In the Spotlight: April 30, 2008

Kudos to these faculty, staff and students

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  • Regents’ Professor Tom Whitham and a team of NAU researchers have had their article on groundbreaking genetic research selected to appear in a special feature on plant genomes in the April 25 edition of Science. The group is discovering that the genes of one organism not only control the characteristics of that individual, they also dictate the behavior of thousands of other organisms in a community. Whitham was joined by Stephen P. DiFazio of West Virginia University, former NAU postdoctoral researcher Jennifer Schweitzer, NAU biology professor Stephen M. Shuster, NAU assistant professor Gery J. Allan, former NAU postdoctoral researcher Joseph K. Bailey, and NAU graduate teaching assistant Scott A. Woolbright. Last month, Whitham also received word from the National Science Foundation that the Office of Emerging Frontiers had selected his team’s work to be featured as an example of a currently funded NSF project that best supports NSF’s strategic plan. This “highlight” is used internally at NSF and externally in reports to Congress.
  • Jon Reyhner, professor of education, has published with Denny Hurtado, director of the Washington state Office of Indian Education, an article titled “Reading First, Literacy, and American Indian/Alaska Native Students” in the current issue of the Journal of American Indian Education.
  • Llewellyn Young, coordinator for NAU-Yuma Student Services, received the Arizona Western College Vice President’s Award for Excellence in Student Services on April 24 at the AWC Student Services Breakfast.
  • Denise Helm has been named associate dean of the College of Health and Human Services. Helm will begin her appointment in May.
  • Three inviduals were awarded 2008 Louie Awards by NAU’s Office of Student Life.
    • Eric Yordy, an associate professor in The W.A.Franke College of Business, received the Louie Faculty Award for his devotion to students. “Students are challenged to their best work and are stronger after working with professor Yordy,” his nominator said.
    • Tracie Hansen, a public affairs coordinator in the Office of Public Affairs, received the Louie Staff Award for her “constant empowerment” in supporting the Kayettes, an NAU student service organization she advises. According to the Kayettes, “Tracie is always keeping us updated with current NAU activities so that we may be a positive presence on campus. The fact that she always seems to say just the right thing, and her total understanding of all that is Kayettes, has made Tracie invaluable.”
    • Stephen Land, an education undergraduate, received the Louie Student Award. Known for his active campus involvement and for serving as community service and philanthropy chair for his fraternity, “Stephen puts his whole heart into everything he does and he is always there for every person he comes in contact with,” according to his nomination form. “He is everything a lumberjack should be.”
  • KNAU received five regional Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio and Television News Directors Association, recognizing its reporters among the most accomplished in the country.The winning entries are Overall Excellence: the KNAU News Team; Best Feature Reporting: “Lead Poisoning in Condors,” by Gillian Ferris Kohl; Best Sports Reporting: “Former Lost Boy Takes Off,” by Laurel Morales; Best News Series: “Climate Connections,” by the KNAU News Team; Best Writing: “Valentine’s Day Chocolate,” “A Flagstaff local heads ‘Into the Wild'” and “Experimental Wildlife Crosswalk,” by Gillian Ferris Kohl.
  • John J. Doherty, instructional designer at NAU’s e-Learning Center, has published his book, Facilitating Interaction: A Case Study on the Role of the Reference Librarian in Online Learning Environments. The book, a study of librarians’ work with their users online, suggests a process by which librarians evaluate an online question, conduct some preliminary work on the question, answer it, and then provide suggestions to help the user further. Doherty suggests that in addition to their traditional roles as customer service oriented professionals and teachers, librarians in online learning environments become neutral facilitators of learning interactions.
  • Andi Thode, assistant professor of forestry, was interviewed, along with her collaborators, for an audio slide show for the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center. The slide show, “Battling Cheatgrass at Zion NP,” addresses how Zion National Park is tackling the cheatgrass problem.
  • NAU’s Army ROTC recognized seven employees from departments across campus at its Cadet Awards Ceremony on April 24. “These are the people who work behind the scenes coordinating scholarships, adjusting tuition, housing and meal plan payment due dates, registering students after deadlines, and ensuring that the public is aware of our program and the accomplishments of our cadets,” said Maj. Brian Grable.Those recognized with certificates of appreciation were: Pat Sprengeler, program coordinator for the Office of Financial Aid; Michael Butcher, coordinator of operations, and Vicki Creager, accounting specialist, for the Office of Residence Life; Pam Gesky, meal planning coordinator for Campus Dining; Tracie Hansen, public affairs coordinator for the Office of Public Affairs; Jaime Smith, program coordinator for the Office of the Bursar; and Ryan Hunt, associate registrar for the Office of the Registrar.
  • The NAU student chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers competed at the 2008 Human Powered Vehicle West Competition April 10-13, winning all awards in the “Tandem vehicle” (two-person bike) category: Design, Sprint, Endurance and Overall. Hubert Gorka is the president and team captain, John Tester is the chapter’s faculty adviser; Perry Wood is the chapter’s co-adviser and was the NAU event representative.
  • bookstore awardsThe NAU Bookstore awarded the Department of Mathematics and Statistics and the Department of Biological Sciences each with $250 gift cards to the NAU Bookstore for being the top two campus departments with the highest fall textbook adoption percentages as of April 15. Pictured at right are (from left): Angel Zamorano, assistant textbook manager; Sharon O’Connor, administrative secretary for the Department of Mathematics and Statistics; Elizabeth Musuva, textbook department manager, and Ken Pegram, director of the NAU Bookstore. David Pierotti, not pictured, accepted the certificate and award on behalf of the biology department.
  • The 2008 undergraduate printmakers are showing a free exhibition in the Bursar’s Office throughout the summer and into the fall semester titled, “In:Print.” The exhibit can be viewed during regular business hours and includes a small discussion of each printmaking technique. It will rotate twice a year to showcase the student achievements in the School of Art Printmaking.