In the Spotlight: March 28-April 1

Kudos to these faculty, staff, students and programs

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  • Abdihamid Nur was added to the Bowerman Men’s Watch List for his performance in track and field and cross country. He is only the fourth NAU student to be placed on the award watch list since 2009.
  • The NAU Men’s Track and Field and Cross Country team is currently in first place for mid-season standing announcement for the USTFCCCA John McDonnell Program of the Year Award. This recognition is awarded to the university that has achieved the most success in cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field.
  • Anita Antoninka, assistant research professor in the School of Forestry, and Matthew Bowker, associate professor in the School of Forestry, were featured in a National Geographic article. The article includes their research about biocrust restoration.
  • Jaime Awe, associate professor for the Department of Anthropology, was featured in’s editorial titled “The Maya—and the maize that sustained them—had surprising southern roots, ancient DNA suggests.” The article discusses the details of his research study and the results, finding that many Maya have DNA traced back to Colombia and Costa Rica.
  • Henry Grover, a former School of Forestry Ph.D. student, is the lead author of a new paper titled “Pelletized inoculation of fire mosses in severely burned conifer forests overcomes initial barriers to Bryum argenteum establishment but does not increase cover.” Grover grew mosses in a greenhouse, pelletized them in diatomaceous earth and added them to burned soils in wildfires. School of Forestry professors Matthew Bowker, Pete Fule and Anita Antoninka co-authored the article.
  • Kyle Doherty, a former Ph.D. student in the School of Forestry, Anita Antoninka, assistant research professor, and Matthew Bowker, associate professor, have a new publication entitled “Biocrusts Influence Vascular Plant Community Development, Promoting Native Plant Dominance.” They found that the condition of pre-existing biocrust communities can influence, but not strongly dictate, the outcome of multi-species restoration seedings.
  • Matthew Bowker, associate professor for the School of Forestry, and former visiting scholar Bo Xiao are co-authors of a new paper published in Science Direct. The article examines how the effects of moss biocrusts on near-surface soil moisture are underestimated in drylands.
  • Elle Kocourkova, a senior women’s golfer, has been named Big Sky’s Golfer of the Week for the second time. This honor follows her win at the Red Rocks Invitational in Sedona.
  • Gina Dittmann, a sophomore women’s tennis player, has been named Big Sky’s Women’s Tennis Player of the Week for the third time. She is currently on a six-match win streak for singles play and a four-match streak for doubles.
  • Jut Wynne, assistant research professor for the Department of Biological Sciences and Center for Adaptable Western Landscapes, co-authored a recently published paper alongside 38 international scientists. “Towards evidence-based conservation of subterranean ecosystems” reveals how most cave conservation policies globally have used a qualitative approach resulting in an inability to gauge the effectiveness of these decisions.
  • Freshman Elise Stearns earned the Big Sky Women’s Track Athlete of the Week award, the first conference award of her career. This title was given following her record-breaking 1500-meter run time, now the 12th fastest in the NCAA.
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