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SHSU Update For Week Of Nov. 18


Tree Ceremony To Light Up Plaza Area

Faculty, staff and students will celebrate the spirit of the holiday season during the 87th annual Tree of Light on Tuesday (Nov. 27).

The tree-lighting ceremony will be held from 6-7 p.m. in the new central campus plaza area.

University president Jim Gaertner will speak at the event, the Orange Pride dance team and university choir will perform and hot chocolate, hot wassail, gingerbread and cookies will be served.

In addition, the Department of Student Activities will collect canned goods at the event for a drive to benefit the Good Shepherd Mission.

All students, organizations, faculty and staff are invited to participate.

"The Tree of Light is the university's oldest and most cherished tradition," said Student Activities assistant director Angie Burns. "This tree-lighting ceremony is also a time of giving and reminds students and the university community what the holiday season is all about."

In addition, the office will encourage students and organizations to bring one ornament to decorate the tree both before and during the ceremony, Burns said.

Student Activities will also feature the history of the ceremony during an exhibit in the Lowman Student Center Art Gallery beginning Monday (Nov. 19).

This year, gallery visitors can also view a slideshow of the tree assembly, a new feature of the exhibit, which will be on display through Nov. 30.

For more information, call Student Activities at 936.294.3861.


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Association Selling Tickets For Hall Of Honor Ceremony

Tickets are on sale for Sam Houston State University's first Hall of Honor banquet honoring both men and women former athletes.

The Hall of Honor program was initiated by the SHSU Lettermen Association, a men's only group, in 1971. Since that time they have inducted 148 athletes.

In the past year the Women's Letter Association was formed and their first inductees selected.

The event is now being conducted by the Sam Houston Athletic SH Association, which includes both the men's and women's athlete alumni organizations. It is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 in the Lowman Student Center Ballroom.

The athletes being honored and their sports include David Amaya, basketball; Jeff Bellnap, golf; Megan Burnham, tennis; Chris Burton, baseball; Wendy Gray, golf; Scott Horstman, basketball; Cathy Nelson, track; Julie Thomas, basketball/softball; and Julie Franzen, volleyball.

Administrator and coach Rebecca Bilsing, who died in 1986, will also be honored.

Tickets are $30 per person or $50 per couple, and may be purchased from Jan McPike by calling 936.294.4205 or e-mailing


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James To Reveal Where ‘Babies’ Come From

Renee James, SHSU associate professor of physics, will teach students where babies really come from on Nov. 29.

The talk, originally scheduled for Nov. 15 but postponed due to illness, will still be held at 2:30 p.m. in Farrington Building Room 209.

"Where Babies REALLY Come From: The Astrophysical Origins of the Elements of Life" will include a discussion of “the nucleosynthetic origins of the elements for life, compare the composition of a human to the composition of the Sun, and get to the heart of the question of where babies really come from,” according to James.

“The human body is made up of primarily hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen, along with dozens of other elements that are necessary for life,” she said. “Except for hydrogen, which was produced in the Big Bang, these elements were manufactured by the generations of stars that preceded the Sun.”

For more information, call the physics department at 936.294.1601.


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Workshops To Teach Interview, Negotiating Techniques

Career Services will prepare students and alumni for all of the steps one takes to get a job during its interviewing skills and job offer and salary negotiations workshops on Tuesday and Wednesday (Nov. 27-28).

The “Successful Interviewing Skills Workshop,” which will be held from 3:30-4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, will cover general professional etiquette and appropriate dress; describe various types of interviews; and discuss important interviewing strategies, such as how to answer difficult questions, according to Rachel Phelps, Career Services counselor.

On Wednesday, Career Services will give tips on what to do after the interviewing stage with the “Job Offer and Salary Negotiation Workshop” from 3-4 p.m.

“The workshop will teach students the seven factors to consider when evaluating a job offer, three ways to respond to a job offer, and strategies on how to navigate salary negotiations,” said Rachel Phelps, Career Services counselor.

Both workshops will be held in the Career Services Library and are free to all students and alumni.

Registration is not required; however, space is limited to less than 50 people.

For more information, call Career Services at 936.294.1713.


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Conroe Students ‘Shadow’ Bearkats

Conroe High School students
Fifteen Conroe High School students enjoyed lunch at Café Belvin with admissions director Trevor Thorn as part of the Bearkat Learning Center's "Shadow Day" on Nov. 7.

Conroe High School students had the opportunity to see the college experience through the eyes of a Bearkat Learning Community member during “Shadow Day” on Nov. 7.

As part of an “e-mentoring program” between CHS and the BLC, approximately 15 high school students attended a class with a BLC member, toured the campus and then had lunch at Café Belvin with director of admissions Trevor Thorn, according to Bernice Strauss, a coordinator for the BLC.

While the students correspond with one another through e-mail at least once a week in the “e-mentoring program,” a CHS State of Texas Higher Education Readiness Grant allows the students to visit campus.

“The grant covers a trip to campus, but we thought that actually going to class with their mentor was a more meaningful experience,” Strauss said. “The mission of the program is to promote higher education and college/university attendance for this population of high school students.

This is the first time the BLC has participated in the program, and Strauss said she believes the “BLCers” benefit from it as much as the high school students do.

“Even though they are freshman and adjusting to a transition themselves, it is a statement of their successful accomplishments in applying and getting accepted to SHSU,” she said. “I also believe that it is reinforcing to ‘give something back,’ and community service is an important part of the BLC program.”

Implemented in 2001-02, the BLC is a program that provides incoming freshmen students the opportunity to take classes with other students who live in the same residence hall. The group also has a planned program of activities designed to enhance academics as well as provide a positive social atmosphere.

To participate, students must fill out a separate BLC application, which includes an essay, in addition to their housing applications.


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Watts, Student Recognized At Counseling Conference

Counseling professor Richard Watts and former doctoral student Le'Ann Solmonson were recently awarded as “Counselor Educator of the Year” and “Emerging Leader,” respectively, by the Texas Association of Counselor Educators and Supervisors.

The awards were given as part of the Texas Counseling Association’s 51st Annual Professional Growth Conference held Nov. 6-9 in Corpus Christi. The TACES is a division of the TCA.

SHSU counseling professors and students also presented a number of sessions at the conference, including professors Rick Bruhn, Chi-Sing Li, Judy Nelson, Mary Nichter, and Sheryl Serres; and doctoral students Pedra Ane, Jennifer Aucoin, Sarah Brand, Leigh Falls, Laura Hodges, Enobong Inyang, Sarah Kinsworthy, Michael Maxwell, Kathy McDonald, Jennifer Tracy, Josie Trevino, and Lisa Wines.

In addition, two doctoral program graduates, Solmonson and Kate Walker, also presented sessions.

One SHSU presentation, by Watts and Yvonne Garza, was a half day post-conference workshop on "Reflecting on the Past, Envisioning the Future: A Look at Play Therapy Basics and the Nuances of a Growing Hispanic Culture."

Several SHSU professors are affiliated with the TCA, including Rick Bruhn, who serves as a member of the group’s research and evaluation committee and is also a past president on the board of the Texas Association of Counselor Educators and Supervisors; Judy Nelson and Sheryl Serres, who are the co-chairs of its research and evaluation committee; and Pedra Ane, a current doctoral student who is the chair of the TCA human rights committee. Nelson is also the TCA secretary and a board member.

More than 2,200 counseling professionals and students attended during the conference, which included hundreds of presentations, according the TCA Web site.


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Students Advertise Themselves Well At AAF Conference

Five College of Business Administration students earned top honors this past weekend at the American Advertising Federation Houston’s Annual Student Conference and Competition.

During the Hewlett-Packard advertising/marketing challenge, which teamed up students from multiple universities, each team worked on-site at a host company location in Houston to come up with a campaign that they ‘pitched’ to a panel of judges, according to Renée Gravois Lee, associate professor in the department of management and marketing.

SHSU students who were recognized for their teamwork included Michelle Arrants, member of first place team; Meredith Mullinax, member of second place team; Dana Allen, member of third place team; Tiffany Pierce, MVP for one of the teams; and Rebecca Henderson, MVP for one of the teams.

“I think it was the best experience for someone looking to go into this field. We really got to see what the real world would be like,” said Mullinax. “It was very worthwhile because we got to learn more in nine hours than any book could teach us. We got to learn from other group members at other schools and put our knowledge to the test.”

More than 300 students representing universities from Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma attended the Annual Student Conference and Competition, designed to give students a glimpse into the real world of advertising/marketing.

In addition to the competition, the conference included speakers from the advertising industry covering topics such as job interviewing, resume writing and portfolio preparation.

"I was surprised to find out how much I really knew about the subject matter and how much Sam Houston instruction is so in tune with today's careers," said senior Jabel Ngo, who also attended the conference.

In all, 16 COBA students and four art students participated in the event, including Casey Ables, Allen, Arrants, Willie Dean III, Rani Dillow, Tyler Groves, Henderson, Abby McFarland, Mullinax, Jabel Ngo, Laurie Orlando, Pierce, Danny Salinas, Clegg Simpson, Chelsea Tate, and Christina Taylor.


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Send Update Items Here

Information for the SHSU Update can be sent to the Office of Public Relations electronically at or to any of the media contacts listed below.

Please include the date, location and time of the event, as well as a brief description and a contact person.

All information for news stories should be sent to the office at least a week in advance to give the PR staff ample time to make necessary contacts and write the story.

For electronic access to SHSU news see the Public Relations Web page Today@Sam.


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SHSU Media Contacts: Frank Krystyniak, Julia May, Jennifer Gauntt
Nov. 16, 2007
Please send comments, corrections, news tips to

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Assistant Director: Julia May
Writer: Jennifer Gauntt
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Telephone: 936.294.1836; Fax: 936.294.1834