News Release Library
April 10, 2013

Graduate Students Present Research and Special Projects at Full-Day Symposium

Members of the St. Edward’s community and the public are invited to attend the Master of Liberal Arts (MLA) and the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) programs’ annual symposium of graduate student research. The event provides a forum for expression and communication while celebrating the scope and outstanding quality of work occurring within these programs. An MLA and MAT alumni reception and awards presentation conclude the symposium. See the following schedule for event topics and details.

April 18, 2013
Mabee Ballrooms, Ragsdale Center

12:30–12:50 p.m. MLA/MAT Welcome
Dr. Helene Caudill
, Dean, New College
Dr. Grant Simpson, Dean, School of Education
Dr. David Hollier, Director, Master of Arts in Teaching
Dr. Ramsey Fowler, Director, Master of Liberal Arts

12:55–1:40 p.m.
“Austin’s Inner City: A Structure of Systematic Failure”
Jarrell McCullar
This project is focused on four systematic structures that create obstacles in the lives of poverty-stricken inner-city residents in Austin, Texas. The four structures explored are the declining resources in the public schools, lack of healthy food options, the abuse of government assistance, and lack of community centers and resources. The project is divided into two parts: In addition to research, the project contains video interviews with people who live in poverty-stricken areas, in addition to community advocates.
Carol Walker, Ph.D., Faculty Mentor

“And No One in This Town Burns Bright Enough”
Sherrie Tatum
This is a memoir that focuses on Dr. Laurence Schacht, the young man who presided over the poisonings at Jonestown, Guyana, in l978. The author uses personal memories combined with interviews and research into the history of Peoples’ Temple to tell the story of the times and what led to this tragic event. My book is in part an attempt to show how the climate, from the heady times of the 1960s to the letdown of later years might have led up to the events in Jonestown.
Gail Folkins, Ph.D., Faculty Mentor

“Impact of Assessment Literacy on Accountability Assessment Preparation, Implementation, and Perception”
Alison Ayala
Accountability assessments are prevalent in the professional lives of educators in publicly funded schools. Diverse perceptions about accountability assessments are readily in evidence. Studies have been conducted about the existence of negative perceptions of assessment and about practices such as “teaching to the test”. This study seeks to understand how the level of “assessment literacy” an educator possesses may impact his/her perceptions and practices associated with accountability assessments. Experiential feedback from educators, policy-makers, and assessment professionals was collected. Topics in this study include the perceived purposes of assessment by educators, assessment preparation and implementation methods, and the perceived influence of accountability policies and practices by educators.
David Hollier, Ed.D., Faculty Mentor

1:45–2:30 p.m.
“Gleaning: A Journey Through Farming in Austin”
Phyllis Anastasia Brasenell
Over millennia, how we produce and consume food has changed radically, resulting in the current industrialized model. However, twenty-first century America has seen a slow and steady paradigm shift back to a less mechanized form of farming, known broadly as “the food movement.” This phenomenon is especially evident in Austin, where urban agriculture has taken a strong foothold both within the city center and surrounding environs.
Gail Folkins, Ph.D., Faculty Mentor

“Ripples, Pins, and Blank Pages: A Writer’s Journey”
Erin McIntosh
The writer’s journey, like any journey in life, is a very personal process. Using Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structures of Storytellers & Screenwriters' I will explain Vogler’s stages and how they can be applied to my journey. The journey involves the early steps that influenced my writing, how I became interested in writing children’s fiction, and the steps I took while writing my first children’s book. Included in this work is my very first complete children’s book, with an illustrated book dummy.
Debbie Gonzales, MFA, Faculty Mentor

“Enhancing the Effectiveness of Different Learning Interventions in Leadership Development Programs”
Darron Grussendorf
Organizations invest billions of dollars each year to support employee learning and development with a significant percentage targeted at leadership development in particular. This qualitative research study explores two leadership development programs at a mid-size, non-profit organization, employing a variety of data collection methods to capture participant perspectives on the effectiveness of different learning interventions. Using an appreciative approach, my aim was to discover the best of what already exists in the programs as well as to solicit ideas for enhancing learning transfer and application in the workplace.
David Hollier, Ed.D., Faculty Mentor

2:30–2:50 p.m.        
Refreshment break

2:50–3:35 p.m.
“Postcards from Oz”
Tammi Schissler
My novel begins in this way: “I was named Ruby Johnston. Johnston, my mama’s last name account of me not having a daddy, and Ruby after the color of Dorothy’s slippers in The Wizard of Oz.  Mama loved the way Dorothy could close her eyes, click those shoes, and wish herself where she pleased. ‘Sure as hell wouldn’t come back here to Kansas though’, Mama used to say. ‘That Tornado can come and whirl me away any day’.”
Joseph O'Connell, MFA, Faculty Mentor

“The Lost History of a Little Town: A Moran Story”
Sunny Howard
Moran, Texas is currently one of those dying towns that can be seen on any Texas highway. The type of place many Texans call home where the memories of multiple generations linger. Moran had a humble beginning, with ranchers and farmers populating the small community until oil was found in 1908. For over 20 years Moran would revel and struggle with the newly found wealth oil provided. When the Depression arrived the community bonded together and provided a safe haven for its inhabitants. A screenplay and video.
Terry Newton, Ph.D., Faculty Mentor

“What Are the Most Effective Methods for Increasing Cross-Cultural Communication in the Secondary Theatre Arts Classroom?”
Lisa Hart
Theatre classrooms across the nation are seeing an increase of culturally diverse students in their programs. As a theatre educator, I find it to be my responsibility to implement activities that will inspire students of all backgrounds to effectively communicate, feel included, and become agents of change in their future endeavors. I have explored within this action research study: methods established by Augusto Boal’s image and forum theatre, community building exercises, self-written plays, published scenes, and a one-act play in two secondary theatre arts classrooms in Austin, Texas. The process and results of these methods serve to compare and contrast which activities are most suitable for increasing cross-cultural communication.
David Hollier, Ed.D., Faculty Mentor

3:40–4:25 p.m.
“Coyote”
Anthony Weber
Coyote tells the story of Deacon and Sarah, two students at an academically rigorous Catholic liberal arts university, which is both politically and religiously conservative. As the two are considering building a romantic relationship, Coyote, the Native American trickster figure, reveals himself to Deacon. Coyote recruits the student to protect Sarah from a supernatural threat, but he doesn’t want Deacon to tell her about the danger. Questions of identity, community, the nature of reality, and spirituality are all explored.
Joseph O'Connell, MFA, Faculty Mentor

“Producing Food for a Growing Population in the Midst of Climate Change”
Julie Perales
Today we have a highly mechanized, industrial mono-crop system of agriculture that is depleting our best farmland of nutrients, killing rural communities, destroying crop diversity, and putting our environment and our health at risk. We need to move toward a form of agriculture that can replenish our soils, restore the prominence of the small, local, farm and farming communities, preserve plant and crop diversity, and focus on growing healthy, nutritious food to feed our growing world population. In short, we need to move toward a system of sustainable agriculture.
Joseph O'Neal, Ph.D., Faculty Mentor

“An Exploration of How Athletic Identity Affects NCAA-Level Student-Athletes’ Educational Attainment”
James Martin
The student-athlete system lends itself to the opportunity of academic and athletic success, however this focus can waiver in numerous directions leaving the student-athlete in a precarious position. This qualitative study aims to give “voice” to the student-athlete population by investigating the relationship between student-athletes athletic identification and educational focus. Topics addressed in this study include the impact of others on student-athletes lives, problems and difficulties encountered by student-athletes, balancing commitments and the impact of an overly athletic identification.
David Hollier, Ed.D., Faculty Mentor

4:30–5:15 p.m.
“Moving On”
Joanne Hatton
This is a memoir of family tradition, myths, and support. Five generations of women are represented in scenes that come together to address dreams, disappointment, change, and hope. Through short scenes, I share the family myths about marriage and fate, and the disappointment that occurs when things don’t fall in line with that story.
Gail Folkins, Ph.D., Faculty Mentor

“The Beholder as Witness: An Application of Reception Methodologies to the Beata Humilitas Altarpiece Panels Attributed to Pietro Lorenzetti”
Lorraine Witzel
This project uses reception-focused postmodern methodologies to analyze the Beata Humilitas altarpiece attributed to Pietro Lorenzetti, exploring how a close examination of these objects through reception methodologies yields new perspectives on the panels. In doing so, issues in the application of literary reading processes to the “beholding process” (the differences between “text-reader-work” and “object-beholder-work” processes) are surfaced and discussed.
Mary Brantl, Ph.D., Faculty Mentor