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Image is of Erin Ennes

Study abroad leads to graduate's job in Spain

A last minute decision to study abroad turned out to be one that dramatically changed the life of Erin Ennes. Ennes, a 2008 honors graduate, decided to study abroad in August 2006. She had no idea where she wanted to study but after working with Heidi Gregori-Gahan, director of International Programs and Services, as well as other staff members, she decided to study abroad in Spain for the fall semester.

Gregori-Gahan said, “Erin seemed particularly inquisitive about experiencing things outside of the United States. She was eager to experience more. I enjoyed working with her. Upon her return she even served as an international orientation assistant for students studying abroad from other countries because she could relate well to them.”

Ennes graduated in May with a double major in public relations and advertising and Spanish. In September, she will be traveling to Spain once again, but this time to teach. She will be teaching English at Virgen de la Cabeza, a primary school for students age three to 12 years old. She will be working with the Council for International Educational Exchange in a program called Teach in Spain. This also is the organization she studied abroad with in 2006. She will receive a stipend of 700 euro (per month), which will cover her food and living expenses.


English major Bowles earns President’s Medal

Image is of Samuel Bowles
Samuel Bowles

The President’s Medal winner and four finalists for the honor will graduate from USI on May 11. Samuel C. Bowles will receive the President’s Medal, the highest honor given by the University to a graduate. All were selected from among 1,400 class members.

Recognition for academic excellence and service
Bowles will graduate summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree. An English/Secondary Education major, he was awarded the Robert E. and Judith E. Griffin Endowed Presidential Scholarship upon his enrollment. He is a four-year member and officer of the Honors Program. He also holds membership in Alpha Mu Gamma, a foreign language honor society, and in Sigma Tau Delta, an English honor society, which he served as vice president and president.

The Crawford County resident was secretary of the Residence Hall Council for one year, and he served as a student ambassador in the Office of Admission for two years.

He earned the All Campus Student Achievement Award and the Top Student Leader Award in spring 2007. For four years he was a student worker in the English Department. He values the relationships he built with support staff and faculty who served as teachers, mentors, and advisors.

After graduation, he plans to serve Hillview Christian Church in Marengo, Indiana, his home church where he currently serves as part-time ministry associate. He also will work in youth philanthropy for the Crawford County Community Foundation. Graduate school, divinity school, teaching, and the Peace Corps are future career options for Bowles.

Image is of the finalists for the President's Medal
President’s Medal finalists from left to right: Kyle Besing, Andrea Henke, Rajeev Singh, and Todd Wannemuehler.

This year’s finalists for the honor are Kyle Besing, Newburgh, graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics; Andrea Henke, Mt. Vernon, graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in history; Rajeev Singh, Greenwood, graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree and a double major in biology and history; and Todd Wannemuehler, Evansville, graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology.

Both Henke and Singh are graduating with degrees from the College of Liberal Arts.

Henke will join the National Park Service as a ranger at George Rogers Clark National Historical Park in Vincennes. Selected from a pool of more than 80 applicants per position, Henke is fulfilling a life-long dream to be hired as a ranger. She also plans to earn a master’s degree in history. 

At USI Henke has been a student ambassador, active in the Honors Program, Adopt-a-Spot, and executive board member of the Residence Hall Council. She received the 2007 Trustees Distinguished Merit Award for excelling in core curriculum classes.  She holds the Donald E. Pitzer History Scholarship. She is active in History Club, Sociology/Anthropology Club, and Phi Alpha Theta. 

Singh was enrolled as a Baccalaureate/MD scholar and has held a 4.0 grade point average throughout his college career.  He is a member of the Student Advisory Board to the Pott College of Science and Engineering.   Read more about his experience...

One student’s story: Indirect route can lead to success in Political Science

Image is of J. Robert Shrode
J. Robert Shrode

There is a lesson for students in J. Robert Shrode’s story: The path to success may wind a bit on its way.

A 1998 graduate of North High School, Shrode, 28, is the son of John and Virginia Shrode of Evansville. Like many college freshmen, he wasn’t sure about what he wanted to do with his life when he entered USI for the first time in fall 2000. He considered and rejected several majors before deciding to put college on hold.

He worked in the food service industry for a few years, considered culinary school or starting his own catering business, but decided against those as well. At the suggestion of his parents, he took a career test. “The test told me I should get out of food service completely,” he said.

He returned to USI in the fall of 2005 with an undeclared major, thinking that a bachelor’s degree would offer him more opportunities economically and in general. One of his courses that semester was an introductory political science class with the instructor listed as “TBA.”

“The TBA instructor turned out to be our provost,” he said. The class was taught by Dr. Linda Bennett. “She was a compelling lecturer, and she could tell I worked hard. She talked to me about opportunities in political science.

“She introduced the idea of graduate school to me and told me I needed to take Dr. Stephen Bennett’s class in polling and survey research. That class was closest to what I want to do in graduate school, so it was serendipitous for me.”

He declared a political science major that year and took four political science courses his second semester. In time, he worked on independent studies and research projects with Dr. M.T. Hallock Morris, associate professor of political science.

Continue reading about Shrode's successful career path to graduation and on to graduate school...

2008 Outstanding Student Award

The College of Liberal Arts has established a new Outstanding Student award. The award is given to a student, nominated by their department for all-around excellence in academics and service.  Two students tied for the first annual award:  Andrea Henke and Megan Fallon.

Henke is graduating with a major in History and minors in Sociology and Anthropology.  Fallon is graduating with a double major in Theatre and Art.

Image is of the 2008 College of Liberal Arts Outstanding Students

Image is of Patricia Aakhus
Patricia Aakhus

Patty Aakhus receives 2008 Scavone Award

Patty Aakhus, director of International Studies, received the 2008 Scavone Award in Medieval Manuscripts and Culture for her translation of Old French poet Chrétien de Troyes’ The Knight with the Lion. A dramatic reading was provided by students in the Department of Performing Arts at an awards ceremony on April 23.

The Scavone Award was established in 2006 by John Lawrence ‘73 in the interest of honoring Dr. Daniel Scavone, professor emeritus of history, who initiated Lawrence’s love for medieval studies and inspired him to research and collect medieval manuscripts from throughout the world.

The theatre students who performed in the dramatic reading in the front are Kensington Blaylock and Rachel Schenk.  Back row is Brandon Eck and Josh Lenn.

Scavone thanked Lawrence and members of the Liberal Arts faculty for “making rather esoteric medieval literature ‘real’ in the 21st Century” and “making me feel I have had some impact.”

Scavone retired from USI in 1999 but continues to lecture about his research topics.

Aakhus is the author of three published novels, The Voyage of Mael Duin’s Curragh, Daughter of the Boyne, and The Sorrows of Tara, based on epic poems she translated from Old Irish, as well as a personal memoir, Rigoletto’s Daughter, and many contemporary short stories, essays, and poems.

She teaches courses in creative writing and humanities and organizes the International Interdisciplinary Colloquium each year.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre arts from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a Master of Fine Arts degree in writing from Norwich University.

Artist-in-Residence, John David Mooney

John Davie MooneyAn art installation by John David Mooney, an urban designer known for his large-scale public sculptures, beautified the USI Quad for a few weeks last spring. Mooney, artist-inresidence in the College of Liberal Arts in April 2008, chose senior art major Daryl Booth as project architect for the installation, a 1,740-foot spiral made of sawdust and hundreds of brightlyhued flags that flapped in the breeze. Booth worked closely with Mooney, who offered him an internship.

For three weeks last summer, Booth lived and worked at the John David Mooney Foundation in Chicago. The internship provided him with hands-on experience in a professional artist’s studio, free room and board, educational and cultural activities, and invaluable networking opportunities.

Booth graduated in December and will return to serve as an apprentice in Mooney’s studio this spring.

To view a photographic slideshow of the Mooney installation, click here >>

Doyle to graduate summa cum laude

Image is of Jessica DoyleJessica Doyle came to USI to achieve a life-long goal.

"I always knew I wanted to go on to graduate school," said the senior history major. "I wanted to do my absolute best here at USI to put myself in the best position to achieve that."

Now graduating summa cum laude with a perfect 4.0 grade point average, Doyle will begin to realize that goal at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill next fall. She will begin a post-baccalaureate program that will focus on her language studies of Greek and Latin.

The Bridgeport, Illinois, native will leave USI with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history with a classical studies minor. She plans to pursue a master's degree, and being able to read and comprehend several languages is a requirement. Doyle is in her third year of Latin, second in German, and first in French. "I didn't need German or French for my core curriculum," she said. "But I know I'll have to learn it eventually, so I decided to get a head start."

Read more about her experience...

Singh to graduate summa cum laude

Image is of Rajeev SinghRajeev Singh will graduate summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree and a double major in biology and history. He has been a Baccalaureate/MD scholar and has held a 4.0 grade point average throughout his college career. He is a member of the Student Advisory Board to the Pott College of Science and Engineering.

Singh has been a student ambassador, a member of Student Government Association, and an associate justice of the USI Supreme Court. Last year he received the Vice President of Student Affairs Outstanding Student Leader Award.

A participant in a service learning project in 2005, Singh led a three-month study to reform the Metropolitan Evansville Transit System. He has tutored students on a consistent basis in chemistry, biology, physics, and history for three years. He plans to study medicine and law after he graduates. He has a desire to change the health policy of the nation through the legislative process.

Singh said, “I will be wrapped around the soft, snow-white cloak of a scholar studying both law and medicine in the next five years. I love studying and expanding my proverbial horizons, and my one and true passion is to help people.”

The son of Deovrat and Vidya Singh, Rajeev graduated from Center Grove High School in Greenwood, Indiana.

Amy Moore will graduate summa cum laude

Image is of Amy MooreAmy Moore will graduate in May with summa cum laude honors and a Bachelors of Science degree in studio art and photography. "That’s pretty amazing," she said. "I didn’t come to college expecting to do that, but I just worked hard and focused so much of my time on my school work and artwork. It’s really paid off, and I’m proud of my accomplishment."

Moore's career plan changed more than once during her college days. While at USI the Poseyville native has contemplated futures in studio art, photography, historic preservation, and teaching. Her passions are painting and photography, but an unexpected job opportunity has Moore considering a career as a newspaper editor.

Coming out of high school, USI was an easy choice for Moore. She wanted to be close to home and go to a school with a strong art program. USI provided both. "It seemed that everyone in high school always said they couldn't wait to get out of this area," she said. "I never felt that way. I love it here."

Moore has family ties to the University which helped solidify her decision. Her mother, Pamela, is an administrative assistant for the College of Liberal Arts. She is also a fellow student. "My mother has always been encouraging of my art," Moore said. "She's actually started taking courses and is majoring in art.”

USI's professors are just one factor helping Evansville become an up-and-coming area for the arts. "USI has an excellent art program," said Moore. "We have fantastic instructors that come from all over the country and bring their own interesting perspectives."

Moore is the daughter of Victor and Pamela Moore of Poseyville, Indiana.

Read more about her experience...

Cissell to graduate summa cum laude

Image is of Penny CissellStudents like 57-year-old Penny Cissell are aware of the importance of a college degree and the advantages it provides in the working world.

There are many different paths to a college degree. For a “nontraditional” student, the journey is not as conventional or continuous as it is for others.

For Cissell, her degree is more than just a career catapult and tangible validation of her years of hard work. Her bachelor's degree in public relations and advertising erased the regret she felt for not being a college graduate.

Eight years after she began her college career, Cissell is graduating summa cum laude. "I never thought about the end for the longest time,” she said. “Now that it's actually here, it's like wow, here it is.”

Now that she has fulfilled her goal, Cissell will recommend college classes to others.

“I'm big on the college experience for everyone at any age,” she said. “I don't think age matters. It's been great for me, and I encourage everyone that I meet who is talking about going college to do it because it's worth it, and it has a lot of rewards.”

Read more about her experience...

Image is of Margaret Felton
Image is of Robert Jeffers

Two liberal arts faculty win advising awards

Two College of Liberal Arts faculty members received the recently established USI Outstanding Advisor Awards:  Margaret M. Felton, instructor in psychology, and Robert W. Jeffers, instructor in advertising.  The award comes with a $1,000 prize.  Winners were selected by the Faculty Senate's Faculty Awards for Service, Teaching, and Research committee.

Dain Garrett Merit Award winner chosen

Image is of Taryn Funkhouser and Connie PitzerTaryn Funkhouser, a senior history major, is the 2008 recipient of the Dain Garrett Merit Award for a junior or senior history student who has overcome a significant obstacle.

The award was established by Dain Garrett, who graduated from USI in 1999 with a perfect 4.0 GPA despite a long struggle with muscular dystrophy. After graduation, he went on to complete a master’s degree from California State University Dominguez Hills, passing away just prior to receiving his degree.

As a USI student, Garrett won many of the prizes awarded by the USI History Department, and upon his graduation, he used his award money to establish this annual cash prize to assist students who struggled against physical, economic, or other hardships.

Funkhouser is a married full-time student who works part-time to pay for her education and remains very involved with mentoring her younger siblings. Despite these demands on her time, she maintains a nearly perfect attendance record in her classes and has a high GPA.

Dr. Tamara Hunt, chair of the History Department, said, “Taryn’s academic work is excellent, a fact that is reflected in the number of awards she won this year, including the USI Alumni Association Scholarship for bright and deserving full-time students, the USI Foundation Excellence in Learning Award in recognition of her excellence in learning, and the USI History Club Award for recognition of the excellence of her research paper, ‘Her Eyes Turned Westward,’ that examined opportunities for women in the American West.”

Funkhouser plans to pursue a graduate degree after graduation from USI.

Berger Award given to Maggie Felton for community service

Image is of Maggie Felton
Margaret Felton

Margaret Felton, instructor in psychology, is this year’s recipient of the Sydney L. and Sadelle Berger Faculty Community Service Award acknowledging distinguished community service among USI faculty members.

The award winner is selected by the USI Faculty and Academic Affairs committee. It was announced during the Honors Program for the College of Liberal Arts. The recipient is given a plaque and a stipend.

Felton has volunteered at Cedar Hall Elementary School every week for the past 10 years, teaching classes in child development to young parents in Cedar Hall’s Even Start Family Literacy Program. The program integrates early childhood education, adult literacy, parenting education, and interactive parent and child literacy activities for low-income families.

Emma Jean Couture, coordinator of Cedar Hall Even Start, said, “She is lovingly referred to by our parents as the ‘Brain Lady.’ Maggie builds brain models with our parents to assist in instruction about brain development, the parts of the brain that control various behaviors, and the importance of parent-child interactions in the early years.”

Her impact on the parents goes beyond teaching them about child development. “Maggie’s relationship with the parents and her respect for their life situations offer parents a new perspective. Parents get a sense of what classes are like at a higher education level, and some aspire to attend college as a result,” Couture said.

Felton also commits time and energy to programs for young women. As a member of the Girl Culture Steering Committee, she was instrumental in bringing Lauren Greenfield’s “Girl Culture” photography exhibition on young women and body image to the Evansville Museum of Arts, History, and Science; helped bring Greenfield herself to USI; and arranged for USI students to serve as docents for the exhibition.

She has worked with the Girl Scouts of Raintree Council on several projects, including a service learning project with USI students exploring the effect of media on young girls.

Dr. Julie Evey, assistant dean of the College of Liberal Arts, said, “Maggie Felton uses her knowledge and compassion to better this community. Not only does she devote her own time and expertise to important causes, she has literally involved hundreds of students in such endeavors.”

Felton joined the University in 1998. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Villanova University and a master’s degree in clinical psychology and post-masters specialist degree in psychology from the University of Evansville.

The Sydney and Sadelle Berger Faculty Community Service Award is made possible by the Bergers’ son Charles and his wife Leslie.

Distinguished Professor Award to Dr. Sherry Darrell 

Image is of Dr. Sherry Darrell
Dr. Sherry Darrell

Colleagues chose Dr. Sherry Darrell to receive the 2008 Integra Bank Distinguished Professor award. The announcement was made at the College of Liberal Arts Honors program on April 12. Darrell, professor of English and director of Humanities, will receive the award during the 2008 Commencement ceremony in May. The award recognizes significant achievement in teaching, leadership, and service.

Among faculty, it is common knowledge that Darrell thinks going to class is far and away the best part of her job. According to a colleague, her daily goal is “to engage minds and help them become excited about great writing and great literature.”

She has a love of the English language and literature, especially Shakespeare and the Greek tragedies. A fellow faculty member said, “Dr. Darrell has a gift for enabling her students to see connections between their own lives and the human condition displayed by central characters in great works.”

Darrell, who has taught at USI for over 30 years, has demonstrated a lasting impact on alumni. One former student said the rigors of her expectations can push students to “places they did not believe themselves capable of going.”  In support of her nomination for this award, another alumnus wrote, “Dr. Darrell believed in me, taught me, encouraged me, opened doors for me, and she did all of that because of who she is: a master teacher, a friend, a colleague, and a lover of learning.”

She has edited books, journals, and other publications, is the author of a number of published papers, and has presented papers at regional and national conferences. She is the founding sponsor of the Indiana Iota chapter of Alpha Chi national academic honor society. 

Darrell has been director of Humanities for four years and has influenced curriculum, faculty development, planning, and assessment. 

Her community service revolves around church and cultural nonprofit organizations such as the Evansville Philharmonic Chorus, Ohio River Writers’ Conference, and YWCA discussions in literature. As an adult Sunday school teacher at Trinity United Methodist Church, she presents readings in literature, biblical scholarship, and world religions. She has served as a committee member and writer for the Pastor-Parish Relations Committee, the Health Ministries Committee, and the administrative board. 

She earned the Doctor of Philosophy degree and the Master of Arts degree at George Peabody College for Teachers. Her undergraduate degree is from McMurry College.

As Distinguished Professor, Darrell will receive a grant from Integra Bank, select a student to receive a scholarship in her name next year, deliver the Distinguished Professor lecture during the next academic year, and deliver the address at the fall Commencement in December 2008.

Communications, Courier & Press announce internship program

Image is of Sabria Dughaish
Sabria Dughaish

Lindsey Ziliak
Lindsey Ziliak

Dr. Wayne Rinks, chair of the Communications Department, and Mizell Stewart III, editor of the Evansville Courier & Press, announced a partnership this semester that provides regular internships for USI students at the daily newspaper. “This is a terrific opportunity for our journalism students to get some real-world experience with a quality publication,” Rinks said.

The program was developed through a collaborative effort between the Courier & Press, Communications, and Career Services and Placement.

“The Courier & Press and USI have a long-standing relationship,” said Pam Doerter, career coordinator for the College of Liberal Arts in Career Services. “Over the past 10 years, the University has placed 17 students in internships at the newspaper.” With this new partnership, two students will intern with the newspaper each fall and spring semester.

The first two students selected for the program were junior Sabria Dughaish and sophomore Lindsey Ziliak. Dughaish works in the sports department and Ziliak, features.

“We’re excited to be able to establish this partnership with the University of Southern Indiana,” Stewart said. “The first students who have come through the program this semester have been outstanding and we look forward to maintaining and enhancing our working relationship so that we can really put students to work before graduation, giving them practical experience in the field.”

Student interns are expected to work 20 hours per week for the newspaper. Their duties include writing, copy editing, online journalism, and design and layout. The students receive dual benefits from the program: they enhance their journalistic skill, and they are rewarded with a scholarship equivalent to 15 hours of tuition reimbursement.

Culture of catapulting--Medieval launchers

By Mark Wilson
Taken from Evansville Courier & Press
Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Image is of students testing their catapultWhile other students may have spent Tuesday morning in classrooms, the 10 seniors in Jason Hardgrave's Medieval Technology and Culture class at the University of Southern Indiana were outside proving that studying history doesn't have to be boring.

The students hauled scaled-down, working replicas of medieval catapults onto the soggy practice field at USI's Broadway Recreational Complex to test them out.

Divided into three teams, each had designed and built a catapult capable of hurling tennis balls. On the field, they competed both for distance and accuracy.

"It's not just fun and games ... well, mostly," Hardgrave said, after an hour of soggy competition.

The students based their designs on historical manuscripts and documents, built them using only natural materials — no metal screws, nylon ropes or bungee cords. Next week, they will complete the assignment by submitting their plans and designs and written evaluations.

"It's hard to build a catapult," student Chris Herron said.

Image is of students testing their cataputStudents on two of the teams based their catapults on older designs called mangonels and onagers that used the tension of twisted ropes to store the energy used to propel the tennis balls.

But Jordan Shoulders, Kevin Rutherford and Kenny Gamblin based theirs on a design called a trebuchet that used a system of counterweights, even making the brick-sized weights themselves using concrete.

Depending on their size, trebuchets could throw objects the size of small cars, Hardgrave said.

"These actually took down walls. The counterweights on some of them could weigh up to three tons," he said.

The massive siege engines gained popularity during the Third Crusade, when they were needed to smash the stone walls of Middle Eastern fortresses, Hardgrave said. Crusaders often named them, similar to the way bombers and large artillery pieces were named in the 20th century. Some real catapult names were "Bad Neighbor" and "God's Own Catapult."

"They were the artillery pieces of the day," Hardgrave said.

True to its historical reputation, the catapult based on the trebuchet design threw the farthest, more than 41 feet.

"We have actually been through several models and this is what we ended up with," Shoulders said.

The catapults are only one of the projects the students are undertaking for the class.

For their midterm, they made soap, Hardgrave said, and their final will be to measure buildings on campus using ancient astronomical "computers" called astrolabes.

"The technology is a lot more complicated than people think. The amount of time and effort it took to think something like this up is amazing," student Deanne Engler said. "There was a lot more technology in the Middle Ages than people give them credit for."

Image is of the students in the History Catapult Class
Medieval Technology and Culture class

Pictured from left are Jason Hardgrave, Evan Stoll, Jason Hurst, Michael Harshbarger, Kevin Rutherford, Christopher Herron, Kenneth Gamblin, Steven Cunningham, Jordan Shoulders, Celia Hicklin, Deanna Engler, and Jeffrey Kirk.


Abraham Lincoln in the Humanities

Image of the Lincoln Tomb in Springfield, Illinois
Abraham Lincoln's Tomb
in Springfield, Illinois

Recognizing the importance of Abraham Lincoln to the Humanities, several members of our faculty chose to visit Lincoln sites in the Springfield, Illinois, area on 29 February and 1 March 2008, just a couple of weeks after the official beginning of Lincoln Bicentennial events around the country.

On Friday morning we first visited the law offices of Lincoln and his law partner William Herndon, which occupied the second floor of a building on the square across from the Capitol.  Then we visited the Old State Capitol itself where Lincoln served in the state legislature—in the large hall reserved for House members remains Lincoln’s own desk; in this room Lincoln delivered his famous speech about a house divided cannot stand.  And here Lincoln lay in state just before entombment.

That afternoon, we toured the Lincoln home in Springfield, where Lincoln and his family lived for about 14 years before Lincoln moved to Washington, D. C., as President.  This home is a National Historic Site managed by park rangers, and our docent-ranger told us many entertaining stories about the Lincolns in this house (the only home Lincoln ever owned).  In late afternoon we drove to the cemetery to visit Lincoln’s tomb, a huge monument with an obelisk and four bronze sculptures outside.  Inside are the remains of Lincoln, his wife, and three of the four sons (Robert is buried in Arlington National Cemetery).

After dinner, the historian for the Lincoln home and surrounding properties, Tim Townsend, treated our faculty to a special presentation on historic preservation in the Lincoln neighborhood, particularly regarding houses standing when Lincoln lived there in the 1850s.

Saturday morning we devoted to the Abraham Lincoln Museum, a remarkable combination of 19th-century artifacts and exhibits and the latest of technologies.  Everyone considered this museum a highlight of the trip.

Image shows the faculty who were on the trip
Front Row from left to right are Robin West, Lisa Nicholas, and Allen Helmstetter.  Standing are Paul Odney, Kenneth Johnson, Greg Leach, Larry Gries, William Bartelt, Bill Graves, Marty Smith, Paul Plath, Leisa Belleau, and Kathryn Bartelt.

We came home with many ideas for incorporating in new ways Lincoln’s writing and achievements in our Humanities courses.  And we are grateful to the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence for the grant which funded the trip.

Those of us participating included Leisa Belleau, Sherry Darrell, Bill Graves, Larry Gries, Allen Helmstetter, Kenneth Johnson, Greg Leach, Lisa Nicholas, Paul Odney, Paul Plath, Marty Smith, Robin West, Emily Wilson.  Accompanying us were William Bartelt, Lincoln historian and author, and Kathryn Bartelt, librarian.  Mr. Bartelt came as our Lincoln expert, providing us with timelines, speeches, masses of information about Lincoln and his career; answering our questions; and adding to stories and facts told by docents.

College of Liberal Arts Faculty Promotions

The USI Board of Trustees approved the following College of Liberal Arts faculty for promotion effective August 25, 2008:

Dr. Passmore's Essay Published

The English “Loathly Lady” Tales: Boundaries, Traditions, Motifs, an essay collection co-edited by Dr. S. Elizabeth Passmore, assistant professor of English, was recently published by Medieval Institute Publications. Her essay, “Through the Counsel of a Lady: The Irish and English Loathly Lady Tales and the ‘Mirrors for Princes’ Genre,” is included in the collection.

Bonnell receives first Bigham Award for “Snapshots”

Dr. Karen BonnellDr. Karen H. Bonnell, professor of communication, is the recipient of the first annual Darrel Bigham Historic Southern Indiana Faculty Research Award in 2008.

Bonnell will receive a $4,000 grant for her proposed project, a second installment of “Snapshots of Southern Indiana,” a 30-minute television program she researched, wrote, and produced in partnership with WNIN-TV during her fall 2007 sabbatical.

The goal of the “Snapshots” programs is to promote tourism in southern Indiana and educate the public about the history of southern Indiana.

The first program aired on WNIN in February 2008. It focused on New Harmony, Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, O’Bannon Woods State Park, and Wyandotte Caves.

“With the Darrel Bigham grant we have the green light to do more of the sites we weren’t able to include in the first program,” Bonnell said. “There are so many sites to choose from. We are so fortunate here in southern Indiana to have Historic Southern Indiana documenting and promoting our historic places.”

The second program will cover Indiana’s original territorial capitol at Vincennes, the state’s first capitol at Corydon, and the Native American settlement at Angel Mounds in Newburgh. It will be broadcast on WNIN-TV and offered for broadcast to other PBS-affiliate stations in Indiana. The research, writing, video production and editing will be conducted during the summer of 2008. Further programs in the series depend on funding.

Bonnell worked in broadcast media for many years and was employed as managing editor and executive producer at WFIE Channel 14 before joining USI in 1990. She said she is “grateful and honored to have this first Darrel Bigham research grant award.”

“Darrel Bigham has been one of the most important people in southern Indiana working to discover and document historic information, collaborate with people who have a common interest in preserving and protecting historic sites and documents, and disseminating that information to the community and the world,” she said.

Bonnell also had praise for Leslie Townsend, assistant director of Historic Southern Indiana. “The University also is fortunate to have the contribution of Leslie Townsend, who was instrumental in helping to plan the first ‘Snapshots’ program. Leslie appeared in the program and went with me to do some of the videotaping at the different sites and was just a wonderful collaborator.”

Townsend said, “We were very excited about the quality of the proposals we received and any one of them would have been a worthy project for USI and Historic Southern Indiana. We ultimately selected Karen's project because we felt it had a wider impact on the HSI region. It falls under two of our main focus areas: history education and heritage tourism. First, the program is educational and informs people about the sites in southern Indiana. Second, it will hopefully entice people to come and visit which is good for the region.”

Dr. Edward Jones, associate vice president for Academic Affairs, said the award was named for Dr. Darrel Bigham, founding director of Historic Southern Indiana and professor of history, to honor his legacy as a USI pioneer in regional engagement and his service to the University and the region. Bigham retires from the University effective June 2008.

Historic Southern Indiana, an outreach and engagement project of USI, was created in 1986 to serve the southernmost 26 counties of Indiana. Its goals are to identify, preserve, protect, enhance, and promote the historical, natural, and recreational resources of the region. It seeks to implement those goals through programs in historic preservation, history education, heritage tourism, community development, and scenic byways. Its office is a part of Extended Services.

For more information about the annual Darrel Bigham Historic Southern Indiana Faculty Research Award and how to apply, contact Historic Southern Indiana at 812/465-7014.

USI art students shine in Regional College Juried Art Exhibit

USI student Brock Flamion won best in show in the Henderson Fine Arts Center’s Regional College Art Competition for his piece, “Fragility.” Twenty-one other USI students participated in the competition.

Nicholas Mason won Best 3D for “Queen of Hearts.” David Rigon won Best 2D for “Untitled (Chinese Take-Out).” Awards of Merit were given to Brian Martin, Amy Moore, Michael Frey, and Joshua Brewer. The awards ceremony and reception was held in February 2008. Prizes were awarded by the Henderson Area Arts Alliance.

Other USI student participants were Amanda Adams, Lisa Booe, Clinton Bosler, Ben Clarkson, John Cummings, Jessica Graves, Chuck Heath, Sarah Howard, Jessica L. Jones, Patti Kiegel, Ron Kitchens, Ryan Morphew, John Raleigh, Scott Scheller, and Kayla Troutman.

Joan Kempf deJong, chair of the Art Department, said, “We are very proud of the USI art students who participated in this regional college art competition. Our art students have always been well represented in this annual juried exhibition, and this year is no different. Over 20 USI art students had one to three artworks selected for the exhibition, and they received the majority of the awards as well.”

The exhibition has been held annually since 1997. This year, students from the University of Evansville, Owensboro Community College, Henderson Community College, and Kentucky Wesleyan College also participated.

Liberal Arts faculty colloquium focused on the Middle Passage

Dr. Russ Lohse, assistant professor of history, presented the first College of Liberal Arts Faculty Colloquium of the spring 2008 semester on Friday, February 29. Lohse presented “One Middle Passage: Restoring the Links between Africa and the Americas”. Recent advances in the histories of Africa and the slave trade have allowed scholars to identify the origins of enslaved Africans with greater specificity than ever before. Following two Danish ships that sailed for West Africa on a slaving voyage in 1708, Lohse reconstructed the experiences of nearly 700 people who were enslaved in Ghana, Togo, and Benin. Together they attempted to rebel against their captors, survived a harrowing Atlantic crossing, and were sold as slaves in the Spanish colony of Costa Rica in 1710. With few exceptions, accounts of the Middle Passage come from European slave traders and masters. But in this case, the captives told their own story, providing a rare view of the Middle Passage as it was experienced by Africans themselves -- a story repeated millions of times, all over the Americas.

Image is of Erin GibsonErin Gibson takes first place in a radio documentary

"Internationally Born, Indiana Raised," a documentary written and produced by Erin Gibson, instructor in journalism, took first place in the radio documentary category of the Broadcast Education Association (BEA) Audio Festival. The documentary was produced in conjunction with WSIU as part of Gibson’s graduate research project at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. The awards ceremony will be held in April at the BEA Convention in Las Vegas. To listen to the documentary, click here.

Forgotten Harmonist artifacts rediscovered

Josh Orem
USI student Josh Orem analyzes a Harmonist artifact from the 1970s.

Josh Orem, a USI history major from Wadesville, Indiana, has worked as a museum aide for Historic New Harmony for two years, giving guided walking tours of New Harmony to the public. This year, his responsibilities include handling artifacts from a decades-old excavation of Harmonist sites.

Dr. Michael Strezewski, USI assistant professor of anthropology, was tipped off to the existence of 80 boxes of Harmonist artifacts by his predecessor, Marjorie Jones. The artifacts were uncovered in the 1970s by Dr. John B. Elliott, a USI archaeology professor. Strezewski said, “They were moving some Harmonist houses around in New Harmony because they wanted to put them in a centralized place for visitors to see. Elliott did excavations on the foundations and the yards to recover artifacts.”

The artifacts were never washed or analyzed, and nothing was ever written about them. “I thought it would be an interesting project for myself and my students,” Strezewski said. “The Harmonist period is one of the first large occupations by Europeans and there has been no archeological analysis of what day-to-day life was like for the Harmonist people.”

Before that analysis can take place, the artifacts will be washed and catalogued by Orem and students in Strezewski’s senior-level independent study course. Working in the USI archaeology lab, the students have found broken pottery made by the Harmonists or imported from Europe, bottles, spoons, and toothbrush handles.

Orem said, “Sometimes I find myself struck by the fact that so much has happened here and there’s so much we’ll never understand. I’ll pick up a piece of pottery and there’s only so much I can tell about it. I can tell it’s a piece of redware. I know where it came from, but while I know where it is made and how it is made, I am in awe of the fact that it has a story behind it. I’ll never really know more than that it’s a little piece of pottery.”

Strezewski said there is a story to be told with the New Harmony collections. “Of course we’ll never have the complete story, but archaeology is all about getting the information that isn’t available in the documents. There’s a lot about daily life in Harmonist-era New Harmony that we don’t know about, and I think the artifacts have the potential to tell us a lot about it.”

LA Participants in the Associated Writing Programs national conference

Ron Mitchell, instructor in English, presented on a panel, “Keeping Things Afloat: The Business of Literary Magazine Publishing” on January 31, 2008, at the Associated Writing Programs national conference in New York City. Mitchell, along with Matthew Graham, associate professor of English, Nicole Reid, assistant professor of English, and four USI creative writing students also worked a booth at the conference book fair promoting the Southern Indiana Review and the RopeWalk Writers Retreat.

Graham read poetry for RopeWalk series

Matthew Graham, associate professor of English, read his poetry at the first RopeWalk Reading of the spring 2008 on February 7. Graham is the author of three books of poetry, A World Without End (2007), 1946 (1991), and New World Architecture (1985). He has received a number of awards and fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, the Indiana Arts Commission, and the Vermont Studio Center. He is USI’s director of Creative Writing, co-directs the RopeWalk Writers Retreat, and serves as poetry editor for the University’s literary magazine, Southern Indiana Review.

USI sophomore studying in Thailand this semester

Jessie KesslerJessie Kessler, a sophomore International Studies major at USI, is studying at Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand, this semester.

Kessler, the daughter of Mary and Brian Davis of Charlestown, Indiana and a 2006 graduate of Charlestown High School, applied for and was awarded a Freeman Award for Study in Asia, a nationally competitive scholarship.

The Freeman-ASIA scholarships are meant to increase the number of U.S. undergraduates who study in East and Southeast Asia. Award recipients are expected to share their experiences with their home campuses to encourage study abroad in East and Southeast Asia by others, and to spread greater understanding of Asian peoples and cultures within their home communities.

“I grew up in a small town but I always watched the travel channel,” she said. “I loved to learn about people in other countries. One year we had an exchange student at our high school. I became friends with her and she taught me a lot about her culture. From then on I have always wanted to travel the world. Also, one of my hobbies is to learn languages.”

Kessler arrived in Bangkok in January. She chose Thailand because she wanted to go to an Asian country where fewer Americans have studied. She doesn’t speak Thai, but said, “Many people here speak enough English for me to get around pretty easily. I am taking a Thai Language class right now and I have made friends with some Thai students who speak English.”

In addition to the language course, she is enrolled in Buddhist Institutions, Thai Rural Development, and Art History and Archaeology of Thailand this semester.

She said one of the most striking cultural differences is the method of greeting. “They don’t shake hands. They do what is called a wai. It is when they put their hands together and bow their heads. This is not only a way to say hello, but the deeper you wai the more you show respect for the person to whom you are waiing.

At USI, Kessler worked in the International Programs and Services office, was involved in the International Club and Global Community, and volunteered with the English as a Second Language International program.

After graduation she hopes to volunteer with the Peace Corps and work for a non-governmental organization.

Dr. Hardgrave attended 2008 National Convention

Dr. Jason Hardgrave, assistant professor of history, attended the 2008 National Biennial Convention of Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society in Albuquerque, New Mexico, January 3-5. Hardgrave was elected national Council Member; attended all of the executive, regional, and faculty meetings at the conference; served as an expert on the how-to panel session titled “Improving Your Chapter”; and was the session coordinator and commentator for “Culture in Medieval Europe.” Hardgrave serves as faculty advisor for USI’s chapter of Phi Alpha Theta and regional mentor for new faculty advisors.

Lovasz-Kaiser receives 2007-08 USI Foundation Award for Outstanding Teaching by Adjunct Faculty

Christine Lovasz-KaiserChristine Lovasz-Kaiser’s teaching so impressed Dr. Tamara Hunt, chair of the History Department, that Hunt asked Lovasz-Kaiser to teach an upper level course, History of England to 1600.

Lovasz-Kaiser is the recipient of the USI Foundation’s 2007-08 Award for Outstanding Teaching by Adjunct Faculty. The award includes a $500 one-time stipend and a $500 professional development grant.

In nominating Lovasz-Kaiser for the award, Hunt wrote, “Although it is unusual for the history department to have a 300-level course taught by an adjunct who has not completed the Ph.D., we had no hesitation in asking Christine to teach this course. We know the quality of her work and teaching, and we believed that she would do an outstanding job in the course, just as she does in all of her other classes.”

Lovasz-Kaiser said, “I appreciate the support I get here at USI. Getting this award has shown me that the University as a whole is very supportive.”

She has been teaching in the History Department since 2002, shortly after her husband accepted a position as assistant professor of archaeology at the University of Evansville.

She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and anthropology from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and a Master of Arts degree in archaeology from Boston University.

She also is an adjunct professor at UE. “I teach a full load – a total of four classes, six hours here and six there,” she said. A dancer since the age of five, she also teaches adult ballet at Evansville Dance Theatre.

In addition to the upper level course, Lovasz-Kaiser is teaching World Civilization I this semester. Two years ago, she developed a new freshman level course, Age of the Vikings, based on a Viking Archaeology course she taught at Bates College in Maine.

“We read Viking sagas and looked at the material culture,” she said. “I’ve taught it twice, and both times I’ve taught it it’s been full. I think it’s something the students really enjoy taking.”

At the end of the class, students watch “The Vikings,” a 1950s film with Kirk Douglas, and analyze why Vikings still fascinate us today.

“I really appreciate that Dr. Hunt gave me the opportunity to do that,” Lovasz-Kaiser said. “She has been very supportive of me and my teaching.”

Her lectures are highly visual, with a collection of over 1,000 slides she created. “I felt it was important to have images with everything I talked about. They are pictures I took, or pictures from books. When PowerPoint came along, I scanned everything from my slides.”

She notes the importance of classroom discussion and characterizes her exams as “hard.”

“They have to take in a lot of information and synthesize a lot of material. I give a good review - they know everything they need to know before it’s on the exam. And I offer writing assignments and other ways to help their grade if they’re not good at taking exams. I try to learn as I go what is going to help the students do better.”

When asked what makes her an outstanding teacher, Lovasz-Kaiser said, “I think my enthusiasm. I try and get that across on the first day. I am enthusiastic not just about the subject but about teaching something they can take with them, and I think that comes across. I truly enjoy talking about the places I talk about, so that can be infectious.

“I’ve had students coming in hating history, thinking it would be boring, and I got them excited, so I hope I can continue to do that.”

Nicole Reid finalist in novel excerpt

A novel excerpt by Nicole Reid, assistant professor of English and creative writing, entitled “Some Other Sort of Hunger” was a finalist in the 2007 Gival Press Short Story Award. Her piece “Like Paper Snow” won second prize in Newport Review's Flash Fiction Contest and is published at Her story “Bellow” appears in the latest issue of Copper Nickel and prose poem “How Trees Sleep” is published in the latest issue of Green Mountains Review.

College of Liberal Arts Faculty receive grants for 2008 summer research

Four College of Liberal Arts faculty members received 2008 Lilly Summer Research Fellowships. The recipients and their projects are:

Dr. WR Mack Dr. William Mack, assistant professor of political science: "Border Politics in a Post-9/11 World – The Influence of Informal Caucuses."
Dr. Aimee Mark Dr. Aimee Mark, assistant professor of psychology: "Putting Confrontation in its Place: The Influence of Social Norms on the Effectiveness of a Confrontation of Prejudicial Bias."
Rob Millard-Mendez Rob Millard-Mendez, assistant professor of art: “Creating and Documenting Two Life-Sized, Interactive, Figurative Sculptures.”
Dr. Patrick Shaw Dr. Patrick Shaw, director of composition and associate professor of English: "The Theological Implications of Kenneth Burke’s Rhetorical Theory."

College of Liberal Arts major nets GLVC honors

Public relations and advertising major Jasmine Baines of Jeffersonville, Indiana, is a forward on the women’s basketball team. She was named the GLVC Player of the Week after leading the University of Southern Indiana women’s basketball team to a pair of victories the week beginning November 18.

She is the first USI women’s basketball player to earn the conference’s weekly award since Tiara Brown in January of 2006.

Baines started the week with a 25-point, nine-rebound performance in USI’s 92-65 victory over the University of Central Missouri. She also recorded five blocks and was 9-of-12 from the field to help the Screaming Eagles post their second win of the season.

She finished the week with a 23-point, six-rebound performance in the Eagles’ 84-72 win against the University of the Cumberlands (Kentucky). Baines went 6-of-9 from the field in the second half to help USI turn a one-point halftime advantage into a 19-point cushion late in the contest.

For the week, Baines averaged 24.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.5 blocks, 1.5 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. She shot 60.0 percent (18-of-30) from the field and 75.0 percent from the charity stripe (12-of-16) to help the Eagles to their first 3-0 start since the 2004-05 season.

Baines leads the GLVC in scoring (23.3 points per game) and blocks (2.7 blocks per game). She is tied for seventh with a team-high 7.0 rebounds per contest.

USI, which is looking for its first 4-0 start since starting the 2000-01 season with 10 straight victories, opens GLVC play Saturday, December 1 when it travels to Owensboro, Kentucky, to take on rival Kentucky Wesleyan College (1-2, 0-0 GLVC). Tip-off is 5:15 p.m. at the Sportscenter.

USI students granted Statehouse internships

By Mark Wilson
(taken from the Evansville Courier & Press, Monday, November 19, 2007)

Every year dozens of students seeking an inside look at the way government works pursue Statehouse internships offered by Indiana's political parties.

This year two University of Southern Indiana students are among the approximately 70 interns who will be assisting legislators by doing everything from writing news releases and letters to constituents to helping with research and carrying messages. Since 1999, 21 USI students have worked as Statehouse interns.

"They are considered full-time staff while they are here. We can't conduct our business here without the interns," said Jason Tomcsi, deputy press secretary and intern director for the Senate Democrat caucus. "They get to see the whole process frontward and backward. It's the ultimate backstage pass."

That is what Brittany Taylor, a 21-year-old political science and public relations/advertising major, is hoping it will be. She said she is hoping to work for a nonprofit agency or a political campaign after graduation this spring. She says the internship will give her an edge when applying for a job. "I'm very fortunate," she said.

Emily Hall, 20, a sophomore majoring in German and international studies, said she is hoping to eventually study international law and pursue a career in diplomacy.

"In order to understand how diplomacy works, I think we need to understand how our own government works," Hall said.

Scott Carr, who graduated last spring with a degree in political science, is now working as a senior candidate aid for the campaign of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jim Schellinger.

"The internship allows you to gain the proper perspective inside the legislative process. It definitely can open up the doors to actively network, politically, if you choose to do so," Carr said.

Senior Shane Dearing, who is also majoring in political science, worked for Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, chairman of the Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee, during his internship last winter.

"It was an experience unlike anything else I could have achieved in a college education," he said.

Dearing said he will move to Indianapolis after graduation in May and work in another internship position, this one in the legislative policy branch of the Barnes & Thornburg law firm. He said he hopes to stay involved in the legislative process and public policy.

"These internships, any type of experiential education, is just invaluable. It gives them exposure to the profession they are hoping to pursue," said Philip Parker, USI's director of career services and placement. "It just is a good way for students early on to build some excellent experience for their career."

It also makes a difference in how students approach their classes when they return to school, he said.

"If they have done an internship, we see such a difference most of the time. They can talk the talk of their profession, so to speak," Parker said.

International Artists from Amsterdam, October 31-November 1, 2007

Artists from Amsterdam

Celebration of the Opening of the LabyrinthCelebration of the Labyrinth

The official opening of the USI labyrinth took place on October 3, 2007.  Ben Nicholson, professor at the Art Institute of Chicago discussed the history and meaning of labyrinths which was followed by a “labyrinth walk” in the USI labyrinth.

The event was sponsored by the Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs, the College of Liberal Arts, International Studies, and the Center for Communal Studies.







LA Story photo change in spring issue

Drawing of the McCutchan/Pace Galleries

The drawing of the Kenneth P. McCutchan Art Center/Pamila F. and Stephen S. Pace Galleries in the printed issue of the spring 2007 LA Story was an early rendition. Click here for LA Story with the up-to-date drawing of the McCutchan Art Center/Pace Galleries shown above.

SGA president  is political science and pre-law major

Kristine Pelly
Kristine Pelly

Kristine Pelly, a senior political science and pre-law major, is Student Government Association (SGA) president for 2007-08. A Long Island, New York native, Pelly is the daughter of Lydia and Michael Pelly of Fishers, Indiana, and a 2004 graduate of Hamilton Southeastern High School.

She served as executive clerk for SGA in the 2006-07 academic year and was an associate justice on the University Court. She is a member of the National Honor Society; an active member of Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority; was Homecoming chair for Activities Programming Board; and a 2007 Homecoming Court Princess. She also served as a Resident Assistant.

SGA serves as the liaison between students and the administration; sponsors Welcome Week and many other events; and hosts spring semester Town Halls for each college at which students can ask the deans questions.

“Students have so many questions, and sometimes we can’t answer them,” Pelly said. “The purpose of the Town Halls is for them to come and get answers to their questions.”

She plans to get more students involved by offering incentives to join SGA and promoting the organization. The group has an updated Web site at

SGA officers recently attended the American Student Government Association conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where they learned about parliamentary procedure and how to run effective meetings and communicate with administrators. Pelly wants to bring greater formality to the organization. “I think students should be able
to look up to us as a role model organization,” she said.