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Laura Senio Blair, an associate professor of Spanish at Southwestern, has received a Fulbright award to study and teach in Chile during the spring 2012 semester.

Senio Blair will teach a course on Hispanic film at the Universidad Católica Santísima Concepción in Concepción, Chile. Concepción is located southwest of Santiago in the central part of Chile. The area was the epicenter of the devastating 8.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Chile in February 2010.

Senio Blair has been interested in Chile ever since she went there in 1994 on a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship. She also went to Concepción for that program, and took master’s level classes in Hispanic literature at the University of Concepción. Senio Blair says she established relationships on that trip that continue to this day. The trip also led to the topic for her dissertation, which she continues to explore: how sentiments of dislocation born from exile experiences and the return from exile are expressed in narrative, drama and film.

Senio Blair says the Fulbright scholarship will enable her to continue her current research on Chilean films. She hopes to complete a book manuscript that centers on the contributions female directors have made since the 1970s to the increasingly growing field of Chilean cinema, both in documentaries and fictional feature-length films.

Read more here.


Two trips being offered to students over spring break this year will provide a decidedly different way to spend the mid-term vacation: studying the issue of human trafficking.

One group of students is traveling to Washington, D.C., where they will learn about human trafficking from a domestic perspective, and another group is going to New York City where they will study the issue’s international implications. Both seminars are being offered by the General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) of the United Methodist Church.

The two trips are being offered as part of Southwestern’s annual Destination: Service program sponsored by the Office of Religious Life. Two other Destination: Service trips also are being offered this year – one to the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico, where students will help with trail maintenance, and another one to El Paso, Texas, where students will help residents build houses for low-income residents. The trips depart March 12.

Read more here.



A music festival featuring six different bands will replace Southwestern’s traditional Large Act Concert this spring. The festival will be held April 29 both inside and around the Corbin J. Robertson Center.

The headline artist for the festival is Matt & Kim, a duo act from Brooklyn, N.Y., that played at the 2010 Austin City Limits Music Festival. Matt & Kim is an indie pop band that uses electronic synthesizers and an acoustic drum set to create an energetic but minimal sound and fun and enthusiastic performances. The band won the 2009 Best Video Award at the mtvU Woodie Awards and is nominated this year for Best Live Performance. Matt & Kim has toured the entire country and recently released its third album titled “Sidewalks” in November 2010.

Other bands lined up to perform at the festival are The Octopus Project, Mexican Institute of Sound, Del the Funky Homosapien, The Black and White Years, and The Bright Light Social Hour.

Student tickets are $10, faculty/staff/alumni tickets are $15 and general admission tickets are $22.

Read more here.

Media Coverage

The Williamson County Sun ran a story on the spring music festival organized by students.

Wall Street Journal music critic Greg Sandow wrote about his experience as a conversant at the 2011 Brown Symposium. Read the story here.

The Williamson County Sun ran a photo essay on the closing reception for the Brown Symposium.


Biology students Alex Hall, Meredith Liebl, Kira McIntyre, Abbie Ornelas, Allyson Plantz, Megan Rice, Violetta Vasquez and Ashely Wall are participating in the Texas Academy of Science meeting being held this week at St. Edward’s University. Hall is giving a talk and a poster on “Call latency in anuran breeding call surveys in Central Texas,” Plantz is giving a talk on “Predation of apple snail (Pomacea insularum) eggs by red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans),” Rice is giving a talk on “Nutrient enrichment negatively impacts water stressed apple snail hatchlings” and Liebl is giving a talk about Southwestern’s SMArT program. Ornelas is presenting a poster on “Peroxisome-defective mutants in Arabidopsis thaliana” and Vasquez is presenting a poster on “Characterization and mapping of Arabidopsis thaliana mutants.” Wall and McIntyre were co-authors on a talk being given by Biology Professor Ben Pierce titled “Monthly counts of Georgetown salamander, Eurycea naufragia, in two springs.” Pierce is the 2010-2011 president of the TAS and Biology Professor Romi Burks is president-elect. Burks was program chair for the meeting.

Fay A. Guarraci, associate professor psychology, has had a paper titled “Methamphetamine Enhances Sexual Behavior in Female Rats” accepted for publication in Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior. Co-authors on the paper include students Jessica Bolton, Alexandra Burbey, Brittany Ford, Charles Haycox, Sumith Jampana, Amber Marquette, Benjamin J Oakley, Laura Ornelas and Carissa Winland, along with Russell J Frohardt, associate professor of psychology at St. Edward’s University.

Southwestern University received a Bronze Award in the category of Specialty Advertising Projects in the 2011 awards competition sponsored by District IV of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). The award was for a penant Creative Services produced for the Admission Office.



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