In the Spotlight: June 28, 2019

Kudos to these faculty, staff and programs

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  • School of Art senior lecturer Debra Edgerton was awarded a Research and Development Grant by the Arizona Commission of the Arts in support of “By the Grace of God,” a series of paintings that reimagine the notion of grief and loss for women of color. Edgerton’s paintings respond to “the spectacle of grief” frequently presented in the media when depicting women of color mourning the loss of loved ones, offering an alternative image of their grieving process. Edgerton’s win was featured in an article published by the Arizona Daily Sun.
  • Northern Arizona University was included in a number of national rankings:
  • South Dining in The Düb was officially named LEED Gold for implementing sustainable infrastructure such as low-flow plumbing, LED lights and sustainably sourced materials. These efforts have reduced potable water use by 33 percent, diverted more than 1,200 tons of materials from landfills and diminished lighting power by 58 percent. This is the 15th LEED structure on NAU’s Flagstaff Mountain campus.
  • Assistant professor in physical therapy and athletic training Amit Kumar co-authored a paper published in Annals of Internal Medicine. “Hospital Readmissions Rates in Medicare Advantage and Traditional Medicare: A Retrospective Population-Based Analysis” compares readmission rates between Medicare Advantage and traditional Medicare in 4,748 acute care hospitals in the U.S.
  • Nadine Laporte, research professor in the School of Forestry, and Scott Goetz, professor in the School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems, are co-authors of a paper published in Nature Sustainability. “Road expansion and persistence in forests of the Congo Basin” studies the progressive expansion of logging roads across the Congo Basin. By comparing older and newer roads of different types, whether primary, secondary or logging roads derived from Landsat image time series data, the scientists show why the dramatic expansion is causing broad concern for forest ecosystems, carbon storage and wildlife vulnerable to subsistence hunting—and how decommissioning roads after logging could play a crucial role in reducing the negative impacts of timber extraction on tropical forest ecosystems.
  • Planetary scientist Christopher Edwards is a collaborator on a Caltech-led project that is one of three finalists selected by NASA from a dozen proposals. The Lunar Trailblazer mission would map water on the surface of the Moon and ice deposits inside craters. The mission will receive funding for up to one year before NASA reviews the preliminary design.
  • Resident dining manager Ben Hartley was one of five North American leaders recognized by Sodexo as a 2019 Hero of Everyday Life. The award goes to Sodexo employees who invest personal time to help people at risk of hunger in the U.S. In addition to his responsibilities at NAU, Hartley champions on-campus food recovery resulting in 4,000 pounds of food donated each semester and coordinates employee volunteers to cook and serve lunch for homeless veterans. His work resulted in the Arizona Housing Coalition recognizing Sodexo as their Business Partner of the Year.
  • Ecoss faculty members Bruce Hungate, Rebecca Mau, Michaela Hayer, Xiao-Jun Allen Liu, Egbert Schwartz, Paul Dijkstra and Benjamin Koch are co-authors on a paper published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. “Evolutionary history constrains microbial traits across environmental variation” examines the nature vs. nurture debate in microbial species by tracking isotopes into their DNA as an indicator of carbon assimilation and growth and measuring these traits in four different ecosystems.
  • Assistant professor for the School of Communication Toni DeAztlan Smith was named the 2019 recipient of the Robert P. Knight Multicultural Recruitment Award from the Scholastic Journalism Division of the Association of Educators of Journalism and Mass Communication. Since 2014, Smith has been a co-director of the Andy Harvey Broadcast Journalism Workshop, for which she designed the core curriculum focusing on radio and broadcast media. Every summer, Native American high school students from Arizona and the Southwest come to NAU for a week of hands-on learning in broadcast media.
  • “Eye on Innovation,” a recently published article in the energy issue of Tech Connect magazine, highlights the multi-discipline approach NAU researchers are using to solve energy-related issues. SICCS professor Kevin Gurney is featured for his work on carbon cycle science and physics, as is astronomy assistant professor Ryan Behunin for his work using laser physics to cut energy consumption.
  • Assistant professor in biological sciences Jut Wynne, along with a team of 21 globally recognized cave scientists, co-authored a paper in BioScience. The paper discusses the importance of protecting subterranean ecosystems, the ecological services provided to humankind and recommendations for future research and conservation policy needs.
Cheyenne Jarrette