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'Everybody's Building' Enters New Era

Wed, 11/05/2014 - 15:27

The assignment of restoring Old Main, the 123-year-old centerpiece of the University of Arizona campus, put Corky Poster squarely on the hot seat for a year and a half.

The Tucson architect knew what his firm, Poster Frost Mirto, was getting into. Old Main is like family to the University’s students, faculty, staff and alumni, as well as the community at large, and “suggestions” to Poster about the project were a dime a dozen. As a former interim dean of the UA’s College of Architecture, he was seen as approachable.

“There were 50,000 critics every day who were pretty sure they knew what to do,” Poster says, chuckling. “We had nowhere to hide. It’s everybody’s building, and everybody had an opinion.”

The result, celebrated officially at an open house on Oct. 8 and unofficially at this weekend’s homecoming festivities, is a classy, dignified fusion of old and new that Poster admits he can’t get enough of. He says he walks past and through Old Main every day, pleased to have been involved in such a career-defining project.

His favorite compliment is an unusual one.

“People say, ‘Corky, it looks beautiful, but we’re not sure what you did,’” Poster says. “That, for a restoration, is a great compliment. On the outside, Old Main looks like a better version of itself. And on the inside, people are blown away by the contrast (of old and new).”

That balance, he says, was more challenging to achieve than it looks. The U.S. Department of the Interior has strict guidelines for the restoration of structures listed on the National Registry.

Poster and the Old Main team had to commit to an “honest” restoration, making clear distinctions between the building’s historic and contemporary aspects.

“If you put something new in,” Poster says, “it needs to be clearly new. Clarity is the watchword. Someone should be able to walk in and understand right away what’s old and new. … There can’t be any (architectural) conjecture about what might have been.”

An example, he says, is the railing that encompasses Old Main’s veranda. The original railing is backed by a newer, far-less-obvious version that takes away nothing visually — yet unmistakably separates old from new.

Poster says he hears the most praise for the exterior and interior lighting (“It was so poorly lit outside that you had no sense of the building's profile,” he says) and the roof, which presented the single greatest challenge. The iconic metal roof is actually three roofs in one: fish-scale shingles, double-curved mansard and standing seam.

“In retrospect, we got to exactly the right place with it,” Poster says, recalling numerous meetings devoted exclusively to the roof. “We needed to replace the roof with a product we could afford that looked the same, while meeting all of the standards for safety and water protection.

“It’s perfect, but it took forever to get there.”

The Old Main project had a few anxious moments, and one in particular stands out to Poster.

At a meeting, UA Provost Andrew Comrie spoke of his fondness for a cluster of palm trees on the site, a long-ago gift of gratitude from the government of Iraq for the University’s education of international students. Comrie talked about how he would begin lectures by telling students about the trees.

Aware of plans to remove some palm trees on the building’s west side, Poster silently hoped those weren’t the ones Comrie fancied.

“At the meeting, we all sat there looking at each other,” Poster says. “Nobody said anything. But we were all thinking, ‘I hope they didn’t come down today.’”

As it turned out, they didn’t — Comrie’s beloved trees were in a cluster on Old Main’s northeast side. The palms on the west side survived, too.

Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Old Main's restoration presented some challenges for Tucson architect Corky Poster, but the project was a labor of love.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: 

Black Holes Come to the Big Screen

Wed, 11/05/2014 - 12:21

What does a black hole look like up close?

When the sci-fi movie "Interstellar" — hitting theaters this week — wows audiences with its computer-generated views of one of most enigmatic and fascinating phenomena in the universe, University of Arizona astrophysicists Chi-kwan Chan, Dimitrios Psaltis and Feryal Ozel are likely to nod appreciatively and say something like, "Meh, that looks nice, but check out what we've got."

"We want to know what happens near extremely compact objects such as black holes and neutron stars," said Psaltis, a professor of astronomy and physics in the UA's Department of Astronomy and Steward Observatory. "We want to watch as matter fed onto a black hole crosses the event horizon, the point of no return, and disappears.”

To find answers, the group created a monster in the basement of the UA's high-performance computing facility. Harnessing the power of the UA's new supercomputer — nicknamed El Gato — the researchers combined knowledge from mathematical equations and astronomical observations to generate visualizations of an object known by astronomers as Sagittarius A* ("Sagittarius A star"), a supermassive black hole comprising the mass of 4.3 million suns.

Located 26,000 light-years from Earth at the center of our galaxy, Sagittarius A* is tiny to the eyes of astronomers. Smaller than Mercury’s orbit around the sun, it appears about the same size as a grapefruit on the moon. 

The team just published the first major science results obtained using El Gato's unique, massive, parallel-computing capabilities to create visualizations of what a space traveler might see upon approaching SgrA*. The results, published in two reports in the Astrophysical Journal — one focusing on the imaging and the other on the computing — provide some of the groundwork for the Event Horizon Telescope, or EHT, a huge undertaking involving scientists and observatories around the world to take the first-ever picture of SgrA*.

The film "Interstellar," starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, prominently features a black hole, touted as the first visual depictions based on the actual science and mathematics of Einstein's Theory of General Relativity. On some of the renderings, a special-effects team of about 30 experts reportedly spent up to 100 hours of running calculations to create each frame.

"Our team of four here at the UA can produce visuals of a black hole that are more scientifically accurate in a few seconds," said Ozel, also a professor of astronomy and physics at Steward Observatory.

"It's a bit like gaming on steroids," she explained. "El Gato uses a massively parallel architecture of hundreds of graphic processors working side by side, with each node functioning as a renderer in real time."

As part of a collaboration that includes the papers' first author, postdoctoral fellow Chan, and researchers at Harvard University and MIT, the husband-and-wife research team of Psaltis and Ozel developed software algorithms capable of calculating the paths of millions of individual photons in mere seconds as they shoot toward the black hole.

Funded by the National Science Foundation and NASA, the computer simulations are a crucial step before astronomers can start to look for the black hole using the EHT, functioning as a sort of field ID guide of what astronomers should look for once the EHT is up and running.

The EHT will combine radio telescopes across the globe to create a virtual telescope the size of the Earth. These include the UA's Arizona Radio Observatory as well as the South Pole Telescope, outfitted with new receivers built by a group led by UA assistant professor of astronomy Daniel Marrone.

"We wouldn't be able to observe a black hole against a black sky," Ozel said. "Therefore, we look for other telltale signatures telling us about the presence of a black hole."

The gravitational field around a black hole is so immense that it swallows everything in its reach. Not even light can escape its grip. For that reason, black holes are just that: They emit no light whatsoever, and their “nothingness” blends into the black void of the universe.

As matter comes under the black hole's spell of extreme gravity, a cosmic traffic jam ensues, in which gas swirls around it like water circling a drain. As matter compresses, the resulting friction turns it into plasma heated to a billion degrees or more, causing it to "glow" — and radiate energy that astronomers can detect here on Earth.

"Our visualizations show there is a place where photons linger and form a ring outlining the shadow of the black hole," Psaltis said. "That ring of light makes the black hole easier to find than if we were looking for complete blackness. These simulations also help us find ways to distinguish this signature from all this swirling plasma around the black hole."

By imaging the glow of matter swirling around the black hole before it goes over the edge and plunges into the abyss of space and time, scientists can see only the outline of the black hole, also called its shadow.

In addition to providing groundwork for the EHT, the simulations will support NICER, a new NASA mission involving an instrument that will be attached to the International Space Station, to help scientists better understand neutron stars and to test navigation methods for future spacecraft using neutron stars as extremely accurate clocks.

Until EHT is ready to take the first images of what lurks at the center of our Milky Way, astrophysicists will have to get by with gaming on steroids — or going to the movies. 

Editor: dougcarrollWriter: Daniel StolteByline: Daniel StolteByline Affiliation: University Relations – CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: The new movie "Interstellar" explores a longstanding fascination, but UA astrophysicists are using cutting-edge technology to go one better. They're working on how to take pictures of the black hole at the center of the galaxy.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: 

Eller Alumna of the Year Sarah Brown Smallhouse

Tue, 11/04/2014 - 18:01

Leading up to the UA's 100th Homecoming, we are highlighting UA alumni who are being honored with alumni of the year awards.

Tucson native and UA alumna Sarah Brown Smallhouse is president of the Thomas R. Brown Foundations, named for her late father.

In the late 1980s, thinking an M.B.A. would help her regardless of the twists and turns of her career, Smallhouse turned to the UA and the Eller College of Management. She recalls highlights of her degree program: writing a business plan for an innovative technology developed at the Environmental Research Lab; traveling to Guangzhou, China, for an exchange trip; and the extraordinary influence of faculty members like Bob Tyndall, who taught the capstone course for the entrepreneurship students.

Four years after completing her M.B.A., Smallhouse became president of the Thomas R. Brown Foundations. The foundations encourage an entrepreneurial mindset and awareness of basic economic principles through strategic partnerships with the UA and a wide range of community organizations, including Science Foundation Arizona, Literacy Volunteers of Tucson and Tucson Medical Center.

Under the leadership of Smallhouse, the foundations partner with and support the UA in myriad ways: endowing the Thomas R. Brown Teaching Fellows Program to prepare economics doctoral students for faculty roles across the country; supporting the Office of Economic Education to help Arizona K-12 teachers learn basic principles of economics to take back to their classrooms; and assisting students and faculty through scholarships and endowed faculty positions in the Departments of Management Information Systems and Economics.

Also, Smallhouse is the immediate past-chair of the UA Foundation's board of trustees, co-chair of the Arizona NOW capital campaign and serves on advisory boards in the College of Engineering and the College of Science. Smallhouse also is a board member of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council and chairs the board of the Southern Arizona Buffelgrass Coordination Center, illustrating the breadth of her community engagement.

Before the UA, Smallhouse earned a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Washington. She also earned an M.P.A. from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

In 2008, Smallhouse was named the Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Woman of the Year, and in 2012 she received the Thomas L. Swanson Regional Leadership Award from the Pima Association of Governments for her efforts enhancing regional community and promoting cooperation among residents and elected officials.

Smallhouse will receive the Eller College of Management's Alumna of the Year award.

Categories: Business and LawThis is a Wildcat Corner feature: Images: Tags: AlumniByline: University Relations - Communications and the Alumni Association |Editor: dougcarrollInclude in UANow: 0Date of Publication: Tuesday, November 4, 2014Medium Summary: Sarah Brown Smallhouse will receive the Eller College of Management's Alumna of the Year award. Feature on Front: NoShort Summary: UA alumna Sarah Brown Smallhouse has contributed to local and regional development. Send to Never Settle Site: 0

New UA Resources Examine Youth Sexual Health

Tue, 11/04/2014 - 17:06

Since 2010, the Crossroads Collaborative has brought together researchers from across disciplines at the UA and within in the community to generate research and writing on youth, sexuality, health and rights, commonly known as YSHR.

National and local debates on the role of schools and communities in providing sex education to youth periodically surface. Yet youth rarely are invited into these conversations, nor are they usually asked about what a sex-education curriculum relevant to their own experiences might look like,  including what "sexual health" means to them. This can be particularly true of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer youth, whose experiences, ideas, concerns and questions about sex and sexual identity rarely are covered in sex-education curricula.

The latest in the Crossroads Collaborative's series of university-community collaborations toward YSHR offers a timely corrective.

"Let's Talk About Sex Ed," a three-minute video created by Tucson youth, inserts the voice of youth into the conversation around sex education and its relationship with sexual identity and sexual health. It was produced in collaboration between the Crossroads Collaborative and YWCA Tucson’s Nuestra Voz Racial Justice Summer Camp, which was directed by J. Sarah Gonzales.

The video features youth interviewing each other on the topics of sexual expression; sexual and gender identity; sources of information on sex, identity and expression; and how the sex-education curricula in school or after-school programs prepared them for their sexual and relational lives.

Almost all youth interviewed in "Let's Talk About Sex Ed" felt that the poor quality and limited topical expanse of the sex education they had received during their schooling years had inhibited their ability to navigate relationships. Youth narratives in the video also highlighted the importance of developing curricula that recognize youth sexual health to encompass the mental, emotional, social and relational aspects, as well as the physical.

Accompanying the video is the release of "Let’s Talk About Sex Ed: A Study Guide," which is designed to help facilitate in- and out-of-school conversations about sex education. Both the video and the study guide were released during a special, collaborative event held on Oct. 22 at the YWCA Tucson.

The guide offers question prompts drawn from topics raised by youth in the video and an "activities" page designed to catalyze group discussions around sexual identity, expression, choices, preferences and other issues. Ways to access information and community resources are covered.

Designed with flexibility of application in mind, the guide invites youth and adult facilitators to tailor questions and activities to specific populations. The guide includes a glossary of "key terms" that users can make relevant to their own experience.

The guide is designed to help teachers, youth-serving organizations, mentors and youth themselves, so that they are able to facilitate conversations on topics relevant and important to youth.

The study guide was co-authored by: Casely Coan, a graduate student in the Rhetoric, Composition and the Teaching of English program; Crossroads Collaborative postdoctoral associate Leah Stauber; and Adela C. Licona, co-director of the Crossroads Collaborative and an associate professor and director of the RCTE graduate program. The Crossroads Collaborative brings together research from the Frances McClelland Institute, the English Department's Graduate Program in Rhetoric, Composition and the Teaching of English and the Southwest Institute for Research on Women. The collaborative is advancing research, graduate training, public conversation and social change in the area of youth, sexuality, health and rights. 

Categories: Social Sciences and EducationThis is a Wildcat Corner feature: Images: Tags: ResearchEducationOutreachStaffFacultyGuest PostByline: Leah S. Stauber and Adela C. Licona, UA Crossroads Collaborative |Editor: dougcarrollInclude in UANow: 0Date of Publication: Tuesday, November 4, 2014Medium Summary: The UA Crossroads Collaborative has introduced the latest in its series of university-community collaborations aimed at promoting dialogue and innovation in the field of youth, sexuality, health and rights. Feature on Front: NoShort Summary: UA researchers are studying youth, sexuality, health and rights. Send to Never Settle Site: 0

What Sleeping Babies Can Teach Us About Cognitive Development

Tue, 11/04/2014 - 12:02

There are few sights more peaceful than a quietly sleeping infant, and a good night's rest for baby may offer much more than just a respite for weary parents.

University of Arizona researchers are exploring how infants' early sleep quality might affect their cognitive development later on.

Jamie Edgin, a UA assistant professor of psychology, is conducting the "Arizona Sweet Dreams" study, which will track sleep development in typically developing and at-risk infants to determine if early sleep quality is predictive of later cognitive development or an eventual autism diagnosis.

The study has the potential to contribute valuable new knowledge to the sleep research literature.

"Sleep is very important for setting up neural networks and for helping to support early language and behavioral development," Edgin said. "This study could help increase awareness of these links and encourage people to get earlier screenings for sleep problems in children."

Edgin and co-principal investigator Caron Clark, a UA psychology research associate, will track sleep development in two groups of infants. In the first group will be typically developing infants between the ages of 6 and 24 months, a period marked with critical and rapid cognitive development.

In the second group will be infants in the same age range who were either born prematurely, have Down syndrome or have siblings who have been diagnosed with autism. These infants tend to have higher rates of sleep disruptions — such as snoring or frequent night awakenings — and are at increased risk for neurodevelopmental impairment. They also are at greater risk to develop autism.

"If we find that the quality of an infant's sleep predicts whether they are at risk for autism or learning difficulties later in life, then we can initiate intervention strategies early and start to help these children as soon as possible," Clark said.

The infants' sleep will be measured in the home using video monitoring and an actiwatch, a small computerized motion detector worn on the baby's leg that can provide data on when the child falls asleep, how long he stays asleep, his activity during sleep, and how often he transitions between sleep and wake states. Parents also will provide information about their babies' quality of sleep.

In addition, the researchers will gather information about the infants' behavior, language and cognitive development. Sleep assessments and surveys will be repeated once every six months over the two-year study period.

A growing body of research points to the critical role that sleep plays in all facets of life — from our physical health to our mental and emotional well-being. There is strong scientific evidence that knowledge is consolidated during sleep. And studies completed by Edgin's lab at the UA — originally funded by the LuMind Foundation, the Thrasher Research Fund and Research Down Syndrome — have shown that sleep quality in toddlers and school-age children with Down syndrome is strongly correlated with language development. (PDF)

The new study will provide unprecedented data on early sleep patterns in typically developing infants and those at risk for cognitive development challenges.

"We have these correlations at single time points that show language and cognition are relating to sleep," Edgin said. "What we really need to do, and what we are doing in this study, is ask: Can we measure sleep across infancy and preschool across time to get an understanding of how disturbed sleep may drive differences in cognitive development later on?"

Edgin and Clark were awarded Phase I funding for the study through Grand Challenges Explorations, an initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation designed to support the exploration of bold ideas to address persistent health and development challenges.

"We are so proud to be recognized by such an outstanding organization like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation," said Kimberly Andrews Espy, UA senior vice president for research. "This type of exploration is a great example of our Never Settle initiative — it's engaging, innovative and collaborative. It's bold ideas like the 'Arizona Sweet Dreams' study that keep the UA at the forefront of research."

Edgin and Clark currently are enrolling infants in the first phase of the study, which will be conducted in Tucson in partnership with the UA's Sonoran University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities.

Edgin said she hopes to add more collaborators and expand the scope of the study in the future.

"We're trying to build as many collaborations as we can because this is a grand challenge not only for us as individual researchers but also for the U of A and the city," she said. "If we come together and demonstrate the importance of this project in the next 18 months, it could be expanded into a larger study to answer these important questions."  

Those interested in enrolling in the study or learning more can send an email to sweetdreamsstudy@gmail.com or visit the Arizona Memory Development and Disorders Laboratory website. The researchers also will have an informational display on the UA Mall during homecoming from noon-6 p.m. on Saturday and will be on hand to answer questions.

Editor: dougcarrollByline: Alexis BlueByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: UA researchers Jamie Edgin and Caron Clark were awarded funding for an infant sleep study through through Grand Challenges Explorations, an initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: 

Honors College Alumnus of the Year Nick T. Spark

Mon, 11/03/2014 - 18:01

Leading up to the UA's 100th Homecoming, we are highlighting UA alumni who are being honored by their colleges with alumni of the year awards.

Nick T. Spark enrolled at the UA as a Flinn Scholar.

In 1990, while pursuing a creative writing degree as an Honors College student, he received an undergraduate research grant and made a documentary short film about Tucson folk artist William Holzman, "Just Puttering Around." The film won a student Emmy Award in 1992. Since then, Spark has received two more Emmys.

While working on a master's degree in film production at the University of Southern California, he was recognized for "Upholding the Promise." Also, his film "The Legend of Pancho Barnes and the Happy Bottom Riding Club," the profile of a 1920s Pasadena society girl who became an adventurer and aviator, won an Emmy in 2009. The film continues to air on public television.

Spark's current project "Right Footed" profiles UA alumna Jessica Cox, who was born without arms. Cox learned to type, drive a car and fly an airplane — all with her feet.

"When I think of the UA, I think of the people who made a difference in my life, and that I never really got to thank them," Spark said. "My friends were always willing to explore the unknown, taking 20 or more units a semester, hefting heavy backpacks. Those academic all-stars challenged me to work harder, sleep less and lift with my legs."

Adding to his portfolio, Spark was a contributing editor to Wings and Airpower magazines, and he has had articles published in the Annals of Improbable Research, Naval History and the Journal of the American Aviation Historical Society. He has appeared on National Public Radio and the PBS program "History Detectives." Recently, he adapted his article "Why Everything You Know About Murphy’s Law is Wrong" into a short book, "A History of Murphy's Law."

After the UA, Spark earned an M.F.A. in film production from the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. 

Spark has been named the Honors College's Alumnus of the Year.

Categories: Campus NewsThis is a Wildcat Corner feature: Images: Tags: AlumniByline: University Relations - Communications and the Alumni Association |Editor: dougcarrollInclude in UANow: 0Date of Publication: Monday, November 3, 2014Medium Summary: Nick T. Spark will receive the Honors College's Alumnus of the Year award during homecoming. Feature on Front: NoShort Summary: Nick T. Spark has received Emmy awards for his work. Send to Never Settle Site: 0

Hiring Interns? Top 8 Tips for Companies

Mon, 11/03/2014 - 10:28

Companies relying on student interns must adhere to eight core best practices, incentives and goals, said Eileen McGarry, the executive director of Career Services at the UA.

McGarry shared her insights during the STEM Internship Business Forum held on campus last week. As McGarry explained:

1. Company leaders must buy in to the internship program. Upper-level support is crucial to a program's success.

2. Supervisor-level personnel must be engaged in the internship program.

3. Assignments to interns must be authentic. Interns must work on projects in which they are able to help solve real-world problems.

4. Interns must receive regular feedback to ensure that they are learning and growing.

5. Companies should adopt a cohort model where possible. It is important that a culture of teamwork is emphasized and that interns feel part of a "culture of inclusion."

6. Interns should be paid for their work and be tasked with working on projects with real-world applications.

7. Accountability must be expected and emphasized.

8. Interns should be trained toward transferring their skills into full-time work in the field.

During the forum, UA President Ann Weaver Hart and Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, along with representatives from the UA STEM Learning Center announced a new process that will make it easier for businesses to connect with STEM interns. With life scientists, engineers, social science technicians and mathematical scientists being among the STEM positions expected to have the highest demand in southern Arizona through 2020, as reported by UA STEM Learning Center researchers, the UA is increasing support for the STEM fields.

"At Career Services, we are at the front door for talent positions," said McGarry, who urged area businesses to connect with the UA and its partners to identify interns. "There is a whole lot going on on our campus. We will help you get started on this process."

Learn more about UA's STEM initiative by reading "With Seed Planted, STEM Internships Can Grow."

 

 

 

Categories: Business and LawThis is a Wildcat Corner feature: Images: Tags: EducationOutreachByline: University Relations - Communications |Editor: dougcarrollInclude in UANow: 0Date of Publication: Monday, November 3, 2014Medium Summary: Looking for interns? Here are some reminders and suggestions for employers. Feature on Front: YesShort Summary: Looking for interns? Here are some reminders and suggestions for employers. Send to Never Settle Site: 1

The Confluencenter and Being 'Confluential'

Mon, 11/03/2014 - 09:27

Since arriving as visiting scholar at the Confluencenter, casual conversations have more than once raised the idea of a yet-undeveloped concept: confluential.

The term was first coined by Raul Aguirre, a friend of the center and longtime community activist and owner of REA Media, while helping launch CCI's inaugural bilingual venue at the Tucson Festival of Books. Even the idea of a trending Twitter tag #confluential was raised. Javier Duran, the center's director, fully agrees that "being confluential" is at the heart of the center's mission.

But what does it mean to be confluential? Can we turn confluence into an adjective? In other words, in the same manner that influential might be "to possess or exert influence," can we possess or exert confluence?

The word confluence comes from the Latin "confluere," or to flow together. Often used in reference to rivers, as in the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, confluence also can simply refer to "an act or process of merging." Merging, or confluence, is something that is certainly needed in the borderspace, as are those individuals, collectives or synergies who might possess or exert such forces — and be confluential. In fact, it goes even deeper, as much of the discourse is so beholden to particular understandings of what or whom is peripheral and precarious and what is central, secure (or to be secured) and at the core.

I’ve already had a chance to attend a couple of events at the UA. One was organized by the School of Art (its VASE Lecture), a provocative and disruptive presentation by Ricardo Dominguez on "Border Art Disturbances: Electronic Civil Disobedience and the Transborder Immigrant Tool." The other was the opening event for the amazing new exhibit and digital archive at the UA: The Documented Border.

Both of these were demonstrations of confluence and being confluential. The Confluencenter has taken on the mantle of being confluential by facilitating, supporting and fostering such projects and presentations. As such, I'm particularly delighted and thankful to be part of the center. However, the projects and presentations, and often those in attendance, are confluential. The diversity of academic disciplines, mediums, identities and ideas in Dominguez's work and The Documented Border testifies to what it means to be confluential.

Finally, in a space such as the borderlands, we should be anything but surprised to find ourselves beginning our reflections (or perhaps returning or revisiting them) with discourse. The notion of what it means to be confluential can be a powerful access point into a field saturated with devastating discourses.

 I look forward to periodically returning to the concept of what it means to be confluential during the course of my months here at the Confluencenter. I’m also excited to continue to make connections and be amazed by the breadth of depth of inquiry and engagement, and to contribute and be a part in whatever small way that I can.

Benjamin J. Muller is the UA Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry's inaugural visiting scholar. Muller was invited because of his distinguished multidisciplinary research on the intersection of borders, borderlands, security and identity, and biometric technology. Given the close proximity of the U.S.-Mexico border, these issues are relevant to the UA and the greater campus. 

 

Categories: Social Sciences and EducationThis is a Wildcat Corner feature: Images: Tags: FacultyResearchEducationThe ArtsByline: Benjamin J. Muller, UA Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry |Editor: dougcarrollInclude in UANow: 0Date of Publication: Tuesday, November 4, 2014Medium Summary: Can we be "confluential"? Benjamin J. Muller, the UA Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry's inaugural visiting scholar, explains why we must. Feature on Front: NoShort Summary: Can we be "confluential"? Here's one idea about what that means.Send to Never Settle Site: 0

Science Alumnus of the Year Kenneth Krane

Fri, 10/31/2014 - 18:58

Leading up to the UA's 100th Homecoming, we are highlighting UA alumni who are being honored by their colleges with alumni of the year awards.

Kenneth Krane, a Professor Emeritus of Physics at Oregon State University, is a prominent experimentalist in nuclear physics, and he is the Alumnus of the Year for the College of Science.

Krane's fascination with the role of laboratories in teaching physics began during his UA undergraduate years. While working in the physics department setting up weekly labs and repairing equipment, a seed was planted that led to a career-long interest in how students learn physics.

But it was the personal attention of UA faculty members such as Leon Blizer and Carl Tomizuka that influenced his life's direction – first to Purdue University to earn a master's and doctorate in nuclear physics, then to Oregon State, where he launched his long and distinguished career.

Krane's list of publications, conferences, grants, honors and awards is impressive. For his contributions, he was elected to Fellowship in the American Physical Society — an honor bestowed on less than 2 percent of APS members each year.

His lifelong commitment to science education extends far beyond the classrooms where he taught. Krane researched students' understanding of critical topics in physics, developed enhancement programs for K-12 science and math teachers, established a national workshop for new physics and astronomy faculty, and participated in numerous national efforts dedicated to improving STEM education. Also, he authored three widely used college physics textbooks, which have been translated into five languages.

It has been nearly 50 years since Krane left Tucson, but like any true Wildcat, he has never forgotten the UA. It was here that he formed enduring friendships at Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, where he served as president and spent hours playing cards in what was then Louie's Lower Level.

He also met his future wife, Paula, with whom he has established scholarship endowments for physics students at the UA, Purdue and OSU. They contribute annually to UA's Kenneth S. Krane Physics Scholarship endowment and established a planned gift to build the endowment.

Categories: Science and TechnologyThis is a Wildcat Corner feature: Images: Tags: AlumniByline: University Relations - Communications and the Alumni Association |Editor: dougcarrollInclude in UANow: 0Date of Publication: Friday, October 31, 2014Medium Summary: Kenneth Krane will be honored with the UA's College of Science Alumnus of the Year award during homecoming. Feature on Front: NoShort Summary: UA alumnus Kenneth Krane is a prominent experimentalist in nuclear physics. Send to Never Settle Site: 0

Engineering Alumnus of the Year David Hutchens

Fri, 10/31/2014 - 18:58

Leading up to the UA's 100th Homecoming, we are highlighting UA alumni who are being honored by their colleges with alumni of the year awards.

David Hutchens is president and CEO of UniSource Energy Corporation, the parent company of Tucson Electric Power. Since joining UNS Energy in 1995, he has held various management positions, including vice president of energy efficiency and resource planning, vice president of wholesale energy and vice president of UNS Gas.

Photo courtesy of David Hutchens

Hutchens is a longtime supporter of the UA and is active in the Tucson community. He serves on the UA College of Engineering's Industry Partner Board, and he has supported partnerships in renewable energy between the UA and Tucson Electric Power.

Under his leadership, TEP has supported more than $1 million in solar energy research, much of it through the UA's AzRISE program. Hutchens also has increased TEP's support for student programs.

Hutchens also has served on the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, TREO board of directors and 88-CRIME board, along with many other local organizations.

Hutchens graduated from the UA with a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering and an M.B.A. with an emphasis in finance. He is being honored with the UA College of Engineering's Alumnus of the Year award.

Categories: Science and TechnologyThis is a Wildcat Corner feature: Images: Tags: AlumniByline: University Relations - Communications and the Alumni Association |Editor: dougcarrollInclude in UANow: 0Date of Publication: Friday, October 31, 2014Medium Summary: David Hutchens will receive the UA College of Engineering's Alumnus of the Year award during homecoming. Feature on Front: NoShort Summary: UA alumnus David Hutchens has remained involved with the UA. Send to Never Settle Site: 0

How Beetles Hack Into Ant Colonies

Fri, 10/31/2014 - 17:37

We've all heard the story of the Trojan horse, when unsuspecting Trojans opened their city's gate to a giant wooden horse, only to find themselves ambushed by the Greek soldiers hiding inside.

But did you know that the same scenario is constantly unfolding in the insect world?

Ant-nest beetles, which belong to the genus Paussus, are among the most bizarre and fascinating insects in the animal kingdom. By hacking the complex communication systems of ants, the beetles are able to not only live among the colony as royalty but simultaneously prey on its members and trick the ants into raising their young.

Over the past few million years, these beetles have rapidly diversified in response to adopting new ant hosts, in a process known as adaptive radiation. Remarkably, this symbiosis has proved to be among the swiftest and most sophisticated examples of adaptive radiation in the animal kingdom, according to UA scientists Wendy Moore and James Robertson in the Department of Entomology, part of the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Their findings are published in the journal Current Biology and featured in an editorial in the journal Nature.

"The rate at which this is happening is incredible," Moore said. "These are some of the fastest-evolving animals on Earth."

Ants communicate with one another through a complex system of stridulation (noise making by rubbing together different parts of their body) combined with chemical messaging. Paussus beetles also stridulate and produce chemicals. Their stridulation may mimic that of their host ants, and the chemicals they secrete from their antennae are powerfully attractive to ants. Somehow, the beetles are able to use these traits to interfere with the ants' own chemical communications and hijack the normal functioning of ant society.

While other examples of chemical trickery exist in the insect world, few other organisms in the entire animal kingdom have evolved so rapidly. Further, many species of Paussus beetles have evolved these associations with ant hosts independently in Africa, Southeast Asia and elsewhere in the Old World tropics.

Despite this shared behavior, the appearance of Paussus beetles varies wildly across species, said Robertson, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Entomology.

"It adds to their mystique," he said. "These beetles are anatomically very bizarre and absolutely fascinating."

One group of Paussus beetles, common to Madagascar and known as Malagasy, can be traced back to a common ancestor that lived 2.6 million years ago. Since then, that ancestor has diverged into 86 new species of ant-nest beetles at a rate of anywhere between 380,000 and 810,000 years between species. This may sound like a long time, but in evolutionary terms, it's a blink of an eye.

"We think that this is happening all over the world," said Moore, associate professor of insect systematics, who has studied Paussus beetles from Madagascar, continental Africa and Southeast Asia. "These beetles are evolutionarily converging in form, and presumably in function, on completely different continents."

In other words, the beetle species evolve similar looks and similar ways of making a living despite living in separate areas.

Moore and Robertson made the discovery by using a technique called molecular phylogenetics. The approach allowed them to study the DNA of different beetle species to help construct their evolutionary tree.

At first, the researchers were surprised by the patterns that emerged from their analyses of DNA sequences. The more genomes they investigated, the more confident they became that they were looking at an extreme case of adaptive radiation.

Up until recently, entomologists have relied mainly on comparisons of insect anatomy to establish trends in evolutionary history. According to Moore and Robertson, combining this approach with molecular analysis is a more effective way to study adaptive radiation in general.

"The convergence of these beetle species is clear," Moore said. "Using this system, we've added a classic example of adaptive radiation to the lexicon of evolutionary biology."

Moore and Robertson are now sequencing the DNA of ants found in the guts of the different beetle species, which is providing further insight into the history of ant host shifts among the beetles. The team thinks this may help explain the beetles' rapid adaptive radiation.

"Ant host species have been identified for less than a quarter of Paussus species," explained Moore. "If we can establish ant hosts for each species of beetle, we may be able to infer the influence of host shifts on this adaptive radiation."

Moore and Robertson emphasized that the Paussus beetle presents a unique opportunity to study evolution in action. Understanding how rapid adaptive radiation happens can help shed light on a number of evolutionary processes throughout the animal kingdom.

Editor: dougcarrollWriter: Raymond SanchezByline: Raymond Sanchez, NASA Space Grant internByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Pretending to be one of them, ant-nest beetles trick ants to rear their brood — and then reward their hosts by devouring them. UA entomologists have discovered that the beetles evolve at an astonishing rate. Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: 

With Seed Planted, STEM Internships Can Grow

Fri, 10/31/2014 - 17:37

A new, streamlined process has been introduced by the University of Arizona and its partners to expand the access of students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields to private and public employers in the Tucson region.

The UA, Pima Community College and several high schools have created a one-page application process for students interested in internship opportunities. The initiative will make it easier for businesses to connect with future employees, and it offers students important, hands-on training — plus an incentive to stay in Tucson after they graduate.

UA President Ann Weaver Hart and Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, along with representatives from the UA STEM Learning Center, announced the initiative during the STEM Internship Business Forum held on campus last week.

"What we want to do with this initiative is make it as easy as possible for standard employers to connect with our educational institutions and obtain interns at the university, community college or high school level," Rothschild told an audience of education, community and business leaders who attended the forum. 

The initiative is aligned with Never Settle, the UA's strategic plan, which calls for the active engagement of the student body in career-minded activities, capacity building around STEM and improved engagement with business and community partners.

Hart said that the UA has been, from its very earliest times, committed to the highest quality of research and knowledge in the STEM disciplines.

"It is standard issue here at the University of Arizona to be better at teaching the STEM disciplines," Hart said, "but we also realize that we could do a better job teaching them."

A recent study of the local job market conducted by the STEM Learning Center showed that businesses are looking for STEM graduates who have one or two years of industry experience.

Rothschild said internships are a great way to provide students with industry experience before graduation. Businesses also will benefit as interns transition into full-time employment. 

"Internships help bridge the hiring gap," Rothschild said. "They can be a great way to lock in the best new talent."

Hart reiterated the importance of gaining industry experience through internships, saying "the ability to apply knowledge outside of the formal classroom is crucial to the success of students and graduates."

She said resources such as the STEM Learning Center enable the UA to better teach the STEM disciplines in a more integrative way while nurturing the tangible skills required to thrive in such competitive fields. 

Rothschild noted that students often leave the city after graduation in order to pursue career interests elsewhere, especially in the STEM fields. However, STEM-focused initiatives ultimately will help to retain top-tier talent at businesses in these fields.

"Increasing STEM internships is part of President Hart's strategic plan, it is part of my two-year plan and, in short, it is critical to the success of our community," Rothschild said. "When we have the education and business communities working together in a collaborative, coordinated and purposeful way to achieve mutual goals, we will have a recipe for success.

"This initiative will yield benefits in proportion to our commitment to it. The supply is here. The challenge is on the business side."

La Monica Everett-Haynes contributed to this article.

Editor: dougcarrollWriter: Evan RosenfeldByline: Evan RosenfeldByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: The UA and Tucson challenge the business community to tap into the workforce of tomorrow.Include in UANow: 0Include in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: 

High Life in the Andes, 12,000 Years Ago

Fri, 10/31/2014 - 16:55

Researchers at the University of Arizona have helped determine that human occupation sites in the southern Peruvian Andes not only are the highest known in the world, but also the oldest.

The UA scientists provided radiocarbon measurements that date the ice age settlements to the terminal Pleistocene about 12,000 years ago. An archaeological team led by researchers at the University of Maine has documented the sites, located nearly 15,000 feet above sea level, and published its findings in the journal Science. The discoveries date high-altitude human habitation nearly a millennium earlier than previously documented.

Despite cold temperatures, high solar radiation and low oxygen conditions at that altitude, hunter-gatherers colonized the remote, treeless landscapes within only 2,000 years after humans had arrived in South America, shattering theories postulating that humans required many generations to adapt to the challenges of high-altitude living.

"Studying human adaptation to extreme environments is important in understanding our cultural and genetic capacity for survival," according to the research team led by Kurt Rademaker, a University of Maine visiting assistant professor in anthropology.

"This is revolutionary," said Greg Hodgins of the UA's Accelerator Mass Spectrometer Lab in the UA's Department of Physics. "The study provides evidence that people were living at those sites for a prolonged amount of time.

"When you look at the spectrum of animal bones left at the site, you get a pretty good idea that this wasn't just a temporary camp, where hunters butchered their game, cut off the best pieces and then carried them off to their home site in the lower elevations."

The Pucuncho archaeological site included 260 man-made tools, such as projectile points and scrapers up to 12,800 years old. Cuncaicha rockshelter, featuring two alcoves at 14,700 feet, contains a "robust, well-preserved and well-dated occupation sequence" up to 12,400 years old. The rockshelter, with views of wetland and grassland habitats, features sooted ceilings and rock art, and it probably was a base camp.

Most of the stone tools at Cuncaicha were made from locally available obsidian, andesite and jasper and are indicative of hunting and butchering consistent with limited subsistence options on the plateau, according to the researchers. In addition to plant remains, bones at the site indicate the hunting of vicuña, guanaco camelids and the taruca deer.

Pucuncho Basin was a high-altitude oasis for specialized hunting, particularly of vicuña, and later for herding of domesticated alpacas and llamas. The Pucuncho Basin could have sustained year-round residence. But wet-season storms and the dangers of hypothermia, as well as the need to maintain extended social networks and collection of edible plants, may have encouraged regular descents, according to the research team.

In addition, the stone tools and the debris left behind from their manufacturing included nonlocal, fine-grained rocks, some polished by water. That would have required the plateau residents to visit fast-flowing rivers in the lower elevations.

Hodgins' team dated animal bones found at the site using the carbon-14 method, also known as radiocarbon dating. Carbon-14 is a naturally occurring variant of carbon that is incorporated into living plant and animal tissues by natural biological processes. The technique takes advantage of the fact that carbon-14 decays at a predictable rate.

"When an organism dies, the level of carbon-14 in surviving tissues drops by one half every 5,730 years," Hodgins explained. "Measuring how much carbon-14 has been lost from a sample — for example, from a surviving piece of bone — allows us to calculate how much time has passed since the organism was alive."

It is unclear whether the high-altitude human settlement required genetic or environmental adaptations. But with evidence of high-altitude human habitation almost 900 years earlier than previously documented, the implication is that there may have been more moderate late-glacial Andean environments and greater physiological capabilities for Pleistocene humans.

"The Pucuncho Basin sites suggest that Pleistocene humans lived successfully at extreme high altitude, initiating organismal selection, developmental functional adaptations and lasting biogeographic expansion in the Andes," the researchers write. "As new studies identify potential genetic signatures of high-altitude adaptation in modern Andean populations, comparative genomic, physiologic and archaeological research will be needed to understand when and how these adaptations evolved."

The UA's Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Laboratory, headed by Tim Jull, has been a leader in radiocarbon research since 1981. Hodgins, who has been with the Laboratory since 2003, also holds appointments in the UA School of Anthropology and the Laboratory for Tree Ring Research.

In addition to Rademaker, who received his doctorate from the University of Maine and is now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Tübingen in Germany, the research team members include: Katherine Moore, University of Pennsylvania; Sonia Zarrillo, University of Calgary; Christopher Miller, University of Tübingen; Peter Leach, University of Connecticut; David Reid, University of Illinois-Chicago; Willy Yépez Álvarez, Peru; and Gordon Bromley and Daniel Sandweiss, University of Maine.

The research was supported by the Dan and Betty Churchill Exploration Fund at the University of Maine, the National Geographic Society/Waitt Grants Program, and the National Science Foundation.

Editor: dougcarrollWriter: Daniel StolteByline: University Relations - CommunicationsByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: With the help of UA researchers, archaeologists have discovered that the highest known human occupation sites also are the world's oldest, challenging theories about the speed of human adaptation to high-altitude living. Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: 

Recent 'Never Settle' Successes for UA

Fri, 10/31/2014 - 16:20

Since the University of Arizona launched its Never Settle strategic academic and business plan a year ago under the leadership of President Ann Weaver Hart, significant progress has been made toward reaching many of the plan's goals related to innovation, partnering, engagement and synergy.

The University has started tracking many of its strategic plan successes on its Never Settle website, which includes a Progress tab with links to news stories and a regularly updated "Never Settle in Action" list of recent accomplishments.

These are the most recent items added to that list, in no particular order. For more information about the Never Settle plan and what the University is doing to realize the plan's goals, go to neversettle.arizona.edu.

New UA degree to address critical need for Arizona

The Arizona Board of Regents approved in September the UA's Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Program, set to launch in fall 2015. The program will help address the critical veterinarian shortage in rural Arizona communities and tribal nations and will benefit bioscience businesses and promote public health.

Transformative gift supports scientific and cultural studies


A transformative gift of more than $50 million from the estate of philanthropist Agnese Nelms Haury will allow the UA to establish a unique interdisciplinary program focused on environment, society and the Southwest. One of the largest gifts in University history, it pushed the $1.5 billion Arizona NOW fundraising campaign past the billion-dollar threshold.

Supporting campus researchers

The UA's Office of Research and Discovery, formerly the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research, has been restructured to provide improved research administration services for campus researchers. A new Research Development Services unit within the office will offer centralized support for researchers, including direct communication about funding opportunities and consultation and workshops on how to find and successfully compete for external funding.

New opportunities for cross-border collaboration

The recently opened Arizona State Trade and Investment Office in Mexico City will help enhance partnerships between the UA and business, science and technology communities in Mexico. The UA has maintained its own Mexico City office since 2007, focused on research and partnerships between the University and Mexico.

Early Recruitment unit established to support enrollment goals

An Early Recruitment unit has been established within the UA's Office of Early Academic Outreach to help prepare students and their families to join the UA community. Early Recruitment provides middle-school students, parents and educators with programming to ensure that students are fully prepared for a college education. The unit aims to have a presence in every middle school and junior high in Pima County and to eventually expand statewide.

Transfer students on the rise

The number of Arizona community college students who transfer to the UA increased by 9 percent between 2011 and 2014, with an increase of 2.7 percent between fall 2013 and fall 2014. Meanwhile, the UA continues to establish more bridge-to-transfer agreements with community colleges across the state. As of October, the University had such agreements with 17 colleges — six of those were added in the prior 12 months — with four others in discussions.

Workshop series touts multidisciplinarity

The University has launched a workshop series, "Let's Talk Multidisciplinary," that focuses on the value of, and strategies for, collaborative multidisciplinary efforts. Increasingly, national agencies are looking to such collaborations to address big issues. This workshop series is designed to bring together faculty members and researchers on campus to talk about multidisciplinarity and how it can enable the campus to innovate, grow and meet the challenges of Never Settle.

Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: The University has begun tracking many of its strategic plan accomplishments on its Never Settle website, which includes a Progress tab.Include in UANow: 0Include in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: no

Hawaiian Eye to the Sky Now Under UA Directorship

Fri, 10/31/2014 - 16:08

With funding support from NASA and Lockheed Martin Corp., the University of Arizona and the University of Hawaii have come to the rescue of the world's second-largest telescope dedicated to infrared astronomy, which was in danger of shutting down because of the budget constraints of its previous owner, the Science and Technology Facilities Council in the U.K.

Under the agreement, the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope, or UKIRT, considered one of the world’s leading astronomical observatories, is entering a new phase of its operations. The UH assumes ownership of the telescope, while the UA takes directorship. Together with NASA and Lockheed Martin, the partners have formed a scientific collaboration to operate the facility to provide new opportunities for research in all areas of astrophysics, but particularly on near-Earth asteroid characterization, studies of forming stars, galaxy evolution, and space debris and its impact on manmade satellites.

The UA will operate UKIRT on behalf of the new partnership, including continuing participation by U.K. scientists who will be providing support of existing data processing and archiving capabilities for the observatory.

"UKIRT provides some unique observing capabilities to our community of faculty and students," said Buell Jannuzi, head of the UA's Department of Astronomy and Steward Observatory. "The partnership that has come together is also groundbreaking for us in several ways, in that it brings a unique mix of talent and many of the U.S. experts in infrared astronomy together for the first time. This is also the first time we have helped to operate a telescope from Mauna Kea, one of the world’s best sites for infrared astronomy. I’m excited about the prospects for world-class science to continue being produced from this facility."

"The instrument most in demand is a wide-field camera, highly suited for surveying vast areas of sky," said incoming UKIRT director Richard Green, assistant director for government relations at Steward Observatory. "Its wide-angle mode makes it the ideal complement to the telephoto-like mode of our Large Binocular Telescope."

UKIRT sees the universe with infrared light, the invisible heat radiation that lies beyond red at the edge of a rainbow. It originally was designed as a relatively simple "light collector," but its 3.8-meter diameter mirror is of extremely high quality. Advanced upgrades to the rest of the telescope have allowed UKIRT to take full advantage of the excellent environment on Mauna Kea, with its high altitude and dry, low-turbulence atmospheric conditions. The telescope also records mid-infrared light from the ground from a particularly dry site, with one of the few such instruments on the planet. In addition, it provides spectral mapping of contiguous areas and measures polarized light in the near-infrared.

Shortly after UKIRT's Imager Spectrometer instrument started observations, it was trained upon the most distant quasar known, about 13 billion light years from Earth. Quasars are exceptionally luminous galaxies, far brighter than can be explained by normal starlight. They are powered by the release of gravitational energy as matter is pulled toward a supermassive black hole at their center, and their extreme brightness makes them visible at great distances. By looking at gas swirling around the quasar's core, scientists were able to "weigh" this black hole at the edge of the universe: It has the mass of three billion suns. UKIRT also has significantly advanced our understanding of brown dwarfs, mysterious objects sometimes referred to as "failed stars." They are more massive than gas giant planets such as Jupiter, but are not quite massive enough to shine like normal stars.

The telescope is currently supported by the NASA Office of Orbital Debris through a contract to Lockheed-Martin STAR Labs, whose mission is protection of NASA space assets by characterizing debris through multicolor and spectroscopic observations. All of the research conducted on the telescope is unclassified, a condition of operation on the summit of Mauna Kea. The University of Hawaii and University of Arizona share the remaining time for competitive science proposals. By seeking continuing support from NASA and other operations partners, UA astronomers intend to operate the facility into the indefinite future.

"I have never known a machine that inspires such affection amongst its users," said Gary Davis, director of the Joint Astronomy Center, which has been operating UKIRT for the Science and Technology Facilities Council. "UKIRT has been a fabulous success story for British astronomy over its 35-year lifetime."

Davis said that over the past decade, the UKIRT Infrared Deep Sky Survey,  or UKIDSS, has opened new frontiers in infrared astronomy, and as a consequence UKIRT has been the most productive telescope on the planet for the past two years.

"Astronomers using UKIRT have made many world-leading discoveries, including the detection and characterization of the weak emission from brown dwarfs to the identification of the most distant quasar known," said Pat Roche, final chair of the UKIRT board. "UKIRT’s innovative instruments have played a key role in the development of the field of infrared astronomy, with a rich stream of astronomical results supporting research programs and student training at universities throughout the UK and beyond. The telescope remains a very powerful instrument at the peak of its performance."

The Science and Technology Facilities Council announced in 2012, after a review of observational capabilities, that it no longer would longer continue to support the telescope in a tightly constrained financial environment. STFC extended operations of UKIRT while arrangements for its future were made, including completing the highly productive UKIDSS survey.

Editor: dougcarrollWriter: Daniel StolteByline: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: The UA has entered a partnership with the University of Hawaii, NASA and Lockheed Martin to operate the world's second-largest telescope dedicated to infrared astronomy.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: 

SBS Alumna of the Year Melody S. Robidoux

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 19:00

Leading up to the UA's 100th Homecoming, we are highlighting UA alumni who are being honored by their colleges with alumni of the year awards.

On an August day in 1976, Melody Robidoux's grandparents dropped her off at the UA's Maricopa Residence Hall. She remembers feeling slightly overwhelmed — and very warm. The campus was far different from her hometown of Flagstaff, Ariz., but her adventure was about to begin.

Photo courtesy of Melody Robidoux

After graduating with a degree in political science, Robidoux completed a Juris Doctorate at the James E. Rogers College of Law, writing for the Arizona Law Review. A few years later, as co-owner and CEO of the Tucson-based technology company Artisoft Inc., Robidoux helped drive and manage its spectacular growth.

In 1990, Robidoux sold her interest in Artisoft and saw this an opportunity to promote societal change.

Using some of the proceeds, she founded the Melody S. Robidoux Foundation, which for 24 years has provided grants to support social justice for women and children, civics education, mental health care, higher education and the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona.

In 1992, Robidoux co-founded the Women's Foundation of Southern Arizona to foster equity and opportunity for women and girls. The foundation has supported programming for literacy, refugee resettlement, legal assistance, housing, financial education, reproductive health care, sexual violence treatment and prevention, and student engagement in schools.

At the UA, Robidoux created the Robidoux Foundation Student Travel Endowment in the School of Government and Public Policy, which provides an opportunity for travel to Washington, D.C.  

Also, Robidoux has endowed a history scholarship honoring Professor Richard Cosgrove and a Master Teacher Endowment in the School of Music. In addition, she provided a grant to renovate and create the Melody S. Robidoux Foundation Civil Engagement Room in the Social Sciences Building. Robidoux also supports the James E. Rogers College of Law, the Honors College and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences donor society, the Magellan Circle.  

Robidoux has been chosen as Alumna of the Year by the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Categories: Social Sciences and EducationThis is a Wildcat Corner feature: Images: Tags: AlumniByline: University Relations - Communications and the Alumni Association |Editor: dougcarrollInclude in UANow: 0Date of Publication: Wednesday, October 29, 2014Medium Summary: Melody S. Robidoux will receive the Alumna of the Year award from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.Feature on Front: NoShort Summary: Since graduating from the UA, Melody S. Robidoux has made many contributions to the University. Send to Never Settle Site: 0

UA Student Chapter Earns National Award

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 12:11

Students involved with a local chapter of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science were this month honored for work supporting students in their academic success and professional development. 

The UA chapter of the society, known as SACNAS, received the 2014 SACNAS Role Model Award for Outstanding Native American Outreach during the organization's conference, held earlier this month in Los Angeles.

"We had to step back in awe, because the award is so reflective of what our chapter is capable of," said Alec Calac, the UA SACNAS chapter president. "Being recognized is a great achievement for us, and it is representative of the impact our chapter is making at the UA and at the national level."

Also, UA student Monica Yellowhair was recognized by the national organization as a member of the 2014 SACNAS Emerging Leaders in Science.

"It was an amazing experience, and I learned a lot," said Yellowhair, a postdoctoral research associate at the Arizona Cancer Center. "It also provided me the opportunity to network with many of the current SACNAS board members and past and the present president."

Aligned with the national society, the UA chapter is dedicated to increasing the number of Hispanic and American Indian students gaining advanced degrees, particularly in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. The chapter and its national society also are invested in supporting students in career development and preparing them for leadership positions in science.

"Our mission is to promote the success of underrepresented groups," said Calac, who is studying neuroscience and cognitive science and also computer science. "It is important to invest in the work of minority students and professionals. Diverse communities introduce different perspective, so when you are addressing problems in research, you are able to have people with different perspectives and different ideas."

For aiding in the development, growth and success of the chapter, Calac credits the support of Maria Teresa Velez, associate dean for the UA Graduate College, who is the principal investigator on a number of federally and UA-sponsored programs working to improve the diversification of students pursuing graduate degrees.

The UA chapter developed out of a previous organization that primarily served graduate students in the College of Engineering. Five years ago, students began the transition to gain charter with SACNAS, which now serves both undergraduate and graduate students.

Also, the club has introduced community-based service work with schools and has plans to expand to nearby tribal nations. Club members also organize mentoring and professional development opportunities on campus, and they encourage active participation in internships and research. During the summer of 2014, most of the club's members were involved in a research-oriented program, Calac said.

"We are so proud of what we have been able to accomplish," Calac said.

Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: "We are so proud of what we have been able to accomplish," says Alec Calac, the UA chapter president of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science. Include in UANow: 0Include in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: no

'Frankenstein' Still Poses Frightening Question

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 11:47
Date of Publication: Monday, November 3, 2014

Tech Park Celebrates Solar Zone Milestone

Wed, 10/29/2014 - 21:13

Only three years from its inception, Tech Parks Arizona celebrated completion of the first phase of its Solar Zone at the UA Tech Park on Wednesday. The Solar Zone, a partnership between the University of Arizona and Tucson Electric Power, is one of the largest multitechnology solar testing and demonstration sites in the world.

The celebration marked the completion of a one-megawatt solar array owned by Washington Gas Energy Systems. The array deploys Cogenra Solar’s T14 ground-mounted, Dense Cell Interconnect technology.

The first phase of the Solar Zone occupies 165 acres of land at the UA Tech Park in southeastern Tucson. Ten companies and organizations participated in the phase, testing and demonstrating a variety of solar technologies and systems. The site generates 23 megawatts of power, which is nearly twice the daily electrical consumption of the Tech Park and enough to power the homes of more than 4,600 TEP residential customers for a year.

Participating in the celebration were officials from Tucson Electric Power, Washington Gas Energy Systems, Cogenra and the UA, as well as local government, business and community leaders.

Tech Park's associate vice president, Bruce Wright, outlined the elements of the second phase. These include research and development focused on energy storage, micro grids and distributed solar systems, integrated and embedded solar materials, and solar applications and deployment in mining, agriculture, defense and security systems.

"We see an opportunity to use this facility to attract companies from around the world — primarily small and midsize companies," Wright said, adding that an additional 29 acres for testing and demonstration projects will include a visitor center.

Gilad Almogy, founder and CEO of California-based Cogenra, tried to put the end of the first phase in context.

"This is a critical step that will take us to the utility scale," Almogy said. "This will be a turning point."

The Solar Zone is designed to provide University and industry researchers with data and the ability to evaluate various technologies as they perform side by side. Testing under identical operating conditions allows developers to determine when systems are most efficient and economical.

"This is a great example of a public-private partnership to benefit our community and a much larger region," said Phil Dion, senior vice president of public policy and customer solutions for Tucson Electric Power. "We found a wonderful partner in our hometown university."

At the Solar Zone, UA researchers are testing everything from solar power forecasting to the environmental impact of solar energy installations. UA entities involved include the Renewable Energy Network, the College of Engineering, the College of Science, the College of Optical Sciences, the Department of Physics, the UA Institute for the Environment and Biosphere2.

Nate Greenberg, business development manager for Washington Gas Energy Systems, said the facility is unlike any other that he has seen.

"This is one of a kind, what Tucson Electric Power and the University have done here," he said.

Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: With the first phase complete, officials turn their focus to what's next for the partnership between the UA and Tucson Electric Power. Include in UANow: 0Include in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: no

Fine Arts Alumnus of the Year Jeffrey Haskell

Wed, 10/29/2014 - 18:57

Leading up to the UA's 100th Homecoming, we are highlighting UA alumni who are being honored by their colleges with alumni of the year awards.

Jeff Haskell, a pianist, arranger and conductor, entered the world of professional music at age 12, working along jazz greats such as Ray Smyth and Jackie Davis. He began as a scat-singing boy soprano and, by age 16, he was working with saxophonist Lew Tabackin.

Performing on some of the most famous stages in the world during the past 50 years, Haskell's distinguished career as a conductor, composer, arranger, vocalist and pianist has been matched by his dedication to the UA as a student, teacher and mentor.

Haskell has conducted America's most famous orchestras and had his original work performed at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. He has composed and arranged music for movies and television, winning three Emmy Awards.

His connection to the UA and Tucson began in the early 1960s, when he arrived to pursue his master's degree and stayed, making Tucson his home.

In 1965, his doctoral work was interrupted by the world-renowned Tucson Boys Chorus. He served as its director for 10 years, also serving as pianist/conductor, arranger/orchestrator and vocalist, then later serving as co-founder and director of the Tucson Jazz Orchestra.

As a professor in the UA School of Music, Haskell dedicated himself to his students, who have achieved recognition both as individual performers and as the much-acclaimed UA Studio Jazz Ensemble. As a popular teacher of jazz history, he has taught thousands of students the joys of "America's own art form." 

He envisioned a school where students would have access to a professional recording studio. Today, under his careful direction and support, the studio is an integral laboratory for research and development in music, allowing students a unique view of the increasingly technical music industry. An effort is underway to permanently endow the UA Recording Studio in honor of Haskell.

Haskell earned his bachelor's degree in music education from West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He went on to earn master's and doctoral degrees from the UA's School of Music.

Haskell has been named the UA College of Fine Arts Alumnus of the Year.

 

Categories: Arts and HumanitiesThis is a Wildcat Corner feature: Images: Tags: AlumniByline: University Relations - Communications and the Alumni Association |Editor: dougcarrollInclude in UANow: 0Date of Publication: Thursday, October 30, 2014Medium Summary: Jeffrey Haskell has been named the UA College of Fine Arts Alumnus of the Year. Feature on Front: NoShort Summary: UA alumnus Jeffrey Haskell is known nationally and internationally for his musical talents. Send to Never Settle Site: 0

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