School of Nursing Hosts Pinning Ceremony

Southeastern’s School of Nursing held a drive-by Pinning Ceremony on December 3, 2020, to celebrate it’s graduates. A time honored tradition, graduates have been pinned since the first graduation class in 1969. Sixty students and their immediate family members participated. 

Graduates rode through Friendship Circle with decorated cars and waved at loved ones there to cheer them on. Students received a pin and a commemorative bag with a cookie and program to remember their time at Southeastern. They also received a nursing lamp. Lamp-lighting is a tradition followed by all nursing graduates to remind them of the noble traditions of their profession. The lamp symbolizes the light that a nurse becomes to their patients and is a symbol of hope and comfort to those who are suffering.

Celebrating 2020 Graduates

On December 8 and 9, Southeastern honored spring, summer and fall 2020 graduates during an in-person ceremony in Strawberry Stadium. The pandemic and statewide event limitations previously prevented the university from holding a face-to-face commencement for spring graduates in August as originally planned, but Southeastern was able to develop and carry out a plan that incorporates current health and safety guidelines to honor all 2020 graduates in four separate, in-person, outdoor ceremonies.

“In order to maximize the safety of our graduates and their guests, the format has been updated to include multiple ceremonies at an outside venue,” said Chief Enrollment Management Officer Kay Maurin. “Every candidate had the opportunity to cross the stage as a proud Southeastern graduate.”

Southeastern held two commencement ceremonies on Tuesday, Dec. 8, at 10 a.m. for the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and at 2 p.m. for the College of Business. The College of Nursing and Health Sciences commencement ceremony was held Wednesday, Dec. 9, at 10 a.m., while the ceremony for the College of Education and the College of Science and Technology took place the same day at 2 p.m.

So that all guests were able to be safely accommodated according to current capacity limitations, each graduate was able to invite two guests. All participants and guests were required to wear masks and following social distancing measures.

“Our mission as a university focused on its students is to work diligently every day to help our students achieve success,” said Maurin. “Their success is our success, and we enjoy nothing more than celebrating and commemorating their achievements with them.”

To watch the ceremonies, visit the Southeastern Channel’s YouTube page.

Southeastern Channel Game Broadcast Places in National Competition

A Southeastern Channel live football game broadcast for ESPN-Plus and its play-by-play announcing by a student broadcaster have both been honored as third best in the nation by the Broadcast Education Association (BEA) at its annual Festival of Media Arts.

The channel’s live broadcast of the Oct. 12, 2019 Southeastern vs. Incarnate Word football game was honored with a third place 2020 “Award of Excellence” for “TV Sports Event Production,” while student John Sartori of Mandeville also won third place in the nation in the category “Radio/TV Sports Event: Play-By-Play.”

It was the third year in a row that the Southeastern Channel has been honored by the BEA as one of the top four in the country for its live game broadcasts. The channel won a fourth place “Award of Excellence” in 2018 for a Lions vs. Southern of New Orleans basketball broadcast and again won fourth place in 2019 for the Southeastern-Abilene Christian football game.

This year there were over 1,750 entries in the competition from universities across the country.

“To have a live game broadcast named third best in the nation against all of the top schools from across the country is truly an accomplishment and a wonderful honor,” said Southeastern Channel General Manager Rick Settoon. “What makes it even more special is that our winning broadcast was the only football broadcast in the competition, the most difficult type of game to produce, and also the only one with an entirely student crew- from announcers to director and camera operators. I couldn’t be more proud of our students.”

BEA judges, who are professionals in the field, said of the broadcast, “Overall, a good job for a football telecast with so many players and so much going on compared to other sports productions they’re going up against.”

The game broadcast was produced and directed by Dylan Domangue of Houma.

“Having our broadcast rank at the top nationally is a special feeling because I believe that a football game is the most challenging to broadcast,” Domangue said. “There are so many elements and so much advanced camera work that is involved, and it is difficult to pull it off successfully. To be the only school to win a national award for a football broadcast means a lot because it means that we are producing the hardest sport at the highest level.”

Of Domangue’s directing efforts the BEA judges added, “The broadcast showed great production value and professionalism. Impressed with the camera work and directing. The director did a great job of planning. It was shot according to game action sequencing with the camera operators following the action nicely. Good cutting between the wide and tight shots, and they rarely went to bad camera shots.”

The winning game broadcast featured Sartori on play-by-play and Richie Solares of New Orleans as the color analyst. Gabby Cox of Hammond was the sideline reporter.

Judges said, “The announcers were on point with matching their words to what you saw on the screen without saying the obvious. Very well done. Fantastic job of setting up storylines early in the broadcast and continuing them throughout the coverage, specifically the ‘elimination game’ feel and importance of this game to both teams.”

One judge said, “I enjoyed John and Richie in the booth. They shared interesting information and obviously have a deep understanding of football. They kept the ‘no talking’ gaps to a respectable level, and I loved how they handled the targeting reviews. They explained the rule, applied it to the specific play on the field, and gave a clear option of how they expected the officials to rule (and were correct a large majority of the time).”

Other student crew members included Jermaine Kelly of Shreveport on instant replay, Lily Gayle of Greensburg on video playback, Tyler Thomas of Bogalusa on graphics, and Ross Chauvin of Houma and Angela Imbraguglio of Destrehan on audio.

Carson Fryou of Ponchatoula and Lauryn Jackson of Baton Rouge served as production assistants, while Richie Cruz of New Orleans and Logan Graffia of Slidell were the camera grips. Camera operators were John Williams of Denham Springs, Taylor Tabb of Destrehan, Jeremy Gaines of New Orleans and Tyler Guidroz of Ponchatoula.

In addition to the game broadcasting team award, Sartori was honored for his play-by-play announcing.

Of Sartori’s game call, BEA judges said, “Very good conversational tone. Nice, smooth flow. Everything sounded very natural. Provided good information to help the viewer follow the action. Good use of in-game statistics. Describes game trends well. Nice detail, described well such as, ‘he missed, and he missed high.’”

Sartori has been the play-by-play announcer for Southeastern Channel game broadcasts of all sports since his freshman year.

“I think telling a story is very important with play-by-play,” Sartori said. “I really tried to emphasize the storyline while also allowing the game to tell the story. Let the sounds of the game work for you, and try not to speak over the sounds of the game.”

“I try to be as entertaining as possible,” he continued. “I want to make the broadcast an experience the viewer enjoys. I try to keep it light-hearted but exciting at the same time. I want to be the kind of play-by-play announcer I enjoy watching and that’s one full of high energy.”

The Incarnate Word broadcast was the third game broadcast produced by the Southeastern Channel in 2019 for ESPN-Plus. Its first game broadcast which matched Southeastern against sixth-ranked Jacksonville State in the season opener drew 23,000 different viewers on ESPN-Plus.

Settoon said that it is a rarity for an all-student crew, including announcers, to broadcast Division One collegiate sports contests and gain approval by ESPN for streaming on ESPN-Plus.

“ESPN told us that the quality of our game broadcasts was the best they’ve seen in the entire country for an entirely student production,” Settoon said. “They said we easily live up to the professional quality standards and specifications required by ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports.”

“ESPN is the gold standard for every kid who loves sports and wants to have a career associated with it,” Domangue said. “The fact that I got to work for ESPN while still being a student in college is just truly an amazing experience, because that was a dream that each of us on the crew had growing up. ESPN does not stoop down to anyone’s level, but instead make you rise up to their standards. ESPN recognized the high quality of our production and trusted us to be on ESPN+. That speaks highly of us.”

“Other schools have professionals filling at least some of the positions,” Domangue continued. “That makes it an even greater honor for us to win the top national awards for our productions. The best way to train, learn, and get better is to do those tasks and not just watch others do them. At the Southeastern Channel, we get the opportunity to do that, which makes us even better and more valuable over time.”

Settoon said that in addition to live game broadcasts of all Southeastern sports, students can work on Southeastern Channel sports productions like the live weekly sportscast, “The Big Game,” modeled after ESPN’s “SportsCenter” and recognized as best in the nation by College Broadcasters, Inc. In addition, students host and produce a bi-weekly coach’s talk show, “Lion Tracks,” which includes coaches from all Southeastern sports. They also produce sports documentaries, promotional spots and programs, and game hype videos for social media.
 
“We offer students opportunities in television sports broadcasting like no other university,” Settoon said. “We’re attracting students in sports broadcasting from throughout the state and South, and we have a brand new academic degree program in sports broadcasting that is the only one of its kind in the southern region between Texas and Florida.”

The program is a new concentration in Sports Communication in the Communication bachelor’s degree program housed in the Department of Communication and Media Studies, including courses for both live Southeastern game broadcasts for ESPN and for the “Big Game” live weekly sportscast. Settoon said that former Southeastern Channel sportscasters have landed jobs at sports networks and large TV markets from San Francisco to Myrtle Beach, S.C., as play-by-play announcers, color analysts, sideline reporters and sports directors, anchors and reporters for television stations.

“The Southeastern Channel is the ultimate place to grow as a collegiate broadcaster,” Sartori said. “Being able to do play-by-play for Division One sports alone is something that only a few schools offer, but to have the ability to do football on ESPN is something that almost no student can have the opportunity to do. It allows for so much feedback, both positive and negative, and allows you to grow as a broadcaster in ways that not many other schools, especially in this region, can provide.”

In its 18 years of existence, the Southeastern Channel has won over 400 national, international and regional awards, including 20 awards from the Emmys. The Southeastern Channel can be seen on Spectrum Cable 199 in Tangipahoa, Livingston, St. Tammany and St. Helena parishes and on mthermonwebtv.com for viewers in Washington Parish. In addition, the live 24-7 broadcast can be seen on Roku, Apple TV and the channel’s website at thesoutheasternchannel.com, which also offers programs via video on demand. The Southeastern Channel is also available on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Southeastern Professor Appointed to Science Advisory Group of the Governor’s Climate Initiative Task Force

Southeastern Professor of Organic Chemistry Jean Fotie has been appointed to serve as a member of the Science Advisory Group of the Governor’s Climate Initiatives Task Force.

Governor Edwards recently kicked off a Climate Initiatives Task Force to look at the best ways to “reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the state, with the objective of mitigating the worst impacts of climate change on our natural and cultural heritage while adapting our economy to maintain our position as a world leader in energy, industry, agriculture, and transportation.”

The vision is for Louisiana to be able to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% of 2005 levels by 2025, by about 40-50% of 2005 levels by 2030, and to net zero greenhouse gas emission by 2050.

“As a coastal state, Louisiana is among the areas where one can witness, almost daily, the increasing severe effects of climate change on our environment and on our way of life,” Fotie said. “In recent years, our research group has developed a deep interest in finding new ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions without impairing economic viability. As such, it is an honor to be able to contribute, even in the smallest of ways, to the state’s climate vision for the next decades.”

The role of the Science Advisory Group is to support the Climate Initiatives Task Force by developing fundamental objectives and rubrics for evaluating the impacts of potential solutions, and to ensure that the proposed strategies are based on sound science and engineering.

Fotie recently received a $265,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop greener and sustainable catalytic methods for the reductive functionalization of carbon dioxide (CO2).

New Exhibition Spotlights Regional & Political History

Southeastern’s Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies recently announced the opening of a new exhibition titled Pioneers in Politics: Examining Influential Political Figures as Revealed in the Holdings of the Center.

Center Director and Southeastern History Professor Sam Hyde said the exhibit is designed to educate the campus community and wider public about the vast holdings highlighting regional and statewide political history that are housed in the archives of the center. The center’s graduate research assistants, Amelia Haag of Slidell, Abigail Simmons of Kentwood, and Bailey Hall Sones of Hammond, completed research and construction of the exhibit.

“The exhibit spans the colonial period to the present day and includes details revealing the political careers of some well-known figures, as well as some the public has likely never heard of before,” Hyde said. “With the exception of a few editorial suggestions from Assistant Director Keith Finley and myself, the students put the project together completely on their own.”

The exhibit includes information on nationally recognized figures such as Huey Long and longtime congressman James H. “Jimmie” Morrison, as well as local leaders such as former Hammond Mayors Tom Anderson and Debbie Saik Pope. Special segments are devoted to the contributions of women, African Americans, and long-term families from the Florida Parishes.

“Preparing this exhibit, showcasing southern and Louisiana politicians, gave us a chance to closely explore the original artifacts and materials within the center’s holdings,” said Research Assistant Simmons, who led the effort. “We did our best to reveal the positive aspects of each individual’s career.”

“Many people are drawn to stories of corruption and other negative aspects often associated with political figures,” added Sones. “We instead focused more on their constructive policies that helped shape Louisiana communities.”

Research Assistant Haag summed up the project by saying, “It was a lot of work, but it allowed us to take a deep dive into the center’s holdings. We found a lot of extraordinary three dimensional artifacts, such as Huey Long’s signed autobiography, campaign materials, Civil War era swords, and even Jimmie Davis’ cowboy hat and boots.”

The exhibit opened Nov. 20 and will remain available for viewing by the public until March 10. It will be housed in the exhibition area of the center on the third floor of Sims Library on Southeastern’s campus. Interested individuals are invited to visit, but masks are required and social distancing will be maintained.

For more information on the exhibit, call the center at 985.549.2151.

Giving Back

You Are Responsible for Record-Setting Kindness

Southeastern Louisiana University Foundation’s motto is “Building a Legacy of Student Success.” This is more than an expression; it’s a way of life. Each year the University’s Division of University Advancement and the Foundation facilitate events, engage with donors and supporters, conduct fundraising efforts, grow relationships with regional businesses, and work to aid the University in its focus on student success.

These efforts build the opportunity for access to a university education and successful outcomes for students upon graduation. From scholarships and hands-on learning opportunities to program and facility enhancements, students benefit every day and at each step of their academic journey. Recent successes in fundraising showcase the benefits students receive throughout their academic careers, each stage of which has its own unique characteristics and needs.

Often we think of philanthropic support as something that only the wealthy among us engage in with large sums of money, but that is only part of the story. Countless students have benefited from innumerable donations that start at the same level as a large cup of coffee. The funds provided by the generosity of supporters make an immediate and ongoing impact on Southeastern students, creating opportunities for them to succeed in their daily lives and future careers.

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DIRECT IMPACT OF GIVING DAY
Southeastern’s most recent Giving Day was a roaring success and helped scores upon scores of students directly—with donations as small as $10.

Across campus, academic programs, student organizations, and campus initiatives were all engaged in seeking supplemental funding for specific purposes. Over 40 “micro-campaigns” were initiated to support things as various as athletic equipment to honors student travel to classroom technology and academic simulation programs. Because of the direct nature of this type of support, 767 people donated, surpassing previous years by over 240 percent.

FACULTY SUPPORT BY INDUSTRY SUPPORT
A key aid to the student experience is that the faculty are able to do their jobs with excellence. Recently, this kind of faculty support was enhanced through a donation of $25,000 from Contractors’ Educational Trust Fund to establish a Faculty Enhancement Fund in the Industrial and Engineering Technology Department. The funds will help department faculty attend workshops, training, industry meetings, and conferences to keep them ahead of the technology and new trends in their fields of study. The contribution will also help support faculty research.

STUDENT RESEARCH FROM A BEQUEATH
The Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies at Southeastern completed a partnership with the Young Sanders Center to advance scholarly research on Louisiana and surrounding regions of the South.

The merger includes the creation of two scholarly awards—the J.Y. Sanders Research Scholar Award, designed to advance the research of an established scholar by providing a $10,000 stipend, and the Young Sanders Center Graduate Assistantship, which supports student research through a $13,000 stipend and full tuition waiver. Both awards are based in the Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies.

Supported by a bequeath from Mary Elizabeth Sanders, the partnership and the accompanying awards program began this spring.

ENCOURAGING COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT,
THROUGH COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

Southeastern received a newly endowed scholarship from the Hammond-Ponchatoula Sunrisers Rotary Club. A $30,000 commitment, the endowed scholarship provides a minimum $1,000 annual award to a deserving Southeastern student who is a resident of Hammond or Ponchatoula and is involved in community service.

“This is an exciting day for the Hammond-Ponchatoula Sunrisers Rotary Club. Over six years ago our club made a commitment to Southeastern to underwrite an endowed scholarship that will benefit a deserving student from our community each year,” said Rotary President Deek DeBlieux. “That commitment has been fully-funded, and we are excited to be a partner with Southeastern.”

By providing for a scholarship, this regional Rotary Club helps to ensure today’s students become future community advocates and volunteers.

MEETING THE IMMEDIATE NEED
After the floods in the region in 2016, the Southeastern support community jumped into action to help students in need. The same can be said for the current COVID-19 pandemic, with students finding themselves in a quickly changed environment with much uncertainty.

Each year, Southeastern appeals to donors for various causes and needs on campus. This spring, the annual appeal requested help for the Student Emergency Fund or areas of greatest need. Donors and supporters, like you, offered assistance like never before. Such funds can help students who find themselves in a short-term problematic situation needing immediate monetary resources. There are students who are one flat tire away from having to leave school. The Student Emergency Fund works to prevent unseen challenges from stopping student success.

Philanthropy comes in many shapes and sizes, from many, many supporters. These examples show that financial support does make an impact, regardless of amount, across campus and across the student careers of so many.

By Mike Rivault

Southeastern Nursing Programs Named Best in the State

Two Southeastern nursing programs have been recognized by the Louisiana Nurses Foundation with the Nightingale Award as the Nursing School of the Year—the master’s degree in nursing, which is offered in a consortium with three other state institutions, and the undergraduate program in nursing. The awards recognize the achievements of both nursing program’s students and faculty.

This is the third time Southeastern has been recognized with a Nightingale Award for an advanced practice program, with the master’s program being recognized as program of the year in 2013 and 2019. In addition, Southeastern’s undergraduate nursing program has been recognized with the Nightingale Award three previous times; this time marks the fourth.

The competition is evaluated by a panel of out-of-state judges who review the nominations submitted by nursing programs throughout the state. The Nightingale Awards are the foundation’s highest recognition for quality, service, commitment and excellence among Louisiana registered nurses.

Ann Carruth, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, said nursing programs are evaluated for the award by a wide range of criteria, including accreditation status, innovations in education and teaching, nursing examination passage rate, and comments solicited from graduates, faculty and area employers.

Carruth added that being recognized for the BSN and MSN programs is especially significant this year because 2020 is the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife and the 200th year of Florence Nightingale’s birthday.

“The fact that this year also highlights the prominence of nurses as healthcare heroes during this pandemic is an additional testament to the profession. I’m as proud of our graduates as they start their careers as nurses and advanced practitioners,” Carruth said. “At the suggestion of the President of the Alumni Association Dickie Whitson and to commemorate this special year and honor faculty and alumni, Mike Legendre, an alumni and friend of Southeastern, designed a special nursing pin.”

Southeastern’s master’s program is offered in a consortium with the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, McNeese State University in Lake Charles and Nicholls State University in Thibodaux.
 
“The consortium has been recognized by the Louisiana Board of Regents as a model of collaboration, articulation and the wise use of scarce resources,” said Carruth. “Through a sharing of resources – including creative collaboration by committed faculty – we are able to offer top quality, cost effective postgraduate education in an easily accessible online model.”

“Our best assets are our faculty and students,” she added. “Together we have graduated advanced practice nurses to meet the healthcare needs of the region, nurse leaders to solve complex health care management crises and nurse educators to train future nurses.”

The program offers concentrations leading to a master of science degree in nursing in three different areas: family nurse practitioner, family psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner, and nurse educator. The program is accredited by the Commission for Collegiate Nursing Education.

“Since 1992, this program has helped prepare a steady number of professionals to meet the growing health and wellness needs of the state,” Carruth said. “Most of our students work full time and require some degree of convenience and flexibility in their graduate program. By offering our courses online through web-based distance learning, the consortium is meeting the needs of these professionals and allowing them to learn at their own pace and time.”

School of Nursing Department Head Ken Tillman attributes the nursing faculty and teaching resources to the ultimate success of the undergraduate program’s students and graduates.
 
“Our nursing faculty are dedicated to the success of our students,” he said. “Teaching resources, such as great instructional spaces, skills practice labs and patient simulation labs, both on campus and at the Baton Rouge Center, is another top feature of our program.”

“The nursing program’s clinical affiliation agreements with leading healthcare systems located on the Northshore and Baton Rouge region is another advantage for students. Our nursing students have an opportunity to learn and apply their knowledge by working side-by-side with some of the best nurses and healthcare professionals anywhere.”

Southeastern’s nursing school also operates a completely online RN to BSN degree program that allows registered nurses with an associate’s degree or nursing diploma to complete courses leading to a bachelor of science in nursing degree.

Teacher Preparation Programs Ranked Among Top in the Nation

Southeastern’s undergraduate and graduate elementary teacher preparation programs have been named among the top in the country by the National Council on Teacher Quality, a nonpartisan, not-for-profit research and policy organization, for strong training in classroom management strategies and high-quality clinical practice experiences.

This month, NCTQ released its 2020 Teacher Prep Review: Clinical Practice and Classroom Management, which finds encouraging progress in teacher preparation programs’ adoption of evidence-based classroom management strategies that are universally effective, regardless of student age or the subject being taught. For the first time since NCTQ began publishing ratings in the 2013 Teacher Prep Review, half of the nearly 1,000 traditional elementary teacher preparation programs evaluated earn an A or B grade, up nearly 30 percent from seven years ago.

Southeastern’s programs stand out as among only 17 elementary programs in the country that earn an A in both clinical practice and classroom management and serve as a model of excellence for others.

“We’re delighted the National Council for Teacher Quality recognizes the hard work College of Education faculty and school partners have devoted to making sure our teacher candidates are prepared for the classroom,” said College of Education Dean Paula Summers Calderon. “We take pride in ensuring our teacher candidates have the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions to deliver quality instruction in any school district in the country.”

According to NCTQ, fewer advancements have been made nationally in the adoption of quality control metrics of clinical experiences, including student teaching and residencies, particularly in the process for selecting mentor teachers, which is managed not only by teacher prep programs, but also by their partner school.

Southeastern’s program was recognized for its strong clinical experience requirements, including the following: calling for candidates to spend 10 or more weeks in an experienced teacher’s classroom with at least four days per week or the equivalent in the classroom each week; screening mentor teachers for mentorship skill and/or instructional effectiveness as measured by student learning, among other skills; and requiring program supervisors to give student teachers written feedback based on observations at least four times during the clinical practice experience.

The evidence for the importance of high-quality clinical experience is undeniable. A National Research Council report said that clinical practice experience is one of three “aspects of preparation that have the highest potential for effects on outcomes for students,” and recent research has found that having a high-quality clinical practice experience can mean a first-year teacher starts out as effective as a typical teacher in their third year.

Now in its fourth edition, the Teacher Prep Review assigns a team of experts to evaluate teacher preparation programs on their adherence to evidence-based classroom management strategies and their requirements that support quality clinical practice experiences.

Southeastern Vertebrate Museum Awarded $400,000 National Science Foundation Grant

A specialist in the diversity of fishes at Southeastern has been awarded a grant of $409,200 by the National Science Foundation.

Professor of Biological Sciences and ichthyologist Kyle Piller received the three-year grant to improve the Southeastern Vertebrate Museum. The project will focus on curation of existing museum specimens and tissue samples, digitize and georeference specimen data, and integrate the data with online repositories, making the data available to the general scientific community.

“Southeastern has Ichthyology and Herpetology collections that initially were developed for teaching and research in the 1950s,” said Piller. “The bulk of the collection is comprised of fishes – more than 120,000 specimens and over 7,000 tissue samples – with the majority of the specimens from the Lake Pontchartrain Basin in southeast Louisiana and, more recently, from throughout Mexico and Central America. We also have an ever-growing herpetology collection, part of which was recently obtained from the orphaned Tulane University herpetology collection.”

“The grant will be truly transformative for our Ichthyology and Herpetology collection at Southeastern,” said College of Science and Technology Dean Daniel McCarthy. “The museum is much more than a collection of jars to look at; rather, it contains a record of the reptiles and fishes from our region from decades ago, which will prove to be an invaluable resource to scientists studying this ecosystem. Furthermore, the educational outreach component of the grant will expose thousands of students to the importance of reptiles, amphibians and fish to the Gulf Coast.”

The project, Piller said, will revitalize interest in the natural world by using natural history collections to highlight the unique organismal diversity in Louisiana and beyond. Southeastern personnel will develop a traveling fish, reptile and amphibian program titled “The Bone Sheaux.”

“This outreach program will be used to stimulate interest in organismal biology to K-12 students in southeastern Louisiana, which includes some of the most impoverished parishes in Louisiana,” he said. “A permanent loan will also be made available to Southeastern’s field station, Turtle Cove, which hosts more than 3,000 visitors annually for public outreach and teacher training workshops.”

“Although the bulk of the vertebrate museum is comprised of fishes, with five herpetology research oriented faculty on staff and herpetology oriented graduate students in the department, the herpetology collection will continue to grow in the coming years, as our specimen growth primarily has been a by-product of ongoing research and thesis projects, as well as for specimen usage in the classroom,” he explained.

Piller said a natural history museum course will be developed for Southeastern’s undergraduate students to provide them training in museum curation and specimen preparation.

“This team-taught course will focus on collection care and curatorial techniques, and will give students first-hand experience in a research collection,” he explained. “The course will culminate in the development of a museum website and a small working museum exhibit that will be displayed in the lobby of the biology building.”

Well-curated collections have and will serve the scientific community for decades to come, Pillar said, and the value of scientific collections and data they contain are becoming increasingly important as major initiatives push the bounds and usefulness of museum data.

“Beyond hard-core science initiatives, natural history collections represent reservoirs of knowledge that need to be promoted and publicized to the general public,” he said. “Southeastern has specimens with scientific value, and this study will assure that these specimens are curated and available for study by the scientific community.”