Latest News from Sul Ross March 21, 2014


    Liz Jackson (right), Director of the Museum of the Big Bend at Sul Ross State University, received the 2014 Woman of Distinction honor by the Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest (GSDSW).  
    The awards ceremony was held Thursday (March 20) at the Green Tree Country Club, Midland. Diane Flanagan, CEO of GSDSW, made the presentation.
    Jackson, along with eight others, was recognized for her outstanding work in the fund raising efforts to renovate and restore the historic Museum of Big Bend, a Texas Centennial Memorial Museum, and the installation of the permanent exhibit “Big Bend Legacy” in the museum.  Her dedication to those projects enabled the museum to raise over $4 million in a record period of time and the museum was rededicated in August 2007.    

    The organization has recognized more than 300 women in the Permian Basin during the last 23 years.  The award recognizes the recipients for their accomplishments and for being community leaders and role models for girls who will be the leaders of tomorrow.
    Jackson volunteers at the Alpine Christian School and serves a board member of the Texas Mountain Trail and Center for Big Bend Studies.  She is also an active member in the Pilot Club of Alpine.
    For more information, contact Jackson, (432) 837-8143 or

    The annual Sul Ross State University student art show will continue through Friday, March 28 in the Main Gallery, Francois Fine Arts Building.
    Gallery hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. There is no admission charge and the public is welcome. Visitors are encouraged to vote for their favorite piece of art.
    A closing/awards ceremony will be held at 5:45 p.m. Thursday, March 27. First, second and third place awards will be presented, as well as the People’s Choice Award.
    For more information, contact Amanda Calhoun, (432) 837-8218 or

    Seventeen Sul Ross State University students are working on undergraduate research projects as part of the 2014 McNair Program.
    Enrolled students are from disciplines ranging from animal science to psychology, and including biology, communication, geology, literature, political science and natural resource management.
    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.
    Students from the 2013 program have been accepted to present their research at annual meetings of the Texas Academy of Sciences, University of North Texas’ Undergraduate Research Symposium, The Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society, the Texas Section Society for Range Management, the American Indian Science and Engineering Society National Conference, and the Southwest Psychology Association.
    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.
    “We have a great line-up of students and mentoring faculty this year,” said Mary Bennett, McNair Program director. “Students seem to have gotten a head-start on their research, and are busy gathering data. They will complete their papers the first week of July, and will give a practice presentation in Warnock Science Building July 10-11.”
    Students will also participate in the annual McNair-Tafoya Symposium in late October, as well as year-long academic conference presentations, graduate school acceptances, and perhaps journal publications.
    2014 McNair Program students, their hometowns, projects and faculty mentors are:
    * Fernanda Arroyo, Presidio, “The Relationship between Participation in the Texas FFA Spanish Creed Speaking Event and Students’ Perceptions of Positive Learning,” Chris Estepp, Animal Science, mentor.
    * Clara Brodie, Midland, “the Correlation Between Reproductive and Genetic Divergence in Ants of the Trans-Pecos,” Chris Ritzi, Biology.
    * Sofia Caylor, Houston, “Survey of Mafic Rock of the Big Bend Region,” Kevin Urbanczyk, Geology.
    * Megan Downing, Midland, “The Relationship Between Gender Attitudes and American Involvement in Foreign Affairs,” Amy Moreland, Political Science.
    * Cameron Goebel, Boyd, “Use of Camera Traps to Determine Black Bear Distribution and Habitat Use in Big Bend National Park,” Patricia Harveson, Natural Resource Management.
    * Shawna Graves, Austin, “Using Sul Ross State University’s New SEM Equipment to Catalog Minerals Present in Hancock Hill Volcanic Facies,” Urbanczyk.
    * Matt Hall, Era, “Queering Shakespeare: A Story of Queer Theory and Its Relation to Shakespeare’s Works,” Sharon Hileman, English.
    * Kassandra Hernandez, El Paso, “A Proposal to Study the Association between Obesity and Osteoarthritis in the Knee Joints of Patients in the Trans-Pecos Area,” Ritzi.
    * Kelly Lara, Rio Grande City, “Living in Shackles: Women held Captive in American Literature,” Laura Payne, English.
    * Robert LeBlanc, Fort Davis, “Mortality Salience and Worldviews: Peyote Religion,” Jay Downing, Psychology.
    * Jennifer Martinez, El Paso, “Twisted Characters in Literature: The Portrayal of Evil through the Centuries,” Hileman.
    * Melissa Martinez, Del Rio, “Difference in Empathy, Connectedness to Nature and Openness to Experience in Hallucinogenic Drug-Users and Non Drug-Users,” Downing.
    * Casey Mitchell, Bandera, “Cretaceous Karst Deposits in Shafter, Texas,” David Rohr, Geology.
    * Richard Newbold, El Paso, “A Proposal to Study Two Populations of Ibervillea Lindheimeri to Determine Speculation Due to Geographical Isolation,” Ritzi.
    * Natalie Pattillo, Alpine, “A Comparative Study of News Coverage of the Government shut Down,” Esther Rumsey, Communication.
    * Felica Rocha, San Antonio, “Movements of Montezuma Quail Surrounding Hancock Hill,” Ryan Luna, Natural Resource Management,.
    * Isabel Whitehead, Alpine, “Agricultural Literacy Rates and Minority Perceptions of Agriculture Among Students Attending Border County High Schools,” Estepp.
    For more information, contact Bennett, (432) 837-8478 or