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Fourth annual Warrior Walk to include competitive categories
Veteran Student Academic Services Coordinator Rick Hansen and Amy Cole-Smith, director of Transfer and Veteran Student Academic Services, hold one of the trophies produced for this year’s Warrior Walk Against Veteran Suicide. Organizers of the fourth annual Warrior Walk Against Veteran Suicide will offer more options for walkers this year, including competitive categories designed to bring attention and generate discussion about the high rate of suicides among military veterans in the U.S.   “We were very encouraged by the level of participation we received last year and really wanted to act on the feedback we heard to make this bigger and better for the veterans we’re trying to help,” said Rick Hansen, retired U.S. Marine captain and coordinator for Veteran Student Academic Services at OSU. “With a suicide rate of up to 22 veterans a day, the war here at home is actually more dangerous than all our current combat missions around the world. It’s important to recognize the terrible toll suicide takes on our veterans and their families and reach out to help with this walk.”   Again this year, the Red Dirt Military Moms, who started the walk in 2014, will partner with Veteran Student Academic Services at OSU to coordinate the event, set for Saturday, Sept. 16, starting at 7:30 a.m. at Boomer Lake, with registration tables opening at 6 a.m. Registration is $22 per individual or $25 on the day of the event. Proceeds will be used to send care packages to military service members deployed oversees during the Christmas Holidays, provide needed items to homeless veterans in our local shelters, and assist in funding visits of veterans in Oklahoma State Veterans Homes.   Once the monetary goals for those efforts have been reached, a portion of the funds will be used to send OSU Student Veteran Organization representatives to the Student Veterans of American National Conference next January. The conference focuses on training local chapter leaders on ways to better serve their veteran student communities on campus.   This year, in addition to the usual open category that allows anyone to walk as long or as short a distance as they wish around the walking trail that circles the lake, two competitive team categories, requiring seven members per team, have been added that include a flag relay and a back-pack or “ruck” relay of 22 miles.  Depending on the category of competition chosen, the teams will be supplied with either a small U.S. flag, or a ruck, which is a 40-pound back pack. After completing the 3.1 mile lap around Boomer, the team member will pass either the flag or the ruck to the next member, until the 22 miles is completed.   Teams competing in either the ruck or walk categories can enter in the Student Veterans Association (SVA) division or open division.  To register and compete in the SVA division all seven members of the team must be military veterans and also be students, staff, or faculty members in good standing with their registering institution of higher learning. All other teams will compete in the open division. A perpetual trophy will be awarded to the winning SVA and open division teams in both the ruck and walk categories. The winning institutions will display the appropriate trophy for one year, then return the trophies to be awarded at the 2018 Warrior Walk.   The primary goal of Veterans Student Academic Services at OSU is to coordinate with campus, community, state and federal organizations and agencies to provide services to more than 850 veterans and military-affiliated students at OSU. The office is also in charge of the Veterans Success Center on campus, which offers student veterans a place to study, seek academic assistance and interact as they transition to college life.  Register for the walk online at For more information, contact Rick Hansen at or call (405) 744-1390.
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Music in the Gardens raises funds for OSU Department of Music
Music in the Gardens, scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. Sept. 24 at the OSU Botanic Garden, is an open-air concert and event celebrating the community of artists, performers, composers and scholars who comprise the Department of Music at Oklahoma State University. Vocal and instrumental performances will be highlighted at various locations throughout Oklahoma State University’s beautiful Botanic Garden, blending sight and sound. The event will include wine and heavy hors d’oeuvre, with proceeds directly benefiting the Department of Music and its exciting future at OSU. Tickets are still available for $100 each and can be purchased at Sponsorship opportunities are also still available. “The Department of Music has enriched lives through music education, performance and research for generations, and we’re gathering to celebrate that. For more than 100 years the department has influenced the lives of Oklahomans and students from across the nation and world,” said the event’s co-chairs, Carol Stewart and Meredith Woodward Gardner. “The event’s backdrop at the vibrant OSU Botanic Garden illustrates the interconnectedness of the visual and performing arts at OSU and the momentum generated by an increased dedication to music, performances and access to the arts in Stillwater,” they added, specifically referencing The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts being constructed on campus. Music in the Gardens is hosted by the OSU Friends of Music, a group of volunteers dedicated to the advancement of music education at Oklahoma State. About the OSU Foundation The Oklahoma State University Foundation serves as the private fundraising organization for OSU, as designated by the OSU Regents. Its mission is to unite donor and university passions and priorities to achieve excellence.
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OSU/A&M Regents approve personnel actions
Numerous Oklahoma State University personnel actions were approved during the OSU/A&M Board of Regents meeting Friday in Miami, Okla. NEW APPOINTMENTS: Janeen Salak-Johnson, appointment to Temple Grandin Professorship and associate professor, Animal Science; Valerie Freeman, assistant professor, Communication Sciences and Disorders; Yu Zhang, assistant professor, Communication Sciences and Disorders; Anna Sicari, assistant professor, English; Allison Dorko, clinical assistant professor, Mathematics; Mikyeung Bae, assistant professor, Media and Strategic Communications; Skye Cooley, assistant professor, Media and Strategic Communications; Matthew Cabeen, assistant professor, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics; Karen Wozniak, assistant professor, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics; Davide Ponzi, assistant professor, Psychology; Richard Gaeta, assistant professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Kimberly Cuellar, assistant professor and director, Hospitality and Tourism Management; Chen-Wei Tao, assistant professor, Hospitality and Tourism Management; Sam Emerson, assistant professor, Nutritional Sciences; McKale Montgomery, assistant professor, Nutritional Sciences; Kevin Dyke, assistant professor and curator, Library. From the Center for Veterinary Health Science - Emily Sharpe, assistant professor, Clinical Sciences; Megan Williams, assistant professor, Clinical Sciences. From the Center for Health Sciences - Brandy Close, clinical assistant professor, Academic Affairs; Megan Johanning, clinical assistant professor, Emergency Medicine; Zachary Spradlin, clinical assistant professor, Emergency Medicine; Crystal David, clinical assistant professor, Family Medicine; Carlos Guevara, clinical assistant professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology; Whitney Latham, clinical associate professor, Pediatrics. CHANGES: David Henneberry, transition from professor and associate vice president to professor and Regents Service Professor, Agricultural Economics; John Veenstra, appointment as department head, Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering; Tyler Ley, appointment to the Gilbert, Cooper, W&W Steel chair, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Kelvin Wang, appointment to the Decker Dawson chair, Civil and Environmental Engineering. From the Center for Health Sciences - Anil Kaul, title change from research professor to clinical professor, Health Care Administration. RETIREMENT: David Meinke, Plant Biology, Ecology and Evolution, Oct. 12, 2017; William Focht, Political Science, Sept. 2, 2017; Joel Jenswold, Political Science, Sept. 1, 2017; Timothy Ireland, Management Science and Information Systems, Sept. 1, 2017; Phillpe Garmy, Hospitality and Tourism Management, Aug. 31, 2017; Jerold Leong, Hospitality and Tourism Management, June 30, 2017; Nancy Betts, Nutritional Sciences, July 1, 2017; LuAnn Soliah, June 1, 2017; Mary Leech, Library, Feb. 5, 2018. For other Board of Regents actions: OSU Center for Health Sciences Launches New Doctoral Program in Forensic Science
Fri, 03 Nov 2017 08:15:19 -0500
OSU Center for Health Sciences Launches New Doctoral Program in Forensic Science
Meeting a growing national need, The Oklahoma State University/A&M Board of Regents approved a new doctoral degree program in forensic sciences from the OSU Center for Health Sciences’ School of Forensic Sciences at its regular meeting Friday.  OSU-CHS, located in Tulsa, will be one of only three institutions in the U.S. to offer a Ph.D. in Forensic Sciences. Sam Houston State University and West Virginia University are the others. “After years of planning, OSU Center for Health Sciences is pleased to offer students from across the country the opportunity to earn a high quality doctoral degree in forensic sciences from Oklahoma State University,” said Kayse Shrum, D.O., president of OSU Center for Health Sciences. Historically, the highest attainable degree in forensic science has been the master’s degree. Most forensic science programs in the United States are offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels, leaving students interested in seeking a terminal degree in forensic sciences with limited options. This shortage of doctoral programs in forensic science has made it difficult for universities, law enforcement agencies, and forensic laboratories to recruit Ph.D.-trained forensic scientists.  “This is a fantastic opportunity for Oklahoma State to be the leader in forensic science education,” said Dr. Robert Allen, head of the School of Forensic Sciences at OSU-CHS. “With the rapid pace of technological developments in forensic science, we need more forensic scientists trained at the Ph.D. level to advance the field of forensic science and to push the boundaries of scientific inquiry.” The School of Forensic Sciences will start accepting applications with expected enrollment to begin in the fall of 2018. Interested candidates must have a master’s degree in forensic sciences or be willing to complete foundation coursework in forensic sciences. Both in class and online courses will be offered. The School of Forensic Sciences at OSU-CHS currently offers a Master of Science in Forensic Sciences in the following seven tracks: Death Scene Investigation, Forensic Biology/DNA, Forensic Chemistry, Forensic Psychology, Arson and Explosives Investigations, Forensic Document Examination, and Forensic Science Administration. The School of Forensic Sciences also has training facilities that are second to none, including a crime scene investigation laboratory and a 300-acre explosives range. The program must receive final approval from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. For more information on the new Ph.D. program in forensic sciences, contact Aaron T. Christensen, 918-561-1108, For other Board of Regents actions: OSU/A&M Regents approve personnel actions
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OSU scholar returns from U.K. for presentation and initiation
Oklahoma State University alumnus Joel Halcomb, who helped put his alma mater in the spotlight by winning the prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship, will talk about the experience and his work as a university professor in England on Wednesday, Sept. 13, at 4 p.m. in the Murray Hall Parlor. His presentation, "From OSU History Major to University of East Anglia Lecturer,” will be followed immediately by his initiation into the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society at OSU. Both events are free and open to the public. Halcomb enrolled in OSU at the age of 21 while working as an electrician. The nontraditional student was completing a double honors college major in history and mathematics in 2005, when he and a fellow student, Ashleigh Hildebrand, learned they had been selected as two of only 40 winners of the Gates Cambridge Scholarship in the U.S. The program, established by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, funds a fulltime postgraduate degree at the University of Cambridge in England. “Joel’s story—starting as a somewhat older ‘newcomer’ to higher education, who went on to earn the coveted Gates Cambridge Scholarship—became one of the most exciting examples of personal achievement and land grant values and opportunities in OSU’s history,” said Dr. Bob Graalman, who was serving as scholar development director at the time. Halcomb studied the early modern history of Great Britain at Cambridge, with an emphasis on religion. His doctoral work recreated Puritan religious practice and religious politics during Britain’s mid-17th-century “Puritan Revolution.”  Since earning his doctorate, he has worked at the universities of St. Andrews, Cambridge, and now serves as a lecturer at East Anglia, in Norwich, England, where he teaches all aspects of early modern British history.  Ashleigh (Hildebrand) Ross went on to earn a master’s degree in environmental policy from Cambridge, and a double masters in chemical engineering and technology policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She currently works as a senior reservoir engineer at ConocoPhillips. Halcomb’s research focuses on religious practice, culture and politics in Britain and Ireland during the British Civil Wars. He is a founding member of the Dissenting Experience project (, which promotes scholarship on the history, literature and culture of early modern religious nonconformity in England. Halcomb’s presentation is sponsored by the OSU History Club and the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society at OSU.
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Oklahoma State roundtable series provides look at benefits of community engagement
The Oklahoma State University College of Human Sciences is hosting a monthly series of Community Engagement Roundtables featuring guest speakers that will address the practice, theory, and benefits of community engaged scholarship. The roundtables are available to faculty, staff, and students, who are encouraged to bring questions and share ideas about working with off-campus partners. The first session -- Identifying, Starting and Expanding Community Partnerships -- is set for 1 p.m. on Sept. 13. Guest speakers are Laura Tunningley and Lyn Broils from the OSU Writing Center. The roundtables will be held at 307A Human Sciences (NSCI Conference Room) and refreshments will be provided. All participants must RSVP to 2017-18 Schedule (all events will be held from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.) September 13 – Identifying, Starting, and Expanding Community Partnerships October 12 – Grants and Other External Funding for Community Engagement November 9 – Engaging with Global Communities December 7 – Supporting Students in Community Engagement January 18, 2018 – Effective Communication with Community Partners February 8, 2018 – Documenting Community Engagement for Promotion and Tenure March 8, 2018 – Partnering with Religious Organizations April 12, 2018 – TBD
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OSU’s Gethner to perform and discuss WWI-era piano works
An ongoing Oklahoma State University series that memorializes the worldwide impact of World War I on life and culture kicks off the new academic year with a piano performance of works from the era and a discussion of their relevance by Dr. Perry Gethner on Thursday, Sept. 7, at 7 p.m. in the Peggy V. Hemerich Browsing Room, Edmon Low Library. The event is free and open to the public. Gethner, Regents Professor, and Norris Professor of French in the OSU Department of Foreign Languages, will perform the music and discuss its artistic and cultural significance during the WWI era and today, in recognition of the centennial of the war. Dr. David Oberhelman, W.P. Wood Professor of Library Services and coordinator of the Great War series, said Gethner is an accomplished pianist, who will perform pieces that are not commonly played, which spotlight the artistic response to WWI in England, France and Germany. Oberhelman said attendees should also expect to gain a broader sense of the effects the war had on the arts, life and culture of the time. Gethner will also shed a light on the relationships between culture, politics and art in this era through his performance and the discussion. The event is part of a four-year series called “The Great War and Its Legacy, 1914-1918,” which is made possible by funding from the OSU Library and the Wood Professorship for Library Science. For more information on the series visit By: Teryn Moorman
Fri, 03 Nov 2017 08:15:19 -0500
Oklahoma State names Kim Beard Assistant Director of Employee Wellness
Kim Beard has been named Assistant Director of Employee Wellness at Oklahoma State University. “We are excited to have Kim join our Wellness team,” said Chief Wellness Officer Todd Misener. “Kim brings a wealth of experience and passion for employee wellness programming that will be instrumental in the continued growth and success of our wellness efforts here at OSU.” Beard comes to OSU from The University of Southern Mississippi where she served as assistant fitness center director and grant coordinator. Much of her focus was on health promotion and wellness programming for the faculty, staff and students on campus. Beard also wrote, received and managed a Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation grant for the Health is Golden initiative, which funds events and services that continue to build the campus wellness culture. Previously, she served as YMCA branch director in Wichita Falls, Texas. As Employee Wellness Assistant Director, Beard will oversee programming, data collection and outreach for OSU employee wellness. She is looking forward to spending her first few months getting to know her colleagues and their work methods. Beard intends to learn how the program runs while working as a team to make any needed improvements.   “It’s already a great, robust program,” said Beard. “I want to take what is already here and continue to build on it.” Looking ahead, Beard hopes to move toward data-driven programming in order to drive future programs at OSU and achieve her primary goal of reaching more employees. Beard has several fitness certifications through the American College of Sports Medicine, including ACSM: Certified Exercise Physiologist and ACSM/NCHPAD: Certified Inclusive Fitness Trainer. She earned a bachelor’s in exercise science from Wichita State University and a master’s in health promotion from Nebraska Methodist College. In addition to her career, Beard is passionate about her sports teams, family and pets. She volunteers with various organizations and enjoys participating in outdoor activities. “OSU and the Stillwater community have been very welcoming and genuinely helpful. Even after a week here it already feels like home.” By: Michaela Gleason */
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Oklahoma State University recognized as a “Diversity Champion” in top tier of national HEED Award winners
INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine has recognized Oklahoma State University as one of 11 Diversity Champion colleges and universities in the nation. The designation “Diversity Champion” is given by the magazine to exemplify an unyielding commitment to diversity and inclusion throughout campus communities, across academic programs, and at the highest administrative levels, according to Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. “Oklahoma State University is a visionary leader among campus communities striving for diversity and inclusion,” said Pearlstein. “As a Diversity Champion school, OSU exceeds everyday expectations, often eclipsing even its own goals, and develops successful strategies that serve as models of excellence for other higher education institutions.” OSU and the ten other colleges and universities selected as diversity champions rank in what Pearlstein calls “the top tier” of the magazine’s 80 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award recipients for 2017.  This is the sixth consecutive year that OSU has received the HEED Award.   “We have talented leaders focused constantly on progress in diversity and inclusion, and a campus community that is very supportive and inclusive,” said OSU President Burns Hargis. “We thank the magazine for this special designation and hope our continued work will inspire others to be welcoming places for all.”   More than 70 diversity-related student organizations at OSU empower students to promote their heritage and become leaders. The university also supports K-12 programs that facilitate students’ ability to successfully transition to college. Additionally, a capital campaign within the Division of Institutional Diversity has raised $3.7 million over the past three years, which includes 25 new endowed, privately-funded scholarships, and anticipates an additional 10 in the near future, all focused on promoting a culture of inclusion. In October, the university will host the third OSU Diversity Hall of Fame to recognize individuals who have significantly contributed to the legacy of inclusion and diversity at the institution. “OSU is honored to again be recognized as a national leader for our commitment to inclusion and diversity,” said Dr. Jason F. Kirksey, vice president for the Division of Institutional Diversity and chief diversity officer at OSU. “We are proud of OSU’s land-grant heritage and continue working to adhere to our mission of being an open and welcoming university system, focused on facilitating the success of all members of our campus communities. While we have immense work ahead of us, the magnitude of the initiatives, programs, and overall efforts from the OSU administration, faculty, staff, and students is phenomenal and exemplifies the institution’s commitment to achieving inclusive excellence.” OSU has garnered national attention for its inclusion and diversity efforts by earning several prestigious honors, including the 2016 National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE) Institutional Excellence Award, the 2016 Southwest Minority Supplier Development Council Corporation of the Year Award, the 2016 Minority Access, Inc. Institution Committed to Diversity Award, the 2016 Mosaic Five-star Inclusive Workplace Culture Award from the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce’s diversity business council, and 2017 Roosevelt Thomas Champion of Diversity Award from the American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity. Additionally, this past March, Kirksey was recognized with the NADOHE 2017 Dr. Frank W. Hale, Jr. Distinguished Service Award, which is awarded to an individual who is distinguished in higher education, through a robust record of consistent service, for inclusive excellence; exercising innovative and courageous leadership; serving as a visionary in the field; and exemplifying the philosophy, principles, and practices of NADOHE; and contributing substantially to diversity and inclusive excellence in higher education. The University is ranked in the 25th Annual Top 100 Degree Producers edition of Diverse Issues in Higher Education for the number of African American, American Indian, Asian American, and Latino graduates across multiple degree fields. Last fall, OSU was honored with the designation of becoming a Purple Heart University. “We are humbled to be the only university in Oklahoma, as well as among a select few in the nation, to hold the distinction of being recognized as a 2017 Diversity Champion and a six-year recipient of the nationally prestigious HEED Award,” Kirksey said. INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine is the largest and oldest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education today and is known for its annual HEED Award, the only award that recognizes colleges and universities for outstanding diversity and inclusion efforts across their campuses. Current, archived, and digital issues of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine are available online at
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OSU doctoral student receives international fellowship
Chemical engineering doctoral student Minu Pilvankar has been awarded the international ACM SIGHPC/Intel Computational and Data Science Fellowship. She is the first Oklahoma State University student to be honored with the fellowship, and one of only 12 worldwide recipients this year. The fellowship, funded by Intel, encourages diversity among graduate students studying computational science, an interdisciplinary field, integrating computer science, applied mathematics, science, and engineering.  Pilvankar earned her master’s in chemical engineering at OSU, where Dr. Ashlee Ford Versypt recruited her to join her lab. Ford Versypt, an assistant professor of chemical engineering, focuses on biological and biomedical research using computational methods rather than traditional experimentation. Ford Versypt nominated Pilvankar to receive the fellowship.  “She came here with no background in biology or physiology, but Minu was willing to learn, spending months reading papers,” said Ford Versypt. “She is now my go-to-person to find biology and physiological papers and to interpret those experiments that can be used in creating models of disease.” Under Ford Versypt’s direction, Pilvankar’s work focuses on creating mathematical computer models to describe biochemical and physiological injuries to the kidney, associated with diabetes. Though she is a chemical engineering student, Pilvankar had never worked in a chemical laboratory before meeting her mentor. “I think that is kind of strange, but we use computational methods to predict and analyze the behavior of biological systems that are not easily accessible to experimental techniques,” said Pilvankar. “Converting biology into mathematical equations helps experimental researchers focus their attention on areas to investigate to understand diseases.”  Minu’s research could lead to the development of better drug therapies and delivery methods. “She works, using computational techniques to research diabetic kidney disease, which can cause end-stage renal (kidney) failure, is significant,” said Dr. Dana Brunson, OSU assistant vice president for cyberinfrastructure and director of the High Performance Computing Center. “I’m very proud of Minu for being recognized with this very prestigious fellowship.”  The Computational and Data Science Fellowship is designed to expand opportunities for graduate students to pursue careers in the field, which is one of the most important and fastest growing research areas today across a broad array of disciplines, including biochemistry, biomedicine, and genomics. The fellowship targets women or students from backgrounds that have not traditionally participated in the computing field. Pilvankar will receive an annual $15,000 research stipend for the remainder of her doctoral study.  Pilvankar said she appreciates her parents for influencing her career path. Her mother is a biology teacher and her father a chemical engineer in her native India. She credits her growth as a researcher to Ford Versypt, who came to OSU as a junior faculty member three years ago.  Pilvankar is one of the first students Ford Versypt recruited and the first master’s graduate from her program. If she stays on schedule, Pilvankar will be Ford Versypt’s first doctoral graduate.  “I could have applied to other universities, but I didn’t. I wanted to work with her,” Pilvankar said.  Ford Versypt said mentoring talented undergraduate and graduate students is important to their career success and to advancing her work.   “We’ve recruited students who have been very impactful with what they’ve accomplished,” she said.  The Computational and Data Science Fellowship is just one of Pilvankar’s accomplishments. She has also been named a Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Scholar at the Spears School of Business and is completing a graduate certificate in interdisciplinary toxicology. She has also received honors for poster presentations at several technical conferences and symposia around the country.
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