Category Archives: Uncategorized

Study Tips: Reading Comprehension

Succeed In College: Read To Understand

By SLAC

Try not to be overwhelmed by setting a reading schedule, Bobcats!

Try not to be overwhelmed by setting a reading schedule, Bobcats!

Love it or hate it, you have to get familiar with academic reading in college. Your exams may include questions about readings that professors assigned but never discussed in class, so learn to read to understand. The more active your reading, the better your chance for thorough comprehension. Use a structured reading method involving forethoughtperformance, and reflection.

During the forethought phase, gather and prepare materials, and form a context for what you read before you read it. This helps you connect your thoughts to prior knowledge and builds retention:

  • Spend 5 to 10 minutes on the chapter title, topic outlines, headings, charts, diagrams and illustrations to create familiarity with content.
  • Read the chapter summary twice; think of what you already know about the topic.
  • Ask yourself what question the chapter is answering.
  • Determine how much energy to put into reading based on earlier study and knowledge.
  • Use the Internet if necessary to create another framework in which to put what you read.

Use the performance phase to actively read:

  • Focus attention by following the text with your index finger, a pen or pencil, and a note card with colored edges to keep you on the correct line.
  • Divide the chapter into parts; use a timer and short breaks to question yourself about the material.
  • Read and then mark or highlight primary points and write notes in the margin.
  • Explain to yourself (aloud) what you understand; hearing yourself increases retention.
  • Use headings to formulate questions in the margins and to prep for exams; ask yourself what the primary ideas are in each section.
  • Reread confusing sections and get help from learning centers and classmates if you need it.

Give yourself a reflection phase to review and understand:

  • Review the day of your first read-through to increase retention, and review each day until the exam.
  • Use chapter review cards, mapping, study guides and test preps to organize thoughts.
  • Explain aloud what you’ve understood to others; teaching leads to understanding.
  • Continue building a context from what you know — and connect the text to your class notes. Write the text’s page numbers beside corresponding in-class notes.

Other types of college texts require different reading strategies. Problem-centered texts require that you read and work problems; selected readings require you to use introductions and notes from class lectures; literature requires you to read after gaining a context for the work from prior knowledge or the Internet; research articles require you to read abstracts before starting; and reference works require you to preview structure, use tabs to mark key points, and note other textual facets.

Watch for two common stumbling blocks: an inadequate college-level vocabulary and poor concentration. Electronic or paper vocabulary cards can help tackle the former, as can learning Greek and Latin roots, prefixes and suffixes. Build your concentration by reading through a chapter in smaller increments in a setting that puts demands on your space and time.

Remember that your primary goal for reading is to understand, not simply memorize. You are building a structure upon which your future depends, so make it sturdy.

Source: Adapted from Sellers, D., Dochen, C., & Hodges, R. (In press). Academic Transformation: the Road to College Success. Boston: Pearson.

Exploring Majors: Agriculture

What’s it like to be an agriculture major? Dorothy Bell tells us.

By Brittnie Curtis

Being an outstanding student takes focus and motivation.

Being an outstanding student takes focus and motivation.

Q: What fueled your interest to major in animal science?
A.
I grew up with a golden retriever that was the same age as me. When I was younger, I started volunteering with animals at the rescue organizations that you often see outside of pet stores. I’ve loved animals my entire life and have always wanted to help them.

Q: Why did you decide to attend Texas State?
A.
One of the reasons is that it’s close to home, and it’s a growing school. Another reason is that I want to go the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences after I graduate, and a lot of the curriculum for the animal science major at Texas State is tailored to what A&M wants.

What were you unsure about when you first arrived at Texas State?
A.
College in general really scared me. I thought I was going to fail. I was nervous about taking notes because you never take notes in high school; you just sit there and listen. It’s weird coming from high school where you have four to seven classes a day, then going to college where you have two or three classes a day and it’s not the same every day. I thought I wouldn’t be able to keep up and would be overwhelmed. One of the best pieces of advice I got was from an orientation leader – treat your school like your job. You have eight hours every day and you should spend that on school and the rest of the time you can do whatever you want.

Q: What would you tell high school seniors who have the same fears?
A.
Try your hardest, but also have fun. The summer before college I was so scared to leave all of my friends. Then the semester starts and you have to embrace it; just take everything as it comes. Think about your future and what kind of grades you want to make. It’s really important to have a good study space – a spot that means all business. You can’t goof off in the spot that you’re studying in. I guess time management is one of the biggest things that you have to learn to do.

Q: What was your daily schedule like?
A.
My first semester I had a few 8 a.m. classes, and I never missed a class. While in class I would take notes and try to understand everything. I’d go back to my dorm and if I didn’t understand something, I would read about it in the textbook. That way when it came time for testing and we got our reviews, I would be prepared.

Q: What would you tell prospective students about the department of agriculture?
A.
All of the people are friendly and have the biggest hearts. They really care about the Earth and how you can use it in positive ways, like agribusiness. It’s a way of using the Earth’s resources to further your business without being detrimental to the environment.

Q: Were you involved in any extra-curricular activities?
A.
I was involved in the pre-vet society. It’s all pre-vet students who need good grades for veterinarian school, so it’s like a support group. Whenever we’d go to the meetings, they were always informational. They give you tips on what you need to prepare to go to vet school. They also told us about the GRE test that we would need to take to get into vet school. Even as a freshman, it was nice to get a chance to see what was ahead.

Q: What are your goals as you continue on your college education?
A.
I want to make a lot of connections and friends that are more like me and can relate. I want to be confident in myself, and I want to know what I want to do, even if it isn’t being a vet; I just want to love what I do. I also want to try to make the Dean’s List most semesters.

Q: You won the Outstanding Freshman Student award from the Department of Agriculture. What advice would you give incoming freshman who are striving to do the same?
A.
It’s all about motivation. You need to be motivated to reach your goals. When your professors tell you what they think you should do to get a good grade, do it. Also, don’t be afraid to go to office hours because that’s their time dedicated to help you. At the same time, don’t just kill yourself with all academics. Try to have fun, go to the river and experience San Marcos and even Austin. Get the college experience, but stay focused, because you only have four years to build yourself up. Either you or your parents are paying for your education, so you should strive to make the best out of it.

Rising Stars – SioTeX™ Team

Texas State team advances to ACS GCI Business Plan Competition

SioTeX has a 1-in-5 chance of taking top honors! Show this green company your support.

by Brittnie Curtis and Mary-Love Bigony

Four Texas State graduate students and one recent Ph.D graduate left Houston in April with a $125,000 prize from the Texas HALO Fund. When they arrived back in San Marcos, they were ready to build their business.

The prize came from the SioTeX™ team’s participation in the Rice Business Plan Competition, the first time a Texas State University team had competed in the prestigious event, which attracts graduate students from around the world.

The competition allowed its participants a unique lesson in the importance of teamwork. “I was interested in starting a company based on my Ph.D. work and participating in the Rice Business Plan Competition,” says Dr. Haoran Chen, the first graduate of Texas States Materials Science, Engineering and Commercialization (MSEC) doctorial program. “But I realized that an individual effort was far from sufficient. All kinds of things needed to be done quickly and in high quality.”

Chen talked to Dr. Gary Beall, associate director of the MSEC program, who quickly assembled a team:

  • Dr. Haoran Chen
  • Marcus Goss, MSEC doctoral student
  • Ash Kotwal, MSEC doctoral student
  • Cesar Rivera, master’s student in Texas State’s communication design program
  • Lisa Taylor, M.B.A. student in the McCoy College of Business Administration

For Lisa Taylor, the support of Texas State faculty members was a key component to the group’s success. “The Texas State Faculty has been so dedicated and helpful to our team during this process. Each of our department’s professors, deans and directors committed so much of their time, knowledge and expertise,” she says. “Dr. Beall recognized the benefits of constructing a team of students with varying expertise, and acted as our lead advisor. None of this would be possible without him.”

SioTeX™ will produce and distribute Eco-Sil™, an environmentally friendly alternative to fumed silica. It’s manufactured from rice hulls and is a renewable source. Target markets include paint, fiberglass-reinforced plastic and tires. These markets currently account for $1.5 billion in sales annually.

SioTeX™ will soon compete as a finalist in the 2014 ACS GCI Green Chemistry and Engineering Business Plan Competition. The competition will take place at the American Chemical Society GCI meeting in Bethesda, Maryland, on June 18. This business plan competition is dedicated to green chemistry and engineering and focuses on sustainability-oriented entrepreneurship. The competition allows the general public to vote for best technology. Donations and voting will be accepted through June 13. The votes will count towards the individual overall score for each competitor and the funds raised will be awarded to the grand prize winner of the competition.

Support your fellow Bobcats! Make a contribution of $5 or more and use your votes to support SioTeX. Go, Cats, go!

 

Around Campus: Summer Resources

Summer school survival tips

by Brittnie Curtis

Summer school has begun and campus is filled with Bobcats again. If you’re one of those students hiking around campus, you might want to know some of the resources available to you this summer.

Summer sessions are a great way to get on the fast track to graduation.

Summer sessions are a great way to get on the fast track to graduation.

Transportation Services - Twitter and Facebook
Bobcat Shuttle. Shuttle hours are different in the summer. The system is in operation during all class days. Monday – Friday service runs between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. for most shuttle routes on class days and during final exams. On the Bobcat Shuttle page, you can find the summer schedule, mapsalternative transportation and much more.

Parking Services - Permit are  available for purchase and are valid until August 15, 2014. Take a look at the parking map before coming to campus to make sure you know where your permit allows you to park. Give Parking Services a call at 512.245.2887 if you have more questions.

Dine On Campus
Summer I meal trades have started and the summer hours for dining halls have been posted. If you don’t have a meal plan yet, don’t worry! All prices can be found online and are fairly easy to purchase. You can also keep up with them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for tips on diets, food nutrition and healthy living.

Alkek Library - Twitter and Facebook
The library will be filled with students again studying for summer session I. Make sure you know when the library hours are!

Student Health Center - Twitter and Facebook 
Did you know that you can make appointments with the Student Health Center during the summer? Students who graduated in the spring can also still take advantage of the resources the Student Health Center has to offer. On the health center webpage, you can find the hours that they’re open, the clinical services that they provide and vaccination information.

Campus Recreation - Twitter and Facebook
You’d be surprised at the amount of services that Campus Recreation has to offer over the summer. The list seriously goes on and on. One of the main places students might be interested during the summer is the Student Recreation Center, where you’ll find group exercises, the Rock Wall and an indoor pool.

Texas State MobileAndroid and Apple 
A lot of the information in this post can be found at one central location — the Texas State Mobile App! It really is a lifesaver. From bus schedule and library hours, to news updates and your class schedule, the app has it all. It’s a great way to access information quickly and efficiently.

All in all, there’s a lot you need to know going into the summer school sessions. We’ve tried to provide you with quick shortcuts to most of that information. If we’ve missed anything, you can tweet us and we’ll try our best to point you in the right direction.

Have a great summer, Bobcats!

Student Life: The Job Hunt

Bobcats find job-search assistance through Career Services

By Brittnie Curtis

Finding a job is easier with the help of Career Services.

Finding a job is easier with the help of Career Services.

The spring semester is finally over. Some students will be soaking up the sun this summer at Sewell Park, but others may want to find a job. Now is a good time to do that. With students graduating, traveling and going home, many employers need to hire new staff to fill newly empty positions.

To help with your job search, take advantage of the resources available at Career Services. Among the services you’ll find there are résumé review, career counselors and advisors, and Jobs4Cats, a real-time list that allows students and alumni to create an on-line profile. Having a Jobs4Cats profile gives you easy access to on- and off-campus jobs and internships around the world.

“Our goal is to assist students with any part of their job-search process,” says Allison Birk, career advisor and liaison to the College of Fine Arts and Communications. “That could be sophomore or juniors looking for internships, seniors preparing their first full-time position or alumni considering transitioning to a new position.”

How do you maximize your chances of getting called for an interview? Birk suggests having someone review your résumé before sending it out to potential employers. You can schedule an appointment with her or any other of the career advisors and counselors at 512.245.2645, or you use the online 48-hour résumé critique site.

Birk also recommends paying close attention to the details listed in the job description. “Review job requirements and applications instructions because each may be different. Always include your summer class schedule when applying to jobs for scheduling purposes.”

Career Services is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. during the summer. Make an appointment by calling 512,245,2645.

With all of this information, you should be ready to start your job hunt. Good luck, Bobcats!

Student Life: Financial Tips

Preparing for your future at Texas State and beyond

by SLAC

Make sure you apply for available scholarships. [photo by 401(K) 2013 / flickr.com]

Make sure you apply for available scholarships. [photo by 401(K) 2013 / flickr.com]

As semester’s end approaches, consider the following for future semesters:

Will you be able to get relatives and/or friends to help financially?

Can you find scholarships for which you are eligible at Texas State or other institutions? Go to Financial Aid and Scholarships (J. C. Kellam, Suite 240, 512.245.2315, www.finaid.txstate.edu/) for information and check with your major department every semester as scholarships they offer vary from semester to semester. Also, ask friends, employers and contacts for leads: Some organizations and churches offer scholarships. Keep in mind that scholarships can be an asset to your résumé or vita!

Can you get a job while attending college that doesn’t interfere with your studies or, better, one that augments your education? If you’re a freshman, check with Personalized Academic and Career Exploration (PACE) in the PACE Center and online at pace.txstate.edu/. For on-campus jobs for all Texas State students, check out Texas State’s Career Center at www.careerservices.txstate.edu/, including Jobs4Cats, and ask places on campus (or off) that you frequent (like SLAC, the library, the student center, or a local coffee shop) to see if they are hiring. And don’t forget to consult Financial Aid to see if you are eligible for assistance via work-study funding, as this makes you a more desirable applicant for on-campus jobs.

Do you need a loan or grant (local, state, or federal) to continue at Texas State? If so, will one be available? Again, look to Financial Aid and Scholarships for information. Remember that you can add competitive grants to your résumé /vita.

Keep in mind that what you do now to be financially solvent, academically successful, build your work experience, and win scholarships and awards will prepare you for life beyond college!

Study Tips: Food for Thought

Good food for studying

by SLAC

Steer clear of the junk food aisle when you're choosing your studying snacks.

Steer clear of the junk food aisle when you’re choosing your studying snacks. [photo by gruntzooki / flickr.com]

Does your all-night studying including all-night snacking? Do you keep your brain and body going by working your way through packages of Oreos, bags of hot Cheetos, Dr. Peppers, Red Bulls, and a thick crust pepperoni pizza . . . one chapter at a time? Do you overeat to cope with the stress of last-minute studying?

Filling up with junk food can actually sabotage your efforts to prepare for final exams. Continue reading

Student Life: Down on the Farm

Preparing for Spring

by Emily Arnold

Well, nobody said it would be glamorous! Emily Arnold learns about the best ways to fertilize crops.

Well, nobody said it would be glamorous! Emily Arnold learns about the best way to fertilize crops.

The Freeman Ranch staff gave us permission to collect horse manure from the horse pen at the ranch. Horse manure is the best kind of manure for composting because of the animals’ digestive tract as well as their diet. They are by definition “hind-gut fermenters,” which means the absorption of nutrients from their food doesn’t begin until the end of the digestive tract. This makes their waste higher in nutrient content. Also, the horses at the ranch are fed entirely pesticide- and herbicide-free grass.

Once we collected the horse manure, we put some aside in a compost pile, and we applied some directly to rows that are currently empty. Because of the high nutrient content, we went in with rakes and manually tried to break it down and mix it into the soil. If we were to try and plant directly into the manure without letting it sit, the plants could get burned from high levels of nitrogen and die. We have been watering the rows with the manure in it to speed up the break down, and hopefully when we go to plant in week or so, the soil will be more fertile and give our plants some extra nutrition.

Students: Megan Holmes

Open to Opportunities: Grad student finds reward in her passion

by Megan Holmes

Photo of Megan Holmes

By expressing her opinions and taking a chance, Megan got an opportunity to expand her network and gather new insights. Well done!

I’m a Bobcat for life! I earned my bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in forensic psychology here at Texas State and I’m currently completing my master’s in agricultural education. My soul’s drive is to make an impact in the lives of high school students through agriculture.

One of the things I love most about Texas State are the dedicated professors.  The professors here have a genuine interest in my personal success. Continue reading

Exploring Majors: Dance

What’s it like to be a dance major?
Lauren Dorsett tells us.

by Mindy Green

Photo of Lauren Dorsett Q. When did you first know you wanted to study dance?
A. I started dancing when I was three and it’s always been my passion. When I was in high school, I helped teach at a studio. I realized I love to perform but I love to teach dance even more. So it was in high school when I said this is what I have to do for the rest of my life. I want to teach people to enjoy what I love.

Q. Were there other majors that you considered at any point? If so, why did you finally settle upon dance?
A. I’ve always wanted to help people; I didn’t put much consideration into anything other than teaching and now I’m going into dance education. There really wasn’t any other major I could see myself doing.

Q. How did you first learn about Texas State’s program?
A. I went online and typed in “dance programs in Texas” and Texas State popped up. Tuition here is decent and we have a program that lets you choose from four different degree plans: Dance education, performance & choreography and dance studies. Dance education is split in two, either single teaching or double teaching certification. I chose double teaching certification because I felt it would be more useful for what I wanted to do.

Q. What is your minor? Why did you choose that?
A. I’m minoring in Business Administration because I hope to someday open up my own dance studio.

Q. What made you decide to come to Texas State?
A. When I came to visit the campus, I really fell in love with the beauty of it. I felt like this could be a place I could call home.

Q. Did you have to audition? If so, what was that like?
A. We don’t have an audition process for dance education but there is an audition for the performance & choreography plan.

Q. What’s a typical day like for you at Texas State?
A. I’m doing what I love all day, so that’s great, but it’s very busy. Being a dance major means a lot of our classes are only one credit hour so we have full days taking technique classes, having our regular history classes on top of education classes, dealing with teaching, and then at night we have rehearsals if we’re in a company. They’re full days, but they’re enjoyable.

Q. Where are most of your dance classes? What is that building like?
A. Most of them are in Jowers. We have a close-knit community but we have only two studios and they’re really nice. We have great teachers and great faculty. Coming to Texas State and being taught by the faculty here has really helped me to see dance in a new way. Now I see dance more as an art form. Now I see the actual beauty of the art.

Q. What performance opportunities have you been given?
A. My first two years here, I was in Orchesis Dance Company and through that we had a performance every year. Now I’m in Merge Dance Company and this year we’ve had a lot of performance opportunities. There were two in the fall, one coming up this week, one in two more weeks and one at the end of the year. We get to perform a lot so it’s really nice.

Q. What do you want to do after you graduate?
A. If I can, I would love to perform some more. I hope to be picked up by a company or have some kind of opportunity to travel and perform. If not, I would definitely love to jump straight into teaching, whether in a public or private school system, and then eventually have my own studio.

Q. How has the program helped you achieve your goals?
A. It has definitely helped me to increase my ability as a dancer but I also feel like I’ve learned a lot about how to approach teaching students who may have had dance experience and also students who have not. This department is really big on kinesiology and whole body awareness — like what is the right position for every movement.

Q. What are your thoughts on the new Performing Arts Center?
A. It is beautiful and we’re really excited to be the first dancers to perform there. I definitely feel like this is an exciting time for the arts because we’re finally getting more recognition here at Texas State.

Q. What’s your advice to anyone who is considering being a dance major at Texas State?
A. To definitely do it! It’s been a wonderful experience for me. My best advice would be to do as much as you can while you’re here. This is the time for us to increase our technique and perform as much as we can.