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UNT Briefs

Student earns national research placement

Irán Román, an undergraduate student from Uriangato, Mexico, in the UNT-Howard Hughes Medical Center Undergraduate Researchers Program, has earned a placement in the Stanford Summer Research Program at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.

Professor Tim Stearns at Stanford created the pre-graduate program, which will train 20 undergraduates each year to be the next generation of leaders in biological research. Information about his research can be found online.

Román and Stearns will be working together in the genetics and cellular biology fields using yeast as a model organism. Through molecular techniques, they will study human genes to try and figure out what specific features of the human genome make individuals different.

EXROP students will attend meetings at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute headquarters where they will present their research in a poster session, network and hear from scientists from various backgrounds.

Initiated in 2003, EXROP seeks to cultivate the next generation of advance research scientists, including those from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds, and encourage them to pursue careers in academic science.


Education professor receives ACA awards

Sue Bratton, professor of counseling and higher education and director of the Center for Play Therapy at the University of North Texas, was presented with two awards at the 2013 American Counseling Association conference in March.

Bratton received the ACA’s Best Practices Award, which recognizes faculty members whose research projects have furthered the evidence-base for a particular practice or approach to counseling.

Bratton’s project was titled “A Preliminary Investigation of the Effects of an Early Mental Health Intervention on Disruptive Behaviors of At-Risk Pre-Kindergarten Children Enrolled in Head Start,” recently published in the International Journal of Play Therapy. This study adds to Bratton’s impressive record of research providing evidence for the effectiveness of play therapy and play therapy principles in a variety of counseling settings.

Bratton also received the Humanistic Educator/Supervisor Award from the Association for Humanistic Counseling, which was established to recognize an association member who demonstrates a humanistic philosophy of teaching or supervision, resulting in a significant impact on the development of students and new professionals through teaching, advising, supervising and/or mentoring.


Family pledges $1M for scholarships

Anne Milner Fields and her great-nephew, UNT alumnus Bryan Milner (2000), have pledged $1 million to UNT’s College of Business to endow scholarships for study abroad opportunities.

The gift is eligible to be matched with $1 million from Charn Uswachoke (1973, M.B.A.) as part of his historic $22 million gift to the university in 2011. Uswachoke set aside a portion of his gift for matching opportunities as a way to encourage more donors to support UNT. Milner said that the match heavily influenced the timing and amount of the gift.

The Milner/Fields gift is a tribute to a professor, Peyton Foster Roden, who taught Milner finance at UNT. He died last year after teaching at UNT for 37 years. The Milner/Fields gift establishes the Peyton Foster “Doc” Roden Memorial Study Abroad Scholarship Fund. The popular professor was affectionately known as “Doc” to his students and former students.

Milner, vice president of loan originations at Wells Fargo Capital Finance in Dallas, took two study abroad trips to Cuernavaca, Mexico, with Roden. UNT has an exchange program with Tecnológico de Monterrey’s Cuernavaca campus, a relationship that spans many years and in which Roden was instrumental in establishing. The Milner/Fields gift will make it possible for 40 to 50 UNT students to study international business each semester.


Weekend of early music planned

Two College of Music ensembles, the Collegium Singers and the Baroque Orchestra, will perform a concert April 18, followed that weekend by UNT Opera’s production of Rousseau’s one-act opera Le devin du village (The Cunning Man) with the Baroque Orchestra.

The Collegium Singers and Baroque Orchestra, conducted by Richard Sparks, will present a program built around George Friederic Handel’s Dixit Dominus. The 30-minute long psalm setting is a virtuosic piece for soloists, chorus and orchestra, said Sparks. Handel wrote it in 1707 at age 22, after he had bested Alessandro Scarlatti in a keyboard competition and started his rise to fame.

Also on the program is a concerto grosso by Giuseppe Valentini, written around the same time as the Handel piece. It features four solo violins playing with the Baroque Orchestra. It’s a piece that may have influenced Handel and a good complement to Dixit Dominus, Sparks said.

While some members of the Baroque Orchestra prepare for that concert, others are preparing for the UNT Opera production of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Le devin du village. The fact that Baroque Orchestra has enough members to support two early music events in the same weekend is unique, Sparks said.

Directed by Paula Homer with Paul Leenhouts conducting the Baroque Orchestra, Le devin du village is the tale of two lovers, each of whom suspects the other of cheating. They each visit the village soothsayer who tricks them into loving and trusting each other again, and they marry. The opera was so popular in its day that it was performed at the wedding of the future Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. It will be performed in French with English supertitles.

The Collegium Singers and Baroque Chamber Orchestra perform at 8 p.m. April 18 in Winspear Performance Hall in the Murchison Performing Arts Center. The concert also will be streamed online at

Tickets are $10 for adults; $8 for seniors, non-UNT students, children, UNT faculty, staff and retirees, and groups of 10 or more; and free for UNT students with valid ID. UNT student tickets must be picked up in person at the Murchison Box Office.

UNT Opera and the Baroque Orchestra present Le devin du village at 8 p.m. April 19 and at 3 p.m. April 21. An “In The Know” pre-performance lecture is scheduled 45 minutes prior to each performance in the Lyric Theater at the Murchison Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $15 general admission.

Purchase tickets online at  or by calling the Murchison Box Office at 940-369-7802.