News Archives Feb. 28, 2012

News for Feb. 28, 2012



A presentation/reading by Tahitian author and poet Rai Chaze will be held Tuesday, March 6, 2-3:15 p.m. in MAB, Room 302 on the Sul Ross State University campus. There is no admission charge and the public is invited.

The people indigenous to the area known as French Polynesia are the Ma’ohi people, and Tahitian writer and poet Chaze is a voice for Ma’ohi writers who experience many struggles within an array of colonial, cultural, linguistic, political, and social contexts.

Books will be available for purchase. The event is sponsored by the Department of Languages and Literature. For more information, call (432) 837-8151.




Guest artists Dr. David Barrientos, clarinet, and Lyudmila Kise, piano, will present a recital Monday, March 5 at Sul Ross State University.

The recital, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Marshall Auditorium.

On Sunday, March 4, they will present a master class in Francois Fine Arts Building, Room 200, at 3 p.m. Barrientos will work with Sul Ross and area clarinet students to help them in their playing. This event is also free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Chris Dobbins, (432) 837-8018 or




The Borderlands Research Institute (BRI) of Sul Ross State University will host a March 6 seminar to discuss current findings of the Pronghorn Restoration and Research Project.

The seminar will begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 6 in the Espino Conference Center, Morgan University Center. Refreshments will be served and the public is invited.

Purpose of the project is to identify causative factors associated with declining herds and to restore pronghorn to their historic habitats in the Trans-Pecos. The seminar will provide an overview of the ongoing restoration efforts and an update of the research findings.

The Pronghorn Restoration and Research Project is a collaborative effort by the BRI, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Trans-Pecos Pronghorn Working Group and Texas landowners.

For more information, call (432) 837-8488.




Geoscientists from across the south©central U.S. and beyond will convene at Sul Ross State University for the South©Central section meeting of the Geological Society of America March 5©10.

Technical sessions will cover the tectonic history of the Trans-Pecos, the Rio Grande, west Texas aquifers, geoarchaeology, petrology, cave processes, minerals and fossils. The program highlights new research, expands on existing science, and explores the geologic and hydrologic processes which shaped and continue to influence the landscape and resources of the Trans Pecos and the Permian Basin.

Sul Ross faculty, students and research center directors will present on technical and contemporary topics alongside academic and professional Geological Society peers. Geology faculty member and Rio Grande Research Center Director Dr Kevin Urbanczyk and Chris Burnett of the University of Texas at Austin, will present, "Fear and Learning in Big Bend: Is it Safe to Take a Field Trip Down There?" This paper, presented at 1:45 p.m. on Friday, March 9, addresses perceptions and facts of safety and risks related to border violence that increasingly impede educational field trips to the border.

Robert Mallouf and William A. Cloud, retired and present director, respectively, of the Center for Big Bend Studies, will present "A Historical Perspective on the Search for Paleoindians in the Big Bend," at 1:45 p.m. on Friday, March 9. This paper sets the stage for the geoarchaeology symposium, highlighting current and past geoarchaeological work in the Big Bend area.

The agenda also includes a symposium, "Big Bend National Park and Vicinity: A Decade of Research," on Friday, March 9, 9 a.m.-12:10 p.m. in the Espino Conference Center, Morgan University Center. Conveners are Don Corrick, Big Bend National Park; Dee Ann Cooper, The University of Texas at Austin; and Roger Cooper, Lamar University.

This special session includes presentations on a new and improved fossil exhibit in Big Bend National Park; mysteries of the sixty-one giant Platyceramus platinus (Cretaceous bivalve molluscs) concentrated in a patch along one bedding plane in the Boquillas Formation east of Lajitas, Texas; the proposed connection between storms and microbes in the Del Rio Formation of west Texas; and more.

In addition to presentations and poster sessions, professionally guided field trips covering quaternary geology and hydrogeology of the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo (Monday, March 5) and recent studies of magmatism in Big Bend National Park (Tuesday, March 6) will be offered. Following the meeting, a field trip of the geology of Colorado Canyon (Saturday, March 10) is planned. The conference is only open to registered participants. For more information and to register visit:

For additional information contact Kevin Urbanczyk,(432) 837-8110 or E-mail:<




by Jason Hennington, News Writer

For the first time in the history of the Texas Academy of Science, Sul Ross State University will host the annual meeting.

Scientists and guests will gather Thursday-Saturday, March 1-3 for the 115th annual meeting at Sul Ross.

Dr. Christopher Ritzi, Department Chair of Biology and Interim Dean of Arts and Sciences, said,

"Being a scientific meeting, we’re going to call this an experiment, and we’re going to have to see if it will work."

According to Ritzi, hosting a meeting this large will be a big event for Sul Ross.

"Normally, most of the TAS meetings tend to cycle through universities around the I-35/I-45 corridor, where the majority of the population of Texas is found," he said. "Having them come out this far west here doesn’t happen that often."

The meeting was held in Junction a few years ago, but this is the farthest west the meeting has traveled in years, if ever.

"Getting it out here in Alpine is a really big thing. It will get people exposed to the Big Bend country, in which folks living in East Texas and the coastal part of Texas may never have seen."

Ritzi explains that the Texas Academy of Science meeting will display and represent a variety of sciences showcased in the area. Numerous presentations will take place over topics such as anthropology, biomedical sciences, botany, cell molecular biology, chemistry, bio chemistry, conservation ecology, environmental sciences, neurosciences, science education, math, and several other fields of science.

"If a topic can fit in any of the basic stem areas of science and math technology, there’s probably a section or a venue for it to be presented in," Ritzi said.

The majority of the presentations given will be student presentations, with an expectation of three students to every one faculty member that attends the meeting.

"We are looking forward to all the different talks that come in," Ritzi said. "At Sul Ross, we have our areas of expertise, but we will admit that we aren’t experts in everything. So this is a great opportunity for us to see all the different, other areas of science going on, and let our students get exposed to that. Additionally, it lets the rest of the state know that Sul Ross and Alpine exists and that this is another school in Texas that can provide opportunities to students in the future from their own institutions."

Schools from all across Texas are planning to attend the meeting, with some schools sending large groups of 20 or more. Schools such as Texas State, Texas A&M, Southwestern, University of Texas Austin, Mary Hardin Baylor, St. Edwards, Texas A&M Galveston, Texas A&M Corpus, Sam Houston State, Lamar and Temple, along with a host of other universities in Texas are registered to attend. In addition, state agencies, such as Texas Parks and Wildlife, are registered.

"We’ve got a lot of different schools being represented," Ritzi said. "A lot of them tend to be smaller schools, but we do have some of the bigger schools coming in. We are seeing a good representation of universities from around the state."

Sul Ross will also be giving oral and poster presentations during the meeting.

"Not only are we hosting the meeting, but we have quite a few of our students that are going to be presenting," Ritzi explained. "It’s not just other schools coming in to showcase their work; we’re also showing them some of the research we’ve been doing."

Sections being presented by Sul Ross students will include mathematics, geology, numerous biology presentations. At least ten oral presentations and six poster presentations will be given by Sul Ross students.

"Closer to a tenth of the talks being done are going to be Sul Ross, so we’re making a good strong showing since it is our home court," Ritzi said.

The meeting was arranged and set up to be held at Sul Ross due to a number of reasons, one being Ritzi’s appointment to the Board of Directors in 2008.

"When I was put on the board, one of the things they ask is that they are always looking for new schools and other places to have the meeting at, and they wondered if Sul Ross might be an option," Ritzi said.

The idea was discussed with the Sul Ross President and Provost at the time, Drs. Vic Morgan and Dave Cockrum, and they believed it would be a great opportunity for Sul Ross. A letter was written petitioning the idea of the meeting being held at Sul Ross, and it was arranged for it to be held here in 2012.

The meeting will be spread out in various spots on campus. The meeting will start Thursday with onsite registration in the University Center, followed by workshops on the first floor of the science building in the lab rooms. In Marshall Auditorium a screening of the comedy PhD (Piled Higher and Deeper) along with a social at Kokernot Lodge that will occur that evening. On Friday, the meeting will be in full gear with all the oral presentations taking place in the science building, and poster presentations will be set up on the second floor of the Gallego Center.

"People can walk around the concourse and see all the different posters," Ritzi said. "We will have about 109 posters, so we’ll have a lot to see and learn about."

Lunch will be in the University Center and the mall area, and special lectures for invited guests will be in Marshall Auditorium.

"We have two people we’re recognizing this year. Our Distinguished Texas Scientist is Dr. Lawrence Gilbert from the University of Texas at Austin, and our Outstanding Texas Educator is Joy Killough from Westwood High School in Round Rock," Ritzi said.

The awards ceremony and closing banquet will be held in the Gallego Center.

"It’s pretty much the only building in the entire town that is big enough to hold four to five hundred people," Ritzi said.

On Saturday there will be a couple workshops and various field trips giving people a chance to explore the Big Bend country.

"We’ve got quite a bit going on, but hopefully we’ve got it planned well enough so it should all work," Ritzi said.

Current registration for the meeting is around 400 people, and Ritzi is hoping that they can accommodate everyone.

"Alpine itself is able to handle large events," Ritzi said.

He compared the amount of people expected to the annual Cowboy Poetry that was recently held.

"Cowboy Poetry brings in hundreds of people every year," he said. "They have people staying in Alpine, Marfa, Fort Davis, and all over the area. So with Texas Academy of Science, we kind of used that same mentality. We booked rooms for people to be able to come in and stay in Alpine, as well as getting room blocks in the surrounding towns."




by Jason Hennington, News Writer

"Ask any racer, any real racer. It doesn’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile, winning is winning." – Dominic Toretto (played by Vin Diesel) in "The Fast and the Furious"

The observation above seems to apply to the Sul Ross State University men’s 4 X 100 track team.

The team consists of Anthony Martin, Waco; Miles McCloyen, Lewisville; Akibule "Hakeem" Collins, San Antonio, and Alex Trevino, Mercedes. Like the movie, "The Fast and the Furious," the team has a unique story in coming together to show off their speed. Graduate assistant Coach Demon Flemings, Cameron, used the thought and idea of placing the athletes with others of their skill and status to recruit each of them.

This past weekend the relay team competed at Trinity University, San Antonio, against teams from Trinity, Texas Lutheran, Concordia, Angelo State, Huston-Tillotson, Hardin-Simmons, and Our Lady of the Lake, and placed first in the 4 X 100 relay with a time of 42.1 seconds.

"I was recruited by a lot of D1 schools, but my SAT scores weren’t high enough to get in, and I was just going to go to a junior college, but Coach Flemings found me on the internet and came and talked to me," Martin said. "He told me about Sul Ross, and told me that they are trying to do big things out here. So I decided to come out here and run."

Martin ran in state meets for four years in high school, with his fastest time being a 10.28 in the 100 meter.

Flemings knew with Martin on the team that he would have to find other athletes to push him beyond his limits.

"One day I was at work and this coach called me up and said I want you to come to Sul Ross," Collins said about a conversation with Flemings. "He was telling me that he has one of the best athletes from the state of Texas that he had recruited, and that he wanted me to be a part of that. I looked up their times and they looked very interesting to me."

Collins, who came from a speed-heavy school with what he calls a "monster relay team," was not allowed to run an individual event until his senior year. Once he entered he advanced to the region and state in individual events.

Adding Collins was a step in the right direction, but Flemings still needed more top-level athletes to make the team contenders, and while searching for another runner, he came across McCloyen.

"I just wanted to go somewhere and run," McCloyen said. "My coach told me a coach from Sul Ross called, but he was calling actually for another student. He asked my coach if he had anybody else, and my coach told him yeah I have somebody else.

McCloyen ran 21.4 seconds in the 200 meters, and when Flemings heard that, he immediately wanted him at Sul Ross.

"He told him my time, and Coach Flemings said ‘man, that’s fast. Yeah, tell him to get out here,’" McCloyen said.

Flemings contacted McCloyen and told him who he had on his team and what direction the team was headed, and McCloyen happily accepted the offer.

"I told him, ‘I’m interested in this, and I feel like running for Sul Ross,’" he said.

Now with three of the fastest runners in Texas, Flemings needed one more person to complete the team. Being familiar with Sul Ross, he thought about Trevino, who had previously attended and felt he would be a perfect fit. Trevino was a member of the Lobo football team in 2010, but left after that season.

"I’ve been sitting out for two and a half years, and when coach called me I was at work," Trevino said. "He asked me if I wanted to come back to school and run track, and I said yeah. I love track, so I was happy that he gave me another chance to come out and run."

Trevino clocked a time of 10.7 seconds in the 100 meters in high school and finished third in state his sophomore and junior year. During his senior year he suffered a pulled hamstring, but still ran a 21.10 in the 200 meters at the state meet.

Flemings not only brought in athletes, but also another graduate assistant, Jeremy Medrano, Kingsville, to help with the team.

"I was never going to coach, but Flemings kept telling me, ‘let’s go coach. I was like, heck no,," Medrano laughed.

After resisting several attempts, Medrano finally agreed because he felt this was an opportunity to help build a better track program.

"I saw his character and it resembled mine, kind of like a reflection. That guy is a winner; I can see it in his attitude. He doesn’t want any glory for the season, all he wants is to get better as a coach," Medrano said.

Flemings believes that the team is moving in the right direction, and will continue to work hard and become contenders for the NCAA Division III championships.

"It’s a totally different atmosphere from last year’s track season," he said. "We’ve got some legitimate track guys here who can win something."

Since each of the members of the team were the fastest on their high school teams, it was a challenge to adjust and work with runners just as fast as themselves.

"In high school I was the fastest kid in the nation in 1A, so I had no one to work out with, so I just went there, did my events and went home," Martin explained. "Now I have guys out here that can push me to a different level that I wasn’t pushed to in high school."

McCloyen said that he and Collins push each other well, and it is a dramatic change from high school.

"It’s actually a good push. My teammate Hakeem, he pushes me in practice," he said. "It’s not like high school where no one can push me, I’m running by myself. It’s good competition to be pushed by."

Collins explained that being able to team with other talented runners would be a good way to push himself, and seeing what the coaches had to offer is what influenced his decision to attend Sul Ross.

"When he told me the athletes that had come here, I thought it can’t be true that he can possess that type of talent at a young age as a coach," he laughed. "I looked them up and saw that he had some talented kids, and when you work with good talent as your own it makes you even better, especially when you work with your peers who possess the same talent that you possess."

Trevino never looked at anyone’s times or statistics, but knew that he was going to be placed with other talented runners.

"It’s great. Everyone is pushing each other," he said.

Flemings and Medrano not only work with these students on the track, but have a high standard for each of them to uphold. They must carry themselves well on the track, in the classroom, and in the community.

"Everything I do I lead by example. I think that’s the first thing you do. You can say it all you want, but if show people you quit on things then they quit on you," Medrano said.

The coaches stressed the importance of going to class and being a positive part of the community. The student-athletes have raised their GPA during the Fall semester, and have worked with the Wesley Center and attended Bible study regularly.

"Mr. Woody Stracken has been a big help for us," Flemings said. "Having those guys go down and do volunteer work at the food bank, hiking trips, Bible study, and all types of things. He’s been a big help to us. It’s help them change their attitudes and change their whole perspective on life."

Medrano also explained that various people have come in to help the players and that as coaches they are trying to be different in a positive way rather than be ordinary.

"We’re just trying to help them out in the long run for life," Flemings said. "If Miles goes somewhere else or four years down the line, I want him to feel like he can call me at any time of night and say ‘hey, coach I need help with this or that.’ It’s basically like a friendship or a family. We’re making life long relationships, not just college relationships."

The commitment they have made to the team and each other fuels their will to win.

"Working with these guys has made me a lot better, and more of a leader. We all just click really well," Martin said. "Based on everybody’s work ethics, we should win conference, and we should have two relays make it to nationals."

Along with working well with each other, and continuing to push hard in every practice, every member of the team sees success as the outcome of the season.

"These guys argue a lot, but they argue because they have never had competition among themselves," Medrano said. "They are used to being the dominant ones, and win they think well this guy is faster than me, it makes it competitive, but it makes it personal and they think I want to win too."

Both Flemings and Medrano are thankful to head track coach Ke Kola Kealoha for giving them this opportunity to coach, and they hope to elevate Sul Ross to the top tier of the conference.

"He gave us the opportunity and we took full advantage of it, and our track team has come a long way," Medrano said. "We lack respect right now, but given after our first meet, we feel like we’ll get respect. We feel like we’ll get leverage over the fact that a lot of people will take us seriously."