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February 2012– A Newsletter for Alumni and Friends of COSAM


Welcome to the Auburn University College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) electronic newsletter, e-Journey.
COSAM has lots of news to share with you. Enjoy!



Marie Wooten Memorial 5k to be held April 21

 Wooten 5k The second Annual Marie W. Wooten Memorial 5k will be held on April 21 at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum. The event will include both a 5k run and a one mile walk and will honor the late dean's vision for the future of COSAM. Prior to her passing, Dean Wooten had wished to start a 5k to raise money for COSAM scholarships in hopes of bettering the future of her beloved college. To register for the event, go to this link. For more information, contact Brook Moates at moateeb@auburn.edu.


Biological Sciences News:

Department hoods 6 doctoral graduates 

Biological Science PhDsSix doctoral candidates from seven faculty labs received their PhD at the Fall 2011 graduation, Lesley DeSouza (Armbruster lab), Kathleen Morrow (Chadwick lab), Molli Newman (Liles/Feminella labs), Nandini Rajamani-Robin (Dobson lab), Christina Schmidt (Hood lab), and David Steen (Guyer lab). This was the largest assemblage of PhD graduations in the department’s history. Since 2002 the department has conferred 59 doctoral degrees. 


Biological Sciences professor publishes book

 Troy Best Troy Best, professor of Biological Sciences and curator of mammals at Auburn University, has written a field guide on bats and is trying to change the misconception of the winged animals. Best, along with collaborators Michael Harvey of Tennessee Tech University and J. Scott Altenbach of the University of New Mexico, wrote Bats of the United States and Canada as a follow up and update of their 1999 book Bats of the United States. Best says the group worked hard to cover all topics concerning bats and provide an informative and complete account of all 47 species of bats that occur in the United States and Canada in hopes the book will help give bats a better public image than they have received in the past. The book can be purchased here.

Graduate students publish paper

Rusty blackbird Graduate students Chris McClure, Brian Rolek and Kenneth McDonald recently published a paper about the decline in the Rusty Blackbird population, titled “Climate change and the decline of a once common bird,” in the scientific journal Ecology and Evolution. Under the direction of curator of birds Geoffrey Hill, McClure, Rolek and McDonald focused their study on the role that climate change may have played in the rapid decline of this bird. The group analyzed Rusty Blackbird breeding data and climate indices . They also examined temperature fluctuations in the Pacific Ocean and concluded that climate change does in fact play a major role in the recent decline of the Rusty Blackbird population. To read the entire release, go to this link, or to read the entire paper, go to this link.

Chemistry News:

Chemistry professors part of NSF education partnership

COSAM Logo Professor Curtis Shannon and assistant professor Christopher Easley, both of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and associate professor Virginia Davis of the Department of Chemical Engineering, are part of a National Science Foundation-funded math and science education partnership led by Shaik Jeelani of Tuskegee University titled, "The NanoBio Partnership for Alabama's Black Belt Region." The Auburn researchers were awarded $550,000 over five years for teacher training and curriculum development that focuses on the interface between nano-science and biology. Other partners in the grant include Alabama State University, the University of Alabama (Birmingham and Tuscaloosa campuses) as well as Central Alabama, Enterprise, Shelton State, Wallace State and Wallace State at Selma Community Colleges.


 Geology & Geography News:

Space still available for study abroad opportunity

 Italy For the first time, students planning to take Concepts of Science have an opportunity to combine the class with a study-abroad experience. Students interested in taking the class in the summer of 2012 will have an option to take classes in Auburn from June 25 through July 3, in preparation for studying in Italy for the remainder of the course from July 7 through 21. Additionally, all COSAM undergraduate and graduate students are invited to attend and take a course under the direction of Geology Professor David King. The Italian portion of the class will be held at the Coldigioco Geological Observatory, or CGO, which is an independent center for research and education in science, art and cuisine. Located in the tiny hilltop village of Coldigioco in the Apennine Mountains of central Italy, CGO consists of sleeping, eating and living facilities, science labs, art studios, kitchens, and a small fleet of vehicles. Space is still available and the application deadline is March 30. For more information, contact Program Director David King at kingdat@auburn.edu or click HERE.


Physics News:

Condensed Matter Physics Professor Retires

 John Williams John Williams, professor of condensed matter physics, has retired after a 37-year career at Auburn University. Williams helped direct the Wide Band Gap Semiconductor Physics Program and focused his research in the field of advanced semiconductor materials.



Outreach News:

BEST Robotics team meets President

 BEST CompetitionStudents from the Monroeville Junior High School BEST team recently met with President Barack Obama during the White House Science Fair. The team and its BEST robot were invited to the fair to be among more than 20 individuals or groups of students from across the nation to present their science and engineering based projects. Monroeville was represented by three of its BEST team members:  Morgan Ard, Robert Knight and Titus Walker, each in the eighth grade at Monroeville Junior High School. This is the first BEST team to ever receive such an honor. To read more about the BEST program, go to this link.

Outreach hosts AMP'd puzzle competition

Amp'd studentsCOSAM Outreach hosted the first AMP’d, Auburn Mathematical Puzzle Challenge, on February 4. The event was based around the recent trending adult puzzle parties. Teams of six to eight students from seventh and eighth grade competed against one another to solve the case of the stolen Auburn spirit. Each challenge rewarded teams with puzzle pieces, each a piece of a larger picture of the culprit in the missing spirit of Auburn. Graduate students from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics helped create the challenges and more than 20 Math Club members and math graduate students helped out during the event. In the end, Opelika Middle School Team B took the overall first place prize, with Opelika Middle School Team A taking second. Auburn Junior High School rounded out the top three. To see more upcoming outreach events, go to this link.


Student Services News:

Student Services welcomes new advisor

 Dani Smith Dani Smith joined COSAM student services on January 19 as an advisor. Smith graduated from Auburn University with her master's in higher education and administration. For more information on student services, go to the student services web site.

Alumni Highlights:

Contact us!

Alumni Highlights We want to hear from you! Please email news on promotions, research, graduations, honors and awards, new jobs, marriage, children, and anything else that's new in your life to ehrhakm@auburn.edu. Please include a photo.

COSAM Alumnus becomes Alabama Optometric Association president

D. Duane Mohon D. Duane Mohon, pre-optometry '94, was sworn in as the 2011-2012 president of the Alabama Optometric Association, or ALOA. ALOA is a nonprofit organization focused on promoting the eye health and vision care of Alabama residents through the practice of optometry. Mohon is also involved in several other organizations including the American Optometric Association, the Southern Council of Optometrist Logistics Committee, Vision America and Vision Care Direct, among others. Since 1998, after graduating from Nova Southeastern University and completing two externships, Mohon has practiced full scope, primary care and low vision optometry in both Piedmont and Heflin, Ala. In 2007, Mohon was voted the ALOA Young Optometrist of the Year. Photo courtesy of the Anniston Star.

Alumna named Assistant Administrator at Princeton Baptist Medical Center

Sarah Dudley Sarah Dudley, biomedical sciences ’07, has been named assistant administrator at Princeton Baptist Medical Center. Dudley's new responsibilities will include invasive and non-invasive cardiology, pulmonary rehabilitation, diagnostic imaging, Cancer Center, Breast Care Center, medical relations and marketing and the Baptist Vein Center at BHC Hoover. After graduation from Auburn University, Dudley attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a master's degree in health administration. Following an internship at Baylor University Medical Center, Dudley completed a one year administrative residency at Princeton Baptist. Photo courtesy of Princeton Baptist Medical Center.

COSAM alumnus builds a reputation through work with Legos

Eric Harshbarger Eric Harshbarger, mathematics '92 and '94, recently made headlines for his construction of a Samford Hall replica built completely out of LEGOs. Harshbarger, who has been working with LEGOs professionally for more than a decade, said the entire process included nearly a month of preparation and about 20 hours to build. Harshbarger spent many days taking photographs of the Auburn landmark from different angles and built the structure in a computer program based on his pictures in order to produce a blueprint before constructing the building. The completed model included approximately 5,000 pieces. To read more about Harshbarger or see his work, go to ericharshbarger.com. Photo courtesy of The O-A News.


 Arboretum News:

Arboretum recognized by North American Plant Collections Consortium Multi-site Quercus Collection

Oak Tree As the Davis Arboretum prepares to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary, it has other big news to celebrate also. The Auburn landmark has been recognized as a member of the North American Plant Collections Consortium (NAPCC) Multi-Site Quercus Collection (MSQC). “This recognition of the Arboretum's oak collection is really exciting for the university,” Dee Smith, curator of the Davis Arboretum, said. “It integrates Auburn University into a national organization of collections and increases the visibility of our research and conservation efforts.” The oak collection is the first multi-site collection the NAPCC has established, accepting 20 arboretums from across the country into the collection to date. This honor had long been sought out by the Davis Arboretum, as it is a distinction given to botanical gardens and arboretums that have an extensive and valuable collection of oaks. To read more, please go to the full story.

Arboretum benefit to be held April 14

jazz bandThe Auburn University College of Sciences and Mathematics will hold a benefit for the Donald E. Davis Arboretum Saturday, April 14, at 6 p.m. “A Night in New Orleans” will be held at the arboretum and will include a sit-down dinner of traditional New Orleans fare, music, entertainment and a silent auction. “Our hope is that the funds raised by the event will help to provide a way for the arboretum to better serve the growing needs of the university, the community and the state at large,” Kim McCurdy, event coordinator, said. “With the number of students who came to the arboretum to experience hands-on what they learn in the classroom last year, we can only expect those numbers to increase. We need to be prepared.” To read more, see the full release.


 Development News:

Auburn Scholarship Campaign extended through June 30

AU Logo Auburn University was recently ranked second of all public intuitions for the number of National Merit Scholars enrolled. This incredible distinction is the direct result of the generous support from alumni and friends.Because scholarship assistance is a necessity for us to continue to attract and retain these exemplary students, The Auburn Scholarship Campaign has been extended through June 30. This initiative offered by President Jay Gogue is a unique opportunity to have an increased return on your investment, while at the same time providing a considerably larger scholarship to a deserving student, in perpetuity. Earnings generated from these new scholarship endowments are paired with current Spirit of Auburn or Academic Scholarships. As a result, the student receives a more attractive and competitive scholarship award, all given in your name, the name of a loved one, or a favorite professor – depending on your preference. A new scholarship endowment can be established for just $420 a month, for five years, and a special level is available for first-time donors. Twenty-seven new scholarships have been established in COSAM since the start of this campaign, but your support is crucial for us to continue to draw these high caliber students to our great university. A recent recipient said, "This scholarship has helped me afford Auburn’s tuition and allowed me to come to my dream school." To learn how to establish your scholarship endowment, contact Tammy Beck Hartwell at becktam@auburn.edu or (334)-844-1449 or Sherri Rowton at rowtosj@auburn.edu or (334)-844-1235.


Diversity News:

PASS Mentor Program Meeting held Jan. 26 PASS Mentor Program
The Promoting Academic Success for Students (PASS) Mentoring Program Reconnect Meeting was held on January 26. Counseling intern Eddrina Miller addressed the mentors and discussed the fall semester and changes in the program. Miller also stressed the importance of the mentor role in supporting freshmen mentees as they transition into college life. Bianca Evans, minority programs coordinator, met with the mentees. During her meeting with these students, Evans led a discussion concerning relationships between the mentors and the mentees and also introduced a new award being introduced for mentors. The meeting addressed the successes of the program and the strengths of many mentor and mentee relationships. The group enjoyed refreshments after the meetings and had time to interact with one another. For more information on the PASS Mentoring Program, go to the group's 
web site.


Other News:

COSAM welcomes new communicator

Samford/COSAM logoKatie Horn has joined COSAM as a communications specialist. Horn graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.  She is currently filling in for Candis Birchfield while she is on maternity leave. Please contact Katie at ehrhakm@auburn.edu or 844-5734 with any ideas, questions or news.


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Last updated: 02/10/2012