Today@Sam Article

SHSU Update For Week Of Feb. 26

Feb. 24, 2017
SHSU Media Contact: Lane Fortenberry

‘City Spotlight’ To Launch Spring Season March 3

“City Spotlight”—the 30-minute Sam Houston State University student-produced television show that focuses on people, places and events in Huntsville and on campus—will air its first show of the spring semester on Friday (March 3).

Shows will air at 4 p.m. on cable Channel 7 and will be re-broadcast on the following Monday and Wednesday at the same time.

“City Spotlight” was created by SHSU’s Department of Mass Communication and is produced and promoted by broadcast production students and members of Priority One, the department’s student public relations firm.

Peter Roussel, Phillip G. Warner Endowed Chair in the Department of Mass Communication, hosts the show, interviewing on-campus personalities and community members. The show’s technical work, done by broadcast production students, is overseen by professor Mel Strait.

“We feel the ‘City Spotlight’ show, which is truly a hands-on experience for our mass communication students, is an excellent form of preparation for the careers they plan to pursue,” said Jean Bodon, department chair.

In addition to interviews, many of the episodes include feature segments highlighting different aspects of Huntsville and the SHSU campus, which are prepared by broadcast students. Priority One students secure guests, prepare questions and promote the show.

The first guests for the spring semester will be Molly Rumfield, on-campus recruitment coordinator, and Ronald Shields, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication.

Future episodes will feature SHSU President Dana Hoyt, director of Emergency Preparedness and Safety David Yebra, SHSU women’s softball coach Bob Brock, and others.

For more information about the show, or to suggest a guest, contact Priority One members Magda Gonzalez, at, or Tricia Sims, at

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IT@Sam To Roll Out Windows 10, Office 365

For the past several years, Sam Houston State University has used the Windows 7 operating system for PCs.

Beginning this summer, however, Windows workstations will upgrade to Windows 10.

While the look and feel for Windows 10 will be different, most functionality already will be familiar to users.windows630

Some of the improvements include a more interactive “Start” menu, which will include “Live Tiles” that can be changed for frequently used apps, and a new default web browser called Edge, which features a clean look and a tidy area called the “Hub” to keep favorites, reading lists, browsing history, and current downloads collected on the web.

As with Windows 7, users will continue to be able to search by clicking on the “Start” button.

In addition, IT@Sam offers a free version of Office 365 for all current SHSU students, faculty and staff.

Through Office 365, users have one terabyte of OneDrive storage and access to a free download of Office.

To access your Office 365 account, visit and enter your official SHSU e-mail address to sign in. Users will be redirected to the SHSU login page to enter your SHSU credentials. Initial login will take about five minutes as Office 365 creates an account.

To learn more about the Windows 10 project, to preview the improvements or get updates on the timeline, visit, or for questions, contact the IT@Sam Service Desk at 936.294.1950 or

For more information on Office 365, visit

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Prof To Discuss Whiskey, Tennessee Industry

As a part of the ongoing College of Humanities and Social Sciences colloquiums, Douglas Constance, professor of sociology, will present his program on Wednesday (March 1) at 4 p.m. in CHSS Room C90.

His colloquium talk is a commodity systems approach analysis of the distilled spirits, bourbon and the Tennessee Whiskey industry.

“It specifically analyzes the legal battles in Tennessee over what can be called Tennessee Whiskey, which requires the use of new barrels and other special aspects,” Constance said. “Jack Daniels had a law passed in 2013 that narrowly defines what can be called Tennessee Whiskey.

There are currently only four licensed Tennessee Whiskey distillers. Jack Daniels has 90 percent of the Tennessee Whiskey market and George Dickel has nine percent.

“George Dickel and micro distillers charge Jack Daniels with protecting market share and restricting commerce and are trying to get the law changed to allow more companies to make Tennessee Whiskey, while Jack Daniels is defending the law by saying it is protecting the quality of the product,” he said.

CHSS hosts two colloquiums each month during the fall and spring semester.

The colloquiums are presented by volunteers from the college and generally are faculty members who want to share their latest research and publications.

Faculty and staff from CHSS are invited to participate.

For more information, contact CHSS at

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SHSU PRSSA To Present Housing Fair For Students

Sam Houston State University’s Public Relations Student Society of America chapter will host its annual Living Expo event, a one-stop-shop for students looking for their next apartment, on Monday (Feb. 27) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Lowman Student Center Ballroom.PRSSA630

“The Living Expo gives students the opportunity to shop around different Huntsville apartment complexes, all in one location,” said Caitlyn Cain, PRSSA’s director of chapter development.

Each apartment will have a table full of information, discounts and free gear to give away.

“It really is convenient,” Cain said. “Instead of driving around the city to tour apartments, you just have to walk around the ballroom. Plus, you score free items while you’re getting information about each complex.”

In addition, the Student Money Management Center will be at the event to talk to students who are hesitant about adding rent and utilities to their monthly budget or just want to make sure they are making a smart financial decision.

“We want students to make a smart, informed decision about where they’re living,” Cain said. “By comparing complexes side by side, as well as talking to the SMMC, we think they’ll find the perfect future home.”

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Cain at

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Prof To Speak For First Friday Faculty Forum

Brian Blackburne, assistant professor in the Department of English, will speak during the First Friday Faculty Forum on Friday (March 3) at 3 p.m. in Evans Building Room 212.

Blackburne will discuss a chapter from a co-authored book project with Daniel Freet from the University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston.

The chapter is titled, "Connotative Agency: Communicating Transgender in Medical Practice."

In his discussion, Blackburne will provide background for the larger book project, give a brief overview of transgender events in medical and cultural settings and discuss the rhetorical implications of the language used for communicating issues of transgender in professional contexts.

The First Friday Forum series has been offered over the past nine years to allow English faculty, graduate students and invited speakers to present research in literature, language and cultural studies or to read creative work.

All forum activities are open to the public.

For more information, contact Paul Child, series coordinator and professor of English, at or 936.294.1412.

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Eating Disorder Presentation Set For Feb. 28

The Psi Chi Honor Society will host licensed clinical psychologist Deborah Michael and registered dietician Kathy Veath for a presentation on the "Multidisciplinary Treatment of Eating Disorders" on Tuesday (Feb. 28) from 5-6:30 p.m. in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Building Room 090.

Michael is a certified eating disorders specialist with 25 years of experience in the identification and treatment of eating disorders and related conditions.  She founded and directed The Woodlands Eating Disorders Center and presently serves as the clinical director of the Eating Recovery Center in The Woodlands.

Veath received her degree in nutrition and dietetics from the University of Illinois. She has been the lead dietitian at the Eating Recovery Center since October 2016, but has over 20 years of experience working with those who struggle with eating disorders.

For more information contact Diane Stoebner-May, psychology masters program coordinator, at or 936.294.2434.

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Sammys Nominee Forms Due By March 1

Sam Houston State University students, faculty and staff members who have been nominated individually or for an organization have until Wednesday (March 1) to submit information for the 23rd annual Sammy Awards.

Nominee information forms are the sole way the Sammys committee members select the winners for each of the 24 awards presented each year in three different categories—individual, organization and individual college.

“Without submission of the Sammys nominee information form, nominees will not be provided to the Sammys committee during their deliberation,” said Kelly Patterson, Student Activities program coordinator.  

Those nominated must answer five to six questions about their time and experiences at SHSU. Individual students must also submit one letter of recommendation from a non-family member.

Nominee information should be written in third person and formatted in a Microsoft Word document using 12-point Times Roman font. Only emailed information documents will be accepted, and a confirmation email will be sent upon receipt of information.

Questionnaires are available online at

Completed nominee information should be sent to Student Activities at no later than 5 p.m. on the deadline date. Emails received after 5 p.m. will not be accepted.

The 23rd Annual Sammy Awards is scheduled for April 12 at 6 p.m. in the James and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center.

For more information, or assistance in filling out the information, call 936.294.3465.

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Non-Traditional Opera To Premiere At SHSU

A realtor, origami designer and combat photographer walk into a bar. They all represent some greater life struggle like heartbreak or anxiety, and they’re all looking for love.

In the upcoming opera, “Speed Dating Tonight!,” written by Michael Ching and presented by Sam Houston State University’s School of Music opera program, audiences are exposed to what happens when a group of people from all different walks of life come together for a common goal at a speed dating social.

“This opera encompasses all of the scary things that happen in life, especially dating and finding love,” said sophomore Elissa Weeden, who plays speeddating630Kaylee the Coordinator in the production.

Productions of “Speed Dating Tonight!” will be on Friday (March 3) and Saturday (March 4) at 7:30 p.m. in the James and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center.

According to Weeden, “Speed Dating Tonight!” is different from traditional operas because the characters are extremely relatable, not only to the audience but to the cast members themselves.

“The most challenging thing about this opera is that it is not a traditional opera where you can transform into a specific character that could be nothing like you,” Weeden said. “You are cast mostly based on personality and how you already are as a person. It is very strange and challenging to go on stage knowing that one of the main things you have to do as a performer is be yourself.”

Weeden even said that the characters challenge the cast members to discover more about themselves as individuals.

“This cast is very unique,” she said. “Similar to the characters in the opera, we are all at different places in our life. This opera is, in a way, helping each one of us discover more of who we are as people. I love seeing each of the cast members grow as performers and individuals.”

“Speed Dating Tonight!” is a comic opera in one act, and was commissioned and premiered in 2013 by the Janiec Opera of the Brevard Music Center. Composer Michael Ching supplied his own libretto for the piece, and the opera has been written to be adapted for varying numbers of singers, voice types, gender ratios, and length of time, by cutting, re-ordering, or transposing the keys of the vignettes. This opera is aleatoric in form, in that the final presentation of the work is left up to the artists performing it.

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Next Leadership Over Lunch Set For March 1

The Department of Leadership Initiatives will host its next Leadership Over Lunch series event on Wednesday (March 1) from 11 a.m. to noon in Leadership630Lowman Student Center Room 315.

It will feature Meredith Conrey, director of leadership initiatives, who will discuss the essential knowledge and skills that one must possess to be an effective leader.

“Many things contribute to the effectiveness of a leader,” Conrey said. “We will explore five practices for becoming an exemplary leader that come from “The Student Leadership Challenge” by James Kouzes and Barry Posner. Because leadership can be learned, it is important for students to take time to attend workshops and trainings to learn about leadership topics.

“After engaging in the learning process, we challenge students to test their leadership knowledge through involvement opportunities such as student organizations or employment,” she said. “It is our goal to build better leaders by assisting and supporting students as they begin their leadership journey.”

Lunch will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information, contact the Department of Leadership Initiatives at 936.294.3000 or

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Old Town Theatre To Celebrate Hollywood Icon

Following the recent death of legendary actress Debbie Reynolds at age 84, the renowned entertainer’s most famous movie “Singin’ In The Rain” has been dancing back onto the silver screen in theatres across America, giving moviegoers an opportunity to pay homage to a Hollywood icon.

On Thursday (March 2), the mass communication department at Sam Houston State University will present the 1952 musical, which celebrates its 65th anniversary this year. The free screening will take place at Old Town Theatre at 6 p.m.Singinintherain500

Reynolds landed her breakout role in the Oscar-nominated musical, playing a budding actress caught up in Hollywood’s transition from the silent era to the talkies.

Though she had no dancing experience at the time, then-18-year-old Reynolds held her own with the likes of Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor in numbers like “Good Morning” and “You Were Meant for Me,” according to Grant Wiedenfeld, assistant professor in the mass communication department.

While the premiere did not generate much buzz at the time, it's since gained cult-status. In 2006, the American Film Institute declared “Singin’ In The Rain” “the No. 1 American musical of all time.”

“’Singin' in the Rain’ is a gem of Hollywood musicals, showcasing the dazzling Technicolor the studios used to compete with television in the 1950s,” Wiedenfeld said. “Gene Kelly's famous dancing highlights some unforgettable musical numbers and his creativity unfolds in ways impossible on the Broadway stage.”

According to Wiedenfeld, the film is also significant in understanding the American movie industry of the 1920s.

“The film is not only a monument of American film history, it also teaches something—the difficulties and changes posed by the arrival of sound technology in the late 1920s,” he said. “The 1952 movie is set in the past to poke fun at silent film pantomime and star culture. With ‘La La Land’ gaining attention for awards this year, it is worth looking at the classics that inspired and, in the opinion of most, surpass all contemporary musicals.”

The Old Town Theatre screening is open to the public and will include an introduction by Ralph Pease, professor emeritus of English. Wiedenfeld will present a post-film discussion.

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Breastfeeding Room Opening In LSCMothersRoom630

On Wednesday (March 1), The Lowman Student Center “Mother’s Room” will open in the LSC on the second floor near the Dean of Students’ Office.

The new space will be dedicated to mothers who breastfeed their babies on campus. The room is a private space for students, faculty, staff, spouses, and guests. It features lockers, comfortable seating, hot and cold water, a baby changing station, cleaning supplies, and a mini-refrigerator.

For more information, visit or call 936.294.1759.

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High-Speed Train Presentation Set For March 2

The Texas Central Partners will discuss the new high-speed train that will offer travel from Houston to Dallas in 90 minutes on Thursday (March 2) at 3 p.m. in the Lowman Student Center Theater.

Texas Central, a private, Texas-based company, is developing the railway and facilities for the project.

The travel time is projected to be less than 90 minutes for the 240-mile trip, while traveling by vehicle would take approximately three and a half hours.

The train will travel at speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour and offer Wi-Fi, food and beverage options, flexibility and promises fares to be highly competitive with costs by air or vehicle.

The project is expected to begin carrying passengers in 2022.

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Program Council To Screen ‘Sing’

The Program Council will present Illumination’s “Sing” on Wednesday (March 1) at 6 p.m. in the Lowman Student Center Theater as a part of its sing630ongoing PC Cinema events.

The film features a koala impresario who stages a grand singing competition for the world’s animals in order to save his exquisite theater.

Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, and John C. Reilly all voice characters in the film. It currently holds a 73 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

All currently registered students are invited to attend. Snacks and refreshments will be provided, while supplies last.

For more information, visit the event page.

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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.

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