Texas Tech University

Faculty Achievements

Scholarship in the College of Arts & Sciences includes professional advancements, accomplishments, appointments and the progress of ongoing endeavors.

Arts & Sciences faculty are encouraged to contact Toni Salama, Senior Editor, Office of the Dean, to submit items of interest.

Houk Gets $240,000 Grant for Maya Research

Brett Houk, TTU professor

Brett Houk, Associate Professor of Archaeology and Chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Social Work, received a three-year $240,000 grant from the Chicago-based Alphawood Foundation to continue research of the Maya civilization in what is now Chan Chich, Belize. Houk has conducted the Field School in Maya Archaeology at Chan Chich every summer since 2012. "The grant's allowing us to do a lot more work," Houk said.

Bradley Interviewed About 'Chupacabras'

Robert Bradley, TTU professor

Robert Bradley, professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and director and curator of mammals at TTU's Natural Science Research Laboratory, was interviewed by KAMC TV about whether a "chupacabra" was roaming Hockley and Cochran Counties. Bradley agreed with local game wardens who said that the mammal in question was a coyote with mange, not the mythical blood-sucking "chupacabra."

Hayhoe Gets 'Friend of the Planet' Award

Katharine Hayhoe, TTU professor

Katharine Hayhoe, director of TTU's Climate Science Center and associate professor in the Department of Political Science, received in May the "Friend of the Planet" award from the National Center for Science Education (NCSE). "Katharine is a bridge builder between science and the wider society," noted NCSE executive director Ann Reid in an article on NCSE's web site.

Patterson Describes Holocaust Research

Jill Patterson, TTU professor

Jill Patterson, professor in the Department of English, was interviewed by Texas Tech Today for a May 5 story about Holocaust Remembrance Day. Patterson toured six Nazi concentration camps and interviewed Holocaust survivors during a two-week research trip to Germany and Poland in 2012.

Martinez Reads Poem for Podcast

David Tomas Martinez, a visiting assistant professor in the Department of English, recently read his poem, "The Only Mexican," for the Texas Standard, which recorded his reading as a podcast. Martinez is a Ph.D. candidate in the University of Houston's Creative Writing program.

Mechref Named Director of CBG

TTU Chemistry Professor Yehia Mechref

Yehia Mechref, Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, has been named the director of the Texas Tech University Center for Biotechnology and Genomics (CBG). Mechref was appointed to the position by Guy Loneragan, Interim Vice President for Research, after CBG founder, Chemistry Professor David Knaff, passed away.

Elbow Awarded for Global Vision

Professor Gary Elbow, TTUGary Elbow, Professor of Geography in the Department of Geosciences, received the Global Vision Lifetime Achievement Award from TTU's Office of International Affairs during the annual Global Vision Awards ceremony April 8. The Global Vision Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to the internationalization of Texas Tech through his or her many years of leadership in promoting international scholarship and teaching. Elbow has gone outside the classroom to chair Texas Tech's Fulbright Scholar committee for 12 years, serve on the Rhodes scholarship committee for three years and the National Fulbright Senior Scholar screening committee for three years. He was the recipient of two faculty Fulbright awards, the first for his research in Costa Rica and the second for his teaching in Ecuador.

Shu Receives International Scholar Award

Professor Yuan Shu, TTUYuan Shu, Associate Professor of comparative literature in the Department of English, received the Faculty International Scholarship Award from TTU's Office of International Affairs during the annual Global Vision Awards ceremony April 8. The Faculty International Scholarship Award recognizes a tenure-track faculty member for excellence and sustained international scholarship. Shu has contributed to international academic exchange between Asia and North America, engaging in academic collaboration with partners around the nation and the world, producing scholarship with national and international implications, and lecturing and presenting at national and international conferences and institutions of higher education. Shu also co-sponsored two symposiums on transnational American studies and co-edited "American Studies as Transnational Practice," proposing a paradigm shift in American studies from transnational to transpacific.

Findlater Gets Welch Foundation Renewal

Professor Michael Findlater, TTUMichael Findlater, Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, was awarded $195,000 to support his continued research on a project entitled, "Base Metal-Catalyzed Transformations," that will run 2016-2019.


Allen Named SIAM Fellow

Professor linda Allen, TTULinda Allen, Horn Professor in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics, was named a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), Class of 2016. Allen is the first SIAM Fellow from TTU's Department of Mathematics & Statistics, and was awarded for her contributions to stochastic and deterministic modeling of populations and disease transmission, their applications, and education in applied mathematics.

Barenberg Wins 3 Awards for 'Gulag Town'

Professor Alan Barenberg, TTUAlan Barenberg, Associate Professor in the Department of History, has received three awards for his book, "Gulag Town, Company Town: Forced Labor and its Legacy in Vorkuta" (Yale University Press, 2014). Barenberg was recognized during Texas Tech's Faculty Convocation 2016 with the TTU President's Book Award, First Prize. His book also won the 2015 Taylor and Francis Book Prize, which will be presented formally by the Canadian Association of Slavists during the group's annual meeting May 30-June 1 in Calgary, Alberta. And his book received Honorable Mention for the 2015 Wayne S. Vucinich Book Prize from The Association for Slavic, East European, & Eurasian Studies for the most important contribution to Russian, Eurasian, and East European studies in any discipline of the humanities or social sciences.

Dunham Brings Peace Corps to Conference

Professor Charlotte Dunham, TTUCharlotte Dunham, Director of the Women's Studies Program and Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Social Work, welcomed Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet to Texas Tech on April 15 as the keynote speaker for the 32nd Annual Conference on the Advancement of Women. "She is a role model for our students for ways to serve the global community, and we are excited she has agreed to come to Texas Tech," Dunham said of Hassler-Radelet.

Poirier Gets Welch Foundation Renewal

Professor Bill Poirier, TTUBill Poirier, Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry and Joint Professor in the Department of Physics, was awarded $240,000 to support his continued research on a project entitled, "New Methodologies for Accurate Quantum Calculations of the Dynamics of Atomic Nuclei," that will run from 2016-2019.

Hayhoe Speaks Locally, Nationally

Professor Katharine Hayhoe, TTU

Katharine Hayhoe, Director of TTU's Climate Science Center and Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, gave a presentation, "Act Locally: 8 Easy Ways to Invest in a Healthy Community," during the Lubbock United Neighborhood Association spring meeting March 29 at Lubbock High School. On April 7, she was a panelist at "Meet, Eat, & Discover: Health Benefits of Clean, Renewable Energy" at a luncheon in North Carolina. The event brought together healthcare, parent, and faith organizations to discuss the impact of air pollution on children's health. Then on April 20-21, Hayhoe spoke at the University of Minnesota's St. Paul campus . The titles of her lectures were "Can We Change People's Minds on Climate Change?" and "Climate Change: Facts, Fictions, and Christian Faith."

Swingen a Finalist for Book Prize

Professor Abigail Swingen, TTU

Abigail Swingen, Associate Professor in the Department of History, is a finalist for the Ramirez Family Award for Most Significant Scholarly Book for 2015 from the Texas Institute of Letters. In her book, "Competing Visions of Empire: Labor, Slavery, and the Origins of the British Atlantic Empire" (Yale, 2015), Swingen explores how England's original imperial designs influenced contemporary English politics and debates about labor, economy, and overseas trade.

Cole Publishes Book in Spanish and English

Professor George Cole, TTU

George Cole, Associate Professor of Spanish in the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, has published a book, "Hojas Sueltas," (Editorial GC; Mayaguez, Puerto Rico; 2015) in Spanish and English.


Ramkumar to Receive TAPPI Award

Seshadri Ramkumar, professor of technical textiles at Texas Tech. photo by Toni Salama

Seshadri Ramkumar, Professor of technical textiles in the Department of Environmental Toxicology, will be awarded for his work in the field of nonwoven technology at a professional/industry association dinner May 17 in Cincinnati. The Technical Achievement Award, the field's highest technical award for researchers, will be presented by TAPPI NET (TAPPI being the technical arm of the American Paper & Pulp Association, and NET being the association's Nonwovens Engineers and Technologists), along with the Mark Hollingsworth Prize for technical advancement in the field. "This award has been possible because Texas Tech realized the importance of research in the new field of nonwovens way back in 1999 and supported my effort through the Admiral Zumwalt Program, which helped with the creation of FiberTect© decontamination wipe technology," Ramkumar said.

Paine to Hold Workshop in Spain

Robert Paine, Texas Tech Professor of Forensic Sciences










Robert Paine, Professor of Physical and Forensic Anthropology in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Social Work, has been invited to lecture in Burgos, Spain, at the Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (CENIEH). The program’s focus is how bone histology is used by anthropologists to assess age-at-death, species identification, and human state of health. This work has implication in forensic work, paleopathological research, and human evolution studies. The sessions begin May 24 with a public lecture, “20 Years of Forensic Casework from the West Texas Area,” followed May 25-26 with workshops on Bone Histology and Anthropology.

Toda Named Chair of Mathematics

Magdalena Toda, Chair of the Department of Mathematics & Statistics, Texas Tech University

Magdalena Toda has been named Chair of the Department of Mathematics & Statistics, effective March 1. Toda served as director of undergraduate studies from 2010 to 2015 and as interim chairwoman this academic year.

"I have loved the Department of Mathematics & Statistics from the day I started my job," Toda said. "The faculty is collegial, productive and highly supportive of a diversity of cultures and ideas. ... I've seen our faculty raising its standards on research productivity and teaching. Texas Tech University is now a Carnegie classified R1: Highest Research Activity University, and our department has played a significant role in this new achievement."

Toda came to Texas Tech as an assistant professor in 2001, became a tenured associate professor in 2008 and a tenured full professor in 2014. She earned her master's in mathematics from the University of Bucharest, a master's and a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Kansas, and a doctorate in mathematics from the Polytechnic University of Bucharest.

Lee Publishes First New CERN Research

Sung-Won Lee, Particle Physicist, Texas Tech University

Sung-Won Lee, Associate Professor in the Department of Physics, and his research group have published the first search to come from the 2015 re-start of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. Findings, published in the Feb. 18, 2016, Physics Review Letters, were based on data resulting from collisions conducted at the record-breaking energy of 13 TeV (13 trillion electron volts), an energy level 60 percent higher than collisions conducted during the previous run between 2010 and 2012. According to an article in Fermilab News, Lee's group looked at events where collisions resulted in two energetic jets, so-called "dijet" events, and the mass of the particles produced. While their goal of finding new physics remains elusive, Lee's group was able to put one of the most stringent limits yet on the reigning theory of particle physics. That paves the way for predicting, and eventually proving, the existence of new particles.

DeLucia Grant to Mentor Undergrad Research

Patricia DeLucia, Psychologist and Associate Vice-President for Research, Texas tech University

Patricia DeLucia, Associate Vice-President for Research—Faculty Affairs and Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences, received a $114,127 grant from the National Science Foundation under the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. The grant covers a new three-year project, REU Site: Translational Research in Psychological Sciences: Human Factors at Texas Tech University, in which DeLucia's team will mentor eight undergraduate research students per summer in conducting behavior research with applications in areas such as surgery, occupational injuries, and human-robot interaction.

Other faculty on the research team are Assistant Professor Tyler Davis, Assistant Professor Zachary Hohman, Associate Professor Keith Jones, Associate Professor Martina Klein, Associate Professor Michael Serra, and Assistant Professor Amelia Talley, all from the Department of Psychological Sciences; and Associate Professor James Yang, Associate Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the Whitacre College of Engineering.

Students must apply for the undergraduate researcher positions, with the first year's application deadline coming Jan. 1, 2017, for the Summer 2017 REU program. Candidates must have attained junior or senior standing by the start date and have a GPA of at least 3.3.

Hayhoe, Bradatan Discuss Syrian Crisis

Katharine Hayhoe, Director of TTU's Climate Science Center and Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science; and Cristina Bradatan, Director of the Texas Tech Population Center and an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Social Work, led a discussion on "The Syrian Refugee Crisis: The Tip of the Iceberg in a Changing Climate," during the March "Science by the Glass" event. "Science by the Glass" is an informal discussion series hosted by TTU's Climate Science Center in local pubs and is designed to bring together members of the community, Texas Tech faculty, and students for lively discussion related to science, climate, and society.

Humanities Center Names 2016 Fellows

Fourteen faculty from the College of Arts & Sciences have been named as 2016 Fellows by the TTU Humanities Center. Those named Category A Fellows received $2,000 and will present their work at Alumni College, a Humanities Center event scheduled for Homecoming Weekend in October 2016. Those named Category B Fellows received a course release this spring semester and will give a lecture during the 2016-2017 academic year.

Category A Fellows from the College of Arts & Sciences
Category B Fellows from the College of Arts & Sciences

Solis Receives Alumni Award from Kansas State

Patricia Solis, TTU

Patricia Solís, Research Associate Professor in the Department of Geosciences, is the recipient of Kansas State University's Alumni Merit Award. Solís, who earned bachelor degrees in modern languages (German) and physics from K-State, before going on to earn a master's degree in geography from K-State and a PhD from the University of Iowa, has worked on sustainable development projects in Ghana, Nicaragua, the Philippines, and Bolivia.

Gelca Leads USA to Victory at Math Olympiad

Razvan Gelca, Mathematics Professor, Texas Tech University

Razvan Gelca, Professor in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics, led the United States high-school team to first-place victory at the 8th Romanian Master in Mathematics (RMM) competition in Bucharest Feb. 24-29. The six-member US team was followed by the United Kingdom team in second place and the Poland team in third. Professor Po-Shen Loh of Carnegie-Mellon University served as deputy leader. Gelca said the Romanian Master of Mathematics is the world's hardest competition for high school students, and only the highest ranking teams from the International Mathematical Olympiad are invited.

Physics Team Confirms Gravitational Waves

Six Department of Physics researchers were members of the team that discovered gravitational waves, thus confirming one of Einstein's theories. Physics team members: Professor Benjamin Owen, Assistant Professor Alessandra Corsi, and Postdoctoral Researchers Santiago Caride, Robert Coyne, Ra Inta, and Nipuni Palliyaguru.

Anderson Interviewed about Gas Leak

Todd Anderson, Texas Tech University

Tom Anderson, Chair of the Department of Environmental Toxicology and Director of The Institute of Environmental and Human Health, was interviewed by KAMC-TV for a story about a hydrogen sulfide gas leak in Seminole that drove several families from their homes. Anderson said the gas is quite poisonous in high concentrations and has the potential to permeate walls and personal effects.

Presley Interviewed about Zika Virus

Steve Presley, Texas Tech University

Steve Presley, the Professor who runs TTU's mosquito research program at The Institute of Environmental and Human Health, was interviewed on KAMC-TV about the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which he said "ranks right up there" with Dengue fever and Chikungunya virus.


Witmore Welcomes Fulbright Scholar

Chris Witmore, Texas Tech University

Chris Witmore, Associate Professor of Archaeology and Classics in the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, welcomed Fulbright Scholar Simon Jusseret to TTU to talk about his archaeological research on Cyprus. Jusseret, a 2015-2016 Fulbright/WBI.World Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin, published an article in "Fulbright Commission" about his visit to Texas Tech.

Farley Launches Media Ministry

Andrew Farley, Texas Tech University

Andrew Farley, Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics/Second Language Studies in the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures and lead pastor of Lubbock's Church Without Religion, has founded Andrew Farley Ministries, a non-profit media ministry. Farley is author of six books on the Christian life, including the best-selling title, "The Naked Gospel."

Sell Snaps TIME's Best Space Photo

Paul Sell, Texas Tech University

Paul Sell, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Physics, made the list of TIME Magazine's Best Space Photos of 2015, with his image of Circinus X-1, a binary star system. Studying this system could help scientists to better understand how binary star systems behave when the lives of their constituent stars end. This is important because a large percentage of stars live in such systems, rather than living alone like the Sun.

Hayhoe to Host New Web Series

Katharine Hayhoe, Texas Tech University

Katharine Hayhoe, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Director of TTU's Climate Science Center, will host a new digital Web series, "Global Weirding: Climate, Politics, and Religion," now in the fundraising stage. In it, she will explore the convergence of science, religion, culture, and psychology as they relate to politics and climate change.

Hayhoe, Corsi Speak at Higher Ed Conference

Katharine Hayhoe, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and director of TTU's Climate Science Center, and Alessadra Corsi, Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics, served as keynote speakers at the Jan. 29 Conference of Texas Women in Higher Education held at Texas Tech University. Dr. Lee Ann Nutt, President of Lone Star College in Tomball and a TTU alumna, also spoke.


More Faculty Achievements: Summer/Fall 2015

More Faculty Achievements: 2014-2015

More Faculty Achievements: 2013-2014

More Faculty Achievements: 2012-2013


College of Arts & Sciences