Season of Giving: Four Opportunities to Give at UIW

Season of Service: Four Opportunities to Give at UIW

Christmas is a time of happiness, togetherness and cheer, but for many, the holiday season isn’t joyous or magical. Throughout the San Antonio area, needy and underserved children and families often go without basic necessities, much less holiday’s special tokens, treats and gifts. However, caring people are hard at work to help make their Christmases a bit brighter.

Right here at UIW, dedicated organizations offer several opportunities to embrace the spirit of the season and bring light and hope to local children and families. Remember: Every small contribution can make a big impact. Here’s how you can contribute:

Make the Holidays Happier for a Needy Child with Angel Tree

Once again, University Mission and Ministry has trimmed an Angel Tree in the foyer in front of Our Lady’s Chapel. You won’t see shiny holiday ornaments on this tree. In their place, Angel Trees are decorated with Angel Tags, or special tags featuring the Christmas wish or need of a child and/or a family with children. Mission and Ministry invites members of our UIW community to take a tag from the tree and purchase the item requested, then bring the item in a holiday bag with the original Angel Tag to the organization’s office in AD 147.

Items will be accepted through Friday, December 15, 2017. Distribution of the items will take place December 18 through 20. For more information, please contact Brenda Dimas or (210) 829-3128.

Bring Joy to Displaced Children with Project Santa Mom

The holidays can be hard for children separated from their parents and loved ones. The School of Professional Studies (SPS) Criminal Justice Society has organized a special toy drive with them in mind. Now, through late December, the organization is collecting toys for children whose mothers are incarcerated and who are living in homeless shelters.  Members of the Criminal Justice Society, with the support of volunteers, will wrap and deliver the gifts to the Bexar County Detention Center and homeless shelters for distribution.
Non-violent, unopened toys for children ages 3 through 13 can be donated through Friday, December 22 and dropped off in the designated boxes on main campus, or at the School of Professional Studies Northwest Center, located at 9729 Data Point Drive, Room 135. For more information, please contact Claudia Moreno or Tamara Thompson

Provide Comfort to Critically Ill Children though the Pull-Tab Collection Campaign for the Ronald McDonald House

Join the Christian Pharmacists Fellowship International as they work to make days brighter for critically ill children and their families at the Ronald McDonald House. Simply pop the tabs from the top of your soda cans and drop them off in the designated bins or at reception in the Feik School of Pharmacy. Soda tabs are made from higher quality aluminum than the rest of the beverage can, and can be more easily recycled. The funds generated from the recycling campaign will contribute to the cost of day-to-day operations at the Ronald McDonald House, which becomes a second home for families of children undergoing medical treatment and care.

This campaign continues through the holiday season into the spring. Pop tabs will be accepted through Saturday, June 2, 2018. Participants are asked to drop off their tabs at the front desk of the Feik School of Pharmacy. For more information about the organization, visit CPFI.org.

Make Christmas Morning more Cheerful with Toys for Tots

The UIW Lions Club offers yet another way to bring Christmas cheer to underserved children. The club is hosting a campus-wide toy drive for the Toys for Tots organization. Toys for Tots, a program created by the U.S. Marine Corps, gathers new, unused and unwrapped toys to needy children in our local community.

Donations will be accepted from Monday, November 27 through Thursday, December 14 in designation donation stations in select buildings on main campus, including the Student Engagement Center, Mabee Library, Administration Building, Gorman Business and Education Center and more. For more information, contact the UIW Lions Club.

 

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Mark Your Calendars: Light the Way 2017 is Nov. 18!

We are counting down the weeks until Nov. 18! Light the Way is UIW’s annual holiday event where the San Antonio community is invited to enjoy music, Santa, a spectacular firework show and the famous flip of the switch that turns on the gorgeous twinkling lights around campus!

This year’s format is going to be different than before. The theme is “Holiday Festival,” which will allow for a fun and interactive experience. A ceremony will kick-off the event at 6:30 p.m. followed immediately by the turning on of the lights. This will allow guests time to enjoy performances and activities under the lights. The festival will include:

  • The Holiday Shoppe: Get a jumpstart on your Christmas shopping list by visiting various vendors
  • Kid’s Corner: Take selfies with Santa! This area will also feature exciting activities from our friends at the DoSeum and free cookies and cocoa.
  • Food Truck Yard: Hungry? Visit food trucks from the San Antonio Food Truck Association for great bites!

Remember to get to UIW early as parking can fill up fast! The ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 18, in front of the Kelso Art Center located in the front of campus at the corner of Broadway and Hildebrand. The lights will remain lit and campus will be open for self-guided tours beginning at dusk every night after Nov. 18 through Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018. For more info, visit http://lightthewaysa.com/. We can’t wait to see you there!

UIW Gears Up for Homecoming 2017

UIW’s Homecoming 2017 is Oct. 26-29. A variety of fun events for students, alumni and the community are scheduled. You can’t forget the Homecoming Football Game vs. Nicholls on Saturday, Oct. 28, at Benson Stadium.

This is a great moment for UIW alumni to come back to the nest and check out how much the campus has changed! If you haven’t toured the new Student Engagement Center, this is also a great time to join your fellow Cardinals on a guided tour.

UIW HOMECOMING 2017

A full list of Homecoming 2017 events can be found at this link. Make sure you register! For info on all events, contact Gaby Alvarado at (210) 805-5899 or parents@uiwtx.edu.

H-E-B School of Business and Administration Develops Brown Bag Research Series

The H-E-B School of Business and Administration introduced the Brown Bag Research Presentation Series this semester to promote business research and draw attention to the ongoing academic exploration occurring within the school. The first session was held Wednesday, Sept. 20. Dr. Roberto Saldivar, assistant professor of marketing, presented Developing a Typology of Native Advertising.

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Dr. Roberto Saldivar in the Mabee Library Special Collections Room on Sept. 20.

These sessions offer faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, and members of the business community an opportunity to present their work and engage in scholarly dialogue.

The next session is at 12 p.m., Monday, Oct. 16, in the Mabee Library Special Collections Room. Dr. Alicia Rubio, associate profess of finance, will present Pension Systems and Saving for Old Age in African Countries.

The final session for the fall semester is at 4:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 9, in the Mabee Library Special Collections Room. Dr. Esmeralda de los Santos, professor of marketing, will present a section of a paper titled A SWOT Analysis for Online vs Face-to-Face Teaching at UIW. This paper was co-authored by Dr. de los Santos, Dr. Nursen Zanca, professor of economics, and Ana Gonzalez, director of academic technology and support for the School of Osteopathic Medicine.

Refreshments will be served during each presentation. For info on any of these sessions, you can contact Dr. de los Santos at (210) 829-3179 or esmdls@uiwtx.edu.

UIW Department of Art Hosts 43rd Annual FASA Fiber Art Exhibit

Fiber Artists of San Antonio (FASA) has partnered with the UIW Department of Art to host the FASA 43rd Juried Fiber Art Exhibit in the Semmes Gallery of the Kelso Art Center. An opening reception will be held from 6 – 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 13, in the Kelso Art Center.

Fiber artwork typically consists of artwork constructed with linear, pliable elements as a major material. Fiber art may be constructed by methods traditionally associated with textile fibers such as stitching, wearing and dyeing.

Local artists submitted fiber art pieces to FASA to be showcased in the upcoming exhibition at UIW. Doshi, a costume designer from Encinitas, CA, juried the entries to pick the top three selections to be featured. The winners are:

  • First Place: Janis Hooker, Boro Quilt
  • Second Place: Rebecca Segura, Abby
  • Third Place: Kim Paxon, Secret Life of Things

The FASA 43rd Annual Juried Fiber Art Exhibit will run through Friday, Nov. 17, in the Semmes Gallery of the Kelso Art Center. For more info on the gallery hours of operation, visit this link. For more info on FASA, follow this link.

UIW to Host Light the Way Display Board Contest

The University of the Incarnate Word is gearing up for its annual Light the Way holiday event in November. Part of this holiday tradition is the Light the Way Display Board Contest. This year’s contest is Saturday, Oct. 7, located on the seventh floor of the Ancira Parking Garage.

Student organizations come together to paint boards that will be displayed across campus during the holiday season through the Epiphany. Each board is representative of both the group and the theme. This year’s theme is “holiday festival.” The top three winners will receive cash prizes. Awards for Most Mission Friendly Design, Best Interpretation of Light the Way and People’s Choice will also be given out.

92917displayboardcontest

Student organizations and groups are invited to sign up and participate in this fun event by 5 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 3.

For questions, contact Ashley Davis at (210) 829-6001 or anlara@uiwtx.edu.

First Impressions: Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program at the Marine Biology Laboratories in Woods Hole, Mass.

Dr. Veronica Martinez-Acosta, UIW associate professor of biology, is the the co-director of the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program (REU). The program is currently meeting over the summer for 10 weeks at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, Mass. UIW student Shannon O’Bryant and Dr. Martinez-Acosta share their first impressions below. IMG_8906

UIW Student Shannon O’Bryant (’17) Shares First Impressions
The REU program at the MBL in Woods Hole, Mass. is one of the best opportunities I have ever been offered. I have always had a mind for science and yearned to explore life and careers in biological laboratories. After a failed internship, I sought other opportunities to fulfill my interest in research and laboratory science. Dr. Veronica Martinez-Acosta offered me an internship position in the REU program. Without hesitation, I accepted, and I have not been disappointed. The atmosphere at Woods Hole is unlike I have ever encountered before. There is such a passion for science and discovery that is so contagious. After spending only a few days here, I feel accepted, empowered, enlightened and driven so much so that I could hardly imagine a life outside of this scientific community. Under Dr. Martinez-Acosta’s mentorship, I feel compelled to accept my drive for discovery and use every second I have here to my advantage. I have access to many resources such as state of the art equipment, like-minded students and seasoned PhD’s to immerse myself in throughout the duration of the summer. Woods Hole is not just a beautiful town, it is also a wide-open opportunity just waiting to be explored.

IMG_8913Dr. Martinez-Acosta Reports on First Two Weeks of the Program
We have just completed our first two weeks of the program.  It has been an honor to be asked to serve as the co-director of one of the most successful REU programs in the country.  We reviewed over 455 applicants and selected 10 top students. 60 percent of our cohort represents an underrepresented minority group, 83 percent of our cohort is female and 60 percent are students at schools with few research opportunities. The MBL is buzzing with activity with faculty and graduate students studying in the famous summer courses offered here.  Currently, the Summer Program in Neuroscience, Ethics and Success (SPINES); Neurophysiology, Neural Systems and Behavior, Neurobiology and the Parasitology courses are running. Our students have had an opportunity to interact with and work through a team building activity with the SPINES graduate students.  I am a proud SPINES course alumna (2002). SPINES is a course that supports the recruitment and retainment of URM graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. Interactions with the SPINES students have served as a truly mentoring experience for our undergrads to talk to individuals who are at the next level of their academic training. Students have also attended special lectures of the individual courses as well as the MBL’s Friday Evening Lecture Series. These lectures bring some of the most celebrated people in science to offer talks to the community. After each lecture, the students have the opportunity to meet the speakers and ask further questions about their work.

Aside from the interactions students have with the summer courses and lectures, the REU students are spending the bulk of their time in the labs of the MBL with principle investigators who have extensive training in their fields of interest.  Students will present an oral presentation to the MBL community at the end of their 10 weeks of training. These presentations will be live streamed so that everyone can see it.  Each student will also prepare a research poster that will be displayed near the cafeteria so that the entire community can view their work and so that the student can bring their poster back with them to their home institution. Students are highly encouraged to apply for travel awards to attend scientific meetings during the academic year.

Dr. Martinez-Acosta Reflects on Experiences at MBL
Perhaps one of the most rewarding experiences I have had thus far as the co-director has been the mentoring and professional development I have been able to offer both our undergraduates and graduate students here at the MBL. I have organized the ‘What to Expect Series’ for the MBL undergraduate programs on campus where invited speakers 
IMG_8869come to share their professional career advice regarding different topics such as how to pick your graduate program; when it might be helpful to do a master’s degree; what job opportunities would you have with a master’s or PhD; how to communicate as a scientist; what types of funding opportunities are available for pre-doctoral students; time management; and work/life balance. Most recently, I was invited to participate in the campus wide “SUCCESS” lunch seminar to discuss my career path and offer insight on the obstacles I faced and provide support for how to overcome the challenges one might face in their career.  Overall, the experiences I am gaining as the co-director culminate much of the work I have built upon during my career especially regarding my efforts to provide mentoring opportunities for underrepresented groups that would prepare them for a career in science.

IMG_8895

First Impressions: Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program at the Marine Biology Laboratories in Woods Hole, Mass.

Dr. Veronica Martinez-Acosta, UIW associate professor of biology, is the the co-director of the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program (REU). The program is currently meeting over the summer for 10 weeks at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, Mass. UIW student Shannon O’Bryant and Dr. Martinez-Acosta share their first impressions below. IMG_8906

UIW Student Shannon O’Bryant (’17) Shares First Impressions
The REU program at the MBL in Woods Hole, Mass. is one of the best opportunities I have ever been offered. I have always had a mind for science and yearned to explore life and careers in biological laboratories. After a failed internship, I sought other opportunities to fulfill my interest in research and laboratory science. Dr. Veronica Martinez-Acosta offered me an internship position in the REU program. Without hesitation, I accepted, and I have not been disappointed. The atmosphere at Woods Hole is unlike I have ever encountered before. There is such a passion for science and discovery that is so contagious. After spending only a few days here, I feel accepted, empowered, enlightened and driven so much so that I could hardly imagine a life outside of this scientific community. Under Dr. Martinez-Acosta’s mentorship, I feel compelled to accept my drive for discovery and use every second I have here to my advantage. I have access to many resources such as state of the art equipment, like-minded students and seasoned PhD’s to immerse myself in throughout the duration of the summer. Woods Hole is not just a beautiful town, it is also a wide-open opportunity just waiting to be explored.

IMG_8913Dr. Martinez-Acosta Reports on First Two Weeks of the Program
We have just completed our first two weeks of the program.  It has been an honor to be asked to serve as the co-director of one of the most successful REU programs in the country.  We reviewed over 455 applicants and selected 10 top students. 60 percent of our cohort represents an underrepresented minority group, 83 percent of our cohort is female and 60 percent are students at schools with few research opportunities. The MBL is buzzing with activity with faculty and graduate students studying in the famous summer courses offered here.  Currently, the Summer Program in Neuroscience, Ethics and Success (SPINES); Neurophysiology, Neural Systems and Behavior, Neurobiology and the Parasitology courses are running. Our students have had an opportunity to interact with and work through a team building activity with the SPINES graduate students.  I am a proud SPINES course alumna (2002). SPINES is a course that supports the recruitment and retainment of URM graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. Interactions with the SPINES students have served as a truly mentoring experience for our undergrads to talk to individuals who are at the next level of their academic training. Students have also attended special lectures of the individual courses as well as the MBL’s Friday Evening Lecture Series. These lectures bring some of the most celebrated people in science to offer talks to the community. After each lecture, the students have the opportunity to meet the speakers and ask further questions about their work.

Aside from the interactions students have with the summer courses and lectures, the REU students are spending the bulk of their time in the labs of the MBL with principle investigators who have extensive training in their fields of interest.  Students will present an oral presentation to the MBL community at the end of their 10 weeks of training. These presentations will be live streamed so that everyone can see it.  Each student will also prepare a research poster that will be displayed near the cafeteria so that the entire community can view their work and so that the student can bring their poster back with them to their home institution. Students are highly encouraged to apply for travel awards to attend scientific meetings during the academic year.

Dr. Martinez-Acosta Reflects on Experiences at MBL
Perhaps one of the most rewarding experiences I have had thus far as the co-director has been the mentoring and professional development I have been able to offer both our undergraduates and graduate students here at the MBL. I have organized the ‘What to Expect Series’ for the MBL undergraduate programs on campus where invited speakers 
IMG_8869come to share their professional career advice regarding different topics such as how to pick your graduate program; when it might be helpful to do a master’s degree; what job opportunities would you have with a master’s or PhD; how to communicate as a scientist; what types of funding opportunities are available for pre-doctoral students; time management; and work/life balance. Most recently, I was invited to participate in the campus wide “SUCCESS” lunch seminar to discuss my career path and offer insight on the obstacles I faced and provide support for how to overcome the challenges one might face in their career.  Overall, the experiences I am gaining as the co-director culminate much of the work I have built upon during my career especially regarding my efforts to provide mentoring opportunities for underrepresented groups that would prepare them for a career in science.

IMG_8895

STEM programs bring future female scientists to UIW

For the third consecutive year, UIW will host miniGEMS, a camp for middle school aged girls interested in STEM and STEAM programs. MiniGEMS is a student-run program led by undergraduate and graduate students from various UIW STEM programs will run from June through August. Guest speakers from throughout San Antonio will also provide information to the campers about careers in these fields.

MiniGEMS was the first camp in San Antonio for middle school aged girls that had a special focus on autonomous ground, air and underwater robots. Over 104 middle school girls will participate in the four 2017 miniGEMS camps, which were expanded to two weeks thanks to a $94,950 grant provided by the Texas Workforce Commission.

The goal of the camp is to introduce female students to the field of engineering through robotic projects, computer programming and graphic design.

The first week focuses on the EV3 Lego Mindstorms robots.  Campers will learn about robotics, sensors and computer programming. The students will also have the opportunity to build and compete using the SeaPerch underwater robots at the UIW Natatorium. The Navy Recruiting District San Antonio will help with this competition.

SeaPerch, an innovative underwater robotics program inspires and engages students and teachers through building an underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV). The name SeaPerch came from the USS Perch, a World War II U.S. Submarine, which was the first to possess an early form of air conditioning. The program provides an opportunity to its participants in learning basic concepts of engineering with a special focus in marine robotics.

The second week of the camp focuses on programming using the MATLAB Programming Language. Art will be integrated into the programming curriculum to engage the creative side of the miniGEMS campers.

The miniGEMS campers are students from Judson ISD, San Antonio ISD and Northside ISD. An end of summer conference and banquet set for August will provide campers with an opportunity to present the fruit of their labors to their parents, teachers other camp participants.

The miniGEMS camps are managed by Dr. Sreerenjini Nair, assistant professor of physics and Dr. Michael Frye, a tenured associate professor of engineering. Drs. Nair and Frye are also the co-directors and principle investigators of the AVS Laboratory that is in the School of Mathematics, Science & Engineering at UIW.

UIW Faculty Member Brings Immersive Learning Opportunity to Life Science Students

UIW’s Dr. Veronica Martinez Acosta, associate professor of biology, has been named co-director of the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, Mass. The program meets over the summer for 10 weeks at the MBL and accepts 10 students per year. Many of the students chosen generally have few research opportunities available to them across their academic career. At least one UIW student will have the opportunity thanks to Martinez Acosta. This program is important to Martinez Acosta because of her history over her career and with the MBL.

Martinez Acosta grew up in Houston and went to Charles H. Milby High School. Not ready for the environment of a larger university, Martinez Acosta enrolled and attended the University of St. Thomas where she graduated in 1996 with a double major in biology and education. It was during this time when she was contemplating graduate school that she realized the hurdles underrepresented minority students face when entering a graduate program. She decided to take time to think about graduate school and instead chose to teach lower school science at Annunciation Greek Orthodox School. After three years of teaching and volunteering her time to research at the University of Houston, she decided to apply to graduate programs all over the country as a marine biologist. She was accepted into Texas A&M University where she switched her focus from marine biology to neuroscience after an impactful meeting with a professor enlightened her on the connection of research in biology and neuroscience. She received her Ph.D. from TAMU in 2005.

Since graduating from TAMU and working at the University of the Incarnate Word, Martinez Acosta has been fascinated and interested in the nervous system and its regeneration. She took a sabbatical from her work at UIW to research at the MBL toward this initiative. It was during this time that Martinez Acosta realized a larger scope of opportunity with the MBL to give back to underrepresented students. This was a position she had once been in as a student.

Students in this program will be placed in the laboratory of an MBL research scientist and have a full immersion experience of participating in all laboratory exercises and activities. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the program will provide each student with a $5,000 stipend in addition to housing and a cafeteria pass for dining purposes for the duration of the program. The NSF wanted to provide this opportunity to university students who would not otherwise have the means to conduct research in their disciplines.

The program will benefit undergraduate students in life sciences interested in continuing their education into graduate school and intend to continue researching in different fields of biology. Information about the program can be found online at the MBL site or by contacting Dr. Veronica Martinez Acosta at vgmartin@uiwtx.edu.