Texas Tech University

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Innovation in Arts & Sciences

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SUMMER 2020

Wong Named Honors College Interim Dean

TTU history professor Aliza Wong, interim dean of Honors College

Aliza Wong, a professor in the Department of History and the associate dean of the Honors College, has been named interim dean of the Honors College. Her duties will begin on Sept. 1. Wong is assuming the role of interim dean after former Honors College Dean Michael San Francisco was selected as the interim dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. Wong said she feels fortunate to have been mentored throughout the years by countless faculty and staff, including San Francisco; the Honors College Heads of Houses (Jane Winer, Gary Bell, Don Haragan and Bob Lawless); faculty emeriti, including Bell, Jim Brink and Jim Clopton; Provost Michael Galyean; and President Lawrence Schovanec and his Chief of Staff Grace Hernandez. "They are some of the most brilliant, most generous leaders on this campus," Wong said. "But I also have been privileged to be inspired and educated by some of the most creative, most giving, most active upstanders, our Honors College students, both past and present." Follow this link to learn more about Aliza Wong's appointment.

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Van Gestel Coaches 6th-Graders' Climate Research

TTU biogeochemist Natasja van GestelNatasja van Gestel, an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, was approached by a group of local 6th-graders asking for help with a research project. The Carbon Keepers group from Southcrest Christian School wanted to tackle climate change in a creative way—by making agriculture part of the solution to reducing excess carbon in the atmosphere. Along with David Weindorf, associate vice president of research and innovation, van Gestel's collaboration with the children has brought Carbon Keepers recognition on a national and even global scale, becoming grand prize winners in the 2019-2020 Lexus Eco Challenge in the Air & Climate category for Middle School and first place winners in the 6th-grade category of the 18th Annual eCYBERMISSION Competition for 2019-2020. Follow this link to read more about van Gestel's work with Carbon Keepers.

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Rivera Sandoval Awarded Time on Hubble

TTU astrophysics post-doc Liliana Rivera Sandoval

Liliana Rivera Sandoval, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, has been awarded two observing times on the Hubble Space Telescope, along with a grant to analyze existing observations. Rivera Sandoval is one of only 11 researchers worldwide to have been granted at least three proposals in the same observing cycle in the last decade. "Since Hubble's proposal-selection process is highly competitive, it is very rare for the same person to win three awards as a PI (principal investigator) in the same program cycle," said Sung-Won Lee, professor and chair of the Department of Physics & Astronomy. "It is a highly recognized achievement for Liliana to receive multiple observing times on the Hubble Space Telescope." Rivera Sandoval will use her observing times on the telescope for three different research projects. In collaboration with fellow researchers at Texas Tech, across the U.S., and in Canada, Europe and Australia, Rivera Sandoval will study accreting white dwarfs and other compact binaries in globular clusters. Follow this link to read the full account of Liliana Rivera Sandoval's upcoming research.

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Burns Leads Biology as New Chair

TTU biology professor & chair Jenn Burns

Texas Tech University's College of Arts & Sciences is proud to welcome Jennifer Burns, Ph.D., as chair of the Department of Biological Sciences. She assumed the position effective June 1. As chair, Burns leads more than 40 tenure-track faculty and research/teaching professionals, a strong cohort of adjunct and affiliate professors and scientists, a graduate program that counts more than 120 students, and an undergraduate program of some 1,600 undergraduate student majors. “My focus moving forward will be to increase faculty and student diversity; to grow our health, ecological, and environmental related research and capacity; and to foster academic programs that will develop the next generation of STEM scientists,” she said. Burns, who joined Texas Tech from the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA), brings with her more than two decades of research exploring the linkages between physiology, nutrition, and performance in mammalian systems. Follow this link to read the full announcement about Jennifer Burns.

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Juneja Wins Chemistry Poster Award

TTU grad student Navkiran JunejaNavkiran Juneja, a doctoral student in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, won an award for outstanding poster presentation at the Crystal Engineering & Emerging Materials Workshop of Ontario & Quebec. The workshop was held virtually May 30-31, 2020. Juneja is a member of Kristin Hutchins' research lab and has been working on the synthesis of boronic acid functionalized polymers and thermal expansion of materials. Another research interest is co-crystals of the drug, Dapsone, which sometimes is used in treating leprosy. She was the lead author of the research project, "Effects of dynamic pedal motion and static disorder on thermal expansion within halogen-bonded co-crystals," which published in the New Journal of Chemistry. Juneja earned her B.S. and her M.S. in chemistry at Panjab University, Chandigarh, India.

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Cukrowicz Moves to School of Veterinary Medicine

TTU psychology professor Kelly Cukrowicz

Kelly Cukrowicz, a clinical psychologist with 14 years on the faculty of the Department of Psychological Sciences, has accepted an offer to join the faculty of the School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) in Amarillo as a professor of psychological health. The transition comes as a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed an increasing rate of suicide among veterinarians; to address that trend the SVM aims to prepare future veterinarians with the skills, knowledge, and mental-health resiliency to not only survive but thrive in their profession. Cukrowicz has devoted her career to research on depression and suicide—particularly in rural communities. She has been recognized for her work in this field with the Edwin Shneidman early career research award for contributions to the field of suicidology from the American Association of Suicidology, the Barnie E. Rushing Jr. Faculty Distinguished Research Award, and the Excellence in Research Award from the College of Arts & Sciences. Follow this link for a Q&A with Kelly Cuckrowicz on her move to the SVM.

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Ghandour Kindles Hope for Local Children

TTU political science major Gabriella Ghandour

Gabriella Ghandour, a first-year political science student, has a passion for two things: music and helping others. She combined these two passions to found Kindle Hope, a nonprofit organization that provides funding and time to enrich the lives of underprivileged children in the Lubbock community. "We use the universal languages of music and art to fundraise and teach children how to express themselves through creative, non-violent outlets," Ghandour said. At the age of 11, Ghandour became aware of the hardships that children her age were facing—especially those in Syria, where Ghandour's family is from. "In 2012 … I was watching kids my own age, my own blood, my own ethnicity literally broken in the streets of Damascus, catching fire. In that moment, I realized how truly blessed I was and decided to create an afterschool group to raise money and send it to Syrian children. Unfortunately, it was, and still is, too dangerous to send this aid to Syria, so I focused on helping children locally instead." Kindle Hope hosts the "Kindle Pop Benefit Concert" to raise money for the cause. The first concert, in September 2018, consisted of Ghandour and a friend playing guitar. The organization raised more than $7,500 that year and now partners with the Guadalupe Parkway Center and students from the East Lubbock School of Music. Follow this link to learn how Gabriella Ghandour plans to take Kindle Hope's efforts worldwide.

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Larson Awarded for Spanish Distinguished Research

TTU Spanish professor Susan Larson

Susan Larson, the Charles B. Qualia Professor of Romance Languages in the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, has received one of the Texas Tech Parents Association's 2020 Barnie E. Rushing Jr. Faculty Distinguished Research Awards. For many years, and particularly since the 2008 economic crisis—a problem not only in the United States but also in Asia and Europe—Larson has studied Spain through the lens of literature, film, cultural and urban studies and environmental justice. Spain was hit particularly hard by the economic downturn, Larson says, but its cities have since adjusted to the circumstances and are looking for ways to deal with what's left behind: abandoned and peripheral spaces with half-finished, yet already crumbling architectural projects, including entire airports and housing. Into these spaces, plants, insects and animals are returning in unexpected ways, for example. "I've noticed a marked tendency in all kinds of art in Spain since 2008 that, taken as a whole, says something I believe is very important about how cities are reconsidering nature," she says. Follow this link to learn more about Susan Larson's research.

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San Francisco Named Interim Dean

TTU interim dean, College of Arts & Sciences, Michael San Francisco

Michael San Francisco, a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and currently dean of the Honors College, has been named interim dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. Texas Tech University Provost Michael Galyean announced the appointment on June 4. "Michael brings a wealth of experience to this role," Galyean said. "We all understand that our academic community will face many challenges in the days ahead, but I am confident with Michael's capable leadership, combined with partnership and support from the college, that the College of Arts & Sciences will prosper." San Francisco takes up his new duties beginning Sept. 1, 2020, and replaces W. Brent Lindquist, a professor in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics, who has served as dean of the College of Arts & Sciences since July 2014. Follow this link for the complete announcement.

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Ramkumar on Types of Face Covers

TTU professor 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), explains the efficiency of any barrier-type mask—one that covers the nose and mouth—depends on its filtration capability, its fit and its form or comfort; and they all fall into four general categories. Follow this link for the Seshadri Ramkumar's complete description of barrier-type face masks.

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McIntyre President of Landscape Group

TTU professor Nancy McIntyre

Nancy McIntyre, a professor and associate chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, became president of the International Association for Landscape Ecology-North America (IALE-North America) on May 13 during a virtual version of the organization's annual conference. "I've been a landscape ecologist and member of this organization for more than 25 years," said McIntyre, who also serves as curator of birds for the Natural Science Research Laboratory within the Museum of Texas Tech University. "I've attended every annual meeting, and the people of this organization are my professional family, so it is my honor to be elected president. Texas Tech now has representation on an international scale in this field, putting us on the map for prospective students." Follow this link for the complete story of Nancy McIntyre's IALE presidency.

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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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