Texas Tech University

A&S Faculty News

May 2017

Hayhoe Writes for Foreign Policy

Katharine Hayhoe TTUKatharine Hayhoe, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Director of TTU's Climate Science Center, wrote an in-depth article on climate change that published in the May/June issue of Foreign Policy magazine (May 31 online). In the article, "Yeah, the Weather Has Been Weird: People Already Care About Climate Change—The Trick is Getting Them to Realize It," Hayhoe describes meeting Steven Amstrup, Chief Scientist for Polar Bears International, and accepting his invitation to join him on his annual fall trip to Churchill, Manitoba, to see how climate change is affecting the polar bears that live and feed in that area. She quotes Amstrup as saying: "We care about the polar bears because they're showing us what's going to happen to us. If we don't heed their warning, we're next." Her article presents examples of how average Americans already are experiencing the effects of climate change—even though they may not identify it as such—and the future consequences of standing by and doing nothing about it.

Perkins on Possible Special Session

Jared Perkins, Visiting Professor in the Department of Political Science, was quoted in a May 30 KCBD-TV news segment about the ending of Texas's 85th legislative session. Gov. Greg Abbott may call legislators back for a special session. Perkins told KCBS reporters that the only thing legislators are required by law to do is pass the state budget; and they did that. However, the story went on to report, Gov. Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick considered certain bills important that did not pass. Perkins told the TV station that he believes the Governor will call a special session to address those bills. "I think for sure he will focus on the funding for the Texas Medical Board. That was a priority that he set several weeks ago," Perkins said on air.

Sand, Corsi Receive NASA Grant

David Sand and Alessandra Corsi are astrophysicists at Texas TechDavid Sand and Alessandra Corsi, both Assistant Professors in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, together received a total of $37,100 from NASA to conduct research on the project entitled, "Explosion Physics And Progenitors From A One Day Cadence Supernova Search." The award was announced the week ending May 24. Sand's research team works on very young supernovae, near field cosmology, and active galactic nuclei. Corsi's research focuses on time-domain astronomy (with special emphasis on relativistic transients) and gravitational wave physics. She is a member of the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) research group that recently confirmed Albert Einstein's theory that gravitational waves exist.

Presley Grant to Track Mosquitoes

Steven Presley, Professor in the Department of Environmental Toxicology/The Institute of Environmental & Human Health, received a $200,798 grant from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) for Public Health Grant No. 1, 2017. The award was for the county-by-county study of mosquitoes that can carry the Zika virus and other diseases, and was announced the week ending May 24.

Lektzian Receives CFR Fellowship

David Lektzian TTUDavid Lektzian, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, has received an International Affairs Fellowship with the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). With this one-year fellowship that begins in summer 2017, Lektzian joins the ranks of notables such as former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice (a 1985-86 fellow) and Samantha Power, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (2000-01). "It is a great honor to me to have been selected for a fellowship that has been held by so many distinguished scholars and policy-makers in the past," Lektzian was quoted as saying in a May 23 article in Texas Tech Today. Lektzian will be working with the Congressional Research Service (CRS), an agency within the Library of Congress that supports legislators and their staff by providing reports on a wide range of issues. Established in 1914, the CRS has been described as Congress' think tank. Lektzian will serve in the Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade Division of the CRS, dealing with economic sanctions and trade and military conflict.

San Francisco Checks Dirty Phones

Michael San Francisco, Dean of the Honors College and Professor of Molecular Microbiology in the Department of Biological Sciences, went with KCBD-TV reporters to West Elementary School to find out whose phones were dirtiest: Students' or teachers'? He took samples and waited. After a week, most of the samples showed some sort of growth, KCBD's May 22 story said, with San Francisco reporting: "Looks like the 4th grade wins out in terms of the most microbes. I don't know if that's a good thing," he said on the broadcast. He concluded that wiping off phones on clothing only spreads germs. "So the Facebook people who said they clean their phones, unless you used some real cleaning solution I don't think you did," San Francisco told KCBD.

Iber Receives Kansas Book Award

Jorge Iber, Associate Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences and Professor in the Department of History, received the 2017 Kansas Notable Book award for his book, "Mike Torrez: A Baseball Biography" (McFarland & Co., 2016). His was one of 15 books, written by a Kansan or about a Kansas-related topic, chosen annually for reflecting the rich cultural heritage of Kansas. The Kansas Notable Books List is a project of the Kansas Center for the Book at the State Library of Kansas. Iber learned of the honor May 18 and will receive his award Sept. 9 at the Kansas Book Festival at the State Capitol in Topeka.

Levario, Epstein to Run for Congress

Miguel Levario and Daniel Epstein, bot professors at Texas Tech University, to run for CongressMiguel Levario, Associate Professor in the Department of History, and Daniel Epstein, Visiting Instructor and Worldwide eLearning Course Developer in the Department of Political Science, have both announced that they will run for Congress in 2018. On the Democrat ticket. For the same seat: U.S. House of Representatives District 19. TTU Arts & Sciences alumnus and Republican Jodey Arrington is the incumbent. According to a sweeping story in the May 18 Chronicle of Higher Education, "the candidates will eventually oppose each other for the Democratic nomination, but so far they've worked together" on common causes.

McChesney is Fulbright in Germany

Anita McChesney, Assistant Professor in the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, won $1,405 from the German-American Fulbright Commission to attend the Summer Academy in Leipzig for U.S.-American Faculty in German. The award was announced the week ending May 17. Mcchesney's main areas of research are contemporary German and Austrian literature and culture, with particular focus on the connections between narrative forms and visual media.

Franklin Gets Newberry Fellowship

Catharine Franklin, Assistant Professor in the Department of History, received a $37,500 fellowship at the Newberry Library to research her subject, "Fellowship: Soldiers and Indians: The United States Army and Native Sovereignty, 1862-1902." The award was announced the week ending May 17. Franklin specializes in the history of the 19th century United States Army, with an emphasis on indigenous peoples and the American West in the post-Civil War era. Her research and teaching interests lie in 19th century American history, military history, indigenous history, and the history of the American West and borderlands.

Swingen Receives NEH Endowment

Abigail Swingen, Associate Professor in the Department of History, received $6,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities, to research the subject of "The Financial Revolution and the British Empire." The award was announced the week ending May 17. Swingen is author of "Competing Visions of Empire: Labor, Slavery, and the Origins of the British Atlantic Empire" (Yale University Press, 2015), which won the 2017 Second Place President's Faculty Book Award at Texas Tech University.

Ancell Gives Video Turbine Tour

Brian Ancell, Assistant Professor of Atmospheric Science in the Department of Geosciences, was featured in an episode of "In the Field." In each program, TTU reporter John Davis shadows a professor to learn more about that professor's research. "In the Field: Which Way the Wind Blows," posted May 17 on YouTube, is a lesson in how wind turbines can actually impact the weather, with large wind farms making inadvertent changes to the weather downstream.

McKee, Cunningham on Local TV

Seth McKee TTUSeth McKee, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, and Sean Cunningham, Associate Professor and chair of the Department of History, were interviewed by FOX-34 television in a May 16 news segment about comparisons being made between allegations of wrongdoing by President Trump and historical evidence of the Watergate break-in under President Nixon. "Watergate was all about a Republican operation that was interfering with a Democratic presidential campaign," McKee told FOX-34 reporters. "Now what makes this different is we don't know if those, including Donald Trump and his campaign were really involved with Russian interference of an American presidential election." Comparisons also have been made between Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey and the Nixon Administration's firing of firing of Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox and the resignations of Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus—the so-called Saturday Night Massacre. Cunningham told the station that such comparisons may not be healthy: "Every person is unique, circumstances are always unique, contexts change, history does not always neatly repeat itself. So I would hesitate to embrace comparisons, especially with radical individuals in order to discredit someone today."

Guengerich Speaks in Prague

Sara Guengerich, Associate Professor of Spanish and Associate Professor and Graduate Advisor for Spanish in the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, was invited guest speaker at the Instituto Cervantes in Prague, Czech Republic, in May. The roundtable discussion was centered on the importance of the Latino/Hispanic population in Higher Education in the United States.

Levario on Story of Cinco de Mayo

Miguel Levario, TTUMiguel Levario, Associate Professor in the Department of History, was quoted in a story about the history behind Cinco de Mayo, published May 4 in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. (Cinco de Mayo does not celebrate Mexico's independence from Spain, which is Sept. 16, but remembers Mexico's victory over France at the Battle of Puebla.) The backdrop: Napoleon III of France sent 8,000 troops to Mexico to collect an unpaid debt. As the French marched to Mexico City, they were met and defeated by 2,000 Mexican conscripts at Puebla on May 5, 1862. "They were outnumbered approximately four to one," Levario was quoted as saying, adding that the French would later return to place a French emperor over Mexico. In the article, Levario described the underdog story as one of hope, more celebrated in the United States than in Mexico. Some of his comments also were later republished May 13 in The Villages Sun Times.

McKee on Hispanic Voter Turnout

Seth McKee, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, was interviewed by FOX-34 television in a May 12 news segment about the Hispanic vote in Texas. "There was some look early on—early voting, not Election Day—that it looked like perhaps Latino turnout would rise quite a bit. And it never materialized when it counted all the numbers on Election Day," McKee told the station. Commenting on Census Bureau reports that only 2 percent more Hispanics voted last election that previously, McKee said there always are problems when you look at census numbers: "Because it is a survey, and so they are asking you whether you voted. People always lie whether you are white, black, Hispanic, Asian, it doesn't matter. So we don't really have the true numbers in Texas, these are clearly estimates," he said on air.

Zdenek Wins for Closed-Captioning

Sean Zdenek, Associate Professor in the Department of English, won the 2017 Best Book in Technical or Scientific Communication award for his title, "Reading Sounds: Closed-Captioned Media and Popular Culture" (University of Chicago Press 2015). The award was presented by the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC). Zdenek teaches graduate and undergraduate students of Technical Communication & Rhetoric through courses in disability studies, web accessibility, document design, sound studies, report writing, multimodal composition, developing instructional materials, style, and rhetorical criticism.

Morales Models Cancer Therapy

Jorge Morales, TTUJorge A. Morales, an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, was quoted in a May 12 story in Ecancer News about how supercomputers are being used to simulate cancer therapies. Radiation, specifically a treatment called proton therapy, is known to work but no one knows precisely why, Morales told Ecancer News. "To do experiments with human subjects is dangerous, so the best way is through computer simulation," Morales was quoted as saying. He is studying the deep reasons why this therapy helps treat cancer, determining how much is enough, and exploring its effectiveness. Quantum simulations are necessary, the article stated, because the electrons and atoms that are the basis for proton cancer therapy's effectiveness do not behave according to the laws of classical physics. Rather they are guided by the laws quantum mechanics which involve probabilities of location, speed and reactions' occurrences rather than to the precisely defined versions of those three variables, the article went on to explain. Morales also was interviewed by KLBK/KAMC-TV in a May 14 story about proton therapy.

Moore Wins Pickett Award

Kristen Moore, Assistant Professor in the Department of English, won the 2017 Nell Ann Picket Award for Best Article in Technical Communication Quarterly. The award, granted by the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing (ATTW), was for the article, "Disrupting the Past to Disrupt the Future: An Antenarrative of Technical Communication," published in Volume 25.4, 2016. Moore teaches courses in Technical Communication & Rhetoric and shares the Nell Ann Picket Award with co-authors Natasha Jones, assistant professor at the University of Central Florida, and Rebecca Walton, assistant professor at Utah State University.

McKee Weighs Comey Firing

Seth McKee, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, was interviewed by FOX-34 television in a May 10 news story about President Donald Trump's decision to fire FBI Director James Comey. "It is incredible political theater, the details of it are very complicated, but the simple part of it isn't hard to grasp that is the timing is awful," McKee said on air, referring to the FBI investigation into allegations of the Trump camp colluding with the Russians. "It really stinks to high heaven, in the way it looks and the way it looks doesn't necessarily mean that this was done for pure political motives, but it is hard to escape it," McKee also said on the broadcast.

Bradley Supports Women in Science

Robert Bradley, TTURobert Bradley, Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences and director of the Natural Science Research Laboratory at the Museum of Texas Tech University, was awarded for his support of women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, agriculture and mathematics (STEAM). He was presented the Champion of Women (COW) Award May 10 by the West Texas Association for Women in STEAM (WT-AWIS). "This award is especially meaningful because the nomination came from eight of my current graduate and undergraduate students," Bradley said in a May 11 Texas Tech Today story about the award. "You couldn't ask for a more talented and hard-working group of students, and to be recognized by them at this level is quite humbling." This year's award for Outstanding Woman Leader (OWL) went to Mindy Brashears, Professor of Food Microbiology and Food Safety in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences and director of the International Center for Food Industry Excellence in the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources.

Previous COW award winners in the College of Arts & Sciences:

• 2016: David Klein, Associate Professor of Environmental, Clinical & Analytical Chemistry in the Department of Environmental Toxicology/The Institute of Environmental and Human Health (TIEHH)
• 2014: Jerry Dwyer, current Professor on the College of Education, former Professor in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics
• 2013: Lou Densmore, Professor and former Chair in the Department of Biological Sciences
• 2009: Todd Anderson, Professor of Environmental Chemistry, Chair and Director of the Department of Environmental Toxicology/The Institute of Environmental and Human Health (TIEHH)
• 2008: Michael San-Francisco, Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and Dean of the Honors College
• 2008: Mike Hooper, with the United States Geological Survey and Adjunct in the Department of Environmental Toxicology/The Institute of Environmental and Human Health (TIEHH)

Previous OWL award winners in the College of Arts & Sciences:

• 2015: Nicte Ordonez-Garza, Doctoral Candidate in Zoology and Research Assistant in the Department of Biological Sciences
• 2014: Raegan Higgins, Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics
• 2010: Elizabeth Hall Burns, now Emeritus, formerly Associate Professor in the Department of Kinesiology & Sport Management

McIntyre Gets NSF Planning Grant

Nancy McIntyre, Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and Landscape & Community Ecology & Curator of Birds at TTU's Natural Science Research Laboratory, is a senior personnel on a $125,000 National Science Foundation planning grant, "Pre-Alliance Planning: The Bridges Across Texas Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation." The work will take place among Texas Tech, the University of North Texas-Dallas, and several community colleges with which TTU has matriculation agreements, toward a goal of identifying how to recruit more underrepresented minority students into four-year degrees in STEM.

Carr, Harris, Keyel Receive Funding

James Carr and Breanna Harris, TTUJames Carr, Professor; Breanna Harris, Research Assistant Professor; and Peter Keyel, Assistant Professor, all in the Department of Biological Sciences, received grant funding from the National Science Foundation to research the project entitled "Sensory Pathways Underlying Neuropeptide Regulation of Food Intake." The project will assess how nervous systems integrate information and generate behavior, fundamental goals of neuroscience research, as well as in their potential to produce unexpected insight into anxiety-related eating disorders. Carr received initial funding of $233,000, which, together with additional incremental funds is anticipated to total $608,000. Harris and Keyel each received $76,890, for a total $153,780. The awards were announced the week ending May 10.

Hayhoe Interviewed on NPR Show

Katharine Hayhoe, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Director of TTU's Climate Science Center, was interviewed by NPR's Morning Edition May 9 about the best ways to talk about climate change. Discussion centered around the term "climate denier" (Hayhoe doesn't use it), the need to abandon the attitude of condescension that exists in both the pro and con camps regarding climate change, and how Hayhoe has learned that it's possible for people to agree on solutions even if they might not agree on the science.

Ramkumar Urges Collaboration

Seshadri Ramkumar, Professor in the Department of Environmental Toxicology/ The Institute of Environmental & Human Health, wrote an article, "Collective Effort Needed to Advance Cotton Industry," that published May 9 in the Cotton Association of India. The article, which originally appeared May 5 in Cotton Grower, appealed to the cotton industry to make a collective effort in working with end-user communities, research organizations, financial institutions, policy makers, and the industrial sector in order to advance. Ramkumar praised Lubbock-based Plains Cotton Gowers, Inc. for championing the collective spirit and offered it as model for the global cotton and textile industries.

Hayhoe in Christian Science Article

Katharine Hayhoe, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Director of TTU's Climate Science Center, was quoted May 2 in a Christian Science Monitor article that asks in its headline, "Could making climate change a 'pro-life' issue bring conservatives on board?" Hayhoe's answer: "So often it seems like pro-life stops when you're born. If you're really pro-life, you should be pro-life from conception to death."

Hayhoe a 'Most Powerful Mom'

Katharine Hayhoe, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Director of TTU's Climate Science Center, made the list of 50 Most Powerful Moms of 2017 in the May issue of Working Mother. The lsit of other powerful mothers included businesswomen such as Melinda Gates, Co-Chair and Trustee, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Cathy Engelbert, CEO, Deloitte; and Sara Blakely, Founder and CEO, Spanx. Entertainers on the list included women such as Beyoncé, Actress/Musician/Producer; Victoria Beckham, Fashion Designer/Singer; Nicole Kidman, Actress/Producer; Melissa McCarthy, Actress/Producer/Writer/Fashion Designer; and Reese Witherspoon, Actress/Producer/Entrepreneur.