Today@Sam Article

SHSU Update For Month Of June

June 12, 2015
SHSU Media Contact: Tammy Parrett



SHSU Offers All-Online Master Of Agriculture Degree safe logo

Sam Houston State University’s Department of Agricultural Sciences and Engineering Technology will offer a new online Master of Agriculture degree in sustainable agriculture and food environment beginning in fall 2015.

The SAFE degree program is designed to prepare working professionals for studies in agriculture with a focus on sustainable practices.

The program’s curriculum will explore a variety of modern agricultural pursuits framed by sustainable practices that will include non-traditional and viable enterprises in agriculture, alternative value-added products, modern farming techniques, food safety, and small business marketing.

“We know our students have unique needs and interests in the field of agriculture, so we are excited to offer a fully online degree program that is relevant to modern agriculture with sustainable practices,” department chair Stanley Kelley said.  “SHSU is a leader in online education that has received national recognition. Our faculty are ready to engage you no matter where you live.”

The degree is ideal for small landowners, urban farmers, value-added and cottage food makers, educators, government agents, or anyone interested in local food production. 

It is pending approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. 

For more information, visit or contact Kelley at 936.294.1191.


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Workshop To Provide Students With Loan Repayment Advice

Not only are students being forced to take out larger amounts of student loans due to rising tuitions, but more students than ever are relying on student loans to earn their undergraduate and graduate degrees.

In an effort to educate students about repayment options after graduation, the Student Money Management Center will host a summer session of its popular “After Graduation: Student Loan Repayment” program on June 17.

The program, beginning at 6 p.m. in the Lowman Student Center Theater, will review various rebates and programs available to potentially help students reduce the total amount of student loan debt owed.

The average class of 2015 graduate will owe more than $35,000 in student loan debt, according to the Wall Street Journal. In addition to the increasing amount students are paying for their degrees, the number of students who require the assistance of loans to complete their degrees is increasing as well.

The presentation also will address tuition rebates and how to process the forgiveness feature of a “Be on Time” loan or TEACH Grant, as well as loan deferment or forbearance for students who are not able to immediately begin making loan payments.

“The Student Money Management Center wants to help future graduates learn how to thrive,” said Andrea Rabon, SMMC program coordinator. “We are here to teach them about valuable resources that they may qualify for, such as tuition rebates and student loan forgiveness programs.”

For more information, contact the SMMC at 936.294.2600 or


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SHSU Graduate Student Honored For Research Presentation

The Southwestern Association of Naturalists recently presented SHSU graduate student Kelbi Delaune with the inaugural Student Field Natural History Award at their annual meeting in San Diego.

Delaune’s presentation “Flow-Dependent Competitive Interactions Between The Endangered Gambusia nobilis and Invasive Gambusia geiseri In a Desert Wetland Habitat” investigated the competitive relationship between two species of fish that occur in desert areas in Texas.

In her research, which was part of her graduate thesis, Delaune investigated competition between one type of endangered fish and an invasive fish species in the Chihuahuan Desert in West Texas. 

Delaune and her co-author Chad Hargrave, associate professor of biological sciences at SHSU, constructed a series of ponds to investigate the interaction between the two species in conditions adjusted to mimic a variety of natural habitats. 

“I also investigated the effects of habitat loss in terms of reduced spring flow on endangered fish,” said Delaune. “I am hopeful that this research will provide new insight into the future management of the endangered fish populations.”


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Medical Explorers To Visit SHSU

As part of the Boy Scout Venture Program, 19 medical explorer scouts from Portland, Texas, will visit SHSU on June 15 to take part in medical technology and leadership exercises.

Medical explorers is a co-ed branch of the Boy Scouts of America, focusing on service projects, challenges and shared experiences to prepare students for later life.

“These are highly motivated young men and women who are looking to enter the medical field after high school graduation,” said James Mobley, the group’s adviser and lecturer at SHSU. “SHSU has really gone the extra mile to make sure these students have a positive experience and feel welcome on campus.”

The visit, sponsored by Student Services and the SHSU Department of Health Services and Promotion, will include a variety of activities, including a campus tour, a visit to a virtual emergency department, orientation to the Center for Innovation and Technology, an exercise and tour of the Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Facility, and a disaster simulation at the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas.

“Medical explorers is fun with a purpose,” said Emily Reinhart, a senior at Gregory Portland High School. “We visit with health professionals, take part in community service projects and generally learn about our community.”


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Art, History To Collide At Museum

The Sam Houston Memorial Museum will offer a number of activities for children of all ages this summer, including “Bear Bend Wednesday” and an art camp, highlighting how art and history have gone hand in hand for years.

“Bear Bend Wednesday” will be held at Bear Bend Cabin on the museum grounds from 9 a.m. to noon every other Wednesday beginning June 17. These presentations will focus on a variety of topics, including pioneer skills, a nature walk, the Cherokee alphabet and flower pounding.

Each Bear Bend Wednesday event is different to give the visitors a unique opportunity to enhance their experience at the museum and learn a bit more either about life in early Texas or about the museum grounds itself, where Gen. Sam and Margaret Houston lived and raised their family, according to museum marketing coordinator Megan Buro.

“The nature walk will acquaint our visitors to the wonderful diversity of trees and shrubs located on the museum grounds,” said Helen Belcher, curator of education for the museum. “The Cherokee alphabet event will allow visitors to learn to pronounce their name in Cherokee or pick an animal name for themselves. 

On the pioneer skills day, visitors can experience some of the skills that were needed to survive daily, because life was hard in early Texas, and we will round out our Bear Bend Wednesday with the Cherokee art of flower pounding and tin punch.” 

The museum will also host two summer day camp sessions for kids focused on art and history. Session one will be held Monday (July 27) through Friday (July 31), and will target children ages 6-8. Session two will be held from Monday (Aug. 3) through Friday (Aug. 7) and will be geared toward children between the ages of 9 and 12.

Children will explore and learn different artistic techniques, create mosaics, work with weaving and textiles, make homemade toys and more.

For more information or to register, contact Belcher at 936.294.3153.


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Professor Awarded For ‘Fraud Fighting’liu

Qingzhong (Frank) Liu, assistant professor of computer science at SHSU, recently received the 2015 Fraud Impact Award from the Houston Area Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.

Each year, the ACFE issues the Greater Houston Fraud Impact Award to an individual who made outstanding, significant contributions to the worldwide effort to prevent, deter or detect fraud.

Liu’s research focuses on multimedia forensics, bioinformatics, information assurance, data analysis, computational intelligence and applications. His research in multimedia security and forensics has earned him research grants from the National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice and from the National Science Foundation. He also holds two patents in steganalysis and multimedia forgery detection.

“I am very grateful to be honored by my peers for such a prestigious award,” said Liu. "I am also very grateful to my home department and college and our office of research and sponsored programs for generously lasting the support of my research tasks and the activities by integrating research and education together."

“The distinction of the Fraud Impact Award is continued work that has had a profound impact on the anti-fraud profession,” said Tim Davis, director of community service for the Houston area ACFE. “Dr. Liu’s work has evolved over many years and has positively impacted the abilities of law enforcement, federal agents, and other investigators over a wide area.”

Since joining SHSU in 2010, he has supervised 27 graduate and 2 undergraduate students who have completed projects for Google hangouts, Skype, text messaging and VoIP network packets.


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Faculty To Travel To Chile For ‘Star Studded’ Programaceap logo

Michael Prokosch, laboratory assistant in the physics department, will travel to Chile on June 19 as one of nine ambassadors chosen to represent the United States astronomy education community in the Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassadors Program.

With the ACEAP, Prokosch will visit many of the major international observatories located in the Atacama Desert, including the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, Gemini-South Observatory, and the Atacama Large Millimeter-submilimeter Array.

“This is going to be quite the adventure,” said Prokosch, who serves as the director for the SHSU planetarium and observatory and the president of the Huntsville Amateur Astronomy Society. “I hope to observe some variable stars only visible from the southern hemisphere, and make more people aware of SHSU and the opportunities it has to offer, and hopefully improve its realtions with the international astronomy community.”

As an ambassador, Prokosch will receive in-depth training sessions on astronomical instruments, science and technology. In addition, ambassadors will receive materials and support to further their outreach and education efforts upon their return. 

For more information on his trip, visit his blog at or on Twitter at @shsuobservatory.


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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 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

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