Today@Sam Article

SHSU Update For Week Of Feb. 7

Feb. 5, 2016
SHSU Media Contact: Tammy Parrett



Journalist To Discuss 'Blue Bell Famine'

Blue bellMany people all over the country spent most of 2015 wondering if they would survive the great 'Blue Bell Famine' of 2015, after the company shut down production after listeria was found in multiple plants.

Mark Collette spent months reporting on the event as an investigative reporter for the Houston Chronicle and will discuss what he learned in a lecture on Monday (Feb. 15) at 11 a.m. in Evans Building Room 105.

The event is sponsored by the Elliott T. Bowers Honors College, the Department of English, SHSU Writing in the Disciplines, and the Center for Law, Engagement and Politics.

“Patrick Lewis, in biology, and I have coordinated a team-taught interdisciplinary course for the Honors College on food politics,” said Michael Demson, assistant professor of English. “We are exploring the ramifications of the industrialization of food production in the United States and are taking on the Blue Bell recalls of 2015 as a case study.

“My own unit of the course explores the relationship between investigative reporting and satirical literature, and other faculty members will be discussing the history of dairy farming in Texas, marketing, government regulation, and food-borne diseases, among other topics,” Demson said.

Collette is an award-winning editor and reporter who, prior to beginning his career at the Houston Chronicle, worked for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Galveston County Daily News and Tyler Morning Telegraph.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Demson at 936.294.1430.


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Sorority To Promote Healthy Relationships

axo love isSam Houston State University’s chapter of Alpha Chi Omega sorority will host “Healthy Relationships Week” from Feb. 8-12 to help educate students about healthy relationships.

On Tuesday (Feb. 9) and Thursday (Feb. 11), members of Alpha Chi Omega will be in the Lowman Student Center Mall Area from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. selling shirts to benefit the SAAFE House in Huntsville.

Individuals or groups also will have the opportunity to participate in the “Love is…” campaign by posing for photos and posting them on their social media channels with the hashtag #HealthyAXOLove.

“The ‘Love Is’ campaign is a way for people at SHSU and all around the nation to explain what they feel love is to them,” said vice president of risk management Yasmeen Gutierrez.

On Wednesday (Feb. 10) AXO will host its 24th annual “Hugs and Pampers” drive at 6 p.m. at the AXO house, during which the sorority will collect baby items and women’s toiletry items such as toilet paper, paper towels, kitchen trash bags, hair brushes, bobby pins, hair ties, hairspray, shampoo and conditioner, hand soap, diapers, pull-ups, powder drink mixes, and toys to donate to the SAAFE House.

Organizations can accrue points by donating items, and the organization that collects the most points will win a cash prize to donate to their philanthropy, according to Gutierrez.

“Our goal is to promote awareness about healthy relationships, which will in turn help prevent domestic abuse,” Gutierrez said.

For more information, contact Gutierrez at


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Fair To Connect Students, Local Organizations

volunteer fairStudents who are interested in volunteer service opportunities are invited to attend the Volunteer Opportunities Fair on Wednesday (Feb. 10) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Lowman Student Center Mall Area.

The volunteer opportunities fair is hosted by the Center for Leadership and Service each semester as a way to connect students with local organizations in need of volunteers.

Students can meet with representatives from agencies such as CASA of Walker County, the Huntsville Community Theatre, SAAFE House, Texas Department of Criminal Justice Volunteer Services, and the American Cancer Society.

“This event provides a way for students looking for volunteer opportunities to engage face-to-face with organizations in the area,” said Sarah Hagler, graduate assistant for service programs. “Many of these organizations could not function without the help of volunteers, so this event is extremely helpful in assisting local nonprofits to fulfill their missions."

The only thing students should bring is an enthusiasm for service, according to Hagler. Students are welcome to visit with attending representatives at their leisure and see what opportunities they might be interested in.

For more information, contact Hagler at 936.294.1976.


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Master’s Candidate To Share Mexican Culture In Performance

sarah sanchezSarah Sanchez, a Master of Fine Arts candidate in the SHSU dance department, will transform her dance thesis concert into a “fiesta” on Friday (Feb. 12) at 7 p.m. in the Gaertner Performing Arts Center Dance Theatre.

“Viva La Mexicana” is more than just a thesis performance, according to Sanchez; it is an experience that she hopes will guide the audience into the Mexican culture.

“My dance research is centered on the contemporary Hispanic woman in the Mexican dance form Ballet Folklorico,” Sanchez said. “I've been challenging the traditional codified steps, storylines and costumes, seeking new ways of expressing Mexican culture through dance.

"Very often in traditional Ballet Folklorico I see the female character being portrayed as a flirty, fragile character. In my concert, you will get to see a Ballet Folklorico dancer break out and show masculinity, strength, freedom, and confidence.”

The fiesta will take place in the GPAC Lobby, where Houston’s “Mariachi Sol Azteca” will perform and two art department students will do face painting. There will be a crafts corner for kids to create fiesta floats out of shoeboxes, a spinning wheel, a soda bottle ring toss, and artwork created by San Antonio artist RAWLZA.

“I taught a group of dancers to move to salsa, merengue, bachata, and cumbias style music, and they will be inviting guests to join them and learn these popular Latin dances,” Sanchez said.

The event is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Sanchez at


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Organization To Ring In Chinese New Year

Sam Houston State University’s Chinese Language and Culture Club will host the 2016 Chinese New Year celebration to ring in the Year of the Monkey on Tuesday (Feb. 9) from 5-7 p.m. in the Lowman Student Center Room 110.

The celebration will include traditional Chinese dishes and snacks that are typically eaten for Chinese New Year, as well as traditional presents.

Chinese New Year is a festival celebrated at the turn of the Chinese calendar, which falls on the new moon between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20. Also known as Spring Festival, it is one of the most important social and economic holidays in China.

Many used the time to honor their ancestors, while also bringing family together to feast.

The event is free and open to all students.

For more information, contact sophomore English major Charis Vieira at


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Prof Named To Sexual Assault Prevention Board

charmin whiteCharmin White, clinical assistant professor of nursing at Sam Houston State University, recently was appointed as Region D Representative to the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault Board.

TAASA is a statewide organization committed to ending sexual violence in Texas through education, prevention and advocacy.  In the meantime, they strive to support survivors on their paths to hope, healing and justice, according to White.

As a board member, White will assist in the development and implementation of necessary strategies to sustain networking with community agencies, as well as set goals and develop programs to accomplish a mission.

White has worked to put an end to sexual violence for many years. Prior to her career at SHSU, she worked with the University of Texas Medical Branch Forensic Nursing Team Emergency Services, Harris County Forensic Nursing Services and Galveston County Children’s Assignment Center Case Review. She also currently serves as a sexual assault nurse examiner at SHSU.

“Some of the most meaningful parts of my work come from working in victim services,” White said. “I hope that in this position, I am able to instruct the adult, adolescent and pediatric SANE courses that I developed, along with my colleague Veronica Sjolander and the Office of the Attorney General, which would make the nurse eligible for certification through the Office of Attorney General. ”

A sexual assault nurse examiner is a registered nurse who provides comprehensive care and attends to the medical-legal needs of victims and their families, as well as the perpetrators of crime, violence and abuse. The nurse collects forensic evidence and may provide expert testimony as well as education to juries.


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Prof Named As Finalist For Achievement Award

ruth massingillRuth Massingill, associate professor of mass communication at Sam Houston State University, recently was recognized as a finalist for the British Council’s Education UK Alumni Awards’ Professional Achievement Award.

The Professional Achievement Award recognizes alumni who have distinguished themselves through exemplary leadership and achievements in their professional industry and who can demonstrate the highest level of integrity and character in their professional career.

The awards will be presented at the 2016 Education UK Alumni Awards and Gala on March 3 in New York City.

Massingill graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and studio art in 1975 and went on to earn her Master of Arts degree in journalism from the University of Wyoming in 1977. She received her doctorate degree from Teesside University in 2011.

She began her career at Sam Houston State University in 1988, and she has worked in a variety of roles. Her areas of interest include social marketing, HIV/AIDS communication, and ethnographic studies of Texas culture and institutions.

She recently wrote and produced a video series, “HIV/AIDS: Knowledge is Power,” which won three international awards. She is currently developing a multimedia project on how HIV/AIDS health activism has reshaped public communication.


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Report Studies Title IX, Campus Sexual Assault

To address concerns over sexual violence on college campuses, higher education institutions are required to appoint a Title IX Coordinator to investigate incidents, but few are trained to deal with the broad range of offenses the job entails, a study by the Crime Victims’ Institute found.

“Campus Response to Sexual Assault, Intimate Partner Violence, and Stalking: A Survey of Title IX Coordinators in Texas,” by former SHSU research associate Nicole Wilkes and Leana Bouffard, CVI director and professor of criminal justice at Sam Houston State University, randomly surveyed 26 Title IX Coordinators at colleges and universities in Texas. Although 88 percent of coordinators were provided training on investigating sexual assault cases, less than half were trained on identifying, investigating or responding to cases involving stalking, intimate partner violence, drug-facilitated sexual assault, cyberstalking and harassment, or lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender cases.

“These victimizations are each unique, and training is essential to understand the dynamics of abuse, as well as the impact of these crimes on victims and reasons for recanting or non-reporting,” Bouffard said. “It is not uncommon for situations of intimate partner violence and stalking, in particular, to have a risk of lethality.”

Title IX prohibits gender-based discrimination in educational programming and applies to sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking, hate crime, pregnancy and other discriminatory factors among students, employees and visitors. Under Title IX, each campus must designate a coordinator and a policy that provides reasonable accommodations to the victim.

The report, which is shared with Texas Legislature and victim advocacy groups across the state, provides the first glance at the how the Title IX program is implemented in Texas.

“The findings from this survey are an initial step in understanding the implementation of Title IX on campuses, as well as the training and background of Title IX Coordinators,” said Bouffard. “The results presented here can be used as a point of reference on training needs of the Title IX Coordinators and responsible employees, as well as gaps in collaborative efforts and resources provided to victims.”

The report is available from the Crime Victims’ Institute at


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Today@Sam Seeks Experts, Story Ideas

Are you an expert in a topic might be of interest to reporters? Or even a unique topic? Would you like to have your research interests highlighted or discuss your expertise with reporters seeking interviewees?

The university Communications Office is collecting information and story ideas for its ongoing projects, including the online SHSU Experts Guide, the SHSU home page and Today@Sam. 

The SHSU Experts Guide was established as a resource for the media, who turn to university experts lists for potential interviewees for news stories. Faculty who are interested in being a part of the university's database of experts can submit their biographical and personal information, as well as their areas of expertise, through the Experts Guide Submission Form available online at

Other story ideas, both news and features on faculty or student research and accomplishments can be sent to or For news stories, please include the date, location and time of the event, as well as a brief description and a contact person.

All information, including news 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. Feature story ideas for the SHSU home page ("sliders") should be sent a minimum of two months in advance.

To see a full list of the Today@Sam submission guidelines, or to access submission forms for news and feature stories or hometown releases, visit

For more information, call 936.294.1836.

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