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Spring 2014

Awards & Accomplishments

    Texas Tech University’s latest crop of faculty Fulbright scholarships is among the most in the nation. With 10 awards, Texas Tech leads all research institutions for U.S. Fulbright Scholars, along with Ohio State and Illinois, each of which also received 10 fellowships.

    The following are Texas Tech Fulbright Scholars during the 2013-2014 year:

    • Arthur Durband, associate professor in the Department of Sociology
    • William Lan, chair and professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership
    • David Lektzian, assistant professor in the Department of Political Science
    • Timothy Matis, associate professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering
    • Susan Myers, associate professor in the College of Education
    • Paul Paré, professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
    • Kelly Phelan, associate department chair in the College of Human Sciences
    • John Poch, professor in the Department of English
    • Hamed Sari-Sarraf, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
    • Trenia Walker, associate professor in the College of Education

    The Fulbright Scholar program is funded by the Department of State and provides grants for U.S. scholars to conduct research, lecture and network with other scholars and institutions abroad.


    David Branson, an instructor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, has been named a fellow of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). He was recognized for contributions that have had substantial impact on the advancement of the arts and sciences of HVAC&R and on the industry.

    ASHRAE, founded in 1894, is a building technology society with more than 54,000 members worldwide. The society and its members focus on building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, refrigeration and sustainability within the industry. Through research, standards writing, publishing and continuing education, ASHRAE shapes tomorrow’s built environment today.


    Greg McKenna, Horn Professor and John R. Bradford Chair in Engineering, was elected president of the Society of Rheology; his term began in October. The Society of Rheology is composed of physicists, chemists, biologists, engineers and mathematicians interested in advancing and applying rheology, which is defined as the science of deformation and flow of matter.

    The Society of Rheology is one of the five founding members of the American Institute of Physics. The society is also affiliated with the U.S. National Committee on Theoretical and Applied Mechanics. The society is also a member of the International Committee on Rheology, which organizes the International Congress on Rheology, held every four years.


    Dean Diersing, an instructor in the Department of Health, Exercise and Sport Sciences, was selected as a fellow of the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR). Diersing began his involvement with AACVPR as a member and then served on the board of directors for the state association. He later became a committee member on the national level.

    AACVPR is dedicated to reducing morbidity, mortality and disability from cardiovascular and pulmonary disease through education, prevention, rehabilitation, research and disease management.


    Luciano Castillo, Don Kay and Clay Cash Foundation Engineering Chair in Wind Energy and professor of mechanical engineering, and Jharna Chaudhuri, mechanical engineering department chair and professor of mechanical engineering, have been elected as fellows of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

    There are more than 124,000 ASME members, and fewer than three percent of the organization’s members have been elevated to the level of fellow. Fellows have earned a membership grade of distinction and have been responsible for significant engineering achievements.


    Courtney Meyers, an assistant professor of agricultural communications within the Department of Agricultural Education and Communications, received the Non-Land-Grant Agricultural and Renewable Resources Universities’ (NARRU) Distinguished Young Educator Award from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.

    Since 1971, NARRU has provided a platform for faculty, students, staff and administrators of agriculture, food and renewable resource programs at NARRU state-funded public colleges and universities.


    Associate Professor of English Joyce Carter was named assistant chair of the College on Conference Composition and Communication (CCCC) to prepare for the 2015 conference.

    As a part of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), the CCCC is the premiere conference for scholars in writing studies. Its mission is to promote the teaching and study of college composition by supporting a range of research, working to enhance college composition, promoting professional development and acting as an advocate for language and literacy education nationally and internationally.


    Cynthia McKenney, a nationally recognized professor of ornamental horticulture with Texas Tech’s Department of Plant and Soil Science, was presented the Lifetime Member Award from the Texas Nursery Landscape Association. The honor was presented at the group’s annual meeting in Dallas.

    McKenney’s research efforts have focused on the development and release of native plant varieties included in the Raider Wildflower Collection and olive production research. Her research also includes working with native plants, focusing on wildflower enhancement to increase drought tolerance, plant architecture, and length and intensity of floral display.


    Texas Tech’s Attending Veterinarian Tiffanie Brooks has received board certification from the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM), as an active specialist in the field of laboratory animal medicine.

    Brooks is one of only 525 veterinarians from across the country who received the prestigious certification. One of the requirements to receive the designation of Diplomate of the ACLAM was to pass a certification exam. Brooks came to Texas Tech in 2007, teaching part time and doing contract clinical work. She joined the university full time in fall 2008 as a clinical veterinarian.


    Involved in a program to preserve the Ogallala Aquifer, a team of researchers from Texas Tech University and other institutional partners were awarded the 2013 USDA Secretary’s Honor Award in the category of Enhancing the Economic Vitality and Quality of Life in Rural America. Texas Tech has collaborated on the program with Kansas State University, Texas A&M University, West Texas A&M University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service. The award, considered by many as the most prestigious departmental award given by the USDA secretary, was presented in December in Washington, D.C.


    Hongxing Jiang, Horn Professor and Edward E. Whitacre Jr. Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been elected as a fellow of The Optical Society (OSA).

    He was elected for outstanding research contributions to the synthesis, characterization and applications of optoelectronic devices based on III-nitride semiconductor materials.

    Since 1916, OSA has been the world’s leading champion for optics and photonics, uniting and educating scientists, engineers, educators, technicians and business leaders worldwide to foster and promote technical and professional development. Through publications, events and services, The Optical Society is helping to advance the science of light by addressing the ongoing need for shared knowledge and innovation.


    Texas Tech University President M. Duane Nellis was appointed in February to the executive committee of the Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness, and Economic Prosperity (CICEP), which represents the economic development and technology transfer roles at higher education institutions nationwide.

    Nellis will serve on the executive committee in 2014, alongside other university presidents and administrators.

    “This is a tremendous opportunity that gives Texas Tech University a seat at the table and a voice in discussing the future of innovation and economic development in igher education,” Nellis said.

    The purpose of the committee is to provide direction and vision based on the CICEP Strategic Framework. Among the responsibilities of the committee, members suggest new initiatives and provide guidance on existing initiatives to the CICEP Implementation Committee.

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