In the Spotlight: March 18-22, 2024 

Kudos to these faculty, staff, students and programs  

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  • After a banner performance at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Field national championships last weekend, in which Nico Young took home championships in the 3K and 5K and was named the USTFCCCA Mountain Region Men’s Track Athlete of the year, he followed it up this weekend with another broken record record—his 10K run with a time of 26:52.72 broke the collegiate record, hit the Olympic standard and earned NAU and Big Sky records. He is one of six American men to break the 27-minute mark in the 10K. On Monday, he was named USTFCCCA Men’s National Track Athlete of the Year.
  • Garret Bernt, all-American NAU track and field athlete, placed third place in the weight throw section of the NCAA Indoor Track & Field National Championship. Bernt’s weight throw set school, Big Sky conference and first personal record, while also earning him first-team all-American honors. 
  • NAU’s men track & field team ended their second NCAA indoor national championship competition strong after Young earned his first individual title and the team placed fourth overall after scoring 31 points. This is the most scored by the team in school history. Both track & field teams will continue their outdoor season with their first competition taking place this week. 
  • Cristina Thomas, associate professor in the Department of Astronomy and Planetary Science (DAPS), co-authored, “Lucy Observations of the DART Impact Event,” published February in The Planetary Science Journal. The Lucy Long Range Reconnaissance Imager took 1,549 images of the Didymos–Dimorphos binary system around the DART impact on Sept. 26, 2022, capturing ejecta responsible for different portions of the post-impact brightness increase, with variations in brightness measurements due to differences in observation angles and camera types compared to ground-based reports. 
  • Thomas also was quoted in a Feb. 26 article in The New York Times about the DART mission, which crashed a spacecraft into an asteroid and then measured the change in orbit. Thomas, who led the mission’s observations working group, provided insights into the unexpected behavior of asteroid Dimorphos following the DART mission’s impact. 
  • Thomas, DAPS professor Josh Emery, adjunct professor Will Grundy, Ph.D. student Lucas McClure and alumni Brittany Harvison and Ryleigh Davis had proposals accepted for Cycle 3 of the James Webb Space Telescope. This is a competitive and carefully structured proposal system designed to allocate observation time to the most promising and impactful scientific projects.  
  • Professor of hotel and restaurant management Fred DeMicco co-authored a paper that delves into the significant technological shifts within the hotel industry in the past two decades. The authors emphasized the advantages of integrating core functionalities such as property, inventory and sales management into all-in-one platforms like HotelRunner, which streamline operations, reduce costs and harness the potential of integrated data. 
  • Aimeé Quinn, NAU-Yuma librarian, was recently selected by the Government Documents Round Table of the American Library Association as the 2024 recipient of the NewsBank/Readex/GODORT/ALA Catharine J. Reynolds Award. This award will provide funding for Quinn’s research, The Demise of Government Information in the Time of the 45th President, which explores the closure of EPA libraries. 
  • The NAU/NASA Space AIMER Program received a $5,000 grant from Nathan Tohtsoni, education coordinator from Navajo Transitional Energy Company, to purchase alpha rockets for Shonto Prep, Ganado Middle School and the Girls Scouts.  
  • Ed Anderson, DAPS laboratory/research facility administration manager, was named a finalist for Flagstaff-area STEM awards for the Community Partner of the Year category. The STEMMYs awards are given to students, teachers, and organizations who are STEM leaders in the Flagstaff community. 
  • Zoey Lasch, Honors College student, was selected as an alternate for the Public Policy and International Affairs Junior Summer Institute.  
  • Undergraduate students, Anaya Henderson, Korryn Penner, Hannah Thomas, Karli VanderMeersch, Nicholas Mauermann, Annamarie Rago, Emily Scerbo, Samuel Van Nuys, Ian Phillippe and Steven Faria were selected for the Washington Center internship. The Washington Center internship offers undergraduate students a unique blend of hands-on experience, professional growth, and academic enrichment in Washington D.C., where all 10 students will be traveling to for the summer.  


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