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In Focus: 9/24/2010

A weekly newsletter published by the Communications Office

Top News

BIOLOGY PROFESSOR USES POPCORN TO TEACH ECOLOGY STUDENTS ABOUT STATISTICS

It’s 11 a.m. and a group of students are making popcorn in a microwave oven located on the fourth floor of the Fondren Science Building. It’s not snack time, though. It’s all part of a Southwestern biology professor’s unique way of helping her students learn statistics.

Romi Burks, associate professor of biology, has been using popcorn to teach statistics to students in her Methods in Ecology and Evolution class ever since the course was first offered at Southwestern in 2007.

While the concept of using popcorn to teach statistics is not new, Burks has modified the approach to take into account the availability of microwaveable popcorn and the new individual-sized popcorn packets. She has even published her method in a society journal read by other professors focused on freshwater and marine research.

Read more here.

Events

WRITERS VOICE TICKETS AVAILABLE

Mira Nair, an Indian-born filmmaker who has brought several major literary works to film, will be the 2010 visiting author in the Writer’s Voice Series sponsored by the A. Frank Smith, Jr. Library Center. Nair will give a public lecture at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 9, in the Alma Thomas Theater.

The lecture is free, but tickets are required. Tickets are now available to the campus community and will be available to the general public on Oct. 4. Tickets may be reserved on the library website at www.southwestern.edu/library. 

Read more about Nair and the 2010 Writer’s Voice lecture here.

‘MUD’ TO BE PERFORMED IN THE BLACK BOX THEATER SEPT. 23-26


“Mud,” a play written in 17 short scenes by Maria Irene Fornes, will be performed in Southwestern’s Black Box Theater Sept. 23-26. Performances will start at 7 p.m. Thursday and 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. There also will be 3 p.m. matinees Saturday and Sunday.

Set in the 1930’s Mud explores the joyless existence of Mae, a small-town woman, and two men who love, need and ultimately destroy her. The play includes adult subject matter and is for mature audiences only.  

Tickets for the play are $5 and may be purchased by calling the box office at 512-863-1378 Monday through Friday between 1-5 p.m. or by going online to www.southwestern.edu/boxoffice

The Black Box Theater, also known as Heather Hall, is located above the Jones Theater in the Fine Arts Building. The play is directed by Becca Plunkett.

FACULTY RECITAL SEPT. 26 WILL FEATURE WORKS FOR CELLO, PIANO

Cellist Hai Zheng and pianist Kiyoshi Tamagawa will give a faculty recital on Sunday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. in the Alma Thomas Theater. The concert will feature the Prelude in F Major, Op. 2 No.1, and Danse Orientale in A Minor ,Op. 2 No. 2, by Sergei Rachmaninoff; “Japanese Suite” and “Fantasia” by Sang Tong; and the Sonata in F major, Op. 6, by Richard Strauss.

The performance is free and open to the public. For more information, call The Sarofim School of Fine Arts at 512-863-1504.

VOTER REGISTRATION DRIVE BEGINS SEPT. 27

The Student Activities Office is working with representatives from several student organizations to coordinate a voter registration and education drive that will be held Sept. 27 - Oct. 4.

Students will help other students register to vote, change their address and obtain  absentee ballots. They also will distribute information about the candidates on the ballot in Williamson County as well as candidates running for statewide office.

The registration deadline for the Nov. 2 election is Oct. 4th, and ballots submitted by mail must be received by Oct. 26th. For more information, contact Jason Chapman, assistant director of student activities (chapman2@southwestern.edu) or visit the county election website.

WOODWIND QUINTET TO PERFORM SEPT. 30

The San Gabriel Winds will give a recital on Thursday, Sept. 30, at 7 p.m. in the Caldwell-Carvey Foyer. The concert will feature a collection of fun, traditional and non-traditional pieces for woodwind quintet, including works by Ibert, Arrieu and Danzi.

The quintet is made up of four faculty members from the Sarofim School of Fine Arts: Adrienne Inglis, flute; Anna Carney, clarinet; Eric Stone Miller, bassoon; Brigette Parsons, horn; and one guest artist, oboist Amy Burgus.

The performance is free and open to the public. For more information, call The Sarofim School of Fine Arts at 512-863-1504.

Notables

Reginald Byron, assistant professor of sociology, co-authored a study that is published in the current issue of the Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency. The study is titled “Commercial Density, Residential Concentration, and Crime: Land Use Patterns and Violence in Neighborhood Context.” Read an article about the study here.

Paula Desmond, assistant professor of psychology, is presenting a paper titled “Emotional Intelligence and Driver Stress” at the 54th meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society in San Francisco Sept. 28. The paper was written with students Alexandra Burbey, Addison English and Lauren Margulieux. Burbey and English will be presenting the paper with Desmond. English and Margulieux are applying to doctoral programs in human factors research this year.

Edward L. Kain, professor of sociology and University Scholar, served as the external program reviewer in sociology for Linfield College Sept. 20-22.

Shannon Mariotti, assistant professor of political science, reviewed Gerhard Schweppenhäuser’s new book on Theodor W. Adorno in an essay titled “Communicating to the Demos,” published in the September 2010 issue of the Review of Politics.