Auburn University honors faculty at awards ceremony
Auburn University held the seventh annual Faculty Awards Celebrating Excellence ceremony on Tuesday, Oct. 30, at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center. The awards presented at the ceremony are the highest honors the university gives to faculty, and this year honored the outstanding academic achievements of 21 faculty members. Among those recognized were COSAM’s Lawrence Wit, former associate dean for Student Affairs and professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, Robert Boyd, professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, and Gary Gruenhage, professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.
Wit received The Gerald and Emily Leischuck Endowed Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching. The award is a prestigious honor recognizing faculty members who demonstrate effective and innovative teaching methods, and a continuing commitment to student success through advising and mentoring inside and outside the classroom.
Wit began his academic career at Auburn in 1976 when he was hired as an assistant professor of zoology and entomology in the College of Agriculture. He joined COSAM in 1990 as interim associate dean for academic affairs, and in 1992 was named associate dean. For 22 years, his responsibilities included coordinating COSAM’s academic programs, teaching classes, assisting with student organizations and working closely with students and advisors. Wit was also instrumental in creating the COSAM Leaders, an exemplary group of students who serve the college as its official ambassadors. He is most well-known for his Mammalian Physiology class. His teaching methods and class content have brought critical acclaim to both Auburn’s biomedical sciences students and the university’s premedical program. He said it was while attending graduate school in 1967 that he discovered the delight of teaching college students. He was awarded a graduate teaching assistantship and began teaching freshman biology labs. He said he was hooked and that he has never looked back at medicine or regretted his choice of profession.
“As a teacher, there are not many obvious tangible edifices to my life’s work. Yet, periodically, I hear from former students who indicate that they still remember Mammalian Physiology. They tell me how the content of the course continues to help them in their professions. More importantly, though, they tell me that the course helped them learn about themselves, equipping them to think synthetically and critically. There could not be a higher compliment,” Wit said.
Wit retired in September, marking the end of a nearly 37-year career at Auburn University.
Boyd is the recipient of an Alumni Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award. The award is presented on the basis of outstanding teaching of undergraduates from nominations made by department heads, deans, alumni and students.
Boyd came to Auburn in 1988 and has taught at all levels, from freshman courses in biology to graduate courses in conservation biology and plant-animal interactions. His research interests include the management of rare and endangered plants, as well as the ecology and evolution of metal hyperaccumulator plants. In 2001, an insect species was named for him – Melanotrichus boydi, or “Boyd’s Black-Haired Bug.” The discovery came from the master’s thesis work of one of his graduate students. Boyd was involved in the creation of the campus student group, the Society for Conservation Biology, which provides support for majors that involve conservation. He also serves as faculty advisor for the group. His teaching and mentoring efforts have been recognized through the Alumni Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award, COSAM Dean’s Award for Outstanding Teaching, COSAM Outstanding Faculty Advising Award, and an Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award. Boyd was also named Learning Community Coordinator of the Year in 2012. He said he considers his parents, who were both teachers, his most valuable role models.
“Being a part of the education of bright and energetic young people is very satisfying. Helping them to achieve their goals while at the university is wonderful, but coming across them later in their careers and finding that they still remember me and the courses that I teach is extremely gratifying. These experiences help me see that I can make a difference in students’ lives,” Boyd said.
Gruenhage is the recipient of the Distinguished Graduate Faculty Lectureship. His lecture, titled "Undecidable Propositions," took place on Wednesday, Oct. 3, and was featured in the O-A News. In the lecture, Gruenhage explained why one should expect "undecidable" statements and how to deal with them. He also gave examples of natural questions in topology that have turned out to be undecidable. The lecture was sponsored jointly by the Office of Alumni Affairs and the Graduate School.
Gruenhage has been at Auburn for 38 years. His research area is set-theoretic topology, a melding of set theory and general topology. The two fields are fundamental mathematical disciplines with common historical roots and serve as essential tools in many areas of mathematics. Gruenhage has published more than 100 articles in research journals and as book chapters, and his work is commonly cited by other leading researchers. He is a frequent invited speaker at major national and international conferences in his field, and his work has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation. Gruenhage said his proudest moment was the day he returned to work at Auburn after sustaining a spinal cord injury which left him paralyzed from the chest down in April 2006. His doctor was skeptical and suggested that he be “realistic,” but Gruenhage’s goal was to be home in time for fall semester. He finished rehabilitation and returned home on Aug. 10, 2006, and returned to Auburn University on Aug. 15, 2006, the first day of the semester.
“I feel very grateful, honored and humbled by the extremely strong support that I’ve had both from colleagues here at Auburn and fellow researchers around the world … What is most important to me about the award is to know that the work I have done in mathematics over the last 38 years at Auburn is held in high regard by my mathematical friends and colleagues,” Gruenhage said.
Photos and videos from the 2012 Faculty Awards Celebrating Excellence ceremony can be found here.
Biological Sciences News:
Society for Conservation Biology explores caves in Alabama
The Society for Conservation Biology, a student organization in the Department of Biological Sciences, went on a weekend field trip to Jackson County, Ala., where they explored five caves and visited the Keel Mountain Preserve. Jim Godwin of Auburn’s Environmental Institute led the cave exploration as participants received an up-close look at numerous organisms including cave salamanders, cave crickets, cave millipedes, cave crayfish, wood rats and several bats. Photos of the trip can be seen here.
Tigers for Tigers raises funds and awareness
On Saturday, Oct. 6, Tigers for Tigers set up a booth in front of Parker Hall to raise funds and awareness of the devastation and severe peril facing some wildlife today. Football fans visited the booth and learned more about Tigers for Tigers, a program sponsored by the Society for Conservation Biology, a student organization. More than $200 was raised for Tigers for Tigers, which is a program sponsored by Auburn University and other institutions that share a tiger mascot, namely University of Missouri and Clemson University, to specifically highlight the destruction facing tigers in the wild in the form of farming and the illegal trade of tiger parts. The tiger is currently on the brink of extinction. Today, there are not enough tigers in the wild to even fill one section of seats in Auburn University’s Jordan-Hare Stadium. For more information, visit the Society for Conservation Biology website.
Guyer to deliver lecture at Alumni Center
COSAM supporters who are in town on the Friday prior to the Auburn vs. Alabama A&M football game should plan to receive an up-close look at reptiles and amphibians from Auburn's renowned herpetologist, Craig Guyer. Guyer, a professor of Biological Sciences and curator of amphibians and reptiles for Auburn's Museum of Natural History, will give a presentation as part of Auburn’s Game Day Lecture Series that includes live specimens and instruction on basic reptilian and amphibian biology. He will also discuss current challenges for conserving this component of Alabama's rich biota. Guyer will challenge traditional thinking on species such as snakes and demonstrate why an environment rich in reptiles and amphibians is a healthy one. The free lecture is open to the public and will take place on Friday, Nov. 16, at 4 p.m. in the Goodwin Room at the Auburn Alumni Center located at 317 South College Street. For more information, click here.
Geology and Geography News:
Lilly retires after 42 years at Auburn
Eva Lilly (pictured, right), lead administrative assistant, retired in October after a 42-year career at Auburn, 40 of which were spent serving the Department of Geology and Geography. During her time with the Department of Geology and Geography, she served four different department heads/chairs, and participated in one of the largest changes in business operations that occurred in the last 40 years: the switch from manual filing and paper communications to electronic filing and the use of email and computers.
Bob Cook, former head of the Department of Geology and Geography, said that she and Shelia Arington (pictured, left), administrative support assistant, kept the department running.
“When I became the department head, for 22 years I prayed daily that neither of them (Lilly and Arington) would quit,” Cook said. “It was clear that managing a department at Auburn University required efficient and dedicated behind-the-scenes administrative support. I had it, and neither I nor the department could have survived without it.”
Mark Steltenpohl, chair of the Department of Geology and Geography, agrees with Cook:
“I’ll miss her wonderful personality and her dedication to serving the many faculty and thousands of students who passed through our halls. I’ll miss her sometimes beating me in on some mornings and already having a pot of coffee brewed for us. I’ll miss her selflessness; how she’d never complain whenever I dropped something on her that needed her immediate attention, and she had to drop what she was doing. I’ll miss having someone who simply never made mistakes. I’ll miss her gracious demeanor.”
COSAM thanks Lilly for her many years of service and wishes her luck in retirement.
Pate named to editorial board of mathematics journal
Professor Thomas Pate was appointed to the editorial board for the journal of Linear and Multilinear Algebra. The journal publishes original research papers that advance the study of linear and multilinear algebra, or that apply the techniques of linear and multilinear algebra in other branches of mathematics and science. The audience for Linear and Multilinear Algebra includes both industrial and academic mathematicians. Pate's research is focused in the area of multilinear algebra, with particular focus on inequalities involving multilinear functions. He is a well-known figure and authority on the permanent-on-top conjecture and its related problems. Many of his papers have appeared in some of the most prestigious mathematical journals, such as Transactions of American Mathematical Society, Journal of the London Mathematical Society, and Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society.
Kallenberg honored by international conference
A committee of mathematicians from four different European universities is organizing an international conference to honor the work of Olav Kallenberg, a longtime professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Topics which are central themes in Kallenberg’s scientific work include: exchangeability, symmetries and invariance principles; random measures, point processes and random sets; and super processes and random trees. The conference is scheduled to take place at the Mittag-Leffler Institute outside of Stockholm during the week of June 24-28, 2013. Participants have been invited from the U.S., Canada and several European countries.
Hill and Kuperberg named fellows of the American Mathematical Society
Two faculty members in the College of Sciences and Mathematics were named Fellows of the American Mathematical Society, or AMS, for 2013, the program's initial year. The inaugural class of 1,119 fellows represents over 600 institutions from around the world and includes Professor Emeritus Paul D. Hill and Professor Krystyna Kuperberg (pictured), both of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. The Fellows of AMS program recognizes members who have made outstanding contributions to the creation, exposition, advancement, communication and utilization of mathematics.
"The AMS is the world's largest and most influential society dedicated to mathematical research, scholarship and education. Recent advances in mathematics include solutions to age-old problems and key applications useful for society,” said Eric M. Friedlander, president of AMS. “The new AMS Fellows program recognizes some of the most accomplished mathematicians - AMS members who have contributed to our understanding of deep and important mathematical questions, to applications throughout the scientific world, and to educational excellence."
Hill’s research area is algebra and Kuperberg's research areas are dynamical system, topology, analysis and geometry. They will be inducted at a ceremony at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Diego in January. JMM is the world's largest mathematics meeting organized by AMS and the Mathematical Association of America.
The goals of the AMS Fellows program are to: create an enlarged class of mathematicians recognized by their peers as distinguished for their contributions to the profession; honor not only the extraordinary but also the excellent; lift the morale of the profession by providing an honor more accessible than those currently available; make mathematicians more competitive for awards, promotion and honors when they are being compared with colleagues from other disciplines; and support the advancement of more mathematicians in leadership positions in their own institutions and in the broader society. To see the complete list of the inaugural class of AMS fellows, click here.
Research group secures time on super computer
The Atomic and Molecular Theoretical Group, consisting of Professor Michael Pindzola, Professor Francis Robicheaux, Associate Professor Stuart Loch and Assistant Research Professor Connor Balance, was awarded 30 million CPU hours under the Department of Energy INCITE, or Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment, program. The award will allow researchers within the group, including faculty, post-doctoral researchers and students, to harness the power of a supercomputer with close to 300,000 cores. The team will address fundamental atomic and molecular collision problems that would be impossible to explore on a standard laptop. The supercomputer, called “Titan,” is housed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and was developed by Cray to have a peak performance of between 10 and 20 Petaflops, or 10 to 20 quadrillion mathematical operations per second. In conjunction with the XSEDE computer grant from earlier in the year, the award will allow the research team to expand the scope of their work. In monetary terms, 30 million CPU hours is equivalent to over a million dollars in value. For more information on the Atomic and Molecular Theoretical Group, visit this page.
Auburn researchers present recent results at plasma physics conference
A group of 20 faculty and students from Auburn University’s Department of Physics attended the 54th Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society - Division of Plasma Physics, or APS-DPP, meeting in Providence, R.I., from October 29 to November 2. The annual meeting represents the largest gathering of plasma physics researchers in the U.S. and is one of the premier plasma physics meetings in the world. Auburn researchers contributed 25 presentations in a wide range of areas, such as fusion energy, laboratory plasmas, space plasmas and dusty plasmas. At the meeting, Auburn’s David Maurer, associate professor of physics, started a three-year term as a member of the University Fusion Association executive committee, and two Auburn physics professors, Yu Lin and Edward Thomas, chaired invited and contributed talk sessions, respectively. Additionally, Physics Department Chair and Professor James Hanson’s work on the V3FIT plasma equilibrium reconstruction code was highlighted in eight presentations. Finally, physics undergraduate student Kevin Gilmore won the award for outstanding undergraduate poster presentation at the conference. In total, seven faculty, three post-doctoral researchers, eight graduate students, and two undergraduate students attended the APS-DPP meeting and gave presentations on research conducted at Auburn University.
Free workshop on native plants held on Auburn campus
The Donald E. Davis Arboretum and the student-run Environmental Awareness Organization hosted a native plant workshop, “Let us Help You Connect With Native Alabama.” Participants discussed why native plants are important and what ecological services they provide, and had an opportunity to order native plants.
Arboretum involved in international rhododendron research project
The Alabamense chapter of the Azalea Society of America is based at the Donald E. Davis Arboretum, home of the world’s most complete collection of Alabama azaleas, Rhododendron alabamense. The arboretum is collaborating with ASA’s scientific wing, the Azalea Research Foundation, as 60 samples of primarily Alabama azaleas will be shipped to the University of Coimbra in Portugal for analysis. The samples will be used to establish a data set built on specimens donated by several Alabamense chapter members from across the state. The data will determine if the chromosome count, or ploidy level, is uniform across the species range or if it varies. Ploidy testing uses flow cytometry and will be performed by João Loureiro and Silvia Castro, biological sciences professors, and Mariana Castro, postdoctoral student, all of the Plant Ecology and Evolution Group at the Centre for Functional Ecology with the Department of Life Sciences at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. Loureiro specializes in flow cytometry and Silvia Castro specializes in the study of polyploid plants. The research team has tested the ploidy level of over 1,000 rhododendron and azalea samples. The analysis of Alabama azalea samples from the arboretum is part of a one-year study, funded by the Azalea Research Foundation, to determine the ploidy level of native deciduous azalea populations throughout North America. The research team also has grant funding from the American Rhododendron Society and the American Rhododendron Society’s Massachusetts chapter.
2013 Arboretum calendars now available
The 2013 Donald E. Davis Arboretum calendars are now available for purchase for e-Journey subscribers. Calendars are $8 and feature winners of the 2012 arboretum photo contest. To reserve your calendar, please contact the arboretum at 334.844.5770 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Alumnus Update: Thomas Warren
Dr. Thomas Warren, pre-biomedical sciences/pharmacy ’58, is a retired OB-GYN from Tallassee, Ala. He retired from medicine in 2001, and since that time, has devoted countless hours to serving his community in Hickory, N.C., where he has lived since 1970. For 30 years, he has been a member of the Hickory Kiwanis Club, and the group recently completed construction of a new playground, the Zahra Baker Playground.
“Zahra Baker was a 10-year-old girl who had cancer, lost a leg, and was murdered and dismembered in 2010 by her stepmother,” explained Warren. “The local Kiwanis Clubs raised money to erect the playground and establish scholarships in her memory.”
In addition to his civic duties with the Kiwanis Club, Warren promotes preventive nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices.
“Because of being overweight, having high blood pressure and high cholesterol, I began to reeducate myself on healthy lifestyle choices. I became associated with local Seventh Day Adventist friends who helped me make the transition from the Standard American Diet to a vegan/vegetarian diet, with blood pressure and cholesterol returning to normal,” Warren said. “My passion in retirement is to communicate, educate and impart knowledge to others regarding preventive nutrition and healthy lifestyles. I purchase and give books to educate others because I feel they should read the information for themselves and not simply take my word for it.”
Warren attended the University of Alabama School of Medicine and completed his residency at Emory University. He was a practicing OB-GYN in Hickory, N.C. for 31 years. In addition to working with the Kiwanis Club and promoting healthy lifestyle choices, he is also an Executive Committee member of the Piedmont Council of Boy Scouts of America and enjoys reading, fly-fishing and playing golf.
Warren said, “I feel that the greatest goals, activities and contributions a person can make is to spend time, resources and energy to promote programs that outlast us, build character, improve health, slow aging and increase longevity.”
Alumnus receives NSF fellowship
Steven Scyphers, marine biology ’07, was recently awarded a three-year, Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability Fellowship from the National Science Foundation for a project titled, "Social-Ecological Resilience of Coastal Shoreline Ecosystems: Developing a Framework for Informed Decision-Making." A postdoctoral researcher at Northeastern University’s Marine Science Center, the $500,000 award will allow Scyphers to explore the social, ecological and engineering factors that contribute to coastal resilience. As an undergraduate at Auburn, Scyphers conducted research in the labs of associate professors Scott Santos and Nanette Chadwick. Click here for the full story on his fellowship.
Cory Luckie receives Cliff Hare Award
The Cliff Hare Award is presented annually to a student athlete who, in addition to athletic and scholarship achievement, exhibits in great degree the qualities of leadership, integrity and courage. This year’s recipient is former baseball player and COSAM graduate Cory Luckie.
Luckie pitched for the Tigers from 2008-2012 and was a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, the SEC Community Service Team, six different honor societies and numerous volunteer organizations. In 2010, he was the SEC Baseball Scholar-Athlete of the Year. After graduating in May 2012 with a degree in biomedical sciences, Luckie entered medical school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. COSAM congratulates Luckie on receiving the 2012 Cliff Hare Award!
Carroll receives COSAM’s Distinguished Alumnus Award
F. Ivy Carroll is the 2012 recipient of COSAM’s Distinguished Alumnus Award. The award recognizes COSAM graduates who have achieved significant stature in their chosen field, whether business, academic, military or government. In addition, nominees must have a history of commitment to Auburn University and COSAM, such as working with alumni, fundraising endeavors and/or personal financial support.
Carroll is a distinguished fellow of medicinal chemistry for the Research Triangle Institute, or RTI, and is internationally recognized for his work as an organic and medicinal chemist. He received a bachelor of science in chemistry from Auburn University in 1957 and was awarded a Ph.D. in chemistry by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1961. He joined the research staff of RTI as a research chemist in 1960 and rose steadily to the position of vice president of the Chemistry and Life Sciences Group, a position he held from 1996 to 2001. Additionally, from 1975 to 2007, Carroll served as the director of RTI’s Center for Organic and Medicinal Chemistry.
With more than 50 years of scientific leadership and accomplishment at RTI, Carroll has made significant scientific contributions in the realm of drug discovery and development in areas such as anti-cancer, anti-radiation and anti-malarial research. Among his most recognized work is the development of a diagnostic agent for Parkinson's disease. He is also widely acknowledged for producing innovative compounds for potential treatments of cocaine and nicotine addictions and other central nervous system disorders. Carroll's research is documented in 393 peer-reviewed publications, 32 book chapters and 36 patents. Additionally, 90 postdoctoral fellows have been trained by Carroll.
He has been a member of several prominent scientific organizations including: the National Institutes of Health Molecular Neuropharmacology and Signaling Study Section; the American Chemical Society, or ACS; the American Association of Pharmaceutical Science; the Royal Society of Chemistry; the College on Problems of Drug Dependence; the honor societies, Sigma Xi and Phi Lambda Upsilon; and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Other professional and scientific activities include service on the Long-Range Planning Committee of the Medicinal Chemistry Section of ACS, and two terms of service on the ACS Offices and Awards Committee, including serving one term as chairman. Carroll has also served on the Biochemistry Study Section of the National Institute on Drug Abuse Review Committee; the Molecular, Cellular and Chemical Neurobiology Research Review Committee; and the Medications Development Division Review Committee of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, as chairman. Carroll has served on the advisory boards of several scientific journals, including from 1995 to 1999 on the Editorial Advisory Board for the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.
He has published 441 peer-reviewed publications, 34 book chapters and 43 patents, and has several current patent applications in the fields of organic synthesis, medicinal chemistry, biochemistry and drug abuse research. Carroll has received numerous awards for his research accomplishments, such as the 1993 Pacesetter Award, National Institute on Drug Abuse; the 1993 Distinguished Speaker Award, North Carolina Section of ACS; the 2000 Southern Chemist Award, Memphis Section of ACS; the 2001 Charles H. Herty Medal, Georgia Section of ACS; the 2001 Margaret E. Knox Excellence Award, RTI; the 2002 Division of Medicinal Chemistry Award, ACS; the 2006 Nathan B. Eddy Award from the College on Problems of Drug Dependence; the 2006 Research Achievement Award in Drug Design and Discovery from the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists; the 2010 North Carolina Award for Science; the 2010 National Institute on Drug Abuse Public Service Award for Significant Achievement; and the 2012 Alfred Burger Award in Medicinal Chemistry from GlaxoSmithKline.
In 2007, he was inducted into the ACS Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame.
Leadership Council Member Spotlight: Dr. Gordon Isbell
Gordon Roswell Isbell III received a bachelor of science in chemistry from Auburn University in 1976 and has been a dentist in his hometown, Gadsden, Ala., for 31 years. He has served on the COSAM Dean’s Leadership Council since 2010, and he is a member of the Auburn University Samford Society. Isbell finished dental school at the University of Alabama School of Dentistry in 1981, and in 1995, he completed the requirements for Mastership Academy of General Dentistry.
Isbell was recently elected as national co-chairman of the American Dental Association Political Action Committee in Washington D.C., which represents 157,000 dentists. The responsibility is merely one among a resume that is extensive and includes serving as national trustee of the Academy of General Dentistry, or AGD. He has served on the board of directors of the Alabama chapter of AGD since 1983, and he was the youngest person to ever serve as president of the group. He presently serves on the National Credentials and Elections Council for AGD. Additionally, Isbell is a past delegate from Alabama to the American Dental Association, has served on the Alabama Dental Association’s board of trustees and has been a member of both groups since 1980.
He is a fellow of the American College of Dentists, the Academy of Dentistry International, the Academy of General Dentistry, the Pierre Fauchard Academy and the International Academy of Dento-Facial Esthetics.
Isbell’s expertise has been sought by numerous national publications, including well-known magazines like Better Homes and Gardens and Men’s Health, and he has been the invited speaker at multiple meetings and workshops around the U.S.
Isbell is also the recipient of numerous awards and honors including: the Alabama Dental Association Silver Certificate for 25 years of service; the Most Excellent Fellow, Distinguished Dentist in the State award from the Alabama Dental Association; the Hoyt Lee Outstanding Kiwanian in Alabama award from the Alabama State Key Club Convention; and the Outstanding Volunteer, State of Alabama award from the National Kidney Foundation. He was also named an Honorary Lt. Col. Aid-de-Camp Alabama State Militia and was a Jaycees Distinguished Service Award Nominee.
His service extends beyond the realm of dentistry, and he recently retired from 21 years of service as a member of the board of directors of Compass Bank BBVA; he has been involved with the Etowah County Auburn Club since 1981; and has been an active member of the Gadsden Kiwanis Club since 1982.
In addition to the COSAM Leadership Council, Isbell is a member of the national Henry Schein Oral Health Dental Advisory Board and the Dean’s Leadership Council at the University of Alabama School of Dentistry.
Isbell and his wife, Cindy Condra Isbell, reside in Gadsden. They have five children—three sons and two daughters—and are members of First United Methodist Church of Gadsden.
Three scholarships awarded at COSAM golf tournament
COSAM held the Dean's Scholarship Golf Classic on Friday, Nov. 2, at Moore's Mill Club in Auburn. All proceeds from the tournament benefit annual scholarships in COSAM, and this year, three, full-tuition scholarships will be awarded. The recipients were Jaqueline Chivers, Cole Sterling and Brad Young.
Chivers (pictured right) is a senior in zoology with a concentration in conservation biology. Born in St. Louis, MO, Chivers grew up in Madison, Ala., and plans to go to graduate school for a master’s degree in biological sciences. Her ultimate goal is to work for a government organization conducting molecular research for conservation of amphibians and reptiles, or to teach. Chivers is an undergraduate teaching assistant for several classes, and is currently working on a research project with toad hybridization in Professor Craig Guyer’s lab in the Department of Biological Sciences. In her spare time, Chivers is highly involved in Auburn Christian Fellowship, an on-campus ministry, and enjoys sports, reading and writing.
A native of Huntsville, Ala., Sterling (pictured left) is a senior in biomedical sciences with a minor in public health. He is in the process of interviewing at medical schools and has been invited to interview at Harvard Medical School at the end of November. This year, Sterling served as a member of the COSAM MCAT Committee and as a Kaplan MCAT instructor. He is a member of Alpha Epsilon Delta, Sigma Chi social fraternity, Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi and the Honors College. In previous years, Sterling held leadership positions as a COSAM Leader and the Committee of 19, Auburn University’s “War on Hunger “Initiative, and he participated in medicinal plant research with the Harrison School of Pharmacy. Sterling enjoys playing piano, going to concerts, watching Auburn and SEC football, snow skiing, and spending time with his friends, family and girlfriend.
Young (pictured center) was born and raised in Auburn, Ala. A senior in biomedical sciences, he is in the process of applying to medical schools and has been accepted to the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Young is the current COSAM Leader president, scholarship coordinator of Sigma Nu social fraternity, and a member of Alpha Epsilon Delta, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Phi Sigma Pi, First Baptist Church of Opelika, Phi Eta Sigma, Alpha Lambda Delta, Microbiology Club, Phi Kappa Phi, and Who’s Who Among American Colleges and Universities. During his spare time, Young likes to lift weights, run, fish, hunt and travel.
For more information, contact Brook Moates at firstname.lastname@example.org or 334.844.2931.
Cash assets are not the only way to give to Auburn
Everyday expenses and saving for the future can put a significant dent in household budgets. For those who would like to give to Auburn but are worried about parting with much-needed income, there are multiple unique ways to give without using cash assets. Here are four examples of non-cash assets you can give to Auburn to help support our mission:
1. Stocks and Securities: When owned longer than one year, appreciated securities are deductible at their full, present, fair-market value, with no tax on the appreciation.
2. Real Estate: Depending on the donation method you choose, you can benefit from income and capital gains tax savings while possibly increasing your annual income. Some options to consider include donating a vacation home, an undeveloped lot or commercial property, or transferring your home to Auburn while retaining use of your property during your lifetime.
3. Life Insurance: Depending on the unique circumstances of your gift, you may receive significant tax benefits. There are two major ways that people use life insurance to support our cause: you can name Auburn as the beneficiary (or co-beneficiary) of an existing life insurance policy; or you can make Auburn the owner of the policy and relinquish all incidents of ownership, resulting in current tax savings for you.
4. Tangible Personal Property: Gifts of items that can be touched or moved, like art or other collectibles, can provide you with the most favorable tax benefits if they are used in relation to the university’s mission. Assuming you've owned the related property for more than 12 months, you may claim an income tax deduction for its fair market value, even though your cost may have been a fraction of its current value. Plus, you pay no capital gains tax. Otherwise, if the item is not related to Auburn’s mission, your deduction is based on its cost basis.
For more detailed information on alternative ways to give, click here or contact Tammy Beck Hartwell at 334.844.1449, or by email at email@example.com.
COSAM to host science program for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students
COSAM will host “Kidz-sized SCIENCE,” a monthly enrichment program designed for 4- to 6-year-old children. The program offers a stimulating environment for guiding children in the development of science, math and literacy skills by providing discovery-based science labs, activities and materials appropriate for young children. The next event will take place on Friday, Nov. 9, and will feature three, 90-minute sessions. For more information on upcoming COSAM outreach events, visit the website.
Registration for GEARSEF now open
The Greater East Alabama Regional Science and Engineering Fair, or GEARSEF, is open to sixth- through twelfth-grade students who reside in one of the following Alabama counties: Autauga, Bullock, Butler, Chambers, Coffee, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Dallas, Elmore, Geneva, Houston, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Montgomery, Pike, Russell or Tallapoosa. GEARSEF is an Intel ISEF, or International Science and Engineering Fair, affiliate. Projects are eligible to advance to the state science fair that will take place in April 2013, and the top two high school finishers at GEARSEF will win an all-expense paid trip to compete at the Intel ISEF competition in Phoenix, Ariz., in May 2013.
GEARSEF will take place on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 on the Auburn University main campus. Students planning to submit projects should do so under the supervision of a teacher or school administrator. School registration ends on Friday, Dec. 14.
Applications now being accepted for Summer Science Institute
The Summer Science Institute at Auburn University is a program for rising 11th and 12th grade students with a high aptitude and interest in the fields of science and math. The program, which is supported by COSAM, partners students with experienced university science and math research faculty to explore topics more advanced than what is typically taught in a public or private high school environment. The program is offered at no cost to participants so those selected to attend may do so, regardless of financial status.
Applicants must reside in Alabama or Georgia, and seating is limited to 24 and will be granted on an academically competitive basis. The deadline to apply is Jan. 31, 2013. Application materials can be found on the Summer Science Institute website.
South’s BEST competition coming to Auburn
BEST, or Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology, is a high school and middle school robotics program now in its 20th year nationally and 12th year in Alabama. The purpose of BEST is to raise awareness among young people of career opportunities available in science, engineering, technology and mathematics, and motivate them toward pursuits in these fields. BEST is comprised of 49 local competition sites, called “hubs,” organized by BEST Robotics, Inc. “South’s BEST” is one of four regional championships for the 18 hubs that are east of the Mississippi River. Auburn University will host 57 teams at South’s BEST on Dec. 1 and 2. While in Auburn, teams will compete in a series of head-to-head matches on two playing fields designed for this year’s game, which is titled, “Warp XX.” The educational theme behind Warp XX is the space elevator, a real-world engineering challenge of transporting supplies to and from the International Space Station on a tethered cable. Teams have been tasked with designing and building a robot capable of climbing a 13-foot pole to carry and deliver essential items - full and empty fuel cells, solar panels, habitation modules, etc. - to and from the space station located at the top of the pole. South’s BEST will be held at the Auburn Arena and is free to the public. Matches begin at 5 p.m. on Saturday, and the competition will continue on Sunday beginning at 9:30 a.m. The event should conclude by 5 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, including a schedule of events, visit the South's BEST website.
COSAM hosts Minority High School Visitation Day
The COSAM annual Minority High School Visitation Day was held on Oct. 18 in the Student Center Ballroom. Publicized as a capstone event for college-bound junior and senior high school students, the 2012 event attracted many enthusiastic students, parents and guardians, and high school counselors. A major recruitment event, 171 participants attended Minority High School Visitation Day, with high school students represented from Alabama and Georgia. The students were welcomed by Assistant Vice-President for Student Affairs Kimberly Frazier and Interim Dean Charles Savrda. Campus-based representatives included administrators, COSAM department chairs and heads, faculty advisors and student representatives. Current Auburn students and university staff were also available to answer questions and interact with potential students. Overall, the execution of this year’s event was highly successful — 70 percent of students surveyed indicated they had already applied or are currently applying to Auburn University. Minority High School Visitation Day received a rating of 3.9 on a 4.0 scale, reflecting an “outstanding” rating from attendees, including students, parents and participating Auburn University staff. Four categories received the highest ratings: positive experience; information was helpful; admissions information; and scholarship information..