Southeastern graduate biology program ranked 6th in nation
Southeastern’s graduate program in biological sciences was ranked sixth in the nation
in the fall Biology Grad Rankings posted by the website graduateprograms.com.
Southeastern was the only institution from Louisiana included in the listing
of the top 25 biology graduate programs in the country.
Among the 15 categories reviewed were academic competitiveness, affordability
of living, campus safety, career support, education quality and faculty accessibility
and support. Southeastern’s ranking is above Yale and Harvard, putting it in good
company with Duke, Carnegie Mellon and Tufts University to round out the top tier
of rated schools.
“This is a testimony to the quality and commitment of our faculty, many of whom
are internationally celebrated biologists,” said Dean of the College of Science and
Technology Dan McCarthy. “The master’s program in biology draws graduate students
from throughout the country, and when they graduate from here, they are typically
placed in some of the strongest doctoral programs for further study.”
The rankings were based on ratings and reviews from current or recent graduate
students with a requirement that a minimum threshold of student surveys are completed.
More than 75,000 students in 1,600 programs participated in the review process.
A sample of student comments from the Southeastern review included:
-- “There are great people present in the program and staff members that sincerely
want to see you succeed.”
-- “I believe SLU offers a great mix of diverse faculty and some excellent mentors
who truly seek to help students succeed in what they do.”
“Our graduate students receive outstanding and individualized training,” said
Chris Beachy, head of the Department of Biological Sciences. “Our graduate faculty
has outstanding publishing success in professional journals, they obtain external
funding from nationally competitive sources like the National Science Foundation,
and they are recognized and honored for their career work by various specialist organizations.”
Southeastern Ceramics Club holds pottery sale Nov. 30 - Dec. 1
Just in time for holiday gift-giving, the Southeastern Ceramics Club will hold its
annual pottery sale Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Student Union.
The club was organized to help Southeastern students sell and promote their work.
For more information, call 549-2193.
The Australian Tropics next topic at Southeastern Science on Tap presentation
Australia, by far, has the highest number of reptile species of any country in the
world, according to Southeastern Instructor of Biology Sean Doody.
“Even when we consider Australia a continent, Africa, which is four times the
size of Australia, has less than twice the number of reptile species,” Doody said.
Doody will present “The (Thorny) Devil Made Me Do It: 20 Years in the Australian
Tropics” as the next Science on Tap Presentation on Tuesday, Dec. 1. Scheduled for
7 p.m. at Tope Lá Catering, 113 East Thomas St. in Hammond, the lecture is free and
open to all ages.
According to Doody, the presentation will track one person’s reptile-driven passion
for complete immersion into the animal communities of tropical Australia.
“This is a research journey into remarkable reptiles across tropical Australia,
exposing novel natural histories of lizards, snakes, turtles and crocodiles, and a
few less interesting groups, such as birds and mammals,” Doody explained. “It will
reveal the raw beauty and diversity of Australian landscapes and cultures and the
challenges and dangers of working in remote places.”
Doody said the lecture will cover a breadth of scientific topics, including ecology,
evolution, behavior, physiology, biogeography, community ecology, and the biology
of invasive species. It will also highlight discoveries of reptiles’ evolutionary
solutions to problems presented by their environment and by their predators and prey.
For information on future Science on Tap presentations, contact the Department
of Biological Sciences at 549-3740.
Southeastern Guitar Ensemble to present fall concert
The Southeastern Guitar Ensemble, directed by Instructor Patrick Kerber, will perform
its fall concert on Dec.1, at 7:30 p.m. in Pottle Auditorium.
The free program will feature music for guitar duo, guitar trio, guitar with
trumpet, two guitars and voice, and the full ensemble of 10 guitars.
“This will be a typical guitar ensemble concert that will present music in fairly
atypical formats,” Kerber said. “It will be a ‘something for everyone’ program with
music from the German Renaissance, to the Spanish Romantic repertoire, to arrangements
of South American folk songs, Central American guitar music, and American jazz.”
The concert will feature guest artists Austin Dugas-Higdon on trumpet, who will
perform Ray Noble’s jazz standard “Cherokee” with guitarist Ken Turner. Soprano Stephanie
Arledge will perform two Spanish art songs: Enrique Granados’ “El tra la la,”and Manuel
de Falla’s “Asturiana” with guitarists Blake Guidry and Brandi Callais. The songs
were arranged for Blake Guidry.
For more information call 549-2886, or email Kerber at email@example.com.
Grant from Dollar General to aid Southeastern literacy program
Southeastern has received a grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation to
support a youth literacy program.
The $4,000 grant will help support Project Roar (“Rediscovering Opportunities
and Attitudes toward Reading”), a program for middle-school children that is sponsored
by the College of Education’s Department of Teaching and Learning.
This is the second year for the program, explained Gerlinde Beckers, assistant
professor of education and coordinator of the project, which provides and expands
literacy intervention for children attending high-poverty schools.
Beckers said Project Roar coordinates book clubs guided by university pre-service
teacher candidates who are enrolled in undergraduate adolescent literature courses.
“For Southeastern students, this is an ideal real-world ready service learning
project. They are able to learn exactly what is taught in their coursework through
a practical, hands-on experience with middle school students,” Beckers said.
Approximately 40-60 students will be able to participate and utilize Kindles
made available for the book club. The one-day per week program is held at the Hammond
Community Center after-school program through Project LION (“Learning in our Neighborhood”).
Project LION is a community partnership sponsored by the Entergy Charitable Foundation
through an additional grant to Beckers.
“For adolescents to become more proficient readers, they must read and read a
lot,” she explained. “This is a way that we can combat the trend of declining reading
among this age group and address issues of reading engagement and motivation.”
Project Roar’s second year is expected to build on the successes of last year
by increasing the number of Kindles and ebooks. For more information, contact Beckers
The Dollar General Literacy Foundation supports initiatives designed to enhance
literacy and education projects. Since its inception in 1993, the Dollar General Literacy
Foundation has awarded more than $100 million in grants to nonprofit organizations.
PROJECT ROAR IN ACTION – Hammond public school students, from left, Demetri Anderson, Quastavia Dunn and
Ayaea Rose practice their reading while Southeastern graduate student Brandy Siears
of Gonzales and Dru Willis, a junior from Slidell, monitor their progress. Dollar
General Literacy Foundation contributed $4,000 to the after school literacy project,
in which Southeastern education students work closely with area middle school students
on improving their reading abilities.
Graduate student helps revitalize farmers market
When Ashton Herron was an undergraduate student in sociology at Southeastern, her
interest in environmental sociology – including the important role locally produced
food could play in a community – began to spark.
So when the opportunity to see what a local food system looks like from “seed
to table,” Herron jumped at the opportunity to participate in an internship with Vintage
Garden Farm, a program of ARC Enterprises in New Orleans.
David Burley, associate professor of sociology, works to connect students with
internship opportunities. He meets with the students and checks their grades and work
ethic before partnering them with organizations that can increase their work and networking
experience. The effort fits in with Southeastern’s efforts designed to enhance students’
academic experiences through internships and other partnerships with businesses and
Burley selected Herron to participate in the program because of her “incredible
work ethic and passion about social justice issues.”
While working with ARC Enterprises, Herron said that initial spark of interest
grew stronger, and soon, she says, “I was like a freshly lit firecracker. I learned
so much from the experience, such as how food is grown, processed and delivered to
the consumer. It was a tremendous experience.”
Now Herron is assisting Burley in aiding other students who are seeking similar
opportunities, both in Louisiana and out of state.
The experience gave her the background to apply for the open position of manager
of the Hammond Farmer’s Market.
“The city was looking for a market manager, and I knew Ashton would be a perfect
fit for the position,” said Burley.
A native of Central and now a graduate student in Southeastern’s Applied Sociology
program, Herron is now working as manager of the market. In her brief time at the
market, she has enhanced it to create a weekly congregation of farmers, artists and
other vendors. What was once a gathering of only a handful of vendors, the market
now has over 25 participating vendors on any given weekend.
Terry Lynn Smith, retired director of the Hammond Downtown Development District
and founder of the market, commends Herron for the effort and success of the market,
saying “Ashton keeps the market organized and managed. She is fair and sincere with
all the vendors.”
“Ashton turned the Hammond Farmers Market around, from a really struggling venture
to an enterprise that could rival any in the state,” adds Burley.
Herron is looking forward to the day when the market has a permanent facility
in Hammond as opposed to its current location along the railroad tracks.
“This is now in the planning phase and would enable us to provide our community
with farm fresh produce, plants, food, art and much more,” she said.
MAKING THE ROUNDS – Southeastern graduate student Ashton Herron makes her early morning rounds at the
Hammond Farmers Market on a recent Saturday morning. Herron has been credited with
revitalizing the market and attracting an increasing number of vendors, as well as
visitors to the weekly event.
Southeastern’s 2015 yearbook cover art holds special meaning
Southeastern’s 2015 edition of “Le Souvenir,” the university’s annual student yearbook,
holds special meaning for a recent graduate and his family.
As the final deadline to turn in artwork for the 2015 yearbook approached, Editor-in-Chief
Fernanda Chagas faced a challenge. Although Chagas, a senior graphic design and printmaking
major from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, knew she wanted a graphic of the Southeastern mascot
– a lion – on the cover of the annual, none of the designs met her expectations.
“My initial idea for the cover was to have an illustrated lion,” Chagas said.
“We haven’t had a lion on the cover for a while, and I wanted to create something
that would stand out. I tried creating several versions, and none seemed right.”
Then Chagas had a conversation with friend Lisa Kirk of Abita Springs, which
turned everything around.
“When I learned that Fernanda was looking for a lion, I knew I had one that my
son Jeffery Lynn had drawn,” said Kirk. “I didn’t know if she would use it, but I
said, ‘If you want it, it’s yours.’ It was like it was meant to be. It was fate.”
The Lion artwork was drawn by Jeffery (“Lynn” - as his family calls him) Kirk,
the deceased son of Lisa and her husband Southeastern graduate Peter Kirk, and brother
of Southeastern alumnus Benjamin Kirk.
Chagas said the artwork was perfect and exactly what she had envisioned for the
“The theme of the yearbook is memories, which made the cover even more special.
I am honored to have been given the opportunity to use this illustration,” Chagas
said. “It was the last piece of the puzzle I’ve been working on for the past year.”
When the time came for the Kirks’ children to attend college, their eldest son
Lynn knew he wanted to enter military service first. He enlisted in the Marine Corps
a few months shortly after his high school graduation.
Lynn Kirk not only excelled in the military, but also in art. Although he had
never received formal art training, according to his mother, he often created designs
for t-shirts or tattoos at the request of his follow soldiers.
After serving his first tour in the Middle East, Lynn Kirk volunteered for a
second tour of duty. His mother said even after being wounded in action in Fallujah,
he opted to stay with his unit rather than coming home. In the fall of 2004, he and
five fellow Marines were killed in a firefight with enemy combatants. For his valor
and gallantry in combat, he was awarded the Silver Star and the Purple Heart with
oak leaf cluster.
In his honor, the Kirk family purchased a commemorative brick sponsored by the
Southeastern Foundation. The brick bearing Jeffery Lynn’s name now rests with others
in the patio overlooking Friendship Oak.
Kirk’s younger brother Benjamin graduated from Southeastern this past May with
a degree in accounting and is currently employed in the Northshore area. With his
brother’s artwork featured on the cover of the yearbook, Benjamin Kirk now has deeper
connections with the university.
“It took on a new meaning for me to see the artwork on my senior yearbook,” said
Benjamin Kirk. “It made me feel proud to know that I’ll be able to look at it in the
future, and it will have the good memories of my college experience and of my brother.”
MEMORABLE ARTWORK – A lion drawn by Jeffery Lynn Kirk, a decorated veteran and the deceased son and
brother of Southeastern alumni, adorns the cover of the 2015 “LeSouvenir,” the university’s
annual student yearbook. With a theme of “Memories,” this year’s annual features original
cover art with special meaning to the university family. Every Southeastern student
is entitled to a copy, which can be picked up at the Student Union, suite 1303, during
regular university hours.
Southeastern choirs to join Northshore Choral Society for performance Dec. 6
The Southeastern Chorus, Concert Choir and Women’s Chorale will join the Northshore
Choral Society for a performance at St. Joseph’s Abbey in St. Benedict near Covington
on Dec. 6.
Sponsored by the Department of Fine and Performing Arts, the free performance
is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Conductors include Southeastern Director of the University
Chorus/Northshore Chorale Brian Martinez and Director of Choral Activities Alissa
Mercurio Rowe, who will direct choirs with the assistance of several student conductors.
“The individuals associated with the University Chorus, the Northshore Choral
Society and the Women’s Chorale and Concert Choir have dedicated many hours of work
and rehearsal time preparing for this major undertaking,” said Rowe. “We believe our
audience will be thrilled and inspired by this performance.”
The concert begins with the University Chorus and Northshore Choral, under conductor
Martinez, performing “Carol of the Bells” arranged by Peter Wilhousky and “Away in
a Manager” arranged by Ola Gjeilo. The Women’s Chorale, with undergraduate student
Nicholas Smith of Ponchatoula conducting, will perform “God Rest You Merry Gentlemen”
arranged by Lara Hoggard, and “Silent Night.”
Rowe said the event will also feature the Concert Choir performing a new piece
titled “Daughter of Light,” written by undergraduate student Michelle Guillot of Slidell.
Rowe will conduct the Concert Choir as they sing “Welcome All Wonders” and “A
Boy Was Born.” Both songs are from “Nativity Suite" by Dale Warland and are accompanied
by harp and flute. Martinez will conduct the University Chorus and the Northshore
Choral Society in a performance that features “Jesus Christ the Apple Tree” arranged
by Elizabeth Poston, “Ubi Caritas” arranged by Martinez himself, and “Noel Nouvelet”
arranged by Richard Zgodava.
For their finish, the University Chorus and Northshore Choral will be led by
Martinez in Antonio Vivaldi’s “Gloria,” a piece composed in Venice around 1715, likely
for a Christmas mass. Various sections of the Gloria will include solo performances
by Southeastern students, including “Laudamus te” with sopranos Lauren Gibson of Walker
and Rachel Davis of Mandeville; “Gratias agimus tibi,” with graduate coordinator Amy
Prats of Abita Springs; “Propter magnam gloriam Domine Deus” with soprano Sara Cage
of Baton Rouge; “Domine deus, Agnus Dei,” with mezzo-soprano Rachel Denton of Houma;
and “Qui sedes a dexteram Patris” with mezzo-soprano Jane Rownd Wear of Hammond.
For more information on the concert, contact the Department of Fine and Performing
Arts at 549-2184.
Southeastern associate professor receives honor
Southeastern Associate Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders Paula Currie
was recently honored as a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
at its annual convention held in November in Denver.
The fellowship is one of the highest honors the American Speech-Language-Hearing
Association bestows. To be awarded a fellow, the individual must have made outstanding
contributions to the discipline of communication sciences and disorders.
Currie was recognized for her contributions in three areas: clinical education
and academic training in speech-language pathology, audiology, speech-language-hearing
sciences and related areas; service to and leadership positions in state speech-language-hearing
associations and/or other related local, regional, national or international professional
organizations; and administrative services in the area of speech-language pathology,
audiology and speech-language-hearing sciences.
“We are proud of Paula’s recognition as a national leader. As a faculty member,
she facilitates quality courses that are innovative, high impact and rigorous,” said
Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences Ann Carruth. “Perhaps the greatest
example of her excellence as an educator is that students view her as a mentor and
continue to seek her guidance long after they graduate.”
Currie began her career at Southeastern in 1991 and, over the years, has served
as the department head and program director for Communication Sciences and Disorders
and the assistant dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. She holds a
certificate of clinical competence in speech-language pathology; a Louisiana license
in speech pathology, and is a certified LSVT LOUD clinician.
A resident of Ponchatoula, her areas of interest include the scholarship of teaching
and learning and working with adults who have developmental communication disorders.
CSD represented at fundraiser
Southeastern’s Communication Sciences and Disorders program (CSD) was represented
at a recent fundraiser called Disable the Label for Launch, a non-profit that provides
therapeutic services for children with developmental disabilities.
Launch was recently founded by Dr. Chantelle Varnado, an alumnus from Southeastern’s
undergraduate and graduate CSD programs.
Meghan Savage, assistant professor in CSD, recruited CSD students to direct and
play carnival games with the children in attendance. One student came dressed as Cinderella
to take pictures with the kids. Dr. Varnado said they had a great time and appreciate
De Noux authors new murder mystery
Southeastern police detective O’Neil De Noux has released his latest police novel,
“The Long Cold,” a tale involving the New Orleans Mafia scene.
“The Long Cold” tells the story of a 30-year old murder case of a 14-year-old
girl that had been long forgotten except by her cousin, the daughter of the boss of
the New Orleans Mafia. She approaches for help one of De Noux’s favorite characters,
private detective and former New Orleans Police Department homicide detective Dino
LaStanza. LaStanza has tangled with the Mafia before, and it didn’t end well, so he
declined the offer to investigate the case.
When additional facts come to light regarding his family’s connection to the
murdered girl, LaStanza takes on the dangerous investigation of the long dormant murder
The book is the latest of an eight-book series featuring detective LaStanza.
A resident of Covington and an investigator with Southeastern’s police department,
De Noux has served with the sheriff’s offices in Jefferson and St. Bernard parishes.
He has also worked as a private investigator, criminal intelligence analyst and creative
writing instructor. He has received several awards, including the Private Eye Writers
of America’s Shamus Award, the Short Mystery Fiction Society’s Derringer Award and
the 2011 Best Police Book of the Year by PoliceWriters.com.
Cover art for “The Long Cold” was created by De Noux’s daughter, Dana De Noux,
a 2014 graduate of Southeastern’s art program. The book is published by Big Kiss Productions
and is available through Amazon or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Art Series concludes with art of the Nativity
The final lecture in the fall “Let’s Talk: Art” series, sponsored jointly by Southeastern’s
Department of Fine and Performing Arts, the Hammond Regional Arts Center, and the
Friends of Sims Library, will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 5 p.m. at St. Albert
Catholic Student Center, 409 West Dakota Street.
Dr. Timothy Silva, instructor in Art History, will present “From the Church Wall
to Under the Tree: Images of the Nativity through the Ages.”
The talk is a discussion of art and popular devotional objects depicting the
birth of Christ, from fourth-century origins to today’s Nativity scenes found under
the Christmas tree. Included will be Renaissance altar pieces, the Sacre Monte, and
Neopolitan creches, all visual representations of the story of the birth of Christ.