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Today @ Sam

SHSU Update For Week Of April 7

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Beto Chair Lecturer To Focus On Female Offenders

Joanne BelknapJoanne Belknap, a professor of sociology at the University of Colorado Boulder and author of Invisible Women: Gender, Crime and Justice, will present "The Trauma, Mental Health, and Offending Histories of Women in Jail: Results of a Multi-Site U.S. Study” as part of the Beto Lecture Series on Friday (April 12).

Her presentation will be from 9:30-11 a.m. in the Criminal Justice Center’s Hazel B. Kerper Courtroom.

Belknap’s research focuses on female offenders and violence against females.

Her latest study, a national sample of imprisoned women, was funded by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance to examine women’s pathways to jail, with a focus on how these women’s trauma, serious mental illness and alcohol and drug use intersect with offending.

The study, which included nearly 500 intensive interviews with female offenders from Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, Washington, D.C., and Maryland, found that one in four women in jail met the criteria for serious mental illness, lifetime post-traumatic stress disorder, and/or substance use disorder.

Belknap is the president-elect of the American Society of Criminology and was past chair of the organization’s division of women and crime.

In 1997, she was named “Distinguished Scholar of the Division of Women and Crime,” and in 1994, she earned the “Inconvenient Woman of the Year Award” from ASC for speaking out for college women reporting rapes.

Belknap also served for U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno in 1995 as a member of the Task Force on Violence Against Women and provided expert testimony to the Los Angeles Police Department Warren Christopher Commission regarding the Rodney King police brutality case in 1991. She has been a member of the Denver Domestic Violence Task Force since 1998, and advised then-candidate Barack Obama's Criminal Justice Policy Recommendation Committee through November 2008.

At the University of Colorado, she was given the student-nominated teacher award for her class on “Violence Against Women and Girls” in 2001, and in 2004, she was given the Faculty Assembly Teaching Award by her peers.

Belknap received her doctorate in criminal justice and criminology from Michigan State University in 1986.



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DEA Agent To Share Experiences With Drug Cartels

After spending almost nine years with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety, SHSU alumnus Rodney Lott took a leap to the federal system at the Drug Enforcement Administration.

“In law enforcement, the investigation of narcotics trafficking seems to be the most exciting and intriguing,” said the 1996 graduate, now a special agent. “Narcotics trafficking is a global issue; therefore, you are able to work with many different agencies. It’s exciting.”

Rodney LottLott will return to his alma mater on Wednesday (April 10) for “Real Talk with CJ” to discuss his career and provide tips to students on how to get a job in the federal agency. His presentation will begin at 3 p.m. in the Criminal Justice Center's Hazel B. Kerper Courtroom.

With the DEA, Lott investigates the Mexican drug cartels with the single mission to enforce the controlled substance laws of the United States.

His day-to-day duties at the agency include locating, disrupting and dismantling the Mexican cartels that operate across the U.S.-Mexican border; and being involved in the investigation, arrest and criminal or civil prosecution of drug traffickers, such as members of infamous gangs like the Los Zetas and Gulf Cartels.

His mission will soon take him to Brazil.

Lott’s journey began at SHSU, where he had the unique experience of obtaining a degree and attending a police academy simultaneously. Upon graduation, he went to work for the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office as a detention officer, a position he held for 18 months before becoming a deputy.

“You grow up real fast,” Lott said. “You are in a hostile environment with people who have made bad decisions; you learn the criminal mind because there is such a concentrated population. You learn to communicate with all kinds of people, and you become hyper-aware of how they react to things.”

He also spent four years as a state trooper patrolling in Laredo and in south Montgomery County. He served on the civil disturbance team, an elite group assigned to large events in the state, including Mardi Gras in Galveston and contentious executions on Death Row.

Lott worked narcotics as part of his regular duties, and when he began researching the federal system, the DEA fit the bill. He then began the two-year process to get hired because of the backlog in background investigation.

Lott credits SHSU with lighting the fire for criminal justice.

“When I was at the DEA academy, my roommate was from John Jay College of Criminal Justice,” Lott said. “He had heard of SHSU. It is a well-known program.”



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Health Center To Help Students ‘Get Yourself Tested’ For Free

It is estimated that 50 percent of sexually active young people (one in two) will get a sexually transmitted disease by the age of 25, and most won’t know it, according to the Get Yourself Tested program website.

Every year, there are more than 19 million new STD cases in the United States, nearly half of which are among people ages 15-24.

To encourage students within that critical age group to be aware of their status, the Texas Department of State Health Services will offer free testing for HIV and syphilis at the SHSU Student Health Center on Thursday (April 11).

Through the Get Yourself Tested program, currently enrolled students will be tested from 1-4 p.m.

To participate, students can come by the GYT table in the Student Health Center, where they will be taken to a private waiting area where they can relax and fill out some paperwork, according to Lisa Clarkson, SHC programming coordinator.

“Both of these tests will be done with one blood draw,” she said. “That means only one stick with the needle, one vile of blood drawn, but two tests.”

In addition to being statistically more at risk for STDs because of their age, students should participate in this free testing event because of the state’s statistics on both of the diseases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2010 that Texas ranks fourth highest among the 50 states in cumulative reported AIDS cases and 10th for syphilis.

About 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and one-fifth of those infected are unaware of their infection, the report continues.

Regular HIV testing is recommended for everyone 13-64 years old and is not done automatically; those wishing to be tested for HIV must request the test from a healthcare provider. Testing is also recommended for those who have had unprotected sex, a new sex partner or shared needles or equipment to inject drugs.

“April is National STD Awareness Month and various sexual health campaigns are taking place throughout the country,” Clarkson said. “Typically students would have to pay $18 for the HIV test and $12 for the syphilis (RPR) at the Student Health Center but the Texas Department of State Health Services is offering the testing to students for free.”

Testing will be conducted on a first-come, first-served basis.

The SHC is located on campus at 1528 Ave. J, next to Lone Star Hall. Parking is limited.

For more information, contact Clarkson at 936.294.4347 or ldc010@shsu.edu or visit itsyoursexlife.com/gyt.



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Recycled Home Tour To Raise Awareness, Scholarship Funds

Sam Houston State University’s chapter of Phi Delta Kappa will “recycle” five Huntsville homes, opening their doors to help generate funds for the creation of a scholarship endowment on campus.

outdoor tables and chairs made from bones and wood
Furniture created by Huntsville resident Dan Phillips, which sits on the patio of his "Bone House," made with recycled and sustainable materials. Guests can tour this house and four others built by Phillips and support the establishment of a Phi Delta Kappa scholarship endowment that will benefit SHSU student teachers during a homes tour on April 13. —Photo courtesy of Phoenixcommotion.com

In honor of Earth Day, the Recycled Homes Tour with Dan Phillips will allow community members to tour Phillips’s Charleston House, New Home, Tree House and Bone House, as well as a home he is currently remodeling, on Saturday (April 13).

Tours will be conducted by Phi Delta Kappa, SHSU’s professional association of educators or guests can come-and-go, and will showcase Phillips’s homes that were created with recycled and sustainable materials.

Tours will be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., followed by a discussion by Phillips on his Phoenix Commotion project, the local building initiative created to prove that constructing homes with recycled and salvaged materials has a viable place in the building industry.

The presentation will begin at 2:30 p.m. in the Teacher Education Center Room 279. His book, Resurrecting Trash: Dan Phillips and the Phoenix Commotion, published by SHSU’s the Texas Review Press, will also be available for purchase during his talk.

“Dan Phillips’s homes, featured on this home tour, have been featured on HGTV in five different, internationally broadcasted television shows,” said Phi Delta Kappa president Karla Eidson, an assistant professor of curriculum and instruction.“The TED talk featuring Dan Phillips also has had millions of views.

“These wonderful resources, both the homes and Dan Phillips, are here in Huntsville and not known to many people,” she said. “The homes are in close proximity to each other and local artists live and work in the homes and studios. The studios will also be open on the tour of homes, as well as a cottage industry bakery, Sugar Skull Sweets, at one of the homes on the tour.”

Tickets for the home tour are $15, or $10 for SHSU students, and may be purchased at any of the homes on April 13 or through PDK officers.

Proceeds from the tour will support the establishment of a scholarship endowment for the Sam Houston State University Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa International, which will benefit student teachers at SHSU.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, contact international president-elect Patricia Williams at edu_paw@shsu.edu or Eidson at kwe002@shsu.edu. For more information on Phillips’s Phoenix Commotion project, visit phoenixcommotion.com.



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Dance Program To Make Colorful ‘Connection’

The graduate students in the SHSU dance department will present “ROYGBIV: Connections” on Thursday and Friday (April 11-12) in the James and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center Dance Theatre.

Performances will begin at 8 p.m. on each day.

The “Connections” concert will offer new dance compositions by dance students as their main venue for sharing the work that they have been developing both as part of their course of study and on their own, according to Amy Wright, dance graduate teaching assistant.

“We always take the opportunity to show dances that explore dynamic concepts and styles and push our personal artistic boundaries, aiming to challenge, entertain, inspire, and exhilarate,” she said.

The program will include Travis Prokop’s “1/3,” inspired by the statistic that a person will spend a third of his or her life waiting.

The work highlights the frustration, anxiety, acceptance, boredom and oppression that are all a part of the human condition.

Shate Edwards’s “Ndani” is a fusion of hip-hop, stepping, and modern, set in silence so that the experience of the dancers’ bodily rhythms can come to life.

“Ndani” is Swahili word for “inside” or “within” and refers, in this work, to the way the inner spirit guides us, moves us, and keeps us going through all circumstances, according to Wright.

Kiesha Scimio’s “Femina” uses stereotype-enhancing costumes and silencing strips of duct tape to underscore female oppression.

“She challenges the audience to examine the historical idea that ‘women should be seen and not heard’ and poses the question of whether this confining notion still operates in our culture today,” Wright said.

In addition to these works, the concert will include contemporary works from Brittany Thetford, Laura Harrell, Kiera Amison and Kim Clay; a Soca work by Tristin Ferguson; two new ballets by Leann Huddelston; and a theatrical tap piece by Wright.

Admission to “ROYGBIV: Connections” is $8.

For ticket information, call the GPAC Box Office at 936.294.2339.



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Annual ‘Jeans’ Day To Recognize Genetic Disorder

On Dec. 1, 2012, the state of Texas implemented newborn screening for Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disorder, the most deadly of the Primary Immune Deficiency Diseases, as well as 28 different life-threatening diseases that can affect babies.

The implementation was seen as a victory for those whose loved ones had been affected by PIDD and had worked for years to have the testing sanctioned by the state, such as Yvette Shorten, an assistant program coordinator for the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas at SHSU, whose sons Deidrick and Jerry were both diagnosed with one of the diseases.

Since then, approximately 60,000 babies have been screened, and one has been identified as having SCID and several others were diagnosed with a PIDD.

“In one month’s time they’d already saved a life thanks to this screening,” Shorten said.

While SCID occurs only rarely, affecting approximately 50,000 to 100,000 births per year, it can be successfully treated if identified early in life.

“If not treated, most of the affected infants die within the first year of life,” Shorten said. “Experts suspect that many children with SCID die from infections before being diagnosed. It is estimated that annually 12 infants will be diagnosed with SCID in Texas.”

Because of her personal involvement with PIDD, Shorten began working through SHSU’s College of Criminal Justice and LEMIT to raise funds that help promote awareness of SCID and PIDD. PIDDs occur more rarely, with approximately 250,000 people in the United States diagnosed annually.

This year, their “Blue Jeans for Healthy Genes Day” will be held on April 17. To participate, community members are asked to donate $10 to the foundation and wear blue jeans on that Wednesday.

“Each year more departments on campus have heard about this wonderful event and decided to participate,” Shorten said.

There are more 150 different PIDDs, which can take the forms of an absence of T-cells, B-cells, NK cells, thymus, tonsils or lymph nodes, all of which are needed to combat viruses and bacteria infections.

David Vetter, known as “the boy in the plastic bubble,” lived his entire life in a germ-free sterile environment due to Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disorder, the most severe and life-threatening form of PIDD.

“My first born son, Deidrick, also lived his short but precious life in a germ-free sterile environment due to SCID,” Shorten said. “While not contagious, these diseases are caused by hereditary or genetic defects.”

For their donation, participants also will receive a Primary Immune Deficiency Disease button pin and sticker, as well as a tax-deductible receipt.

To sign up for “Blue Jeans for Healthy Genes Day,” contact Shorten at wys001@shsu.edu or 936.294.3851, and for more information on PIDD or the Primary Immune Deficiency Disease Foundation, visit primaryimmune.org.



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Production To Tune In To Past, Present History

Die Fledermaus posterSHSU’s Opera Workshop will present a “fresh perspective” on Johann Strauss’s classical operetta “Die Fledermaus” during its semiannual production on Friday and Saturday (April 12-13).

Performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. each evening in the Gaertner Performing Arts Center Concert Hall.

“Die Fledermaus” is the story of an Italian man, Eisenstein, who has been sentenced to eight days for insulting an official and his attempt to get revenge at a masked ball.

The operetta, which holds a unique place in Viennese history—premiering just after a stock market crash that devastated upscale living that the Viennese had enjoyed for a generation—holds many parallels to the economic situation the United States recently faced, according to Opera Workshop director Rebecca Grimes.

“Society has found itself in a post-‘Great Recession,’ there is a political backlash over the success of the financial ‘1 percent,’” Grimes said. “We also have our own cultural Zeitgeist in the 21st century, the occurrence of entertainment television as ‘news.’

“In this production, we have worked to present the scandal of the Eisenstein household in this modern-day light: the wealthy elite are caught cheating—on their taxes, on their spouses, etc.—and are exposed publically via entertainment media,” she said. “We hope that in looking at ‘Die Fledermaus’ this way, we can learn to appreciate the work as a send-up of society—how it was, and sometimes how it continues to be.”

The production will also integrate students from different areas of the College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication, through the use of video during the operetta projected on large screens suspended in the concert hall.

“The videos are being produced by mass communications major Jonathan Kinsey, who will be creating several ‘Entertainment News’ style shows that will set up each act of the opera, along with ‘commercials’ that feature students and faculty throughout the COFAMC,” Grimes said.

Tickets are $15 for general admission, $12 for senior citizens, and $5 for SHSU students.

For more information, call the School of Music at 936.294.1360, or for tickets, call the GPAC Box Office at 936.294.2339.



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Artists To Display ‘Individuality’ In LSC Exhibit

In their Lowman Student Center Gallery Exhibit “Individuality: the next best thing,” studio art majors Emily Howard and Sergio Barraza will bring their artistically different styles together to create a cohesive exhibition “with overlapping ideas that comment on society’s desire for improvement and self-satisfaction.”

The exhibit will be on display through Saturday (April 13), with a reception on Wednesday (April 10), from 5-7 p.m. in the LSC Gallery.

The show will contain photographic and sculptural work that “comments on society’s need to be unique through physical and materialistic dependencies,” according to Howard.

Barraza’s work “explores the idea of being trapped by the need for the next best thing,” while Howard’s work “explores the idea of being obsessed with self-improvement,” she said.

“I pull inspiration from tattoos and different forms of body modification, whereas Sergio pulls from social trends in purchasing of highly marketed products,” Howard said. “Our goal in this exhibit is to make their audience think about their social and materialistic dependencies.”

Both art students are collaborating on this project through their “Business of Art” class to fulfill a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree requirement.



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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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SHSU Media Contacts: Julia May, Jennifer Gauntt
April 5, 2013
Please send comments, corrections, news tips to Today@Sam.edu




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