In the Spotlight: March 7, 2014

Kudos to these faculty, staff and students

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  • viola awards
    Ceramic artist Rena Hamilton, an adviser and success coach for Extended Campuses, created the 2014 Viola Awards.

    Three members of the NAU community won awards at Saturday’s Viola Awards, the Flagstaff Arts Council’s annual celebration of excellence in the arts and sciences.

    • Nicole Walker, assistant professor of creative writing, received a Viola award in the “Storytelling” category for her book, Quench Your Thirst with Salt, a non-fiction memoir published in June 2013.
    • Karin Hallberg, coordinator of the Suzuki Strings Program at NAU and senior lecturer of string pedagogy and violin, was named the Viola “Arts Educator.”
    • Former lecturer and current NAU affiliate Shawn Skabelund won in the Visual Arts category for his work “Virga: The Hunt for Water.”

    Overall NAU had a strong showing at the reception, with several others having NAU connections garnering nominations for Viola Awards, including:

    • The NAU Art Museum in the Visual Arts category for its book-as-art exhibition, Tangibles: Beauty and Purpose in the Art of the Book.
    • Several in the “Performing Arts” category, including:
      • The NAU School of Music for its Richard Wagner concert in October.
      • Theater department chair Kathleen McGeever and lecturer Season Ellison, along with local singer-songwriter Tony Norris, for their Grapes of Wrath-inspired performance, “Hard Times on the Mother Road.”
      • The music CD Flux by Velocity Squared duo Jonathan Bergeron, associate professor of saxophone, and John Masserini, associate professor of clarinet.
      • Theater director Bob Yowell for last fall’s production of Spring Awakening.
    • English professor Laura Gray-Rosendale in the “Storytelling” category for her book, College Girl.
    • School of Music Director Todd Sullivan was nominated for a Viola “Leadership” award.
    • Max Doss, director of the Center for Science Teaching and Learning, Cathy Propper, professor of biological sciences, and Kris Haskins, assistant project director for the Southwest Experimental Garden Array, were nominated in the “Excellence in Science Education” category.
    • NAU photojournalism students were nominated in the “Emerging Artists” category.
    • Ceramic artist Rena Hamilton, an adviser and success coach for Extended Campuses, created the awards.
  • Dennis C. Tanner, professor of Health Sciences, published his 14th book, Simply Amazing: Communication Sciences and Disorders. The book is based on Tanner’s 40 years of experience studying, teaching, researching and providing clinical services in the communication sciences discipline. He offers frank and informative discussion about the subject, including both conventional and offbeat theories of human communication, unique and sometimes bizarre disorders, and intriguing stories about patients. The book is available on

    Townsend's Big-Eared Bats
    The Townsend’s big-eared bat, photographed by Jut Wynne in a northern Arizona cave, is among species threatened by the westward advancement of white-nose syndrome. The disease has killed nearly 7 million bats in North America and it is advancing west, a concern for conservation biologists like Wynne. Click on the image to read his article.
  • J. Judson “Jut” Wynne, a biological sciences doctoral candidate andconservation biologist with the Colorado Plateau Research Station, recently published “Reign of the Red Queen” in The Explorers Journal, published by the Explorers Club. Wynne discusses the crisis of white-nose syndrome affecting bat populations around North America and a multiyear study currently in progress in caves at the Grand Canyon-Parshant and Wupatki National Monuments. Read the article here.