May 2010 News Releases

Thursday May 27, 2010
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Luncheon honors staff members for years of service at Marshall University

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University's 26th annual Service Awards Luncheon will take place from noon to 2 p.m. Wednesday, June 2 in the Memorial Student Center's Don Morris Room on the Huntington campus. In addition to the service awards, the Employee of the Year will be named.   

The following is a list of university staff members who will receive awards:

For 10 years of service: Robert Bailey, Scott Ballou, Tara Hensley, Carol Hurula, William James, Anita Mathis, Cyndi Miller, James Morris, Cynthia Obregon, Rudy Pauley, Tamara Reynolds, Carolyn Schwarz, Stephen Shumlas, Sherri Smith, Jonathan Thompson, Mary Waller, and Philann White.

For 15 years of service: Mary Adkins, Kevin Bannon, Eleanore Beckett, Jean Bevans, Roy Bias, Bernice Bullock, C. Jill Burcham, Ernest Cartwright, Joann Haley, Gary Hall, Elizabeth Hanrahan, Susan Luther, Juanita Marley, Molly McClennen, Garnet McKinley, Martha Mozingo, Rhonda Mullins, Babette Napier, Jan Parker, Alice Roberts, John Smith, Denise Smith, Jason Sturgill, Bethsaida Thacker, Jeffrey Tomblin, Leonard Varney, Donald Vaughn, Robert Walker, Patricia Webb, and Lance West.

For 20 years of service: Lisa Allen, Teresa Bailey, Karen Beach, Richard Begley, Frances Browning, Debra Chapman, Sandra Clements, Robert Collier, F. Layton Cottrill, Brenda Flemings, Mark Gale, Melissa Gebhardt, Barbara Hicks, Thomas Jessup, Terry Kates, Anna Lawhon, Robbie Layne, James Parker, Carolyn Plybon, Ann Pofahl, Bonnie Ross, Sabrina Simpson, Olive Smith, John Stepp, Sandra Toppings, William Thornhill, Meena Wadhwa, Susan Weinstein, Vickie White, Suzann Workman, and Katherine Zimmerman.

For 25 years of service: Betty Adkins, John Bailey, Linda Beaver, Merry Brown, William Burdette, Edna Cole, James Eans, Jan Fox, Patricia Gallagher, Karen Haney, Ronnie Hicks, Randy Layne, Charles Newton, Richard Petit Jr., Victoria Seguin, and Evelyn Tooley.

For 30 years of service: Carla Adkins, Timothy Calvert, Dennis Casey, Jerri Clagg, Russell Dobbins, Deborah Dorsey, Bernie Elliott, Frances Hensley, James Jones, Edna Justice, Karen Kirtley, Sharon Lake, Thomas Laney, William Lewis, Sherri Noble, Dale Osburn, Wanda Peters, Jacqueline Smith, and Jack Wilson.

For 35 years of service: Patsy Dickson, Jeffery Edwards, Nadine Hamrick, and Cynthia Warren.

Retirees: Jack Blake, Frances Browning, Deirdre Carrico, Woodrow Edmonds, Jerry Gray, David Greene, Charlotte Hardin, Charlene Hawkins, Linda Javins, Darrell Kendrick, Carl Knopp, Patricia Lee, Robert Marcum, Chris McGuffin, Garnet McKinley, Michael Meadows, Linda Mollohan, Shirley Oden, Barbara Roberts, Carol Skaggs, Olive Smith, James Stephens, Bethsaida Thacker, Evelyn Tooley, Willanna Wales, Kemp Winfree, Barbara Winters, and Jacqueline Woolfolk.

To be eligible for awards employees must have completed 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35 years of service to Marshall University by May 1, 2010.

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Thursday May 27, 2010
Contact: Susan Tams, Director of Editorial Services, 304-746-2038

Dr. Vicki Stroeher to present session at conference in UK

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Dr. Vicki Stroeher, musicologist and associate professor of music at Marshall University, will present a session at "Benjamin Britten in Context," a two-day international conference at Liverpool Hope University in the United Kingdom. The conference will take place from June 10 to 12.

"I am honored to have my presentation chosen for this conference, as my primary research focuses on Benjamin Britten's songs and song cycles," Stroeher said.  "It's going to be a great couple of days exchanging ideas and research with other Britten scholars."

Britten (1913-1976) is considered one of the most important 20th century English composers. He put English opera back onto the world-wide operatic stage with "Peter Grimes" (1945), as well as "Billy Budd" (1951) and "Death in Venice" (1973). He also wrote choral works, including the "War Requiem" (1962),  "A Ceremony of Carols" (1942) and "Rejoice in the Lamb" (1943), and orchestral pieces. Early in his career, Britten collaborated with the premier English poet, W. H. Auden.

Stroeher's presentation will examine two existing versions of a song Britten composed to text by Auden and discuss his struggle with the setting in the light of his changing relationship with Auden.

Prior to attending the conference, Stroeher will be conducting research in the Britten-Pears Library in Aldeburgh, U.K., which is Britten's private library.

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Wednesday May 26, 2010
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Marshall sponsoring two-man fly fishing team in national event

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University's College of Science and Career Services office are endorsing a team of participants in the first national fly fishing competition held in West Virginia.

The team, called "Team Marshall Fly Fishing," consists of Greg Hall, a 1973 Marshall graduate currently living in Teays Valley, W.Va., and Brady Hanson. Hall is on the pro staff of "Fly Rod Chronicles with Curtis Fleming," ( an award-winning fly fishing television show broadcast nationally. He was one of the founders of the show. Hanson has been a fly fishing guide in Colorado and now resides in the Washington, D.C., area.

The 2010 Harman's North Fork Invitational takes place Thursday-Saturday, June 3-5 at Harman's Cabins on the north fork of the south branch of the Potomac River in Cabins, W.Va.

Fleming has agreed to film Hanson and Hall throughout the tournament for a segment to be shown on "Fly Rod Chronicles with Curtis Fleming." The show airs each week on the Sportsman Channel at 1 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. on Tuesdays, 11:30 a.m. Fridays, 1:30 p.m. Saturdays and 3:30 a.m. Sundays.

The show recently won two Bugle Awards, which recognize all national and local networks for the Best of the Best. It was chosen for "Best Fishing Show" and Fleming was chosen for "Best Humor" in outdoor TV.

Hall majored in medical technology at Marshall and today is a medical technologist and registered nurse. In obtaining sponsorship from Marshall, Hall's goal is to bring national exposure to the university.

"This is about bringing exposure to Marshall University," Hall said. "We have about 890,000 viewers per episode. My partner and I will do our best to represent Marshall University and everyone associated with it. I personally can't wait to get started."

Hall is confident of a victory for the Marshall team, which will display Marshall logos on a banner and their fly fishing apparel throughout the tournament. "My partner has the secret fly to win the tournament," Hall said, laughing.

Hall said fly fishing is the fastest growing sport for middle and upper executives and professionals, and the fastest growing outdoor sport for women.

"We want to let people know that they can get a great education at Marshall University and enjoy some great fly fishing just a few hours away," Hall said.

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Tuesday May 25, 2010
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Healthy Herd Youth Camps planned at Marshall Recreation Center

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The Marshall Recreation Center, located on Marshall University's Huntington campus, will host the 2010 Healthy Herd Youth Camps this summer for area youth ages 5-13.

The Healthy Herd Youth Camps consist of eight one-week sessions running June 14 through August 6. Each week will have a specific theme and includes a camper t-shirt and bracelet. The Healthy Herd Youth Camps provide all-day sessions from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Before care and after care are available beginning at 7:30 a.m. and ending at 5:30 p.m.

Daily activities include learning to climb the 35-foot recreation center wall, playing camp games and physical activities, swimming in the 100,000-gallon pool complete with vortex and basketball hoop, and learning about fitness and healthy lifestyles.

The cost for one week of camp is $100 for members of the Marshall Recreation Center and $125 for non-members. The Healthy Herd Youth Camps emphasize the development of healthy lifestyles through participation in physical and educational activities. The staff is committed to an emphasis on self-esteem, self-responsibility and self-worth for all campers.

Anyone with questions about the camps may contact Matt Campbell at 304-696-4101 or via e-mail at For more information or to fill out the enrollment form, visit

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Monday May 24, 2010
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Marshall University student selected for CLS Scholarship

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - A Marshall University student has been selected for a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) to study Arabic in Tunisia this summer.

Megan Ross, a junior from Quick, W.Va., was among 575 students selected from nearly 5,300 applicants in a range of academic disciplines from colleges and universities throughout the 50 states.

U.S. students will spend seven to 10 weeks in intensive language institutes this summer in 15 countries where these languages are spoken.  They will support their studies through cultural immersion activities in their host countries.

Ross is a biomedical student who hopes to attend medical school and eventually work with public health in the area of infectious diseases.

"I love languages," Ross said.  "I took French at Capital High School and I wanted to learn something different, so when I found out that Arabic was being taught at Marshall, I took the classes.  I had a lot of fun learning it. Actually, I found studying it was relaxing."

Ross said she also got tutoring in Arabic from a friend's mother. 

The seven to 10 weeks of study this summer will actually be equivalent to a year's worth of language study.   Students will receive four to five hours of instruction per day five days a week. 

The daughter of Sharon and Brad Ross of Quick, Ross said she is looking forward to spending time in Tunisia.  "Since I come from a rural area, I'm eager to experience the Middle East and I would like to give it a positive spin," she said.

The CLS for Intensive Summer Institutes was launched in 2006 to increase opportunities for American students to study critical-need languages overseas and is a part of a wider U.S. government effort to dramatically expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical-need languages.

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Monday May 24, 2010
Contact: Jaye Ike, College of Fine Arts, 304-696-3296

MU Jazz Ensemble performs at JEN Conference

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. Marshall University's Jazz Ensemble has returned from an appearance at the Jazz Education Network's inaugural conference in St. Louis May 20-22.

 JEN is a newly formed organization whose purpose is to provide students, teachers and professional jazz musicians an opportunity to share knowledge and enjoy each other's performances, said Dr. Ed Bingham, professor of music and director of the jazz ensemble.

"We are proud to have been selected to participate in St. Louis," Bingham said. "JEN's choice reflects favorably on our students' artistic achievement and will provide an opportunity for them to learn more about their art."

In addition to Bingham, music faculty members Dr. Martin Saunders, Dr. Sean Parsons and Dr. Michael Stroeher performed in the ensemble with the students.

The conference took place on the St. Louis campus of the University of Missouri. Participants represented 45 states and 18 countries.


Photo: Vocalist Jen Billups and the Marshall University Jazz Ensemble performing at the Jazz Education Network conference.

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Friday May 21, 2010
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Marshall's Society of Yeager Scholars program receives third $15,000 grant from Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - A grant of $15,000 from the Board of Trustees of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to the Marshall University Foundation, Inc., will help support Marshall University's Society of Yeager Scholars.

The donation, which Marshall received on May 18, is the third such gift from the California-based Hilton Foundation over the past few years.  The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation was established in 1944 by hotel entrepreneur Conrad N. Hilton. Offices are located in Los Angeles, Calif., and Reno, Nev.

"This gift will be deposited into the Society of Yeager Scholars greatest needs fund to support our current and incoming Yeager Scholars," said Bob Galardi, Director of Development for Marshall University's Honors College, home of the Society of Yeager Scholars program. "The grant will assist us to meet the rising costs of Yeager Scholars' studies at Marshall.

"The continued kindness of the Hilton Foundation demonstrates the importance of securing new funding sources needed to grow our programs, colleges and our university into the 21st century," Galardi said. "Both the Honors College and its endowed scholarships depend on the generosity of donors and foundation support."

For more information or to contribute to the Society of Yeager Scholars, contact Galardi at 304-696-3336 or e-mail him at

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Thursday May 20, 2010
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Pilgrim Glass collection given by Drs. Joseph and Omayma Touma to be dedicated May 30

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Dedication of "The Magic of the Pilgrim Cameo Glass: The Touma Collection," a gift from Drs. Joseph and Omayma Touma to Marshall University, will take place Sunday, May 30 on MU's Huntington campus.

The dedication is from 2 to 5 p.m. in the second-floor reading room of the Drinko Library and is by invitation only.

The program features remarks from Dr. Joseph Touma, a brief history and description of artistic techniques by Kelsey Murphy, and dedication of the collection and recognition of the Pilgrim Glass artisans. A reception will follow.

This gift of the Toumas was donated to honor the work of the Pilgrim Glass Corporation, including Alfred E. Knobler, a ceramic engineer who established the company in 1949, Robert Bomkamp, Murphy and their team of artisans.  It is the most comprehensive collection of Pilgrim Cameo that chronicles many of the developments in creating this exciting and exceptional art glass.

"We are truly blessed that Drs. Joseph and Omayma Touma are so generous to the university and the library," said Dr. Monica Garcia Brooks, assistant vice president for information technology: online learning and libraries. "Their commitment to the students is sincere and appreciated by all.  We have already seen many students take time out of their busy schedules to enjoy the collection and our visitors have commented on the artistic abilities and amazing skill each piece demonstrates." 

The Pilgrim Glass Corporation was established in Ceredo, W.Va., by Knobler, who developed many rare colors of glass.  In 1987, Murphy and Bomkamp joined the company.  Combining their knowledge of sand-carving with Pilgrim's beautiful colors, Murphy, Bomkamp and their team of skilled glass artisans took a bold step and began to create Cameo Glass, often referred to as "The King of Glass."

The technical aspects of casing one color over another, then carving through the layers to expose the color beneath, proved to be an enormous challenge. Although there were literately thousands of technical hurdles to surmount, controlling the rate of expansion in the glass to make the layers compatible was the most difficult, resulting in more than a 90 percent loss during the first five years.

However, with the support of collectors and the backing of Knobler, the team solved the problems inherent with such a rare and difficult glass, resulting in a new era of glassmaking and pioneering American Super Cameo.

By the time Pilgrim Glass Corporation retired in 2001, it surpassed all other manufacturers by casing and carving cameo glass with more layers than had ever been accomplished before, assuring itself a place in the history of glass.

For more information on the dedication, call Brooks at 304-696-6474.


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Thursday May 20, 2010
Contact: Jaye Ike, College of Fine Arts, 304-696-3296

Marshall professor to participate in Timber Flute Festival this summer

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Dr. Wendell Dobbs, flutist and professor of music at Marshall University, will serve as musical director and one of the instructors at the 4th annual Timber Flute Festival this year. The festival will take place at the Randolph County Community Arts Center in Elkins, W.Va., from June 20 to 25.

"It's a weeklong series of workshops, concerts and social events, all associated with the traditions surrounding the wooden flute," Dobbs said.

Dobbs will teach fife and keyed flutes. Other instructors at the festival will include Grey Larsen, who will teach Irish traditional flute; Ron Warren, teaching Native-American flute; and Colin St. Martin, teaching 18th century flute. Flutemaker John Gallagher also will be on hand to demonstrate the craft of wooden flutemaking.

More information on the festival is available on the Web, both on the Randolph County Community Arts Center site at and on Facebook at

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Wednesday May 19, 2010
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

WMUL students receive nine awards in Hermes Competition

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Students from WMUL-FM, Marshall University's public radio station, received four Platinum Awards, three Gold Awards and two Honorable Mention Awards in The Hermes Creative Awards 2010 Competition.

Dr. Chuck G. Bailey, professor of radio-television production and management in the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Marshall University and faculty manager of WMUL-FM, said, "This is an outstanding accomplishment to be recognized as having produced one of the best documentaries in the country as well as a highly regarded women's basketball play-by-play, a quality Marshall sports week in review program and the best overall website.

"I am proud and grateful for the honor these Hermes Creative Platinum Awards bestow on WMUL-FM, the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications and Marshall University," Bailey said. "The Gold Awards are tributes to the full-length program scriptwriting, the daily thirty-minute newscast announcing and sports play-by-play announcing skills of our broadcast students in competition with professional practitioners."  

With the addition of these nine awards, the student broadcasters have won a grand total of 76 awards for the 2009-2010 academic year with three contests still remaining - the West Virginia Associated Press Broadcasters Association Awards, the Communicator Awards, and the  Jim Nantz College Sportscaster of the Year Award.

The 76 awards include 24 first-place awards, 20 second-place awards, six third-place awards and  26 honorable mention awards.

The Platinum Award-winning entries by WMUL-FM in the Hermes Competition were in the Radio Documentary Program, Radio Program, Radio Sports Play-By-Play and Web Site Overall categories.

Radio Documentary Program

"Failing Infrastructure:  Saving Huntington's Sewage System," written and produced by Adam Cavalier, a graduate student from Montgomery. The documentary was broadcast during "Aircheck" Thursday, May 7, 2009. 

Radio Program

"Herd Roundup," broadcast and made available online Friday, Oct. 23, 2009. The students who participated in "Herd Roundup" were Adam Cavalier, co-host and producer, and Robert Iddings, a senior from St. Albans, co-host and producer.

Radio Sports Play-By-Play

WMUL-FM's broadcast of the Marshall University versus University of Alabama-Birmingham women's basketball game played at Cam Henderson Center in Huntington Saturday, Jan. 30, 2010. The students calling the game were basketball play-by-play announcer Adam Cavalier; color commentator Scott Hall, a graduate from Stevens City, Va.; and engineer Leannda Carey, a junior from Wellsburg.

Overall Web Site

WMUL-FM's website is www. The 2009-2010 Web Master for WMUL-FM Online was Deven Swartz, a senior from Philippi.

The Gold Award-winning entries by WMUL-FM were in the Radio Script, Radio Newscast and Radio Sports Play-By-Play categories.

Radio Documentary Script

The script for the documentary program "Failing Infrastructure: Saving Huntington's Sewage System" was written by Adam Cavalier. The documentary script was completed Monday, May 4, 2009. 

Radio Newscast

"The 5:00 p.m. Edition of Newscenter 88" was broadcast Friday, Oct. 23, 2009. Delaney McLemore, a sophomore from Philomath, Ore., was the producer, Adam Cavalier and Leannda Carey were news anchors, and Kenneth Cox, a senior from Glen White, was sports anchor.

Radio Sports Play-By-Play

WMUL-FM's broadcast of the Marshall University versus Southern Methodist University football game played at Joan C. Edwards Stadium in Huntington Nov. 21, 2009. Students calling the game were football play-by-play announcer Robert Iddings; color commentator Dave Traube, a senior from Beckley; and engineer Scott Hall.

The Honorable Mention Award-winning entries by WMUL-FM were in the category Audio Podcast Category and Radio Sports Play-By-Play.

Audio Podcast

"J. R. VanHoose: From the Herd to the Hornets," written and produced by Adam Cavalier, that was broadcast during the "5:00 p.m. Edition of Newscenter 88," and available online Friday, Dec. 4, 2009.

Radio Sports Play-By-Play

WMUL-FM's broadcast of the Marshall University versus Bowling Green State University football game played at Joan C. Edwards Stadium in Huntington, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2009. The students calling the game were football play-by-play announcer Adam Cavalier; color commentator Ryan Epling, a recent master's degree graduate from Wayne; sideline reporter Andrew Ramspacher, a senior from Dublin, Ohio; and engineer Scott Hall.

The Hermes Creative Awards, administered and evaluated by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals, are an international competition created to honor outstanding creativity, skill, craft and talent in the concept, writing and design of traditional and emerging media.  All entries are judged on a point system in areas including creativity, design, innovation, presentation and technical merit while at the same time promoting the philanthropic nature of marketing and communication professionals.  There were approximately 3,600 entries in The Hermes Creative Awards 2010 Competition from throughout the United States and several other countries. 

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Tuesday May 18, 2010
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Perry to be honored at retirement/fundraising dinner Thursday at MU

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Dr. Simon Perry, who retired this spring after 48 years in Marshall University's Department of Political Science, will be honored Thursday, May 20 at a retirement/fundraising dinner on MU's Huntington campus.

The event will take place in the Marshall University Foundation Hall, home of the Erickson Alumni Center, beginning with a cocktail hour from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Dinner will follow at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are $35 per person and may be reserved by calling Gina Kates in the College of Liberal Arts at 304-696-2350.

In addition to honoring Perry for his many years of service at Marshall, the event also will mark the beginning of the public phase of a fundraising campaign for the Simon Perry Center for Constitutional Democracy.

The center's mission is to support an interdisciplinary program that focuses on the American judicial system and how it has been shaped by individuals in American history, especially John Marshall. In addition, the center addresses social, economic and cultural forces and the implications of artistic representation for political culture and identity.

The center also introduces students to the most basic elements of American society - who we are as a people, what we believe and what we collectively value. Through this study, students may learn of the need in American society for a shared frame of reference within which to engage both diversity and debate about the common good.

Perry was born and raised in Gilbert, W.Va. He began his higher education at Berea College in Kentucky where he graduated in 1954 with a double major in political science and history, and a minor in philosophy. He next earned a Master of Science degree in political science from the University of Tennessee, and then a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1962.

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Tuesday May 18, 2010
Contact: Ginny Painter, Communications Director, Marshall University Research Corporation, 304-746-1964

Marshall University institute partners with biotechnology leader IDT

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The Marshall Institute for Interdisciplinary Research (MIIR) has announced it has entered into an applied research and product development partnership with leading biotechnology company Integrated DNA Technologies (IDT).

According to the terms of the agreement, scientists at MIIR will be developing optimized biomolecular analyses or "assays" to be used by IDT for the detection and quantification of ribonucleic acid (RNA). The goal of the co-development project is to significantly improve the specificity of IDT's current assay methods without substantially increasing the cost.

IDT's custom synthesized DNA and RNA products are used by researchers around the world to help develop diagnostic tests for diseases like breast cancer and AIDS, to conduct research to discover new drugs or treatments for a variety of diseases, and to produce safer and more plentiful agricultural products.

Dr. Mark Behlke, IDT's chief scientific officer, said, "IDT is very excited to be working with a world-class organization like MIIR.  This collaboration will allow us to decrease the time required to commercialize an exciting new platform technology developed at IDT for use in quantitative nucleic acid detection."

Dr. Eric Kmiec, director of MIIR and the institute's lead research scientist, said, "We are honored an industry leader like IDT has selected us to develop and test a product for them. In effect, the agreement endorses our institute's innovative platform technology approach. There is definitely a niche out there for what we do."

Dr. Joan Wilson, who joined MIIR last summer as a senior scientist, will be responsible for executing the IDT project. Her research group at MIIR focuses on identifying non-coding RNA disease biomarkers and developing non-coding RNA-based tools for gene regulation and genome manipulation.

Kmiec said Wilson's experience in the fast-growing field of non-coding RNA biology was what attracted IDT.

"It's really a perfect fit," he said. "IDT recognized the market potential for these optimized assays but did not have the resources to pursue the technology on its own. We have the facilities, and in Dr. Wilson we recruited the type of scientist who does cutting-edge research coupled with platform-based technology development. She's only been here at Marshall for a few months and already our focus and investment in this emerging area of science are beginning to pay off."

Wilson said, "Creative opportunities like this are one of the reasons I chose to join MIIR. It is incredibly exciting to be associated with IDT. Their commitment to quality and innovation is unrivaled. I look forward to working with them to help develop critical RNA-focused research tools and to further MIIR's involvement in this high-impact field."

Kmiec said the agreement with IDT further validates the vision Marshall President Stephen J. Kopp had when he formed the institute to promote regional biotechnology entrepreneurship, adding that the project will become the basis for expanding MIIR's relationship with IDT and other high-tech companies. He said that eventually the entire region will see economic development benefits from spinouts and other businesses formed as a direct result of research done at the institute.

As part of MIIR's workforce training emphasis, summer internships are available for students who want to gain hands-on biotechnology skills. Interested students should call the institute at 304-696-3830.


About MIIR

The Marshall Institute for Interdisciplinary Research (MIIR) enables commercially relevant bioscience activity by affording companies the opportunity to develop and mature promising new technologies and products in the university environment. Research at the institute is directed with licensable endpoints in mind and corporate partners play important roles in selecting and developing projects that have commercial potential. The mission of the institute, which was created through the state's "Bucks for Brains" West Virginia Research Trust Fund, is to advance regional economic development, student education and workforce training. For more information, visit

About IDT

Integrated DNA Technologies (IDT) is the largest supplier of custom nucleic acids in the United States, serving academic, government and commercial researchers in biotechnology, clinical diagnostics and pharmaceutical development. IDT's primary business is the manufacture of custom, synthetic DNA and RNA oligonucleotides. Today, IDT synthesizes and ships an average of 36,000 custom oligos per day to more than 86,000 customers worldwide. IDT manufacturing locations include facilities in Coralville, Iowa, San Diego, California, and Leuven, Belgium. For more information, visit

Photo: Through an agreement with biotechnology leader IDT, Dr. Joan Wilson, senior scientist at the Marshall Institute for Interdisciplinary Research, left, and Mindy Applegate, research associate, will be optimizing biomolecular assays for the company's line of custom synthesized DNA and RNA products. Photo by Steve Shaluta.

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Friday May 14, 2010
Contact: Jaye Ike, College of Fine Arts, 304-696-3296

Marshall students receive College of Fine Arts Community Service Awards

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University College of Fine Arts students Lindsay DiFatta, Alli Forlines, Nikki Gilliam and Tommy Warf have been named the college's Community Service Award recipients for 2009-2010.

DiFatta, of Lusby, Md.; Forlines, of Bluefield, W.Va.; and Gilliam, of Ashland, Ky., were part of the Baskets for Branches campaign to raise awareness and collect donated items for Branches Domestic Violence Shelter in Huntington. Warf, of Huntington, has been a part of the Empty Bowls event, supporting the Huntington Area Food Bank, since its inception at Marshall University.

As part of the 2010 Marshall University Birke Fine Arts Symposium: Giving Voice: Social Justice and the Arts, students from the College of Fine Arts organized a university-wide drive asking the Marshall University community to prepare baskets full of essentials to be given to Branches residents. The collection of baskets occurred Wednesday, March 17, in the Memorial Student Center on the Huntington campus. 

Jaye Ike, special projects coordinator for the College of Fine Arts, explained that this initiative came from the students brainstorming in committee meetings.

"We had this hope that we might collect 50 baskets full of essentials - toothbrush, pillow, hairbrush, those kinds of things - and we would have been thrilled," Ike said. "So you can imagine our amazement when we needed to rent a U-Haul to take the baskets to Branches!"

Trudie Stiltner of Branches was moved to tears when the U-Haul arrived. She recounted the event in thanking the students who managed the project.

 "The thoughtful donations of various items have been very rewarding, bringing tears and amazement to our residents, as well as an understanding that no matter their location in life, they are always thought about and appreciated," Stiltner said. "Above all, we admire the thoughtfulness of community members such as you who take part in making a difference in people's lives."

Branches Domestic Violence Shelter is a nonprofit organization serving the West Virginia counties of Cabell, Wayne, Lincoln, Mason and Putnam. In addition to providing counseling, linkage to social services and court advocacy for victims of domestic violence, the organization provides free, safe temporary shelter, food and clothing to anyone - male or female, young or old -who needs assistance in vacating a dangerous and abusive situation. Each person who comes to the shelter is given a laundry basket with the essential and personal items he or she may need to make a clean start in life. Quite often, victims of domestic violence have had little time to pack even the most vital items for their survival and this is one way to help.

The Empty Bowls project is a national event. Since 2004, students in Keramos, the student potters' guild at Marshall, have produced an Empty Bowls event in Huntington.  Handcrafted ceramic bowls are sold for a modest price and the purchaser is entitled to a small bowl of soup, a piece of bread, and a drink.  All the proceeds from the local event are donated to the Huntington Area Food Bank.

Empty Bowls has grown over the years.  From 500 hand-crafted bowls offered in 2004, the number has grown to well over 1,400 bowls offered in 2010.  Approximately 700 people were served that modest lunch--food that was all donated by local restaurants, food suppliers, places of worship and individuals--and more than 900 bowls were purchased. 

 "Each year, for the past 7 years, l have said to myself this year's Empty Bowls event was great and cannot get any better, and this year was no different," Jon Rickey, executive director of the HAFB said. "My sincere thanks to each of you. With the community obviously becoming more and more involved, along with the incredibly fantastic efforts of Marshall University, everyone comes out a winner. Tommy has been a huge player in each of the seven annual Empty Bowls fundraisers and he truly deserves this award."   

Warf shared the praise with the whole Empty Bowls committee.

"It is an honor to receive this award, but without the whole Empty Bowls community it would not work," Warf said. "Empty Bowls itself is the reward for the hard work that each person involved in the event puts into it."

The Huntington Area Food Bank (HAFB) is a non-profit organization affiliated with America's Second Harvest, the largest hunger relief agency in the United States. With their help, the HAFB has access to thousands of pounds of food and non-food items. The HAFB serves as a catalyst to get nutritious food to people in need of food assistance by centralizing the solicitation and collection of food and then redistributing it. The HAFB is the hub in a network of food donors and more than 290 agencies that serve hungry people in 17 counties in West Virginia, eastern Kentucky and southeastern Ohio. The HAFB provides products to member agencies that feed the needy. 



Top: Don Van Horn, dean of the Marshall University College of Fine Arts (left), presents the college's Community Service Award to students Lindsay DiFatta, Nikki Gilliam, and Alli Forlines for their work on the "Baskets for Branches" project, a part of this year's Birke Fine Arts Symposium. At right is Dr. Vicki Stroeher, associate professor of music and chair of the 2010 symposium committee.

Bottom: Tommy Warf, winner of a Marshall University College of Fine Arts Community Service Award this year, demonstrates how a ceramic bowl is thrown in the university's Art Warehouse.

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Friday May 14, 2010
Contact: Ginny Painter, Communications Director, Marshall University Research Corporation,, 304-746-1964

Brownfields Assistance Center helps secure $600,000 in EPA grants

The Southern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center at Marshall University, a program of the university's Center for Environmental, Geotechnical and Applied Sciences (CEGAS), has helped three state entities secure $600,000 in grant funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The funds will be used to assess brownfields, which are abandoned or vacant properties that have potential environmental impairments but have been determined to have significant prospects for business, housing or recreational redevelopment.

Marshall's Brownfields Assistance Center partnered with each of the following successful applicants to write and submit the grant applications, and will be working closely with each entity during the assessments:

  • The Fayette County Commission has been awarded $200,000 to assess and prioritize brownfields properties throughout the county. There are an estimated 400 brownfields properties in Fayette County, many of which are located along main thoroughfares used extensively by tourists and recreationalists.
  • The City of Nitro received $200,000 to continue assessing and updating the city's brownfields sites. More than 50 underused and vacant brownfields sites already have been identified in Nitro with current EPA funding. The additional assessment activities will provide the city a more thorough inventory of contaminated sites that have potential for reuse as commercial properties, greenspace or recreational facilities.
  • The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Land Restoration, was awarded $200,000 to assess properties along the historic U.S. Route 60 Midland Trail, which is a national scenic byway. The brownfields assessments will clarify environmental conditions and help facilitate reuse of selected locations for historical interpretive stops along the trail, with the goal of attracting tourists and tourism-related jobs to the area.


Dr. Tony Szwilski, director of CEGAS and the Brownfields Assistance Center, said the center continues to increase its role in assisting communities and counties across the state as they tackle the challenges of re-using brownfields properties for positive redevelopment.

"Since our inception in 2005, we've helped communities obtain close to $3 million in EPA brownfields and related funding," he said. "These funds are making a significant difference in community revitalization by promoting economic development across central and southern West Virginia."

A total of $800,000 was awarded statewide this year for EPA brownfields assessment grants.

More information is available online at

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Wednesday May 12, 2010
Contact: Leah Edwards, Media Communications Specialist, 304-696-6397

Saturday event is fundraiser for Marshall University's healthy kids camp

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - It's a challenging workout and a chance to contribute to a healthy cause. CrossFit Thunder, located at 2516A 5th Ave. in Huntington, is offering a one-day exercise event from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 15. The minimum donation is $25 and all proceeds will benefit Marshall University's Camp NEW You.

Camp NEW You is an innovative program designed to help youth and their parents identify and practice lifestyle changes that will assist in reducing unhealthy body weight through increased physical activity and proper nutrition.  Entering its third year of programming, Camp NEW You will enroll Tri-State families looking to establish a healthier home environment.

"The primary goals of the program are to help families engage in regular moderate-to-vigorous physical activity in its various forms, to replace sedentary hobbies with more active ones, and to promote healthy decision-making during meal times," said Dr. Gina Sobrero Evans, assistant professor with the School of Kinesiology at Marshall University. "Parent education and involvement are also signature features of the program."

Evans says because the camp targets high-risk children, many health insurance providers such as PEIA, Mountain State Blue Cross Blue Shield, Health Plan, and WV CHIP have approved most program costs, but fundraisers like the one at CrossFit Thunder will go to establish scholarships  for children who are not enrolled in participating insurance.

Saturday's program is the last in a series of fundraisers planned for Camp NEW You. Camp signups are currently underway, and potential campers can download registration forms and physician referral forms at NEW You is a collaborative effort among Marshall University, West Virginia University and Concord University.

For more information, contact Evans at 304-696-2924 or

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Tuesday May 11, 2010
Contact: Pat Dickson, University Communications, 304-746-1971

Harless Center to sponsor summer camps for grades 3-9

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University's June Harless Center for Rural Education and Research and Development will hold six summer camps designed to encourage curiosity and to promote 21st century learning in a fun STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology and Math) environment.

Titled "A Series of Unusual Camps," the camps are geared for students ranging in grades from three through nine and will take place at Kellogg Elementary School at 4415 Piedmont Road in Huntington. Morning camps will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. while afternoon camps run from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Participants will be taken on a series of learning adventures that will include, among others,  becoming CSI detectives using forensic skills to solve a weeklong mystery; playing the role of an engineer programming LEGO robots to complete missions; helping NASA to return to the moon and prepare for a voyage to Mars; and racing to save the island of Montserrat from a volcanic eruption and approaching Category 3 hurricane.

Other camps will take students on a race around the world while challenging them to complete tasks and overcome roadblocks, or allow them to go "techie" to learn the ins and outs of popular technology including Windows Movie Maker, Microsoft Office and the Internet.

Dates and times of the camps are as follows:

July 12-15
CSI, 9-11 a.m., grades 3-5; Going Techie, 11:30 a.m.- 2:30 p.m., grades 3-5

July 19-23
Going Techie, 9-11 a.m., grades 3-5; Let's Build with LEGO, 11:30 a.m. 2:30 p.m., grades 6-9

July 26-30
Let's Build with LEGO, 9-11 a.m., grades 3-5; The Amazing Race, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., grades 3-5

August 2-5
9-11 a.m., XplorStation Harless, grades 3-6; Island Rescue, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., grades 6-9 

The fee for each camp is $60 with lunch being served for both camps from 11 to 11:30 a.m.  They will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis and a camp must be at 50 percent capacity to be conducted. Registration deadline is June 15, 2010.  Parents will be responsible for transportation to and from the camps. 

For additional information, contact Debbie Workman at 304-417-1804.

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Tuesday May 11, 2010
Contact: Pat Dickson, University Communications, 304-746-1971

Graduate College announces thesis awards

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The 2010 recipients of the Marshall University Graduate College's Summer Thesis Awards have been announced, according to Dr. Donna J. Spindel, dean of Marshall's Graduate College.

Recipients were selected based on the quality and significance of their thesis research, the likelihood that the research will result in a completed thesis, and on the need for financial support.

The $500 that went with each award was provided in part by the Marshall University Research Corporation and the Graduate College Advisory Board.

Those receiving awards are:

  • Christopher Atkins, School of Journalism and Mass Communications, M.A.J., News Organizations' Perceptions of Viewer Generated Content. Advisor: Dr. Christopher Swindell.
  • Tyler Hern, Biological Sciences, M.S., Rediscovering the Maryland Darter, Etheostoma sellare. Advisor: Dr. Thomas Jones
  • Waymon Holloway, Biological Sciences, M.S., Virtual endocasts of phytosaurs and their implications for the behavior and evolution of archosaurs. Advisor: Dr. Robin O'Keefe
  • Paul Hughes, Biology, M.S., Status and distribution of Cambarus veteranus in WV. Advisor: Dr. Thomas Jones
  • Jennifer Mills, Psychology, Psy.D., Does the Theory of Planned Behavior Predict Intentions to Seek Help for Suicidality? Advisor: Dr. Martin Amerikaner
  • Courtney Richards, Biological Sciences, M.S., Plesiosaur Body Shape and Its Impact on Hydrodynamic Properties. Advisor: Dr. Robin O'Keefe
  • Shelia Robinett, Psychology, Psy.D., Correlates of Early Overt and Covert Sexual Behaviors in Men and Women: Predictors of Adult Sexual Behaviors and Sexual Orientation. Advisor: Dr. Keith Beard
  • Emily Selby, Psychology, Psy.D., The application of the Lamaze method in the treatment of acute pain: a comparison of alternative pain management techniques. Advisor: Dr. Marc Lindberg
  • Josh Titlow, Biological Sciences, M.S., Combined Modulatory Effects of Dopamine and Serotonin in a Reflex Circuit. Advisor: Dr. Brian Antonsen
  • Stephanie Wemm, Psychology, M.A., A multidimensional approach to assessing risk for problematic drinking among undergraduate college students. Advisor: Dr. Massimo Bardi
  • Nathaniel Williamson, Geography, M.S., Landslide Susceptibility and Database Management of Cabell County, WV. Advisor: Dr. Anita Walz

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Friday May 7, 2010
Contact: Anna Swift, service project coordinator, 304-690-1483

Beverly Hills Middle School wins local food drive competition

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Beverly Hills Middle School won a local food drive sponsored by Marshall University's Honors Society (MUHSA) with 170 percent of its population bringing in a can of food. Collectively, all of the participating schools brought in more than 2,220 cans for the Huntington Area Food Bank (HAFB)

In addition to Beverly Hills, schools competing included Enslow, Huntington, Milton and Vinson middle schools. The intent of the drive, conducted April 12-16, was to fight local and global hunger.

Students and faculty at Beverly Hills Middle School ended the drive with 827 cans of food. Vinson was second and Huntington Middle third.

"Every time I walked past the foyer on my way to the band room, if I would just see that the pile of cans got a foot higher, I would just bubble over with excitement," said Cassie Hall, a seventh-grader at Beverly Hills Middle School. "I'd think: Oh yeah, we're going to flood the foyer."

James Wagner, a school counselor at Beverly Hills Middle School, said he is proud the students realized the need and put it upon themselves to help those less fortunate in the area.

"I'm so impressed by the motivation of our students," Wagner said.  "They really took the initiative to bring in food, so much that even students who did not have much to give still gave."

Aside from winning the competition, Beverly Hills Middle School students had the honor of choosing animals at a total cost of $500 from Heifer International's animal gift catalog to be sent to a needy family in places like Haiti and Chile. The animals decided on and announced at the award celebration Thursday, May 6 were two goats, two sheep and one flock of chicks. Money for this purchase was raised by MUHSA within the community.

"I was very happy with the choice of animals because those selected by the students can provide necessities such as milk, wool and eggs to needy families - a source of not only nutrition and food but also income," said Anna Swift, MUHSA's service project coordinator. "I was equally happy with the amount of involvement and personal interest shown by students at all of the participating middle schools; the project started out as MUHSA's but then really grew into a community project."

Wagner said students took charge of the project by counting cans of food, loading them into trucks to be transported to the HAFB and helping to raffle off prizes.

His hope for participating in and winning the food drive, he said, was that students would "learn the value and importance of helping others."

Olivia Maynard, another seventh-grader from Beverly Hills Middle School, said this project showed her just how much she has in comparison to others.

"We want this and we want that, and you think and realize that others don't have what we have," Maynard said.

Hall also concluded, "It makes you think of what you have."

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Friday May 7, 2010
Contact: Pat Dickson, University Communications, 304-746-1971

Applications being accepted for MU's Summer Enrichment Program

- Applications are now being accepted for Marshall University's Summer Enrichment Program for students K-12 at Stonewall Jackson Middle School in Charleston, June 22-July 22.  Sessions will run from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

The program is designed to provide children with an activity-based, hands-on learning experience in reading, writing and math.  Counseling and individual assessment services will also be available.  The cost of the program is $100 which includes breakfast and lunch.  A limited number of scholarships are available.

While offering extra learning opportunities for children, the program is designed to provide clinical experiences for Marshall graduate students who are working towards certification or licensure in the areas of special education, school counseling, school psychology and literacy education.

Inquires about the program and requests for applications should be directed to Dr. Joyce Meikamp, Professor of Special Education at Marshall, at 1-800-642-9842, ext. 1983, or locally at 304-746-1983.

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Thursday May 6, 2010
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Link to Streaming Video of Commencement

The Webcast of the Marshall commencement ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 8, may be accessed at

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Thursday May 6, 2010
Contact: Ginny Painter, Communications Director, Marshall University Research Corporation, 304-746-1964

Marshall University to conduct wind analysis on surface-mined lands


HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University's Center for Environmental, Geotechnical and Applied Sciences (CEGAS) and the West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center at Marshall are partnering with the West Virginia Division of Energy (WVDOE) Office of Coalfield Community Development to perform research and provide project administration for wind analysis on surface-mined properties in West Virginia.

Scientists at CEGAS, with assistance from the university's Center for Business and Economic Research, will be performing wind analysis at selected surface-mined lands to evaluate wind resources for energy development. Funding for the project is being provided by the WVDOE and the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Dr. Tony Szwilski, director of CEGAS, said the goal of the project is to encourage the reuse of West Virginia's surface-mined lands through the direct development of renewable energy projects.

"West Virginia has a mandate to significantly increase the production of renewable energy in the state," he said. "With this project, Marshall University is taking a leading role in assessing wind resource potential on surface-mined lands."

For the analysis, CEGAS will use state-of-the-art Sonic Detection and Ranging (SODAR) equipment. SODAR performs wind profiling up to approximately 200 meters above the earth's surface, recording wind speed, wind direction, wind sheer and wind veer. The SODAR unit CEGAS will use is a self-contained system that uses solar and battery power to operate, and applies satellite data transmission and telemetry for quick, 24/7 data retrieval and review.

The CEGAS researchers will be comparing wind data from the SODAR to existing datasets and industry requirements. The results will be useful in determining future alternative energy development across West Virginia.

Results will be made available on the websites of the West Virginia Division of Energy ( and the West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center (

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