Boldly Go: 120 years...and counting
This month we celebrate our university's founding 120 years ago. If you have a minute, please check out some key milestones in our history. Onward and upward!
As our students prepare for the end of the semester, we look forward to socially distanced commencements in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston areas. The month of April already has returned to its status as one of the busiest of our school year. It is my pleasure to share some of the highlights:
Food chemistry team’s work selected for national journal cover story
Our distinctive flavor chemistry program received national exposure this month, when research led by Professor Xiaofen Du, PhD, (Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences) was featured on the April 2021 cover of the Journal of Food Science.
Dr. Du’s article, “Consumer acceptance of watermelon flesh-rind blends and the effect of rind on refreshing perception,” was co-authored by TWU Professor Shanil Juma, PhD, and former graduate research assistant Jessica Ramirez (MS ’20).
This national journal typically chooses only two or three feature articles—based on originality and impact on food science—out of approximately 450 articles published in a year.
Kinesiology program 'swinging success' on upcoming summer Golf Channel show
Chris Como, left, works with Young-Hoo Kwon, PhD, to collect golf swing data in the TWU kinesiology lab. Photo by Michael Modecki.
Golfing enthusiasts know that the swing is critical to a solid game. And true cachet in the golf world is knowing enough about the mechanics of a swing to help golf pros improve their game. In 2014, former TWU biomechanics graduate student Chris Como arguably landed the gig of a lifetime when he was selected to consult with Tiger Woods.
Since then, Como has helped other PGA Tour pros improve their swings, too. He recently visited our Denton campus to film a segment that will air this summer for the Golf Channel program, Swing Expedition. The show features interviews with famous instructors and covers their unique teaching methods and philosophies.
For the segment recorded at TWU, Como visited with his former professor, Young-Hoo Kwon, PhD, director of the Biomechanics Laboratory in the School of Health Promotion & Kinesiology. The two spent time in the biomechanics lab analyzing golf swings, no doubt advancing theories that will help golfers at every level.
Leadership award recognizes Dallas Mavericks CEO
Our 19th annual Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award will be given April 29 to Cynt Marshall, Dallas Mavericks CEO. This is our signature event in Dallas, which honors one of the area’s most accomplished citizens and raises funds for graduate student scholarships.
'Voices of the Pandemic' collection growing
A selection of images for those memorialized on our COVID Remembrance page.
I invite you to add to our growing multimedia collection of memories and observations about the COVID-19 global pandemic. We have received more than 400 submissions in all formats—and more than 160 of them are accessible online.
A number of our faculty have created some interesting class assignments so students’ voices can be included in this collection, and we are now encouraging others to consider submitting items that reflect life after lock-down and the impact of the vaccines.
We are also still receiving submissions to our COVID Remembrance page. This page serves as a way to bring us together in a virtual space, and these submissions also will be archived in our “Voices of the Pandemic” collection.
New College of Business Dean named
Joining us June 1 as the new Dean of our College of Business is Rama Yelkur, a longtime faculty leader, professor, accomplished marketing and international business expert and board member — with a strong background in long-range planning, community outreach and fundraising
She has served as dean at two other institutions—the School of Business at St. John Fisher College in New York and at the Carmona College of Business and Management at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan. In addition, she has three decades of consulting experience in sports marketing, advertising and sponsorships, and has worked with organizations such as Kimberly-Clark, NBC Universal and the NFL.
Dr. Yelkur is a graduate of the Management in Leadership Education program from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and received her Doctorate in Business Administration from Mississippi State University with a specialization in Marketing, her MBA from PSG College of Technology and her bachelor’s in mathematics from Ethiraj College for Women in India.
She will succeed our College of Business Dean James Lumpkin, who is retiring May 31.
Dental hygiene services provided to Little Elm ISD students
Photo by Michael Modecki.
A healthy and bright smile can instill confidence and pride, as 26 Little Elm ISD students discovered during TWU’s Giving Kids a Smile Day, held on April 10.
During the event, the TWU Dental Hygiene Clinic provided the students, ranging from 4 to 17 years old, with free preventative services, including x-rays, dental exams, cleanings, sealants and silver diamine fluoride, as needed. The students also received oral hygiene instruction and nutritional guidance.
All 26 students in our dental hygiene senior class, plus six faculty and staff members and two dentists, volunteered their time for this event.
“Being a dental hygienist includes advocating for those who face barriers that prevent them from receiving dental care and oral health education,” said dental hygiene student Crystal Rebollero, who organized the event.
“We aim to address these barriers by creating and implementing outreach programs that increase oral health literacy through education and, if the situation allows, provide individualized treatments within our scope of practice for those otherwise unable to access dental care. We believe everyone should have the opportunity to obtain optimal oral health.”
Institute expands research projects on women’s issues
Drs. Juliet Spencer and Michael Bergel are pursuing STEM research supported by the Institute. Photos by Michael Modecki.
Our Jane Nelson Institute for Women’s Leadership is currently supporting more than 20 research projects across the university’s three campuses, including the recording of music by women composers that was never previously recorded and rarely performed; the role of ethical leadership in nursing and professional education; and the impact of a common herpes virus that may exacerbate tumor formation and promote metastatic spread of breast cancer.
All of these projects address aspects of women’s lives that will benefit or contribute to their ability to be leaders in their chosen fields.
For instance, science and technology are among the fastest growing job sectors with the highest paid jobs, and men outnumber women in these careers by three to one. Even when women complete the rigorous academic programs necessary to land jobs in these areas, they often find few role models and little support. The Institute is supporting a mentorship and networking initiative to provide support for women in STEM careers.
As a predominantly female, Hispanic-serving institution, our university is actively addressing this issue. We strive to educate the next generation of women scientists and engineers, who will need to amass the skills and support networks required for leadership positions.
NEH grants nearly $100K to integrate Quakertown history into courses
Photo of Quakertown residents, courtesy of TWU Special Collections.
The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded a Humanities Connections Grant that will support the very first interdisciplinary and experiential learning initiative to integrate the history of Denton’s Quakertown area into courses at TWU.
The grant also will enable us to develop a digital humanities archive of Quakertown-related research and reflection, which the project co-directors aim to connect to a public platform that will promote community engagement with Quakertown’s history for decades to come.
Improvements, additions abound on TWU Denton campus
Photo by Michael Modecki.
With the spring weather now upon us, you may wish to expand your outdoor walks to our Denton campus, where many improvements and additions have occurred throughout the pandemic that you can see on this new virtual tour.
New ‘Infinite’ sculpture erected at Scientific Research Commons entrance
On April 13 our Alumni Association dedicated a large sculpture in honor of Betty Ruth Johnston (BS ’47) who served for many years in the U.S. Army, conducting biological warfare assessments.
The Alumni Association’s board of directors, led by president Barbara Rogers (BS ’73, MEd ’78), collaborated with TWU’s chemistry and biochemistry department to create the memorial in Betty’s memory.
According to Roger Berry, a prominent northern California sculptor, the new sculpture reflects “the infinite possibilities” TWU offers students.
Newly carved wooden Oakley mascot graces athletics fields
Chainsaw artist Rob Banda carves a tree trunk on the Denton campus into the shape of TWU's mascot. Photo by Michael Modecki.
During construction of the soccer and intramural fields on our former golf course, our facilities employees took great pains to protect the mature post oak trees that lined the west side of the athletics fields.
“We even had to make revisions to the master plan so we could adjust the proposed field locations and protect the trees,” said Timothy Wentrcek, assistant director of building maintenance.
Despite their best efforts, a tree at the entrance to the soccer field became infected with the hypoxylon canker fungus and did not survive. Though disappointed, Wentrcek and his team did some research and borrowed an idea from Oklahoma State University. If your walk takes you to our athletics fields you can see it: a new carved Oakley, our Texas barn owl athletics mascot, created by an area chainsaw-carving artist.
Library Children’s Collection to acquire new books, thanks to memorial endowment
As we approach the one-year anniversary of the passing of our colleague and alumna, Jimmie Lyn Harris (BS ’80, MLS ’88), I’m pleased to share that—thanks to the generosity of her sister, and other family and friends—the Jimmie Lyn Harris Program Endowment benefiting our library’s Children’s Collection will continue to carry on her legacy and support the area where she worked.
She dedicated her life’s work to helping students and faculty with their research, and this endowment will ensure her love for reading, research and books will live on at Texas Woman’s.
Jimmie Lyn received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in library sciences from TWU, began her career in our library in 1980 and, for nearly 40 years, served as the children’s librarian and as the subject specialist librarian for multicultural women’s and gender studies.
If you haven’t visited our library’s first-floor special collection for children, I invite you to do so. Among other items, it features 11 original works by winners of the prestigious Randolph Caldecott annual award for the most distinguished contributions to children’s book illustrations.
Baylor taps TWU alumna as nursing dean
Following a nationwide search, Baylor University has named our alumna Linda Plank, Ph.D., RN, NEA-BC (MS ’81), Dean of Baylor University's Louise Herrington School of Nursing in Dallas, effective May 1.
Alumna named CEO of Advanced Surgeons & Physicians Network
Rachel Taylor, (MHA ’01), has been named Chief Executive Officer of Advanced Surgeons & Physicians Network. With nearly three decades of healthcare leadership, she is responsible for overseeing the clinical and administrative operations for the organization’s clinics across both Houston and Dallas.
She is also in charge of improving operational efficiencies through the execution of immediate and long-term goals, developing more substantial in-house operational systems, enhancing patient care and satisfaction, and implementing strategies to best support surgeons and physicians under the network’s care.
Camps planned for this summer
Children learn to cook at a TWU summer camp in 2017. Photo by Michael Modecki.
We’re happy to offer both virtual and in-person camps this summer:
- The Pioneer Digital Days Virtual Summer Camp, scheduled June 21-25, is designed to help young children and their parents be effective digital citizens;
- The Nutrition & Culinary Virtual Summer Camp, scheduled June 28-July 2, will teach children how to cook nutritious, delicious meals in the comfort of their own homes; and
- Please check out TWU Athletics Camps for soccer, volleyball, basketball, gymnastics, softball, dance, and synchronized swimming offerings on the Denton campus starting in May. Officials are continually monitoring COVID-19 developments.
You can learn more about these events at twu.edu/summer-camps.
Student newspaper staff wins 17 awards in statewide competition
As the year draws to a close, we typically see numerous awards bestowed on our faculty and students. I was thrilled to see The Lasso, our student newspaper, bring home 17 awards from the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association conference.
We are so proud of our students!
Senate advances system consideration
Photo by Kevin Cruser.
Since I last wrote you, the bill sponsored by Rep. Lynn Stucky and Sen. Drew Springer that proposes our university (Denton/Dallas/Houston campuses) become the seventh system in Texas has passed the Senate and House higher education committees unanimously.
And this week, with an amendment proposed by Sen. Kel Seliger, the bill subsequently has passed the full Senate unanimously. The bill now awaits review by the full House and, if passed, would proceed to Texas Governor Greg Abbott for consideration.
Our university is now one of only three independent universities of the 38 public universities in Texas, and not becoming a system could affect our ability to maintain our distinctive identity as the nation’s largest woman-focused university if other systems absorb us.
My gratitude to our legislators for their continued support in creating Texas Woman’s as a system, which would help us continue to serve students and the state with even greater impact.
Inspiring young girls to lead...
It's so refreshing to see more young girls realizing the importance of learning to be a leader. Eleven-year-old Zoe Mantaro, above, paid a visit to the Jane Nelson Institute for Women's Leadership to create a mural for the office of Chief Officer and Executive Director, Mary Anne Alhadeff. Her vision of women's leadership is no doubt influenced by her mom, Shannon, who is the Institute's senior director.
Infinity has captured the intellectual imagination of thinkers across the globe and throughout the ages. With our new "Infinite" sculpture, which I was honored to help dedicate, this symbol of science and philosophy is now an installation on our beautiful Denton campus.
Thanks for your interest in Texas Woman’s. As always, email me with your comments or questions. I am delighted that you have spent a few minutes with me today.
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Page last updated 3:51 PM, October 27, 2022