Texas Tech University

Celebrating A&S Diversity

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SUMMER 2021

Brown Receives $1 Million Grant to Study Nematode Bacteria 

TTU biologist Amanda M.V. Brown

Amanda M.V. Brown, an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, has received a joint grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to study how bacteria affect tiny worms called nematodes. Farmers around the world know the devastating impact of plant-parasitic nematodes. These worms feed on plants, ruining an estimated 25% of the world's crops and costing roughly $100 billion in damage each year. But with a new five-year grant totaling just over $1 million, Brown is studying the feasibility of a novel solution to the problem—one that holds promise for the environment as well as the agriculture industry. “Currently, these nematodes threatening crops are difficult to control without using costly chemicals that can be environmentally damaging or promote strains that are resistant to treatment,” Brown said. “Therefore, this project investigates an alternative, non-toxic solution that may be developed to control plant-parasitic nematodes. The focus is on naturally occurring bacteria that have been discovered living within these worms that may drive their survival and direct or mediate their devastating impacts on plants.” Read the complete story at this link

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McCahey Specializes in History of Antarctica

Daniella McCahey, an assistant professor in the Department of History, specializes in the history of science, specifically in the space of human involvement in Antarctica. She has been sought out for special projects with museums, articles in the New York Times and more throughout her career. 

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Ardon-Dryer & Kingston Awarded for Advancing Diversity, Equity

TTU professors Karin Ardon-Dryer, left, and Tigga Kingston, right

Karin Ardon-Dryer (above left), an assistant professor in the Department of Geosciences, and Tigga Kingston (above right), a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, recently were awarded for their efforts to promote diversity and gender equity at Texas Tech University. Ardon-Dryer was one of two in the TTU community to receive the 2021 President's Excellence in Gender Equity Award, which recognizes faculty and staff for their substantial contributions to activities and programs that advance the academic and professional climate of gender equity. Kingston was one of four across the university to receive the 2021 President's Excellence in Diversity & Equity Award, which recognizes individual contributions to academic activities, creation of inclusive environments and programs that advance institutional culture and a climate of diversity, equity and inclusion. “The students, staff and faculty we recognize with these awards are an exceptional group of individuals, and we are proud to recognize them for their extraordinary work in further promoting diversity, equity and inclusion on the Texas Tech campus,” said Carol A. Sumner, chief diversity officer and vice president of the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

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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; TTU photo by Toni Salama
 
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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