In the Spotlight: April 10-14, 2023

Kudos to these faculty, staff, students and programs 

Do you have a spotlight item to share with the NAU community? 

E-mail your announcements to, or use our online submission form. 

  • Zhan Xu, assistant professor in the School of Communication, published an article in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. The publication, titled Using Virtual Reality in E-Cigarette and Secondhand Aerosol Prevention Messages: Implications for Emotional Campaign Design, incorporated VR in e-cigarette campaigns and successfully increased risk perceptions and promoted preventive behaviors against vaping and secondhand e-cigarette aerosol. Xin Yi, assistant professor in practice in the School of Communication, produced the VR campaign. 
  • Heather Williamson, associate professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy and the Center for Health Equity Research (CHER), Regents’ professor Julie A. Baldwin, Department of Health Sciences and director of CHER, and researchers from other institutions recently published “An Adapted Cancer Screening Education Program for Native American Women with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and their Caregivers: Protocol for Feasibility and Acceptability Testing” in the JMIR Research Protocol. This study assessed the feasibility and acceptability of My Health My Choice, an adaptation of the Women Be Healthy 2 program. There were two parts to the study: adaptation of the Women Be Healthy 2 program and feasibility and acceptability testing of My Health My Choice. 
  • Carmenlita Chief, senior program coordinator at CHER; Nicolette I. Teufel-Shone, professor of health sciences and CHER associate director; Manley A. Begay, professor of applied indigenous studies, and interim director of the Tribal Leadership Initiative; and researchers from other institutions recently published “Diné-Centered Research Reframes the Gold King Mine Spill: Understanding Social and Spiritual Impacts Across Space and Time” in the Journal of Rural Studies. Their paper explores how Indigenous-led research reframes the impacts and response to environmental disasters in the context of acid mine spills in rural communities of the Southwest United States. The collaborative research project addressing the Gold King Mine Spill designed qualitative methodologies that center Indigenous worldviews and contribute to broader understandings of environmental justice. 
  • Emery Eaves, associate professor of anthropology; Eck Doerry, professor in the School of Informatics, Computing and Cyber Systems (SICCS); Shana Lanzetta, Kathryn Kruithoff, Kayla Negron, Kaitlyn Dykman, student assistants with CHER; and Olivia Thoney and Calvina Harper, student assistants with SICCS, recently published “Applying User-Centered Design in the Development of a Supportive Mhealth App for Women in Substance Use Recovery” in the American Journal of Health Promotion. Their publication examined how the integration of user-centered design with applied ethnographic techniques guided the development of a custom-tailored mHealth app responsive to lived experiences and needs of women in recovery. They determined that future research should evaluate the potential for user-centered apps to increase self-efficacy and perceived social support and reduce relapse risk. 
  • Amanda Pollitt, assistant professor of Health Sciences and CHER researcher, and other researchers recently published Measurement Equivalence of Family Acceptance/Rejection Among Sexual and Gender Minority Youth by Disclosure Status” in the Journal of Family Psychology. Their research found that sexual and gender minority youth who had disclosed their identity reported greater acceptance and less rejection and showed a stronger negative association between the two constructs than nondisclosed youth. Family acceptance, but not rejection, had higher variability among disclosed youth than nondisclosed youth. Though families of disclosed youth appear to be more accepting and less rejecting, the experiences of these youth are complex. The authors’ findings suggest that research on sexual and gender minority youth family environments must consider both supportive and undermining behaviors and that the measures they assessed operate similarly for youth based on disclosure. 
  • Rima Brusi, professor of anthropology at NAU; and founder, director, and principal investigator of the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez’s Center for University Access was appointed to the board of directors at the Literacy Lab. The Literacy Lab is a national non-profit organization that provides children – in communities experiencing racial and economic inequities – with individualized, high-impact tutoring. 
  • Fred DeMicco, professor in the School of Hotel and restaurant Management (HRM) authored an article published on HospitalityNet. The article discusses how hospitality and lodging can offer improved hospitality services for travelers with a telemedicine app and gain a market competitive advantage. 
  • Marc Tollis, SICCS assistant professor, along with Ph.D. students Simone Gable and Vahid Nikoonejad Fard are among the list of authors for the article, “GENOME REPORT: Chromosome-scale genome assembly of the African spiny mouse (Acomys cahirinus)” wherein they present an improved reference genome for A. cahirinus generated from long Nanopore sequencing reads and confirm the quality of their annotations using RNA sequencing data from four different tissues. 
  • Several NAU professors and staff members won Creative Flagstaff’s Viola Awards. Celebrating excellence in arts, science and culture, the Viola Awards recognize artists, educators, organizations and leaders who make positive contributions to the Flagstaff community. 
    • NAU NASA Space Grant AIMER Coordinator, Mary Lara, was honored with a Viola Award for Excellence in Education. 
    • Peter Friederici, professor and director of the MA program in sustainable communities, won the Viola Award for Excellence in Written Storytelling for his book, “Beyond Climate Breakdown: Envisioning new stories of radical hope.” 
    • Audra Travelbee, intermediate instructional designer for the Teaching and Learning Center, won the Community Impact Individual Viola Award.
NAU Communications