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Faculty and Student Awards

Barone and Jackson awarded research grants from National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Energy

February 11, 2014 - Two CMU Science of Advanced Materials faculty members were recently recognized for their research:

  • Assistant professor of physics Veronica Barone was awarded a Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET) grant from the National Science Foundation to work on sodium-ion batteries research in collaboration with professor Liangbing Hu at the University of Maryland. Due to the low cost and abundance of sodium on Earth, sodium-ion batteries are emerging as a viable technology to meet the requirements for transportation and other energy storage applications. Although sodium is much more abundant than lithium, sodium ions have a much larger size, which poses grand challenges for sodium-ion technologies. Barone's research group at CMU will address these issues by utilizing computational tools to investigate possible sodium-ion storage mechanisms, such as intercalation and cluster formation.

  • Professor of physics Koblar Alan Jackson has received a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Basic Energy Science to study the physics and chemistry of cluster-based catalyst systems using computer simulations. The grant will support Science of Advanced Materials and CMU Department of Physics graduate students who have research interests in computational studies of atomic clusters and nanomaterials.

SAM graduates recognized for outstanding dissertations

February 4, 2014 - December 2013 graduates of the Science of Advanced Materials Ph.D. program Jordan Phillips and Chananate Uthaisar have each been recognized by the CMU College of Graduate Studies with a 2013 Outstanding Dissertation Award.

Phillips' dissertation, "Towards the Blackbox Computation of Magnetic Exchange Coupling Parameters in Polynuclear Transition-Metal Complexes" and Uthaisar's dissertation, "Optimizing Graphene Oxide Derivatives as High Performance Anodes in Lithium-Ion Batteries: From Density Functional Theory Calculations to Fundamental Experimental Research" earned them their awards.

Phillips is now working as a postdoctoral researcher in the chemistry department at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Uthaisar recently took a position as a research scientist with Fraunhofer USA in the Center for Coatings and Laser Applications located in Lansing, Michigan.

Interdisciplinary research to develop a fundamental understanding of environmental chemical cycles

January 31, 2014 - Central Michigan University assistant professor of Earth and atmospheric sciences and Institute for Great Lakes Research scientist Deric Learman was recently awarded a $170,000 research grant by the National Science Foundation's Geobiology and Low-Temperature Geochemistry Program to examine how microorganisms make minerals (manganese oxides) which are found in soils and sediments on land and in lakes, rivers and oceans.

This research will be done in collaboration with Colleen Hansel from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (funded separately).

While small in scale, understanding the factors involved in making manganese oxide minerals is environmentally important since these oxides can impact the fate of a broad range of nutrients, such as carbon and phosphate, and contaminates, such as lead and chromium.

In addition, manganese oxides are receiving increased attention as a dominant control on the release of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from soils and sediments, since they are one of a select few compounds that can degrade recalcitrant carbon to more labile forms, hindering its long-term sequestration and stabilization.

Despite this existing knowledge, a scientific understanding of the manganese cycle is fundamentally incomplete, with major gaps in the processes responsible for the formation of manganese oxide minerals.

This research aims to obtain essential information that will help close these knowledge gaps, improve predictive models of carbon cycling and aid strategies for cleaning up contaminated ecosystems.

In addition to the NSF grant, Learman's research has generated a peer-reviewed paper, "Constraints on superoxide mediated formation of manganese oxides," and two invitations to present at conferences - Goldschmidt Conference on August 27 and the American Geophysical Society Meeting on December 9.

​​​Biology professors awarded Amazon Web Services Teaching Grant that provides students with access to cloud computing

September 25, 2013 - Assistant professors of biology Deric Learman and Andrew Mahon were recently awarded an Amazon Web Services Teaching Grant. The award, in the form of $1600 worth of credit from Amazon, enables them to use Amazon's high-powered computer servers as an instructional tool in the BIO 610: Next Generation Sequencing course that they are teaching this semester.

Access to the AWS servers allows students in the class to analyze data hands-on, including being able to do whole genome assemblies, alignments and analyses using the most modern methods in the field.

Amazon Web Services is a collection of remote computing services that together make up a cloud computing platform, offered over the Internet by The AWS in Education team evaluates academic research support proposals from active faculty at accredited universities and colleges four times a year, and selects recipients for AWS Teaching Grant awards that enable students' access to the global computing infrastructure and storage capacity of the AWS cloud.

The ability to access AWS services provides a cost-effective way for educators to teach courses in distributed computing, artificial intelligence, data structures and other compute and storage-intensive subject matter. In the past, such courses would have required extensive hardware and network infrastructure.

Engineering senior receives competitive NSF Bioelectronics Student Travel Award

September 23, 2013 - CMU senior and Steven Shapardaniselectrical engineering major Steven Shapardanis recently received an NSF Bioelectronics Student Travel Award for the 2013 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Sensors Conference, one of the biggest and most prestigious international conferences in the field of sensors. 

Written under the research guidance of assistant professor of electrical engineering,Tolga Kaya, Steve is the primary author of a conference paper, "Design and Implementation of Collagen-Based Capacitive Relative Humidity Sensors," and has also been selected to present in a lecture session at the conference, scheduled for November 3-6 in Baltimore, Md.

Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Bioelectronics Student Travel Award is  given to only twenty students internationally and covers some additional tutorial session registrations and lodging expenses.

The IEEE Sensors Conference is a forum for presentation, discussion and exchange of state-of-the-art information including the latest research and development in sensors and their related fields. It brings together researchers, developers and practitioners from diverse fields including international scientists and engineers from academia, research institutes and companies to present and discuss the latest results in the general field of sensors.

CMU senior Rebecca Jones participating in Misasa International Student Internship Program in Japan

July 16, 2013 - CMU senior and geology Rebecca Jonesmajor Rebecca Jones from Lake Orion, Mich. is spending six weeks in Misasa, Japan after earning a coveted spot in Pheasant Memorial Laboratory's International Student Internship Program.

Along with other students from around the world - including India, Germany, Canada, Colombia, Brazil and England - Rebecca is currently running a geochemical analysis of the Chelyabinsk meteorite that fell from the sky on February 15, 2013 in Russia. She is conducting multiple tests on the samples, hoping to discover new data that will provide information and improve our understanding of the origin and evolution of terrestrial bodies.

Only five students are selected to participate in PML's Misasa International Student Internship Program (MISIP) each year. The program is open to juniors, seniors and masters-level students who are studying Earth sciences, physics, chemistry and/or materials sciences and who have a strong interest in pursuing a career in scientific research. During the program, students work in state-of-the-art research facilities and gain first-hand research experience. Program participants reside in a guesthouse and have their travel and living expenses fully covered. At the end of the program, each participant presents results of their research findings in a talk.

PML MISIP is jointly sponsored by the Institute for Study of the Earth's Interior at Okayama University and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology in Japan.

Biology graduate student Clarence Fullard receives prestigious Sea Grant Fellowship

July 11, 2013 - Clarence Fullard has beenClarence Fullardselected as one of the 2014 John A. Knauss Sea Grant Fellows. Clarence is currently working on an M.S. degree under the supervision of CMU Professor of Biology Dr. Tracy Galarowicz.

Named after John A. Knauss, one of the founders of the Sea Grant program and former director of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Sea Grant John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship provides a unique educational experience to students who have an interest in ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources and in national policy decisions affecting those resources.

Since their inception in 1979, more than 900 young men and women have been recipients of the prestigious Knauss awards that allow them to spend a year working in Washington, D.C. as a staff person in either the legislative or executive branch of government. Knauss fellows assist their host offices by contributing expertise gained from their graduate studies, while gaining invaluable experience and insights into public policy at the highest levels.

One of the goals of CMU's Institute for Great Lakes Research is to provide scientific information to inform public policy and assist national resource managers; through his work as a Knauss fellow, Clarence will be able to help make this goal a reality.

Click here to learn more about the John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship program.

Physics professor is one of 15 recipients of Department of Defense MURI research award

June 6, 2013 - A team of six scientists, Marco Fornariincluding physics professor Marco Fornari, is receiving $8.5 million from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to develop and apply computational methods that will replace expensive and rare chemical elements from critical technologies.

Their award-winning research proposal, "Rare Element Replacement Strategies," is a combined effort between Fornari and his colleagues at Duke University, Brigham Young University, University of North Texas and University of Maryland - College Park. The team is receiving one of 15 awards given by the DoD to academic institutions to perform multidisciplinary basic research. Totaling $105 million, the awards are presented by the Army Research Office and the Office of Naval Research under the DoD Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) program.

The MURI program supports research by teams of investigators across traditional science and engineering disciplines to accelerate research progress. Fornari, along with his research colleagues, will investigate topological decompositions and spectral sampling algorithms for elements substitution in critical technologies. In simpler terms, he will develop and apply methods to design advanced materials with improved functionalities for applications that are crucial for the mission of the DoD.

The Army Research Office and the Office of Naval Research solicited proposals in 16 topics important to the DoD and received a total of 193 papers, followed by 43 proposals. The 15 awards handed out are for a five year period, with the research expected to produce significant advances in capabilities for U.S. military forces, and to open up entirely new lines of research. A total of 43 academic institutions are expected to participate in these select 15 research projects.

From Chippewa to Tiger: CMU graduate receives prestigious TigersTeach Noyce Scholarship and heads to Clemson University

June 4, 2013 - 2010 CMU graduate and Ashley Morganchemistry major/mathematics minor Ashley Morgan has received a prestigious TigersTeach Noyce Scholarship to attend a very competitive MAT Secondary Education (Math Science) program at Clemson University in Clemson, S. Car.

The MAT program is a technologically rich program in which students master the fundamentals of teaching and become skilled at motivating and helping students learn either science or mathematics at deep levels. The program addresses content directly related to the secondary classroom, educational foundations and specific teaching methods that reflect current research in the field.

As a TigersTeach scholar, Ashley will participate in immersion activities, become a learning assistant and an active member of Clemson University's student chapter of the National Science Teachers Association. She is also committed to teaching in a high-needs school district for two years after graduation.

Clemson University's Robert Noyce TigersTeach Scholarship seeks to encourage talented science, engineering and mathematics majors and professionals to become secondary mathematics and science teachers. Funded by a five-year, $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, it is a collaboration between Clemson's colleges of Health, Education and Human Development; Engineering and Science; and Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences. School districts in Greenville, Anderson, Oconee and Pickens counties are partners in the project.

Students in TigersTeach will learn from veteran scientists and teachers, participate in professional conferences and work with local schools and agencies.

Team of undergraduate engineering students secures 1st place at international conference

June 4, 2013 - A team of undergraduate Electrical engineering students present winning research at IEEE conferenceengineering students secured a first place win in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Region 4 Student Paper Contest held at the 2013 IEEE International Conference on Electro/Information Technology (EIT) from May 9-11 in Rapid City, S. Dak.

Electrical engineering majors Steve Fenton, Jiao Liang, Brian Olszewski and Brian Tworek presented their research, "RFID Positioning Robot: An Indoor Navigation System." Assistant professor of electrical engineering Kumar Yelamarthi served as their mentor.

The students all graduated last month and have since moved on in their careers: Steve Fenton is a college graduate-in-training at 6M Power Train in Pontiac, Mich.; Jiao Liang is off to the west coast and to graduate school, pursuing an M.S. in electrical engineering at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles; Brian Olszewski has taken a position as a staff engineer at Design Systems, Inc. in Farmington Hills, Mich.; and Brian Tworek is working as a systems engineer at Schrader Electronics in Auburn Hills, Mich.

IEEE, an association dedicated to advancing innovation and technological excellence for the benefit of humanity, is the world's largest technical professional society with more than 425,000 members in over 160 countries. It is designed to serve professionals involved in all aspects of the electrical, electronic and computing fields and related areas of science and technology that underlie modern civilization.

Undergraduate wins best student presentation award at Geological Society of America meeting

June 3, 2013 - CMU senior Leah Leah CooperriderCooperrider, an Earth Sciences major and geography education minor, was recently recognized with a Best Paper award for her oral presentation that she delivered at the 47th annual meeting of The Geological Society of America's North-Central Section in Kalamazoo, Mich. on May 2-3. Her talk was titled, "Reflections from an undergraduate preservice Earth science teacher."

According to CMU assistant professor of geography, Anthony Feig, Leah did an excellent job sparking a lively and lengthy discussion with conference attendees about the state of Earth science teacher education in Michigan.

Established in 1888, The Geological Society of America (GSA) is a global, professional society with a growing membership of more than 25,000 people in 107 countries - uniting earth scientists from every corner of the globe in a common purpose to study the mysteries of our planet and share scientific findings. The society aims to advance geoscience research and discovery, service to society, stewardship of the Earth and the geosciences profession.

Team Chippewa Performance places 2nd best in state and 29th in world at Baja SAE 2013 Collegiate Design Series competition

May 13, 2013 - CMU's Baja Society of CMU Baja Team Chippewa PerformanceAutomotive Engineers (SAE) team recently placed second best in the state at the Baja SAE 2013 Collegiate Design Series competition held at Tennessee Tech University from April 18-21 in Cookeville, Tenn.

One hundred teams from across the globe gathered at TTU's 300-acre Shipley Farm - where courses and events were set up over woods, creeks, hillsides and other obstacles - to challenge each team's best design.

Team Chippewa Performance - consisting of recent CMU graduate Tony Bolek, seniors Ryan Brew, Travis Bussell, Michael Grundner, Derek Hoffman, Megan Leonard, Garrett Mancillas and Daniel Matash, and sophomores Derek Donovan, Michael Gollin, Nicholas Nelson and Jesse Smith - placed second best in the state (just over 200 points behind the University of Michigan) and 29th in the world.

Baja SAE consists of three regional competitions that simulate real-world engineering design projects and related challenges. Engineering technology students are tasked to design and build an off-road vehicle that will survive the severe punishment of races that cover rough terrain and sometimes water.

The object of the competitions is to provide SAE student members with a challenging project that involves the planning and manufacturing tasks found when introducing a new product to the consumer industrial market. Teams compete against one another to have their design accepted for manufacture by a fictitious firm. Students must function as a team to design, build, test, promote and race a vehicle within the limits of the rules. They also must generate financial support for their project.

Justin Mendoza receives service award and heads to Yale University this fall

May 7, 2013 - New CMU graduate Justin Justin MendozaMendoza recently received a CMU Commitment to Service Award from the Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center.

A biomedical sciences major, Justin spent some time doing undergraduate research in associate professor of biology Michelle Steinhilb's lab, investigating Alzheimer's disease using fruit flies as models - research he presented at the 2011 Posters at the Capitol in Lansing.

Justin is attending Yale University this fall to begin work on Epidemiology of Microbial Disease master's degree in Public Health, with concentration in Global Health.

Science of Advanced Materials student Phillip Medina receives a National Science Foundation Research Fellowship

May 6, 2013 - 2012 graduate and Phillip Medinachemistry major Phillip Medina recently received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. This highly competitive, multi-year award will provide him with $30,000 per year to help cover his graduate school expenses.

Medina will continue his education at CMU where he is enrolled in his second year as a graduate student in the Science of Advanced Materials (SAM) program.  He plans to continue his research on lithium-ion batteries with chemistry professor and SAM researcher Bradley Fahlman, searching for methods to increase the potential capacity of the batteries through the use of porous silicon and vertically aligned nanowires.

The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) helps ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the United States and reinforces its diversity. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees at accredited U.S. institutions. 

NSF received over 13,000 submitted applications for the 2013 competition. Medina was one of only 2,000 recipients who received an award.

Phelps recognized as one of the Top 25 Women Professors in Michigan

May 2, 2013 - Assistant professor of Christine Phelpsmathematics Christine Phelps was recently recognized as one of the Top 25 Women Professors in Michigan by Online Schools of Michigan. The goal of the top professors list is to highlight post-secondary educators who have been awarded recently for excellence in the classroom, on campus, and/or in the community.

The recipient of the 2012 CST Outstanding Teaching Award, Phelps has been a remarkable teacher since coming to CMU in 2009. She mostly teaches elementary-education mathematics courses and continually strives to improve learning, which is appreciated by her students. Phelps is also active in curriculum revision and mentoring doctoral students conducting projects in mathematics education research.

"I am honored to be recognized," Phelps said. "It is always my goal to be the best instructor I can be for my students."

Online Schools of Michigan exists to challenge the idea of a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to education and promotes the quest for learning styles that work best for unique individuals.

Senior and biology major Thomas McVay receives a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship

April 25, 2013 - Senior and biology majorThomas McVay Thomas McVay recently received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. This highly competitive, multi-year award will provide him with $30,000 per year to help cover his graduate school expenses.

McVay will be attending the University of Florida in Fall 2013 to begin work on a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Ecology and continue his research on the Ozark Cavefish, Amblyopsis rosae, which is a small (<65mm), blind fish found in cave streams, and usually the top predator in the ecosystem. It is listed as threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and vulnerable by the World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

The Ozark cavefish's range is limited to 32 caves spread across Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri, and current population estimates range from 222-515 individuals. McVay aims to determine the genetic population structure and health of these fish, taking samples from preserved specimens in museums and using genetic techniques to discover their historic population structure. He also wants to use environmental DNA (eDNA) to detect new populations of cavefish, since there hasn't been much research on the species, and hopes that his efforts can facilitate a recovery. 

McVay said two things have prepared him well for graduate school - taking classes at the CMU Biological Station on Beaver Island the summer after his freshman year, which made him realize the career potential of a biology degree beyond the standard option of medical school, and doing undergraduate research with biology professor Brad Swanson, working on a dragonfly population genetics project during Summer 2011 through the Undergraduate Research Grants for the Environment (URGE) program at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute in Hastings, Mich. This experience is when he realized that population and genetics research was his calling.

"Tom being awarded the NSF fellowship highlights one of the best aspects of CMU, which is the high level of interaction between undergraduates and faculty mentors and the opportunities for research," said Swanson. "One of the aspects noted in the reviews of Tom's proposal was the breadth and depth of research experience he obtained while at CMU."

The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) helps ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the United States and reinforces its diversity. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees at accredited U.S. institutions. 

NSF received over 13,000 submitted applications for the 2013 competition. McVay was one of only 2,000 recipients who received an award.

Howell receives international award for work in thermal analysis

April 22, 2013 - Central Michigan Bob HowellUniversity professor of chemistry and polymer science Bob Howell has received the 2012 North American Thermal Analysis Society Award for Outstanding Achievement in thermal analysis research.

"Thermal analysis has to do with just the response of materials to a change in temperature," Howell said. "You can learn about the structure of the material based on the way it responds, and so that's the fundamental technique."

Howell applies his research in a number of ways, focusing primarily on studying polymer degradation at different temperature ranges. For example, his research to address the issue of foul taste and brown streaking in milk jugs - and his proposed solution - helped reduce the cost of milk production and was considered particularly noteworthy by the society. 

The solution to issues with milk containers linked back to Howell's research with The Dow Chemical Co., where in the mid-1980s he was asked by Dow to experiment with using polymeric materials in food packaging, and successfully adapted the materials to stop the streaking.

Most containers are made with different layers of various polymer materials, each with a different composition. The elimination of the streaking allows the milk to be stored at room temperature. "Because no oxygen gets in, the milk doesn't spoil," Howell said.

Howell has also worked to remove odors from degrading polystyrene, the plastic material used in packaging food, such as cookies and pastries.

The Outstanding Achievement award from NATAS is unique to a university of CMU's size. Given annually, it recognizes distinguished achievement in the field of thermal analysis, including but not restricted to thermogravimetry, differential thermal methods and effluent gas analysis. The award recipient must have performed outstanding work in the utilization, creation or refinement of thermal techniques of generally wide interest and impact. 

Howell is the 44th recipient of this award, which represents the highest honor bestowed by the Society.

Mathematics major Karleigh Cameron receives Goldwater Honorable Mention

April 18, 2013 - Karleigh Cameron has received a Karleigh CameronGoldwater Honorable Mention. Cameron is a junior Honors student from South Boardman majoring in applied mathematics and minoring in environmental studies.

About 150 Honorable Mentions are given to exceptional students each year who are not selected as Goldwater Scholars. According to the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program's website, 271 scholarships were awarded to sophomores and juniors from institutions across the United States. Scholars and Honorable Mentions were chosen from a field of 1,107 applicants.

"I feel lucky to have gotten it," Cameron said. "It's really nice to know all my hard work has paid off, and it's nice to be recognized outside of my university."

Cameron said she hopes that being awarded an Honorable Mention will help her in the future when she applies to graduate schools and to jobs.

"Karleigh is very deserving of this recognition of an Honorable Mention from the Goldwater program," Dr. Lisa DeMeyer, one of Cameron's former professors, wrote in an email. "Karleigh enjoys a challenge and is doing everything she can to make the most of the opportunities she has at CMU. I have known Karleigh since her first semester at CMU and I am so happy that she is receiving this recognition for her outstanding academic work in mathematics."

After returning from Singapore, where she is spending the semester studying at Nanyang Technological University, Cameron will do research for her senior Honors research project, modeling growth using dynamical models. She will be working with Dr. Leela Rakesh in the Department of Mathematics.

"I'm so grateful for the opportunity to have been nominated in the first place, and to actually have gotten an Honorable Mention is great," Cameron said, "and I'm thankful for everyone who has helped me along the way."

Cameron's Goldwater Honorable Mention is CMU's first in five years.

Biology major recognized with Young Botanist Award

Hillary KarbowskiApril 8, 2013 - Let’s give her a big two thumbs-up! Junior and biology major Hillary Karbowski was just awarded the Young Botanist Award, Special Certificate of Achievement, from the Botanical Society of America!

Nominated by associate professor of biology Anna Monfils, Hillary is among 25 students in the United States and Canada selected for the award, which recognizes excellence and outstanding scholarship for the advancement of knowledge in the botanical sciences.

Chemistry professor Brad Fahlman selected as a 2013 IUPAC Young Observer

March 20, 2013 - Chemistry professor Brad Fahlman has been selected as a 2013 International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) Young Observer.

The National Academy of Sciences is the U.S. National Committee (USNC) for the IUPAC. The committee selects outstanding U.S. chemists under the age of 45 with interests and expertise related to the work of IUPAC to become involved in the work of the union, develop and international network of scientists and engineers, and represent U.S. colleagues in the chemical sciences. To date, the program has supported over 200 scientists, many of whom have continued to serve on IUPAC activities and contribute at the international level.

As a selected Young Observer, Fahlman will attend the 44th IUPAC World Chemistry Congress and 47th IUPAC General Assembly from August 8-16 in Istanbul, Turkey.

The IUPAC Young Observer program is extremely competitive and held once every two years. Less than a dozen U.S. chemists are chosen to participate.

Biology graduate student earns honors at international symposium

March 20, 2013 - Biology graduate student Jennifer Bergner recently received Honorable Mention for best student presentation at the Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society symposium for her talk, "Spatially explicit genetic structure of two unionid species, Lampsilis cardium and Lasmigona costata, in the central Great Lakes." This international symposium was held March 10-14 at Lake Guntersville State Park in Guntersville, Alabama.

Advised by assistant professors of biology Daelyn Woolnough and David Zanatta, Bergner was one of four CMU students who attended the symposium and presented four posters and three oral presentations to the 250+ attendees. 

The Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society (FMCS) is dedicated to the conservation of and advocacy of freshwater mollusks, North America's most imperiled animals. The society organizes international symposiums each year, holds workshops on alternating years and produces a newsletter three times a year.

Biology undergraduate Jaime Coon is CMU's 2013 Udall Scholarship nominee


March 14, 2013 - Jaime Coon, a Centralis Scholar, Honors student and junior from Hamilton majoring in biology and minoring in global justice, is CMU's 2013 Udall Scholarship nominee.

The Morris K. Udall Foundation was established by Congress in 1992 to honor Morris Udall's 30 years of service in Congress. The name was amended in 2009 to include his older brother, Stewart L. Udall, also a career civil servant.

The foundation will award approximately 50 scholarships of up to $5,000 to outstanding sophomore and junior college students committed to careers in environmental or Native American policy. Additionally, scholars gain access to a vast network of like-minded individuals at seminars offered in Tucson, Arizona.

Coon was CMU's Udall nominee last year. Since then, Coon says she has strengthened her application by expanding her research in the biology department and her environmental public service.

After 200 hours of volunteering with the Wildlife Recovery Association, a nonprofit birds of prey rehabilitation organization, she became an intern there and lived on-site during the summer.

Coon has worked in associate professor of biology Kirsten Nicholson's phylogenetics lab for over two years studying a tropical lizard species complex. Discovering the cause of the species' divergence and confirming potential new species is vital - "If a species doesn't have a name, you can't write a law protecting it," she says.

Growing up on a farm instilled in Coon a deep love and appreciation for the natural world. But she says she did not make the connection between biology and environmentalism until she was in college. "Now I have this major in biology, and I'm going to be a biologist with an environmental value behind every question I ask, and I think that's really important," she says.

Coon emphasizes interdisciplinary thinking - as a global justice minor she has taken courses in sociology and political science, and her capstone project focused on advocating replacing the magnolia trees that once grew in front of Anspach Hall. "We're just trying to understand how we can help the world be more sustainable - and issues of poverty and environmental issues are so interrelated sometimes you can't even separate them," she says.

As an active member of the CMU College 101 program, Coon gives several "Passion for Wildlife" presentations a year. The goal of these speeches, which incorporate live wildlife, is to inspire at-risk students to make positive life choices and live sustainably with wildlife.

Additionally, Coon has been involved in CMU's New Venture competition with a nonprofit project called "Energize Education," which focuses on better energy efficiency in public schools.

Coon plans to pursue a Ph.D. in conservation biology.

Three CST faculty among those to receive university honors at Faculty Excellence Exhibition

March 14, 2013 - Central Michigan University will honor several outstanding faculty at the 2013 Faculty Excellence Exhibition at 3 p.m. March 20 in the Park Library Auditorium. President's and Provost's Awards, Excellence in Teaching Awards and the Lorrie Ryan Memorial Teaching Award will be given to 11 faculty members. 

Among the recipients are three CST faculty members - two receiving top honors for their outstanding research and creative activity and one for her excellence in teaching.

President's Award for Outstanding Research and Creative Activity
Created for peers to select and recognize outstanding senior faculty members for scholarship of national and international merit.

  • Donald Uzarski, associate professor of biology, has been a principal investigator on 15 funded external grants for a total of $11.7 million
Provost's Award for Outstanding Research and Creative Activity
Created for peers to select and recognize less experienced faculty members for scholarship of national and international merit.
  • Andrew Mahon, assistant professor of biology, widely recognized for his work identifying invasive species in freshwater and research in Antarctica
Excellence in Teaching Award
Created by the Academic Senate to provide special recognition to faculty members who exceed the usual standards and expectations.
  • Kathy Blystone, chemistry, shows her enthusiasm for the subject using real-life examples to demonstrate how chemistry impacts students' lives every day.