In the Spotlight: March 14-25

Kudos to these faculty, staff, students and programs

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

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

  • Raina Fitzpatrick, a graduate student researcher in the Center for Ecosystem Science and Society, is a co-author of the study, “Global urban environmental change drives adaptation in white clover,” which appeared in the most recent issue of Science. Using the species white clover, which is found worldwide, the University of Toronto-led research team explored how city environments drove changes in genes that control the clover’s chemical defenses.
  • Sam Meier, the archivist for discovery at Cline Library’s Special Collections and Archives, recently received the Arizona Library Association’s Emerging Leader Award. She was nominated for her collaborations with faculty, undergraduate and graduate students in producing a collection of oral histories called Pandemic Stories, and a virtual exhibit, Flagstaff 2020: A Clear Vision, documenting a Flagstaff community visioning project that took place in 1996 and 1997.
  • NAU Cline Library volunteer Rich Boyd was named the Arizona Library Association’s Volunteer of the Year. Boyd has volunteered in Special Collections and Archives three days a week for more than 16 years, which equates to a full-time employee working for 4.8 years. He has contributed to several multi-year projects, including one documenting the history of NAU and another describing unattributed photographs from the Arizona Daily Sun.
  • Jalen Cone, a sophomore men’s basketball player, was voted to play on the All-Big Sky Conference Third Team. He has been one of the league’s top scorers all season and averaged 18.9 points per game.
  • Allen Z. Reich, a professor, President’s Distinguished Teaching Fellow and Isbell Ethics chair for the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management, was recently interviewed for two different restaurant related articles by reporters at the Arizona Daily Sun. The first article focused on the impact of COVID-19 on restaurants and the second article focused on reasons why a restaurant closes down.
  • Brian Petersen, an associate professor in the Department of Geography, Planning and Recreation, has published the edited volume “Justice in Climate Action Planning” with Hélène B. Ducros from UNC Chapel Hill. This volume examines how climate action plans engage justice at the scale of the city.
  • Lisa J. Hardy, an associate professor of anthropology, has published “Using Remote Rapid Response Inquiry From the First Days of COVID-19” in SAGE Research Methods: Doing Research Online. The case study explores research-based shareable knowledge on health behaviors, insights for staying well over the holidays, information on xenophobia and health equity in the United States and documentation of quickly changing social perceptions of disease. Additionally, “The Inequality of COVID-19,” written by Hardy and Eric E. Otenyo, a professor in the department of Politics and International Affairs, is a nominee for the 2022 British Medical Awards in the special category: COVID-19. The book explores COVID-19 immediate health communication, governance and response in four Indigenous regions. Award winners will be announced at the end of March.
  • Estevan Ramirez, a graduate student in anthropology, has received the Society for American Archaeology’s “Historically Underrepresented Groups Scholarship” to conduct field research toward his thesis this summer at the site of Xunanctunich in western Belize under the direction of NAU anthropology professor Jaime Awe. Ramirez is a first-generation Latinx student.
  • Paul Lenze, a senior lecturer in the department of Politics and International Affairs, and Bill Carter, an assistant professor of practice in the School of Communication, have been inducted into Phi Kappa Phi. Phi Kappa Phi is the largest and most highly respected academic honor society that recognizes and promotes academic excellence in all fields of higher education.
  • Christopher Harrison, an instructor in the department of Politics and International Affairs, recently published “Researching and Transcribing Traumatic Experiences: A Qualitative Approach to Studying Survivors of Genocide Online” in Sage Research Methods Cases. The article discusses the traumatic experiences of survivors of genocide and aims to illustrate the need to avoid diminishing the importance of emotive testimonies provided by people who witness such political violence.
  • Laura Noll, an assistant professor in the department of Psychological Sciences and director of the Interdisciplinary Health (IH) Ph.D. program, IH student Melissa Miller and recent graduate Ryan Shallcross published “Women’s Age of First Exposure to Internet pornography Predicts Sexual Victimization.” The study examines the association between age of first internet pornography exposure and sexual victimization.
  • Zhan (Jen) Xu, an assistant professor in the School of Communication, has recently published two articles. The first, titled “Clickbait for Climate Change: Comparing Emotions in Headlines and Full-Texts and Their Engagement,” explains how emerging digital media reporting—especially in the headlines—shapes the perception of climate change issues and engages audiences. The second, titled “Framing Climate Change in the 5th Estate: Comparing Online Advocacy and Denial Webpages and Their Engagement,” discusses online climate change advocacy and denial webpages and how results can help researchers to design effective climate change campaigns as well as develop programs to track and combat online misinformation.
  • Three-time indoor All-American Abdihamid Nur has been named the USTFCCCA Mountain Region Men’s Track Athlete of the Year after his double-event champion performances in the 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter races at NCAA Championships and his outstanding accomplishments throughout the season. Nur contributed 20 of the 29 total team points at the national championship meet, leading the Lumberjacks to a fourth-place overall finish.
  • Jut Wynne, assistant research professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and Center for Adaptable Western Landscapes, co-authored a recently published letter alongside 96 international scientists. “Brazilian cave heritage under siege,” published in the journal Science, discusses the recent policy changes that weakened cave protection in Brazil.
  • Bruce Urdang, professor of the NAU School of Hotel and Restaurant Management, presented at the 22nd National Business and Economics Society Conference on March 2-5 in Maui. His presentation was titled “The Changing Landscape of College Athletics After NCAA v. Alston.”
  • Ph.D. student Audrey Martin published a paper titled “Spectral effects of regolith porosity in the mid-IR – Forsteritic olivine.” The article’s results demonstrate that some asteroids support highly porous regoliths whose spectra are not well-matched by standard (low porosity) laboratory spectra of powders.
  • Ph.D. student Catherine Clark was featured on the “Highlights from the American Astronomical Society” YouTube Channel. She has also accepted a postdoctoral position at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
  • Roger A. Smith, NAU alumnus, Arizona native and author, has released a new book titled “Batchit, AZ: The Rise and Fall,” available locally at Bright Side Bookshop in Flagstaff. The story chronicles the incredible history of tramway construction across the Grand Canyon in the 1950s and creation of Batchit, AZ, a one-of-a-kind bat guano operation.
  • Khiarica Rasheed and Regan Schenck both earned All-Big Sky Honorable Mention for the 2021-22 season for women’s basketball. This is Schenck’s second All-Big Sky honor and Rasheed’s third.


NAU Communications