In the Spotlight: May 4, 2016

Kudos to these faculty, staff and students

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  • Ribbon cutting
    President Rita Cheng cuts the ribbon at the opening of the Ancient DNA Lab.

    Last week, NAU researchers Faith Walker and Carol Chambers celebrated the opening of the Ancient DNA Lab alongside President Rita Cheng and other NAU leaders. Thanks to the new lab, topics including archaeology, wildlife, immunology, and past environmental and climate change may be explored by NAU faculty, students and the public. The Ancient DNA Lab will showcase the region and can attract projects using ancient DNA from other parts of the world as well.

  • Melissa Birkett, associate professor of psychological sciences, was co-author of the 12th edition of the neuroscience textbook, Physiology of Behavior.
  • Martin D. Sommerness, professor of journalism, served as the executive producer for singer-songwriter Camille Bloom’s album “Pieces of Me,” released on Silo Sounds.
  • Donelle Ruwe, professor of English, has published an essay titled “Barbauld and the Body-Part Game: Maternal Pedagogy in the Long Eighteenth Century” in the collection Mothers in Children’s and Young Adult Literature: from the Eighteenth Century to Postfeminism. Ruwe’s essay explores the 18th century roots of modern pedagogical practice, including the use of manipulatives, motherese and response priming.
  • Steven M. Jacobs, lecturer of electrical engineering and computer science and University College fellow, is a co-author of the sixth edition of Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction. The book provides a comprehensive introduction to the dynamic field of human-computer interaction. Professor Eck Doerry and computer science students John Keevan Dance and Jun Rao also contributed to the book’s production tasks.
  • GUFE delegation
    GUFE’s vice president for development and research, Zou Xinyue, pictured right, meets with GUFE students at the W.A. Franke College of Business

    Northern Arizona University hosted a delegation from Guangdong University of Finance and Economics, NAU’s partner university in China. While on campus the delegates met with 19 GUFE 1+2+1 dual degree students who are currently studying management at NAU. The group also met with provost James Coleman, Daniel Palm, senior associate director of the Center for International Education, and Craig Van Slyke, dean of the W.A. Franke College of Business. The visit helped ensure the long-term sustainability of the partnership.

  • Shari Miller, compliance director for state authorization, was one of three Arizona SARA panelists who participated in the general session of the annual Conference of the National Association of State Administrators and Supervisors of Private Schools. Miller presented “It’s Working…We Think” and shared insights on the evolution of the legislation and formation of the organizing committee that enabled Arizona to become a participant of the National State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement.
  • Neil Cobb, director of NAU’s Merriam-Powell Center for Environmental Research, has been named the chair of the Integrated Digitized Biocollections External Advisory Board. IDigBIo, funded by the National Science Foundation, coordinates the national effort to digitize biodiversity specimens and make them available online for the research community, students, educators and the general public. In his position Cobb will provide guidance on the organization’s strategic direction and management as well as research and educational activities.
  • Lutz awardThe Maxwell-Lutz Community Impact Award was presented to students Christopher Frank, Annalee Boyle, Jeff Morrison, Ashley Averett, Anna Harris and their advisors Sara Jarvis and Melissa Birkett for their proposal titled “PICES Project – Pilot Intervention of Culturally-Responsive Exercise System.” The team, pictured left, was awarded $5,000 to be used to fund their project. The award is a collaboration between the colleges of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Engineering, Forestry and Natural Sciences.


  • Kaitlyn HaskieSophomore Kaitlyn Haskie, pictured right, is the winner of the 2016 Louis Agassiz Prize for Excellence in Writing competition hosted by the College of Engineering, Forestry and Natural Sciences. Haskie will receive $4,000 for her winning submission titled “A Paradigm Shift: Indigenous Peoples in the New Millennium.” The scholarship competition was open to all NAU undergraduates.