Vol. 1, No. 1

 FEBRUARY 2004  




Student Life



Editorial Staff

Lydia Meier  Editor-in-Chief

Will Whiting Managing Editor/ News Editor

Karon Parrish Sports/Features Editor

Brad Amoroso Entertainment Editor

DaQuita Hardeman Student Life Editor

Michael Arnold Layout Editor

Patricia Roberts Advisor

Staff Writers:

Brooke Bowles Jessica Goodwin Bradley Gill     Betty Dintelman Mark Wyers  


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Welcome to the UAM Voice | Virtual Internship Program | UAM Chemistry Students Researching for Government Organizations | UAM Debate Team |Pulitzer Prize Winning Author to Speak at UAM

Welcome to the UAM Voice

With the acquisition of the new Journalism major at the University of Arkansas - Monticello, the School of Arts and Humanities continues a strong tradition of excellence in student publications.  This tradition of excellence will continue to grow with the UAM Voice.

 Students from the Journalism program will serve as primary contributors.  However, contributions from other faculty, staff and students are welcomed.  The UAM Voice has been designed to be the primary source of university student news for all involved with the campus.  In addition to basic sections of a newspaper, the UAM Voice will feature a variety of other sections including features, alumni highlights, and an entertainment section.

The UAM Voice will be published every two weeks under the direction of Ms. Patricia Roberts, UAM journalism instructor.  Our team of student editors will work hard to cover as many events as possible on campus.  If you know of an event, or if you have a story idea, submit it to the UAM Voice by e-mail at  In addition, story suggestions may be hand delivered to the Student Publications Office located on the first level of Jeter Hall.

The UAM News Editing Class

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UAM Chemistry Students Researching for Government Organizations

Photo by Will Whiting

Pictured (left to right) are Matthew McConnell, Dr. Rose McConnell, Adam Green and Jim Lindley.

Will Whiting

Bombs, gunfire, and artillery fill the air when a war breaks out.  The sights and sounds are disturbing enough, but the thought that troops are unsafe is even more mind rattling for the families of soldiers on the field.

As wars plague the world, the United States Federal Government is constantly trying to develop new ideas to revolutionize the security of its troops.  While many options in the past that  have been introduced have failed, others have shown some signs of promise or given rise to potentially new ideas. 

The work and time needed to develop these new ideas is often hard for the government to find.  And, for that reason, they frequently rely on individual entities with larger research departments and more staff to develop new technology that might one day serve as a useful tool for their services.  Often, universities are chosen to help spearhead research because of the number of people available for help.

One local institution, the University of Arkansas - Monticello (UAM) is one of the those universities that is working on creating a potentially life changing material.  The team of chemists is led by professor of Chemistry and project director Dr. Rose McConnell.  McConnell, who has been assisting with research for various organizations since she began working at UAM, is thrilled about the opportunity to develop exciting new materials that one day might be used by organizations such as the Department of Defense.

Currently, the team is supported by grant money provided by the National Science Foundation.  The foundation awarded Dr. McConnell and her student research team a $180,000 grant for three years to develop polymers, or organic semi-conductors used in electronics.  To date, silicon based conductors are used in electronics such as calculators, radios, and other devices.  However, if the UAM chemist’s research proves true and her team is able to develop these polymers, there may one day be flexible semi conductors in turn allowing us to have flexible electronics.

The idea may seem abstract at the present, but according to Dr. McConnell, it actually is something that may someday become a reality.  The work her team is engaged in is not only dedicated to the project, but hopeful that their work will produce something that all consumers may find useful.

"It will take some time to produce, but the possibility of these things becoming real is not too far-fetched," said McConnell.  "My team is working very hard to begin this research so that it might one day make our lives easier," McConnell said.

In addition to making lives easier, it may also allow consumers to keep more money in their bank accounts.  Some electronic prices have sky-rocketed over the past few years due to new technology, but according to McConnell, this one specific new invention is something that may actually reduce the price of electronic items, something that should come as good news to all consumers.

"The price of electronic items should go down, because it will not cost as much to produce the organic semiconductors," said McConnell.

The process is quite complex, but if things go as planned for McConnell’s research team, she expects to be producing samples of the new polymers sooner than many might expect.  The creation of the compound is time consuming, but shaping the material into the needed form does not require as much time.

The team recently began work on the research project.  They are awaiting the arrival of the last of supplies needed for the process.  Already, the team has created chemicals that will be used in the actual making of the polymers.  The process begins with the creation of chemical compounds to serve as bases for the material being created.   

"The materials are prepared in a chemical oxidative polymerization process under special conditions.  The conductivity of the polymers and their mechanical properties can be adjusted by the addition of small quantities of substances we call dopants," said McConnell.  "After the finished polymer is created, the strength, flexibility, electrical conductivity, heat resistance, and numerous other physical properties will be measured for each new material at UAM before the samples will offered to companies interested in the materials," said McConnell.

The samples will be offered to companies that one day might find a use for the organic polymers.  In addition to the Department of Defense, McConnell says other organizations also are showing an interest. 

In addition to the Department of Defense’s idea of using them to build Global Information Systems into troops uniforms to hopefully serve in keeping troops safer, NASA has also shown an interest in possibly using organic semiconductors in their work.  The NASA-Arkansas Space Grant Consortium (ASGC) has supported some of McConnell’s early work on conductive polymers.  Telephone calls between McConnell and NASA scientists in Florida indicate they may be able to put them to good use.

"NASA is interested in using the conductive polymers for their International Space Station mission," said McConnell.  "These polymers as a coating on metal surfaces would dissipate static electricity before it can cause electronic failures," McConnell said.

Because space has no water vapor, there is a major build up of static electricity on metal surfaces.  However, the organic semiconductors would dissipate the static electricity because of their physical properties, allowing NASA to spend more time working in space.

According to McConnell, it takes a few weeks to a month to produce the compounds needed to make the polymers.  While a month may seem like a long time, she says the interest from organizations is so high that they are willing to wait until the research is complete and accurate.

UAM’s work with polymers has already landed them opportunities from the United States Department of Defense.  In addition to the grant received from the National Science Foundation, McConnell says she has also received offers of funding from the DOD to work specifically on the materials for the government.  While the offer may have signified the government’s recognition of UAM’s ability to conduct outstanding research, McConnell says the security measures were to strict for university work. 

"We were unofficially offered funding from the DOD, but we decided not to pursue it," McConnell said.  "The amount of supervision from the government would have been too much for our university.  In addition, we are doing this for students to learn and have research opportunities, not to have the government constantly supervising every move our students make," said McConnell. 

The students who make up the conductive polymer research team funded by the National Science Foundation are: Adam Green, a junior - chemistry/premed major from Hermitage, Arkansas, Jim Lindley a junior- biology/premed major from McGehee, Arkansas, and Matthew McConnell a junior - chemistry major from Monticello, Arkansas.  These UAM students are learning skills and techniques not taught in typical undergraduate courses.  They are making a significant contribution to the advancement of science that may someday lead to a better quality of life for all.

Despite not accepting funding from the DOD, McConnell’s research team will continue to use the materials from the National Science Foundation.  The work the researchers are producing is both exciting and revolutionizing.  For McConnell, the idea that she and her team may one day be able to say they helped create devices that changed our world means an enormous amount to the research team.

The thought of producing the material that might both protect our troops and influence NASA’s mission in space has a great impact on all involved in the project, including the organizations interested in the polymers.

"It may take time to produce, but if it does become real, it may change the world," said McConnell.  "It not only is exciting for UAM to be a part of this research, but also for the students involved as they are afforded hands-on opportunities within the chemistry field," McConnell said.

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New on Campus:  Virtual Internship Program Now Available for Computer Students

 Jessica Goodwin

For the first time in UAM history, students have the opportunity to intern with a major company from the comfort of their own school, all while they are enrolled in class and persuing a degree.

Jonathan Ayres, Charlette Cross, Jonah Freeman, and Seth Mankin are the first to participate in this virtual internship program.  These students are either Computer Information System or Spatial Information System majors who are participating in an internship program with NETSCO, Inc., of Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.  The company specializes in large-scale enterprise applications.  By using the internet, the interns coordinate their work effort with Burak Serdar, NETSCO's advertising engineer.

Dr. James Roiger, UAM's chair of the Division of Computer Information Systems and director of the virtual internship program, said "This program allows students to work in a real world environment.  Normally the students would not have an opportunity to work with a company like this, but through telecommunicating, it is possible.  I feel that they are not missing out a great deal from corresponding this way because many people work for major companies through telecommunication."

A specialized and well equipped laboratory was set up for students to use as an office space.  The laboratory was made possible by a grant from Dr. Kathy White of the Horizon Institute of Technology which is located at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas, along with matching funds from UAM.  Bobby Hoyle, Director of UAM Information Technology, directed the construction of the internship laboratory.  Dr. Roiger directs the internship program and is assisted by Dr. Robert Weih, the UAM area coordinator for the Spatial Information Systems program in UAM's School of Forest Resources.  

According to Roiger, the lab is equipped with with the newest equipment available with internet access and a virtual private network for their own use.  Roiger believes other possibilities may result from the current program.  According to Roiger, "we are already negotiating with two other companies for a possible fall internship program."

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Photo by David Ray

UAM Debate Team Takes 3rd at Arkansas Debate State Championships

 Betty Dintelman 

Two days of intense competition brought together debate and forensics teams of colleges and universities across the state at the Arkansas State Collegiate Championship held at John Brown University in Siloam Springs the weekend of February 6.  In attendance was the University of Arkansas at Monticello's team, who proved successful in representing south Arkansas over the weekend.

The UAM team consisted of nine competitors, as well as the Assistant Director of Forensics, Scott Kuttenkuler. In addition, Brook Bowles, a senior from Monticello, also traveled on her first trip with the team to serve as a judge.

The students competed in five rounds in the International Public Debate Association debate on the first day of competition. The second day consisted of competitive speaking events comprising forensics, such as informative speaking.

Although the competition was intense for many, Kristi Brannon, a junior from Monticello was thrilled to be participating. "This was the first tournament I was able to break into finals rounds at", she said, "and it was so great to feel the support of my teammates through it all."

Brannon, along with Laurin Smith, a freshman from Hamburg, both made it to elimination rounds in the novice division of competition. Brannon placed as a quarter finalist, while Smith placed second overall and also took first place speaker for the division.

In the open division of competition, Betty Dintelman, a senior from Hamburg, placed as a quarter finalist. "Competition was very tough for this division.   The competitors here were some of the hardest we have seen all year," said Will Whiting, a junior from Monticello.

The team's forensics earned a third place sweepstakes trophy.  Whiting took first place in persuasive speaking, second in extemporaneous speaking, and third in informative speaking.

Dintelman mirrored his accomplishments, taking first in informative speaking, second in impromptu speaking, and third in persuasive speaking.

Smith placed fifth in prose interpretation, and Brandi Morgan, a senior from Crossett, took home her first 1st place trophy for communication analysis. "I've worked really hard all year," said Morgan, "it was nice to finally see it all come together."

Scott Kuttenkuler was very proud of his team's accomplishments. "For the amount of competitors we took on this trip, compared with the large teams of other schools, we were very successful," he said.

Indeed, the University of Arkansas at Monticello can now lay proud claim to the fourth place collegiate team in the state.  The next event for the team will be the IPDA National Championships to be held at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas in April 2004.

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Pulitzer Prize Winning  Author to Speak at UAM

 Will Whiting


The University of Arkansas – Monticello will host a well-known journalist in a lecture entitled “An Evening With David Halberstam” on Tuesday, March 9, 2004, at 7:30p.m. in the Fine Arts Center on the UAM campus. 

Halberstam was awarded the Pulitzer Prize at age 30 for his reporting on the early stages of the Vietnam War.  An accomplished author, Halberstam has written several books that have been New York Times bestsellers.  His highly acclaimed book, The Fifties, was the basis of an eight-part series which aired nationally on The History Channel.  

Halberstam has been praised by numerous noteworthy news organizations including The Washington Post and Harper’s magazine.

The lecture will be followed by a question-and-answer session with a reception and a book signing.  The event is free to the public, and no reservations are required to attend.  The lecture is being sponsored by a grant from the Winthrop Rockefeller Distinguished Lectures, in cooperation with UAM. 

UAM Spring Enrollment Hits New Record

Will Whiting

Officials at the University of Arkansas – Monticello are declaring a record enrollment for the spring 2004 semester.  According to statistics from the Office of the Registrar, UAM saw an almost ten percent jump in the number of students registered at the Monticello campus alone.

Statistics show that the Monticello campus enrolled 2,516 students compared to the spring 2003 reading of 2,304.  Registrar data for spring enrollment dates back to 1986 when 1,720 students enrolled in classes at the university.  According to officials, there has been a steady incline, but this is one of the largest jumps the university has ever seen. 

According to Dr. Peggy Doss, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs/University Relations, the increase is a sign that the university is moving in a positive direction.

“It appears that our intensified recruitment efforts through Admissions are working,” Doss said.  “The Admissions staff is really doing an excellent job attracting students to our campus.  The staff is out on the road a good portion of the week recruiting students to UAM.  They deserve a lot of credit.”

In addition to numbers from the Monticello campus, both College of Technology campuses also showed an increase.  The UAM College of Technology – McGehee campus enrolled 88 students this semester, while the College of Technology-Crossett campus enrolled 92 students bringing the total UAM system enrollment to just shy of 2,700 students. 

With the addition of the two College of Technology campuses, many students who may not ever have had the opportunity to take college credit classes because of their location are now being given that chance.

“The College of Technology campuses are providing those living in the McGehee and Crossett areas an opportunity to further their education,” Doss said.  “Many of them can’t drive to Monticello to take classes, but having it closer to home allows them to do so, and it boosts our enrollment at the same time.”

In addition, Doss also believes current problems within the economy are making many people think about returning to school for advanced training.

“Anytime there is an increased rate of unemployment and people lose their jobs, there is a rise in enrollment,” Doss said.  “Many of those that lose their jobs decide to come back to school to seek a degree for another profession.” 

Doss also believes UAM’s close-knit feeling attracts students to the university.

“Many students are now choosing their university based on the size,” Doss said.  “A good percentage of students do not want to have the feelings of pressure often associated with larger schools.”

The next official enrollment count will be conducted at the beginning of the fall 2004 semester.  If the trend continues, UAM may see another record enrollment next fall, something Doss believes is a good thing. 

“It is always a good thing to have an increase in enrollment,” Doss said.  “We hope UAM continues to grow.”



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