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King Creativity Fund Supports Six Student Projects for 2009-10

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    Duncan Alexander will use his King Creativity grant to create an exhibition of artworks in which paintings are overlaid with digital animated projections.
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    Carlos Barron will use his King Creativity grant to create an exhibition of his insect macrophotography.
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    Morgan Mingle and Stephanie Henderson will use their King Creativity Grant to study and work with infant dolphins at Pet Porpoise Pool in Coffs Harbour, Australia. (photo by Carlos Barron)
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    Matthew Trawick (left) will use his King Creativity grant to make a film about the dangers posed by exotic species in Florida and Texas. Brandon O'Connor and Allyson Plantz will be helping him with the project. (photo by Carlos Barron)
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    Pelham Keahey, Will Hardy, Mason Cradit, Andrea Holland and Steven Solis are working with Fondren Jones shop manager Gerald Wade to build a new type of apparatus for the detection and identification of microorganisms.
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    Thomas Newman, Josh Casiano and Briana Garcia are using their King Creativity grant to start a steel drum band at Southwestern (photo by Paige Curtis).

Grants will enable students to showcase their talent in art, music and science

A new musical group on campus, a new biomedical instrument and a video documenting the threats imposed by exotic species in Florida and Texas are among the projects supported this year by the King Creativity Fund.  

This is the 10th year the fund has supported “innovative and visionary projects” proposed by Southwestern students. The fund was established in 2000 with an endowment provided by Southwestern alumnus W. Joseph “Joey” King. Each year, the fund supports up to 20 projects.  This year, six projects were funded for a total of $17,955. Students will present their projects at a symposium to be held Thursday, April 15, 2010.

Lauren Bird, Briana Garcia and Thomas Newman received $5,575 to fund a steel drum band that will be called the SU Steelpan Ensemble. The ensemble will perform public concerts featuring the distinctive genre of music from the Caribbean. It will be open to all Southwestern students, faculty and staff.

Pelham Keahey, Will Hardy, Mason Cradit, Andrea Holland and Steven Solis received $3,400 to build a new type of apparatus for the detection and identification of microorganisms. The device will record changes in the electrochemical properties of samples suspected to contain microorganisms. Such a device could enable doctors to prescribe specific treatments sooner, since current methods for detecting which pathogen has caused an infection can take from three days to several weeks. The detector will be based on a design patented by Gerald Wade, shop manager for the Fondren Jones Science Center.

Matt Trawick, Olivia Stanzer, Allyson Plantz, Brandon O’Conner, Jessilyn Massey and Ryan Saurage received $2,950 to create a film that will document the threats imposed by exotic species in Florida and Texas. The two species the film will focus on are an applesnail known as Pomacea insularum and the Burmese python. Since most exotic species are introduced by humans, Trawick hopes the film will help reduce such behavior. All the students participating in the project are students in Biology Professor Romi Burks’ research lab.

Other King Creativity projects funded this year include the following:

Duncan Alexander, a senior art major, received $1,830 to produce and display four artworks that will experiment with the interaction between paintings and digital animated projections overlaid on the surface of the paintings. Alexander will present his artworks to the public as part of his senior exhibition Dec. 3-13. He also will post the works on his blog at        http://hypothete.blogspot.com/

Carlos Barron, also a senior art major, received $1,800 to create an exhibition of large-scale digital prints that will showcase his talent in the area of insect macrophotography. Barron said he wants to show viewers the “individual nature of the inhabitants of a microcosmic world that is normally hidden from our view.” The works also will be shown as part of his senior thesis exhibition and posted to an online gallery.

Morgan Mingle and Stephanie Henderson received $2,400 that will enable them to take advantage of a rare opportunity to study and work with infant dolphins at Pet Porpoise Pool in Coffs Harbour, Australia. The two will spend four weeks there over the holiday break. Their goal is to help understand how the dolphins develop language ability and the social context in which certain vocalizations are made. Both are junior animal behavior majors.