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July 2008

· Lineage Art Piece Added To Student Artwork Featured Outdoors
·SIUE School of Engineering Robot Golf Cart Wins International Award
·Retired SIUE Museum Curator Unveils Artwork at Local Gallery
·SIUE Music Professor, Alumnus Release Jazz CD
·SIUE's Sullivan Pieces Featured In Northwestern U. Museum
·NSF Grant To Provide Engineering Scholarships At SIUE
·Dunham Seminar, Black Tie Gala Set At SIUE, Dunham Museum
·BOT Awards Contracts Worth Half-Million For SIUE Project
·SIUE's Summer Showbiz Offers A Fable With A Message For All
·An Edwardsville Green Thumb Award Goes To The Gardens At SIUE
·High Schoolers Attended SIUE Engineering, Science Summer Programs
·Two Nursing Faculty Win National Research Award
·SIUE Graduate Student From O'Fallon Wins Fulbright Scholarship

7/29/08

Lineage Art Piece Added To Student Artwork Featured Outdoors

Andy Magee, of St. Louis (63109), is shown in the photo putting the finishing touches on his sculpture, Lineage, which is part of the outdoor campus student sculpture featured in the campus ellipse. Magee is a graduate student in the Department of Art and Design with a concentration in sculpture. As the photo shows, the artwork depicts a clothesline with pairs of worn denim jeans, seemingly drying outdoors after being laundered. The well-worn clothing seems somehow comforting as they move in the breeze. (Photo by Denise Macdonald)

Click here to see "Lineage"

7/29/08

SIUE School of Engineering Robot Golf Cart Wins International Award

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) A robot golf cart built by a team of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Engineering faculty and staff won a technical award at a recent international conference on artificial intelligence.

The SIUE team's winning entry, Roadrunner, is a robot golf cart that uses color imaging technology to distinguish and maneuver multi-surface paths. The award was given to SIUE at the Robot Exhibition of the Twenty-Third Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence conference earlier this month in Chicago.

"Roadrunner uses an inexpensive color Web camera to navigate," said Jerry Weinberg, SIUE professor of computer science. "It processes each frame of the camera image to distinguish what part of the image is the pathway, the direction the pathway is heading and the point in the image to steer towards to stay on the path." Weinberg said the team has been testing Roadrunner on campus pathways.

The golf cart was exhibited alongside robots from universities in the United States, Canada and Japan. Weinberg said Roadrunner received a great deal of attention, because it was created for less than $1,000 and performs the same task as robots competing in full-size vehicle competitions. He said many of the full-size vehicles cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"It gives us recognition as a University, doing top research in artificial intelligence and robotics," Weinberg said of the award. "We did an excellent job. We're very pleased with the way the golf cart turned out."

In addition to Weinberg, SIUE's autonomous robot team includes faculty members George Engel, professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Ryan Krauss, a professor of mechanical engineering, as well as students Ross Mead of computer science, and electrical engineering students Jeff Croxell, Nick Italiano, John Hiatt and Bryan Adams. The team also includes mechanical engineering students Aaron Backs, Matt Gorlewicz and Jenna Toennies.

Click here to see Roadrunner.

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7/28/08

Retired SIUE Museum Curator Unveils Artwork at Local Gallery

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) During his more than 30-year tenure at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, retired museum curator Michael Mason developed an affinity for the work of the late renowned architect Louis H. Sullivan.

The University Museum at SIUE is known widely for its large collection of Sullivan architectural ornament pieces from several of his buildings throughout the Midwest. Mason proudly acknowledges Sullivan's influence as the inspiration for his artwork on display through Aug. 9 at Southwestern Illinois College's Schmidt Gallery.

The exhibition, Homage to Louis H. Sullivan, features more than 30 original prints by Mason that incorporate geometric shapes and plant motifs with scanned images of rusted metals, aged wood and chipped paint, reminiscent of the great architect's designs.

"Being around his work all those years and enjoying his work as much as I did, it was more or less subliminally engrained in my self-conscious," he said.
In 2001, Mason began honing his computer skills and his art evolved. When he started creating his works, he put them on paper. Today his computer-manipulated imagery is placed on canvas.

"When I first started this group of works back in 2001, I started simply by trying to enlarge scanned plant materials, because I wanted to see these small plants better so that I could draw them," Mason said. "As I began to get more familiar with scanning operations and computer software, the idea of combining the plants and other materials that I scanned came about.

"As I began learning to use the software and the scanner, I found that I could build designs and make geometric designs out of the plants themselves." Since retiring in July 2007, Mason said he has had more time to devote to his art. Mason also has a piece on display at the Jacoby Arts Center in Alton and some of his items may be found housed among The University Museum's extensive collection.

Click on Photo numbers to see examples of the exhibit: Photo 1 | 2

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7/28/08

SIUE Music Professor, Alumnus Release Jazz CD

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) A recently released CD, Bad to the Bone, features the collaborative work of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville's Brett Stamps, a music professor, and former student, Jim Owens.

The newly released CD is a smooth, soulful, sultry way for listeners to recharge their batteries. The project came to life following an impromptu performance by the two during a CD release party four years ago for another album.

They played the song Alone Together as a standard jazz ballad, which led executive producer Bill Becker of Victoria Records of St. Louis to sign them in a recording deal. The song was recorded on the CD, "with a bolero (rhythm) feel," Owens said.

Also included on the album are renditions of Blackbird, by the Beatles, In a Mellow Tone, What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life and Embraceable You.
Stamps, who has been SIUE's director of jazz studies and who has taught in the program since its inception in 1982, noted he and Owens have been inspired by famous trombonists Kai Winding and J.J. Johnson.

A graduate of the College of William and Mary-with a bachelor of arts in music and a master of music degree in studio music and jazz pedagogy from the University of Miami-Stamps originally entered college with the intent to major in history.

"I'd been in school for three weeks," he said. "I realized the classes I was really excited about were the music, music theory and band classes.
"Then, one thing led to another and it was just a natural evolution."

As a professional musician, Stamps has performed locally in ensembles including the Cornet Chop Suey, the Fox Theater Orchestra, the MUNY Orchestra, St. Louis Jazz Orchestra, the Brett Stamps Trio, the St. Louis Rivermen, the Jim Widner Big Band, The Gary Dammer Big Band and Galaxy. Stamps also has performed with the U.S. Army Field Band's Jazz Ambassadors, the Stan Kenton Orchestra and the University of Miami Concert Jazz Band.

Owens, who is an SIU Carbondale and an SIUE graduate, currently performs with local band Wild, Cool and Swingin'. He is a freelance trombonist and keyboardist with a variety of playing and recording styles.

Other SIUE greats on the CD include lecturers Miles Vandiver on drums, Zeb Briskovich on the bass and Jim Martin on lower brass, music professors Reggie Thomas on piano and Rick Haydon on the guitar, and SIUE trombone student Cody Henry. "The contributions of the SIUE alumni on this CD are so important to recognize," Stamps said.

The album is for sale through Stamps, whose office is Room 1103, Dunham Hall. He also can be contacted at (618) 650-2026, and through Webster Records, Inc. in St. Louis.

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7/24/08

SIUE's Sullivan Pieces Featured In Northwestern U. Museum

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) Eric Barnett spent hours planning delivery of some unique pieces by the late renowned architect Louis H. Sullivan. Eight of Sullivan's architectural ornaments are currently on display at Northwestern University, on loan from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

SIUE's loaned items are featured in the exhibition, Design in the Age of Darwin: From William Morris to Frank Lloyd Wright, at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern. Barnett, director of The University Museum at SIUE, said the University frequently loans items from its extensive collections to museums nationally and internationally.

But the Northwestern catalogue features a close up of one of the Sullivan items from SIUE. "We have loaned Sullivan objects to other museums on several occasions over the years, but this is the first time that the Rubel terra cotta piece has gone out because it is unique," he said. The terra cotta piece on the cover of the Northwestern catalogue is an original Sullivan work that has been on display on the second floor of SIUE's Lovejoy Library. "Sullivan had the craftsmen go through the process of sculpting, molding and casting this as a single piece-a 'one-off' as they would say-for the Ruben Rubel residence, formerly in Chicago."

In addition to the Sullivan pieces from SIUE, the catalogue lists various pieces from other artists featured in the gallery at Northwestern. SIUE's items have been featured in cities including St. Louis, Chicago, New York, Boston and Washington D.C. Some works have been displayed internationally, such as The Walking Man by French sculpture Auguste Rodin which was shown in the National Gallery of Art in Canada, Barnett said. "I took all these pieces to Northwestern myself along with a graduate assistant," Barnett said of the Sullivan works. "To ship them commercially it would have more than doubled the weight of the shipment."

The exhibit on display at Northwestern will be shown until Aug. 24. Barnett said he then will drive back to Northwestern to pick up the items on loan. He supervised the loading, transportation and unloading and will again witness the reloading, transportation and reinstallation of the items on the SIUE campus. Some of the pieces are irreplaceable, Barnett said, adding, "Safety is a paramount concern for us."

While many times architectural ornaments will be produced in large quantities and made available to builders, Sullivan meticulously crafted his terra cotta creations for a one-of-a-kind result. Architects like Sullivan, Barnett said, "created whole new designs exclusive to their buildings."

Below are links to photos of each Sullivan ornament and ID information about each piece:

Photo 1: A terra cotta chimney panel from the Ruben Rubel residence, formerly in Chicago. Photo 2: A terra cotta lunette from the Scoville Building, formerly in Chicago. Photo 3: A terra cotta decorative panel from the Henry B. Babson residence, formerly in Riverside, Ill. Photo 4: A cherry wood post capital from the Rubel residence. Photo 5: A cast iron doorknob and plate from the Guaranty Building in Buffalo, NY. Photo 6: A brass doorknob and plate from the Sullivan residence, formerly in Chicago. Photo 7: A cast iron and copper plated baluster from the the Carson Pirie Scott Building, formerly the Schlesinger and Mayer Building, in Chicago. (Photos courtesy of The University Museum at SIUE).

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7/22/08

NSF Grant To Provide Engineering Scholarships At SIUE

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) Students in Southern Illinois University Edwardsville's School of Engineering will soon have new scholarship opportunities, thanks to a recent grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The new $600,000 grant will be divided into 48, two-year scholarships, for three groups of 16 students each, for a total of 48. They will benefit qualified students who can demonstrate financial need and meet other criteria, beginning in fall 2009. Scholarship amounts will range from $2,000 to $10,000 per academic year and may be used for any "unmet campus need," such as tuition, fees and housing.

Of the more than 230 universities that sought scholarship funding from the NSF, only 95 were successful. Susan Morgan, associate professor of civil engineering and chair of that department, said it took more than a year to prepare and tweak the proposal for the NSF funds, but it was worth the wait. "We're very excited to have this opportunity," said Morgan, who worked with other engineering faculty to create the grant application packet. "We knew we had a strong proposal, but it was very competitive, especially at the national level."

Morgan added that the NSF has a reputation for focusing its awards on students in financial need who are majoring in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
"Their goal is to target those students, those who can succeed in STEM fields but who would not be able to get into college without support like this," she said. Morgan is working on a Web site that will facilitate the application process for students seeking to apply for the new scholarships. When the site is up and running sometime in the next few months, applicants will find a link to it from the SIUE School of Engineering's home page. "We estimate the application deadline will be in late January or early February," Morgan said. "We'll review them in March and notify students in April."

Although the scholarships will last only two years, Morgan and her team are working with private companies to create paid internships that will assist qualified engineering students in their junior and senior years. "We've set this up so that, hopefully, we'll get some of these companies to support this effort when the NSF funding runs out," Morgan said. "We have high hopes of that happening."

To qualify for the initial scholarships, new or transfer students must be able to demonstrate financial need, be full-time students in a bachelor of science program offered in the SIUE School of Engineering, submit two letters of recommendation and exhibit academic excellence that will be determined from their high school ranking, ACT scores and/or other methods of evaluation. Morgan said grantees will be assigned faculty mentors who will advise them, and they also will be encouraged to take part in other support activities. "We'll have monthly stipends for students to attend professional meetings, and there will be awards for top performers each year in each department," she said. "We're trying to cover all the bases."

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7/22/08

Dunham Seminar, Black Tie Gala Set At SIUE, Dunham Museum

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) Celebrating Renaissance Women is the theme of the 25th annual International Katherine Dunham Technique Seminar 2008, set for July 26-Aug. 3 at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and at the Katherine Dunham Museum in East St. Louis.

In conjunction with the seminar, a black-tie event- Katherine Dunham's Legacy Gala: The Great Gathering-is set for Aug. 1 from 7-9 p.m. in Meridian Ballroom, on the first floor of SIUE's Morris University Center. Tickets are $75 per person or $600 to host a table. Corporate sponsorships are available at the levels of gold, $1,000; diamond, $1,500; and platinum, $2,500. The evening will include live music, a dance performance, distinguished honorees and a silent auction. Contact Louella Hawkins, (618) 874-8560, for reservations.

The nine-day workshop will focus on the Haitian and Cuban influence on the evolution of the Dunham Technique and the beginnings of Katherine Dunham's legacy. Professional dancers, artists, educators and students from around the world plan to expand their skills and knowledge of dance through more than 70 energetic and educational sessions, networking opportunities and classes. A variety of renowned master and certified instructors of the Dunham Technique, including Vanoye Aiken and Glory Van Scott, will provide instruction.

The workshop sessions are open to professionals and admirers, as well as students six to 18. Registration fees range from a $10 per class observation fee to $495 adult workshop fee (including a non-refundable $75 charge). The workshop registration fee for youth/college students is $350, or $35 per day. For more information, contact Louella Hawkins at the number above or Theodore Jamison, (618) 482-6932, or visit the Web site: www.kdcah.com.

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7/10/08

BOT Awards Contracts Worth More Than Half-Million For SIUE Project

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) The Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees today awarded more than $500,000 in contracts to three Illinois companies and two Missouri companies for construction of a Secondary Computing Center on the SIU Edwardsville campus. The board said funding for the work will come from the Information Technology Fee and from Library Operating Funds.

The bids were given final approval at the board's regular monthly meeting conducted on the campus of the SIU School of Medicine in Springfield.

A contract worth $140,968 was awarded to Limbaugh Construction Co. of Granite City to build a steel frame building. Other contracts for the Computer Center project were awarded to CDW Government Inc. of Vernon Hills, $196,577 for an integrated server rack system; CK Power of St. Louis, $32,500, for a backup generator and a transfer switch; Automatic Fire Sprinkler LLC of Normal, $77,938 for a fire suppression system, and $55,500 for a packaged air cooled chiller.

At its June meeting, the board approved the project and the total $800,000 budget for the center that will provide back-up data storage facilities for the main computing center on campus, work space for the Computer Refresh Program and secure storage for some of Lovejoy Library's special collections. The 3,200-square-foot center is expected to be completed by the end of August. The total cost of the project includes Facilities Management services, equipment and a contingency fund.

In other business today, the board approved an $8 increase in the School of Pharmacy Student Technology fee, from $208 per semester last year to $216 per semester beginning in the fall semester. The fee provides for student laptops, as well as risk insurance and replacement for the units. The increase will allow for replacement laptop batteries and an upgrade to Windows Vista. The laptops are needed for the students to access course materials through the School's course management system, as well as library resources, online assessments and research.

The board also gave first reading to a proposal to provide an alternate tuition rate of $6,150 per semester for SIUE students with non-resident status who are participating in a dual diploma program with Istanbul Technical University (ITU) in Turkey.

In 2007 the board approved a "Revision to Residency Status Policies," which allows the President and the Chancellors to consider alternative tuition rates for special situations and/or special populations. This option permits the Chancellors to better recruit students who might not otherwise attend SIU.
SIUE and ITU are pursuing a collaboration to provide an innovative dual diploma program that would bring high-achieving students from ITU to study at SIUE. This program also would assist the Republic of Turkey in expanding its capacity to deliver higher education to its citizens, and enrich the global diversity of the students at SIUE.

The initial program to be included under this collaboration is a bachelor's program in industrial engineering.
If approved, the alternative tuition would begin fall semester. The proposed rate is some 66 percent higher than the current in-state rate for Illinois residents and approximately 34 percent lower than the current out-of-state rate, and would allow SIUE to remain competitive with other institutions with dual diploma programs with ITU in other areas of engineering.

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7/7/08

SIUE's Summer Showbiz Offers A Fable With A Message For All

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) A children's fable with a message for all ages will hit Southern Illinois University Edwardsville's Summer Showbiz 2008 stage at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 17, in the theater at SIUE's Katherine Dunham Hall. Honk! will be the final show of three for the 29th season of Summer Showbiz, which provides summertime theater fun for Southwestern Illinois audiences. The Olivier Award-winning musical version of The Ugly Duckling, this production of the beloved Hans Christian Andersen fable is mixed with a theme of pro-tolerance.

The story is set in the countryside, featuring Ugly, thought of as "different" and who tries to find how to fit in; his protective mother, Ida, who loves him unconditionally; a drake who "ducks" his fatherly responsibilities; a sly tomcat who just wants to play with his food; a wisecracking bullfrog; and other such barnyard delights that will appeal to children and adults alike. "This story is told through the eyes of the animals," says director Lana Hagan, "but as we know, it is really a very human story."

Honk! continues at 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, July 18-19 and then at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, July 24-26, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 20 and 27, all at Dunham Hall. Hagan said the play is a story of human emotion so the animal characters "are not costumed distinctly as animals," but as people with animal characteristics. "Look for the touches of fantasy that suggest the animal traits of the human characters and the human traits of the animal characters," she said. "This script invited my design team to experiment with all of the magic of theater. Many thanks to all of them for the magic we were able to create together," she said. "And, may we never forget the importance of the message of this story-acceptance of others is the key to the well being of humanity."

The set for Honk! is a pond, but constructed in larger than life proportions so that the actors' size fits the scale of their surroundings. "Everything's been 'duck-ified,'" says Roger Speidel, the show's set designer. "In other words, all the props are made larger to fit the scale of the 'animals' in the production, including any props that a duck or a cat might use." In one scene, Speidel explains, the cat, Queenie, sits in a chair that is the size of a small garage. "At one point, Queenie uses a television remote, so we made one to scale, about 12 by six inches in size," he said. "I also constructed cattails out of steel rod and pillows at the top, covered in material. They're very tall but they're on rollers so we can move them around to indicate we're in different parts of the pond."

But Speidel is most proud of the eggs he created. Each egg has an access for a human dressed as a duckling to sit. At the prescribed moment in the play, and to the beat of the music, the "ducklings" break out of their shells, while their mothers sing of the joys of motherhood. The ducklings are played by children from the community. "These eggs were very labor intensive," Speidel said. "I started with a thermo-plastic product that is formed on olds, then covered with cloth. After that I applied a layer of batting dipped in paint to give it texture and to cover seams..

"I was a scene painter for this show at the Des Moines (IA) Playhouse children's theater before coming to SIUE in 2002," Speidel said. "I always thought I would like to put my own design mark on this show, and now I have. I also play the part of the wisecracking bullfrog. So, I'm seeing the play from backstage and onstage."

For tickets or for more information, call the SIUE Fine Arts box office, (618) 650-2774, or toll free, (888) 328-5168, ext. 2774. Visit the Web site: www.siue.edu/THEATER. Tickets for Honk! are $15; non-SIUE students, seniors (65+), SIUE faculty and staff:, $12. SIUE students registered for summer classes are free with a valid University ID.

Click here for a photo suitable for print which shows the moment when all the ducklings hatch and notice that one in their midst is different. From left are: Katie Edmonds of Edwardsville, as Fluffy Duckling; Keith Wehmeier of St. Louis, in the title role; Drake Wasser of Collinsville, as Billy Duckling; Joy Powell of St. Louis, as Ida, their mother; Sarah Edmonds, actual sister of Katie, as Beakie Duckling; Derrick Davault of Alton, as Drake, their father; and Mackenzie Dixon of Collinsville, as Downy Duckling. Powell is director of theater at Missouri Baptist University in St. Louis. (SIUE photo by Bill Brinson)

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7/3/08

An Edwardsville Green Thumb Award Goes To The Gardens At SIUE

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) Most students, faculty and staff at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville already appreciate the splendor of The Gardens at SIUE, the 35-acre multifaceted botanical garden that acts as a natural laboratory for science students. But now The Gardens is earning more widespread attention from city leaders in Edwardsville as the newest recipient of the city's Green Thumb Award, a designation that rewards designers for "the great potential The Gardens has to be a destination and community resource."

The Green Thumb Award honors The Gardens for its civic contributions, which has included an educational Arbor Day event, a plastic pot recycling program and plant identification. Gardens Director Doug Conley said winning the Green Thumb Award not only validates the work that has been done but also adds a cache similar to that of the Missouri Botanical Gardens recognition. "It lets us know that we're on the right path for our project," he said. "We're still trying to get the word out to the community about our vision. We really appreciate that they looked past the fact that we're a work-in-progress, like gardening always is."

As one of only three designated Signature Gardens recognized in the region by the Missouri Botanical Garden, The Gardens at SIUE is composed of woodlands, grasslands, walking paths and landscape sculpture. The area was initiated in 1990 as the Donal G. Myer Arboretum, named for the late dean of what was then known as the School of Sciences at SIUE. Conley said that by 2004 it had become apparent that the project was bigger than just the arboretum. "We realized that our master plan was more comprehensive than a typical arboretum," Conley said. So, the Myer Arboretum has been contained within the larger Gardens while retaining its name, Conley pointed out.

The "reinvigorated" gardens provide educational opportunities for students as well as area residents of all ages. Volunteers help as tour guides, plant taggers and weeders, while University students are busy helping provide "green" construction plans for the Visitors Center and parking lot, among others. That sort of academic involvement will continue to grow as The Gardens evolves, as well, Conley said. For example, students from the civil engineering program recently studied environmentally sustainable construction practices, looking into paving materials that would make the best of rain run-off.

Although 18 years old, The Gardens at SIUE are still in their infancy. The master plan, devised by Terra Design Studios of Pittsburg, Pa., includes a $30 million budget with designs for a visitors center, a "Welcome Garden," a "Pavilion in the Pines," an amphitheater and much more. Implementing the many phases of the master plan could take up to 20 years. The Gardens at SIUE is open year-round from dawn to dusk.

Click here for photo; cutlines are as follows: From left to right are: Michael Reinhardt, a member of the Edwardsville Beautification and Tree Commission (EBTC); Wilma Jene Bond, chair of the Commission's Green Thumb Award Committee; Benna Denue, chair of the EBTC; Edwardsville Mayor Gary Niebur; Doug Conley, director of The Gardens at SIUE and a member of the University's biological sciences faculty; SIUE Chancellor Vaughn Vandegrift; Chuck Tosovsky, a member of the Friends of The Gardens at SIUE, a support organization for the Gardens; and Patrick Hundley, vice chancellor for University Relations. (SIUE Photo by Denise Macdonald)

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7/3/08

High Schoolers Attended SIUE Engineering, Science Summer Programs

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) More than four dozen high school students from 15 schools around the region practiced their science skills recently at three summer programs hosted by Southern Illinois University Edwardsville's School of Engineering. Some students built scale-model fuel cell cars that ran on water, while others constructed a working bridge made of PVC pipes.

But the most excitement was generated by the group that built and raced hovercrafts. It was the element of competition that got these students' "engines" racing, said Oktay Alkin, associate dean for Research and Development for the School. "When they're doing something that they can use later to compete against others, that's when they really get excited," Alkin said. "It's that competitive streak in them. If we let them try to do a better job than the others around them, it gets them more motivated and more interested."

The high schoolers, who lived on campus for the summer programs, were able to choose several projects to work on other than building and racing fuel cell cars and bridge construction. Other activities included building a robot, developing computer programs, working with interactive sound and video processing hardware and designing and building a rain garden. Leading the novice engineers were faculty members from the School's Civil Engineering, Computer Science, Construction, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Mechanical and Industrial Engineering departments.

Although the summer programs have been taking place for several years, Alkin said this year's activities were different. "We took it to a new level this year," he said. "We found some research on the characteristics of what gets high school kids excited and motivated, so we changed it quite a bit to suit that."

Judging from the feedback after the programs, Alkin said the changes were well made. "Response was very positive," he said. "Many students indicated they intend to pursue engineering and go into the field as a career. Some even said they wanted the programs to be longer. The feedback was very good."

It was so good that Alkin is already making plans for next summer's event. Of particular interest is the recruiting of minority and female students into the University's Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) efforts. These are two groups that are underrepresented in the field today, Alkin added. "It's hard to tell at this point if we'll get the funding for that but we need to recruit more of these students," he said. "We're considering incentives such as scholarships, perhaps."

The engineering outreach event also included nonscientific activities such as bowling, films and play time at the University swimming pool. But Alkin said it was the engineering time that generated the strongest response. "We know that students don't like listening to lectures. They make this very clear to us," he said, laughing. "When they're doing something hands-on, that's when they're having fun."

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7/1/08

Two Nursing Faculty Win National Research Award

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) Two Southern Illinois University Edwardsville scholars are being honored for their research into nursing attitudes toward breastfeeding. At its annual convention in Los Angeles last week, the Association of Women's Health Obstetrical and Neonatal Nursing (AWHONN), a national infant and nurse advocacy group, honored Professor Laura Bernaix and Associate Professor Cindy Schmidt, both of the SIUE School of Nursing, who won the organization's Outstanding Research Paper award for their study of the influence of instruction on breastfeeding mothers.

Following a two-year study, the two recently helped produce a research paper based on their analysis of breast feeding, Impact of an Educational Intervention on Nurses' Breastfeeding Knowledge and Attitudes. "This is quite an achievement," said Marcia Maurer, dean of the SIUE School of Nursing. "This specialty organization counts among its members the most outstanding nurse researchers in the areas of women's health, obstetrics and neonatal care. We are very proud." The "educational intervention" study involved 240 nurses on the East Coast and in the Midwest. They were divided into experimental and control groups, and asked to respond to a 64-item questionnaire developed by Bernaix.

The results unmistakably showed improved breastfeeding rates among new mothers who received help from nurses who were knowledgeable about its impact on the health of both infants and mothers. Also teaming up with the two SIUE educators and sharing the award were Judith Harris and Linda Miller, two nurses from Oklahoma, as well as retired SIUE Nursing Professor Margaret Beaman. Several years ago after meeting and consulting with Bernaix at a nursing conference, Harris and Miller began investigating the connection between nursing attitudes toward breastfeeding and its success with new mothers.

They later contacted Bernaix about working together for a broader investigation. "They decided it was time to design a much larger study," said Bernaix, whose specialty is in breastfeeding. "It's one of those topics that everyone appreciates along the way, but it's just now starting to get more recognition from major national organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics. It's now getting the attention it's deserved all along."

Schmidt said she was "very excited and completely surprised" to learn of the honor. "I didn't even know there was such an award," she said with a laugh. Bernaix pointed out if nurses are empowered with knowledge, their support and intentions greatly improve. "If you know something about a topic," she said, "you're more apt to do more and be able to act, as opposed to being less likely to jump in."

AWHONN is a 22,000-member nonprofit group that educates and supports nurses who care for women and newborns. The study will be published within a year in AWHONN's Journal of Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing.

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7/1/08

SIUE Graduate Student From O'Fallon Wins Fulbright Scholarship

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) When Southern Illinois University Edwardsville graduate student Amanda Wiehl was growing up as an Air Force brat, she spent 10 years in Germany with her family. That growth experience will come in handy when Wiehl leaves for Poland in September for a nine-month teaching assistantship as a Fulbright U. S. Student Scholar. From September until June 2009, Wiehl will live in Poznan, Poland, and teach English at the Institute of Linguistics at Adam Mickiewicz University. She is one of the very few SIUE students over the years to win a Fulbright.

Receiving the prestigious Fulbright Award was more than just a dream come true, Wiehl said. It was also quite a shock. "I really didn't think I was going to get it," said the 24-year-old O'Fallon woman. "It's a very competitive award. A chance like this doesn't come around very often-to be able to study and teach, and get a good cultural experience. I see it as a really great opportunity."

The Fulbright Program is a 62-year-old international educational exchange program that is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Since its inception, more than 286,000 American students, scholars and teachers have traveled to 155 countries where they studied, shared ideas and took part in cultural interactions. Wiehl joins 1,450 other Fulbright awardees who will travel overseas during the 2008-09 academic year. She will complete her graduate studies in SIUE's Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) Program in August before boarding a plane for Poland.

But this is not her maiden voyage to live and teach in a foreign nation. Last summer, she spent a month in Mexico, teaching English to college professors at Tecnológico de Monterrey, Cuernavaca Campus. During spring semester 2006, she was a student teacher at a U.S. Army base in Heidelberg, Germany. "That was a great experience," said Wiehl, who is teaching English as a second language to adults at Southwestern Illinois College this summer. "I really enjoyed it."

Preparing her application packet for the Fulbright was not easy, Wiehl said. There were many difficult tasks to complete just to get to the secondary review stage, including composing an essay that she spent 10 months writing and revising. "I wasn't holding my hopes too high," she recalled with a laugh. "There were some great people who put in their applications. It was a very long process. But all that hard work paid off." Past recipients of the Fulbright Award include writer Gish Jen; Alejandro Jara, deputy director-general of the World Trade Organization; Metropolitan Opera soprano Renee Fleming; and Aneesh Raman, CNN Middle East correspondent.

Wiehl, who earned her undergraduate degree in elementary education from Missouri State University, said she couldn't have done it (earned a Fulbright) without the help of her faculty mentors in SIUE's Department of English Language and Literature. "I feel very confident about this and how they prepared me for various situations," Wiehl said. "The TESL Program at SIUE has made me a very rounded teacher. I am sure there will be challenges (in Poland), but I know it will be a good experience altogether. I know I'm prepared."

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