In the Spotlight: Nov. 8-12

Kudos to these faculty, staff, students 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. 

  • Kristin Leonard, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Educational Specialties, has written and published a poetry book named “The Ninetieth Day: Poems about Love, Loss, and Leftovers for Breakfast,” being released on Dec. 1. The book is a collection of poetry that seeks to explore the everyday moments and musings in life that linger between love and loss.  
  • Ellaine Villano and Yasmin Leon, undergraduate students from the Traustadottir Lab in the School of Biological Sciences, won first prize for best oral presentation in the undergraduate category at the Arizona Physiological Society Annual Meeting, held at Midwestern University in Glendale. 
  • Kevin Daniels and Morgan Vest, players on the NAU football team, both received the ROOT SPORTS Player of the Week Honors from the Big Sky Conference following the team’s victory in Moscow, Idaho. This is Daniels’s first honor of his career, and Vest is the first defensive player to earn player of the week honors multiple times this season.  
  • Two students on the NAU Speech and Debate team recently took home awards at the Point Loma Nazarene University Debate Tournament. Senior Riley Smelkinson placed first in the Dramatic Interpretation, and senior Cameron Baird placed fifth in the After Dinner Speaking category. 
  • Laura Umphrey, director of the School of Communication, co-authored an article titled, “Resilience, Identity Tension, Hope, Social Capital, and Psychological Stress During a Pandemic.” The article was published in the Journal of Research and Practice for Adversity and Resilience Science and examines two conceptual approaches to defining the resilience and the implications for its effect on psychological stress. 
  • Howard Qi, professor in The W. A. Franke College of Business, was featured in a recent WalletHub article focusing on home improvement loans.   
  • Assistant professor of practice Robert Cannon, students Kevin Morales and Vanessa Lister, senior lecturer Mark Molinaro and assistant professor Muhittin Cavusoglu, all in the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management, along with the NAU Admissions Team attended the recent Family, Career and Community Leaders of America Fall Leadership Conference at the Phoenix Convention Center to recruit culinary high school students.  
  • Elías Villarreal, program director and chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies, has been named to a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) advisory committee by HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. He was appointed to the National Advisory Council on the National Health Service Corps, which encourages health care students to work in underserved communities. 
  • Ari Koeppel, an astronomy and planetary science Ph.D. student, was recently published in Geology. It is titled “A fragile record of fleeting water on Mars” and is his second first-author paper. Associate professor Christopher Edwards and former NAU student Gabriel Carillo co-authored the paper. 
  • Astronomy and planetary science Ph.D. student Erin Aadland had a paper recently published. She is the first author of “The Physical Parameters of Four WC-type Wolf-Rayet Stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud: Evidence of Evolution” in the Astrophysical Journal. 
  • Sophomore Millie O’Ketter was named Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week after standout performances against Southern Utah and Sacramento State in the last week. O’Ketter is the second Lumberjack to earn Big Sky Player of the Week honors this season and the first for a defensive nod.
  • Schuyler Borges, an astronomy and planetary science Ph.D. student, and associate professor Mark Salvatore were recently published in the International Journal of Remote Sensing. The article is titled “Counting Carbon: Quantifying Biomass in the McMurdo Dry Valleys through Orbital & Field Observations”. 
  • Undergraduate student Beau Prince and associate professor of astronomy and planetary science Mark Loeffler wrote “Space weathering of the 3-μm phyllosilicate feature induced by pulsed laser irradiation,” which was recently published. This work is the first study to look at how the 3-micron absorption band is altered by simulated micrometeorite impacts in meteorite analogs that have undergone high degrees of aqueous alteration. 
  • David Trilling, chair and professor in the department of Astronomy and Planetary Science, was recently appointed to the National Science Foundation’s NOIRLab Data Science Advisory Group for a three-year term. 
  • Astronomy and Planetary Science assistant professor Tyler Robinson was selected to join NASA’s Planetary Science Advisory Committee. In this role, and alongside other committee members, Robinson will be providing guidance to NASA on issues related to all NASA planetary science programs 
NAU Communications