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SHSU Update For Week Of Nov. 10

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Postal Inspector To Give Insights On Job

Stephanie Hardin
Part of Harden's job includes investigating packages that might contain potentially dangerous powders, liquids or improvised explosive devices. —Submitted photo

Come rain, sleet, snow or hail, Stephanie Harden’s job is to support and protect the U.S. Postal Service and its employees, infrastructure, and customers and to enforce laws to defend the system against dangerous or illegal use.

During her 13 year career as a U.S. postal inspector, Harden worked a wide variety of cases from Oregon to Texas, including mail fraud, mail theft, facility security assessments, analysis of suspicious powders and liquids, and threats and assaults against postal employees, to name just a few, enforcing more than 200 mail- and postal system-related laws.

“It’s like putting out fires every day,” Harden said. “You never know what the day will bring and how long it would last.”

Hardin will discuss that job, and her entire career path, on Thursday (Nov. 14), during the College of Criminal Justice’s “Real Talk with CJ” series. The presentation will be from 2-3 p.m. in the Criminal Justice Center’s Hazel B. Kerper Courtroom.

Harden began her federal career in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where she served as a field auditor at packers and stockyard administration. Her assignment was to ensure the auction markets in Texas and Oklahoma were bonded and financially sound to pay the sellers after a buyer purchased the livestock.

She joined the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in 2000 and, after 14 weeks of training in Potomac, Md., worked assignments in Portland, Corpus Christi and Houston.

In Houston, where she was assigned in 2008, she specialized in the investigation of fraud cases, such as mail scams and counterfeits sent through the mail, as well as packages containing potentially dangerous powders, liquids, or improvised explosive devices.

She is currently a member of the postal inspector security team, which handles security assessments of postal facilities, assaults and threats involving employees and dangerous mail investigations. She is also the public information officer for the Houston division.

During her time in Houston, Harden also served as a recruiter and will share what knows about good potential candidates for the agency with SHSU students during her talk.


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Department To Commemorate Vets Through Readings

The English department will remember those who have served and those who continue to serve with a series of readings from the works of famous authors on Monday (Nov. 11).

The Veterans Day commemoration, from 11-11:50 a.m. in Evans Complex Room 105, will include English faculty sharing readings that deal with the experience of war in recorded history.

The readings will feature both literary and non-literary works, including excerpts from novels, poetry, essays, letters, journalism, and some may even talk about their own experiences, according to Tracy Bilsing, associate professor of English.

All of the works focus on the ideas of war, soldiering and war as an event, outside of the obvious politics involved in war.

War literature crosses eras and nationalities, and works such as German author Erich Maria Remarque's classic pacifist memoir All Quiet on the Western Front and Tim O'Brien’s The Things They Carried provide still-timely and varied voices on war. SHSU’s faculty presentations will span history and “will most certainly emphasize those who served their country, whatever country that is, whether at home or abroad,” according to Bilsing.

“There have been texts that deal with war for as long as there has been warfare, and writing about war is a way to channel the event—either negatively or positively,” she said. “I don't know if those who have experienced combat can ever reconcile with the world around them; servicemen and women have experienced what civilians can never understand, and many want to write to try to 'explain' what war is, but they go about it in different ways.

“War, ironically enough, affects combatants in the same way whether they are termed ‘enemy' or not,” she said. “For instance, Remarque's work very poignantly addresses what Wilfred Owen, the World War I British poet, calls ‘the pity of war’ which we see the effects of every day should we care to look.”

The event was established several years ago by English faculty member Barbara Miles and Bilsing, who are among the faculty who specialize in or teach courses on war literature.

“It seemed a good thing to help people remember that we have men and women abroad, and at home, who have continually put their lives on the line, so to speak, to serve our country,” Bilsing said. “I think this helps people understand in some small way that we are still a country at war, and that peace is hard won.”

For more information, contact Bilsing at eng_teb@shsu.edu or 936.294.1996.


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Students Collect School, Hygiene Items For Legacy Projects

Students in the College of Education are working this semester to leave their “legacy” on secondary campuses in the region through a service-based learning project that, for some, is seeking the community’s help.

Assistant professor of education Lisa Brown’s secondary methods classes, as well as the classes of Rebecca Wentworth and Sarah Swicegood, were assigned as part of their traditional methods block to examine the campuses at which they are gaining their required field experience to determine the needs of the students there.

Based on those needs, SHSU students were asked to develop and implement a service project that will “leave the school better off than when they got there,” Brown said. Teams of students are solely responsible for their project, with their professor serving only as an adviser, including troubleshooting any issues that may arise.

Some of the fall ongoing projects have included creating a bulletin board about college—how to apply, find scholarships, and things of that nature—at Willis High School, and one team is working on a time capsule-like project with ninth graders, wherein the freshmen are asked to write letters to themselves, which will be given to the principal and re-distributed when the students become seniors.

One project, which benefits Madisonville High School students, is seeking help from the community.

“My students in Madisonville are doing a school supplies drive because Madisonville has a high percent of free and reduced lunch population, approximately 70 percent, so the kids come to school without any supplies, because they can’t afford it,” Brown said. “By mid-year, the students begin running out of school supplies, so our students are collecting donations from their communities; they’re not supposed to spend any money of their own.

“Another team is doing a drive for personal hygiene products (for MHS students), because some students come to school without proper hygiene because they don’t have running water,” she said.

Items will be collected for both drives for an anticipated Nov. 20 delivery date. At the end of the project, students are also required to write a reflection paper on their experiences.

For the school-supplies drive, students are seeking new or gently used binders; notebook paper; pencils; map pencils; red, black or blue pens; and other supplies that high school students might require for classes.

For the hygiene-supplies drive, students are seeking deodorant, trial-sized or small bottles of shampoo and conditioner, soaps, toothbrushes and toothpaste, or other products of that nature.

Donations can be delivered to Brown’s office, in Garrett Teacher Education Center Room 224. If a box is not outside her office, items can be given to the department administrative or student assistants.

For more information, contact Brown at lobrown@shsu.edu or 281.468.7674.


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Annual Giving Launches 'Jar Wars' Competition

Leading up to National Philanthropy Day on Thursday (Nov. 14), the office of Annual Giving is promoting its “Jar Wars” program.

Jar WarsInitiated as a competition between classes, Jar Wars allows students to give loose change that will go toward their Senior Class Legacy scholarship, as the monies collected help build on the scholarship campaign that is actively promoted during their junior and senior years.

Photos of the jars and students have been popping up on Facebook and Twitter.

Donations will be collected each day over the noon hour in the Lowman Student Center Mall Area through Nov. 14.

“Our hope is that if students start building now on their scholarship, then by their senior year, they will want to give even more and their scholarship will have an even larger impact on more students,” said Meggan Thompson, assistant director of Annual Giving.

“We want this to be a friendly competition between the classes,” Thompson. “The class that raises the most money will have bragging rights.”

The competition will culminate with the results of the winning class being announced on social media and email Thursday afternoon.

“We are very excited about National Philanthropy Day,” said Cindy Truax, director of Annual Giving. “Not only will it be the final day of Jar Wars but we will also have giveaways and ‘thank you’ cards available for students to sign, thanking our donors for their support of the university.”

“National Philanthropy Day is about giving thanks, and we want to thank our donors of the university for all that they do,” Thompson said.

For more information about Jar Wars or the Senior Class Legacy, contact Thompson at met013@shsu.edu or 936.294.2401.


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Musicians To Collaborate For Bassoon, Piano Recitals

School of Music students and faculty members will collaborate for a pair of concerts on Sunday (Nov. 17).

The Bassoon Studio Recital, at 2 p.m. in the Gaertner Performing Arts Center Recital Hall, will feature the students of Nathan Koch, assistant professor of bassoon.

“Ably” assisted by assistant professor of piano Ilonka Rus-Edery’s collaborative piano students, students from the Bassoon Studio will perform solo and ensemble literature by Beethoven, Schumann, Bassett, Phillips, Grovlez, and Ridout, according to Koch.

Professor Rus-Edery and students Sara Ray and David Vergara
Assistant professor of piano Ilonka Rus-Edery (right) and graduate students Sarah Ray and David Vergara will collaborate for a concert on Nov. 17.

“This recital features pieces that showcase the flashy and expressive qualities of the bassoon, which often isn't heard as a solo instrument, and the repertoire comes from the Classic, Romantic and 20th century periods,” he said.

The Bassoon Studio comprises students who are majoring in music performance, music education, or music therapy and have completed a successful audition to the School of Music prior to their first semester of study at SHSU.

That evening, Rus, herself, will take the stage for a faculty collaborative piano recital, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the GPAC Recital Hall.

Joined by graduate students Sarah Ray and David Vergara, the trio will perform “a delightful selection of pieces by Debussy, de Falla, Bizet, Lacome, Rachmaninov, Vidal and Khachaturian” for one piano, played by four hands (two people playing the same piano at the same time), according to Rus.

“The music for the recital is based on a wonderful array of Spanish, French, Russian and Colombian dances,” she said. “It will be a treat for the audience.”

Both recitals are free and open to the public.

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


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Students To Exhibit ‘Selves’ In LSC Gallery

Three SHSU art students will turn their artwork inward, using their friends and becoming their own models as they examine their lives for an exhibit that will be in the Lowman Student Center Art Gallery beginning Monday (Nov. 11).

“A Collection of Self,” featuring works by senior studio art majors Theresa Goolsby, Lauren Martin and Sarah Murff, will be on display through Saturday (Nov. 16). A reception is scheduled for Thursday (Nov. 14), from 5-7 p.m. in the gallery.

Goolsby's portraits are of women close to her who have influenced who she is today.

drawing on wood of a female dancer on pointe with a doe head instead of a human head; behind her is a buck head mounted on the wall, watching her dance
Sarah Murff's mix-media work, such as the one above, evokes the performance of home and how we can never escape our roots.

She uses masculine materials to make a statement about gender bending and breaking the roles these women are expected to play.

“The grungy found objects collaged into my paintings symbolize people in relationships being used to their fullest extent before being tossed out and forgotten,” she said.

Martin's works are indirect self-portraits created from remnants from her childhood.

“Starting from our earliest memories, fragments of the spoken word are greatly anchored into our life,” she said. “By means of drawings, prints and, book bindings I help connect the growth of imagination and speech to how we develop from children to adults.”

Murff's mixed-media, metal and bookmaking pieces evoke the permanence of home and how we can never escape our roots through the use of contrasting mediums to display the conflicts she faces in being true to her up bringing and who she has become.

She also melds these two fragments together by breathing new life into imagery of her father bringing home game from hunting or those hung on the wall as trophies, according to Murff.

“A Collection of Self” is being presented as a requirement of Becky Finley’s ARTS 4315 “The Business of Art” course.

For more information, contact Finley, an associate professor of photography, at 936.294.3418.


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Law Enforcement Training To Showcase ‘Lessons Learned’

Officers involved in critical incidents on the job—such as school shootings, the death of fellow officers or riots—will share lessons learned from these tragic incidents with law enforcement agencies in hopes of preventing tragedies in the future.

Emergency lightsThe Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas will host “Lessons Learned from Tragedies,” an all-day seminar for law enforcement personnel on Dec. 9 at Sam Houston State University.

The event will feature a police delegation from Finland, which faced two school shootings in 2007 and 2008; Police Chief Jeff Capps, from College Station, where Constable Brian Bachman was gunned down while serving an eviction warrant; and the Police Chief Tom Wibert, from New Braunfels, who worked in East Lansing, Mich., during student riots following basketball playoffs.

“It’s in times of crisis we learn the most about ourselves and our agencies,” said Rita Watkins, LEMIT executive director. “This free seminar will look at several critical incidents and the lessons that law enforcement agencies can take away to be better prepared in the future.”

According to Capps, the August 2012 incident involving the murder of Bachmann highlighted some issues in the system and, as a result of the tragedy, several changes were made at the department, including communication, training, equipment and preparation for the aftermath.

Wibert will talk about how his former department changed their responses to student riots after the 2005 riot that involved 2,000 students after the basketball team lost a NCAA Final Four tournament.

Police were criticized for abuse, mismanagement and the launch of tear gas into neighborhoods, and as a result, the city developed new tactics to address riots and a plan to deal with media relations.

Finland’s 2007 and 2008 school shootings killed 15 students, two teachers and a school nurse in separate incidents. Sgt. Pasi Härkönen and Chief Inspector Juha Järvelin were part of the team that stormed the school in Kauhajok in 2008 and will discuss the incident and response.

Police and fire personnel had never trained together to deal with active shooter situations, and as a result, standard operating procedures were added on active shooter situations and all emergency responders train together. In addition, Post Critical Incident Services were developed to address the emotional aftermath of the crisis.

“It´s very difficult for the police to prevent mass shootings,” Harkonen said. “The best way is to gather all available information from all authorities and share it. This would increase the probability of identifying the potential persons planning to act out.”

The program will be offered for free to Texas law enforcement agencies.

For more information, call LEMIT at 936.294.4600.


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Industrial Technology Professor Recognized For ‘Academic Excellence’

Faruk Yildiz, an assistant professor of industrial technology in SHSU’s department of agricultural and industrial sciences, has been recognized by the Association of Technology, Management and Applied Engineering for his “superior performance and achievement.”

Faruk YildizYildiz will accept the organization’s 2013 “University Faculty Award for Academic Excellence” during its annual conference in New Orleans on Nov. 21.

The award “is intended to epitomize those who have a demonstrated record of excellence and achievement in their profession” and is based evidence that during the past three years, the nominee has exhibited an exemplary record of teaching excellence; a “commendable record of service to the profession, academe or community;” excellence in scholarly activities in scholarly activities; and other major accomplishments, according to the ATMAE.

Yildiz has been on faculty at SHSU since 2008 as an assistant professor and is up for tenure in the spring. During his five years in the department, Yildiz has “achieved much greatness,” said department chair Stanley Kelley.

“In the short time Dr. Yildiz has been in our department, he has been the most successful in receiving grants and the most aggressive with his research objectives,” Kelley said in his nomination of Yildiz. “He is an enthusiastic researcher and leader with a problem solving methodology which is pragmatic and systemic. I have never supervised nor witnessed a faculty member that has demonstrated excellence in teaching, research and service.”

Stanley particularly pointed out Yildiz’s work with alternative energy resources, which has been well received by the university community, energy companies and city governments, as well as Yildiz’s abilities in electronics and computer systems, which Stanley calls “a marvel.”

He also praised Yildiz’s service leadership and ability to work cooperatively with colleagues, which has repeatedly demonstrated and has proven to be an asset for the department and program.

“These skills and forward thinking possessed by Dr. Yildiz make him a proficient leader to our community with confidence and authority,” Kelley said. “Aside from his research and service, Faruk has consistently been one of the highest ranked faculty in my department based on student evaluations. He maintains high expectations for students but is patient and ensures that each student comprehends the concepts.”


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Author Reveals Complex World Of Policing Through Poetry

Sarah Cortez’s new book of poetry Cold Blue Steel, which was published by Sam Houston State University’s Texas Review Press earlier this year, has been receiving good reviews.

Cold Blue SteelThe book was recently highlighted by the San Antonio Express-News, and Cortez was also featured last month on the international website Voice of America.

“Sarah is one of our leading authors right now, a female Hispanic policewoman, and her books are making a big splash,” said Paul Ruffin, Texas State University System Regents’ Professor and founder/director of Texas Review Press.

Cortez has served in law enforcement for 20 years, and her experience as a police officer is often reflected in her books of poetry and the anthologies she has edited.

"I want to reveal the world of policing, the very complex, dangerous and dirty world it is, for my reader," she told Voice of America.

“Sarah Cortez is in a category by herself. She is the only professional Latina writer of whom I have knowledge who is also a peace officer, fully familiar with all the gritty realities such a job entails in daily life,” wrote Ed Conroy, of the Express-News.

“Since 1998 she has served in Harris County as a deputy constable—currently as a reserve officer. Out of that service she has found the inspiration to write a series of remarkable poems that jolt the reader awake to realities usually ignored,” Conroy wrote. “Her work will put you in the mind-set of an officer regularly confronting death and the even greater challenges of people given over to acts of sheer insanity and evil.”

To read the full review, visit mysanantonio.com, and to read her interview by Voice of America, visit voanews.com.


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Today@Sam Seeks Spring 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 Communications Office for news stories and releases.

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.

To see a full list of the Today@Sam submission guidelines, or to access submission forms for news or feature stories, calendar submissions, or hometown releases, visit http://www.shsu.edu/~pin_www/guidelines.html.

For more information, 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
Nov. 7, 2013
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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