In the Spotlight: Nov. 6, 2020

Kudos to these faculty, staff and programs

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  • Northern Arizona University received an A rating from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) for its undergraduate and graduate elementary teacher prep programs in classroom management. NCTQ researches, provides information and proposes new changes to restore the teaching profession to strong health so that all teachers will have the conditions they need to thrive.
  • The Center for Science Teaching and Learning, alongside the University of Washington’s Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline, restructured the NASA Robotics Student Challenge because of COVID-19. The Rover Observation and Drone Survey on Mars Student Challenge was originally planned to host up to 48 robotics teams in grades 3-12 from throughout the state, but was restructured so seven teams could participate in a socially distanced way.
  • Chief Information Officer Steven Burrell and psychology professor Michelle Miller were listed on Ed Tech’s list, “The 2020 Dean’s List: 30 Higher Ed IT Influencers Worth a Follow.” Ed Tech is one of the leading tech magazines and notes top IT leaders, bloggers, podcasters and social media personalities that its viewers should follow.
  • Jennifer Mitchell, senior lecturer emerita, was featured on WalletHub’s page, “Cheap Car Insurance in Arizona.” Mitchell shares her insights on the effect that COVID-19 has on car sales, the use of celebrity endorsers and the intentions of insurance companies.
  • Andrea González Sotelo, associate director of GEAR UP, was recognized by Arizona Capitol Times as a 2020 Breakdown Breakout honoree. This honor recognizes individuals under 40 years of age who routinely take on the most challenging issues, establishing their credentials through hard work and persistence with an independent spirit that defines the American Southwest.
  • Miguel José-Yacaman, professor in the Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science, co-authored the article, “Ag nanoparticles in A4 zeolite as efficient catalysts for the 4-nitrophenol reduction” published in Microporous and Mesoporous Materials. The study revealed that the selection in the conditions applied for microwave-assisted synthesis and the components of the catalyst (Ag and A4 zeolite) offers an ultra-fast method for the synthesis of highly active catalysts.
  • Dian Squire, assistant professor of educational psychology, was recognized as a Diamond Honoree by the American College Personnel Association Foundation. The program was established in 1999 and honors those who care about students and the research, scholarship and programs that promote student development and success.
  • Associate clinical professor of occupational therapy Amy Armstrong-Heimsoth and her student research team of Emily Farber, Kalie Plesher and Brooke Tubbs were awarded the Arizona Occupational Therapy Association grant for the project, “Measuring the effects of an occupational therapy life skills curriculum for youth formerly in the foster care system.” The grant will fund their work in developing a life skills program that will improve independent living for youth transitioning out of the foster care system.
  • Nancy Wonders, professor of criminology and criminal justice, presented the paper, “Coronavirus Capitalism and Migration: Tipping Scales of Power” at the annual meeting of the European Society of Criminology. She also was invited to speak for the international webinar, “Critical Criminology and Public Policy” hosted by La Primera Universidad de Posgrado del Estado in Quito, Ecuador.
  • Lecturer of psychological sciences Jason Whetten was recognized by Northern Arizona University’s Alpha Lambda Delta chapter as the most influential faculty member for the 2019-20 school year. He was selected based on his meaningful contributions to the education and successes of members and because his interactions with students reflect the core values of the honor society: knowledge, truth and honor.
  • Assistant research professor Sara Souther has partnered with Apache Elders and the U.S. Forest Service to help restore Emory Oak groves. Souther along with NAU alumni Andrew Stevenson is featured in a video about the Emory Oak Collaborative Tribal Restoration Initiative.
  • Michael McCarthy, associate professor of social work, published several papers over the course of four months. See below for the latest publications.
  • The School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems (SICCS) has had several notable successes and accomplishments.
    • Assistant professor Morgan Vigil-Hayes was awarded an NSF grant for the project titled, “SCC-PG: SUNRISE: Using Mobile Games in Rural Tribal Communities to Promote Social and Emotional Resilience in Youth.” The grant totals $149,896 and runs from Oct. 1 to Spet. 30, 2021.
    • Assistant professor Crystal Hepp was awarded a $39,877 grant under the Technology and Research Initiative Research Fund (TRIF) Research Equipment Acquisition Program for the project titled, “785nm Portable Raman Spectrometer Hyper-Nova-785-BIDD.” The TRIF fund is a program to stimulate Arizona’s knowledge-based economy by supporting innovation, entrepreneurship, research and development and workforce development, as well as the infrastructure needed to advance these areas.
    • Assistant professor Michael Gowanlock co-authored the article, “Heterogeneous CPU-GPU Epsilon Grid Joins: Static and Dynamic Work Partitioning Strategies” published in Data Science and Engineering. The study proposes Heterogeneous Epsilon Grid Joins (HEGJOIN), a heterogeneous CPU-GPU distance similarity join algorithm, and an individual model for two static work partitioning strategies to perform the distribution of the work between the processors.
    • Associate professor Fatemeh Afghah co-authored the article, “A survey on physical unclonable function (PUF)-based security solutions for Internet of Things” published in Computer Networks. The article presents a survey and review of the security challenges of emerging IoT networks and discusses some of the attacks and their countermeasures based on different domains in the IoT networks.
    • Director and professor Benjamin Ruddell and assistant research professor Richard Rushforth co-authored the article, “Supply chain diversity buffers cities against food shocks” published in The study shows that boosting a city’s food supply chain diversity increases the resistance of a city to food shocks of mild to moderate severity up to 15 percent.
  • The Department of Astronomy and Planetary Science had several accomplishments and participants in the Division for Planetary Science meeting (DPS).
    • Faculty and grad students donated tents, sleeping bags, warm clothing and health essentials to Kinlani Mutual Aid. Donations were collected in response to the threat of COVID-19 and will be distributed to those most vulnerable in the Flagstaff community. Visit Kinlani/Flagstaff Mutual Aid website to contribute.
    • Interim Chair David Trilling gave an invited talk titled, “Solar System Notification Alert Processing System (SNAPS)” at the virtual Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) enabling science 2020 broker workshop. The workshop is the first of two and was meant to establish baselines about the LSST project and alert stream status, basic requirements of the science collaborations and expected outcomes and the status of proposed brokers.
    • Participating in the DPS meeting put on by the American Astronomical Society were faculty members Trilling, Joshua Emery, Cristina Thomas, Mark Loeffler, Chad Trujillo and Stephen Tegler; Lowell Observatory astronomers Jennifer Hanley, Michael Mommert and Will Grundy; students Colin Chandler, Maggie McAdam, Annika Gustafsson, Patrick Tribbett, Ryder Strauss, Samuel Navarro Meza, Will Oldroyd, Audrey Martin, Anna Engle, Nick Moscovitz and Andy Lopez-Oquendo; and alumni Jay Kueny, Maxim Devgele, Lauren McGraw and Beau Prince.