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Student body president to attend AIPAC conference

13 Jan

Sydni Mitchell - SGA President

Sydni Mitchell, SFA’s student body president and graduate assistant in the Office of Student Affairs Programs, was recently offered a full scholarship to attend the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference.

The annual conference, set for March 4-6, takes place in Washington, D.C. Mitchell is one of 200 student government presidents nationwide selected to attend, and the scholarship covers all costs for travel and the conference. More information about the AIPAC conference can be found at

Mitchell, a graduate student in the Master’s of Public Administration program, is also a former student member of the SFA Board of Regents.

“We are always thrilled to see our students receive opportunities like this,” Jamie Bouldin, assistant director for leadership and service, said. “Sydni will be able to make so many valuable connections and bring back great experience to use in her involvement at SFA.”


Former ODK President awarded prestigious scholarship

13 Jan

By Jamie Bouldin, assistant director for leadership and service

Jeff Briggs

Jeff Briggs, the president of SFA’s Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa in 2010-11, was recently awarded an Omicron Delta Kappa Foundation Scholarship.

The ODK Foundation chose 20 students out of more than 140 applicants to receive scholarships to help fund their graduate studies. Briggs, who graduated from SFA in 2011, is a first-year medical student at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Worth and will receive $1,000 toward his studies.

“We were thrilled to hear that Jeff had been awarded an ODK Foundation Scholarship,” Jamie Bouldin, assistant director for leadership and service, said. “SFA’s ODK members are an amazing group of students, and it is always encouraging when their accomplishments are honored by the ODK national office and foundation.”

Omicron Delta Kappa is SFA’s leadership honor society and is housed within the Office of Student Affairs Programs. Students interested in applying for membership in ODK should have a 3.0 or higher GPA and be a junior, senior or graduate student with leadership experience. Applications will be available Jan. 18 at

The Gathering

26 Aug
Student leaders at The Gathering

Student leaders at The Gathering

More than 70 student leaders gathered at SFA’s Piney Woods Conservation Center Aug. 23-24 for The Gathering, a retreat for student leaders from areas across campus to come together to collaborate on how they can work together to make SFA a better place.

Students represented the following areas:

  • Orientation
  • Omicron Delta Kappa
  • Student Activities Association
  • The BIG Event
  • Alternative Spring Break
  • Inter-Fraternity Council
  • Panhellenic
  • Traditions Council
  • Involvement Advisers
  • Student Publications
  • National Residence Hall Honorary
  • Residence Hall Association
  • Multicultural Greek Council
  • National Pan-Hellenic Council
  • Organization of Latin Americans
  • African Student Organization
  • Jack Camp
  • Lumberjack Cultural Association
  • Student Government Association
  • Fashion in Motion
The students brainstormed on issues they saw on campus and how they could make an impact in those areas, and ultimately decided as a group to focus on campus beautification. The students will be meeting regularly to follow up with each organization who committed to helping on this project and how they can move forward to make a difference on campus.
The retreat was put on by the Office of Student Affairs Programs and staffed by representatives from Student Activities, Leadership and Service, Greek Life, Orientation, Student Publications, Multicultural Affairs and Campus Recreation.

ODK student leader accepted for prestigious summit

15 Jul
ODK member accepted for Hesselbein Summit

ODK member accepted for Hesselbein Summit

Blanca Jahaziel Hiriart-Lozoya (“Jazi”), a Spring 2011 inductee into Omicron Delta Kappa, will be attending the prestigious Student Leadership Summit, which is run by the University of Pittsburgh’s Hesselbein Global Academy for Student Leadership and Civic Engagement.

Jazi, a Political Science major and International Studies minor set to graduate in August, was one of only 50 students worldwide accepted through an application process to attend the summit, which takes place July 23-26 in Pittsburgh.

“We are so thrilled to see our students taking advantage of leadership opportunities such as this,” Jamie Bouldin, assistant director for leadership and service and faculty secretary for SFA’s ODK Circle, said. “To see one of our students accepted into such a small, prestigious pool of student leaders taking part in this summit is a great honor for SFA and the Office of Student Affairs Programs.”

Jazi was interested in attending the summit because of its vision of producing experienced, ethical leaders equipped to address critical issues throughout the world.

“It’s compatible with my passion and commitment for internationalization, cross-cultural education, diversity and global citizenship,” she said.  “I am most excited about joining other student leaders from across the world to learn how to be an effective and innovative leader, as well as learning from mentors and their expertise.”

The summit’s schedule includes sessions with CEOs and military leaders on a variety of topics of interest to future leaders, including focuses on philanthropy and civic engagement and creating dynamic businesses. Jazi is particularly excited about a presenter named Belinda Pinckney.

“She’s one of only a few African-American females who have been general officers in the United States Army,” she said.

“We learned about this opportunity through some advertising the Hesselbein group did, and made sure our student leaders knew about this chance,” Bouldin said. “Especially since the summit offers to cover nearly all of the student’s expenses, it was an excellent way for our students to take part in an exciting event at minimal cost. We look forward to hearing about Jazi’s experience and what she can bring back to SFA and ODK.”

Mr. and Miss SFA Named

10 Mar

Mr and Miss SFA

Jamal Smith of Killeen and Jessica Patterson of Texas City were chosen as the 2011 recipients of the Mr. and Miss SFA Awards presented by the Stephen F. Austin State University Alumni Association.

The Mr. and Miss SFA titles are awarded each year to exemplary student representatives of SFA. The Mr. SFA Award was established in honor of the late Stan McKewen, a 1934 SFA graduate. The Miss SFA Award was established in honor of Arnodean Covin, who was named Miss SFA in 1940, 1941 and 1942.

Smith is a senior at the university and is majoring in business. A 2007 graduate of North Mesquite High School, he is the son of Kassandra Smith of Killeen.

Smith has been honored with the bronze, silver and gold Presidential Volunteer Service Awards for his service to SFA and the community. He received the National Orientation Directors Association Student Leadership Award in 2010 for his service as an orientation leader and supervisor at SFA. Smith was a student instructor for SFA 101 and is a member of the Order of Omega, demonstrating outstanding leadership and academics as a member of the Greek community.

Smith’s community volunteer work includes service in the Theta Chi fraternity. He organized and implemented the first Theta Chi Give Back Week, served as the community service chairman and worked as a new member educator for the fraternity. As a member of the SFA Student Activities Association, Smith volunteers his time to coordinate and assist with many campus events. He is a volunteer with Driving Jacks, and he served as a Jack Camp counselor for two years.

Patterson is a senior majoring in communication studies. A 2007 graduate of Texas City High School, she is the daughter of Michael and Wendy Patterson of Texas City.

Patterson has held many leadership positions at SFA. Most recently, she served as president of the Zeta Tau Alpha fraternity. In 2008, she was voted the Zeta Tau Alpha Miss SFA for her involvement on campus. Patterson coordinated the Houston Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and co-produced an awareness video with the Nacogdoches Medical Center to debut its “Simply Pink” fashion show.

She was awarded a Texas City Rotary Club Scholarship for leadership and academic excellence and was inducted into the Order of Omega. Patterson was a student instructor for SFA 101 and served as an orientation supervisor and leader. She was employed by the Academic Assistance Resource Center as a supplementary instruction leader.

Her volunteer work includes service with Driving Jacks, the Nacogdoches Boys and Girls Club, the Adopt-a-Highway program, and Relay for Life.

Award recipients are selected based on their scholarship, participation and leadership in academic and co-curricular activities, citizenship and service, and loyalty to the university. Selections were made by a committee of faculty and staff members, students and alumni.

Spirit Teams celebrate accomplishments, prepare to defend national titles

10 Mar

SFA’s cheer and dance teams have a lot to celebrate these days, both in the classroom and on the competition floor.

All four squads (Large Coed, Small Coed, Pom Squad and Jack Attack) are gearing up to compete in the National Cheerleaders Association and National Dance Alliance Collegiate National Championships April 7-9  in Daytona Beach, Fla. In addition to the four teams competing, six couples qualified for the partner stunt competition, taking six of the top seven qualifying positions, and one couple qualified for the open partner stunt competition.

SFA Spirit Teams hold 18 national titles since 1994 from the NCA/NDA National Championships, including a 2010 National Championship for the Large Coed team.

The Spirit Teams continue to make strides in average team GPAs, coming in above the all-campus average for the 2010 fall semester. The Large Coed squad had an average GPA of 2.47 for the fall 2010 semester, with three students making the Dean’s List and one making the President’s Honor Roll. The Small Coed squad boasted a 2.688 average GPA for fall 2010, with six students on the Dean’s List and five on the President’s Honor Roll. Pom Squad’s fall 2010 average GPA was a 2.854, with two students each on the Dean’s List and President’s Honor Roll, and Jack Attack held a 2.853 average GPA, with four students on the Dean’s List.

The SFA community will get a preview of the Spirit Teams’ routines at the annual Nationals Showcase at 6:30 p.m. April 1 in the William R. Johnson Coliseum. There also will be special performances by other competitive college teams.  This event is open to students, faculty and staff, as well as to the community.  Entry is $2 for pre-sale tickets, or $3 at the door.

If your student is interested in membership on one of the Spirit Teams, tryouts for Dance Teams are April 29-30 in the William R. Johnson Coliseum, and tryouts for Cheer Teams are May 6-8 in the HPE Complex. Information on requirements can be found at or by e-mailing Trisha O’Connor, Head Cheerleading Coach, at, or Head Dance Coach T.J. Maple at

Sorority life generates higher grades

10 Mar

By Beverly Farmer, Director of Student Activities

All sorority members strive for good scholarship, which results in many sorority women achieving higher GPAs than the campus all-women’s average.

The official fall 2010 grades for the SFA Greek system were released this spring. The SFA All-Sorority-Women average cumulative GPA was a 2.96, as compared to the All-University-Women average GPA of 2.90.

Leading all Greeks in grades were:

  • Phi Theta Gamma, 3.21
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., 3.19
  • Sigma Lambda Gamma Sorority Inc, 3.09
  • Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., 3.04
  • Chi Omega, 3.04
  • Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., 3.00
  • Delta Zeta, 2.99

The remaining seven sororities at SFA are within nine-tenths of a point of being at the All-University-Women GPA.

Most sororities accomplish the higher grades by providing study hall time for their members. They also provide study skill workshops and provide help for struggling sisters.  By joining a sorority, a student will receive encouragement from their peers to make the best grades they possibly can each and every semester.