SOU-Caroline Cabral-Snowden internship

SOU journalism student earns honor and experience

Aspiring journalist and SOU senior Caroline Cabral spent her summer break in southern Oregon chasing and reporting stories for the Herald and News, the daily newspaper in Klamath Falls.

She earned the paid internship as part of the prestigious Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism program, administered by the University of Oregon and committed to promoting ethical journalism across the state.

Cabral rose through a competitive assessment by Snowden administrators, including an in-person interview. Her hard work, established skills and rich background in student journalism then led her all over southern Oregon looking for stories, pitching ideas to the newspaper’s staff and writing as many as four articles per day.

Cabral received great experience, and two of her published stories were distributed by the Associated Press news agency.

Both of her AP stories took basic subjects and turned them on their heads. One documented disruptions to the entire Klamath Falls community that resulted from a new bike lane. Apparently, some people in Klamath Falls are trying to make residents healthy, even if it kills them.

In another featured story, Cabral took a new spin on the old subject of the county fair. She found that the new face of American carnivals includes many immigrants on H-2B visas, allowing them to work temporarily in the United States.

Cabral has picked up credentials at SOU, including serving for two years as co-editor of The Siskiyou, the university’s student newspaper, and helping to launch a weekly newsletter for the campus community. Cabral will be graduating with dual degrees in English and Communication, focusing in Strategic Social Media and Public Engagement.

“Journalism is really important for me,” Cabral said. “I also want to be a part of something bigger.”

SOU has now placed students in Snowden internships for three years in a row. Before Cabral, Eli Stillman earned the honor and interned with the Daily Astorian in 2016, followed by Hannah Jones at the McMinnville News-Register in 2017.

Story by SOU student writer Kyrie Hughes

SOU-Wisdom-Battistella-campus theme

Ignorance and Wisdom: Presentation kicks off SOU’s Campus Theme

The 11th year of SOU’s Campus Theme will kick off at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 30, with the presentation, “Ignorance, Wisdom and the Etymological Fallacy,” by English Professor Edwin Battistella.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, will be in Room 319 of the Stevenson Union.

This year’s Campus Theme – “Ignorance and Wisdom” – will explore those two concepts and their relationships. The university adopts at theme each year for a series of lectures and discussions. Last year’s was “Truth,” and the previous year was “Shapes of Curiosity.” The series each year creates opportunities for students, faculty, staff and community members to engage in intellectually stimulating conversations.

Tuesday’s talk will focus on what can be learned from the history of words. Battistella’s interactive presentation will look specifically at the history and development of the words “ignorance” and “wisdom,” the limits of word history and the mechanism of semantic change. He will also explore techniques to study and pin down the meanings of those and other similar words.

SOU faculty members are asked to encourage their students to attend the presentation.

Battistella, who earned his doctorate in linguistics from the City University of New York, teaches linguistics and writing at SOU. His work has appeared in the Huffington Post, Politico, Oregon Humanities and the Oregonian. He is the author most recently of “Sorry About That: The Language of Public Apology,” published in 2014 by Oxford University Press.

Battistella is also on the editorial board of “The Oregon Encyclopedia” and is the co-editor-in-chief of journal “Language and Linguistics Compass.”

sou-green house at the farm

SOU’s Green House freshman seminar sets out to save the world

It’s challenging enough to spend your freshman year studying the separation of powers in U.S. government, or the biology and function of cell structure. First-year students in SOU’s Green House have taken on the puzzle of how to feed the world in 2050, despite the complications of climate change and exponential population growth.

Students in the experiential freshman seminar have begun classroom investigation of potential solutions, including discussions of planned parenthood and the benefits and risks of fertilizers and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

They have visited and volunteered at three local agricultural ventures: the Farm at SOU, the Fry Family Farm and Barking Moon Farm.

“While visiting, students and farm owners and managers discuss the desire for and support of small agricultural operations,” said Ellen Siem, a Green House faculty member. “They learn about environmental challenges such as changes in average temperature, precipitation and water use, and sunlight and air quality during smoky summers.

“They can see, first-hand, that small farms require many hands to grow and harvest the food used to populate shelves, CSA shares and restaurants.”

Green House participants have learned the origins of the term “organic” as it applies to agriculture, and they’re evaluating the importance of the “certified organic” designation. “This will be a question each student explores and decides for him- or herself,” Siem said.

The students are also weighing GMO benefits of increased crop resilience and yields against their potential effects on health and the environment.

They are learning about internships and work opportunities, and will soon shift their emphasis from the production of food to its distribution.

SOU offers two freshman seminar “houses” – the Green House, whose students focus on sustainability, adventure, leadership and applied research; and the Skeptic House, whose students learn to apply logic, ethical considerations and reasoning skills as they explore contentious contemporary issues. Both are considered solution-oriented learning communities for engaged, energetic students.

The “house” seminars have nothing to do with buildings and their students have a variety of majors. Their students and faculty share a “homeroom” class that provides academic skill-building and advising, peer mentoring, group projects and off-site adventures that range from field trips to performances.

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SOU student sailing the South Pacific in Semester at Sea

SOU student Fletcher Tague Shell, a junior in the Environmental Science and Policy program, is spending Fall Term sailing the South Pacific on board the tall ship ocean research vessel SSV Robert C. Seamans.

Tague Shell is taking part in a study abroad program designed to explore the complex environmental challenges faced by remote Pacific islanders, and sustainable solutions for their island cultures and ocean ecosystems.

He is among a select group of undergraduates from top U.S. colleges and universities enrolled in “SEA Semester: Sustainability in Polynesian Island Cultures and Ecosystems.” The students are focused on how human societies must adapt and evolve, given limited resources, growing populations, exponential increases in waste generation and climate disruption.

The popular Polynesian Cultures program, now in its eighth year, was developed by Sea Education Association (SEA) faculty in collaboration with academic partners in Tahiti.

The current cohort of students, including Tague Shell, arrived at the end of August for four weeks of preparatory coursework on shore at SEA Semester’s campus in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

The students flew on Sept. 24 from Massachusetts to Pago Pago, American Samoa, to board the SSV Robert C. Seamans – SEA’s state-of-the-art, 134-foot brigantine. The ship is serving as their home, classroom and laboratory for six weeks as they sail to New Zealand, where they will spend an additional week on shore. Their adventures can be tracked on the Sea Currents blog.

The students are sailing to several Pacific island countries, including Tonga and Fiji, for a comparative perspective. Along the way, they are exploring issues of sustainability with local officials and visiting historical, cultural and environmental management sites.

They are using shipboard lab and research facilities to investigate threats to fragile island ecosystems and marine environments.

The program will conclude in early November in Auckland, New Zealand, where the students will compile their research and present their findings.

The SEA’s research vessels have sailed more than a million nautical miles over the past 45 years, educating students about the world’s oceans through its study-abroad program accredited by Boston University. The program is based on Cape Cod in the oceanographic research community of Woods Hole.

SEA was honored in 2016 with the National Science Board’s Public Service Award for its role in promoting the public understanding of science and engineering.

SOU-Guanajuato at Night by Loreta

Event to advance tradition of SOU-Guanajuato exchanges

The 4th Annual Guanajuato Nights fundraiser will return to the Rogue River Room in SOU’s Stevenson Union on Nov. 10, and its organizers are on a mission to fuel more student exchanges between SOU and Universidad de Guanajuato.

The evening begins at 5 p.m. and will include dinner, silent and live auctions, music and other entertainment. Tickets are $55 each and can be purchased by calling (541) 261-7116 or emailing

Guanajuato Nights – which raises money through ticket and auction sales – has helped the Amigo Club of Ashland accumulate more than $120,000 for a scholarship fund administered by the SOU Foundation. The event is supported on campus by SOU’s Office of International Programs.

The Amigo Club Endowed Scholarship Fund has also benefited from interest earnings, other Amigo Club fundraisers and a generous match from Guanajuato philanthropist Faffie Siekman, who is married to SOU alumnus and prominent Mexican Senator Juan Carlos Romero Hicks.

Five scholarships through the Amigo Club fund have been awarded over the past three years to students participating in the Amistad exchange between universities in Ashland and Guanajuato.

More than 1,000 students, faculty members and others have participated in exchanges since the program began in 1969 with a Sister City agreement between the two cities. Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of that relationship.

The cooperative link between the two communities is unique, even though both Guanajuato and its university are much larger than Ashland and SOU. Several Guanajuato families have participated in exchange programs with SOU for three generations, and more than 80 marriages tying people from the two cities have resulted.

The Amigo Club serves as a citizen’s support group for the Ashland-Guanajuato Sister City arrangement. Those who wish to donate gift certificates, professional services or objects of value to the event’s auctions may contact the Amigo Club by email at The club is a tax-exempt organization, and donations may qualify as charitable contributions.

Last year’s Guanajuato Nights fundraiser drew more than 120 attendees, including three Sister City leaders from Guanajuato.

SOU-scary story contest

SOU writing contest: 13 words and scary

“The Churchill ‘thing’ made nighttime passersby disappear. It’s been quiet since summer began.”  Thirteen words, one scary story: knock yourself out.

Courtesy of the SOU English Program, all students, faculty and staff on campus are invited to try their hand at the (extremely) short story format by entering a Halloween-themed “13-Word Scary Story Contest.”

The criteria are self-evident: 13 words and scary. All submissions will be judged blindly by English Program faculty members. The contest winner will receive a $50 Barnes and Noble gift card, redeemable at the SOU Bookstore, and second place will be good for a $25 card.

“The entries, thus far, have been great,” said Professor Alma Rosa Alvarez, who is chair of the SOU English program. “The very brief story format allows people to participate with very low stakes.”

Entries should be submitted to Alvarez at

The English Program has been hosting literary contests since 2016, when one of its faculty members read an article about public literary displays. Another school, to get students excited about words, solicited six-word stories that were written in various locations with paint that is visible only after interacting with water. Students and townspeople were amazed by the magical display of words that emerged on the first rainy day.

The SOU English Program followed suit with its own contest of six-word stories about autumn. The stories weren’t published, but students had fun producing them, Alvarez said.

The program now hosts a contest every fall, and this year’s shifted to a 13-word format to coincide with Halloween. The two winning entries and a selection of runners-up will be published on SOU News.

“Many people have expressed that they have had a lot of fun writing their 13-word stories,” Alvarez said.

The SOU English Program also hosts a poetry contest each spring. Winners of that contest receive gift cards, and the writer of the first-place submission is invited to be a featured reader in the English Program’s annual poetry-reading event, which is open to the entire community.

Past writing contests have been restricted to SOU English majors, but the program opened its contests this year to all students, faculty and staff.

The English Program’s mission – which it promotes through its writing contests – is to encourage a love of words, language and literature.

SOU Ronald E. McNair

Students sought for SOU McNair Scholars Program

SOU faculty members and others are asked to help identify and nominate promising undergraduate students to become part of the legacy of Ronald E. McNair, who stood up for civil rights as a youth before becoming a physicist and astronaut. He died in the 1986 explosion of the space shuttle Challenger.

SOU’s McNair Scholars Program, which has prepared eligible undergraduate students for post-graduate education since 2003, is seeking students for its 2019 cohort of scholars. Prospective McNair Scholars should be sophomores, juniors or early seniors with academic potential and an interest in attending graduate school.

The SOU program offers one-to-one guidance from faculty mentors as it helps participants complete their undergraduate degrees, enroll in graduate school and prepare for doctoral studies. More than a dozen SOU McNair alumni have completed their doctoral programs since the program began 15 years ago.

“When asked how they heard about the McNair Program, the majority of past scholars reported that they were encouraged by SOU faculty or staff members to apply,” said Dee Southard, an associate professor and director of SOU’s McNair program. “I am again asking for help in reaching potential McNair Scholars and connecting them with the resources that the program offers.”

Student participants in the nation’s 187 currently funded McNair programs are considered “targets of recruitment” for graduate admissions officers. They are offered fully-paid visitation opportunities and often given offers of admission that include all-expenses-paid packages with stipends for living expenses.

Seminars on topics pertinent to pre-doctoral students, advising, tutoring, access to a resource library, help with graduate school applications, travel assistance and other resources are available free of charge to participants in SOU’s McNair Scholars Program.

The program is geared toward undergraduate students from underrepresented and disadvantaged segments of society, but those criteria should not be a concern for those recommending students as McNair scholars. Each nominee will be contacted and provided program details. Even those who are not eligible will be directed toward resources that are helpful for all students considering graduate-level studies.

Those wishing to recommend a student for the program should send the student’s name, email address and undergraduate major to Southard at The application packet for students interested in being part of the 2019 cohort is available online. The deadline for submission of completed packets to SOU’s McNair office in Susanne Homes Hall is 3 p.m. on Oct. 31.

The McNair program was initiated in 1989 by the U.S. Department of Education to increase doctoral studies by students from underrepresented and disadvantaged groups. It honors McNair, who received his doctorate in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was the second African-American to fly in space. SOU’s McNair program serves 28 undergraduate scholars each year.

SOU Jim Hatton

SOU’s Friday Science Seminar returns with the “replication crisis”


(Ashland, Ore.) — The fall series of Southern Oregon University’s popular Friday Science Seminars will open Oct. 5 with a presentation by Jim Hatton, SOU’s mathematics program chair, on the so-called “replication crisis.”

Hatton will review causes and some proposed solutions to the crisis, which stems from social scientists’ frequent inability to reproduce important studies. Statistical methods commonly used by the scientists has been called into question.

The lecture will be in SOU’s Science Auditorium (Science Building, Room 151), from 3:30 to 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, with light refreshments provided by the university’s STEM Division.

A 2016 poll of 1,500 scientists by the journal “Nature” found that 70 percent had failed to reproduce at least one other scientist’s experiment and 50 percent had failed to reproduce experiments of their own.

The inability to replicate studies could have serious consequences for scientific fields in which significant theories are based on experimental work that cannot be reproduced. Replication of experiments is an essential element of scientific research.

The replication crisis, which was identified in the early 2010s as awareness of the problem grew, has been a significant issue in the fields of social psychology and medicine, where several efforts have been made to replicate classic studies or experiments, and to determine the reliability of results.

Hatton teaches developmental mathematics and precalculus at SOU, and publishes his mathematics explorations and other thoughts on his blog, Math Thoughts. He received his bachelor’s degree from Rice University and his master’s degree in operations research from Stanford University.

SOU’s weekly Friday Science Seminars cover a variety of topics from academic, industrial, commercial and non-profit sectors in the fields of biology, chemistry, mathematics and computer science.

Other lectures in the next month include “A Frame Semantic Approach to Metaphoric Meaning,” on Oct. 12 with SOU German language instructor Maggie Gemmell; “Assessment of Virulence Mechanisms used by Pathogenic Vibrio Species,” on Oct. 19 with Blake Ushijima, an Oregon State University postdoctoral researcher of coral disease; and “Fall into Chemistry,” on Oct. 26 with the SOU Chemistry Club.


About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University is a medium-sized campus that provides comprehensive educational opportunities with a strong focus on student success and intellectual creativity. Located in vibrant Ashland, Oregon, SOU remains committed to diversity and inclusion for all students on its environmentally sustainable campus. Connected learning programs taught by a host of exceptional faculty provide quality, innovative experiences for students. Visit

SOU Bryce Smedley Kenya

SOU School of Education makes global connections at Kenya conference

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University’s School of Education is acting globally this week, serving as one of the leading organizers for the inaugural World Conference on Transformative Education in Kenya.

Bryce Smedley (left) in Africa

The conference will be held Thursday through Saturday, July 26-28, at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology in Kakamega, Kenya. Its theme is “Rethinking Curriculum, Pedagogy and Research in Africa.”

SOU Assistant Professor Bryce Smedley – an organizer of the conference and the university’s representative at the event – credited SOU’s Global Connections Initiative for an expanding commitment to international education.

“We are part of a global community and therefore we must create globally competent teachers here in southern Oregon,” Smedley said. “SOU is not only participating in these discussions but actively providing leadership and making an international difference.”

Conference topics include Smedley’s work, “Transformative Education Through Service Learning and English Language Clubs,” and other topics including child development, teaching indigenous languages and educational opportunity in rural and developing regions.

The WCTE is co-sponsored by Southern Oregon University, the Global Institute for Transformative Education, the Bay and Paul Foundations, the School Project Foundation and Ball State University.

Keynote speakers include Ambassador Amina C. Mohamed, current cabinet secretary for the Kenya Ministry of Education; sociologist and professor Colletta A. Suda; governor of Kakamega County Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya; and many other experts in the fields of child development, culturally responsive teaching and holistic education.

SOU’s sponsorship of the conference is part of the School of Education’s dedication to expanding educational horizons and opportunities for both international and local students, said John King, director of the university’s Division of Education, Health and Leadership. The school’s Global Connections Initiative is also resulting in partnerships with education professionals and organizations worldwide. It has led to engagement with English learners of all ages and backgrounds, including displaced refugees in sub-Saharan Africa.

Through the initiative, SOU has participated in the construction of a community literacy center and girls’ school in Chombo, Malawi; promotion of teacher and student exchanges with the Roong Aroon School in Thailand; and membership in the Pacific Circle Consortium to support inter-cultural learning, educational research and policy development across the Pacific region.

The SOU School of Education will integrate both content and connections from the conference into upcoming courses in the school’s graduate and undergraduate catalogs, and further international outreach and recruitment efforts.
For more information on SOU’s School of Education, visit:


SOU STEM science

Region’s schools send “Chief Science Officers” to visit SOU for STEM skills


(Ashland, Oregon) — A group of 30 “Chief Science Officers” – students from 15 middle and high schools throughout Jackson, Josephine and Klamath counties – will meet at Southern Oregon University Monday through Wednesday, July 16-18, to gain leadership skills and learn to be ambassadors for STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

The Chief Science Officer Leadership Institute is organized by the Southern Oregon STEM Hub, one of 11 regional STEM Hubs that operate under Oregon’s Chief Education Office to tap local resources and promote STEM educational opportunities. Next week’s institute is co-sponsored by SOU, the Southern Oregon Education Service District, Talent Maker City, First Tech Challenge and Ashland Solar Van.

The event is intended to help the participating students become effective STEM ambassadors in their schools. They will explore STEM activities and potential careers, and receive professionalism and leadership training.

Activities will take place primarily in SOU’s Cox Hall classrooms. A “STEM-Onstration” showcase will be held at SOU’s Stevenson Union.

The Chief Science Officer program, which is being offered through various STEM Hubs around the state, is a unique approach for aligning education with industry. It is intended to give students a voice in community conversations about outreach and economic development, and introduce them to some of the potential pathways to STEM careers.

The Southern Oregon STEM Hub is part of Southern Oregon Success, a grant-funded program that weaves together community talent, expertise and resources to promote the health, academics and life successes of the region’s youths and families.