Latest News from Sul Ross March 12, 2013


Eighteen Sul Ross State University students are working on undergraduate research projects as part of the 2013 McNair Program.

Enrolled students are from disciplines ranging from psychology to physical education, biology to music, literature to animal science, theatre to natural resource management, as well as agricultural education, communication and education.

The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program is designed to encourage first generation, low-income students and minority undergraduates to consider careers in college teaching as well as prepare for doctoral study. Students who participate in the program are provided with research opportunities and faculty mentors.

Named in honor of the astronaut who died in the 1986 space-shuttle explosion, the program was established at Sul Ross in November 2007. It is funded through the Department of Education’s TRIO programs.

McNair students receive a stipend of $2,000 and three semester credit hours (during the first summer session) for completed research projects. In addition to the on-campus McNair-Tafoya Symposium, students are encouraged to present their findings at state and national conferences. Six McNair Program students from the 2012 program have made or will make project presentations at conferences in Texas, Louisiana, Missouri and Oklahoma this spring.

Since its Sul Ross inception, the program has netted high returns. Over 87 percent who enrolled in graduate school have either earned master’s degrees or are still enrolled. Nearly 80 percent of all McNair Program graduates went on to graduate school.

"The dedication and creativity of the students and the support of the faculty mentors are integral to the continued success of the program," said Mary Bennett, McNair Program director.

2013 McNair Program students, their hometowns, projects and faculty mentors are:

* Fernanda Arroyo, Presidio, "First-Generation Hispanic Female Students Description of Factors That Deter Completion of a Bachelor’s Degree," Pat Seawell and Barbara Tucker, Education, mentors.

* Rebecca Blomquist, Granger, "the Evolution of Folk Music from Various Cultures as Seen Through Music Composed for the Saxophone," Chris Dobbins, Music.

* Megan Downing, Midland, "the Role of Uncertainty and Fear in the Extremity of Political Attitudes," Jay Downing, Psychology.

* Phyllis Dunham, Alpine, "Social Conscience in Song: the Cause, Effect, and Commercial Context of Social Criticism in the Works of Selected Texas Singer-Songwriters," Beverly Six, Languages and Literature.

* Jose Etchart, El Paso, "Movements and Water Utilization of Translocated Desert Bighorn Sheep at Nine Point Mesa Ranch," Louis Harveson, Natural Resource Management.

* Robert LeBlanc, Fort Davis, "Wolf Spiders Associate Food with Chemical Cues from a Predator," Chris Ritzi, Biology.

* Michael Gallardo, El Paso, "Harpagon Through the Ages: An Investigation of Moliere's Character Utilizing Different Acting Styles Through the Ages," Gregory Schwab, Theatre.

* Annabel Gallegos, El Paso, "Effect of Storage Time on the Viability of Cryopreserved Bovine Spermatozoa," Scott Ericsson, Animal Science.

* Shane Galloway, Alpine, "Biological Indication of Natural Hydrocarbon Presence in Groundwater Seeps in Big Bend Ranch State Park," Jackie Denson, Biology.

* Angela Greenroy, Alpine, "Contemporary Dystopian American Literature by Women Authors," Sharon Hileman, Languages and Literature.

* Matthew Hall, Era, "Bawdy Language in the Bard’s Body: A Study of Shakespeare’s Use of Sexual Imagery," Hileman.

* Kassandra Hernandez, El Paso, "Fitness of Young Children and the Difference Between the Fitness of Children in Rural Areas vs. Urban Areas," Chet Sample, Physical Education.

* KayLee Kocian, Florence, "The Relationship Between Perceived Self-Efficacy and Stress Levels Among College Students with Disabilities," Christopher Estepp, Agricultural Education.

* Katie Savage, Pearland,  "Cardiac and Metabolic Responses Related to Lactate Thresholds in Quarter Horses During a Sprint Training Regimen," Byron Housewright, Animal Science.

* Catherine Smietana, Alpine, "Interracial Marriage among Hispanics," Esther Rumsey, Communication.

* Daniel Tidwell, Sachse, "Use of Vaginal Implant Transmitters to Evaluate Pronghorn Parturition Sites and Fawn Survival in Trans-Pecos, Texas," Harveson.

* Emily Urbanosky, Caldwell, "Existential Uncertainty and its Role in Risky Sexual Behavior for Popularity," Downing.

* Jim Wyche, Midland, "Fence Line Modifications for Pronghorn Friendly Fences," Bonnie Warnock, Natural Resource Management.

For more information, contact Bennett, (432) 837-8478 or




"Proof," a drama by David Auburn, will be performed Friday-Sunday, March 22-24 and 29-31 at Sul Ross State University.

Curtain times are 8:15 p.m. Friday-Saturday, March 22-23 and 29-30, and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 24 and 31, in the Studio Theatre, Francois Fine Arts Building.


Sisters Catherine (Missy Embrey) and Claire (Ashley Page) reunite after the death of their mathematician father in David Auburn's drama "Proof." Performances are scheduled Friday-Sunday, March 22-24 and 29-31 in the Studio Theatre, Francois Fine Arts Building. (Submitted Photo)


"Proof," directed by Dr. Michelle Selk, tells the story of a mathematical family torn apart by mental illness as it questions the true authorship of a revolutionary proof. Catherine, played by Missy Embrey, is struggling with the recent death of her father, and the thought that she may not be as mentally stable as she once thought. Catherine's sister Claire, (Ashley Page), has returned to town after a five year absence to take care of her sister who spent years helping their unstable father.

Timothy Wright plays the girls' father Robert, who struggles to grasp reality in a world full of mathematics. Everything is thrown into chaos when Harold Dobbs (Miguel Pe

a) shows up and starts sorting through Robert's vast array of notebooks. Harold finds an incredibly important proof hidden upstairs, which if proven correct, will provide a revolutionary turn within the mathematics community.

For advanced ticket sales please visit or call the Office of Fine Arts and Communication, (432) 837-8218.




Prospective students and their families can sample campus life and gain information about Sul Ross State University during the second annual Sully Showcase, Saturday, April 6.

Sully Showcase will feature campus tours, visits with faculty and staff and information on admission, financial aid, housing and academic and extra-curricular opportunities.

Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. in the Pete P. Gallego Center, with a 10 a.m. opening ceremony. An open house will be held from 10:30 a.m.-noon. Sul Ross academic departments, student and service organizations and clubs will have information tables available.

Lunch will be served from noon-1:30 p.m., followed by campus tours. A closing ceremony will be held at 2:30 p.m., followed by an open house at the Turner Range Animal Science Center, from 3:15-4:15 p.m.

Following Sully Showcase, visitors are encouraged to explore the Big Bend Region and sample local cuisine at the Viva Big Bend Food Festival. For a preview of the festival, visit Tickets may be purchased online.

To register for Sully Showcase, visit or call 1-888-722-7778 (SRSU) for more information.




Representatives from Natural Resources Conservation Services, West Texas National Bank, Grand Companions, Target Stores, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the U.S. Border Patrol are among the agencies and businesses who will be present at the "Spring Fling" Career Fair Wednesday, March 20 at Sul Ross State University.

Sponsored by Career Services, the fair will be held in the Espino Conference Center, Morgan University Center, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Representatives of business, agriculture, education, hospitality, non-profit, community service, criminal justice, park services and other fields will be present to recruit, answer questions, network and provide referral contacts. Registrants may call (432) 837-8178 to reserve space at the fair.

Attendees seeking employment are urged to dress appropriately and bring copies of their resumes. The Career Fair is open to Sul Ross students, faculty, staff and alumni, as well as high school students and the general public. Refreshments will be served and door prizes will be awarded. Career Services will also provide information on internships and volunteer opportunities.

For more information, contact Career Services, (432) 837-8178. Career Services is located upstairs in the University Center, open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.





Sul Ross State University students and faculty made seven scientific presentations at the annual Texas Academy of Science meeting, held Feb. 28-March 2 at Schreiner University, Kerrville.

About 20 Sul Ross graduate and undergraduate students, faculty and alumni were in attendance.


Sul Ross at TAS meeting

Sul Ross students and faculty attended and made presentations at the annual Texas Academy of Science meeting, held Feb. 28-Mrch 2 at Schreiner University, Kerrville. Pictured are (back row, from left):  Anne Marie Hilscher, Lizbeth Marquez, Laura Tang, Carin Olivias, Julia Green. Front row:  Jackie Denson, Dr. Christopher Ritzi, Shane Galloway, Justin Cineceras, Ali Berezin, Andrew Berezin, John Stone, and Jeff Keeling. Not pictured are Treasha Roberson, Masahiro Ohnishi, Molly Klein, Dr. Martin Terry and Dr. Jim Zech. (Photo Courtesy Chris Ritzi)



Sul Ross presentations were:

* "An annotated vascular flora of The Nature Conservancy Preserve of the Davis Mountains, Jeff Davis County, Texas" by J. James Keeling, Alpine.

* "Variations in mescaline concentrations in the crown, subterranean stem, and root of Lopophora williamsii (Peyote) and ethnobotanical implications" by Molly Klein, Alpine; Dr. M. Kalam, and Dr. Martin Terry.

* "A geochemical and microbial diversity survey of a natural iron seep within Big Bend Ranch State Park" by Julia Green, Alpine; and Jackie Denson.

* "An analysis of the distribution and diversity of Thaumarcaeota within the springs and soils of the northwestern Chihuahuan Desert" by Laura Tang, Westminster, Cal.; and Jackie Denson.

* "Status of the tamarisk leaf beetle (Diorhabda spp.) as a saltcedar (Tamarix) biocontrol agent along the Rio Grande River in Presidio County and its impact on a non-target species, Tamarisk aphylla" by Anne Marie Hilscher, Alpine; and Dr. Christopher M. Ritzi.

* "Influence of fire on and succession of microbial communities after disturbance in Marfa grasslands" by Masahiro Ohnishi, Alpine; Dr. Bonnie Warnock, Jackie Denson, and Dr. Louis Harveson.

* "A comparison of the ectoparasitic fauna of Peromyscus and Heteromys genera between Presidio County, Texas and La Tigra and Cusuco National Park in Honduras" by Lizbeth Marquez, Marfa; and Ritzi.

The presentations represented work conducted by students and faculty in the Biology, Earth and Physical Sciences, and Natural Resource Management Departments, covering a variety of different research areas and topic sections.

The Earth and Physical Science Department and the Rio Grande Research Center were further represented by a special screening of the newly created Sul Ross research film experience, the Confluence. This film, created by former student Chris Hillen, features a number of prominent Sul Ross and area individuals addressing the issues associated with a limited bi-national resource, the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo. The film was shown to an audience of around 45-50 scientists during the Thursday night activities, and was hosted by Dr. Kevin Urbanczyk.

Ritzi, current vice president of the Academy, presented several awards at the closing banquet. He was also elevated to president-elect for the 2013-2014 year. Other officers are: Dr. Cathleen Early, University of Mary Hardin Baylor as president and becoming past-president; and the elevation of Cindy Contreras, Texas Parks and Wildlife from president-elect to president. Dr. Danette Vines, Schreiner University, was elected as the new vice president for the Academy.

The Texas Academy of Science is a state organization whose mission is to promote of scientific research in Texas colleges and universities, encourage research as a part of student learning, and works to enhance the professional development of its members.

For more information, contact Ritzi, (432) 837-8112.