In the Spotlight: Nov. 20, 2020

Kudos to these faculty, staff and programs

Do you have a spotlight item to share with the NAU community?

E-mail your announcements to, or use our online submission form.

  • Northern Arizona University was ranked by several organizations.
    • Best Value Schools ranked NAU No. 3 on its list of 30 Best Value Schools for Pre-Law. NAU provides designated pre-law advisors with expertise across several different departments and offers two exclusive scholarships for pre-law students.
    • College Consensus ranked NAU’s W. A. Franke College of Business on its list of Best Value MBA Programs 2021. The ranking looks at top business schools throughout the nation and calculates a Return on Investment while recognizing high-quality MBA curriculum taught through rigorous coursework.
    • Bachelor’s Degree Center ranked NAU No. 11 on its list of 25 Best Bachelor’s In Political Science Programs For 2021. A political science degree allows students to grasp political ideas that affect everyday life and future generations and is useful for those pursuing a job in government.
  • The Continuing Education department, in partnership with the Center for International Education (CIE), launched its first micro-credentials badge for the course titled, “Fundamentals of Online Teaching” taught by education specialties professor Laura Sujo-Montes. The badges are a way to visually reward participants for skills learned and highlight the presence of the program within the international community.
  • Frederick DeMicco, executive director of the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management, co-authored the article titled, “Brand Aid: Destination Medical Center And Hotels Bridging Healthcare (H2h) In Minnesota” published on Hospitality Net. The article discusses Mayo Clinic’s decades-long marketing and branding evolution and its plans to transform Rochester, the home city of Mayo Clinic, into the world’s premier Destination Medical Center. DeMicco also presented virtually at the Yeongdeungpo (South Korea) International Medical tourism Forum on the topic of Delivering Disney Hospitality to Healthcare.
  • Andi Thode, professor of forestry, was interviewed and quoted in the article, “Californian fires are mirroring Australia’s Black Summer, experts say, driven by record drought and heat” published with ABC Weather and “It isn’t only climate change making the Western wildfires worse” published with the Washington Examiner. The articles discuss the 2020 fire season in the United States and Australia.
  • Theresa Bierer, assistant professor of practice in the W. A. Franke College of Business, authored a chapter in the forthcoming book, “Grand Canyon Historical Society’s 100 Years of Grand Canyon National Park.” The book will be published in December by the Grand Canyon Conservancy.
  • Jeff Jenness, instructor in the School of Forestry, was re-elected as chair of the Spatial Ecology and Telemetry Working Group (SETWG) at the recent national Wildlife Society Conference. SETWG is a national working group under The Wildlife Society that addresses issues to the geographic information system (GIS) community and advances skills and understanding of GIS, remote sensing and telemetry technologies.
  • Associate professor of STEM education Ron Gray co-authored a chapter in the book, “Preparing Science Teachers Through Practice-Based Teacher Education” published by Harvard Education Press. The book advances a vision of teacher preparation programs focused on core practices supporting ambitious science instruction and advocates for collaborative learning and building a community of teacher educators that can collectively share and refine strategies, tools and practices.
  • Dylan Rust, director of CIE, and Raghvendra Singh, program manager of CIE, co-authored the article, “Understanding the Factors Influencing Institutional Choice and Satisfaction of International Students from India” published in the International Journal of Research and Review. The study revealed the importance of financial aid in influencing where international students from India choose to study abroad.
    • Singh also presented on the topic of figuring out where, how and when to apply for a doctorate during International Education Week (Nov. 16-20) hosted by Education USA Dhaka. Education USA, under the U.S. Department of State, is a network of more than 425 international student advising centers in more than 175 countries which promotes U.S. higher education to millions of students around the world.
  • Ryan Behunin, assistant professor in the Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science, co-authored the article, “Low-loss low thermo-optic coefficient Ta2O5 on crystal quartz planar optical waveguides” published in APL Photonics. The study reports the first demonstration of a Ta2O5 waveguide that offers significant advantages over other waveguides in terms of its low thermo-optic coefficient and reduced thermorefractive-related frequency noise.
  • Venkata Yaramasu, assistant professor in the School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems (SICCS) published two papers in the 2020 IEEE 11th International Symposium on Power Electronics for Distributed Generation Systems. “Predictive Control of Two-Stage Grid-Connected Photovoltaic Energy System with Constant Switching Frequency” verified the feasibility of a proposed control system in photovoltaic energy systems and “Modulated Model Predictive Torque and Power Control of Gearless PMSG Wind Turbines” proposed novel modulated model predictive torque and power control schemes for machine- and grid-side converters in gearless permanent magnet synchronous generator-based wind turbines.
  • Assistant professor of SICCS Ying-Chen “Daphne” Chen presented the paper, “Electroforming Polarity on Bilayer Self-Selective RRAM for Energy Efficient High-Density Crossbar Array Applications” for a presentation at the 51st IEEE Semiconductor Interface Specialist Conference. The conference allows device engineers, solid-state physicists and materials scientists to discuss topics such as semiconductor/insulator interfaces, the physics of insulating thin films and interactions among materials science, device physics and state-of-the-art technology.
  • Amirhossein Arzani, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, co-authored the article, “The Story of Wall Shear Stress in Coronary Artery Atherosclerosis: Biochemical Transport and Mechanotransduction” in the Journal of Biomechanical Engineering. The study presents a comprehensive theory for wall shear stress in atherosclerosis.
  • Hesam Moghaddam, associate chair for undergraduate programs and lecturer in mechanical engineering, co-authored the article, “Biomechanical Analysis of the Sensitivity of Brain Tissue Responses to FE Head Models in the Study of Impact-Induced TBI” accepted for presentation at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition. The ASME was founded in 1880 and enables collaboration, knowledge sharing, career enrichment and skills development across all engineering disciplines.
  • Drew Peltier, postdoctoral scholar in SICCS; Kimberly Samuels-Crow, assistant research professor in SICCS; Michael Fell, application systems analyst and programmer; and Kiona Ogle, professor in SICCS co-authored the article, “Temporal controls on crown non-structural carbohydrates in southwestern US tree species” published in Tree Physiology. The study evaluated in-situ, seasonal variation in non-structural carbohydrate responses to moisture stress on three time scales in trees.
  • Kathleen Schmand, director of development and communications at Cline Library, and Cynthia Childrey, dean and university librarian, co-authored the chapter, “Leadership, Organizational Culture, and Change Management” in the book “Emerging Human Resource Trends in Academic Libraries.” The book is a collection of human resource librarians and administrators sharing emerging trends within academic libraries that impact how librarians are educated, mentored and given the ability to obtain professional development training.
  • English professor Laura Gray-Rosendale published two books. “Me Too, Feminist Theory, and Surviving Sexual Violence in the Academy” published with Rowman & Littlefield is a collection of perspectives from sexual assault survivors where contributors connect their experiences of sexual violence, their work and research and their lives. “Writers’ Stories in Motion: Healing, Joy, and Triumph” is a compilation of writers from different backgrounds sharing creative essays about how forms of physical activity and interactios with the natural world impact writing practice, teaching approaches and themselves as people.
  • Postdoctoral scholar Jennifer Buz gave a talk at the Geological Society of America conference with Christopher Edwards, assistant professor in the Department of Astronomy and Planetary Science, and Shaye Fordring, undergraduate and space grant intern, as co-authors. The talk was titled, “Using Terrestrial Playas To Validate, Extrapolate, And Interpret In-Situ And Remote Sensing Data From Martian Paleolakes,” which discussed how playa lakes in the southwest United States provide ground truth to paleolakes on Mars.