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UA Bolsters Opportunities for Online Students

Fri, 04/10/2015 - 5:23pm

This fall, the University of Arizona will launch its first General Education Academy, which is expected to enhance student learning for those enrolled in the recently launched UA Online campus.

The General Education Academy will include the fully online composition courses, and to lead the introduction of such courses the University has hired Susan Miller-Cochran, currently an English professor and director of the First-Year Writing Program at North Carolina State University.

Miller-Cochran will begin her post as director of the UA's Writing Program in July.

The announcement of Miller-Cochran's hiring comes shortly after the launch of UA Online, a distinct digital campus that is expanding statewide and national access to UA degrees. Through UA Online, the University is registering students for 21 new undergraduate degree programs, which join a slate of more than 40 online graduate school degrees and certificates the University has offered. 

"I have been working with the design and development of online writing classes since 1998, and I'm thrilled to be joining the team at the UA in July as we launch a new online writing program," Miller-Cochran said. Her research focuses on instructional technology, writing and writing program administration, and she has published dozens of books, book chapters, articles and other publications in her field.

"The emphasis that the UA has put on excellence in teaching and learning online is what drew me to this program," Miller-Cochran said, "and I look forward to working with the faculty teaching online writing courses to develop courses that are inclusive of a diverse student population and provide students the best opportunity for success."

The UA also will be hiring a visiting scholar in writing to help oversee other core elements of the online writing program, a faculty member in Spanish to support students who require second-language training as part of their fully online degree program.

The focus on online learning is an elemental part of the University's land-grant mission and Never Settle, the UA's academic and business strategic plan, which calls for a rapid expansion of student online access.

The UA's mission aligns with Arizona Board of Regents goals to improve higher-education attainment by 2020, and nationwide priorities to expand higher-education degree access, particularly to time- and place-bound students.

"The University of Arizona is the premier research university in the Southwest," said Vincent J. Del Casino Jr., vice provost of Digital Learning and Student Engagement.

"When we considered building UA Online for undergraduate students, we knew we wanted to bring the best teaching and research faculty to the University of Arizona to help us build a world-class, fully online campus," Del Casino said. "Susan Miller-Cochran is already a leader in her field in teaching of writing online. We are incredibly excited to have her leadership, not only in the Department of English and in the Writing Program, but as part of the UA Online student experience."

Digital Learning as a Movement

A team of UA Writing Program faculty has spent the spring semester experimenting with hybrid introductory writing courses — a split between online and face-to-face interactions — in preparation for moving the courses fully online this fall during the launch of the General Education Academy.

During a summer session, faculty also will pilot online offerings of English 101 and 102, as well as 109H, a section that is open to students in the Honors College.

Also, in addition to composition courses, the UA will launch fully online entry-level courses this fall in subjects that include Spanish, astronomy, music and history.

But it is not enough merely to offer courses online. Faculty must be appropriately trained and equipped with innovative approaches that will enhance engagement for online students, said Gretchen Gibbs, a professor of practice in the Office of Instruction and Assessment, who has been training faculty as they move from hybrid to online models.

"There is a perception that students born after 1992 were suddenly born with a chip in their heads," Gibbs said. Yet, faculty must rethink curriculum design, figure out how to develop a strong social presence, facilitate discussion and maintain engagement, and also deal with issues of privacy.

"They are sitting with these difficulties and wrestling with the challenges," said Gibbs, also the professional development assessment coordinator for online instruction.

Also, the UA's staged approach to offering courses online — moving from the traditional in-person model to a hybrid model before moving fully online — is unique move and has multiple intentions.

This approach ensured that other online offerings were not disrupted and that faculty were able to shape the courses during development while simultaneously testing instructional models, said Amy C. Kimme Hea, the outgoing director of the UA's Writing Program and an expert in computers and composition and writing program administration.

"The model to involve faculty in building the courses is really important in terms of the shift to online education," said Kimme Hea, who recently was appointed to serve as the UA's associate dean for instruction in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

"The benefit we have is involving faculty in research and in curricula design across the program. That provides a much stronger foundation moving forward, and has distinguished the General Education Academy from other online enterprises."

Flipping the Traditional Classroom

Sean Bottai, a course director and lecturer in the UA Department of English, is a member of the team imagining new possibilities for learning interactions, activities and tools that could be used to move writing courses to a fully online environment. The team also is collecting data on performance and success to help improve online courses into the future.

For now, Bottai has been teaching a hybrid English 102 course that focuses on rhetorical analysis. Students in his course analyze controversies and must devise public arguments around topics they are learning about, such as those associated with popular music and cultural representations via video.

"The No. 1 thing I want them to be able to do in their writing is to express an informed opinion. I want them to not just be clear communicators, but credible communicators," Bottai said.  

Over the semester, Bottai said he has found that the skills he is strengthening, such as engaging students in discussion and modeling behaviors, are applicable no matter the classroom space.

He acknowledges the challenge with teaching certain courses, such as English, in an online environment. But he has found that introducing peer-to-peer interactions, incorporating more free flow writing exercises, adopting video and images in instruction, and even engaging students in annotation projects online encourages students to rethink how they engage via the Internet.

"My approach to designing activities has changed," Bottai said. "This has reminded me how important all activities are in moving toward a goal the class is trying to meet, and I've become more technologically empowered."

In some ways, adopting new models in an online environment makes it easier to capture the attention, imagination and interest of students, he said.

"My natural inclination is to situate what we are doing in the present, contemporary moment, but by helping them do things they already know how to do — find song lyrics online, find an article about a contemporary musical artist, watch a video on YouTube," Bottai said. "I find that they are already confident in the online environment, but these are tools that can help them to achieve academic success."

Kimme Hea said that while offering fully online courses, particularly in general education, is fairly new territory for institutions of the UA's rank and profile, such a move is necessary to meet local and nationwide demands for higher education.

"This is a cultural shift for us, and it is a cultural shift across the country," Kimme Hea said. "What we are doing is not common for a program of our size and scope — a large, public research institution. Nationally, this is still a pretty rare phenomena."

Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: The University is developing best practices for online instruction while moving general education courses online, to increase access for students who have little chance of pursuing a UA degree in person. Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

Parking Program Puts Citizenship Ahead of Fines

Fri, 04/10/2015 - 4:48pm

Students who recently have received a parking citation on campus may be able to have the fine significantly reduced or waived entirely, thanks to a new diversion program adopted by the University of Arizona.

Under the new program, certain parking violators have the option to participate in an online educational program to reduce or eliminate their citation fee. Students are eligible to participate in the program once in an academic year, and the program does not apply to City of Tucson citations.

The idea behind the program is that educating drivers on UA parking policies creates better campus citizens. The learning experience of completing the program is more meaningful than simply paying a fine, says Mark Napier, associate director of operations for Parking and Transportation Services.

"It occurred to me that I'm going to touch hundreds if not several thousands of people a year by the unfortunate event of them getting some kind of parking citation," Napier said. "But could that be an opportunity?"

Napier said that fines collected from parking citations generate less than 5 percent of Parking and Transportation Services' annual revenue.

"We could really use this as a positive educational outlet to share information with students that we really would like them to know," he said.

The free program, which takes about two to three hours to complete, utilizes a workbook format in which participants review various University websites to answer questions. Napier worked with the UA's Campus Health Service and Dean of Students Office to develop content for the program.

The program is organized into four sections: University Knowledge; Being a Better University Citizen; Campus Health; and Parking and Transportation. Topics cover a variety of information, including the University's land-grant mission, Campus Health resources, student code of conduct and parking regulations on campus.

Napier, who also is chairman of the UA Appointed Professionals Advisory Council, said that he was inspired by the traffic school diversion programs most communities use for driving violations, in addition to a call by UA President Ann Weaver Hart for the campus community to get more involved with the UA.

"I've heard her talk a lot about making people feel more embedded in the University and increasing our sense of community," Napier said. "You're going to come out of this program knowing a whole lot more about our University and knowing how to be a better University citizen."

Although the program is currently targeted at students, Napier said an employee-focused program may be created later, based on demand.

A primary reason for the program, Napier said, is to help ease the strains faced by students.

"A parking ticket is just another strain," Napier said. "We can reduce some of that strain by giving them an option ... to reduce or waive their fine by going through this program. We hope they come out of the program more knowledgeable."

If you are a student who has received a citation that qualifies for the diversion program and you are interested in participating, send an email request to Include the words "Diversion Request" in the email subject line and provide your name, student ID number and citation number in the body of the email.

For more information about how to handle a citation and to view the violations that are eligible for the diversion program, visit the Parking and Transportation Services website.

Editor: dougcarrollByline: Amanda BallardByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Thanks to a new diversion program, UA students may be able to get their parking citation fee significantly reduced or waived entirely.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

How Twitter Can Help Predict Emergency Room Visits

Fri, 04/10/2015 - 3:24pm

Twitter users who post information about their personal health online might be considered by some to be "over-sharers," but new research led by the University of Arizona suggests that health-related tweets may have the potential to be helpful for hospitals.

Led by Sudha Ram, a UA professor of management information systems and computer science, and Dr. Yolande Pengetnze, a physician scientist at the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation in Dallas, the researchers looked specifically at the chronic condition of asthma and how asthma-related tweets, analyzed alongside other data, can help predict asthma-related emergency room visits.

Ram and her collaborators — including Wenli Zhang, a UA doctoral student in management information systems, and researchers from the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation — created a model that was able to successfully predict approximately how many asthma sufferers would visit the emergency room at a large hospital in Dallas on a given day, based on an analysis of data gleaned from electronic medical records, air quality sensors and Twitter.

Their findings (PDF), to be published in the forthcoming IEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics' special issue on big data, could help hospital emergency departments nationwide plan better with regard to staffing and resource management, said Ram, the paper's lead author.

"We realized that asthma is one of the biggest traffic generators in the emergency department," Ram said. "Often what happens is that there are not the right people in the ED to treat these patients, or not the right equipment, and that causes a lot of unforeseen problems."

Over a three-month period, Ram and her team collected air quality data from environmental sensors in the vicinity of the Dallas hospital. They also gathered and analyzed asthma-related tweets containing certain keywords such as "asthma," "inhaler" or "wheezing." After collecting millions of tweets from across the globe, they used text-mining techniques to zoom in on relevant tweets in the ZIP codes where most of the hospital's patients live, according to electronic medical records.

The researchers found that as certain air quality measures worsened, asthma visits to the emergency room went up. Asthma visits also increased as the number of asthma-related tweets went up. The researchers additionally looked at asthma-related Google searches in the area but found that they were not a good predictor for asthma emergency room visits.

By analyzing tweets and air quality information together, Ram and her collaborators were able to use machine learning algorithms to predict with 75 percent accuracy whether the emergency room could expect a low, medium or high number of asthma-related visits on a given day.

The research highlights the important role that big data, including streams from social media and environmental sensors, could play in addressing health challenges, Ram said.

She and her team hope that their findings will help them create similar predictive models for emergency room visits related to other chronic conditions, such as diabetes.

"You can get a lot of interesting insights from social media that you can't from electronic health records," Ram said. "You only go to the doctor once in a while, and you don't always tell your doctor how much you've been exercising or what you've been eating. But people share that information all the time on social media. We think that prediction models like this can be very useful, if we can combine various types of data, to address chronic diseases."

Ram is co-director of the UA's INSITE Center for Business Intelligence and Analytics in the Eller College on Management. The INSITE Center focuses on predictive analytics through the use of data from a variety of sources, including social media, sensors, mobile applications and Web-based platforms.

Health care — and how various forms of data can be used to address health-care issues — is a key area of interest for the center.

Big data analysis already has been used to predict the spread of contagious disease. The Google Flu Trends Web service, for example, estimates when and where flu will spread based on analysis of flu-related Google searches.

The model developed by Ram and her collaborators is different in that it focuses on a chronic condition. 

"People often end up in the emergency room not necessarily for contagious diseases but for complications resulting from chronic conditions like asthma or diabetes or cardiac problems, which cost a lot to our health care system," Ram said.

More than 25 million Americans are affected by asthma, which accounts for approximately 2 million emergency department visits, half a million hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths annually, incurring more than $50 billion in direct medical costs, Ram and her collaborators write in their paper.

Although hospitals can make risk predictions about when individual asthma patients might return, based on medical histories, the model created by Ram and her collaborators makes predictions at the population level.

"The CDC gets reports of emergency department visits several weeks after the fact, and then they put out surveillance maps," Ram said. "With our new model, we can now do this in almost real time, so that's an important public health surveillance implication."

Ram's co-author Pengetnze said the research represents a creative new approach to population health.

"The multidisciplinary collaboration in this study combines clinical expertise, health services knowledge, electronic health records, and non-traditional big data sources to address the major health challenge that is asthma," she said. "This multifaceted approach could have important implications for the timeliness of public health surveillance, hospital preparedness and clinical workflows, first for asthma then for other burdensome chronic conditions like childhood obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases, to name a few."

With the first phase of their research complete, Ram and her team now plan to expand the asthma study to 75 hospitals in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

"We've got really good results," Ram said, "and now we're working on building even more robust models to see if we can increase the accuracy level by using more types of datasets over a longer time period."

Editor: dougcarrollWriter: Alexis BlueByline: Alexis BlueByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: A UA-led team of researchers created a model that was able to predict with 75 percent accuracy how many asthma-related emergency room visits a hospital could expect on a given day.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

$1M Gift From Regent, Family to Cancer Center

Fri, 04/10/2015 - 2:49pm

A member of the Arizona Board of Regents has made a $1 million gift to the University of Arizona Cancer Center in Phoenix.

Regent Dr. Ram Krishna and his wife, Dr. Meera Krishna, made the gift in memory of Meera Krishna's sister, Dr. Mandira Jalajakshi, who was a physician practicing in England when she died in 2012.

The gift will go toward the construction of the University of Arizona Cancer Center at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center/Dignity Health outpatient facility, which will offer comprehensive cancer services, including infusion, radiation oncology, diagnostic imaging, endoscopic/interventional radiology, patient wellness and support services, a prevention center, clinical lab space and several specialized cancer clinics.

The five-story, 220,000-square-foot facility — a partnership between the UA and St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center/Dignity Health — is under construction on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus in downtown Phoenix and expected to open in September.

"We are very grateful for the generous support of Drs. Ram and Meera Krishna for the University of Arizona Cancer Center's new facility in Phoenix," said UA President Ann Weaver Hart. "The UA is committed to serving the Phoenix area as part of our land-grant mission. To do so, we are focused on expanding our presence and partnerships there. With this new facility, we will be able to provide patients in Phoenix access to the world-renowned resources of the University of Arizona Cancer Center."

The Krishnas' two daughters graduated from the UA — one with an undergraduate degree and a law degree and the other with a dual degree in medicine and public health. And one of the girls was born at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson, formerly the UA Medical Center. Ram Krishna said he and his wife wanted to give back to the school their children attended while supporting UA medical education and research.

"I was very impressed with President Hart's vision, and we wanted to give back," said Ram Krishna, an orthopedic surgeon who has a private practice in Yuma. "Education and research in the medical field are very important to us."

In recognition of the Krishnas' gift, a space in the new center will bear the name of Mandira Jalajakshi and serve as a memorial honoring her work as a physician.

Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: University Relations – CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: The donation from Dr. Ram Krishna and his wife, Meera, will help with the construction of an outpatient facility at the center, scheduled to open in September on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

Accelerating Universe? Not So Fast

Fri, 04/10/2015 - 11:33am

Certain types of supernovae, or exploding stars, are more diverse than previously thought, a University of Arizona-led team of astronomers has discovered. The results, reported in two papers published in the Astrophysical Journal, have implications for big cosmological questions, such as how fast the universe has been expanding since the Big Bang.

Most importantly, the findings hint at the possibility that the acceleration of the expansion of the universe might not be quite as fast as textbooks say. 

The team, led by UA astronomer Peter A. Milne, discovered that type Ia supernovae, which have been considered so uniform that cosmologists have used them as cosmic "beacons" to plumb the depths of the universe, actually fall into different populations. The findings are analogous to sampling a selection of 100-watt light bulbs at the hardware store and discovering that they vary in brightness.

"We found that the differences are not random, but lead to separating Ia supernovae into two groups, where the group that is in the minority near us are in the majority at large distances — and thus when the universe was younger," said Milne, an associate astronomer with the UA's Department of Astronomy and Steward Observatory. "There are different populations out there, and they have not been recognized. The big assumption has been that as you go from near to far, type Ia supernovae are the same. That doesn't appear to be the case."

The discovery casts new light on the currently accepted view of the universe expanding at a faster and faster rate, pulled apart by a poorly understood force called dark energy. This view is based on observations that resulted in the 2011 Nobel Prize for Physics awarded to three scientists, including UA alumnus Brian P. Schmidt.

The Nobel laureates discovered independently that many supernovae appeared fainter than predicted because they had moved farther away from Earth than they should have done if the universe expanded at the same rate. This indicated that the rate at which stars and galaxies move away from each other is increasing; in other words, something has been pushing the universe apart faster and faster.

"The idea behind this reasoning," Milne explained, "is that type Ia supernovae happen to be the same brightness — they all end up pretty similar when they explode. Once people knew why, they started using them as mileposts for the far side of the universe.

"The faraway supernovae should be like the ones nearby because they look like them, but because they're fainter than expected, it led people to conclude they're farther away than expected, and this in turn has led to the conclusion that the universe is expanding faster than it did in the past."

Milne and his co-authors — Ryan J. Foley of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Peter J. Brown at Texas A&M University and Gautham Narayan of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, or NOAO, in Tucson — observed a large sample of type Ia supernovae in ultraviolet and visible light. For their study, they combined observations made by the Hubble Space Telescope with those made by NASA's Swift satellite.

The data collected with Swift were crucial because the differences between the populations — slight shifts toward the red or the blue spectrum — are subtle in visible light, which had been used to detect type Ia supernovae previously, but became obvious only through Swift's dedicated follow-up observations in the ultraviolet.

"These are great results," said Neil Gehrels, principal investigator of the Swift satellite, who co-authored the first paper. "I am delighted that Swift has provided such important observations, which have been made toward a science goal that is completely independent of the primary mission. It demonstrates the flexibility of our satellite to respond to new phenomena swiftly."

"The realization that there were two groups of type Ia supernovae started with Swift data," Milne said. "Then we went through other datasets to see if we see the same. And we found the trend to be present in all the other datasets.

"As you're going back in time, we see a change in the supernovae population," he added. "The explosion has something different about it, something that doesn't jump out at you when you look at it in optical light, but we see it in the ultraviolet.

"Since nobody realized that before, all these supernovae were thrown in the same barrel. But if you were to look at 10 of them nearby, those 10 are going to be redder on average than a sample of 10 faraway supernovae."

The authors conclude that some of the reported acceleration of the universe can be explained by color differences between the two groups of supernovae, leaving less acceleration than initially reported. This would, in turn, require less dark energy than currently assumed.

"We're proposing that our data suggest there might be less dark energy than textbook knowledge, but we can't put a number on it," Milne said. "Until our paper, the two populations of supernovae were treated as the same population. To get that final answer, you need to do all that work again, separately for the red and for the blue population."

The authors pointed out that more data have to be collected before scientists can understand the impact on current measures of dark energy. Scientists and instruments in Arizona will play important roles in these studies, according to Milne. These include projects led by NOAO; the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, or LSST, whose primary mirror was produced at the UA; and a camera built by the UA's Imaging Technology Lab for the Super-LOTIS telescope on Kitt Peak southwest of Tucson. Super-LOTIS is a robotic telescope that will use the new camera to follow up on gamma-ray bursts — the "muzzle flash" of a supernova — detected by Swift.

Editor: dougcarrollWriter: Daniel StolteByline: Daniel StolteByline Affiliation: University Relations – CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: A UA-led team of astronomers found that the type of supernovae commonly used to measure distances in the universe fall into distinct populations not recognized before. The findings have implications for our understanding of how fast the universe has been expanding since the Big Bang.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noIncludes video: 

Ecosystem Metaphor May Apply to Humans

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 6:54pm

The world today is more intimate and tightly wound together than ever before. Organizations are linked together in a variety of ways, allowing relationships to form and resources to be exchanged.

Matt Mars of the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Judith Bronstein from the UA College of Science have teamed up to better understand the natural properties of the networks that tie together human actors and organizations. The U.S. Department of Defense is interested in their research as a way to analyze terrorist networks.

"Today’s society doesn’t work in isolation," Mars said. "It’s becoming easier to show who’s connected to who, but knowing how one organization affects another remains a particularly difficult challenge. What actors and groups keep a network together? Who is expendable?"

The researchers are using an organizational ecology model, drawn originally from the biological sciences, to study how groups form and interact. Bronstein's research focuses on cooperation and insect networks, and Mars' focuses on charter schools and other human systems.

To gain more insight, Mars and Bronstein are looking at the opportunities and limitations of viewing such networks from the perspective of an "organizational ecosystem metaphor."

Traditionally used in the study of networks of interacting species in nature, the ecosystem model increasingly is being employed in other disciplines to predict how different groups thrive, interact and extend their influence, or fail.

The work of Mars, an assistant professor of agricultural leadership and communication in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Bronstein, a University Distinguished Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, stems from an initial collaboration that included Bob Lusch, Muzzy Professor of Entrepreneurship and professor of marketing in the UA's Eller College of Management.

"Ecological terms have been popping up in the nonscientific literature more and more — symbiosis, ecosystem, things like that. Some of these are really powerful concepts," said Bronstein, a member of the UA’s BIO5 Institute. "Could ecological concepts and analyses enrich fields like business, education and policymaking by suggesting new and testable hypotheses, for instance, about what makes systems stable or fragile? We've become convinced that they can."

According to Mars, there is a need for a better understanding of how organizations and actors connect and function within complex environments.

Interest by Department of Defense

The U.S. Department of Defense Office of Net Assessment agrees. After reading a paper by Mars, Bronstein and Lusch, the office invited Mars and Bronstein to discuss the organizational ecosystem metaphor during a counterterrorism workshop in January in Alexandria, Virginia.

The office is looking for new ways to study how the systems that support and create violent instability come together — and how they fall apart.

"It was an engaging and challenging conversation," Mars said. "Terrorism is a global problem, so they want to understand the systems that are being put together and how they form and keep connections, and want to be able to forecast how that’s going to change over the next 10 years."

Mars and the ecologist Bronstein want to keep it relevant to both the human and biological sides.

"The metaphor tries to take principles from biological systems that are parallel to human systems and give you different ways to understand how human systems function, how they thrive or how they fail," Bronstein said.

For example, Bronstein and Mars are studying the emergence of the Arizona charter school system, and how different systems affect the success or failure of the schools within. The UA Center for Insect Science initially funded this interdisciplinary project.

"You can understand the charter school system as an ecosystem, where schools are species, and these schools have partnerships with other species," Mars said. "They may compete, but they share an environment that is structured by common policy and resource pools. The overarching goal is for schools to thrive rather than fail, and using the ecosystem model is an effective way of understanding the environment that largely determines success and failure."

Within the agricultural education department, the model also holds promise for looking at local and regional food systems.

"Exploring local food systems as ecosystems is just one example of how the metaphor may connect to agriculture, but its application is really diverse, so you can go from charter schools, to terrorists, to food systems," Mars said.

Looking for Tools to Use

Once the metaphor has been fully developed, then it has the power to become a decision-making tool.

"That’s why the DOD wants to talk to us," Mars said. "They want tools."

"Our college has always contributed to America’s national security primarily by ensuring a safe and abundant food supply," said Shane Burgess, vice president for veterinary sciences and Cooperative Extension and CALS dean. "But today, we’re taking this one step further and using the principles of biological networks to address the immediate national security threat we all face: world terrorism."

Following the Net Assessment meeting, Mars and Bronstein have been invited to develop an essay that explores some of the potential ways in which the ecosystem metaphor may influence counterterrorism strategy and policy. If published, it will be distributed to policymakers in Washington, D.C.

"It is very exciting to know that the work we are doing at the University of Arizona could have a positive impact on the nation's effort to prevent organized violence and bring greater stability to the world," Mars said. 

Editor: dougcarrollByline: Susan McGinleyByline Affiliation: College of Agriculture and Life SciencesHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: UA researchers have attracted the attention of the Department of Defense by looking at how organizational ecology may relate to human networks — and even to terrorist organizations.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

Two Programs Focus on Effects of Abuse

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 4:59pm

In recognition of Sexual Abuse Awareness Month in April, Arizona Public Media is airing special programming on the WORLD Channel that features stories of resilience from survivors of sexual violence and domestic abuse.

"Family Affair" and "The Perfect Victim," which are new episodes of the acclaimed independent film series "America ReFramed," serve to raise awareness for the prevention of sexual abuse, as well as to highlight the victims’ capacity for perseverance in the face of trauma.

"Family Affair" tells the story of Chico Colvard as he seeks to understand his family’s calamitous past. Some 30 years after an accident uncovered the repeated emotional, physical and sexual abuse of Colvard’s three sisters at the hands of their father, he seeks to grasp the truth about the horrors of his childhood, the man at the center of those horrors and the ability of his sisters to forgive. "Family Affair," which premiered on April 7, will repeat Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at midnight.

"The Perfect Victim," which will air Tuesday at 6 p.m., features four women incarcerated for killing their abusive husbands, and the efforts to win their freedom. Raped, abused and nearly killed by their spouses, these women chose finally to fight back — and were sentenced to life in prison. After a battle of a decade and a half, and a collective 85 years in Missouri's prison system, the women appeal for justice to be done and a second chance at the lives taken from them.

Cox Cable subscribers can find WORLD on Channel 83; Comcast subscribers can find it on Channel 203. For those using an antenna, WORLD is at Channel 27.3.

Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: "Family Affair" and "The Perfect Victim," part of an independent film series, focus on sexual violence and domestic abuse during Sexual Abuse Awareness Month.Include in UANow: 0Include in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

Behind the Plate: A Catcher's Perspective

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 4:48pm

In baseball, the role of a catcher requires both mental and physical talents. The position is demanding. A skilled catcher must be capable of complex statistical analysis, have lightning-fast judgment and have highly developed organizational and leadership skills.

A catcher is the only player that is positioned to see the entire field of play. He is the most powerful person on the diamond. He triggers virtually every action by calling the pitches. He must be aware of every aspect of the game at all times. He has to keep the score, the inning and the number of outs in mind. He must know what the ball-strike count is, who's up to bat, and what the hitter has done in previous at-bats and against certain pitches. The outcome of the game could turn on any of these things.

Riley Moore of the Arizona Wildcats used to find all of that decision making to be overwhelming, back when he took a more passive approach to catching.

"It was difficult for me earlier on in my college career," Moore said. "As a freshman coming into this program with a bunch of older established guys and knowing that the catcher's position requires leadership, it was hard for me because I was coming in as a passive catcher knowing that this wasn't my program, it was the older guys'." 

Now, as a senior, he has a different perspective about his role on the team.  

"As a catcher, you're a leader trying to control the game and control your players," Moore said. "You have to take a more active role and really take ownership of your program if you want to be successful."

Decisions and situations that once seemed daunting to him have gained clarity over the course of his Wildcat tenure. 

Moore explained that as you spend more time within the program, the decisions — be they running different bunt defenses, positioning fielders or calling out where pitches should be thrown — become second nature and nearly instinctive. 

"I'm 100 percent positive that they aren't always the right decisions, because nobody's perfect — we're all human — but I'm not hesitating anymore in making those crucial decisions, and to the best of my judgment I make the decisions I believe will benefit the team," he said.  

Head coach Andy Lopez said that Moore provides solid leadership and does a good job of handling the pitching staff.

"He understands his role, and his intangibles are exceeding anything we were really asking of him this year," Lopez said. "He knows what has to be done to win."

One facet of the game that Moore emphasizes is his defense. Baseball is a sport in which the defense controls the pace of the game.

The offense waits for the defense to deliver a pitch. The combination of a sly catcher and a crafty pitcher has the power to shape the outcome of the game.   "Whether it's just from receiving or throwing and being able to call a good game for the pitchers, that's where I would say the real foundation of a great catcher comes from," he said.  "Anyone can learn how to hit, but being a sound defensive catcher, not many people have the mental aspects — the calmness, poise and the confidence — to know which pitches to call, what situations are going on and what previous pitches you've called in setting up the current and past batters.

"It's a game within a game," Moore added. "You've got to be pretty tough mentally behind the plate because you have to distinguish between all aspects of handling a pitching staff and other position players while strategically working to outwit an opposing batter." 

Catching combines the mental aspects of the position with brute physicality. It's a difficult position to play, and it includes blocking pitches with your body on occasion and squatting all game.

"It's hard on your legs and you get tired, so physically you have to be strong and stable, and mentally you just have to be tough, knowing that it's a grind and really prioritizing what you have to do for those nine innings," Moore said.

Moore has shown defensive improvement every year, going from a .971 fielding percentage in his freshman season to .984 as a sophomore and .997 last season. This year, the native of Santa Barbara, California, has committed only one error behind the plate and possesses a .305 batting average, with nine extra-base hits including three home runs. 

"I try to work on every aspect of the game because I know I'm not the best at everything," Moore said. "There are only a couple people on this planet who are the best, and they're getting paid millions of dollars to play professional baseball."

In college baseball, pitch calls usually are decided by coaches and not by catchers. However, in more recent games, Lopez has given Moore greater opportunity to call games and have an even more impactful role. 

"It's been great," Lopez said. "I'm always looking forward to catchers doing that, because they're going to eventually have to do that in pro ball." 

Moore said that he has enjoyed the extra responsibility.

"I find myself being able to call a good game and knowing what pitches to call on certain hitters," he said. "It's really fun."

Editor: dougcarrollWriter: Evan RosenfeldByline: Evan RosenfeldByline Affiliation: UA News Student Associate, University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: UA senior Riley Moore is always involved in the game, and the constant action and decisions are what he loves about the position he plays for the Wildcats. Include in UANow: 0Include in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noIncludes video: 

The Art and Science of the Environment

Wed, 04/08/2015 - 5:49pm

Kejun Li asks a question: What does a credit card have in common with tree rings?

The answer is in Li's art — spiraling, archival digital-art prints he created by smearing an expired credit card in the style of Chinese brush paintings. The prints directly mimic the cross section of a tree and its rings in a way that is so striking and precise that people have asked Li, a graduating University of Arizona Master of Fine Art student, whether his works are actually X-rays.

The pieces in the "Plastic|Wood" series, which are part of a new timely — and, in some ways, timeless — exhibition organized by UA artists and scientists, also highlight the similarities and contrasts between a manufactured and natural world.

Indeed, that is the focus of "Marking Time to a Changing Climate," now on display at the UA's Bryant Bannister Tree-Ring Building, home of the Laboratory for Tree-Ring Research.

The exhibition was coordinated by UA School of Art professor Ellen McMahon in collaboration with David Breshears, a professor in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment, to encourage imagination, questioning and discovery around scientific matters.

"Breshears (and) many others studying the effects of climate change are deeply concerned about what they're finding," McMahon said, noting the work of Breshears and his collaborators.

The team found that 40 to 80 percent of the piñon pine trees in the Four Corners area died off between 2002 and 2003. In 2014, Breshears was among the researchers who contributed to a climate change assessment released by the White House and the U.S. Global Change Research Program detailing how changes in the climate pose current problems.

"Scientists need to keep their objectivity to keep their credibility. Artists don’t have those constraints and are free to work with the data," McMahon said. "This is mutually beneficial, as artists can reach people in ways scientists can't."

Thus, the project propels a conversation about two important contemporary themes: the need to make evident the changes — even subtle ones — that are occurring in the environment, and the promise of an ongoing interdisciplinary movement that is drawing stronger connections between the arts and science.

"Bringing artwork to a place where so many visitors come to learn about science is a great opportunity to bring up questions about how art and science effect us in different ways," said McMahon, who is also a member of the Art and Environment Network initiated by the Institute of the Environment, a network of UA faculty members exploring issues related to the many intersections between art and the environment.

"My hope is that projects like these will help people understand through firsthand experience the importance of both art and science in determining what they think, how they feel and finally how they choose to act," she said.

McMahon's 8-foot piece includes 275 hemispheric images of healthy ponderosa pine trees and also dead piñon pine and juniper forests. The images were captured over the last several years by Breshears and his team of researchers and used by the team in its forest mortality research.

The images were not captured for artistic purposes, but McMahon reimagined them as works of art and organized them into a sequential narrative to help raise awareness of recent accelerated forest die-off due to drought, insect damage and warming temperatures in the Southwest.

In addition to Li and McMahon, School of Art graduate students Thomas Saffle and Jesse Chehak also contributed works, some of them new, to be installed in the building. The photographs, prints and paintings are located in the main lobby and in various locations throughout the building, and are scheduled to be in place for about a year.

Saffle produced a 14-foot behemoth tree painting and monotype oil paints that bring to mind monsoons and other extreme weather conditions.

"These artworks are paired especially well with the department, which is focused on extreme climate and weather research," said Saffle, a Master of Fine Arts student graduating in May.

"Getting to show your art in a setting as nice and interesting as the lab is great," he said. "Having work with natural phenomena and then hanging in a center that focuses on the study trees and extreme weather feels like a perfect fit for me as an artist and hopefully for those working there as well."

Li took a UA dendochronology course last year in preparation for the project.

"A credit card is like a recorder of our lives, and a tree ring is a recorder of nature. Each tree ring contains a large quantity of information and so does a credit card," Li, a graduate student in visual communications, said about his prints.

"I'm interested in making connections between these two different kinds of information, the natural and the artificial," he said. "I was pleasantly surprised to discover that, with a single sweep, tree rings could be imitated so accurately including early wood, fire scars, false rings, fungus and so on.” 

McMahon is teaching an art design and environmental science course in the fall and intends to engage her students in projects that address issues such as those embedded in the exhibition.

"My collaboration with Dave Breshears and his team has deepened my investment in forest die-off as I internalized and engaged it through my cultural and individual identity as an artist and designer," McMahon said. "I think the interaction is beneficial and enriching for the artists and the scientists, and I am very motivated to bring the two disciplines together."

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

"Marking Time to a Changing Climate" is on display, with works installed at various locations within the UA's Bryant Bannister Tree-Ring Building. 


Several works are visible in the lobby and may be viewed during business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Other works may be offered on tours of the building, or by special arrangement. For more information, contact Ellen McMahon, a UA School of Art professor, at

Header image: YesNo Image: Subheading: UA School of Art professor Ellen McMahon and David Breshears, a professor in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment, organized an exhibition to encourage imagination, questioning and discovery around scientific matters.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

Classroom Innovator: Barnet Pavao-Zuckerman

Wed, 04/08/2015 - 4:49pm

To get to the classroom of Barnet Pavao-Zuckerman, you need a vehicle, good directions and some enthusiasm for playing in the dirt. Especially the last part.

Pavao-Zuckerman, an associate professor in the University of Arizona’s School of Anthropology, oversees the UA’s archaeological field school at Mission Guevavi, on the Santa Cruz River an hour south of Tucson.

The field school, in its third season, combines training in excavation and analysis of material remains from several prehistoric and historical contexts in and around the 18th century Mission Los Santos Ángeles de Guevavi, located within Tumacácori National Historic Park.

"It absolutely is a classroom," says Pavao-Zuckerman, who is also associate director of the School of Anthropology, celebrating its centennial this year.

"I love what I do, and I want the students to love what I do," she says. "To me, there’s no greater thrill than telling a big story about the past from tiny bits of bone fragments you find in the ground. That’s what gets me up in the morning."

The field school is part of a collaborative project involving the UA, the National Park Service and Desert Archaeology Inc. Students learn excavation methods, advanced mapping techniques, curation and analysis of artifacts, archaeological interpretation, and archaeological ethics and legal mandates.

"This is practical, hands-on experience," Pavao-Zuckerman says. "You have to be here and put trowel to ground to understand the techniques and the special control and the context.

"You have to test to see if this is something you want to do with the rest of your life."

Video Thumbnail: Category(s): Social Sciences and EducationTeaching and StudentsYouTube Video:  Classroom Innovator:Barnet Pavao-Zuckerman Video of Classroom Innovator:Barnet Pavao-Zuckerman Feature Sticky: OffFeature on Front: NoMedium Summary: Roll up your sleeves and visit the UA's archaeological field school at Mission Guevavi, an hour south of Tucson, the latest in our series on classroom innovation. UANow Image: Date of Publication: Wednesday, April 8, 2015Send to Never Settle Site: 0Includes video: The story include video

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:!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

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,

"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, 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

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: