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Ten SMU professors receive 2013-14 Sam Taylor Fellowships

Ten SMU faculty members have received 2013-14 Sam Taylor Fellowships from the Sam Taylor Fellowship Fund of the Division of Higher Education, United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

The Fellowships, funded by income from a portion of Taylor’s estate, award up to $2,000 for full-time faculty members at United Methodist-related colleges and universities in Texas. Any full-time faculty member is eligible to apply for the Fellowships, which support research “advancing the intellectual, social or religious life of Texas and the nation.”

Applications are evaluated on the significance of the project, clarity of the proposal, professional development of the applicant, value of the project to the community or nation, and the project’s sensitivity to value questions confronting higher education and society.

The winning professors for this academic year, and their projects:

• Tim Cassedy, English, Dedman College, for research at the Library of Congress for his book Language Makes the Difference, a history of ideas about language and identity at the turn of the 19th century.

• Michael Chmielewski, Psychology, Dedman College, to study the appropriateness of commonly used psychological tests and measures for diverse populations.

• Michael Corris, Art, Meadows School of the Arts, for interviews and illustration reproductions for his book The Armchair in the Studio: The Engagement of Art and Philosophy Since the 1960s.

• Benard Cummings, Theatre, Meadows School of the Arts, for a theatre adaptation of Babette’s Feast set during the Civil War.

• Kate Engel, Religious Studies, Dedman College, for archival research in Great Britain and Germany on international Protestantism at the time of the American Revolution.

• Blake Hackler, Theatre, Meadows School of the Arts, to take part in advanced training with the SITI Theatre ensemble and conduct research on embodied actor training methodologies.

• Andrea Meltzer, Psychology, Dedman College,  for a study of newlywed couples and weight-maintenance motivations.

• Lisa Pon, Art History, Meadows School of the Arts, to support reproduction of images for her upcoming book on the Madonna of the Fire.

• Candace Walkington, Teaching and Learning, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, to build a website containing mathematics problems that are personalized to middle and high school students’ interests.

• Eric White, Special Collections, Bridwell Library, to complete the first comprehensive documentary history of every surviving copy of the Gutenberg Bible, encompassing their discovery, changing ownership and rise in cultural significance.

SMU’s DeGolyer Library celebrates Joe Coomer’s life in letters

Author Joe Coomer, SMU '81

Award-winning author and SMU alumnus Joe Coomer will be celebrated in a retrospective exhibition running through May 24 at SMU’s DeGolyer Library.

The career and achievements of acclaimed author and SMU alumnus Joe Coomer is celebrated in a retrospective exhibition running through Friday, May 24, 2013 in SMU’s DeGolyer Library.

“Joe Coomer: A Life in Letters” explores Coomer’s creative process using handwritten drafts, manuscripts, galleys, letters, first editions, translations and other materials drawn from the literary archive he recently donated to DeGolyer Library.

The gift of more than 20 boxes of materials includes essays and stories, tests, a transcript and other papers from Coomer’s time as an undergraduate in SMU’s creative writing program. He graduated in 1981.

Known for his graceful prose and memorable characters, Coomer has published eight works of fiction, two non-fiction books and one collection of poetry. His writing has been praised by The Boston Globe as “fresh and authentic” and as “compelling” and a “genuine pleasure” by The New York Times.

The Decatur Road: A Novel of the Appalachian Hill Country by Joe Coomer

A 30th-anniversary edition of Joe Coomer’s debut novel, ‘The Decatur Road: A Novel of the Appalachian Hill Country,’ has been published by SMU’s DeGolyer Library. Coomer graduated from the University in 1981.

“Joe Coomer is one of the great voices to emerge from SMU’s English department and creative writing program,” says Russell L. Martin III ’78, ’86, DeGolyer director. “We are honored and delighted to have his papers, where they will join our growing collection of the archives of other contemporary writers. It is also fitting, during SMU’s centennial, that we recognize our own.”

A 30th-anniversary edition of Coomer’s debut novel, The Decatur Road: A Novel of the Appalachian Hill Country, will be published by DeGolyer Library in conjunction with the exhibit. He will sign copies and talk about his work at a reception and lecture Thursday, April 18 as part of the SMU Founders’ Day weekend. The event will begin at 6 p.m. at the library and will be free and open to the public.

First published in 1983, the book won the Jesse A. Jones Award for Best Work of Fiction from the Texas Institute of Arts and Letters in 1984. He started writing the book as an SMU student.

“I wrote three of the short segments for an independent study with Marsh [Terry]. He liked them, so after I graduated, I wrote 55 more,” Coomer says.

Terry ’53, ’54, who retired in 2007 as the E. A. Lilly Professor of English, founded the creative writing program and the SMU Literary Festival and became Coomer’s mentor and friend.

“Joe Coomer transferred into SMU and came to my office in Dallas Hall and asked, ‘Are you the writing teacher?’ I nodded my head and did my best, and Joe turned out to be the leader of our nationally celebrated SMU Literary Festival. John Updike and Raymond Carver heard him read at the festival and were impressed,” Terry recalls.

> Read the full story from SMU News

 

LitFest 2013 welcomes established and student writers March 20-23

AStock photo of stacked library booksStudent writers from the Greenhill School, Hockaday, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Yavneh Academy, and Texans CAN Academy will read their works to open SMU’s 2013 Literary Festival on Wednesday, March 20.

The Wordspace Student Readings, culminating in the 2013 Tale of One City Awards for outstanding high school writers, will begin at 6:30 p.m. in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall.

The Department of English in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences presents the annual celebration of writing and writers, which runs through Saturday, March 23. The four-day festival includes author readings, receptions, student conferences and book signings. All events are free and open to the public.

Since the early eighties, LitFest has featured writers such as John Updike, Joyce Carol Oates, Alice Walker, Norman Mailer, Robert Pinsky and Jill McCorkle. For 2013, the line-up includes:

  • Camille Dungy is author of the poetry collections Smith Blue (winner of the 2010 Crab Orchard Open Book Prize), Suck on the Marrow and What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison.
  • Vievee Francis has been published in CallalooMargieCrab Orchard Review and Detroit’s Metro Times. She is the author of Blue-Tail Fly, a Callaloo Workshop participant and Cave Canem Fellow.
  • Alix Ohlin is the author of InsideSigns and WondersThe Missing Person and Babylon and Other Stories. Her work has appeared in Best American Short StoriesBest New American Voices, and on public radio’s Selected Shorts.
  • Matt Olzmann’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Kenyon ReviewNew England ReviewSalt HillMargie and other journals. He is a Kundiman Fellow and a writer-in-residence for the InsideOut Literary Arts Project.
  • Alan Michael Parker has received awards and fellowships including three Pushcart Prizes, the Fineline Prize from the Mid-American Review, and the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. His novel, Whale Man, was a finalist for the 2011 ForeWord Reviews’s “Book of the Year Award” in the category of Literary Fiction.
  • Natalie Serber, recipient of the John Steinbeck Award, Tobias Wolff Award, and H.E. Francis Award, has been short-listed in Best American Short Stories. Her latest book is Shout Her Lovely Name, a collection of stories about the relationships between mothers and daughters.
  • Tatjana Soli’s first and second novels, The Lotus Eaters and The Forgetting Tree, have won awards including the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, New York Times Notable Book 2010, ALA 2011 Notable Book, LA Times Book Award Finalist, Kirkus Reviews Top Debut Fiction, and Bookmarks Magazine Best Literary Fiction.
  • Debra Spark, author of the novels Coconuts for the Saint, The Ghost of Bridgetown and Good for the Jews, edited the best-selling anthology Twenty Under Thirty: Best Stories by America’s New Young Writers. Her newest book is The Pretty Girl, a collection of stories about art and deception.

For more information and the schedule of events, visit the official SMU LitFest blog at smu.edu/litfest.

SMU panel to explore the history (and future) of privacy Oct. 31, 2012

A panel of SMU faculty members from a wide range of disciplines will examine the history of and emerging ramifications for the concept of privacy in the 21st century at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31, in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center West Ballroom.

The program launches the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute’s IMPACT (Interdisciplinary Meetings to Address Pressing Current Themes) series of symposia. Sponsored by the Embrey Family Foundation, the symposium is free and open to the public and includes a 3 p.m. reception.

Lee Cullum, journalist and fellow in SMU’s John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies, will moderate the discussion. Panelists include SMU professors whose studies touch on some aspect of privacy:

  • George Holden is professor of psychology in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. Holden specializes in developmental psychology with a focus on family violence and parent-child interactions. His current research involves analyzing home audio recordings of mothers and their preschoolers. “Psychologists are in the business of exploring people’s private lives — such as their secret thoughts and behavior behind closed doors,” Holden says. “Consequently, we are confronted with various thorny issues.”
  • Alexis McCrossen is associate professor of history in Dedman College whose specialty is U.S. social and cultural history. “Privacy is an institution that came of age in early modern Europe,” she says.
  • Beth Newman is associate professor of English and director of the Women and Gender Studies Program in Dedman College. Newman, whose specialty is 19th-century British literature, says “The concept of privacy developed alongside the rise of the novel, which reinforced its importance — especially for the middle class.”
  • Santanu Roy is professor of economics in Dedman College. Roy’s research interests are in industrial organization, natural resources and environment, international and economic growth.
  • Mary Spector is associate professor of law and director of the Consumer Law Project – both in Dedman School of Law. Spector’s research interests are in the areas of consumer credit, landlord-tenant law and clinical legal education.
  • Suku Nair is chair and professor of computer science and engineering in the Lyle School of Engineering. Nair’s research interests are in network and systems security and reliability.

The Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute was made possible by a $5 million gift from the Dedman Family and the Dedman Foundation. The Institute was created to bring together faculty and students from the humanities, sciences and social sciences for collaborative research and other programs. The Institute will host annual seminars bringing together faculty, graduate and undergraduate students and members of the community to discuss global issues.

Written by Kimberly Cobb

> Read the full story at SMU News

For the Record: Sept. 7, 2012

Versatile Link logoAnnie Xiang, Physics, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, has received the U.S. Department of Energy Generic R&D award, a 3-year program (2012 to 2015) with a total funding of $202,500 to develop small-form-factor, high-reliability optical transmitters at the 120 Gbps range for high-bandwidth data transmission in future particle physics experiments. At SMU, she also leads the Versatile Link project, a collaboration with the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and Oxford University, funded through U.S. ATLAS.

SMU’s Center for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention has received the 2012 TIPS Award of Excellence for its anti-alcohol abuse training program. The award is presented by Health Communications, Inc., the providers of the Training for Intervention ProcedureS (TIPS) Program. SMU began implementing TIPS in early 2007 to train students in how to make sound choices when faced with challenging decisions regarding alcohol use. The Award of Excellence winner is chosen based on both volume of students certified and feedback from TIPS Trainers and student participants.

Brian Zoltowski, Chemistry, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, has received a $250,000 grant from the Herman Frasch Foundation for Chemical Research for his research focusing on the photoreceptor protein, one of the many proteins involved in an organism’s circadian clock. The photoreceptor protein enables plants to know when the spring and fall occur and to produce flowers or fruit at the appropriate time of year. The Frasch Foundation awards grants to nonprofit incorporated institutions to support research in the field of agricultural chemistry that will be of practical benefit to U.S. agricultural development. Grants are awarded for a period of five years, subject to annual review and approval on evidence of satisfactory progress.

Rick Halperin, Embrey Human Rights Program, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, has written the foreword to Echoes of the Lost Boys of Sudan, a graphic novel by James Disco about the Sudanese genocide and an international incident in which more than 20,000 children – mostly boys – ranging in age from 7 to 17 were displaced or orphaned during the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983-2005). Read more from the Huffington Post. (Right, an image from the book.)

Lori Ann Stephens, English, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, has written The Lingerer – a libretto based on the story The Sweeper of Dreams by Neil Gaiman – which has been chosen as a finalist in the 2012 English National Opera Minioperas competition. More than 500 librettos were entered, and 10 were selected as finalists; Stephens is the only finalist from the USA. During the next two phases of the competition, composers create music based on one of the 10 librettos, and filmmakers create videos to accompany them. Stephens has been invited to London for the final presentations in October. Listen to the music written for Stephens’ libretto by composer Julian Chou-Lambert. audio

Louis Jacobs, Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, has been named the winner of the 2012 Skoog Cup presented by the Science Teachers Association of Texas (STAT) as part of its STAT Awards program. The Skoog Cup is awarded to a faculty or staff member at a Texas college or university who “has demonstrated significant contributions and leadership in the development of quality science education.” Jacobs and the other STAT Award winners will be honored at the Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching (CAST) Nov. 8-10 in Corpus Christi.

Michael Corris, Art, Meadows School of the Arts, has been named reviews editor of the Art Journal, a publication of the College Art Association (CAA). CAA states its mission as “[promoting] the visual arts and their understanding through committed practice and intellectual engagement.”

Bezalel (Ben) Gavish, Information Technology and Operations Management, Cox School of Business, has been elected a Fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). Only 12 members of the Institute were elected Fellows in 2012. They will be honored on Oct. 15 at the 2012 INFORMS Annual Meeting in Phoenix.

Ed Biehl, Chemistry, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, has received the 2012 Kametani Award for achievements in the field of heterocyclic chemistry. The $3,000 award was created in 1999 and is presented annually in memory of the founder of Heterocycles, the official journal of The Japan Institute of Heterocyclic Chemistry. The award is sponsored by the Institute and the journal’s publisher, Elsevier.

Anita Ingram, Risk Management, has been voted 2012-13 president-elect of the University Risk Management and Insurance Association (URMIA). She and the other new URMIA officers will be inducted Oct. 2 at the organization’s 43rd Annual Conference in Providence, Rhode Island. URMIA is an international nonprofit educational association promoting “the advancement and application of effective risk management principles and practices in institutions of higher education.” It represents more than 545 institutions of higher education and 100 companies.

For the Record: May 2012

The SMU Office of Public Affairs received 10 awards in 8 different categories in the 2012 Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District IV competition. Nicole SantosMelinda Matthews, Laura Graham, Karen Shoholm and Vicki Olvera, Integrated Marketing and Advertising, won a Gold Award in the Design category for “Say Hello to SMU,” the University’s new admission brochure. Sarah Hanan and Kathleen Tibbetts, News and Communications, won the Gold and Silver Awards in the Blogs category for SMU Adventures and SMU ForumHillsman S. Jackson, Laura GrahamPatti LaSalle, Mitch WhittenSherry MyresKaren Shoholm and Nancy George received the Silver Award in the Institutional Relations category for the University’s Centennial picture book, SMU: Unbridled Vision (pictured).

Pat Ward, Public Affairs/Periodicals, brought home the Silver Award in the Newsletters category for the Central University Libraries newsletter, Annotations. Brooke Carlock, Karen Shoholm, Melinda Matthews and Vicki Olvera, Integrated Marketing and Advertising, won the Bronze Award in the Design – Special Pieces category for the President’s Associates calendar and Academic Programs booklet. Brittney Wallace, Integrated Marketing and Advertising, earned a Bronze Award for Design Improvement for the President’s Scholars recruitment brochure.

The Development and External Affairs team won a Bronze Award for Institutional Relations for The Second Century Celebration. Denise Gee, News and Communications, won a Bronze Award in the Writing Collection category for her portfolio focused on the University’s human rights programs. Eva Parks, News and Communications, received an Honorable Mention in the Electronic Communications category for the Fall 2011 “SMU in the News” video.

Irina Dumitrescu, English, Dedman College, has received a 24-month Humboldt Research Fellowship to begin August 1, 2012. The award allows postdoctoral researchers who have completed their doctorates within the past four years to carry out a long-term research project (6 to 24 months) in cooperation with an academic host of their choosing at a research institution in Germany. Dumitrescu’s host institution is the Free University of Berlin, where she will work with Andrew James Johnston in the Institute for English Language and Literature. Her Humboldt-funded project, “The Drama of Grammar: Second-Language Learning in Early England,” will examine the ways in which vivid, surprising, and often scandalous grammar texts used to teach Latin and French during the Middle Ages shaped the emotional lives of students and taught them innovative ways to engage with literature.

Jennifer Dworak, Computer Science and Engineering, Lyle School of Engineering, has received a Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award from the Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) Consortium. The awards provide seed money for research by junior faculty at ORAU member institutions to enrich their research and professional growth.

'Revelations in Business' book cover

Johan Elverskog, Religious Studies, Dedman College, gave an invited talk on “Buddhism and Islam on the Silk Road” at Stanford University’s Center for East Asian Studies April 26, 2012. The lecture was sponsored by the Silk Road Foundation and the Stanford Humanities Center, Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies, Ho Center for Buddhist Studies, Center for East Asian Studies, Department of Religious Studies, and Department of History.

K. Shelette Stewart, Executive Education, Cox School of Business, has written Revelations in Business: Connecting Your Business Plan with God’s Purpose and Plan for Your Life (pictured), published by Tate Publishing. She is also the narrator of the audio edition, currently available at Amazon.com

Experts link murdered women and environmental ruin at the border

The Rev. Daisy L. MachadoThe ongoing murders of countless women at the U.S.-Mexico border, along with devastating environmental damage inflicted by factories, are the subject of “Ecocide and Femicide on the Border: Ecofeminism and the Maquiladora Murders.” The event will take place 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, April 26, in 121 Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Hall.

Guest speakers are the Rev. Daisy L. Machado (pictured right), dean of academic affairs and professor of church history at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, and Evelyn Parker, associate professor of practical theology at SMU’s Perkins School of Theology.

This is the final event in SMU’s seven-part 2012 “Migration Matters” series addressing the most pressing U.S./Mexico-border challenges.

Ecofeminists, inspired by theologian and nun Ivone Gebara of Brazil, have called Christians to think about the connections between poverty, violence to both the Earth and humans, and immigration. It is estimated that more than 400 female maquiladora (export assembly plant) workers have been murdered in Ciudad Juárez alone since 1993.

“This desert area, filled with toxic air and water produced by the maquiladoras, and the people who live there — poor and uneducated workers, mostly women — are devalued by a patriarchal society and commodified until they become expendable and invisible,” Machado says.

“This concerns me because these realities remain unresolved,” she adds. “So I ask the Christian community: Why are we not responding? And how can we advocate social, ecological and gender justice?”

Parker is looking forward to her conversation with Machado, with whom she has collaborated in the past. But this powerful subject, she says, “will take on new complexities — and possibilities.”

The program is supported by SMU’s Office of the Dean of Dedman College; the Geurin-Pettus Program; the Scott-Hawkins Fund; the Embrey Human Rights Program; the Department of English; the George and Mary Foster Distinguished Lecture in Cultural Anthropology; and the Center for the Study of Latino/a Christianity and Religions in Perkins School of Theology, with funding from The Henry Luce Foundation.

The program is free and open to the public. For more information, contact series coordinator Jayson Sae-Saue, Department of English, 214-768-4369.

Written by Denise Gee

> Learn more about the 2012 “Migration Matters” series from SMU News

Conference to explore human rights issues in Africa April 11-15

African Literature Association logoThe African Literature Association will meet April 11-15, 2012, at SMU and Dallas’s Adolphus Hotel to explore human rights issues in Africa.

The association’s 38th annual meeting will feature 10 writers, journalists and performers from various countries in Africa and is expected to draw more than 400 participants from all over the world, including Japan, Australia, Great Britain, France, Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States and various African countries.

Participants will explore the theme of human rights in current African art, literature and the visual arts, as well as in the areas of health and political freedom.

Campus events, which are free and open to the public, include the following:

  • A special screening of the film Quartier Mozart will take place at 7 p.m. Friday, April 13, in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater. Based on African folklore, it tells the story of a mischievous young girl who wants to know what it’s like to be a boy and has her wish granted by a witch. The film was shown at Cannes, and went on to critical acclaim, winning awards at FESPACO, the Montréal Film Festival, and the Locarno Film Festival, and receiving a nomination for a British Film and Television Award. Jean-Pierre Bekolo, the film’s director, will be on hand to answer questions.
  • Ghanaian playwright Ama Ata AidooThe 70th birthday of award-winning Ghanaian writer and playwright Ama Ata Aidoo (pictured right) will be celebrated with a staged reading from her two plays at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 14, in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater. The readings are being organized in cooperation with the SMU Theatre program and adapted by Professor Gretchen Smith, head of theatre studies in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts.The readings will be followed by the launching of her newest book of short stories, Diplomatic Pounds and Other Stories, as well as the launch of a festschrift in her honor, Essays in Honour of Ama Ata Aidoo at 70. Works by Aidoo, former Education Minister of Ghana, often depict the role of the African woman in modern society. Her acclaimed prose works include No Sweetness Here (1970), a collection of short stories; the semi-autobiographical novel Our Sister Killjoy (1979); and Changes: A Love Story (1991), which won the 1993 Commonwealth Writers Prize for the Africa region. Aidoo has noted that the idea of nationalism has been used by new leaders as a tool to keep people oppressed, according to her biography. One of the most respected and prolific writers from the African continent, her central issues are the legacy of the slave trade, the impact of neo-colonialism on the educated Ghanaian elite, and the notion of exile and African diasporic identity.

Participating SMU faculty members and conference supporters include Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, the Department of World Languages and LiteraturesDepartment of English, the Embrey Human Rights Program, the Scott-Hawkins Lecture Series, and the Honors Program.

> Find more information, including a detailed schedule, at the Dedman College website

 

Series explores ‘the concept of home’ with El Norte screening April 4

A film poster from Gregory Nava's 'El Norte'SMU’s 2012 “Migration Matters” series continues Wednesday, April 4, with a film classic that raises important issues concerning U.S. immigration. A screening of El Norte, featuring commentary by SMU Distinguished Professor of Anthropology Caroline Brettell, is scheduled for 6:30-8:30 p.m. in SMU’s McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall.

The Academy Award-nominated 1983 documentary, directed by Gregory Nava, focuses on two Guatemala Mayan peasants, a brother and sister, who flee their country because of political persecution and head north (el norte). The film traces their journey, border-crossing experiences and subsequent life in the U.S. as undocumented immigrants.

“It raises poignant questions about the concept of home and touches on a host of issues important to understanding U.S. immigration,” Brettell says.

For more information about this event or others in the series, contact “Migration Matters” coordinator Jayson Sae-Saue, Department of English, Dedman College, 214-768-4369.

Shirin Tavakoli contributed to this report.

> Find the full “Migration Matters” schedule at the SMU News website

‘Migration Matters’ takes on elections, law & language March 29

U.S.-Mexico border

The U.S.-Mexico border, as seen from space.

SMU’s “Migration Matters” series continues Thursday, March 29, 2012, with its fourth event – a panel discussion of “Elections, the Law and Languages at the Border.”

The discussion, free and open to the public, takes place 5:30-7:30 p.m. in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall.

Featured speakers include:

The seven-part series, running through April 26, features compelling and knowledgeable artists, educators, faith leaders and law enforcement insiders to share the latest information on border-related migration trends, crime, politics, humanitarian efforts, art and literature. All events are free and open to the community.

For more information about this event or others in the series, contact “Migration Matters” coordinator Jayson Gonzales Sae-Saue, Department of English, Dedman College, 214-768-4369.

> Find a complete “Migration Matters” schedule at SMU News

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