Texas Tech University

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Innovation in Arts & Sciences

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FALL 2020

Higgins Appointed as Faculty Fellow by Provost

TTU math professor Raegan Higgins

Raegan Higgins, an associate professor in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics, has been appointed as Faculty Fellow in the Office of the Provost. While she continues in her faculty role, Higgins' duties with the Provost Office will include establishing new strategies for faculty recruitment, retention, and success, with a focus on diversity and inclusion of underrepresented groups and minorities. "I hope to engage, or increase engagement with, those on our campus whose research, teaching, creative work, and community engagement support faculty success and support equity and social, restorative, and racial justice," Higgins said. "I believe we can find solutions with implementation strategies to some of the most challenging issues among our faculty." Higgins said that she hopes to begin the process of reviewing institutional policies and procedures to identify structural barriers to recruitment, hiring, onboarding (i.e., creating a sense of belonging), retention, mentoring, and promotion—including to administrative positions—of minoritized/marginalized groups of faculty. Follow this link for the full account.

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York Receives University Advising Award

TTU academic success advisor Karen YrokKaren York, an academic success advisor in the College of Arts & Sciences, has received the 2020 President's Excellence in Academic Advising Award. Texas Tech University President Lawrence Schovanec describes the role of academic advisor as that of engaging with students to enhance their college experience, guide them to their goal of earning a degree from Texas Tech, and contributing to their professional and personal development. "There is not a more important priority at Texas Tech than the success of our students, and the retention and eventual graduation of our students are important measures of that success," Schovanec said in a congratulatory video. York, who also won the College of Arts & Sciences Academic Advising Award earlier this year, said in that same video, "It all comes down to relationships." She described the importance of building a level of trust with students as someone they can talk to on a deeper level. "It becomes not so much 'What class do I take,' but 'What direction am I going?'" York said these kinds of relationships reach beyond students' current circumstances to influence the families they later will have. "When they leave this university, they're going to remember their favorite teacher and their advisor—and will tell their kids—and we've affected future generations as well."

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Kuzmack Wants to be Catalyst for Change

Stephanie Kuzmack, a sociology student and 2020 Truman Scholar, is driven to be a catalyst for change. With her sights on law school, she wants to alleviate the challenges facing her hometown.

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Michelson Receives Research Early Career Award

TTU French professor Kristen Michelson

Kristen Michelson, an assistant professor of French and Applied Linguistics in the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, has won the 2020 Research Special Interest Group Early Career Award from the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Language (ACTFL). Michelson's approach to language research and teaching is based on the idea that acquiring a new language is a matter of encounters, all types of encounters. In addition to person-to-person interactions are those of immersion in a culture; of experiencing new sights, smells and sounds; of navigating virtual environments; and, most intriguingly, finding common ground where all those elements converge to move the learner forward in a new tongue. Follow this link to read the full account of Kristen Michelson's work that led to the award and how she became interested in the fields of French language acquisition and applied linguistics.

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Jodeiri-Farshbaf Wins First Place in 3-Minute Thesis

TTU biology Ph.D. student Mohammad Jodeiri-FarshbafMohammad Jodeiri-Farshbaf, a doctoral biology student in the Department of Biological Sciences, has taken first place in the 2020 Three Minute Thesis (3MT™) competition. The 3MT is an opportunity for students to be evaluated on their presentation and communication abilities—a crucial skill in landing future research funding. Jodeiri-Farshbaf won for presenting his research on the hormone irisin, showing that the hormone secreted during exercise can suppress stress-induced memory deficit. Follow this link to read the complete account of Jodeiri-Farshbaf's award.

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Alumnus Sun's Drug-Test Strips May Inspire Rapid Results Testing for COVID-19

TTU alumni Alice and Ming Sun

Arts & Sciences Alumni Alice and Ming Sun during a recent visit to Lubbock.

On the surface, this story seems to fit precisely into the entrepreneurial tale so many have heard before. It's the narrative of the home-garage startup, fueled by big creative dreams and the tireless pursuit to change lives and revolutionize an industry. Sure, this chapter of that familiar narrative finds its genesis within the confines of a home garage. However, in a plot shift from the familiar success story, Ming and Alice Sun's story begins not in the bustling technology hub of Silicon Valley, nor does it feature powerful software or next-generation computer chips. Rather, the couple has long been captivated with the rewards of contributing to the scientific community through the dynamic fields of chemistry and biology. Specifically, they dreamt of improving the delivery and increasing the efficiency of on-site illicit drug testing. Continue reading at this link.

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Wright Makes Case for #GivingTuesday

TTU political science professor Nathaniel Wright

Nathaniel Wright, an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science and director of the Master of Public Administration program, is an expert in nonprofit management and philanthropic fundraising. Wright is available to discuss the importance of #GivingTuesday—Dec. 1, 2020—and why it's so badly needed in a year where so many things are outside of the ordinary. In the face of the pandemic, another Giving Tuesday, #GivingTuesdayNow, was held May 5,2020, to promote giving and unity. As 2020 draws to a close, many still seek assistance with basic necessities. With the resulting strain on nonprofit organizations, the need is keenly felt. Contact Nathaniel Wright for more information at 806-834-4817 or nathaniel.wright@ttu.edu.

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Victor to Examine Precursors to Suicide Attempts

TTU professor Sarah VictorSarah Victor, an assistant professor and clinical psychologist in the Department of Psychological Sciences, has received a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to address fundamental, and yet unanswered, questions about the estimated 10.7 million American adults who have thought seriously about trying to kill themselves. Victor is the principal investigator on the two-year project titled "Dynamic Regulatory Processes in the Transition from Suicidal Ideation to Action: The Roles of Cognitive Control, Emotion-Related Impulsivity, and Sleep in the Context of Negative Affective Experiences." Jason Van Allen, an associate professor and clinical psychologist in the Department of Psychological Sciences, is a co-investigator. Work on the project begins Dec. 1, 2020. Follow this link to read the complete article.

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Wang Speaks at Roundtable

TTU professor Yanlin WangYanlin Wang, an assistant professor of practice and director of the Chinese program in the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, was one of nine speakers at a roundtable discussion held by the Asian Section of the American Association of University Supervisors, Coordinators and Directors of Language Programs (AAUSC). With more than 20 years of experience teaching Chinese language in both China and the United States, Wang's contribution to the roundtable proved valuable to those who attended the Nov. 19, 2020, online program, entitled, “Language Program Development During COVID-19: Challenges and Strategies.”

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Surliuga Holds Virtual Book Discussion

TTU professor Victoria Surliuga, her book, and Ezio Gribaudo

Victoria Surliuga, an associate professor of Italian in the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, held a virtual discussion on Nov. 19, 2020, about her newest work, the bilingual book, "Homage to Ezio Gribaudo/Omaggio a Ezio Gribaudo" (Texas Tech University Libraries, September 2020). Her book compiles six years' worth of Surliuga's previously published writings in Italian and English about Ezio Gribaudo, a contemporary Italian artist. It was published in September as an open access e-book through the Texas Tech University Libraries Open Repository. The virtual discussion featured Gribaudo himself; his daughter Paola Gribaudo; Janis Elliott, Texas Tech associate professor of art history; Ian Barba, Texas Tech associate librarian; Heidi Winkler, Texas Tech digital services librarian; and Guido Moltedo, journalist, publisher and editor of the online journal ytali.com.

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Sandip Pal Reviews 50th Journal

TTU atmospheric scientist Sandip PalAtmospheric scientist Sandip Pal, an assistant professor in the Department of Geosciences, has reached a remarkable milestone in his career. With his latest work for the journal Scientific Reports, a Nature Publishing Group journal, Pal has served as a journal referee, or reviewer, for more than 50 different international scientific journals. Pal, who also leads the Boundary Layer Meteorology research group at Texas Tech University, said his work as a reviewer began when he was a postdoctoral scholar in Germany and France. Follow this link for the complete article about Sandip Pal's review work.

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Hekkert Saddles Up as 59th Masked Rider

Cameron Hekkert, a fourth-year major in the Department of Kinesiology & Sport Management, shares her journey from Colorado to Texas Tech, where she discovered a passion for collegiate athletics and earned a spot as the 59th Masked Rider.

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Corsi Named Among Top 10 Scientists to Watch

TTU astrophysicist Alessandra Corsi

Alessandra Corsi, the President's Excellence in Research Professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, has been named to Science News magazine's sixth annual SN 10: Scientists to Watch. The list of 10 early- and mid-career scientists age 40 and under will be featured in the Oct. 10 issue of Science News. Honorees are chosen by the Science News staff for their potential to shape the science of the future. "I am delighted and extremely honored to be included among this year's SN 10 researchers," said Corsi, who is an astrophysicist. "Working in the field of multi-messenger astronomy has been a wonderful, truly astronomical venture. I would not have achieved this result without the support of my family, the many colleagues I work with, and without the motivation that my students give me every day. I am grateful to all of them." Follow this link for the complete article about Alessandra Corsi being named among Top 10 Scientists to Watch.

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Zoom Event with Author Tanisha C. Ford

Tanisha C. Ford

Tanisha C. Ford—an award-winning writer, cultural critic and history professor at the City University of New York—has, quite literally, written the book on the subject of clothing. Her 2019 book, "Dressed in Dreams: A Black Girl's Love Letter to the Power of Fashion," investigates Afros and dashikis, go-go boots and hotpants of the 1960s, hip hop's baggy jeans and bamboo earrings, and the #BlackLivesMatter-inspired hoodies of today. Ford will give a virtual presentation on her book at 7 p.m. Sept. 22 via Zoom. The webinar is free and open to the public. Registration is available here. For more details about her upcoming talk, follow this link.

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Robledo Receives Fulbright Award

TTU Ph.D. student David Robledo

David Robledo, a graduate student working on his doctoral degree in technical communication and rhetoric through the Department of English, was named a recipient of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program Open Study/Research Award and will work with marine scientists in Costa Rica. "Receiving a Fulbright award is a little like getting a ticket to the moon," Robledo said. "You are not sure what to expect, but you know it is going to shift your perspective in irreversible ways." Robledo is planning to head to Costa Rica in February to work with marine scientists on how the role of small-scale fisheries promote biodiversity. Follow this link to read the complete story about David Robledo.

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Hahn Awarded for Humanities Research

TTU history professor Barbara Hahn

Barbara Hahn, a professor in the Department of History, is the winner of the College of Arts & Sciences Excellence in Research – Humanities Award.

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Legacey Awarded for Teaching Innovation

 TTU history professor Erin-Marie Legacey

Erin-Marie Legacey, an associate professor in the Department of History, is the winner of the College of Arts & Sciences Teaching Innovation Award.

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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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