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SHSU Update For Week Of Jan. 15

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Museum Exhibit Travels Through ‘Deep Spaces’

"Deep Calls To Deep" by Mrs. Nolan
Bobbe Shapiro Nolan's "Deep Calls To Deep" is part of the exhibit currently on display at the Walker Education Center.

The works of two area artists are among the more than 50 pieces on display as part of the “Deep Spaces” exhibit currently being presented in the Katy & E. Don Walker, Sr., Education Center Exhibit Gallery.

Curated by Larkin Jean Van Horn, “Deep Spaces” showcases textile and mixed media “of a common size interpreting the title theme,” and was spurred by a conversation with friends about the limits of space and the photography from the Hubble telescope, according to Van Horn.

“While it was clear that textile art dealing with the cosmos would be an appealing exhibit, the title implied so much more,” she said. “Artists interested in participating in the exhibit were encouraged to interpret the theme in any manner that suited them, and the entries were outstanding.”

Among the pieces selected by Van Horn and two other highly experienced textile artists were Huntsville resident Bobbe Shapiro Nolan’s “Deep Calls To Deep” and Spring resident Hope Wilmarth’s “Cathedral Forest.” Nolan also is the wife of recently retired Sam Houston Memorial Museum director Patrick Nolan.

“The artists went deep into space, deep underground, deep under water, deep into the woods, canyons and prairies, and deep into the mysteries of the heart,” Van Horn said. “Each artist worked in her own style, whether photorealism or pure abstraction or something in between. Holding this wide variety together is a common size (18 inches wide by 45 inches long).”

A total of 58 pieces were selected from more than 100 submissions and represent 19 states and two international entries. “Deep Spaces” will also be exhibited at various venues across the country.

The exhibit will be on display at the Sam Houston Memorial Museum through March 11. Van Horn will visit campus for a public reception, co-sponsored by the Tall Pines Quilt Guild, on Thursday (Jan. 19), from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Walker Education Center.

For more information, contact Megan Buro, Sam Houston Memorial Museum marketing coordinator, at 936.294.3839 or buro@shsu.edu, or visit the “Deep Spaces” website at http://www.deep-spaces.com.



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McNair Scholar Wins Award For ‘Outstanding Research’


Brandi Cannon
Junior biology major Brandi Cannon was honored with the "Outstanding Research Award" for McNair scholars at the organization's annual national conference in the fall.

Work by Sam Houston State University junior biology major Brandi Cannon was recognized with the “Outstanding Research Award” from among dozens of McNair scholars from around the country.

Cannon won the award last semester during the University of Delaware’s 9th Annual National McNair Scholars Research Conference.

“This is such a noteworthy accomplishment for Brandi and for Sam Houston's McNair Scholars Program because Brandi's research and presentation skills were deemed superior amongst dozens of other scholars, and she excelled in a scholarly venue in which she participated with other scholars and faculty from across the country,” said Lydia C. Fox, director of the McNair scholars program.

For her research, the Houston native examined the parasitic plant Phorandedron serotinum, also known as leafy mistletoe, which can actually be found all around campus, according to Cannon. Her mentor professor is biological sciences assistant professor Chris Randle.

“My research is a continuation from previous experiments concerning how mistletoe finds its host by sensing mechanisms such as light and physical substrates and chemical volatiles,” Cannon said. “We narrowed down our options and conducted the experiments on trees all around campus, testing whether mistletoe seedling's growth and development are influenced by these factors.

“Because this type of research is not greatly studied, I'm encouraged to follow through considering the economic importance with many parasitic plants that attack large commercial crops such as wheat, tomato, legumes and other important harvests all around the world,” she said. “By discovering new information about these types of plants we may be able to use this in agricultural research.”

Cannon said she began working in Randle’s lab in 2009 and hopes to continue to explore this area of research after graduation.

“Ethno-botany has now intrigued me (and I am encouraged) to take advantage of my interest in different cultures and science and combine them for the better,” she said. “Traveling internationally to identify new plants and discover their medicinal purposes from different customs and traditions would not just be advantageous to those who live in the Huntsville, Texas, or in the United States of America, but could benefit anyone.

“No matter what I end up doing with my life, I want to be able to help and contribute back to the world with science,” she said.

SHSU’s Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program is designed to provide talented low-income/first generation and ethnic minority undergraduate students with effective preparation for doctoral study.

For more information on the program, call 936.294.3264.



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Study Finds Expedited Cases Don’t Reduce Collisions


Jeffery Bouffard   Leana Bouffard
CJ professors Jeffery and Leana Bouffard study driving under the influence.

Expedited court cases for driving under the influence offenses reduced the numbers of cases filed, but it didn’t decrease the number of alcohol-rated collisions, two researchers at Sam Houston State University found.

In “What works (or doesn’t in a DUI court): An example of expedited case processing,” Jeffrey A. and Leana A. Bouffard studied the impact of expedited court processing in cases involving offenders charged with driving under the influence.

The research, published in the Journal of Criminal Justice, also examined the link between sanctions swiftness, certainty and severity in those drunk driving cases.

Findings reveal that the program implementation corresponded with a lower rate of DUI case filings, but not with a general reduction in alcohol-involved collisions in the county,” Jeff Bouffard said. “Additionally, only sanction swiftness improved over time, while certainty remained stable and severity declined.”

Drunk driving continues to be a significant social problem in the United States.

More than 30 percent of all fatal motor vehicles accidents in 2009 involved alcohol consumption, and 1.44 million people were arrested nationwide for drunk driving.

To combat the issue, many states have adopted policy changes to deter drunken driving, including the use of fines, incarceration and license suspension. Some counties have adopted specialty courts to deal with DUI offenses and have combined it with expedited case management to address court efficiency and backlogs.

Their study examines the impact of expedited court processing on the countywide rate of drunken driving based on DUI court cases in Spokane, Wash., and found that while cases were being expedited more swiftly, there was no change in conviction rates and fines declined.

Jeff Bouffard said that the results may have been tied to sentencing guidelines in Washington state, which ties sentences to blood alcohol levels and bases fine of the sentences given. The standards also lead to more plea bargaining, he said.

He also has studied the effectiveness of the use drug courts for DUI offenders. Based on a study of 66 offenders who completed one of two hybrid courts in North Dakota, he found that while the drug court programs resulted in reduced recidivism rates for drug offenders, there was no significant decrease for defendants with DUI offenses.



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Texas Review Publishes Two ‘Books Of The Year’

Two books published by Sam Houston State University’s Texas Review Press have been named among the “books of the year” selections by Texas Observer writer David Duhr.

The annual list, written by contributors to the publication, included Anis Shivani's Against the Workshop and Brian Carr's Short Bus. The list was published in December.

Carr’s book was called “really good,” by Duhr, who praised the “stories that bounce back and forth across the Texas/Mexico border, protagonists who are down on their luck and attempting to keep their severe demons at bay.

“There’s a Special Ed teacher who straps his mentally-disabled students into flak jackets to rob a bank; a father who considers tipping his deformed and obese son into a lake while fishing together; a group of dudes who slip into Mexico to buy cheap anti-psychotics, and to bury a severed foot under a banana tree,” he said. “These stories are dark, funny and relentless.”

Carr’s work was also recognized early last year by the Texas Observer as the winner of the Observer’s short story contest.

Shivani’s Against the Workshop is a collection of reviews and essays on contemporary literature and workshop writing that “should be on every single MFA syllabus,” Duhr said.

“Shivani is the guy who occasionally gets everyone all up in arms with his HuffPo posts like ‘The 15 Most Overrated Contemporary American Writers,’ but he’s not one of those easily-dismissible Internet attention seekers; Shivani clearly has strong, and genuine, emotions about literature,” Duhr said. “Even if you don’t agree with everything he says—and there’s no way you can—these pieces are insightful, passionate, and often razor-sharp and laugh-aloud funny.”

Carr’s Short Bus was published in March 2011, and Shivani’s Against the Workshop was published in October 2011.

Both can be purchased through booksellers online.

To see Duhr’s full list of the best books of 2011, visit



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CMIT Leads Tour For Dominican Republic Leaders

Dominican visitors with CMIT staffThe Dominican Republic has been undergoing a reform of its national corrections system for the past seven years, and officials there have turned to Sam Houston State University’s Correctional Management Institute of Texas to explore prison management and rehabilitation programs.

“The Dominican Republic started a big reform to make sure that its prison and correction systems ensure that inmates not only serve their time, but also provide programs that rehabilitate offenders and reduce recidivism rates,” said Roberto Obando Prestol, director general of the Department of Corrections in the Caribbean nation.

During a recent five-day tour, Prestol and director of general services Rafael Monegro Betemit were given an overview of the federal, state and county prison and jail systems as well as parole and training in Texas.

They visited the Estelle and Hamilton units at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice; the Windham School District; the Minnie R. Houston Training Academy; the Federal Bureau of Prisons Work Camp; the Brazos County Jail; and the Huntsville Parole Office.

As director general, Prestol oversees 40 prisons and 22,000 adult inmates incarcerated in the Dominican Republic from pre- to post-sentencing. With the prison population growing, he plans to build 10 new prisons over the next seven years and said he is partcularly interested in the infrastructure and programming at Texas institutions.

“We want to explore a collaboration with Texas,” Prestol said. “We are interested in every aspect of it.”

Prestol said he was impressed with the infrastructure of the state prison system, including the laundry and kitchen facilities as well as maximum-security features and perimeter fencing and that he would like to replicate the efforts of the Windham School District, which handles a wide variety of programs for GEDs, inmates with disabilities and college courses.

In Bryan, the group also visited the Federal Prison Camp, one of eight minimum security institutions for females in the country. The facility, which includes a residential drug abuse treatment program, is work-oriented and program-oriented and is located close to larger institutions or military bases where inmates help serve the labor needs.

With a growing number of female offenders in his country, Prestol said he was anxious to explore the federal program and was interested in the drug treatment component, since a majority of crime in his country is related to drugs.

“Twenty years ago, it was rare for a woman to go to prison,” he said. “Now female inmates are growing at a considerable rate.”

Prestol said he wanted to see how Texas handles its pre-sentencing and short-term offenders as well as its parole system, saying he was impressed with how the TDCJ parole division keeps track of thousands of offenders.

“From my experience, the public doesn’t appreciate enough what corrections does for them,” Prestol said. “With the police, they see them every day. But they don’t see the importance of corrections. To ensure a safe society, you have to have strong corrections programs.”

“It was a tremendous honor for the Correctional Management Institute of Texas to host Director General Prestol and Mr. Betemit with this opportunity to visit correctional facilities in our state and engage in very productive discussions with correction officials at every level of prison programs and management,” said Doug Dretke, CMIT executive director. “We look forward to continuing our relationship to exchange ideas and meet challenges in the corrections field.”



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Today@Sam Seeks Calendar Info

The University Communications Office is now collecting information on campus events for its spring calendar pages.

Departmental calendars or events can be sent to today@sam.edu or jenniferg@shsu.edu or faxed to 294.1834. Please include the date, location and time of the event, as well as a brief description and a contact person.

Information collected for the Today@Sam calendar pages, at http://www.shsu.edu/~pin_www/calendars/, is used by various media outlets, as well as the Marketing and Communications Office for news stories and releases and the SHSU Facebook page.

All information, including story ideas and update items for Today@Sam, should be sent a minimum of a week in advance of the event in order to make necessary contacts and write a story.

For more information on submissions, visit http://www.shsu.edu/~pin_www/guidelines.html, and for more information on the calendar pages, call 936.294.1836.



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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
Jan. 13, 2012
Please send comments, corrections, news tips to Today@Sam.edu




This page maintained by SHSU's Communications Office
Associate Director: Julia May
Manager: Jennifer Gauntt
Located in the 115 Administration Building
Telephone: 936.294.1836; Fax: 936.294.1834

Please send comments, corrections, news tips to Today@Sam.edu.

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