Vol. 1, No. 4

APRIL 15, 2004

UAM Board of Visitors Meets With Taylor, Lassiter | New Name for UAM Library and Technology Center | Virtual Internship Project Has Many Potentials | UAM Forestry  Develops New Tree Measuring Formula | Debate Hosts Last Call | Local Soldier's Close Call


UAM Library and Technology Center Renamed 

By Will Whiting

The UAM Library and Technology Center was re-named Saturday, April 3, 2004, as the Fred J. Taylor Library and Technology Center at an event honoring Taylor and his more than 27 years of service to the university. 

The event, hosted by Taylor’s friends and co-workers, drew a crowd of more than 250 individuals to UAM for a retirement dinner.  At the dinner, UA Board members Mike Akin of Monticello and Charles Scharlau, III of Fayetteville, Arkansas, read a resolution which authorized the library and technology center to be named for Taylor. 

picture of library







Fred J. Taylor Library and Technology Center

Taylor played an instrumental part in developing the $7.5 million facility at UAM.  According to Taylor, the naming of the building in his honor is flattering.

“I am honored by the Board of Trustees for this generous recognition,” Taylor said.  “There were many people who helped make the library and technology center a reality, and I am most grateful for their hard work and dedication to this project.”

Taylor is slated to retire from UAM as Chancellor on June 30, 2004.  He will retire with the longest tenure of any chief executive officer in the school’s history.  Former UAM Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Dr. Jack Lassiter, will replace Taylor as Chancellor on July 1, 2004.

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Foresters measure trees with new measuring formula developed by the UAM School of Forest Resources.  Photo Courtesy of UAM Media Services.

UAM Forestry Develops New Tree Measuring Formula

By Will Whiting

Researchers at UAM have developed a new formula designed to help those in the forestry industry, as well as landowners, to determine the exact weight of loblolly pine trees. 

Weight is important because, while wood is commonly measured in board feet, it is often paid for by the ton.  This new equation will make work much easier for anyone within the forestry field. 

According to Dr. Paul Doruska, project director and Assistant Professor of Forest Resources at UAM, the development of the equation was not something that happened overnight.

“We’ve been working on this for quite some time now,” Doruska said.  “The idea stemmed from several phone calls I received from foresters over the years.”

According to Doruska, after receiving approximately ten phone calls per year from individuals asking about the average weight of wood in our area, the UAM School of Forest Resources and the Arkansas Forest Resources Center decided to form a team to look into the matter.  The team began analyzing and made several interesting discoveries. 

“We found that there was really no consistent way for forestry personnel to convert the board feet, which is how wood is currently measured, to tons, or the method in which those selling wood are paid,” Doruska said.  “That is when we decided to develop an equation to predict weight directly and avoid the conversion.”

After determining their goal, the team of researchers began working on something they hoped would help make others lives easier.  In 2002, measurements and weights of approximately 320 loblolly pine saw timber trees of all sizes were taken.  During the initial sampling, the team measured all of the trees within a specified area.  According to Doruska, the purpose was to develop a better understanding of growing conditions for specific trees.

Before the 320 trees were extracted from the woods, each was painted for later identification.  Because the number of trees involved in the study was so great, the painting phase was very important.  When the final tree was marked, the strenuous work began.

“We had to then weigh each tree we had measured,” Doruska said.  “This involved using heavy equipment, because the standing measurements of the trees were very important to the overall equation.”

Southeast Arkansas loggers Rob Jones and Buddy Long assisted in weighing each log with the help of other research team members.  After the standing measurements were taken, the team went back to make certain they had not overlooked a measurement that would be crucial to the development of the equation.

“We went back after harvesting the trees and before they made it to the mill to do one last set of measurements,” Doruska said.  “We needed to make sure we had specific measurements for the project.”

After the final measuring was complete, the trees were sent away to be processed.  Then the team began crunching numbers to develop a region-specific formula, one that would be relevant to those harvesting wood in this area.

According to Doruska, publicly available equations like the one his team created have been developed in other parts of the United States, but this is the first of its type, locally. 

“The farther east you go, the more likely you are to see a formula like the one we developed,”  Doruska said.  “However, people here can not use formulas from other places, because the conditions surrounding the forest differ from location to location.”

After logging many long hours on the project, the team finally reached a working equation.  The equations developed are those that can be used to estimate the weight of  individual trees or estimate the per acre weight of stands of timber, another name for large masses of trees within a specified acreage. 

“The goal we had was to develop an equation to help others predict the weight of trees,” Doruska said.  “We accomplished our goal.”

The equation Doruska and his team developed has been presented and distributed at several meetings within the state of Arkansas.  It can predict the weight of single trees within approximately 300 pounds, on average.  When predicting the weight on a stand of timber, the weight is predictable within about five tons per acreage of timber.  The numbers may look large, but Doruska says he and his team are excited about their findings. 

“We think the numbers are pretty good, because timber weighs so much,” Doruska said.  “There can be a significant difference in the weight of one tree to the weight of another.”  “Individual loblolly pine saw log trees weigh anywhere from 2,000 to 17,000 pounds each.”

The equation Doruska and his team developed is becoming very popular among those associated with the world of forestry.  In fact, it is so popular that Doruska has already received calls asking for he and his team to develop equations for more than just loblolly pine saw timber. 

“We began with loblolly pine saw timber because it is the number one timber producer in the south,” Doruska said.  “We’ve now had calls to develop equations to weigh pine pulpwood and maybe eventually hardwood pulpwood and saw timber.”

Doruska is working to secure funding for a graduate student position for the fall semester at UAM to help create an equation for hardwoods.  He says the equations are very important to this area because none have ever been created especially for Arkansas.

“There is a demand in the state for equations like ours,” Doruska said.  “We are working hard to meet the demands of all areas of the state.”

The funding for the current project was provided by the Arkansas Forest Resources Center.  Doruska, along with Dr. David Patterson, professor of Forest Resources at UAM, and graduate student Travis Posey of New Edinburg and many other volunteers made this equation possible.  In addition, the timber in the study was extracted from land owned by Plum Creek Timber Company.  Georgia Pacific Corporation personnel helped in identifying forest stands to use. 

While the log trucks on Highway 425 may be a hassle to some local motorists, it is important to understand the significance the forestry industry plays in southeast Arkansas.  The new equation created at UAM will only aid in the efforts of those that work in the forestry business on behalf of landowners.

“It’s something that we needed here,” Doruska said.  “We needed something unique to our own area, and now we have it.”

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UAM Chancellor Dr. Fred Taylor (left) looks on as his soon-to-be replacement, Dr. Jack Lassiter (left) addresses crowd at UAM Board of Visitors Meeting.  Photo Courtesy of UAM Media Services.

UAM Board of Visitors Meets With Taylor and Lassiter

By Will Whiting

The Board of Visitors convened on the UAM campus Thursday, April 8, 2004, for the first meeting of the new semester in the newly named Fred J. Taylor Library and Technology Center. 

The meeting was called to order by current Chancellor Dr. Fred Taylor. After providing a few brief announcements, Taylor introduced Dr. Jack Lassiter, who is slated to replace Taylor when he retires on June 30, 2004.

The board-elected officers and adopted by-laws in what Lassiter called a “get acquainted" session. "This was an opportunity for us to get to know each other and set up guidelines for how we will conduct business,” Lassiter explained. “I am excited about working with the board and look forward to their input on campus issues.”

Members serving on the UAM Board of Visitors include one person from each of seven southeastern Arkansas counties and two representatives from the Board of Directors at both UAM College of Technology campuses.

Ian Beer, a Dumas businessman, was elected chairman of the board. Jimmy Barrett of McGehee will serve as vice chairman and Cynthia Montgomery of McGehee will serve as secretary. Other board members include Herb Hutchison of Crossett, Marilyn Johnson of Warren, Judy Kirkley of Crossett, Charlene Cavaness of Monticello, Rhonda Mullikin of Star City, Tommy Poole of Eudora, Bennie Ryburn III of Monticello, and Frank Wilson of Rison.

The UAM Board of Visitors was created to advise UAM administrators and serve as the liaison function between UAM and the University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees. All communication, including advice and recommendations, is transmitted to the UAM Chancellor who is then responsible for transmitting it to the UA Board. All members serving on the UAM Board of Visitors are appointed by the Governor of the State of Arkansas.

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UAM Virtual   Internship Program Has Great Potential

By Will Whiting

For most college students, obtaining a degree from a university is their overall goal.  Many degrees today require students to complete internships in major fields, allowing students to receive hands-on experience to be used when entering the workforce.  However, for some students, finding internships close to home is a problem.  Through a virtual internship program, students at the University of Arkansas – Monticello are interning with national companies-all from a computer lab based on the UAM campus.

The UAM Division of Computer Information Systems and Spatial Information Systems is giving its students an opportunity to work for companies in states other than Arkansas without leaving the school.  In conjunction with Horizons Institute of Technology, UAM has established the virtual internship program.  According to Dr. James Roiger, Chair of the Division of Computer Information Systems and Director of Virtual Internships, this new idea is revolutionizing the way student’s complete degree-required work.

“It gives students an opportunity to not only learn, but also work for large companies,” Roiger said.  “The experience they are getting will hopefully benefit them when they begin searching for jobs.”

According to Roiger, UAM received a $25,000 grant from Dr. Cathy Brittain White who is founder of the Horizon Institute of Technology.  White, an Arkansas native, believed students at rural universities should have an opportunity to complete classroom assignments close to home. 

“The goal is to keep the jobs in rural areas, and not send them overseas,” Roiger said.  “When we received the grant from Dr. White, UAM also matched it, which allowed us to buy new furniture, computers, everything we needed to establish a lab on campus.”

The campus lab is the location from where students work.  UAM currently has students interning with Netsco, Inc. based in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Prior to the students' beginning their internship, representatives from Netsco made a visit to UAM to choose four students for their intern positions.

“Netsco requested we have students submit resumes for the positions,” Roiger said.  “When they arrived, they interviewed students and then made their selection.”

When the company made its selection, the four students chosen were excited about the opportunities that awaited them.  However, they did not know they would be developing a project that one day might be used by the federal government, something Roiger says makes UAM’s program even more exciting.

“The students are helping Netsco prototype a disaster reporting system,” Roiger said.  “Our students are developing the server to provide the web interfaces that use specific data.”

Essentially, this project would eventually make officials in our nation’s capital aware of possible disasters that might strike anywhere in the United States.  If, for instance, a tornado were to strike Wilmont, Arkansas, a rural town southeast of Monticello, emergency personnel could load details of the disaster into the system UAM students are developing.  Then, the information could be downloaded by Federal Emergency Management Agency officials in Washington, D.C., without them ever having to make a trip to the small southeast Arkansas community to assess the damage. 

However, the project does not end there.  Because students majoring in Spatial Information Systems are also involved in the development of the system, government officials may one day be able to download pictures of the actual make-up of the land created through the various mapping systems with which the Spatial Information Systems division is equipped, ultimately giving federal officials both precise mapping of the land and exact details as to what damage occurred.

Because the program being created will primarily be used by the federal government, specific details relating to the development process are not being released.  According to Roiger, however, the possibilities of this program are extensive.

“Eventually the program could be used by homeland security experts to protect our nation,” Roiger said.  “A lot of large cities are seeing this as a very beneficial tool in monitoring certain city services such as subway systems and city water systems.”

Because Netsco did not have any more expertise or training in the development of this project prior to hiring UAM students as interns, strong communication between North Carolina and Arkansas has been very important.

“Our students are allowed to work on the project around their school schedules, with a maximum of twenty hours per week,” Roiger said.  “However, they do have a mandatory conference call with the company once a week to discuss specific project developments.”

Aside from giving UAM students an opportunity to work on an exciting project, it also allows Netsco to keep project developments on home soil.  As many companies move overseas to produce, Netsco is staying in the United States. 

“Because this project may one day benefit our country’s homeland security, Netsco has to keep the developments in the U.S.,” Roiger said.  “Government contracts cannot go overseas.”

The process links a virtual private network from UAM to the company’s headquarters in North Carolina.  Information is received and sent through UAM’s server through something many visualize as a private tunnel. 

Many would think there would be communication problems with this system.  However, according to Roiger, the process has been fairly smooth.

“There really have not been any major drawbacks,” Roiger said.  “It is great being able to keep our students on campus and give them the opportunity to eventually do a virtual internship with almost any company in the world.”

In addition to UAM maintaining a virtual internship lab, Arkansas State University and Southern Arkansas University are also linked into the Horizon Institute of Technology’s virtual internship center through a location on the ASU campus.  Students at those universities are conducting internships with other companies such as Cardinal Healthcare Systems based in Ohio and Illinois and Matell Toys, Inc., in California.   

Not only is the virtual process a valuable learning experience, it is also a possible future source of employment for upcoming graduates.  According to Roiger, some of the companies participating in the program are already offering some graduates jobs. 

“We think this is going to be a very competitive tool our graduates can use to get jobs,” Roiger said.  “The experience they are gaining is important.”

UAM students involved in the research project include Seth Mankin and Charlette Cross from the Division of Computer Information Systems and Jonathan Ayres and Jonah Freeman from the Division of Spatial Information Systems in the School of Forest Resources at UAM. 

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UAM Debaters pictured from left are Kelly Doggett, Amanda Haught, Marissa Smith, Charlotte Kieffner, Kristi Brannon, Matt Baumgarten, Betty Dintelman,  Will Whiting, and April Jacks.  Photo by David Ray.

UAM Debate Team Hosts Last Call Tournament

By Betty Dintelman

The Last Call Classic Tournament was held April 3rd and 4th at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. With over fifty competitors from three different states, it was a large and successful tournament for everyone involved, including the squad competing from UAM.

Last Call also differed from the usual, run-of-the-mill debate tournament. Instead of six preliminary rounds, competitors completed eight rounds so teams could be better prepared for the upcoming national tournament at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas.

“Up until now, the eight rounds held at nationals were kind of a jolt for those who had been used to just six at each tournament”, said Scott Kuttenkuler, Assistant Director of Forensics. “I think part of the attraction for Last Call, and the reason so many entries were made, was that this gave everyone a heads-up practice for that event.”

Students at UAM who competed in the tournament got that help, and, through their success, proved they could last the eight rounds. Brandi Morgan, a junior from Crossett, broke with an impressive 6-2 record in preliminaries, finishing as an octo-finalist. In addition, she also won 3rd place speaker for the varisty division. April Jacks, a sophomore from Star City, also broke to elimination rounds, finishing as an octo-finalist. Betty Dintelman, a senior from Hamburg, finished as a quarterfinalist. Also competing was Matt Baumgarten, a sophomore from Monticello.

While more experienced competitors were given a chance to polish their skills, other, novice members of the team got their first chance to compete on the varsity level. Among these were Charlotte Kieffner of Hot Springs, Amanda Haught of Monticello, Nicole Smith of Monticello, and Jennifer Adcock, also of Monticello.

“I was a little nervous about moving from the novice division up to varsity, but the experience I received doing so will definitely help at nationals”, said Adcock, who finished with a 4-4 record.

The International Public Debate Championships will be held April 16-18 in Nacogdoches, Texas at Stephen F. Austin State University. The team, currently ranked in the top three of both the varsity and novice divisions, hopes to maintain the lead into that tournament, securing themselves as one of the most successful squads UAM has seen in its thirty plus years of competition.

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Local Soldier's Close Call

By Karon Parrish

UAM Freshman Jenny Tucker does not listen to the news on the radio or watch it on television since her fiance Specialist E4 Brad Guthrie was deployed to Iraq last month.  She only waits for his phone call and hopes that it will come. 

Guthrie was unable to contact Tucker for more than four days.  When she finally received his phone call on Monday, April 12, she was “very relieved.”

Guthrie is stationed in Iraq near the town of Baghdad with the 3rd 153rd Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion Division of the Arkansas National Guard.

He told Tucker that during a convoy escort last week, two roadside bombs exploded near the troops and Shiite rebels opened fire on the unit.  The rebels were unsuccessful in their attempts to stop the convoy and no injuries were reported by American troops.  Guthrie told Tucker, “Luckily, the rebels were real bad shots.”


However, several rebels were killed in the attack and the troops were able to continue with their convoy.

Guthrie told Tucker, “The number of rebel attacks has gone up since the first of April but everyone in the unit is upbeat and encouraged from the support at home. So tell everyone to keep praying and sending us care packages.” 

“We have to constantly keep our ears and eyes open.  We have really learned to pay attention to our surroundings,” Guthrie said.

Once the convoy made it safely to their destination, Specialist Guthrie and the other troops will be taught everything they need to know about Iraq, the people, their customs, and survival skills needed.  The 2nd Battalion, which will soon be leaving for home, will be teaching these skills.  This unit has been in Iraq for more than a year and knows exactly what the new troops need to know. The location and unit name is not available for print due to security reasons.

Tucker still waits by the phone but was reassured by Guthrie that “it isn’t as bad as it seems on television so don’t worry.” 

Tucker replied, “This is easier said than done but I am trying.”

Other troops from Monticello stationed with Guthrie are UAM students, Specialist(s) Jeremy Snow, Trey Bratton, Laron Smith, Lonnie Smith, and Jordan Wisener.