In the Spotlight: May 21, 2021

Kudos to these faculty, staff and programs

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  • Bachelor’s Degree Center ranked Northern Arizona University on its lists of 25 Best Digital Communications Certificates for 2021 and 15 Best Bachelor’s In Informatics For 2021. Rankings were calculated based on tuition cost, salary potential and reputation using data from Niche and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.
  • NAU was the recipient of the Award of Excellence for its print brochure, “NAU Research: Always Aspiring” presented during the 27th Annual Communicator Awards program. The brochure featured work from more than 60 of the university’s top faculty researchers. The project was led by Kerry Bennett, research communications manager. Other key collaborators included RenSu Yang, associate vice president of marketing; Dylan Turner, assistant director of printing services; Josh Biggs, manager of marketing; Steven Toya, senior photographer; and Heather Tate, senior communications analyst.
  • The Center for Science Teaching and Learning (CSTL) contributed to the virtual Flagstaff Community STEM Celebration. Research associate of STEM Education Anne Hamlin coordinated the weeklong event. Additionally, Keefer Gagnon and Parker Koesel, NAU students from the CSTL We Teach club; Daniel Kramer, 2021 graduate from the Department of Astronomy and Planetary Science (DAPS); and Theresa Fuller, assistant clinical professor of CSTL and STEM Education, produced a video discussing career aspirations and how to teach secondary school math by building and playing with a home-made catapult.
  • Associate professor of anthropology Lisa Hardy was the first author on the article, “Why India needs oxygen more urgently than vaccines” published with Vox Media, an independent media company with editorial networks. The article discussed India’s oxygen shortage crisis, the current responses to the situation and the need for global solutions.
  • Diana Stuart, associate professor of the Department of Sustainable Communities, and Brian Peterson, associate professor from the Department of Geography, Planning and Recreation, were nominated for a Nautilus Book Award. They received a Silver Medal for their co-authored book, “Climate Change Solutions, Beyond the Capital-Climate Contradiction” published by the University of Michigan Press.
  • Frederick DeMicco, executive director of the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management, and MBA candidate Isaiah Morrow co-authored the article, “Vaccine Passports: The Future Of Travel?” published on Hospitality Net. The article discussed the history of vaccine certifications and what some states and countries are requiring at the present moment for COVID vaccine or testing proof.
    • DeMicco was also featured in the article, “2021 Summer Travel Credit Card Survey” published by WalletHub. He answered questions regarding travel credit cards in relation to COVID-19 and advice for those who might skip a credit card payment instead of a vacation—don’t do it.
  • Michael Gowanlock, assistant professor in the School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems (SICCS); alumnus Kramer; David Trilling, interim chair and professor of DAPS; and Brian Donnelly, doctoral student in SICCS, co-authored the article, “Fast Period Searches Using the Lomb-Scargle Algorithm on Graphics Processing Units for Large Datasets and Real-Time Applications” published in Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics. The study looks at computing periods of variable objects and proposes a specific period finding algorithm that computes periods for single objects or for batches of objects depending on the data processing pipeline.
  • Postdoctoral scholar of DAPS Samuel Navarro-Meza, doctoral student of DAPS Erin Aadland and Trilling co-authored the article, “Asteroid Lightcurves and Detection, Shape, and Size Biases in Large-scale Surveys” published in the Research Notes of the American Astronomical Society. The study explored the detection of elongated asteroids under a set of idealized, but useful approximations.
  • Ricky Camplain with the Center for Health Equity Research (CHER), and Olivia Lindly, assistant professor of health sciences, received the NAU Researcher of the Year award for the College of Health and Human Sciences. Camplain’s research focuses on chronic disease prevention and health promotion with a primary focus on understanding the health needs of vulnerable populations, particularly the intersection of being Indigenous and incarcerated. Lindly’s research works to advance child health focusing on identifying determinants of child health inequities and developing programs that support parents in optimizing child and family health.
  • Brettania O’Connor, assistant clinical professor of health sciences, received the NAU Innovator of the Year award. O’Connor’s research focuses on environmental health, epidemiologic methods, disparities in access to healthcare, rural health and chronic and infectious disease epidemiology. With Camplain, she created a four-part Infectious Disease Epidemiology Bootcamp last July and co-taught a summer course titled, “Meaning-Making in a Pandemic.”
  • Heather Williamson, assistant professor of occupational therapy, received two $50,000 grants from the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council to assist adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. One grant will offer technology-based employment opportunities to 12 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The second grant will fund the development of an online continuing medical education program to assist primary care providers with effectively working individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to promote their decision-making within health care.
  • Professor Catherine Propper, faculty member Guangning Wang and assistant professor Matthew Salanga, all from the Department of Biological Sciences (DBS), co-authored the article, “Synonymous single nucleotide polymorphism in arsenic (+3) methyltransferase of the Western mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) and its gene expression among field populations” published in Ecotoxicology. The study tested certain species that live in high arsenic environments to see if there was evidence of evolution associated with arsenic exposure.
  • Professor of nursing Anna Schwartz co-authored the article, “Moving through cancer: Setting the agenda to make exercise standard in oncology practice” published in Cancer. The article describes the agenda of the newly formed Moving Through Cancer initiative which strives to make physical exercise for individuals living with, or who have had cancer, a standard practice in oncology by 2029.
  • Erin Miller with the Pathogen and Microbiome Institute (PMI) and DBS; Veronica Barragan, PMI and DBS; Dulce Jiménez, research coordinator for CHER; John Aleman, DBS; Joseph Mihaljevic, assistant professor of SICCS; Sonora Olivas, PMI; Jane Marks, professor of biological sciences; the late Nathan Nieto, DBS; Paul Keim, Regents’ professor of DBS and with PMI; and Talima Pearson, associate research professor of DBS co-authored the article, “Leptospira in river and soil in a highly endemic area of Ecuador” published in BMC Microbiology. The study screened for Leptospira DNA in two rivers in rural Ecuador to learn more about the types of environment and characteristics that favor survival of Leptospira, and its transmission to humans.
  • Dawn Rivas, associate director of the School of Nursing, and Donna Price, assistant clinical professor, were awarded Key to the City of Flagstaff awards. The awards were given at an event in Flagstaff to celebrate Nurse Appreciation Week, which recognized nurses throughout the city for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Bettie Coplan, assistant professor in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies, was the first author on the article, “The PA title: Is a change the best way forward?” published in the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. The article is a commentary that discusses the debate about changing the name “physician assistant” for the profession.
  • Assistant research professor of SICCS Logan Berner, Regents’ professor of SICCS Scott Goetz, and Regents’ professor of biology and Ecoss Michelle Mack co-authored the article, “Arctic tundra shrubification: a review of mechanisms and impacts on ecosystem carbon balance” published in Environmental Research Letters. The study addressed and evaluated factors of shrub expansion, a widely observed response of high-latitude ecosystems to rapid climate warming.
  • Mack also co-authored two recent studies. “Cascading effects: insights from the U.S. Long Term Ecological Research Network,” published in Ecosphere, argued that long-term ecological research is an important tool for documenting “unforeseen chains of events” in ecosystems, many related to climate warming. The second, “Understory plant diversity and composition across a postfire tree density gradient in a Siberian Arctic boreal forest,” was published in the Canadian Journal of Forest Research.
  • Professor of English Naoko Taguchi gave invited lectures at various applied linguistics and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages programs across the world which included the University of Barcelona, University of Fribourg (Switzerland), Suranaree University of Technology (Thailand), Ocean University of China, Beijing Language & Culture University, Penn State University, Arizona State University and University of Arizona. The lectures featured applications of technology to language learning and intercultural development.
  • Research from Regents’ professor Ted Schuur and assistant research professor Christina Schädel of Ecoss was referenced in the Royal Society briefing, “The carbon cycle: better understanding carbon-climate feedbacks and reducing future risks.” The briefing, to which Schuur was a contributor, was one of 12 climate briefings The Royal Society released this week ahead of the UN Conference of Parties climate summit in Glasgow, United Kingdom, in November.