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SHSU Update For Week Of March 18

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Grassroots Lecture To Feature Colombian Doctor

Leonardo Espitia, a medical doctor with the Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in The Woodlands, will discuss his background and answer students’ questions on Tuesday (March 20) as part of the Student Advising and Mentoring Center’s Grassroots Speaker Series.

The presentation will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the SAM Center, in College of Humanities and Social Sciences Building Suite 170.

Espitia, who practices family medicine, earned his Doctor of Medicine degree from Baylor College of Medicine in 2005. He also attended the Universidad del Valle School of Medicine, in Cali, Colombia.

His professional interests include preventive medicine, cardiovascular disease prevention, hypertension and diabetes.

A meet-and-greet reception will immediately follow Espitia’s presentation.

The “Grassroots: A Series of Conversations on Leadership in a Diverse Community” was created in 2003 with the aim of promoting the career aspirations and academic achievements of minority students by bringing to campus notable leaders from all over the state.

“Grassroots brings community and state leaders to our campus to speak about their leadership experiences, their paths to success, and lessons they’ve learned in diversity,” said Chrystal Golden, SAM Center student assistant. “Students not only listen to these speakers, but they’re also given an opportunity to interact with them in an informal environment.”

The lecture is sponsored by the SAM Center’s academic support programs; the Elliott T. Bowers Honors College; the International Business Society; the International Hispanic Association; Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc.; the NAACP; the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program; Student Success Initiatives office; and Women United.

For more information, contact Bernice Strauss, SAM Center director for academic support programs, at sam_bss@shsu.edu or 936.294.4455.



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Center To Give Students New Loan Information, Tips

When the average college student graduated in 2010, they were facing $25,250 in student loan debt, up five percent from 2009, according to a report by the Project on Student Debt.

SHSU’s Student Money Management Center will work to help the more than 1,000 SHSU students who prepare to walk across the stage to pick up their degrees and face their own repayments in May with a workshop on Tuesday (March 20).

“Student Loan Repayment 101” will define terms like "standard repayment," "forbearance" and "consolidation," while helping students identify the right student loan repayment plan for them, from 3:30-4:20 p.m. in Lowman Student Center Room 315.

Peer counselors Jacob Brock and Erik Johnson will lead the presentation, informing students of the numerous options they have for paying back student loans, different loans that are offered, the pros and cons of consolidation and “ways of exactly taking the next step to financial freedom and making student loans a thing of the past,” according to Brock.

“Students don’t want to be caught off-guard without a plan of action; they need to be actively involved in the planning of their finances,” said Jacki Brossman-Ashorn, money management center director. “This is also a great time for them to take a step back, and look at exactly what they’ve borrowed so far.

“Many times students just sign the dotted line, so to speak, and do not really pay attention to the amounts of loans they are taking out each semester, and each year,” she said. “I’ve had students who are about to graduate come in to my office, and they don’t have a clue as to how much student debt they have incurred.”

Student loans have changed in a variety of ways over the years, especially as a result of recent legislative action.

“Federally funded education loans (i.e. Stafford, Perkins) have seen changes in the way they are administered and the way they are handled for consolidation. These loans are now direct loans,” Brossman said. “There are also changes in the types of repayment options. There are new additional options that were not available prior to the legislation changes.”

For more information, call the Student Money Management Center at 936.294.2600.



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Teacher Job Fair Attracts 78 Schools, Agencies

Though legislation has raised many questions about the state of public education in Texas, SHSU’s Career Services will work to help students and alumni find teaching jobs on Wednesday (March 21), when approximately 78 schools and school districts will be talking to potential educators during the Spring Teacher Job Fair.

The fair will be held from 9 a.m. to noon in the Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum.

Representatives from districts across the state, as well as a few private schools, will visit with students or alumni who may be interested in a position.

Karen Smith, associate dean of undergraduate programs and assessment for the College of Education, has noted that there is a surplus of elementary school teachers right now and that the more recent legislation has not affected the teaching market significantly in Texas yet, especially in the districts that SHSU students are going into.

“In this part of the state as compared to the rest of the state and in this part of the country as compared to the rest of the United States, the teaching market in Houston and the surrounding areas has stayed steady,” Smith said. “We are seeing more concern, though."

In addition to school districts, agencies such as ChildCare Careers, the Archdiocese of Galveston Houston Catholic Schools Office, GetCap Head Start, and Education Service Center Regions 4, 6, 7 and 20 are scheduled to be available to discuss other employment possibilities.

Students who are registered on Jobs 4 Kats can get a jumpstart on finding a job or internship by logging on, at https://www.myinterfase.com/shsu/student/, to find a complete list of participating agencies, as well as descriptions of positions being sought, according to Mitch Parker, job fair and special events coordinator.

Participants are encouraged to bring copies of résumés and dress professionally.

For more information, contact Career Services at 936.294.1713 or careerservices@shsu.edu.



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Rural Internship Program Accepting Summer 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.

The center is now accepting applications for this summer’s program, during which students from all academic backgrounds spend five weeks working for rural communities across the state.

Interns have the opportunity to work 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.

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 http://www.shsu.edu/~org_crs/TRIP.html or contact Theodori at 936.294.4143 or glt002@shsu.edu.



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Recitals To Highlight Opera Singer, Student Composers

An internationally recognized opera singer and Sam Houston State University’s own student composers will be featured by the School of Music in two performances beginning Monday (March 19).

Singer and SHSU alumna Melanie Holliday will guide music students and perform during a Vocal Area Masterclass on that day, beginning at 6 p.m. in the James and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center Concert Hall.

“Vocal masterclasses are presented as an opportunity for students to sing for artists who have had experience in the professional world of singing,” said Rebecca Grimes, vocal area coordinator. “Typically, the student will sing for the clinician, who will then give them tips on how to improve their singing or acting.”

Holliday’s masterclass will be presented in a public format, and students and community members are welcome to observe.

Holliday, whose career has spanned more than 30 years, has performed in Europe and Japan. A Houston native, she currently lives in the Huntsville community.

On Thursday (March 22), the Ars Perpetua New Music Recital will serve as the world premier for many pieces composed by SHSU music students. The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Gaertner Performing Arts Center Recital Hall.

“Of the 10 works presented on the recital, at least eight are world premieres and are in a variety of styles and instrumental/vocal combinations,” said Kyle Kindred, assistant professor of music.

“There are works based upon ancient Chinese poetry, John Paddie's ‘Nostalgic Thoughts in Front of the Moon;’ modeled after original stories, Maria Roos's ‘Dreamland’ and Kwinton Baylor's ‘After Great Pain;’ and suggestive of provocative imagery, Nathan Mays's ‘Invoke The Deep Magiks’ and Daniel Vallery's ‘soul_patch;’ as well as more abstract works written as music for music's sake, Michael Nelson's ‘Cello Suite’ and John Michael Arensdorf's ‘Three Melodies for Solo Piano,’" he said. “In general, though, all of the works will be of a more intimate nature, with three or fewer performers on each.”

Other student composers include Joseph Vranas and Thomas Bailey.

The recital will close with the “Ars Perpetua 2012 Fanfare Project,” which consists of three short pieces written this semester for the brass artists from SHSU's Intersection New Music Collective, directed by Brian Herrington.

The recital is free to the public.

“We would love to show the SHSU and Huntsville communities the great new music that is being created right here on campus,” Kindred said.

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



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Groups Sought For ‘Fun With Friends’

Campus organizations are being sought to take part in the College of Education’s second annual Fun with Friends fair on April 14.

The educational fair, which will benefit CASA of Walker County, will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Huntsville’s Eastham-Thomason Park.

“This is an event for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) which serves children in the foster care system,” said Miki Henderson, assistant professor of early childhood education. “Also, this event will be a time for children and families in our community to be together engaging in fun activities.”

Because anywhere from 300 to 500 children are anticipated to participate, the college is looking for student groups to help with the fair.

“We are looking to have campus groups sponsor and operate game booths or craft activities during the fair,” Henderson said. “Groups will not pay to have a booth, but they will have to be prepared for a whole lot of children.

“We are looking for booths that are fun and engaging for various levels of children preschool through 12 years old,” she said. “We have a list available of game and arts and craft activities to help groups decided what they would like to do for this event.”

The college will sponsor a "Best Booth" competition for campus participants.

“The children will vote on their favorite booth and the winners take home a trophy for their group,” Henderson said.

Groups that would like to participate should contact Henderson at 936.294.4638. The sign-up deadline for booths is April 1.



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White Invited To German Consulate

SHSU chemistry professor Rick White has been invited to the German Consulate in New York City this summer to attend the German Academic Exchange Service’s (DAAD) research ambassador workshop.

He has been asked to share his experiences as one of the service’s “most successful research ambassadors.”

“I have been invited to address the new research ambassadors during their training to talk about my own work as a research ambassador and to offer suggestions on how to do a good job,” he said.

White has been associated with DAAD for more than 11 years, being unanimously selected as a board member in 2010. He also has visited the University of Würzburg in Germany twice as a recipient of DAAD research 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 more than 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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CJ Faculty, Students Present At National Conference

(From left) Angela Rippley, Joan Bytheway, Kim Perez and Kevin Derr were among the presenters during the American Academy of Forensic Sciences conference. The group presented on a project through SHSU's Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Science Facility. —Submitted photo

Faculty and students from Sam Houston State University’s Master of Forensic Science program and the Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Science Facility recently presented 10 of their research projects at an annual meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences in Atlanta.

“We are so proud of the accomplishments of our students,” said Sarah Kerrigan, director of the College of Criminal Justice’s forensic science program. “The publication record of our students is outstanding.

“Last year we published 17 papers in peer-reviewed journals or at national scientific meetings,” she said. “So far, 2012 is off to a great start thanks to the enthusiasm and hard work of our students and faculty.”

SHSU’s Master of Science in Forensic Science, which includes coursework in biological sciences, chemistry and criminal justice, is designed to provide both classroom and laboratory exposure to the fields of criminalistics, toxicology, DNA , crime scene investigation and anthropology.

“Getting students involved in national conferences such as this lets them see the complete picture,” said Joan Bytheway, assistant professor of criminal justice. “They spend so much time collecting data, analyzing it, preparing posters and then they get to show it off at the conference.

“The students get to discuss and debate their findings with other scholars and it is always helpful,” she said. “Students come back encouraged and feeling good about what they did. They frequently say they learned a lot and had a great time.”

Among the student and alumni conference presenters representing the College of Criminal Justice were Colin C. Anderson, Lauren G. Bouse, James A. Bourland and Ronald C. Backer, Ayodele A. Collins, Danielle A. Dela Cruz, Kevin Derr, Kayla N. Ellefsen, Ashleigh M. Faris, Yuanwei Gao, Seongshin Gwak, Nicole M. Harre, Chris Heartsill, Jaclyn B. Kenline, Nicole Larison, Sarah E. Martin, Pablo A. Noseda, Steve Noser, Eduardo Padilla, Kim Perez, Ashley J. Pipkin, Angela Rippley, and MacKenzie L. Willis.

Faculty presenters included Jorn Yu, Sibyl Bucheli, David Gangitano and Bytheway.

The conference included more than 800 scientific papers, breakfast seminars, workshops and other special events. The AAFS consists of 11 sections representing a wide range of forensic specialties, and the annual scientific meeting gathers these professionals who present the most current information, research and updates in their expanding fields.



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Robles-Pina Shares Editorial Experience With Higher Ed

How to publish in a journal is one of the many areas of expertise for education professor Rebecca Robles-Pina.

The editor for The Journal of At-Risk Issues for seven years, Robles-Pina has given a number of presentations on how to publish in the journal, including most recently at the National Dropout Prevention Center Network conference in Illinois.

“As an assistant professor, 12 years ago, I realized the importance of scholarly writing for professional advancement in academia. In order to improve on this I volunteered to review for several scholarly journals,” she said. “As my skills improved, I was asked to be the editor for the Journal of At-Risk Issues and felt that the service I would provide would not only help me as a scholar, but most importantly would help advance the scholarly work on dropout issues—a very important topic to me—but I could also assist other professors in advancing their scholarship.

“There are many professors who are just starting their academic careers and graduate students who need someone to mentor them through their first scholarly submissions,” Robles-Pina said. “To mentor them through this process is a service that I enjoy very much, both from a professional and personal perspective.”

For faculty and students interested in submitting scholarly work to publications such as JARI, Robles-Pina suggests the following steps: develop a problem statement related to the mission statement of the journal, use ethical guidelines, collect data, use different sources for conducting the review of the literature, make clear what your research will do, describe participants carefully, use the American Psychological Association’s 6th edition writing style, analyze your data, and after written, “edit, edit, edit,” she said.

For JARI, research is accepted from the three paradigms of research, including quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods.

Sponsored by the National Dropout Prevention Center Network at Clemson University in Clemson, S.C. JARI is designed to provide research about “sustainable programs and best practices that will yield positive results in dropout prevention, reentry, and school completion for youth in at-risk situations,” Robles-Pina said.

JARI is published twice a year in the spring and fall. For online copies of published articles, or to request hard copies, visit http://www.dropoutprevention.org/ndpcdefault.htm.



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High School Students Test Public Safety Skills At SHSU

Students from 29 schools across Texas got to practice skills in public safety jobs during a statewide competition at SHSU. Among the hands-on activities students participated in was forensic testing at crime scenes. —Submitted photo

A total of 305 students from 29 high schools across the state got to step inside the shoes of police, firefighters, lawyers and emergency medical workers during the Texas Public Service Association-sponsored state finals competition at Sam Houston State University.

To get students ready for public service professions, students competed in scenarios from the daily lives of lawyers, law enforcement, firefighters and other emergency workers. Students are tested in the cases studies as well as problem-solving and decision-making skills.

They also competed in a Brain Bowl, which included general knowledge questions in the field and analysis of criminal cases and tested their skills in presenting information by creating a bulletin board.

“We are trying to encourage them first to be better citizens,” said TPSA executive director Jim Ferguson, a former Dallas and Norman, Okla., police officer who works in the Mansfield Independent School District. “We want to give them a taste of these careers.”

Among the situations students participated in are felony traffic stops, foot pursuits, building searches and SWAT extractions; crime scene investigation and fingerprint analysis; firefighting and obstacle courses; opening statements for criminal cases; and first-responder actions.

“I think this is a great experience,” said Serena Martinez, from the Freer School District in South Texas. “It’s a lot like being in the career, where you have to work hard and practice.”

The event followed six regional competitions in El Paso, Burleson, Mercedes, McKinney, Vidor and San Antonio, where an average of 200 students participated at each event.

The goal of TPSA is to provide a venue through competitive events at regional and state levels for students in the law, public safety, corrections and security clusters. These opportunities will train students in these areas and provide networking across Texas with students in the same field, according to Ferguson.



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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
March 15, 2012
Please send comments, corrections, news tips to Today@Sam.edu




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