Vol. 28 No. 14 - November 27, 2023


  • Faculty Work on NSF Grant Leads to New Microscope for Truman

    Faculty members (from left) Daniela Ostrowski, Joyce Patrick, Stephanie Maiden, Brett Berke and Hajee Mendis collaborated on a National Science Foundation grant that will allow Truman to purchase a fluorescent confocal microscope.

    Thanks to some determined faculty members and a $300,000 National Science Foundation grant, Truman will soon have a new piece of equipment that will open research avenues and provide more hands-on opportunities for students.

    Truman recently secured funding for a fluorescent confocal microscope from the NSF through its Major Research Instrumentation program. This unique tool can remove out-of-focus light from regions of a sample and can detect light emitted from a protein or molecule. Many techniques in cell biology use fluorescent probes to visualize where specific proteins or processes are happening in a cell. Taken together, this new fluorescent confocal microscope will give users crisp, clear and detailed images of cell structure and function, which can help better understand animal development and even human disease.

    A fluorescent confocal microscope is not something typically found at most undergraduate institutions. When interviewing for faculty positions in 2015, access to equipment like this was a high priority for Stephanie Maiden, associate professor of biology.

    “It was one of the questions I asked – “does your department have a fluorescent confocal microscope?” – and the answer in all cases except Truman was no,” Maiden said. “Other colleagues I know at undergraduate-focused institutions either do not have one or use one at a nearby R01 school.”

    Truman previously had an older version of a fluorescent confocal microscope, which was also made available through the Major Research Instrumentation program, but the technology aged and it was too costly to fix or replace its components. Also, it was more difficult to use, so it was not readily available to undergraduate students. This new model is more amenable to undergraduate use, which Maiden predicts should lead to more course-based research projects, as well as expanded opportunities in faculty members’ independent research labs.

    “There are certainly projects I have placed on the back-burner because we didn’t have the equipment to proceed, or ideas I have had that were just not feasible given our equipment,” she said.

    Maiden was one of five co-principal investigators who collaborated to secure funding. Brett Berke, associate professor of biology; Joyce Patrick, associate professor of biology; Hajee Mendis, assistant professor of biology; and Daniela Ostrowski, a former faculty member now with A.T. Still University, all played a role in securing the grant.

    This was the fourth application submitted to receive the grant. Major Research Instrumentation grants are only accepted once a year, with funding decisions taking as long as six months. While multiple application attempts are not unusual, it can be a time-consuming process. Maiden was hoping to secure funding by second attempt. After years of applications, she was relieved upon learning it was finally approved.

    “I was actually at the library with my daughter when the email came in and I audibly squealed for pure joy,” she said.

    Maiden, Berke, Patrick, Mendis and Ostrowski are all currently pursuing research that will benefit immediately by having a new fluorescent confocal microscope. Additionally, the new equipment will create expanded research opportunities, as well as potential collaborative projects with ATSU.

    With funding secured, Truman is scheduled to take possession of its new microscope in January.
  • Winners Announced for Business Entrepreneurial Pitch Competitions

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    More than 60 high school and college students participated in the Bulldog B.I.T.E. competition and Bulldog Pitch Day.

    The top six pitches in each competition advanced to the finals that took place on campus, Nov. 16. Finalists pitched their concept or idea for a product or service to a panel of judges for the chance to win a portion of the $7,000 in financial awards that were available. Pitches were limited to two minutes with a question-and-answer session of four minutes.

    Bulldog B.I.T.E. was open to students from Truman and Moberly Area Community College. Out of the 32 students who participated and 15 video pitches, six individuals/teams advanced to the finals.

    Truman students Saron Gebremichael and Nahom Jember won first place in the Bulldog B.I.T.E. competition. As the winners they received the Amanda Gioia Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award and earned an award prize of $3,000 for their pitch of “Value College Prep” that assists high school students in Ethiopia with college application/placement.

    Students Krishna Chebolu, Habib Nasir and Mohammed Abdikebir placed second and received an award of $2,000 for their “WhatNow” app to help people find campus/community events. Trenton Kiesling placed third and received an award of $1,000 for the idea of “Dill-Lightful Pickleball,” an entertainment venue with Pickleball courts.            

    Bulldog Pitch Day had six finalist positions that was made up of 10 students from Kirksville High School. Tonya Biston and Ellen McNeely won first place for a cosmetic tool with an app and received a $500 award. Jersey Herbst and Adi Baumgartner placed second for their pitch of home delivered meals and received a $300 award. Garret Williams and Lucas Reinsch placed third for their pitch of a GPS tracking device for archery arrows and received a $200 award.

    These competitions were made possible through the generosity of Doug (’94) and Diane (’95) Villhard, Amanda Gioia (’93) and the School of Business.

    For more information about this year’s competition visit bulldogbite.truman.edu/winners.
  • Big Week of Giving Helps Benefit Pantry for Adair Country

    Sami Harris displays some of the more than 300 canned good donations collected during the 2023 Big Week of Giving to help support the Food Pantry for Adair County. These donations will directly support those dealing with food insecurity in Adair County. The SERVE Center would like to thank campus partners Residence Life, Pickler Memorial Library and the Department of Public Safety for helping with the event. Missouri Hall won the competition between the residence halls. Support was also given by TruSisters, Cardinal Key, Tau Lambda Sigma, Phi Delta, Student Government and SERVE Center staff.
  • FAFSA Applications to be Available by Dec. 31


    The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2024-2025 school year is scheduled to go live by Dec. 31.

    All students in need of financial assistance are encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Federal Student Aid is the largest provider of financial aid for college students in the United States.

    Even though a student may not qualify for grants or work-study, all students are considered for the Federal Direct Loan (no co-signer required). Filing the FAFSA does not commit students to taking a loan, but it does allow for more options.

    The 2024-25 FAFSA will use 2022 tax year information with a priority deadline of Feb. 1, 2024 for Missouri residents. It is strongly recommended to apply or renew before Feb. 1 Details about the FAFSA can be found online at studentaid.gov.

    Truman’s Financial Aid Office is currently working on details of when aid offers will be available for students. This year it will most likely be March for incoming freshmen and April for current students.

    For more information, contact the Financial Aid Office at 660.785.4130 or finaid@truman.edu. The Financial Aid Office website also has a variety of helpful resources for students and their families.
  • Basketball Alumni Offer $25K in Challenge


    Members of 1978-79 men’s basketball conference championship and Hall of Fame team are providing $25,000 as a matching gift challenge to support the men’s basketball program.

    The matching gift challenge runs through Dec. 31 and is designed to help generate much needed support for operations, recruitment and scholarships for the program. The challenge applies to all gifts and commitments made to the Men’s Basketball Fund, which provides multipurpose support to meet the rising needs of the program.

    All one-time gifts to men’s basketball made by the end of the challenge will be matched one-to-one. For example, a gift of $500 would earn a match of $500, and the program gets $1,000 in total.

    To encourage sustained giving, all recurring gifts (e.g. monthly, quarterly, annually) set up by the deadline will be matched as well. Matching funds will apply to the entire pledged amount for up to three years.

    One-time and recurring gifts can be made at giveonline.truman.edu. Checks, made payable to Truman State University Foundation with “Men’s Basketball” in the memo line, can be sent to: Truman State University, Advancement Office, 100 E. Normal Ave., Kirksville, MO 63501-4221. For pledges of $1,000 or more not set up through the recurring gift option, contact Charles Hunsaker, executive director for University advancement, at hunsaker@truman.edu.
  • Alumna Leads USC School of Law

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    By keeping an open mind, Franita Tolson (’01) has put together a decorated career as a law professor and dean. Of the many accomplishments in her academic and legal career, most do not appear to have gone as originally planned. However, all have proven to be successful, culminating in her current role as interim dean of the Gould School of Law at the University of Southern California and as one of the country’s preeminent election law scholars. Click here to read her story.
  • St. Louis Ballet to Perform in Kohlenberg Lyceum Series


    The St. Louis Ballet will take to the stage at 7 p.m. Dec. 2 in Baldwin Hall Auditorium to perform selections from the holiday classic “The Nutcracker.”

    With choreography by Gen Horiuchi and music by Tchaikovsky, “The Nutcracker,” features company dancers, professional character actors and students from the school of the St. Louis Ballet. This performance will also showcase a fun, contemporary ballet titled “Wake Up!” with music by Joe Morra.

    St. Louis Ballet consists of 24 internationally acclaimed dancers. They are recognized as the only professional resident ballet company in the St. Louis region, presenting a season of four fully mounted productions serving 20,000 people in approximately 24 public performances annually. Lauded by critics for their artistic innovation and excellence, they are supported by a wide array of corporations, foundations, arts councils, individual patrons and students.

    Tickets are available in the Union & Involvement Office in the Student Union Building, the Advancement Office in McClain Hall 205 or the Admissions Office in the Ruth W. Towne Museum and Visitors Center. Tickets are also available downtown at the Kirksville Arts Association. Any remaining tickets will be available at the window starting 30 minutes before the show.

    This season all Kohlenberg Lyceum Series events are provided free of charge thanks to the generous support of local sponsors, the Friends of the Lyceum program and the Truman State University Foundation. Friends of the Lyceum receive exclusive benefits including reserved seating, special parking and a commemorative gift of the season based on the level of their donation.

    For more information, visit lyceum.truman.edu or call 660.785.4133.


  • FAC Accepting Funding Applications

    Applications for FAC spring 2024 funding are now open. Applications can be found here and will close at 12 p.m. Nov. 29. Any recognized student organization that is in good standing with the U&I is eligible to apply for funding. This does not include department student organizations, faculty-lead honor societies or fee-based groups. Questions can be emailed to fac@truman.edu.

  • Dodgeball Tournament Benefits Food Pantry


    The Association of Black Collegians is hosting a dodgeball tournament at 6 p.m. Dec. 1 in the Student Recreation Center multi-purpose room. This event is open to students and faculty with all proceeds going toward the Truman Food Pantry.

    Teams of seven can compete in the tournament. Registration is $15 per team and can be found here. Those who want to come and observe can do so for an entry fee $1 or one canned good.
  • ABC Hosts Trap N' Paint

  • Econ Speaker Series Welcomes Podcast Host


    As part of the Economics Speaker Series, James R. Harrigan will speak at 7 p.m. Nov. 30 in Violette Hall 1236 on his experiences as dean of the American University of Iraq-Sulaimani.

    Harrigan is senior editor at the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) and co-host of the “Words and Numbers” podcast. He was previously dean of the American University of Iraq-Sulaimani, and later served as director of academic programs at the Institute for Humane Studies and Strata Policy, where he was also a senior research fellow. When Harrigan went to Iraq to be the dean at the American University of Iraq-Sulaimani, he landed in a culture he did not know, with people he had never met, only to be thrust into the middle of the Arab Spring, which was for him and his Kurdish neighbors the Kurdish Spring. This event is open to the public and all are invited to come.

    On the day of his visit, Harrigan will stop by Economic Analysis of Social and Policy Issues course (ECON 345) at 4:30 p.m. to discuss the topic of public choice theory.
  • Make Plans Now for On-Campus Housing

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    Students who want to live on campus during the 2024-25 academic year can start planning where they and their friends might like to reside.

    The housing portal is now open for students interested in living on campus during the 2024-25 academic year. Residence Life is offering new options for next year, including expanded pet housing and more deluxe doubles in some residence halls at the same price as a regular double room, as well as more single-occupancy availability.

    In former triple occupancy rooms in Blanton-Nason-Brewer Hall, which were rarely in demand, students will now have the option to secure a deluxe double room for the same price as a standard double. For upper-class students, Campbell Apartments will also offer single-occupancy options for the first time.

    “Returning students living on campus have more options than a first-year student because returning students self-select their room earlier,” said Jamie Van Boxel, director of Residence Life. “Returning students can group up with their friends to take over a section of a residence hall or a group of apartments in Campbell. Returning students also have the opportunity to live in larger rooms or in an on-campus apartment with more space with a roommate of their choosing.”

    On-campus housing will be available in Missouri Hall, Ryle Hall, West Campus Suites, Blanton-Nason-Brewer Hall and Campbell Apartments. Due to the Dobson Hall parking lot being utilized as a construction staging area, that hall will not be available. As a result, additional options will be available in West Campus Suites and, if needed, Missouri Hall.

    “From a community building standpoint, this will allow us to offer a better student experience,” Van Boxel said. “Having more students in some of our more in-demand locations and room types will give students more opportunities to meet one another, make friends and have access to a full range of services.”

    Pet housing will still be offered for the 2024-25 academic in the south wing of Blanton-Nason-Brewer Hall. The demand for pet-friendly housing has increased every year since the option was first offered in 2021. More information about pet-friendly housing can be found online.

    Students planning to live on campus are encouraged to submit their housing application as soon as possible. Room self-selection begins Feb. 15 for returning students and April 3 for new incoming students. More information regarding the room self-selection timeline can be found online here. Questions about the housing process can be directed to Residence Life at 660.785.4227 or reslife@truman.edu.
  • College Republicans Host Guest Speaker


    Activist Chloe Cole will speak on the transgender movement at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 27 in the Student Union Building Georgian Rooms. Cole underwent medical transition procedures beginning at the age of 12, and since the age of 17 has been in the process of de-transitioning after realizing she was pressured into such procedures. Cole has become a strong advocate for legislation that would restrict such procedures for minors and has testified before U.S. Congress and various state legislatures. She now speaks on the issues she sees with the transgender movement, particularly in regard to children. This event hosted by the College Republicans is free for all students and community members to attend. Doors will open at 5 p.m.
  • Office of Student Research Seeks Proposals

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    The Office of Student Research will be accepting Grants-In-Aid of Scholarship and Research (GIASR) applicants, as well as Conference Travel Scholarship applications, for spring 2024. 

    Conference Travel Scholarship applications are for students presenting the results of their research or creative scholarship at a conference taking place January-June 2024. Students must have completed or be currently involved in a faculty-mentored research experience and plan on presenting at the conference. The scholarship will cover up to $500 of conference registration, lodging and travel expenses. GIASR applications are available for research and creative scholarship conducted in spring 2024. Grant applicants may request up to $750 and can cover student stipends, supplies and travel to conduct research. 

    Complete guidelines for the Conference Travel Scholarship and GIASR applications can be found at the Office of Student Research website. Applications for both funding opportunities are due by 11:59 p.m. Dec. 1. Questions regarding the applications can be directed to osr@truman.edu.
  • Truman to Host On-campus Scholar Bowl

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    Surrounding schools are invited to participate in Truman’s first annual Scholar Bowl Winter Invitational on Jan. 20 in Violette Hall.

    This tournament will consist of two age divisions, fifth-sixth grade and seventh-eighth grade, with different sets of questions for each division. First and second place in each age division will receive medals and the all-tournament team members will receive books. This event has been sanctioned by MSHAA and standard MSHSAA scholar bowl rules will apply.

    The day will start at 8:30 a.m. with a brief meeting followed by four morning pool play matches. A lunch break will take place at 12 p.m. and a list of on-campus and Kirksville dining options will be made available closer to the tournament. The event will resume at 1 p.m. with teams sorted into afternoon pools based on the morning results. All teams will play at least eight games. This format may be adjusted based on the number of registered teams.

    Teams can sign-up here. There will be a $25 registration fee per team and each district is asked to bring one set of buzzers.
  • Applications Open for New Student Tele-Ambassadors Program


    The Office of Admission is looking for enthusiastic student leaders with a passion for sharing their Truman experiences to apply for student tele-ambassadors for the 2024 spring semester.

    Student tele-ambassadors speak with prospective students on the phone or through text messaging to answer questions about Truman and the college search process. Scholarship, work-study and other opportunities are available. Applications can be found online and are due by 11:59 p.m. Jan. 7.
  • Volunteers Needed for University Publications

    Student volunteers are needed for University marketing purposes. Those interested in being featured in various marketing materials should fill out this form.

  • Spring 2024 Room Lottery Open Until End of Semester

    Union & Involvement Services will continue accepting Spring 2024 Lottery requests on a first-come first-serve basis. These submissions will be processed after priority consideration lottery, which ended Nov. 3. Forms can be found here. Paper forms will not be accepted. Contact the Union & Involvement Services Office at union@truman.edu or 660.785.4222 for more information.

  • Save the Date: Holiday Reception

    Faculty, Staff and Retirees Annual Holiday Reception
    University Residence
    2:30-5 p.m. Dec. 13

  • Chinese Film Course Offered in Spring

  • Residence Life Hiring Student Advisors


    Residence Life is looking for students who will create welcoming environments, develop connections with students and foster a learning-centered community to apply as student advisors for the 2024-2025 school year. Student advisors will have their room and meal fees fully covered.

    Anyone enrolled in classes, has lived on campus for at least one semester once employed and maintained a 2.75 GPA, is qualified to apply. The application is open now until Jan. 19. Visit reslife.truman.edu or email reslife@truman.edu for more information.
  • Sign Up to Get SERVE Center Volunteer Opportunities

    Are you interested in performing service at local non-profits this school year? Sign up to be included in communication with volunteers. The SERVE Center has partnered with more than 130 community agencies located in the Kirksville community to bring service opportunities to meet every student’s interests.

  • Athletic Fee Accountability Committee Accepting Proposals

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    Any member of the Truman community can propose a project idea to the Athletic Fee Accountability Committee for consideration. These projects should enhance the athletic facilities or equipment on Truman’s campus. The purpose of this proposal is to introduce the project to the committee. Proposals should include as much information as possible, but the committee will also help to refine submissions. Submissions can be submitted here by Jan. 7.
  • Tech Byte: How to Better Manage Microsoft Teams

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    While MS Teams is one of Microsoft’s most widely used applications, not everybody wants it open all the time as it can impact system performance (i.e., having too many programs open at once may cause systems to run more slowly). In the near future additional information will be shared on how to more fully utilize Microsoft Teams, but here are a few tips to better manage Microsoft Teams in the meantime.

    How to exit Microsoft Teams
    • To sign out of the Teams desktop client or from the browser, select the profile picture at the top of the app, and then select Sign out.
    • For the desktop app, right-click the app icon in the taskbar, and then select Sign out.
    How to force quit Microsoft Teams
    • To quit Teams on Windows computers, right click on the Teams app in the taskbar and choose Quit. Alternatively, use the keyboard shortcut **Alt + F4** with the Teams window active to force-close the app.
    • To quit Teams on macOS computers, right click the Teams app in the dock, then hold down the Option key and click Force Quit.
    How to stop Microsoft Teams from opening on Windows startup

    There are several ways to stop Teams from opening on startup, but here is a fairly direct technique.

    1. Click on the magnifying glass icon next to the Start icon on the taskbar.
    2. Type “startup” in the search bar then click on Startup Apps.
    3. Scroll down until you find Microsoft Teams and toggle it off.

    How to remove Microsoft Teams from the Windows taskbar

    The Microsoft Teams icon may remain on the system taskbar even if the app is stopped from launching on startup. Follow the steps below to remove Teams from the taskbar.

    1. Right-click anywhere on the taskbar and click on Taskbar settings.
    2. In the taskbar items window, toggle off Chat.
  • Upcoming Board of Governors Meeting

    The Board of Governors will meet at 1 p.m. Dec. 2 in the Student Union Building Conference Room.


  • Ashcraft Publishes Book Chapter

    W. Michael Ashcraft, professor of religion, recently published a chapter in the book “Religion and Academia Reframed: Connecting Religion, Science, and Society in the Long Sixties.” The chapter’s title is “Robert N. Bellah and the New Religious Consciousness.”

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  • Hirsch Presents Paper

    Jerrold Hirsch, professor emeritus history, chaired the session “Reevaluating Folklore’s Past and Present” and delivered a paper “The Best Selling Folklore Collection Ever: The Folklore Theory and Goals of A Treasury of American Folklore (1944)” at the annual meeting of the American Folklore Society in Portland, Oregon, Nov. 1-4.

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  • Residence Life Attends Professional Conference


    Residence Life professional staff attended the annual conference for the Upper Midwest Region - Association of College and University Housing Officers. This year’s conference took place Nov. 8-10 in Coralville, Iowa. Truman was represented by hall directors Katelin Mathis and Roger Gasmann, along with Zac Burden, assistant director of residence life.

    At the conference, Gasmann was a participant in the case study competition and won a conference fee waiver with his successful entry in an essay competition. Burden was recognized as a top presenter for his session on how to effectively apply educational theory to student staff training design, something he credits to his experiences as a former graduate student of Truman’s Masters of Arts in Education program.

    While at the conference, the delegation was updated on the many students across the region that will be supported by ACUHO-I’s Gaber Leadership Endowment named in honor of Ron Gaber, a former director of residence life at Truman.
  • Sadanala Receives Award for Virtual Presentation


    Gayathri Sadanala, assistant professor of computer science, received a best oral presentation award for her virtual presentation of the research paper, “Predictive Modeling of Student Behavior in Virtual Reality: A Machine Learning Approach,” at the 2023 International Conference on Recent Advances in Human Computer Interaction (ICRAHCI).
    ICRAHCI strives to bring together leading academic scientists, researchers and research scholars to share their experiences and research results on all aspects of recent advances in human computer interaction. It also provides a premier interdisciplinary platform for researchers, practitioners and educators to present and discuss the most recent innovations, trends and concerns. The conference was hosted by the World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology (WASET), Nov. 6-7.
    Sadanala and two Truman computer science majors, Shibam Pokhrel and Owen Murphy, worked on this research. Pokhrel and Murphy are both undergraduate research assistants in the Innosphere, Sadanala’s Research Lab. An abstract of their paper can be found here.