News Release

College of Education and Human Development sponsors 'Conversations on Diversity' Nov. 12, 13, 15

Contact: Christina Chapple


     HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University’s College of Education and Human Development will present its third “Conversations on Diversity” series Nov. 12, 13, and 15.

     Initiated last year, the free series, which is open to the public, is designed to give students the opportunity to expand their understanding of other cultures, said Dean Diane Allen. “By broadening our students’ horizons, we are giving them the knowledge and awareness they will need as teachers to expand the horizons of their own students,” she said.

     The fall 2007 “Conversations” series features an educator whose research focuses on encouraging girls to study science, a Baton Rouge artist who creates sculptures from an unusual medium, and a panel of Korean students from Southeastern and Louisiana State University.

     On Monday, Nov. 12, Tandra Tyler-Wood, an associate professor in the Department of Technology and Cognition at the University of North Texas, will speak on her National Science Foundation research project “BUGS (Bringing Up Girls in Science).”

     Tyler-Wood will present her one-hour lecture twice -- at 12:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. in the Cate Teacher Education Center Kiva -- to accommodate the schedules of students, area educators and community members.

     In 2002, with support from the NSF Division of Human Resource Development, Tyler-Wood launched BUGS, a science-themed, after-school program for girls. As a way of encouraging more girls to study science, she paired high school girls as mentors of elementary school girls for field and laboratory science investigations. She found that the pairings boosted interest and confidence in both groups.

     “The opportunity to interact with slightly older students who are highly successful in science, technology and mathematics has proven to be a key component in the overall success of the program," Tyler-Wood said.

     On Tuesday, Nov. 13, “Conversations” will feature Michael Smith, a unique artist known as “The Toothpick Man.” His lecture will also be presented twice, 12:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. in the TEC Kiva.

     Instead of using paints, pigments and canvas to create his art, Smith uses toothpicks and wood glue. A native of Port Allen and a Baton Rouge resident, Smith is a recipient of the 2003 Arts Ambassadors Awards and is listed on the State of Louisiana Artist Roster.

     He is a member of the “Artists-In-School” program through the Greater Baton Rouge Arts Council, New Orleans Arts Council and Louisiana Craft Guild.  He frequently conducts workshops and classes, many supported by Baton Rouge Arts Council and Louisiana Division of the Arts grants, to motivate creativity and confidence in young people.

     In 2005, Smith was accepted into the Guiness Book of World Records for creating the world’s largest toothpick alligator. The 320-pound. sculpture is made of more than three million toothpicks and took more than three years to build.

     On Thursday, Nov. 15, from 5:30-6:30 p.m., Bonnie Ahn, an assistant professor of social work at Southeastern, will discuss Korean Culture and Campus Life with five Korean students – Diana Yi from Southeastern and LSU students Youngju Cha, Daeyoung Kim, Eunyoung Lee and June No.

     The students will introduce Korean culture and discuss their experiences as minority students on American college campuses. They will also address Korean traditional value orientation, effects of cultural transition and strategies for coping with a new cultural experience.

     For additional information on “Conversations on Diversity,” contact the College of Education and Human Development, 985-549-2218.

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