In the Spotlight: Nov. 30, 2012

Kudos to these faculty, staff and students

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

E-mail your announcements to

  • Anthropology instructor Janina Fenigsen has won the Ruth Benedict Global Citizenship Award from the Center for a Public Anthropology. Fenigsen was recognized for her “exceptionally effective participation in Public Anthropology’s Community Action Online Project as well her wider activities in the public sphere,” said Rob Borofsky, director for the center. “Prof. Fenigsen is to be commended for how she takes classroom knowledge and applies it to real world challenges, thereby encouraging students to be responsible global citizens. In actively addressing important ethical concerns within anthropology, Prof. Fenigsen is providing students with the thinking and writing skills needed for active citizenship.”
  • Four individuals were named honorary members of Golden Key International Honour Society at a Nov. 18 reception recognizing new society members. William Culbertson, professor of health sciences; Tracie Hansen, coordinator for the Office of Public Affairs; Robert Kellar, biology instructor; and Gretchen Wesbrock, coordinator for the GEAR-UP program, were selected by members of the NAU chapter for their contributions to student academic achievement, scholarship and service. Hansen also delivered the keynote address.
  • James I. Bowie, lecturer in sociology, had research from his website, Emblemetric, featured in the December/January issue of Fast Company magazine. The website details Bowie’s analysis of U.S. Patent and Trademark Office data in examining trends in logo design.
  • Katie Sheridan, senior academic adviser for the Honors Program, along with physics and astronomy major Ryan Monahan and psychology major Rachel Young, both seniors in the Honors Program, presented “NAU Honors ‘GURUS’ Program: Improving the First-Year Experience” at the National Collegiate Honors Council’s annual conference in Boston on Nov. 17. The trio presented a similar topic at a regional conference in April.
  • Elizabeth Blaker, a graduate student in biology, wrote an article for Living Bird Magazine called “Jay and Pine Intertwined.”
  • Social work students from NAU-Yuma held an obesity prevention presentation at Pine School in Holtville, Calif., on Nov. 5. The presentation focused on topics such as nutrition, exercise and healthy habits, and the students plan to visit other schools throughout the area to share their information.
  • Diane VerkestDiane Verkest, associate vice president for Human Resources, made a deal with her staff that if the department met its fundraising goal for United Way, she would dress as a clown for a day. The team was proud to share the photo of Verkest at right, who kept her promise and came to work Nov. 29 dressed as a clown.
  • Mary I. Dereshiwsky, professor of educational leadership, had a book titled Continual Engagement: Fostering Online Discussion published by the Learning Resources Network.
  • Ricardo Guthrie, assistant professor for Ethnic Studies, published a book chapter, “Minstrelsy and Mythic Appetites: The Last King of Scotland’s Heart of Darkness in the Jubilee Year of African Independence,” in Hollywood’s Africa After 1994 (Ohio University Press), edited by MaryEllen Higgins. The chapter analyzes how the Hollywood film industry continually feeds America’s appetite for mythic stories set in exotic locales—in this case, Uganda, Africa during the 1970s—while recycling narratives that reinforce its own “heart of darkness.”
  • The Classified Staff Advisory Council’s 10th annual Warm Clothing Drive collected more than 1,300 pieces of clothing to benefit the Sunshine Rescue Mission, Hope Cottage, Flagstaff Shelter Services, Sharon Manor and Northland Family Help Center.