Auburn Professor Jonathan Armbruster is named the new director of the Auburn University Museum of Natural History in the College of Sciences and Mathematics. His term begins April 1. Armbruster joined Auburn in 1998 as an assistant professor. He was named an associate professor in 2003, and an alumni professor in 2007. He has served as curator of the museum’s fish collection where he has grown the collection from 25,000 jars to 65,000, obtained a specimen from every continent and developed online searching capabilities through a database system. His area of research involves the systematics, ecology and functional morphology of fishes, particularly suckermouth armored catfishes, or Loricariidae, the largest family of catfishes in the world, also known as plecos in the aquarium trade. He is also involved in survey work of several regions of South America including Guyana and Venezuela, and also works on local projects involving ecology, behavior and systematics of fishes. Recently, Armbruster has begun collaborative work in a worldwide project, “All Cypriniformes Species Inventory,” which facilitates taxonomic work on minnows. His lab is particularly interested in the barbs of Africa, and relationships of taxa worldwide. As part of this study, he has built a global database of minnow morphology, and will use the information to explore aspects of the evolution of cypriniform ecology and functional diversity. “I have been striving to make the collections at Auburn University into a museum since I arrived in 1998,” said Armbruster. “Now that Dr. (Jason) Bond has ushered us into a new building and upped our community presence, the question becomes what to do next. I hope to begin series of initiatives in teaching and outreach over the next couple of years to further cement the museum’s position in the Auburn University community and beyond.” Armbruster received his bachelor’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Illinois. Before his time at Auburn, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Institution. Throughout his career, Armbruster has secured a number of research grants from the National Science Foundation, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and National Geographic, among many others. Aside from his extensive research, Armbruster has instructed many undergraduate and graduate-level courses including comparative anatomy, evolution and systematics, and systematic ichthyology. Armbruster has guided many graduate students to make new discoveries and publish their own work. Armbruster has given a number of lectures, received numerous awards for teaching and research, participated in many outreach events and has authored dozens of publications. He garnered international media attention in 2015 after naming a previously unknown species of catfish in honor of the Star Wars character, Greedo.
Stephanie Campbell, a double major in animal sciences and microbial, molecular and cellular biology, has been nominated for the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship.
Meredith Jones, advisor in the College of Sciences and Mathematics, has been selected to receive the annual Auburn University Outstanding Advising Award - New Advisor Category.
With a National Science Foundation grant secured by Auburn University faculty, undergraduate students at Auburn will design, build and test two CubeSat satellites that will launch into space in 2018.
Jack Feminella, professor and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, was appointed to succeed Vince Cammarata as COSAM's associate dean for academic affairs.
Auburn University's College of Sciences and Mathematics is "flipping the classroom" as part of an innovative way to teach Auburn students through a newly constructed Engaged in Active Student Learning, or EASL, classroom. Working with the Office of the Provost, the college is leading Auburn's effort on the unusual design since all Auburn students must take core classes in the college prior to graduating. "In contrast to traditional classrooms where faculty teach 'at' students, often in stadium-style rooms, this room was designed to encourage teacher-student interactions, and student-student collaborations, two aspects which are known to lead to improved learning outcomes," said COSAM Dean Nicholas Giordano. "COSAM faculty spent many months preparing to use the EASL classroom as effectively as possible in their teaching, and the new space was ready to use at the beginning of the fall 2014 semester."
The National Academic Advising Association selected Anna Burchett for a 2015 Region 4: Excellence in Advising award. The award is presented to individuals who have demonstrated qualities associated with outstanding academic advising of students.
If Natasha Narayanan’s performance at the 2014 Southeast Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society is any indication of what lies ahead in her academic and professional career, she is headed toward a consummate future. Narayanan, a COSAM sophomore and Honors College student majoring in biochemistry, gave an oral presentation titled, “Streamlined Chemical Synthesis of Tricyclic Nucleic Acid Analogues for Antisense Technology” during the undergraduate symposium portion of the conference. In recognition of both her research and eloquence, Narayanan’s talk was selected as the best oral presentation in the organic chemistry division out of 60 total presenters.
COSAM’s Office of Student Services welcomed a new academic advisor this month, Meredith Jones ’12. She received an undergraduate degree from COSAM in biomedical sciences and then attended Clemson University where she received a master of education with a focus in counselor education. “While I was a student, I worked for COSAM as a peer advisor. That was when my career path began to take a major shift; no longer did a future in dentistry excite me, but working with students gave me a new perspective and caused me to begin researching graduate programs that focused on higher education and student affairs,” said Jones. “On the first day of graduate school, our professors told us that 'no one ever gets their dream job out of grad school.' I, however, did! I am so excited to return to The Plains and to be working for the office that sparked my interest in advising!” In addition to serving as a COSAM Peer Advisor while she was an undergraduate, Jones was also an orientation intern for COSAM, a role that positioned her to advise incoming students on academic-related matters, such as curriculum and course scheduling, as well as a COSAM Leader. The COSAM Leaders are a group of exemplary COSAM students who serve as the official ambassadors for the college.
The National Academic Advising Association selected Elizabeth Yarbrough, Ph.D., and Kathryn Milly West for 2014 Region 4: Excellence in Advising awards. The awards are presented to individuals who have demonstrated qualities associated with outstanding academic advising of students. Yarbrough, who is the director of student services for COSAM, is the recipient of the NACADA Region 4 Excellence in Advising: Advising Administration award. She also received the Certificate of Merit of the Outstanding Advising Award - Academic Advising Administrator, which is a national recognition.
Auburn students interested in an intensive study-abroad program in one of the world’s most lush and adventure-filled locations can take advantage of the Organization for Tropical Studies, which owns and operates three biological field stations in Costa Rica: La Selva, Las Cruces and Palo Verde. OTS is a non-profit consortium that includes 63 universities and research institutions from the U.S., Latin America and Australia. Auburn University is the only school in the state that is a member of OTS, and since joining the consortium in 1987, Auburn students have had access to educational, research and funding opportunities in Costa Rica that are not available to non-member institutions.
Three COSAM students were among the top 20 finalists for Miss Auburn: Alexis Jackson, microbial, cellular, and molecular biology; Tori Jones, biomedical sciences; and Ana Burcham, cellular and molecular biology. Jackson also serves as a COSAM Leader, an exemplary group of students who serve the college as official ambassadors.
“Warning!” reads the course description, “Mega-mammals, crocodiles, snakes, thorns, baboons, etc. may be abundant at many of the sites. Please be very careful!” The course, Field Biology and Ecology, provides one of the latest study abroad opportunities offered at Auburn University. Last summer during the inaugural course, 10 Auburn students ventured to Swaziland and South Africa for a once-in-a-lifetime, hands-on, research experience, guided by Biological Sciences professors Troy Best and Michael Wooten.
A four credit hour course in Plant Gene Expression (BIOL 5320/ 6320) will be offered during 2014 spring semester on Tue and Thu afternoon from 3.30 to 4.45 PM . This is a an undergraduate / graduate level course that will be offered every alternate year. This course does not have a laboratory component associated with it.
In Spring 2014 I will offer Advanced Cell Biology for the first time since 2010. The course will be guided by and aligned with Academic Press’s Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology (2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 which will be released in November), and current literature, and will cover some of the latest and greatest advances in cell biology over the past several years.
Physics senior Patrick Donnan made his mark as an academic elite when he was chosen as a 2013 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar, an honor bestowed upon approximately 300 students nationwide each year. The scholarship is widely considered the most prestigious award in the United States for undergraduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. Ever eager for more knowledge and experience in the realm of physics, Donnan, who is also pursuing a bachelor’s degree in music, spent the summer working in Dresden, Germany, at the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems under the guidance of Thomas Pohl, leader of the Complex Dynamics in Cold Gases unit.
Patrick Donnan, an Auburn University Honors College student double-majoring in physics and music, has been chosen as a 2013 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar, an honor bestowed only to approximately 300 students nationwide each year. The scholarship is widely considered the most prestigious award in the United States for undergraduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines.