Paideia Project

Students in Professor Laura Hobgood-Oster’s Paideia cohort, which is organized around the theme of Critical Animal Studies, are coordinating the April 27 Woof Walk Wrun benefiting the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter. Cohort participant Morgan Drake is shown here with some puppies Hobgood-Oster fostered this spring. (Photo by Anne Bannister)

Top News


A paper written by senior Brianna Billingsley has won first place in a national undergraduate paper competition sponsored by Alpha Kappa Delta, the sociology honor society.

Billingsley won the prize for her paper titled  “‘Literally, My Money Comes From How Happy I Make Them’: The Positive and Negative Consequences of Emotional Labor Among Restaurant Servers.” She wrote the paper for her sociology capstone class in fall 2013, which was taught by Maria Lowe, professor of sociology.  

Billingsley said she got the idea for her paper because she has worked in restaurants since she was 15. For her project, she spent 58 hours observing servers at a restaurant that is part of a large national chain and conducted in-depth interviews with six servers.

Read more here.


While at Southwestern, Juan Juarez majored in political science, was captain of the Mock Trial team, and president of the PreLaw society. The 2011 graduate had his sights set on law school − but he never went.

Instead, after working for Teach for America at a KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) school in San Antonio, he kept working for KIPP San Antonio as both a teacher and an administrator. He recently received KIPP’s prestigious Miles Family Fellowship which, in the future, places him on the path to opening up his own KIPP public charter school in San Antonio.

Juarez said when a Teach for America recruiter first contacted him at Southwestern, he wasn’t interested. But they didn’t give up.

Read more here.



The Annual Student Art Exhibit will be on display in the Fine Arts Gallery April 24-May 1. The exhibit will feature work by 30 to 40 Southwestern students ranging from freshman to seniors.          

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

An opening reception for the exhibit will be held April 24 at 4:30 p.m. Additional information is available here.


The Dance Repertory Theatre will perform on Thursday, April 24, and Friday, April 25, at 7:30 p.m. in the Alma Thomas Theater.

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

Additional information is available here.


The SU Chorale will give a concert on Sunday, April 27, at 7 p.m. in the Alma Thomas Theater. The chorale will perform Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied” (Sing a new song to the Lord) and Karl Jenkins’ “The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace.”

The concert is free and open to the public. Additional information is available here.


The Southwestern University Jazz Band will perform with guest saxophonist Daniel Silva on Thursday, May 1, at 7 p.m. in the Alma Thomas Theater. The concert will include works by Silva as well as Dan Cavanagh, Frank Foster, Jim Martin, Oliver Nelson, Edgar Sampson, and Mongo Santamaria.

The concert is free and open to the public. Additional information is available here.

Media Coverage

The April issue of Community Impact newspaper had photos from President Burger’s inauguration and the 2014 Shilling Lecture. The issue is available online here.


Students and faculty members in Computer Science attended the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges, South Central Region (CCSC:SC) conference in Austin April 11-12.

  • Barbara Anthony, assistant professor of computer science, presented a paper on “Offering an Undergraduate Colloquium,’” which is published in the April 2014 Journal for Computing Sciences in Colleges.
  • Sophomore computer science major Amir Ardjomand Hessabi presented a poster and demonstrated the abilities of a robot named “Bones” that he built for a King Creativity project with Walt Potter, professor of mathematics and computer science. Hessabi’s poster was awarded second place in the poster competition.
  • Four students in the computer science capstone − seniors Garhett Bonneaux, Rob Campbell, Alex Hicks and Paris Nelson − presented a poster about their software engineering project, CodeQuest, which was supervised by Rick Denman, professor of mathematics and computer science. Nelson also presented a poster titled “There and Back Again: A Genetic Algorithms Approach to the TSP,” which was based on his independent study work with Barbara Anthony. Nelson’s poster was awarded fifth place in the poster competition.
  • Junior computer science major Rebecca Wilson presented a poster titled “An Open Source Voting Machine” that resulted from her King Creativity project with political science major Elizabeth Bell and physics major Eric Oden. The project was supervised by Steve Alexander, professor of physics.

Barbara Boucher Owens, an emeritus faculty member who founded the conference in 1990, also attended the 25th conference. 

Six sociology majors presented their capstone research projects that were written under the direction of Maria Lowe, professor of sociology, at the annual meetings of the Southern Sociological Society held in Charlotte, N.C., April 2-6.

  • Brianna Billingsley presented a paper titled “Waiting Tables Will Make You Lose Your Faith in Humanity: The Racialized and Classed Dimensions of Emotional Labor Among Restaurant Servers”;
  • Heather Burns presented a paper titled “The Role of Noblesse Oblige and Class Privilege in Shaping Volunteer Experience”;
  • Lucero Castillo presented a paper titled “Shattering Invisibility and Rethinking the American Dream: Undocumented Students as Agents of Educational and Social Change;”
  • 2013 graduate Nicole Hewitt presented a paper titled “Becoming a Good Citizen: English as a Second Language Volunteers Reinforcing Social Hierarchies within Adult Education”;
  • Kelsey Kisor presented a paper titled “Protect and Serve Each Other: Collective Action and Contentious Politics in a Police Accountability Organization”; and
  • Nathan Tuttle presented a paper titled “Gay on the Gridiron: Homophobia and the NFL.”

Billingsley and Tuttle and also gave a presentation titled “On a Normal Day, Zero to One Times: Predicting the Frequency with which Students Think about Their Race at a Predominantly White Southern University” that they wrote with Lowe and Reginald Byron, assistant professor of sociology.

Shana Bernstein, associate professor of history, was an invited participant on a “Race and the Cold War” State of the Field round table session at the Organization of American Historians conference in Atlanta April 11. The session was one of only seven State of the Field panels at the conference, which was attended by thousands of historians.

Alison Kafer, associate professor of feminist studies, co-edited a special issue of Disability Studies Quarterly with Michelle Jarman from the University of Wyoming. The issue, titled “Growing Disability Studies: Politics of Access, Politics of Collaboration,” features 12 essays on the future of the field from undergraduates, graduate students, faculty and independent scholars. The table of contents is available here and Jarman and Kafer’s introduction is available here.

2012 graduate Alexis Kropf is the recipient of the 2014 James Robert Andrews Endowed Fellowship. The $2,000 fellowship, which was established by family and friends of 2004 graduate James Robert Andrews, is designed to assist Southwestern graduates in their first year of post-graduate study. Kropf plans to enter UT Southwestern Medical School in Dallas this fall. After graduating from Southwestern in 2012 with a double major in anthropology and biology, Kropf spent a year as Southwestern’s first HHMI Program Coordinator.

Josh Long, assistant professor of environmental studies, presented a paper at the Association of American Geographers conference that was held in Tampa, Fla., April 8-12. His paper was titled “Smart Growth and the Neoliberal Sustainability Narrative: The Case of Austin.”

Therese Shelton, associate professor of mathematics, has been named chair-elect of the Texas Section of the Mathematical Association of America.

Dustin Tahmahkera, assistant professor of communication studies, has been invited by the National Endowment for the Humanities to serve as a reviewer in its Digital Humanities Implementation Grants program in Washington, D.C. Tahmahkera will review proposals for the use of innovative technologies in indigenous communities and sound studies.

Senior Ali Walden was named SCAC Women’s Golfer of the Week for the week ending April 6. Read more here.