For the Birds


Senior Erin Johnson stands by the chimney swift tower she helped build near the Community Garden. If some chimney swifts take up residence in the tower, they will help keep the insects down near the garden. See photos from the tower construction here. (Photo by Erica Grant)

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President Jake B. Schrum has announced that he will become president of Emory & Henry College in Virginia after he retires from Southwestern University June 30.

Emory & Henry is another Methodist-related liberal arts college in Emory, Va. Schrum will be the second former Southwestern president to lead Emory & Henry. William Carrington Finch, who served as president of Southwestern from 1949 to 1961, was president of Emory & Henry from 1965 to 1970.

Schrum has served as president of Southwestern since July 1, 2000. Emory & Henry will be the third university he has served as president.

Read more here.


A language professor who makes learning Chinese easy, a communication studies professor who helps students polish their public speaking skills and a political science professor who helps students develop their analytical and critical thinking skills have received the 2013 Southwestern University Teaching Awards, which include a $1,500 or $1,000 cash prize.

The award for a visiting or part-time faculty member went to Patricia Sciaffini, part-time instructor of Chinese, the award for a non-tenured faculty member went to David Olson, assistant professor of communication studies, and the award for a tenured faculty member went to Alisa Gaunder, who was recently promoted to professor of political science.

The 2013 Excellence in Academic Advising Award, which includes a $500 prize, went to Josh Long, assistant professor of environmental studies.

Read more here.



Southwestern University will host its 7th annual Latino Heritage Symposium on Friday, April 26, from 11 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. in the Mood-Bridwell atrium.

The symposium, which is sponsored by the student organization Latinos Unidos, will focus on the theme of “Spirit Stories: Navigating the Intersectionalities of Identity and Religion.” It will include presentations by Velia Sanchez, a retired teacher who fought for bilingual education in central Texas; María Elena Martínez, another retired bilingual educator was the last chair of La Raza Unida Texas from 1974-1976; Rev. Virginia Rincon, an Episcopal pastor in Austin who has been active in fighting for immigrant rights; and Yvette Mendez, an art teacher in Austin who is both a Chicana and Native American activist.

The presenters will share their life stories and insights regarding their spiritual journeys and their work as council members of Alma de Mujer Center for Social Change in Austin.

Group and community pláticas (discussions) will follow the presentations and will address topics including indigenous identity in religion, activism and spirituality, formation of religious/spiritual identity, and feminism/sexuality in religion.

Read more here.


The annual Red Poppy Festival will take place on the Georgetown Square April 26-28. Festival highlights include the Red Poppy Bike Ride on Saturday at 8 a.m. and the Red Poppy Parade on Saturday at 10 a.m. Southwestern will have two floats in the Red Poppy Parade. A variety of bands will play throughout the weekend, including Radiostar on Friday night, four-time Grammy nominees Restless Heart on Saturday night and Brandon Rhyder on Sunday afternoon.

There is no admission charge for the concerts or other festival activities such as the arts and craft vendors. For a full schedule of events, visit

Media Coverage 

The Williamson County Sun ran a story about the Operation Achievement program’s All Campus Day.

Several media outlets covered the announcement that President Jake B. Schrum is going to become president of Emory & Henry College after he retires from Southwestern. Read the story in the Austin American-Statesman here.


For the third year in a row, Southwestern has led its athletic conference − the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) − in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s College & University Green Power Challenge. The yearly contest determines which schools in each NCAA conference use the most green power. Southwestern beat its conference rivals by purchasing 100 percent of its electricity from a green power source – wind. Southwestern has been using 100 percent green energy since January 2010, when it signed an 18-year contract with the city of Georgetown to receive only electricity generated from wind power. Read more here.

Eight students and three faculty members are participating in the annual meeting of the Southern Sociological Society in Atlanta this week. Isaac Bernal is presenting a paper titled “Performing Spanish: Gatekeeping in a First-Generation Latino Peer Culture” that was done under the direction of Sandi Nenga, associate professor of sociology. Lucero Castillo and Joanna Hawkins are presenting a paper  titled “Patterns and Change in the Portrayal of the Elderly in Print Advertising” that was done as part of an independent study with Edward L. Kain, professor of sociology and University Scholar. Four students are presenting papers based upon their research in a capstone course taught by Maria Lowe, professor of sociology: Lorenza Cigarroa will present a paper titled “Leading Occupy Austin: Constructing an Alternate Conception of Leadership Through Direct Democracy and Collective Action.” Anna Fetchick will present a paper titled “Don’t Bring it Home: How Emotion Work and Individual Identity Affect Activist Participation.” Megan Robinson will present a paper titled “’I’m Feeding the World Tonight’: The Impact of Moral Identity Standards on Mobile Loaves & Fishes Homeless Outreach Ministry.” Caroline Wright will present a paper titled “Friendship, Brotherhood, Sisterhood, and Family: Collective Identity, Social Ties, and Free Space as Motivation for Volunteers at the Ride On Center for Kids.” At the same meeting, Kain is leading a professional workshop on “Preparing for a Program Review.” Lowe and Alice H. Nguyen will present their research on “‘They May Be Up to No Good’: The Heightened Surveillance of Men of Color On a Predominantly White Neighborhood Listserv.” And Nenga will present a paper titled “Constructing the ‘Typical College Student’: How College Prep Workshops Encourage and Discourage First-Generation College-Bound Latino High School Students.” 

Six chemistry students presented their research at the American Chemical Society National Meeting in New Orleans April 7-10. Alec Bergerson presented a paper titled “Analysis of the Metal Content in Basil Commercially Available in Central Texas.” Hayley Hamilton presented a paper titled “Control of Protein Translational Rate by mTOR in v-ras Transformed Murine Embryonic Fibroblast.” Mareah Lucio presented a paper titled “Comparative Chemical Analysis of Basil (Ocimum basilicum) Commercially Available in Central Texas.” Carolina Mendoza presented a paper titled “A Study of mTOR and Its Substrates in Kirsten Virus-Transformed Murine Embryonic Fibroblast.” Tyler Poi and Tim Williams presented a paper titled “Isolation, Analysis and Antioxidant Prevention of Oxidized Triglyceride Rich Lipoproteins in Human Plasma.” Max Thompson presented a paper titled “Synthesis and Characterization of Novel Bis(thiosemicarbazone) Complexes.” Hamilton and Mendoza conducted their research under the direction Kerry Bruns, professor of chemistry. Bergerson and Lucio conducted their research under the direction of Brandon Canfield, visiting assistant professor of environmental studies.Poi and Williams conducted their research under the direction of Richa Chandra, visiting assistant professor of chemistry. Thompson conducted his research under the direction of Willis Weigand, director of general chemistry labs.

Five senior anthropology majors presented their capstone research at the Southwestern Anthropological Association’s Annual Conference in San Jose, Calif., April 18-20. Kristi Lenderman won second place in the Student Paper Competition for her paper “Chilean Intercultural Education and Contentious Identities: Constructions of Sexuality and Gender in the Mapuche Community.” Alejandra Benitez presented a paper titled “On the Border of Texas and Peru: Domination and Subjugation of Non-Privileged Identities,” Fehima Dawy presented a paper titled “Fitting into the Ideals of a ‘New India’ after Breast Cancer: Survivor Stories from Mumbai, India,” MLe McWilliams presented a paper titled “Mermaids, Mythology & Marble: A Search for Identity in a Multitude of Conflicting Selves,” and Chloe Morris presented a paper titled “Nexus of Healing: The Experiences of Female Bedu Healers in Jordan.” All five wrote the papers under the direction of Melissa Johnson, associate professor of anthropology.

Senior computer science major Erick Bauman gave a presentation based on his honors thesis at the North Texas Area Student Conference held at Midwestern State University April 13. The presentation was titled “Wolfscript: A Programming Language for Android.” His faculty sponsor at the conference was Suzanne Buchele, associate professor of computer science.

Erika Berroth, associate professor of German and chair of the Chinese, French and German Programs, participated in “Teaching the Animal: A Workshop for Humanities Professors,” which was held April 11-13 at Sewanee: The University of the South. Lectures and discussions were led by internationally recognized scholars including Laura Hobgood-Oster, professor of religion and environmental studies, and Dorothee Brantz from the Center of Metropolitan Studies in Berlin. Through small group discussions, reflection and shared planning, the workshop guided humanities faculty in incorporating units on animal-human relationships into courses and in developing courses in the growing interdisciplinary field of animal studies. The courses Berroth cross-lists with Environmental Studies integrate interdisciplinary themes, methods and perspectives on cultural differences regarding real animals, as well as representations of animals in texts, films, visual arts and popular culture.

Adrienne Inglis, adjunct flute instructor, participated in “Voices for Remembrance & Peace,” a five-day lineup of music and cultural events that took place in Little Rock and Conway, Ark., April 21-25. Inglis participated in two performances of the “Misa Criolla” by Argentinian composer Ariel Ramirez, which was inspired by a visit to the Terezin Concentration Camp in Germany in the 1960s. She also participated in four performances by Chaski & Friends, an Austin-based group that performs classical, Celtic and Latin American folk music featuring all kinds of flutes and harps.

Josh Long, assistant professor of environmental studies, presented a paper titled “Teaching Sustainable Food & Agriculture at the Undergraduate Level” at the 2013 Association of American Geographers Conference in Los Angeles April 12.

Shannon Mariotti, associate professor of political science, was invited to Rollins College to give a talk as part of a conceptual lecture series called “The Heist: Community, Identity, and Meaning in the New Millenium” sponsored by the African and Aftrican-American Studies program. Mariotti’s April 16 presentation was the final event in the series and was devoted to the theme of “The Witness.” She presented a paper that read the novelist Marilynne Robinson through the lens of political theory to show how both storytelling and political theorizing can perform the act of “witnessing” the “crimes” of conventional society, with a focus on exclusionary gender norms and racial injustices.

Helene Meyers, professor of English and McManis University Chair, published “Yentl, Me and 1983” in Lilith Blog. Read it here

Dustin Tahmahkera, assistant professor of communication studies, had an article published last week in Indian Country Today about Oklahoma Choctaw musician Samantha Crain. Tahmahkera interviewed Crain for his second book called Sounds Indigenous, which is in progress. Read the article here


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