Texas Tech University

Celebrating A&S Diversity

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SUMMER 2021

Donovan Satchell Energized by Study Abroad in Jordan

Global/General Studies major Donovan Satchell is preparing for a career as a U.S. ambassador. He's working toward this future at Texas Tech University, he says, because Texas Tech combines the status of a large Tier One research university with the welcoming environment of a small school. Satchell was particularly energized toward his goals by a recent Study Abroad semester in Jordan.

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Sandip Pal Awarded Grants from NOAA and NASA

TTU atmospheric scientist Sandip PalAtmospheric scientist Sandip Pal, an assistant professor in the Department of Geosciences, has received two important grants, one from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and one from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Pal is the lead principal investigator of the $335,981 NOAA grant, which will fund the research of urban heat islands in cities with populations of a few hundred thousand; until now, studies of urban heat islands have been conducted only in metropolitan areas with populations in the millions. The $17,096 grant from NASA funds a Phase 1 project in which machine learning will be applied to flight planning on research flights to maximize targeted data collection—with the possibility of continuing the work through a second phase of research that would be funded under the NASA Small Business Innovation Research Program. Further details about Sandip Pal's grants may be found at this link.

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Alumna Toni Sauncy Honored as a Piper Professor

TTU alumna Dr. Toni Sauncy

Alumna Toni Sauncy (Ph.D., Applied Physics, Texas Tech University) has been named a 2021 Minnie Stevens Piper Professor. Sauncy is professor and chair of the Physics Department at Texas Lutheran University (TLU) and one of only 10 college professors in Texas recognized this year for her superior teaching—22 years and counting—and for having a profound influence on students at the university level. A first-generation college student, Sauncy was also the first in her family to graduate high school. She is a Red Raider through and through, having earned all her degrees—a Ph.D. in Applied Physics, an M.S. in Physics, and a B.S. (magna cum laude) in Mathematics—from Texas Tech. Read the complete article about Toni Sauncy at this link.

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Ramkumar's Textile Work is Saving Lives in India

TTU professor Seshadri Ramkumar
 
Seshadri Ramkumar, professor of Chemical Countermeasures and Advanced Materials in the Department of Environmental Toxicology, has played a vital role in the growth of India's technical textile industry over two-plus decades. As COVID-19 surged through the U.S. last spring and summer, the country found itself facing an alarming shortage of the personal protective equipment (PPE) frontline health care workers desperately needed to battle the pandemic. Ramkumar, the inventor of the FiberTectTM decontamination wipe, quickly joined forces with a local company, Scarborough Specialties, to design and produce an effective and affordable face mask. This year, on the other side of the globe, India is embroiled in the same struggle, except for one key thing. Until mid-2020, the U.S. relied on China to produce most of the PPE it used. In contrast, India is self-reliant — it can produce its own PPE because of its widespread support for and adoption of the technical textiles industry. And, as Ramkumar has been at the forefront of India's technical textiles progress over more than 20 years, he has played a vital role in preparing India for the very fight it's in now. Follow this link ot learn more about Seshadri Ramkumar's work in India's development of the technical textiles sector.

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SPRING 2021

Emmy Noether Mathematics Day 2021

Emmy Noether High School Math Day at Texas Tech

The 18th Emmy Noether High School Mathematics Day went virtual on May 12, 2021. The Department of Mathematics & Statistics has made this mathematical outreach event a Texas Tech University tradition, where young women from local high schools, middle schools and home schools are encouraged to expand their interest in math and careers in the sciences. This year, because of the pandemic, the panel was shared—live and recorded—with more than 100 students and teachers. Six women professors served as panelists, describing their own experiences and outlining the educational and vocational opportunities open to women through mathematics. Looking toward next year, the 2022 Emmy Noether High School Mathematics Day will return to its traditional, face-to-face home on the Texas Tech University campus in Lubbock. The enthusiastic energy surrounding the event will be contagious! Follow this link for details about the Emmy Noether HIgh School Math Day.

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Larson Heads to Spain as Senior Fulbright Scholar

TTU professor Susan Larson

Susan Larson, the Charles B. Qualia Professor of Romance Languages in Texas Tech University's Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, will be a Senior Fulbright Scholar in Spain and will conduct research in Madrid this fall. Larson has written for years about architecture, urbanism and the role of culture in imagining the built environment in modern Spain. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit last year, her perspective changed. “I have long worked with a set of assumptions about public urban space, but COVID-19 has forced me, like so many all over the world, to shift my perspective inward in order to consider the social history and function of the idea of comfort in private, domestic spaces,” Larson said. “The experience of living in quarantine has drawn our attention to comfort and domestic interior space in ways that are already having an impact on the field of architecture and all forms of written and visual culture, in Spain and elsewhere, raising a series of increasingly urgent questions that my project seeks to answer.” The project to which Larson is referring is her “Comfort and Domestic Space in Spain, from the Civil War through the Transition,” which has been made possible by a prestigious Fulbright U.S. Scholar award. She hopes her work will answer questions that shed light on assumptions of the modern home. Follow this link to learn more about Susan Larson's upcoming Fulbright research.

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Heck Led Student Body Amid COVID-19

Senior Hunter Heck served as Student Government Association President during the COVID-19 pandemic. Watch the story of her leadership, and the confirmation of her calling to be a social advocate. 

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Lumpkin Receives Inclusive Excellence Award

TTU professor Angela Lumpkin 
Angela Lumpkin, professor and chair of the Department of Kinesiology & Sport Management, has received the 2021 Inclusive Excellence Award from the Texas Tech Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. The award was presented to Lumpkin April 29 during the annual Celebrate Diversity Awards Banquet. Learn more about the Celebrate Diversity Awards.

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Two A&S Grad Students Awarded for Outstanding Research

TTU grad students Faith Scanlon, right, and Iroro Tanshi, left

Faith Scanlon, left, and Iroro Tanshi, right, each received the Horn Distinguished Professors Graduate Achievement Award.

This year, two graduate students in the College of Arts & Sciences were selected to receive the Horn Distinguished Professors Graduate Achievement Award. The award was established by the Paul Whitfield Horn Professors at Texas Tech to recognize and reward outstanding research or creative activity performed by graduate students while at the university. Faith Scanlon is pursuing her doctoral degree in counseling psychology through the Department of Psychological Sciences. She is involved in state-of-the-art counseling research and delivers professional services to individuals in the justice system, including those with mental illness and substance abuse issues. Scanlon has 10 publications, many in the top research journals in her field; a book chapter in print through Oxford University Press; and eight manuscripts in preparation, most as first author. She has given numerous presentations at national and international conferences and is actively pursuing federal funding for her research. Iroro Tanshi is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Biological Sciences. Her international award-winning research focuses on tropical bat research and conservation with focus on Nigeria and Cameroon. She is an emerging leader in African biodiversity conservation and has secured her own research funding. Tanshi has published several original papers in scholarly journals as well as a book chapter. She also has presented her work at multiple international conferences and has won the Woman in Conservation award (2017), the Karl Koopman Award (2019), the Future for Nature Award (2020) and is a nominee for the Whitley Fund for Nature Award – also known as the “Green Oscars.” Read more.

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Alumna Arcilia Acosta Named to TTUS Board of Regents

Arcilia Acosta named to TTUS Board of Regents

Arts & Sciences alumna Arcilia Acosta (Political Science 1989, TTU) of Dallas, is one of three new members appointed April 13, 2021, by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to the Texas Tech University System Board of Regents. Their terms are set to expire on Jan. 31, 2027. Acosta is the president and CEO of CARCON Industries and Construction and the founder and CEO of Southwestern Testing Laboratories (STL) Engineers, a geotechnical engineering and construction materials testing firm. A native Texan, Acosta currently serves on the board of directors of Vistra Corporation, Magnolia Oil & Gas and Veritex Holdings, Inc. She is a member of the National Women Energy Directors Network, the International Women's Forum and a sustainer member of the Junior League of Dallas. She is a director of the Communities Foundation of Texas and director and chairwoman-elect of the Dallas Citizens Council. Previously, Acosta was appointed by Gov. Abbott for a three-year term on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) in 2016-19, which is the state's authority on public higher education. Acosta is a former director of the Texas Tech Alumni Association's National Board of Directors. In addition, she was the featured speaker for TTU's 2015 Commencement Ceremonies. She also has two sons and three siblings who have received degrees from TTU.

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Ayodeji, Ramkumar Publish in International Journal

TTU Ph.D. student James Ayodeji and professor Seshadri Ramkumar

James Ayodeji, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Environmental Toxicology, and his faculty advisor, Seshadri Ramkumar, professor of chemical countermeasures and advanced materials, have published a research analysis in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Ayodeji's work shows shows that, in the three to four weeks after enacting a mandate to wear masks, roughly two-thirds of the United States saw a reduction in COVID-19 cases. More.

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Alumna Marquez Helps Women Get Ahead With Beyond Barriers

Alumna Monica Marquez made her mark at some of the world's largest organizations. Now, she's helping women do the same as the co-founder and chief innovation officer at Beyond Barriers.

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Burns Publishes on Seal Feeding Behavior

TTU professor and chair of Biological Sciences, Jennifer BurnsJennifer Burns, professor and chair in the Department of Biological Sciences, led a National Science Foundation funded research team that has published its findings in The Royal Society. The team's research, "Seasonal resource pulses and the foraging depth of a Southern Ocean top predator," studied the cascading effects of seasonal resource pulses—such as the phytoplankton bloom that occurs in Antarctic waters once the sea ice starts to melt—on the diving and feeding behavior of Weddell seals. They found that: "In early summer, seals foraged at deeper depths resulting in lower feeding rates and mass gain. As sea ice extent decreased throughout the summer, seals foraged at shallower depths and benefited from more efficient energy intake. Changes in diving depth were not due to seasonal shifts in seal diets or horizontal space use and instead may reflect a change in the vertical distribution of prey." Because Weddell seals forage on fish, not phytoplankton, research findings demonstrate that indirect effects of climate variation can be detected across multiple trophic levels.

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Hayhoe Named Chief Scientist of The Nature Conservancy

TTU professor Katharine Hayhoe

As an undergraduate, Katharine Hayhoe entered the University of Toronto originally intent on becoming an astrophysicist. Needing to complete a degree requirement, she enrolled in a class on climate science. That one decision, seemingly minor in the grand scheme of things, changed Hayhoe's life and ended up providing the world with one of its premier climate science experts. As a lead author of the Second, Third and Fourth U.S. National Climate Assessments, she has played a large role in helping assess climate risks for several U.S. presidential administrations as well as discussing the necessity to tackle climate change with leaders around the world. Now, she will take on a vital responsibility for one of the world's leading environmental organizations. On March 1, Hayhoe was named Chief Scientist for The Nature Conservancy (TNC), a worldwide organization that uses science to tackle the issues of conservation and climate change through real-world solutions and partnerships that influence global decision-making. Continue reading at this link.

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Alumnus Balido: On a Scarlet & Black Mission

TTU alumnus Nelson Balido, photo courtesy San Antonio Business Journal 

The Honorable Nelson Balido, a child of Cuban immigrants, built his father's music business into a Hispanic 500 Company, founded Balido & Associates, and serves as chair and CEO of the Border Commerce & Security Council—in addition to his tireless work as a proponent for Texas Tech University.

Stepping to the wooden podium to address the crowd of 15,000 bustling people inside the United Spirit Arena, Nelson Balido hesitated. The smooth, confident, and captivating international marketing consultant suddenly found himself wrapped up by the weight of the moment. Weeks earlier, he was crisscrossing the southwestern United States, rallying the Hispanic community as an official representative of the 2004 George W. Bush presidential re-election campaign. Now, Balido had been called back to the Texas Tech University campus by administration officials to give this address. That morning, he saw the stage as an invitation to reflect upon the genesis of his own story, one even he himself will quickly say has been quite unpredictable. Continue reading at this link.

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Students, Faculty, Alumni Reflect on Black History Month

Black History Month 2021

The College of Arts & Sciences honors Black History Month 2021 by sharing the voices of our students, faculty and staff. These voices honor the Black heroes of our past, celebrate the activists of today, and anticipate a more inclusive and equitable future.

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Ramkumar's FiberTectTM Wipe Used in Animal Rescues

TTU professor of advanced materials Seshadri Ramkumar

Seshadri Ramkumar, professor and supervisor of the Chemical Countermeasures and Advanced Materials Laboratory at TTU's Institute of Environmental and Human Health (TIEHH) , invented FiberTectTM in 2005 as a low-cost decontamination wipe for the U.S. military that could absorb and neutralize the gases and liquids used in chemical warfare. Then, after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, the material was re-engineered to safely clean up the oil. Now, the wipe is coming to the rescue of animals that have run afoul of environmental hazards. Animal Search and Rescue, a technical rescue team that specializes in animals, is using FiberTectTM in its operations. So is Animal Decon, a training, planning and disaster response resource for working and service animals as well as household pets, zoo or exotic animals, wildlife and livestock. "Anytime there's a flood, or any major rain event, anything in a household can be put into the storm drains," said Brett Huff, animal decontamination specialist and owner of Animal Decon. "Animals are constantly getting themselves in a situation in flooded waters and industrial agricultural chemicals, sewage ponds — there's a lot of things they can get into. So, a FiberTectTM wipe would be really good to keep with you to wipe them down. "The problem is, especially in a mass casualty event, we're looking at the possibility of secondary contamination, because they can spread that hazardous material. So, anything we can do to reduce that contaminant on the animal as the owner brings it in, or before we get to the decontamination station — where there are other people and animals — would be huge and a great benefit to anybody doing a decontamination operation." Follow this link for the compete account.

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Hutchins Receives NSF CAREER Award

TTU chemist Kristin Hutchins

Kristin Hutchins, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, received $650,000 from the National Science Foundation for her project, CAREER: Solid-state molecular motion, reversible covalent-bond formation, and self-assembly for controlling thermal expansion behavior. Her project focuses on controlling how organic solids respond to changes in temperature. Follow this link for further details.

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More Diversity & Inclusion News in Arts & Sciences

Diversity & Inclusion News - Current

Diversity & Inclusion News  - Fall 2020
Diversity & Inclusion News  - Summer 2020
Diversity & Inclusion News  - Spring 2020

Diversity & Inclusion News  - Fall 2019
Diversity & Inclusion News  - Summer 2019
Diversity & Inclusion News  - Spring 2019

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