Texas Tech University

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Innovation in Arts & Sciences

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SPRING 2021

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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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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