Latest News from Sul Ross July 29, 2013

    Sul Ross State University student Kassandra Hernandez, El Paso (Bel Air High School), has received an invitation to submit her McNair Program research for publication in The Journal of Athletic Medicine.
    Hernandez’ project, “Comparative Body Compositions in Children Between Rural and Urban Areas,” studied body mass indexes (BMI) and percent of body fat of children in three regional school districts to determine obesity levels. She was mentored by Dr. Chester Sample, professor of Physical Education.
    Sample was contacted by Michael Pringle, editor-in-chief of The Journal of Athletic Medicine. Pringle had read a Sul Ross news release of Hernandez’ research on the online version of the Odessa American.
    “I would like to congratulate you and Ms. Hernandez for the research and Sul Ross State University for implementing the McNair Program,” Pringle’s email stated. “The Journal of Athletic Medicine is an online international journal dedicated to publishing previously unpublished medical and health science student manuscripts using a peer review format. The professor/student research format is one of the research methods we promote.
    “If indeed (Hernadez’ project) has not been submitted for publication elsewhere, I would invite you and Ms. Hernandez to consider submitting this research for consideration in The Journal of Athletic Medicine,” the email concluded.
    Sample said, “Her study was exciting for all participants and I believe Kasey learned a great deal about conducting research.
    “ The McNair Program has been very rewarding for our Sul Ross students and the director of the program, Mary Bennett, has done an excellent job of recruiting and motivating students,” he added.
    Hernandez and Sample conducted testing in the Ysleta, Fort Hancock and Presidio school districts.  Fort Hancock and Presidio were chosen because of the lack of fast food drive in restaurants and El Paso because of the abundance of fast foods. Related literature indicates a positive correlation between the proximity of fast foods and childhood obesity.
    David Oesper, technical support specialist for the Title V Graduate Student Center, assisted Hernadez with statistics and data analysis.
    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 McNair Program was established at Sul Ross in November 2007. It is funded through the Department of Education’s TRIO programs.    For more information, contact Mary Bennett, McNair Program director,  (432) 837-8478 or
    More information about The Journal of Athletic Medicine may be found at:

    A documentary film with Sul Ross State University ties has been posted on Texas State Senator Carlos Uresti’s website.
    “Confluence: The Big Bend Reach of the Rio Grande,” now appears on the Uresti website at
    The film, directed and produced by Big Bend resident Christopher Hillen, features a number of scientists, including Dr. Kevin Urbanczyk, Sul Ross professor of Earth and Physical Sciences and director of the Rio Grande Research Center. This documentary was funded through the Rio Grande Research Center with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The film explores the bi-national management challenges facing the Rio Grande River from Presidio through Big Bend National Park.
    Traditionally, communities and wildlife on both sides of the U.S./Mexico border have utilized this vital natural resource. “Confluence” explores the impact of human activity on the river and its unintended consequences on this rapidly changing landscape.
    The natural beauty of this area in the Chihuahuan Desert, known collectively as the Big Bend, is a primary component of the film and commentary from professionals who have lived or worked along the Rio Grande lend a firsthand perspective on the issues facing this watershed today.


Wall removal

A portion of the wall at Jackson Field has been removed in preparation for the new Sul Ross football field house. A forgivable loan from the Texas State University Foundation will pay for a new 5,000 square-foot home team field house and locker room. The new facility, to be built by Imperial Construction, Weatherford, will include 120 lockers, restrooms, showers, whirlpools, a training area and laundry and storage facilities. The current field house and locker room will undergo cosmetic work in order to accommodate visiting teams. An architect's rendering of the completed project is shown below. (Photo by Steve Lang)


    Sul Ross State University’s Athletics Department will host a Century Club appreciation reception and kick off the 2013-2014 membership drive on Thursday, Aug. 8.
    The 5 p.m. event will be held in the Pete P. Gallego Center, Room 129. Refreshments will be served and the public is invited to attend. For over 40 years, the Century Club has provided financial support to Sul Ross athletic programs.
    “The event has several purposes,” said John Tyree, Sul Ross head football coach and director of athletics. “We wish to show Lobo athletics’ appreciation for the long-standing support of existing Century Club members, as well as to extend a public invitation to new prospective members and to unveil new membership packages with expanded levels of support.”
    In addition to the annual $150 Lobo package, new Scarlet ($400); Silver ($1,000); Platinum ($3,000, including a one-year endowment); and Diamond ($5,000, including a two-year endowment) packages have been added. All packages offer benefits of parking stickers, free use of the Sul Ross swimming pool and free admission to all Lobo sporting events. Each package also includes Sul Ross athletic memorabilia and clothing.
    “Lobo athletics could not move forward without the tireless efforts and generous support of the Century Club membership,” said Tyree. “Managing our resources is one of our biggest challenges. Faced with increasing costs, our department strives toward entrepreneurial revenue sources.
    “Sul Ross athletics operates as a self-supporting auxiliary unit without funding from the state government or the university’s general fund,” he said. “At the same time, our operations directly support the mission of the university and have a positive impact on the ec
    The Century Club endowment allocates funds for recruitment, team travel, awards, graduate assistantships, coaching staff salary support, equipment and supplies, coaching clinics, academic scholarships and other related athletic expenses.
    For more information, contact Janice Moss, (432) 837-8226 or


New UDPS officer

Sul Ross State University President Ricardo Maestas administered the oath of office to new UDPS officer Aaron Rodriguez. Rodriguez, who joined UDPS July 22, previously served two years on the Alpine Police Department. The McAllen native is a 2012 graduate of the Sul Ross Law Enforcement Academy. (Photo by Steve Lang)


    Author and Alpine native Don Burgess will present a gallery talk on his new book, “Sierra Challenge: the Construction of the Chihuahua al Pacifico Railroad,” on Thursday, Aug. 1 at the Museum of the Big Bend.
    Burgess’ talk begins at 6 p.m. A book signing will follow. “Sierra Challenge” is a compilation of his father Glenn Burgess’ photographs and accompanying news articles taken and written during the final stages of construction of Mexico’s Chihuahua al Pacifico Railroad, which opened in 1961.     
    Called one of the most challenging engineering feats in railroad construction, the Chihuahua al Pacifico Railroad was conceived in the mid-19th century and finally opened over 100 years later. Glenn Burgess covered the final construction for newspapers in Texas, exploring the engineering challenges and the possibilities for commerce.
    Glenn Burgess (1905-1995) worked as a photo-journalist for the El Paso Times and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. At the time, he also taught journalism and photography at Sul Ross State University. His collection of photographs of the Big Bend National Park is housed at the Archives of the Big Bend in the Wildenthal Library at Sul Ross.
    Don Burgess, who graduated from Alpine High School and Texas Western College (now the University of Texas El Paso), has assembled the news articles and his father’s photographs, along with notes and interviews to provide historical and personal context for the news articles. The book includes over 100 of Glenn Burgess’ photos, taken with a 4x5 Speed Graphic camera, as well as several maps.
    The author of numerous books, Don Burgess worked in Mexico’s Sierra Madre while still in college and has since spent his life among the Raramuri or the Tarahumara people. In 2008, he completed the first translation of the New Testament into Baja Tarahumara. A recent publication concerning the Tarahumara culture is a bi-lingual Tarahumara-Spanish work on Tarahumara uses of corn.
    For more information, contact Mary Bones, curator, Museum of the Big Bend, (432) 837-8734 or

    “Fangly Fish and the Military Man,” a Bachelor of Fine Arts exhibition by Sul Ross State University student Alexander Costea, San Antonio, will be on display in the Main Gallery, Francois Fine Arts Building, through Aug. 9.
    A closing reception will be held in the Gallery on Friday, Aug. 9, 3-5 p.m. There is no admission charge and the public is invited. Gallery hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
    Costea’s prints showcase the different techniques inherent in the field of printmaking, and show the diversity of achievable results in this artistic discipline. The prints in this collection use many of the techniques available in the printmaker’s arsenal to create unique works of art.  From solar plate printing to lithography, from silkscreen techniques to monoprinting, this artist shows the craft of printmaking is alive and well in Texas. Costea will discuss the various techniques employed and the stories behind the creation of these works during the closing reception..      
    Some of these works have been shown in galleries around Alpine and have won awards in the Sul Ross Student shows over the last two years.  Costea was named the Sul Ross Outstanding Art Student of the Year in 2012.
    For more information, contact Costea, (210) 393-0399.