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SHSU Update For Week Of Feb. 9

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Lecture To Address ‘Psychology’ of Overreacting

Would you be upset if your Valentine gave you white roses instead of red roses? Or if your partner didn’t plan the most romantic Valentine’s Day date?

Mark LearyOn Tuesday (Feb. 11), the SHSU psychology program will host a guest speaker who will address the big effects of small frustrations.

Mark Leary, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University, will present “Overreactions to Trivial Events: Why Do People Sometimes ‘Lose It’ Over Minor Things?” at 4 p.m. in College of Humanities and Social Sciences Building Room 262.

Leary’s research and writing has centered on social motivation and emotion, emphasizing people’s concerns with interpersonal evaluation and the negative effects of excessive self-focused thought.

His talk will describe research that examines the people’s tendencies to have “disproportionate reactions” to certain events, that is, reacting strongly to a minor event or something that seems to have no bearing on a person’s well being.

“Presumably, such reactions stem from the symbolic meaning of such events, but we don’t know enough about why people sometimes respond to interpersonal situations in a manner that far exceeds the response needed to deal with the potential threat, if any, to their well-being,” said Rowland Miller, SHSU psychology professor.

“These kinds of overreactions underlie a lot of interpersonal conflict and aggression, ranging from spats in close relationship to serious incidents involving road rage, domestic violence, child abuse, and aggressive reactions to objectively inconsequential slights,” Miller said. “In each case, the precipitating event is of little or no practical importance, yet people respond as if they are facing an immense, tangible threat.”

Leary, who earned his doctorate from the University of Florida in 1980, is the outgoing editor of Personality and Social Psychology Review and president-elect of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.

He has published 12 books and more than 200 scholarly articles and chapters on topics such as self-presentation; self-attention; social emotions such as social anxiety, embarrassment and hurt feelings; and interpersonal rejection.

For more information, contact Miller, at miller@shsu.edu or 936.294.1176.


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Task Force Section Chief To Get ‘Real’ About Fraud

Thomas McCormickThomas McCormick has fought crime and injustice as a Justice Advocate General in the U.S. Air Force and as an assistant attorney general for the State of Louisiana.

Now the insurance fraud section chief for the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office, McCormick is part of a multi-agency task force that investigates and prosecutes cases that include theft, arson, fictitious policies, premium avoidance, and fraud in health care, home and auto repair, and workers compensation, among many others.

McCormick will talk about some of those cases on Monday (Feb. 10) for the Real Talk with CJ presentation, beginning at 2 p.m. in the CJ Center’s Hazel B. Kerper Courtroom.

“We are very diverse, and do not do just one thing; we have the flexibility to do all types of fraud cases,” McCormick said. “We have found that if they lie and cheat with the insurance companies, they probably lie and cheat on their taxes too.”

Insurance fraud costs Americans at least $80 billion a year, nearly $950 for each family.

To combat the issue, Louisiana formed a task force in 2000, which has seven prosecutors who handle more than 1,000 cases a year.

Among McCormick’s most notorious cases are insurance fraud from Hurricanes Katrina and Gustav involving both consumers and insurance agencies; the prosecution of former hockey star Eric Cloutier, who pled guilty to tax evasion charges for manipulating sales tax receipts at two popular Lafayette bars he owned; and the conviction of a Louisiana fire chief for falsifying fire reports used to determine fire ratings for homeowner and business insurance, resulting in millions of dollar in loss in insurance premiums.

Before joining the Attorney General’s Office, McCormick was an active duty JAG with the U.S. Air Force, where he provided services at bases in Florida and Oklahoma.

In 2005, he was deployed to Iraq as a special prosecutor assigned to the Central Criminal Court, where he prosecuted more than 325 Iraqi detainees and insurgents responsible for attacks and crimes against coalition forces.

McCormick’s duties have earned him numerous awards, including the Air Force Sergeants Association General Douglas MacArthur Award, USAF Robert Lowery JAG Award, Tyndall Airman of the Year in 1996 and 1997, Vance AFB Officer of the Year in 2002 and 2003, the Iraqi Freedom Medal and Global War on Terrorism Medal, among many others.

“I believe you don’t just do you job; you should always do more than your job,” said McCormick. “You should be a sponge and know the mission. You should also know why your boss is asking the question and understand what the bosses’ boss is asking, too.”

McCormick is the twin brother of Lt. Col. Robert McCormick, the SHSU Military Science Department chair.

McCormick and his wife, Candy, have two daughters, Skylar, 18, and Ashley, 15, and a 10-year-old son, Matthew.

The presentation also will be available live on the web at cjcenter.org/live.


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Speaker To Share Work With Missing, Exploited Children

Shannon Posern will discuss her work to protect youth in Texas from child abduction, child pornography, sex trafficking and Internet bullying on Wednesday (Feb. 12) as part of the Voices Lecture Series, from 2-3 p.m. in the Criminal Justice Center’s Hazel B. Kerper Courtroom.

Posern is a program manager for the Texas Regional Office of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Austin-based office that offers child safety education and trainings for law enforcement and prosecutors.

Her work is geared toward prevention, coordinating education programs for law enforcement officers, teachers, school districts, and community and outreach agencies.

Shannon Posern handing a sticker to a little girl
Posern handing out stickers at a National Center for Missing & Exploited Children event. —Submitted photo

The NCMEC is the leading nonprofit organization in the U.S., working with law enforcement, families and professionals who assist with issues related to missing or sexually exploited children. The NCMEC is instrumental in finding missing children, and it has received more than 3.8 million calls on its hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST, since its creation in 1984.

The agency assists children who are adducted, lost, runaways, long-term missing, endangered, displaced by disaster, victimized, exploited or trafficked. Through public awareness, the recovery rate for missing children has jumped from 62 percent in 1990 to 97 percent today.

Because Texas is border state as well as a popular destination for sporting events, national conferences, and the oil and gas industry, it attracts human trafficking for sexual services, including child sex trafficking. It is estimated that one in eight endangered runaways are likely child sex trafficking victims.

NCMEC has sponsored conferences for law enforcement and community agencies across the state to raise awareness about the issue and to teach professionals how to recognize, interview and remove endangered children who do not exhibit obvious signs of abuse. The agency also provided technical assistance to the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice during Operation Cross Country in July, a nationwide law enforcement action focusing on the victims of child sex trafficking.

The Texas regional office also has launched several child safety initiatives, including the Take 25 campaign, which encourages parents to take 25 minutes to speak to their children about safety issues, and a one-day training session for more than 10,000 middle school children in the El Paso Independent School District.

The NCMEC also trains law enforcement officers at the local, county, state and federal levels to raise awareness about resources available from the agency, which includes customized training on specific issues and online webinars on key developments.

Posern said for students interested in careers with children, non-profits provide a wealth of opportunities.

“There are a lot of different options when it comes to non-profits,” Posern said. “We need people in IT, people who can build web sites, public speakers, teachers, social workers, human resource personnel, and managers. It runs the gamut.”

The presentation also will be available live on the web at cjcenter.org/live.


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Sorority To Encourage Healthy Relationships With Awareness Events

The Delta Kappa Chapter of Alpha Chi Omega will combat domestic violence by encouraging the Sam Houston State University campus to develop healthy relationships as part of its second annual Healthy Relationships Week, Feb. 10-14.

The week is part of Alpha Chi Omega’s philanthropy to prevent domestic violence by raising awareness of the problem and providing an avenue for the community and students to help.

The Delta Kappa Chapter specifically partners and supports the local Huntsville SAAFE House, to which all donations and 40 percent of proceeds received throughout the week will be given.

“Domestic violence is an ongoing problem in society today; it is sort of a hidden topic that nobody really talks about because the consequences of domestic violence can be life threatening,” said Anna Ward, sophomore criminal justice major and vice president risk management for AXO. “As a member of Alpha Chi Omega, we try to raise the awareness that domestic violence can happen to anyone.”

Throughout the week, except for Wednesday (Feb. 12), AXO will be in the Lowman Student Center Mall Area from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. selling T-shirts, buttons and homemade baked goods to benefit the SAAFE House.

Individuals or groups will also have the chance to participate in the Love is…Campaign by taking a picture with a sign that says “Love is______,” which will be posted to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Social media savvy students can use hashtags such as #healthyAXOlove, #loveisrespect and #AXO through the week.

On Tuesday (Feb. 11) members of Alpha Chi Omega are asking the Bearkat and Huntsville communities to join with them in wearing orange to promote respect and healthy relationships by wearing orange wristbands saying “Love Doesn’t Hurt,” which will be passed out in the LSC Mall Area from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“Healthy Relationships Week can impact such a large population that suffers from domestic violence,” Ward said. “Alpha Chi Omega wants people to know that they are not alone in the fight to end domestic violence.”

For more information contact Ward at atw008@shsu.edu.


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Exhibit Shares Personal Stories From African Civil War

An art exhibit by an SHSU adjunct professor that is inspired by an 11-year-old survivor of a civil war in Liberia, West Africa, is currently on display in the Lowman Student Center Art Gallery.

“Reclaiming Hope: a visual conversation about war and healing,” which will be in the gallery through Feb. 15, features the work of First Year Experience adjunct faculty member Edie Wells, who teaches University 1301, “Introduction to Collegiate Studies,” courses.

abstract art with images of bullets, skulls, children, windows
An image from Edie Well's exhibition "Reclaiming Hope," which reflects the "nightmarish" experiences of the people of Liberia who lived through a 14-year civil war. —Submitted image

The exhibit is inspired by Wells’s experience living and working as an artist for a publishing house in Monrovia, Liberia, for two years.

While there, she was captivated by the “rhythms, flavors, colors and community,” as well as by a 9-year-old girl named Faith, who would dance with her playmates for Wells.

“The children wrapped themselves around my heart with their spirited flailing arms and wiggling hips. Those two years changed me forever,” she said. “One week before leaving, a small rebel invasion occurred in the northern part of Liberia. No one thought anything would come of it.

“I returned to the states and within six months Faith, her family, my friends, and thousands of other Liberians faced a brutal civil war that lasted 14 years.”

“Reclaiming Hope” includes a book of drawings that serve as a diary of events Faith experienced during the first two years of the war, which she later presented as a gift to Wells.

The exhibit also includes paintings by Wells that are inspired by Faith’s experiences, as she followed news footage depicting “rebel soldiers with evil in their eyes and reports of atrocities such as throwing babies in the air while shooting them and cutting fetuses out of pregnant women” and bombs destroying airfields and power structures.

“Faith’s story was manifested in my nightmares,” Wells said. “Night after night, I restlessly dreamed that I was with my friends, running, ducking and covering from the dropping shells and changing enemy lines.”

While her paintings reflect issues of memory and loss, they also echo the reclamation and hope Wells felt when she returned to the country in 2001 to work with a team devoted to rebuilding schools.

“The landscape, wounded by bullets and bombs, still reflected a country’s struggles with corruption and political upheaval; however, many Liberian friends demonstrated unbroken spirits and unwavering hope,” Wells said. “Their resilience fuels my pledge to stand for peace, fight against injustice and reclaim hope that even one child, one voice, can make a difference.”


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Trombone, Piano Concerts Scheduled For Feb. 10, 11

Student trombonists and a guest pianist will fill the James and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center with music on two days, beginning Monday (Feb. 10).

The SHSU Trombone Choir will tune up first, at 7:30 p.m. in the GPAC Concert Hall, with a concert collaboration that will help them prepare for a showcase performance at the Texas Music Educators Association Conference later in the week.

Joining SHSU’s ensemble will be The Woodlands Trombone Choir, comprised of talented high school students who are under the direction of SHSU graduate Jason Harvey. That group is also preparing to perform a showcase concert at TMEA, according to trombone instructor Ben Osborne.

The two ensembles will perform works by Bach, Gershwin and John Williams, as well as a finale with the combined choirs performing Henry Mancini's “The Pink Panther.”

The SHSU Trombone Choir is comprised of 12 graduate and undergraduate music majors.
Admission to their concert is free.

On Tuesday (Feb. 11), Andrew Parr, a piano professor at Stephen F. Austin State University, will perform 18th- and 19th- century classics by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Gabriel Fauré, Franz Liszt and Frédéric Chopin at 7:30 p.m. in the GPAC Recital Hall.

Earlier that day, Parr also will give a piano master class with students learning under director of keyboard studies Ilonka Rus-Edery from 12:30-1:50 p.m. in the GPAC in the Recital Hall.

Parr, a native of Northeast Ohio, began playing piano at the age of 5. He went on to study at Kent State University; at the Hochschule für Musik and Darstellende Kunst in Vienna, Austria, as the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship; and at Yale University, where he earned the Master and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees.

Since moving to Texas in 1983 to join the SFA faculty, Parr has performed extensively in solo, chamber and concerto settings across the state and in the former country of Yugoslavia.

Tickets for the evening concert are $15 for general admission, $12 for senior citizens and $5 for SHSU students. Admission to the master class is free.

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


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Valentine’s Day Readings To Share Languages Of Love

The foreign languages department will celebrate love around the world as professors and students come together to read works in what has traditionally been considered the medium of love on Thursday (Feb. 13).

The Valentine’s Day Multilingual Love Poetry Readings will be shared from 3-4 p.m. on the third floor back landing of Academic Building IV.

The annual event will include presentations of reader-selected Romantic poetry, delivered in languages such as Arabic, Finnish, Chinese, Japanese, German, French, Italian and Spanish, representing many of the languages taught at SHSU, as well as the diversity of the SHSU community, according to Debra Andrist, chair of the foreign languages department.

Readings in languages other than Spanish will begin at 3 p.m., followed by readings in Spanish at 3:30 p.m. in Academic Building IV Room 301.

"The idea of the event is to celebrate Valentine's Day multi-culturally by affording students, faculty and staff the opportunity to hear how cultures other than English-speaking celebrate love, if not the specific holiday," she said. "It's also an opportunity to read aloud and/or practice listening skills in target languages, not to mention broadening horizons in poetry."

Valentine’s Day candy will be served.

The event is free and open to the public.

For more information, call the foreign languages department at 936.294.1441.


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IMPACT Wrestling Tour To Invade SHSU On Sunday

Bearkat and area wrestling fans can share in “the world’s most innovative experience in professional wrestling” when TNA Entertainment brings its lineup of IMPACT Wrestling superstars to Sam Houston State University on Sunday (Feb. 16).

The Huntsville tour pit stop will include live cage matches by Bully Ray, Magnus, Mr. Anderson, Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle, “The IT Factor” Bobby Roode and “The Cowboy” James Storm.

The show will begin at the 5 p.m., in the Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum.

“This wrestling event is quite unique in that steel cage matches are rare for ‘house shows.’ Fans might see one on a pay-per-view, but hardly ever at a non-televised event like this one,” said Ed Chatal, Department of Recreational Sports associate director for facilities. “Both wrestling fans and those who might not be will enjoy themselves. The wrestlers will interact with all those in attendance, I can promise you.”

While this will be the first time TNA Impact has appeared at Johnson Coliseum, the coliseum has worked with promoters of all types for years, according to Chatal.

“We have worked with the WWE and the old WCW in the past,” Chatal said. “I consider ‘The Nature Boy’ Ric Flair to be the most prestigious wrestler to walk through the coliseum tunnel door. Mr. Flair wrestled here in 1998 and in 1999.”

TNA IMPACT Wrestling broadcasts weekly on SPIKE TV.

TNA also produces monthly pay-per-view events and more than 100 live shows a year. The product is broadcast for millions of viewers in more than 120 countries.

Tickets start at $15 and are available at the Johnson Coliseum Box Office, online at centralticketoffice.com or by phone at 817.335.9000 or 936.294.3021. Fans who purchase a $65 ticket will meet select IMPACT Wrestling superstars at an early-entry autograph session at 3 p.m.

Johnson Coliseum is located at 800 Bowers Blvd. in Huntsville.

For more information, contact Chatal at 936.294.1985, or visit impactwrestling.com.


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Prof Discusses Economic Effects Of ACA

Troy Quast, associate professor of economics in Sam Houston State University’s Department of Economics and International Business, recently helped “unravel” the Affordable Health Care Act for a Greater Houston Builders Association panel.

Troy QuastQuast, who currently teaches a new health economics course at SHSU that covers the ACA, participated in the Jan. 29 panel to discuss the effects of the ACA.

“I spoke mostly about ‘big picture’ economic issues, such as why the law was passed and extent to which the law will likely be fully implemented,” Quast said. “Specifically, I talked about how it is likely that large parts of the law may never be put into effect.”

Quast was asked to participate in the panel after being referred to the group as an economist who was familiar with the law and its economic impact. The other speakers included Brian Stevenson, president of The Stevenson Group, and Frederic Warner, system executive for policy and government relations with Memorial Hermann Healthcare Systems.

“The association is comprised of local builders, so the goal of the panel was to educate the builders regarding the law's background and its likely effects on their businesses,” he said.

Quast has taught at SHSU since 2006 and previously worked as a senior analyst for the National Economic Research Associates in Washington, D.C.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from George Washington University, his master’s degree from the University of Texas and his doctoral degree from the University of Florida.

He has presented and published extensively on the economic impact of various health care-related issues and programs.


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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 https://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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