Stephen F. Austin State University

Student and Faculty Achievements

Student Presentations, Papers, Awards, and Honors

Archaeology Field School (ANT440) makes headlines again.

Caitlin Davis Hornback was selected as a Finalist for the 2016 Undergraduate Research Conference. Her paper/presentation was titled "Measuring Marriage: Some Key Ingredients for a More Successful Union (Faculty Sponsor: Dianne Dentice).

Yesha Benjamin, Vivian Dillen and Jeff Brocke (left to right) of the Sociology and Gerontology Club participated in SFA's Big Event.

Three students in Assistant Professor of Sociology Dr. Karol Chandler-Ezell's cultural anthropology course at Stephen F. Austin State University recently received the Excellence in Writing on Public Issues Award from the Center for Public Anthropology's Community Action Website - a site designed to help students explore ethical issues of anthropology. "I really enjoyed being a part of the larger community and seeing everyone's different responses," said Yasmine Abdallh, right. Other students in the School of Honors cultural anthropology course who received the award include Benjamin Simms, left, and Ervin Mooney, middle. The students researched and reviewed case studies and journals focused on regulating human research before writing opinion editorial pieces. Students presented arguments on how Institutional Review Boards in the U.S. and/or Review Ethics Boards in Canada could enforce a set of common rules regarding human research. More than 38,000 students from 25 North American schools competed for these awards. "It was difficult for me to pick a side of the argument because there are researchers today trying to get meaningful research done but because of what others have done in the past, they've made it harder," Mooney said. "However, it was cool to try to weigh both sides and look at both perspectives." Simms said it was inspiring to be a part of a project that so many were involved in, and he felt humbled to be chosen for the award.

Melissa Smoot was selected as a Finalist for the 2015 Undergraduate Research Conference. Her paper/presentation was titled "Genetics and the Practice of Adoption in America" (Faculty Sponsor: Tom Segady).

Emily Hollen presenting a poster (co-authored with Dr. Jeff Roth and Dr. Darrel McDonald) at the 2015 National Undergraduate Conference in Spokane, WA. Their poster was titled "Extending Service Learning Projects outside Academic Pedagogy: Teaching Geography of Place through Geography Clubs."

Emily Hollen at NCUR conference

SFA students presenting poster titled "Effectiveness of a Sustainability Advocacy Coalition at Stephen F. Austin State University" at the AASHE conference. From left to right, Emily Curci, Aramark Sustainability intern (now graduated), Lauren Saunders, Sustainability Club officer (now graduated), Jordan Goedeke, SUS major (now graduated), and Jennifer Crenshaw, School of Honors admin asst., graduate student, and Sustainability Coalition (made up of student organizations) coordinator.

AASHE poster presentation

Faculty Presentations, Papers, Awards, and Honors

Tom Segady gave the commencement speech at the August 2016 graduation.

Dianne Dentice was honored for her 10 years of service on April 12, 2016 (with Dr. Pattillo).

In addition to this honor, her class "SOC477: Women of Color" Was awarded as this year's Outstanding Excellence in Online Education!

Walt Scalen was awarded Outstanding Adjunct in the College of Liberal and Applied Arts for 2016.

Jeff Roth (Geography) and his house were highlighted in the Sawdust--the SFA Alumni magazine.

Click on each page for a better image.

Athens, J. Stephen, Jerome V. Ward, Deborah M. Pearsall, Karol Chandler-Ezell, Dean W. Blinn, and Alex E. Morrison

2016 Early Prehistoric Maize in Northern Highland Ecuador. Latin American Antiquity 27(1): 3-21.

Abstract: The discovery of the fully developed Formative sites of Cotocallao (ca. 3750-2350 cal. B.P.) in the Quito Basin and La Chimba (ca. 2650-1700 cal. B.P.) in the northern highlands of Ecuador has raised questions about their cultural antecedents, which have not been resolved despite decades of archaeological work in the region. Paleoenvironmental coring investigations were conducted at Lake San Pablo in northern highland Ecuador to determine the date for the onset of prehistoric maize farming in the temperate highland valleys of this region. The investigations included analysis of lake sediments for pollen, phytoliths, diatoms, and tephra. Maize pollen was identified as early as 4900 cal. B.P., while maize phytoliths dated even earlier, to 6200 or 6600 cal. B.P. These results demonstrate a long history of maize farming in valleys around Lake San Pablo, but in the context of a punctuated record of major and minor volcanic eruptions. It is concluded that early horticultural sites predating Cotocallao and La Chimba must exist, but to find such sites, archaeologists will have to locate and study deeply buried A-horizon soils.

Balla, Terry, Karol Chandler-Ezell, Ruth Dickau, Neil Duncan, Thomas C. Hart, Jose Iriartef, Carol Lentfer, Amanda Logan, Houyuan Lu, Marco Madella, Deborah M. Pearsall, Dolores R. Piperno, Arlene M. Rosen, Luc Vrydaghso, Alison Weisskopf, and Jianping Zhang

2015 Phytoliths as a Tool for Investigations of Agricultural Origins and Dispersal Around the Word. Journal of Archaeological Sciences.

Abstract: Agricultural origins and dispersals are subjects of fundamental importance to archaeology as well as many other scholarly disciplines. These investigations are world-wide in scope and require significant amounts of paleobotanical data attesting to the exploitation of wild progenitors of crop plants and subsequent domestication and spread. Accordingly, for the past few decades the development of methods for identifying the remains of wild and domesticated plant species has been a focus of paleo-ethnobotany. Phytolith analysis has increasingly taken its place as an important independent contributor of data in all areas of the globe, and the volume of literature on the subject is now both very substantial and disseminated in a range of international journals. In this paper, experts who have carried out the hands-on work review the utility and importance of phytolith analysis in documenting the domestication and dispersals of crop plants around the world. It will serve as an important resource both to paleo-ethnobotanists and other scholars interested in the development and spread of agriculture.


Lewis, Karen Hale and Dianne Dentice

2015 Contributing Factors to Hispanic Educational Outcomes in Texas. Journal of Education and Social Policy 2(3): 1-12.



Ray Darville has been selected as the Regents Professor for 2015-2016


Dentice, Dianne and David Bugg

2015 Fighting for the Right to Be White: A Case Study in White Racial Identity. Journal of Hate Studies 12:101-128.


Abstract: Membership in extremist groups, such as White Revolution and the Ku Klux Klan, embody specific behavioral attributes. These attributes include practicing endogamy and exhibiting racial pride. There is general consensus among members as to what it means to be part of a socially constructed extremist group. There are also strong motivational factors that support maintaining in-group solidarity and dominant status. By adhering to the rules dictated by group membership, both the self and the group are uplifted based on white racial identity. The process of self-categorization for white racial activists accentuates their own physical similarities along with perceived negative physical differences among racial and ethnic groups. The result is a reinforcement of norms that favor the in-group over the out-group. Subjective belief structures such as the superiority of whites over others and heterosexual behavior as normal, legitimize the existence of a universal higher status in-group (at least in the white supremacist worldview). This project is based on ongoing field research that began in July 2009, survey data collected in May 2010, and discussion topics posted on the hate site, in 2013 and 2014. These findings, among others, contribute to literature about why some people join extremist groups, adhere to racialist ideology, and believe that whites are superior to all other groups.