Volume XXVII  No. 9 • Feb. 28, 2003

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Welcome to Black Hills State University - top

  • Rita Shewmake, secretary, Retired Senior Volunteer Program

Robert Duffie named director of facilities services at BHSU - top

Robert Duffie, former physical plant director at South Dakota State University, has been named director of facilities services at Black Hills State University. Duffie, who is a senior physical plant administrator with extensive experience in the higher education facilities service environment, will begin his duties at the Spearfish campus in May.

“I’m thrilled to accept the position of director of facilities services,” Duffie said. “I’m looking forward to building a long term relationship with Black Hills State University.” Duffie cites his ability and experience in establishing a positive work environment through proactive management with an emphasis on maintaining good employee morale and improving customer service and communication as his strengths for this position.

“Robert brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to Black Hills State,” said Kathy Johnson, vice president for finance and administration at BHSU. “We are looking forward to his leadership and experience to direct the facilities services department here.” His experience with major construction projects, knowledge of building codes, preventative maintenance and fire safety programs, as well as his experience managing physical plant operations make him an excellent selection for this position according to Johnson.

Duffie is currently physical plant director at Lee College in Baytown, Texas. Besides his experience at SDSU, Duffie served as physical plant director at Texas A&M University in Galveston, Texas, and construction and planning manager at Prairie View A&M in Prairie View, Texas. He has a bachelor’s degree with a dual major in physics and applied mathematics specializing in science and engineering from Prairie View A&M University and an associate degree in electronics technology from Pearl River Junior College in Poplarville, Mo. Duffie also has more than a decade of military experience serving in the U.S. Coast Guard and the Texas Army National Guard.

Duffie was selected following a national search after Art Jones retired last year. Randy Culver, associate director, has been serving as interim director of facilities services.

Diamond receives Paul Somers Award - top


David Diamond, assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at Black Hills State University, recently received the Paul Somers Award for his short story “The Elvis Jesus.” This is the third time in 10 years Diamond has received this award.

The Paul Somers Award is given to the first place winner of the fiction and creative non-fiction contest at the annual conference of the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature at Michigan State University.

Diamond’s winning short story will be published in the 2002 issue of Mid-America. He has also been invited to be a guest at the next conference banquet when his award will be acknowledged.

Diamond received his masters in writing from the University of Southern California in 1982 and has been teaching at BHSU since 1995.

BHSU students present at state Capitol - top

Six Black Hills State University students were among the record number of 122 South Dakota college students who presented their research projects at the state Capitol in Pierre Feb. 19. The students presented independent research conducted under the supervision of faculty members during the sixth annual Student Research Poster Session in the Capitol Rotunda.
“This event represents an important step in linking research and higher education,” Robert T. “Tad” Perry, executive director 
of the South Dakota Board of Regents, said. “This work 
speaks to the creativity and industriousness of our students 
Spencer Richards, a junior pre-med major from Newcastle, Wyo., presented research he conducted under the guidance of David Bergmann, BHSU College of Arts and Sciences assistant professor, at the annual Student Research Poster Session at the state Capitol recently.
and their desire to pursue a challenging education. I am convinced that students who have been involved in research make more effective professionals and more active citizens regardless of their career choice.”

Elke Kuegle, a junior biology major from Lead, under the faculty direction of Mark Gabel, BHSU College of Arts and Sciences professor, presented a research project titled, “A Comparative Study of Seed Characteristics from Selected Species of the Amaranthaceae and Chenopodiaceae.” This work focused on the morphology of the amaranthaceae and chenopodiaceae herbs and shrubs which show a close systemic botany relationship. The purpose is to analyze seeds from each family and to determine if the two groups should be combined or remain as separate families.

A trio of biology majors, Karl Mechtenberg, a junior from Yankton, Tessa Jones, a sophomore from Spearfish, and Katie Valkenburg, a junior from Rapid City, worked on a project under the direction of David Siemens, BHSU College of Arts and Sciences assistant professor. Their project was titled “Simultaneous Evolution of Plant Competitiveness and Defense: Switching from Toxin to Growth-based Strategies.” This project considered the optimality theory for plant defense against herbivores predicts an evolutionary tradeoff between competitiveness and defense. The students tested this hypothesis by studying the effects of genetic variation in competitiveness on defense expression.

Spencer Richards, a junior pre-med major from Newcastle, Wyo., presented research he conducted under the guidance of David Bergmann, BHSU College of Arts and Sciences assistant professor, on the “Expression of the Gene for the Methylococcus capsulatus Bath Cytochrome c’ gene in Escherichia coli.”  Cytochromes c’ and P460 are involved in the oxidation of hydroxylamine in the methane-oxidizing bacterium Methylococcus capsulatus. Richards attempted to express the cytochrome c’ of M. capsulatus in another species of bacterium.

Hans Stephenson, a senior biology major from Rapid City, completed a biology project under the direction of Mark Gabel. Stephenson’s project was titled “Microbial Inhibition in Response to Treatments of Hydrogen Peroxide and Formalin on Landlocked Fall Chinook Salmon Eyed Eggs as Determined by Scanning Electron Microscopy.” His project involved the use of scanning electron mircroscopy (SEM) to compare microbial growth in Chinook salmon eggs receiving daily treatments of formalin, hydrogen peroxide, or no chemical treatments during incubation from egg eye up to hatch. Stephenson investigated the use of low vacuum SEM for faster microbial estimates to be used in determining chemical treatment regimes.

This event is sponsored by South Dakota’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), the South Dakota Academy of Science and the South Dakota Board of Regents.

Mardi Gras event will raise funds for summer institute scholarships - top

The Black Hills Summer Institute of the Arts (BHSIA) will hold its annual scholarship fundraiser March 22 at the Matthews Opera House. The doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

The evening will include dinner, dancing and entertainment, all with a Mardi Gras theme. Masks, which are required, will be provided at the door. Prizes will be given for the most unusual men's masks and the most attractive women's masks. 

The ticket price of $35 per person includes food and beverages. All proceeds will go toward scholarships for students in the Institute's Vocal Arts and Opera Theater program held this year from June 15-29. Individual tickets or tables for groups of four or ten people, may be reserved by contacting Kay Kerney at 642-6420 or Holly Downing at hollydowning@bhsu.edu. Tickets will also be sold at the door depending on availability. 

BHSIA is a three-week celebration of the arts sponsored by Black Hills State University. The institute includes an opening Gala concert June 14, a Young Performers Competition June 13, a summer art camp for high school students June 16-20, the Art Education Institute for teachers June 23-27, an evening of performances by vocal arts students June 27, and a Night at the Opera June 28.

Spearfish Legislative Crackerbarrel set for Saturday - top

The Spearfish Chamber of Commerce's Government Affairs Committee will host its third and final Legislative Cracker-barrel Saturday, March 1 at 10 a.m. in the Spearfish Chamber office, 106 W. Kansas. 

Senator Jerry Apa, Representative John Teupel and Representative Chris Madsen will be available to visit with the public about political issues facing the state. The public will have the opportunity to ask questions and make comments on legislative issues after each legislator presents his opening remarks.

The cracker-barrel is open to the public at no cost. Contact the Spearfish Chamber of Commerce at 642-2626 for more information.

Faculty research funds available - top

The Faculty Research Committee has funds available for the current fiscal year. Write a short (about three-page) proposal. Proposal forms are available in the Grants and Special Projects Office, Woodburn 309, or can be printed from the website.

It is anticipated that successful applicants will request support for faculty release time, research equipment, travel to research sites or research support for the production of creative work. Preference is given to new applicants, particularly in the areas of education, business, social sciences and humanities. Applications are now being accepted for faculty release time for Fall 2003. Release time is awarded to full-time faculty who teach on the BHSU campus. The next application deadline is Monday, March 24 at 12 p.m.

The applicants are encouraged to contact the committee members for advice prior to completing their proposals. The members are John Alsup, Earl Chrysler, Tom Cox, Abdollah Farrokhi (chair), Jim Hess, Kathleen Parrow, Shane Sarver, and Rob Schurrer. 

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