Art Education Students Train at Kimball

July 10, 2014
UT Arlington students work with visitors to the Kimball Art Museum in Fort Worth. (Photo contributed)

UT Arlington students work with visitors to the Kimball Art Museum in Fort Worth. (Photo contributed)

For the past three years, Assistant Professor Amanda Alexander (Art & Art History) has been taking her art education students to the Kimbell Art Museum for what she calls the “four-part series.”

Students visit the Fort Worth museum four times each spring. In the first three sessions, Kimbell employees — Connie Barganier education manager, and Marilyn Ivy, studio and family programs coordinator — teach Alexander’s class about the strategies of teaching on the art that resides in the museum. The students, in separate groups, create a curriculum about a specific piece displayed at the museum.

In the final session, UT Arlington students teach two dozen students from Kirkpatrick Middle School in Fort Worth. After the lesson, the middle schoolers are given supplies to create their own work of art.

Student Alexia Austin taught a group of middle school students about one of Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux’s sculptures, Portrait of Charles Carpeaux, his brother. The students were receptive to what they were teaching them, she said, they loved the art project to accompany the lesson.

Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux depicted his brother, Charles, a violinist, strumming a violin, the object that defined him.

“The sculpture became especially meaningful to the artist when his brother died shortly after the sculpture was completed,” Austin said. “My teaching group asked our students to emulate Carpeaux’s artwork by creating their own sculptures, which held personal meaning. We gave each student a lump of clay and asked them to think about someone they love and to consider an object that best personified that individual. The students were then instructed to create that object out of their lump of clay, and the results were fantastic!”

Alexander began a similar program in Pennsylvania before she joined the UT Arlington faculty. Once here, she discussed the program with several Metroplex museums, and Kimbell embraced the idea, she said.

“The reason the education manager at Kimbell wanted to do it is because we all see it as a win-win for everyone,” Alexander said. “It is going to benefit my students and make the education program more known. On their side of it, if they get college kids or younger students in the door, [those students] will come back.

UT Arlington students tour Kimball Art Museum in Fort Worth. (Photo contributed)

UT Arlington students tour Kimball Art Museum in Fort Worth. (Photo contributed)

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(Story by Elissa Ammon/COLA Communications)

COLA Notes for Summer 2014

July 8, 2014

News and notes from around the College of Liberal Arts…

ART & ART HISTORY: “Dawn,” a new film by Ya’Ke Smith, the Morgan Woodward Distinguished Professor of Film, was screened during the 17th Annual HBO Short Film Award competition June 20, the FutonCritic.com reported. The prestigious award is part of the American Black Film Festival program. … Smith was interviewed on San Antonio Living, a WOAI NBC News 4 television program, about last month’s Juneteenth. He started a youth filmmaker award as part of the celebration. … Benito Huerta, professor and director of The Gallery at UTA, was featured in the July issue of 360 West. … KERA 90.1 FM reported that film students at UT Arlington competed for Best Narrative, Best Picture and Best Animation during the University’s two-day film festival last month at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. … Work by MFA candidate Morgan Chivers was featured at Ontario Science Center in Ontario, Canada. … Visual communication students Alexander Reyher, Drew CollinsKarolina Bebak, Kimi Nguyen, Samuel McKinnie and Nike Duraku from the Design Texas class have created a new identity for Humane Society of North Texas, a non-profit located in Ft. Worth. … Art Education students met four times during the Spring 2014 semester at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, teaching art lessons to middle schoolers from Kirkpatrick Middle School. … Students from UT Arlington were mentioned in the latest edition of AICC’s “Box Score” newsletter. The students — Holly Aldriedge, Ayla Haynes and Cosme Olivas — won first place in the International Corrugated Packaging Foundation’s 2014 competition this past spring.

COMMUNICATION: Radio & Television Business Report reported that 157 radio spots and campaigns, including UTARadio.com’s “Bullying Hurts,” made it to the finals of the 2014 Radio Mercury Awards, which honors outstanding radio created by advertising agencies, production companies, radio stations and students. The thirty-second PSA was produced by broadcast major Derica Booker. Though it did not win this year, this is the second time in four years UTA Radio has been named a finalist in the competition. The station won the award in 2011. … Assistant Professor Karishma Chatterjee presented in May a paper, “Negotiation of Competing Discourses by Primary Caregivers of Hospice Patients,” at the International Communication Association Conference in Seattle, Wash. Chatterjee also had an article, “The Role of Communicating Uncertainty and Information Subsidies on News Media Representation of the Female Condom’s Efficacy,” published in Journal Studies in Media and Communication. … Associate Professor Tom Christie presented a paper, “Gun Control and the Press After the Sandy Hook Killings: The Relationship Between Leading National Newspaper Coverage, Public Opinion and Public Policy,” at the 69th Annual American Association for Public Opinion Research Conference in Anaheim, Calif., in May. … Assistant Professor Shelley Wigley is co-author of an article, “Examining the Impact of Negative, User-Generated Content on Stakeholders,” which is slated for publication in Corporate Communications: an International Journal. … Wigley was one of 75 invited faculty members to Edelman’s 2014 Academic Summit, Storytelling at the Speed of Now, where educators learned from Edelman clients, media digital thought leaders and Edelman’s own leadership team. The conference was held in Chicago at DePaul University. … An article by Senior Lecturer Kim Pewitt-Jones has been accepted for publication by the Southwest Education Council. … Assistant Professor Erika Pribanic-Smith’s article, “Partisanship in the Antislavery Press during the 1844 Run of an Abolition Candidate for President,” was featured on the website of American Journalism, the journal of the American Journalism Historians Association. The article will also be published in the Summer 2014 issue of American Journalism. … Graduate student Alexandra Beshkova has been offered a graduate assistant position for UTA’s First Year Experience program. The First Year Experience Course (MAVS 1000) is required for incoming freshmen this fall. Beshkova will assist with the program in her GA position. … Broadcast major Nadi Bennett was invited by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights to participate in the events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the signing of the civil rights act in 1964. Bennett traveled to Washington, D.C., on July 2. She was one of three UTA students selected. … Himanshu Patel (’14) was recently hired for a full-time internship with The Richards Group. … Several broadcast majors are interning with local television and radio stations this summer: Alexis Garcia is working with Cumulus Media while Kenzie Cox is at KEGL 97.1 (The Eagle) in Dallas; Jimena Fraga is interning with KDFW-FOX 4, and Charlie Vann and Jessica Stroud are lending their talents to Clear Channel-102.1 The Edge; David Kline is at WBAP News/Talk 820 AM, and David Bansigan is working with CBS Radio. … Public relations majors are also getting hands-on experience over the summer months: Elissa Ammon is serving as an intern for the College of Liberal Arts and Kimberly Muchow is with Easter Seals North Texas; Kieria Rickett is working with XTO Energy; and Kaigen House is with Static Magazine. … Advertising majors have also landed coveted internships: Hieu Duc Hoang at Atomic Design and Consulting, Dustin Daniel at Highland Lakes Camp and Conference Center, Katie Krivit at Parlor Advertising Agency, and Alexis Brazell at Ilfusion Creative. Cristina Arizmendiz is spending her summer with KHFA Fine Art and Abbie Beltran with the Moroch Agency. … Journalism major Maira Nieto is working with City of Arlington in its Office of Communication. … Communication Technology major Umear Ali is spending the summer in Florida, working with Fattmerchant. … Radio Advertising Bureau President Erica Farber visited the Summer I radio production class and discussed the state of the radio industry and her path from sales assistant to general manager to publication owner. … FOX 4 TV Reporter Melissa Cutler brought her 13 years of major-market experience to broadcast writing and reporting students, advising them to be creative when applying for jobs. … Alisa (Coleman) White, a former graduate adviser and associate professor from 1998-2005, has been selected as the candidate to be the next president of Tennessee’s Austin Peay State University, according to The Leaf-Chronicle (Clarksville).

Associate Professor Andrew Clark (third from right) and Assistant Professor Mark Tremayne (second from right) hosted an international group of journalists sponsored by the U.S. State Department on June 20. The professors discussed their research on drone journalism and presented information about Department of Communication. Event participants traveled from a number of different countries including Romania, Ghana and Romania. (Photo contributed)

Associate Professor Andrew Clark (third from right) and Assistant Professor Mark Tremayne (second from right) hosted an international group of journalists sponsored by the U.S. State Department on June 20. The professors discussed their research on drone journalism and presented information about Department of Communication. Event participants traveled from a number of different countries including Romania, Ghana and Romania. (Photo contributed)

CRIMINOLOGY & CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Lauretta Hill (’93) has been appointed to serve as deputy chief of police in Miami Beach, the Miami Herald reported. The new appointment makes her Miami Beach’s first black deputy chief and its highest-ranking black officer.

ENGLISH: A Fort Worth Star-Telegram story about Cinco de Mayo quoted Assistant Professor William Arce, assistant director for the Center for Mexican American Studies, on the tradition of celebrating May 5 and the Battle of Puebla. … For the first time in Nolan Catholic High School’s 53-year history, the coed school will be led by a female graduate, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. Erin Vader (’94) was named president at the diocese’s 1,000-student school after a change in leadership prompted a national search.

HISTORY: In several Al Jazeera America columns, Assistant Professor Oliver Bateman addressed topics such as whether steroidal usage causes heart disease and social media policies for faculty at higher education institutions. Bateman also authored a commentary about his professional journey in Salon.com.  … Professor Emeritus Richard Francaviglia, author of “Go East Young Man: Imagining the American West as the Orient,” will be a featured speaker at the John C. Fremont symposium July 25-26 in Carson City, Nevada, the Nevada Appeal reported. Francaviglia taught at UT Arlington from 1991 to 2008. … Sylvia Leyba Hernandez (BA, ’81) was recently appointed by President Obama to lead the U.S. General Services Administration’s Greater Southwest Region, the Deming Headlight (N.M.) reported. Hernandez will oversee all GSA activities in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

LINGUISTICS & TESOL: KRLD/1080 AM (CBS Radio) interviewed Professor Colleen Fitzgerald about the Institute on Collaborative Language Institute, an international gathering of the world’s top linguists focused on preserving endangered languages. “Our language is an essential part of being human and how we express our humanity,” Fitzgerald said. “We’ve lost part of ourselves if we don’t have a connection to our heritage language.” A National Science Foundation grant awarded to Fitzgerald funded last month’s conference. … CoLang 2014, the Institute on Collaborative Language Research completed a successful two weeks of workshops on June 27, and is continuing on with more four weeks of field methods classes on the UT Arlington campus. Four linguistics doctoral students — Dan Amy, Lori Pierce, Samantha Cornelius and Elizabeth Tatz — have Graduate Research Assistantships for the summer as part of the CoLang support team, sponsored by an NSF grant awarded to Fitzgerald. … Associate Professor and Department Chair Laurel Stvan presented a paper on “Linguistic Reinforcement of Beliefs about the Causes of Health and Illness” at the Communication, Medicine and Ethics (COMET) conference in Switzerland on June 27. Funded by one of the newly launched College of Liberal Arts Research Endowment Awards, she also attended a master class there on Engaging Qualitatively with Healthcare Discourse Data. … Doctoral candidate Ashley Lober McKeever was recently hired as an assistant professor at Arkansas Tech University. McKeever, who will be defending her dissertation this summer on meter in folk verse of the Fur language, will begin this fall. … Funded from a 2013-2014 Festival of Ideas Global Research Fellowship as well as an Edmondson Endowment grant award from emeritus professor Jerry Edmondson, doctoral student Kent Rasmussen recently returned from a trip to Bunia and Nia-Nia in the Democratic Republic of Congo. There, he helped the Ndaka and Mbo communities develop draft alphabet charts and transition primers. … Doctoral student Jessica Rohr is once again teaching at Harvard University this summer, as part of the Institute for English Language Programs. … UT Arlington’s English Language Institute (ELI) has been asked again to provide instruction for the Chinese MBA English program for 3 weeks in August for UTA College of Business students. Adam Stein (MA TESOL, ’09), currently an instructor for ELI, is set to teach the program. … Adjunct instructs for ELI this summer include Iya Khelm (current doctoral student in Linguistics), Chloe Williams (M.A. Linguistics, ’14), Lana Marji (M.A TESOL, ’11) and Manar Saleh (M.A. TESOL, ’05).

MODERN LANGUAGE: Associate Professor Ignacio Ruiz-Pérez — who recently received the Ninth Annual Luis Cardoza y Aragón Poetry Prize, an international award open to poets from Mexico and Central America — was mentioned on the UT System blog, UT Matters.

MUSIC: Members of the UT Arlington jazz band spent part of their summer working with students in Germany. Check out video and pictures from the trip on the group’s Facebook page. … Visiting Assistant Professor Terri Sánchez was interviewed in the June issue of Miyazawa Flutes.

PHILOSOPHY: Four philosophy majors – Courtney Broderick, Mirza Islam, William Heeps and Jaryth Webber – will represent UT Arlington at Philosophers’ Jeopardy, a July 22 contest hosted by the Dallas Philosophers’ Forum. Teams from Southern Methodist University and University of Dallas will also compete. The event is slated for 7 p.m. at Unity of Dallas Church and admission is $10. … Associate Professor Charles Chiasson and the annual UTA Homerathon were featured in an article in Greek newspaper, Ethnos.

POLITICAL SCIENCE: Political Science major Heba Said, opinion editor of UT Arlington’s student newspaper The Shorthorn, received an unfriendly welcome at the Republican state convention in Fort Worth, Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Bud Kennedy wrote. Said detailed her experience in a Shorthorn column. … Associate Professor Brent Sasley wrote an opinion piece for The Jerusalem Post about the need for Israel to address discrimination of its Arab population. The Jerusalem Post is Israel’s best-selling English-language daily. … Sasley was also quote in an AFP article about Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s campaign for the Turkish presidency.  … The Dallas Morning News quoted Associate Professor Allan Saxe in a story about the small impact that opposition groups had on local school bond elections. “It’s extremely difficult to defeat a school bond election,” Saxe said. “You have to go up against administrators, teachers, retired teachers, chambers of commerce, the city officials and parents, all of whom generally believe the bond is in the best interest of the community.” … Professor Thomas Marshall was featured in a Dallas Morning News story about Rep. Ralph Hall touting the National Rifle Association’s endorsement and chiding his GOP runoff challenger for not being a member of the group. … The Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News quoted Associate Professor and Department Chair Rebecca Deen in stories about the Texas Democratic Convention. The convention began June 26.

SOCIOLOGY & ANTHROPOLOGY: The Census released new statistics last week that show the number of U.S. residents living in “poverty areas” has jumped significantly since 2000, the Christian Science Monitor reported. Professor Ben Agger (Sociology) said poor neighborhoods lack decent housing, schools, health care and food. … Agger weighed in on the Jahi McMath case for a Christian Science Monitor article and was quoted in a Tech Page One piece about BuzzFeed’s viral quizzes that have become popular with millions of social network users. … Earlier this year, Randolph College professor Lori Lee (BA, ’93; MA, ’97) was named the 2013 Virginia Professional Archaeologist of the Year by the Archaeological Society of Virginia. She received the award for her years of research at Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest, where she has helped discover, document, and analyze the lives of slaves who lived on the plantation.

THEATRE ARTS: Specialist Michelle Harvey designed the scenery for the U.S. premier of “Soho Cinders” at Uptown Players in Dallas which opened June 13. Harvey also designed “Divas Gone but not Forgotten” (June 20) for the Turtle Creek Chorale in Dallas. … Lecturer Felicia Bertch, a founding member of Wheaton Shakespeare in the Park in Chicago, is co-producing “Love’s Labour’s Lost” for the company in August as well as playing Jacquenetta in the show. … Bertch also taught a movement workshop at Trinity Valley School’s “Much Ado About Shakespeare.” This is the 8th annual Shakespeare performance/seminar for young adults produced by artistic directors, Anna and Dr. Don Carlson. … Associate Professor Joe Chapa and Specialist Jared Land taught workshops in stage combat and design respectively at the “Much Ado About Shakespeare” month-long seminar. … Senior Lecturer Natalie Gaupp directed a one-night-only crime drama, “A Steady Rain,” in the UTA Studio Theatre on June 28. The play starred senior Travis J. Fant and UT Arlington alumnus David Wilson-Brown. … Senior Lecturer Brandi Andrade is writing dramaturgical articles on all of Theatre Three’s female playwrights this season. Andrade is also performing readings at the Grand Prairie Library on July 15. … Senior Bentleigh Nesbit was cast as Mama Ogre and one of the 3 little pigs in “Shrek: the Musical” at Fort Worth’s theatre for children, Kids Who Care! Winston Daniels (’12) was cast as Donkey. … Senior Anna Marie Boyd has been cast in the national tour of “Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer.” … Olivia Shadan Aigbogun (’13) is currently in graduate school at UTA’s School of Social Work. Her master’s thesis will examine theatre as therapy. … Matthew Grevan (’08) Stage Managed and earned his Actors Equity Association union membership with “Soho Cinders” at Uptown Players in Dallas. … Theatre Arts major Omar Gonzalez worked as a set construction intern for “Soho Cinders” at Uptown Players in Dallas. … Senior Tiffany Cromwell was hired as a spotlight operator for “Soho Cinders” at Uptown Players, Dallas. She is also working backstage on the following show, “The Boy from Oz.” … Brittany King (’12) was a costume intern on “Soho Cinders” at Uptown Players, Dallas … Jason Villarreal (’09) performed in Dallas Woody’s Turnabout on June 15, raising money and awareness for the Resource Center. He will also teach at the Dallas Children’s Theatre this month.

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MFA Students Shine in Summer Exhibit

July 8, 2014

art_mfa_summer2014_500px

This summer, visitors to The Gallery at UTA will see the fruits of graduate student research and study.

The 7th Annual Summer MFA Exhibition, running through Aug. 25, presents the artwork of a diverse group of 21 candidates from the Department of Art & Art History. The students, at varying stages of the program, display a broad range of contemporary art-making practice in terms of concept, media and scale, organizers said.

The MFA Program is organized into four areas — studio-intermedia, visual communication, film/video and glass — and the works in this exhibition reveal the artists’ conceptual investigations of a variety of issues as they realize their visions in these respective mediums.

This year’s exhibition was selected by three jurors: Katrina Moorhead, Steven Holland and Julia Dyer. After visiting each MFA candidate’s studio and reviewing all the works that had been completed or were currently in progress, the jurors selected one or two pieces they felt demonstrated the students’ best accomplishments. Their thoughtful choices reflect the depth and diversity of both the program and the student artists who generously share their intellectual and creative explorations, organizers said.

Participating artists include: Ryan Britton, Morgan Chivers, Gladys Chow, David Diaz, Gabriel Duran, Jackson Echols, Elizabeth English, Brendan Feltrup-Exum, Laura Garcia, Christine Heimerman, Ginnie Shih En Hsu, Jean-Patrick Mahoney, Emily Nicastro, Neal Paustian, Michelle Pennington, Maryam Rezaei, Alison Starr, Seth Victorious, Shuhong Wang, Sydney Webb and Joshua Wilson.

Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday. The Gallery is located in the Fine Art Building, room 169, at 502 S. Cooper Street in Arlington.

For more information visit http://www.uta.edu/gallery.

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Pre-Law Center Connects With AISD Students

July 1, 2014
Students from Arlington ISD attended a pre-law workshop April 2 on the UT Arlington campus. The event was hosted by the Pre-Law Center and equipped the students with information on making plans for law school. (Photo by James Dunning)

Students from Arlington ISD attended a pre-law workshop April 2 on the UT Arlington campus. The event was hosted by the Pre-Law Center and equipped the students with information on making plans for law school. (Photo by James Dunning)

Thanks to a grant from the Texas Bar Foundation, UT Arlington’s Pre-Law Center is making an impact in the community.

This past spring, 150 students from six different Arlington high schools visited with Pre-Law Center faculty and students at UT Arlington. Volunteers shared with Arlington ISD students about the preparation necessary to apply for law school, as well as the experience gained through volunteering at legal aid clinics and learning about the different types of law practiced.

“We were overwhelmed with how many students came,” said Elisabeth Cawthon, associate professor of history and interim director of the Pre-Law Center. “We expected 50, but got three times as much. Students were serious about it and AISD seemed to really like the program.”

The program started when a teacher from Carter Junior High inquired about UTA’s Pre-Law Center and said she had students interested in immigration law. Several UTA students went over and talked to those students.

“Our students spent quite a long time acting as mentors to the junior high,” Cawthon said.

Cawthon explained the program was successful because UTA students have a heart for public service. They inspired and encouraged Arlington ISD students, because many of them, similarly, are first generation students in their families, she said.

“It is really helpful for them to share that similarity,” Cawthon said. “There is no substitute for that. If they see a lawyer, they cannot relate with that; they think they can never do that. But if they have as student who is one step ahead of them, who walked the same path, they can relate and it gives people hope.”

AISD students visited the UTA campus on three different dates in April. Each visit was planned with activities: a sample pre-law class with Assistant Professor Oliver Bateman (History); a talk from Megan Hansen, admissions director at Michigan State Law School; and a presentation from Brittany Dunn, a lawyer in the Dallas District Attorney’s office.

Cawthon said Hansen talked to the students about applying to law school and introduced the group to a webinar at Michigan State Law School. In the webinar, students reviewed the various career paths available with a law degree.

The Pre-Law Center intends to host several more events for Arlington ISD students next year, Cawthon said.

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(Story by Elissa Ammon, COLA Communications)

One Night of ‘A Steady Rain’

June 26, 2014

“A Steady Rain” is a one-night stage reading of Keith Huff’s riveting crime drama. Show time is 8 p.m. Friday, June 27, at the UTA Studio Theatre in the Fine Arts Building.

The play explores the lives of two Chicago policemen who, after years of friendship, become doomed by a horrifying and tragic fate.

Directed by Senior Lecturer Natalie Gaupp (Theatre Arts), the show features Travis J. Fant, theatre arts senior, and alumnus David Wilson-Brown.

The performance is for mature audiences only because of graphic language and adult themes. Admission is free.

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(Source: MavWire)

Philosophy Begins Ethics Certification This Fall

June 26, 2014
Williford

Williford

Beginning this fall, UT Arlington students can earn an ethics certificate from the Department of Philosophy.

The certificate, which faculty members say will appeal to a variety of majors, requires 15 hours of credit in various philosophy and ethics courses.

“[The ethics certificate] will be of interest to people with a variety of backgrounds and professional goals for professions where ethics can be important,” said Ken Williford, associate professor and department chair. ”This could be really good for students planning to go to law school, into politics, or medicine and business. There are all kinds of ethical problems that arise in these areas.”

Williford said the courses will enable students to face various kinds of ethical issues they may encounter in their professional careers. In addition to business majors, students working toward jobs in health care, biomedical and environmental fields would benefit from the program, he said.

Williford said the ethics classes will be offered during the day and initially serve undergraduates. He hopes to expand the program to include evening and online courses for graduate and distance education students.

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(Story by Elissa Ammon, COLA Communications)

New Items Added to African Art Collection

June 24, 2014
Brodie

Brodie

Curated by the Department of Art & Art History, a second exhibition of African art and artifacts has opened on campus.

Donated by Dr. Edmund Brodie and his wife, Judith Brodie, this collection expands the UT Arlington African Art Collection, which began in 2011 with the Campbell–Dowdey African Art Collection.

Brodie is the current Executive Director of Program Development for the College of Science at Utah State University, as well as an active researching professor and biologist. He is the former chair of the Department of Biology at UT Arlington

Cheryl Mitchell, lecturer and collections specialist, said the new donation adds to the variety of cultures, styles, and objects already in the University collection. Many of the works are rare, made of fragile materials such as textiles, animal hair, plant fibers and terra cotta, she said.

The Brodies collected the works during expeditions and research trips through much of Africa. During some of their research travels, Professor and Department Chair Jonathan A. Campbell (Biology) and his wife, Tanya G. Dowdey, donors of the first African collection, accompanied the Brodies. This combined collection offers a unique look into how these separate groupings developed concurrently, but based on differing interests and viewpoints, Mitchell said.

The exhibit, “Fertility, Fetish and Sacred Ritual,” is currently on display in the Visual Resource Commons, Room 2109, in the Fine Arts Building.

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Three UTA Students Join Civil Rights Event

June 23, 2014

Three UT Arlington students — including two from the College of Liberal Arts — will participate next week in the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Sophomore Christian Vasquez (Art & Art History), junior Nadajalah Bennett (Communciation) and senior Iriel Hampton (Biology) were chosen by the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education to participate in the event.

The students will join a group of student civil rights activists and leaders, as well as some of the original Freedom Riders, on a bus trip from Washington, D.C., to Richmond, Va. They will participate in special events organized for the celebration July 2. During the bus ride, they will be making brief stops at the U.S. Supreme Court and Lincoln Memorial.

READ MORE in The Shorthorn.

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ROTC Alumnus Leads Texas National Guard

June 18, 2014
Simpson

Simpson

After several tours of duty and years spent in Washington, D.C., U.S. Army National Guard Brigadier General Lester Simpson is coming home to Texas.

Simpson (’83), who was stationed at the Pentagon, will take over this month as head of the Texas Army National Guard. The UT Arlington ROTC alumnus joined the National Guard in 1980.

A veteran of the war in Afghanistan, Simpson served a 10-month tour in Bosnia and worked with NATO officials on peacekeeping assignments in Eastern Europe.

Simpson was inducted into the UTA Military Science Hall of Honor in 2010 and joins nearly two dozen alumni who have reached a top officer rank.

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Communication Alumna Blazes a Trail to D.C.

June 9, 2014
Iheme

Iheme

For the past three years, Army Maj. Nkechi Paytonia Iheme (’03) has been working behind the scenes in Washington, D.C., helping to guide national and international policies.

As an Army Congressional Fellow, Iheme has supported members of Congress, the Pentagon and several legislative committees – including Intelligence, Armed Forces and Foreign Relations – through the Army’s Congressional Liaison Program. She worked for a year as a defense fellow for Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and is currently the Intelligence, CYBER, and Biometrics Congressional Liaison.

The fellowship, which ends in December, is a milestone in a burgeoning career that includes assisting the U.S. government to help the people of Haiti after a devastating 2010 earthquake and supporting humanitarian efforts in Guyana. Iheme, who graduated summa cum laude from The University of Texas at Arlington with Bachelor of Arts degrees in communication technology and public relations (Department of Communication), said her undergraduate experience contributed greatly to her career.

“Any college experience prepares one for this type of work,” Iheme said. “College forces you to work with little guidance and also to develop your own projects and initiatives if you are a part of extra-curricular activities. That experience is what you need, because no one is going to tell you what to do. You either sink or swim.”

After graduation, Iheme was commissioned in the Army’s Military Intelligence Corps, served as an intelligence officer in Germany and deployed twice to Iraq. She transitioned to work in Army Special Operations as an active duty civil affairs officer, which included service at Fort Bragg, N.C., Haiti, and Guyana, South America. She began the congressional fellowship in May 2011. She also holds a master’s degree in legislative affairs from George Washington University.

Iheme said she benefited significantly from her time in the UT Arlington ROTC program. She also cites a study abroad trip to Mexico City that moved her out of her comfort zone and forced her to rely on her “language ability and interpersonal skills.”

“What I have learned about myself during this role is that it never hurts to ask, there are no dumb questions and be a team player,” she said. “Applying those guidelines each time you are placed in a new scenario will be helpful.”

Prior to college, Iheme enlisted and attended basic training at Fort Hood, where she was awarded a college scholarship. During her service, she has been decorated with several awards, including the Bronze Star medal.

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(Story by James Dunning/COLA)


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