Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives


Student Notables

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September 2017

  • Liz Mazurek, class of 2018, had a ceramic piece selected for the 24th Annual Strictly Functional Exhibition in Lancaster, Pa. This is one of the most highly recognized national juried exhibitions celebrating functional objects in ceramics. The exhibition open Sept. 22 and will run through Oct. 16.

  • Deidra McCall, Class of 2017, participated in the Honors Program and presented a research paper titled “Racialized Politics and the Confederate Flag: Why Society Can Never Be Color-Blind” at the August 2017 American Sociological Association (ASA) annual meeting in Montreal, Canada. Her participation was funded through her award as Southwestern’s first Mellon Undergraduate Fellow. At this same conference, Professor of Sociology Maria Lowe and Associate Professor of Sociology Reggie Byron presented a paper titled “Neutralizing Harm: Sexist and Racist Jokes among Undergraduate Students.” Holly O’Hara, Class of 2017, and Dakota Cortez, Class of 2019, are co-authors on the paper. This paper is part of a larger project supported by SU’s Faculty-Student Collaborative research funds. Byron also served his final year on the ASA Honors Program Advisory Council.

October 2017

  • Computer science majors Marissa Madrid-Ortega and Kristen McCrary, both class of 2018, attended the 2017 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Orlando, Fla., in October. Both received full funding as Grace Hopper Scholars, Madrid-Ortega from and McCrary from Sonos. Highlights included finding a Southwestern alumna, Kathryn Reagan ’16, among the crowd of 18,000 attendees, and hearing from a diverse set of speakers about the numerous opportunities in computing in academia, industry, government, and beyond. Madrid-Ortega also attended the Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing in Atlanta, Ga., again receiving full funding from the conference.

  • Elyssa Sliheet and Marissa Madrid-Ortega, both Class of 2018, attended “UM Explore Graduate Studies 2017,” a National Science Foundation-funded workshop hosted by the University of Michigan Computer Science and Engineering Department in September.  Sliheet and Madrid-Ortega were exposed to various fields of faculty research, gained first-hand insight into graduate student research at the University of Michigan, were advised on the writing of personal statements for graduate school applications, and met students from around the country who are also interested in applying to graduate school in computer science.

August 2017

  • Daniela Beckelhymer and D’Andre Adams, both class of 2020, attended MathFest, a national meeting of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) held July 26–29, 2017 in Chicago, Ill. They presented “Choose Your Own Adventure: An Analysis of Interactive Gamebooks Using Graph Theory” in the MAA Student Paper Session based on work from the 2017 SCOPE work supervised by Associate Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr.  Their travel was supported by the SCOPE and S-STEM programs at Southwestern.

  • Kayla Ingram, Jonathan Lauret, both class of 2019, and Hanna Kinzel, class of 2018, had their papers published in the undergraduate peer-reviewed journal Texas Philosophical in July. It is unusual, and a sign of the strength of their submissions, that three students from one university were accepted for publication.

  • Professor of Biology Romi Burks attended the Ecological Society of America meetings in Portland, Ore., with three of her research students, Carissa Bishop ’17, Madison Granier, class of 2019, and Sophia Campos ’16, Aug. 6–11. All three presented their own research posters at this national meeting attended by over 4,000 ecologists. Bishop shared her experience mentoring her peers in an Invertebrate Ecology lab taught by Burks. Her poster “Turning an RA into a TA: Case study in utilizing undergraduate research expertise to improve a molecular ecology course undergraduate research experience” evaluated a module made possible by funds from the Keck Foundation. Granier presented her poster titled “Snail Slime in Real Time: qPCR Detection of Environmental DNA from Apple Snails”  which includes a collaboration with SU alumni Dr. Matthew Barnes ’06. This project extends her SCOPE research from the summer of 2016. Campos added the final samples to her analysis and presented a poster titled “Cryptic Yet Curiously Common: Population genetic structure and diversity of a cryptic Pomacea sp. and its better known congeneric P. canaliculata.”  Co-authors include Dr. Ken Hayes from Howard University and Cristhian M. Blavijo and Fabrizio Scarabino from Uruguay.

  • Lauren Gillespie, Class of 2019, presented her paper “Comparing Direct and Indirect Encodings Using Both Raw and Hand-Designed Features in Tetris” at the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO 2017) in Berlin, Germany. Gillespie received financial support to attend the conference from both a prestigious ACM-W scholarship and from Southwestern’s Fleming Student Travel funds. Her paper was co-authored with Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum, also in attendance, and alumna Gabriela Gonzalez ’16. It was based on research initiated during SCOPE 2016. Schrum also presented a poster at the conference, “Balancing Selection Pressures, Multiple Objectives, and Neural Modularity to Coevolve Cooperative Agent Behavior,” based on work by Alex Rollins ’17, also initiated during SCOPE 2016.

May 2017

  • Kaitlynn Copher, Class of 2020, earned National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-West Region Third Team honors after leading Southwestern Softball at the plate with a .415 average and a team-high 51 hits.

  • Mattie Cryer ’17 has received a Fulbright Scholarship to serve as a teaching assistant at an Argentine university from March to November of 2018. A supplementary project will focus on the coordination and development of Rotary and Rotaract on the college campus with current students to further develop student leadership in the community.

  • Professor of Education Michael Kamen and Mary Rouhiainen, Class of 2018, co-presented findings from their summer Faculty-Student Research project titled “Role of Imaginary Play in the Zone of Proximal Development and Science Learning” at the annual conference of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching.

  • Southwestern University defender Christina Rosendahl, Class of 2017, earned All-Region First Team honors by the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) May 12. Rosendahl is the first all-region player in program history. Additionally, Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach Matthew Grosso was named Co-Coach of the Year for independent schools, and Emma Albin, Class of 2017, earned Scholar-Athlete honors.

  • Southwestern Spring Breakaway student leader Veronica Espinosa, Class of 2019, was accepted to be a Site Leader for Alternative Break Citizenship schools (ABCs) in Atlanta, Ga., this June.  ABCs is a training program run by Break Away, a national nonprofit that supports the development of quality alternative break programs. Espinosa will be co-leading training sessions for a group of university students from all over the United States.

  • For the second year in a row, all Debby Ellis Writing Center senior consultants are graduating with jobs! Congratulations to William Soller, Class of 2017 (Teach for America), Wilhelmina Watts, Class of 2017 (Teach for America), Sydney Rochelle, Class of 2017 (American Airlines), Jordynn Lane, Class of 2017 (Teach for America), and Ashley Aytes, Class of 2017 (Peace Corps).

  • Rosa Castañeda Hernandes, Class of 2017, earned honorable mention recognition for her recent presentation of her capstone research on “Dark Tourism” at the Undergraduate German Studies Conference hosted by Lafayette College and Moravian College in Bethlehem, Penn. The selecting committee member commented: “Your strong presentation, your thorough research and outstanding theoretical underpinnings as well as your eloquent and intellectually stimulating discussion with the audience greatly impressed us.” The committee requested a copy of the paper to be published on their website.

  • Emily Barham, Class of 2020, will perform the roles of Berta in The Barber of Seville and Despina in Cosi fan tutte with the Mediterranean Opera Studio and Festival this summer. Barham will travel to Italy to perform these roles, as well as concerts and opera scenes, with this pre-professional opera and Italian language training program.

  • Four Southwestern students participated in the 77th William Lowell Putnam Mathematics Competition on Dec. 3, 2016. The Putnam Competition involves a six-hour exam in which the students attempt to solve 12 challenging math problems. Each problem is worth 10 points, making 120 the highest possible score, but  the problems are so difficult the most common score is a zero. This year more than 4,100 students from 568 institutions across North America took the Putnam exam. Jillian Bradley, Class of 2018, scored an 11 on the exam. Beulah Agyemang-Barimah, Ryan Beeman, and Emma Kathryn Groves, all Class of 2017, also participated in the exam.

  • Four Southwestern Economics majors were involved in the 11th Annual Undergraduate Research Conference at the Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas, TX. Aresha Davwa, Class of 2018, and Manuela Figueroa-Casas, Class of 2017, presented their research titled “Immigrants and Community Involvement.” Lily Manyun Liu, Class of 2017, presented her research titled “School Quality and the Cost of Housing.” Maranda Kahl, Class of 2017, also attended the conference as a discussant.

  • Six Southwestern Computer Science/Computational Math majors and two faculty members traveled to Texas Christian University to attend the 28th annual conference of the South Central Region of the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges on April 7.

    • Lauren Gillespie, Class of 2019, presented a poster titled “Comparing Direct and Indirect Encodings Using Both Raw and Hand-Designed Features in Tetris,” based on SCOPE summer work with Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum. Her poster was awarded first place in the student poster competition.

    • Alex Rollins, Class of 2017, presenter a poster titled “Balancing Selection Pressures, Multiple Objectives, and Modular Networks to Form Complex Agent Behavior,” based on SCOPE summer work with Schrum. His poster was awarded second place in the student poster competition.

    • Ryan Beeman, Class of 2017, presented a poster on “Improving Scheduling for a Local Non-Profit: Operations Research in Practice,” a continuation of a community-engaged learning project begun in an Operations Research course with Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony.

    • Beeman, Michael Glover, Class of 2018, and Rollins presented a poster on “Developing an Interactive Webpage to Visualize Course Connections” based on their Computer Science capstone project (along with Reid Cumbest, Alex Le, and Jeremy Rice, all Class of 2017) supervised by Anthony.

    • Valerie Vacek and Shannon Wylie, both Class of 2017, presented a poster on “Improving Legacy Code: A Scavenger Hunt in Software Engineering,” also based on their Computer Science capstone project (along with Emma Kathryn Groves, Michael Patterson, and Rob Wagner, all Class of 2017) supervised by Anthony.

    • Anthony presented a poster on “Finding Nash Equilibria in Doodle Polls,” based on ongoing research with Austin Moninger, Class of 2020.

April 2017

  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Fumiko Futamura and Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics John Ross took eight students to the Texas Section Meeting of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) at Texas A&M University-Commerce March 30–April 1, 2017.

    • Amy Jenkins, Class of 2017, presented “Instruments in Ones and Zeros: How Computers Mimic Timbre.” Jenkins’ work was based on her capstone supervised by Futamura.

    • Other students in attendance were Victoria Gore, Class of 2017, Morgan Engle,  Bonnie Henderson and Elyssa Sliheet, all Class of 2018, Sarah Cantu, Class of 2019, and Daniela BeckelhymerD’Andre AdamsVictor Herrera, all Class of 2020. Gore, Henderson, Beckelhymer, Adams, and Herrera participated in the Calculus Bowl and made it to the final round.

    Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton attended the Executive Committee Meeting and Business Meeting as Immediate Past Chair of the Texas MAA, which included duties as Chair of the Nominating Committee, and the Department Liaisons Meeting. Funding for this trip was provided by the following at Southwestern: Fleming Student Travel Fund, the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, and the NSF S-STEM grant.

  • Professor of Sociology Maria Lowe, Professor of Sociology Sandi Nenga, and eight students presented papers at the annual meeting of the Southern Sociological Society in Greenville, S.C., March 30–April 1.

    • Deidra McCall, Class of 2018, presented “Racialized Politics and the Confederate Flag: Why Society Can Never Be Color-Blind.”

    • Melanie Theriault, Class of 2017, presented “Should we say something about her sister? Family roles and the siblings of people with disabilities.”

    • Samantha Pentecost, Class of 2019, presented “’We’re Not All the Same’: Levels of Conservatism and Assimilation as Predictors for Latino Partisan Choice.”

    • Cadie Pullig, Class of 2017, presented “Talking about Campaign Advertisements: How College Students Discuss the Appearance of Political Candidates.”

    • Kelly McKeon, Class of 2017, presented “Catching Up: Overcoming a Deficit in Cultural Capital as a First Generation College Student.”

    • Sarah Surgeoner, Class of 2017, presented “Femvertising: Commodification and Critical Consumption of Feminism in Advertising.”

    • Holly O’Hara, Class of 2017, and Dakota Cortez, Class of 2019, presented a paper titled “Sexual Assault, Zero Tolerance Policies, and the Gender Climate at a Liberal Arts University.” This paper was co-authored with Associate Professor of Sociology Reginald Byron and Lowe.

    • Holly O’Hara, Class of 2017, presented “Searching for a Genuine Sorority Woman: Greek Recruitment Practices at Public and Private Universities.”

    • Nenga presented “How Teenage Latinas Respond to and Resist Gender Surveillance in a College Readiness Program.”

    • Lowe also served on the program committee for the conference.

  • Madeline Ezell, Class of 2018, presented her research in Classics at Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C. on March 11. Ezell’s paper abstract was one of only six selected from a sizable national pool. She and other students from around the country gathered to discuss their research in Classics. While in D.C., Ezell presented her paper for critique and for collaborative discussion. Her paper is to be published in May in the Sunoikisis Undergraduate Journal. Ezell’s research is grounded in Alexandrian Hellenistic Poetry, and is an analysis of Queen Berenice’s image as presented in Callimachus’ poem, “Coma Berenices” (3rd cent. BCE). At the symposium, she had the opportunity to critically discuss her own research and also that of the other student presenters, as well as engage with various professors and faculty.

  • Three Southwestern students, mentored by Associate Professor of German Erika Berroth, presented their work at the Seventh Undergraduate Research Conference in German Studies on Saturday, April 1, 2017. This year the conference, co-organized by Lafayette College and Moravian College, took place at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa. This conference gives students the opportunity to present their research in all German-related fields, including but not limited to the study of German literature, film and culture, art history, music, philosophy, history and politics. Rosa Karen Castañeda Hernandez, Class of 2017, a double major in German and Communication Studies, presented her German Capstone project, “Illuminating Dark Tourism: Perspectives on Representations of Holocaust Tourism in Am Ende kommen Touristen (2007),” for a panel on the Holocaust. Miriam Richard, Class of 2018, an Education major who studied German at SU and abroad, presented her research paper titled “The Painful Consciousness of Being Transnational: Representations of Transnational Identities in German Texts and Films.” Aaron Woodall, Class of 2018, a Political Science major, presented his research on “Displacement and the Reconstruction of Transnational Identity.”

  • Professor of Psychology Traci Giuliano and seven of her students presented papers at the annual meeting of the Southwestern Psychological Association in San Antonio March 31–April 2. Sarah Matthews, Class of 2017, Kayleigh ThomasMaddie Straup, and Martin Martinez, all Class of 2018, presented “Not cool, dude: Perceptions of solicited vs. unsolicited sext messages from men and women”; and Marissa Rosa, Brooke Swift, and Helena Lorenz, all Class of 2018, presented “LOL, ILY: The effects of textspeak and gender on dating profile perceptions.”

March 2017

  • Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum has had two publications co-authored with students accepted to the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference taking place in July 2017. Both publications are based on research done last summer as part of SCOPE (Summer Collaborative Opportunities and Experiences). “Comparing Direct and Indirect Encodings Using Both Raw and Hand-Designed Features in Tetris,” a full paper written with Lauren Gillespie, Class of 2019, and alumna Gabriela Gonzalez ’16, will be presented as a talk at the conference. “Balancing Selection Pressures, Multiple Objectives, and Neural Modularity to Coevolve Cooperative Agent Behavior,” an extended abstract written with Alex Rollins, Class of 2017, will be presented as a poster.

  • Assistant Professor of Business Debika Sihi and Makaela Starks, Class of 2017, presented their project titled “Online Retail Privacy Policies: Consumer, Manager, and Legal Insights” at the Texas Marketing Faculty Research Colloquium at Baylor University held March 23–24.

  • Twenty-two Southwestern students traveled to the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor to attend the 120th meeting of the Texas Academy of Science (TAS), March 4–5. Collectively, Southwestern students gave four oral presentations and presented 12 posters in numerous sections of the Academy including Conservation Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, Computer Science, Environmental Science, Physics, Systematics and Evolution, Freshwater Science, and Science Education. Much of the work presented at TAS took place in past summer SCOPE programs. Several students and alumni received awards:

    • Victoria Gore, Class of 2017, received the Best Oral Presentation Award in the Environmental Science Section for her work, “Extreme Precipitation: Changes in Rain Frequency from 1895-2015 in Central Texas.”  Gore worked on this project during SCOPE with her mentor Part-Time Assistant Professor of Physics Rebecca Edwards.

    • Bella Ferranti, Class of  2017, received the Best Oral Presentation Award in the Physics Section for her talk, “Laser Frequency Combs and the Search for Exoplanets.”  This is the second presentation that Ferranti has given at the Texas Academy of Sciences.

    • Lauren Gillespie, Class of 2019, received the Best Poster Presentation Award in Mathematics and Computer Science for her work entitled “Evolving Tetris Players Using Raw Screen Inputs,” which she worked on with Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum.

    • Sofia Campos ’16 took the Best Poster prize in the Systematics and Evolution Section and also won 2nd place overall for her presentation, “Cryptic yet curiously common: Population genetic structure and diversity of a cryptic Pomacea sp. and its better known congeneric P. canaliculata,”  which summarized her work in Uruguay with Professor of Biology Romi Burks.

    • Madison Granier, Class of 2019, received the Best Poster prize in the Conservation Biology section and also received a $1500 grant from the Academy to support her undergraduate research titled “Snail Slime in Real Time: qPCR Detection of Environmental DNA using Apple Snails.”  This work involves a collaboration between GranierBurks and alumni Matthew Barnes ’06, now an Assistant Professor at Texas Tech University.

    • Carissa Bishop, Class of 2017, won two presentation awards: Best Oral Presentation in Freshwater Science, for her talk entitled “Applying Band-Aids: Challenges associated with molecular detection of Angiostronglyus cantonensis infection within Uruguayan and Brazilian apple snails,” and a Poster Award in Science Education for a collaborative project titled “Innovating molecular art: Communicating the true cost of science through repurposed materials.” Campos ’16, Shannon Walsh and Hugo Cepeda, both Class of 2018, all made contributions to the molecular art piece based on research that they have done with Burks. All of the molecular work has been made possible through a grant awarded to the Natural Sciences by the Keck Foundation.

    Other TAS presenters included Alex Taylor, Renee Walker, Morgan O’Neal, Jillian Bradley, Daniel Gonzalez, Eris Tock, Alex Rollins, and Jiawen Zhang, all Class of 2017, Ramesh Nadeem, Dakota Butler, Diana Beltran, Susan Beltran, and Madelyn Akers, all Class of 2018. Additional faculty mentors included Professor of Chemistry Kerry Bruns, Assistant Professor of Chemistry Michael Gesinski, Professor of Biology Ben Pierce,  and Part-Time Assistant Professor of Biology Airon Wills.

February 2017

  • Taylor Lewis, Class of 2018, is currently participating in the Capitol Hill Internship Program in Washington, D.C. He is taking a course in Politics and Communication and interning full-time as a research associate at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA). While working with COHA, Lewis hopes to focus his research on U.S. foreign policy, women’s rights, climate change, trade, and the regional issues of Argentina, Mexico, Cuba and Honduras. Read Lewis’ first published article for COHA.

  • Madeline Ezell, Class of 2018, will present a refereed paper at Harvard’s Sunoikisis Undergraduate Research Symposium/Workshop in March. Ezell’s paper was selected from a national pool. In her paper, she analyzes the absence of the female body in Callimachus’ poem “Lock of Berenice” in order to explore the way in which the poet fashions Berenice into a celestial and timeless goddess.

  • Austin Mueck, Class of 2018, received a Best Scenic Design Award for his design of the musical, You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown at the 2017 Texas Educational Theatre Association Conference in Galveston. Associate Professor of Theatre and Resident Scenic Designer Desiderio Roybal mentored and advised Mueck’s poster presentation at the TETA Conference. Mueck designed You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown for the Southwestern University Theatre Department in November 2016 under the mentorship of Roybal and Southwestern Technical Director Justin J. Smith ’04.

December 2016

  • This December, eight Southwestern University football student-athletes will be traveling with Head Coach Joe Austin to Mexico to play in the Tazon de Estrellas (Bowl of the Stars) Division III all-star game in Mexicali. This is a game for graduating seniors in which a team of Division III U.S. all-stars play the all-stars from Mexico’s Division I. Coach Austin has been the offensive coordinator for Team Stars & Stripes since 2013 and has been on the coaching staff since 2010. The players joining Coach Austin this year are:

    • Matt Gillen, class of 2017, Wide Receiver

    • Dante Smith, class of 2017, Wide Receiver

    • Bryan Hicks, class of 2018, Quarterback

    • Dylan Wilburn, class of 2017, Running Back

    • Dereck Harenda, class of 2017, Offensive Line

    • Jacob Harton, class of 2017, Offensive Line

    • Tyler Frisby, class of 2017, Linebacker

    • Zach Cole, class of 2017, Linebacker
  • The Southwestern football team swept the major postseason awards from the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference. Awards included:

    • Justin Broussard, class of 2017, Defensive Player of the Year
    • Matt Gillen, class of 2017, Co-Offensive Player of the Year

    • Nik Kelly, class of 2019, Special Teams Player of the Year
    • Luke Fierst, class of 2020, Newcomer of the Year
    • Head Coach Joe Austin, Coach of the Year.

    In all, 23 players were selected All-SCAC from last season.

November 2016

  • Several teams of Southwestern students participated in the ACM South Central USA Regional Programming Competition at Baylor University in Waco. Team pi-Rates, consisting of Lauren Gillespie and Will Price, both Class of 2019, and Alex Rollins, Class of 2018, solved two programing problems beating 22 other teams. Other teams from Southwestern each solved one problem. The students on these teams were Clay Stehling and Bobby Garza, both Class of 2019, Ryan BeemanValentin CantuYash GandhiJacob WhiteKolton Noreen and Angus Strickland, all class of 2018, and Reid Cumbest, Class of 2017. View the complete scoreboard.

  • Lauren Gillespie, class of 2019, was selected as a Computing Research Association for Women Scholar. She was one of only 60 chosen out of 600 applications. This scholarship allowed her to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Houston, TX on Oct. 19-21. She was also selected to be a “Hopper,” volunteering during the conference. The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing is the largest celebration of women in technology in the world and gives women in computing an opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments and work on increasing the diversity of computing fields.

October 2016

  • Morgan Engle, Class of 2018, was selected to be among 80 applicants from across the country to attend Graduate Research Opportunities for Women (GROW) at Northwestern University in Chicago, Ill. from Oct. 14–16, 2016. GROW is a conference for women-identified students interested in graduate school in the mathematical sciences. Sponsors include the National Science Foundation.

  • Five seniors presented at the Texas Undergraduate Mathematics Conference (TUMC) on Oct. 8, 2016 in Beaumont, Texas. Southwestern had the largest number of students giving talks other than the host college, Lamar University.

    • Benjamin Stiver, Class of 2017, presented “Methods to the Madness: Modeling College Basketball’s Championship Tournament.”
    • Beulah Agyemang-Barimah, Class of 2017, presented “Girls Rule: Social Status, Economics, and Math Literacy.”  
    • Emma Kathryn Groves, Class of 2017, presented “War: A Statistical Analysis of a Popular Card Game.”
    • Katie Smithson, Class of 2017, presented “Wages Over the Ages.”
    • Susan Moore, Class of 2018, presented “Old Math Faithful at Yellowstone National Park.”

    Each presentation was based on preliminary capstone work undertaken during Fall 2016, and  supervised by Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton. Shelton also moderated two sessions at the conference. Other students in attendance were Morgan Engle, Class of 2018, Daniela Beckelhymer and Elyssa Sliheet, both Class of 2019, and Bryce Sinclair and D’Andre Adams, both Class of 2020. Funding was provided by the following at Southwestern: Fleming Student Travel Fund, the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, and the NSF S-STEM grant.

  • Lauren Gillespie, Class of 2018, Huong Le, Class of 2017, Lorena Roque, Class of 2017, and Valerie Vacek, Class of 2017, attended the ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference Sept. 14–17 in Austin. All four were provided with free registration through scholarships and volunteer commitments.

September 2016

August 2016

  • Professor of English and Director of National Fellowships and Scholarships David Gaines attended the 2016 Kemper Scholars Annual Conference in Chicago, Ill. on August 4–5. He joined current Kemper Scholars Deidra McCall and Matt Pagano, both Class of 2018, and incoming Scholar Markell Henderson, Class of 2019. During their summer in Chicago, McCall interned in the office of Mayor Rahm Emanuel while Pagano interned at the Field Museum. Pagano keynoted the Scholars’ presentations at the Conference, and McCall is the one Scholar whose video interview appears on all current promotional material for the Kemper Scholarship program.

July 2016

  • Marissa Madrid-Ortega, Class of 2018, has been awarded a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for the 2016–17 academic year. The $8,000 award will allow Madrid-Ortega to continue her critical language study in China.

  • Natalie DeCesare, Class of 2019, accepted a fellowship position with the Republican Leadership Initiative. She will receive training in campaign volunteering and grassroots efforts for local, state, and federal campaigns. She was also selected to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador by the University of Texas at Austin’s Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life.. She will spend an academic year conducting nonpartisan, civic engagement projects in her community.

June 2016

  • Recent graduates Will Cates ’16 (baseball) and Kaitlyn Foster ’16 (volleyball) have been selected as the 2015-16 Dr. Tex Kassen/Dr. Carla Lowry Male and Female Athletes of the Year. The pair will be recognized at a sporting event during the 2016-17 academic year.

May 2016

  • Markell Henderson, Class of 2019, has been selected from a group of national finalists to become one of 16 in this year’s incoming class of the prestigious Kemper Scholars Program.

  • Three sociology seniors presented their capstone research at the April 2016 Southern Sociological Society meeting in Atlanta, Georgia:

    • Bethany Lewis, Class of 2016, presented ‘That’s the Spark I Want to See’: Mentorship and Empowerment of Girls in STEM. Lewis’ study won the 2016 Odum Award for Best Undergraduate Paper.
    • Marta Selby, Class of 2016, presented ‘All You Need Are Shoes, Shorts, and a Shirt’: Women’s Experiences in Youth Running.
    • John Semlitsch, Class of 2016, presented Creating an ‘Egalitarian’ Privileged Space: Displaying Works by Artists of Color in the Modern Art Museum.
  • Six economics students presented at the 10th Annual Economic Scholars Conference at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas:

    • Yinlin Dai, Class of 2016, presented This is a Man’s World? Do Women do Better than Men in Long-Term Investing?
    • Egan Cornachione, Class of 2016, presented Money on our Minds: An Analysis of State-Level Household Income and Prevalence of Mental Illness.
    • Ellie Lee, Class of 2019, presented Digital Divide in the U.S.
    • Manyun Liu, Class of 2017, presented Behavioral Risk Preferences: Does Natural Disaster Experience Matter? Akhil Rao, Class of 2016, presented When do we Build? A Study of the Determinants of Business Fixed Investment in Post-Bubble Japan using VAR Analysis.
    • Lorena Roque, Class of 2017, presented Racial Segregation: An Econometric Perspective.
    • Zhaoyu Ye, Class of 2016, and Ellie Lee also served as discussants at the conference.

April 2016

  • Phil Ricker, Class of 2016, was selected as the 2016-17 Andrews Fellow.

  • The Sigma Chapter of Upsilon Pi Epsilon, the Computer Science Honor Society, inducted four new student members on April 6, 2016. They are computer science majors Emma Kathryn Groves, Class of 2016, and Alex Rollins, Class of 2018, along with computational math majors Ryan Beeman, Class of 2016, and Connor Murphy, Class of 2016.

  • Chemistry major Caitlin Lacker, Class of 2016, was awarded a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Award Fellowship. The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions. For the 2016 competition, NSF received nearly 17,000 applications, and offered 2,000 awards.

March 2016

  • Grace Atkins, Class of 2016, co-authored an article for the Houston Chronicle about the event she planned at Rice University as part of her internship with Austin-based policy think tank Glasshouse Policy.

  • Chemistry and Biochemistry dual majors Sarah Coe, Class of 2016,  and Olivia Drummond, Class of 2016, presented their research on oxidative damage in triplex-forming DNA sequences at the national American Chemical Society meeting in San Diego, CA. The students conducted their research with Professor of Chemistry Maha Zewail-Foote, who also attended the conference.

  • Associate Professor of Political Science Shannon Mariotti and political science major Samuel Kim, Class of 2016, co-authored and co-presented a paper at the ACS Gender Studies conference at Southwestern University on February 20th, 2016. Their paper was titled “The ‘Common Benefits Clause’: An Alternative to Liberalism’s Equal Protection Clause.”

  • Senior history and cultural anthropology dual major Emily Grover has been selected to be a part of the 2016 Junior Fellows Summer Intern Program with the Library of Congress. Emily will work on the project “Copyright Deposit Collection 1870-1897” under the Rare Books and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress. Grover credits her work with Southwestern Special Collections in helping her attain this internship.

  • Junior physics major Isabella Ferranti and sophomore physics and computational math dual major Yash Gandhi have both been awarded prestigious NIST-SURF Fellowships for Summer 2016. Each award includes a $5,500 fellowship, as well as travel and housing costs to attend the National Institute of Standards and Technology summer research program in Boulder, Colorado. Ferranti will be working with the team studying “Laser Frequency Combs for Finding Exoplanets” and Gandhi will be working with the “Multiple Output Multiple Input Wireless Technology as a Measurement Tool” team. The eleven-week program offers the opportunity to work alongside leading research scientists and talented undergraduates from throughout the US.

February 2016

  • Graduating seniors Sara Hall, Daniel Ross and Alexandra Wagui were honored at the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation Dinner in Austin on February 4. They joined the forty previous Sumners Scholars who have graduated from Southwestern after enjoying two years of educational opportunities and financial assistance from the Dallas foundation dedicated to “the study and teaching of the science of self-governance.”

    Sumners Scholars are selected in their sophomore year based upon their academic excellence, sense of civic responsibility, and potential for leadership. Current junior Sumners Scholars Grace Atkins, Riley Daniels, Hunter Jurgens, Savannah Medley, and Sosha Orbin also attended the dinner. New Sumners Scholars selected the following day were Sophia Anthony, Rachel Arco, Lacey Bowersox, and Emilie Fisher.

January 2016

  • Emma Kathryn Groves, Yinlin Dai and Eric Oden attended the Joint Mathematics Meeting in Seattle, WA, Jan 6-9, 2016. Groves and Dai presented “Math Modeling in the Time of Cholera.”  The work began in the SCOPE 2015 summer research program at SU and was continued in Dai’s math capstone. Oden presented “A Physical Application of the Hypergeometric Function” based on work from an Independent Study with Professor of Mathematics Kendall Richards with additional work on the double pendulum in the math capstone.  Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton supervised the SCOPE, funded by a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), and capstone work for these presentations. Travel was supported by MAA Student Travel Grants, an SU Fleming Student Travel Grant, and Shelton’s SCOPE Faculty-Student Project fund.

November 2015

  • On November 7th, nine SU students participated in the ACM South Central USA Regional Programming Contest, held at Baylor University in Waco, TX. The students were organized into three teams: Kathryn Reagan, Nozuko Sutherland-Millie and Elena Enis were on one team, Celia Elise Hernandez, Valerie Vacek and Gabriela Gonzalez were on the second and Austin Barber, Reid Cumbest and Daniel Maldonado were on the third. Though the contest was challenging, SU’s best team managed to beat 17 other teams.

  • Computer science majors Alex Le and Valerie Vacek attended the Carnegie Mellon University OurCS (Opportunities for Undergraduate Research in Computer Science) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in October. In this three-day workshop, they had the chance to work hands-on with a variety of researchers and a team to tackle a research problem, and explore graduate school possibilities.

October 2015

  • Five Southwestern computer science majors, Emma Kathryn Groves, Christine Harbour, Marissa Madrid-Ortega, Kathryn Reagan and Nozuko Sutherland-Millie attended the Grace Hopper Celebration of Computer Science in Houston, Texas in October 2015. Christine, Marissa, and Nozuko were all named Hopper Scholars. At the conference, Christine presented a poster on “An Empirical Evaluation of Approximation Algorithms for Two Graph Problems”, which was joint research with computer science alumna Jordan King ’15 and Dr. Barbara Anthony, Associate Professor of Computer Science.

    Five SU students presented at the TUMC at The University of Texas at Tyler Oct 9-10, 2015 – over Fall Break! The students shared preliminary results of the first seven weeks of work on their math capstone projects.

    • Jade Garza:  “Models of Marfan Syndrome.” 
    • Michael Gebhardt: “A Calling for Success.” 
    • Julia Sykora: “Old Math Model Had a Farm: The Math Behind Chicken Farms”.”
    • Christi Ho: “Adventures in Art: A Mathematical Analysis of Generative Line Drawings.”
    • Eric Oden: “The Mathematics of Chaos: An Exploration of the Double Pendulum.”

    There were 21 other student presentations scheduled from fifteen other institutions, and over 100 student attendees. Southwestern had the largest number of students who presented from a single institution.  Funding for the SU group was provided by Southwestern’s Fleming Student Travel Fund and SU’s Department of Mathematics and Computer Science.

September 2015

  • Senior biology majors Paul Glasheen and Sofia Campos spent a weekend during the first week of classes attending the American Malacological Society national meeting at the University of Michigan Biological Station. Both gave oral presentations on research that they conducted in Uruguay as part of a National Science Foundation sponsored International Research Experiences for Students. Paul and Sofia, along with srenior animal behavior major Averi Segrest, traveled to Uruguay to study apple snails for six weeks with their mentors, Professor of Biology Romi Burks and Kenneth Hayes, professor of biology at Howard University.

    Paul’s presentation, “The Snail Also Rises: Desiccation Tolerances of Pomacea species,” shared the results of a collaborative experiment with Uruguayan colleagues that tested how long snails could survive under conditions of water loss and how they recovered after a period of estivation. This represents the first chapter of his honors thesis in biology. Sofia’s talk, “A Tale of Two Species: Comparative phylogeography and genetic diversity of Pomacea canaliculata and a putative cryptic congeneric in the Rio de la Plata Basin,” highlights results and analysis of the molecular work occurring in Burks’ lab in collaboration with Professor Hayes of Howard University. She found that the cryptic species has a much broader distribution and genetic diversity than its better known relative. The two will be producing a HHMI-Inquiry sponsored video about their experience of attending a national meeting as undergraduates.

August 2015

  • Southwestern students Emma Kathryn Groves and Yinlin Dai co-created “Cholera as a Global Issue: Measuring the Effects of National Economic and Health Indicators” in the SCOPE 2015 summer research program at SU. Groves presented the joint work, which won an Outstanding Student Presentation Award, at the national summer meeting of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), MathFest, Aug 5-8, 2015, in Washington, D.C. Groves is a sophomore with majors in computer science and mathematics, and Dai is a senior with majors in mathematics and economics. For this Centennial celebration of the MAA, more than 2,500 faculty and students registered for the largest MathFest in history. There were 141 student presentations by more than 200 speakers representing more than 100 institutions. The work by Dai and Groves was supervised by Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton and funded by a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). Groves’ attendance at MathFest was supported by an MAA Student Travel Grant, an SU Fleming Student Travel Grant, and Shelton’s SCOPE Faculty-Student Project fund.

  • Four Kemper Scholars–Sabrina Rangel, Lorena Roque, Deidra McCall, and Matt Pagano–represented Southwestern at the 2015 annual conference in Chicago on August 6 and 7, 2015. Rangel, a graduating senior, presented “Leading and Listening: Where do we draw the line?” about her work with the Kemper Corporation this summer in Dallas. Roque, a rising junior, described her experience with Kemper Corporation and chaired the panel of four other Kemper Scholars from around the country. Newly selected scholars McCall and Pagano met their cohort of Scholars from 16 other colleges and universities. They were accompanied by Kemper campus coordinator David Gaines, associate professor of English and Director of Fellowships and Scholarships.

  • Ryan Galloway, a senior education major with a secondary math focus, is the 16th consecutive SU student to be awarded the TASPA (Texas Association of School Personnel Administration) scholarship. Ryan plans to seek employment in the Georgetown/Round Rock area after graduation and is interested in working toward a master’s degree in school administration. He is an Army veteran who did two tours of duty in Iraq, and is married with two young children. 

July 2015

  • Ten Southwestern mathematics/computational mathematics majors also attended the Texas Section Meeting of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) in San Antonio in April, with nine competing in the Calculus Bowl and five giving presentations at the conference.

    • Bonnie Daniel’s “This is a Man’s World: The Standing of Women ⇔ The Security of the State” won Best Student Talk Award.
    • Eric Oden presented “A Physical Application of the Gaussian Hypergeometric Function.” 
    • Katie Lelinski presented “Chasing Cultural Identities: A statistical analysis of The Chase from the United Kingdom and the United States.” 
    • Jade Garza, Julia Sykora, William Soller and Lorena Roque presented “Permutations as Music.” 
    • Danielle King and Charles Payne presented “Measles: from data to simulation.” 

June 2015

  • Hewlett Packard, along with the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) selected Natalia Rodriguez ’15 as one of three inaugural winners of the NCWIT Collegiate Award. The award recognizes three undergraduate women for completing outstanding technical projects at the junior level or above. By generating visibility for capable technical women, the NCWIT Collegiate Award encourages their continued interest in computing, attracts the attention and support of educational and corporate institutions, and emphasizes at a personal level the importance of women’s participation in computing. Read more about the award. 

May 2015

  • Southwestern students Tori Vasquez and Nani Romero completed the first year of their commitment to the Latina History Project, co-directed by Assistant Professor of Anthropology Brenda Sendejo and Associate Professor of Feminist Studies Alison Kafer, with supervisory assistance from Charlotte Nunes, Mellon Fellow in Digital Scholarship. The student work has raised the profile of Central Texas Latina histories through projects with primary source materials. Nunes blogs about the students’ contributions to the Latina History Project at

  • Southwestern students Kylie Borden and Audrey Garcia recently presented their research titled “Transcriptional Regulation of the ICE R391 RumA’2B DNA Polymerase V by SetR” at the American Society for Microbiology - Texas regional meeting. 

  • Brandee Knight and Dakota McDurham, along with Instructor of Environmental Studies M. Anwar Sounny-Slitine, presented the results of their faculty-student research project titled “The Effects of Virtual Environments on Spatial Awareness in Adolescents” at the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers in Chicago. Read the abstract.

April 2015

  • Ten computer science/computational mathematics majors attended the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges South Central Contest in Austin, April 17-18.

    Rebecca Wilson presented a paper titled “CS Club: A Student Built Culture of Computing.” Christine Harbour and Jordan King presented a paper titled “An Empirical Evaluation of a k-Center 2-Approximation Algorithm.” James Byam, Jordan King and Anna Zolten presented a poster on “Integrating Off-the-Shelf and Original Code in Software Development.” Ross Warkentin and Rebecca Wilson presented a poster on “Hunting with Pirates: Building a Webapp in Ruby on Rails.” Jake Balderama, Michael Morris and Brittany Pugh presented a poster on “Storing the Gold: Databases for a Scavenger Hunt App.”

    Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony, supervisor for the papers and posters, along with Alex Le, Associate Professor Emeritus of Computer Science Barbara Boucher Owens, who founded the conference in 1990, and Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum attended the conference. 

  • The following awards were given at the  2015 Research and Creative Works Symposium 

    “Does Higher Income Mean Worse Mental Health?” by Egan Cornachione
    Sponsor: Katherine Grooms, Assistant Professor of Economics

    “An Exploratory Study of the Social Construction of LGBTQ Neighborhoods in London” by Mitchell Peterson, Lucas Grisham, and Dakota McDurham
    Sponsor: Edward Kain, Professor of Sociology and University Scholar

    “The Rise and Fall of Real Estate in Austin” by Jordan Armeriv 
    Sponsor: Anwar Sounny-Slitine, Instructor of Environmental Studies and GIS Lab Mgr

    “SOLeisure” by Amir Hessabi and Keeley Coburn 
    Sponsor: Steven Alexander, Professor of Physics

  • Eight current students and one sociology alumna presented their research at the annual meetings of the Southern Sociological Society in New Orleans, March 26-28.

    Victoria Flores presented “What Have I Done, What Am I Doing’: Racialized and Classed Experiences of Teach For America Teachers.” Jessica Jones presented ‘This School Just Isn’t Set up for Us: Experiences of Transfer Students from Community Colleges at a Private Liberal Arts University in the South.” Jordan Richardson presented “It’s all Fun and Shade: Identities, Communities, and Culture of Drag Performers in the US.” Joanna Hawkins ’14 presented “Responding to Ebola: A Risky Act of Social Justice,” which was recognized at the meetings with the Odum Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Research Paper. These papers were all completed in the sociology capstone course taught by Professor of Sociology Maria Lowe. 

    Claire Simmons Blyth presented “Identity Accommodation of Higher Education Latino Students.” Guillermo A. Alvarado presented “Latina/os, Microaggressions, and Positive Interpersonal Interactions on a College Campus.” Both papers resulted from work with Sandi Nenga in her course on Latina/os and education in the U.S.

    Lucas Grisham (sociology), Mitchell Robert Petersen (sociology), and Dakota McDurham (environmental studies) presented “An Exploratory Study of the Social Construction of LGBTQ Neighborhoods in London.” They began work on this research during the London semester and continued it this semester with Edward L. Kain, Professor of Sociology and University Scholar.

  • Julia Hollingsworth ’14 has had her paper, “Being Upward Bound: A Qualitative Analysis of How the Upward Bound Program Fosters Academic Success Among First Generation Students,” accepted for publication in “Sociological Insight,” a peer-reviewed undergraduate journal. Her manuscript represents a revised version of her 2013 sociology capstone paper. 

  • Junior Amir Hessabi won the Creativity Award at the Student Research and Creative Works Symposium on April 14.

  • Associate Professor of Sociology Sandi Nenga published a book chapter with students Guillermo A. Alvarado ’15 and Claire S. Blyth ’16. The chapter, titled “I Kind of Found My People: Latina/O College Students’ Search for Social Integration on Campus,” was published in “College Students’ Experiences of Power and Marginality: Sharing Spaces and Negotiating Differences.” 

  • Junior Arie Angeledes presented his poster, “Synthesis of a Hydrozone Thiophene Ligand,” at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Denver on March 23, 2015.

  • Senior Shelby Beem won a Fulbright Fellowship to teach English in Germany in the coming academic year. She is the 12th alumnus from the Southwestern German program awarded Fulbright Fellowships in Germany or Austria. The previous 11 are: Brian Gingrich ’08, Amy Tanguay ’08, Chelsea Edge ’08, Erin Osterhaus ’09, Carolyn Acker ’09, Jamie Falconnier ’09, Zach Zeman ’10, Emily Gutzmer ’10, Tanlyn Roelofs ’10, Lauren Radell ’12 and Rory Jones ’12. Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship awards provide recipients with an initiation into the idea of cultural ambassadorship.They emphasize understanding cultures in depth and inspire curiosity about and respect for others. 

  • M. Anwar Sounny-Slitine, instructor of environmental studies and GIS lab manager, along with environmental studies students Brandee Knight and Caitlin Schneider, published a paper in “The Southwestern Geographer” titled “On Making and Becoming a Graduate,” a reflection piece about approaches in learning and teaching for better undergraduate education. 

March 2015

  • At the Undergraduate Research Conference at the Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas, Southwestern students Egan Cornachione and Yinlin Dai presented their original research, and Lorena Roque and Akhil Rao were discussants on papers. The students attended the conference with Assistant Professor of Economics Patrick Van Horn and were Assistant Professor of Economics Katherine Grooms who supervised their projects.

  • A proposal written by Chinese minors Adrienne Dodd and Hunter Jurgens, along with Assistant Professor of Chinese Patricia Schiaffini, has been accepted by the AsiaNetwork/Freeman Foundation collaborative research program. This proposal is to conduct summer field work and research on environmental issues in Tibetan populated areas in China. As part of the grant, Schiaffini will present at the Asia Network conference in April in St. Louis, Missouri.


  • Associate Professor of Physics Mark Botorff has had published the observation work he did three years ago on a large international ground and space satellite monitoring project in the “Astrophysical Journal.” Vince Estrada-Carpenter ’13 and Botorff are listed as co-authors on the paper.

  • Professor of Physics Steve Alexander and Curran Johnston ’14 had their article “Naturally Occuring Heavy Radioactive Elements in the Geothermal Microcosm of the Los Azufres (Mexico) Volcanic Complex” published in the “Journal of Environmental Radioactivity.”

  • At the March Meeting of the American Physical Society in San Antonio, students Taylor Hutchison, Raina Musso and Francis MacInnis presented their poster “Optical V-Band Observations of Active Galactic Nuclei,” which was completed under the supervision of Associate Professor of Physics Mark Bottorff during an HHMI research program last summer. 

  • Junior music major Mattie Kotzur won a chair in the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles International Youth Orchestra. Competing among a group of international musicians, Mattie’s flute audition won her the spot in the prestigious ensemble. She will rehearse and perform with the group this summer at the world WASBE conference in San Jose, Calif.

  • Senior De’Andre Woods-Walker and sophomore Marissa Madrid-Ortega received full scholarships to Middlebury College’s intensive Chinese Language summer program, which is a renowned “language boot camp” that propels students through rigorous focus and achievement. This is the first year Southwestern will have two students accepted into the program.

  • Isabella (Belle) Jo is the 5th Southwestern student since 2008 to receive the Critical Languages Scholarship (CLS) for China. CLS is a full scholarship to study languages that the State Dept. deems are critical to the U.S.  

  • Joanna Hawkins (December 2014 graduate) has been selected to receive the 2015 Odum Award for Undergraduate Research for her capstone paper titled, “A Risky Act of Social Justice: Health Care Workers Responding to Outbreaks of Ebola in Africa.” This is the top award for an undergraduate paper at the annual meetings of the Southern Sociological Society, and the 7th time in 10 years that a student from Southwestern has won. 

  • Music majors Rachel Childers, Michael Martinez and Caleb Martin have been accepted to the College Band Directors National Association Small College Intercollegiate Band. Martin will play Eb clarinet, Childers will play bass clarinet, and Martinez will perform as principal trombone and section leader. Professor of Music Lois Ferrari nominated the students for the national honor band. Their principal teachers are Instructor Anna Carney and Associate Professor of Music Eileen Meyer Russell.

  • The Southwestern women’s basketball team won the 2015 SCAC Championship. Head Coach Kerri Brinkoeter also was named SCAC Coach of the Year. 

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.