Today@Sam Article

SHSU Update For Week Of April 9

April 7, 2017
SHSU Media Contact: Lane Fortenberry

Hayes And Orrick Receive National Teaching Awards

Brittany Hayes (top), Erin Orrick (bottom)

Two faculty members in Sam Houston State University’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology have been presented teaching awards from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, one of the largest professional organizations for academics in the field.

Assistant professors Brittany Hayes and Erin Orrick received the 2017 SAGE Junior Faculty Teaching Award “recognition of significant promise as a teacher.”

Created in 2008, the award recognizes new teaching professionals in the criminal justice and criminology disciplines. The award is funded by an annual donation from SAGE publications and royalties contributed by participating SAGE authors. Winners received a travel stipend to attend the ACJS Professional Development Teaching Workshop at this year’s conference in Kansas City.

To be eligible for the award, individuals had to receive a graduate degree within the last five years and teach classes in criminal justice or criminology full time.

Hayes joined the College of Criminal Justice in 2014. She specializes in research on intimate partner abuse, particularly risk factors for intimate partner abuse in developing nations, and contextual factors that influence behaviors and attitudes. She has published articles in such peer-reviewed journals as “American Sociological Review,” “Social Science Research” and “Sociological Perspectives.” Her dissertation was titled "The process of separation for victims of intimate partner violence: Evaluating risk of indirect and physical abuse relating to interpersonal events."

“As an instructor, I continually seek out workshops on new and innovative teaching methods,” Hayes said after receiving the award. “I find learning from others with different experiences can only further improve my teaching.”

Orrick, who joined the college in 2013, specializes in the field of corrections, including contemporary issues, prisoner reentry and recidivism, as well as criminal careers and criminal justice policy. She recently published articles in several leading journals, including “Crime and Delinquency,” the “Journal of Criminal Justice” and the “Journal of Criminal Justice Education.”

“This award highlights the support ACJS and SAGE provide to develop junior faculty, and the importance of sharing best practices to improve classroom experiences for students,” Orrick said.

Back to top

MFA Program To Celebrate Prof’s New Poetry Book

The Sam Houston State University MFA Program in Creative Writing, Editing and Publishing will celebrate the launch of Ching-In Chen’s newest book, “recombinant,” with a reading and book signing on Monday (April 10) at 5:30 p.m. in Austin Hall.

Chen is an assistant professor of English and a member of the MFA faculty at SHSU.Chen350

“When reading Dr. Chen's new book, ‘recombinant,’ I'm drawn into the tense space between erasure and endurance,” said Nick Lantz, a fellow poet and assistant professor in the SHSU creative writing program. “The book explores how forces like nation, language, and time erode so many personal details (our true names, histories, identities) but how, at the same time, the past persists in its artifacts that resist erasure—whether those artifacts are literal objects like a basket and fan plotting their escape from a museum, or the names on census forms that hint at the lives of immigrants, or even the genes that connect us with our ancestors. 

“Dr. Chen's poems live in this challenging space between what has been lost and what can be salvaged—or perhaps reconstructed,” he said. “The book's title, ‘recombinant, refers to the process of creating new organisms that possess genes not found in either parent organism. It's an extremely apt metaphor for this book, which weaves together poems out of splices and fragments of language from multiple sources and linguistic registers, creating something entirely new.” 

Dr. Chen is also the author of “The Heart's Traffic,” as well as co-editor of “The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities” and “Here is a Pen: an Anthology of West Coast Kundiman Poets.”

Dr. Chen’s work has also appeared in “The Best American Experimental Writing,” “The &NOW Awards 3: The Best Innovative Writing,” and “Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics.” 

"Ching-In Chen is an incredibly important voice in poetry,” said Olivia Clare, assistant professor of English. “I've attended several of their readings before, and I can tell you that those readings were some of the best I've ever attended. Ching-In Chen's new book of poems is so powerful; these poems do not leave you after you've read them. Chen's reading is an event not to be missed."

The reading and book signing is co-sponsored by the SHSU LGBTQI* Faculty and Staff Network and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

The event is open and free to the public.

Back to top

SHSU Art Song Competition Winners Announced

Sam Houston State University’s School of Music presented the Fourth Annual SHSU Art Song Competition on April 2 in the James and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center.

The final round of the competition, a formal evening concert presented to audience members, featured five finalist teams and concluded with three

Pianist Jose-Ramon Garcia-Perez and soprano Gisela Gonzalez were awarded first place in this year's Art Song Competition.

winning teams selected by a panel of esteemed judges.

First place was awarded to soprano Gisela Gonzalez and pianist Jose-Ramon Garcia-Perez, who each received $1,000 scholarships. The winning team wowed the audience with song selections that included Spanish Dancer, from Parodies by Seymour Barab, Epheu, from Mädchenblumen by Richard Strauss and Fleur jetée by Gabriel Fauré.

“I was speechless,” Gonzalez said. “I couldn't believe they announced my name up there because everyone whom I shared the stage with did an amazing job.”

Garcia-Perez placed twice at the competition; he won first place with Gonzalez and third place with soprano Giselle Burris, whom he placed first with at last year’s competition.

“This year was even more satisfying because I learned all new repertory of a quite demanding level for the piano and for the ensemble with the singer,” Garcia-Perez said.

Gonzalez is under the instruction of SHSU assistant professor Nicole Asel. Garcia-Perez is under the instruction of SHSU assistant professor Josu De Solaun.

Second Place was awarded to Kelsie Randles and Denisa Micliuc.  Third Place was awarded to Giselle Burris and Garcia-Perez.

Created in 2014, the Art Song Competition was designed to promote student singer and collaborative pianist achievement in the performance of song literature and to promote degree studies at SHSU that encompass vocal and collaborative piano arts. Ronald E. Shields, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication, along with his wife, Renee Thompson, served as founding sponsors of the competition.

Back to top

Beto Chair Lecture Set For April 13

Edward R. Maguire, professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University, will present “New Directions in Procedural Justice Research” as part of the Beto Chair Lecture Series.

The presentation will be Thursday (April 13) from 9:30-11 a.m. in the Hazel B. Kerper Courtroom.

Throughout his career, Maguire has focused on the study of policing, violence and social science research methods, using insight from organizational theory to help improve police agencies. Most recently, he has concentrated on procedural justice, protest policing and the capacity of police in addressing violent crime.

He is heavily involved in research on public opinion toward crime and justice in several nations, with a particular focus on perceptions of procedural justice and legitimacy in policing and corrections. 

Maguire studies policing issues in the U.S. and abroad, with a particular emphasis on developing nations. He is currently leading a study of Salvadoran gangs in El Salvador and the U.S. and an evaluation of the CureViolence initiative in Trinidad and Tobago. His research also has included a six-year study of violent crime in Trinidad and Tobago, a four-year study of human trafficking in the Philippines, three national studies of police organization and innovation in the U.S, and a national study of protest policing practices in the U.S.

Maguire also is interested in social science research methods, particularly around measurement issues. Several of his recent papers challenge conventional approaches to measuring important concepts in criminology and other social science disciplines. Improving measurement is one way to accomplish twin objectives: improving theory-testing and making social science more relevant.

Back to top

Texas Native To Read From Debut Poetry Collection

Andrew Wessels, poet and managing editor of Les Figues Press, will read from his debut full-length collection of poetry, “A Turkish Dictionary,” on Thursday (April 13) at 11:30 a.m. in Evans 212. The MFA Program in Creative Writing, Editing and Publishing sponsors the reading.

Olivia Clare, assistant professor of English at SHSU, said,Andrew Wessels is a remarkable poet. He is also an outstanding literary citizen. I know, too,AndrewWessels630 he'll have a lot to say about the process of writing his first book, and that's a subject that's on the minds of so many of our students. We're thrilled to have him join us."

As a native Texan whose wife’s family lives in Turkey, Wessels currently splits his time between Istanbul, where he teaches writing at Koç University, and Los Angeles.

“A Turkish Dictionary,” published this spring by 1913 Press, is his first full-length book. Semi Circle,” a chapbook of his translations of the Turkish poet Nurduran Duman, was published by Goodmorning Menagerie in 2016.

“’A Turkish Dictionary’ may be read as a work of translation theory, a historical travel guide to where East merges with West, a philosophical investigation, a love letter ‘from A to Z,’ and an indefinite lexicon wherein ‘the cloud of word is cloud,’” said poet Srikanth Reddy.

Wessels’s poems, translations and collaborations can be found in the literary journals “Volt,” “Witness,” “Fence,” “Tammy,” and “Colorado Review,” and other places. He has held fellowships from Poets & Writers and The Black Mountain Institute. In addition to his work with Les Figues Press, he is an editor for the literary journal “The Offending Adam.”

“I'm so delighted to have this opportunity to come visit Sam Houston State,” Wessels said. “I was born and raised in The Woodlands and Houston, so it's particularly special for me to return and share my work with the students here. Since first leaving Texas at eighteen, I've lived in Los Angeles, Boston, Las Vegas and, most recently the last two years, in Istanbul. 

“During this time, I've worked on writing and publishing my first book,” he said. “At its heart, this book is about wandering the world and, in particular, my experiences learning Turkish and living in Istanbul, and I'm excited to get to return to my home and share these explorations in the place I grew up.”

The reading and book signing is free and open to the public.

Back to top

Bearkat All Paws In Registration Deadline NearsBearkatAllPawsIn330

The deadline for Sam Houston State University’s Bearkat All Paws In, the biggest community service event at the university, has been extended to Wednesday (April 12) at midnight.

Bearkat All Paws In, hosted by the Student Government Association, will have volunteers in the general Walker County area helping with the event. Around 1,500 volunteers are needed this year, and organizations on campus are encouraged to volunteer.

Any organizations and individuals interested in participating in BAPI have to register online. Organizations that want to volunteer together at the same sites must have its members register individually and indicate which organization they are with on the registration form.

Registered individuals will receive a T-shirt and breakfast at registration on the day of the event.

There will be a mandatory organization informational meeting on April 13 at 5 p.m. in Lowman Student Center Room 326. One representative from each organization must attend.

After the community service projects are completed for the day, all volunteers and the general public will be invited to the first Community Fest, which will include live music, food, family activities and giveaways. It will be held at the City Hall Amphitheatre from noon to 4 p.m.

For more information, visit the site.

To register to volunteer, fill out the form here, or register in person at LSC Room 326 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Back to top

All-Female Soft Skills Panel Set For April 13FemalePanel630

Sam Houston State University’s Communication Department and Career Services will host the second of three panel events, Backpack to Briefcase, on Thursday (April 13) from 12:30-2 p.m. in Academic Building IV Room 220.

The theme of the panel is “Leaning In: Breaking the Glass Ceiling.”

The event will feature an all-female executive panel to discuss the soft skills needed in leadership, ethics, work collaboration and job markets.

Attending leaders and executives include:

  • Audrey Blevins– Spirt of Texas Bank, Vice President – Commercial Lending
  • Constance Borders– Woodforest National Bank, Assistant Vice President
  • Leshia Fisher– Texas Department of Family & Protective Svs., Regional Director
  • Laura Livingston– Health Communications, TX A&M Health & Science Center
  • Crystal Swanson– Mars, Inc., Vice President - Marketing 
  • Angela Sweet – Co-Owner of Sweet Financial Group, LP
  • Angela Zatopek – Owner of Elevare Jewelry

For more information, contact Terri Jaggers, clinical assistant professor, at

Back to top

Clarinet Studio Recital To Feature 28 Students

The Sam Houston State University School of Music will host a Clarinet Studio Recital on April 10 from 7:30-8:30 p.m. at the Gaertner Performing Arts Center Recital Hall. 

According to Professor of Clarinet Patricia Card, the recital will feature 28 students who make up the Clarinet Studio. These students study with Card Music630and lecturer Andrea Harrell. 

The recital will feature five chamber groups, which have anywhere from two to six students.  

“The chamber groups often have four or five different parts so that each part is basically a solo,” Card said. “This allows much flexibility and independence for the individuals, rather than a large ensemble.”  

The recital will also feature two pieces with the entire clarinet choir. 

“This concert will have tons of variety,” Card said. “The chamber group repertoire includes all styles, including tangos and traditional melodies.”  

Two pieces that will stand out are “Tico Tico,” a Latin piece, and “Rikudim,” which is based on Israeli folksongs, according to Card.

The admission is free for the recital. 

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

Back to top

SHSU Named In Top 50 College Financial Literacy Programs

Sam Houston State University’s financial literacy program recently placed sixth in the Top 50 College Financial Literacy Programs, a study done by LendEDU, a marketplace for private student loans and student loan refinancing.

The study looked at hundreds of colleges that are known to have such programs. The rankings were based on the number of workshops and resources available, access to one-on-one financial consultation and incentivizing programs available.

SHSU had a total score of 45.1, the highest being a 50.

Sam Houston State had a number of unique incentivizing programs that encourage financial literacy. The university offers a $500 scholarship to students who score well on a financial literacy quiz, and also gives students the opportunity to win $1,000 in financial literacy jeopardy. Signature events at SHSU that promote financial literacy include Houston Money Week, Financial Literacy Week and Financial Literacy Month,” according to LendEDU.

Click here to view the entire study.

Back to top

VAN Presentation Training Set For April 12

Sam Houston State University’s Veterans Alliance Network will conduct training on Wednesday (April 12) from 2-3:30 p.m. in College of Humanities and Social Sciences Room 120 for faculty and staff to learn about veteran students and how they can enhance the overall college experience for those students.

Talent Management credits will be awarded for attending and registration is strongly encouraged.

The deadline is Tuesday (April 11) at 5 p.m.

For more information, contact Fernando Chavez, Veterans Resource Center manager, at 936.294.2642 or

Back to top

SHSU Food Pantry Distribution Set For April 13FoodPantry630

Students in need of food can fill out a food pantry request form online and attend the SHSU Food Pantry distribution on Thursday (April 13) from 2-8 p.m. at Academic Building III Room 113.

Requests must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on the day before the distribution. Walk-in requests are also accepted, but requests are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Students should bring bags to carry food in and their Sam ID. The service is free of charge.

Food requests are confidential.

“The purpose of the SHSU Food Pantry is to support students who struggle with food insecurity, to encourage an educational understanding of food insecurity and to provide a space for students to volunteer and network with their peers,” according to the SHSU Food Pantry statement.

For more information and to sign up, visit the event page.

Back to top

Send Experts, Story Ideas Here

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.

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 the guidelines page.

For more information, call 936.294.1836.

Back to top

- END -

This page maintained by SHSU's Communications Office:

Director of Content Communications: Emily Binetti

Communications Manager: Mikah Boyd
Telephone: 936.294.1837

Communications Specialist: Campbell Atkins
Telephone: 936.294.2638

Please send comments, corrections, news tips to