In the Spotlight: July 12, 2019

Kudos to these faculty, staff and programs

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  • Northern Arizona University was included in two national rankings this month:
    • included NAU on its list of the 25 Best Online Fire Science Degree Bachelor’s Programs for 2019. Programs were judged on cost, employment rate, graduation rate, salary potential and student reviews. NAU was highlighted for its flexibility with transfer credits, letting students work at their own pace and having a focus on leadership within emergency services.
  • Astronomy and planetary sciences chair Nadine Barlow made national news discussing NAU’s role in space research and exploration. In a Fox News article, Barlow highlighted Flagstaff’s history of training astronauts for the first moon landing and NAU’s current research, such as finding the best location for humans to live on the moon.
  • Claire Ebert and Jaime Awe of the anthropology department were co-authors on “The Role of Diet in Resilience and Vulnerability to Climate Change among Early Agricultural Communities in the Maya Lowlands” published in Current Anthropology. The paper examines how diet contributed to the ancient Maya being able to endure periods of severe climatic stress, and that a maize-based diet may have made the civilization more vulnerable to drought. The study also was highlighted in the Science Daily article “Maize-centric diet may have contributed to ancient Maya collapse.”
  • Professors of biological sciences Ted Schuur and Yiqi Luo are co-authors of a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). “Responses of tundra soil microbial communities to half a decade of experimental warming at two critical depths” details a study conducted in Alaska that reveals how ongoing permafrost thaw is contributing to climate change and identifies potential biomarkers that could be important in modeling. Newsweek covered the paper as well.
  • Politics and international affairs professor Eric Otenyo co-authored “Digitisation and the Disappearing Job Theory: A Role for the ILO in Africa.” The paper, published in International Development Policy, explores possible effects of digitization in three economic sectors of African economies and discusses possible outcomes as African societies become more digitized.
  • Food Management featured NAU in an article about its new mobile cart version of Jazzman’s Café, calling NAU “a hotbed for creative concept ideas.” Director of campus dining Ben Hartley spoke to the publication about the additional offerings of the mobile cart and how it will benefit students on campus.
  • School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems professor Scott Goetz is co-author of a study published July 3 in Science Advances. “Global restoration opportunities in tropical rainforest landscapes” identifies “restoration hotspots”—100 million hectares of lost lowland tropical rainforests in 15 countries across four continents—that could be restored now to boost the environment, biodiversity and climate change mitigation. “Tropical forest restoration and conservation go hand in hand,” Goetz said, “and there is much international political motivation to restore and conserve forests, so we need to collectively take advantage of this opportunity as soon as possible.”
  • School of Earth and Sustainability professor Nancy Riggs was recognized with a Distinguished Service Award from the Geological Society of America for extensive and exceptional service to GSA in multiple capacities. Riggs will be presented with the award in September at the GSA Annual Meeting and Exposition in Phoenix.
  • KNAU won a first place PRNDI (National Public Radio News Directors Incorporated) award for sports reporting with “Gear Girls: Flagstaff’s Next Gen Female Mountain Bikers.” The segment highlights some of the region’s pioneering female mountain bikers mentoring the next generation of girls hitting the trails. The story was reported by former Morning Edition host Aaron Granillo and edited by Gillian Ferris.
  • NAU Social Media has been recognized as a finalist in PR Daily’s 2019 Digital Marketing and Social Media Awards. “Building Community and Increasing Student Engagement Through Lumberjack Branded Gif Sticker Packs and Q&A Student Takeovers” is one of four finalists in the Use of Instagram Stories category, selected for its innovative, creative and well-planned approach.
  • Senior lecturer in history Ana Varela-Lago had a chapter published in the edited volume North America and Spain: A History of Convergences and Divergences. The chapter examines how the Spanish government, through the Spanish Legation in Washington, financed the establishment of a press agency to counter the pro-Cuban narrative in the United States during the Cuban war of independence (1895-1898).
  • Criminology and criminal justice alumni Heather Foster and Brian Ayres, with professor Phoebe Morgan, published “Interpersonal Conflict and Academic Success: A Campus Survey with Practical Application for Academic Ombuds” in the Journal of the International Ombudsman Association. The survey sampled 106 undergraduate students to gain a better understanding of the types of conflicts students deal with and how those conflicts affect their personal and academic lives.
  • Associate Vice President for Educational Partnerships Kathrine Yeager spoke to Scottsdale Progress about the NAU statewide program partnership with Scottsdale Community College. The article (p. 24) highlights the longstanding partnership that allows Scottsdale residents flexible education opportunities such as earning certificates and bachelor’s degrees with courses taught by NAU faculty while remaining on-site at Scottsdale Community College and concurrently enrolling in an associates-bachelor’s degree program at SCC and NAU.
Cheyenne Jarrette