Industry Connect Distinguished Lecture

Southeastern’s Department of Computer Science has scheduled the next installment of the Industry Connect Distinguished Lecture Series on Nov. 18, at 5 p.m. Featuring industry experts, the series introduces students, faculty, and interested guests to current industry technologies that can be utilized immediately in Southeastern’s industry connect classes or in personal projects.

Scheduled in the Envoc Innovation Lab, room 2026, in the Computer Science and Technology Building, the lecture is available both in person and online.

The featured guest speaker Elias Khalaf will present “DevOps: The pitfalls of implementing a continuous deployment pipeline. Bridging the gap between academia and industry.” Although maximum capacity for the event is 36, all are invited to join in via Google Meet at https://meet.google.com/ybr-iumk-tur.

Khalaf started his career in IT operations at the Computer Science Department at LSU in Baton Rouge, where he spent over 13 years as computer manager and part time lecturer. During that time, he earned a master of science degree in systems science, and then a doctoral degree in computer science. In 2002, Khalaf joined the faculty of mathematics and computer science at Loyola University New Orleans as assistant professor of computer science and remained there until 2007. He then switched careers from academia to the industry and started working for General Dynamics Information Technology on an IT development and infrastructure contract with the US Department of Interior. In 2020, the contract was awarded to NTT Data Services, where he is currently employed as a senior advisor and IT infrastructure team leader.

For more information, contact the Department of Computer Science at 985.549.5740.

Helping Fight Hunger With Tailgate Concert and Food Drive

Several Southeastern student organizations will host a food drive for the Southeastern Food Pantry with a tailgate and live music. Scheduled in the Student Union Park from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 13, the event will take place prior to the Lions’ football game against Northwestern State University at 6 p.m. Sponsors include the History and Political Science Society, the Kinesiology Student Association, the Southeastern Employee Wellness Committee, and groups from the College of Business.

Attendees are asked to donate a nonperishable food item. Items needed include rice, chili, jelly, cereal, soups, crackers, pasta sauce, boxed meals, canned fruits, peanut butter, cereal or granola bars, microwaveable meals, refrigerated/frozen items, canned and uncooked pasta and beans, and canned meats like tuna, chicken or salmon.

The Hammond-based rock band, Mary’s Wish, will play in support of the benefit, and the show will be family-friendly, said History and Political Science Department Head Bill Robison.

“Grab the kids, an ice chest, and some lawn chairs, and come out to help these students support the Food Pantry with your donations while enjoying some rocking pre-game fun,” he said.

Southeastern Channel Named Best in the Nation

The Southeastern Channel has once again been recognized as best in the nation by College Broadcasters, Inc (CBI).

The channel was honored at CBI’s National Student Production Awards with first place in the nation for Best Video Hard News Reporting, Best Video Sportscast, and Best Video Public Service Announcement.

The Southeastern Channel won its three first-place awards out of over 1,000 entries submitted by the top broadcasting schools from throughout the nation. The channel’s three first-place selections were the most in television and video of any school in the country. It marks the 11th time that the Southeastern Channel has won first place in the nation honors in college television.

The channel also won third place national honors for Best Video News Feature Reporting and fourth place for Best Video Documentary.

“We’re thrilled that the Southeastern Channel continues to be recognized as the very best in the nation,” said Southeastern Channel General Manager Rick Settoon. “Once again, the competition represents the best in college broadcasting throughout the country.”

“Credit goes to our students for making the most of their God-given talents to achieve the Southeastern Channel’s high standards of quality and excellence,” Settoon explained. “Credit must also be given to channel staff members and communication department television instructors for developing the skills and talents of these students.”

Southeastern Channel student news reporter Chris Rosato of Mandeville won the nation’s top honor for Best Video Hard News Reporting, while the channel also won for Best Video Sportscast with its Nov. 21, 2019 live, weekly sportscast The Big Game. Cameron Pittman of Bogalusa won first in the country for Best Video Public Service Announcement with Gunny McShoot, a PSA for family gun safety. The Southeastern Channel’s John Williams of Denham Springs won third in the nation for Best Video News Feature for his story Fourth of July in Baton Rouge, while Dylan Domangue of Houma won fourth place for Best Video Documentary for his personal documentary “12 Seconds at Birth.” 

Rosato’s winning news story Toxic Algae in Lake Pontchartrain was for the national award-winning student newscast Northshore News.  The story covered the environmental hazard caused by toxins associated with the lake’s blue-green algal bloom, causing the death of Northshore fish and plant life, as well as gastrointestinal, skin, and breathing problems for residents.

Rosato researched, wrote, produced, reported, shot, and edited the story. It was the third time in the last four years that the Southeastern Channel has won first in the nation for the best television hard news story.

“As a reporter, I feel that my strengths play a lot into how I can take a story with a lot of information or different angles and simplify it for the viewer so they can process it easier,” Rosato said. “When putting together a story, I always try to think about who I can get as a strong interview subject and what kind of shots I could try and catch to really hold the viewer’s attention.”

At the Southeastern Channel Rosato was also named Louisiana’s Student Broadcaster of the Year by the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters and won multiple top awards from the Associated Press College Broadcasters, Society of Professional Journalists, and Southeast Journalism Conference. He now works as a news reporter for WAFB-TV Channel 9 in Baton Rouge. Rosato recently led the station’s coverage of Hurricane Ida with live reports from Houma, La. as the hurricane hit the city.

“The Southeastern Channel offered me exceptional one-on-one instruction and met all of my work with constructive criticism that I could apply to my next story or show,” Rosato said.  “Regarding the job market, working at the channel separated me from the competition by giving me the opportunity to cover real-world current event stories and not just restrict me to on-campus assignments. The Southeastern Channel prepared me to go out into the community and work with public officials and everyday people.” 

The winning episode of The Big Game was produced and directed by Dylan Domangue of Houma and co-anchored by John Sartori of Mandeville and Gabrielle Cox of Hammond with Richie Solares of New Orleans as guest anchor. The show featured contributions from students Logan Graffia of Slidell, Ross Chauvin of Houma, Lauryn Jackson of Baton Rouge, Josh Hodgeson of New Orleans, and Taylor Tabb and Angela Imbraguglio of Destrehan.

“When it was announced that we had won first in the nation, my level of excitement was more than anyone else that had won an award that night,” Domangue said. “I know the hard work and preparation that we put into each of our broadcasts, and to have that come full circle and pay off with us winning first place is truly special.”

The Big Game is just like ESPN’s SportsCenter, where you’re hitting the most important news that’s happening in sports in our local area that given week, whether that’s the Saints games or college athletics,” Domangue explained. “After a game ends, you’re able to go on-camera, do your postgame analysis, report with interviews, with sound bites of players and coaches, and do your recap just like you see on the professional level, on ESPN SportsCenter. When you talk to other professionals that are in this profession, when you come from Southeastern they can see that experience already built into you. Because of the training at the Southeastern Channel, you have those experiences already.”

Domangue produced, anchored, and reported for another Big Game episode which was honored by College Broadcasters, Inc. as best in the nation in 2017.  His Big Game productions were named National Finalists as one of the top four in the nation for three straight years at the College Sports Media Awards sponsored by the Sports Video Group in Atlanta. He is now sports director for KALB-TV NBC Ch. 5 in Alexandria. Sartori is now a sports reporter for KTAL-TV ABC Ch. 6 in Shreveport.

“The Southeastern Channel gave me everything I could’ve asked for,” Sartori said. “I had the opportunity to do things people dream of doing as they grow up and when they aspire to be sports broadcasters. I feel the Southeastern Channel rounded me into a sports broadcaster who could do it all. It gave me real-world experience in a collegiate setting. We had deadlines, we had to make sure the stories and segments we produced were broadcast quality. I was able to do live shots, live anchoring, reporting, and live play-by-play.”

In addition to his CBI award, Sartori was honored by the Broadcast Education Association with third place in the nation for TV Sports Play-By-Play. He was honored twice by the Suncoast Emmys in the On-Camera Talent category and also won awards as a sports reporter from the Associated Press College Broadcasters and the Society of Professional Journalists. 

“The opportunities the Southeastern Channel gave me were amazing,” Sartori continued. “If you are a student interested in broadcast journalism, there is no better place for you in this country than in Hammond, La., at the Southeastern Channel.”

The Southeastern Channel has won over 400 national, international, and regional awards, including 22 awards from the Emmys, in the past 18 years. The channel can be seen on Spectrum 199 cable throughout the North Shore, and its 24/7 livestream can be seen on Roku, AppleTV, and at thesoutheasternchannel.com.  The Southeastern Channel is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.  

Ranked a Top University by U.S. News and World Report

Southeastern has earned three rankings from U.S. News and World Report, again being named among the top universities in the region. The university was listed as one of the top 50 public schools and one of the top 100 universities (private or public) in the South. Southeastern also was named as one of the top national performers for the social mobility of its students.

“These accolades are yet another testament to the tremendous support Southeastern students receive from our faculty and staff,” said Southeastern President John L. Crain. “We care about each and every student and their academic success.”

Every year, U.S. News and World Report publishes college rankings in the United States. Colleges and universities are reviewed based on academic quality and measures, such as graduation rates, retention rates, and social mobility.

“Although the methodology is the product of years of research, we continuously refine our approach based on user feedback, discussions with schools and higher education experts, literature reviews, trends in our own data, availability of new data, and engaging with deans and institutional researchers at higher education conferences,” U.S. News said. “Our detailed methodology is transparent in part for use by schools and academics, but mostly because we believe prospective students will find our rankings more useful if they know what the rankings measure.”

Graduation rates for first-generation college students were once again factored into the ranking’s overall methodology. The ranking “evaluates which schools best serve underrepresented students” and analyzes enrollment and graduation rates of low-income students with Pell Grants. Southeastern was ranked 106th nationally in social mobility.

The rankings can be accessed here.

Welcoming Prospective Students with No Application Fees

New students attending an official on-campus visit at Southeastern will have the admission application fee waived through May 1, university officials recently announced. As the university has scheduled many recruitment events for fall and spring, students attending a Lion Pride Preview or a campus tour can take advantage of the benefit.

Director of Admissions Anthony Ranatza said Lion Pride Preview offers prospective students and their guests an opportunity to explore academic options and learn about campus life, while also enjoying a complimentary lunch at Southeastern’s premier restaurant, the Mane Dish. Students can register for the next Lion Pride Preview scheduled Friday, Nov. 19, by visiting southeastern.edu/visit.

“We invite students and parents to visit Southeastern and enjoy a day on our beautiful campus,” said Ranatza. “We are excited to be able to again offer these on-campus experiences for students and their families, especially with our signature recruitment event, Lion Pride Preview.”

Southeastern recently announced a new admissions opportunity called “Fast Track,” in which the university expanded its test-flexible approach. High school students with a minimum 2.50 GPA are automatically admissible with criteria for fall 2022. More information on Fast Track is available at southeastern.edu/fasttrack.

“High school seniors should apply now to Southeastern for summer and fall of 2022,” said Ranatza. “We’ve made that process easier by removing barriers. Combining free applications with visit opportunities and simplifying our admission criteria is a total commitment to our caring approach, which continues to set Southeastern apart.”

Future students are encouraged to apply before the priority deadline of Jan. 15 to qualify for higher scholarship offerings. Learn more information and apply for admission at southeastern.edu/applynow.

Making New Student Admission Simple

In an effort to simplify the admission process and provide the quickest path to beginning a college career, Southeastern has taken recent steps to ensure that prospective students can more easily become new students.

Southeastern recently announced a new admissions opportunity called “Fast Track,” in which the University expanded its test-flexible approach. High school students with a minimum 2.50 GPA will be automatically admitted for Fall 2022.

This innovative approach allows students certainty of admittance before taking standardized tests.

“We wanted to provide high school students an easier path to admission, especially for those who are already demonstrating success at the high school level. National statistics on college success rates show that success in high school is a strong predictor of success in college,” said Anthony Ranatza, director of admissions.

More information on Fast Track can be found at southeastern.edu/fasttrack.

Southeastern also announced that through May 1, any new student attending an official on-campus visit will have the admission application fee waived. As the University has scheduled many recruitment events for fall and spring, students attending a Lion Pride Preview or a campus tour can take advantage of this benefit, reducing their cost of applying to zero.

Lion Pride Preview offers prospective students and their guests an opportunity to explore academic options and learn about campus life, while also enjoying a complimentary lunch at Southeastern’s premier restaurant, the Mane Dish. Students can register for the next Lion Pride Preview by visiting southeastern.edu/visit.

“Students who come to campus for a personal tour fall in love with Southeastern. By connecting a tour to a no-cost application, we again are innovating to ensure that students have the easiest path to begin their college career here,” added Ranatza. 

“We invite students and parents to visit Southeastern and enjoy a day on our beautiful campus,” he continued. “We are excited to be able to again offer these on-campus experiences for students and their families, especially with our signature recruitment event, Lion Pride Preview.”

“Southeastern has made the admission process easier by removing barriers. Combining free applications with visit opportunities and simplifying our admission criteria is a total commitment to our caring approach, which continues to set Southeastern apart.”

Future students are encouraged to apply before the priority deadline of January 15 to qualify for higher scholarship offerings. Learn more information and apply for admission at southeastern.edu/applynow.

Vanishing Black Bars, Celestials, + Louisiana Trail Riders

The Department of Visual Art + Design will host a photography exhibit by three artists—Jeremiah Ariaz, Jill Frank, and L. Kasimu Harris—titled Vanishing Black Bars, Celestials, + Louisiana Trail Riders at the University’s Contemporary Art Gallery, located at 100 East Strawberry Stadium.

The exhibition is free and open to the public until Nov. 15. Contemporary Art Gallery hours are Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with extended hours until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, and Friday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Works featured in the exhibition demonstrate the artists’ shared interest in documenting Southern communities that may often go unseen or undocumented, said Gallery Director Cristina Molina.

“On view are series by L. Kasimu Harris, who has created an index of once prevalent but now disappearing Black bars and lounges in New Orleans and the patrons who commune and celebrate in these spaces,” Molina explained. “Jeremiah Ariaz shares monochromatic images of the Black trail riding clubs in Southwest Louisiana, a subculture that is rich in history and activity, but one that remains largely unknown. And Jill Frank exhibits large scale images and video of youth culture with all of its adolescent growing pains.”

Ariaz was raised in Kansas and is now a professor of art at Louisiana State University. He received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and MFA from the State University in New York at Buffalo. His artworks explore the West as both a physical space and a terrain for the imagination, Molina said. For his most recently completed project Louisiana Trail Riders, he was the recipient of a 2018 ATLAS grant, the Michael P. Smith Award for Documentary Photography from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, and the Southern Arts Finalist Prize from South Arts, as well as being named the 2018 Louisiana State Fellow.

Frank lives in Atlanta and teaches photography at Georgia State University. She studied photography at Bard College and received an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally and featured in Art Papers. Selected solo exhibitions include the Museum of Contemporary Art, Georgia and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Reviews of her work have appeared in Art Forum, The Paris Review, and Bad at Sports.

Harris is a New Orleans based artist whose practice deposits a number of different strategic and conceptual devices in order to push narratives, and he strives to tell stories of underrepresented communities in New Orleans and beyond, Molina explained. Harris has shown in numerous group exhibitions across the US and two international exhibitions and has had six solo photography exhibitions. Last year he was among 60 artists selected nationwide for State of the Art 2020 at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and had a solo exhibition at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center in Pittsburg.

For more information, contact Molina at cmolina@southeastern.edu or 985.549.5080.

Drive to Win

Southeastern student Darian Boesch has mastered the formula for combining his business education and passion for speed—becoming an NHRA World Champion.

Darian Boesch
Darian Boesch

From video or pick-up games to art, yoga, or getting lost in the great outdoors, most students have a hobby, a way to unwind and recharge at the end of a long day or week. But Southeastern senior and Ponchatoula resident Darian Boesch has accelerated his hobby to another level.

Outside of his studies, Darian channels his time and energy into racecar driving. At the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Finals held in Las Vegas this past fall, engines and spectators roared as Darian tore across the finish line in his carbon fiber Jerry Haas Camaro SS to become the NHRA World Champion in the Top Sportsman category. This would be an epic achievement for anyone, but for someone only 21 years old and a fulltime college student it’s even rarer.

“For me, it’s the biggest thing you can do in racing,” Darian said of the competition. “Everybody shoots for the world championship. Whether it’s Formula-1, NASCAR, or any other kind of competition, you want to have a world championship and have that big ‘#1’ on everything.”

Racing is in Darian’s blood. His dad, Mario Boesch, began racing when he was close to Darian’s age and introduced him to the sport. Darian began competing in Jr. Dragsters when he was 7, earning 18 championships in that category alone.

Darian Boesch
Darian and his father, Mario Boesch

“Pretty much my earliest memory is in the shop,” said Darian. “One of our cars was in there, and my dad had just put the motor back in. He fired it up and actually let me crack the throttle a couple of times, so I got to hear the motor rev up… And from there I have not looked back.”

While Darian is mainly the one behind the wheel while on the track, his family is part of his secret weapon for success. In honor of this, their self-funded team is named MKD (Mario, Karen, and Darian) Racing. Mario, a New Orleans business owner who also still occasionally competes with the team, pitches in with tuning the cars and driving the team trailer to all of the events, most of which are at least nine hours away. Since weather plays a significant role in how the cars run, one of Karen’s biggest roles is managing the computer weather acquisitions. “A five-degree temperature difference, or the humidity or density altitude, makes a big difference,” said Darian.

Darian BoeschAnd as for Darian, racing takes much more than just jumping in the car, and for vehicles to be pushed hard and continue to perform at such a top level they take a lot of maintenance. While the fabrication, painting, and motor and transmission assembly are outsourced to professionals, putting the cars together and preparing them for racing on a weekly basis is mostly up to Darian—whether it’s changing out motors, fluids, or various parts and pieces at his home racing garages.

MKD Racing owns and maintains a total of six competition vehicles, including four dragsters, the Camaro, and a Top Sportsman S-10 truck/grudge car.

Darian BoeschDarian has reached 235 mph in the dragster and 230 in the Camaro, but in NHRA, there is also much more to being behind the wheel than crossing the finish line the fastest. Competitors must set a predicted finish time and come in as close to it as possible, and if they cross faster than it they lose.

“To do that I’m not actually looking down the track,” explained Darian. “I’m looking at my opponent the whole way. You want to make the race as close as possible. You can use the gas pedal, the brake pedal, the parachutes—anything to get as close as possible without going too fast. Generally my car can go about 230 mph, but I usually cross the finish line at about 205-210 because I’m killing so much ET (elapsed time) to go slower. A lot of times I’ll get to the finish line a foot or two in front of my opponent, which is hard to get that close at 230 mph.”

“Basically, it’s like a 200-mile-per-hour chess match,” he said. “They’re making moves. You’re making moves. It’s all about who can outsmart the other one going that fast. And you have 6 seconds to figure it out.”

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Darian and his parents regularly travel together across the country for races, whether it’s Florida, the Carolinas, Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, or everything in between. Doing this and preparing the cars—in addition to working for his family’s business—takes a lot of time, but Darian remains on track to graduate in December 2021.

Along with learning how to fine-tune his time-management skills, Darian noted that the support from his professors has been instrumental in helping him to academically succeed. Not only have they been helpful in working with him if he needs to miss a class or turn in an assignment or test early due to travel for a competition, he said that most actually get excited when they learn of his level of racing, even before the National Championship win. Their personal support and the proximity of campus to his home garages have allowed him to pursue his dream of racing, not to mention becoming a national champion, while earning a quality education.

He has also been able to translate what he has learned in his studies into his racing career. “My business administration major has made me think about how to make things function a little bit better,” said Darian. “Some of my management classes, for example, have taught me how to make things run smoother and to cut out parts you don’t need, which has really helped a lot, not just in terms of getting things done better with racing, but also with work. Every little extra you can cut off that will save you time or money helps; it’s so much work, you need every little bit you can get. There’s definitely a lot that I can apply from my classes into this.”

Darian BoeschAs for work and the future, Darian plans on taking on more with his father’s company when he graduates, eventually running it. But he is far from done with racing. With one World Championship under his belt, he is revved up to keep firing for more, such as winning the World Championship in two different cars in the same year.

“I have a very long future ahead of me in this,” he said.

To learn more about MKD Racing, visit mkdracing.com.

By Sheri Gibson

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Leaving a Legacy: James McClimans

Southeastern was home to alumnus James “Jim” McClimans (class of ’58) from a very young age, and it remained a place to which he contributed and supported throughout his life.

Jay McClimans
Jay McClimans

Jim was the son of Dr. Jay W. McClimans and Martha Orr McClimans, who raised their family in Hammond down the street from Southeastern’s beautiful campus. In 1942, Jay began serving as a mathematics professor at Southeastern. He eventually became the University’s first department head of mathematics.

“Our entire family went to athletic and cultural events at the college,” Jim once said, reflecting on his childhood memories with his sister Mary Lee McClimans Bass.

When he moved to Hammond as a young child, Jim began his journey at Southeastern’s Laboratory School in second grade. He continued his education on Southeastern’s campus, attending Southeastern High School and graduating in 1953. This all happened within the same hallways as what is now McClimans Hall, which was at that time the education building.

After graduating high school, he continued to pursue his education by studying engineering at both Texas A&M and LSU and building his work experience with Chance Vaught Aircraft. In 1956, he returned home to Southeastern and, following his father’s passion, majored in mathematics. In 1958, Jim graduated with a bachelor of science in mathematics and a minor in physics.

After graduating from Southeastern, Jim began his career at Shell Oil Company as a geophysicist, gaining experience with the oil and gas company. He traveled around the world managing projects for Shell Oil Company and became the manager of Geophysics Research at Shell Development Company. This led him back to Louisiana, working as the chief geophysicist of the Southeast region.

Jim McClimans
Jim McClimans

Jim had many career achievements, including record Shell Exploration and Production Company profits from the Michigan Play in the 1970s, significant commercial discoveries in Cameroon and Syria, and in 1989 record Shell (U.S.) discoveries in the deep water Gulf.

On July 24, 1981, Jay W. McClimans Hall was dedicated in honor of his father Jay’s commitment to education and support of the mathematics program.

Jim carried on his parents’ love and support of Southeastern throughout his life, making his own mark by giving back to the university that helped set him on a path to lifelong success and breaking down financial barriers for current and future generations. Over the years he positively impacted the lives of countless students through his philanthropy.
Leaving a Legacy

Southeastern named Jim the Distinguished Alumnus of the College of Science and Technology in 2006 in recognition of his success and contributions to the community. He established significant endowments in STEM, including support for the University’s Mathematics Department to continue to honor his father’s legacy.

About his support for Southeastern, Jim previously said, “Marilyn [my wife] and I initiated this gift to Southeastern in the form of retirement fund assets as a way to honor my father. It is a symbol of the love my family has for this fine institution.”

Jim passed away July 15, 2020, but many can learn from his example of hard work, dedication, and giving back to the community that helped shape his future.

“Sharing a friendship with Jim was one of the greatest blessings of my career,” said Vice President of University Advancement Wendy Lauderdale. “His devotion and commitment to Southeastern was evident in every initiative he supported. He will be greatly missed.”

The McClimans’ legacy will live on, especially through the ongoing learning within McClimans Hall across from historic Friendship Circle.

Jim and Marilyn McClimans
Jim and his wife, Marilyn McClimans

By Mary Grace Kelley