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May 2013 - 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!

Featured News:

COSAM opens Biodiversity Learning Center - Click HERE for more
Honors College senior and recent COSAM graduate receive Fulbright Scholarship to study in Spain - Click HERE for more
Engleman discusses what to look for in the summer night sky, upcoming celestial events and tips - Click HERE for more
Leadership Council Spotlight: Ralph Jordan, Jr. - Click HERE for more
II-VI Foundation to sponsor inaugural Cooperative Research Initiative with Auburn - Click HERE for more
Dr. John Dykes makes emergency trip to Panama to save two-day old infant - Click HERE for more
Student Employee wins national Student Employee of the Year award - Click HERE for more
Other News:

COSAM News:

COSAM opens Biodiversity Learning Center
Biodiversity Learning CenterOn Friday, April 19, the College of Sciences and Mathematics hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony commemorating the opening of the new Biodiversity Learning Center. Construction of the Biodiversity Learning Center was made possible by a $3.5 million bond, and the 15,000 square-foot facility is located between Funchess Hall and Rouse Life Sciences Building on campus.
The Biodiversity Learning Center is the new home of Auburn University's Museum of Natural History. The museum includes hundreds of thousands of specimens representing the rich history of Alabama, the Southeast and beyond. For more than 25 years the museum collection was located in Funchess Hall and the Physiology Building on campus, and Auburn has maintained natural history collections for more than 50 years. The Biodiversity Learning Center represents years of dedication and planning by supporters of COSAM, including faculty, staff, administration and alumni.
To read the rest of the story, click here.
 

Honors College senior and recent COSAM graduate receive Fulbright Scholarship to study in Spain
Samanta LopezAn Honors College senior in COSAM and a recent COSAM graduate have been awarded Fulbright Scholarships to continue their studies in Europe.
Samantha Lopez, a COSAM senior double-majoring in microbiology and French, will study in Belgium, while James Barnett, a December 2012 COSAM graduate with a double major in biomedical sciences and Spanish, will travel to Spain. They are Auburn's sixth and seventh Fulbright recipients in the past four years.
James BarnettLopez, of Tampa, Fla., will work in Professor Isabelle George's laboratory of ecology and aquatic systems at the Université libre de Bruxelles, where she will examine the activity, diversity and role of bacteria in soil and aquatic environments. Barnett, who is from Childersburg, Ala., will conduct research under the direction of Patrick Gamez, research professor of inorganic chemistry at The University of Barcelona.
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. To read more about Lopez and Barnett, see the full story here.

COSAM recognizes academic achievement at Honors Convocation
Honors ConvocationCOSAM held its yearly Honors Convocation on April 5. The convocation was held in honor of Lawrence Wit (pictured left with Interim Dean Charles Savrda), former associate dean for academic affairs and professor emeritus in the Department of Biological Sciences. During the ceremony, students were recognized for outstanding academic achievement for the 2012-2013 academic year. Dean Savrda also congratulated several COSAM students, faculty and staff for exceptional performance including the following:
2013 COSAM Dean's Medalists: Erik Brush, Biological Sciences; Zac Keenum, Biological Sciences; Kristen Gué, Biomedical Sciences; Cole Sterling, Biomedical Sciences; Bradley Young, Biomedical Sciences; Ryan Hasemeier, Chemistry and Biochemistry; Ryan Hile, Geology and Geography; Katherine Hendrickson, Mathematics and Statistics; and N. Matthew Gill, Physics.
Outstanding COSAM Graduate Teaching Assistant: Shanna Hanes, Biological Sciences; and Steven Rodesney, Geology and Geography.
Outstanding COSAM Faculty Advisor: Associate professor Dmitry Glotov, Mathematics and Statistics.
Outstanding COSAM TeacherToni Alexander, Ph.D., Geology and Geography.

COSAM student athlete receives President's Award
Kyle OwensKyle Owens, who graduated this spring with a bachelor of science in biomedical sciences, was the recipient of a 2013 President's Award. The award is presented to one graduating student in each college or school for a given academic year. The graduate must have a high grade-point average and possess outstanding qualities of leadership, citizenship, character and promise of professional ability.
In addition to a rigorous course schedule, Owens was a student athlete on the Auburn Swim Team. A 12-time SEC champion in backstroke and relays and a 15-time All-American, Owens was a 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials finalist. The 2012 SEC McWhorter Scholar-Athlete of the Year and a 2013 SEC Davis Community Service award finalist, he was a CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-American. The Johnson City, Tenn., native is the son of Charles and Heather Owens. To read the full story, click here.

Two COSAM students receive Comer Medal for Excellence
comer medalTwo COSAM students are the recipients of the 2013 Comer Medal for Excellence. Katherine Bennett, a senior in mathematics, is the recipient of the Comer Medal for Excellence in Physical Sciences and Rebecca Duron (pictured right with Beverley Childress, director of COSAM's pre-health programs), a senior in biological sciences, is the recipient of the Comer Medal for Excellence in Biological Sciences. Three Comer Medals for Excellence are given annually to outstanding seniors who maintain either the best examination or best class record in their respective branches of study. The three medals awarded are the Comer Medal for Excellence in Agricultural Sciences; the Comer Medal for Excellence in Biological Sciences; and the Comer Medal for Excellence in Physical Sciences. The Comer Medal is the longest running, continuously awarded student recognition at Auburn University. The award was established in 1923 when the former Governor B.B. Comer addressed the graduating class at Auburn, and the medals are awarded at the spring semester graduation.

Three COSAM juniors named Yates Award recipients
Yates AwardThree COSAM juniors were recipients of the Susan Stacy Entrenkin Yates Award at the Phi Kappa Phi awards ceremony in April: Spencer Kerns, chemistry; Tofey Leon, IV, biomedical sciences; and Ashley Steffens, microbiology. Presented annually to outstanding junior students, the award is named in memory of the mother of S. Blake Yates, a longtime member of the Auburn University Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi. Criteria include scholarship, activities, honors and character, and the nominated student must have a minimum 3.69 grade point average. Nominations are made by faculty. Pictured from left is Kerns, Vince Cammarata, associate dean for Academic Affairs, and Leon. For more information on the award, click here.

Two COSAM graduate students recognized at university awards ceremony
Joel AbrahamsThe Graduate School recognized the university's most outstanding graduate students at an awards ceremony on April 24. Included among the honorees were COSAM graduate students Joel Kristin CourtneyAbrahams from the Department of Geology and Geography, and Kristin Courtney from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, who were both recipients of the Outstanding Master's Student award.
Students are nominated for the award by their department, and winners are chosen by a committee of graduate faculty. For more information, including a complete list of winners, click here.

Five from COSAM named Top International Students
International Student AwardsFive students from COSAM were recognized at the International Student Recognition Banquet in April, sponsored by Auburn's International Student Organization. The overall winner of the Outstanding International Graduate Student award for COSAM was Xiuling Shi from the Department of Biological Sciences. Others recognized as Outstanding International Graduate Students include Elizabeth Ndontsa from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Batoul Damghani from the Department of Geology and Geography, Jebessa B. Mijena, from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, and Lei Qi from the Department of Physics. For more information on the International Student Organization, visit the website here.

Kennemer named SGA Outstanding Student
Caroline KennemerCaroline R. Kennemer, a spring 2013 COSAM graduate with a bachelor of science in biomedical sciences, was the 2013 recipient of the Auburn Student Government Association's Outstanding Student Award. Recipients of the award must have a grade point average in the top 10 percent of the college, and are selected by higher administration based on college or school activities, university activities, community service, leadership and professional or career potential.
Kennemer maintained a perfect, 4.0 grade point average while in COSAM. Her COSAM involvement included membership in Alpha Epsilon Delta, the Association for Women in Science, the Microbiology Club, and she served as an undergraduate teaching assistant. At the university level, Kennemer was a member of the Honors College, Mortar Board, Beta Beta Beta, Alpha Lambda Delta, and she was an undergraduate teaching assistant. Additionally, her community affairs work includes volunteering with the Association of Women in Science, Unity Wellness Center, which is an AIDS service organization, Mercy Medical Clinic, Make-A-Wish Ride, and the Cardinal Key Walk for the Cure. Her leadership roles include acting as vice president for Beta Beta Beta, pre-medical representative for Alpha Epsilon Delta, and director of standards and ethics for her social sorority.
"Her involvement as an undergraduate TA in Comparative Anatomy, as an undergraduate RA in biology, the pre-med representative in AED as well as numerous Honor Societies is a true testament of a balance between scholarship and outside activities," said Vince Cammarata, associate dean for Academic Affairs for COSAM.
Kennemer will begin medical school this fall at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, where she received a full, four-year scholarship, contingent upon her maintaining a rank in the top one-third of her class.

Congratulations COSAM Graduates
GraduationCOSAM's spring 2013 commencement was on May 5, at the Auburn Arena. Following the ceremony, COSAM hosted a reception at the Donald E. Davis Arboretum. To see photos from the reception, please join us on Facebook. Congratulations 2013 COSAM graduates!

Geology and Geography News:

Graduate students participate in petroleum prospectivity research
PetroleumFour graduate students in the Department of Geology and Geography recently participated in the Imperial Barrel Award competition in Houston, organized by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and the Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies. Students Joel Abrahams, Tim Charlton, Ruhollah Keshvardoost and Erin Summerlin completed an eight-week project on the petroleum prospectivity of the Danish North Sea. The students analyzed industry provided geological and geophysical data and presented their findings at the competition. They presented their research again at a public seminar, organized by the Department of Geology and Geography, on April 25.

Behind the predictions at The Weather Channel: student group receives tour
Weather ChannelBy: Dennis Donegan and Ryan Hile

Students in assistant professor Chandana Mitra's Climatology class in the Department of Geology and Geography visited The Weather Channel in Atlanta in March. The purpose of the trip was to engage students in learning opportunities outside the classroom.
The Weather Channel was established in 1982 and is headquartered in Atlanta. The tour of TWC was led by Daniel Dix, senior weather graphics engineer and meteorologist (center person in group picture with the class). He is a tornado chaser and shared stories with the students about his adventures.
Click here to read the full story.
 

Department hosts guest speaker, James Wray
James WrayOn April 18, as part of the Geology and Geography Spring 2013 Departmental Colloquium, James Wray, assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology, gave a lecture titled, "Hunting for Habitable Environments on Mars." For more information on the Spring 2013 Departmental Colloquium, click here.

Mathematics and Statistics News:

Zeng receives Jack B. Brown Endowed Faculty Award
Peng ZengPeng Zeng, associate professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, was selected the recipient of the 2013-2015 Jack B. Brown Endowed Faculty Award. The endowment is designed to support superior faculty in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, and the recipient must personify Brown by demonstrating a strong commitment to students and excellence in teaching and research. Zeng is a statistician whose research focus is in high-dimensional data analysis, dimension reduction, design of experiments, bioinformatics, semi-
parametric regression and uncertainty quantification. In recent years, he has taught the Statistics 7000 and 7030 classes.

Department to host REU program in Algebra and Discrete Mathematics
REUThe Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program in Algebra and Discrete Mathematics will take place from June 2 to July 26. The program is for undergraduate students pursuing a bachelor's or associate degree, and it involves an intensive introduction to a selection of open problems and problem areas, followed by problem solving, presentations, daily seminars and problem sessions. At the end of the workshop each group prepares a written summary and oral presentation about workshop endeavors. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the program boasts alumni who are recipients of National Science Foundation Fellowships and Goldwater Scholarships, and is directed by mathematics professors Pete Johnson and Overtoun Jenda, associate provost for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs. For more information, visit the website.

Mathematics professors organize symposium
Math SymposiumMathematics professors Georg Hetzer and Wenxian Shen organized a mini-symposium called Evolution Systems, which took place on April 25. The symposium featured presentations by mathematicians from around the world, including: Jibin Li from Zhejiang Normal University in China, who gave a talk titled, "On the Traveling Wave Solutions for a Nonlinear Diffusion-Convection-Reaction Equation: Dynamical System Approach"; Huisheng Ding from Jiangxi Normal University in China, who gave a talk titled, "Some recent results on almost automorphic problems"; Maoan Han from Shanghai Normal University in China, who gave a talk titled, "On the number of limit cycles of a class of polynomial system of Liénard type"; Xiaojing Wang from Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture in China, who gave a talk titled, "Stability and Hopf bifurcation analysis of an epidemiological model with delay and impact of media"; and Anotida Madzvamuse from the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom, who gave a talk titled, "Mathematical Modelling and Numerical Simulations of the Eukaryotic Cell Movement and Deformation."

Graduate student highlights:
* Doctoral graduate students Sima Ahsani, Daniel Brice, Jianzhen Liu and Mary Clair Thompson, as well as Mathematics doctoral graduate Roy Liu, received $500 each from the National Science Foundation for travel support to attend the sixth Southeastern Lie Theory Workshop, to be held at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge from May 10 to 12. For more information on the workshop, click here.

* Doctoral student Mary Clair Thompson, whose advisor is Tin-Yau Tam, chair and Lloyd and Sandra Nix Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, accepted a visiting assistant professor position in the Department of Mathematics of Lafayette College in Easton, Penn.

Physics News:

Engleman discusses what to look for in the summer night sky, upcoming celestial events and tips
Night SkyDo you want to learn more about the night sky? Nicole Engleman, a graduate student in physics at Auburn who has taught the astronomy lab, suggests two simple things people can do to enhance their sky-watching enjoyment: purchase a pair of binoculars and locate a star chart.
"The night sky is awesome. There is so much up there, so a star chart, whether you print one out or download one to your smart phone, helps you to know what you are looking at, which is really cool. Once you know you are looking at certain constellations, the night sky is 100 times more amazing," Engleman said. "And using a pair of binoculars is an inexpensive way to enhance your view of space without investing a lot of money in a telescope."
To read more about the night sky, including information on upcoming celestial events, click here.

Astrophotography courtesy of Rodger Morrison.

II-VI Foundation to sponsor inaugural Cooperative Research Initiative with Auburn
ii-ivThe II-VI Foundation will sponsor a three-year, up to $1 million Block Gift Cooperative Research Initiative between Auburn University, Rutgers University and Purdue University. The three institutions will submit a joint proposal each year and the available funding will be appropriately applied to the research efforts being performed by the respective groups. Known for funding individual institutional efforts, this is the first time the II-VI Foundation has designated a gift for a Cooperative Research Initiative.
The project is titled, "SiO2/4H-SiC Interface - Optimization for Next Generation Power MOSFETs," and will support research efforts in the realm of advanced power electronics development and, specifically, oxide semiconductor interface passivation studies for silicon carbide devices. John Williams, professor emeritus of physics, is the coordinator of the multi-university Cooperative Research Initiative, and Sarit Dhar, assistant professor of physics, is the primary investigator. Claude Ahyi, assistant research professor of physics, along with physics graduate students Aaron Modic and Chunku Jiao, will also represent Auburn in the project.
In recognition of the inaugural gift, Carl Johnson, II-VI Incorporated chairman and co-founder of the II-VI Foundation with his wife, Margot, visited campus on May 7, to present the funding agreement. During the signing ceremony, Johnson gave a presentation where he discussed II-VI Foundation expectations for the students involved in the Cooperative Research Initiative.
To read the full story about the Cooperative Research Initiative between Auburn University, Rutgers University and Purdue University, click here.

Loch selected to deliver final lecture
Final LectureOn April 9, Stuart Loch, associate professor of physics, gave the 2013 Final Lecture. The Final Lecture program was created by the university Student Government Association to give Auburn students an opportunity to participate in a teaching award given on behalf of the student body. The award recognizes professors who have made extraordinary contributions to Auburn through classroom teaching and service to the university. Loch delivered a keynote address that was open to the university community, which included words of advice and encouragement for both students beginning their college careers and those moving beyond the walls of the university.

Physics department hosts review sessions for MCAT
mcatStuart Loch, associate professor of physics, and Marllin Simon, professor emeritus of physics, held a once-a-week, three-hour review session during the semester for COSAM students preparing to take the Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT. The MCAT exam is a standardized test that has been a part of the medical school admissions process for more than 80 years. The physics review session focused on material needed for the physics portion of the MCAT. Loch and Simon gave a brief overview of the material and provided MCAT-style practice questions.
"The MCAT physics review sessions conducted by Dr. Loch and Dr. Simon demonstrate their sincere desire to improve the performance of our premedical students on this very difficult exam and to prepare them for their future careers as physicians," said Beverley Childress, director of COSAM pre-health programs. "Students pursuing other health professions have expressed their appreciation as well. I am hopeful they will continue to provide this invaluable service to our students."

Landers receives MOP award
Allen LandersAllen Landers, associate professor of physics and Howard Carr Professor of Outreach, is the 2012-2013 recipient of the Most Outstanding Professor award in the Department of Physics. The MOP award is given by undergraduate physics students in Auburn's chapter of the Society of Physics Students. Students vote on the physics professor who has exemplified the most outstanding performance during the academic year. Students presented Landers with the MOP award at the annual Physics Department Banquet by giving him a literal mop.
"As a professor, Dr. Landers is undoubtedly ideal. His primary concern is learning, and he is quite obviously excited in class to be sharing knowledge with us," said Graham Gordon, member of the Society of Physics Students. "I have enjoyed every day of his class and am glad for the physics students at Auburn who also get the opportunity to have him."

Biological Sciences News:

Liles receives NSF grant
LilesAssociate professor Mark Liles received a $50,000 National Science Foundation grant for his proposal, "I-Corps: commercial potential for diagnostics and a vaccine targeting epidemic Aeromonas hydrophila." The NSF Innovation Corps program prepares scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and broadens the impact of select, NSF-funded, basic-research projects.
Liles' I-Corps team proposal will investigate the further development of technology that allows the detection and control of the emerging bacterial pathogen Aeromonas hydrophila in aquaculture farmed catfish. Specifically, the technology looks at A. hydrophila-specific diagnostic assays that use growth-based, antibody-based or DNA-based methods, as well as for a vaccine to prevent disease in catfish. Researchers used next-generation sequencing to identify unique genetic elements present in epidemic A. hydrophila. Based on this knowledge, they have developed growth-based, antibody-based and gene-specific diagnostic assays specific to epidemic A. hydrophila, and a vaccine strain that can be used for disease prevention.
Catfish farming is an important aquaculture sector in the U.S. Beginning in 2009, epidemic outbreaks of disease due to Aeromonas hydrophila emerged in catfish ponds, causing the annual loss of millions of pounds of catfish. These losses have threatened economic sustainability in the catfish industry and related sectors such as the animal feed industry and restaurants, among others. Since there are few currently available diagnostic or control products targeting the epidemic A. hydrophila, the team hypothesizes that these technologies will have a significant impact in the community. The technologies have the ability to reduce losses due to A. hydrophila that are anticipated to continue to be in excess of three-million pounds of food-size catfish per year. By helping to improve biosecurity, the diagnostic assays can be an important tool in preventing the spread of the disease to other regions in the U.S., such as Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas.

Watch COSAM faculty and students on Alabama Public Television on Sunday,
May 12

Public TVFaculty and students from the Department of Biological Sciences will be featured on Discovering Alabama, an Emmy Award-winning documentary series about the natural history and heritage of Alabama. The documentary featuring COSAM faculty and students first aired on Tuesday, May 7, on Alabama Public Television. The show will air again on Sunday, May 12, at 6 p.m. The documentary explores a combined effort by numerous groups, including Auburn University, to reintroduce the eastern indigo snake back to its natural habitat in Alabama. The non-venomous, bluish-black eastern indigo is the largest native North American snake. The species disappeared from Alabama 60 years ago. For more information on Discovering Alabama, click here. For more information on Auburn University's efforts to reintroduce the eastern indigo snake to the wild, click here.

Chemistry and Biochemistry News:

Chemistry professor honored by The Journal of Chemical Physics
Journal of Chemical PhysicsProfessor Marsha Lester of the University of Pennsylvania, editor of The Journal of Chemical Physics, announced the Top 20 Reviewers for the publication in 2012. The list, which is based on the number, quality, timeliness and reliability of reviews, includes J. V. Ortiz, Ruth W. Molette Professor and chairman of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. According to Thompson Reuters, The Journal of Chemical Physics is the most highly cited publication in the fields of atomic, molecular and chemical physics.

Kosolapoff Award given to 2010 Nobel Laureate Ei-ichi Negishi
kosolapoffThis year's Kosolapoff Award was given to Ei-ichi Negishi, professor of chemistry at Purdue University and Nobel Prize winner. He was awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for developing palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling in the mid-1970s, and Negishi is well known for his development of catalysts utilizing transition metals and their complexes. His research is mainly directed toward the development of transition metal-catalyzed organic reactions, their application to those organic transformations which are of interest in the health and energy related areas, and development of polymer and materials chemistry based on organotransition metal chemistry.
The Kosolapoff Award and Lecture is sponsored by the Auburn section of the American Chemical Society and the Auburn University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. The award is named after Gennady Michael Kosolapoff, a chemist who came to Auburn University, then called Alabama Polytechnic Institute, in 1948. The award is presented to chemists and biochemists in recognition of outstanding scientific contributions.
For more information on Negishi, click here. For more information on the Auburn chapter of the American Chemical Society, click here.

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry to host annual Southeastern Theoretical Chemistry Association meeting
SETCAThe Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry will host the 2013 Southeastern Theoretical Chemistry Association Annual Meeting from Thursday, May 9, to Saturday, May 11. The Southeastern Theoretical Chemistry Association is an organization of theoretical and computational chemists from across the Southeastern U.S. Since its inception in 1970, the primary function of the organization has been the annual conference, which provides faculty, students and postdoctoral associates an opportunity to present their most recent research results. This year's conference at Auburn University will feature poster presentations, a conference banquet and numerous presenters from higher education institutions from around the Southeast including Georgia Institute of Technology, Emory University, the University of Florida and Tulane University, among others. The conference was organized by faculty in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry including Orlando Acevedo, Michael McKee, Konrad Patkowski and Vincent Ortiz, chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. For more information on the 2013 Southeastern Theoretical Chemistry Association Annual Meeting, click here.

Research News:

COSAM students receive Graduate Research Awards
Graduate Research AwardsTwenty-one graduate students out of the nearly 100 participants in the Graduate Symposium during Research Week were selected as winners, including three graduate students from COSAM. Christopher Hamilton and Justin Havird won first and second place, respectively, in the Sciences-Oral Session category. Hamilton's presentation was titled, "An integrative approach to delimiting species using multiple DNA barcoding methods: a case study of the North American tarantula genus Aphonopelma," and Havird's was titled, "The effects of shrimp grazing on the microbial communities of Hawaiian anchialine habitats." Walter Casper from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry won third place in the Sciences-Poster Session category, for his poster titled, "Laser ablation studies of RDX sensitivity and combustion."
Research Week is a campus-wide celebration of research and creative scholarship that features a series of presentations, workshops and other events. Graduate student participants earned their place in Research Week after being among the top competitors during February's Graduate Scholars Forum. The winning students received a cash prize and were recognized at the Research Week Awards Gala and the annual Graduate School awards ceremony.

Alumni Highlights:

Joshua Jarrell named an NSF Graduate Research Fellow
Joshua JarrellThe National Science Foundation has named Joshua Jarrell, a 2005 graduate in applied mathematics, as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. Jarrell, a sergeant first class in the U.S. Army, is pursuing a doctorate in applied physiology at Georgia Tech with a focus on prosthetics. He is among three Auburn alumni and one current student to recently receive the NSF Graduate Research Fellow distinction. Additionally, two other Auburn students and an alumnus received an honorable mention. Click here to read the full story.
Pictured is Jarrell in 2005 as a COSAM student.

Dr. John Dykes makes emergency trip to Panama to save two-day old infant
John DykesDr. John Dykes, microbiology '05, is conducting a three-year fellowship in pediatric cardiology at Miami Children's Hospital. As a fellow, Dykes rotates through the Cardiac Catheterization Lab, Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, Echocardiography, and inpatient and consultation services. When needed, he assists in medical transport and flies with the specialized pediatric paramedic transport team to retrieve high-risk patients. Recently, he even made an emergency trip to Panama to pick up a two-day-old baby who was suffering from a complex congenital heart disease called Transposition of the Great Arteries, a condition where the major vessels leaving the heart are switched, and oxygenated blood cannot get to the baby's systemic circulation. To read the full infant-rescue story in Dykes' own words, click here.

In memoriam: Bob Piper
Bob PiperJames Robert "Bob" Piper, a longtime supporter of COSAM, past member of the COSAM Leadership Council and graduate of Auburn with both a bachelor's and doctorate in chemistry, died in early April. Born in Tallassee, Ala., on Jan. 14, 1933, he was the son of Robert Arthur and Clara Jeanette Ashurst Piper. He was preceded in death by his parents and his older half-sister, Margie Piper Bailey. He is survived by his wife, Barbara Herren Piper, daughters, Katherine Piper Whitfield (Curt) and Susan Piper Norman (Bob), son, Howard Herren Piper (Gina), sister, Judy Watson (Gray), and 10 grandchildren. Bob served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and enrolled in Alabama Polytechnic Institute in 1952. He majored in chemistry and received his bachelor's degree in 1955. He enrolled in graduate school at Auburn and received a doctorate in organic chemistry in 1960. He was a member of the National Chemistry Honor Society, Phi Lambda Upsilon. Bob accepted a position at Southern Research Institute after receiving his doctorate, marking the beginning of a long career. With SRI he worked for Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, during which time he developed a compound effective as a radio-protective agent used in cancer treatment. His career resulted in nearly 100 publications and several book chapters. He was awarded the Scientific and Engineering Excellence Award by SRI in 1994. He retired in 1998 and he and his wife enjoyed travelling, especially with grandchildren. Bob also enjoyed the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Alabama Shakespeare Festival and opera, and he was a member at the Unitarian Church of Birmingham. In his memory, the family requests donations to the Auburn University Foundation, and specifically, scholarships for chemistry students. For more information on donating funds, contact Sherri Rowton at 334.844.1235 or by email at rowtosj@auburn.edu.
Pictured: Bob, his wife, Bobbie, and Aubie smile for the camera at a COSAM football tailgate in 2009. "He loved chemistry right from the start," said Bobbie. "He worked in the lab every night when we were first married, so I spent many nights in the lab with him."

Development News:

COSAM hosts annual Society of Health Professionals reception
Society of Health ProfessionalsThis year, the annual reception for the Society of Health Professionals, a philanthropic group in COSAM, was hosted by Dr. Michael O'Brien, a dentist in Auburn, at his new office. During the reception, Dr. Wayne McLaughlin (pictured left), a retired dentist who practiced in Auburn for 40 years, was honored by Auburn Mayor Bill Ham (pictured right) for his service to the community. O'Brien thanked the mayor as well for the support he provided when O'Brien was starting his practice. He used the example as an illustration for the students in attendance of how important programs like the Society for Health Professionals are in terms of mentoring the next generation of health care professionals. Also during the reception, Dr. Clay Harper, a surgeon at East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika, introduced Dr. David Hagan, a retired physician who practiced internal medicine in Auburn from 1973 to 2003, who presented copies of the book, "The Quotable Osler," to graduating COSAM students.
The Society of Health Professionals is devoted to enriching the quality of pre-health education through scholarships, faculty enrichment and program enhancement. Members are invited to an annual reception and have opportunities to mentor tomorrow's health professionals. For more information on the Society of Health Professionals, click here.

Leadership Council Member Spotlight: Ralph Jordan, Jr.
Ralph JordanRalph Jordan said he agreed to serve on the COSAM Dean's Leadership Council because it provides alums an opportunity to support the college by sharing their expertise and resources.  "Everyone should look for ways to give back to the various institutions that have supported them," Jordan said. "The COSAM Leadership Council provides just such an opportunity." Jordan was one of the strongest proponents for the construction of COSAM's new Biodiversity Learning Center, a new facility on campus that will house the university's Museum of Natural History. Click here to read the full story about Jordan and his history with COSAM's Museum of Natural History.

Diversity and Multicultural Affairs News:

PASS mentoring Program hosts annual recognition Luncheon
diversityOn April 26, the Promoting Academic Success for Students Mentoring Program held the third annual Recognition Luncheon. The luncheon focused on “Mentorship Matters.” Mentors and mentees were recognized for a great 2012-13 academic year. Awards were distributed to each participant in the program. A new addition to the recognition luncheon was the Mentor of the Year Award. To receive the award, mentees had to submit a nomination form detailing the reasons why their mentor should be chosen. The inaugural winner is D’Ambria Williams (pictured right), who was nominated by her mentee, Kiara Parker (pictured left). Parker stated that her mentor helped her in both academic and social settings by serving as a role model. Williams and Parker are an example of the positive impact mentors can have. For more information about the PASS Mentoring Program, click here.

Arboretum News:

Arboretum honored for sustainability at first Spirit of Sustainability Awards
Spirit Sustainability AwardThe Donald E. Davis Arboretum received a Spirit of Sustainability Award from the Auburn University Office of Sustainability. Winners were announced at the first Spirit of Sustainability Awards ceremony on April 16. The campus-wide awards program was established to recognize Auburn University students, faculty, staff and alumni that exemplify the Auburn spirit by demonstrating accomplishments promoting sustainability on campus or in the community at large.
To read the rest of the story, click here.

Outreach News:

Student Employee wins national Student Employee of the Year award
TJThanh "TJ" Nguyen, a senior in mechanical engineering, is the 2013 recipient of the Auburn University Student Employee of the Year award, the regional Student Employee of the Year Award, given by the Southern Association of Student Employment Administrators, as well as the national Student Employee of the Year Award, given by the National Student Employment Association. This is the first time a student employee from Auburn has won all three awards, and Nguyen was selected from more than 1,500 student workers nationwide. For the past four years, Nguyen has worked with the Department of Outreach in COSAM, and it was Mary Lou Ewald, director of the Department of Outreach for COSAM, who nominated him. She describes Nguyen as dependable and reliable, beyond what one would expect from a busy college student. His responsibilities and accomplishments within the COSAM Department of Outreach include: instructing 15 teachers at a two-day intensive robotics workshop; interacting with and offering technical advice to more than 25 teachers on a daily basis over a six-week period during a robotics program; serving as floor boss and technical director during the War Eagle BEST robotics competition and the South's BEST Robotics Championship; and handling COSAM outreach IT issues. He also learned how to use a new sublimation machine the department received, and he created a user manual from scratch, held a training session with outreach office employees, and took on the responsibility of creating hundreds of award plaques for BEST Robotics competition sites all over the country.
In addition, he is active in the Cupola Engineering Society and serves as the service and outreach chair for the Auburn chapter of the Society of Women Engineers. He actively recruits members of many of the student engineering societies to volunteer for COSAM outreach programs, and has even developed several outreach programs on his own. For example, he started a traveling engineering program and recruited his peers to create interactive engineering exhibits targeted at middle school students. He also developed a "Parents Night Out" program where parents can drop off their children periodically on a Friday or Saturday night, and Nguyen and his college student recruits educationally entertain the students with science and engineering activities. Because he works well with children, Ewald even asked Nguyen to develop a curriculum and teach a new Robotics Academy for middle school students this summer. He also plays a major role in COSAM's six-week Science Matters summer program for elementary students, serving as the lead counselor every afternoon for the extended-day portion of the program.
To read more about Nguyen, see the Take 5 feature that appeared on the Auburn homepage by clicking here.

The Society of Women in Sciences and Mathematics hosts symposium
swsmThe Society of Women in Sciences and Mathematics, a philanthropic group in COSAM, hosted the seventh annual Leadership Symposium on May 9. The purpose of the symposium was to bring together and showcase distinguished women in the fields of sciences and mathematics to serve as leaders and role models for the next generation of women. The one-day symposium began with a panel discussion featuring accomplished women from various disciplines. Following the panel discussion were two breakout sessions and a luncheon featuring the Marie W. Wooten Distinguished Speaker, Emily K. Pauli '96, director of research for the Clearview Cancer Institute. For more information about SWSM, visit the website.

Ninth annual AU Explore a success
AU ExploreOn April 26, the Department of Outreach hosted AU Explore, an annual science and math festival offered to fifth- through eighth-grade students and their teachers. This is the ninth year COSAM has offered the event, which featured a variety of live, large-scale science demo shows, including the Birds of Prey Show hosted by the Southeastern Raptor Center. COSAM faculty and students also offered dozens of hands-on mini-courses called "Science Fun Shops" where participants could build a motor, dissect sheep eyes, or learn all about carnivorous plants, among other things. Additionally, students had an opportunity to handle live animals. More than 1,500 middle and high school students, parents and teachers from all over Alabama and Georgia participated, and more than 175 volunteers, including COSAM faculty and students, worked to make the event a success. For more information on AU Explore, including a video of the event, click HERE. For more information on COSAM's Department of Outreach, visit the website.

Student Services News:

2013–2014 COSAM Leaders announced
COSAM LeadersThe COSAM Leaders are an exemplary group of students who serve the college as its official ambassadors. The 2013-2014 Leaders have been selected and they are: Del Anderson, Dillan Brewer,
Anna Marie Buchanan, Francesca DiSantis, Tyler Finley, Austin Gilchrist, Jamey Hammock, Sarah Hashimi, Alexis Jackson, Jordie Keeley, Erika Kolakowski, Luke McGee, Patrick Michael, Ashley Nutt, Stephen Thrasher and Javeya Williams.

2013-2014 Peer Advisors have been selected
Peer AdvisorsThe 2013-2014 COSAM Peer Advisors have been announced. The Peer Advisors are a select group of 12 COSAM juniors and seniors that serve the students of the college. Peer Advisors work in close cooperation with the COSAM professional academic advising staff to provide a high level of service to the COSAM student. The Peer Advisors serve COSAM students in many ways including: assisting with the mandatory advising process; assisting with the instruction of the pre-health orientation course, SCMH 1890; and helping to answer questions during the COSAM student services office hours. Additionally, students with questions may send an email to the Peer Advisors at cosam-peer-advisor@auburn.edu. Peer Advisors serve students by providing one-on-one advising, as well as through interaction among COSAM students in a group setting. The 2013-2014 Peer Advisors are: Del Anderson, Colin Cantrell, Julia Drummond, Austyn Grissom, Gage Griswold, Lauren Hoepfner, Rachel McKinnon, Zachary Mosher, Jodi Pederson, Richard Scheuerle, Colson Smith and Ashley Steffens.

Diehl named winner of national student advising award
Krysta DiehlCOSAM student advisor Krysta Diehl is the winner of the national Outstanding Advising Award - Primary Advising Role. The award is given by the National Academic Advising Association to honor individuals and institutions making significant contributions to the improvement of academic advising. The Outstanding Advising Award annually recognizes individuals who have demonstrated qualities associated with outstanding academic advising of students.
Diehl grew up in Plant City, Fla., which is about 20 miles from Tampa. She and her husband of 33 years, John, have three grown sons and six grandchildren. She made Auburn her home when she began working at Auburn University as an advisor with COSAM in 2006. Her bachelor's degree in education is from the University of South Florida, and she taught in Florida schools before moving to LaGrange, Ga. She then completed her master's degree in counseling at Columbus State University and completed an internship at the CSU Counseling Center. It was there she discovered her passion for working with college students.
Diehl will receive the award at an awards ceremony held during the National Academic Advising Association Annual Conference this fall. For more information on the National Academic Advising Association, click here.
Diehl was also selected by Auburn's Office of the Provost to receive the inaugural Auburn University Outstanding Advising Award—Advisor Category, an honor which recognized Diehl for her outstanding academic advising of COSAM students. Congratulations Krysta Diehl!

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