Southeastern News

Southeastern student receives award for presentation at national STEM conference


Adrian Saenz, left, of Oklahoma State, and Southeastern’s Matt Maxwell were the only two award recipients from Oklahoma.

DURANT, Okla. – Matt Maxwell of Southeastern Oklahoma State University received a Student Presentation Award at the 2015 SACNAS National Conference in Washington, D.C.

His presentation was titled, “Effect of Enzyme Loading on Extrusion and Alkali Extrusion Pretreated Sweet Sorghum Bagasse.’’

Maxwell is a biology/chemistry major from Durant. Dr. Tim Smith, Chair/Professor of Chemistry, Computer, & Physical Science, serves as his advisor. Maxwell also credited his Choctaw Success Coach at Southeastern — Wakaya Wells — and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma College Career & Retention Program for their assistance.

The SACNAS (SocietPreviewy for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science) conference was held Oct. 29-31. Some 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students made presentations. More than 3,400 students and science professionals gathered for three-days of cutting-edge science, mentoring, networking, and professional development. Undergraduate and graduate students from across the country presented research on topics ranging from biofuels and alternative energies to water management and breast cancer, while STEM professionals conducted panels on professional development, mentoring and leadership.

SACNAS is a society of scientists dedicated to fostering the success of Chicano/Hispanic and Native American scientists — from college students to professionals — to attain advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership in science.

Earlier this year, Maxwell’s presentation earned a third place award at the

Oklahoma-Louis StokesAlliance for Minority Participation (OK-LSAMP’s) 21st annual Research Symposium.

Maxwell’s research was conducted last summer during an internship that

focused on renewable energy in the form of biofuels. The internship was at

Oklahoma State University and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

He is an officer in the Southeastern Pre-Med Club and the Native American Student Association. He is also actively involved with the American Indian Science and Engineering Society Chapter and the American Chemical Society.

Maxwell was a recipient of the Top 10 Freshman Award at Southeastern earlier this semester.

George Kaiser Family Foundation director visits Southeastern


Ken Levit, fourth from left, and Southeastern president Sean Burrage visit with the President’s Leadership Class on Monday.

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University students learned about leadership in the non-profit sector Monday when Ken Levit, executive director of the George Kaiser Family Foundation, visited the Durant campus.

Levit spoke to the President’s Leadership Class as a special guest of Southeastern president Sean Burrage. Following the lecture, students joined President Burrage and his guest in the University café for a Q&Asession.

Founded in 1999, the George Kaiser Family Foundation is a charitable organization based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It is a supporting organization of the Tulsa Community Foundation, dedicated to providing equal opportunity for young children in its community through investments in early childhood education, community health, social services, and civic enhancement.

In 2010, the Kaiser Family Foundation presented a generous gift to Southeastern to establish the Kaiser-Southeastern OklahomaState University Pre-Medical Studies Scholarship. This is a three-phase scholarship program designed to encourage and support top students at Southeastern to pursue careers in the field of community medicine at the University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine.

In addition, the Foundation supports the Durant Boys and Girls Club.

“We certainly appreciate Ken taking time out of his busy schedule to come to Durant and interact with our students,’’ Burrage said. “Southeastern also appreciates the support of the Kaiser Family Foundation in establishing the pre-med studies scholarship. Looking at the big picture, we recognize the fact that the Foundation is truly making a difference in providing Oklahomans with opportunities for a brighter future.’’

Prior to taking on the leadership role at the George Kaiser Family Foundation, Levit  served as President of the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa (2001 -2006). From early 1998 through 2000, he was Special Counsel to George Tenet, director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Levit practiced corporate law at the firm of Crowe and Dunlevy in Tulsa from 1995 to 1998.

He earned his law degree from Yale Law School in 1994 and received his undergraduate degree from Brown University in 1987

Southeastern Occupational Safety & Health hosts Hazmat training

Thirty-two graduate students participated in the HAZMAT training at Southeastern.

Thirty-two graduate students participated in the HAZMAT training at Southeastern.

DURANT, Okla. – Students from as far away as California came to the campus of Southeastern Oklahoma State University recently to participate in HAZMAT II graduate course training.

The Department of Occupational Safety and Health welcomed 32 students to the hands-on HAZWOPER Training course. The students, enrolled in the HAZMAT II graduate course, gathered for their weekend practical exercise session to embrace the opportunity to take charge and implement a full scale response to various emergency chemical releases.

The hands-on exercise is required for the completion of the HAZMAT II course.

The lab included scenarios in hazardous materials recognition, preparedness, mitigation, recovery, and rescue. Students were required to respond to various emergency incidents involving chemical releases during the two-day exercise. The response included an incident command structure with the commander, information officer, safety officer and response personnel.

The exercise allows students to suit up with full chemical protective clothing and self-contained breathing apparatuses and experience the difficulties associated with equipment, communication, and lack of information.

The weekend exercise was led by Southeastern faculty members Dr. Chris Bradshaw and Dr. Hal Poovey. The Durant Fire Department also offered assistance.

Candlelighting scheduled for December 7

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University will celebrate one of its oldest traditions on Monday, Dec. 7, as Candlelighting begins at 7:30 p.m. in Montgomery Auditorium.

This event dates back to December 18, 1921, and is an annual highlight for the University and community.

Candlelighting is anchored by the Southeastern Symphonic Choir, the largest of the University’s choral ensembles, which includes members of the greater Durant community. The auditorium will be decorated with the banners of the event from past years, and the candelabras are lit by members of the Cardinal Key Society.

This year’s program is titled “Gloria! Song of the Angels.’’ The Symphonic Chorus will present the Gloria by John Rutter, scored for chorus, brass, percussion, and piano/organ. The instrumentalists are also student members of the music department. Additional choral works by Haydn, Rachmaninoff, Jennings, Clokey, and Chilcott will be sung, as well as a Chinese Christmas carol.

The SHARE Children’s Chorus will open the program. As always, there will be a carol sing-along for the audience.

The director of Candlelighting is Dr. Joshua Nannestad. Dr. Kate Stubbs (piano) and Dr. Michael Sheuerman (clarinet) will also perform. Dr. Jeri Walker is conductor of the SHARE Children’s Chorus.

The event is free and open to the public.

Prior to Candlelighting, a tree-lighting ceremony will be held on the front lawn art 7:15 p.m.

Southeastern Aviation Sciences hosts open house on December 4

DURANT, Okla. – The Southeastern Oklahoma State University Aviation Sciences Institute will host an Open House/Visitation Day on Friday, December 4.

The event will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and begin on the main campus in the Glen D. Johnson Student Union.

Participants may tour the flight facilities, meet regional airline representatives, tour campus and residence halls, visit with faculty flight instructors and experience the flight simulator.

The Aviation Sciences program has expanded since its inception almost 50 years ago with courses now delivered in Durant, Tinker Air Force Base and Rose State College in Midwest City and Oklahoma City Community College.

To register for the event, visit

Southeastern closed Nov. 25-26-27 for Thanksgiving

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University will be closed Nov. 25-26-27 in observance of theThanksgiving holidays. The University will reopen on Monday, Nov. 30.

Southeastern announces Retirement Incentive Plan, takes other steps to address budget issues

DURANT, Okla. – With decreased state allocations this fiscal year and the possibility of additional cuts in the near future, Southeastern Oklahoma State University is taking several steps to address its budget situation.

In an email to University employees Wednesday, Southeastern president Sean Burrage outlined several strategies, including the introduction of a Retirement Incentive Program; the consolidation/elimination of offices/programs; an additional 5% reduction in departmental operational budgets; and leaving 10currently vacant positions unfilled – one faculty, nine staff.

This is in addition to the University having previously made reductions in departmental operational budgets and imposing travel restrictions.

“These are difficult decisions, but we have made every effort to minimize the impact on our students and core programs,’’ Burrage said. “Many colleges and universities across Oklahoma and the nation are dealing with similar budgetchallenges – it is certainly not a situation unique to Southeastern.’’

A total of 54 full-time Southeastern employees (a combination of faculty and staff) will be offered the opportunity to apply for the Retirement Incentive Program. They will be notified this week of the specifics of the program.

For additional cost savings, Southeastern will combine the functions of the Business Office into other departments of the University. This consolidation will bephased in and should be complete by June 30, 2016.

Also, effective December 31, 2015, the Office of Continuing Education and the Center for Regional Economic Development will be discontinued. This will result in the closing of the swimming pool inside Bloomer Sullivan Gymnasium. For the past several years, Continuing Education and aquatics have not been self-sustaining programs.

Burrage has received input on the budget situation from such groups as the Southeastern Executive Team and the President’s Budget Advisory Committee, comprised of faculty and staff. That group has spent countless hours over the past two months analyzing the entire operation of the University. Their charge was to help prioritize the needs of the University as it related to the possibility of different levels of budget cuts, now and in the future.

Burrage said the committee’s recommendations, which he received Nov. 6, are currently under review. In the meantime, the University will continue to closely monitor the budget situation.

OnOctober 26, 2015, Gov. Mary Fallin issued an executive order to all state agencies to develop a plan for an additional 10% budget cut of nonessentialexpenses for this fiscal year and next fiscal year. This is due to the falling revenues amid the energy industry downturn in the state.

“At this point, it is impossible to forecast our future state allocations and enrollment, but there is a strong possibility that we will face additional cuts in the near future, as well as next fiscal year,’’ Burrage said. “As a university, we certainly want to be more efficient and also grow our enrollment. And we are confident we will achieve both of these goals.’’

TAPS discontinues service in Oklahoma

Southeastern Oklahoma State University received official notification today that TAPS Public Transit will no longer be offering service to Oklahoma. This is effective immediately. According to their spokesperson, it is not likely to be restarted. For updates, you may access the TAPS website at


Envoy Pipeline Program among unique offerings of Southeastern Aviation Sciences Institute

Southeastern president Sean Burrage visits with the Southeastern Flight team.

Southeastern president Sean Burrage visits with the Southeastern Flight team.

DURANT, Okla. – One of the more unique programs offered at Southeastern Oklahoma State University is Aviation Sciences.

The Aviation Sciences program has expanded since its inception almost 50 years ago, with courses now delivered in Durant, at Tinker Air Force Base and Rose State College in Midwest City, and at Oklahoma City Community College. It offers undergraduate degree programs with the Professional Pilot Option and the Aviation Management Option. In addition, a master’s program in Aerospace Administration and Logistics is offered.

One of the newest innovations is the Pilot Pipeline Program, an agreement Southeastern and EnvoyAir (formerly American Eagle Airlines) have in place to develop a career path from student to Regional Airline Pilot. This program gives the pilot a secured position at Envoy, while building time toward the ATP minimum flight experience requirements. Not only does the program provide this streamlined career path, but pilots are guaranteed an interview with American Airlines once completing requirements at Envoy.

Recruiting representatives from Envoy flew into Durant Friday on a Embraer to visit with Southeastern students about the Pilot Pipeline Program. Students in their sophomore year or higher can complete the Human Resources interview while still in school. Envoy conducts the HR interviews twice a year on campus.

The plane prepares for landing Friday in Durant.

The plane prepares for landing Friday in Durant.

“We’re in the third year of our partnership with our friends at Envoy and we’re seeing the program come full circle,’’ said Kyle Thomas, Chief Flight Instructor at Southeastern. “The majority of the students who first entered the pipeline program in 2013 are already serving as first officers for the airline.  These are amazing times for our students and we’re thrilled to partner with Envoy. “

Dr. Stan Alluisi (Chair of Aviation Management) and George Jacox (Chair of Aviation Flight) serve as co-directors of the Southeastern Aviation Sciences Institute. Other faculty members are Thomas; John Van Bebber, Assistant Professor; Dr. Charles Marshall, Oklahoma City; and Dr. Steve McNeely, Oklahoma City. Lori Rupert serves as program coordinator at Tinker AFB.

Alluisi said when he talks to prospective students, he has three main selling points that are appealing.

“We’re small, we know everyone, and we’re cost-effective,’’ Alluisi said. “That seems to resonate with many of the students and parents we come in contact with.’’

The Institute operates 19 airplanes:

  • 9 Cessna 150/152.  Primary trainers
  • 7 Cessna 172R.  Instrument, Glass Cockpit and Commercial training aircraft
  • 2 Cessna 182RG.  High Performance and Complex trainers
  • 1 Cessna 310R.   Multi Engine Training
  • 1 PFS Modular Flight Deck Advanced Aviation Training Device
A number of students and visitors greeted the Envoy representatives Friday.

A number of students and visitors greeted the Envoy representatives Friday.

The Southeastern Aviation Sciences Institute is accredited by Aviation Accreditation Board International and the curriculum is FAA approved for the restricted (right seat) ATP.

On Friday, December 4, an Aviation Open House/Visitation Day will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Durant Regional Airport-Eaker Field. Participants can tour the flight facilities, meet regional carrier airline representatives, tour campus and residence halls, visit with faculty flight instructors, and experience the flight simulator.

For more information about the aviation sciences program, visit

Southeastern student attends Women’s Leadership Seminar

Ashley Carranza attended the women’s leadership conference in Omaha, Nebraska.

Ashley Carranza attended the women’s leadership conference in Omaha, Nebraska.

DURANT, Okla. – Ashley Carranza was one of 50 students selected to attend the 8th annual Kiewit Women’s Construction Leadership Seminar in Omaha, Nebraska.

Carranza is a senior at Southeastern Oklahoma State University attending the University Center of Southern Oklahoma and majoring in Occupational Safety and Health.

Kiewit Corporation is an employee-owned Fortune 500 company and one of the largest contractors in the world.

Carranza  was chosen based upon her application, essay, grade point average, resume and letter of recommendation  from her instructor, Dr. Richard Braley.

The participants heard from Bruce Grewcock, CEO of Kiewit, and learned about what it takes to successfully lead a company. Grewcock said a company should try to be the best, not the biggest, and should feel blessed to grow.

He also spoke about the importanc  of PIES, which means People, Integrity, Excellence and Stewardship, and how if you can hit all four points in business, you will succeed.

The group also toured the Omaha Zoo to see the construction projects women were heading and also had several projects during the seminar.

The group was told that there are four steps in anyone’s career: enthusiastic beginner, disillusioned learner, emerging contributor and peak performer.

“There is a stair-step effect in our career paths,” Carranza said, “and as soon as we get to the top, we tend to put a ceiling on ourselves. When we reach the peak performer step, our bosses and mentors notice our hard work and promote us. Then we start all over at enthusiastic beginner.”

Carranza added: “I learned through this seminar that you can gain respect or you can be liked, a position in leadership doesn’t always allow for both. It is important to gain the respect of your employees and co-workers. When you do that, you will succeed in business.”