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Spring 2012

Awards & Accomplishments

    Valerie Paton, vice provost for planning and assessment, was selected as one of 57 college and university senior faculty members and administrators to participate in the 2012-2013 class of the American Council on Education (ACE) Fellows program. The ACE Fellows program focuses on identifying and preparing senior leadership for the nation’s colleges and universities. Paton will conduct research focusing on the strategic and master planning in member institutions of the Association of American Universities.


    Allan J. Kuethe became the 16th American since 1956 to be inducted into Spain’s Royal Academy of History. He is currently one of six Americans in the Academy. Kuethe, a Horn professor and former chairman of the Department of History, joined the university in 1967. He has taught Latin American and Spanish history as well as the history of France and the Western civilization.


    Brett Blackwell, a doctoral student in the Department of Environmental Toxicology at the Institute of Environmental and Human Health (TIEHH), received the 2012 SET/Proctor & Gamble Company Global Fellowship for Doctoral Research in Environmental Science. Blackwell will be assigned mentors to discuss research progress and develop professional links. The fellowship also provides an opportunity to make presentations at regional and global SETAC meetings and at a Proctor & Gamble technical center.


    Eric Bruning, an associate professor in the Department of Geosciences, was awarded National Science Foundation funding for 2012-2015 to participate in the Deep Connective Clouds and Chemistry field campaign, in collaboration with the University of Oklahoma and the National Sever Storms Laboratory. The campaign will investigate the impact of deep, mid-latitude continental connective clouds, including their dynamical, physical and lightning process on upper tropospheric composition and chemistry.


    A book collaboratively edited and authored by Texas Tech faculty and graduate students was published in its second edition by CRC Press. The book is entitled, “Eating Disorders in Women and Children: Prevention, Stress Management and Treatment.” Editors of the book are Kristin Goodheart, MS; James Clopton, PhD., both from the Psychology Department; and Jacalyn Robert-McCombs, PhD., from the Department of Health, Exercise and Sport Sciences.


    Seiichi Nagihara, associate professor of Geosciences, received a research grant of $833,024 for 3 years from NASA. The research project is titled, “Low-Power, Low-Mass Geothermal Heat Flow Instrumentation for Small Robotic Landers.” Nagihara, the principal investigator, has co-investigators from Honeybee Robotics Space Flight Mechanism Corporation in California and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.


    Callum Hetherington, associate professor in the Department of Geosciences, was awarded $184,159 over three years by the National Science Foundation to research “Trace Element Mobility in the Sub-Solidus: Accessory Mineral Stability, Fluids, and the Role of the Rock.” The project will work in the iconic Ballachulish Igneous Complex in the Western Highlands of Scotland, and the funding will support extensive analytical work, as well as graduate and undergraduate students.


    Nathan Jahnke, Ph.D. candidate in Technical Communications in the Department of English, was featured in a video on Fox TV in Orlando, FL for the invention of EyeGuide Assist, a mouse-replacement system for computers users with hand-related disabilities. The new product was invented with support from the Usability Research Lab in the Department of English and Grinbath, a Texas Tech start-up company co-founded by Jahnke and Brian Still, associate professor in the Department of English. EyeGuide Assist is the first product of its kind to work on both Windows and Mac platforms. It will retail at $349 and will include both software and hardware components.


    The Texas Tech Vietnam Center and Archive was awarded $144,000 by the Historical Publications and Records Commission to fund student workers to digitize the 250,000 pages of the Families of Vietnamese Political Prisoners Association Collection. The publication documents the immigration of thousands of Vietnamese Americans following the end of the Vietnam War and, over a three year time period, will digitize files regarding Vietnamese individuals applying to immigrate to the U.S. after the war.


    Eleven students from the Texas Tech Center for Undergraduate Research were selected from among 3,5000 abstracts across the nation to present research findings at the 2012 National Conference on Undergraduate Research. The students presented research on a variety of topics ranging from microbiology to communication and gender studies.


    The overall graduate program and seven individual degree programs in the Texas Tech University Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering were ranked in the 2013 edition of Best Graduate Schools by U.S. News Media Group. The overall graduate program ranked 93rd among 198 graduate programs nationwide. Individual departments recognized include: Computer Science, Chemical Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Industrial Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering.


    The Texas Tech University ChemE Car Team was awarded the Safety Award at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) National ChemE Car Competition at their annual meeting in Minneapolis, Minn. The goal of the competition is to provide chemical engineering students with the opportunity to participate in a team-oriented, hands-on design and construction of a small chemical powered model car. Teams do this by designing and constructing a car that is powered with a chemical energy source that will carry a specified load over a given distance and stop.


    A multi-disciplinary team of agricultural scientists from Texas Tech was awarded a $480,000 grant to study Lubbock area soil microbial communities, looking for key indicators of soil carbon transformations when Conservation Reserve Program is converted to cropland. Faculty members on the team include Jennifer Moore-Kucera, the project’s principal investigator and an assistant professor of soil and environmental microbiology with Texas Tech’s Department of Plant and Soil Science; Wayne Hudnall the B.L. Allen Endowed Chair for Pedology; Juske Horita, a professor with the Department of Geosciences; and John Zak, an ecosystem ecologist in the Department of the Biological Sciences. The five-year project is being funded under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.


    Texas Tech researchers and United Supermarkets received a $295,000 grant from the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas to address some of today’s most preventable sources of cancer – obesity, tobacco use and sunburn – in the Panhandle communities of Dalhart and Muleshoe. If successful, similar intervention programs could be replicated in other communities across the state. Local residents will be taught how healthier diets, using sunscreen and the cessation of smoking can aid in the prevention of cancer.


    Molly M. McDonough, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Biological Sciences, was recognized at the 115th annual meeting of the Texas Academy of Science held in Alpine in March. She was elected as the first student representative for the Texas Academy of Science Board of Directors. She also received $2,000 for winning first place in the Ph.D. Student Research Grant Competition for her project “Out of East Africa: Toward an Understanding of the Evolutionary Origins and Diversifications of the Gerbilliscus leucogaster Complex.”


    Clyde F. Martin, Horn Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, has been awarded a Jefferson Science Fellowship to work at the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development in Washington, D.C. Jefferson Science Fellows spend one year on assignment as science advisors on foreign policy issues. They also have the opportunity to travel to U.S. embassies and missions overseas. Fellows continue to serve as a resource to the State Department and USAID for an additional five years after his or her appointments. Martin’s appointment will run from August 2012 through August 2013. (http://sites.nationalacademies.org/PGA/Jefferson/index.htm)


    Kenneth DeMarree, assistant professor in the department of Psychology, received a National Science Foundation grant of $133,141 for his research on “Mimicry and Confidence: New Insights into the Positive (and Negative) Consequences of Behavioral Mimicry.” The award will run from 2012-2014.

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