Senior Sheryl Cambronero (left) and sophomore Bere Osorio recently beat out 70 other young filmmakers from throughout the region to win the grand prize in a competition by Mitchell Communications GroupCambronero and Osorio had just pitched a series for KUOZ TV-6 for next fall. The series is a Spanish soap opera titled, "Las Flores de Spandra," set on the fictitious Spadra University campus and centering on college students at a small university. The students said they learned about the Mitchell competition just a few days before the competition deadline. "Our professors told us about the competition and they thought it would be perfect for us to enter because we had just pitched this series to them," said Cambronero. "We only had a couple of days to prepare, but that was really all we needed because this was a project that we had already put a lot of time and thought into. The timing was perfect." Cambronero and Osorio beat out 70 other entrants to win the competition and a prize package valued at more than $3,000, including a $500 cash prize. They will also receive senior level consultation for development of a short film, one day of training or production assistance from the Mitchell Creative video production team, and an all access pass to the 2016 Bentonville Film Festival. Their soap opera will be combined into a short film and will be shown during next year's film festival. "We really didn't expect to win but we left there thinking that we had done our best," Osorio said. "Our professors did a great job of preparing us and helping us polish our presentation, so by the time we got there, we weren't nervous at all. When we found out later that we had won, we were quite shocked." The idea for the Spanish soap opera came about late one evening near the end of the semester after Cambronero and Osorio learned that Erik Krauss, director of the international studies program, was resigning his position and not returning next year. "We were really down when we learned about Mr. Krauss and we were talking about the future and Sheryl said something about how we should do something big to leave our legacy here at Ozarks," Osorio said. "We were just kind of joking around about creating a soap opera based on Ozarks, but we kept talking about it and started to develop the characters and the background. It just took off from there." The students said they plan to shoot three or four 15-minute episodes of the soap opera next fall. Describing it as a satirical drama, the soap opera will done in Spanish with English subtitles. The script for the first series is complete and several of the main characters have already been cast. "I think one of the things that helped us win the competition is that we were going to do this project whether we had won or not," Cambronero said. "We didn't just develop an idea to pitch, we already had one that we're passionate about. We are completely immersed into this project and we can't wait to get back on campus in the fall to start production." Osorio said that even though her and Cambronero's personalities are quite different, the co-producers are completely in sync when it comes to producing a film. "Sheryl is definitely a lot more outgoing than me and I'm more of a laid-back, detail person and we kind of balance each other out, she said. "But in the creative process we're really quite similar. We'll be sitting in the cafeteria and both see something and just look at each other because we're both thinking about how that would look from the camera's perspective. It's kind of scary how we think alike in that regard." Cambronero said that while she will appreciate the Mitchell firm's production consultation as part of the grand prize, she is most excited about the $500 cash award. "We were worried about how we were going to pay for T-shirts and food for our crew and this money was just what we needed," Cambronero said. "You have to keep your crew happy and well fed so that they will do the best work possible. This will definitely help us do that."
University of the Ozarks officials have announced that Dr. David Daily (right) and Joel Rossmaier have been named academic deans in their respective divisions, effective July 1. Daily, professor of religion, will serve as the dean of the Humanities & Fine Arts Division, while Rossmaier, associate professor of practice of business and accounting, will be the dean of the University’s Division of Social Sciences. The appointments coincide with the July 1 reorganization of the academic divisions. Daily has taught at Ozarks since 2000 and received the University’s Bagwell Outstanding Faculty Award in both 2004 and 2009. He will replace Dr. Steve Oatis, professor of history, who has served as dean since 2015. “It will be an honor to serve as dean of the Division of Humanities & Fine Arts,” Daily said. “Through his years in that role, Steve Oatis has put the division on a strong footing, and I look forward to building on his work.” Rossmaier, joined Ozarks in 2002 as an adjunct instructor and became a full-time professor in 2003. He served as interim dean of the Division of Business at Ozarks for the 2018-19 academic year. “I am honored to be named as the dean of the Division of Social Sciences,” Rossmaier said. “The University is going through some exciting changes right now, and I look forward to being able to contribute to the growth of the programs within the division.” University Provost Dr. Alyson Gill commended the two new deans, who have a combined 36 years of Ozarks teaching experience. “Dr. Daily is a deeply respected member of the Ozarks community, and I am thrilled that he has agreed to take on this new role,” said Gill. “Since I have known him, I have found his to be a voice of gentle reason, and he brings with him not only a love for the Ozarks community, but a commitment to leading in a time of unprecedented growth with pedagogical richness. As the new dean of Humanities & Fine Arts, I believe that he will play a critical role in providing strong, consistent and communicative leadership for the division.” “Last year, I asked Professor Rossmaier to serve as interim Dean of Business. I have seen him step more fully into that role, and have grown to rely on his sound advice and ability to view things from multiple perspectives. He is a skilled navigator of complex spreadsheets, and comes into this role as a respected and thoughtful leader.” Oatis will return to full-time teaching and will continue to chair the provost advisory group and serve as the division representative on the HLC strategic assessment team. “As a new provost, I appreciate Dr. Oatis’ tireless efforts in leading the division over the years,” Gill said. “This cannot be overstated, and I am deeply grateful for his service to the University—a place that he loves and is deeply invested in.” In a related note, beginning July 1 the four current academic divisions will be aligned to reflect the LENS curriculum and will be known as Humanities & Fine Arts, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences & Mathematics divisions. With this re-organization, the communication and sociology disciplines will move to Social Sciences. The reorganized divisions: Humanities & Fine Arts (Dr. David Daily, Dean) MAJORS: Art, English, History, Music, Philosophy, Religion, Spanish, Theatre MINORS: American Studies, Art, Creative Writing & Thought, English, History, Interfaith Studies, Music, Philosophy, Religion, Spanish, Theatre Social Sciences (Joel Rossmaier, Dean) MAJORS: Accounting, Business Administration, Communication Studies, Elementary Education, Environmental Studies, Physical Education K-12, Political Science, Sociology MINORS: Accounting, Athletic Coaching, Business Administration, Communication Studies, Criminal Justice, Economics, Education, Film Studies, Management, Marketing, Media Production, Military Science, Physical Education, Political Science, Sociology, Strategic Communication Natural Sciences & Mathematics (Dr. Sean Coleman, Dean) MAJORS: Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Studies, Health Science, Mathematics, Psychology MINORS: Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Studies, Health Science, Mathematics, Physics, Psychology, Sustainable AgricultureUniversity of the Ozarks Professor Dr. Jesse T. Weiss will premiere his documentary, “Natty Parks,” on the Ozarks campus at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 3, in the Rogers Conference Center’s Hanna Room. The film was written, directed, filmed and edited by Weiss, professor of sociology and environmental studies. The documentary chronicles the journey that capped Weiss’ Spring 2018 National Parks course as students and faculty members travelled by road into the west to visit the national parks they had studied. The class traveled 3,500 miles, through seven states to visit nine national parks in 10 days. The film features Ozarks students Derric Davis, Jake Sawyer, Cat Thompson, Christina Waddle, Jonathan Barham, Tristian Leonard and Erika Henderson as well as Dr. Warren Sconiers, assistant professor of biology at Ozarks. It also features original music recorded and produced by Neal Harrington, professor of art at Arkansas Tech University. “Natty Parks” was selected to screen at the 48th Annual Arkansas Sociological and Anthropological Association (ASAA) meeting at Hendrix College in Conway, Ark., on Nov. 2. The Oct. 3 premiere on the U of O campus is open to the public and there is no charge for admission. Cast members will be on hand to answer questions during a panel discussion that will follow the film’s screening.What started as a joking, late-night conversation has evolved into a competition-winning project for a pair of University of the Ozarks radio/television/video (RTV) and strategic communication majors. Sheryl Cambronero, a senior from Costa Rica, and Bere Osorio, a rising sophomore from Mexico City, learned last week that they had won the grand prize in a competition sponsored by Mitchell Communications Group, a Northwest Arkansas-based strategic communications firm. Held in conjunction with the first-ever Bentonville Film Festival, the Mitchell competition was looking for imaginative young filmmakers ages 21-and-under to pitch a short film concept at the Mitchell booth during the festival. Entrants had 30 seconds to deliver a creative pitch for producing a film over the next 12 months.