SFA University

April 19, 2023 — The Stephen F. Austin State University Division of Student Affairs announced Michalla Byrd of Joaquin, Heath Sharr of Jacksonville, Jay Teamer of Lewisville, and Curtis Tran of Nacogdoches as recipients of this year’s Best of SFA Awards.

“The committee was overwhelmed with the amazing pool of candidates for the awards this year, yet it was clear these students exemplify the SFA spirit and genuine passion for the institution,” said Lacey Folsom, director of Student Engagement. “We were honored to celebrate these individuals and their achievements.”

The awards are given annually to recognize students who excel in the areas of scholarship, participation and leadership in academic and co-curricular activities as well as service and loyalty to the university. These exemplary students are honored during the Lumberjack Achievement Awards Banquet held each spring semester and go on to represent SFA throughout the following academic year.

Michalla Byrd, a communication sciences and disorders major from Joaquin, received a Best of SFA Award.Michalla Byrd

Byrd is a communication sciences and disorders major. A graduate of Joaquin High School where she was valedictorian, she is the daughter of Teri and Michael Joe Byrd.

She is a Twirl-o-Jack in the Lumberjack Marching Band, a member of the National Student Speech and Language Hearing Association, and a former member of Sigma Phi Lambda. In her spare time, she volunteers at food pantries and sings at nursing homes. She also leads vacation Bible school at the First Baptist Church of Joaquin.

Byrd is a Dean’s List recipient and was voted sweetest Twirl-o-Jack and Twirl-o-Jack of the year by her peers. Upon her graduation in December 2023, Byrd plans to apply for the speech-pathology graduate program at SFA and Baylor University. Her dream is to work as a speech-language pathologist assistant to help children with their speech and language in a supportive environment.

Heath Sharr, a graphic design major from Jacksonville, received a Best of SFA Award.Heath Sharr

Sharr is a graphic design major with a film minor. He is a Jacksonville High School graduate and the son of Heather and Paul Sharr.

During his time at SFA, Sharr has been involved in Omega Delta Phi Fraternity as the social media chair, historian and social chair. He was a Jack Walker and served as the social media chair for the organization. In addition, he has participated in the American Institute of Graphic Artists, American Advertising Federation and Jack Camp as well as served as the Men’s Volleyball Club president.

Sharr also worked with Campus Recreation for promotions and facilities as a student employee. He plans to work as a full-time employee for Campus Rec upon graduation in May and continue his education at SFA. Sharr hopes to impact the next generation the same way he was impacted by seeing how exciting and interesting the behind-the-scenes work can be.

Jay Teamer, a music education major from Lewisville, received a Best of SFA Award.Jay Teamer

Teamer is a music education major with a concentration in voice and an art minor with a focus on graphic design. He is a Lewisville High School graduate and the son of Kim and Dwayne Teamer.

Teamer has been a self-employed musician since 2018 and has performed with SFA’s A Cappella Choir, Opera Theatre and Chamber Singers. He’s held several positions at SFA, including stage manager, usher and music theory tutor. He is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia fraternity and served as vice president and music director.

Outside his passion for music, Teamer was involved in SFA Student Engagement as lead content creator; Omega Delta Phi Fraternity as president, vice president, secretary, service chair and fundraising chair; and Multicultural Greek Council as vice president and public relations chair. He also has contributed to Jack Camp, Orientation, Weeks of Welcome, Order of Omega, Jack Walkers and the Student Activities Association.

His academic achievements include being named to the President’s List two times, to the Dean’s List four times, as a Micky Elliott College of Fine Arts Top Scholar for the Undergraduate Research Conference and as a recipient of numerous scholarships.

Upon his graduation from SFA in May, Teamer will continue his education at Oklahoma City University to earn his Master of Music in vocal coaching and work as a graduate student collaborative piano accompanist. His dream jobs include being a teacher to impact upcoming generations using music as a vehicle and being a music director at a theater company to direct musicals and conduct pit orchestras.

Curtis Tran, a finance major from Nacogdoches, received a Best of SFA Award.Curtis Tran

Tran is a finance major and Nacogdoches High School graduate. He is the son of Sandy Huynh and Binh Tran.

Tran is a Jack Walker, a member of the Rusche Business Mentor and Mentee Program, and an intern at Oakwood Management. A member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, he has served as the secretary and public relations chair. Tran is the president and founder of the Organization of Asian Excellence, a student organization that promotes education for Asian culture.

Tran served on the Office of Multicultural Affairs’ Presidents Council and was a recipient of the 2023 undergraduate DEI Student Excellence Award. After his graduation in May, he plans to work for Oakwood Management as an asset management associate. His dream job is to be a chief financial officer for a real estate company and help better the community by offering and being able to build homes for all.

The Children’s Performing Arts Series at SFA will present three performances of “Reading and Rhyming with Mother Goose” on Wednesday, April 26, in Kennedy Auditorium.

April 12, 2023 - Seats are still available for the April 26 performances of “Reading and Rhyming with Mother Goose,” a presentation of the Micky Elliott College of Fine Arts and its Children’s Performing Arts Series at Stephen F. Austin State University.

Targeting children in pre-kindergarten through second grade, “Reading and Rhyming with Mother Goose,” presented by MCP Shows, teaches children classic poems by acting out the stories within them using lively puppets and other props, according to Diane Peterson, Fine Arts Box Office manager and director of the children’s series.
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“Children are invited to join Mother Goose, along with Lamby, Mary, Goosey, Itsy Bitsy and her other puppet friends, as she shares the music of language expressed in rhyming,” Peterson said. “Children will leave the theatre with enthusiasm for reading, language and creativity.”

Performances are at 9 and 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. in Kennedy Auditorium on the SFA campus. Tickets are $7.50 for individuals and $6 per person for groups of 20 or more. This show is funded in part by the Texas Commission on the Arts.

The Children’s Performing Arts Series features shows designed to entertain, educate and engage young audiences of all ages, according to Peterson. To order tickets, call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS. Visit the CPAS website at cpas.sfasu.edu for additional information.

Students of the 2022 iMAS Academy enjoyed a variety of investigations in mathematics and science.

March 23, 2023 – Registration is open for day and overnight camps offered by the Stephen F. Austin State University STEM Research and Learning Center.

The iMAS Academy explores investigations in mathematics and science. This hands-on, minds-on camp focuses on scientific inquiry through dynamic teaching and learning experiences led by SFA faculty members and master teachers at no cost to students.

The day camp will be held June 12-16 and the overnight camp will be held July 16-21. Camps are for students 14 to 17 years old prior to the start of camp. Both camps will be hosted at the Cole STEM Building on the SFA campus.

Applications close May 3 with teacher recommendations due by May 9. Announcements of acceptance will be made May 15. Applications can be found at gosfa.com/imasapp.

The iMAS Academy is grant-funded through the Texas Workforce Commission and includes room and board, materials, prizes, snacks and a T-shirt.

For more information, email stemcenter@sfasu.edu, or call (936) 468-5814.

The Sylvans, Stephen F. Austin State University’s timbersports team, claimed top honors at the 64th annual Southern Forestry Conclave, marking the fifth consecutive conclave SFA has won.

March 16, 2023 – The Sylvans, Stephen F. Austin State University’s forestry club and timbersports team, claimed top honors at the 64th annual Southern Forestry Conclave, marking the fifth consecutive conclave SFA has been crowned. The event was hosted by Louisiana Tech University March 9-11 at the Lincoln Parish Park in Ruston, Louisiana.

The accomplishment marks the eighth win of the past nine conclaves and 17 wins total.

“I told the team going into this year’s Conclave there was only one team we needed to worry about this year – SFA,” said Dr. Jeremy Stovall, Bone Hill Distinguished Professor of Silviculture and Sylvans faculty advisor. “Winning the previous four conclaves wasn’t by chance. We’d put in the practice, worked hard to earn and raise money for the right equipment, did our homework, and learned our events inside and out.”

“The Sylvans team has the right culture and is focused on collegiality, fun and sportsmanship,” he continued. “We all bought in and truly worked together as a team. The significance of claiming top honors at this year’s conclave validated our core beliefs: we have one of the best undergraduate forestry programs in the country, the best students and a successful club culture.”

Consisting of 28 students — and with the help of Stovall, 10 alumni and the team’s coach, Chelsea Lopez — the Sylvans scored 293.5 points overall. Clemson University placed second with 236 points. The margin of victory stands as the largest in the event’s 64 years, according to Stovall. Louisiana Tech University finished in third place with 216.5 points.

The Sylvans finished first in both physical and technical events. The physical events are based on the historical logging and forestry events, using tools such as axes or saws. Technical events are based on subjects learned in forestry courses, testing the academic preparation of the students and their ability to recall and deploy information in the field.

Along with the hours of work the competitors practiced to reach their goal, which totaled more than 100 practices in an academic year, Stovall credits this year’s win to something more special: the team’s camaraderie.

“The students genuinely love learning about the events and working with each other as a team to see how good they can become,” he said. “They teach and coach each other, and they are all each other’s biggest fans. The level of sportsmanship they displayed with each other and in support of the other clubs was really phenomenal. As an advisor, I’ve got it easy with this group. I trust them and know they’ll do everything they can to succeed. They’ve made me work harder so I don’t let them down.”

While the Sylvans primarily comprise forestry students, all majors are welcome to join. For more information on the Sylvans, visit sylvanstimbersports.com, or contact Stovall at stovalljp@sfasu.edu.

February 27, 2023 — Stephen F. Austin State University’s JacksTeach program and Center for Applied Research and Rural Innovation are hosting a series of workshops this summer on inquiry science lab solutions for high school teachers.

These workshops are designed to help teachers facilitate and prepare true inquiry-based labs, use lab technology and equipment in an inquiry setting, and maintain a safe laboratory environment.

There will be three different topic-focused workshops: biology, June 5-9; physics, June 20-23; and chemistry, June 26-30. All sessions will run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The workshops will be held on the SFA campus and led by university faculty and staff. Participation is free, and lunch will be provided daily. Lessons shared will meet Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills requirements and Next Generation Science Standards.

Attendees will receive a $100 stipend per day of full participation and up to $500 worth of laboratory supplies. To be eligible for the workshops, teachers must be public high school science teachers from the deep East Texas region with confirmed fall 2023 assignments in biology, chemistry or physics.

Applications close March 1, and acceptance emails will be sent by March 15. Spots are limited.

To get more information and request the application link, call (936) 468-3960 or email jacksteach@sfasu.edu.

February 21, 2023 - The Stephen F. Austin State University Board of Regents celebrated Presidents Day by officially electing Dr. Steve Westbrook the 10th president of the university. Here, Westbrook signs the Bible all previous SFA presidents signed before him while surrounded by his family: wife, Dayna, and sons, from left to right, Reed and Bryce. In addition to friends, family and past regents, Dr. William R. Johnson, SFA’s fourth president, and relatives of the late Dr. Baker Pattillo, SFA’s eighth president, attended the board meeting. Westbrook will serve until his retirement May 31. He is not a candidate for the 11th president’s position.

February 20, 2023 — College-bound students and their families are invited to Stephen F. Austin State University’s in-person, on-campus Showcase Saturday event February 25, which offers participants a unique opportunity to experience life as a Lumberjack.

“Showcase Saturday is more than a campus visit — it’s a chance for you to be immersed in the full Lumberjack experience,” said Dr. Steve Westbrook, SFA president-elect. “I welcome prospective students and their families to our beautiful campus for the chance to learn about our academics, ask questions, and take their first steps toward making SFA their future home.”

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.

In addition to a high-energy Lumberjack experience, participating prospective students will receive discounted and complimentary tickets to a School of Theatre production and a men’s basketball game, respectively. They also will receive a free SFA T-shirt at check-in.

Registration and check-in will begin at 10 a.m. in the Baker Pattillo Student Center Plaza. Several optional early-bird sessions will be ongoing between check-in and the day’s opening program, which is scheduled for 11 a.m. 

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

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 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. These include an academic fair from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Student Recreation Center, tours of residence halls and the recreation center from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and a #JacksGetInvolved student organization fair from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in the student center atrium.

A student leader meet and greet also will be available from 1 to 1:45 p.m. in the student center, and tours of our Health and Wellness Hub will be ongoing throughout the day in the Tucker Building.

Thirty-minute breakout sessions will run from 1:45 to 3 p.m. and will cover such topics as financial aid, first-year and transfer admissions, and both Residence Life and Dining Services. A session for parents of admitted students also will be available.

Optional tours of academic facilities will run from 1:30 to 3 p.m. and will allow participants to visit the DeWitt School of Nursing Complex, Todd Agricultural Research Center, A.L. Mangham Jr. Regional Airport, and the Janice A. Pattillo Early Childhood Research Center.

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

Cutline: Attendees chat with faculty and staff during Stephen F. Austin State University’s Showcase Saturday academic fair. The university will host its in-person spring Showcase Saturday, February 25 on campus.

February 16, 2023 - Stephen F. Austin State University recognized the outstanding academic achievements of a select number of students by naming 923 to the President's Honor Roll for fall 2022. To qualify for the President's Honor Roll at SFA, the student must have earned a 4.0 semester GPA in 12 or more semester hours while a full-time, degree-seeking undergraduate student.

Below are the students from Shelby County on the President’s List. To view the full list, visit https://sfasu.meritpages.com.

Jase Bird (Majoring in General Business)
Camryn Crouch (Majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies)
Mitchell Fountain (Majoring in Engineering Physics, Minoring in Mathematics)
Kamryn Holt (Majoring in Art)
Kase Hooper (Majoring in Kinesiology)
Katherine Nichols (Majoring in General Studies)
Anthony Tello (Majoring in Art)

Michalla Byrd (Majoring in Communication Science & Disorders)
Cheyenne Howard (Majoring in Art)

Yolanda Caporali (Majoring in Criminal Justice)
Dawson Jackson (Majoring in Mathematics)

Timpson - Skylar Causey (Majoring in Nursing)

February 16, 2023 - Stephen F. Austin State University recognized the outstanding academic achievements of a select number of students by naming 1,500 to the Dean's List for fall 2022.

To qualify for the Dean's List at SFA, the student must have earned a semester GPA over 3.5 in 12 or more semester hours while a full-time, degree-seeking undergraduate student. Below are the students from Shelby County on the Dean's List. To view the full list, visit https://sfasu.meritpages.com.

Naquila Barnes (Majoring in Communication Science & Disorders)
Carmen Choate (Majoring in General Business)
Christian Clark (Majoring in Kinesiology)
Hagan Crumpton (Majoring in Political Science, Minoring in Pre-Law)
Bridda Flores (Majoring in Music)
Benjamin Galindo (Majoring in History, Minoring in Public History)
Dulce Gonzalez (Majoring in Kinesiology, Minoring in Sports Business)
Aidan Hagler (Majoring in Kinesiology, Minoring in Combined Sciences)
Brendon Henson (Majoring in General Business)
Jackelyn Hernandez Cervantes (Majoring in Accounting)
Jennifer Huichapa (Majoring in Communication Science & Disorders)
Madison Kirby (Majoring in Nursing, Minoring in Human Development & Family Studies)
Jacob Liker (Majoring in Geospatial Science)
Nathaniel Morris (Majoring in Art, Minoring in Psychology)
Thazin Mu (Majoring in General Agriculture)
Aaron Triplett (Majoring in Construction Management)
Holly Wilburn (Majoring in Art)

Joaquin - Autumn Hughes (Majoring in Art)

Shelbyville - Alexis Shankle (Majoring in General Agriculture, Minoring in General Business)

Jessica Alvarado (Majoring in Biology, Minoring in Psychology)
Wesley Wages (Majoring in General Agriculture, Minoring in General Business)

Emily Hackworth (Majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies)
Alexus Wallace (Majoring in Social Work)

February 15, 2023 — Stephen F. Austin State University’s Department of History will host Gordon Williams, an award-winning writer, producer and director, for an event titled “Beaumont’s Black History — In Moving Pictures” at 6 p.m. February 20 in the Baker Pattillo Student Center Theater. The presentation is part of the Robert S. Maxwell Lecture Series.

Williams will start the event with a brief presentation before screening two films — both of which he had a significant role in creating. “The Example,” on which Williams is credited as the principal writer, is an award-winning historical fiction short film based on the 1943 Beaumont race riot. The second film, “They Will Talk About Us: The Charlton-Pollard Story,” is an award-winning documentary about the oldest Black neighborhood in Beaumont. It was written, directed and produced by Williams.

A Q&A session will follow the screenings.

“The event will be part of SFA's celebration of Black History Month and will serve to highlight the history of Black communities in East Texas,” said Dr. Andrew Lannen, chair of the Department of History. “It also will highlight the talents and skills of Texas filmmakers.”

Williams, who is currently the television studio operations manager at Lamar University, has completed several other award-winning independent film projects, including “The Story of Marcus and Reyna,” “The Grater Ambition,” “Gemini” and “Do You.” He has also produced award-winning television programs, commercials and documentaries for Lamar University’s television productions.

In addition to television, Williams has ventured into sports production as a producer for Lamar University’s athletics video department. Williams is an advisor for the Jefferson County Historical Commission and was recently named to the advisory board of the Center for History and Culture of Southeast Texas and the Upper Gulf Coast.

The event is free and open to the public. Registration prior to the event is not required.

For more information, contact the Department of History at history@sfasu.edu.