SFA University

May 23, 2022 — Business owners, travel and tourism professionals, and local economic development leaders are invited to the Stephen F. Austin State University campus to attend the Deep East Texas Travel and Tourism Conference from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 24, in the Baker Pattillo Student Center Twilight Ballroom.

The conference is the first in a series of travel and tourism sessions that are part of the larger Deep East Texas Travel and Tourism Collaborative. The collaborative focuses on enhancing the preparedness of the region’s tourism workforce, developing new travel packages to attract external guests, improving existing travel and tourism practices and services, and strengthening and diversifying the regional economy.

“I am very excited to collaborate with this organization to help establish the best experience for destinations across the region,” said Dr. Gina Fe G. Causin, associate professor of human sciences at SFA.

To register for the conference, fill out the online form at tinyurl.com/DEEPETXTravel.

The DETTTC is a joint collaboration between faculty members at SFA and Tarleton State University.

“As a fifth generation East Texan and SFA grad, I am excited to promote rural travel in the East Texas area,” said Dr. Jennifer T. Edwards, professor of communication at Tarleton.

For more information, contact Causin at causingf@sfasu.edu or Edwards at jtedwards@tarleton.edu.


Dr. Mario Ajero, professor of piano at SFA, instructs a group of Music Prep piano students. Registration for Music Preparatory summer programs is underway.

May 21, 2022 – Registration continues for summer lessons and camps offered by the Music Preparatory Division of the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music.

Private lessons will be offered in piano, voice, cello, violin/viola, and trumpet. Summer lessons begin on Monday, May 23, and continue through Friday, July 29. Private lesson schedules will depend on students’ and teachers’ summer availability and can be for four, six, eight or 10 total lessons.

Piano group classes will be offered for children and adult students. Learn to read music, play chords and create music with others in a variety of music styles. These group classes will be offered from Monday, June 27, through Thursday, June 30.

Kindermusik classes are offered for children ages 0 through 6. Kindermusik is an early childhood music and movement program based on the belief that every child is musical, every parent is the child’s most important teacher, and the home is the most important place for learning. Based on research, music nurtures a child’s cognitive, emotional, social, language and physical development. Classes begin on May 23 and continue through August 4 on varying schedules, dates and times, depending on age. Cost is $70 per month with sibling discounts available.

Registration forms and more information, including detailed schedules and private lesson tuition, can be accessed at sfamusicprep.com/summer-flex-lessons, or contact Music Prep Director Alba Madrid at musicprep@sfasu.edu, or call (936) 468-1291. The Music Prep House is located at 3028 Raguet St.


David Kaiser, director of Stephen F. Austin State University’s Chadwick Family Banking Program, will teach several of the courses offered as part of its new Banking Essentials Certificate.

May 19, 2022 — Beginning this fall, the Chadwick Family Banking Program in Stephen F. Austin State University’s Rusche College of Business will offer banking professionals access to essential industry courses, allowing them to earn a professional certification in banking.

Designed for banking professionals who do not have an undergraduate banking degree, the 15-hour Banking Essentials Certificate can be completed via livestream and/or in person over one to two years.

“The flexibility of this program helps participants maintain a good work-life balance,” said David Kaiser, director of the Chadwick Family Banking Program and an instructor for several of the certificate courses.

“Bankers working toward the certificate can close their office doors, attend class over Zoom and immediately resume working after,” he added. “We are using the remote meeting capacities developed during COVID-19 as a platform that allows emerging leaders in banking to attend and participate in actual college courses in real time.”

The certificate also can assist banking and human resources managers in providing a path for professional development and promotion to emerging leaders in banking.

“The banking industry is committed to developing skilled professionals, and some managers are willing to incorporate this type of professional development into the workday, as well as help finance professional development,” said Dr. Miles McCall, executive vice president of Commercial Bank of Texas in Nacogdoches.

With scholarships available through the banking program and potential tuition reimbursement opportunities through employers who want to develop emerging banking leaders, the certificate is a great investment, Kaiser added.

“The path to career advancement in the banking industry has never been more flexible, obtainable and affordable,” he said.

Courses include Introduction to Investments, Banking Fundamentals, Selling Financial Products and Services, Commercial Bank Management, and Commercial Bank Lending.

For more information, visit sfasu.edu/ecofin/academics/banking or email Kaiser at kaiserdr@sfasu.edu.

May 17, 2022 – Registration is underway for Junior Jacks Theatre Camp at Stephen F. Austin State University. The popular two-week School of Theatre camp is designed for children entering third through ninth grades. This year’s camp is scheduled for Monday through Friday, July 25 through 29, and Aug. 1 through 5, with play performances on Saturday, Aug. 6.

Junior Jacks was designed as a day-camp version of the highly successful High School Summer Theatre Workshop at SFA, according to Carolyn Conn, professor of theatre at SFA and the camp’s director. The fun and exciting summer camp, offered in two age groups, fills quickly, and Conn suggested parents register their children early.

“We have children representing all local and nearby schools as well as many home-schooled children,” Conn said. “There are also many repeat campers. Many Junior Jacks ‘graduates’ go on to attend the High School Summer Theatre Workshop at SFA. We also have former Junior Jack/High School Workshop participants who become theatre majors at SFA. The camp is a great introduction to what we offer in the School of Theatre.”

The camp has expanded its capacity in recent years, so more students can participate, Conn said.

“As the School of Theatre’s teacher certification program grows and has incorporated the camp into its ‘Directing for the Youth’ course, we have a large number of student directors available to work with the children,” she said. “Additional teachers mean we have room for additional campers! So, we are aiming for another increase in campers this year.”

Junior Jacks is a community outreach opportunity designed to not only introduce children to theatre, but it also allows the School of Theatre’s teacher certification students to work with students who are younger than high school age. Junior Jacks campers play theatre games and rehearse plays that will be performed at the camp’s conclusion.

Registration cost is $85 per student and $60 for each additional sibling within a single family. Needs-based scholarships may be available. The camp is co-sponsored in partnership with Nacogdoches Arts Collaborative. More information and a registration form can be found at theatre.sfasu.edu, or contact Conn at (936) 468-1031 or conncs@sfasu.edu.

May 11, 2022 — Stephen F. Austin State University’s SFA Gardens will host the monthly Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 12, in the Brundrett Conservation Education Building at the Pineywoods Native Plant Center, located at 2900 Raguet Street.

Jennifer Buckner, director of horticulture at Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, will present “Favorite Perennials for Tough Conditions.” Buckner also manages the plant displays in the Epiphyte House, Exhibition Greenhouses and Children’s Garden.

Buckner joined the staff at Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center in 2007 and holds a Bachelor of Science in horticulture and entomology and a Master of Agriculture in floriculture from Texas A&M University. Her past experiences include working at an independent garden center retailer and a wholesale nursery.

The Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series is held the second Thursday of each month. It is preceded by an attendee social at 6:30 p.m., and a rare plant raffle will follow the program. The lecture is free and open to the public, but donations to the Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series fund are always appreciated.

Parking is available at the PNPC and Raguet Elementary School, located at 2428 Raguet St.

For more information, call (936) 468-4129 or email sfagardens@sfasu.edu.

May 7, 2022 — Members of Stephen F. Austin State University’s Board of Regents met to approve a five-year Cisco wireless licensing renewal, among other actions, during a special called meeting Friday.

The total five-year cost of the renewal will be $1,668,825. Approximately 75% of the campus wireless network is dedicated to student residential facilities, so 75% of the cost for the renewal will be covered by on-campus residential wireless service and upgrade funds approved during the April 11 regents meeting. The nonresidential portion of the license will be paid for through a Higher Education Fund appropriation.

The regents authorized the SFA president to execute all purchase orders and contracts necessary to execute this license renewal.

Additionally, the regents authorized the president to sign amendments to SFA’s contract with Love Advertising Inc., the company SFA works with for media buying and digital services. The additional spending authority allows SFA’s Division of University Marketing Communications to use funds external to the contract to help more SFA departments use Love for their digital advertising needs.

To view recorded meetings of the SFA Board of Regents, visit sfasu.edu/about-sfa/board-of-regents/meeting-information.


Stephen F. Austin State University’s Office of Multicultural Affairs recognized 51 graduates of its 2021-22 Diversity and Inclusion Certification Program during a campus luncheon April 26. Graduates were awarded a certificate and a “Diversity Champion” miniature axe handle for completing the program.

May 3, 2022 — Stephen F. Austin State University’s Office of Multicultural Affairs recognized 51 graduates of its Diversity and Inclusion Certification Program during a campus luncheon April 26.

Held annually, the program strives to engage and expose SFA faculty and staff to critical issues in diversity, multicultural education and social justice, as well as facilitate relationship building and learning opportunities across campus.

“This program is important because it lets faculty and staff navigate through and network about crucial issues on a variety of topics pertaining to diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Veronica Beavers, OMA director. “In addition, the program’s graduates and participants have shown a commitment to enhancing their knowledge of DEI on campus. Many students have told me personally that seeing this commitment among faculty and staff is truly appreciated.”

Graduates, who began the program in the fall, were awarded a certificate and a “Diversity Champion” miniature axe handle for completing the program.

Program graduates represented a total of 11 SFA colleges, divisions and offices — three from the College of Liberal and Applied Arts; five from the College of Sciences and Mathematics; four from the Division of Academic Affairs; two from the Division of Finance and Administration; 14 from the Division of Student Affairs; three from the Division of University Marketing Communications; four from Enrollment Management; eight from the James I. Perkins College of Education; six from the Micky Elliott College of Fine Arts; one from the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; and one from the Office of Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management.

“Having a large graduation class means a lot,” Beavers said. “In 2019-20 and 2020-21, we averaged about 40 graduates a year, so to see the numbers increase to 51 this year is exciting.”

The free program is open to all SFA faculty and staff. Participants may complete the workshops as a means to earn the certificate or may attend individual workshops based on professional interests or needs. To attain the certificate, participants must attend the foundations workshop and four elective workshops.

OMA plans to offer a Level II certification, along with a similar certification program to community members.

To learn more about OMA, visit sfasu.edu/oma.

May 2, 2022 - The School of Art at Stephen F. Austin State University is expanding its summer art camp to provide more opportunity for a larger demographic.

The SFA Art Academy is now offered for older students as well as elementary age students, according to Dr. Maggie Leysath, professor of art education in the School of Art.

“We are excited to be able to work with secondary-aged artists to provide in-depth artistic training in a studio setting for the first time,” Leysath said.

The elementary art academy is open to ages 5 through 10 who will be in first through sixth grades during the 2022-23 school year. Classes are arranged by approximate age and include drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics and more.

Classes for elementary students meet from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, June 6 through 10 and June 13 through 17, in the Art Building off Wilson Drive. An exhibition of student work will be at 4 p.m. Friday, June 17. All remaining work will be taken home at that time.

The secondary level art academy, which begins June 27 and ends July 1, is for ages 11 through 17 and is for students entering seventh through 12th grades in the 2022-23 school year. Student artists will work with art teachers for a real art studio experience from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.

“Secondary artists will enjoy a short art lesson each morning and then work on specific skills and artworks they have chosen before we break for lunch at the university cafeteria,” Leysath said. “Afternoon studio time allows students to work independently and with teachers to develop artworks.”

An exhibition of all secondary student artworks will be at 3 p.m. Friday, July 1.

Fees include all art supplies, daily snacks and exhibition expenses. Registration closes on June 3 or when all the spaces are filled. Fees received before June 1 are $200. After June 1, fees are $220. When registering, secondary art academy students should indicate which art mediums in which they are most interested on the form. Registration fees also include lunch costs for the secondary students.

Registration for each academy may be accessed at the School of Art website at art.sfasu.edu under Programs/Community. Space is limited. For more information, contact Leysath at leysathmn@sfasu.edu.

Stephen F. Austin State University’s Rusche College of Business recently held the inaugural Lumberjack Entrepreneurship Competition, inspired by ABC’s TV show “Shark Tank.” The first-place prize of $5,000 went to Reefvita, a sea moss smoothie business developed by Stephan McLawrence, a graduate student in finance from Carriacou, Grenada (back row, left). General business sophomore Quinton Williams of Dallas (back row, middle), earned the $3,000 second-place prize with his apparel business event QC B5 Beauty Pageant, and the $1,500 third-place prize went to entrepreneurship major and senior Ryan Waugh of Austin (back row, right) for his educational video game Play Gov. Other finalists, pictured front row, from left, included Molly Stanfill, Joshua Finklea and Kya Caravella.

April 28, 2022 — Inspired by ABC’s popular television show “Shark Tank” and a recent visit by one of its stars, Daymond John, the Stephen F. Austin State University entrepreneurship program in the Rusche College of Business hosted the inaugural Lumberjack Entrepreneurship Competition April 22.

The competition, which was open to all SFA undergraduate and graduate students, drew 30 entries. They were narrowed down to six for the final competition.

“The competition was really fierce,” said Dr. Raymond Jones, assistant professor of entrepreneurship and strategy at SFA. “We ended up with six finalists when we couldn’t narrow down the entries to five, and we paired each of them with a mentor from the Nacogdoches area to help fine-tune their pitches for the competition.”

Contestants were judged on the market opportunities for their businesses as well as their situational awareness, pitches, business models and go-to-market strategies.

“This competition was outstanding! The final six contestants were all well prepared and did a great job with their pitches,” said Gregory Price, chief financial officer of Decisio Health in Houston, an angel investor and one of the competition judges. “It takes a lot of research, creativity and self-confidence to get up and pitch an idea to a room full of more than 75 people.”

Price said selecting the top three pitches was difficult because each student’s idea was unique and “viable ones that can be carried forward to fruition.”

Other judges for the competition were Taylor Kovar, CEO and founder of Kovar Wealth Management in Lufkin, and Larissa Philpot-Brown, president and CEO of the Nacogdoches Economic Development Corporation.

The first-place prize of $5,000 went to Reefvita, a sea moss smoothie business developed by Stephan McLawrence, a graduate student in finance from Carriacou, Grenada. General business sophomore Quinton Williams of Dallas earned the $3,000 second-place prize with his apparel business event QC B5 Beauty Pageant, and the $1,500 third-place prize went to entrepreneurship major and senior Ryan Waugh of Austin for his educational video game Play Gov.

The three remaining finalists won gift cards: Kya Caravella, marketing junior from Houston, with Talk Box; Joshua Finklea, first-year sports marketing major from Coppell, with Lazer Key; and Molly Stanfill, social work junior from Azle, with Major Decisions.

“I learned so much from this competition, including the dilemmas I may face and other opportunities I can explore in the industry I will be competing in,” said McLawrence, whose pitch touted the health benefits of his smoothies’ main ingredient: the sea moss grown on ropes in the waters surrounding his home island. “Additionally, I received important feedback about my product and its mission from potential customers in attendance.”

McLawrence’s mentor, Sarah Gallander, who graduated from SFA in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science in dietetics and nutritional sciences, focuses on functional nutrition for her clients at The Wellness Matrix.

“Being able to work with a nutritionist and dietician who also runs a successful business gave me insight into the different facets of this particular type of business and helped me win the competition,” McLawrence said. “Mrs. Gallander was an absolute pleasure to work with and is a phenomenal mentor. She devoted a lot of her time and energy into ensuring my pitch was expertly presented, for which I cannot thank her enough.”

Gallander added that the competition showed how people want to invest in people.

“The importance of building your network, beginning with your local community and alumni, is a valuable resource that will lead to future support and success,” she said. “I love seeing the talent SFA has the privilege of grooming.”

Other mentors included Brandon Chambers, owner of Chambers Smokehouse and senior account leader at Etech Global Services; Melody Diven, owner of Clothed in Armor; Dr. Eddy Furniss, physician at Nacogdoches Health Partners; Garth Hinze, president of Ark Pharmacies Inc.; and Dr. Gerardo Saldaña, optometrist at Nacogdoches Eye Associates.

Jones said the competition will be back next year.

“The Lumberjack Entrepreneurship Competition is an outlet for SFA students to nurture and develop their entrepreneurial spirit, as well as for the university to highlight the amazing ideas our students have and the things they are doing,” Jones said. “With the help of so many faculty and community members, these students have learned how to put their ideas into practice in the real world.”

To learn more about the competition and SFA’s entrepreneurship program, visit sfasu.edu/mgtmkt/academics/entrepreneurship or email Jones at raymond.jones@sfasu.edu.

April 28, 2022 — Are you an East Texas region high school science teacher who would like to improve your ability to deliver exciting classroom labs? If so, Stephen F. Austin State University’s summer 2022 workshops can help.

JacksTeach secondary science and mathematics teacher preparation program will offer three, one-week workshops on the SFA campus this summer focused on empowering high school teachers to deliver highly engaging lab experiences for their students. Each workshop is separate and runs from 9am to 3:30pm daily.

Dates and subjects are:

  • June 13 through 17 – Biology/Life Sciences
  • June 13 through 17 – Physics
  • June 27 through July 1 – Chemistry

Workshops will be led by SFA faculty and JacksTeach staff. There is no cost to participate, and continuing professional education credits will be earned. Lunch will be provided.

Teachers who participate in a full-week workshop will receive a $500 stipend and $500 worth of laboratory supplies for their classroom provided by SFA's Center for Applied Rural Research and Innovation.

Lessons will meet Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, and Next Generation Science Standards. These workshops will provide an excellent opportunity to network with teachers from other districts.

Interested science teachers can apply at gosfa.com/sci-lab-solutions-app. Direct your questions to Dr. Jane Long, JacksTeach director, by email at jacksteach@sfasu.edu or by phone at (936) 468-3960. The deadline to apply is May 2.

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