SFA University

March 2, 2022 – The Music Preparatory Division at Stephen F. Austin State University, in partnership with the Nacogdoches Convention and Visitors Bureau, will host a Music and Arts Festival on Saturday, April 23, in downtown Nacogdoches.

The family friendly outdoor music festival is from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and takes place on the downtown square. It will feature student music and dance performances, local artists, exhibit booths, children’s games and more, according to Alba Madrid, director of the Music Prep program in the School of Music.

“This is an effort to unite, support and showcase the fine arts programs in our community,” Madrid said.

Local merchants can be a part of the festival by showcasing their businesses at booth spaces that will be located around the square and along Main Street and/or by donating door prizes to be given away during the festival. Event sponsorships are also available, and local food trucks will be onsite.

Proceeds will help fund, in part, two major projects, including the creation of the Shirley Watterston Piano Lab and the newly established Strings Project, Madrid said.

The Watterston Piano Lab, which will be housed in a renovated garage area at the Prep House, will provide space for SFA Music Prep to deliver affordable group piano instruction to members of the Nacogdoches and East Texas community. Classes will be offered for students of all ages (retirees, adults, teenagers, elementary) and skill levels. In addition to outreach potential, the piano lab program will also provide music majors internship opportunities to gain valuable teaching experience in conjunction with their piano pedagogy classes, and it will allow Music Prep to expand class offerings such as Kindermusik and choral programs.

“These supervised teaching opportunities fit the university's strategic plan by being a recruiting tool for college music majors seeking these types of transformative experiences as part of their academic and practical studies at SFA,” Madrid said.

Strings Project classes provide practical hands-on training for undergraduate string education majors during their college years and give children from the community the opportunity to study a stringed instrument in a group setting. Classes are offered for elementary, middle and high school students after school.

Deadline to register for festival booth spaces is March 23. For more information about sponsorships, or to register for a booth, contact Madrid at (936) 468-1291 or musicprep@sfasu.edu. For more information about Music Prep, visit sfamusicprep.com.

February 24, 2022 — Stephen F. Austin State University has announced the recipients of its inaugural Center for Applied Research and Rural Innovations grants.

The CARRI grants were created in fall 2021 as part of SFA’s infrastructure fostering innovation and entrepreneurship activity leading to a more robust and vibrant economy in SFA’s 12-county region.

“While the recipients' academic pursuits vary, they share in common the strong desire to make the world a better place through their scholarly activity,” said Dr. Lorenzo Smith, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “The CARRI grants are particularly significant because they are surgically directed toward local problems in need of local solutions. Yet, while their proposed work has a Deep East Texas focus, it is transferable to national and, in some cases, international areas of scholarly investigations. This is what makes their proposed work so impressive.”

Of the 16 proposals submitted, the CARRI Steering Committee selected 10 proposals with monies totaling slightly over $256,000. Grant recipients and their research are as follows:

Dr. Gina Fe Causin — School of Human Sciences, James I. Perkins College of Education - $20,609.44

Deep East Texas Travel and Tourism Collaborative

The COVID-19 pandemic created havoc for small businesses, which caused them to shut down and cease all economic activities, particularly in rural areas. This project will revitalize economic activities in the Deep East Texas rural communities by helping revive travel- and tourism-oriented small businesses through development of new travel packages to promote to external guests to the region. It also will improve existing travel and tourism practices and services, or strengthen and diversify the regional economy of the El Camino Real trail and routes.

Dr. Bill Forbes — Department of Anthropology, Geography and Sociology, College of Liberal and Applied Arts - $4,590

Fostering Renewable Energy Access, Efficiency, and Entrepreneurship in Deep East Texas

This project will work with regional programs to increase access, efficiency and entrepreneurship related to clean energy and energy conservation in Deep East Texas. Six graduate and undergraduate students will work with one to two faculty members and select community leaders to increase access and use of a weatherization program for low-income residents; have clean energy financing programs and a microloan small business program adopted by the Deep East Texas Council of Governments, counties or cities in the region; and create linkages between solar panel installers, weatherization contractors and students/workforce members interested in training in this field.

Dr. Jane Long — Department of Mathematics and Statistics, College of Sciences and Mathematics; JacksTeach director - $23,672

Laboratory Science Enrichment for Secondary Teachers of Deep East Texas

This project focuses on enhancing student interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields through two weeklong workshops training secondary teachers to incorporate engaging, hands-on laboratory experiences in their classrooms. We will directly support teachers by providing hands-on experience with laboratory exploration activities, funding to support their participation, laboratory supplies specific to workshop activities and Continuing Professional Education credits. These efforts will expand student interest in postsecondary STEM study, prepare students for success in STEM careers, and support economic development in the Deep East Texas region by contributing to the workforce of highly trained STEM professionals.

Dr. Dan Bruton — Department of Physics, Engineering and Astronomy, College of Sciences and Mathematics - $17,363

Rural Mobility: Engineering Design of Durable Off-Road Vehicles

The primary goal of this project is to involve undergraduate engineering students in the design and construction of a small vehicle that meets design constraints set by the Society of Automotive Engineers. The SAE Baja competition requires collegiate teams to design and construct a lightweight, off-road vehicle over the course of two semesters.  The engineering faculty at SFA will select approximately 20 students interested in mechanical or electrical engineering for the first cohort for this competition. This project should result in students receiving certification through the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, as well as connections to local employers seeking engineers with practical design and manufacturing experiences.

Dr. Alyx Frantzen — Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, College of Sciences and Mathematics - $35,000

SFASU Fermentation Laboratory

The number of craft breweries and wineries in Texas has risen exponentially during the last decade to more than 430 wineries and over 300 breweries. While shown to be robust industries, they have been impacted by the pandemic as most rely on restaurant and bar sales, taprooms and tasting rooms. These industries are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. Both industries are required to follow mandatory labeling requirements and procedures. Much of what is found on the label is determined by beverage alcohol laboratories. The cost of testing is quite expensive; a total chemical profile for a single beer is $350 and for a single wine $175. The development of a Fermentation Laboratory at SFA can help alleviate these costs.

Sally Ann Swearingen — School of Human Sciences, Perkins College of Education - $51,218.75

Students in Action – Building communities one building at a time with “Building Jacks”

Construction management students will build tiny homes for individuals and families in need of shelter. Students will gain a greater understanding of the field while applying lessons learned in the classroom to real life projects using a unique mobile classroom. The goal is to teach and train leaders and managers in the field through hands-on projects. Construction management labs are set up to give large blocks of times to ensure students understand construction and have an opportunity to meet and get to know their clients. This innovative mobile classroom will change how construction management is being taught and provide numerous opportunities for students and clients throughout East Texas.

Dr. Sarah Straub — Department of Education Studies, Perkins College of Education - $21,900.50

Leadership Initiative for Supporting (Bilingual) Teacher Acquisition

The Leadership Initiative for Supporting (Bilingual) Teacher Acquisition is the first step in a multi-year effort to empower district bilingual coordinators across East Texas, increase the number of qualified bilingual teachers, and create a pipeline through undergraduate and graduate programs to support this growth. LISTA will work to develop a community of united and informed bilingual coordinators who will, in turn, develop a pathway for success for future bilingual educators. LISTA aligns with this mission through an investment in the quality of bilingual coordinators and future educators. Phase one will focus on needs assessments, community building and planning. Future phases will result in a successful bilingual educator pipeline.

Dr. Pamela Rogers — Department of Management and Marketing, Rusche College of Business - $8,870

Training for Manufacturing Supervisors

The purpose of this proposal is to develop a manufacturing supervisor training that could be offered through the Center for Applied Research and Rural Innovation in cooperation with the East Texas Manufacturing Alliance. Participants would be new or aspiring front-line supervisors in local manufacturing organizations.

Dr. Mary Olle — School of Human Sciences, Perkins College of Education - $34,319

A Needs Assessment of Competencies for the Restaurant Industry in Deep East Texas

SFA is seeking support for a needs assessment of competencies that will inform the development of a Bachelor of Science in hospitality administration with a focus in restaurant management. This degree program seeks to reach Texans ages 25 to 34 who have some coursework toward a degree or certificate but have not competed the degree. This program focuses on competencies and marketable skills that will prepare students to enter the workforce at a managerial level. By conducting a needs assessment, we will be able to more accurately develop a CBE program that is meeting the needs of employers in East Texas.

Dr. Anusha Shrestha — Forestry and Spatial Science, Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture - $38,697

Logging sector in Deep East Texas: Current status, issues, and future outlook

The purpose of this study will be to determine the current status of the logging sector and its economic contribution by surveying logging contractors and other industry stakeholders, and employing an economic model using IMPLAN data. The results from this study will be crucial to identify concerns and needs of the logging sector. Enhancement of this sector will ensure a continued supply of wood products to the forest products manufacturing facilities, better logging practices on forest stands ensuring appropriate management and protection of forest health, and continued employment and income for people in the region. In this project, students will learn various research methodologies and analyses and will collaborate with various forestry stakeholders.

On the eve of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s centennial, three Stephen F. Austin State University graduate students, accompanied by a team of undergraduate research assistants, are traveling the state to collect visitor data at 64 of Texas’ 90 state parks. This information, accompanied by a more in-depth electronic visitor survey, will provide the agency with a better perspective of visitor demographics and recreational trends, as well as how the agency can best serve the public moving forward. Pictured left to right are SFA students Amy Garcia, Jacie Anderson, Alexandria Castro, Olivia Perkins, Rachel Bjerkaas and Neptune Gainer.

February 17, 2022 — Each year, more than 8 million people visit the 90 state parks, historic sites and natural areas managed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. In order to continue to meet the needs of visitors and offer relevant programming that reaches all Texans, the agency seeks to better understand exactly who these guests are and what motivates them to visit. Three Stephen F. Austin State University graduate students are crisscrossing the state to find out.

“We are collecting information regarding visitor use in roughly two-thirds of the parks throughout the state,” said Mark Risinger, Master of Science in resource communications student. “This includes demographics, frequency of use and activities the visitors pursued during their stay.”

In December, Rachel Bjerkaas, also a resource communications graduate student, led a group of undergraduate research assistants to West Texas where they conducted surveys at Franklin Mountains, Davis Mountains, Balmorhea and Monahans Sandhills state parks. While some of the survey data, such as visitor count and documented recreational activities, is collected without directly interacting with park patrons, further information regarding park use and visitor perceptions is gleaned through direct conversations.

“Speaking with visitors is one of my favorite parts of this project,” Bjerkaas said. “I love listening to them and understanding what some of their most memorable experiences are.”

Bjerkaas, who earned a Bachelor of Science in environmental science from SFA, said this is one of the very reasons she chose to pursue a graduate degree.

“I wanted the opportunity to help others understand the importance of nature and environmental issues,” Bjerkaas said. “Pursuing a graduate degree in resource communications allows me to spend my time working with people in the beautiful outdoor places around us.”

As most Texans can attest, seasonality greatly affects which parks are visited and the activities guests enjoy. For example, during the summer, Texas state park patrons are often advised to avoid hiking during certain hours due to the threat of heat exhaustion. Conversely, many visitors flock to Texas to escape harsh winters.

“South Texas parks will see a number of snowbirds that visit during the winter,” said Cam Rojas, resource communications graduate student. “In order to quantify the seasonality change of parks, we’ll survey 30 select parks over summer, fall and spring.”

Following these in-park surveys, a second, more comprehensive online survey will be distributed to individuals present on the Texas State Parks’ email list.

While the subsequent results of these surveys are invaluable for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Dr. Pat Stephens Williams, SFA professor of human dimensions of natural resources and project advisor, feels that the student growth taking place is the true asset.

“As we have progressed, we have recognized the individual strengths of each graduate student as they coordinate and lead the teams in data collection,” Stephens Williams said. “Some of the undergraduate students have absolutely blossomed in the field, and it has shown us how we can help improve and guide students in the future.”

In addition to supporting student growth, Stephens Williams notes that the project illustrates the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration. Dr. Ray Darville, chair of SFA’s Department of Anthropology, Geography and Sociology, serves as co-principal investigator for this and other research projects within the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture.  

This undertaking precedes the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and it reflects the agencies dedication to serving all Texans.

“We’re always trying to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment, so having a strong understanding of our visitors, their backgrounds and their needs helps turn us into a stronger organization with better programming,” said David Kurtenbach, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department program director for business management. “We say it all the time — Texas State Parks are for everyone, and we want to create the type of environment where everyone feels that parks are a part of their life.”

Story by Sarah Fuller, outreach coordinator for Stephen F. Austin State University’s Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture. Contact information: (936) 468-1185 or fullersa@sfasu.edu.

February 15, 2022 – The Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre’s presentation of  the student-directed one-act play “In Shakespeare and the Bible,” originally slated for Feb. 4 and 5, has been rescheduled for March 18 and 19.

The play had to be rescheduled due to the campus closure on Feb. 4 in expectation of inclement weather.

Thornton Wilder’s “In Shakespeare and the Bible” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 18, and at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 19, in Regents Suite A in the Baker Pattillo Student Center on the SFA campus.

Tickets are $4. To purchase tickets, visit the SFA Fine Arts Box Office online at boxoffice.sfasu.edu or call (936) 468-6407. Advanced sales end at 3 p.m. on March 18. Available tickets may be purchased at the door.

Tickets already purchased for one of the Feb. 4-5 performances will be transferred to the new performance dates. Tickets may be switched to a different day or time, a different event, or be refunded. Contact the Fine Arts Box Office for details.

For more information about the play, call the School of Theatre at (936) 468-4003 or visit theatre.sfasu.edu.

The SFA Percussion Ensemble will present its TMEA concert program in a preview performance at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 4, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.
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January 25, 2022 - The Percussion Ensemble at Stephen F. Austin State University has been invited to perform at this year’s Texas Music Educators Association convention slated for Feb. 9 through 12 in San Antonio. Representing more than 17,000 current and future music educator members, TMEA works to support the future of music education in Texas.

The ensemble’s TMEA program will be presented in a preview concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 4, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus. The recital features works by Joe W. Moore, Francisco Perez, Andrea Venet and Andy Akiho. The Percussion Ensemble is directed by Dr. Brad Meyer, director of percussion studies at SFA, with Dr. Jamie Vilseck, the ensemble’s coach.

Written in 2018, Moore’s “Ojo” was inspired by Latin folklore with a goal of keeping the audience engaged with quick passages, rhythmic variety, timbre changes, and movements transitioning between instruments, giving the performers "ojo" (meaning “evil eye”) because “there is no other option but to watch and listen intently,” according to Moore.

“Ephemera” was inspired by the Lamar University students of Perez during the past two years of the pandemic. “After almost two years without composing any original music for percussion, witnessing the grit and hard work from my students at Lamar University over the course of the eventful 2020-2021 year inspired me to write this short but deeply meaningful piece for mallet sextet,” he wrote.

Venet’s “Omnes Trio,” Latin for “Trio for All,” was written as an expression to promote equality within the percussion field, according to the composer. “With homogeneous instrumentation and a shared set-up, the piece is characterized by hocketed rhythmic lines, trading grooves between players, and soloistic passages that create rapidly flowing textures and quasi-melodic lines,” Venet wrote.

Akiho’s “to wALk Or ruN in wEst harlem” was originally written for chamber ensemble (flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, vibes and drums) and premiered at the 2008 Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival. Akiho said 2008 was one of the most influential and fortunate years of his life, but it began “hilariously tumultuous.”

“Within the span of 48 hours, I carelessly threw myself into multiple ridiculously unfortunate New York City situations – illegally parking my car under a suspicious overpass only to find it completely trashed and inoperable after being broken into; nearly slicing my thumb off cutting carrots with an ironically dull knife; and being attacked and stabbed by a gang while cluelessly walking home from the Manhattan School of Music after a late-night practice session,” he wrote. “This seven-minute composition depicts that particular evening expressed as a nonlinear soundtrack: escaping the attack, following the perpetrators in a taxi, trying to convince the apathetic cops to help me find the suspects, and the hospital monitor beeps of the emergency room are some of the themes in the music narration. Balancing out the NYC karma later that year, I found an old upright piano on the same corner where I was attacked. With the help of a friendly bystander, I pushed the piano up the hill to my apartment and composed this piece on it.”

Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for students and youth. To purchase tickets, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit finearts.sfasu.edu. For additional information, contact the SFA School of Music at (936) 468-4602.

Stephen F. Austin State University’s SFA Gardens will host its annual Garden Gala Day Plant Sale from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 9 and 10 at the Pineywoods Native Plant Center. The sale will feature a variety of extensively trialed plants, including the Lonicera ‘Pam’s Pink’ flower pictured here.

January 7, 2022 — Stephen F. Austin State University’s SFA Gardens will host its annual Garden Gala Day Plant Sale from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 9 and 10 at the Pineywoods Native Plant Center, located at 2900 Raguet St.

The sale will feature more than 300 varieties of hard-to-find, “Texas-tough” plants, including Texas natives, edibles, heirlooms, tropicals, perennials, shrubs and trees, with an emphasis on 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 SFA Gardens staff members and volunteers.

This popular event benefits the SFA Mast Arboretum, PNPC, Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden and Gayla Mize Garden, along with educational programs hosted monthly at the gardens. Educational programs provided at the SFA Gardens reach more than 15,000 participants annually.

Parking will be available at SFA’s Janice A. Pattillo Early Childhood Research Center, located at 2428 Raguet St. Visitors are encouraged to arrive early and bring a wagon to haul their plants.

For more information, call (936) 468-4404 or visit sfasu.edu/sfagardens. A full list of available plants will be made available two weeks before the sale.

December 9, 2021 - Gerald W. “Jerry” Schlief, Stephen F. Austin State University alumnus and president and CEO of Auterra Energy LLC, will offer the commencement addresses during the university’s three graduation ceremonies Saturday.

Schlief received a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting and served as an innovative leader in the independent oil and gas industry in Houston. He has served on the SFASU Foundation Board of Trustees since 2008 and currently serves as chair.

Schlief and his wife, Candy, were inducted into the Stephen F. Austin Society in 2006 for their generous giving to the university, including funds to support the Gerald W. Schlief School of Accountancy in perpetuity, as well as the Gerald and Candace Schlief Tennis Complex, and the Gerald and Candy Schlief Lobby in the McGee Business Building.

Graduates and their guests must present tickets to enter Johnson Coliseum for commencement. Tickets are free and will help university officials ensure the venue is not overcrowded. Each graduation candidate will be allotted one ticket for themselves and a maximum of 10 guest tickets.

Candidates from the Rusche College of Business, the Department of Education Studies, and May and August 2020 graduates will participate in a 9 a.m. ceremony.

Candidates from the Department of Human Services and Educational Leadership, the School of Human Sciences, the College of Fine Arts, and the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture will participate in a noon ceremony.

Candidates from the Department of Kinesiology and Health Science, the College of Liberal and Applied Arts, and the College of Sciences and Mathematics will participate in a 3 p.m. ceremony.

Degrees to be awarded include 903 bachelor’s, 157 master’s and four doctoral degrees. Approximately 334 students will graduate with honors, including 105 cum laude, 96 magna cum laude and 132 summa cum laude. Thirty-one students will graduate with the university scholar designation.

The ceremony will be livestreamed on the SFA Facebook page, facebook.com/sfasu. For more information, visit sfasu.edu/commencement.

December 8, 2021 — Stephen F. Austin State University and Panola College recently announced an academic partnership in which students have the opportunity to complete an associate degree and Bachelor of Science in Nursing concurrently.

Administrators from the two schools signed an articulation agreement in November on SFA’s campus to make the partnership official.

“This is a tremendous partnership,” said Dr. Scott Gordon, SFA president. “The relationship between SFA and Panola College is one that is longstanding, and this strengthens that relationship even more.”

Students will be enrolled at both Panola College and SFA while in the program; however, the majority of courses toward the BSN will be completed online. The program strives to reduce the traditional barriers frequently experienced by students who have the goal of being accepted directly into a BSN program at a university.

“The agreement with SFA allows nursing students who are accepted into the Associate Degree Nursing program at Panola College and who have completed required core courses for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing to take online courses with SFA toward a BSN while completing an ADN at Panola College,” said Annissa Jackson, the chair of nursing programs at Panola College.

SFA and Panola College have established a number of partnerships over the years with the goal of creating a seamless transition for students who wish to continue their education beyond an associate degree.

“Panola College is excited about this new framework for an articulation agreement with SFA,” said Dr. Gregory Powell, Panola College president. “SFA is a preferred destination for our students, and this agreement will ease that transition for our students.”

For more information about SFA’s School of Nursing, visit sfasu.edu/nursing.

December 7, 2021 — The Stephen F. Austin State University educator preparation program has earned a seven-year national accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

“Simply put, this accreditation is quality assurance through external peer review,” said Dr. Christina Sinclair, SFA associate dean of assessment and accountability. “When an institution or specialized program is accredited by CAEP, it has demonstrated it meets standards set forth by organizations representing the academic community, professionals and other stakeholders. To maintain accreditation, the institution or program must undergo a similar review on a regular basis, typically every seven to 10 years.”

Several benchmarks must be reached in order to receive accreditation, including annual reporting, a self-study process, formative review and visit to the campus by the CAEP review team.

CAEP is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, which affirms the standards and processes of the accrediting organization are consistent with the academic quality, improvement and accountability expectations CHEA has established, including the eligibility standard that the majority of institutions or programs each accredits are degree granting.

“Accreditation by CAEP provides a framework that has pushed educator preparations programs to continually self-assess and conduct evidence-based analysis of their programs and efficacy,” Sinclair said. “These evidence-based shifts, rooted in continuous improvement, are helping ensure preparation programs like SFA’s are more likely to produce successful educators.”

Sinclair points out that accreditation matters to a broad audience, including:

  • P-12 learners – Outcomes-based evidence means all learners are at the center of determining effectiveness as educators.
  • Teacher educators – Since the process is infused with research and development, the knowledge base of effective practice will grow.
  • State education agencies – Provides a stronger partner for quality assurance, helps connect the national consensus on preparation to state-level policy and provides support for a state’s own authorization/accountability system.
  • Education professionals – Rigorous standards elevate the profession.

“Educator accreditation by CAEP is a seal of approval that assures quality in educator preparation. Accreditation ensures educator programs prepare new teachers to know their subjects, their students and have the clinical training that allows them to enter the classroom ready to effectively teach,” Sinclair said.

For more information about SFA’s educator preparation program, visit sfasu.edu/coe/student-resources/educator-preparation.

December 1, 2021 – The School of Theatre at Stephen F. Austin State University was honored by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival with numerous awards and nominations for the school’s fall semester plays “Bootycandy” and “Ajax in Iraq.”

The KCACTF is a national theater program involving 18,000 students annually from colleges and universities across the country. Since its inception, KCACTF has given more than 400,000 college theater students the opportunity to have their work critiqued, improve their dramatic skills, and receive national recognition for excellence.

“We are truly excited and honored that our students have been recognized for their hard work,” said Cleo House Jr., director of the School of Theatre and director of “Bootycandy.” “I believe this is a record number of SFA students to be recognized by KCACTF in one semester. This speaks to the commitment of not only the students, but also to the dedication of our faculty.”

“Bootycandy” is being “held for consideration” for invitation to the regional festival in 2022, which means that it will be a part of a select list of plays and musicals from university productions across Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana that will be reviewed, discussed and voted on by the regional committee. The committee’s goal is to select/rank the productions that represent “the best of what our region offers,” according to House. Only the top plays will be presented at the regional festival.

“It may sound corny, but it really is an honor just to be nominated, because some excellent theatre is happening in our region and across Texas,” House said.

The School of Theatre presented Robert O’Hara’s play “Bootycandy” for its first Mainstage production in October. The play is a satiric portrait of American life told through the lens of Sutter, a gay black man on an outrageous odyssey through his childhood home, his church, dive bars, motel rooms and even nursing homes. O'Hara weaves together scenes, sermons, sketches and daring meta-theatrics to create a kaleidoscopic portrayal of growing up gay and Black.

Ellen McLaughlin’s play “Ajax in Iraq” was presented in collaboration with Panola College Theatre in November at the Community House in Center. The play was described as a mash-up of Sophocles' classic tragedy “Ajax” with the modern-day war in Iraq. The schools sought to help their students and communities gain a better understanding of the difficulties U.S. military members and everyone in their lives endure in dealing with war and its aftermath.

The KCACTF commendations are as follows:

“Bootycandy” – Beaumont junior Andr'e J. Hankerson, Irene Ryan Acting Nominee; Texarkana sophomore Daun (DJ) Whaley, Irene Ryan Acting Nominee; Longview freshman Jaz'Lyn Lewis, Irene Ryan Acting Nominee; Waxahachie sophomore Kiya Green, Meritorious Achievement in Acting; Nacogdoches senior Ty Carter, Meritorious Achievement in Acting; Katy senior Alexis Hargy, Meritorious Achievement in Assistant Directing; Cleo House Jr., Meritorious Achievement in Directing; McKinney senior Carson Cook, Meritorious Achievement in Lighting Design; Splendora junior Stephen Bradley, Meritorious Achievement in Properties Design; and cast of “Bootycandy,” Meritorious Achievement Ensemble.

“Ajax in Iraq” – Allen senior Sara Clark, Irene Ryan Acting Nominee; Katy freshman Astrid Maldonado, Irene Ryan Acting Nominee; Cushing junior Drake Willis, Irene Ryan Acting Nominee; Lufkin junior Chance Chunn, Meritorious Achievement in Stage Management; Houston senior Elizabeth Bobbitt, Meritorious Achievement in Stage Management; Ponder sophomore Connor Molen, Meritorious Achievement in Consent Forward Practices; and The Woodlands senior Dorie Bloodworth, Meritorious Achievement in Assistant Directing.

For more information about the SFA School of Theatre, call (936) 468-4003 or visit theatre.sfasu.edu.