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News at Brookhaven College

Release Date Sept. 17

Members of the Brookhaven College astronomy department focused more than a dozen telescopes on the night sky for a public star-gazing event on Wednesday that was coordinated by Anahita Sidhwa, professor of astronomy. Two students recently made new discoveries during their star gazing as homework. Josh Lagunez and Raul Amaya have been continuing the search this year as their research projects for astronomy class. On September 13th, Chaz Hafey, science learning lab coordinator for astronomy, was notified that the images the students had captured recently included two previously unidentified “Main Belt” asteroids. The students, along with Hafey and Jeff Reith, a former student and current astronomy tutor, will be credited with the discovery of 2010 RV63 and 2010 RW63. With this latest discovery, students at the college have found a total of 16 new asteroids and confirmed a comet over the last four years. The department has taken part in a search for asteroids, along with other colleges and high schools from around the world since 2006.

Hundreds of students, employees, and some community members crowded the School of the Arts performance hall at Brookhaven College to hear Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins speak about justice and the role that DNA evidence has played in the exoneration of more than 20 wrongly convicted individuals in the past three years. The college is reading Picking Cotton as its open book this year. Picking Cotton tells the story of Jennifer Thompson; a woman assaulted, devastated, and determined that she correctly identified her assailant. After more than a decade in jail for a crime he did not commit, Ronald Cotton was released based on DNA evidence. Watkins said when he was first elected as district attorney many people sent him copies of the book, so he was familiar with the story. As an advocate for the use of DNA evidence to reexamine cases, Watkins has garnered national attention since he first opened his office’s files to the Texas Innocence Project in 2007.

Brookhaven College students will have access to borrow more textbooks for DCCCD core curriculum courses through the efforts of the college Faculty Association members, Beverly Neu Menassa, assistant dean of student support services, and Oscar Lopez, vice president for enrollment management and student success. A grant worth $40,000 was used to purchase books for the association’s Textbook Semester-Loan Program. Nancy Barlow, English professor, administers the loan program for the association, which allows students to borrow a textbook for the entire semester. Through this program approximately 1,000 students are able to begin the semester with a free textbook and then return it at the end of the term for re-use. The funds purchased approximately 350 new textbooks, expanding the book collection to about 1,000 that are now available to financially strapped students who are taking a core course.

Shawna Burrows from the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) contacted Vernon Hawkins, associate vice president of workforce training and continuing education at Brookhaven College, to compliment Dennis Maddox, administrative assistant II. Burrows had extensive praise for Dennis, who processes paperwork and advises students eligible for the college Workforce Investment Act and Trade Adjustment Act grant. These are students who have experienced a layoff but are eligible for training funds through TWC. Burrows said she is pleased about two things in particular: how the college processes work, and the format and quality of the college “bid” letters requesting funds for the students. She also said the TWC career coaches are now using the process as a model for all other colleges to follow.

On September 10th, the Early College High School (ECHS) at Brookhaven College combined a “meet the teacher” night for parents with its annual “Welcome Back Dance” for students. The student services center served as the venue; the east half of the first-level designated for the dance and the west half arranged for parents to visit with ECHS faculty members. Parents could meet and talk with Nancy Adams, Dina Anderson, Louis Harvill, Joseph Kruk, Jeanine Powell, Ann Reavis, Aimee Rosier, April Russell, Gary Ruther, and counselor Pam Geisinger-Sandy. Rosie Oliveira, ECHS principal, and Marilyn K. Lynch, associate vice president and ECHS liaison, welcomed and registered participants.



Editor's note: for interviews, photo opportunities and media support, please contact Meridith Danforth, assistant director for marketing and public information, 972-860-4823, or the Marketing and Public Information Office, 972-860-4700, main number, After hours, please call the college Police Department and ask them to contact the media liaison on duty. To receive news updates via e-mail from Brookhaven College, please send an e-mail to with your name and e-mail address for text-only news items.

Brookhaven College is proud to be an Hispanic-Serving Institution with more than 25 percent Hispanic student enrollment since 2006. Educational opportunities are offered by Brookhaven College without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity or gender expression..

Brookhaven College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award the associate's degree. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Brookhaven College.

The three-fold purpose for publishing the Commission's address and contact numbers is to enable interested constituents (1) to learn about the accreditation status of Brookhaven College, (2) to file a third-party comment at the time of Brookhaven College's decennial review, or (3) to file a complaint against Brookhaven College for alleged non-compliance with a standard or requirement.

Normal inquiries about Brookhaven College, such as admission requirements, financial aid, educational programs, etc., should be addressed directly to Brookhaven College and not to the Commission's office.