Tag Archives: Rising Stars

Rising Stars: Leona Osinga

International studies major roams far
for language, learning, wanderlust

By David King

Leona OsingaLeona Osinga has a global perspective, one that reaches from her home — a Dutch-speaking family farm in East Texas — to points as far as Europe and New Zealand. With the support of Texas State University faculty, she’s made the world her classroom, seeking its lessons one language at a time.

An international studies major — with a double minor in French and geography — she’s crossed borders and language barriers near and far, all for the sake of learning about the world.

“Leona is just a force of nature,” says Dr. Jennifer Forrest, one of her French professors. Continue reading

Spotlight: Dr. Michael Collins

Collins’ lifelong work honored
by Texas Archeological Society

Collins with dig site in background

Dr. Michael Collins, pictured at the Gault site.

By Ann Friou

Dr. Michael B. Collins, research professor in anthropology at Texas State University, has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Texas Archeological Society (TAS). The TAS, which promotes the study, preservation and awareness of Texas archaeology, presented the award to Collins on Oct. 29.

Collins co-directs the world-renowned Gault archaeological site in Central Texas, where recent discoveries have changed most archaeologists’ thinking about America’s earliest inhabitants. Continue reading

Rising Stars: Priscilla Davis

Criminal justice major honors father,
Port Authority hero who died on 9/11

Photo of Priscilla DavisBy David King

Priscilla Davis was just 12 years old when her father, policeman Clinton Davis, was killed in the collapse of the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York on Sept. 11, 2001. Today, she is a senior criminal justice major at Texas State, following her father’s footsteps and bearing a permanent memorial to him.

“I don’t look like the kind of person to have a tattoo on my arm or anything,” she says with a shrug. But there it is, prominent on her right forearm: The twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center, sun beaming between them, showering rays in multiple directions. Below them, a badge: Port Authority Police, No. 1719.

It’s a memorial. Continue reading

Rising Stars: Double Dutch Design

With professor’s guidance, Texas State grads work with Dutch design firms

Gram Garner and John Yum in Amsterdam, 2010

By Billi London-Gray

They didn’t go for the tulips and windmills, the bikes and canals, or the beer and soccer. Gram Garner and John Yum went to the Netherlands for the design firms.

“The Netherlands have the most designers per capita, and they are world leaders for wonderful creative work,” says Texas State communication design professor Claudia Röschmann.

Garner and Yum both developed strong admiration for Dutch designers while they were Röschmann’s students. With help from Röschmann, plus hard work and significant stores of moxie, Garner and Yum both secured internships and then jobs with their “dream companies” – Undog and Dietwee, respectively – in the Netherlands.

Watch the video below or read the full story about their experiences in the Texas State Rising Stars archives.

Rising Star: Christian Wallace

Honors graduate found thesis inspiration ‘beyond the tracks’

By Billi London-Gray

Christian Wallace came to Texas State University for two things: an education and an experience. As a fresh graduate, he’s already produced work that proves his attainment of both.

The gifted young writer just graduated Summa Cum Laude from the university with a double major in English and history. His Honors program thesis project, like his decision to come to Texas State, centered on one of his favorite places: Cheatham Street Warehouse.

Continue reading

Rising Stars: Max Garza

Texas State student gears up for Grammys as Tortilla Factory trombonist

Photo courtesy Max Garza

By Billi London-Gray

“When I first received the call about the nomination, I thought it was a joke,” says Texas State University music studies major Max Garza. “I really didn’t believe it until I got on the Grammy website and checked it for myself.”

Garza is a member of the Austin-based Chicano band Tortilla Factory, whose 2010 album Cookin was nominated for Tejano Album of the Year. Tortilla Factory’s 2009 release, All That Jazz, was also nominated for a Grammy.

Continue reading

Rising Stars: Hylary Ahrendt

From independent study to India, Texas State student seeks ‘whole-mind’ education

"At first I felt like I was blindly going into this, but I feel like I've got an invisible string of fate pulling at me, and I'm just going to follow it."

By Billi London-Gray

With her long blond hair draped over her red and gold salwar kameez, Fredericksburg native Hylary Ahrendt was the picture of multiculturalism as she began her presentation at Texas State’s 2010 Undergraduate Research Conference on Dec. 3.

The annual conference gives undergraduate students an opportunity to present their research, at any stage of development, and win cash prizes. Ahrendt’s research, which focuses on childhood education as a form of social work, started in September as part of an Honors Program independent study course with Dr. Catherine Hawkins. This month, the junior majoring in international studies will travel to India to continue her research. She hopes to develop an integrated, “whole-mind” curriculum for primary education.

Continue reading

Rising Stars: Bradley George

Record-setting athlete excels
in the classroom, too

By David King, University Marketing

When he was an 18-year-old kid and his head was filled with dreams of major league baseball, Bradley George had a plan.

When he was 21 and those dreams were fading quickly, he had a plan.

And when he enrolled at Texas State as a 22-year-old freshman on one of the odder football scholarships in school history, he still had a plan.

Education. Always education.

That plan is why the graduate of New Braunfels Canyon High School, former professional baseball player and record-breaking quarterback at Texas State, will earn his master’s degree in geography in December 2010.

“My mom was a teacher, and she stressed education,” George says of his mother, who taught elementary school in the Comal Independent School District. “So did my dad. He didn’t finish college, but he always stressed the importance of an education.”

The Draft

George had wanted to come to school in San Marcos his senior year at Canyon, since Texas State was the only university that was going to let him play both college baseball and football. But then the Cincinnati Reds selected him in the 12th round of the Major League Baseball draft. At 6-foot-5 and 200-plus pounds, he had the look of a big-league pitcher, and he had shown enough potential at Canyon to pique interest of the team’s scouts.

He agreed to sign, but with one caveat: If he decided to go back to college, the Reds would pay for four years of education.

“It was in the back of my mind that if in four or five years, I’m not moving along (toward the major leagues) at a reasonable pace, then I was going to play college football,” he says.

He pitched for five seasons, including parts of three years in Billings, Mont., in the far-flung Pioneer League, but never progressed beyond the low minor leagues. His advancement was slowed by a series of arm injuries, and as he was nursing another one at the end of the summer of 2004, he came to a decision: It was time to try something new.

George started looking around at college football programs across the south, aiming to play quarterback in a passing-dominated offense. He came to San Marcos more or less as a courtesy to an old acquaintance, then-coach David Bailiff, and took a look around at the university that was closest to his home, his parents and most of his relatives, as well as his heart.

“The day Coach Bailiff called me was one of the best days of my life,” he says. “I was leaving to go play somewhere else.”

He enrolled at Texas State that spring.

The 22-Year-Old Freshman

Since the Reds had agreed to pay for him to attend college, George came to the Bobcats football team as a walk-on — a student-athlete not on an athletic scholarship. And as someone who had worked in the building trades as a teenager, he quickly found and chose the university’s construction technology major, even though it typically was a five-year program.

“Being an older student gave me a completely different perspective,” he says. “It wasn’t the mindset that I was 18 and could hang out until I was 25. When I came here I was 22, almost 23, and it was ‘Hey, guy, you don’t have 10 years to do this.’”

The transition from the life of a minor-league ballplayer, with lots of free time and mind-numbingly long road trips, to college student wasn’t easy.

“I was really worried about it,” he says. “I made good grades in high school and all, but since 2000, when I graduated, I don’t think I had read any academic journals or anything like that.

“The first semester, I think I did fine. But I was worried about it, and I didn’t do much else but study. I was hitting the books pretty hard.”

It wasn’t long, though, before he was hitting his stride. After sitting out as a redshirt freshman his first year, he was named the team’s starting quarterback for the 2006 season. His teammates elected him as one of the team’s captains, an honor usually reserved for players with experience on the field, not just in life. And they re-elected him three more times.

“He owns many of our passing records, but to me, to have been elected captain all four years is his most-amazing stat,” says Bobcats head football coach Brad Wright. “It shows just how much his teammates thought of him and the leadership he exhibited.”

The Records Fall

As the leader of the Bobcats’ prolific offense, George wound up breaking virtually all of the school career records for passing, from completion percentage to total yards to touchdown passes. His senior season, he was named the Southland Conference offensive player of the year, throwing for 3,121 yards and 23 touchdowns.

That 2009 season also marked the third time he was named to the SLC academic all-conference team, and he was chosen as the conference’s football student-athlete of the year — while working on his master’s degree in geography.

Thanks to his perseverance, George had finished his five-year undergraduate program in four years, giving him the opportunity to start on an advanced degree while on a football scholarship his last year with the team.

“That was one of the toughest years I’ve ever had,” he says of fall 2009. “I was taking nine hours of grad school courses, and my classes had pretty long papers due at the end of them.

“Right near the end of the semester, when we were getting ready for week 10 or 11, those papers started coming due. That made life pretty hectic. At that point, if I had any hair, it would have been falling out.”

But the work got done.

“He was distracted by non-academic activity in his world . . . but he came to class ready to learn,” says Dr. Ron Hagelman of the Department of Geography, George’s professor for his research design class. “He was a strong participant in a strong group of graduate students.”

Without the distractions of playing quarterback — which George says is like having a demanding, full-time job — he has progressed enough on his course work to graduate in December 2010.

“I had a lot of help,” he says. “With the advising center and the people who are in place to help you be successful, you almost have no choice but to do the work. A lot of the credit goes to those people.”

Having a plan didn’t hurt.

Rising Stars: Christina Conlee

Archaeologist featured
on Texas State homepage

Christina Conlee

The latest addition to the “Rising Stars” series of profiles on the Texas State homepage is Christina Conlee, who has been doing groundbreaking work researching the ancient Nasca people of Peru.

Conlee, who teaches archaeology in the Texas State Department of Anthropology, took part in the production of a documentary about the mysterious Nasca Lines for the National Geographic channel.

Click here for more information about the documentary

Click here to see the Texas State homepage story and video about Conlee