Clostridium difficile isn’t on the tip of the average college student’s tongue, but Emmanuel Fordjour is far from your typical student.
Not only was he familiar with the intestinal bacterium that kills an estimated 14,000 Americans each year, he wanted to explore ways to fight it. So he sought out biology Assistant Professor Julian Hurdle, who had received a $1.9 million National Institutes of Health grant to combat the hospital-acquired disease.
The partnership has put Fordjour in an elite class. In July the senior biology and microbiology major received one of 15 United Negro College Fund Merck Science Research Fellowship Awards for 2014. Last spring the Washington, D.C.-based Council on Undergraduate Research named him one of 60 winners in the 2014 Posters on the Hill contest.
“Dr. Hurdle impressed upon me the philosophy passed on to him by his mentor—that the rigors of research teach you lessons for life,” Fordjour says. “He sees others for what they can be in the future and not what they are in the present.”
Our cover article on Morgan Woodward Distinguished Professor Ya’Ke Smith and the film program offers another example of the impact professors have on their students. Smith’s protégés revere his unflinching work and praise his ability to draw out the artist deep inside them.
Stories of faculty excellence fill this issue. Researchers Daniel Armstrong, Kytai Nguyen, and Robert Magnusson have targeted serious health problems through their pioneering work in drug discovery and delivery. Renowned physicist and National Academy of Sciences member David Nygren heads a group of notable new-to-the-campus professors.
Dedicated faculty form the nucleus of every great university. At UT Arlington, our professors inspire and nurture within an environment that values quality, ingenuity, and diversity.
The result: lofty achievements for those who dare to succeed.
– Mark Permenter