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UA Vet Med Program to 'Break the Mold'

Wed, 04/08/2015 - 3:08pm

A veterinary medical education program unlike any other in North America is being created at the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, with an innovative curriculum that will create jobs, student opportunity and build the state’s economic prosperity.

"We’re going to break the mold and create the first of a (new) generation of veterinary education programs designed for the 21st century," said Dr. Bonnie Buntain, the new coordinator of the UA’s Veterinary Medical and Surgical Program.

"We will provide an exceptional education at a cost that is lower than any other school in North America," said Buntain, a pioneer in veterinary medicine who previously served as a consultant in developing the UA program. Most recently, she helped establish a vet school at the University of Calgary.

The UA program, which will be the state’s only public veterinary medical education program, was approved by the Arizona Board of Regents last September on the heels of a $9 million gift from the Kemper and Ethel Marley Foundation. The program will launch in August 2016.

Prospective students from Arizona and beyond have expressed interest in the hybrid, innovative, year-round program, which is designed to meet the demands of rural areas for veterinarians and to allow students to graduate on firmer financial ground.

"We will at least halve the cost of a D.V.M. education compared to other public programs, and quarter the cost compared with private programs — all while increasing educational content by almost 40 percent,” Buntain said.

According to Buntain, many students today will graduate with more than $300,000 in student-loan debt from schools that cost up to $61,000 annually.

"This is a non-sustainable debt when the typical starting salary is $60,000," she said. "These salaries are even lower in rural areas of the U.S. which have a veterinarian shortage. We plan to have the best value for the money here in Arizona, a unique package of educational opportunity that will also have people working as D.V.M.'s up to four years sooner than any other program. This will be the first of the next generation of U.S. programs for our newest colleagues facing challenges that none of us faced."

In addition to private practice, UA graduates will be competitive for positions in federal, state and local government in food safety and security, biomedical research and other areas.

Buntain brings experience well beyond a private equine practice, having held several positions during her 17 years in the federal government, including chief public health veterinarian and founding director of animal production food safety staff in the Food Safety and Inspection Service.

Satellite Facilities Across State

The UA’s hybrid clinical rotations call for students to receive clinical training not only in satellite University facilities statewide but also in private and public facilities with practicing veterinarians.

In December, the University purchased the Ames Animal Care Facility in Douglas, Arizona, to be one of four satellite locations. The building houses the city of Douglas and Cochise County animal shelters. Other facilities will be in Yuma and Pinal counties and in the Verde Valley.

The model exemplifies UA’s 100% Engagement initiative by providing every student with real-world, hands-on experience beyond what is typically available.

Education will be based on core competencies developed in three areas: commerce, human and animal interdependence, and One Health, which includes the central role D.V.M.'s have in diagnosing and preventing public health disasters due to the spread of diseases shared by animals and humans, such as flu, SARS and even Ebola.

The college is partnering with Arizona veterinarians and members of other industries that employ D.V.M.'s, including a clinical advisory group, to develop the competencies that graduates must have.

Among the partners is Dr. Mary Kay Klein of Southwest Veterinary Oncology.

"Shane Burgess is coming at this from a whole new perspective and is addressing the issues that have become stumbling blocks for students to become veterinarians," Klein said of the college's dean.

"Ultimately what all of us look for in new graduates is the ability to logically take a problem, assess it, and generate a list of differentials and make a concise and specific treatment plan. We want problem solvers and logical thinkers, with all the tools and knowledge they need to be successful and the ability to put that knowledge to use in a clinical setting."

She finds one concept that will be developed to be particularly intriguing: a D.V.M. who is also a licensed nurse practitioner. She said such a person could help rural areas lacking in health care providers for humans and animals.

Because the program is designed from the outset to change as the state’s needs change, it will provide "what the state needs, what students need and what consumers need," Klein said.

The program also is partnering with shelters, including the Humane Society of Southern Arizona and the Hermitage No-Kill Cat Shelter.

Maureen O’Nell, CEO of the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, has been involved in planning for more than a year. HSSA is Tucson’s oldest and largest locally supported animal welfare agency.

"We have a very significant training arena for students," O’Nell said. "We have a lot of animals here every single day with a myriad of health issues. It’s a very stressful environment for our animals. They come with just about any condition you can think of, and on top of that, they have been abandoned. Shelter medicine is very complex."

'It Doesn't Get More Real'

She said the experience also will expose students to pet owners who have limited resources, as well as to animal cruelty — experiences that could serve them well in their profession.

"It doesn’t get more real than this," O’Nell said. "You see everything. I’d love to see students want to be in shelter medicine. This is part of our world."

Buntain said the UA program will open its application period in the spring of 2016.

"We want to attract exceptional people interested in all careers that D.V.M.'s can have, such as the exploding bioscience economy, global commerce in animals and their products, retail, biomedicine and public health — as well as typical practice," she said. 

Editor: dougcarrollByline: Gabrielle FimbresByline Affiliation: College of Agriculture and Life SciencesHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: An innovative curriculum, scheduled to launch in August 2016, will address a shortage of veterinarians in rural areas, offer practical experience and keep costs to students much lower than the norm.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

ARS Tribute to Honor Late UA Alumnus

Tue, 04/07/2015 - 7:28pm

Jeffry Jahn (Photo: Chris Richards)

For decades, University of Arizona alumnus Jeffry Jahn's energy and passion for choral arts inspired his singers and audiences alike.

In honor of his memory, the Arizona Repertory Singers will present "How Can We Keep From Singing?," a concert featuring a nostalgic retrospective of Jahn's favorite choral works performed by ARS during his 25-year tenure as music director and conductor. Jahn died unexpectedly in February.

"Maestro Jahn was a very beloved conductor. I understand that he was passionate about choral music and his love of sharing it with others," said Elizabeth Schauer, associate director of choral activities and an associate professor at the UA's Fred Fox School of Music.

"My former students who encountered him were moved by him and drawn to him through his work," Schauer said. "Those who sang for him had a great connection with and appreciation of him.  I know he inspired his singers to love the masterworks of our art, and to aspire to bring their best to it."

The April 19 performance will be held at 3 p.m. at Catalina United Methodist Church, 2700 E. Speedway Blvd. Nadeen Jahn, Jahn's wife and the ARS interim music director, will conduct, and the concert will feature pieces that include Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "Laudate Pueri," Claude Debussy's "Trois Chansons" and Lorenz Hart's "Isn’t It Romantic."

The performance is free and open to the public as a gift to Tucson, honoring Jahn's belief that ARS sings for the public, not for itself. 

"Although we are profoundly heartbroken by his untimely death, we are immeasurably blessed by the many years that Jeffry graced our community as a musician, mentor, educator, composer, humorist and generous-hearted friend," said John Neve, president of the ARS board of directors.

"Jeffry's personal sentiment was 'life is a song that must be sung,' so it is only fitting that we honor his memory with a performance featuring his favorite pieces that we performed under his direction over the past 25 years," Neve said.

Jahn took the helm of ARS in 1990, shortly after earning his doctoral degree from the UA School of Music. He remained connected with his alma mater, often supporting students and also involving students and employees in ARS. 

ARS blossomed under his gifted musical direction; it became Tucson's premier vocal choral ensemble and developed one of the largest performing repertories in the nation, with more than 350 diverse pieces.

Jahn contributions to Tucson's music community also will be honored by his induction into the Tucson Musicians Museum as part of its grand-opening celebration, to be held Sunday. Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild is expected to attend the ribbon cutting.

Categories: Arts and HumanitiesThis is a Wildcat Corner feature: Images: Tags: FacultyEducationOutreachByline: Arizona Repertory Singers |Editor: dougcarrollInclude in UANow: 0Date of Publication: Wednesday, April 8, 2015Medium Summary: UA alumnus Jeffry Jahn was known for his energy and passion for choral arts, and he inspired a generation of singers and audiences alike. Feature on Front: YesShort Summary: UA alumnus Jeffry Jahn was known for his energy and passion for choral arts. Send to Never Settle Site: 0UA in the News Spotlight: Includes video: 

E-Week: Fun, Games and Brains

Tue, 04/07/2015 - 4:58pm

University of Arizona Engineers Week, or E-Week, the annual celebration of creativity, competition and charity organized by the Engineering Student Council, takes place on and around the UA campus from Friday through April 18.

Cerebral to celestial, gritty to elegant, athletic to absurd, E-Week events share a common goal: to spread the magic and meaning of engineering to as many people as possible.

"E-Week is a great way to promote engineering to the campus and the community," said College of Engineering Dean Jeff Goldberg. "It shows that engineers can improve society and help people, and have some fun while they do it. And it’s a great opportunity to get kids interested in a career in engineering."

All are welcome at E-Week contests, which showcase the talents of UA student engineers, raise awareness about engineering education and raise funds for those in need.

"This should be the biggest E-Week we’ve ever had at the UA, with 28 engineering student clubs participating," predicted Ericka Tucker, Engineering Student Council president. 

The more student clubs participate in E-Week, the more they can help the Tucson community. Clubs compete for points based on their participation and performance at each E-Week event, including community service events, and clubs with the most points win prizes at E-Week closing ceremonies. So they’re especially motivated to attract and interest as many people as possible.

E-Week events include the Rube Goldberg contest, in which student teams design and build elaborate contraptions to perform simple tasks. Rube Goldberg was a Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, inventor and engineer, whose comical inventions still influence popular culture and have inspired generations of UA engineers to overdesign in his name.

Later in the week, mining engineering students show off their machine-wielding skills at another popular E-Week event, a rock-drilling competition outside Old Main. Engineering students also will face off at Engineering Jeopardy; Lego, Jenga and egg-drop competitions; and softball and kickball tournaments.

E-Week organizers have teamed up with a new club, UA Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, for a first-ever E-Week event, Yuri’s Night, where amateur astronomers will set up telescopes on the UA Mall for community members to scan the night sky.

At week’s end, students will kick out the jams at the Engineers Ball, a classic E-Week gala resurrected last year after a long hiatus.

The capstone community outreach and public service effort for E-Week is a canned-food drive to benefit the Campus Pantry, which serves UA students, staff and their families. Organizers aim to collect 6,000 pounds of food, and Jeff Goldberg has pledged $1,000 in matching funds.

Because the pantry can hold only 500 pounds of food, the UA chapter of the professional engineering fraternity Theta Tau Chi has volunteered to store overflow at its house.

"It’s just one example of how UA engineering students join forces at E-Week to help members of the community," Tucker said. "The giving-back portion of Engineers Week is by far the most important."

Editor: dougcarrollByline: Jill GoetzByline Affiliation: UA College of EngineeringWhat: E-WeekWhere: UA campusWhen: April 10-18Extra Info: 

For a calendar of E-Week events: http://www.escuofa.com/#!eweek2015/cah4

 

Header image: YesNo Image: Subheading: From rock drilling and Rube Goldberg competitions to stargazing on the UA Mall and a crowning ball, the UA's College of Engineering promises good times for a good cause. Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

UA Honors Asian American Heritage

Mon, 04/06/2015 - 6:28pm

To recognize and celebrate the contribution and heritage of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the University of Arizona is hosting speakers, performances, movie nights and a graduation ceremony leading into Mays. 

The UA's Asian Pacific American Student Affairs and its partners are putting on events that follow two main themes: "Making Waves" and "Telling Our Stories."

"A common message in Asian American Pacific Islander culture is promoting that the key to success is to not make waves and just do work silently," said Dan Xayaphanh, program director for Asian Pacific American Student Affairs.

"This message has furthered the passive Asian stereotype and has fostered an invisible population," Xayaphanh said. "This month, we want to dispel this message and teach about the issues Asian Pacific American students are facing and celebrate the waves that are making them visible."

The month's events include:

  • April 17: The AACA Talent Show will be held from 6-9 p.m. in Room 350 of the Modern Languages Building, featuring the talents of students and community members.
  • April 18: The Aileen Esteban Primero Basketball Tournament will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the UA Recreation Center's South Gym to benefit the scholarship endowment fund.
  • April 18: Troy Osaki will host a slam poetry workshop on masculinity, to be held from 11 a.m. to noon in Gallagher Theater. At 5 p.m., Osaki, winner of the 2012 Youth Speaks Seattle Grand Slam, will present a spoken-word performance.
  • April 23: Solo performer Elizabeth Liang will present "Alien Citizen: An Earth Odyssey" about growing up as a dual citizen of mixed heritage. The event will be held at 7 p.m. in the Kiva Room of the Education Building.
  • May 9: The Lotus Laureate Graduation Convocation will be held at 5:30 p.m. in the South Ballroom of the Student Union Memorial Center. The event will honor the achievements of Asian Pacific American students who will be graduating in May. 

In addition to these events, Xayaphanh and his team are collecting students' stories through the Asian Pacific American Student Affairs website.

"By students telling their stories, we hope to showcase their individualism and unique identities and break down stereotypes like the model minority myth," Xayaphanh said. The stories will be shared and displayed during the Lotus Laureate Graduation Convocation.

"We hope this month will be a catalyst in breaking Asian American Pacific Islander stereotypes throughout campus," he said, "and acknowledging the uniqueness of our students."

Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Asian Pacific American Student Affairs is sponsoring a series of events in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, with the themes of "Making Waves" and "Telling Our Stories." Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noIncludes video: 

UA App Designed to Help Women Quit Smoking

Mon, 04/06/2015 - 4:30pm

See Me Smoke-Free, the first multibehavioral mobile health (mHealth) app designed to help women quit smoking, eat well and get moving, is now available for free at the Google Play Store.

The Android phone app, officially released March 30, uses guided imagery to help women resist the urge to smoke, while encouraging them to make healthful food choices and increase their physical activity. The app can be downloaded at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=edu.arizona.guidedimagery.

See Me Smoke-Free was developed by a multidisciplinary research team headed by Judith S. Gordon, associate professor and associate head for research with the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson.

The goal of See Me Smoke-Free is to provide an overall sense of well-being and self-efficacy, Gordon said.

"We want women to recognize that they are strong, they are beautiful, they are powerful and they’re in control of their lives," she said. "And that they can use the app to engage in a healthier lifestyle. That includes being smoke-free."

The app is designed specifically for women, with input from women smokers, because studies have shown that women experience challenges such as weight gain when they quit smoking. That may make quitting more difficult for women than it is for men, Gordon said.

The main component of the app is a guided imagery program, which consists of several audio files. Guided imagery is an enhanced visualization technique that encourages users to imagine themselves smoke-free and capable of dealing with cravings.

In addition to sight imagery, the app prompts women to use all of their senses for a fully immersive experience. For example, users are guided through a farmers’ market, where they imagine seeing, smelling and tasting their favorite fruit or vegetable.

Users are prompted to use the guided imagery files daily. The app also allows users to access additional information and resources on quitting, eating well and being physically active; record achievement of their daily goals; and display how many days they have gone without smoking, the intensity of their cravings over time and how much money they have saved. Users receive daily motivational messages and tips for living a healthy lifestyle, and they get virtual awards for meeting their goals and engaging with the app.

"The reason we developed this as an Android app is twofold," Gordon said. "First, Android currently has the largest market share of smartphone operating systems. Second, we know that people with lower incomes are more likely to use Androids, and they are more likely to smoke."

See Me Smoke-Free was developed as part of a two-phase study. Participants are needed for the second phase of the study, which will evaluate the app. Additional information about the app and the research study is available at the website, www.seemesmokefree.org.

"A multi-behavioral intervention such as ours requires experts from a variety of fields," Gordon noted.

The study team includes Melanie Hingle, assistant professor with the Department of Nutritional Sciences, UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the Canyon Ranch Center for Prevention and Health Promotion at the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health; Thienne Johnson, research associate with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, UA College of Engineering, and the Department of Computer Science, UA College of Science; and Peter Giacobbi, associate professor with the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences and the School of Public Health at West Virginia University. Jim Cunningham, an epidemiologist with the UA Department of Family and Community Medicine, is the study’s methodologist and statistician.

See Me Smoke-Free is funded by a two-year, $366,400 National Cancer Institute grant.

Editor: dougcarrollWriter: Jane EriksonByline: Jane EriksonByline Affiliation: UA College of Medicine – TucsonHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Guided imagery is used to help women resist the urge to light up while encouraging them to make healthful food choices and increase physical activity.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

Dressed for Success

Mon, 04/06/2015 - 3:53pm

What's a few days of wearing a tie or a skirt if it helps to set up the rest of your life?

University of Arizona students who participated in the recent Spring Career Days on campus didn't need to be persuaded. With more than 200 companies descending on campus for two days to recruit for internships and full-time positions, there was ample incentive. In fact, a "Dress for Success" fashion show put on by Dillard's drew more than 250 students — and even had a waiting list.

It was all part of a concerted effort by the Office of Career Services to position UA students for their next step.

"It's critically important for us to connect our students with (career) opportunities," said Eileen McGarry, executive director of career services and student engagement at the UA. 

Half of the employers, McGarry said, were from Arizona. But 26 other states also were represented.

"They're looking for broad-based skills, for communication skills and analytical skills," McGarry said, and an employer summit discussed those very things.

McGarry had three pointers for students who wanted to ace the test: Dress professionally, have a 30-second introduction at the ready, and show that you've done your homework on a prospective employer.

Video Thumbnail: Category(s): Campus NewsTeaching and StudentsYouTube Video:  Career Services Spring Fair Video of Career Services Spring Fair Feature Sticky: OffFeature on Front: NoMedium Summary: Employers descended on campus for two days of recruitment for internships and full-time positions, and the UA's Office of Career Services had all bases covered.UANow Image: Date of Publication: Monday, April 6, 2015Send to Never Settle Site: 0Includes video: The story include video

UA Grad Slam Is a Grand Success

Fri, 04/03/2015 - 5:29pm

Shayan Khoshmagham, a University of Arizona engineering student, pitched an idea for a traffic-light device that would enable vehicles to communicate to one another to help avoid collisions.

Soil, Water and Environmental Science student Bradley Schmitz shared his collaborative production of treatment technologies, which brings waste water to potable reuse standards.

During each round leading up the Grad Slam finals, held Monday evening, students had three minutes to speak about their current research or a proposed project for a chance to win a first-place prize of $3,000.

The competition, which could become an annual event, served as an important professional development opportunity for scientists and researchers who are often working on initiatives meant to improve lives.

"In this world of dwindling resources all around, it is imperative that graduate students and faculty are able to articulate to multiple audiences what it is that they do and why it is valuable," said Meg Lota Brown, director of the UA's Graduate Center.

In the end, Rachel LaMantia, who designed an energy-efficient contemporary housing structure based on Hopi traditions, won the $3,000 top prize in the UA tournament, which was hosted by the Graduate College and the Graduate and Professional Student Council with sponsorship from the Office of Research and Discovery and the University Libraries.

"This competition is a great opportunity for students to be able to share their research while also improving their presentation skills," said LaMantia, a first-year master's student in the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture.

"We are very fortunate that it is now a part of the University of Arizona, and I thank everybody involved for this opportunity and send out a big congratulations to the other five finalists," she said. "I still can't fully believe that I received first place."

New Ideas for Old Problems

During her youth living in Tucson and spending summers on the Hopi Reservation in the northeastern Arizona, LaMantia observed how traditional Hopi structures seemed more adept at maintaining cooler indoor temperatures when compared to substandard houses on the reservation.

"I was always aware of the difference between the lifestyle on the reservation and the lifestyle in Tucson. However, as I grew older, I began to wonder why there was such a big difference and decided to use my research as a way to understand this," said LaMantia, whose dissertation chair is Nader Chalfoun, an architecture and environmental sciences professor.

LaMantia said she is determined to create a type of housing that incorporates modern and traditional strategies, is environmentally sound and affordable, and addresses the inefficient housing that exists for many Hopi people.

She said the Grad Slam funding would enable her to rent equipment to perform an energy audit on a Hopi house with traditional strategies — including small window openings, strategic shading and the use of sandstone for construction — and then to implement modern strategies to perform a second audit.

Her model, combining both strategies, predicts that the Hopi-informed design would result in reduced energy use of about 45 percent in one year, representing a reduction in $1,670 in utility costs.

"By using these techniques, we can create and design in a more energy-efficient way, improving the quality of life and reducing the amount of energy we unknowingly consume," LaMantia said.

Emily Mackelprang, a sixth-year doctoral candidate in psychology, took second place and a $2,000 prize.

Mackelprang studies female sexual offending, "an area of perpetration that has received far too little attention," she said.

"Tens of thousands of children are sexually abused by a female each year," Mackelprang said. "I began to wonder: Is our sense of justice really blind, or do gender and beauty matter?"

Mackelprang found that both matter.

She surveyed individuals about male and female sex offenders, finding that females who were deemed attractive were thought to deserve lower bail costs and less time in jail. Women also were seen as less harmful and less responsible for their acts than men, regardless of a man's perceived attractiveness.

"I hope that this and other research can be used to develop educational and training mechanisms for law enforcement officials and mental health practitioners so that the victims can receive the support that they deserve," said Mackelprang, who will complete a clinical internship at Western State Hospital in Washington state this year. "Sexual assault should always be taken seriously, no matter who the perpetrator or is, or what she looks like."

Mackelprang and the other students in the competition were judged based on the presentation of their ideas, the significance of their work and how well they were able to communicate highly complex ideas in a way that a general audience would understand.

Matthew Bronnimann, a third-year doctoral student in immunobiology, tied for third place with Nina Patrick, a fifth-year doctoral candidate in the Pharmaceutical Sciences Program. Each will take a $1,000 prize. Bronnimann is investigating ways to develop better drug treatments to prevent human papillomavirus infections. Patrick is working to reduce the side effects caused by valproic acid, an anti-seizure drug.

The other finalists were Victoria Moses, a third-year doctoral student in the School of Anthropology, and Jasmine Sears, a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the College of Optical Sciences. Moses has identified and interpreted early Roman animal sacrifice practices. Sears is working on a new method to build nano-antennas, which are expected to drastically improve optics, potentially leading to faster computers, more efficient solar cells and other benefits.

A Model Grad Slam Competition

Similar competitions have taken place at college and university campuses across the nation, but the UA slam was somewhat different.

Zachary Brooks, president of the Graduate and Professional Student Council, said 140 UA graduate students registered and 93 participated, making Grad Slam the largest competition of its kind in the country, according to the Council of Graduate Schools.

"That is extremely impressive," said Brooks, a doctoral candidate in the Second Language Acquisition and Teaching Program.

About 100 people attended the final round to show support for the competitors.

Moses, who intends to teach and conduct research in academia after completing her UA degree, said she especially enjoyed performing and sharing her research with a public audience.

"All researchers benefit from being able to express their work to a general audience, showing both the significance of their work but also their excitement over it," Moses said. "This is how we maintain connections between fields and between the academy and the real world."

The Office of Research and Discovery provided $6,000 in prize money. The Graduate College matched the third-place prize so that Bronnimann and Patrick could receive an equal amount. The UA Libraries hosted training and practice workshops for the students who participated.

The judges for the final round were Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild; UA Regents' Professor Neal R. Armstrong of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the associate vice president for the Office of Research and Discovery; and Andrew Carnie, dean of the Graduate College.

"It has been really exciting to have the Grad Slam. We have students across the University who are doing all kinds of great work at the graduate level," said David Bradshaw, program coordinator for the UA Graduate College and the organizer of Grad Slam. "This event is a celebration of that."

Watch a video from the Grad Slam preliminary round:

Editor: dougcarrollWriter: La Monica Everett-HaynesByline: La Monica Everett-HaynesByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Master's student Rachel LaMantia took first place in a campuswide competition of graduate students, who were judged on their three-minute talks about research and discovery.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

Project Launches for LGBTQ Homeless

Fri, 04/03/2015 - 4:34pm

Organizations in cities such as Seattle, New York and San Antonio are actively addressing the high and disproportionate rates of homelessness among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer youth and young adults.

The University of Arizona's Southwest Institute for Research on Women, with a newly funded $1.2 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, is doing the same, with a focus on the Tucson region.

SIROW has just launched the ANCHOR Project in partnership with CODAC Behavioral Health Services and the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation. ANCHOR stands for Accessible Network for Coordinated Housing, Opportunities and Resilience. With the federal grant, SIROW also has opened a project site in central Tucson.

"Our community has great resources and we have great community partners that have worked to create a program that aims to surround young adults with support and help them get on their feet," said Claudia Powell, a research social scientist with SIROW and the ANCHOR Project's principal investigator.

"For these young adults, it is important to have some kind of community that is supportive, and to also have opportunities to do something that they may have missed out on earlier in life because they were in an environment that was not supportive."

The UA-led project will be funded over a three-year period to target unstably housed LGBTQ adults ages 18 through 26 who can benefit from various supportive and affirming services.

The UA-led team will offer services that promote housing stability, community engagement, recovery support, education completion and healthy decision-making. Participants also will have the option to engage in services related to employment skills and financial education.

"There aren't too many programs nationally that are comparable," Powell said, noting that while different organizations and agencies may provide housing stability, sexual health and substance abuse support, they often do not incorporate job readiness and education.

"If you are unstably housed, and if you are experiencing violence and don't have food, it's hard to take that next step about thinking about when you are going to finish your GED," Powell said. "It's easy to get stuck in a crisis, but I see this project as trying to take individuals to the next step — addressing traumatic experiences and moving forward."

The team will provide agency staff with training on ways to help prevent instances of discrimination and to provide safe spaces for youth and young adults.

"A huge part of what we are trying to do is to empower people and to make our community more accepting and affirming of LGBTQ people," said Courtney Waters, an assistant research social scientist with SIROW and ANCHOR's health educator.

The ANCHOR Project grew out of earlier SIROW projects, including HerStory and iTEAM, which have provided previously unavailable information about the experiences of LGBTQ youth, particularly related to housing stability, abuse and other trauma and also habits related to substance abuse. 

"In Tucson, SIROW has been working with LGBTQ youth for over a decade and, from our own research, we know that these collaborative projects are effective not only in helping to save lives but building infrastructure within agencies and strengthening the local system of care supporting these young people," said Ian Ellasante, an assistant research social scientist with SIROW and the ANCHOR Project's program coordinator.

The project will  provide a trauma-informed system of care to ensure that LGBTQ young adults are supported in their efforts to make empowered choices, increasing the likelihood that they are able to lead healthy and successful lives.
 
"We are pulling together talents and expertise from different agencies with our staff and, when we combine services, we can create a system of care that helps participants meet their goals," Waters said.

Research indicates that LGBTQ individuals may be less likely to pursue health services for fear of discrimination and experiences of bias. And for those who do not have stable housing, the chances are higher of mental health issues, substance abuse, victimization and sexual behaviors that pose risks. The National Coalition for the Homeless reports that LGBTQ youth who are homeless are 7.4 times more likely to experience acts of sexual violence than heterosexual youth who also are homeless.

Estimates indicate that 20 to 40 percent of those who are between the ages of 18 and 24 who are homeless in Tucson identify as LGBTQ. SIROW'S earlier research indicates that youth generally reported first becoming homeless before the age of 14.

"Tucson has a large LGBTQ community, and we need to educate the broader community about the strengths of individuals within that community, and to acknowledge that everyone should have access to the same opportunities regardless of their identity," Waters said.

"We do this one step at a time," she said. "With every new person who enrolls, if we can make their situation better, we are benefiting the entire community."

Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsExtra Info: 

The ANCHOR Project is a trauma-informed system of care for chronically homeless LGBTQ youth and young adults. The project is designed to provide culturally responsive and affirming services that promote housing stability, employment skills, educational achievement, mental and emotional well-being, recovery support, healthy decision-making and community engagement.

 

To learn more, visit the ANCHOR Project's website.

 

Contact the ANCHOR Project team at anchor.project.arizona@gmail.com, or by calling or texting 520-909-0754.

Header image: YesNo Image: Subheading: The UA Southwest Institute for Research on Women has received a $1.2 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to launch a new project in support of unstably housed LGBTQ young adults. Include in UANow: 0Include in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

UA-Led Research Debunks Belief About Narcissism

Fri, 04/03/2015 - 4:15pm

Contrary to popular belief, excessive use of first-person singular pronouns such as "I" and "me" does not necessarily indicate a narcissistic tendency, according to a research team led by psychologists from the University of Arizona.

"There is a widely assumed association between use of first-person singular pronouns — what we call 'I-talk' — and narcissism, among laypeople and scientists, despite the fact that the empirical support for this relation is surprisingly sparse and generally inconsistent," said Angela Carey, a third-year doctoral candidate in psychology at the UA and lead author of the study, which was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Narcissists have an unrealistic sense of superiority and self-importance and an overabundance of self-focus, said Matthias Mehl, a UA psychology professor and a co-author of the study. Therefore, it would be reasonable to assume that narcissists would be more prone to I-talk, Mehl said.

Early testing of this hypothesis was conducted at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1988 and confirmed the association, but it consisted of only 48 participants. Since then, scientific studies have been unable to consistently replicate the finding. Because it appears to be such a pervasive belief in modern society, the researchers felt it was important to give the hypothesis a rigorous scientific vetting.

Carey and Mehl teamed with researchers from four other universities in the U.S. and two in Germany to recruit more than 4,800 people for the study (67 percent were female, mostly undergraduate students). Participants were asked to engage in one of six communications tasks in which they wrote or talked about themselves or an unrelated topic. Researchers also scored the participants for narcissism using five different narcissism measures, including the common 40-item Narcissistic Personality Inventory. Their narcissism score was then compared with their use of first-person singular pronouns in the communication tasks.

The researchers could find no association between pronoun use and narcissism. When they analyzed data by gender, they found that men had a slightly higher correlation than women, but neither was statistically significant nor practically meaningful.

"The most interesting finding is that the results did not vary much across two different countries, multiple labs, five different narcissism measures and 12 different samples," Mehl said. "We were surprised by how consistent of a near-null finding it was." 

Identifying narcissists is important, Carey said, because over time their grandiosity, self-focus and self-importance can become socially toxic and can have negative consequences on relationships.

"The next question, of course, is how else, if not through I-talk, narcissism is revealed through language," she said. "We are working on this question in a follow-up study using the same data."

Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: American Psychological AssociationExtra Info: 

For the full text of the article, go to http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/psp-p0000029.pdf.

Header image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Excessive use of first-person singular pronouns, or 'I-talk,' is not clearly linked to a sense of self-importance and an overabundance of self-focus.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

In-State Tuition Aids American Indians

Fri, 04/03/2015 - 2:32pm

A policy granting members of all federally recognized tribes in Arizona in-state tuition — even those who choose to return after attending an institution elsewhere — is helping to retain American Indian students by making educational costs more affordable.

Since the residency classification policy was approved by the Arizona Board of Regents in 2013, the University of Arizona has enrolled 85 undergraduate and 15 graduate students under the exception. The UA's total American Indian student population is 1,201.

"People are so pleased that we have this policy in place," said Karen Francis-Begay (Navajo), the UA assistant vice president for tribal relations. 

The policy also came from a need to expand the state's educated workforce to address problems related to social and economic inequity, and to help drive economic development for the state and tribal nations.

"Of course, there is the economic benefit for the state, as many of these students will hopefully stay in Arizona and contribute to the Arizona’s workforce," Francis-Begay said, adding that some out-of-state resident students who had chosen to study in other states are being encouraged to return to Arizona and qualify for in-state tuition if they are enrolled members of one of the 22 Arizona tribes.

More than 35 tribal colleges exist in more than a dozen states, and they attract many American Indian students from Arizona. Previously, the policy would have prevented Arizona students who left the state from being considered for in-state tuition, prompting many of these students to remain in the state of the tribal college. The policy lures them back.

"These students will probably have a tendency to remain in Arizona for employment because they are forever tied to their traditional homelands," Francis-Begay said.

The policy signals an investment in recruiting, retaining and graduating more American Indian students, and it also respects the sovereignty held by the state's 22 tribal nations, said Arizona Board of Regents member LuAnn Leonard (Hopi, Tohono O’odham).

"It gives the strong sense that we want them here," said Leonard, also executive director of the Hopi Education Endowment Fund. "The policy is a good start, and it will make a significant difference. I'm excited about that."

Leonard reported that a total of 358 students have been granted the exception at Arizona State and Northern Arizona universities. All told, about 4,200 American Indian students attend one of the state's higher-education institutions.

"It's still a few years out that we will begin to see the concrete benefits of this policy," Leonard said, noting that the next phase of benefits will be when graduates begin expanding their statewide contributions with diplomas in hand.

"Each of those graduates will be bringing skills that are going to make a huge differences in our communities," she said. "They will be able to thrive professionally and also participate in centuries-old cultural duties to ensure that our tribal nations will continue to grow."

An Integrated Approach of Support

The policy revision is not retroactive to previous semesters. Continuing students who have been classified as non-residents must change their residency classification.

The UA has since changed its application for admission so that students who qualify are identified earlier in the admissions process.

Also, the University has begun sending direct email messages to students, informing them of the policy change, and also maintaining recruitment drives in collaboration with tribal nations.

"We want to honor students' cultural heritage and offer them the same opportunity that other residents are receiving," said Kasey Urquidez, the UA's vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs Advancement, and also the undergraduate admissions dean.

Urquidez also emphasized that the UA has long been committed to supporting American Indian students and will remain supportive of tribal nations statewide.

"It begins at the recruitment phase with early outreach all the way through graduation," Urquidez said. "And UA units are coming together and are dedicated to reaching out to students of all populations, and especially our tribal nations in Arizona. We have changed our model to be very, very focused on helping all students see themselves here and graduating."

Urquidez said programs and initiatives such as the Wisdom Project, a federally funded high school completion and college readiness initiative in partnership with the Baboquivari Unified School District, are greatly enhancing the University's capacity to retain and graduate American Indian students.

At the advanced-degree level, the UA-based Sloan Indigenous Graduate Partnership is a multimillion-dollar effort to increase the number of Native American students in graduate programs, and Knowledge River offers immersive training for librarians who will work with largely American Indian and Hispanic populations. Also, the Native American Research and Training Center recently received a $975,000 federal grant, Indians Into Medicine, or INMED, to help Native American students pursue degrees in medical and health professions.

Other programs, including Native American College Day, the Native American Science and Engineering Program and Native SOAR (Student Outreach, Access and Resiliency), involve youths in the college-going process and campus programs, all to help gain a better understanding of campus life so that they are even more prepared when it is time to pursue a degree.

"We want to make sure we are supporting these students and we are getting there with an integrated approach," Urquidez said.

Training Future Professionals

The policy also makes Arizona more attractive to students who may have had an eye on institutions in states such as California, Colorado and Oklahoma, where they could find access to tuition waivers and in-state tuition, among other supports.

"We were losing students," Leonard said.

The policy change also means that tribal nations will be able to support more students. "Whereas you were only able to support one student in the past, now you are able to support two or three. It allows more opportunities," she said.

Cheyenne Yazzie (Navajo), who is from Tuba City, Arizona, said it would not have been viable to pay for out-of-state tuition and that the new policy has enabled her to pursue her degree at the UA.

"My family has struggled with money, so I never thought college was an option," said Yazzie, a biochemistry major. After earning her degree, Yazzie intends to enlist and make a career out of military service.

Sheilah Allison (Navajo), a physiology major from Mesa, Arizona, also benefits from the exception. Allison wanted to attend the UA but chose to attend Mesa Community College because she could not afford the tuition and cost of living in Tucson. Then she learned about the policy change. 

"My parents have put my other siblings through college, and I did not want to put them further into debt. The policy has enabled me to pay in-state tuition instead of out-of-state, which has been very helpful (with) costs," said Allison, who is also in the family studies and human development program.

After her undergraduate degree, Allison plans to work toward an M.D./M.P.H. degree.

"My dream is to become a primary care physician with a specialization in pediatrics," she said. "As a Diné woman, I also want to give back to the Navajo Nation and serve my people."

Tracey Cayatineto (Navajo), who is from Gallup, New Mexico, was drawn to the UA because of the master's degree in public health practice based at the Phoenix campus. With the residency exception, it is all the more affordable for her.

"When I was considering graduate programs that I would apply to, I had to look at not only the education offered but also the affordability for me and my family," said Cayatineto, a first-year student in the program.

"The residency exception allows me to receive incredible instruction from wonderful faculty in the M.P.H. program at a cost that I am able to afford," she said. "My plans are to take the knowledge, skills and networks that I receive from UA and work with Native American communities to aid in the efforts to increase better health outcomes for Native American populations."

Native SOAR prepared this video in response to the first lady Michelle Obama's Near-Peer Mentoring College Challenge:

Editor: dougcarrollWriter: La Monica Everett-HaynesByline: La Monica Everett-HaynesByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsExtra Info: 

More information about the residency exception for members of all federally recognized tribes in Arizona:

 

The revised policy approved by the Arizona Board of Regents states: "For purposes of residency classification, enrollment as a tribal member in a federally recognized Arizona tribe will be sufficient to establish residency for tuition purposes."

 

Under the policy, American Indian students retain their federally recognized residency; their residency status does not change as they are offered in-state tuition.

 

To be eligible for in-state tuition under this revision, the student must:

  • Provide proof of being an enrolled tribal member. 
  • Be a member of a tribe, which must be one of Arizona's federally recognized tribes.
  • Be a U.S. citizen, or a lawful permanent resident of the U.S., or have lawful immigration status in the U.S.
Header image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Since the Arizona Board of Regents approved a policy granting members of all federally recognized tribes in Arizona in-state tuition, the UA has enrolled 100 students under the residency exception. Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

EarthWeek 2015 to Showcase Student Research

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 6:44pm

EarthWeek 2015, a showcase for research by undergraduate and graduate students in the University of Arizona’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences will be held Tuesday through April 10 on the UA campus.

The student-organized event, now in its sixth year, is free and open to the public, with the exception of the El Día del Agua luncheon on Wednesday. EarthWeek features 110 poster presentations, 111 oral presentations and five invited keynote speakers.

James P. Collins, the Virginia M. Ullman Professor of Natural History and the Environment at Arizona State University, will deliver the plenary keynote at 3:45 p.m. on April 10 in the North Ballroom of the Student Union Memorial Center.

Collins' is titled "Emerging Infectious Diseases, Synthetic Biology, and Two Faces of Extinction," and his research focuses on understanding the origin, maintenance and reorganization of morphological variation within species.

EarthWeek begins on Tuesday in the Bryant Bannister Tree-Ring Building, home of the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research. Tours of the laboratory will be held from 11 a.m. to noon.

A potluck luncheon will be held from noon to 12:30 p.m. Five-minute speed talks from the laboratory’s students will begin at 12:30 and end at 2:30.

The sessions Wednesday through April 10 will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Student Union Memorial Center Grand Ballroom and include posters and talks from the SEES member units: the departments of atmospheric sciences, geosciences, hydrology and water resources, and soil, water and environmental science; and also the School of Natural Resources and the Environment.

Special sessions on April 10 feature a joint poster session from 1 to 2:30 p.m. and talks by selected graduate students from each department from 2 to 3:30 p.m.

 

Wednesday, April 8, El Día del Agua keynote speakers

Hosted by the department of hydrology and water resources

(Note: The luncheon costs $55 and requires registration. Contact Erma Santander at earmasan@email.arizona.edu or 520-621-7120.)

 

12:30-1:30 p.m. Luncheon speaker, South Ballroom, Student Union Memorial Center

"Groundwater Management in Owens Valley, California: The Red Queen Meets the California Environmental Quality Act"

Robert Harrington

Director, Inyo County Water, Independence, California

 

3:30-4:30 p.m. Keynote speaker, North Ballroom, Student Union Memorial Center

"Vadose Zone Hydrology and Eco-Hydrology in China"

Wenke Wang

Dean of the School of Environmental Science and Engineering

Chang'an University, Xi'an, China

 

Thursday, April 9, AIR keynote speaker

Hosted by the department of atmospheric sciences

 

4:15-5 p.m., Rincon Room, Student Union Memorial Center

"A Tale of Two Rivers"

Lai-yung Ruby Leung

Earth Systems Analysis & Modeling Laboratory Fellow

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington

 

Friday, April 10, Geodaze keynote speaker

Hosted by the department of geosciences

 

11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m., North Ballroom, Student Union Memorial Center

"Dates and Dynamics: Snowball Earth Comes of Age"

Paul F. Hoffman, Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology, Emeritus

Harvard University

Cambridge, Massachusetts

 

The UA School of Earth and Environmental Sciences is composed of the College of Science departments of atmospheric sciences, geosciences, hydrology and water resources, plus the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research and the Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Laboratory and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' department of soil, water and environmental science and the School of Natural Resources and the Environment.

Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: UA College of ScienceExtra Info: 

Website:

EarthWeek 2015

School of Earth and Environmental Sciences

http://sees.arizona.edu/events/earthweek

Header image: YesNo Image: Subheading: The sixth annual event, which begins Tuesday and runs through April 10, features research by students in the UA School of Earth and Environmental Sciences.Include in UANow: 0Include in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

UA Team Wins $100,000 in Water Challenge

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 6:03pm

"Beyond the Mirage," an entry from the University of Arizona, was selected Wednesday as the winner of the New Arizona Prize: Water Consciousness Challenge, receiving the competition’s $100,000 grand prize.

"Beyond the Mirage" aims to raise awareness and understanding about Arizona's water supplies, demands and challenges. It was developed collaboratively by a creative team from the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, which includes the Communications and Cyber Technologies Unit and Water Resources Research Center, along with Arizona Public Media and marketing professionals.

"Our strategy is aimed at multiple audiences, but our core target is the voters and decision makers of tomorrow," said Cody Sheehy, video coordinator in CALS. "That means we had to design an experience that matches how young people interact with digital information."

"Beyond the Mirage" will use the award to help launch innovative Web and social media strategies to engage Arizonans, who will create and share their own mini-documentaries on a website expected to launch in January. With the help of Arizona Public Media, the hundreds of clips that cover all facets of Arizona’s water story also can find homes throughout the news media and on major educational sites such as PBS learning media. Arizona Public Media also will produce a feature documentary from the same content.

The New Arizona Prize, an initiative of the Arizona Community Foundation, Republic Media and the Morrison Institute for Public Policy, seeks to harness Arizonans' creativity "to solve persistent and complex problems." Through the Water Consciousness Challenge, the first in a series of New Arizona Prize challenges, organizers highlighted the importance of raising water-issues awareness in communities.

The Water Resources Research Center fielded two of the five finalist teams for the New Arizona Prize. A panel of judges selected "Beyond the Mirage" after reviewing presentations from the finalists at the Phoenix Art Museum.

"It’s a real testament to the respect enjoyed by the WRRC in the water community," Sheehy said.

The interdisciplinary team led by Sheehy included Susanna Eden, WRRC assistant director; John Booth, executive producer at AZPM; Meg Hagyard, director of the GIFT Center at the UA Foundation; and Jessica Hall of Hall Consulting.

Watch the "Beyond the Mirage" trailer and join the campaign at: http://beyondthemirage.org/.

Learn more about the New Arizona Prize at: https://www.newarizonaprize.org/.

Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: UA College of Agriculture and Life SciencesHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: "Beyond the Mirage" is a collaborative effort designed to raise awareness and understanding about water issues in Arizona.Include in UANow: 0Include in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

Three Minutes to $3,000

Wed, 04/01/2015 - 6:04pm

The Final Four of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament isn’t the only high-stakes competition receiving intense focus this week.

The finals of Grad Slam, a tournament at the University of Arizona that will reward the most engaging three-minute talk about graduate student research and discovery, will be contested on Monday — the same day as the championship game for hoops.

Grad Slam began with preliminary rounds March 23-27 and continued with semifinals this week, cutting the field to six. Monday’s finals, before a panel of judges, are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. in the Stevie Eller Dance Theatre on campus. First place will receive $3,000, second place $2,000 and third place $1,000 (decent cash for three minutes, right?).

Grad Slam, a collaboration of the Graduate College and the Graduate and Professional Student Council, is supported by the UA Office of Research and Discovery. UANews will post a story about the prize winners next week.

Video Thumbnail: Category(s): Campus NewsTeaching and StudentsYouTube Video:  Grad Slam Video of Grad Slam Feature Sticky: OffFeature on Front: NoMedium Summary: Think you could sum up your research in a few minutes and have an audience wanting more? That was the challenge faced by UA graduate students in Grad Slam.UANow Image: Date of Publication: Wednesday, April 1, 2015Send to Never Settle Site: 0Includes video: The story include video

OSIRIS-REx Mission Passes Milestone

Wed, 04/01/2015 - 4:16pm

Led by the University of Arizona, NASA's groundbreaking science mission to retrieve a sample from an ancient space rock has moved closer to fruition. The Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission has passed a critical milestone in its path toward launch and is officially authorized to transition into its next phase.

Key Decision Point-D, or KDP-D, occurs after the project has completed a series of independent reviews that cover the technical health, schedule and cost of the project. The milestone represents the official transition from the mission’s development stage to delivery of systems, testing and integration leading to launch. During this part of the mission’s life cycle, known as Phase D, the spacecraft bus, or the structure that will carry the science instruments, is completed, the instruments are integrated into the spacecraft and tested, and the spacecraft is shipped to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida for integration with the rocket.

"This is an exciting time for the OSIRIS-REx team," said Dante Lauretta, principal investigator for OSIRIS-Rex in the UA's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. "After almost four years of intense design efforts, we are now proceeding with the start of flight system assembly. I am grateful for the hard work and team effort required to get us to this point."

OSIRIS-REx is the first U.S. mission to return samples from an asteroid to Earth. The spacecraft will travel to a near-Earth asteroid named Bennu and bring at least a 60-gram (2.1-ounce) sample back to Earth for study. OSIRIS-REx carries five instruments that will remotely evaluate the surface of Bennu. The mission will help scientists investigate the composition of the very early solar system and the source of organic materials and water that made their way to Earth, and improve understanding of asteroids that could impact our planet.

OSIRIS-REx is scheduled for launch in late 2016. The spacecraft will reach Bennu in 2018 and return a sample to Earth in 2023.

"The spacecraft structure has been integrated with the propellant tank and propulsion system and is ready to begin system integration in the Lockheed Martin highbay,” said Mike Donnelly, OSIRIS-REx project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "The payload suite of cameras and sensors is well into its environmental test phase and will be delivered later this summer/fall."

The key decision meeting was held at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., on March 30 and chaired by NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

On March 27, assembly, launch and test operations officially began at Lockheed Martin in Denver. These operations represent a critical stage of the program when the spacecraft begins to take form, culminating with its launch. Over the next several months, technicians will install the subsystems on the main spacecraft structure, comprising avionics, power, telecom, thermal systems, and guidance, navigation and control.

The next major milestone is the Mission Operations Review, scheduled for completion in June. The project will demonstrate that its navigation, planning, commanding and science operations requirements are complete.

Goddard will provide overall mission management, systems engineering and safety and mission assurance for OSIRIS-REx. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver will build the spacecraft. OSIRIS-REx is the third mission in NASA's New Frontiers Program. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages New Frontiers for the agency's Science Mission Directorate.

OSIRIS-REx complements NASA's Asteroid Initiative, which aligns portions of the agency's science, space technology and human exploration capabilities in a coordinated asteroid research effort. The initiative will conduct research and analysis to better characterize and mitigate the threat these space rocks pose to Earth.

Included in the initiative is NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission, or ARM, a robotic spacecraft mission that will capture a boulder from the surface of a near-Earth asteroid and move it into a stable orbit around the moon for exploration by astronauts, all in support of advancing the nation’s journey to Mars. The agency also is engaging new industrial capabilities, partnerships, open innovation and participatory exploration through the NASA Asteroid Initiative.

NASA also has made tremendous progress in the cataloging and characterization of near-Earth objects over the past five years. The president's NASA budget included, and Congress authorized, $20.4 million for an expanded NASA Near-Earth Object (NEO) Observations Program, increasing the resources for this critical program from the $4 million per year it had received since the 1990s. The program again was expanded in fiscal year 2014, with a budget of $40.5 million. NASA is asking Congress for $50 million for this work in the 2016 budget.

NASA has identified more than 12,000 NEOs to date, including 96 percent of near-Earth asteroids larger than 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) in size. NASA has not detected any objects of this size that pose an impact hazard to Earth in the next 100 years. Smaller asteroids do pass near Earth, however, and some could pose an impact threat. In 2011, 893 near-Earth asteroids were found. In 2014, that number increased to 1,472.

In addition to NASA's ongoing work detecting and cataloging asteroids, the agency has engaged the public in the hunt for these space rocks through the agency's Asteroid Grand Challenge activities, including prize competitions. During the recent South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, the agency announced the release of a software application based on an algorithm created by a NASA challenge that has the potential to increase the number of new asteroid discoveries by amateur astronomers.

Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: University Relations - Communications and NASAHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: The start of flight system assembly gets underway for the UA-led mission to return samples from an asteroid to Earth. Launch is scheduled for late 2016.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

UA-Led Study Resolves Reptilian Family Tree

Tue, 03/31/2015 - 5:05pm

Squamate reptiles — lizards and snakes — are among the most diverse groups of vertebrates, with more than 9,000 living species. They are important for humans because venomous snakes cause tens of thousands of deaths every year. At the same time, their toxins are a critical resource for many medicines, including those for heart disease and diabetes. Lizards and snakes also are important model systems for biological research, especially in ecology and evolutionary biology.

Unfortunately, studies of squamate biology have been hampered by controversy over their evolutionary relationships, and some researchers consider their family tree to be unresolved. The problem is that studies based on traditional, anatomical characters and those based on molecular data from DNA sequences have strongly disagreed, especially on how the iguanas and their relatives (called iguanians) are related to snakes and to other groups of lizards. Iguanians include horned lizards, flying dragons and basilisks.

A new study by scientists from the University of Arizona, San Diego State University, the Smithsonian Institution, Brigham Young University and the University of Mississippi has now helped to resolve this controversy, and it also offers new insights on the evolution of fossil lizards. The results are published online in the journal PLoS One.

"Anatomical data put iguanians at the base of the tree, whereas molecular data suggest that the iguanians evolved more recently and are closely related to snakes and a group including the monitor and alligator lizards, called the anguimorphs,"  said John J. Wiens, a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in the UA College of Science. "The results of our study overwhelmingly support the molecular hypothesis."

The team assembled the largest-yet datasets of both anatomical and molecular characters for the major groups of lizards and snakes. The researchers showed that when the anatomical and molecular data are combined, the results conclusively support the molecular hypothesis, placing iguanas and relatives with snakes and anguimorphs.

One possible explanation for these results is the greater number of molecular characters relative to morphological characters (35,673 molecular versus 691 morphological). This larger number might favor the molecular hypothesis, regardless of which hypothesis is actually true. To test this idea, the researchers trimmed the molecular dataset to only 63 characters. When they analyzed this reduced molecular dataset with all 691 anatomical characters, the results still supported the molecular hypothesis, placing iguanians with snakes and anguimorphs instead of at the base of the tree.

Wiens' team also found that there was support for the molecular hypothesis hidden in the morphological dataset. When the researchers combined the molecular and morphological data, they found that the number of morphological characters that supported the branch uniting iguanians, snakes and anguimorphs (the molecular hypothesis) was almost equal to the number placing iguanians near the base of the tree (the morphological hypothesis).

In addition, the researchers found that when they divided up the anatomical characters and analyzed each set separately, only one of the six sets clearly supported the morphological hypothesis.

"In fact, the morphological data are really ambiguous," Wiens said. "Or in some cases, even worse than ambiguous."

He explained that the morphological data give very strange, non-traditional relationships in which all burrowing species are placed together, including those classified in different families.

"Basically, burrowing lizards tend to evolve elongate bodies, reduced limbs and a whole suite of other anatomical traits, even if they are only distantly related to each other," Wiens said. "Placing all burrowing species together disagrees strongly with the molecular data, and also with traditional taxonomy. In summary, the anatomical data can be widely misleading in squamate reptiles.”

Wiens and co-authors suggest a similar explanation for why the anatomical data are misleading about the placement of iguanians in particular.

According to Wiens, iguanian lizards typically capture prey using their tongue, whereas snakes and other lizards use their jaws. Scientists have documented many differences in diet, behavior and anatomy that seem to be associated with capturing prey with the tongue versus the jaw. It turns out that the closest living relative to lizards and snakes, the tuatara of New Zealand, also uses its tongue to capture prey. Therefore, the anatomical characters that place iguanians at the base of the tree may reflect parallel evolution associated with these different feedings modes.

The study also has implications for understanding the evolution of fossil lizards, such as mosasaurs, as well. These carnivorous marine lizards, which died out with the dinosaurs around 65 million years ago, have traditionally been thought to either be close relatives of monitor lizards, or close to the base of the squamate family tree. The new study combined data from both living and fossil species and revealed mosasaurs to be close relatives of snakes, and only distantly related to monitor lizards and species at the base of the tree.

"What is really interesting about this is that we have no molecular data for mosasaurs at all," Wiens said. "Our results show how combining molecular and anatomical data can reveal evolutionary relationships of fossil species that one might not predict from the anatomical data alone."

Editor: dougcarrollWriter: Raymond SanchezByline: John Wiens and Raymond SanchezByline Affiliation: Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and NASA Space Grant Science Writing InternHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: A new study has helped settle the controversial relationships among the major groups of lizards and snakes, and it sheds light on the origins of a group of giant fossil lizards.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

Book Explores Social Smoking on Campuses

Tue, 03/31/2015 - 3:30pm

A University of Arizona anthropologist has written a book exploring the culture of smoking on college campuses.

While adult smoking rates have declined dramatically in the U.S. over the past 40 years, young adults ages 18 to 24 continue to smoke more than any other age group, Mimi Nichter writes in "Lighting Up: The Rise of Social Smoking on College Campuses."

In interviews with hundreds of college students conducted over a 10-year period on two college campuses, Nichter set out to discover why young people continue to light up, despite widespread knowledge of the health risks of smoking.

"About 20 percent of smokers initiate smoking in college, and the highest prevalence of smoking is among young adults," said Nichter, a professor in the UA School of Anthropology with joint faculty appointments in public health and family and consumer sciences.

"There are many surveys done continually on smoking, yet there are few studies that look at the social utility and meaning of smoking to young people and how they talk about smoking," Nichter said. "I thought it was important to tell the stories of people who smoke and their experience and feelings about smoking, and how they may fall into addiction."

Nichter looks specifically at the trend of "social smoking" on college campuses, which she also refers to as "weekend smoking" or "party smoking."

While a pack-a-day style of smoking is not common as it once was, social smoking is prevalent at colleges, Nichter said.

These types of smokers tend to smoke occasionally — often while drinking alcohol at parties or other social gatherings. Despite their habit, they usually do not consider themselves smokers, Nichter said. "I smoke but I'm not really a smoker" was a common mantra expressed by those she interviewed. In fact, many students who smoked socially expressed disgust with the smoking habit because of the stigma associated with it.

"If you ask a party smoker on a survey, 'Do you consider yourself a smoker?' they’ll say no," Nichter said. "Over 50 percent of people who do smoke at some level don't consider themselves smokers."

This finding calls into question some of what we know from survey data about smoking on college campuses, Nichter said.

"I think that survey research is very important, but when we consider that people don't report that they are smoking, it becomes all the more important to understand why people smoke and the social contexts in which it is considered appropriate," she said.

Some of the most common reasons students start to smoke in college are what one might expect, Nichter found in her interviews. They say it will help them meet people, fit in with a group or make them look more relaxed and laid back.     

Most of the social smokers Nichter interviewed dismissed the behavior as "no big deal," with some suggesting that alcohol and cigarettes are a combination as natural as milk and cookies or peanut butter and jelly.

The problem with that thinking, Nichter says, is that smoking can be addictive even at very low levels.

"What I describe is how there can be a slippery slope into addiction," Nichter said. "Most people who smoke socially have no desire to become a 'real smoker' — in fact, they find it completely disgusting to be addicted to cigarettes, and yet it does happen to some people."

Many of the students Nichter interviewed indicated that they planned to quit smoking altogether when they graduated and entered the "real world." Yet, when she spoke with students again in their senior year, many no longer were interested in quitting and thought they would do so when they settled down, were in a serious relationship or decided to have a family.

Nichter speculates that the continuation of smoking from college into adulthood may have something to do with the fact that young adult lives are more unsettled now than they once were.

With young adults taking longer to reach major life milestones — such as getting married, having a family or settling into a stable job — they may use smoking as a way to cope with uncertainty, Nichter said.

"College graduates have very uncertain trajectories now," she said. "All these milestones that we used to have are now pushed forward, so there's no predictability. Over a third of those in their 20s move to a new residence each year, and many college grads go through an average of seven jobs during this decade of life. For those who have learned to smoke socially as a way to make friends, or for self-medication or coping purposes, they may continue to smoke as they move through these unstable years." 

In an effort to curb smoking on college campuses, many universities, including the UA, have implemented smoking bans. The UA became a tobacco-free campus last year.

As colleges nationwide work to address smoking among students, Nichter suggests that a two-pronged approach, which considers alcohol and tobacco use simultaneously, could be beneficial.

"I want people to understand that smoking and drinking are a consumption event that need to be addressed together," Nichter said.

"There is a lot of literature that talks about the relationship between smoking and drinking, and if we look on campuses, we know that there's a lot of work on alcohol reduction, and for good reason," she said. "I think there's also some neglect of the reality that these two substances go hand-in-hand. So when we're looking to the future, we really need to think about co-substance use. We need to acknowledge that and educate students about it together, in context not in isolation."

Nichter has been involved in tobacco-use research for more than 15 years. In addition to her work with college students, she also has been involved in smoking cessation efforts abroad. She currently is the principal investigator on a project funded by Global Bridges at the Mayo Clinic that focuses on smoking in Istanbul, Turkey. She also served as a co-principal investigator from 2002-13 on two National Institutes of Health Fogarty-funded projects developing capacity for tobacco cessation in India and Indonesia, where smoking rates are especially high.

Nichter's book, "Lighting Up: The Rise of Social Smoking on College Campuses," is intended for general audiences and is available on Amazon.

Editor: dougcarrollWriter: Alexis BlueByline: Alexis BlueByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Many of those who smoke at parties don't actually consider themselves smokers, UA professor Mimi Nichter found, and that calls into question what surveys tell us about smoking in college.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

Huntsman to Speak at UA Commencement

Tue, 03/31/2015 - 2:39pm

The 151st University of Arizona Commencement will feature Jon Huntsman Jr., a statesman who has worked at the highest levels for both Republican and Democratic presidents and currently heads a group working to end government gridlock in partnership with a broad spectrum of legislative leaders.

Huntsman has been the ambassador to China for President Barack Obama; U.S. trade ambassador for President George W. Bush; and ambassador to Singapore under President George H.W. Bush. Best known as a popular two-term governor for Utah from 2005-2009 and as a 2011 Republican presidential candidate, Huntsman became a national leader in 2013 for the No Labels organization, which works across partisan lines to focus on fixing America’s most pressing problems.

No Labels bills itself as a problem-solving organization that helps people look beyond all-or-nothing political agendas to focus on solutions to large issues. It works by enlisting and encouraging legislative leaders and others to find common ground to help create 10 million new jobs, make America deficit-free and energy-secure, and put Social Security and Medicare on firm financial footing.

"Jon Huntsman brings intelligence, data-driven insight and high values to every endeavor," UA President Ann Weaver Hart said. "We can all benefit from his experience and wisdom from working across the aisle at all political levels, and his example and message to our graduates will be points of inspiration as they move on to the next phase of their lives."

Huntsman said his speech will focus on how collaboration and common sense can help get government moving again. "Be excited about the future and don’t lose faith in our system," Huntsman said. "With good will and common sense, we can coalesce around big ideas."

The 151st Commencement will be held on Saturday, May 16, in Arizona Stadium at 7:30 p.m. More information for graduates and families is available at http://commencement.arizona.edu/node/144/, and they also can call 520-621-3644 or email commencement@email.arizona.edu

Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: The former governor of Utah, a onetime presidential candidate, is now a national leader for No Labels, an organization that works across party lines to tackle large challenges.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

New Method for Forecasting Hurricane Season

Tue, 03/31/2015 - 12:58pm

A better method for predicting the number of hurricanes in an upcoming season has been developed by a team of University of Arizona atmospheric scientists.

The UA team’s new model improves the accuracy of seasonal hurricane forecasts for the North Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico by 23 percent. The team’s research paper was published online in the journal Weather and Forecasting on March 25.

"Our model is better at predicting the number of seasonal hurricanes in the Atlantic than the other existing models," said first author Kyle Davis, a master’s student in the UA atmospheric sciences department. "On average, our model has 23 percent less error for predicting hurricanes occurring since 2001."

Hurricanes are storms with maximum wind speeds in excess of 73 mph and are among the most damaging natural disasters in the U.S. The Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June 1 to Nov. 30.

The UA model can provide its forecast by the start of hurricane season, which allows people to prepare better for the upcoming season, Davis said. "Tens of millions of people are threatened by Atlantic hurricanes. It affects their properties, it affects their lives."

The team developed the new model by using data from the 1950 to 2013 hurricane seasons. They tested the new model by seeing if it could "hindcast" the number of hurricanes that occurred each season from 1900 to 1949. 

"It performed really well in the period from 1949 to 1900," Davis said. "That’s the most convincing test of our model."

Other investigators have estimated that damages from U.S. hurricanes from 1970 to 2002 cost $57 billion in 2015 dollars — more than earthquakes and human-caused disasters combined for the time period.

Better seasonal predictions can help cities and governments in emergency management planning, said co-author Xubin Zeng, who holds the Agnese N. Haury Chair in Environment and is a UA professor of atmospheric sciences.

The paper, "A new statistical model to predict seasonal North Atlantic hurricane activity," by Davis, Zeng and Elizabeth A. Ritchie, a UA atmospheric sciences professor, is scheduled for print publication in a future issue of the journal of Weather and Forecasting. Science Foundation Arizona, the National Science Foundation and NASA funded the research.

Good forecasts of hurricane seasons have been around only since the early 1980s, Zeng said. The historical average in the 20th century was six hurricanes per year.

Until about the late 1990s, the existing models did a good job of predicting how many hurricanes would occur each year. However, in the 21st century the number of hurricanes per season became more variable, with 15 occurring in 2005 but only two in 2013.

Zeng wondered why the computer models didn’t work well anymore, and his new graduate student Davis, an actuary, wanted to study natural disasters because of their impact.

"Xubin steered me into hurricane forecasting," Davis said.

Zeng challenged Davis to develop a hurricane forecasting model that surpassed the existing ones.

"It was a tremendous effort — trying endless combinations of things, new creative ways of doing things," Davis said.

The other forecasting models relied heavily on the state of the El Niño climate cycle, a three-to-seven-year cycle that affects weather all over the globe.

One of the UA team’s innovations was using the state of a longer-term climate cycle called the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation to judge how much influence El Niño has in a particular year. 

The AMO affects ocean temperatures, cycling from colder to warmer and back over a time scale of approximately 40-70 years. The AMO was in a warm phase from the late 1920s to the early 1960s and started cycling back toward warm in the late 1990s. Warmer sea surface temperatures generally generate more hurricanes.

Zeng suggested also including the force of the wind on the ocean — an innovation that, to the best of the team’s knowledge, no other statistical model used. Strong winds reduce sea surface temperatures because they mix the ocean layers, thereby bringing cooler, deeper water to the surface.

After much trial and error, Davis met Zeng’s challenge. The model Davis developed does a better job of forecasting the Atlantic hurricane season by incorporating the force of the wind on the ocean and the sea surface temperature over the Atlantic. The model includes the effect of El Niño only for years when the AMO is in the cool phase.

Compared with the other models, the UA model de-emphasized the role of El Niño when the AMO is in the warm phase, as it has been for the past 15 years.

Next the team plans to examine the forecasting models for the eastern Pacific hurricanes — the ones that hit Baja California and the western coast of Mexico and Central America.

Editor: dougcarrollByline: Mari N. JensenByline Affiliation: UA College of ScienceExtra Info: 

Related websites:

Xubin Zeng

http://atmo.arizona.edu/~zeng/zeng.html

Climate Dynamics and Hydrometeorology Center

http://www.cdhc.arizona.edu

Header image: YesNo Image: Subheading: A UA team's model improves the accuracy of forecasts for the North Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico by 23 percent. And it can generate predictions by the start of the six-month hurricane season, which could help emergency planning.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

Galaxy Clusters Formed as 'Fireworks'

Tue, 03/31/2015 - 11:09am

By combining observations of the distant universe made with the European Space Agency's Herschel and Planck space observatories, cosmologists have discovered what could be the precursors of the vast clusters of galaxies that we see today.

Galaxies such as our Milky Way, with its 100 billion stars, are usually not found in isolation. In the universe today, 13.8 billion years after the Big Bang, many are in dense clusters of tens or even hundreds of galaxies.

However, these clusters have not always existed, and a key question in modern cosmology is how such massive structures assembled in the early universe.

Pinpointing when and how they formed should provide insight into the process of galaxy cluster evolution, including the role played by dark matter in shaping these cosmic metropolises.

Now, using the combined strengths of the Herschel Space Observatory and the Planck Satellite, astronomers have found objects in the distant universe, seen at a time when it was only 3 billion years old, which could be precursors of the clusters seen around us today.

"Because we are looking so far back in time, and because the the universe is assumed to be homogenous in all directions, we think it's very similar to looking at the equivalent of what a baby cluster might look like," said Brenda L. Frye, an assistant astronomer at the University of Arizona's Steward Observatory, who was involved in the research.

"In contrast to previous observations, for which the odd one or two baby clusters was found which one would put in a zoo, we now have found a real sample of 200 baby clusters."

The main goal of Planck was to provide the most precise map of the relic radiation of the Big Bang, the cosmic microwave background. To do so, it surveyed the entire sky in nine different wavelengths from the far-infrared to radio, in order to eliminate foreground emission from our galaxy and others in the universe.

But those foreground sources can be important in other fields of astronomy, and it was in Planck's short wavelength data that scientists were able to identify 234 bright sources with characteristics that suggested they were located in the distant, early universe.

Another space observatory, Herschel, then observed these objects across the far-infrared to submillimeter wavelength range (just a bit shorter than microwaves), but with much higher sensitivity and angular resolution. Herschel revealed that the vast majority of the Planck-detected sources are consistent with dense concentrations of galaxies in the early universe, vigorously forming new stars.

Each of these young galaxies is seen to be converting gas and dust into stars at a rate of a few hundred to 1,500 times the mass of our sun per year. By comparison, our own Milky Way galaxy today is producing stars at an average rate of just one solar mass per year.

"It was not known whether young galaxies form stars gradually, like marathon runners pacing themselves, or in bursts," Frye said. "It turns out these young galaxies were not forming slowly, but in a dramatic way. Lighting up with star formation, they appear like fireworks going off in the sky. It's like sprinting the first mile of a 26-mile marathon, and then walking the rest of the way."

Because of their extreme distance, astronomers would not be able to see these "fireworks" in single galaxies, but because most occur in clusters, they appear bright. However, here and there, they detected single galaxies that appeared much brighter than they should.

"In a small number of cases, we are finding only one object instead of a cluster, which we shouldn't be able to see, so there is some other mystery there," Frye said.

Frye, an expert in gravitational lensing, was called in to join the research team to study those rare cases of "mystery fireworks galaxies."

"The answer is that these objects are brightened up by what you could call a natural telescope in space," she explained. "In a few cases, we can see individual far-away galaxies lighting up with star formation because they are situated along just at the right line of sight where their light passes through a massive galaxy clusters close to Earth."

As predicted by Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, the foreground cluster bends the light from the background galaxy due to its gravity, resulting in an image of the far-away galaxy that is boosted in brightness.

"Why we find these enigmatic examples of single ones when they should be in clusters, is what we're studying here at the UA," Frye said. "These might be fainter examples in general, or they, too, may have friends, which haven't turned on their fireworks just yet."

Frye took advantage of a spectrograph instrument called Hectospec at the MMT Observatory, a partnership between the UA and the Smithsonian Institution of Astrophysics, as well as of the UA’s Large Binocular Telescope on Mount Graham in southeastern Arizona.

"Hectospec acts like a prism, breaking the emissions coming from those protogalaxies into a rainbow of light, so we can very quickly study these really interesting objects, which may have been very much like what the Milky Way may have looked like earlier in cosmic history," Frye said.

"A key feature that sets our instrument apart from the rest of the world is that we can get the spectra of 300 objects at the same time." 

While the astronomers have not yet conclusively established the ages and luminosities of many of these newly discovered distant galaxy concentrations, they are the best candidates yet found for "proto-clusters" — precursors of the large, mature galaxy clusters we see in the universe today.

"Hints of these kinds of objects had been found earlier in data from Herschel and other telescopes, but the all-sky capability of Planck revealed many more candidates for us to study," said Hervé Dole of the Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale in Orsay, France, lead scientist of the analysis published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics. "We still have a lot to learn about this new population, requiring further follow-up studies with other observatories. But we believe that they are a missing piece of cosmological structure formation."

"We are now preparing an extended catalog of possible proto-clusters detected by Planck, which should help us identify even more of these objects," added Ludovic Montier of the Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie in Toulouse, France, who is the lead scientist of the Planck catalog of high-redshift source candidates, which is about to be delivered to the community.

The Planck Scientific Collaboration consists of scientists who are members of one or more of four consortia: the Low-Frequency Instrument Consortium, the High-Frequency Instrument Consortium, the DK-Planck Consortium and ESA’s Planck Science Office. The two European-led Planck Data Processing Centers are located in Paris and Trieste, Italy. This work is based in part on observations made with the Spitzer Space Telescope, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the California Institute of Technology under a contract with NASA.

Editor: dougcarrollWriter: Daniel StolteByline: Daniel Stolte and ESAByline Affiliation: University Relations – CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Using UA observatories in Arizona and space observatories, astronomers discover likely precursors of the galaxy clusters we see today and reveal glimpses into how galaxies like our Milky Way came to be.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

UA Online: Opening New Doors

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 5:14pm

Unprecedented access to faculty, reserach and educational programs is on the way with the newly launched UA Online campus.

In the fall, 21 undergraduate degree programs will join a robust slate of more than 40 online graduate school degrees and certificates the UA has offered for several years. The new online degree programs reflect the University’s vision and commitment to meeting the evolving needs of today's students and working professionals of all ages.

"As the land-grant university for the state of Arizona, it is our responsibility to expand educational access for all Arizona citizens. The new UA Online undergraduate programs achieve this goal, and so much more, with innovations that enhance engagement for online students," said Vincent J. Del Casino Jr., vice provost of Digital Learning and Student Engagement.

Melissa Vito, senior vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management and senior vice provost for Academic Initiatives and Student Success, said the new programming represents an integral part of Never Settle, the UA's academic and business plan.

"We are thrilled that prospective students — from busy professionals advancing their careers and parents returning to the workforce to active military and veterans, community-college transfer students and others — can now earn their undergraduate degree from one of the top 100 universities in the world," Vito said.

Video Thumbnail: Category(s): Campus NewsTeaching and StudentsYouTube Video:  University of Arizona-Office of Digital Learning Video of University of Arizona-Office of Digital Learning Feature Sticky: OffFeature on Front: NoMedium Summary: Find out how it comes together with director Melody Buckner and senior instructional designers Jeremy Huffer and Angela Gunder of the Office of Digital Learning.UANow Image: Date of Publication: Monday, March 30, 2015Send to Never Settle Site: 0Includes video: The story include video

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