8 Things We’re Watching
Happenings Around the HIlltop and into Austin
From new academic programs to Austin partnerships to innovative research projects, learning and discovery on the hilltop is always on a roll. Here’s a quick look at recent happenings worth noting.
St. Edward’s and the Austin Independent School District have partnered to bring graduated AISD students with disabilities to campus to connect them with their collegiate peers. Leslie Loughmiller, assistant professor of Special Education, became involved with the GO Project four years ago and says 18 students at St. Edward’s participate each semester. “Just as we’re connecting GO Project students with opportunities, our Education majors get the same opportunity to see what students with exceptionalities can achieve and what challenges they face. This gives them first-hand experience they can use in their classrooms.”
Last fall, The Bill Munday School of Business announced the arrival of a Bloomberg Terminal, a sophisticated tool that allows students, particularly those interested in finance, to participate in real-time market events.
“Students can simulate hypothetical portfolios and stay ahead of what’s happening to maximize their returns,” says Ali Dadpay, professor of Economics. “The skills required to use this terminal will make students very competitive in their careers and in the marketplace.”
Perhaps it’s only fitting that an MS in Digital Marketing and Analytics be delivered, well, digitally. This fall, The Bill Munday School of Business will launch the university’s first online degree. The program, designed by Professor of Marketing Debra Zahay-Blatz, was created with working professionals in mind and can be completed in 16 months.
The new Teacher Education minor provides students with a powerful career option: teaching in a K–12 setting. With the 24-credit minor, students in academic fields such as science and mathematics can now work toward becoming a certified teacher. “Our goal is to equip students at St. Edward’s with a career path that allows them to incorporate the values of academic excellence, diversity, collaboration and service to others,” says Dean of the School of Education Glenda Ballard.
How do heritage speakers differ from native speakers in their communication style? (Heritage speakers grow up in homes where a non-English language is spoken. Native speakers learn English from infancy.) That’s the puzzle Emily Bernate, assistant professor of Spanish, is piecing together. Since 2014, Bernate has collected audio interviews and surveys from students at universities in Texas and Mexico to determine how each group uses Spanish verb forms to express politeness. The idea came from listening to her students in class, Bernate says. “What I’ve found is that as contact with English increases, the reliance on verb forms to express politeness decreases. The decrease is slower for women than men because women tend to use verbal politeness strategies as a tool to get what they want.”
The “winner effect” elevates an individual’s testosterone levels, which increases the likelihood of further victories. A yearlong research study by three students mentored by Assistant Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience Katherine Goldey sought to find out if that effect could be simulated by mental imagery. The research was funded by the Dr. Emma Lou Linn Student/Faculty Research Endowment, which supports collaborative research in the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences. Since 2014, the grants have funded 11 student research projects, awarding $33,000 to students and their faculty mentors.
Over the past two years, more than 150 students have been supported by more than $600,000 in grants that fund summer research. Our favorite project? Pinpointing the minimum concentration of antimicrobial plant extract needed to treat cancer. Biology major Katherine San Miguel ’18 and Professor of Biology Trish Baynham analyzed African plant specimens sent by the National Cancer Institute to determine their medicinal use.
I’m Not Missing, the debut young-adult novel of Writer-in-Residence Carrie Fountain, was published this summer. Set in Fountain’s hometown of Las Cruces, N.M., the story follows half-Latina Miranda after her headstrong best friend Syd runs away during the middle of the girls’ senior year. Missing is Fountain’s third book, following her poetry collections Burn Lake and Instant Winner.