SFA University

April 11, 2016 - Nacogdoches, Texas – The University Band and the Symphonic Band at Stephen F. Austin State University will present the concert program “Inspiration” when the bands perform at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 19, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus.

The selected works to be performed were inspired by folk songs and dances, tragic life events and the dream of flight, according to Dr. James Dreiling, interim assistant director of bands at SFA.
The University Band will open the concert with “Into the Clouds” by Richard Saucedo and guest conducted by graduate assistant Dwight Watson of Lavon.

“This lively fanfare is filled with rhythmic energy and was inspired by the composer’s dream of flight,” Dreiling said.

The University Band will also perform “Festivo” by Czech composer Vaclav Nelhybel and the popular ballad for band “As Summer Was Just Beginning” by Larry Daehn, who was inspired to write the piece following the untimely death of gifted actor James Dean. Graduate assistant Taylor Goodwin of Ennis will guest conduct.

The University Band will conclude its portion of the concert with the march “Liberty Fleet” by Karl L. King.

“Along with John Phillip Sousa and Henry Fillmore, King is known as one of the most prolific march composers, having composed more than 180 marches,” Dreiling said. “This march, composed in 1942, is one of his lesser-known marches and was inspired by a fleet of war ships used in World War I.”

The Symphonic Band opens the second half of the concert with “Westport Overture” composed by SFA music faculty member Dr. David Campo, director of the Lumberjack Marching Band, who “has a growing reputation as a composer for wind bands,” Dreiling said. The Symphonic Band will also perform “Variations on a Korean Folk Song” by John Barnes Chance and “Heaven’s Light” composed by Steven Reineke.

“This moving piece was commissioned by Evans High School in Evans, Georgia, after the death of high school band member Holly Spivey and her parents in a house fire,” Dreiling explained.

The concert will conclude with the celebratory piece “Albanian Dance” by Shelley Hanson based on the popular Albanian folk tune “Shota,” which seeks to re-create the festive mood of a raucous village dance, Dreiling said.

Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for students and youth. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit www.finearts.sfasu.edu.

April 6, 2016  - NACOGDOCHES, Texas – College of Liberal and Applied Arts and the School of Theatre at Stephen F. Austin State University are preparing to host the Region II Conference 5A UIL One-Act Play Contest Thursday, April 21, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus.

The One-Act Play Contest is a precursor to the UIL 2016 Regional Spring Meet for Region II Conference 5A that will take place on the SFA campus Friday and Saturday, April 22 and 23. In addition to contests in journalism, speech and debate, STEM activities, and theatre and film, the UIL offers activities in several other subject areas, including business skills, language arts, social studies and essay contests.

Six plays will be performed back-to-back beginning at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, and acting awards will be announced following the conclusion of the final play that evening. Two plays will advance to the state contest, according to Melissa McMillian-Cunningham, SFA School of Theatre faculty member who is overseeing the One-Act Play Contest.

The state is divided into four regions, and each has schools in 1A to 6A size categories, with 6A being the largest. Competition begins at the zone level and continues through district, bi-district, area, region and state.

“Usually, by the time a school’s play gets to region, it has advanced from three contests minimally,” Cunningham said. “By the time they get to region, we have 24 schools still in the game that will then get compressed down to eight for the state level – two from each region.”

“Even to get to regional contest is super huge,” she said.

Three adjudicators selected by the state UIL contest will independently rank each play. Each school will be critiqued.

“It’s very focused on theater education,” Cunningham said of the process. “It’s not just about a contest. It’s about supporting theatre in the schools and helping high school students develop their artistic process. This allows students to hear different points of views about their work.’

Schools competing are located in a region from north of Dallas to the East Texas area.

For many smaller schools, UIL is one of the more important activities in theatre for the entire year, Cunningham explained.

“The good thing about UIL is that it really encourages the development of theatre programs,” she said. “It gets communities involved with this process as students travel with their plays. It teaches high school students some skills in terms of flexibility, or moving from space to space during a contest, that they may not otherwise have experienced performing a play at home. They get to take their show on the road, which is exciting.

“From my own personal experience, I feel like my initial success with one-act play as a high school director really awakened my administration to the attention that a quality theatre program could bring to our school district,” she said.

As the schools tour and judges observe students, recruiting opportunities are plentiful, Cunningham said.

“Hosting this event brings faculty members and administrators to our campus,” she said. “One of the great selling points of SFA is bringing people to this beautiful campus and town and allowing students from all these different schools to see what we do here. This heightens awareness of the possibility of these students coming here.”

Another benefit for the university hosting the play contest is that it allows SFA theatre teacher certification students to be involved in the process, “so that as they are training to become theatre educators, they will have had this experience as a crew member, or working in the back stage area, that helps them understand the process from a different perspective than they had as a high school student,” Cunningham said. “This helps to prepare them to be a high school theatre teacher.”

The contest also provides a great opportunity for SFA students and faculty to observe “this level of work,” she added.

“I would encourage area high schools to come after school or perhaps to take a field trip to attend and see the work and learn from it, and to support these schools,” Cunningham said.

Tickets to see all six plays are $10 and can be purchased in the lobby of Griffith Fine Arts Building the day of the contest.

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.