In the Spotlight: May 4, 2012

Kudos to these faculty, staff and students

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  • Blase Scarnati, director of the First Year Seminar Program and associate professor of music history, had a piece published in the May 3 Huffington Post. The article, which he coauthored with Harry C. Boyte, director of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg College, is called “Building Democracy Colleges: A Different Kind of Politics” and features NAU’s civic agency work with first-year students in the First Year Seminar Program and Action Research Teams.
  • Barbara Veltri, assistant professor of education, recently published an article, “Teach For America: It’s More About Leading Than Teaching,” in the May issue of Educational Leadership. An bstract of the article is available online.
  • NAU recently announced the faculty and student recipients of its fourth annual Research and Creative Activity Awards. The awards recognize extraordinary research, scholarly and artistic achievements. An award ceremony will be held at the High Country Conference Center on Sept. 13.
    • Okim Kang, assistant professor of English, received the award for Most Promising New Scholar. Kang received the award for her achievements in applied linguistics, specifically for her innovative work in the area of spoken language assessment for teaching and learning English as a second language and acquisition of English language skills for non-native speakers.
    • Emily Cope, a doctoral student in biological science, received the award for Most Promising Graduate Student Researcher. Cope, who earns her degree this month from NAU, received the award for her work to elucidate polymicrobial disease processes and virulence, and for demonstrating extraordinary academic achievement and scientific talent.
    • Jai Ram Rideout, undergraduate student in electrical engineering and computer science, was selected as the Most Promising Undergraduate Student Researcher. Rideout demonstrated extreme promise and productivity as a student researcher in bioinformatics, which included contributions to three peer-reviewed publications as well as considerable contributions to two open-source bioinformatics software packages.
    • Ricardo Guthrie, professor of ethnic studies, received the award for Most Significant Artistic/Creative Work. Guthrie’s historic Southside mural at the Murdoch Center in Flagstaff represents a visual history of African Americans of significance to the city. Guthrie has received widespread recognition for the project and will present a research paper on the creation of the mural in Liverpool, England, in July.
  • A team of anthropology graduate students from Northern Arizona University won the National Archaeology Ethics Bowl competition at the 2012 Society for American Archaeology Meetings in Memphis. Russell Alleen-Willems, Emily Long and Kerri Bastin defeated the team from the University of Miami in the opening round, then bested the team from Indiana University in the final.The competition is built around 10 case studies in archaeological ethics that are based on actual ethical dilemmas. Students are challenged to apply professional codes of ethics in archaeology, anthropology and other disciplines to identify the key ethical issues involved and propose a possible resolution of the case. The competition is a debate-style format where opposing teams are evaluated by a panel of judges consisting of some of the top archaeological experts in the world. In their presentations and responses, the Ethics Bowl teams are evaluated on intelligibility, depth, focus and judgment. The team was coached by NAU anthropology professor Christian Downum.The winners received a trophy, a cash award and an invitation to compete in the World Archaeology Congress ethics competition next year in Jordan.