By Allyson Mackender –

In a recent interview with junior theatre major Allie Butemeyer ‘18, she recalled a particularly impactful scene in Trinity’s recent production of Good Kids:

“There was a moment when we took out all the lights so the stage was in complete darkness. All of the actors hit the home buttons on their phone to light up their faces and in this moment the main female character sees the video of her rape. All the actors are assumed to be watching it in darkness, then we put a pale blue spotlight on the main female character as the phone lights turn off and fade into darkness again. It is haunting. It takes your breath away. It is the only way to capture the sadness of that moment.”

Allie Butemeyer '18 works at the lighting control station in Trinity's Stieren Theatre.
Those of us who have been to a production have likely had this experience- a moment in the show that gives you goosebumps and sends chills up your spine. Likely, you attributed this to the performers, score, or set. But imagine that same scene happening in a well-lit room, similar to your classroom or office. It certainly would not have the same impact. That’s where Butemeyer, the Assistant Lighting Designer for Trinity’s upcoming production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, comes in.

After taking a lighting design class with theatre professor Tim Francis, Butemeyer became involved in Trinity’s productions as the Assistant Lighting Designer. In this role, she is responsible for designing, hanging, focusing and writing cues for the lighting in the show.

“Like the rest of a show, we want the lighting to look effortless,” Francis said, “which means we have to hide the immense amount of effort put into it.”


An “immense amount of effort” may be an understatement, though. Butemeyer begins the lighting design process by researching how to operate the lighting. With this knowledge in mind, she and Francis discuss the lighting and design concept for the show, including what gobos, which are patterns on the lights, and colors they want to include. As opening approaches, the more technical and labor-intensive work begins. Butemeyer and student workers hang each light individually, lowering the lights so they are out of sight of the audience.

“It’s a balancing act,” Butemeyer laughed, “You have to pick up a heavy light, pray that it won’t fall, and pray that you won’t fall.”

Once the lights are hung, they are patched into a control board so each light can be individually controlled from a console in the theatre. Next, Butemeyer and the student workers balance more than 20 feet above the stage on a narrow lift to focus each light, ensuring that they are are getting a sharp image in the right place on the stage. With hundreds of lights in the theatre, this task is tedious and time consuming.

As the manual labor comes to an end, Butemeyer and Francis begin a process referred to as cue design. “We sit down at the computer and decide when we want one light to turn on and another to turn off for the entire show,” Butemeyer explained, “That way someone can sit at the board during the show and just press go.” This particular step requires collaboration with the stage manager, director, and other members of the production to ensure the lighting coincides with what is happening on stage.

“We don’t see the lights with the actors until the tech rehearsal, so collaboration is crucial to making sure the lights fit the aesthetic of the show,” Butemeyer explained, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream is an especially unique show because there are basically no limitations to what we can do with the lights. The show has magic and fairies, so that pushes the bounds of creativity for what [Professor Francis] and I can do to make the show come to life.”

Butemeyer adjusts a light on the catwalk in Stieren Theatre.

In addition to the tangible skills Butemeyer gained from this experience, its contributions to her Trinity experience have been invaluable. Trinity’s theatre department focuses on creating well rounded students who are able to pursue a career in various theatre capacities. However, this particular experience has given Butemeyer the chance to explore her specific interests, preparing her for her career goals as a lighting designer.

Butemeyer came to Trinity as an engineering major, but after three semesters changed directions to pursue a theatre degree.

“I got involved with theatre freshman year,” she recalled, “But after taking [Professor Francis’] class I thought, ‘I really enjoy this. I could make a career out of this. Why am I not doing this?’”

What’s special about lighting design, though, is that it allows Butemeyer to incorporate her expertise in electrical engineering, a testament to Trinity’s liberal arts model. “Each light has a power source,” Butemeyer explained, “You still have to draw power from somewhere so I still frequently deal with circuits.”

A Midsummer Night's Dream will run until February 25, 2017.
When asked what Butemeyer was most looking forward to this production, she stated that she is excited to see how the minimalistic set and costume design combine with the lights to create the aesthetic. The show, which was directed by Stieren Guest Artist Nona Shepphard, is meant to imitate Shakespeare’s Globe in London.

“We have a black steps and black flats and all the characters are dressed in black,” Butemeyer explained, “We want the audience to interpret the magic and decide what it means to them.”

Trinity’s theatre department encourages everyone to attend a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which will run until February 25. For information on curtain times and tickets, visit the Current Season page. Courtesy of Trinity’s Student Government Association, 500 Trinity students will receive free tickets to the show on a first come first serve basis. To claim your tickets, visit the box office the night of the production and show your TigerCard.
By Allyson Mackender –

Anyone with an iPhone is familiar with Apple’s Night Shift mode, the feature added last year allowing users to turn off blue light with promises of a better night’s sleep. However, not many of us are familiar with the significant effects blue light has each and every day. Trinity University sophomore, Logan Morrison ‘19, is researching just that.

Morrison's mentor, Dr. Jerry Hizon (right), is a primary care sports doctor. Source: medicalassistantca.com
While other students enjoyed their time off, Morrison, a neuroscience major, spent his winter break serving as a research assistant at Motion Sports MD, a family and sports medicine clinic near his hometown of Temecula, California. Supervised by Dr. Jerry Hizon, Morrison worked with two students from the University of California Riverside studying the effects of blue light blocking glasses on the improvement of insomniatic sleep patterns.

More than 30% of the United States’ population suffers from some level of insomnia, 10% experiencing severe and chronic insomnia. Research suggests that the exposure to blue light could explain some people’s difficulty sleeping. Light is received through retinal ganglion cells and is relayed to the brain through the retinal hypothalamic network to the suprachiasmatic nucleus in the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that serves as our circadian pacemaker. As this process concludes, blue light prevents the secretion of melatonin making it harder to go to sleep and stay asleep.

A diagram, provided by Morrison, demonstrating the reception of light.
“Evolutionarily we didn’t have blue light,” Morrison explained, “There wasn’t TV, or cell phones, or tablets… Also, a lot of light is switching to LED because it is brighter and higher energy but those are pretty much pure blue light.” The modern introduction of blue light clearly has serious effects on sleep patterns. Dr. Hizon, Morrison, and UC Riverside medical students are now tasked with solving this problem.

Over the next few months, Morrison and his research partners will be testing patients with insomnia using Fitbits and blue light blocking glasses, which can be bought online for as little as $8. For two weeks, the subjects will track their sleep patterns without the glasses and then for the subsequent two weeks they will track their sleep patterns wearing the glasses from 6 p.m. until they go to sleep.

Morrison, who will be working remotely from San Antonio, will collect and analyze the data from the Fitbits, hoping to discover a correlation between improved sleep and blue light blocking glasses. “The end goal is to find data that suggests wearing blue light blocking glasses as an additive treatment method for insomnia,” Morrison said, “And I’m optimistic because I really think it will work.”
The Uvex Skyper Blue Light Blocking Computer Glasses with SCT-Orange Lenses being used in Morrison's research. Source: amazon.com
When asked about the challenges faced while completing his research, Morrison was surprised by how many logistical steps must be completed to actually begin the project. After writing a research proposal and doing an extensive literature review, the UC Riverside students had to propose the topic to the Dean who then submits it to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for approval. Since this project uses human subjects, the process was even more exhaustive. However, this step was one of the many learning opportunities Morrison experienced while completing his research.

“The research I’m completing actually relates to neuroscience,” Morrison explained, “I learned a lot of the terminology and pathways in class so when Dr. Hizon would talk about the more scientific parts of the research I could understand them.” This exciting connection between Trinity’s courses and medical research helped solidify Morrison’s future plans of going to medical school and completing medical based research.

“I think Trinity has prepared me well [for medical school] so far because as a sophomore I already feel comfortable putting myself in a medical research environment,” Morrison added, “The skills I’ve developed here help me set myself apart from other pre-med students.”

For more information on Trinity University’s neuroscience department, visit their homepage.
By Allyson Mackender – 

This summer, with the help of computer science professor Seth Fogarty, Charlie Stein ‘18 worked to create a new domain-specific programming language (DSL) for mathematicians specializing in dynamical systems. A previous article discussed the numerous practical uses of Stein’s research, and this semester these implications finally came to fruition when the program was published on CRAN


“This semester we put out all the fires,” Fogarty said. Once these fires were extinguished the program was made open source on CRAN for anyone in the world to access and use.

The process to have their language, “dsmodels: A Language to Facilitate the Creation and Visualization of Two-Dimensional Dynamical Systems,” published on CRAN is rather extensive. Stein and Fogarty had to complete documentation and examples for all the code, respect and acknowledge trademarks, and pass test cases before they were finally accepted.

Publishing their code on CRAN has two primary benefits. First, the program they have created took common coding patterns and made them more efficient, allowing for operations done frequently to be completed more quickly and easily. Their code allows for rapid iterations, so anyone who accesses it will be able to work more efficiently. Second, the program helps guide new people in the field by showing standard visualizations. “The choice of what operations you support suggests what operations you’ll do,” Fogarty explained. For those new to dynamical systems, Stein and Fogarty’s code will serve as a sort of blueprint, modeling the most standard visualizations. 

An example of a visualization created using the code.
What’s more exciting to Stein and Fogarty, though, are the improvements to the code that will certainly be made in the future. Since the program is now open source, anyone can access and use the code. The team hopes to continue improving the code to meet the needs of their users, who can submit “issues” through the GitHub page. This means Stein’s research does not end here. While he and Fogarty work on a paper to be published, they will continue to make improvements to the program. As for Fogarty’s goals for Stein, he is looking forward to presenting their research.

“Presenting is a unique and terrifying experience,” Fogarty laughed, “One that Charlie should have.”

Stein still has the same love for research that he expressed this summer, and much of this passion has been instigated by Fogarty’s approach to undergraduate research. “I would rather have a smaller project and have the student experience the entire scope, from conception to presentation,” Fogarty said. Stein has had the chance to do just this, serving an integral role in a project that he helped to create.

“Research is a really meaningful experience,” Stein said, “This project has made me not want to leave school so I can just keep doing research.”

“And that’s how professors are born,” Fogarty added.

If you would like more information on Fogarty and Stein’s research, please visit their CRAN, GitHub, or documentation page. For more information on Trinity’s computer science department, visit their webpage.
By Allyson Mackender –

According to the San Antonio Food Bank, a 2009 census revealed that 17.1% of Texas’ population is food insecure. This means close to 450,000 people living in the state of Texas “are so limited in resources to buy food that [they] are running out of food, reducing the quality of food that [their] family eats, feeding [their] children unbalanced diets, or skipping meals so [their] children can eat.”

Aware of these troubling statistics, psychology professor Carolyn Becker and political science professor Keesha Middlemass partnered with students Francesca Gomez ‘18, Clara Johnson ‘16, Sarah Parrish ‘16, and Brigitte Taylor ‘17 to begin groundbreaking research on the relationship between food insecurity and eating disorders. With this, the Food Matters: Eating Disorders and Food Insecurity research lab was created.

Parrish (left) '16 and Taylor (right) '17 at one of the mobile food pantries. 
Over the last year, Becker, Middlemass, and the students completed Phase 1 of their research. During this time the students created a 91 question questionnaire, in both Spanish and English, that they took to local food pantries in order to gather quantitative data on food insecure populations across San Antonio. To thank those who agreed to complete the questionnaire, the students provided $5 HEB gift cards, which were donated when the lab partnered with HEB. From these questionnaires the students were able to conclude that there is indeed a relationship between eating disorders and food insecurity.

As the level of food insecurity increased, so did the presence of eating disorders, which includes binge eating, intentionally skipping two or more meals in a row, vomiting, and others. “I was surprised by the number of people who reported that they vomit,” Johnson said, “They are hungry and don’t have a secure access to food so you wouldn’t expect that behavior.” Similarly, the students explained that weight self stigma, which they defined as internalizing society’s negative attitudes about body fat and obesity, increases as food insecurity increases. This is a troubling finding because research by other labs indicates that weight stigma is associated with negative physical and mental health outcomes.

The percentage of people that reported eating disorder pathology and weight self stigma was higher in the nearly 500 food insecure people surveyed at San Antonio food pantries than in the general population often at the focus of such studies. This quantitative result confirmed the importance of studying diverse and marginalized communities, which is a core mission of the Food Matters lab. 

“We are taught to think eating disorders are an upper middle class problem,” Taylor claimed, “But it’s just as prevalent in diverse populations.” The Food Matters lab has attempted to bridge the gap between the university and marginalized populations; the students cited the fact that 72% of their participants were Hispanic and 25% of them only spoke Spanish.

With the quantitative data collected, the Food Matters lab is about to begin Phase 2 of their research. Beginning in 2017, the students will begin to conduct in-depth interviews with food insecure, marginalized populations. They hope this qualitative data will help them to make sense of their quantitative results. 


“Next we need to see what we can do with our data,” Parrish said, “For example, we can explore what preventative measures can be taken.”

Johnson added, “The next phase is important because we want to solve the problem but to do that we must first understand it completely.

In addition to the wonderful community impact that the students’ research has had, working in the Food Matters lab has been individually rewarding as well. The students were excited by the opportunity to use what they’ve learned in class in the community.

“When you take psych stats everything is theory and numbers,” Gomez explained, “But then when you use it in research it clicks and finally makes sense.”

More so, the students agreed that their work in the Food Matters lab helped them to solidify future academic and career goals. Gomez, Johnson, Parrish, and Taylor all have goals of pursuing a graduate degree in psychology, where they hope to continue doing important and impactful research. “I feel prepared to get my master’s degree in clinical psychology,” Parrish stated, “I’ve had hands on experience in a clinical psychology lab so I’m confident I have the knowledge and skills to be successful.” 

Johnson (left) '16 and Gomez (right) '18 administer questionnaires. 
Finally, the students were excited to boast about the community they’ve created within the Food Matters lab. Professor Becker and Professor Middlemass demonstrated the importance of teamwork, while giving them the chance to work independently. This unique undergraduate opportunity has not only contributed to the Trinity experience but has clearly made a lasting impact on the students, who are thrilled to begin the next fascinating phase of research.

Interested in supporting the amazing work being completed by Food Matters: Eating Disorders and Food Insecurity? Visit tugether.trinity.edu to get more information on the research and the ongoing crowdfunding campaign. Donations will be accepted until December 14, 2016.

By Hailey Wilson –

What is it really like to be an intern? I wondered this same thing back in April before receiving an email from Professor Jacob Tingle, titled ‘I have an opportunity for you’. Professor Tingle explained that he needed a management intern for the Arts, Letters, and Enterprise (ALE) minor/certificate program. I didn’t really know what the minor was, but I did some research and, to my surprise, was really interested in what I found. ALE is a minor and certificate program crafted for students in the humanities, arts, and sciences; it enables these students to also explore business and business administration. I was sold.

Hailey Wilson '19 and Professor Jacob Tingle
After a few more emails and phone calls, I was officially the intern for the Arts, Letters, and Enterprise program for the 2016 fall semester.

I imagined my days being filled with making copies, stapling packets, and deleting emails. That’s what interns do, right?

This couldn’t have been further from the truth.

I’m currently working on creating a promotional/marketing video for the Arts, Letters, and Enterprise program. I have several current students, Trinity alumni, and internship hosts coming to campus to speak on behalf of the program and all of it’s positive effects. It’s been difficult to organize this type of project on my own. Scheduling interviews, recording good quality video and sound, and editing the footage is a long, arduous process. While this all may be tough, I’ve acquired the help of some of my peers to help me with it all, which also benefits them in the long run. These daily projects and tasks teach me how to manage my time and allow me to exercise my creative abilities.


Trinity stresses this idea of Experiential Learning, and I never really understood exactly what it was until this internship. Since the semester has started, I’ve been immersed in a ton of hands on work, from attending faculty meetings to drafting marketing material/promotional content. Having an internship on campus is unique: I can directly see the results of my work everyday on campus. The ads and fliers I’ve created are seen by my peers and have a direct effect on the Trinity community, which is something special in itself. Right off the bat, Professor Tingle had me set three personal goals for myself, and each week I do some sort of work that helps me strive to reach those goals. The internship is tailored to my own needs when it comes to growth and development as a professional; it allows me to help the ALE program in ways that will benefit both me and the program. A year ago, I would’ve never thought that I’d be so lucky to land an internship here on campus. Internships are a crucial building block when it comes to drafting a resumé, so having this opportunity so early in my academic career helps set me up for success.

My internship with Professor Tingle and the ALE department has enabled me to work on my marketing principles and techniques, develop a sense of a ‘professional work environment’, and so much more. Even though this is my first internship experience (and it won’t be my last), I have had a blast, all while developing my professional skills. This experience has also opened my eyes and helped me realize that I love marketing, which changes my outlook on my future career plans.

About Hailey

I was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona and I am currently in my Sophomore year here at Trinity University. I am studying Communication with a minor in Sport Management, and my dream is to be a lead anchor on ESPN someday. Realistically, I hope to go into the field of sports journalism or sports marketing. I’m involved in several organizations on campus: I’m a member of the softball team and a Trinity University Distinguished Representative. Off campus, I love to volunteer for San Antonio Sports and Lonestar Playball, two organizations that have a powerful effect on underprivileged groups in the San Antonio community.
By Hailey Wilson –

What is it really like to be an intern? I wondered this same thing back in April before receiving an email from Professor Jacob Tingle, titled ‘I have an opportunity for you’. Professor Tingle explained that he needed a management intern for the Arts, Letters, and Enterprise (ALE) minor/certificate program. I didn’t really know what the minor was, but I did some research and, to my surprise, was really interested in what I found. ALE is a minor and certificate program crafted for students in the humanities, arts, and sciences; it enables these students to also explore business and business administration. I was sold.

Hailey Wilson '19 and Professor Jacob Tingle
After a few more emails and phone calls, I was officially the intern for the Arts, Letters, and Enterprise program for the 2016 fall semester.

I imagined my days being filled with making copies, stapling packets, and deleting emails. That’s what interns do, right?

This couldn’t have been further from the truth.

I’m currently working on creating a promotional/marketing video for the Arts, Letters, and Enterprise program. I have several current students, Trinity alumni, and internship hosts coming to campus to speak on behalf of the program and all of it’s positive effects. It’s been difficult to organize this type of project on my own. Scheduling interviews, recording good quality video and sound, and editing the footage is a long, arduous process. While this all may be tough, I’ve acquired the help of some of my peers to help me with it all, which also benefits them in the long run. These daily projects and tasks teach me how to manage my time and allow me to exercise my creative abilities.


Trinity stresses this idea of Experiential Learning, and I never really understood exactly what it was until this internship. Since the semester has started, I’ve been immersed in a ton of hands on work, from attending faculty meetings to drafting marketing material/promotional content. Having an internship on campus is unique: I can directly see the results of my work everyday on campus. The ads and fliers I’ve created are seen by my peers and have a direct effect on the Trinity community, which is something special in itself. Right off the bat, Professor Tingle had me set three personal goals for myself, and each week I do some sort of work that helps me strive to reach those goals. The internship is tailored to my own needs when it comes to growth and development as a professional; it allows me to help the ALE program in ways that will benefit both me and the program. A year ago, I would’ve never thought that I’d be so lucky to land an internship here on campus. Internships are a crucial building block when it comes to drafting a resumé, so having this opportunity so early in my academic career helps set me up for success.

My internship with Professor Tingle and the ALE department has enabled me to work on my marketing principles and techniques, develop a sense of a ‘professional work environment’, and so much more. Even though this is my first internship experience (and it won’t be my last), I have had a blast, all while developing my professional skills. This experience has also opened my eyes and helped me realize that I love marketing, which changes my outlook on my future career plans.

About Hailey

I was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona and I am currently in my Sophomore year here at Trinity University. I am studying Communication with a minor in Sport Management, and my dream is to be a lead anchor on ESPN someday. Realistically, I hope to go into the field of sports journalism or sports marketing. I’m involved in several organizations on campus: I’m a member of the softball team and a Trinity University Distinguished Representative. Off campus, I love to volunteer for San Antonio Sports and Lonestar Playball, two organizations that have a powerful effect on underprivileged groups in the San Antonio community.
By Allyson Mackender – 

Trinity University’s Mexico, the Americas, and Spain (MAS) program allows students from a variety of disciplines to “[draw] on the rich Hispanic culture of San Antonio as well as Trinity's proximity to Mexico and Latin America,” through various on and off-campus opportunities, including courses at Trinity and study-abroad experiences. Many MAS students are recipients of Alvarez Internship Grants, which are rewarded upon the completion of an internship at any nonprofit that works primarily with Latino/as and that requires the student to speak either Spanish or Portuguese.

Ortman '17 works with one of the children at Casa RAICES on a homework assignment. 
Trinity senior Annie Ortman, who is studying Spanish, Russian, and international studies, is completing her third semester as an Alvarez intern. Ortman’s internship, which began during the summer, is at Casa RAICES, a nonprofit that provides free or low cost legal aid to immigrants and refugees that are otherwise underserved. RAICES is made up of a series of offices around Texas and a shelter located here in San Antonio, where Ortman is an intern.

Ortman explained that the women and children at the shelter primarily come from Central America, though they have helped some from Somalia, Pakistan, and Romania, as well as other countries. Although the countries the women and children are immigrating from vary, Ortman suggested that their experiences when entering the United States are rather similar. “Right when they cross the border they go to the hielera (ice box) where they are held for about a day,” Ortman described, “Then they are sent to the perrera, which literally translates to dog cage, before they are finally sent to the detention centers where they stay for as little as a few days up to an entire month.” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will take women and children with immediate travel plans to the airport or bus station, beginning the last leg of their journey to reach their family or friend who will sponsor them in the U.S. However, those that don’t have immediate travel plans or an identified sponsor will be sent to RAICES, and that’s where Ortman and the other volunteers come in.

Much of Ortman’s day is consumed by intake and various tasks important to making the families comfortable at the shelter, which at times is home to more than 50 people. Her responsibilities include driving families to the airport and bus station, serving home-cooked meals to them, providing them with a change of clothes, and recording information about the mothers and children. Yet, perhaps her most important responsibility is the emotional security she provides to the women.

Ortman's internship at RAICES has dramatically influenced her post-graduation plans. 
“When a family arrives at the shelter we first explain to them that they are in a safe home and free from immigration,” Ortman explained. Casa RAICES provides a secure space for the women to not only stay but to share their stories. In fact, during intake Ortman and the other volunteers are expected to ask about the women’s immigration process, looking for any discrepancies that should be reported to the office, where the immigration attorneys work. This dialogue is especially important to Ortman’s personal goal for her internship. “I had read books and articles about it but I didn’t have much in-depth knowledge of immigration and refugee procedures,” Ortman claimed, “So my goal was to learn about these things by developing one-on-one relationships. And I wanted to work on my Spanish.”

While Ortman has accomplished these goals, they are nothing compared to the unexpected rewards that have come from her internship at Casa RAICES. Ortman claims that the most rewarding part of her internship is knowing that the smallest things make a very direct and large difference. “RAICES works directly one-on-one with refugee and immigrant families, which most people don’t get to do,” Ortman said, “I’ve built intimate and deep connections with the mothers. Actually, there’s a woman that I met earlier this summer that I still talk to and she always tells me how thankful she is for RAICES.” These personal connections are what have made Ortman’s internship experience exceptional.

Ortman was quick to acknowledge that these connections and the opportunity to develop as a student and member of the San Antonio community would not have been possible without the MAS program. In fact, she claimed that without the Alvarez Internship she would not have been compelled to leave the “Trinity bubble” and become an active member of the community. The unique opportunities provided by Trinity’s MAS program have provided Ortman and many other students the chance to engage in San Antonio and the world, contributing to their classroom experience and creating lasting and rewarding memories.

Ortman will soon be applying for the Peace Corps in Central and South America. “I want to work in the areas where the issues RAICES addresses are originating,” Ortman stated. She would like to attend law school for immigration law and would eventually would like to work for the State Department. These plans were heavily informed by her experience at RAICES, which she claims gave her a strong personal connection to a field in which she has always had some interest. 

For more information on the Alvarez Internship Grants or other MAS programming please visit their homepage.