HASBSEB abstracts due Oct. 30

The Office of Undergraduate Research’s fourth-annual Humanities, Arts, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Education and Business conference will be held 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Nov. 18, in the John Gray Center. The keynote speaker will be Lamar alumni Alisa H. Fryar.

Abstract submissions are due Oct. 30 and participants must complete registration by Nov. 4.

“It’s a great opportunity for students to present their research, exchange ideas, and to learn and understand what academia is all about,” OUR assistant director Catalina Castillón said. “A few years ago, I was approached by OUR director Kumer Das who asked if I would be interested in something like this and I told him yes, because the opportunity for my research students was too good to pass up.”

The HASBSEB conference, like the one for STEM, is open to Lamar students of every classification, and to students who do not attend Lamar but are interested in presenting their own ideas or are curious to see what research Lamar is involved in.

“I want to make a point to reach out to students in the performing arts, whether it be art, dance, music or theater, because although they have other chances to present what they do in concerts and such, we want to diversify our presentations as much as possible,” Castillón said. “Creative arts are so important to undergraduate research and our goal is to include everyone.”

Castillón said that by attending and participating in such conferences, students are investing in their own futures and careers.

“Experience in these events will give students points in resumes that will put them ahead of their competitors in the future,” she said. “It’s not the same to graduate, and then try and get into graduate school, or to go straight into the job market or an industry and say, ‘I did very well, I have this GPA, and took these classes.’ All others will be on the same level, but if you show that you have conducted undergraduate research and have presented at conferences, that puts you at a completely different level.”

Castillón said many of her undergraduate researchers were able to adapt to their new work environments quicker and smoother after presenting at the HASBSEB conferences.

“I have students who are applying to graduate school who are so confident in their abilities since participating in the conferences,” she said. “They already have theses and presentations built and are ahead of the competition.”

Attendees will see the work of their colleagues and students from other states.

“We want guests to know that Lamar is the place for undergraduate research, and we want their best researchers to come and present here,” Castillón said. “I want our students to showcase what they do best and to gain new perspectives from each other.”

Castillón said students who are curious about the research process should attend the conference and ask questions to the students and speakers during panels so that they can gain a better understanding of what she said is a tremendous experience.

“Come and support your classmates who are presenting,” she said. “You might realize that you can do this, too.”

To apply or for more information, visit lamar.edu/undergraduate-research, or call Antoinette Henry at 880-8430.

Story by Olivia Malick, UP staff writer

Take ownership of the ‘F-word’

True feminism more complex than rights for women; it’s equal rights for all

Feminism is a term that was created in the 1880s, but came into mainstream media in the mid-1900s. If you’ve ever read the news or been on the internet, you’ve heard this word.

What is feminism, though? Everyone seems to have a different definition, depending on their gender, race, sexual orientation, religion and so on. The Oxford English Dictionary defines feminism as, “The advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.” But in reality, it’s much more complex than that.

There’s a common misconception that feminism is only for women, due to the fact the word’s prefix “fem” correlates with “feminine,” a word to describe traditionally womanly features. In its truest definition, feminism is supposed to fight for the equality of everyone.

Feminism is not about giving women more rights than men. It’s about equal opportunities. America is long overdue in giving its minorities equal rights.

There is quite a bit of controversy that comes with feminism. It’s often reduced to a stereotype of crazy women who complain too much, and, by modern standards, lacks credibility because in mainstream media, feminism has become the token of “white feminists.”

I know what you’re thinking, “What does that mean?” “White feminism” is the most general level of feminism, focusing on female empowerment (sisterhood) and preaching about the pay gap, but it leaves minorities behind.

Not all white people who are feminists are “white feminists,” but a lot of people miss the mark on just what feminism is.

Women generally earn 80 cents for every dollar earned by a man. What is often neglected about this statistic, however, is that black women are paid 65 cents to a man’s dollar and Hispanic women are paid 59 cents to a man’s dollar. This makes people of color distrust feminism at first glance, because it does not represent them.

White men undeniably have the upper hand in society, but there are also issues they face that need to be addressed. For instance, white men are more prone to depression than any other race or gender. We should start addressing the mental health issues in America, and not leave anyone out when confronting the situation.

We need to address our past in order to have a prosperous future. There’s nothing wrong with admitting your privilege, in fact, it helps bring attention to inequalities in America and around the world.

Feminism isn’t just about men and women. There is a significant breakdown of levels between races, orientations, genders, and socioeconomic classes.

So what is real feminism? There’s no such thing as a “fake feminist,” because those who don’t fight for equality for everyone aren’t feminists: they’re just misusing a label to further their own cause.

The term has lost its true meaning in today’s society. It’s overused, and people are tired of hearing the word, especially because of its negative connotation.

True feminists believe in equal opportunities for everyone. This includes giving women and children access to affordable healthcare, family planning for both men and women (paternity and maternity leave), and, ultimately, an unbiased society.

There are so many elements that factor in to feminism — it isn’t skin deep. We should do research and listen to people’s suggestions, instead of assuming that they’re complaining.

We need feminism because future generations deserve to have an equal chance at prospering without their race, gender, or any other identifier holding them back. It’s time to move forward. With every year that passes, our society should be progressing — it’s the only option.

Feminism is beneficial for everyone. It allows us to be what we want, believe what we want, and live how we want without judgment.

What’s so wrong with advocating equality? If you prefer to label yourself an egalitarian or oppose labels altogether, that’s fine. Just remember, at the end of the day, change is going to come. You can either ignore the inequalities and become part of the problem, or you can jump in front of the situation and contribute to a meaningful movement.

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UP graphic by Olivia Malick.

Olivia Malick, UP staff writer

Inheritance ‘stamps’ on sisters

When estranged half-sisters Jackie and Mary lose their mother, they find out she has a valuable stamp collection. The sisters clash when it comes to dealing with the find.

The Lamar University department of theatre and dance will present “Mauritius,” by Theresa Rebeck, a play about betrayal, corruption and sisterhood, 7:30 p.m., today through Saturday, and 2 p.m., Sunday, in the Studio Theatre.

The cast and guest director Carolyn Johnson have had to deal with a shortened rehearsal schedule due to Hurricane Harvey.

“We lost two weeks of rehearsal,” Chloe Sullivan, who plays Mary, said. “We had to condense our schedule, but, thankfully, we have been able to get the show on its feet.”

The aftermath of Harvey not only caused a loss of rehearsal time, but has also prompted to help with set construction and technical development.

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Eric Rozell stands over Sydney Haygood during the reversal of Mauritius in Lamar University’s Studio Theater, Oct. 2. UP photos by Noah Dawlearn.

Johnson describes the play as contemporary and edgy, something she believes should appeal to college students in particular.“The students in the theatre production classes have really stepped up to give us a hand,” Johnson said. “It’s helpful for them, too, because they get a better understanding of how everything works and how shows come together.”

Sophomore Christopher Shroff said he is interested to see how wrapped up people can get in a story about stamps. “I can’t wait to hear how people react to the twists and turns that the story takes,” he said.

Sydney Haygood, who plays Jackie, said “Mauritius” is an emotionally and psychologically-driven play.

“My character is a very guarded and cautious person,” Haygood said. “My personality is the complete opposite of hers, so this experience has been very challenging for me, but I’ve enjoyed how it’s pushed me as an actress.”

Sullivan said the experience of pushing to get the play ready in spite of the shortened schedule has brought the cast and crew together.

“We have become an incredibly close-knit cast throughout this experience,” she said. “I think our bond will show through our performances, which I hope creates a more realistic experience for those who come to watch.”

Johnson said “Mauritius” is unlike most shows students will see because it is a raunchy take on a quaint experience.

“The audience probably won’t expect all of the explicit language in the play but I hope it excites them,” Haygood said. “We also do a jazz-like performance for them, which will be quirky and fun.”

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Sydney Haygood, and Chloe Sullivan rehearsing during the production of Mauritius in Lamar University’s Studio Theater, Oct. 2. UP photos by Noah Dawlearn.

Shroff said Rebeck’s characters are well thought out and full of life.

“It is nothing like you’d think it would be — there are so many levels to it,” he said.

The play contains strong language and adult situations.

Tickets are $7 for LU and LIT students, $10 faculty, staff, seniors and for students, and $15 general admission.

Tickets may also be reserved by phone at 880-2250. The box office accepts cash, checks, and all major credit/debit cards.

Story by Olivia Malick, UP staff writer

OUR STEM rescheduled to Oct. 24; submissions due Oct. 13

The Office of Undergraduate Research’s fifth-annual STEM Conference, originally slated for Oct. 14, has been rescheduled for Oct. 24. The conference will be held in the Archer Physics Building from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Deadline for submissions is Oct. 13.

The conference is sponsored by ExxonMobil and is designed for undergraduate STEM students from around the country to present their projects.

“Undergraduate research is an endeavor that Lamar is adamant in pursuing and showcasing, and the university is top-notch for it,” OUR assistant director Catalina Castillón said. “This conference gives students who have thought about pursuing undergrad research, but are unsure of the process, to see and understand the work that goes into it.”

A common misconception is that research programs are reserved specifically for professorial applications or for students looking to get into graduate school, Castillón said, but Lamar offers programs that are available to all grade levels — which is the focal point of the conference.

“We want students to pursue all kinds of research and to delve into their creativity,” she said. “These conferences can help students realize their full potential.”

Castillón emphasized that no matter the field of study or university of origin, there are grants that students can earn to explore their interests.

“Our conferences are open to students from everywhere — not just Lamar,” she said. “That’s extremely important, because it allows our students to see others’ perspectives which broadens their horizons in so many ways.”

With participants from other universities attending the conference, Lamar students are able to advertise their findings which creates new opportunities for funding or furthering research.

“The research presented at conferences is not always flawless,” Castillón said. “That’s actually a good thing, because students can collaborate with each other to figure out their missteps and create more accurate results.”

The main goal of the STEM conference is to inspire students, Castillón said.

“Whether that inspiration includes empowering women in the STEM fields or showing students how to apply their skills, it is all integral to the program’s success,” she said. “It’s important for all students to realize that they have the same amount of potential as their colleagues, no matter their backgrounds.”

To apply or for more information, go to the department of undergraduate research at the Lamar University website or call Antoinette Henry at 880-8430.

Story by Olivia Malick, UP staff writer

Standing room only?

Protesters not anti-patriotic

In August of 2016, Colin Kaepernick kneeled for the first time during the National Anthem in protest of police brutality.

On Sept. 22 of 2017, President Donald Trump denounced any professional athlete that didn’t stand for the anthem, referring to Kaepernick specifically as a “son-of-a-bitch.”

On Sept. 24, various NFL players kneeled, sat, locked arms, or, in the case of the Seattle Seahawks and the Tennessee Titans, did not show up for the anthem at all.

It’s quite incredulous that a peaceful protest (in recognition of systematic racism in the United States criminal justice system) garnered more attention from Trump than the violent riots (which resulted in one death) perpetrated by actual Nazis in Charlottesville, Va. All Trump said about that was that there were “fine people on both sides,” yet Kaepernick is automatically a SOB for bringing attention to a cause that has stained the facade of America for centuries.

Also, Kaepernick was exercising his right as an American to free speech and the right to protest. He wasn’t burning and stomping on the flag so stop equating the two.

The American flag is a symbol of freedoms, which separate us from other countries in this world. So, by definition, if you don’t agree with Kaepernick’s right to kneel, then you don’t really support the ideals of America.

As a white woman, I have never been racially profiled or assumed automatically guilty of something because of my skin color, but I am able to stand back and see the true injustice that has been pushed upon the African American population of America.

Racism is alive and well in this nation and until we come to terms with our past, we will never be able to move on.

Instead of assuming the person kneeling during the anthem is ungrateful and unpatriotic, why don’t we listen to what that person has to say?

Kaepernick weighed his options when he decided to take the knee. He knew people were going to denigrate him for his choices but he also knew that his cause was, and is, more important than what anyone says about him.

Just think, if Tom Brady were doing the same thing, he would be lauded as a hero.

My father served in the U.S. Army during the first Gulf War. He did so in order to protect the freedoms that make America so unique. Are Kaepernick’s freedoms not as important?

Why can’t he exercise the same right to free speech as Trump does on Twitter? A football players taking a knee during the anthem is about the least amount of discourse someone could do.

Kaepernick took the knee because he knew people would talk about it — that’s the entire point.

Kneeling during the anthem may not be something you agree with, and it doesn’t have to be, but instead of ripping Kaepernick apart, why don’t we look at the issues at hand? Once we realize and listen to what Kaepernick is saying, and do something about it, this issue of kneeling will go away, but until we do, don’t expect players of color to start standing up for something that does not include nor fight for them.

By Olivia Malick, UP staff writer

Lady Cards top Nicholls, 3-1, in Southland opener

After a sc­­­oreless draw against the University of Houston, following a three-game winning streak, the Lamar women’s soccer team returned to the win column by beating Nicholls State University 3-1, Friday, at the Lamar Soccer Complex, in their Southland Conference opener.

The Lady Cards have played Nicholls for the conference opener three seasons in a row.

The team’s current 6-2-1 record is an exceptional accomplishment.

“As a team, we learned from last year’s mistakes,” associate head coach Henry Zapata said. “The ladies have put in so much hard work and I think it’s paying off.”

This was the first of 12 games leading to the Southland Conference Tournament in November.

“We’re hoping to make it to the tournament,” midfielder Ana Moreno, Bogota, Colombia senior, said. “We have been playing really well this season and we’re in it to win it.”

Lamar aimed to put numbers on the scoreboard after their previous game ended in a

0-0 tie. The Lady Colonels kicked off but most of the first half was spent in their half with the Cards relentlessly pushing toward the goal, but the first half ended scoreless.

“We had our chances in the first half, but we couldn’t finish,” head coach Steve Holeman said. “(Nicholls) kept fighting, and had good passes.”

The Cards were close to scoring a goal seven different times in the first half, but the Colonels’ defense kept them at bay. However, within four minutes of the second half, forward Kelso Peskin, Cape Town, South Africa junior, scored the game’s first goal for Lamar, which was quickly followed by her and the team’s second goal.

“We showed the other teams that we’ll play that we’re capable of winning,” midfielder Samantha Moreno, Mexico City, Mexico senior, said. “That’s why (Friday’s) game was so important for us.”

Peskin, defensive midfielder M.J. Eckart, forward Lucy Ashworth, midfielder Juliana Ocampo and Samantha Moreno were Lamar’s biggest threats in the game, offensively and defensively.

“Our teammates our like family to us,” Ocampo said. “When one person succeeds, we all succeed.”

Friday was also International Players Appreciation night, honoring the eight women on the team who originate from outside the United States.

“We wanted our international students to come out and support the team,” Zapata said. “Our team is very internationally oriented. We have players from Norway, England, Colombia, Mexico, etc. It’s a good opportunity for the community to come together and support our teams.”

Several international fans in the crowd showed their support for their teammates.

“Our families can’t be here and we’re far away from home,” Ana Moreno said. “To see other international students at our games gives us more confidence and we play better.”

The Lady Cardinals play their next conference game against the University of Central Arkansas, Sept. 22, in Conway, Ark.

“The ladies played as a unit, which is why they performed so well,” Zapata said. “If we keep playing like we did (Friday), I know we’ll make it to the end.”

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Forward Lucy Ashworth, Wigan, England freshman, keeps the ball away from Nicholls’ defense, heading straight to the goal posts. UP photo by Olivia Malick.

Story by Olivia Malick, UP staff writer

Getting used to it

The potential for hurricanes is the price people pay for living along the Gulf Coast. Every hurricane season brings a new threat of devastation, and the summer of 2017 is a prime example of the worst the Gulf of Mexico can bring.

Hurricane Harvey was the first of the 2017 Atlantic season and held nothing back. Record amounts of rain drowned the metropolitan areas of Houston and the surrounding cities all the way to the Louisiana border, with Southeast Texas communities being especially hard hit.

It destroyed thousands of homes and took 70 lives in the U.S. Now, as the recovery process begins, people are banding together to rebuild and restore homes, businesses and lives.

We have had to do this numerous times in just the last 12 years. We’ve cleared the debris wreaked across cities from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 and Ike in 2008, and have witnessed the relentless Gulf take our homes and our sense of security.

Recovery from a hurricane doesn’t happen overnight. It takes years. Decades. There are still boarded up gas stations abandoned by owners, ominous blue FEMA tarps on vacant homes, and countless trailers in place of where houses used to stand from Rita.

Harvey will join those storms in years to come when survivors recount how they lost their homes to four, five, or six feet of water. The worst part, perhaps, is that so many people are without flood insurance, meaning the reconstruction of their lives is uncertain. No one predicted the massive amounts of rainfall — Beaumont had 43 inches and our neighbors in Orange had 54 inches.

To make matters worse, the high waters disabled water pumps and filtration systems for Beaumont, leaving more than 100,000 residents without potable water. Almost three weeks later many parts of the Golden Triangle are still under several feet of water only accessible by boat.

The only good thing to come out of Harvey so far has been the innumerable amounts of people who have come to Texas from all over the country to help us get back on our feet. That includes the men and women of the U.S. military who have stood in blazing heat to make sure that people got bottled water and food, and the organizations who have been passing out necessities like clothes and toiletries since the storm passed.

While we may be able to take a deep breath now, our neighbors in Florida are cleaning up after Irma, the Caribbean is suffering from Maria and the East Coast is getting the effects of Jose.

As global warming continues, we can expect more frequent and stronger storms.

Hurricane season can be tough, but we have made it through before and we must keep making it through. There have been so many stories as of late regarding the adamant spirit that the residents of Texas have taken in rebuilding after the storm, but in all reality, what else can we do? We have always been resilient and we always will be, so while this may be a dark chapter in our lives, the comeback will be extraordinary.

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UP graphic by Olivia Malick.

Story by Olivia Malick, UP staff writer

Wesley cleans up after flooding

Hurricane Harvey caused record-breaking amounts of flooding in Southeast Texas, including some flooding on campus. The Wesley Foundation had four inches of water in their building, leaving members to clean out moldy insulation within the walls.

Several congregations from Texas came to aid the foundation with helping hands.

“We came to help wherever we can,” Pastor John Whitehurst of Grace Crossing Methodist Church in Longview said. “It’s been wonderful knowing that we can help rebuild the homes of families that lost everything and being able to just be there for them.”

Reverend Amy Walker, Wesley Foundation congregation leader, said she is grateful for the assistance.

“The United Methodist Church is extremely connected,” she said. “The churches in our district asked where help was needed and we’re thankful that they came during this time.”

This is not the first time the building has flooded. It has taken on water five other times, each requiring restoration, but Walker says that’s not going to hinder service.

“After we tear out the insulation in the walls and clean all of the mold out, then we can hold our worship services,” she said. “You don’t need walls to worship.”

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Members of the Grace Crossing Methodist Church in Longview strip insulation from the Wesley Methodist Center, Sept. 8. UP photos by Olivia Malick.

Olivia Malick, UP staff writer

Review: Gender Revolution, Overcoming Ignorance

Gender identity used to be so simple. It consisted of male and female and nothing else. Nowadays, there are hundreds of gender identities to choose from. It may seem like a sudden change, but gender has never been just blue for boys and pink for girls — it’s always been a spectrum.

“Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric,” a National Geographic documentary, explains the rainbow of gender hues in today’s society.

The Beaumont chapter of PFLAG (Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays) hosted a public screening of the documentary and a subsequent panel discussion, Aug. 5, at the Theodore Johns Library in Beaumont.

This is the best documentary on gender identity for the uninitiated. The research and scientific facts presented in the film not only gives the viewer greater insight into the science behind the conditions, but also answers many of the most-asked questions.

Gender discussions have become more prominent in the past few years, from Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover to the infamous South Carolina “Bathroom Bill” (HB2) to, most recently, President Donald Trump’s proposal to ban transgender people from serving in the military.

Couric travels across the United States to investigate if gender has changed throughout generations. Her conclusion is that it hasn’t — people are now just more aware and open to talk about their identities.

She strives to explain terms such as non-binary, pangender, genderfluid, transgender and intersex, etc., which are more now more common in media and political conversations.

What strikes one most about this film is the stories of those affected by a close-minded society. There comes a point when people need to stop focusing so much on how others see themselves; society needs to remember that members of the LGBT+ community are humans, too, and shouldn’t be denied basic rights, such as being able to use the bathroom of their choice.

Many people who disagree with the so-called “revolution” regard the conversation surrounding gender identity as contrived to inflate a “liberal-agenda” and disregard it as unnecessary political correctness.

For those people who think that men will start dressing as women to get into girls’ bathrooms, get real. When men decide to attack women, they do it regardless of their surroundings, so why don’t we focus on the sexual assault rates of men who are actually attacking women, and not some ignorant attempt to disguise one’s prejudice.

It’s 2017, why is being transgender or intersex or non-binary, etc. such an issue? America has always been seen as the land of freedom; we’re supposed to be forward-thinking and innovative, but instead we focus on non-issues and cause people to suffer.

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Jefferson County Sheriff Zena Stephens and PFLAG Education Coordinator Payshunz Nagashima discuss ways to teach officers sensitivity training in regards to the LGBT+ community. Photo by Olivia Malick.

An estimated 12 percent of the population is non-gender conforming. Statistically, that means that you will probably know someone in your lifetime that will identify as something other than male or female. This documentary raises awareness of the necessity for acceptance and tolerance in this country. America is divided by these issues because change is occurring, and if history has taught us anything, it’s that change is inevitable.According to the Williams Institute of Law at the University of California at Los Angeles, 50 percent of people who are gender non-conforming attempt suicide at some point in their lifetime. Fifty percent! Not to mention that systemic discrimination leads to an overwhelming proportion of the LGBT+ to live below the poverty line, as well as face higher unemployment and higher risks of violence being brought against them.

People who oppose LGBT+ rights often cite religion a reason, but the First Amendment grants us freedom of religion, which includes freedom from religion, i.e. separation of church and state, leaving that argument invalid.

The documentary covers the spectrum of American life — from small, rural, overtly religious towns to large, diverse cities, showing that gender nonconforming people are just like everyone else — they aren’t a “trend” that will fade away.

“Gender revolution” is unbiased, informative, and offers a perspective on what it’s like to live as a gender nonconforming person in America in the 21st century. It is a film that deserves to be seen by everyone.

To learn more about PFLAG, visit their Facebook page @ PFLAG Beaumont.

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National Geographic released the documentary in February 2017 to coincide with their January issue.

Olivia Malick, UP staff writer