Texas Tech University

A&S Student News

Spring 2018

Top Students Stand Out at Spring Commencement 2018

TTU Arts & Sciences Graduation Spring 2018

Students graduating from the College of Arts & Sciences, and Honors College students whose majors are in the College of Arts & Sciences, obtained their baccalaureate degrees during spring commencement ceremonies May 18 at the United Supermarkets Arena. Among the most distinguished were:

Banner Bearers, chosen based on their all-around achievement:

  • Miranda Lyn Dominick, Spanish major, who carried the College of Arts & Sciences banner.
  • Farah Fayzah Mechref, Biochemistry major, who carried the Honors College banner.

Honor Students, who are the highest-ranking spring graduates in the college:

  • Heather Anne Aikman, General Studies major.
  • Sabiha Armin, Biology major.
  • Allison Mauro Baas, Kinesiology major.
  • Laxmi Ayushi Chintakayala, Cell and Molecular Biology major.
  • Andrew Lee Davis, General Studies major.
  • Lourdes Delgado, Kinesiology major.
  • Jeremy Vo Doan, Microbiology major.
  • Miranda Lyn Dominick, Spanish major.
  • Kaitlyn Marie Garrison, English major.
  • Asher Kodankandathil George, Microbiology major.
  • Alexis Gomez, Mathematics major.
  • Chandler Jade Gordon, Political Science major.
  • Christopher Quang Le, Microbiology major.
  • Avery Alexander Lee, Sport Management major.
  • Courtney Rose Longway, Psychology major.
  • Krissandra Elizabeth Meeker, Social Work major.
  • Marisol Mendoza, Anthropology major.
  • Amanda Caitlyn Miller, Biochemistry major.
  • Michael Lane Moore, Kinesiology major.
  • Michele Kaylee Moore, Anthropology major.
  • Victor Lee Moore, Global Studies major.
  • Lauren Helen Pert, Biology major.
  • Haley Danielle Russell, Spanish major.
  • Gabriel Seth Saucedo, Economics major.
  • Robyn Illene Tapp, Biochemistry major.

Pati Designs 3D Hand for 8-Year-Old

SivaTeja Pati, biology major at TTU, prints a 3D prosthetic hand

SivaTeja Pati, a biology major and Honors College student, has designed a 3D prosthetic hand, which he recently presented to 8-year-old Toby Carrizales who was born without a left hand and loves Spider-Man. Pati custom made the prosthetic hand using the 3D printer in the University Library's Makerspace—and gave it the Spider-Man look. Pati fitted Toby with the hand on May 11, with Toby's family gathered 'round. Pati, who goes by "Teja," has been on the health care track for a long time. He was involved in Health Occupation Students of America at Seven Lakes High School in his hometown of Katy, Texas, and shadowed physicians at four different medical centers throughout his junior and senior years. The same month he graduated, he joined the community volunteer fire department as an EMT. After starting at Texas Tech in fall 2016, Pati joined the American Medical Student Association. So it's no surprise that he intends to go to medical school once he graduates—and he's even speeding up that process. Though he's just finishing his second year at Texas Tech, 20-year-old Pati is already a senior by hours, according to a Texas Tech Today Story published May 17. On the National Institutes of Health (NIH) database, Pati found designs for a prosthetic hand from an open source group called e-NABLE, which shares designs for affordable prosthetics. He downloaded some of these designs, brought them into the Makerspace and, with the help of Makerspace specialist Sean Scully, printed a 3D hand to show in class for a persuasive speech on the need for an e-NABLE group in Lubbock. The speech inspired Pati to start a 3D printing club through the Makerspace, a branch of which would focus on prosthetics. Shortly thereafter, Scully got a call out of the blue from a woman named Anna Carrizales, who said, "I hear you make hands for people. Will you 3D print a hand for my grandson?" Although the project would involve far more engineering than the biology major was accustomed to, Pati agreed to take on the project because of its interdisciplinary nature and the role that sort of work has in the field he aspires to enter. Pati, already a student in the Honors College, connected with John Carrell, an assistant professor of engineering in the college who became Pati's Undergraduate Research Scholars (URS) adviser. With Carrell's expertise in engineering and Scully's expertise in computer-aided design and drafting, Pati was able to customize the open source design to fit Toby. To read the complete story, follow this link.

Knox Named Alternate for Fulbright

Duncan Knox, a graduate student in the Department of History, is one of 12 Texas Tech students who applied for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. although Knox did not win a Fulbright award, he was selected as an alternate, meaning he will be awarded should additional funding be made available. 

Lewis Elected President of Student Government Association

Sean Lewis, SGA President, Texas Tech UniversitySean Lewis, a junior history major and political science minor from Virginia Beach, Virginia, took office May 1 as the 94th student body president of Texas Tech. He will now spend his senior year as president of the Texas Tech Student Government Association. Lewis is no stranger to the world of student government. He served as his high school's senior class president before coming to Texas Tech and serving on the Freshman Leadership Association, then as director of outreach and finally as chief of staff. Lewis was looking for a close-knit community for his college years, he told Texas Tech Today, and found it here because of his sister. "My sister was a freshman at Texas Tech when I was a senior in high school. She came out to Texas Tech and loved it. When we moved her in, the people were so nice and gracious. Talking to her, I realized the professors, staff, faculty and administrators all have a particular interest in you as a student. I'm Sean Lewis. I'm not a number, and that's something I didn't see at other universities this size." During his presidency, Lewis wants his team to focus on student success and what that looks like in the classroom, for clubs and organizations, and for the mental health of TTU students. "In the classroom, we are looking at diversifying our course catalog, listening to students and seeing if there are different ways we can improve upon the classroom experience. A part of that is the issue of mental health. Students are stressed out. They are balancing school, work, friends, family, significant others and finances. We want to see what ways we can provide more services and help students feel more comfortable and confident in the classroom." For clubs and organizations, Lewis wants to get students involved, he says, because he has seen in his own experience how that has helped him contribute to a better Texas Tech, both now and in the coming years. Lewis describes his leadership style as that of a listener who is proactive. "When I'm leading a meeting, I like to listen to what the people around the table have to say first. I'm rarely the first to inject my opinion, because, quite frankly, I am confident in the people I have around the table. I like to be proactive in seeking out problems to solve before they become an issue. I like trying to eliminate some of those barriers before people get really agitated about it so we can focus on what we do best: having an inclusive environment for students, and being a model for Southern hospitality at Texas Tech."

Manzo Awarded $30,000 Fellowship from Mellon/ACLS

Kerry Manzo, Ph.D. Student, Texas Tech UniversityKerry Manzo, a Ph.D. student in the Department of English, has received a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship. The $30,000 fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. "It feels great to receive this fellowship," Manzo said in a Texas Tech Today article dated April 26. "I was very surprised, not because I don't think I do quality work, but because it's a very competitive fellowship. This was my second year in a row applying. I didn't get it last year, and this year, I thought 'I'm just going to try again,' and I did that thing where you don't set your heart on it. I'm very happy, very honored and thoroughly excited that I'll be able to spend next year really finishing, polishing and producing a dissertation that is my absolute best work with this support." Manzo noted that Kanika Batra, director of graduate studies, director of comparative literature, an associate professor in the Department of English and Manzo's adviser, was instrumental in the successful completion of the Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Fellowship application. Batra is delighted with the work Manzo has done to receive this fellowship. "The Mellon/ACLS scholarship is, by far, one of the most prestigious dissertation fellowships offered to graduate students in the U.S., and quite possibly the world," Batra said. Only 65 fellowship awards are given out annually, and recipients receive a $30,000 stipend, as well as funds for research costs of up to $3,000 and for university fees of up to $5,000. This allows students to focus solely on their research and dissertations. "This fellowship rewards groundbreaking and meticulous research, and Kerry's research is groundbreaking," Batra said. Manzo's dissertation is broken into two foci: mid-20th century West African literature and the emergence of queer literature in West Africa in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, specifically in Nigeria. "The award rate for this fellowship is probably less than 5 percent," Batra said. "I don't believe anybody in the English department has ever won this award. Kerry is the first one to my knowledge, and I've been at Texas Tech for 10 years."

Calandrini Receives Horn Graduate Research Award

Sara Calandrini, grad student in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics at Texas Tech UniversitySara Calandrini, a graduate student in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics, has received a 2018 Horn Professor Graduate Research Award. Her work brings state-of-the-art mathematical modeling to the world of medicine. Aneurysms are difficult to diagnose and often fatal. Calandrini has formulated numerical simulations that help drugs pinpoint the aneurysm's location more efficiently through Magnetic Drug Targeting, according to a press release from the TTU Graduate School. Calandrini was nominated by mathematics professor Eugenio Aulisa and chosen for the award by TTU's Horn Professors; the Paul Whitfield Horn Professorship is Texas Tech University's highest academic distinction. Calandrini's award was recognized April 18 during the 2018 Faculty Honors Convocation.

Gerdes Recevies Horn Graduate Research Award

Julie Gerdes, graduate student in the Department of English at Texas Tech UniversityJulie Gerdes, a graduate student in the Department of English, has received a 2018 Horn Professor Graduate Research Award. She has been working as an advisor to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), making "impressive contributions to our public health mission in the Caribbean and Latin America," according to a press release from the TTU Graduate School. Gerdes uses her communication skills in English and Spanish to penetrate cultural barriers and enhance USAID's ability to respond rapidly to outbreaks of Zika virus and other infectious diseases. Gerdes was nominated by English assistant professor Gregory Wilson and chosen for the award by TTU's Horn Professors; the Paul Whitfield Horn Professorship is Texas Tech University's highest academic distinction. Gerdes' award was recognized April 18 during the 2018 Faculty Honors Convocation.

Nafees Takes Part in DACA Roundtable

Saba Nafees, Ph.D. Student in mathematical biology, Texas Tech UniversitySaba Nafees, a Ph.D. student in mathematical biology and a 2017 Texas Tech University Innovation Fellow, was among those speaking at a roundtable discussion April 18 on the Texas Tech University campus. Entitled "Tensions Rising: DACA, Dreamers and the Face of America," the roundtable also included Lee Bebout, an associate professor in the Arizona State University Institute for Humanities Research; Brandon Darby, managing director for Breitbart Texas; and Jorge Ramírez, the Walter and Anne Huffman Professor of Law in the Texas Tech School of Law. Nafees is working to implement a business plan that won her team of Texas Tech students first place at the inaugural Tibetan Innovation Challenge. Nafees is a "dreamer," one of many thousands of beneficiaries of the federal government's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA has become a major immigration topic in recent months as President Donald Trump seeks to end the legal protections it provides for people who, as minors, were brought into the United States, or remained here, unlawfully. Nafees has been a highly visible proponent of DACA, evidenced by the publication of her first-person article, "I'm a 'dreamer.' One day, I hope my country calls me an American," which published Sept. 26, 2017, in the Washington Post. The roundtable discussion was sponsored by TTU's Literature, Social Justice and Environment (LSJE) program, part of the Department of English, with support from the Humanities Center.

Lockhart Wins Prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

Madeline Lockhart, TTU sophomore, Wins Goldwater Scholarship

Madeline Lockhart, a sophomore pursuing a double major in physics and mathematics, was selected from thousands of applicants to become a Goldwater Scholar in 2018—one of only 211 recipients in the United States this year. She is the third Goldwater Scholar from Texas Tech in three years and the 36th overall. After earning her doctorate in nuclear physics, Lockhart plans to dedicate her career to conducting research involving nuclear safeguards and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. "As a 2018 Goldwater Scholar, I am very proud: of myself, my school and those who have supported me," Lockhart told Texas Tech Today in an article originally published March 30. "I am excited to receive this recognition and am hopeful that one day I will live up to the expectations of those who gave me this award. Most importantly, I am thankful to have been blessed with the amazing people and opportunities God has given me over the last 20 years."

Holcomb Awarded Dissertation Fellowship 

Michael Holcomb, a graduate part-time instructor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, has been awarded a TTU Doctoral Dissertation Completion Fellowship. Holcomb's research is in the field of Biophysics, and he is working with Jerzy Blawzdziewicz, professor of mechanical engineering in the Whitacre College of Engineering.

Chapman Receives Goldwater Honorable Mention

Nora Chapman, a junior pursuing a double major in psychology and economics, is one of 281 Goldwater Scholarship applicants who received an Honorable Mention in the 2018 awards, according to an article originally published March 30 in Texas Tech Today. Chapman said she plans to earn a doctorate in behavioral economics and conduct research on behavioral economics in cognitive neuroscience, social psychology and human factors psychology while teaching.

Andrews Talks Stats on Sexism in STEM

TTU Chemistry PhD Student Miranda Andrews, TTU photo by Toni Salama

Chemistry PhD student Miranda Andrews tests a color-change liquid.

Miranda C. Andrews is a PhD student conducting research on photoswitchable molecules in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry. But Andrews conducts additional, and very different, research as well and presents it to other millennials, other scientists, other women—borne out of her own run-ins with attitudes and behavior patterns encountered by many females in just about any setting: sexism. Andrews' most recent talks were given here on the Texas Tech campus Feb. 19 and 21 on "A Millennial's Perspective on Sexism in STEM." In a nutshell, Andrews describes her talks this way: "While instances of blatant sexism still occur, they seem few and far between. Most of the sexism that is experienced by young women today is a result of implicit bias, those thoughts that we as a society grow up learning to have. The STEM field in particular is full of opportunities for young women to wonder, 'Did that happen because I am a woman or am I just imagining things?' This is a good sign, but it also means that the work we have to do to level the playing field for women in science will be that much harder. We have to root out that implicit bias, which is one of the most difficult types of bias to overcome." For an in-depth story about Andrews' sexism talks, follow this link.

Chen Gives Poetry Reading at ENMU

Chen Chen, TTUChen Chen, a PhD student in the Department of English's Creative Writing program, gave a reading of his poetry Feb. 15 at Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU) in Portales. Chen's first book, "When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities," was long listed for the National Book Award. In advance of Chen's reading, the Eastern New Mexico News quoted ENMU Assistant Professor of English Steve Bellin-Oka in describing Chen's poems as not only rhythmically unique, but also "funny, moving, and smart." And that those who attended could expect such a combination at Chen's reading. "Poetry is usually considered only on the page, as an inert text one reads in a book and never hears in the voice of the actual poet," the newspaper quoted Bellin-Oka as saying. "This changes at a poetry reading." Chen's poetry has been  work has also been featured in The New York Times Magazine, Bettering American Poetry, and on the PBS Newshour.

Heredia on Life as Grand Master

Carla Heredia, a Master's Student in the Department of Kinesiology & Sport Management and a TTU alumna (Psychological Sciences 2016), was interviewed in a video published Jan. 26 by Andes Public News Agency of Ecuador and South America. Heredia is an International Chess Grand Master who plays on the TTU Chess Team and was in her hometown of Quito, Ecuador, sharing her passion for chess, higher education, and sport. Heredia has been paying chess since the age of 7 and became an International Grand Master at 21. To quote a portion of the article in Andes: "Quito, 28 ene (Andes)—La ecuatoriana Carla Heredia es multifacética y más allá del ajedrez, el deporte ciencia al que ama y ha dedicado todo su tiempo, esfuerzo y vida, lo combina con otras ramas del saber y de la vida que la complementan. En entrevista con Andes, la ajedrecista contó de su progresión en el deporte ciencia, los nuevos proyectos, su punto de vista de lo que logra el ajedrez en la sociedad y su gusto por opinar sobre varios temas, lo que últimamente le ha traído inconvenientes, que los toma con naturalidad, según dice." para más

Lamichhane Gets Internship at Fermilab

Kamal Lamichhane TTU PhD student in Physics; photo by Toni SalamaKamal Lamichhane, a PhD student in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, is one of only three students nationwide to land an internship at Fermilab this year. In this world of high-energy/particle physics, Lamichhane's assignment is to use BSM (beyond the standard model) theories, such as Extra-Dimensions, to predict heavy resonance corresponding to a graviton dominantly decaying to a pair of vector bosons [(ZZ/ZW) where Z decays to a pair of neutrinos and Z/W decays to a merged jet due to the boost]. He also will work on upgrading the read-out electronics ("QIE card") for the upgrade of the CMS hadron calorimeter (HCAL) barrel (HB), in anticipation of the large Hadron Collider (LHC) long shutdown in 2019, when CMS will upgrade the photosensors and all on-detector readout electronics of the HB. Lamichhane began working with CMS in 2014 at Texas Tech and has contributed to HCAL detector and reconstruction algorithm performance study. In 2016, he contributed ton the operation of HCAL as Detector on Call (DOC). And his contribution to the smooth operation of the Remote Operation Center (ROC) at TTU for HCAL data quality monitoring is ongoing.

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