Over the course of the past five years, Southeastern’s Department of Athletics has experienced success across the board.

When current Athletics Director Jay Artigues was named to the position, he hoped to chart a path toward a very strong future. Almost immediately, with input from the department’s head coaches, a fresh mission statement was crafted that embodied the new vision for athletics at Southeastern: Committed to excellence in the classroom, in the community, and in competition. “We wanted to clearly establish what it means to be a part of the athletics program here at Southeastern. Whether you are staff, a coach, or an athlete, we all should be working toward the same goals, and I think we have achieved that focus,” said Artigues.

By targeting these three key areas outlined in the new mission statement, Southeastern has excelled in each. This success is visible both on campus and in the community. The impact has been stellar and has brought a holistic approach to the program and the anticipated results for student-athletes.

“I commend our coaches for committing to our mission…it starts in recruiting student-athletes that are committed to excellence in all three areas,” Artigues said. “The mission statement is posted in every athletic building on campus. I wanted our student-athletes and coaches to see it every day everywhere they went.”

Excellence In The Classroom
In the classroom, student-athletes are thriving. In the spring of 2017, Southeastern recorded its highest GPA in department history. The department continues to break records academically and foresees improving the overall GPA over the course of the next three semesters. This past fall semester, student-athletes achieved a 3.16 overall GPA with more than 50 percent recording an individual 3.0 GPA or higher.

“While we are about winning athletic competition, we are also about forming student-athletes for a strong and productive future. Our overall academic progress has been fantastic and I could not be more proud. This ensures that whatever these students may go on to do, they can do it with excellence after they have graduated from Southeastern,” said Artigues.

Academic Center

Excellence in the Community
Part of any education is not just the book learning that prepares one for a career, but it is the life education that teaches one to be a great person. With a specific focus on giving back to the community, Southeastern Athletics ensures that every student-athlete engages in service to the community each year. “We hope that this helps form the overall person that they will become,” said Artigues.

Southeastern now averages 15 hours of community service per student-athlete each year. The department routinely accumulates more than 5,000 combined hours of service annually. With record-setting numbers, Southeastern earned the Southland Conference Community Service Award in 2017.

move-in mania

Excellence in Competition
Student-athletes are excelling on the field, court, and track. Since the fall of 2013, Southeastern has claimed a pair of Southland Conference football titles, indoor and outdoor championships in men’s track and field, a baseball regular season title and a Southland tournament championship, a men’s basketball regular season title, and a women’s soccer tournament championship.

At the NCAA level, track and field athlete Alex Young earned a national title in the men’s indoor weight throw during the spring of 2016. Since then, the baseball, football, and softball teams have all churned out program records for most wins in a single season.

Excellence on the field requires a great deal of focus. In addition to strong recruiting and coaching, facilities play a huge part. Having good facilities that support the students are an important part of the recruiting process. Creating physical improvements throughout the department is a focal point for Artigues.


Excellent Infrastructure and Support
“I think it’s important to show every year that you’re making some sort of major improvement, one thing every single year,” Artigues said. “If we do that in every sport, you look up five years later and we’ve accomplished a lot. Tip your hat to the coaches and administration; everyone has pitched in and done a great job.”

Behind-the-scenes upgrades to the Dick & Glory Sharp Academic Center and the Doc Goodwin Athletic Training Room, along with the Naquin Strength & Conditioning Center, benefit all Southeastern student-athletes, cheerleaders, and members of the national champion Lionette dance squad.

Improvements have been made across nearly all facilities including Strawberry Stadium, the University Center, North Oak Park, the North Campus Athletics building, the Tennis Complex, Track and Field Complex, and Alumni Field. The academic center, located on the west side of historic Strawberry Stadium, has received additional computer stations, study rooms, informational signage, flooring, and furniture. An NCAA grant helped provide for additional academic counselors.

“We’re developing a holistic student-athlete,” said Artigues. “The academic center has paid dividends by recently generating the highest GPA in department history. It is no coincidence. We’ve committed to excellence in that area, providing the resources we need to be successful academically.”

Renovations have also allowed for the new North Oaks Nutrition Center to launch. The nutrition center is only one piece of an entire nutritional program for the Lions and Lady Lions, developed by North Oaks Dietetic Internship Director Leslie Ballard and Southeastern Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine Brandon Albin. The program is designed to not only provide sustenance through the nutrition center, but
also to better educate all Southeastern student-athletes on the best dietary practices.

Naquin center a013119_076

“It’s important we also give the nutritional resources to be successful,” Artigues said. “They get their three meals a day, but it’s also important they have the proper nutritional information.”

“Our goal with this program is for the student-athletes to see better performance, fewer injuries, faster recovery, and overall better health,” Ballard said.

Over the past five years, the numerous facility upgrades were made possible by an increase in fundraising, sponsorship, and concession dollars, identifying internal funds and cost efficiencies, routine maintenance, and a variety of grant monies. Concession revenues have doubled since bringing the operations in-house, and developing a partnership with Peak Sports Management to handle sales has led corporate sponsorships revenues to quadruple.

Through a focus on classroom, community, and competition excellence, Southeastern athletics is reaping the benefits of success.

By Kemmler Chapple

Contemporary Art Gallery

Louisiana is a state rich with culture. A state that does not simply embrace the arts at its surface, but is deeply intertwined with them in its soul.

While the first thoughts of many may jump to iconic locales such as New Orleans, with its distinct architecture and multitude of galleries and museums, the deep-seated, vibrant arts culture of Louisiana’s Northshore region is one that should not be overlooked. Its jewels may be more hidden away within the local communities, but for those who embrace them, they shine just as brightly.

Tucked away on Southeastern’s campus, at 100 East Stadium, is one such gem: the Contemporary Art Gallery. An extension of the Visual Art + Design Department, the gallery serves not only students and faculty but the community as well.

The gallery is devoted to presenting contemporary art exhibitions, lectures, and workshops and to providing a forum for contemporary art for students, the city of Hammond, and residents of the Northshore.

Dale Newkirk
Dale Newkirk

“Part of our mission is to bring contemporary art to campus, to the gallery, to show students and the public what is going on in the art world today in terms of cutting edge, new ideas,” explained Dale Newkirk, the gallery’s director and curator in addition to the department head of Visual Art + Design. “We bring in regional, national, and international [art]. There is more of a national focus, but we have also had artists from Europe, Africa, and Canada. We try to bring in people that the university and the community would be exposed to that they normally wouldn’t have access to.”

Upon passing between the gallery’s sandy columns then stepping though its unassuming glass front doors, a façade that blends seamlessly with the traditional red brick and concrete architecture of the surrounding buildings, a shockingly large 7,000 square feet of modern gallery space greets visitors. The gallery is actually the largest art space in the area and one of only two devoted to showing contemporary art.

While some stop in for a respite from their busy day or to take advantage of the quiet, serene environment to read, the exhibitions—which switch out eight times per year—are at the foundation of what draws people in. Popular past exhibitions have included Real to Not Real, a paintings show comprised of 20 artists “working in the gap between representational and nonrepresentational visual languages, bringing the two together”; a cell phone photography show that featured over 300 images taken by people all over the world; and a national tattoo arts show. Many of the exhibitions are not only innovative, but they feature topics that are relatable to Southeastern’s students—meeting them where they are and thus helping to better engage them and draw connections between objects and ideas, creating more meaningful learning experiences.

A student helps install an exhibition

The other part of the Contemporary Art Gallery’s mission is, in fact, to serve these students and open up new possibilities for them. Each semester an exhibition is held showcasing the work of graduating art majors. This exhibition serves as the students’ thesis show and is part of the capstone course in their curriculum, with students putting everything they have learned over the years into it. This dedication has paid off for many of the students active with the gallery throughout their college careers by landing jobs at galleries and museums across the country, allowing them to continue to follow their passion.

The gallery is also used as a learning tool by groups across campus. “A lot of the art faculty bring their students over to talk about the shows and do various projects with the artwork,” said Newkirk. “The drawing classes come over and draw in the gallery. Faculty will come over and talk about content of the work. But other departments come over as well. The English department comes over regularly to have students write about work. Foreign language classes use the space a lot, and some of the teachers are devoted to coming over and having the students engage by using the works as a vehicle for exploring language.”

For students, faculty, and the general public alike, the gallery also hosts several events a year that provide a deeper insight into the current world of contemporary art. Evening opening receptions celebrate each new major exhibition and allow attendees to be among the first to explore the works on view while mingling with fellow art lovers. Consisting of either a lecture or exhibition and tying in with both Fanfare and Homecoming activities, special programming is held each year in October for Southeastern alumni. The gallery additionally organizes an active and robust visiting artists program, which brings in about 10 artists each year. These reputable artists travel from all over the country to provide workshops and seminars at Southeastern.

The gallery also manages the Southeastern Fine Art Collection, which consists of over 350 works of art. These pieces are not only kept in the gallery’s collections storage room, but are installed around campus in public spaces where all can enjoy them. Portraits of former university presidents in the library and sculptures by world-renowned artists John Scott and Robert Warrens situated outside near popular student walkways are just a few examples of pieces that have been made highly visible. While the collection’s focus is on contemporary art of the Southeast, a wide variety of artworks and objects—from works on paper and ceramics to sculpture and video—comprise the entire collection.

Furthering its efforts to serve students and expose the entire community to the current world of contemporary art, admission to the gallery and its popular public events is free of charge.

While many unfamiliar with Southeastern’s campus may not realize this vibrant, impactful resource exists, its ever-flowing reach permeates the artistic soil of the Northshore area, and of those who engage with it. As Newkirk remarked, “It’s part of creating a richer life in this region.”


By Sheri Gibson

New Documentary Features Southeastern’s Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station and Manchac Swamp

Above Image: Christian “Alex” White, a Southeastern history graduate student, is shown researching and recording artifacts discovered at Pass Manchac, some from over 3,000 years ago, at Southeastern’s Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies. The artifacts are included in the Manchac Swamp / Turtle Cove artifacts exhibition that appears at both the Center and at the Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station at Manchac. The artifacts provide documentation and evidence of the lifestyles and cultures of different inhabitants throughout the swamp’s history described in Troubled Waters: Turtle Cove and the Manchac Swamp Ecosystem, a new documentary produced by the Southeastern Channel. 

How history and science intertwine Manchac Swamp with Southeastern’s Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station is highlighted by a new display of swamp artifacts and a new documentary produced by Southeastern titled Troubled Waters: Turtle Cove and the Manchac Swamp Ecosystem.

“The Manchac Swamp has played a prominent role in the history and culture of the Northshore, and it continues to impact the lives of residents economically, recreationally and environmentally with the protection it provides,” said Southeastern Channel General Manager and executive producer of the show Rick Settoon. “It’s important for generation after generation to know its history. This documentary is a powerful, educational tool that shows what the Manchac Swamp was, what it is now, how it got to this point, and what’s being done about it.”

The documentary’s story of the swamp begins with its earliest indigenous inhabitants, Native Americans, and the earliest Europeans, 16th century French settlers led by the explorer D’Iberville. It follows the swamp’s role and involvement in conflicts from the French and Indian War to the West Florida Revolt and finally the Civil War.

“The fact that it was such an enormous and impenetrable, forested wetland that served so many different peoples and their cultures and helped serve the purpose of many of their livelihoods makes it an extraordinary part of our history in this region,” said Rob Moreau, director of Southeastern’s Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station and the show’s producer and narrator.

The program also reveals the post-Civil War industrialization and exploitation of the Manchac Swamp, including its eventual decimation by the cypress logging industry and cypress-eating nutria.

“The Manchac Swamp is a changed ecosystem vastly degraded from what it once was, a marsh now that is moving further towards open water instead of a dense cypress forest that is of highest ecological value,” Moreau said.

The program spotlights artifacts recovered from Pass Manchac that have been assembled into new exhibits at both Southeastern’s Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies in Sims Memorial Library and Turtle Cove, which continues to conduct scientific research and collect critical data from the coastal wetlands, along with managing swamp cleanup and reforestation.

The artifacts include arrowheads, pottery, and tools used by the earliest inhabitants to survive in the swamp. There are also Civil War items, maps, and leases along with saw blades, timber tools, and photographs of sawmills and massive cypress trees representing the magnitude of the swamp’s destruction during the logging years of the 1800s through the mid-1950s.

“The artifacts shown in the film and the two physical exhibits represent and bring into focus the human interaction with this natural environment,” Moreau said. “A big part of the history of the Manchac Swamp is the ultimate devastation brought upon it by humans. This provides a strong incentive moving forward for current and future generations to be better stewards of not only the Manchac Swamp, but our global environment as well.”

Settoon said Troubled Waters features historical drawings, archival photographs and footage of the Manchac Swamp from centuries past, including old black-and-white film of the early stages of the cypress logging industry with workers chopping down cypress trees and transporting them via pull-boat barges and rafts through the swamp to sawmills.

The program uses 3D and traditional animation techniques to bring to life scenes from different periods throughout the swamp’s history and includes interviews with Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies Director Sam Hyde, retired Southeastern History Professor Charles Dranguet, Turtle Cove Caretaker Hayden Reno, Southeastern Foundation Board Member Mike Sharp, and Entergy Director of Environmental Strategy Rick Johnson.

The documentary was written, directed and edited by Southeastern Channel Operations Manager Steve Zaffuto.

“It was very important to link these unique artifacts to the surprisingly rich history of the Manchac area,” Zaffuto said. “Through the use of interviews, location videography, and a few animated sequences, we were hopefully able to identify Turtle Cove as not only a vital center of environmental research, but also an interactive historical landmark.”

The show presents footage of educational activities, public outreach, scientific research and swamp restoration efforts at Turtle Cove along with the artifact collection being assembled and then unveiled at a Turtle Cove fundraising event.

“We like to think of ourselves as ‘stewards’ of the wetlands and as the ‘public voice’ of Manchac and all that it is—past, present, and future,” Moreau said of his Turtle Cove operation.

The artifacts were obtained from the Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies, including the Wiley H. Sharp, Jr. Collection of Southeastern Indian Artifacts. Mike Sharp, retired Hammond banker and brother of the late Wiley Sharp Jr., suggested that the artifacts be organized into an exhibit at Turtle Cove to display the findings and help explain the history of the region. The display was unveiled at a fundraising event to support Turtle Cove’s operation and environmental restoration efforts.

“We are losing an enormous amount of acreage every year to storm surges, saltwater intrusion, pollution, and a variety of other factors, and these swamps and marshes provide barrier island protection from storms,” Sharp says in the documentary. “We want to educate the public in terms of the importance of research and the preservation and conservation of our priceless hardwood bottomland swamps and marshes.”

Click here to watch Troubled Waters.

Students Win Nine Mark of Excellence Awards

Above Image: Winners, from left, include Parker Berthelot of Denham Springs, Amanda Kitch of Covington, Dylan Domangue of Houma, and Andrew Scherer of New Orleans. Not shown are Schuylar Ramsey of Springfield and Freddie Rosario of Luling.

Students with the Southeastern Channel won nine 2018 Mark of Excellence Awards, including four first-place honors, at the Society of Professional Journalists’ annual Region 12 conference.

Southeastern Channel students received the most television and broadcast videography category honors out of all universities in the competition, including the most first-place awards with four and the most second-place finalist awards with five.

The Mark of Excellence Awards honor the best of collegiate journalism from a calendar year. SPJ’s Region 12 comprises all universities in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Tennessee.

Mark of Excellence Awards are judged by SPJ industry professionals directed to choose entries considered the best in student journalism. If no entry rises to the level of excellence, no award is given.

“The Society of Professional Journalists has long been one of the most respected journalism organizations, and for our students to eclipse those at much larger universities in the region by a good margin is truly an outstanding achievement,” said Southeastern Channel General Manager Rick Settoon. “These awards show the high quality of broadcast journalism in both news and sports production by our students, and I’m very proud of their high standards and strong efforts. I’m extremely happy that their hard work has been rightly recognized.”

Amanda Kitch of Covington won two of the first-place awards for her stories produced for the Southeastern Channel’s award-winning student newscast Northshore News. She won for Broadcast News Videography for her story on the “Krentel Homicide” and for Broadcast Feature Videography for her segment on “Mosquito Control” in St. Tammany Parish. Kitch is now a television news reporter for WAFB-TV (CBS) Ch. 9 in Baton Rouge.

Andrew Scherer of New Orleans won first place for Television Sports Reporting for his feature on Southeastern basketball star Marlain Veal. Scherer is now a television news and sports reporter for WXXV-TV (FOX/ABC) Ch. 25 in Gulfport, MS.

Dylan Domangue of Houma, a senior, won first place in the Broadcast Sports Videography category for his videography of the 2018 Southeastern vs. LSU basketball game in Baton Rouge. The winning stories for both Domangue and Scherer were produced for Southeastern Channel broadcast on its national award-winning student sportscast The Big Game.

Kitch also garnered finalist honors (second place) for Television News Feature Reporting for her “Mosquito Control” story, while Parker Berthelot of Denham Springs was a finalist for Broadcast News Videography for his videography for the Northshore News story “CiCi’s Pizza.”

Schuylar Ramsey of Springfield was a finalist for Broadcast Feature Videography for her Northshore News story on “Fuller Homes,” while Freddie Rosario of Luling won second-place finalist honors for Television Sports Reporting for his Big Game story on the Lady Lions vs. Abilene Christian softball game. Ramsey is now a television news reporter for WABG-TV Delta News (ABC/FOX) Ch. 15 in Greenwood, MS, while Rosario is a newscast director for KALB-TV (NBC) Ch.5 in Alexandria, LA.

Northshore News was also honored as a second-place finalist for Best Overall Television Newscast. Northshore News has won first-place honors in the region six times.

In its 16 years of existence, the Southeastern Channel has won over 400 national, international, and regional awards, including 17 awards and 63 nominations from the Emmys. The channel can be seen on Charter Spectrum 199 in Tangipahoa, St. Tammany, Livingston, and St. Helena parishes, along with its live 24/7 webcast and video on-demand at The Southeastern Channel can also be seen on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

KSLU’s “Rock School” Honored with a Communicator Award of Distinction

Southeastern’s public radio station KSLU has received a Communicator Award of Distinction from the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts for its long running program Rock School.

One of KSLU’s most popular programs, Rock School is hosted by Southeastern Communication Professor Joe Burns, along with his wife Tammy Burns, and airs twice per week on 90.9 FM as well as 17 affiliate stations.

Joe and Tammy Burns

The show focuses on a new topic each week, playing music from and exploring the facts of that theme. The show has produced over 500 episodes without repeating a topic or airing a re-run.

The Communicator Award of Distinction was specifically awarded for an episode of Rock School focusing on the book Just a Shot Away: Peace, Love, and Tragedy with the Rolling Stones at Altamont by author Saul Austerlitz, the premiere episode in the Rock School series “Joe’s Book Club.”

Rock School episodes, including “Altamont” and the entire “Book Club” series, are archived and available on the Rock School website,, and through the PRX Music Exchange at For more information on Rock School, visit or tune in Thursdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m. to 90.9 FM KSLU.

KSLU offers a wide variety of programming, including music and live broadcasts of sporting events, the award-winning and syndicated Rock School show, and the community talk show Point of View. Named the No. 1 college radio station in the region by the Southeast Journalism Conference, KSLU provides Southeastern students interested in broadcasting with an intensive learning environment.

Student Chosen for Prestigious Governor’s Fellows Program

Richard Davis, a Southeastern Louisiana University senior, has been chosen as one of only 13 university students from across the state to participate in the Governor’s Fellows Program in Louisiana Government.

A native of Slidell, Davis is a middle school education major and former president of Southeastern’s Student Government Association (SGA). He has also served as a student member of the University of Louisiana System (ULS) Board of Supervisors and Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA) Advisory Board.

Participants in the program are either from Louisiana or are attending a Louisiana university or college and will have the opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge about the development and implementation of public policy, as well as the state’s rich history and current affairs of Louisiana government.

Although Davis has experienced state policy making through his role as a ULS and LOSFA board member, both positions he earned through his concurrent service as Southeastern’s SGA president, he will now be able to expand his public policy knowledge through the program. Davis will also have the opportunity to explore the state’s Department of Corrections since each fellow has been assigned to work in a cabinet-level agency in Baton Rouge.

In addition to working within a state agency, each participant will also take part in a weekly speaker series and field trips designed to enhance the overall experience and understanding of Louisiana government.

The program is a partnership with Louisiana’s Office of the Governor, Louisiana State University, Southern University, and the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.

Saving Our Swamp

Southeastern is no stranger to the marsh in the Lake Maurepas and Pass Manchac areas. In fact, the biology department has conducted many projects over the last few decades to study the decline of the area.

The problem was brought to light several years ago through the research of scientists, including Southeastern Professor of Biological Sciences Gary Shaffer. Shaffer has been studying Louisiana wetlands for years and has compiled a significant body of research on the impacts that logging of native trees, erosion, nutrient starvation, saltwater intrusion, herbivores such as nutria, and other factors are having on the deterioration of wetlands of southeast Louisiana.

He explained that the establishment of levees over the last century along the Mississippi River to eliminate natural flooding removed a once reliable source of fresh water, sediments, and nutrients that swamps require for healthy growth.

“This has enabled saltwater from the Gulf of Mexico to make further inland intrusions,” he said. “Combined with rising sea levels and the construction of massive canals, such as the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO), the intensity and frequency of saltwater intrusions has only grown worse. Consequently, most of the Maurepas Swamp appears to be in transition to marsh and open water.”

The findings are based on comparisons of selected groupings of sites in the southern wetlands of Lake Maurepas. The sites had three different levels of water quality: including stagnant and nearly permanently flooded areas, sites with severe saltwater intrusion, and sites that receive some freshwater runoff. Salinity levels appeared to be the major factor causing sites to rapidly deteriorate, with the most degraded areas located near Lake Pontchartrain or along the margin of Lake Maurepas.

Recently, Gerard Blanchard, professor of physics and undergraduate coordinator, and Southeastern physics / electrical engineering dual degree student Fawaz Adesina have joined in the research efforts to study groundwater salinity in the Turtle Cove area, located on Pass Manchac between lakes Pontchartrain and Maurepas. Encouraged by Rob Moreau, manager of Southeastern’s Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station, and aided by two grants through the Southeastern Center for Faculty Excellence, Blanchard and Adesina designed and installed at Turtle Cove the first of four groundwater salinity monitors that will be deployed in a line that is perpendicular to Pass Manchac. The monitors take daily readings at three different depths—10 cm, 20 cm, and 50 cm—to get a two-dimensional view of the salinity profile. “This improves on the current method, which uses manual weekly readings that do not distinguish the variations in salinity with depth,” Blanchard said. “The scientific goal is to build a physical model of the salt transport.

Blanchard has been collaborating with Shaffer on the project. Shaffer currently has wells in the marsh, where salinity levels are checked once a week to study the health of the marsh. “The higher the salinity levels in the marsh, the harder it is for things to grow, or for what used to be out there to grow,” said Blanchard. “Getting the salinity down is a big part of the restoration efforts.”

Blanchard said an equation is used to measure how the saltwater flows from one position to another and up and down. The data collected will hopefully identify the factors that cause the salt levels to change at different locations and help scientists determine if the levels are getting worse. Scientists are working on diverting the water from the Mississippi River into Lake Maurepas that will then flow through that area to try to preserve the marsh.

“When we get our information, we are going to try to fit the data with this equation. There are some unknowns and some constants that specify the exact type of soil, the sources, and how much evaporation exists,” Blanchard said. “With the data, we can specify the equation to that particular time and place. If we do it well, we can use that to predict future levels.”

Blanchard said the educational goal of the project is to give Adesina practical experience with electronics, instrument calibration, data analysis, and presentation of results. Adesina gained more experience than he bargained for with this project. Originally from Kenya, it was his first time in a boat when they installed the instrument.


“I was not prepared for that journey,” Adesina said. “It was a cold morning and we were on a boat in the middle of a cold lake going at high speed. The blowing air froze my face, my nose was running and my fingers were so cold. But the opportunity of installing a device that I helped build was worth the whole experience.”

Adesina also expressed his excitement about the project helping prepare him for a career in his field.

“As a student, this project is an opportunity for me to prepare for the real world and to gain some research background,” he explained. “The knowledge of the electronics part of the project will be immensely helpful to me in my engineering classes and labs. The project also put me on the path of finally overcoming my fear of coding.”

The project, Adesina said, has not only helped him academically, but personally as well.

“I have learned to ask questions when I don’t understand things; I never used to ask questions,” he said. “It has taught me that patience is the key to success—or you’ll get burned by a soldering iron. This project has given me many experiences that I would not have gotten in a class, and that is the main purpose of working on research as an undergraduate. It is the extracurricular activities that help you in class and help you
decide what you want to do in the future.

“Southeastern has a way of making you feel at home, while also training you to venture into the real world and how to communicate with people from different backgrounds and break down barriers,” he said. “Through conferences, on-campus job interviews, seminars, and even talking to professors on campus, my communication skills, as well as my people skills, have improved.

“I have always loved to take things apart and see how they work, and the chance for me to actually build something with my own hands is like a dream come true.”

Student Fawaz Adesina (front) and Physics Professor Gerard Blanchard (back) install a groundwater salinity monitor in Pass Manchac.
By Tonya Lowentritt

One of the Only Universities in America to Offer Ground-Breaking International Baccalaureate Program

Southeastern’s College of Education houses an innovative and unique program that helps enable educators to teach within the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. After successful completion of courses leading to the IB Educator Certificate in Teaching and Learning, candidates may apply for their level of certification through the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) in Geneva, Switzerland. Only 45 universities in the world and 12 in the United States offer this.

The IB program started in 1968 after World War II. Diplomats were moving their families from country to country and realized that moving their children caused them issues with schooling. They wanted a universal but also rigorous curriculum so that when students moved from school to school, they didn’t fall behind or lose credits. The IB program helps students master skills within a core group of 10 principles:
• Inquirer
• Open-Minded
• Knowledgeable
• Caring
• Thinker
• Risk Taker
• Communicator
• Balanced
• Principled
• Reflective

“The International Baccalaureate program is designed not only to get students to college, but also through college,” said Cherissa Vitter, assistant professor in the College of Education. “All students at schools offering the IB program benefit from the learning strategies upon which the program is built. They actually learn how to learn. When students learn how to learn, they are in control of their own education.”

Cherissa Vitter


Vitter came to Hammond on a mission—to implement IB programs for this part of the state. Challenged with a community expectation that Hammond High School would become a regional destination school, she went to work right away and helped launch a new way of thinking in her role as IB coordinator.

Various elements of the community (business, education, and community at large) worked together to think differently and create a new school with no boundaries to student learning. The business community realized building good schools would be good for the region and the regional economy. This required a heavy investment in the Hammond schools both financially and cognitively. Vitter says that it was worth the effort. The word was out—Hammond schools now host the only IB continuum in the state of Louisiana, offering a world–class education to every student ages 3-19.

“The community was anxious to make improvements at Hammond High,” Vitter said. “We wanted to respond to those community needs. And the students at Hammond High felt valued and heard. We had to train this mindset from within. Everyone at Hammond High would be trained in the program, and big changes were coming.”

Greg Drude, Hammond real estate agent and recent inductee to Southeastern’s Educator Honor Roll, was instrumental in helping to bring IB to Hammond High. “I had spoken with several community leaders, especially through the Greater Hammond Chamber of Commerce, and people were moving out of the area,” Drude said. “Good schools promote people coming in. We tested a program at Hammond Eastside Elementary Magnet School that produced high scores and results, and when that happened, we knew it was time to grow opportunities for children in the area.”

In just a few years, Hammond High Magnet School fully implemented the IB program and catapulted to national recognition, boasting students who experience school differently, capitalize on their own talents, and reflect on the learning process.

“It’s a strenuous program,” Drude said. “Kids are challenged in IB, and they have the work ethic to succeed. There is trickle down success for everyone at the school.”

Lyndsey DeVaney, a member of Southeastern’s inaugural International Baccalaureate
Educator Certificate class, gains hands-on experience while participating in the program.


As the Hammond schools improved, Southeastern Louisiana University administration was paying attention and quickly saw the value in the program. The university soon committed to developing courses that would lead to IB certification for educators.

“It’s an investment by the university to do this,” said Kate Kuhn, professional services manager, IBEC, International Baccalaureate Organization. “When the number of IB World Schools expands, there will also be an increasing need for educators who have a deep understanding of how to teach in an IB context.”

Southeastern now has the curriculum in place to help train teachers to become IB educators. The graduate program offers multiple tracks leading to the IB Educator Certificate in Teaching and Learning. Vitter says the certification opportunities are yielding global attention.

Dean of the College of Education at Southeastern Dr. Paula Calderon said, “Southeastern’s teacher education program is well respected throughout the state and nation, and I was proud to relay that during a recent presentation to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. With the IB educator certifications, we have an added opportunity for student success with graduates who will be using IB best practices whether they end up teaching in IB schools or not.”

Calderon noted that this additional certification allows teachers to work in IB schools all over the world, and it also invigorates those who are teaching at schools that do not adopt this programming. “Teachers who go through IB certification learn how to readapt on their feet, adjusting strategies during their lessons when they recognize specific needs of students,” she said.

At Southeastern, Vitter is working to continue growing opportunities for would-be teachers and those wishing to continue their education. To become an IB educator, teachers must attend IB training to keep that consistency in the program on the global scale.

“We offer five tracks at Southeastern, and IB has awarded 15 certificates to Southeastern students so far,” Vitter said. “We have university students from all over the world who now have Southeastern on their resumes. It’s quite an honor.”

Additionally, Southeastern has been instrumental in ensuring that the high school students who receive the IB diploma have an easier admissions process going on to college. Vitter credits Southeastern’s Assistant Vice President for Academic Programs Dr. Jeff Temple for helping to develop the admissions process for these students, an initiative that has now been heralded by the International Baccalaureate organization and adopted at many universities.


High schools that adopt IB programming don’t just do so for a few of their students; the entire school benefits. All teachers must gain certification and training, and this touches every student enrolled. “Hammond High is not a regular high school with a select group of students who go through IB,” Vitter said. “Everyone there benefits, from the students to administration.”

Since launching, the results have been very positive. Students and teachers have been recognized nationally; over 90 percent of those who finish the IB program become college graduates; the schools have now been recognized in the region for their academic strength; and as a note of success, recent planning meetings for IB’s 2019 global conference in New Orleans have been held at Hammond High, putting it on a global stage and recognizing its achievements.

Calderon says offering the IB educator program at Southeastern demonstrates forward thinking. “As we become more mobile and our teachers begin moving to other parts of the country and the world, they take this certification with them,” she said. “Our Southeastern graduates with this certification won’t have to seek other credentials because this certification is recognized worldwide. We can also be a resource as IB programs continue to grow in our area. If local schools want to become IB schools, Southeastern can provide training. This is a benefit not only for our university, but also for schools and students throughout the region.”

Southeastern again finds itself at the heart of innovation that spurs positive regional impact.

By Amber Narro

Home to the First Public University Collegiate Recovery Program in Louisiana

Above Image: The Lion Up Recovery Advisory Council met for the first time recently to discuss Southeastern’s collegiate recovery program. Seated, from left are Vice President for Student Affairs Eric Summers, Coordinator of Collegiate Recovery Madison Evans, Dean of Students Gabe Willis, Greg Snodgrass of Cumberland Heights, Chris Flanagan of River Place Hospital, Angie King of Beacon Behavioral Health, Angela Tyrone of Florida Parishes Human Service Authority, and Donna Bliss of Child Advocacy Services. Standing, from left, are University Counseling Center Director Peter Emerson, Tom Bennett of Acadia Health, Assistant Director of the UCC Annette Baldwin, Dan Gilmer of The Grove, Southeastern Reference and Instruction Librarian Ben Bell, Licensed Professional Counselor Stuart Carpenter, Andrea Peevy of the University Health Center, student Alaina Fontenot, Madison Nyquist of St. Christopher Addiction Treatment, and student William Sadler. Not pictured are Emily Meyers of LongBranch Treatment Center, Emily Simcoe of St. Christopher Addiction Treatment, community member Chip Thirstrup, and Felicia Kleinpeter of Imagine Recovery.

Southeastern Louisiana University will soon host the first and only collegiate recovery program at a public institution in the state of Louisiana. Launching this fall, “Lion Up Recovery” is recognized by the Association of Recovery in Higher Education and is a voluntary program to help students in recovery achieve their higher education goals.

“This new program as a resource for our students is an extension of Southeastern’s core values,” said President John. L. Crain. “Not only do we provide an exceptional education, but we also care about our students and their collegiate experience.”

The National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health reports 37 percent of college students have used an illicit drug and abused alcohol on a regular basis. Approximately 6.64 million college students meet criteria for excessive substance use, approximately 1.26 million meet criteria for substance dependency, and approximately 315,000 are actively seeking help from substance dependency.

“There is a close relationship between the use of alcohol and drugs and the number of those who start but then fail to graduate from college. More importantly, we are aware of the huge risks and all of the associated problems that go along with early-age drinking and other drug use,” said University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors member Dr. Pam Egan. “I am delighted to hear of Southeastern’s success in developing Lion Up Recovery to provide support to students who encounter such problems.”

ARHE is the only association exclusively representing collegiate recovery programs, the faculty and staff who support them, and the students who represent them, said Southeastern Interim Coordinator of Collegiate Recovery Madison Evans. The organization provides the education, resources and community connections needed to help change the trajectory of recovering students’ lives.

“Lion Up Recovery was established to help those students who identify as being in recovery. Southeastern staff trained in substance use disorders and recovery will lead the initiative,” Evans said. “Lion Up Recovery is a program that offers specialized and strategic support to help students achieve growth and success in their recovery and academic journeys.”

The program offers students on-campus support groups, sober tailgating for select Southeastern football games, academic advising and counseling, accountability, and staff intervention, if needed. Also offered are leadership and civic engagement opportunities, studying and sober socials, service opportunities through recovery-oriented support groups, and participation with ARHE regional and national events.

Requirements to participate in the program include, but are not limited to, attending weekly seminar classes, attending at least two recovery meetings per week, attending monthly “Southeastern Recovery Night” meetings, and meeting with an academic adviser each semester.

By applying and choosing to participate in Lion Up Recovery, Evans said, students recognize the support provided by the program is essential to their efforts to sustain recovery while undertaking academic challenges. Expectations are geared to help enhance students’ ability to maintain recovery, achieve academic success, complete degree requirements, and continue to develop as individuals and leaders.

“Lion Up Recovery provides a supportive environment within the campus culture that reinforces the decision to engage in a lifestyle of recovery from substance use,” Evans said. “It is designed to provide an educational opportunity alongside recovery support to ensure that students do not have to sacrifice one for the other.”

For more information on Lion Up Recovery, email or go to

Lions Roar Students Earn Louisiana Press Association Awards

Above Image: Southeastern Louisiana University Lion’s Roar Reporter Nikisun Shrestha was recognized for his photography by the Louisiana Press Association “Better Newspaper Contest” for 2019. Shrestha received a second place award in the Best Feature Photo category, along with a first place award in the Best Sports Photo category for this photo. Shown is Southeastern senior pole-vaulter Devin King as he attempts to regain the facility record at Southeastern Track Complex. He held the previous record that was broken by Lafayette High School’s Armand Duplantis with a height of 19-01 feet. Photo credit: Nikisun Shrestha / The Lion’s Roar.

Southeastern Louisiana University’s student newspaper, The Lion’s Roar, recently received several awards from the Louisiana Press Association “Better Newspaper Contest” for 2019.

The Lion’s Roar staff was recognized in several categories of the competition with awards for first place in the Best Overall Website category and second place in the General Excellence category. Southeastern student journalists also received awards for page design and photography. The Nebraska Press Association judged this year’s 1,034 entries from 37 publications and college and university student newspapers.

The Lion’s Roar Editor-in-Chief Annie Goodman, a senior majoring in communication from Denham Springs, took first place in the Best Feature Story category for her piece titled “Overcoming Addiction: four years sober.” Goodman also received second place in the Best Front Page category for her design work for the front pages of the August 28, 2018 and November 13, 2018 issues of The Lion’s Roar.

“I have learned so much from working at The Lion’s Roar,” said Goodman. “I never expected to be where I am today achieving the things I am. I’ve won a few awards over the years, but this is my first, first place award, which is pretty exciting.”

Reporter Nikisun Shrestha also received recognition for his photography. Shrestha, a senior majoring in accounting from Nepal, was honored with a first place award in the Best Sports Photo category, along with a second place award in the Best Feature Photo category.

Recently the staff of The Lion’s Roar also received awards from the Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press Broadcasters and Media Editors College Contest competition and the Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s Gold Circle Awards in March.

Jacob Summerville, a senior political science major from Baton Rouge, was awarded second place in the Feature Photo category at the LA-MS APME Career Day and College Awards held at the Two Mississippi Museums in Jackson, Miss. Summerville’s photo featured students who performed in the production of “The Beautiful Bridegroom.”

For the Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Awards, Riana Brasleman and Jonathan Rhodes, both former staff reporters for The Lion’s Roar, were honored for their work in cartooning and sports photography respectively.

Brasleman, a senior majoring in social work from Mandeville, was recognized for her cartoon portfolio showcasing her work titled “Dear College,” which received a second place award in the Cartoons category and a third place award in the Cartoon Portfolio of Work category.

Rhodes, a recent graduate in communication from Slidell, also placed third in the Single Sports Photography category for his photo titled “Lions Win Game Despite Rainout.”

“My staff has grown so much since they joined, and I love watching them flourish,” Goodman continued. “Seeing them recognized for their good work is really amazing – especially since I know I don’t praise them nearly enough. Now, I can’t wait to see what awards our newer staff members will receive this time next year.”

Goodman was also recognized by the Gold Circle Awards for her opinion piece titled “Decoding the Barcode Tattoo,” with a second place prize in the Personal Opinion: Off-campus Issues category.

“These talented students continuously learn and grow as individuals, while at the same time serving the campus with compelling and unique news information,” said Lee E. Lind, director of Student Publications. “We are extremely proud of the recognition they have received for their hard work and dedication to the Southeastern community.”

The Lion’s Roar and its staff have garnered over 20 awards in the past two years from competitions such as the LPA’s Better Newspaper Contest, the LA-MS APME, the American Scholastic Press Association and the CSPA Gold Circle Awards.

To view past issues of the award winning publication, readers can visit Readers can also view content from The Lion’s Roar by subscribing to the publication’s new e-mail newsletter sent out weekly, following the newspaper’s social media accounts, reading a digital version on, or picking up a copy of the paper at one of our 88 newsstands located on campus or in the Hammond community.