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A&S Alumni News

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Alumni, Students, Faculty Reflect on Black History Month

Black History Month 2021

The College of Arts & Sciences honors Black History Month 2021 by sharing the voices of our students, faculty and staff. These voices honor the Black heroes of our past, celebrate the activists of today, and anticipate a more inclusive and equitable future.


Nelson Balido: On a Scarlet & Black Mission

TTU alumnus Nelson Balido, photo courtesy San Antonio Business Journal 

The Honorable Nelson Balido, a child of Cuban immigrants, built his father's music business into a Hispanic 500 Company, founded Balido & Associates, and serves as chair and CEO of the Border Commerce & Security Council—in addition to his tireless work as a proponent for Texas Tech University.

Stepping to the wooden podium to address the crowd of 15,000 bustling people inside the United Spirit Arena, Nelson Balido hesitated. The smooth, confident, and captivating international marketing consultant suddenly found himself wrapped up by the weight of the moment. Weeks earlier, he was crisscrossing the southwestern United States, rallying the Hispanic community as an official representative of the 2004 George W. Bush presidential re-election campaign. Now, Balido had been called back to the Texas Tech University campus by administration officials to give this address. That morning, he saw the stage as an invitation to reflect upon the genesis of his own story, one even he himself will quickly say has been quite unpredictable. Continue reading at this link.


Ming & Alice 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.


Suzanne Shipley Comes Full Circle

TTU alumna Suzanne Shipley with husband and dogs

Arts & Sciences alumna Suzanne Shipley, at right, with her husband, Randall Wadsworth, and their dogs, Roxy and Racer.

There is a distinct pride one can't help but glean from Dr. Suzanne Shipley (Class of '74 & '76) as she discusses her childhood home. The memories of a young girl coming of age on the plains of the West Texas panhandle in Lubbock are still rich. So much so, that the lifetime scholar has a way of transporting any audience back to the seats of the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum—the stage where she consumed Texas Tech University basketball games with her family. Shipley proudly makes a point to say that she was just 10 years old when she took her first classes on the Texas Tech campus. During those childhood summers, Shipley's parents enrolled their budding student in 'kinderschule,' a former Texas Tech program that trained future teachers to instruct German to elementary students. Fast-forward to today: She is serving in her sixth year as president of Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. Continue reading at this link.


Alumni Cecilia and Jim Edwards Establish Emergency Relief for Students

TTU alumni Cecilia and Jim Edwards

Arts & Sciences alumni Cecilia and Jim Edwards.

It doesn't take much for Jim (Class of '93) and Cecilia ('94) Edwards to recall the story of one of their most recent investments. The story begins in what was an otherwise ordinary winter day in 2019. Yet, as many times these things happen, almost everything changed in a single moment for one Texas Tech University student. That day, she was driving to a final exam, and then it happened. It started with a vehicle crash. The loss of the vehicle was, at first, an inconvenience. But things changed when bills became due. Suddenly, this student owed more than $900 for rent and classes. She began working 40-hour weeks in addition to being a full-time student. Without a car, she rode a pay-by-the-minute electric scooter roughly 10 miles to reach class and work each day, rain or shine. Soon, the cost of the scooter became too much, and she began walking—one hour in each direction, including at 2 a.m. when her shifts at work ended. After hearing this story, Jim and Cecilia, both Texas Tech alumni, knew they could make a difference. That difference came in the form of the Jim and Cecilia Edwards Student Emergency Support Fund, of which this student officially became the first beneficiary. Continue reading at this link.


Walterscheid Named to Board of Regents

alumna Brooke Walterscheid, TTU System Board of Regents

Brooke Walterscheid (Biology, 2016, TTU) has been appointed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott as the student regent for the Texas Tech University System Board of Regents for the 2020-21 academic year. Gov. Abbott's office made the announcement on Thursday (June 18). Walterscheid, originally from Muenster, Texas, is a fourth-year medical student at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) School of Medicine. Walterscheid becomes the 15th student to serve on the Board of Regents and the sixth student from TTUHSC. Follow this link for the complete article.


Dinan Sees First Book Published

TTU alumna Nancy Dinan, Ph.D.

Publishing a book, a piece of work that exposes part of a writer's soul, brings a multitude of emotions and thoughts—relief that the book is done, but anxiety on how it will be received. Nancy Dinan knows this experience firsthand. Dinan, who just graduated from Texas Tech University with her doctorate in English Literature, published her first book in May 2020. According to the book's publisher, Bloomsbury, Dinan's book, "Things You Would Know If You Grew Up Around Here," is a "cautionary fairy tale for our troubled ecological age." It's set during the 2015 Memorial Day Flood in Central Texas, where protagonist Boyd Montgomery sets out to rescue her missing friend. She is joined by others along the way, navigating the newly unfamiliar terrain. "I'm proud of my book, but I have some mixed feelings," Dinan said. "I think it being out makes the flaws very noticeable to me, but it's received some good critical reception." Those critical reviews, however, are few and far between. Most reviewers have praised the book, and Texas Monthly called it a "detailed portrait of a part of Texas whose novelistic potential few authors have tapped." Follow this link for the complete account of Nancy Dinan's new book.


Kerrick Led SpaceX Training, Safety

TTU alumna Ginger Kerrick

Ginger Kerrick (BS Physics '91, MS Physics '93) is now deputy director of NASA's Exploration Integration and Sciences Directorate, but until May 6, 2020, she was a division chief for NASA's Flight Integration Division—which placed her front and center in the training that went into the May 30, 2020, launch of SpaceX. Kerrick also is a member of the Board of Regents for the Texas Tech University System. Follow this link for the full account of Ginger Kerrick's role in the launch of SpaceX.

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Amman, Mauldin Study Pathogens at CDC

TTU alumnus Brian Amman

Brian Amman (PhD Zoology, 2005) and Matt Mauldin (BS Biology, 2008; PhD Biology, 2014) are at this moment conducting research that puts them at the forefront in the battle against some of the most frightening plagues on the planet: Ebola, Marburg virus, smallpox, and COVID-19. When there's news of an outbreak, the average person wants to get as far away as possible. Amman and Mauldin are among a courageous few who track deadly pathogens to their place of origin, or "reservoir" in disease parlance, and research ways to reduce the risk of future epidemics. Follow this link to learn how these scientists at the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) do their jobs.


Amman Tracks Marburg to Its Source

TTU alumnus Brian Amman

Brian Amman (PhD Zoology, 2005) is an ecologist with the Viral Special Pathogens Branch, Virus Host Ecology Unit, at the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an arm of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. In 2007, his research group solved a 40-year-old mystery by discovering the natural reservoir, or source, of Marburg hemorrhagic fever, a virus even deadlier than Ebola. He tracked Marburg's reservoir to the bats that were roosting in a Ugandan mine and, later, in Python Cave in Uganda's Queen Elizabeth National Park. Follow this link to discover how Amman's work moves science forward.


Mauldin Explains Research Abroad

TTU alumnus Matt Mauldin

Matt Mauldin (BS Biology, 2008; PhD Biology, 2014) is a microbiologist in the Poxvirus and Rabies Branch at the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an arm of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Like many other CDC scientists, Mauldin has traveled much of the world in search of the reservoirs, or sources, of deadly infectious diseases. "I have been asked repeatedly why the CDC conducts so much work outside of the United States. But the truth is, in this age of global travel we are all highly connected," Mauldin says. "That truth extends to plant and animal life around the world. Habitat modification can alter how animals and humans interact, potentially leading to disease spillover, which could subsequently lead to exported cases." Follow this link to learn why Mauldin says the best place to stop the next disease outbreak is at its source.


Thornton Earns Ph.D., Teaches in Abu Dhabi

TTU Ph.D. alumnus Brian Thornton

For the first 17 years of his life, Brian Thornton wasn't all that different from most young people trying to figure out life. But life has a way of throwing curve balls dripping with fate at unexpected times and in the most unexpected ways. And Thornton sure got a pitch he wasn't expecting. In his late teens, Thornton was diagnosed with dual forms of macular degeneration. Now at 42, he is legally blind with no cure currently available. What the Lubbock native and three-time Texas Tech Department of English graduate—B.A., M.A. and Ph.D.—has done to manage that major hurdle is inspiring, and he is quick to credit his alma mater for playing a major role in his unconventional success story. To read how Brian Thornton earned his doctorate, became a photographer, authored a book of poetry and moved his family to Abu Dhabi so he could teach at Zayed University, follow this link.

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Kerrick Appointed to Board of Regents

TTU Alumna Ginger Kerrick Appointed to Board of Regents

Ginger Kerrick (BS Physics '91, MS Physics '93) was appointed to the Texas Tech University System Board of Regents March 6, 2019, by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. Kerrick, who is a resident of Webster, is the Flight Integration Division Chief for NASA, Johnson Space Center, and has served in other various roles and capacities in human space flight and training for over 27 years. She is a member of the Society of Women Engineers, volunteer coordinator for Triumphant Trails Inc., and the annual emcee for the Galveston Polar Plunge benefitting Special Olympics. More about Kerrick's appointment may be found at this link.

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Abbott a 2018 TTU Distinguished Alumni

TTU alumni Josh Abbott, photo by J. Trevino

Texas Tech College of Arts & Sciences alumnus Josh Abbott, singer, songwriter, and headliner of the Josh Abbott Band, is one of three to be named 2018 Distinguished Alumni by the Texas Tech Alumni Association. Also named Distinguished Alumni this year are David Gaschen, best known for his more than 1,300 performances in the title role of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "The Phantom of the Opera"; and Gary Thomas, president and executive director for Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART). The three were recognized during a reception and awards dinner March 23.

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Alt Accepts New Position at Chromaflo

Kristin Alt (BS Biochemistry, TTU) has been hired by Chromaflo Technologies as a Technical Service Technician-Thermoset Americas. According to a Feb. 5 announcement, Alt will work at the Ashtabula, Ohio, facility. Her position will be responsible for color matching and supporting new product development. In addition, she will work with Quality Assurance and Manufacturing as required to facilitate the successful scale-up of new developments. Before moving to Chromaflo, Alt was a Laboratory Technician at Valspar in Garland, Texas. Ben Arnold, market development manager at Thermoset Americas, said Alt's education—her BS in Biochemistry with minors in Biology, Arabic, and Military Studies—as well as her experience would be a great addition to the Thermoset team.

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Pathirage Hired as IT Tech in Chemistry

Don Pathirage (Chemistry & Biochemistry, TTU 2017) has been hired by the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry as a full-time IT Technician, according to a January announcement by Department Chair Yehia Mechref. Pathirage will be working on the departmental website, departmental applications (Chemistry Placement Exam and Minor), and assisting Vince Wilde in the Electronics Shop—a job he filled as a graduate assistant.

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FALL 2017 and Earlier

Cavazos, 88, 1st Hispanic 4-star General

General Richard Cavazos, TTU Alumnus

Gen. Richard Cavazos (BS Geology, TTU), the first Hispanic four-star general in the U.S. Army and one of its most highly decorated veterans, died Oct. 29 in San Antonio after a long struggle with Alzheimer's disease, according to an obituary in MySanAntonio.com. Gen. Cavazos was the brother of Lauro Cavazos, Jr., who was the first Hispanic president of Texas Tech University and later U.S. Secretary of Education under President George H.W. Bush. The Killeen Daily Herald reported that Cavazos would be buried Nov. 14 in Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery. "With a combat record that included the nation's second-highest medal for valor both in the Korean conflict and Vietnam War, Cavazos blazed a trail for generations of other Hispanic general officers," the article reported. Cavazos' life began as the second son of a King Ranch foreman, Lauro Cavazos, Sr. During his military career, Cavazos rose through various leadership ranks until commanding all soldiers in the continental United States before retiring in 1984. He was the second-highest decorated officer in the Korean War and, by the end of his career, the holder of two Silver Stars, two Legions of Merit, a Distinguished Flying Cross, five Bronze Stars with Valor and a Purple Heart, in addition to the pair of Distinguished Service Crosses, MySanAntonio.com reported.

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Rapp Appointed Deputy Superintendent

Lori Rapp, TTU AlumniDr. Lori Rapp (BA Mathematics, TTU), was appointed Deputy Superintendent of the Lewisville Independent School District by The Lewisville ISD Board of Trustees at its Oct. 16 Regular Meeting. In addition to her duties as the head of Learning and Teaching, she will provide oversight for Employee Services and Schools and Student Activities. "There is no person better suited than Dr. Rapp to take on the role of Deputy Superintendent for Lewisville ISD," Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kevin Rogers said in the Oct. 17 Cross Timbers Gazette. "She is one of my most trusted advisors and is a leader in every sense of the word. Lori has been a driving force behind many of the positive changes we've implemented during my tenure as superintendent. I am exceptionally proud of the innovative work her team is doing in the Learning and Teaching division, and I am confident under her leadership the Employee Services and Schools and Student Activities departments will reach even greater heights." Rapp told the Corss Timbers Gazette that she joined the LISD team as a math teacher at The Colony High School in 1996. "Lewisville ISD has been my professional home for more than 20 years. The wonderful people who make up this amazing district are my family, and it is humbling and a tremendous honor to have the opportunity to serve LISD as Deputy Superintendent," Rapp was quoted as saying. After earning her Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Texas Tech University, she went on to earn a Master of Science in Mathematics at Texas Woman's University and a PhD in Educational Leadership from Dallas Baptist University.

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Mitchell to Oversee U.S. Ambassadors in Europe

A. Wess Mitchell, TTUA. Wess Mitchell has been selected as the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. Mitchell's appointment was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Sept. 28 and he will be sworn in sometime the week of Oct. 16. Part of the job of an Assistant Secretary for a particular geographic region is to serve as the supervisor for the U.S. ambassadors in that region. "In the State Department, the Assistant Secretary is seen as a very high-level, very important position," said Ambassador Tibor Nagy, Texas Tech's vice provost for international affairs. "The current administration has not filled many of these positions, and it's a real boon for Texas Tech to have an assistant secretary who graduated from here. It shows what a good job Texas Tech does with its graduates." Mitchell earned his bachelor's degree in history and political science from Texas Tech in 2001 followed by a master's degree in German and European studies from Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, and a doctorate at the Freie Universität Berlin. He served as president and CEO of the Center for European Policy Analysis, a foreign-policy institute dedicated to East-Central Europe, and served on numerous policy boards in both the United States and Europe. He has co-authored two books: "Unquiet Frontier: Vulnerable Allies, Rising Rivals and the Crisis of American Power" in 2016 and "The Godfather Doctrine: A Foreign Policy Parable" in 2009. "All the regions of world are very important," Nagy said, "but U.S. relations with Europe are especially critical because of NATO, the European Union and the history of our relations, including U.S. involvement in European affairs, post-World War II." Links to other stories and information about Mitchell include an article at the Strategic Culture Foundation and a story at AllGov.com.

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Wright to Lead Health & Human Services

Don Wright, TTUFollowing the Sept. 29 resignation of Tom Price as the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Texas Tech alumnus Don Wright became the Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services. Wright had been the Acting Assistant Secretary for Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) since Feb. 10. He remains the director of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, a position he has held since January 2012. He has worked in HHS for 10 years. From 2003 to 2007, Wright worked in the U.S. Department of Labor as director of the Office of Occupational Medicine for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Wright received his bachelor's degree at Texas Tech in zoology and animal biology before earning his medical degree from the University of Texas and a master's degree in public health from the Medical College of Wisconsin. He is board-certified in both family medicine and preventive medicine and is a fellow of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine as well as the American Academy of Family Physicians. In additional news, Wright was featured in a Sept. 29 Newsweek article entitled, "Who Is Don Wright? Trumps Pick to Succeed Tom Rice Was Running the Office of Disease Prevention." Health Experts

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Furgeson to Retire From UNT-Dallas Law

Royal Fergusun, TTU AlumnusRoyal Furgeson (BA English, TTU) will retire from his post as dean of the University of North Texas—Dallas College of Law in June 2018, according to an Oct. 3 item at KERA News. Furgeson was the force behind getting UNT Dallas Law accredited and is a former U.S. District Judge in the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division. Furgeson was named dean in January 2012 and started the job in June 2013 after retiring from the bench. When he spoke with KERA in 2016, when the school's accreditation was on shaky ground, he talked about UNT Dallas' efforts to build a law school that's more affordable and with a more diverse student population. "The state of Texas saw an opportunity to let us do something different, so they let us come. We've got to do something to make sure modest means people and small businesses get lawyers," he told KERA. Before his tenure as Senior U.S. District Judge in the Northern District of Texas, he served in the El Paso, Midland and San Antonio Divisions of the Western District of Texas. The native Lubbockite and TTU graduate served as a federal judge for over 18 years. Furgeson earned his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law, then served two years in the U.S. Army for two years. When he returned from a tour of duty in Vietnam, he went to work in Lubbock as law clerk. He was a practicing trial lawyer for 24 years before receiving a presidential appointment to the federal bench, according to KERA.

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York Joins Heartspring Pediatric Services

Dr. Haley York, TTU AlumnaeDr. Haley York (BA Psychology, TTU) has been hired as a psychologist for Heartspring's Pediatric Services program in Wichita, Kan., according to a Sept. 13 article in The Cowley Courier Traveler. The addition of York will make it possible for Heartspring to serve more than 30 additional children, the article stated, and she will be responsible for evaluations as well as outpatient therapy for children and their families. Previously, York worked at the University of Louisville conducting research on early identification of gifted behavior in under-represented children. She also has experience working in a clinical outpatient setting. Her pre-doctoral internship was at the Munroe-Meyer Institute in Omaha, Neb. where she worked with children in their Rural Integrated Care program. After earning her bachelor's in psychology from TTU, York went on to earn her master's and doctorate in school psychology from Louisiana State University. "There are just so many considerations and barriers parents have to get treatment," York was quoted as saying. "At Heartspring, psychology is integrated with speech, physical and occupational therapy and autism services. We have all of these knowledgeable professionals in one place and are able to help families get the most out of their time and meet the diverse needs of their kids."

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Nagy Column Holds Out Hope for Europe

Tibor Nagy, TTUTibor Nagy (BA Political Science, TTU 1972), Texas Tech Vice Provost for International Affairs and retired U.S. Ambassador, wrote about the challenges facing Europe in his June 16 op-ed piece in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. In the article, Nagy, fresh from a visit to the British countryside and his native Hungary, contrasts European and U.S. media coverage, examines Brexit, and evaluates the migrant situation in Italy and Hungary. Ultimately, Nagy holds out hope of a better future for Europe despite the many obstacles it has yet to overcome.

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Ferguson Studies Hand-Standing Skunks

Adam Ferguson Hand-Standing Skunk

Adam Ferguson (PhD Biology, TTU), now Collections Manager of Mammals at The Field Museum in Chicago, is lead author of a study about skunks. The paper that published May 3 in Ecology and Evolution revealed how Ice Age climate change played a role in the evolution of one group of skunks that weigh just 2 pounds and stand on their forepaws, rear feet in the air, when they spray their infamous scent. Called the western spotted skunk, the species is found throughout the United States and Mexico in different climates, from Oregon's temperate rainforests to the Sonoran, the hottest desert in Mexico. "By analyzing western spotted skunk DNA, we learned that Ice Age climate change played a crucial role in their evolution," Ferguson was quoted as saying in a May 3 article from The Field Museum, "Spotted Skunk Evolution Driven by Climate Change." Ferguson completed the research while he was still a PhD student at Texas Tech University. "Small carnivores like skunks haven't been well-studied when it comes to historical climate change," Ferguson said. "We know how small mammals like rodents respond to changing climates, and we know how bigger carnivores like wolves respond, but this study helps bridge the gap between them." The article went on to explain that this study can illuminate the bigger picture of biodiversity in the face of climate change. "Understanding these genetic subdivisions that happened as a result of changing climatic conditions can help us conserve skunks and other animals in the future," Ferguson said. The findings have been widely republished in the following media: the May 3 Science Daily, the May 4 Discover magazine, the May 3 Newseek, the May 4 Wired, and the May 4 Daily Mail. Ferguson's earlier research at Texas Tech on hog-nosed skunks was written about in the Fall 2014 Texas Tech Discoveries magazine.

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Honum Gives Reading at Kettle Art in Dallas

The Tulip flame by Chloe Honum, TTU alumnaChloe Honum (PhD Creative Writing, TTU), was one of four writers who gave a reading May 17 as part of the Pegasus Reading Series at Kettle Art in Dallas. Honum is the author of "The Tulip-Flame" (Cleveland State University, 2013), and now an Assistant Professor in the English Department at Baylor University. One of the other writers to speak that evening was Texas Tech's Chen Chen, a PhD student in the Department of English's Creative Writing program and author of "When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities" (available on Kindle).

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Creasy Rides Horse Showbiz to Rodeo Title

Rodeo champ Luke Creasy, TTU alumnusLuke Creasy (BA English, TTU 2011), won the Bareback Title at City Bank Coliseum during the ABC Rodeo April 1-2 with a 79-point ride. A horse named Showbiz helped him win the $1,241 prize, according to an article in the Lubbock Avalanche Journal. Creasy, a Canadian from Brownfield, Alberta, told the AJ: "I won (Lubbock) in 2014 with maybe an 83 or something," Creasy said. "I've been 86 there and ended up second. I was thinking 79 might be good for like a fourth-place check, and somehow managed to hang in for first place. Great, but unexpected." During his student days at Texas Tech, Creasy rode in competition and ranked 21st and 22nd in the world in 2010 and 2011, according to the article.

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Foisor Wins Women's Chess Championship

Chess champ Sabina-Francesca Foisor, TTU alumna

Sabina-Francesca Foisor (Master's coursework in Sociology 2016-2017) won the U.S. Women's Chess Championship in St. Louis with a queen sacrifice to checkmate her opponent. Foiser was the 2007 Women's Grandmaster. Her win was detailed in the April 7 Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, the April 10 Chess News and a video interview posted April 10 on YouTube.

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Hernandez Promoted at University of Chicago

Kyle Hernandez (BS Biology, TTU 2005; PhD Ecology, Evolution, and Population Biology, TTU 2011), a Bioinformatician, was promoted to Research Assistant Professor, an academic appointment, from a regular staff appointment at the Center for Research Informatics at The University of Chicago. His new position allows him to be a Principal Investigator on research grants.

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Nagy Column Focuses on Geopolitcal Visitors

Tibor Nagy, TTUTibor Nagy (BA Political Science, TTU 1972), Texas Tech Vice Provost for International Affairs and retired U.S. Ambassador, welcomed four geopolitical experts to Lubbock and wrote about the event in his March 31 column in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. In "Lubbock and Foreign Affairs," Nagy described how Ambassador Ron Neumann, President of the American Academy of Diplomacy, and Ambassadors Kathleen Stephens, John Beyrle and Kurt Volker held sessions with local high school and university students, met with local industry leaders and conducted a public forum with Lubbockites.

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Lockhart Named Distinguished Alumni

Retired Col. Paul Lockhart (B.A. Mathematics, TTU 1978) is one of three to be named a 2017 Distinguished Alumni of Texas Tech University by the Texas Tech Alumni Association. The awards are designed to recognize and honor alumni who have made significant contributions toward furthering the excellence of Texas Tech through outstanding accomplishments, careers and/or through extraordinary measures of service. Since graduating, Lockhart was commissioned as a United States Air Force (USAF) pilot and has since served as a crew member of two NASA missions to the International Space Station, held positions with the Pentagon and worked as a defense specialist at NASA Headquarters. He, Wendy Motlong Masiello (Marketing, TTU 1980), and Arati Prabhakar (B.S. Engineering, TTU 1979) were honored at a reception, dinner and program March 31 at the McKenzie-Merket Alumni Center.

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Shewmaker Publishes 1st Poetry Book

Penumbra by Michael Shewmaker, TTU alumnusMichael Shewmaker, PhD (PhD Creative Writing, TTU), a poet who teaches in Stanford University's Creative Writing Department, published his first book of poetry, "Penumbra" (Ohio University Press, 2017), which won the 2017 Hollis Summers Poetry Prize. As described in a March 30 feature in The Almanac, Shewmaker's work grapples with concepts of faith, doubt and death in the form of poetic expression.

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Nagy on State Department Budget Cuts

Tibor Nagy, TTUTibor Nagy (BA Political Science, TTU 1972), Texas Tech Vice Provost for International Affairs and retired U.S. Ambassador, was interviewed in a FOX-34 television news segment about President Trump's proposed 28 percent State Department budget cut. The March 27 segment described Nagy as vehemently opposed to the cuts eliminating these funds, saying that the cut would do more harm than good. "If you send a diplomat to try and head off a problem, you know you're sending someone with a briefcase and some papers and some inside knowledge of the country and the culture and the situation and compare that to sending an aircraft carrier," Nagy told FOX-34. "If you look at the costs involved, they're not even in the same atmosphere."

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Cavazos the Subject of Diversity Exhibit

Lauro Cavazos TTU alumniLauro F. Cavazos (bachelor's and master's in Zoology, TTU) and his work toward institutional diversity at Texas Tech are the focus of an exhibit in the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library. In 1980, Cavazos became the 10th president of Texas Tech and worked to increase and improve the diversity of his alma mater. "When I got to Texas Tech back in 1980, the minority enrollment was about 2 percent; I was one of the few people on the campus who could speak Spanish," Cavazos said. "There was a lot of room to grow in a positive way. It was slow and difficult. Eight years later, when I left, the minority enrollment had gone up to more than 8 percent." To this day, Cavazos remains the only Hispanic and only graduate of Texas Tech to serve as TTU president. He went on to become U.S. Secretary of Education—the first Hispanic person to hold a Cabinet position. To read more, follow this link to the Feb. 21 Texas Tech Today story, "First Hispanic President of Texas Tech University Honored in Diversity Exhibit."

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Kerrick Speaks at Tech Savvy Conference

Ginger Kerrick TTU alumniGinger Kerrick (BS Physics 1991, MS Physics 1993 TTU), a NASA flight director for the International Space Station, was keynote speaker for the Tech Savvy Conference, held Feb. 18 on campus. TV station KLBK reported that the conference day was devoted to science, technology, engineering and math for sixth- through ninth-grade girls and their parents. The girls attended workshops where they discovered realistic STEM careers and pathways to education. their parents learned how to encourage and reinforce their daughters' aspirations. The conference was the result of collaboration between Texas Tech's STEM Center for Outreach, Research and Education and the American Association of University Women, Lubbock Branch.

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Miller Named Amarillo City Manager

Jared Miller, Amarillo City Manager, TTU alumnusJared Miller (Master of Public Administration 2001 TTU) is the new city manager of Amarillo, according to articles in the Amarillo Globe-News on Jan. 12, with a follow-up on Jan. 17. Miller is expected to take up his new post on or before Feb. 20, and comes to the job from San Marcos, where he was city manager since 2014. Miller told the Globe-News that he is familiar with the Texas Panhandle—his wife, Kristin, hails from Amarillo and they were married there—and that he's just like the people who live here: "Direct, and the type of person who looks for common ground."

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