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With a new House speaker and a looming budget crisis, this session of the Texas Legislature promises to be an interesting one. And 11 Southwestern students are getting a firsthand view of it.

The students are participants in the Texas Politics Internship Program directed by Political Science Professor Tim O’Neill. Southwestern has been offering the program since the 1960s, and it is believed to be the oldest formal organized internship program in the state capital.

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Seventeen Southwestern students are preparing to join 10,000 students from around the world at the largest-ever youth conference on climate change.

The conference, called Power Shift ‘09, will be held Feb. 27 through March 2 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. It will include speeches, workshops, panel discussions, movie screenings, career and graduate school fairs, and training on lobbying. The event will conclude with a lobbying day on Capitol Hill March 2.

Southwestern students attending the conference include Melissa Dison, Harrison Glaser, Ursula James, Leah Jones, Connor Hanrahan, Lauraly Hernandez, Alexis Kropf, Zoe Martin, Caitlin McShae, Paige Menking, Carissa Nash, Grayson Oheim, Ben Parafina, Lorena Saenz, Milan Ther, Vanessa Toro and Julia Von Alexander. All are members of Students for Environmental Activism and Knowledge (SEAK), the student environmental group on campus.

“I think we have such a large group of students going because we see the promise of not
only this conference but this movement,” Menking said. “It’s inspirational to link yourself as an individual and as an activist to a cause that is national and global in scale. By seeing other people just as passionate as you are about the future of our planet, you leave events like this confident about the direction of the movement and our ability as youth to really affect change within our lifetime.”

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Students, faculty and staff members from Southwestern have joined together with local residents to start a community organic garden in which plants are grown without chemicals.

The garden is located behind the Studio Arts Building on the north end of campus. It has 18 plots, some of which are designated for personal use and others that will generate produce for the community. Anyone interested in gardening is welcome to help out on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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The Southwestern University Theatre Department is presenting performances of the Rocky Horror Show through March 1 in the Jones Theater. Performances will be held Thursday at 7 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m. and midnight, Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Cost for the Thursday and Sunday performances is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $8 for youth/students. The Friday and Saturday performances are $18 for adults, $14 for seniors and $12 for youth/students. The special midnight performance is $20 for adults and $15 for students. Discounts are available for groups of 15 and more.

Those attending the special midnight performance on Friday are invited to dress up like one the characters, play along with the actors on stage, and possibly win two Easter New York Theater Tour packages, which include airfare, hotel and tickets to three Broadway shows!

Tickets are available at or by calling the SSFA Box Office at 512-863-1378 Monday through Friday between 1 and 5 p.m.


The Peabody Trio will perform at Southwestern on Sunday, March 1, at 7 p.m. in the Alma Thomas Theater. The program will feature works by Leos Janácek, Charles Ives and Franz Schubert. It is free and open to the public.

The Peabody Trio is the resident faculty ensemble of the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. Trio members include Violaine Melançon, violin; Natasha Brofsky, cello; and Seth Knopp, piano.

The concert is sponsored by the Sarofim School of Fine Arts. For more information, call

Media Coverage

Michael Cooper, Lois Ferrari and Kiyoshi Tamagawa were featured in a piece KUT-FM did about Cooper’s work recreating a piece by Felix Mendelssohn. Listen to story at

Thomas Howe was interviewed by the Christian Science Monitor for a story about the rise of interest in Leonardo Da Vinci. The Williamson County Sun also ran a story about Howe’s work with the Stabiae project in Italy.

The Williamson County Sun ran a story about the revival of the Brooks Prize Debate.




Laura Hobgood-Oster, professor of religion, will present a lecture at Yale University on “Animals in Christian Worship” on Monday, March 2.

Junior political science major Matt Maschino is presenting a paper that he co-authored with Gilbert St. Clair, visiting professor of political science, at the annual meeting of the Western Political Science Association in Vancouver, British Columbia, March 20. The paper is about the innovation and diffusion of performance budgeting in the American states. Maschino and St. Clair also will participate in a panel discussion about budgeting in the Western states. St. Clair is retiring as treasurer of the WPSA this year after nine years in that office.

Four projects proposed by Southwestern faculty members have received funding from the Associated Colleges of the South (ACS).

The proposals were funded through the ACS Faculty Renewal Program, which was created in 2008 to help faculty members explore new possibilities, expand their background and skills, and take advantage of opportunities that would not otherwise be available. The program is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Mark Bottorff, associate professor of physics, and Michael Kamen, associate professor of education, received $8,000 to work with other ACS schools to develop an astronomy course in which students will learn by using their own observations. The resulting course will be available for use at all ACS schools, even ones without observatory facilities.

Alisa Gaunder, associate professor of political science, received $5,000 for a study of barriers facing female candidates running for national office in Japan.

Fay Guarraci, assistant professor of psychology, and Maha Zawail Foote, assistant professor of chemistry, received $8,000 for a collaborative research project linking animal behavior with reproductive success.

Gulnar Rawji, associate professor chemistry, received $5,000 for a project to improve the teaching of inorganic chemistry by incorporating hands-on research into the curriculum.

Senior music major Natalie Moore was selected to receive the 2009 Fayez Sarofim Passion for the Arts Award from Southwestern.

The award is presented annually to the graduating senior who, regardless of major, has demonstrated throughout his or her entire undergraduate career at Southwestern an unusual passion for the arts. It was established in 2008 in honor of Fayez Sarofim, a Houston investment advisor and philanthropist for whom the Sarofim School of Fine Arts at Southwestern is named. Recipients are selected by the dean of the Sarofim School of Fine Arts from nominations submitted by members of the fine arts faculty.

As a student at Southwestern, Moore created the SU Arts Festival, a day-long festival designed to showcase the finest of the music, theatre and arts on campus. She also was involved with Delta Omicron, the music fraternity on campus, was a member of the Southwestern University Chorale, and former president of the Southwestern University Composers’ Collective.

Last spring, she worked with Michael Cooper, associate professor of music, in planning “Voices of Musical Creation,” an event that brought the Colloquium of Musical Scholars and Composers’ Collective together in a series of student research presentations and performances of original compositions.

This year, she is the first student intern for the Georgetown Festival of Arts, a yearly event in June that includes an art festival and the performance of works by a single composer. The 2009 festival will feature the music of Anton Dvorak.

Moore plans to pursue a master’s degree in arts administration and develop programs to expose inner-city children to the arts.

Note: Suzy Pukys, director of civic engagement, was also a co-author on the paper titled “Pedagogies of Social Justice & Civic Engagement: How Students Know Themselves, Others, and Professors Through Service Learning Initiatives” that Julia Johnson presented at the Western States Communication Association convention this month.



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