Academics in Focus

Highlighting student, faculty and staff honors

Academics in Focus is compiled from InFocus, Southwestern’s official weekly newsletter, and highlights student, faculty and staff honors.


2009 graduates COLIN KYLE, JAMES McDONOUGH, MATT TRAWICK and ANNA FRANKEL presented research at the Academy of Sciences meeting in Junction.

Student LANCE KELLER presented research at a meeting of the Texas branch of the American Society of Microbiology.

REBECCA SHELLER, associate professor of biology, presented a paper at the American Association of Cancer Research International Meeting in Denver, Colo., in April. The paper was written in collaboration with MARIA CUEVAS, associate professor of biology, and MARIA TODD, assistant professor of biology.


SHAUN DANIEL COOPER, a sophomore economics major, received a scholarship from Freeman-ASIA to study abroad in Shanghai, China.

KEN ROBERTS, professor of economics, and MICHAEL MORRIS ’95 had a chapter about remittances from Mexico published in The Economics of Networks.

MARY YOUNG, professor of economics, and economics students WES RIVERS and ERIC FRANCO, presented a poster at a meeting of the Texas Public Health Association in Austin. They also presented a paper titled “The Effect of Social Networks and Health Care Interventions on Tobacco Use Outcomes” at the annual meeting of the Western Economic Association held in Vancouver, British Columbia.

MARY GRACE NEVILLE, associate professor of business, received the Journal of Management Education’s 2009 Fritz Roethlisberger Award for the best article published in the journal in 2008 at the Organizational Behavior Teaching Conference in June. Neville also received one of two 2009 Southwestern University Teaching Awards.


FRANK GUZIEC, professor of chemistry and holder of the Herbert and Kate Dishman Chair in Science, and LYNN GUZIEC, part-time assistant professor of chemistry, are co-authors on the publication “A Model for ADPH: Quinoneoxidoreductase (NQO1) Targeted Individualized Cancer Chemotherapy,” appearing in Drug Target Insights, 2009.

DONATO (JOE) DeLUCA, a sophomore chemistry major, received Honorable Mention for the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships, which are given to undergraduates who plan to pursue careers in science, math and engineering.


NADIA ALAREKSOUSSI ’09, BROOKE ARNOLD CALDER, ERIKA KLEINSCHMIDT ’09, and SALLY SPALDING presented papers at the Western States Communication Association convention in Mesa, Ariz. JULIA JOHNSON, assistant professor of communication studies, also presented a paper co-authored with ALISON KAFER, assistant professor of feminist studies, and SUZY PUKYS, director of civic engagement.


SUZANNE FOX BUCHELE, associate professor of computer science, presented a paper at the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges South Central Conference. She also gave a presentation at The University of Texas at Austin to female graduate students in the natural sciences who are considering careers at liberal arts colleges.


ELISABETH PIEDMONT-MARTON, associate professor of English, was co-host of the 2009 South Central Writing Centers Association Conference held at Southwestern in April.

HELENE MEYERS, professor of English, has had a chapter of her book Femicidal Fears: Narratives of the Female Gothic Experience (2001) reprinted in Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism, Vol. 202 (2008).


DANIEL BOWER, junior computational mathematics major, was selected to participate in IBM’s Extreme Blue program this summer.


AARON PREVOTS, assistant professor of French, was selected as a finalist for the 2008 Texas Institute of Letters’ Soeurette Diehl Fraser Award for Best Translation.

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 was part of the Cine las Americas Latin American Film Festival held in Austin. She and student FRANCISCA LOPEZ interviewed Chilean directors who were in town for the festival as a collaborative student-faculty project.




PHIL HOPKINS, associate professor of philosophy, was invited to contribute a chapter on the presocratics to the forthcoming Continuum Companion to Ancient Philosophy (2010).


BILL O’BRIEN, associate professor of physics, co-authored and presented a paper about glacier research to the American Geophysical Union. He also had a paper titled “Measuring Magnetic Declination with Virtual Globes, Compass and GPS” published in the March issue of the International Journal of Digital Earth.

MARK BOTTORFF, associate professor of physics, and MICHAEL KAMEN, associate professor of education, are working with other schools in the Associated Colleges of the South to develop an astronomy course in which students will learn by using their own observations.


ERIC SELBIN, professor of political science and University Scholar, had a 2003 book chapter “Agency and Culture in Revolutions” republished in a Russian book titled The Concept of Revolution in Contemporary Political Discourse. He also had articles published in Latin American Perspectives and Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and was interviewed for a book on Che Guevera released this year.

ALISA GAUNDER, associate professor of political science, presented a paper titled “Female Candidacy in Japan and the U.S.: The Role Women’s Organizations Play in Confronting Electoral Obstacles” to the Southern Political Science Association.

TIM O’NEILL, professor of political science, had 10 articles published in the Encyclopedia of the First Amendment.

MATT MASCHINO ’09, presented a paper co-authored with GILBERT ST. CLAIR, visiting professor of political science, at the annual meeting of the Western Political Science Association. At the same conference, SHANNON L. MARIOTTI, assistant professor of political science, presented a paper titled “Damaged Life as Exuberant Vitality: Adorno, America, and the Sickness of Health.” Her essay will be published in a special issue of the journal TELOS, dedicated to the topic of “Adorno in America.”


At the Southwestern Psychological Association annual meeting in San Antonio in April, SARAH GOMILLION ’07, placed first in the graduate student paper competition. JESSICA DOMINO ’09, and BRYAN NEIGHBORS, associate professor of psychology, won a Best Submission to the Psi Chi Program award for a poster titled “Dimensions of Intimate Relationships and Emotional Functioning Among College Students.” BENJAMIN OAKLEY ’09, LEAH CHRISTIAN ’09, and BRITTANY FORD were winners of H. Wayne Ludvigson Memorial Student Prizes for best student paper presentations.

JESSE PURDY, professor of psychology, will spend four months in Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia, working in an aquatic animal behavior and cognition lab associated with the Pet Porpoise Pool marine park and the University of Southern Cross.


LAURA HOBGOOD-OSTER, professor of religion and chair of the environmental studies program, has been appointed to the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Working Group. She also lectured at Yale University in March on “Animals in Christian Worship.”


EILEEN MEYER RUSSELL, associate professor of music, presented a master class for those who double on trombone and euphonium at the 2009 Annual Tuba-Euphonium Conference held in Washington, D.C.

KIYOSHI TAMAGAWA, professor of music, appeared at Merkin Concert Hall in New York City as a guest performer on the New York Philharmonic Ensembles concert series. Tamagawa and HAI ZHENG, assistant professor of music, were invited by Xiamen University to give a master class and a recital at Gulangyu Concert Hall in China, followed by another concert and master class at the Chinese Culture University in Taipei.

MARY VISSER, professor of art, has two works touring with the e-Form exhibition of 30 international artists that is part of the cultural programs related to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Visser’s works can be seen on the Web site:

MICHAEL COOPER, associate professor of music, will produce a performance of “Songs of Bilitis,” to be held in spring 2010 and recorded for national and international distribution. Cooper also published an article dealing with Mendelssohn’s final choral compositions, informally known as his Op. 69, in the April issue of The Choral Journal.

THOMAS HOWE, professor of art history, spoke at the opening of an exhibit sponsored by the Restoring Ancient Stabiae Foundation that is on display in Ravenna, Italy, through Oct. 4. The exhibit is titled “Otium Ludens” (The Game of Leisure, or The Play of Leisure). Howe is Coordinator General of the Restoring Ancient Stabiae Foundation.

PALOMA MAYORGA, junior art major, created a portrait of composer Antonin Dvorák that was used on the poster and brochures publicizing this year’s Festival of the Arts in Georgetown.

MAGEN COMLEY, junior, won the assistant principal flute chair in the Small College Intercollegiate Band that performed at the College Band Directors National Association Conference held at The University of Texas at Austin.

LOIS FERRARI, associate professor of music, led the Austin Civic Orchestra in a sold-out performance in the Alma Thomas Theater on Feb. 21. The concert featured the world premiere of Professor of Music MICHAEL COOPER’S edition of Mendelssohn’s Fantaisie und Variations uber den Zigeunermarsch aus Weber’s “Preziosa.”

F. ELLSWORTH PETERSON ’55, professor emeritus of music, received the 2009 Community Arts Leadership Award given by Georgetown’s Performing Arts Alliance.

SERGIO COSTOLA, assistant professor of theatre, and RICK ROEMER, professor of theatre, created a play about Eshu, a deity from African mythology, which was performed in Bulgaria this summer and will be performed at Southwestern in Fall 2010 as part of the Theatre Department’s Theatre for Young Audiences program.


NICOLE POWELL ’09, received the 2009 Odum Award for best undergraduate research paper from the Southern Sociological Society. Her paper, titled “Little Gay Gandhis: Providing a Safe Space and Empowering Sexual Minorities,” was also selected as the third place winner in the 2009 Alpha Kappa Delta Undergraduate Paper Competition.

TRISTINE BACCAM ’09, juniors LAUREN HAMLETT, JESSICA HERBST, and GRACE STAFFORD ’09, presented papers at the Southern Sociological Society’s annual meeting in New Orleans, La.

SANDI K. NENGA, assistant professor of sociology, chaired a session at the Southern Sociological Society meeting on Youth Culture and Behavior. She also presented a paper co-authored with TRISTINE BACCAM ’09, and titled “Monsters and Rockstars: The Gendered Underground Economy of a Middle School Summer Camp.”

MARIA LOWE, professor of sociology, received one of two 2009 Southwestern University Teaching Awards.


CHARLES PRINCE, junior, was accepted into a summer program in South Africa that focused on education and social change. The program was sponsored by the School for International Training Programs.

JASON CHAPMAN ’03, student activities coordinator, received the 2008 Central Region Outstanding New Professional Award from the National Association of Campus Activities.

Juniors JUAN JUAREZ, ERIKA RENDON, RANDI SPENCER and SARAH WOOLLEY received Sumners Fellowships, which began in the fall of 2009. The fellowships are awarded by the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation of Dallas and are designated for students majoring in political science, history, pre-law or education.

SUE MENNICKE, director of intercultural learning, JULIA JOHNSON, assistant professor of communication studies, KATHLEEN JUHL, professor of theatre, and ELAINE CRADDOCK, professor of religion and philosophy, will participate in the Border Studies Program operated by Earlham College along the U.S.-Mexico border to identify strengths and weaknesses in Southwestern’s off-campus and study-abroad programs.

TODD WATSON, associate director of systems and networks in ITS, co-authored a paper titled “2006 Whole Earth Telescope Observations of GD358: A New Look at the Prototype DBV” that was published in the Astrophysical Journal.

TOM OLIVER ’89, vice president for enrollment services, received the Founders Award from the Texas Association for College Admission Counseling.

The Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) awarded the OFFICE of CREATIVE SERVICES two National Circle of Excellence Awards: a Grand Gold Medal (top honors) for the design of the Sarofim School of Fine Arts dedication materials and a Bronze for In-House Publications. Creative Services also received seven CASE District IV awards for writing and design, including two Grand Awards. District winners included projects for the Office of Admission, Brown Symposium, Health and Counseling Services, the Friends of Fine Arts and the Sarofim School of Fine Arts.

DAVID SEILER, associate director of academic success, received the 2009 Southwestern University Advising Award.

SUZY PUKYS, director of civic engagement, and 2009 graduates JESSICA DOMINO, HAILEY ORMAND, TRAVIS NORTON and LINDSEY SMITH gave a presentation about their experience with the 2008 Verizon Domestic Violence Summer Internship Program at the International Partnership Institute at Portland State University in May.