Southeastern News

Spring class includes 57 percent first-generation graduates

 Bloomer Sullivan Arena was full Saturday as Southeastern held Spring Commencement.

Bloomer Sullivan Arena was full Saturday as Southeastern held Spring Commencement.

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University held Spring Commencement exercises Saturday in Bloomer Sullivan Arena.

Southeastern president Sean Burrage offered congratulatory remarks to the graduates, families and guests. Also in attendance was Regent John Massey, representing the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

The graduating class includes students from 16 states and 13 countries; 57 percent are first-generation college graduates, the first in their family to receive a college degree.

President Sean Burrage congratulates graduate Matt Maxwell, a chemistry major from Durant.

President Sean Burrage congratulates graduate Matt Maxwell, a chemistry major from Durant.

President Burrage poses for a photo with graduate Taylor Barrick, a psychology major from Duncan.

President Burrage poses for a photo with graduate Taylor Barrick, a psychology major from Duncan.

Southeastern’s Matt Maxwell accepted into UCSD-Salk Institute graduate program

DURANT, Okla. –  Matt Maxwell will graduate from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in May with a degree in chemistry.

But that’s only the beginning. Maxwell recently accepted an offer of admission from a joint Ph.D.  program between The University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and The Salk Institute for Biological Studies to study cancer biology.

The Durant High School graduate expects to spend most of his time in graduate school in a biomedical research laboratory trying to uncover basic truths about human biology that can hopefully be utilized to develop more effective therapeutics for diseases such as cancer and diabetes.

Beyond graduate school, Maxwell says his career goals are to “conduct research that will lead to the development of novel cancer therapeutics and to act as a mentor to young underrepresented students — such as Native Americans — in STEM fields.’’

Maxwell, who is Choctaw, received a number of offers from graduate schools, but says he chose UCSD because of the world-class research community in San Diego and its partnership with the Salk Institute. Founded in 1960 by Jonas Salk, developer of the first safe and effective polio vaccine, the Salk Institute is an independent, non-profit, scientific research institute located in La Jolla, California.

The UCSD graduate program is fully funded and provides all students with a generous stipend throughout the duration of graduate school, which is usually 5-6 years.

“Education is the foundation upon which the future is built,’’ said Neal Hawkins, Executive Director of Education at the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.  “The Choctaw Nation is committed to give the resources to our students in order for them to succeed. Our Chief, Gary Batton, our Assistant Chief, Jack Austin. Jr., and our Tribal Council continue to commit their time, efforts, and funding to our educational programs and scholarships for higher education. We congratulate Matt Maxwell on this new opportunity and his accomplishments.’’

Four Southeastern students participate in Science Symposium

Left to right are Dr. Brad Ludrick, Matt Maxwell, Allison Joines, Peyton Joines and Patrick Sharp.

Left to right are Dr. Brad Ludrick, Matt Maxwell, Allison Joines, Peyton Joines and Patrick Sharp.

DURANT, Okla. – Two Southeastern students were poster/presenters at the 22nd annual Research Symposium, Oklahoma Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (OK-LSAMP) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) at Oklahoma State University’s Noble Research Center in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

The Symposium highlights research conducted by OK-LSAMP scholars. Dr. Robin Kimmerer, Distinguished Teaching Professor and Director, Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, State University of New York, was the keynote speaker.

Southeastern poster/presenters were Allison Joines (senior biology major from Caddo) and Matt Maxwell (junior chemistry major from Durant). Other participating students from Southeastern were Peyton Joines (senior biologymajor from Caddo) and Patrick Sharp (junior medical sciences major from Tulsa).

Southeastern’s Dr. Brad Ludrick, Associate Professor of Biology and OK-LSAMP Coordinator, accompanied the group.

Southeastern student receives award for presentation at national STEM conference

Maxwell

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.

Southeastern student earns state recognition for poster entry

Matt Maxwell’s entry earned third place honors at the symposium.

Matt Maxwell’s entry earned third place honors at the symposium.

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University sophomore Matt Maxwell’s poster presentation at the recent Oklahoma-Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (OK-LSAMP’s) 21st annual Research Symposium earned a third place award.  The competition included students from all over the state, including the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University and Tulsa University.

The title of Maxwell’s entry was Effect of Enzyme Loading on Extrusion & Alkali Extrusion Pretreated Sweep Sorghum Bagasse.

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 a  biology/chemistry major from Durant and a  student of Dr. Brad Ludrick, Associate Professor of Biology, Science Education Advisor and OK-LSAMP Coordinator at Southeastern. Maxwell has also been selected to represent OK-LSAMP and Southeastern at the National Conference for Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science in Washington, D.C., in late October, with travel funded by NSF.

“Matt is a hard worker and an excellent student,’’ Ludrick said. “He is a great example of the high quality of students we have at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.”