Texas Tech University

A&S Faculty News

December 2019

Corsi Awarded for Pioneering New Field

TTU astrophysicist Alessandra Corsi

Alessandra Corsi, an associate professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, is the recipient of the 2020 Edith and Peter O'Donnell Award in Science from The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas (TAMEST) for her paradigm-shifting research on the merger of stars and black holes. Corsi uncovered a multisensory exploration process of our universe, where gravitational waves tell part of the story and light completes it. Utilizing data from both gravitational waves and light now allows scientists to create a comprehensive picture of the cosmic collision that occurs between neutron stars from hundreds of millions of light years away. Follow this link for the complete article.

November 2019

Sievert Publishes in 'Governing'

Joel Sievert, an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science, was quoted in an article that analyzes voters' motivation. The article, "Why Governors are the Only Candidates Voters Will Break party Ranks to Support," published Nov. 6 in Governing magazine. Sievert's research focuses on American political institutions with an emphasis on the presidency, congressional politics and elections, political parties, American political development, and electoral institutions. In addition to Governing, he has published articles in journals such as the Journal of Politics, Legislative Studies Quarterly, and Political Research Quarterly. His book, "Electoral Incentives in Congress" (University of Michigan Press), published in 2018.

Cozzolino Recognized for Research

Anthony Cozzolino, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, is the winner of the 2019 A&S Excellence in Research Award for the Physical and Natural Sciences. Cozzolino's research centers on the concept of engineered complexity where modern computational methods guide the combination of well-defined components into functional smart molecules and materials. Among his recent grants is a five-year, $655,710 CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to further his research into the design and synthesis of molecules designed specifically to recognize other molecules in solution and self-assemble into more complex structures. "We design different pieces so they will fit together in a specific way to make something more complex, but they do it on their own."

Ramkumar Finds Success With Towelie™

TTU environmental toxicologists Seshadri RamkumarSeshadri Ramkumar, professor and director of the Nonwovens & Advanced Materials Laboratory in Texas Tech University's Department of Environmental Toxicology, reports on the successful use of the Towelie™, a cotton-based oil absorbent wipe. On Nov. 2, the wipe was used to remedy a minor oil spill at a National Thermal Energy Corporation (NTEC) plant near Chennai, India. "Towelie™ wipe instantaneously absorbed heavy furnace oil and light crude oil," said Nambi Srinivasan, vice president of marketing for Chennai-based WellGro United. At California-based Davis Wire, Towelie™ is used to clean-up oil spills during the manufacture of products such as metal fences. Ramkumar is the scientist behind Towelie's™ development, and it is marketed by Lubbock-based E Innovate. Ronald Kendall Jr., president of E Innovate, says, "Towelie™ has been widely accepted by companies in the oil and gas, auto mechanic, manufacturing and marine industries who care about reducing their impact on the environment."

Salazar-Bravo Named Interim Director of ICASALS

TTU biologist Jorge Salazar-BravoJorge Salazar-Bravo, an associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, has been appointed interim director of Texas Tech University's International Center for Arid and Semi-Arid Land Studies (ICASALS). His term is effective Nov. 1; and his mission will be to lead in stimulating, coordinating, and implementing teaching, research, and public service activities concerning all aspects of the world's arid and semiarid regions, their people and their problems. Salazar-Bravo's research specializes in the evolution and systematics of Neotropical mammals and the interplay between systematics and disease ecology. He teaches courses such as Evolution and Ecology & Environmental Problems. ICASALS was created in 1966 to promote the university's special mission toward the interdisciplinary study of arid and semiarid environments and the human relationship to these environments from an international perspective.

October 2019

Tosi Book on Moral Grandstanding Coming in May

Justin Tosi, an assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy, is referenced in the Scientific American for his research on moral grandstanding. The Oct. 28 article, "Are You a Moral Grandstander?," credits Tosi and colleague Brandon Warmke of Bowlilng Green State University for being the first philosophers to define moral grandstanding. Their book on the subject, "Grandstanding: The Use and Abuse of Moral Talk," is forthcoming in May 2020 with Oxford University Press.

Smith Wins Library Award

Nick Smith, and assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, received the Open Access Award for Data from the Texas Tech University Libraries on Oct. 25. The award represents the commitment to open access and the broader impact of scholarly work conducted at TTU. Smith's Plant Ecophysiology Lab conducts research at the intersection of plant ecophysiology and the global climate system.

Findlater, Hutchins Get Department of Energy Grant

Michael Findlater, associate professor, and Kristin Hutchins, assistant professor, both from the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, received a $402,733 research grant from the Department of Energy. The project, titled "Chemically Enhanced Electrodialysis (CEED) for Recovery of Rare Earth Elements," will last two years. They share the grant with Weile Yan from the University of Massachusetts - Lowell.

Hetherington Receives NSF Grant for Study Abroad

TTU geoscientist Callum HetheringtonCallum Hetherington, an associate professor in the Department of Geosciences, in collaboration with Rauf Arif and TJ Martinez of Journalism & Creative Media Industries, received a $299,998 award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to lead an International Research Experience for Students (IRES) to the University of Pretoria during the summers of 2020-2022. During the IRES experience, students will conduct research on magnetite-pipes in the eastern Bushveld Complex; learn about precious metals and strategic mineral exploration, extraction and supply chains; and learn about strategies for social media journalism and multimedia storytelling. The outcomes of the communication research will be used to develop communication strategies for increasing participation in study abroad programs by under-represented student cohorts.

Schroeder, Ancell Receive Funding to Study Wind Storms

TTU atmospheric scientists John Schroeder, Brian Ancell, Brian HirthJohn Schroeder, professor, and Brian Ancell, an associate professor, both atmospheric scientists in the Department of Geosciences, along with Brian Hirth, a research professor at Texas Tech University's National Wind Institute, received a $582,000 award from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. They will deploy new 4D measurement and modeling techniques to advance the understanding of wind storm characteristics and provide input and validation of numerical, experimental and empirical modeling efforts. The award makes use of TTU's mobile StickNet technology and the TTU Ka-band mobile Doppler radar platforms to make comprehensive measurements of low level wind structure. they'll also be using a state-of-the-art numerical weather prediction system to model the same storms.

Ribeiro to Pursue Research in Germany

TTU philosophy professor Anna Christina RibeiroAnna Christina Ribeiro, an associate professor in the Department of Philosophy, has been invited to spend June 2020 in Frankfurt, Germany, as a visiting researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics. Ribeiro specializes in the philosophy of aesthetics—particularly in the areas of literature and poetry—and has two books on the subject currently under contract: "Beautiful Speech: The Nature, Origins, and Powers of Poetry" at Oxford University Press and "The Philosophy of Poetry and Literature" at Routledge. A trustee of the American Society for Aesthetics (2017-2020), Ribeiro has been a visiting researcher at the University of Barcelona and a visiting professor at the University of Vienna.

Poirier, Kim Attend Texas Quantum Institute

Bill Poirier, a professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, and Myoung-hwan Kim , an assistant professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, represented Texas Tech University at the inaugural meeting of the Texas Quantum Institute. The institute is a consortium of Texas universities—primarily Rice and UT—that want to establish a major quantum computing center in the state of Texas. Toward that goal, Poirier gave a presentation entitled "Texas Tech Quantum Research" on Oct 19.

Pal Has NASA Grant to Study Greenhouse Gases

Sandip Pal, an assistant professor of atmospheric science in the Department of Geosciences, has received a new grant from NASA for research entitled, "Multi-instrument observations of greenhouse gases across frontal boundary and comparison with WRF-Chem simulations." The project, connected with NASA ACT-America (Earth Venture Suborbital Mission, Atmospheric Carbon and Transport - America), is funded at $159,077 and runs from 2019 to 2021. In news from earlier this year, Pal was named associate editor for Atmospheric Sciences Letters, a publication of the Royal Meteorological Society.

September 2019

Watson Develops Programs for Latinx Youth

TTU professor Brandy Pina Watson

Brandy Piña-Watson, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences, launched the Latinx Mental Health and Resiliency Lab with only one student. Now, five years later, her lab has grown from a bare room upstairs in the psychology building to a full, running lab with more than 20 team members. Follow this link to learn how the lab is serving the Texas Tech community.

Team Gets NIH Funding for South Plains STEM Scholars Program

TTU professors Callum Hetherington, John Zak, Jerry Dwyer, Stefanie Borst

Callum Hetherington, John Zak, Jerry Dwyer and Stefanie Borst have received a five-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to educate future scientists and mathematicians from rural and underserved regions in West Texas and the Panhandle. the South Plains STEM Scholars program, as it's called, will fund four-year scholarships to 40 students who are pursuing Bachelor of Science degrees in biology, chemistry & biochemistry, geosciences, mathematics & statistics, or physics & astronomy. In supporting the retention and graduation of high-achieving, low-income students with demonstrated financial need at Texas Tech, the project will help fill the national need for well-educated scientists, mathematicians, engineers and technicians by providing models for student success that are transportable to other institutions serving rural communities. "We are particularly interested in recruiting from high schools that are underrepresented in sending students to four-year-degree institutions," said Hetherington, associate professor in the Department of Geosciences and PI on the project. He also will serve as a student mentor along with Zak, professor and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences; Dwyer, professor and interim chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education; and Borst, associate professor of German and associate dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. 

Corsi Elected to American Physical Society

TTU astrophysicist Alessandra Corsi

Alessandra Corsi, an associate professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, has been named a 2019 Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) for her exceptional contributions to the discovery of both gravitational wave sources and their electromagnetic counterparts. The number of APS Fellows elected each year is limited to no more than half of 1% of the society membership, so Corsi's fellowship is a prestigious recognition by her peers of her outstanding contributions to physics. "It is a great honor to be elected Fellow of the APS," Corsi said. "I am extremely happy to see my work recognized by my peers, and I am grateful to all the wonderful colleagues that made this happen. I consider this one of the most rewarding moments of my career."

Presley Receives Award in Puerto Rico

TTU professor and chair of Environmental Toxicology Steve PresleySteve Presley, professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Toxicology, was presented the "2019 Distinguished Achievement Award for Outstanding Achievement in Vector Ecology Science" at the 49th Annual Conference of Society for Vector Ecology held Sept. 22-26 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The annual award recognizes a U.S. or international scientist who has contributed significantly to advancing the knowledge base regarding arthropod vectored disease ecology. During the conference, Presley co-organized and co-chaired a symposium on "Healthcare, Public Health, and Vector Control: The Disconnect," where speakers included physicians, veterinarians, public health administrators, vector control professionals, vector-borne infectious disease researchers, and non-governmental aid organizations from the United States and Brazil.

Morales Receives NIH Grant

Jorge Morales, an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, received a $440,768 research grant from the National Institutes of Health. The project, titled "Computational Studies of Ion-Induced Water Radiolysis and DNA Damage," The project starts Sept. 20 and will run for three years, concluding Aug. 31, 2022.

Hayhoe Named 'Champion of the Earth'

TTU political science professor and director of Climate Center Katharine Hayhoe 

Katharine Hayhoe, a professor in the Department of Political Science and director of the Climate Center at Texas Tech University, has received a 2019 Champions of the Earth Award, the United Nations' highest environmental honor, for her commitment to understanding the effects of climate change and efforts to transform public attitudes. Hayhoe has devoted her research to understanding how climate change will impact people and the places they live. She evaluates long-term observations, future scenarios and global models to develop strategies that will reduce the effects of climate change on food, water and infrastructure. "The award offers real encouragement to those of us working every day to spread the message that climate change is real and we need to act now to deal with it," Hayhoe said. "Together, keeping up the pressure, we can prevail, because we already have the technology and knowledge to make the necessary changes. All we're missing is the will."

Mayer Named to Teaching Academy

TTU chemist Michael Mayer

Michael Mayer, an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, was  inducted into the Texas Tech University Teaching Academy on Sept. 18. Mayer says, "I'm fascinated by what we are made of, the way we work, and how we have come to understand such things. To gain understanding is to become empowered. In others I find the same fascination and desire to understand, nascent and outright. Thus, in turn, I love to stoke fascination and I love the vicarious thrill of helping others through their own struggles to grasp insight, gain understanding—both broad and deep—and attain empowerment."

Harris Named to Teaching Academy

TTU research biologist Breanna Harris

Breanna Harris, a research assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, was inducted into the Texas Tech University Teaching Academy on Sept. 18. Harris says, "Biology is fun, engaging, exciting, and relevant to our lives. As an educator, I want to help my students get excited about science, about using the scientific method and critical thinking, and about appreciating evolution and the shared ancestry of life on earth. I strongly believe that teaching, especially engaging, active teaching, is paramount for the success and reputation of a university, thus I want to do my part to make Texas Tech University an exceptional place."

Lockwood Named to Teaching Academy

TTU-Waco biologist Stephanie Lockwood

Stephanie Lockwood, an assistant professor of practice in the Department of Biological Sciences at TTU at Waco, was inducted into the Texas Tech University Teaching Academy on Sept. 18. Lockwood says, "Opening students' eyes to the beauty of the natural world around them inspires me to teach. I want to make biology accessible and enjoyable to everyone, especially students who may think they do not like biology. With a solid foundation students can evaluate scientific ideas and formulate their own points of view and make knowledgeable, healthy, and environmentally sound decisions."

Kendall Appointed to EPA Scientific Advisory Committee

Ron Kendall, a professor of environmental toxicology and head of the Wildlife Toxicology Laboratory at The Institute of Environmental and Human Health at Texas Tech University, was appointed Sept. 13 to serve on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee. His term began immediately and lasts until Sept. 30, 2022. As a member of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, Kendall will provide advice on technical issues underlying the EPA's National Ambient Air Quality Standards. "I am honored to be selected to join the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee at the Environmental Protection Agency and contribute my expertise in environmental toxicology," Kendall said. "To be nationally selected to contribute to the important work on behalf of air quality in the nation is also an important opportunity in one's scientific career. I look forward to contributing my best input to help the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee do the best job possible."

Lumpkin Featured for Academic Assessment

TTU professor and chair of Department of Kinesiology & Sport Management Angela Lumpkin

Angela Lumpkin, professor and chair in the Department of Kinesiology & Sport Management (KSM), is Texas Tech University's Fall 2019 Assessment Spotlight recipient. Because of her commitment to academic assessment, she was chosen unanimously for the honor by the Office of Planning & Assessment (OPA). "Dr. Lumpkin is a champion for improving student learning, and we applaud her for creating departmental assessment procedures that put KSM students first," Jennifer Shaulis-Hughes, president of the Texas Association for Higher Education Assessment (TxAHEA) and managing director of OPA, wrote in announcement. "It's an honor for me personally to work with Dr. Lumpkin, and Texas Tech is better because of Angela's commitment to assessment excellence." 

Larson Plans Luso-Hispanic Conference for October

TTU Qualia Professor Susan LarsonSusan Larson, the Charles B. Qualia Professor of Romance Languages in the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, is bringing an international group of teachers, scholars, activists and students to Lubbock for the "Language, Image, Power" conference. From Oct. 10-12, 2019, the conference will take up the history, evolution and future of Luso-Hispanic Cultural Studies as a discipline, a pedagogical tool and a set of working practices from October 10-12, 2019. Speakers and attendees will share ideas about how Luso-Hispanic Cultural Studies has grown out of and radically reconsidered some of the basic principles of British Cultural Studies since the 1960s to address the many cultures of the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking world.