In the Spotlight: March 30, 2012

Kudos to these faculty, staff and students

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  • Jim Sample, professor of geology, will join the Japan Trench Fast Drilling Project on the deep-sea vessel Chikyu to study the fault involved in the 2011 Tohoku earthquake that resulted in a devastating tsunami that hit Japan. Sample’s research, funded by the National Science Foundation, will employ his inorganic geochemistry skills to examine fluid and rock samples from the subduction zone. Read about the project online.
  • Mary Reid, professor of geology in the School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability, recently published “Melting Under the Colorado Plateau, USA,” in Geology, a journal of the Geological Society of America. The research examines how melting, an occurrence often seen at the edges of tectonic plates, contributed to the formation of volcanoes in the interior of the North American Plate. Reid’s research found that melting of rocks undergoing decompression might have shaped the relatively young volcanoes that dot the landscape over the 13,000-square mile region that straddles Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. The research team examined recent models for melting under the Colorado Plateau using an integrated seismic and chemical approach. Read the article here.
  • Fred Solop, professor of politics and international affairs, and Doris Schartmueller, a Ph.D. student in the program, recently published a chapter in a book about Tea Party politics in the United States. Their chapter, “Tough Talk at the Border: The 2010 U.S. Senate Election in Arizona,” appears in Tea Party Effects on 2010 U.S. Senate Elections: Stuck in the Middle to Lose.
  • Ramona Mellott, dean of the Graduate College, has assumed the presidency of the Western Association of Graduate Schools after having served for three years as a member and as president-elect on the executive committee. The association works to improve standards, encourage research and assists accredited institutions in the western United States, Canada and Pacific Rim that offer graduate and doctoral degrees. Mellott also serves as a governing board member for the National Council of Graduate Schools.
  • Bob Norton, associate vice president and university comptroller, recently was appointed to the Western Association of College and University Business Officers Audit Committee. In the third year of his three-year term, he will become chair of the committee.
  • The Order of the Founders and Patriots of America recently presented NAU’s Army ROTC with the Outstanding Army ROTC Unit Award. The university’s program ranked third out of 273 in the nation; first place went to Georgetown University and second to the University of San Francisco. The university programs were evaluated on cadet rankings, battalion performance, progression and mission for the 2010-2011 academic year.
  • Members of the NAU Forensics team competed in two recent national debate tournaments at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash.:

    • Two teams of students competed at the National Parliamentary Debate Tournament of Excellence March 17-19. Cecily Francis, English/political science major, and Alyssa Sambor, history/secondary education major, placed 27th. Francis earned 17th place out of 128 debaters at the tournament. Dana Krementz, biomedical sciences major, and Tracy Valgento, history major, also participated.
    • Three teams of students qualified to participate in the National Parliamentary Debate Association National Championships March 22-24. Francis and Sambor tied for 17th place. Sambor also earned 18th place out of 326 debaters at the tournament. Krementz and Valgento also participated, as did Brandon Rivera, political science, and Nick Stump, political philosophy in law major.

    Now at the end of the debate season, NAU ranks 17th in the nation in Parliamentary Debate.

  • Melissa Marcus, professor emerita of French, published her fifth book-length translation from French into English, titled Writings from the Sand, Volume I, Collected Works of Isabelle Eberhardt. The compilation includes journals, diary entries, short stories and observations of life as written by Swiss explorer Isabelle Eberhardt during her time in North Africa at the turn of the 20th century. Marcus’ translation offers a view of the culture and people of colonial French Algeria rarely seen by outsiders and raises questions about North African history, colonialism, gender representation and writing that resonate today.