In the Spotlight: Sept. 7, 2018

Kudos to these faculty and staff

Do you have a spotlight item to share with the NAU community?

E-mail your announcements to, or use our online submission form.

  • Northern Arizona University saw increased rankings in every category in the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education 2019 College Rankings. Rankings are based on data collected from about 200,000 U.S. college students and examine a range of issues, including student engagement, interaction with professors, satisfaction, diversity and graduation rates. NAU’s biggest jump of 74 spots was in the outcomes category, which includes graduation rates, value added by education to both salary and ability to repay student debt and the overall academic reputation. The university also rose 63 spots in resources, 37 spots in engagement and 10 spots in learning environment.

    Lerner at work
    Lerner works on wearable exoskeleton
  • Zach Lerner, assistant professor in mechanical engineering, and his team were awarded a total of $599, 992 through three separate grants from the National Institute of Health, National Science Foundation and Arizona Biomedical Research Commission. All the grants will go toward work being done in the Biomechatronics Lab such as advancing the function of robotic, wearable exoskeletons that can improve walking ability in individuals with movement disorders.
  • Peter Friederici published a chapter titled “Private Memories of Public Perception: Gathering and Assessing Ecological Oral Histories in an Era of Climate Change” in the book “The Land Speaks: New Voices at the Intersection of Oral and Environmental History.”
  • Bettie Coplan was named a Research Fellow in the AAPA-PAEA (Physician Assistant Education Association). Coplan’s one-year fellowship grants her department $25,000 to be devoted to research focusing on the physician assistant profession and education.
  • Gretchen Gee, senior lecturer of politics and international affairs, will present the paper “A Dangerous Path: Journalists, Political Challengers in Putin’s Russia” at the Political Science, Sociology, and International Relations Conference in Singapore this month. Gee presented a talk by the same name as part of the Summer Seminar Series at NAU.

    Sheila Nair lectures
    Sheila Nair lectures in Indonesia
  • Professor of politics and international affairs Sheila Nair presented “Postcolonial Theory, Postcolonial Feminism and International Relations” at Gadjah Mada University in Yogjakarta, Indonesia, and “A postcolonial of Decolonial Moment” at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Nair also received an invitation to the 12th Pan-European Conference on International Relations held in Prague, Czech Republic, in September.
  • School of Forestry professor Richard Hofstetter co-authored the paper “Genomoviruses associated with mountain and western pine beetles” that identified six new genomoviruses associated with western and mountain pine beetles collected in Arizona and Colorado.

    American Psychological Association Convention attendees
    American Psychological Association Convention in San Francisco
  • A number of faculty and combined counseling/school psychology doctoral students from the College of Education presented at the 126th Annual American Psychological Association Convention held in San Francisco in August. Faculty presenters were Sara Abercrombie, Lore Dickey, Evie Garcia, Jon Lee and Ramona Mellott. Doctoral presenters were Jade Heffern, Vesna Pepic, Laura Rodriguez, Chelsey Tarazi, Emily Thomas and Melissa Wheeler. Presentation topics included Latinx immigration, Big Five personality, adolescent self-concept, first-generation students, transgender individuals, political climate impact, multicultural indigenous feminism, elder abuse and motivational interviewing.
Cheyenne Jarrette