Giving Back to the Community

Several Southwestern students spent part of their Spring Break volunteering with children from the Boys & Girls Club of Georgetown. Shown here with some girls at the Club’s Park Lane location are Cozette Palmer (left), Michelle Ramos (center) and Tori Vasquez (right). More students from Southwestern will be returning to the Boys & Girls Club March 22 as part of The Big Event (read more below).

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On Saturday, March 22, more than 350 Southwestern students, faculty, staff and alumni will be scattered throughout Georgetown doing everything from volunteering at the Special Olympics to painting a mural at the Boys & Girls Club.

It’s all part of The Big Event, a day of service that gives members of the Southwestern community the opportunity to spend a day volunteering with local nonprofits. The event is modeled after a 30-year tradition that started at Texas A&M University.

This is the third year Southwestern has sponsored The Big Event, and the program continues to grow each year. This year, volunteers will be working with 15 local nonprofits, including the Getsemani Community Center, the Williamson Museum, the Palace Theater, the Ride on Center for Kids (R.O.C.K.), The Caring Place, Special Olympics, the Boys & Girls Club, and several assisted living centers. Volunteers will be helping organizations prepare for upcoming fundraisers or special events, working in community gardens, sorting donations, socializing with residents, and doing maintenance work such as staining fences.

Read more here.


From kindergarten to college, kids struggle with bullying, either as victims, bystanders or the bullies themselves. This semester, Southwestern students in Kathleen Juhl’s Theatre and Social Change class are collaborating with 6th, 7th and 8th graders at Tippit Middle School to raise awareness about bullying and urge those confronted with bullying to take action.

The collaboration takes the shape of an original play written and performed by Juhl’s students and by students in Sarah Beauchamp’s Honors Theater class at Tippit. The show, titled “Sticks and Stones,” is based on story-telling circles and email correspondence through which Tippit students related their real-world experiences with bullying.

The show will be performed at Tippit March 24 and will also be performed at Southwestern’s Research and Creative Works Symposium April 8.

Read more here.


Students who are interested in attending medical school face a Catch-22 situation: medical schools want to see that prospective applicants have had some experience volunteering in hospitals or shadowing medical professionals, but such opportunities can be hard to find.

Southwestern University students now have the opportunity to shadow doctors and other medical professionals for a full semester, thanks to a new program started by Career Services.

“Because Southwestern has such a high percentage of pre-med students, we felt it was important to be able to offer some sort of job shadowing program so that those students would have the opportunity to see if medicine was really for them,” said Maria Kruger, internship coordinator in Career Services. “Training to become a doctor can take 8 to 12 years of your life, so students need to make sure this is what they want.”

Kruger said finding long-term job shadowing opportunities in any medical field is difficult because of the liability issues and the fact that hospitals already have a lot of medical school students they are trying to help train.

Since Southwestern already had students interning in specific areas at St. David’s Hospital in Georgetown – such as inpatient rehab and cardiac rehab − Kruger approached the hospital about offering a semester-long job shadowing program. The first two students to be selected for the program were Kelsey Rice and Morgan Gallo, both of whom are junior biology majors.

Read more here.



An exhibit featuring the work of two graduating seniors will be on display in the Fine Arts Gallery March 24-30.

The exhibit will include a photography exhibit by Anne Bannister titled “Warm of Heart: A Visual Story of Rural Thailand” and a sculpture exhibit by Orlando Tigerina titled “Majesty, Morality, Mortality.”

The gallery is open from 1-5 p.m. daily.

Additional information is available here.


Tickets are still available for the 2014 Shilling Lecture, which will be held on Tuesday, March 25, at 7:30 p.m. in the Robertson Center. The featured speaker will be Scott Simon, the longtime host of National Public Radio’s “Weekend Edition Saturday.” Simon will give a lecture titled “Let Yourself be Changed.”

The 2014 Shilling Lecture is being held in conjunction with the inauguration of Southwestern University’s 15th president, Dr. Edward Burger, which will be held earlier in the day. Both events are free and open to the public, but tickets must be reserved on the inauguration website,

Reserved tickets can be picked up in the Robertson Center lobby the evening of the lecture. Doors will open for ticket pick-up at 6:15 p.m. and seating will begin at 7 p.m.

Read more here.


A March 26 communitywide gala will celebrate the inauguration of Southwestern University’s 15th president, Dr. Edward B. Burger.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. at the Gabriel Springs event center, 5299 West Highway 29 in Georgetown. It will feature a dinner catered by Sodexo and music by The Eric Hanke Band.

Tickets are $100 per person and will help fund scholarships for first-generation students to attend Southwestern. To purchase tickets, go to

Dress for the event is Texas-style attire.


A “Yoga Under the Stars” fundraising event is being held to benefit the Fountainwood Observatory on Friday, March 28, from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m.

The yoga portion of the evening will be led by Anna Easterling. After the yoga practice, physics professor Mark Bottorff and members of the Williamson County Astronomy Club will show participants celestial objects in the sky with telescopes.

Proceeds from the event will help support the observatory’s continuing education and public outreach efforts. A suggested donation for those attending the event is $10.

To reserve a space at the event, write


Southwestern is hosting a March 31 forum that will enable members of the Georgetown community to hear the two candidates who are running for mayor. The forum will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Bishop’s Lounge.

Marlene McMichael and Dale Ross are running to replace George Garver, who has served as mayor of Georgetown since 2008. The election will be held on Saturday, May 10.

Audience members will be able to participate in the forum by submitting written questions to a panel of students. Both candidates will have the opportunity to make opening and closing remarks.

Media Coverage

The Williamson County Sun did a feature story on President Edward Burger in advance of his inauguration.

An interview with feminist studies professor Alison Kafer aired March 7 on radio station KOOP in Austin. The interview is archived here.

The Williamson County Sun did a feature story on junior studio art major Charles Morris, who is from Georgetown.

The Austin American-Statesman ran a story about the 2014 Shilling Lecture. Read the story here.


Thirty-six students received awards at the 2014 Honors Convocation, which was held March 1. A complete list of awards and their recipients is posted here.

The women’s swimming and diving team has received the Team Scholar All-American Award presented by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America for the third year in a row. Read more here.

Junior Paden Williams and first-year student Will Devine were named SCAC Track and Field Athletes of the Week for the week ending March 9. Read more here.

Erika Berroth, associate professor of German, is the recipient of the 2014 Coalition of Women in German (WIG) Faculty Research Award. The award recognizes and supports projects that address a significant topic with demonstrated relevance to German Studies informed by a feminist perspective. Preference is given to projects that engage the intersections of gender with other categories such as sexuality, class, race, ethnicity, religion and citizenship. Berroth is working on a book about the contemporary German author Marica Bodrožić, winner of the European Union Prize for Literature in 2013. Hester Baer, president of WIG, notes the relevance of Berroth’s research project to feminist work in the context of transnational aesthetics, representations of economic transformations in East-Central Europe, and environmental implications in the literature of migration.

Michael Bray, associate professor of philosophy, had an article titled “El Estado Somos Todos, El Pueblo Soy Yo? − On Chavismo and the Necessity of the Leader,” published in the new issue of Theory & Event.

Erin Crockett, assistant professor of psychology, co-authored a paper that was published in a recent issue of the journal Infancy. The paper is titled “Maternal Disrupted Communication during Face-to-face Interaction at Four Months: Relation to Maternal and Infant Cortisol Among At-Risk Families.

Alisa Gaunder, professor of political science, participated in a Feb. 25 webinar titled “Connected Classrooms: Bringing Students Together Through Small Group Videoconferencing” that was organized by the Associated Colleges of the South. The webinar and a written summary of it can be found here.

Alison Kafer, associate professor of feminist studies, delivered the inaugural Longmore Lecture at San Francisco State University March 11. Kafer’s talk, “Crip Relations: Critical Disability Studies Now,” marked the opening of the Paul K. Longmore Papers at the SFSU library and was sponsored by the Longmore Institute for Disability Studies. While in the Bay Area, she also gave a reading from her book, Feminist, Queer, Crip at the University of California-Berkeley. On March 13, Kafer delivered the keynote address at the University of Redlands’ undergraduate women’s and gender studies conference. Her talk, “Future Coalitions,” was based on findings from her book.  

First-year student Brett Marcom was named SCAC Pitcher of the Week for the week ending March 9 after pitching a no-hitter in the Pirates’ game against Schreiner University. Read more here.

A solo exhibit by Kate Nelson, studio art technician, will be on display at the Pittsburg State University gallery in Kansas March 27-May 2. Nelson is giving a lecture at PSU the day the exhibit opens. The exhibit is titled “it was a small country everyone was famous.”

Eric Selbin, University Scholar and professor of political science, was one of three scholars interviewed by the Iranian journal Andisheh Pouya (Dynamic Thought) for their March year-end review. The article is titled “Protest, it’s my business: To which direction are social movements rising from the new middle class going?” 


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