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In Focus: 4/24/2009

A weekly newsletter published by the Communications Office

Top News

SOUTHWESTERN RECEIVES $1.3 MILLION IN GRANTS TO EXPAND ITS ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES PROGRAM

Southwestern’s Environmental Studies Program has received a major boost thanks to $1.3 million in funding from three recent grants.

A $750,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will enable the university to hire a new tenure-track faculty member in environmental geography, add environmental content to courses across the curriculum, and establish a new Center for Social and Environmental Justice.

A $436,000 gift from the Kendeda Fund will be used to buy the equipment for a new GIS lab as well as support various sustainability projects on campus such as a new Environmental Fellows program. 

Southwestern also has received a $129,000 grant from the Associated Colleges of the South (ACS) that will enable the Environmental Studies Program to hire a postdoctoral fellow for two years.

Read the rest of the story here.

FINANCIAL ANALYST PROGRAM MARKS ITS 10TH ANNIVERSARY

Has the stock market bottomed out? Are we likely to have inflation or deflation in the coming year?

For seven Southwestern students, these are not just academic questions. Their knowledge of the stock market and the current economy has real-life implications.

The students are participants in Southwestern’s Financial Analyst Program, which gives students the opportunity to invest a portion of the university’s endowment.

This is the 10th year of the program, which is directed by A.J. Senchack, holder of the Lucy King Brown Chair in International Business.

Read the rest of the story here.

SOUTHWESTERN STUDENT DEVELOPS PROGRAM TO TIE MUSIC, ART TO CLASSES TAKEN BY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL STUDENTS

Every Wednesday, six 5th graders wait excitedly for sophomore Andrea Plybon to take them from Williams Elementary to Southwestern for an afternoon of creativity and musical inspiration. As soon as they arrive on campus, the children run ahead of Plybon to the Fine Arts Center, eager to play and learn in a unique afterschool program titled “Mind Over Music.”

Read the rest of the story here.

Events

AUSTIN CIVIC ORCHESTRA TO PREMIERE PIECE BY SOUTHWESTERN FACULTY MEMBER

The Austin Civic Orchestra will premiere “Lament,” a piece by Jason Hoogerhyde, assistant professor of music at Southwestern, as part of its Spring Concert to be held Saturday, April 25, at Reagan High School in Austin.

The Austin Civic Orchestra is conducted by Lois Ferrari, associate professor of music at Southwestern. Tickets are available at www.austincivicorchestra.com.

CHORALE AND ORCHESTRA TO PERFORM IN CONCERT APRIL 26

The SU Orchestra and Chorale will perform in a joint concert on Sunday, April 26, at 7 p.m. in the Alma Thomas Theater of the Fine Arts Center.

The program will feature the Overture from “The Pearl Fishers” by Georges Bizet, the Overture to “The Barber of Seville” by Gioacchino Rossini and “O Magnum Mysterium” by Morten Lauridsen.

Lois Ferrari will conduct the SU Orchestra and Kenny Sheppard will conduct the SU Chorale. Student conductors Magen Comley, Jeffrey Elliott, Michelle Perrin and Taryn Robertson also will be featured. 

The concert is free and open to the public. For more information, call 512-863-1379.

U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE TO SPEAK AT SOUTHWESTERN APRIL 30

Roger Williams, a former Texas Secretary of State and candidate for the United States Senate, will speak at Southwestern on Thursday, April 30, at 7 p.m. in the McCombs Ballrooms. The event is co-hosted by the Southwestern University College Republicans and the Williamson County Young Republicans. Interested members of the community are welcome to attend.

FOUNTAINWOOD OBSERVATORY TO HOLD PUBLIC VIEWING NIGHT MAY 1  

The Fountainwood Observatory at Southwestern University will hold a public viewing night on Friday, May 1, from 8-11 p.m. 

The evening will begin with a waxing moon just past first quarter. Around 8:30 p.m., brighter stars and the planet Saturn will begin to appear. By about 9:15 p.m., it will be dark enough to view dimmer objects such as double stars and open star clusters through a telescope. By the end of the viewing session, some brighter galaxies such as M81 and M82 in Ursa Major will be viewable, as well as globular star clusters like M3 in Bootes.

Fountainwood Viewing Nights are always free and open to the public. The observatory is located on the northeast side of campus adjacent to the Rockwell Baseball Field (see #5 on campus map here. Faculty members from the Physics Department at Southwestern as well as observers from the Williamson County Astronomy Club will be on hand to guide viewing.

For weather-related updates about viewing nights, call the Fountainwood Observatory hotline at 512-863-1242. 

This is the last public viewing night of the academic year. Public viewing nights will begin again in September.

Media Coverage

The Williamson County Sun ran a story about students in Patrick Veerkamp’s Design II class who have done a landscape design project for the San Gabriel Trail.

The Austin American-Statesman ran an interview with Lois Ferrari about her work with the Austin Civic Orchestra. Read the article here.

The Austin Business Journal ran an online story about the grants for environmental studies. Read the story here.

The Williamson County Sun ran a story about the “Mind Over Music” program created by student Andrea Plybon.

Notables

Junior computational mathematics major Daniel Bauer has been selected to participate in IBM’s Extreme Blue program this summer.  The Extreme Blue program is IBM’s premier internship program for students pursuing software development and MBA degrees. Bauer will work in IBM’s Austin location as part of a team that has been challenged to develop the technology and business plan for a new product or service that addresses an existing market challenge. For more information on the Extreme Blue program, visit here.

Four presentations by students and faculty members in the Psychology Department won awards at the Southwestern Psychological Association annual meeting in San Antonio April 4-6. Sarah Gomillion (‘07) placed first in the graduate student paper competition for “The influence of media role models on gay, lesbian, and bisexual identity.” Her talk was based on her undergraduate honors thesis conducted under the supervision of Traci Giuliano, professor of psychology. Student Jessica Domino and Bryan Neighbors, associate professor of psychology, won a “Best Submission to the Psi Chi Program” award for their poster titled “Dimensions of intimate relationships and emotional functioning among college students.” There were two winners of H. Wayne Ludvigson Memorial Student Prizes for best student paper presentations. Benjamin Oakley won second place for “Methamphetamine enhances sexual motivation in female rats,” and Leah Christian and Brittany Ford won third place for “Unsafe Sex: Female sexual behavior in the presence of predator stimuli.” Both papers were supervised by Fay Guarraci, assistant professor of psychology.

Faculty-student presentations at the conference included the following:

  • “Battle of the sexes: Sex role and attitudes toward war” by Kathryn Bollich, Whitney Laas and Traci Giuliano
  • “Putting the news to good use: The news media and volunteerism” by Kristen Davenport and Traci Giuliano
  • “The relationship between coping strategies and negative emotions: Exploring gender differences” by Betsy Davis and Bryan Neighbors
  • “The effects of word presentation rate on mood and creativity” by Marcos Duran, Melanie Wilmoth, Erika Anderson and Jacqueline Muir-Broaddus
  • “Moderating factors of the reverse sexual double standard in student-teacher relationships” by Patrick Egan, Jenny Howell, Braden Ackley and Traci Giuliano
  • “Shoot the ball %$@&*#!: The impact of expletive use on coaching effectiveness” by Jenny Howell, Hailey Ormand and Traci Giuliano
  • “Gender differences on scales of the Inventory of Interpersonal Problems” by Hayley Humpert and Bryan Neighbors
  • “The politics of Facebook: Gender and political orientation on a social-networking website” by Whitney Laas, Kathryn Bollich and Traci Giuliano
  • “Can sexual receptivity be classically conditioned to an odor cue in female rats?” by Erica Navaira, Benjamin Oakley, Carissa Winland, Sumith Jampana, Tabitha Spencer, Leah Christian and Fay Guarraci
  • “Gender equality extends to the bedroom: College student sexual risk taking” by Laura Thornton and Bryan Neighbors

Eric Selbin, professor of political science, was interviewed for a book on Che Guevera that was released this week. Che’s Afterlife: The Legacy of an Image was written by Michael Casey, the Buenos Aires bureau chief for Dow Jones Newswires. Read a review of the book in the New York Times here.

Laura Senio Blair, assistant professor of Spanish, wrote the program notes for “Chilean Cinema of the Post-Dictatorship Era: A Retrospective in Film (1994-2004),” which is part of the Cine las Americas Latin American Film Festival being held in Austin this week. To read her notes, go here. Senio Blair and student Francisca Lopez are interviewing Chilean directors who are in town for the festival this week as a collaborative student-faculty project. They plan to use the interviews to write an article about trends in Chilean cinema. For more information on the festival, visit www.cinelasamericas.org. Chile is the invited country for this year’s festival.