SFA University

October 26, 2015 - The following students received degrees from Stephen F. Austin State University during August commencement exercises:

Center, TX

Perla Araiza, degree in Master of Science with a major in School Psychology
Jorge Figueroa, degree in Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in Accounting
Ralph Godsey, degree in Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in Finance

Joaquin, TX

Jeremy Bigger, degree in Master of Science with a major in Mathematical Sciences

October 19, 2015 - The Texas 12th Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments concerning three cases beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday, October 22, in the McGee Building Room 133 on the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University. The event will provide an opportunity for educators, students and state residents to witness a judicial process not often observed.

This will be the second time the court has heard cases on the SFA campus. Sponsored by SFA’s College of Liberal and Applied Arts, the event is free and open to the public. The session is expected to last until noon, however, individuals may come and go in a non-distracting manner.

The Texas 12th Court of Appeals is based in Tyler and covers 17 counties in East Texas, including Nacogdoches County. The court is responsible for hearing the initial appeals in civil and criminal matters.

As an appellate court, the members of the 12th Court of Appeals (three justices) review decisions by lower courts and determine if there was procedural error in the trial. The court does not try cases, hear witnesses or have jurors. The justices will review the cases and consider the attorneys’ arguments from both sides of each case.

There will be a security check prior to admission to the court, and attendees are forbidden to use cellphones or recording devices.

For information about the event, contact Dixie Groll at grollda@sfasu.edu or at (936) 468-2385.

October 14, 2015 - NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Stephen F. Austin State University’s SFA Gardens, in partnership with the SFA student chapter of the National Association for Interpretation, will host Nacogdoches Naturally Outdoor Adventures Day from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, October 17, at the Pineywoods Native Plant Center, located at 2900 Raguet St. in Nacogdoches.

The family-friendly event is designed to engage participants in the outdoors, and it includes a range of outdoor activities for SFA students and community members of all ages. Activities include outdoor cooking demonstrations, nature and tree identification hikes led by SFA graduate students, geocaching, and much more.

The outdoor event is free and open to the public.

For more information, call (936) 468-5586 or email Kerry Lemon, SFA Gardens’ assistant education coordinator and Nacogdoches Naturally project director, at lemonkb@sfasu.edu.

September 30, 2015 - NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Theatre majors at Stephen F. Austin State University bring a wealth of talent to every Mainstage production.

From acting and stage managing, to lighting, sound, costume and scenic design, SFA theatre students quickly become well versed in the dynamics of producing a successful play.

The School of Theatre takes pride in providing the kind of curriculum and hands-on experience that gives each student a diverse skill-set. The school also cultivates internships and international programs to enhance what the students learn at SFA.

Three theatre students will put the knowledge and experience they acquired while studying in different programs in Europe to work in the upcoming production of Mary Zimmerman’s “The Arabian Nights.” Amanda Warren, Molly Dyer and Josh Wallace spent last year in Europe participating in various programs that are part of the SFA-Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance international exchange initiative.

Warren, a Nacogdoches senior, is lighting designer for “The Arabian Nights,” and she is planning “some interesting things to bring color and sculptural shape to the show,” said Scott Shattuck, director of the School of Theatre and of the play. “We’re getting her some innovative, state-of-the-art equipment with which to do it,” he added.

Warren’s year abroad was spent learning computer programming for performance lighting in Rose Bruford’s Creative Lighting Control program.

A Central Heights High School graduate, Warren is completing her final semesters at SFA and is “doing the work of a professional designer,” Shattuck said. Her overall goal in designing lighting for “The Arabian Nights” is for the audience to “experience a clear separation between the stories and reality,” she said.

In the play, the murderous king Shahryar is gradually humanized by the storytelling of one of his intended victims, the legendary Scheherazade, who becomes his wife.

“I want to show the stark contrast between Shahryar's colorless, shapeless world and the worlds that Scheherazade breathes life, dimension and color into,” Warren said. “Throughout the journey, the world of reality will become more colorful as Shahryar falls into the stories.”

In order to create the contrast of worlds, Warren said she gathered inspiration from oil paintings of the Middle East.

“When the stories are being told, the goal is to make the audience feel as if they are looking inside a painting and seeing the actors bring it to life,” she explained. “With the use of dance lighting techniques, I plan to sculpt the actors, giving them more dimension, which will act almost as a pop up painting.”

Through her work on the upcoming SFA production, Warren said she hopes to sharpen her analytical skills as a designer.

“This is the first production in a very long time where I've had a clear design concept,” she said. “My time at Bruford helped sharpen my skills as a designer, and I am happy to put those skills into practice.”

Dyer, Copperas Cove senior, who will assume the role of Scheherazade in “The Arabian Nights,” described her year abroad as “the most challenging of my entire academic career.”

Her studies in the European Theatre Arts program took place in three parts, the first of which was spent in London, learning about Greek and Spanish culture and how those cultures were expressed in individual modes of performance.

Dyer then spent three months in Tallinn, Estonia, where she was immersed in voice classes and stage movement classes, an intense gymnastics class, and an in-depth acting class in the Stanislavsky technique. Her last term was spent back in England where her focus was entirely on directing and designing a single scene from a play originally written in a foreign language.

“This proved to be the toughest term of them all, as we not only were expected to direct the scene but further manipulate the source material with other influences so as to create an original production,” she said. “This secondary source material was then used in the portion of the semester when we designed an entire production concept – lights, sound, costume, everything down to the specific theatre space we wanted to use.”

Dyer’s year at Rose Bruford was spent primarily “devising” work, or using text as a starting point and creating an original work from it.

“I wouldn't go as far as saying that I have become conditioned to that mode of theatre,” she said, “rather, I’m now comfortable with it. I've been in a handful of Mainstage productions, but I’ve never really had a speaking role before. This will be a huge jump for me!”

Dyer said she quickly came to realize that Shattuck’s intention with the play was to “create a cast of storytellers, and that’s when everything came together for me.” She said she plans look to her work in Estonia the most when considering the script and the character of Scheherazade.

“There, I was taught to understand the value of the humanity in a character, and finding their 'truth' as a person rather than an idea or a metaphor,” Dyer said. “When I first looked at this script, it came across as a jumbled mess of nondescript characters and tangled tales. But the more time I spent with it, reading it over and over and analyzing all of the inter-relationships, I came to a realization: all of these characters that Scheherazade introduces are actually extensions of herself. They’re beautiful, vivid, and creative wonders that come to life to entertain and enchant.”

“The play then, I find, takes on a whole other dimension of meaning,” she said, “not only for me but for each person, including the cast and crew and audience. It’s something very special.”

The School of Theatre will present “The Arabian Nights” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, Oct. 6 through 10, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7.50 for students. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit theatre.sfasu.edu.

The Mainstage Series is sponsored in part by Tipton Ford Lincoln.

September 29, 2015 - NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Stephen F. Austin State University is connecting counselors, teachers and administrators by hosting the Counselor Summit from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29, in the Education Annex, Room 127, on SFA’s campus.

This free event is open to high school counselors, career and technical education teachers, and principals and superintendents in the region. Space is limited, and the first 55 participants to register online will receive reserved seats and a lunch in the Culinary Café. To register visit http://tinyurl.com/p8dh3ey. Door prizes will be awarded.

Three years ago, Dr. Nancy Shepherd, program coordinator for family and consumer sciences at SFA, recognized the important connection counselors and teachers have to students who need up-to-date information about college and career opportunities. This realization helped her conceptualize the Counselor Summit.

“Providing seamless connection from secondary to postsecondary education is possible with educated counselors and teachers who can match student skills and aptitudes with opportunities,” Shepherd said.

This year’s summit will begin with a greeting from Dr. Judy Abbott, dean of SFA’s James I. Perkins College of Education, and Dr. Lynda Martin, the director of the School of Human Sciences. The summit’s keynote speaker is Mick Normington, a business specialist with the Texas Workforce Commission. He will discuss Working Texas Style: The Changing Jobs Market of Texas and Deep East Texas from 9:15-10:15 a.m.

Additionally, the summit will feature a panel discussion with regional employers to help participants gain a local perspective on the job market and what employers are looking for in employees. Shepherd is looking forward to the valuable insights this panel will offer summit attendees.

“Preparing our students to be successful in the workforce is vital to their career success and a community’s strength and vitality,” Shepherd said.

At noon, students in SFA’s hospitality program will serve participants lunch in the Culinary Café. Dr. Steve Bullard, SFA’s interim provost, and other COE program coordinators will speak during lunch.

Another program highlight will showcase COE faculty members and students discussing programs in the college to help recruit students. Dr. Karen Alexander of Achieve Texas, the college and career initiative in Texas, also will present updates concerning House Bill 5 and PrePac, a credential for high school students.

For more information, contact Shepherd at shepherdn@sfasu.edu or (936) 468-1413.

September 29, 2015 - The Swingin’ Axes and Swingin’s Aces jazz bands at Stephen F. Austin State University will perform classic swing music at their next concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

The performance will feature the music of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Henry Mancini and other great jazz composers.

Directed by Dr. Gary Wurtz, professor of trumpet and jazz studies at SFA, the Swingin’ Axes’ program will include Ellington’s classic “Take the A-Train” and Buddy Rich’s “Basically Blues.”

“Tom Kubis’ roaring rendition of ‘Bill Bailey’ and a beautiful arrangement of Branislau Kaper’s haunting tune ‘Invitation’ are also on the program,” Wurtz said.

The Aces, under the direction of Dr. Deb Scott, professor of trombone at SFA, will perform Joe Garland’s “In the Mood,” made popular by the Glenn Miller jazz orchestra, and “Autumn Leaves” by Joseph Kosma, arranged by former SFA School of Music professor the late Darrell Holt. The arrangement will feature music student Rene Luna, Dallas senior, on alto sax.

The Aces will also perform “Mack the Knife,” composed by Kurt Weill with lyrics by Bertolt Brecht.

“This was originally composed for their well-known music drama, ‘Three Penny Opera,’” Scott said. “Sung by Bobby Darin, it became a No. 1 hit in the United States and Great Britain in 1959.” Overton sophomore Barry Martin will sing the piece with the Swingin’ Aces.

A performance of “Dreamsville” by famous American composer Mancini, which became a hit in 1960 when it was sung by Andy Williams, will feature Martin on the piano. Basie’s “Jumpin’ at the Woodside” will also be performed.

The concert is a joint presentation of the SFA College of Fine Arts and School of Music. 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.

September 28, 2015 - Stephen F. Austin State University’s Culinary Café will host an opening reception for artist and alumnus Jason Daniel from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday, October 3, in the Culinary Café.

“We encourage our SFA family and the Nacogdoches community to enjoy a night with us at the Culinary Café,” said Dr. Chay Runnels, SFA’s hospitality administration program coordinator and graduate program coordinator.

The Culinary Café features artwork by various artists each semester, and Daniel’s collection has been selected for display during fall 2015.

A Nacogdoches native, Daniel earned his Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts from SFA. For the past 11 years, he has taught art at Jersey Village High School in Houston. Before teaching high school, Daniel taught studio art at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for eight years.

“Exhibiting my work at SFA is especially important to me because my roots are here at SFA and in East Texas,” Daniel said. “I discovered that I wanted to be an artist my sophomore year. This was a turning point in my life and has determined so much for me. It’s an honor to have the opportunity to exhibit my work at my alma mater.”

As is reflected in his featured artwork at the Culinary Café, Daniel’s primary interest has been landscape painting since the early ’80s. However, he is expanding his creative interests by including a more surrealist approach to drawing and painting.

“In a sense, all the landscapes have an East Texas pineywoods feel to them. I’m fascinated by how design principles used in landscape painting can be put to a range of purposes,” Daniel said. “In some of the more recent work, I’ve used a wider range of imagery. The imagery is discovered in an intuitive way through the process of working. All of the work is mostly unplanned.”

The reception is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served, and the dress is casual.

For more information, contact Runnels at (936) 468-2060 or email runnelsc@sfasu.edu.

September 17, 2015 - Stephen F. Austin State University’s Marleta Chadwick Student Financial Advisors’ benefits are twofold. Not only do the advisors offer students and the community free financial advice and money management tips, but advisors also are practicing skills that will benefit them once they leave the university and begin their careers.

The Nelson Rusche College of Business created the Student Financial Advisors organization in 2014 to emphasize financial literacy and smart money management to help people dealing with financial crises. The advisors assist individuals with budgeting, credit card and debt management, identity theft, and fraud.

Student director and SFA business administration graduate student Brian Cook has been with the program since its inception and is looking forward to the program’s development. “We counsel people financially. We help them make smarter decisions and realize the impact these decisions have on their lives,” Cook said.

Four student assistants work alongside Cook as student advisors. Mi-Kayla Lemon, Clark Taylor and Flo Soto specialize in community efforts, while Corey Belcher and Cook focus on the SFA campus. In addition, Soto handles Web and media projects and Belcher is in charge of the organization’s social media presence. Cook said the increase in student advisors should yield more workshops this semester.

The five-member group shares their financial knowledge through presentations to community and campus organizations, groups, and teams. Women’s and homeless shelters, United Way, and churches are some of the organizations the advisors assist.

The advisors also reach out to students at both SFA and beyond. Lemon explained the organization works with Center High School students to help them prepare for the real world, and at SFA, the advisors talk to SFA 101 freshmen seminar and other students to help educate them on financial issues.

“I feel students have a closer connection with us because we can relate to them,” Lemon said. “It’s a good feeling to see the transformation when students understand their financial situation.”

Recently, the organization moved into a new office on the first floor of the R. E. McGee Building, Room 169. This location has a reception area and private offices for each advisor to counsel individuals on sensitive financial issues.

Cook said the new location also enables advisors to meet with walk-in clients. Walk-ins are welcome from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to noon Fridays. Visitors also can schedule advising appointments.

“It is an easy process. Clients can come in and fill out a quick form telling us the area they want to focus on,” Lemon said. “It takes less than 20 minutes.”

Cook encourages visitors to partake in this free service and stresses that the advisors have all been in their shoes and know the struggles they may be facing.

“We have people from all walks of life come here. We never talk down to or judge anyone,” Cook said. “We are here to help and genuinely want to meet our clients’ needs.”

Dr. Banker Phares, SFA economics and finance professor and director of the financial banking program, is impressed with the students’ work and dedication. “Their commitment to helping others reassures me that this generation of students is going to make a significant and positive contribution to society,” Phares said.

The office and program’s growth is a result of a recent gift to the university by the Marleta Chadwick Trust. This gift resulted in the naming of the Marleta Chadwick Student Financial Advisors, as well as the Chadwick Family Banking Program within the Nelson Rusche College of Business.

“We are so appreciative of the generosity of the Chadwick Family, as these programs will support hands-on learning experiences that are very beneficial to our students and will be an asset to the entire community,” Dr. Tim Bisping, dean of the Nelson Rusche College of Business, said.

The gift also will support a scholarship program for Center High School graduates who wish to pursue degrees in either SFA’s James I. Perkins College of Education or the Nelson Rusche College of Business.

“We have a great relationship with the Chadwick family and this has opened so many doors,” Cook said. “Having the capital to set long-term budgets, goals and grow the program as needed is great.”

To take advantage of the free services and schedule an appointment, email student.financial.advisors.sfa@gmail.com. Request a presentation by accessing sfastudentfinancialadvisors.wordpress.com and click on the “Request a Presentation” tab.

September 16, 2015NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Stephen F. Austin State University’s fashion and interior design student organizations are sponsoring the “Green is the New Black” recyclable fashion show this fall as the community event for the Blue Jeans Go Green Denim Recycling Program.

The show will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, in the Baker Pattillo Student Center Grand Ballroom.

The non-refundable entry fee for designers is $20. The top 15 designs will be featured on the runway and others will be displayed on mannequins as an exhibit. Entries are due by Friday, Oct. 9. SFA faculty and staff members, students, and community members are invited to attend.

The cost of admission to the show for individuals is one piece of used denim clothing, and families are asked to donate a minimum of two pieces. There will be denim dropboxes located at the entrance to the Grand Ballroom.

Jamie Cupit, SFA human sciences instructor who is overseeing the fashion show, is looking forward to showcasing the students’ work as well as engaging the community. Cotton Inc. from New York will be on campus to film the show as promotion for Blue Jeans Go Green.

“This is an excellent opportunity to market SFA since we are one of three universities in the country participating,” Cupit said.

Students of all majors are encouraged to enter designs. Designs this year will be Halloween costumes rather than traditional apparel. All entries must be constructed from recyclable materials with one component of the costume being recycled denim. The show will be suitable for all ages, Cupit said.

“There is a dual purpose for this show. One, we want to collect denim for Blue Jeans Go Green. Two, we want to increase awareness of and promote sustainability by encouraging attendees to think ‘outside the box’ this year when planning Halloween costumes,” Cupit said.

The prize for first place is $500, second place is $300 and third place is $200. There will be prizes, giveaways, refreshments and more during intermission.

Cupit said the fashion and interior design student organizations also have invited sustainability clubs and organizations to showcase the work they do on campus by setting up booths around the room. There will be an exhibit featuring head-to-toe recycled denim fashion looks created by Nacogdoches High School students in fashion design classes. One of these students will win $250 based on attendee votes at the show.

For more information, contact Cupit at jrcupit@sfasu.edu.

September 15, 2015 - Stephen F. Austin State University’s hospitality administration program is heating things up with a new outdoor kitchen equipped with two grills, two refrigerators, burners, an outdoor sink and a pizza oven.

All of the outdoor kitchen equipment is transportable and has self-contained preparation and cooking stations. The outdoor kitchen is located behind the Culinary Café on SFA’s campus.

Dr. Chay Runnels, hospitality administration program coordinator and graduate program coordinator, boasts the many opportunities this new equipment will offer students.

“We are really trying to push our students’ comfort level and let them think bigger,” Runnels said. “We are always sitting around dreaming, hoping we can expand our program and reach, and I think this equipment helps us do that.”

The new equipment will enable Chef Todd Barrios, clinical instructor, to teach students new cooking techniques. For example, the iron plate burner set will be used to teach pan searing, blackening and sautéing techniques. The state-of-the-art grills have infrared burners for the rotisserie, which is a technique students may be unfamiliar with. Students also will learn to cook with a convection oven by using the new pizza oven.

“Our main focus is to give SFA students opportunities to learn something different as well as offer additional opportunities for hosting events for our student organizations,” Barrios said.

Runnels said tickets for the Culinary Café sold out in 53 minutes this semester; moreover, the program is looking for additional ways to showcase the students’ abilities to a wider audience with the outdoor kitchen.

“We want to use the space as much as we can, and we have a lot of students who aspire to become event planners and want to be able to utilize their skills,” Runnels said. “The outdoor kitchen is another way for students to learn about equipment they can use in real life.”

For more information, contact Runnels at runnelsc@sfasu.edu.

Cutline: Chef Todd Barrios, Stephen F. Austin State University’s hospitality administration clinical instructor, is looking forward to the opportunities the program’s new outdoor kitchen will provide SFA students who are preparing for careers in the hospitality industry. The outdoor kitchen is equipped with two grills, two refrigerators, burners, an outdoor sink and a pizza oven. The outdoor kitchen is located behind the Culinary Café on SFA’s campus.