SPOTLIGHT 2014: What to look out for in the new year → PAGE 7
Forget Waldo, where's Temoc? Find him hiding on → PAGE 10
January 13, 2014
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Program to replace long-time coach, reasons unknown University officials, players say little about women's soccer coaches after sudden departures THE MERCURY | UTDMERCURY.COM
Please pardon the dust Campus projects take shape, require use of alternate routes MIGUEL PEREZ Life & Arts Editor
The university’s major construction period will continue into 2014, altering the usual routes students use to reach their on-campus destinations with the North Mall renovation blocking a significant part of campus. The North Mall renovation, the second phase of a campus landscape enhancement project, extends from the trellis near the plinth to the Administration Building and is currently in a demolition phase. “We’ve significantly altered, for the next year, the pedestrian pathways around the mall,” said Kelly Kinnard, director of physical plant services. “We’re really encouraging students to use the sky bridges and be cognizant of where they park because (the renovation) does impact how people will traverse from building to building.” Kinnard said renovation will begin around March and continue through the calendar year. The project should be completed in the first quarter of 2015. Access to Founders, Founders North, the Jonsson Center, Green Hall and the Green Center
LAUREN FEATHERSTONE Editor-in-Chief
Women’s soccer coaches John Antonisse and Katie Challenger will not return to UTD for another season, as their contracts were not renewed. University officials are not commenting at this time as to the nature or reason for their departure. Antonisse served as the head coach of the women’s soccer program at UTD for the past 17 seasons, since its inception. Under him, the Comets won about 62 percent of their games and nearly 80 percent of games played in the American Southwest Conference — second only to the perennial ASC power Hardin-Simmons. He led his team to nine of the last 12 ASC Championship games, of which the Comets won twice, in 2002 and 2004. Challenger had been Antonisse’s assistant coach since 2007. Before that, she played as goalie for the Comets from 2001 to 2004 and holds the UTD record for most career shutouts. At this time it remains unclear
whether the two coaches left of their own accord or were dismissed by the university. Athletic Director Chris Gage directed all questions regarding the coaches to Susan Rogers, vice president for Communications. Rogers confirmed that Antonisse and Challenger no longer work at the university, but could not provide any information on why their contracts were not renewed. Several players on the team did not respond to requests to talk about the former coaches, and others explained that the team does not want to discuss the situation or the coaches as they are trying to move forward and do what’s best for their team. A committee is currently reviewing and screening applications for the women’s soccer head coach position, and the athletics department intends to bring three or four candidates to campus for interviews, Gage said. They hope to have a replacement for Antonisse by the first week of February. -Parth Sampat also contributed to this report.
YANG XI | FILE PHOTO
Head coach John Antonisse and assistant coach Katie Challenger on the sideline of a home match in 2013. Antonisse headed the women's soccer team for 17 years.
Prof. creates device to help blind see
→ SEE CONSTRUCTION, PAGE 4
CONSTRUCTION TIMELINE JAN 2014
» North Mall renovation begins
PARTH PARIKH | FILE PHOTO
Architect Peter Walker presents a plan that includes renovating "big, barren areas" in the North Mall of campus in this photo from September 2013.
» Lots L, O and P closed for Bioengineering and Sciences Building work
» Renovations in Green Hall complete AUG 2014 » Phase 4 Residence Hall complete
PABLO ARAUZ | STAFF
Post-doctoral material sciences student Erika Fuentes-Fernandez operates a semi-conductor that heats up filaments at extremely high temperatures to create ultrananocrystaline diamonds. The machine heats the material to temperature upwards of 1,500 degrees Celsius in order to grow samples of UNCD.
For those with vision loss, sunglasses featuring diamond-coated chip could partially restore sight PABLO ARAUZ Mercury Staff
PARTH PARIKH | FILE PHOTO
Pres. David Daniel, VP for Administration Calvin Jamison and others break ground on Phase 4 Residence Hall in this photo from summer 2013.
OCT 2014 » JSOM Phase 2 complete
MERCURY STAFF | FILE PHOTO
JSOM Phase 2 is being built on the former site of Lot Q, seen here in summer 2013. Lot Q's capactity was replaced by the adjacent parking garage.
MAR 2015 » North Mall renovation complete DEC 2015
» Bioengineering and Sciences Building complete
A world without blindness may sound like something out of a sci-fi novel, but thanks to the research of material science professor Orlando Auciello, it may someday become a reality. For more than a decade Auciello has taken part in a joint federally and privately funded project made up of several interdisciplinary scientists, researchers and medical experts to develop the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System, which can potentially give partial sight to the blind. “You have to understand that- not to give false hopes to people, it’s not a complete return to normal vision,” Auciello said. The current version of the device consists of a chip outside the eye that is connected to a pair of sunglasses with a small camera attached. The chip sends signals to the rest of the device, allowing for the person wearing it to see some light. It was approved by the Federal Drug Administration in 2013. Auciello’s contribution to the project was in developing this spe-
cial diamond coating for the chip. He’s spent much of his time in U.S. laboratories creating this diamond coating. Still in its early phases, the device was tested on 31 people in five countries over the course of five years. Results showed that participants could recognize some objects such as a door or large letters in a newspaper. In one example of the testing, a once-blind woman successfully shot a basketball through a hoop. “She cannot see the basket with very high resolution, she can see it with shadows but after being totally in the dark, people with a device like this can see some light,” Auciello said. However, due to lack of funding, an advanced version of the device that requires the diamond-coated chip to be implanted inside the eye has not yet been approved by the FDA. Making diamonds In a highly-secured laboratory in the material science department on campus, Auciello supervises post-
doctoral material science student Erika Fuentes-Fernandez and materials science graduate student Adriana Carolina Duran Martinez in creating diamond films. Although, the diamonds in Auciello’s lab aren’t the kind of diamonds you see at the jewelry store; these are ultrananocrystaline diamonds or UNCD. And while scientists have been creating lab-grown diamonds for decades, Auciello said this material is particularly special. “These grain sizes are much smaller than the other ones and that gives a unique series of properties to these thin films,” Auciello said. Using a semi-conductor, a machine that heats up filaments to grow diamonds at temperatures of about 1,500 degrees Celsius, Auciello and his assistants grow samples of the UNCD. “It’s very resistant to chemical reactions which make it very stable, it has very low friction which make it useful to protect mechanisms from wearing out,” Fuentes-Fernandez said. Auciello said the material exhibits the lowest friction of any material known. It is also bio-compatible,
meaning that if put inside the human body, it doesn’t cause any negative effects. “It’s pretty exciting because (working with) this type of new material-the ultranano diamonds- is a really wide field,” Fuentes-Fernandez said. “We have a lot of opportunities for applications in all types of fields like mechanics, biological, chemical applications; there is a lot of good work we can do.” Market potential With his two companies, Advanced Diamond Technologies and Original Biomedical Implants, Auciello is also promoting UNCD technology for other medical uses. For example, Auciello said in many prosthetic devices such as artificial hips, knees, shoulders and dental implants, a problem arises in that the material that make up the prosthetic devices are chemically attacked by the body and become corroded by friction. The UNCDcoated technology solves this issue. Also because of the material’s
→ SEE INVENTION, PAGE 12
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THE MERCURY | JAN. 13, 2014
UTD Police Blotter
Jan. 4: Incident occured on Renner Road (not shown).
Editor’s Note: In an effort to better serve our campus community, we have marked the map on the right with the location and nature of criminal activity that occured on and around campus during winter break. We have also highlighted some incidents of note. Below, we have summarized the UTDPD daily crime log for the first week of 2014. Jan. 1 • An unaﬃliated motorist with multiple outstanding traﬃc warrants out of Highland Park, Texas was arrested around 4:30 a.m. on Campbell Road. Jan. 4 • An unaﬃliated man was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated around 1 a.m. on Renner Road. • Between 11 p.m. and midnight, two students were cited for posession of alcohol by a minor, and one student was cited for consumption of alcohol by a minor in Phase IV of University Village. Six others not affliliated with UTD were cited for consumpion of alcohol by a minor. Jan. 6 • Around 1:30 a.m. on Waterview Parkway, an unaffliated motorist with an outstanding Collin County warrant for failure to pay toll was arrested. Jan. 7 • A staﬀ member reported graﬃti on an exterior door of Green Center around 8 a.m. Jan. 8 • A student reported the theft of his cell phone from Phase VIII of University Village at 9:35 a.m.
Dec. 19, 2013: Oﬃcers responded to a twocar collision on East Drive and Lot M East around 10:30 p.m. Two students were involved, and the driver who caused the crash was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.
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Just the Facts Thoughtprovoking statistics from Chris Wang Global weather extremes for Jan. 9 Scale in degrees Celsius As reported and verfied by weatherunderground.com on Jan. 9, 2014. These reports are observations and are not recordsetting events.
Dec. 21, 2013: During a traﬃc stop that occured around midnight, a student was arrested on the charges of possesssing less than two ounces of marijuana and the posesssion of drug parahernalia.
Dec. 21, 2013: A student was arrested for two oustanding warrants issued by Richardson PD for running a stop sign and driving without a license. During the traﬃc stop around 11:30 p.m. the student was also charged with additional traﬃc oﬀenses by UTDPD.
JAN. 13, 2014 | THE MERCURY | UTDMERCURY.COM
Healthcare.gov needs more coverage options Mercury staffer finds health insurance in online marketplace too expensive for students, opts to purchase coverage from UTD JOHN THOTTUNGAL COMMENTARY
The new year loomed around the corner and so did the deadline to apply for healthcare insurance, which was extended to Dec. 31 at 11:59 p.m., if a person wanted to be covered on Jan. 1, 2014. Having seen abhorrent medical bills from one visit to the ER in the summer of 2011 after a soccer injury, I grudgingly opened my laptop and went off to visit www.healthcare.gov or what is commonly called the marketplace for healthcare insurance. Since it has become a law with punitive action involved for not being insured, I was hoping that I would become one of those young adults who could get insurance for “$50” a month, as the White House claimed, if they qualified for government subsidies. Within a few moments, I realized the two questions that would have ensured some level of financial help from the government pertained to being an individual who was eligible for Medicaid or one with children listed as dependents. I am older than the average full time student here at UTD and will not qualify for Medicaid and I do not have children. However, my income level is just as what would be expected for a full time student on govern-
ment loans—zero or very low from part time jobs. The cheapest bronze plan, of which there were eleven, was $175 per month with an annual deductible of $6,000. There are a total of 11 Bronze plans, 14 Silver plans and 11 Gold plans initially shown as options. It really did not make sense to me, how an extra cost of $175 per month would work out in addition to rent, utilities, a gas guzzling car, books, groceries, credit cards and the occasional date for a person working for the minimum wage and/or on the poverty line. Is Obamacare really going to help the poorest of the poor who cannot have access to employee health care? If you subtract $170 per month for a year, then you end up with $11,820 of income you can take home annually, if you are working on minimum wage not including applicable state and federal taxes. If I was this person, I would be very reluctant to part with $175 per month for the cheapest health care plan. I sat there blinking at the computer and pondered on how I would afford this expenditure, when I realized that I was not obligated to buy insurance from only this website, but that I just had to buy insurance. I remembered that UTD itself offered an insurance plan for its students and I knew that it was an absolute must for international students to buy the insurance. After quick search, I was pleasantly surprised with the $525 fee for the whole
CC-BY CHANEL WEAVER | U.S. ARMY
Capt. David Kassop, U.S. Army, listens to the heartbeat of a patient in a Maryland clinic. Many who would qualify for subsidies to buy health insurance from healthcare.gov must also qualify for Medicaid — ruling out a significant number of UTD students.
semester cost, which worked out cheaper than the $175 per month with no exorbitant deductible. An emergency room visit would cost me $75, generic prescription copay would be $10 and brand-name prescription copay would be $15. A little more scrutiny revealed that it was still cheaper to buy UTD health insurance for the spring and summer session together at around $800
for the two semesters if one were planning to take courses in the summer. The terms and conditions such as a preset deductible and cheaper rates for in network HMO doctors and hospitals was a far more viable option for me than buying individual insurance from the Obamacare website. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas administers the insurance I purchased from UTD. I understand the need for previously
uninsurable people who have the ability to pay to be able to obtain insurance, but I do not think that the website has done a good job of listing all the possible insurance plans available to a person from different backgrounds such as full-time student. To be called a marketplace, it should truly be one to live up to the definition of the term marketplace. In my case, it clearly was not.
Int’l students face initial culture shock Some aspects of American life may pose novel challenges for newcomers; social situations provide surprises, learning opportunities SRAYAN GUHATHAKURTA COMMENTARY
Excitement, withdrawal, adjustment and finally assimilation are the four major stages that every international student goes through during their stay in the United States of America. Moving to a new country can be very exciting, but it does take learning and patience to understand new ways of life. It’s a huge change on many fronts that a student goes through. Things such as new people, extreme weather, traffic signs, catchphrases take a while to sink in. Coming to a foreign country, as a young student is extremely exciting because of the freedom it offers. “I was trying to cross the street and although there was no pedestrian signal, all the cars abruptly stopped and waited for me till I crossed the road,” said Indian computer science graduate student Anish Annadurai. The pedestrian’s right to the road is possibly one of the best things that truly stand out during the first few days, for some international students. UTD has students from more than 100 countries in the world. While 90 percent of international students at UTD are from In-
dia and China, there are significant numbers of students from the Middle East as well as the far eastern countries like Korea. A quick statistical analysis showed that 5 percent of the international undergraduate students in the spring semester consisted of undergraduate students. However after the initial charm wears off, a deep sense of withdrawal, better known as the culture shock sets in. Americans prefer coffee to tea and their English language is also very different from the British English. Thus students from countries following the British English face difficulties with certain words. Indian telecommunications engineering student Subhash Suru remembers his experiences with using British English. “I told my American friend that I shall be there by 6 p.m., but he got confused with the word ‘shall,’” Suru said. “While I use this word a lot in India, people here prefer to just use the word ‘will’ instead of shall.” “My friend asked me to take a rain check. Since I was sure it was sunny outside, I put him on hold and immediately did a Google search to understand what he meant,” said Indian computer science graduate student Janani Sharma. Nafisa Shaima, who is a student of the teacher education certification program at UTD, has been living in the U.S. more than a decade but she still recalls her initial set-
tling in jitters. “Everyone on the street greeted me with a smile and an occasional hello. If I try the same in Bangladesh, people would surely take me for a crazy person,” Shaima said. “I also found the road signs difficult to understand, and everyone drives with so much discipline.” One of the things about culture shock is that you expect to experience it to some extent when you move to another country. New faces, different mentalities and foreign behaviors are all things you’re ready to be confronted by when mingling with a new culture. Simple gestures like holding the door open for the next person or thanking someone gracefully really goes a long way in America. Americans are extremely friendly and approachable. The quintessential “How are you doing” is easy to come by, but the phrase is actually an acknowledgement and not really because the person really wants to know about your life. Indians are not particularly used to the art of prompt refusal and consider it brutal, but Americans find it convenient and frank. While each approach comes with its own set of trade-offs, it takes a while for the international student to get used to it. In a way getting into the inner circles of friendship and building a better rapport
it is only common that Americans will have radically diverse opinions. Almost everyone has a stand on topics ranging from politics to religion. I personally felt that some of these thoughts were beyond rational. So in the end although America Everyone on the street greeted me does try to keep evwith a smile and (a) hello. If I try the erything simplistic same in Bangladesh, people would and transparent, the country is far more surely take me for a crazy person. complex to figure out. — Nafisa Shaima International students mostly come to the U.S. with a lot of infectious and does crush you as a person preconceived notions, based on all the Holafter a while. Unlike the European work cul- lywood movies that they have seen. All this tures, Americans believe in doing far more indirect exposure certainly adds to the culwork with fewer vacations. Talking to Amer- ture shock. To understand the seemingly inicans you would be amazed to find how few scrutable Americans, you need to let go of all your mental blocks. Life in the U.S. certainly of them have actually traveled abroad. Owing to the vast geography of America more than meets the eye. with Americans is relatively difficult because they are very private about their lives, and protect their privacy fiercely. The American pace of doing things is very
“What are you most looking forward to in 2014?” “I just arrived to the U.S. two weeks ago. I’m looking forward to seeing the chess team.”
“I came to the U.S. this Sunday; everything is new in Dallas, so I look forward to meeting new people.”
“I got a new job as a Peer Advisor, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Shashank Buch Computer science graduate student
Jirga Shah Neuroscience junior
“I look forward to meeting new students and moving forward with my classes.”
“Graduation. I’m looking for a job as a digital analyst.”
“I’m looking forward to starting (classes) here at UTD.”
Jeethu Joseph Psychology sophomore
Parth Acharya Information technology and management graduate student
Wayne Henricks Electrical engineering freshman
Computer science graduate student
THE MERCURY | JAN. 13, 2014
Program may improve brain health for veterans Warrior SMART sessions will be held in February and April; free for veteran students JOHN THOTTUNGAL Mercury Staff
JOHN THOTTUNGAL | STAFF
Marine Corps veteran Mike Rials and former Navy sailor Keeshaun Coffey are part of the Center for BrainHealth’s Warrior SMART program.
The Warrior Strategic Memory Advanced Reasoning Training program, held by the Center for Brain Health, aims to help veteran students maximize their brain potential. Mike Rials, a Marine Corps veteran and psychology alumnus leads the training sessions along with other members from the center. The aim of the program is the maximize brain potential, improve cognitive reasoning and overall brain health, Rials said. The original program was developed to improve brainpower and resource utilization and then adapted for veterans and other demographics such as middle school students. It teaches participants strategies on maximizing memory potential and tackling complicated
GRAPHIC BY MERCURY STAFF
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
will be hindered, and access to the University Theatre will be completely cut off. Accommodations will be made during theatre events, which begin in March, to allow temporary access, Kinnard said. Campus landmarks in the North Mall have been relocated. The Spirit Rocks were moved to the east side of the Activity Center and the Love Jack was moved to the west side of Jonsson. “It’ll be a very nice area with lots of gathering space where the old dilapidated fountain was,” Kinnard said. “That whole area is being redone into
a terraced lawn area, and it’s going to be a super place for students.” The 100,000 square foot addition to JSOM is currently under construction and is slated for substantial completion during late summer or early fall. The Phase 4 Residence Hall project is slated to finish at the end of summer for students to move in this fall semester. The new residence hall, or Student Housing Living Learning Center, will house 600 students and will include a dining hall and recreational facility with a fitness area, studio and lockers. Across from the growing residence hall complex, parking lots O and P
will be closed to make space for the new Bioengineering and Sciences building. The campus’ third parking structure, to be located in the northeast corner of Loop Road and Rutford, will replace the lost parking space. Kinnard said the parking garage will be completed by late summer. Renovations to the pit area of Green Hall, including the removal of the stairway on the first floor, will be completed by the first day of school. New faculty offices will occupy the former Arts and Technology building to make space for the growing physics department. The building’s abbreviation will now be PHY.
problems, which were developed by Sandra Chapman, the director of the center. “Take a break for five minutes for five times a day,” Rials said when talking about the methods recommended during sessions. The program, which was held for the first time at UTD last semester, is slated to return for four sessions in February and April, as listed on the Comet Calendar. It also teaches students time management skills to become more productive. “It takes on average 20 minutes to get back to your task fully each time you are disturbed; strategic attention is very important,” Rials said. ”When you add a couple of distractions at 20 minutes each, you have lost a lot of time in a day.” Corporate executives pay up to $5,200 for the program, Rials said, but it is free for UTD
students who are veterans. The program is just one of many initiatives connected with ongoing research at the center that deals exclusively on the human brain and related issues. There is at the moment 65 different programs involved in research dealing with issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, Asperger’s syndrome and attention deficit hyperactive disorder. Keeshaun Coffey, accounting senior and former Navy sailor, went through the program and said how it helped him improve his GPA and academic skills at UTD. “When I got school work, I attacked it and regurgitated it instead of truly understanding the material,” Coffey said, referring to his studying strategy before he went through the Warrior SMART program. The center is involved with
neuroscience projects funded by the Department of Defense that deal with PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury in addition to the Warrior initiative which includes the Warrior SMART program. The program depends on considerable private donations from many nonprofit organizations helping veterans, that ensure the program to be free for any veteran that wants to take part in the warrior smart program, Rials said. Rials said so far the program has received positive feedback from all its past participants and requires prior registration for the sessions listed in the Comet Calendar. Students can get more information at the Office of Veteran Affairs located in the basement of the McDermott Library and at the website of the center at www. brainhealth.utdallas.edu.
THE MERCURY | JAN. 13, 2014
Challenge to abortion law works way through courts VP of Pro-Choice Feminist Alliance weighs in on restrictions PABLO ARAUZ Mercury Staff
A three-judge panel from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals met on Jan. 6 in New Orleans to review an appeal of U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel’s finding Texas Senate Bill 5 unconstitutional. The bill contains a list of measures that include a ban on 20week post-fertilization abortions and recognizes that the state has a compelling interest to protect fetuses from pain. It was signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry in July 2013.
According to a report by The Associated Press, Judges Jennifer Walker Elrod, Catharina Haynes and Edith Jones didn’t indicate how soon they would make a decision. Yeakel declared in October that two parts of the bill create undue burden on women’s access to abortions. One requires that doctors must have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of where the abortion is performed. The other restricts how doctors administer abortion-inducing drugs. Shelby Schram, sociology ju-
nior and vice president of ProChoice Feminist Alliance on campus, said that the New Orleans hearing would probably not favor pro-abortion rights groups. “I think that it is a very conservative court that has a history of voting very anti-choice on abortion issues,” she said. Schram also said that since the bill went into affect last year, women seeking abortions in areas such as in El Paso or in the Rio Grande Valley must make a 300-mile round trip for the procedure.
→ SEE HEARING, PAGE 12
Based on full-time Texas resident tuition for 2013-2014
JAN. 13, 2014 | THE MERCURY | UTDMERCURY.COM
Comedy-drama shines with all-star cast “Autumn: Osage County” presents account of Oklahoman family struggling with death
VIVIANA CRUZ COMMENTARY
“Life is very long,” says Sam Shepard’s character over shots of arid, rural Oklahoma, quoting T.S. Eliot and opening the play-turned-movie “August: Osage County.” Shepard’s character, Beverly Weston is relaying Eliot’s wisdom to Johnna (Misty Upham, “Big Love,” “Skins”), a young Cheyenne woman he is hiring as a caretaker for his wife, Violet Weston, who suffers from mouth cancer. Beverly hands Johnna a book of Eliot’s works, and thus Johnna and the viewers become part of a decaying family and the memorable production they create. However, Eliot’s words don’t apply to a main character, and it is this character’s untimely death that brings together the Weston clan, spurring
superb performances from a highcaliber cast. Playwright Tracy Letts received a Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for authoring “August: Osage County.” With such auspicious beginnings, it is no wonder that director John Wells’ movie adaption is carried by noted names like Meryl Streep, Ewan McGregor, Julia Roberts and Benedict Cumberbatch. The cast is essential for the rapid-fire dialogue, volatile emotions and fragile story lines. As Barbara Weston (Roberts) and Karen Weston (Juliette Lewis) make their way home to their mother in Oklahoma, Violet’s acerbic character is revealed in her interactions with Ivy (Julianne Nicholson), her only daughter who lives at home. Ivy stayed to look after her parents, yet Violet’s caustic remarks about her looks and assumptions about her lacking romantic prospects contrast sharply with Violet’s exuberant welcome of Barbara back to the homestead.
Violet’s sister Mattie Fae Aikin (Margo Martindale, “The Millers,” “Beautiful Creatures”) and her husband Charlie Aiken (Chris Cooper, “The Town,” “The Bourne Identity”) also arrive to pay their respects. As the characters struggle to deal with the stifling heat of the Oklahoma countryside, they also grapple with tense moods that threaten to- and ultimately do- boil over. Violet, in her role as matriarch of the Westons, is the instigator of most of the arguments and situations that degrade into shouting matches and brutal declarations of supposed honesty. Nearly every word Violet says seems to have been infected with the cancer afflicting her mouth. Violet’s toxic narrative is delivered in a perfect southern drawl and punctuated by looks of contempt and steely glares. Mattie Fae Aikin leaves no doubt that she and Violet are related. Not to be outdone by her sister, Mattie Fae denigrates and dismisses her only
Debate tourney comes to UTD
son, Little Charles, (Benedict Cumberbatch, “Sherlock,” “Star Trek: Into Darkness”) constantly. Between Mattie Fae and Violet, the two families are equally subjected to abuse and personal tragedies. Each character brings baggage with them that at times seems contrived. The most obvious example is Barbara’s failing marriage. Violet delights in declaring Barbara’s marriage a lost cause. The viewer will feel that way too, since the conflicts between Barbara and her husband Bill Fordham (McGregor) seem forced and stale. Karen and Ivy’s storylines are more calamitous and nuanced, and at least one of them is destined to an appalling ending. Categorized as both a drama and a comedy, “August: Osage County” tends to veer toward melodrama. Viewers will be challenged to accept such acidity and dysfunction in family, but they will also be treated to an exquisite distortion of character devel-
WEINSTEIN COMPANY | COURTESY
The movie adaptation of Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play features hard-hearted matriarch Violet Weston (Meryl Streep) and Mattie Fae Aiken (Margo Martindale) among other notable roles.
opment and guided to welcome startling resolutions. Although the film uses stunning desert panoramas that pair well with the various strains of
the Westons, even the Oklahoma dust cannot smother some family secrets. 9/10
Public speakers fine tune rhetoric skills
ABANISH MISHRA | STAFF
Jacob Loehr, a political science sophomore, speeds though his final round on the second day of the 11th annual UTD debate tournament arguing for the limitation of presidential war powers. NADA ALASMI Mercury Staff
As he speaks, Jacob Loehr’s face is red and his breathing is rapid and loud. His eyes dart from his laptop to the judge, to the audience and back to his laptop. When the timer rings, Loehr ends his speech, shakes hands with the opposing team and exits the lecture hall in the Jindal School of Management. Loehr, a political science sophomore, participated in UTD’s 11th annual debate tournament, held from Jan. 5 to 7, which was focused on presidential war powers. With each debate lasting only a few minutes, Loehr, like most competitive debaters, had to speak rapidly, reaching around 300 to 400 words per minute. “We make a lot of arguments at once about a lot of different things,” he said. “At the end of the day, the judge at the back has to process all that and decide a winner.”
More than 40 universities attended UTD’s competition, said Scott Herndon, director of UTD debate. Loehr and his partner placed 17th. The tournament took several weeks to set up and was coordinated by UTD’s debate staff and students. “I think what our students do is something remarkable,” Herndon said about his team’s work to host the event. UTD’s debate team attends about 16 tournaments each year. Most of its members, such as Loehr, were involved in debate in high school. As a UTD debate scholarship recipient, Loehr spends about 20 to 30 hours per week in the debate squad room, where he hangs out with the team and prepares for tournaments. “I get anxious about debating. I really like to win. I really want to impress the coaches and do well for the school,” he said.
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“When you’re in the round (you feel like) this is the culmination of all the effort. You put it out there, and it feels so great to just go.” While there are 14 members on the debate team, only Loehr and his partner participated in UTD’s tournament. The rest of the members, such as literary studies freshman Lesly Gutierrez, stayed out to help coordinate the event. Gutierrez debated in high school and enrolled at UTD to be a part of the team, which is among the most competitive in the nation. While the combination of debate and homework can get stressful, she said she gets along fine with the support of her coaches and peers. “I am very glad that I get to be on a team that cares about each other so much,” she said. “We are like a family.”
YUE TANG | STAFF
Toastmasters of Richardson move to Callier Center with mission focused on developing public speaking and leadership skills SRAYAN GUHATHAKURTA Mercury Staff
The Richardson Toastmasters have recently moved into the Callier Center for Communication Disorders. The organization aims to work with UTD students by providing a mutually supportive and positive learning environment to help members develop communication and leadership skills that foster selfconfidence and professional growth. Effective communication requires not only the right choice of words but also necessitates the right gesture, body posture and eye contact. For some people, expressing an idea or having a natural conversation can be an extremely daunting task. The hesitation often results in vocal hiccups or filler words, and the speech quality suffers as quiet pauses get replaced with wasted words and the conversation loses its richness and charm. The Richardson Toastmasters club operates in a casual setting where members collaborate with each other to become better public speakers. Toastmasters meet every Tuesday evening from 7-8 p.m. Cognition and neuroscience doctoral student Anwesha Banerjee is a member of the club and has felt her communication skills improve with the program. “The program is aimed to help a member develop the communication skills necessary for becoming a competent leader,” Banerjee said. “Additionally, you can also decide to focus on certain specific areas such as public relations, persuasive speaking, storytelling, humorous speaking
or technical speaking.” The Toastmasters educational program consists of two tracks: a communication track and a leadership track. As a member, one can participate in both tracks at the same time or choose one to start with. Both tracks recognize members for specific accomplishments. Ernest Eberle, a distinguished Toastmaster who has earned the Advanced Communicator Gold and Advanced Leader Silver certifications, served as a grammarian and listener in the chapter meeting on Jan. 7. “Being a small club helps us grow faster, and since we are located on campus we feel we can groom UTD students,” Eberle said. “Having worked as a recruiter, I realize the potential of good communication skills.” A regular session at the Richardson Toastmasters starts with a short welcome speech by the Toastmaster of the evening. The word of the day is also introduced, and, in the activities that follow, the members try to use the word as much as possible. Table topics are an impromptu activity in every session. Participants are required to talk about trending news topics. The latest session had topics on road accidents due to inclement weather, head concussions resulting from football and news reports on abortion. Every participant is evaluated based on their speech quality and effective use of words to coherently explore the given topic. Green, orange and red lights are used to indicate the time remaining for the speaker. Quizzes are conducted after every round to test the listening
skills of the participants. “Every time you use a filler word in your speech or tend toward an incorrect posture, the bell and the horn are sounded to make you alert,” Banerjee said. “After being a part of the club for a while, I could hear the bell and horn in my head as I talked to someone.” The 54-year-old program strategy is aimed to help the participants grow through the ranks to become effective communicators and leaders. “After participating in multiple sessions a speaker is entitled to become a mentor and an evaluator,” Banerjee said. “The communicator and leadership certification programs are recognized by the industry and empower you.” The Jindal School Of Management has a separate club called the Management Toastmasters Society, which is open to UTD students and alumni. The Richardson Toastmasters club is open to everyone and has members from all ages and walks of life. James Bourn, a retired American Airlines pilot, said he found the communication techniques very helpful. “I used to do a lot of the public announcements on flights myself,” Bourn said. “I would ask the passengers to look out the window and get an aerial view of several historic landmarks they did not know they could see from the air.” The Richardson toastmasters have a $20 new member fee, which covers the cost of the Competent Communicator and Competent Leader manuals, as well as a subscription to Toastmaster magazine.
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Men’s basketball still undefeated Comets topple Team scores more than 160 points combined over last two games, roll on the road
ARAVIND SIVASAILAM Mercury Staff
The men’s basketball team (7-0 ASC) kept up their winning streak on Jan. 9 with an 80-57 road win over LeTourneau. The Comets scored the opening bucket of the game and went on to hold a 16-7 lead before a timeout was called after the men sliced through LeTourneau’s defense repeatedly. LeTourneau attempted to make a comeback as each team scored in successive rebounds over the next few minutes. However, the Comets got a steady lead when senior forward Kyle Schleigh’s three pointer increased their tally to a 24-14 lead with 10 minutes remaining for the first half. LeTourneau cut the 10-point lead to six with seven minutes remaining; however, with good defense, assists and passes, UTD maintained their strong lead till the end of the half. Within four minutes of the start of the second half, the Comets gained an 18-point lead. However, LeTourneau seemed to make a comeback when they scored 10 points over the next five minutes, and UTD only replied with seven. The Comets soon gained momentum in the final six minutes of play as they increased their lead from 16 to 23 until end of play. UTD’s precise passing and movement on-court was too much for their opponents as they fell into the similar routine as the first half. “We had a strategy to really keep the ball against the inside players … Just essentially to try to keep the ball away from the basket and to prevent from giving them open jump shots,” said head coach Terry Butterfield.
CHRISTOPHER WANG | FILE PHOTO
Junior guard Amber Brown was instrumental in the Jan. 9 victory over LeTourneau, scoring a crucial three-pointer early on. MADISON MCCALL Mercury Staff
ANDREW GALLEGOS | FILE PHOTO
Senior forward Kyle Schleigh dunks in a game against Southwestern, as his opponent looks on. Schleigh is 15 points away from surpassing Chris Barnes’ all-time career scoring record of 1,411 points.
The Comets finished second half by shooting 15-of-26 from field goals, 2-of-6 from three pointers and 8-of-9 from the foul line. The Comets scored 80 points in the game, the third time they have reached that mark, and the second time in a row. Schleigh was ASC Player of the Week for the second time this season and led the team with a game-high of 19 points. Schleigh is now just 15 points shy of the UTD career scoring record, held by
alumnus Chris Barnes (1,411 points, 2008-12). “Kyle is one of our best players and he is a team leader. It doesn’t surprise me that he played level and is capable of that on any given night,” Butterfield said. Closely following him were junior guards Nolan Harvey and Matthew Medell with 14 points each and senior forward Carter Nash with 10 points off the bench. The UTD men remain the
unbeaten team in the ASC this season. However, Butterfield ruled out any place for complacency. “Every game is a unique situation with particular challenges. Each team plays a little differently,” he said. “The only thing we can do is take each game at a time. It’s too early for the year and the conference. We are pleased with our start, but it’s just a start.” The Comets play East Texas Baptist on Jan 11 at 3 p.m.
The women’s basketball team won against Letourneau University on Jan. 9 with a final score of 74-58. Junior guard Christina Brosnahan started the game off scoring two points followed by a three-pointer with assistance from junior guard Amber Brown at 5-0. Slowly, the team pushed ahead and gained a large lead. The team held the lead the entire first half of the match and ended the first half with a 12-point lead at 39-27. Within the first two minutes of the second half, the Comets had 17 points on the Yellowjackets at 44-27. The Comets achieved their greatest lead at 59-38. Throughout most of the second half the Comets kept up their strong performance. It was only in the last five minutes that the team became stagnant in scoring. Letourneau began to close the gap in the score; however, the Comets had enough of a lead to capture the win at 74-58.
The Comets were able to steadily increase their lead throughout the game by playing a strong offense. The team’s overall scoring percentage for the game was 53.8 percent and 35.7 percent for three-point scoring. “We stuck to our offensive plan and took advantage of what the defense was giving us,” said head coach Polly Thomason. “We played a good game as a team.” This is the team’s ninth win for the season and raises their overall winning percentage to 90 percent, a promising record for the team as they try to protect their championship title this season. “I think we are doing well in the conference standings,” Brosnahan said. “(UT) Tyler lost their game tonight, and they are our biggest competition. Our next game against Tyler will be on our courts, and I think we will win.” Students can watch the next home game on Jan. 16 at 5:30 p.m. against the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in the Activity Center.
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$195M raised for Tier One goal
Realize the Vision fundraising campaign enters final year with $5 million left to go
million in 2012 and a whopping $64.9 million in 2013. At its current trend, it’s likely the campaign will exceed its goal by the Dec. 31 deadline. “I’m usually pretty cautious, but I think it’s safe to say we’ll meet our campaign goal early,” said Aaron Conley, vice president for development and alumni relations. In order to be labeled Tier One, a university must have an endowment of at least $400 million. UTD’s endowment has grown from $195 million in 2009 to about $330 million. “We have one more year left,
and we are within striking distance of reaching that $400 million endowment level,” Conley said. “The growth of the endowment has really been one of the success stories of this campaign.” The JSOM has the largest fundraising goal of the campaign at $50 million; to date, the school has raised more than $42 million. BBS, ECS, School of Interdisciplinary Studies and NSM have all exceeded their campaign goals. Some research centers have struggled to fundraise, however, such as the Asia Center, which has raised $14,311 of $5 million. The Office of Development and Alumni Relations utilized a variety of strategies to market the campaign to UTD’s 75,000 alumni. Fundraising events have been held across the country and even as far as Taiwan, South Korea and India. Additionally, the Comet Callers program hires students to call alumni of their own school. The Comet Callers are then able to explain their experiences and what has changed at UTD since the alumni graduated. Psychology senior Tia Avila worked as a Comet Caller in summer 2013 and was promoted to a supervisor position last semester. Avila said callers contact at least 100 alumni per day, telling them about their experiences at the school. “We try to connect with them and see how they’re doing,” Avila said. “Just let them know we’re still thinking about them after graduation.” A misconception about campaigns like Realize the Vision is the university
decides how to use the money. In reality, the donors often designate their gifts to be used for specific purposes such as scholarships or advancing research, Conley said. Avila for one said she would like to see building renovations for BBS, which is currently housed in Green Hall. “I think it would be nice if we had a building renovation to match a building like JSOM or (Arts & Technology),” she said. Since UTD is still a relatively young university, Conley said the majority of alumni are still working, raising families and not yet able to make large contributions. Companies based in North Texas have actually contributed the bulk of donations over the course of the campaign. Often, these same companies hire a significant number of UTD graduates. One example is Ericsson, a telecommunications company whose North American headquarters is in Plano. “Ericsson hires more graduates from UTD every year than almost any other school in the country,” Conley said. “They have created scholarships during the campaign, they’ve supported our faculty and they’ve supported our academic programs.” Pioneer Energy Services based in Irving has also been a major donor during the campaign, and also hires many geoscience graduates. “The amount of research gifts has increased dramatically through this campaign because companies understand the value of us becoming Tier One research university,” Conley said.
takes in Texas at 75 miles an hour?” she asked. “This is a peculiarly flat and not congested highway.” Joe Pojman, executive director of Texas Alliance for Life, said that the law didn’t interfere with constitutional law. “The Supreme Court allows states to regulate abortion to en-
sure women have all the information they need to make an informed decision and to make sure it’s done in a safe manner,” he said. “That’s all this law does.” But Schram said it won’t stop women who seek abortions from getting them. “The only thing that it has done
is it has made it harder for women to obtain a safe and legal abortion,” she said. “They’re still going to have the abortions no matter what — whether it be from drugs that are illegal and that they have to obtain illegally or that they have to go through another source illegally.”
ELLEN SHIH | STAFF
SHEILA DANG Managing Editor
With one year left, UTD’s Realize the Vision campaign to raise $200 million in five years is ahead of schedule, with funds totaling more than $195 million as of November. Realize the Vision launched in 2009 as UTD’s first fundraising campaign to help the university reach Tier One status. According to Momentum, the campaign’s bi-annual newsletter, UTD raised $40.6 million in 2010, $55.2 million in 2011, $35.5
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U.S. Circuit Judge Jones, known for her hardline stance on the issue, asked if such a drive actually creates an undue burden on women seeking abortions. “Do you know how long that
PABLO ARAUZ | STAFF
Professor Orlando Auciello creates diamond films known as ultrananocrystaline diamonds that are useful in medicine.
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hydrophobic properties — or high resistance to water — it could help in the advancement of the artificial heart, Auciello said. Although because the UNCDcoated technology hasn’t yet been approved by the FDA, it hinders
the technology’s market growth. “We believe that UNCD coating can enable this whole new generation of medical implants,” said Auciello. “But all these (things) need money for research and development which is very difficult to get in this time and age in this country, that’s part of the big problem we are facing.”