News for January 29, 2013

News for January 29, 2013


by Steve Lang, News and Publications

A one-time community project undertaken eight years ago by a Sul Ross State University student has evolved into an annual activity.

Once a year, David "Dr. Dave" Sauerzopf gives students in Alpine Elementary School’s Gifted and Talented Program basic lessons in microbiology.

This year, students learned if Lysol and Listerine really kill 99.9 percent of germs on contact.

With Sauerzopf’s guidance, the students tested the claims on the labels. During their visit to the Sul Ross microbiology lab, they coughed into plates, then streaked (swabbed) the area with a solution – either mouthwash, spray cleaner, dish detergent or a lemon bleach solution.

Each plate was covered and identified with the students’ names. Sauerzopf tested the germ-killing effect of each solution, and a day later, showed the results to the class.

"We put each plate in an incubator. The students get to see each individual plate for themselves and can see where bacteria grows," he said.

Sauerzopf, now a graduate student in biology and also a lab technician in the DAAB (Deployable Aerobic Aqueous Bioreactor) Project, did not expect a one-time project to turn into an annual event.

As an undergraduate in a biology course taught by Dr. James Zech, one of Sauerzopf’s assignments was a community project. He was friends with Joe Portillo, an electrician in Physical Plant, and his wife, Laura Lea, who directs the Gifted and Talented Program at Alpine Elementary School. Laura Lea Portillo suggested that Sauerzopf teach her class some basic concepts of microbiology.

"I was just going to do it for one year (to fulfill the community project), but it has turned out to be so fun and educational they asked me back every year," he said.

Over the years, Sauerzopf has shown the students the existence of bacteria in various places, including testing surfaces in their school, like door handles and computer keyboards, their hands and bottoms of their shoes as well as soil samples, plants, and water from Kokernot Creek.

"I try to do something different every year," he said.

Over the years, fellow Sul Ross graduate students Victoria Mancha, Rachel Acosta and Lori George have worked with Sauerzopf.

His efforts have not gone unnoticed, and this year, the class presented him with a book they wrote and designed.

"It was pretty cool. Everybody made up little drawings with something to say about them."

In addition, he is often recognized by former students.

"Some of the kids I started with are now in ninth or tenth grade, and they’ll come up and say ‘hi’," Sauerzopf said. "They’re good kids and I really like doing this every year."



Dr. Kip Sullivan, Sul Ross State University Emeritus Professor of Education (School Administration) was recognized as an Honorary Life Member of the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA).

The Honorary Life Members were introduced at the Champions for Educational Excellence Luncheon and during an awards presentation Monday, Jan. 28 during the TASA Midwinter Conference in Austin.

Sullivan joined the Sul Ross faculty in 1989 and retired on May 31, 2012. He has 44 years of service in education as a teacher, principal, assistance superintendent, superintendent and higher education faculty member.



Applications are being accepted for 2013-2014 graduate fellowships at Sul Ross State University. Deadline to apply is April 1.

Graduate fellowships of $8,000-$10,000 are available to eligible Sul Ross graduate students with unmet financial need. These fellowships are awarded for a term of one year and are not renewable, although fellowship recipients are eligible to apply for a second award with the understanding that a second award is not guaranteed.

To apply, visit for application forms and complete program information.

For more information, contact Sandy Bogus, (432) 837-8247,; or Shannon Stockbridge, (432) 837-8524, or visit the Graduate Student Center, BAB, Room 104.



A new Sul Ross State University website, which emphasizes customer empowerment and social media integration, will go live on the World Wide Web (www.) on Monday, Feb. 4.

"The new website is designed with the customer in mind. We wanted to simplify website-navigation for our students while empowering our faculty and staff  to effectively communicate Sul Ross’s success stories on the world wide web." said Chandragupta Gudena, Chief Information Officer for the Office of Information Technology. He added that the inclusive project combined the efforts of the Web Advisory Committee, over 90 content managers at the four Sul Ross campuses (Alpine, Del Rio, Eagle Pass and Uvalde) and the OIT project team.

"We are pleased to launch a new and more innovative Sul Ross website," said Sul Ross President Dr. Ricardo Maestas. "We commend the diligent efforts of the many individuals involved to make this a reality."

The current website will be disabled and decommissioned on Monday, Feb. 4. On that date, will point to the new website.

For more information, contact Gudena at (432) 837-8702 or