.

The entire event is free and open to the public. No registration is required.

For more information, contact Zey at nancyzey@shsu.edu or call the Sam Houston Memorial Museum at 936.294.1832.


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Math To Host Conference On ‘Algebraic Combinatorics’

More than 100 mathematicians from around the nation will gather at Sam Houston State University April 16-17 for a meeting of the minds on a field of math that is a key to advancing digital technologies.

Supported by grants from the National Security Agency, the National Science Foundation and SHSU’s College of Arts and Sciences, CombinaTexas2011 will focus on “algebraic combinatorics.”

Algebraic combinatorics includes everything from medical imaging to coding secure encryptions, according to Ken Smith, SHSU professor of mathematics and one of the conference organizers.

“Algebraic combinatorics weaves higher algebra, topology, and geometry with the theory of discrete structures to improve our understanding of digital signals, such as cell phones, wireless computing, radar and medical imaging, for example,” Smith said.

“Anywhere there is a finite structure, such as a string of 0’s and 1’s in a digital signal, there are applications of algebraic combinatorics,” he said. “We use encrypted communication when we provide our credit card number to make a purchase over the Internet. The National Security Agency uses encrypted communications to protect military units on the battlefield.”

The conference program will include seven plenary presenters who are established authorities in the field and “contributed talks” and “poster sessions” selected from among mathematicians, including graduate and undergraduates, who submit proposals.

The deadline for proposals and poster sessions is April 1. Deadline for late registration is April 14.

Others on the organizing committee include Martin Malandro, Luis David Garcia-Puente, all from SHSU, and Daniela Ferrero, from Texas State University—San Marcos.

For more information contact Smith, at kenssmith@shsu.edu or 936.294.4869, or Malandro, at malandro@shsu.edu or 936.294.1580 or visit http://www.shsu.edu/~ldg005/combinatexas/.


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History Group To Highlight Department's Faculty

Professors in SHSU’s history department will share their latest publications and research interests on Wednesday (March 30).

The event, hosted by the Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society, will begin at 4 p.m. in the Academic Building IV Olson Auditorium (Room 220).

The exchange will feature faculty members Nancy Baker, Caroline Castillo-Crimm, Jeff Crane, James Olson, Thomas Cox, Katherine Pierce, Nancy Zey, Phillip Sinitiere and Ty Cashion.

They will discuss such diverse topics as the Equal Rights Amendment; environmentalism; breast cancer; the Vietnam War; Texas; early America law and family; Tejano families; and more.

“We want both students and faculty to come to this event as they can both benefit from the intellectual environment,” said Phi Alpha Theta member Mary Stringer.

Phi Alpha Theta is a professional society whose mission is to promote the study of history through the encouragement of research, good teaching, publication and the exchange of learning and ideas among historians.

“We seek to bring students, teachers and writers of history together for intellectual and social exchanges, which promote and assist historical research,” Stringer said.

For more information, contact Stringer at mbs005@shsu.edu or Michele Johnson at mrj003@shsu.edu.


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Meetings To Inform Students About ‘West’ Trip, Class

Assistant professors Scott Kaukonen (English) and Jeff Crane (history) will discuss the mini-mester class that will take students through the American West this summer during two meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday (March 29-30).

The Tuesday meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. and the Wednesday meeting will begin at 3:30 p.m. Both will be in Evans Building Room 212.

The May 17-30 trip will center upon the Colorado Rockies and Yellowstone National Park in northwest Wyoming.

Crane will offer History 470, a course in the history of the American West, while Kaukonen will teach English 481, an advanced composition course with a focus on writing about space and place.

The trip leaves the boundaries of the traditional bricks-and-mortar classroom, involving camping and hiking, museums and parks, lectures and discussion, reading and writing, and “some of the most beautiful landscape America has to offer,” Kaukonen said.

Crane’s course will focus on the role of environment, migration, capitalism, and expansion in the development of the region, seeking “a clear understanding of how the region is defined, the critical events of western history, and the different communities that changed and created the American West,” he said.

In Kaukonen’s class, students will read authors who have written about the West and will write about their experiences within the landscape.

“We will think about what it means to live in a particular place at a particular time, and we will study how writers look closely at the landscape (or the cityscape) and how they write about what they find there—nature, the environment, sure, but also history, the interaction of man with those landscapes,” Kaukonen said.

This will be the fifth year that the trip has been offered since Crane initiated it and the fourth year the two professors have worked together, according to Kaukonen.

“It’s an educational experience of a different sort, richer and deeper than the sort of experience that can be had online or in a traditional classroom,” he said.

The cost of the trip is $750, plus tuition and spending money. The non-tuition expense includes transportation, two meals a day minimum, motel rooms, campsites, museum fees, and park fees.

Trip size is limited to 18 students and priority will be given to students who enroll in both classes.

For more information, contact Crane at jlc041@shsu.edu or Kaukonen at kaukonen@shsu.edu.


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Rural Intern Program Still Accepting Applications

Students who grew up in the city but always wondered what life is like in the “country” have the opportunity to find out first hand while gaining internship credit through the Texas Rural Internship Program, facilitated by SHSU’s Center for Rural Studies.

Students from all academic backgrounds can spend five weeks in the summer working for rural communities all over the state, working with the local government, economic development corporations, chambers of commerce, or local vendors, according to Cheryl Hudec, associate director for the Center for Rural Studies.

The center is accepting applications for this summer.

A joint initiative between the Texas Department of Agriculture and the SHSU Center for Rural Studies, the program pairs students with host families in participating rural communities, allowing them to experience life in rural Texas towns. Interns are paid and also receive college credit for participating in the program.

Students are matched with jobs based on their majors and the community’s needs.

“When students hear ‘rural internship’ they may think it means spending their summer milking cows; however, that is not the purpose of the program...but if a student wants to go to a farm, he or she can do that,” said Gene Theodori, director for the Center for Rural Studies.

Towns participating in the Texas Rural Internship Program also benefit from the program by hosting the interns, according to Hudec.

All SHSU students are eligible for the Texas Rural Internship Program.

For more information, to access the application or to learn about former rural interns’ experiences, visit www.shsu.edu/~org_crs/Education.html or contact Theodori at 936.294.4143 or glt002@shsu.edu.


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Volleyball Team To Tee Off For Fundraiser

Sam Houston State University’s volleyball team will “scramble” for support during its fourth annual golf tournament and fundraiser on April 30.

The tournament will begin at 12:30 p.m. with a shotgun start at the Raven Nest Golf Club.

The entry fee is $400 for a four-person team, or $100 for individual players, which includes range balls and cart fees, lunch and gifts.

Hole sponsorships are available for $100 and tournament sponsorships for $1,000.

“Last year we had 10 teams, and over 50 hole sponsors – we hope to grow it again this year to be even better,” said Joe Lind, assistant volleyball coach.

All proceeds benefit the SHSU volleyball program.

Participants are asked to register early. Checks may be made payable to Sam Houston State Volleyball and can be sent to the SHSU Volleyball Office, Attn: Coach Brenda Gray, Box 2268, Huntsville, Texas, 77341.

Lunch will begin at 11:15 a.m. at the course, followed by a welcome from head volleyball coach Brenda Gray.

For more information on the fourth annual Bearkat Volleyball Golf Scramble Fundraiser, contact Lind at 936.294.3596 or jlind@shsu.edu or event coordinator Daryl Loving at 281.463.1626 or daryl.loving@sbcglobal.net.


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Concerts To Feature Faculty Duos, Trumpet Choirs

Sam Houston State University faculty musicians will kick off one of two concerts hosted by the School of Music by showcasing the classical guitar on Monday (March 28).

The Faculty Chamber Artists Concert, which will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center Recital Hall, will feature Adjunct Professor of Guitar Alejandro Montiel, as well as Daniel Saenz, Kathy Daniel and Javier Pinel.

The recital will highlight the guitar in different duo combinations, according to Montiel.

“Cellist Daniel Saenz, who is currently completing his doctoral degree at the University of Houston, will join me on the ‘Sonata’ by the Brazilian composer Radames Gnatalli,” Monteil said. “This will be immedately followed by three movements of the famous suite ‘History of Tango’ by Astor Piazzolla, with the wonderful Kathy Daniel on flute.

“Dr. Javier Pinel moves things forward with 19th Century Italian composer Mauro Giuliani's ‘Duo Concertante,’ and closing out the program will be a special guest appearance by Texas A&M guitar faculty Dr. Isaac Bustos,” he said.

On Thursday (March 31), the Trumpet Ensemble Recital will feature everything from “Gabrielli to Led Zeppelin” at 7:30 p.m. in the PAC Recital Hall.

“The concert is billed as ‘Trumpet Choir: Gabrielli to Led Zeppelin’ and will feature an antiphonal canzona of Giovanni Gabrielli performed by 16 trumpets positioned on each side of the auditorium,” said associate professor of trumpet Randy Adams. “It will also include the famous 1971 Rock hit ‘Stairway to Heaven’ by Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin performed on 30 trumpets and featuring Robby Yarber playing Page's screaming guitar solo—on trumpet, of course.

“It's guaranteed to rock the house,” he said.

The program will also include Leroy Anderson's well-known “Bugler's Holiday,” arranged for 10 trumpets; Dave Brubeck's “Blue Rondo a la Turk;” and the "Bearkat Fanfare," commissioned for SHSU President Dana Gibson's investiture.

Both concerts are free.

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


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SAM Center Offers Grad School Advice

The Student Advising and Mentoring Center will give students considering graduate school all of the information they need during a series of informational seminars beginning on Monday (March 28).

The first presentation will be held from 5-6:30 p.m. in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Building Conference Room, in Room 430.

SAM Center graduate fellow and psychology graduate student Emily Dolphin will present the session, which will include information on financial aid, organizing applications and the grad school timeline.

“For undergraduate students who are considering a graduate school education, this can be a great starting place for finding information and beginning the search,” Dolphin said. “My goal is to make graduate school applications seem less overwhelming by providing open and honest information regarding this process.”

Future sessions will be held on April 5, from 12:30-2 p.m. in the CHSS Conference Room, and on April 9, from 10:30 a.m. to noon at The University Center in The Woodlands (in Room 109).

For more information, contact Dolphin at eld007@shsu.edu or 936.294.4361.


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White Receives Invite To Exclusive Conference

Chemistry professor Rick White is one of only 60 academics from across the country to receive an invitation to a conference sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

The “New Frontiers: Shifting Trends in the Global Research Landscape and their Impact on Researchers’ Career Patterns” conference will be held in October in New York City.

The conference will discuss new developments and opportunities for research and researchers’ careers in Germany and Europe against the backdrop of the changing research situation worldwide.

“The conference is important because of the ever changing research arenas. This will address some aspects that could drive fundable research for the next few years as our countries vie for breakthroughs that will affect our economies,” White said. “The changes this has in our careers as mentors will help us steer students in directions where they can fit well in an ever-shrinking world.”

White and his wife, family and consumer sciences department chair Janis White, regularly conduct study abroad programs in Germany.

In order to be invited to the event, “research alumni” who have carried out research in the past, were nominated by one of Germany’s leading research organizations, according to a press release.

White has been associated with DAAD for over 10 years, being unanimously selected as a board member in 2010.

He also has visited the University of Würzburg in Germany twice through DAAD grants.

The German Academic Exchange Service is the German national agency for the support of international academic cooperation.

The agency offers programs and funding for students, faculty, researchers and others in higher education, providing financial support to over 55,000 individuals per year. They also represent the German higher education system abroad, promote Germany as an academic and research destination, and help build ties between institutions around the world.


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Send Update Items Here

Information for the SHSU Update can be sent to the Office of Communications electronically at Today@Sam.edu or to any of the media contacts listed below.

Please include the date, location and time of the event, as well as a brief description and a contact person.

All information for news stories should be sent to the office at least a week in advance to give the staff ample time to make necessary contacts and write the story.

For electronic access to SHSU news see the Communications Web page Today@Sam.



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SHSU Media Contacts: Julia May, Jennifer Gauntt
March 25, 2011
Please send comments, corrections, news tips to Today@Sam.edu




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