SFA University

April 4, 2016 - NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Stephen F. Austin State University’s Nelson Rusche College of Business will host its third College to Career Conference from 12:30 to 5 p.m. Thursday, April 7, in the Mattress Firm Commons in the R.E. McGee Building on the SFA campus.

C2C, a professional development event, will feature sessions throughout the day with speakers from across the state representing companies such as Southwest Airlines, Mattress Firm, Edward Jones and Wells Fargo.

“The C2C is one of the best ways we can connect business executives with our students,” said Chelsea Heidbrink, director of career success and corporate engagement for SFA’s Nelson Rusche College of Business. “It provides professional insight into the job market and prepares students for the realities they will face after graduation.”

Sessions will focus on career-readiness topics, including communication skills, post-graduation budgeting and finances, and first impressions. Additional topics include information concerning the job search, competing in the job market, using social media for branding and the importance of lifelong learning.

Students can earn Student Success Passport Program points for each session they attend. The Student Success Passport Program aims to help SFA students hone their professional skills while competing for scholarships within the Nelson Rusche College of Business.

“With more than 20 professionals attending, C2C gives our students the opportunity to expand their personal network and build connections that may help them as they search for jobs and internships,” Heidbrink said.

C2C also will feature Rusche Real Talks presentations, which will give attendees personal insight into the experiences and business ventures of many successful SFA alumni and friends. During the conference, students also can participate in career counseling and mock interviews.

Additionally, from 5 to 7 p.m., the Nelson Rusche College of Business will host an employer reception where many of the college’s juniors, seniors and graduate students can meet and network with potential employers. The reception will be held in the Mattress Firm Commons area.

For more information, contact Heidbrink at (936) 468-2339 or heidbrinc@sfasu.edu.

April 1, 2016 - NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Stephen F. Austin State University’s Braille and Cane Club within the Department of Human Services has been recognized with the Natalie Barraga Award from the Texas Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired.

In conjunction with the award, the City of Nacogdoches is proclaiming April 7 Braille and Cane Club Day. The first formal reading of the proclamation and display of the Barraga award will be at 3:15 p.m. Thursday, April 7, in the Human Services Building, Room 314, on the SFA campus.
The Barraga award acknowledges excellence in public school programs for students with visual impairments, and it is given in honor of Dr. Natalie Barraga for her long and distinguished career in the education of students with visual impairments and in university personnel preparation.
“This is a tremendous honor, and we are so proud of the club’s initiative and achievement in the field,” said Michael Munro, SFA visual impairment and orientation and mobility program director. “I am very proud that our Braille and Cane Club has become such an incredible resource for students and families in and around the SFA community.”
The SFA Braille and Cane Club is a student-governed organization that strives to raise awareness about visual impairments. Shannon Dwyer serves as the club’s president and is an SFA senior majoring in rehabilitation. She attributes the club’s success to its members and past officers, such as Laura Poyner and Ashlynn Peterson, who have worked to elevate the club’s standing within the community.
“Receiving this award not only means we are getting our name out into the community, but also that we are getting closer to achieving our mission statement,” Dwyer said. “It truly is an honor to be recognized and to receive the award.”
The club was established in 1999 and promotes advocacy, encourages empowerment and provides education to the surrounding community. Club-sponsored events, such as the annual Christmas and Easter celebrations, White Cane Day awareness, Dining in the Dark, Disability Pride Parade and more, have become important resources for the community and families of individuals with visual impairments. The club has approximately 40 current members.

March 30, 2016 - NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Nearly three years after discussions began, the first physical off-site branch of Stephen F. Austin State University has opened at Lone Star College’s University Center at Montgomery, pending approval, and will begin offering courses this fall.

Hosted through SFA’s College of Liberal and Applied Arts, two bachelor’s and one master’s degree will be offered through the partnership to individuals seeking to build on associates degrees, vocational or technical training programs, military training, and occupational licensure or certification, or to advance in any social work industry.
Located in The Woodlands, SFA’s University Center office will draw students predominantly from the north Houston area.
“This partnership creates a pathway for people to move from a vocational/technical field into a bachelor’s and graduate program,” said Dr. Stephen Cooper, associate dean of SFA’s College of Liberal and Applied Arts and director of the Division of Multidisciplinary Programs. “It provides them an opportunity to advance their career or change career paths without losing all the work they’ve already done.”
Degree programs available through the partnership include a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences, Bachelor of Social Work, and Master of Social Work. The B.A.A.S. option gives students holding an Associate in Applied Sciences or certificate program completers an opportunity to apply workforce education credit toward a bachelor’s degree.
The B.A.A.S. with a professional development area in public administration also offers an opportunity for students to segue into a Master of Public Administration or Master of Social Work. Both are ideal for students in the Applied Arts and Sciences program in allied health occupations, public safety, behavioral health or human services.
“The SFA College of Liberal and Applied Arts is excited about launching our new relationship with Lone Star College,” said Dr. Brian Murphy, dean of the college. “The students and the community will benefit as a result of this cooperation.”
Many courses will be offered online and through Web and video conferencing, allowing students to pursue these options without leaving the Houston area.
“I’m excited that attending SFA will now be an option for more non-traditional students,” said Kimberly Morris, SFA assistant director of admissions at the LSC-Montgomery’s University Center. “I’m available to discuss all aspects of the application and enrollment process for individuals who intend on pursuing a degree at the main campus or through the University Center at Lone Star. I’m especially interested in assisting community college students with taking classes that will seamlessly transfer into SFA for their intended major.”
Many courses will be offered online or at night to increase flexibility and cater to the partnership’s main demographic — working professionals and other vocational/technical students.
“The reason why social work was such a good fit is because there are no similar degree plans offered on the north side of Houston,” Cooper said. “There also are only two M.S.W. programs in the Houston area, and admission is very competitive, so the market demand for an M.S.W. in the area has not been met by far. A lot of SFA students come from Houston as well, so they now have the opportunity to come to SFA for their B.S.W., return home and also get their M.S.W. from us.”

Deliberations with LSC began in the fall of 2013 when SFA officials became interested in open space within the organization’s University Center. SFA began working with LSC to articulate, or match, dozens of courses offered by the college to equivalent or applicable SFA classes.
“This partnership creates a pathway for students and working professionals to go directly from a variety of areas to a four-year degree program without having to find some place that will do a course-by-course articulation,” Cooper said. “A lot of the students in vocational, technical or other fields need a four-year degree to advance in administration and forward. This provides a pathway not only to do that but, for some of them, it could provide a pathway to springboard into a graduate program.”
Enrollment for the fall opens in April.
For information or to apply, email SFA.TheWoodlands@sfasu.edu.
Those interested in the B.A.A.S. degree may call (936) 468-6066 or email scooper@sfasu.edu for more information; or for the B.S.W. or M.S.W., call (936) 468-5105, or email swk@sfasu.edu.

March 30, 2016 - NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Successful in its first year, the second Lumberjack Psychology Conference will be held Monday, April 4, aimed at showcasing undergraduate and graduate research and preparing students for the upcoming Southwestern Psychology Association conference.

Three SFA students received awards from the Psi Chi National Honor Society following last year’s SWPA conference in Kansas.
“The purpose of the Lumberjack Psychology Conference is two-fold,” said Dr. Lauren Brewer, SFA assistant professor of psychology. “First, we want to share the impressive student and faculty research we’ve been doing with the SFA campus and community here in Nacogdoches. Second, this conference will help prepare our students to present at the SWPA in Dallas April 8 through 10.”
Monday’s conference will begin at 4 p.m. on the second floor of the McKibben Education Building with opening remarks from Dr. Kyle Conlon, assistant professor of psychology. A poster session will begin at 4:15 p.m. with talk/paper sessions beginning at 5:15 p.m. in Rooms 269 and 263.
The conference is open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.
“The Lumberjack Psychology Conference gives students an opportunity to hone their research presentation skills at SFA before presenting their research at this prestigious professional conference,” Brewer said.
Fifty-six individual students and faculty members have had their research accepted for presentation at this year’s SWPA conference. Those chosen from SFA will present 33 posters and seven talks/papers at the event.

March 28, 2016 - Stephen F. Austin State University junior interior design majors Abigail Gerald and Madison Stewart won first place for their aqua bar lighting model, which they created as a project in SFA Professor of Human Sciences Dr. Mitzi Perritt’s interior lighting class. Gerald and Stewart competed against their classmates, and Perritt presented various awards for the designs.
Students were divided into teams of two and tasked with creating a non-residential architectural model and incorporating natural and artificial light in the project.
“The students seem to enjoy this project each year. It allows them freedom to try creative applications of lighting in any type of non-residential space they desire,” Perritt said. “Model-building can be a lot of fun and stirs the imagination. Models are one way to encourage students to think ‘up’ as well as ‘out.’ They learn to manipulate a volume of space and bring the interior to life with lighting.”

March 21, 2016 - NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Several Stephen F. Austin State University students enrolled in the Department of Elementary Education and an international business student will study abroad for 18 days in Beijing and Nanjing, China, this May and June. Drs. Wynter Chauvin and Tingting Xu, SFA elementary education faculty members, are coordinating the trip and courses.

While overseas, the 12 participating students will observe and compare different systems of education at the elementary and middle school levels as well as visit the International School of Beijing. SFA students also will have the opportunity to develop their ESL skills by teaching English at the Nanjing University of Finance and Economics — something Chauvin said is unique to this trip.
In the morning, students will tutor university students in English, and in the afternoon, they will visit additional schools or participate in cultural events. Students will have a reflection and tutoring debriefing at NUFE in the evenings.
“We expect our students will be able to learn about different schools in China and accumulate some teaching experience, especially experience in teaching ESL students,” Xu said. “This trip also provides our students with insights into Chinese culture and history.”
Xu completed her undergraduate degree from NUFE, and her connection helped secure the university as a location for SFA students to practice their teaching. The university also will serve as the host school, and SFA students will live in dorms on campus.
“Living in the dorms and working with the NUFE students will help SFA students develop a better understanding of daily life in China,” Chauvin said. “Students will have a unique opportunity to be a part of a local community instead of just visiting and observing.”
The trip will include visits to the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Great Wall of China, Ming tombs, Purple Mountain Park and more. To follow along, visit the class blog at http://SFAChina2016.wordpress.com.
For more information, contact SFA’s Department of Elementary Education at (936) 468-2904 or elementaryed@sfasu.edu.

March 21, 2016 - NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Six undergraduate students in Stephen F. Austin State University’s College of Sciences and Mathematics presented research at the 119th Texas Academy of Science this month, and two students are slated to speak at a national convention in April.

“These are research projects the students have been working on as undergraduates in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. As a department, we feel research is a major part of the students’ education and feel it is important not to just do a project but also present the results of that project,” said Dr. Alyx Frantzen, SFA associate professor of chemistry. “For many of the students, this is their first time presenting their research either in oral or poster format. The TAS meeting is a wonderful place for this first exposure to presenting research.”
Four of Frantzen’s chemistry students attended the convention, including Timothy Turner, who analyzed vapors released by the heating of e-liquids; David Hauer and Megan Jenkins, who conducted anion and metal analysis of mineral springs in Lampasas, Texas; and Celeste Keith, who presented findings on the influence of structure on combustion of organoclays.
Two additional sciences and mathematics students presented research at TAS. Christopher Franclemont, a student of Dr. Kefa Onchoke, SFA associate professor of chemistry, discussed the determination of element concentrations in fish purchased from stores in Nacogdoches. Amanda Raley, a student of Dr. Russell Franks, SFA assistant professor of chemistry, presented on the synthesis of fatty acid furfuryl ester mixtures.
“Many students have a lot of anxiety about speaking in front of people,” Franks said. “This is normal and is completely understandable. The best way for them to overcome that anxiety is to have them speak in front of people as much as possible.
“Opportunities for undergraduate students to make presentations at conferences like this give students experience at speaking on a technical subject in their major in front of an audience of people they don’t know,” Franks added. “As the students prepare for the presentation, they learn how to present their results in a concise, efficient and effective manner. These are valuable skills that will serve the students well once they graduate from SFA.”
Jamie Weihe and Carmel Tovar, students of Dr. Odutayo Odunuga, SFA associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, will present at the national Experimental Biology Conference in San Diego, California, April 2-6. The title of their presentation is “Metal affinity chromatography and protein refolding techniques: some observations and strategies.”
“Undergraduate student conference attendance is beneficial to all concerned: the students, the professors and the university,” Odunuga said. “Preparing for presentation at conferences takes a lot of effort and time, but students develop personal planning and other essential skills that will serve them the rest of their life. When students attend a conference, they gain a wider view, understanding and appreciation for science and research.
“For the professors, benefits of conference attendance include opportunity to network and collaborate with colleagues from other institutions, publish in conference proceedings and peer-review their research,” Odunuga added. “Promoting conference attendance is an excellent opportunity for the university to showcase its students and intellectual activities to other institutions, industry and the world in general.”

March 11, 2016 - NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Stephen F. Austin State University’s James I. Perkins College of Education will host Barrio Writers, a free weeklong summer writing program, June 13-18 on the SFA campus.

This is the second year SFA is offering the program, which is tailored for students ages 13-21 with an interest in reading and writing.
Barrio Writers comprises chapters in cities across the state, including Austin and Houston. Dr. Heather Olson Beal, SFA associate professor of secondary education, is coordinating the program for SFA and the Nacogdoches Independent School District.
The program offers free afternoon workshops in the McKibben Education Building on the SFA campus. SFA faculty and staff members serve as writing advisers who lead the workshops.
During each session, students read books, poems and song lyrics before discussing them as a group and then free write for 30 minutes. Through discussion, students relate the reading to their personal experiences by answering various questions. Students also can share their writing and receive critiques and constructive feedback.
“In this program, we don’t focus on grammar or writing style. Instead, we focus on using one’s voice for empowerment and identity,” Olson Beal said. “The program’s purpose is to have students work on content and expressing themselves. We want them to think about big issues in their communities and use writing as a tool to change the world around them.”
After each program is complete, Barrio Writers founder Sarah Rafael García collects the written work and compiles the pieces into a book to demonstrate the participant’s diverse backgrounds. Olson Beal said the opportunity for students to have their work published is one of the program’s main benefits. SFA Press began publishing the yearly Barrio Writers anthologies in 2015.
Along with the workshops, students participate in multicultural field trips during the week. Also, a public reading of the students’ work is hosted the Saturday following the program. This year’s public reading will be June 18.
In addition to Nacogdoches ISD students in grades 6-12, SFA students 21 or younger also are encouraged to participate in the event, especially education majors as Olson Beal said the event is great for experience and one’s résumé.
For more information, email sfabarriowriters@gmail.com or visit www.barriowriters.org.

March 11, 2016 - NACOGDOCHES, Texas — More than 80 students enrolled in Stephen F. Austin State University’s six colleges will showcase the result of months of their research during the 2016 Undergraduate Research Conference on Thursday, March 31, in the Baker Pattillo Student Center Grand Ballroom.

“The purpose of this annual conference is to highlight and honor outstanding undergraduate research,” said Dr. Leslie Cecil, SFA associate professor of anthropology and chair of the Department of Anthropology, Geography and Sociology. “Students present on the paper or project they submitted, which must be completed during the previous calendar year and be faculty sponsored.”
One research project from each SFA college is chosen as top scholar and receives $250. Seven additional outstanding student research projects are selected from each college as finalists. All projects chosen by the URC executive committee, which includes Cecil and Drs. Mark Faries, Eric Jones, Elizabeth Tasker-Davis and Michael Tkacik, will be presented during the conference.
Research presentation topics range widely — from a look at “Women in the Workforce” by Nelson Rusche College of Business finalist Courtney Beatty; to stress management in kinesiology undergraduate students by James I. Perkins College of Education top scholar Marie Wilhelm; to “How Different Art Forms Capitalize on Elements of Artistic Expression” by College of Fine Arts finalist Jesse Edwards.
Other topics include the air quality in SFA’s public dining areas by Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture finalists Joshua Miller, Robert Grant, Maira Aleem, Brandyn Fredericks and Nathan Warner; “PR Plan for The Solid Foundation” by College of Liberal and Applied Arts top scholars Amber Juarez, Meagan Beckwith, James Hardcastle, Meagan Sellers and Jovita Ndong; and “Cutting Triangles” by College of Sciences and Mathematics finalist Nghia Nguyen, among others.
Now in its ninth year, the conference was created by SFA’s College of Liberal and Applied Arts in April 2008. Twelve students presented in its first year.
In 2009, the Office of the Provost and the School of Honors became sponsors of the URC and expanded the conference to incorporate undergraduate works from all of SFA’s six colleges.
Faculty and staff members, students and the community are encouraged to attend the URC from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Admission is free.
For information, visit sfasu.edu/honors/urc.

March 8, 2016 - NACOGDOCHES, Texas — More than 30 Stephen F. Austin State University kinesiology students recently helped administer a variety of fitness tests to hundreds of area elementary school students.
David Goodman, coordinator of undergraduate studies in SFA’s Department of Kinesiology and Health Science, said students in his measurement and evaluation course were able to bring their classroom knowledge into the real world when they administered the tests.
“By going to area schools, students get the opportunity to conduct fitness tests on individuals they do not know,” Goodman said. “While peer assessment is a valuable learning tool, being able to conduct testing on individuals they have never met is even better. This experience can help students confirm or possibly change their thoughts about working with or teaching physical education, physical skills and fitness development, especially in regard to young children.”
While preparing for the testing, SFA students learned proper techniques regarding how to perform the physical skills used to test the components of health-related fitness and the testing protocols for administering the FitnessGram tests, the most widely used youth health-related fitness assessment and education/reporting tool.
FitnessGram tests aerobic capacity, body composition, flexibility and muscular strength/endurance. In 2007, the state of Texas passed legislation mandating students in grades 3-12 have their fitness levels measured by FitnessGram.
“The students experience different methods for organizing, setting up and administering the tests while also learning verbal communication skills through explaining kinesiology-based terms and concepts to the public school students,” Goodman said. “All of these skills are important no matter what fitness tests are being administered and regardless of the age of the individuals being tested.”