Professor tells of plant, animal tales
Oct27

Professor tells of plant, animal tales

The fox, hidden in darkness, leaped several feet into the air to grab a ripe pear from the tree in the backyard of biology professor Dr. Kathleen Wood. It moved swiftly and confidently, unaware that every move was being captured on film. The camera was one of six purchased with funds given to biology professor Dr. Cathleen Early for research. Early received approximately $13,600 last year from the Faculty Development Fund to research flora and fauna in Bell County. One of her goals is to compare and update the 1978 list of plants and animals found in Bell Country, with emphasis on terrestrial plants, birds and mammals. Grants are given yearly to professors seeking to contribute to their field. The research in the biology department involves identifying and collecting a range of local plant and wildlife to improve the collection at the college and benefit the community and scholars. She is grateful to expose her students and community to one of her passions. “It is a chance to share the skills I have,” she said. “(I) collect and quantify plants and animals, and then I get to share it with students.” The impact of the research is spreading beyond the classrooms. A German researcher and member of the German Cactus Society called Early asking for a photo of the Echinocereus for a book he is writing. Early pulled the plant from the specimen case – a herbarium – and got the photo and UMHB citation to the researcher. Another of Early’s objectives is to improve and expand UMHB’s specimen collection. She used some of the grant money to purchase a new herbarium cabinet. Dr. York, namesake of the science building, began the collection in the early 20th century. Thanks to Early, his specimens and hundreds like it are now cataloged in online databases. Now researchers everywhere have access to UMHB resources. All students in Early’s plant taxonomy class must submit 50 specimens of their own. She takes interesting submissions and adds them to the herbarium. Each one is documented with their names. The specimens, similar to the Echinocereus, may end up in a book one day. Five students, including senior organismal biology major Brandon Ray and senior chemistry major Scottie Henriquez, signed up for independent study alongside Early. In the field, students learned how to use some of the 360 Sherman traps purchased with the grant funds. The trap is a silver metal box with a spring-loaded door. It is large enough for small mammals to enter. Once the animal is inside the trap to get the bait, the door shuts and the animal spends the night with its...

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Blog: Why Halloween is Fabulous

I love the month of October is wonderful.  Reasons  all pertain to Halloween.  Halloween is a month long celebration. Once I walk into Wal-Mart and see the trick-or-treat section set-up, I’m ready to celebrate. The popcorn balls, caramel apples and pumpkins bring an overwhelming excitement. I then begin to search the Internet and the local Halloween costume stores for the perfect costume. However, for the past three years, I have gone as Goldie Locks. Still, I enjoy rummaging through the colorful outfits, sequined tops and humorous masks. Maybe I will find an outfit worth spending my hard earned money on; not that I think a Goldie Locks costume was worth spending money on but I needed one for a party and it was decently priced. Another favorite Halloween tradition of mine is watching, It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. The childhood classic airs on ABC every year the Tuesday before Halloween. Linus is so cute, sitting in the pumpkin patch just waiting for the Great Pumpkin to arrive. While watching the movie, I like to drink apple cider and roast pumpkin seeds. Which, I usually have after gutting my pumpkin for carving. I carve the same classic pumpkin face every year; it will never get old to...

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Call me an entrepreneur

I started the fall semester proud of my newfound place to purchase textbooks. I came across half.com (a subsidy of eBay) my sophomore year. And I’m hooked. I buy and sell online. Beyond saving money I don’t have, another plus is getting and sending mail. When I get an e-mail saying “You’ve made a sale” I whip out the paper, tape and animal stickers. It’s like wrapping Christmas presents. I’m sure to include the paper from the site alerting the buyer to leave positive feedback for me. I’m proud to say that guitarprincess189 has shooting star reviews. The not so good But something not so great happened last semester. I branched out from ordering school textbooks and bought a Becoming Jane on the site. Not only was the item late (sellers have three days to ship an item once it’s been sold), but it turned out to be a pirated copy! I reported that sucker to the half.com authorities. They quickly responded by giving me a complete refund. Talk about good customer service and excellent PR. The extra surprise I used to order my books for my fall classes during the summer. But the upperclassmen in me has gotten this “do I actually need this book” to a science. I waited until the first week of class was over to purchase a book for a certain class (can’t tell you because I’m still in it), but three weeks came and went, and I still hadn’t received the book. Another cool feature on half.com is the ability for sellers and buyers to converse. I had a message from the seller saying she hadn’t received the notice that the book had been sold until recently. I said, “Yeah right” aloud and clicked the reply button. She asked me if I still wanted the book. I’d been charged for it already so of course, I said yes. A couple of days later, I got a really heavy box in the mail. It was the book! Now I could stop mooching off my friend who had the book already. The textbook was in a box marked “World’s Finest Chocolates” – I smiled because my sister and I used to have to sell those for our school fundraiser. Then, when I cut open the taped edges, I found inside … three chocolate bars. It made me laugh out loud. Poor lady who felt sorry for sending the book late! It was worth the wait. Three chocolate bars for not really missing the book too much (tear, tear). Even though it’s not predictable, I’m glad for the funny memories using a Web site to buy...

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Former English prof goes back to school
Oct13

Former English prof goes back to school

Dr. Sharon Ganslen is a student, sitting in classrooms next to students she taught at UMHB just a few years before. Ganslen double majored in English and physics at Notre Dame College in Ohio. “That was in the age of science … John Kennedy’s ‘We’re going to put a man on the moon in this next decade’ …. If you had half a brain you were supposed to go into science,” Ganslen said. Through her college experience, she learned how much she loved English. It was easy for her. “I started teaching junior high … and then a year later I got married with three priests and a saber detail,” she said. “Because I was certified to teach secondary English, I got this position teaching the basic skills classes for the Army through Big Bend Community College in Washington state, and later Temple University in Philly,” Ganslen said. She taught the service members overseas in Germany in two time blocks each day, 8 to 12 p.m. and 1 to 5 p.m. The men held reading levels comparable to a fourth-grader. “I got back to the States, and I was angry that these kids were walking around with high school diplomas and reading at the fourth-grade level,” Ganslen said. She began teaching at UMHB in 1989, but at the end of her first semester she was diagnosed with leukemia. “For a few years it took all of my energy to teach and keep up with doctors’ appointments,” Ganslen said. After recovering from leukemia, she taught at the university for 20 years, and offi cially retired in May 2009. “I estimate I worked with nearly 2000 students over the years. Now I am enjoying a self-directed sabbatical. I am taking some literature classes I always wanted to take from my friends and colleagues in the English department. These dedicated professors are all excellent teachers, and I am enjoying the challenge of being a student again,” she said. When teaching, she helped under-prepared students become better writers. “Many of them come in and say ‘what do you mean I have to take this class? I got As and Bs in high school.’ ‘Well, you shouldn’t have.’ So it takes them a while to get the chip off their shoulder, but then it becomes a teamwork thing. Tell me what you need, and I’ll help you get it,” Ganslen said. “I used to tell my students ‘I don’t know where the holes are in your grammar Swiss cheese …. We’re not blaming anybody, we’re just trying to fill in the holes.” Ganslen lives in Harker Heights with her husband, Greg. “I’m happy to...

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Ministry unites students from diverse cultures
Oct13

Ministry unites students from diverse cultures

When it comes to diversity and understanding different cultures, junior nursing major Sarah Herriott and junior social work major Stacey Davidson know how to adjust in uncommon elements. These two world travelers use their experiences to serve fellow students on campus through the International Student Ministry. Growing up in a missionary family, Herriott had the opportunity to travel worldwide. “I have been all over Europe: Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Italy, Spain, Andorra and France, where my parents are currently serving,” she said. She grew up in Africa and traveled on vacations to North America. Herriott believes she has “been bitten by the traveling bug” and doesn’t know what she would do without having the ability to travel and experience new and different cultures. At a young age she developed a true love for diversity. Coming to UMHB, Herriott realized she needed to plug in and help international students make new friends and break out of their shells. “Last year I started working as a teacher’s assistant in the English lab for the international students in ESL and fell in love with them,” she said. “I wanted to be a part of a ministry that reached out specifically to the international crowd.” Davidson also has a love for traveling and knows what it is like to be away from home and feel out of place. “The other countries I’ve been to are very welcoming to Americans,” she said. “Our campus doesn’t welcome our international students as warmly as we should.” Herriott and Davidson would like to see the organization grow among other students, so they too will reach out, spread the word and develop friendships with the students who come from all over the world. Herriott believes American students attend the meetings because they take an interest in internationals and want to assist them in getting involved. “We have about five American students who are really committed, and there are close to 10 other American students who have also shown a lot of interest,” she said. Roughly 10 international students participate in weekend ISM activities. Twenty-four-year-old Sharon Kim moved from Korea to live in San Antonio, Texas, for eight months before she transferred to begin the graduate counseling program as a first year Crusader. Kim attended ISM’s Texas Party at the beginning of the semester. “We had Texas food like chili, and we met a lot of American students,” she said. Kim enjoys the campus and Belton, especially the lake, and said, “the scenery is more beautiful than San Antonio.” “Our organization isn’t really a memberbased ministry or group,” Herriott said. “It’s more like random people just wanting to be intentional...

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Opposition steeps in Waco
Sep29

Opposition steeps in Waco

About 2,000 people came out to oppose the health care plan suggested by President Obama at the Waco Tea Party. The Sept. 3 Tea Party drew a huge crowd from all around the state. One couple drove an hour and a half from Austin. Catherine Callan and her husband said they wanted, “to voice our voice of freedom. We honor our God, our flag, our servicemen. We honor our Bill of Rights, our freedom of speech, our constitution,” she said. “We are here to promote all these things and to voice our opinion. We dislike the way money has just been handed out to the big car dealerships. Money has been wasted and handed out to banks, and we don’t know where that’s all gone, so we oppose … big spending,” she said. Callan has chosen not to support the health care reform because the country is spending money and growing debt. The estimated cost of the new system is $856 billion. The new bill will provide everyone in the country with health care with a public option. The funds for the system would come from taxpayer dollars. The younger generation is also forming its own opinions of what the government is doing. Sophomore Heath Hughes went to downtown Waco in support of the conservatives. “I hope that our representatives and people higher … in our nation will see and realize that there are people who really care about what we’re doing, people that don’t want the government to be in control of health care and don’t want the government to redistribute wealth,” he said. There is no doubt that health care is a hot topic. However, some who went to the Tea Party had other fears and concerns. Elka Yates spent most of her childhood in Germany. “I want the government to go back to the people so we have (the) power and not the government,” she said. “We need to keep our Constitution that this country was founded on. I lived (in) a country where the government ran everything.” There are two completely different sides of the issue and people are adamant about expressing their opinions. Whatever side they are on, they want their voices heard. Also attending the Tea Party were the few supporters of Obama and the new system. One supporter of a universal health care system was a man who chose to stay anonymous. “The United States has the best physicians in the world but the problem with our system is access. We have 40 million citizens who don’t have health care insurance,” he said. “And we feel in a country of this wealth...

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