SFA University

October 26, 2021 — For the first time since February 2020, Stephen F. Austin State University will host an in-person, on-campus Showcase Saturday event on Nov. 13, offering college-bound students and their families a unique opportunity to experience life as a Lumberjack.

“The vitality of SFA’s university community and beauty of its campus are things you just have to see to believe, which is why I’m ecstatic to once again welcome prospective students and their families in person at SFA’s Showcase Saturday,” said SFA President Dr. Scott Gordon. “Our Office of Admissions team did an amazing job meeting students where they were during the past year and a half, but there’s nothing quite like the excitement of our on-campus, open-house event.”

SFA’s Showcase Saturday provides an opportunity for college-bound students to spend a day experiencing university life firsthand, touring the campus and having all their college questions answered.

Registration and check-in will begin at 11 a.m. in the Baker Pattillo Student Center. Several optional early-bird sessions will be ongoing between check-in and the day’s opening program, which is scheduled for 1 p.m. 

Those include a student services fair, campus tours and breakout sessions covering a range of topics, like campus safety, Veterans Affairs and the Hazlewood Act, and being a first-generation college student, among others.

“Our Showcase Saturday guests will learn all about the degree programs SFA has to offer as well as meet current students and tour the campus,” said Erma Nieto Brecht, SFA executive director of enrollment management. “We’re here to prepare students for the next huge and exciting step of pursuing higher education.”

During the opening program, students will attend presentations by college representatives based on their academic major of interest.

Come-and-go events will run from 1:30 to 4 p.m. These include an academic fair from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the Student Recreation Center, tours of the residence halls and recreation center from 1:30 to 4 p.m., and a #JacksGetInvolved student organization fair from 2:30 to 4 p.m. in the outdoor student center plaza.

Thirty-minute breakout sessions will run from 2 to 4 p.m. and will cover such topics as financial aid, first-year and transfer admissions, and Residence Life.

In addition to a high-energy Lumberjack experience, participating prospective students will receive a free SFA T-shirt after completing a program evaluation form.

To register for SFA’s Showcase Saturday and for more information, visit sfasu.edu/showcase.

October 25, 2021 Nacogdoches - Stephen F. Austin State University’s horticulture program will host the annual Fall Plant Fair from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, November 4, at the SFA Plantery, located at 1924 Wilson Drive.

Plants available for purchase include a variety of winter annuals, such as pansies, violas, wallflowers, dianthus, stock, dusty miller and snapdragons. All plants are winter hardy and perform well in East Texas. Plants are $2 per pot or $34 for a tray of 18 plants.

“The students are so excited to show our community what they’ve learned about growing plants,” said Dr. Jared Barnes, associate professor of horticulture and steward of the Plantery. “We welcome people to tour the Plantery and buy some plants, since all proceeds support student learning.”

The Plantery, a program within the SFA Department of Agriculture, allows students to grow and raise plants in the Sprout microfarm, greenhouses and teaching gardens around the Agriculture Building.

The plant sale also is an opportunity to tour the plant-growing operation and view student projects, such as the gravel garden and hydroponic system.

Music, fireside s’mores and games will be provided by the SFA Horticulture Club.

In the event of rainy weather, the Fall Plant Fair will be postponed until Friday, November 5.

For more information, contact Barnes at barnesj@sfasu.edu. The community also may learn more about the horticulture program by visiting www.horticultureisawesome.com/the-plantery or by following @sfahorticulture on Instagram.

Sarah Fuller, Outreach Coordinator for Forestry and Agriculture

October 18, 2021 – The Stephen F. Austin State University Office of Multicultural Affairs will host a Native American Heritage Month Celebration beginning at noon, Wednesday, November 10 in the Baker Pattillo Student Center Plaza on the SFA campus.

The event is free and open to the public. Those interested in viewing virtually can do so on OMA’s Instagram page, @omasfa1991.

“It is important for us to celebrate and educate ourselves about various cultures in the world, and it is specifically important for us to celebrate every demographic represented on SFA’s campus,” said Veronica Beavers, OMA director.

Native American Heritage Month gives the public an opportunity to express their concerns and find solutions for building bridges of understanding and friendship in their local areas. The celebration also recognizes the significant contributions the first Americans made to establish and grow the United States. Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush established the commemorative month in 1990.

This year’s celebration will feature performances from the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas. The tribe operates a sovereign government with a full array of health and human services, including law enforcement and emergency services. The tribe comprises about 1,300 members with approximately half living on the reservation in Livingston.

“The goal is to learn about Native American culture. Specifically, at this event, participants will learn about the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas,” Beavers said.

During the event, OMA representatives will be available to provide resources regarding Native American Heritage Month. Participants also can partake in raffles.

For more information about OMA, or to see a list of events, visit sfasu.edu/oma.

By Nathan Wicker, senior marketing communications specialist at Stephen F. Austin State University

October 15, 2021 — The Stanley Center for Speech and Language Disorders at Stephen F. Austin State University has received a 2021 Speak Out and Loud Crowd grant from the Parkinson Voice Project, the only 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in the world dedicated to helping individuals with Parkinson’s disease improve their speech and swallowing.

The center is among a select group of hospitals, university speech therapy clinics, private practices and nonprofit organizations worldwide to receive this funding. The grant provides free Speak Out training for the clinical instructors and graduate students in SFA’s speech-language pathology program. It also funds materials that are used in the Speak Out and Loud Crowd programs.

“Up to 90% of people with Parkinson’s are at high risk of losing their ability to speak, and complications account for a 70% mortality rate in this patient population,” said Parkinson Voice Project founder and CEO Samantha Elandary. “Our vision at Parkinson Voice Project is to make our highly-effective speech therapy program accessible to people with Parkinson’s worldwide.”

East Texas has a large population of people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, according to Deena Petersen, director of the Stanley Center for Speech and Language Disorders.

“We are fortunate to be trained in the Speak Out program to help these clients communicate better,” she said.

The clinic offers free therapy sessions to East Texans with Parkinson’s disease to help them learn how to speak with intent, Petersen said.

“People with Parkinson’s disease do not realize they are speaking softly, and people cannot hear them. In the Speak Out program, clients become more aware of their speech and learn that when they speak, it must be with intention.”

In addition to individual Speak Out sessions, the Stanley Center for Speech and Language Disorders offers the Loud Crowd program, which is a maintenance program for patients with Parkinson’s disease offering ongoing vocal practice, support and encouragement. When clients complete the Speak Out program, they transition to Loud Crowd.

The Parkinson Voice Project’s grant program honors Dr. Daniel R. Boone, a world-renowned speech-language pathologist and voice expert who recognized in the late 1950s that individuals with Parkinson’s disease could improve their communication if they spoke with intent. The Parkinson Voice Project combines individual and group therapy to convert speech from an automatic function to an intentional act.

For more information on the center’s services, call (936) 468-7109.

October 14, 2021 — All prospective graduate students and working professionals looking to advance their careers through graduate study are invited to attend Stephen F. Austin State University’s first virtual graduate school informational session.

Representatives from SFA’s Office of Research and Graduate Studies will present a one-hour overview about applying for and attending graduate school. The virtual info session also will review SFA’s own master’s degree, doctoral degree and certification programs.

“We understand that many who are interested in a graduate-level education face real life constraints, including time and distance,” said Dr. Freddie Avant, interim dean of research and graduate studies. “Our virtual information session is intended to bring the answers directly to you.

“Whether you’re transitioning straight out of an undergraduate program into graduate study or looking for professional advancement, this info session will answer all of your questions about making graduate school work for your schedule,” he added. “With more than a dozen fully online SFA graduate programs, it’s more possible than ever before to pursue graduate study while still balancing a family, a full-time job or any other pursuits.”

The virtual session will begin at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 9. Avant and Dr. Lorenzo Smith, SFA’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, will kick off the session with a welcome message. Details on graduate school requirements and the application process will follow, as will breakout rooms discussing SFA’s own graduate programs.

Optional Q&A sessions will close out the info session, where attendees can connect with representatives of SFA’s Steen Library, Center for Teaching and Learning, SFA Online, Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, and the Veterans Resource Center.

For more information and to register, visit sfasu.edu/graduate-admissions.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of Stephen F. Austin State University’s forestry program. Following the program’s 1966 accreditation from the Society of American Foresters, the national organization representing and setting the standard for the forestry profession, SFA became home to the first accredited forestry program in the state. Since its establishment, the forestry program has produced top leaders in both the public and private sectors of natural resource management. In this picture dated 1949, representatives of the new Department of Forestry stand before a student recruiting booth.

October 13, 2021 — In the spring semester of 1946, Stephen F. Austin State Teachers College welcomed an influx of returning World War II servicemen to the student body. Among the courses offered to these new and returning students was an entirely new academic program — one that is inexorably tied to the heritage, economy and natural history of the region.

By the mid 20th century, the U.S. had transitioned away from viewing forests and their resources as purely extractive, and the creation of SFA’s Bachelor of Science in Forestry program reflected the growing understanding of the need for responsible, renewable, science-based forest management.

In 1966, the program received accreditation from the Society of American Foresters, the national organization representing and setting the standard for the forestry profession, making SFA home to the first accredited forestry program in the state.

The new Department of Forestry was initially housed in the basement of the Austin Building, and although campus location, technology and course offerings have changed during the past 75 years, one aspect has remained consistent.

“I think one of our strengths is that we have held on to the hands-on, learning-based experience model,” said Dr. Hans Williams, dean of SFA’s Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture. “Our students go to the forest and field every day to work closely with faculty members and learn.”

The field-based curriculum is perhaps best exemplified by the program’s intensive six-week summer field camp for students entering their junior year. Each week of the course focuses on a different aspect of the forestry profession and challenges students to apply the knowledge they have gained throughout the program to real-world scenarios.

For most of the program’s history, the camp took place off campus — first at a leased property equipped with dormitories and a dining hall near Milam, and later at the SFA-owned Piney Woods Conservation Center on Lake Sam Rayburn. In 2015, the camp transitioned to a non-residential format with students returning to their respective homes each night. Although locations of the camp have changed, the physical and mental rigor remain.

“Before I started field station, my friends told me that it’s the most fun you will never want to have again,” said Charlie Jordan, 2015 forestry graduate. “They were 100% correct. I’ve never had more fun during a summer class, but I never want to go through that mental and physical exhaustion again.”

Although tucked away in rural Texas Forest Country, SFA’s forestry program, faculty members and students have gained national recognition for their contributions to the profession.

Currently, the program is home to four faculty member recipients of the Carl Alwin Schenck Award. This national award, presented by the Society of American Foresters, recognizes outstanding performance in the field of forestry education. Additionally, the student chapter of The Wildlife Society and the student chapter of the Society of American Foresters have been recognized as the nation’s top-performing student chapters. Furthermore, the SFA Sylvans, the university’s timbersports team, has won multiple Southern Forestry Conclave championships, excelling in both the academic and physical portions of the competition.

When contemplating the program’s greatest accomplishments, Williams immediately points to alumni.

“When you get down to it, the success of any program is based on the success of its graduates, and I think what you see with our graduates is that they have achieved leadership positions in the public and private sectors of forestry all over the country,” Williams said. “Because we’re such a large program and have graduated so many students over the years, we’ve gained a reputation through their success of being a fine forestry program that produces strong graduates.”

Among the program’s notable alumni are a Nobel Prize co-recipient and top scientist for the U.S. Geological Survey, as well as top leaders within the Texas A&M Forest Service, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and private companies such as Weyerhaeuser and Davey Tree Expert Company.

“What amazes me is that as we try to select alumni for our Outstanding Alumni Award, we can’t seem to catch up,” Williams said. “We are so far behind in recognizing our outstanding alumni who have made great contributions to the profession.”

In addition to extensive teaching, research and outreach, the program manages 3,449 acres of East Texas forestland through the Lumberjack Legacy Forest Program. Through sustainable forest management, these properties have sequestered more than 600,000 tons of carbon dioxide and generated more than $239,000 for student scholarships and graduate research.

The Lumberjack Legacy Forest Program initially began in 2000 through a relationship with STMicroelectronics, a global electronics and semiconductor manufacturer focused on reducing its carbon footprint. The company purchased and afforested marginal East Texas pastureland and then donated the land to the SFA Real Estate Foundation to be managed in perpetuity by the college.

“This relationship was made possible through the vision and leadership of past deans and faculty members, as well as guidance from the SFA development office,” Williams said. “We have been able to meet STMicroelectronics’ goals, as well as our goals of supporting students and facilitating faculty development.”

While the forest industry and higher education have dramatically changed during the past 75 years and will no doubt continue to evolve, Williams speaks of the future of SFA’s forestry program with enthusiasm and purpose.

“We will continue to hold on to hands-on, experienced-based learning,” Williams said. “I think that is part of our culture, what we are known for and why employers seek out our graduates. We will continue to seek out ways to improve our academic quality and produce well-rounded professionals."

Story by Sarah Fuller, outreach coordinator for Stephen F. Austin State University’s Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture.

The public is invited to join Stephen F. Austin State University’s College of Sciences and Mathematics and Bruce McCandless III for an evening of space stories about his father, astronaut Bruce McCandless II, at 6 p.m. October 14, in the SFA planetarium.

October 12, 2021 — The public is invited to join Stephen F. Austin State University’s College of Sciences and Mathematics and Bruce McCandless III for an evening of space stories about his father, astronaut Bruce McCandless II, at 6 p.m. October 14, in the SFA planetarium.

The book, “Wonders All Around: The Incredible True story of Astronaut Bruce McCandless II and the First Untethered Flight in Space,” was written by McCandless III and details pivotal moments in his father’s career, which spanned the Apollo era and the Skylab and shuttle programs. An Amazon best seller, the book was recently listed by Men’s Journal as a Top 20 Book to Read in 2021.

“You’ve probably seen the photo — that all-but-ubiquitous snapshot of an astronaut with a jet-powered backpack gliding along in the vastness of the cosmos, untethered and unafraid,” McCandless III said. “Other than that fantastic image, though, you may know very little about the man in the jetpack: Captain Bruce McCandless II.”

Some of McCandless II’s accomplishments include serving as a capsule communicator for Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 moon walk, repairing the damaged Skylab orbital workshop, performing the first untethered flight in space, and designing and deploying the Hubble Space Telescope.

The presentation is free to the public.

Learn more about the SFA Planetarium at sfasu.edu/planetarium.

By Joanna Armstrong, marketing communications specialist at Stephen F. Austin State University

October 6, 2021 – Stephen F. Austin State University’s SFA Gardens will host its annual Fabulous Fall Festival Plant Sale from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9 and Sunday, Oct. 10, at the Pineywoods Native Plant Center, 2900 Raguet St., in historic Nacogdoches.

The sale will feature a remarkable array of hard-to-find, “Texas-tough” plants, including natives, edibles, heirlooms, perennials, shrubs and trees,with an emphasis on native, pollinator-friendly selections, as well as exclusive SFA introductions. The featured plants are extensively trialed before being offered to the public and are produced by staff members and volunteers of the SFA Gardens.

This popular event raises money for operations of all the gardens under the SFA Gardens umbrella: SFA Mast Arboretum, PNPC, Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden, Gayla Mize Garden, Jimmy Hinds Park and the alternative fruits research program.

Parking will be available at SFA’s Janice A. Pattillo Early Childhood Research Center, 2428 Raguet St., and visitors are encouraged to arrive early and bring a wagon for their plants. Credit cards and checks will be accepted; no cash.

For more information and a list of available plants, call (936) 468-4404 or visitsfagardens.sfasu.edu two weeks before the sale.

Stephen F. Austin State University’s timbersports team, the Sylvans, tied for first place in the collegiate portion of the 37th annual Arkansas State Lumberjack Competition held in Sheridan, Arkansas. Pictured, SFA students Mason Helm and Natalie Scammell compete in the Jack and Jill crosscut competition.

October 5, 2021 — Stephen F. Austin State University’s timbersports team, the Sylvans, tied for first place in the collegiate portion of the 37th annual Arkansas State Lumberjack Competition held in Sheridan, Arkansas.

“This was one of the tightest competitions we’ve had since our return from the COVID-19 hiatus,” said Dr. Jeremy Stovall, SFA professor of silviculture and Sylvans faculty advisor.

The Sylvans team, comprising 17 SFA students, competed in seven different physical events against the University of Arkansas at Monticello and Louisiana Tech University.

The Sylvans placed first in the women’s bowsaw and Jack and Jill crosscut; second in the single buck crosscut, axe throw and men’s bowsaw; and third in the double-buck crosscut and underhand chop.

Additionally, Tyler Jones, Sylvans team member and current holder of the Southern Forestry Conclave axe-throwing record, took fifth place in the professional division of the axe-throwing competition.

Ken Bragg, SFA alumnus, past Sylvans president and member of the Arkansas State House of Representatives, officiated the competition. The event also was organized by SFA alumnus Karl Hansen, among others.

October 3, 2021 — College-bound students and their families are invited to Stephen F. Austin State University’s Showcase Preview and Virtual Showcase, both of which will be held during October.

“Whether you attend one of our Showcase SFA events in person or virtually, we’ve designed them all to give attendees an up-close and personal look at everything our campus has to offer,” said Emily Jefferson, SFA director of undergraduate recruitment. “It’s the perfect event to have all your college questions answered while experiencing our campus in really unique ways.”

Showcase Preview

Showcase Preview will take place from 9:30 a.m. to noon October 11 on the SFA campus. It will feature informational fairs and breakout sessions. Jack Walkers, who are current students who serve as tour guides, also will be present at the Showcase Preview to offer tours.

“Showcase was the event that truly opened my heart to SFA,” said Iris Rios, a senior marketing major and Jack Walker. “Attendees can meet so many other future Lumberjacks and get a genuine feel for the campus.”

As a weekday event, prospective students and their families also will have the opportunity to see the campus in action. Smaller than a Showcase Saturday but larger than a campus tour experience, Showcase Preview is the right fit for families looking to make a quick trip to the piney woods.

A welcome session will begin at 9:30 a.m. followed by breakout sessions covering a wide range of topics, including first-year and transfer admission, financial aid, and more.

Attendees may then participate in campus and residence hall tours, academic and student services fairs, and other optional sessions, including a mock classroom experience.

“Showcase-goers should expect to gain knowledge, connections and a deeper love for SFA,” said Kallie Menard, a family and consumer sciences senior and Jack Walker. “Showcase is a great experience and opportunity to learn more about SFA, and also to hang out with our Jack Walkers and other current and prospective students!”

Virtual Showcase

Virtual Showcase will be offered from 9 a.m. to noon October 22. The virtual event provides participants a unique space to interact with academic departments and student resources, showcasing the ways in which SFA is meeting the needs of today’s student in a highly technological world.

“Our Showcase events are the best way to not only get plugged into the SFA community, but also to meet other first-year students who are headed to college at the same time as you,” said Kaci Foster, a senior business management major and Jack Walker. “Our Virtual Showcase offers a chance to meet our admissions team and receive guidance to make sure you’re set and ready for college.”

Held exclusively over Zoom, SFA’s Virtual Showcase will begin with a welcome session. Academic breakout sessions by college will then take place, followed by other breakouts covering a range of topics, including first-year and transfer admissions, as well as student services overviews.

“Our Showcase guests will get an exclusive look at all aspects of campus life and have a chance to speak with Lumberjacks from every corner of SFA,” said Thomas Martin, senior political science major and Jack Walker.

Unique to our Virtual Showcase is a student-led panel that will allow attendees to speak to and ask questions of our current students. Virtual Showcase will end with optional sessions, including personalized admission counseling and a virtual campus tour.

To register for a Showcase SFA event or for more information, visit sfasu.edu/showcase.