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Pamela McQuesten has been named Southwestern University’s new vice president and chief information officer.

McQuesten will begin in her new position July 30. She will be a member of the University’s Senior Staff, reporting to the president and responsible for executive level campus leadership for all library and information technology operations.

McQuesten has served as the vice president and chief information officer at Occidental College since 2006. Prior to joining Occidental, McQuesten was the senior director for emerging technology solutions for the 23 campuses of the California State University. She also served as associate director for information technology services and assistant dean of the College of Communications at The University of Texas at Austin.

Early in her career, McQuesten served as editor-in chief of Popular Computing magazine and managing editor of BYTE magazine. She also served as director of the Learning Resource Center at St. Edwards University and manager of academic computing at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.

“We believe Pam brings the knowledge, skills and qualities that we were looking for in Southwestern’s first CIO,” said Joey King, vice president for innovation at Southwestern. “She has been publicly praised for her work as a national leader and strategic thinker whose experience, vision, imagination and energy will build on the existing strengths of our library and information technology services to support and advance the mission of the University.”

Read more here.


The pole lights lining the sidewalk near the Charline McCombs apartments look like any other lights on campus, but they’re not. The lights have been retrofitted to use LED light fixtures − a switch that is saving the university 80 percent on its electricity costs for these lights.

Nathan Shaw-Meadow, a 2010 Southwestern graduate, played a key role in the demonstration project.

As a sophomore at Southwestern, Shaw-Meadow became involved with Southwestern’s environmental advocacy group, SEAK. “It was through SEAK that I really became interested in investigating ways to lower our carbon footprint on the world,” Shaw-Meadow said.

Among the projects Shaw-Meadow got involved with at Southwestern was a project to retrofit the lights in Heather Hall with LED lighting. This project piqued his interest in entering the “green collar” industry.

Read more here.



The Dance Repertory Theatre will perform at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 26, and 8 p.m. Friday, April 27, in the Alma Thomas Theater. The group will perform five pieces in a variety of styles, including Modern, Ballet, Broadway and Jazz.  

Tickets are $5 and may be purchased by calling the Box Office at 512-863-1378 or visiting


The last Fountainwood Observatory Public Viewing Night for the 2011-2012 academic year will be held Friday, April 27, from 8-10:30 p.m.

The observatory is located on the northeast side of campus adjacent to the Rockwell Baseball Field (see #6 on the campus map at Faculty members from the Physics Department at Southwestern as well as observers from the Williamson County Astronomy Club will be on hand to guide viewing. The viewing nights are free, but donations are encouraged to help maintain the observatory.

For weather-related updates about viewing nights, call the Fountainwood Observatory hotline at 512-863-1242.


The 13th annual Red Poppy Festival will take place on the Georgetown Square April 28-29. Festival highlights include the Red Poppy Bike Ride on Saturday at 8 a.m., the Red Poppy Parade on Saturday at 10 a.m., and the Car Show on Saturday at 11 a.m. The Safe Place Kids Village with activities for the whole family will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

The Saturday night concert features country singer Johnny Lee at 7 p.m. and Texas country singer and songwriter Cory Morrow at 9:30 p.m. Groove Knight plays favorites from the 60s, 70s, and 80s in a special Friday night concert on April 27 at 7 p.m.

There is no admission charge for the concerts or other festival activities such as the car show, parade, children’s area, or more than 125 arts and craft vendors. For a full schedule of events, go to

Media Coverage

The Williamson County Sun, the Austin Chronicle and CultureMap Austin wrote reviews of Clusterfest. Read the Chronicle review here. Read the CultureMap Austin review here.

The Williamson County Sun ran a page of photos from the Shack-A-Thon event Southwestern students held to benefit Habit for Humanity of Williamson County.


Junior psychology majors Thomas Bobbitt, Lindsey Honeycutt and Kevin Hutzler received a Psi Chi Student Research Award for their paper titled “You’re Hired: How Persuasion Tactics and Gender Stereotypes Affect Promotions.”

Five chemistry and biochemistry students presented their research at the American Chemical Society National Meeting held in San Diego March 25-29.  Junior Patrick Flanigan presented “Variations in phenolic levels, anthocyanin composition, and antioxidant properties among 8 purple basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) cultivars.” Flanigan is conducting research with Emily Niemeyer, professor of chemistry. Junior Jace Venters presented “Oxidative DNA damage induced by photoactivated daunomycin in the presence of copper ions,” which was done in collaboration with Maha Zewail-Foote, associate professor of chemistry. Junior Luis Gutierrez presented “Synthesis, characterization, and DNA binding and cleavage properties of a platinum(II) Schiff base complex” and Craig Katkic presented “Platinum(II) and zinc(II) complexes of the natural dyes, juglone and lawsone.” Both Luis Gutierrez and Craig Katkic conducted their research with Gulnar Rawji, associate professor of chemistry. Senior Jodi Kirk, who conducted research with Frank Guziec, professor of chemistry, presented “Synthesis and molecular modeling of the DNA-binding ability of bisanthrapyrazoles with a polyglycolic spacer arm.”

Bob Bednar, associate professor and chair of communication studies, had three public presentations of his work in San Francisco in April. On April 11, he gave a talk at the California College of the Arts titled “Designing Memory/Spaces: Roadside Crash Shrines and Everyday Design.” On April 14, he presented a paper titled “Remembering Strangers: The Public Lives of Road Trauma Shrines” at the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California. Accompanying his paper at the Psychoanalytic Institute, he exhibited 12 of his photographs of roadside shrines in a joint exhibit with Maria McVarish, an architect and photographer working with abandoned coal mines in Appalachia. The exhibit was titled “Places of Loss: Marking Memory in the Public Sphere.”

Sophomore sociology major Susana Contreras has been awarded the J. Charles Merrill Peace and Justice Scholarship for 2012-2013. The scholarship is given each year to a student who has demonstrated interest in activities or occupations that promote peace and justice. Contreras plans to do environmental justice work in low-income communities. Read more here.

First-year student Robert Lehr has been selected for the prestigious Kemper Scholars Program. Kemper Scholars receive annual scholarships up to $10,000 based on need during their sophomore, junior and senior years of college. Kemper Scholars also receive stipends to cover the costs of their work as interns in major nonprofit organizations in Chicago during the summer following their sophomore year.

Senior anthropology major Zoe Martin was awarded First Prize in the Student Paper Competition at the Southwestern Anthropological Association’s Annual Conference in Chico, Calif., last week for her paper, “Talk Derby to Me: Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby as Embodied Counter-Hegemonic Resistance.” The paper was a part of Martin’s honors thesis, directed by Anthropology Professor Melissa Johnson with additional advising from Brenda Sendejo, assistant professor of anthropology, Alison Kafer, associate professor of feminist studies, and Maria Lowe, professor of sociology.

Helene Meyers, Professor of English and McManis University Chair, presented “Here and/or Elsewhere: Locating Contemporary Jewish American Literature” at the annual conference of MELUS (the Society for the Study of the Multi-ethnic Literature of the United States). The paper explored the function of Holocaust and Israel narratives in feminist and queer Jewish American novels.  

Rick Roemer, professor of theatre, is playing the role of Sir Toby Belch in Austin Shakespeare’s production of “Twelfth Night,” which will run from May 3-27. The play is part of the free Shakespeare in the Park series held at Zilker Park. For more information, visit From July 17-Sept. 2, Roemer will perform in the musical Xanadu at Zach Scott Theatre with SU graduate Jill (Crowley) Blackwood.

Katy Ross, associate professor of Spanish, and the student groups Sigma Delta Pi and Latinos Unidos have received a $1,250 grant to put on a Spanish Film Festival in the fall. The film festival will be called “Cinematic Sexuality / Sexualidad cinemática:  A Transnational Spanish Film Festival” and will feature five movies. The grant was made possible through Pragda, the Secretary of State of Culture of Spain, and its Program for Cultural Cooperation with universities in the United States.