Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives


Student Notables

February 2015

  • Senior computer science major Natalia Rodriguez presented a poster titled “Mapping Body Image with Instagram Data” at the ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing in Boston, Mass. in February 2015. Her work was done with the guidance of Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony and John Sigmier. Four other somputer science majors also attended the conference: seniors Jordan King and Brittany Pugh, junior Christine Harbour, and sophomore Valerie Vacek.

  • Matthew Miller, presented a poster titled “Scoring Cardiac Health: A Model of the Relationship between Diet and the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease” in the undergraduate poster session at the annual Joint Mathematics Meetings in January 2015. Southwestern student Robert Lehr and President Edward Burger also attended the meeting.

  • The following students have been named Sumners Scholars for 2015-2017: Grace Atkins, Riley Daniels, Hunter Jurgens, Savannah Medley and Sosha Orbin

January 2015

  • Instructor of Environmental Studies M. Anwar Sounny-Slitine presented a current faculty-student research project at the 2014 Williamson County GIS Day, an event about the practice of GIS, where users and vendors open their doors to schools, businesses, and the general public to showcase real-world applications and research. The talk, co-authored with Southwestern students Brandee Knight, Dakota McDurham, and Jen O’Neal, was titled “The Effects of Virtual Environments on Spatial Thinking,” and outlined virtual environments, or reconstructions of reality in 3D GIS platforms like Google Maps Streetview. They presented results of a experiment with grade school children who explored Southwestern campus virtually and physical and then tested for understanding of place and navigation of campus. Results were also presented at the 2014 annual meeting of the Southwestern Association of American Geographer in Albuquerque, NM.

  • Caitin Ferrell ’13, has had her Southwestern capstone published

December 2014

  • Sara Hall, class of 2016, and Patricia Schiaffini, part-time assistant professor of Chinese, presented at the prestigious ACTFL conference on November 21 in San Antonio. Their presentation was called “Engaging College Students in the Teaching of Foreign Languages.” Schiaffini’s part of the presentation was about training college students to teach foreign languages in elementary schools and how to develop appropriate curriculum, as well as the advantages college students receive by teaching the same foreign language they learn at SU to children. Hall’s part of the presentation focused on her personal experiences serving as a Spanish teacher to elementary children in the Georgetown Independent School District. 

November 2014

October 2014

  • SU Architecture Studio I students visited Austin AIA Homes Tour 2014, Oct. 25 and 26. The students are about to start their first design of a house to a specific site and program. The final project is presented in drawing and model form at the end of the semester.

  • Five SU students presented at the 10th annual Texas Undergraduate Mathematics Conference (TUMC), held at Stephen F. Austin State University, Oct 17-18, 2014.

    • Heather Gronewald presented “Computing Cophylogenetic Invariants” from the NSF REU at the Summer 2014 Winthrop University, continued as an Independent Study with Shelton. Gronewald is a double major in math and English.

    Four students discussed preliminary results of their math capstone projects: 

    • Matthew Miller presented “Scoring Cardiac Health: A Model of the Relationship between Diet and the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease” from a Summer 2014 Internship at the McDevitt Research Group at Rice University, continued in the Math Capstone under Shelton. Miller is a computational math major. 
    • Robert Lehr presented “Noisy Clustering Analysis of Landfill Distribution.” Anwar Sounny-Slitine, instructor of environmental studies, taught Lehr GIS techniques. Lehr is a math major. 
    • Matthew Chaltain presented “Earnings Surprise Effect on Stocks.” Chaltain is a double major in math and business. Katherine Grooms, assistant professor of economics, and Dirk Early, professor of economics, gave guidance and input on the project. 
    • Megan Myers presented “A Place For All People: Planning for Growth in Summer Camp Enrollment.” Myers is a double major in math and education. Her work is a civic engagement project for Lutherhill Ministries.

    Therese Shelton, associate professor of mathematics, served as the supervisor for the capstone projects and as faculty mentor at the conference. Each student will present further research in December on campus, along with Bonnie Daniel. Jimmy Alleyn, a chemistry major, and Julia Sykora, a math major with a theatre minor, also attended the TUMC. 

    There were 23 student presentations from 12 other institutions, and approximately 200 total student attendees. 

  • Senior computer science major Natalia Rodriguez was recently selected to be the new student board member on the Board of Trustees for the Anita Borg Institute, a global organization dedicated to women in technology. Natalia served in various roles in the conference including taking over their Instagram for a day to highlight some of the many activities and events. 

April 2014

  • Senior Ali Walden was named SCAC Women’s Golfer of the Week for the week ending April 6. Read more here.

  • Six sociology majors presented their capstone research projects that were written under the direction of Maria Lowe, professor of sociology, at the annual meetings of the Southern Sociological Society held in Charlotte, N.C., April 2-6.

    • Brianna Billingsley presented a paper titled “Waiting Tables Will Make You Lose Your Faith in Humanity: The Racialized and Classed Dimensions of Emotional Labor Among Restaurant Servers”;
    • Heather Burns presented a paper titled “The Role of Noblesse Oblige and Class Privilege in Shaping Volunteer Experience”;
    • Lucero Castillo presented a paper titled “Shattering Invisibility and Rethinking the American Dream: Undocumented Students as Agents of Educational and Social Change;”
    • 2013 graduate Nicole Hewitt presented a paper titled “Becoming a Good Citizen: English as a Second Language Volunteers Reinforcing Social Hierarchies within Adult Education”;
    • Kelsey Kisor presented a paper titled “Protect and Serve Each Other: Collective Action and Contentious Politics in a Police Accountability Organization”; and
    • Nathan Tuttle presented a paper titled “Gay on the Gridiron: Homophobia and the NFL.”

    Billingsley and Tuttle and also gave a presentation titled “On a Normal Day, Zero to One Times: Predicting the Frequency with which Students Think about Their Race at a Predominantly White Southern University” that they wrote with Lowe and Reginald Byron, assistant professor of sociology.

  • Students and faculty members in Computer Science attended the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges, South Central Region (CCSC:SC) conference in Austin April 11-12.

    • Barbara Anthony, assistant professor of computer science, presented a paper on “Offering an Undergraduate Colloquium,’” which is published in the April 2014 Journal for Computing Sciences in Colleges.
    • Sophomore computer science major Amir Ardjomand Hessabi presented a poster and demonstrated the abilities of a robot named “Bones” that he built for a King Creativity project with Walt Potter, professor of mathematics and computer science. Hessabi’s poster was awarded second place in the poster competition.
    • Four students in the computer science capstone − seniors Garhett Bonneaux, Rob Campbell, Alex Hicks and Paris Nelson − presented a poster about their software engineering project, CodeQuest, which was supervised by Rick Denman, professor of mathematics and computer science. Nelson also presented a poster titled “There and Back Again: A Genetic Algorithms Approach to the TSP,” which was based on his independent study work with Barbara Anthony. Nelson’s poster was awarded fifth place in the poster competition.
    • Junior computer science major Rebecca Wilson presented a poster titled “An Open Source Voting Machine” that resulted from her King Creativity project with political science major Elizabeth Bell and physics major Eric Oden. The project was supervised by Steve Alexander, professor of physics.

    Barbara Boucher Owens, an emeritus faculty member who founded the conference in 1990, also attended the 25th conference. 

  • Senior Jacob Brown presented a paper based on his Spanish honors thesis titled “Modelos masculinos: La cultura norteamericana y las representaciones de la masculinidad hegemónica en Amado amo (1988) de Rosa Montero” at the 20th Annual Carolina Conference on Romance Literatures held April 3-5 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Brown wrote the thesis under the direction of Katy Ross, associate professor of Spanish.

  • Nine psychology students presented their research at the Southwestern Psychological Association’s annual conference in San Antonio April 3-5. Estrella Thomas and Anne Stankus presented a paper titled Extraversion as a predictor in mentor-mentee relationships.” Quinlyn Morrow and Cristina Muyschont presented a paper titled Does support effectiveness vary as a function of self-efficacy and support type?” Both these papers won one of Psi Chi’s Regional Research Awards for outstanding research. Anna Hartmann and Annelise Carlin presented a paper titled “Opposites don’t always attract: The matching hypothesis and openness in relationships.” Michelle Cincunegui presented a paper titled “The problem with happily ever after: Fate-based relationships, neuroticism, and infidelity.” And Araceli Castaneda and Markie Wendel presented a paper titled “Through the looking glass: Facebook reflects IOS in romantic relationships.” Castaneda, Wendel, Morrow and Muyschontalso presented their papers at the 15th annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, which was held in Austin Feb. 13-15. The papers were written under the direction of Erin Crockett, assistant professor of psychology.

  • Students from Southwestern wrote three of the 21 undergraduate papers that were presented at the annual meeting of the Texas Section of the Mathematical Association of America held in Laredo April 3-5. Brian Cohen and David Vaden presented “Magic Graphs,” which they did under the supervision of Alison Marr, associate professor of mathematics, and Kendall Richards, professor of mathematics. Robert Lehr presented “An Irrational Decomposition of Generalized Fibonacci Number,” which he did under the supervision of Edward Burger, president and professor of mathematics. Andrew Banister presented “Can You Make Change by Increasing Minimum Wage?” which he did under the supervision of Therese Shelton, associate professor of mathematics.

  • Four economics majors presented their research at the annual Economic Scholar Program at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas March 28. Alex Michael presented “An Evaluation of Institutional Effects: Exploring the Empirical Relationship Between Economic Freedom, Growth, and Income Inequality,” Izzy Ramirez presented “Unbanked Hispanics,” Brooke Chatterton presented “The Benefits of Bilingualism” and José Bayoán Calderón presented “From Scientific Understanding to Effective Policy: Fruit and Vegetable Consumption on Cancer Incidence.”

  • Senior Auburney Jackson received the Overall Leader Award at the Annual Student Leadership Banquet, which was held April 3. Others receiving awards at the event were Grace Atkins (First-Year Award), Kathryn Reagan (Sophomore Award), Anne Bransford (Junior Award) and Paige Duggins (Senior Award). First-year student Sebastian Gualy received the Emerging Leader Award and seniors Lilly Duarte and Daniel Poole received the Pirate Anchor Award. Alpha Phi Omega was named Student Organization of the Year and the Organization Advisor Award went to Will Molidor for his work with the SU Veterans Association. Students presented Jerry Brody, vice president for student life, with a special award for his dedication to students.

  • Senior English major Katie McLaughlin received Southwestern’s second annual Rose Prize for Literary Criticism, which comes with a $200 check. McLaughlin won the prize for her capstone paper, which was titled “‘Everybody Writes’: Re-imagining Reader, Writer, and Text in the Online Community.” Read more here.

  • Senior Tyler Downing and junior Travis Zeiler were named SCAC Men’s Lacrosse Players of the Week for the week ending March 30. Read more here.

  • Eight Southwestern sociology majors presented their research at the annual meetings of the Pacific Sociological Association held in Portland, Ore., March 27-30.  Lucas Grisham, Kelsey Kisor and Mitchell Petersen presented their paper titled “Planning for Change in the Sociology Curriculum: Sociology Departments and the MCAT® 2015.” Victoria Flores and Tara Smith presented “Planning for Change in the Psychology Curriculum: Psychology Departments and the MCAT® 2015.”  Marta Selby, John Semlitsch and Forrest Stanley-Stevens gave apresentation titled “Adjustments Following Addition: Advisors’ Actions Regarding MCAT® Revisions.” They discussed their research as part of a workshop on “Preparing for Changes in the MCAT® − Opportunities and Challenges for Sociology Programs” organized by Edward L. Kain, professor of sociology and University Scholar.

March 2014

  • Seven students from Southwestern attended the Texas Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting at TCU in Fort Worth Feb. 27-28. Kyle Allen and Emily Ammon presented a poster and a manuscript titled “Effects of Stride Rate Manipulation in Shoes with Different Drop Heights.” Their poster was chosen as a finalist in the undergraduate research presentation category and their manuscript won second place in the manuscript competition, and was the only undergraduate manuscript submitted. Rachel Sellari presented a poster titled “The Effects of Shoulder and Knee Angular Velocity on the Performance of a Volleyball Forearm Pass.” The students conducted the research for these presentations with kinesiology professors Scott McLean and Jimmy Smith. Other students who attended the conference were Tamara Bellilove, Kara Curley, Jacob Freed and Michael Nguyen.

  • First-year student Brett Marcom was named SCAC Pitcher of the Week for the week ending March 9 after pitching a no-hitter in the Pirates’ game against Schreiner University. Read more here.

  • Junior Paden Williams and first-year student Will Devine were named SCAC Track and Field Athletes of the Week for the week ending March 9. Read more here.

  • The women’s swimming and diving team has received the Team Scholar All-American Award presented by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America for the third year in a row. Read more here.

  • Thirty-six students received awards at the 2014 Honors Convocation, which was held March 1. A complete list of awards and their recipients is posted here.

  • Eleven students from Southwestern are attending the Texas Academy of Science meeting in Galveston March 7-9 along with Romi Burks, professor of biology. The students are Jonathan Miley, Amber Cochran, Carson Savrick, Amy Miller, Alex Petrucci, Bianca Perez, Bex Petro, Allie Watts, Averi Segrest, Ryan Beeman and Danielle Wallace.

  • Three members of the men’s basketball team earned postseason honors from the SCAC. Michael Cantu made the All-SCAC Second Team while Chase Kocher and Blake Scott earned Honorable Mention. Read more here.

  • Three members of the women’s basketball team earned postseason honors from the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC). Chelsea Leeder made the All-SCAC First Team, while Annie Bourne made the Second Team and Jordan Owens made the Third Team. Read more here.

February 2014

  • Junior biology major Carson Savrick has received a $500 Grants-in-Aid from the Sigma Xi Research Society to support her molecular ecology undergraduate research project. Only about 20 percent of the hundreds of proposals submitted received funding and the competition does not distinguish between undergraduate and graduate student work. In collaboration with Kenneth Hayes at Howard University and with the research mentoring of Romi Burks, professor of biology, Carson has developed a project that investigates the direction in which exotic, invasive apple snail (Pomacea maculata) populations spread across the southeastern United States. In addition, Carson will use molecular tools (DNA extraction and PCR) to screen a subsample of snails from different populations for a parasite, Angiostrongylus cantonensis, which can pose a human health concern. Carson will present preliminary results of this work at The Texas Academy of Science meeting in March and at the Research and Creative Works Symposium at Southwestern in April.

  • Four students from Southwestern presented their research at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology’s 15th annual meeting in Austin Feb. 14. Araceli Castañeda and Marki Wendel presented a paper titled “Through the looking glass: Facebook reflects IOS in romantic relationships” andQuinlynMorrow and Ana Cristina Muyschont presented a paper titled Does support effectiveness vary as a function of self-efficacy and support type?” All four did the research last fall in a capstone class taught by Erin Crockett, assistant professor of psychology.

  • Senior Kayla Irvin was named SCAC Softball Hitter of the Week for the week ending Feb. 9. Read more here.

  • Students Anne Bannister, Egan Cornachione and Jennifer O’Neal won the photography contest that was held as part of the 2014 Brown Symposium. Bannister took first place and won $300 for her photo titled “Fine Motor Strengthening,” which she took during a semester abroad in rural Thailand during her junior year. Cornachione took second place and received $200 for his photo of a shaman sculpture at Seminole Canyon State Park at sunrise. O’Neal took third place and received $100 for her photo titled “Exhaustion,” which showed a sick woman living in a refugee camp in Uganda. See the winning photos here.

January 2014

  • December graduate Heather Petty presented a poster titled “Suppression of abnormally overexpressed claudin-3 protein decreases motility of MCF-7 breast cancer cells” at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium held Dec. 10-14. The symposium, which is sponsored by the American Association for Cancer Research, is the largest international meeting devoted to breast cancer.

  • Senior Lindsay Jakszta was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Women’s All-Scholar Region Team. Read more here.

  • Southwestern senior Cameron Button competed in the Patriot All-America Invitational golf tournament, which was held Dec. 27-31 at the Wigwam Golf Resort in Arizona. Button was the first Southwestern golfer to earn a spot at the tournament, which features top collegiate golfers from all divisions. Read more here.

December 2013

September 2013

  • Junior Robert Lehr and senior Phuong-Hieu Nguyen both moderated panels at the Kemper Scholars Conference in Chicago August 6-7. Lehr moderated a panel on nonprofit internships in Chicago and Nguyen moderated a panel on securing post-junior year internships.

More Student Notables

“Student Notables” are published each month, during the academic year, by the Office of Communications.