The University of Texas at Arlington
College of Science
April 2016
Welcome to the April 2016 edition of Maverick ScienceE-News. This monthly e-newsletter provides information about College of Science events involving students, alumni, faculty and staff. To contribute items for inclusion, please send an email to If possible, please include a high-resolution headshot photo of those mentioned in your items.
Schug, Shipman named Fellows of the UT System Academy of Distinguished Teachers
Kevin Schug and Barbara Shipman
Kevin Schug, Shimadzu Distinguished Professor of Analytical Chemistry, and Barbara Shipman, associate professor of mathematics and a UTA Distinguished Teaching Professor, have been honored as 2016 Fellows of the UT System Academy of Distinguished Teachers in recognition for their leadership in education and commitment to improving learning across the University of Texas System.
The pair were inducted into the Academy in Austin on April 19. Schug and Shipman represent two of the three 2016 inductees into the prestigious UT System organization.
“Both Dr. Schug and Dr. Shipman are outstanding educators with a true passion for teaching,” UTA President Vistasp M. Kharbari said. “They are also innovators who are advancing new models for collaboration and engagement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, which is a national and statewide priority. Both also are outstanding researchers, emphasizing the focus that UTA has on ensuring that excellence in teaching and research go hand in hand at a premier research university.”
Read more on this story here.
UTeach Arlington reception celebrates 100 graduates with guest speaker Bernard Harris
Dr. Bernard Harris, center, with some of the UTeach alumni at the reception.
UTeach Arlington, UTA’s highly successful science and mathematics secondary teacher preparation program, hosted a reception in honor of its first 100 graduates on April 23 in Nedderman Hall.
The event brought together UTeach alumni and current students, area school district mentor teachers and principals, faculty, administration, staff, donors and guests. Opening remarks were made by Greg Hale, COS assistant dean and UTeach co-director. Ann Cavallo, College of Education associate dean and UTeach co-director, then talked about teacher certification and the partnership between the Colleges of Science and Education which has helped make UTeach Arlington so successful. Linda Johnsrud, UTA interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, spoke about the importance of education and the great success UTeach Arlington has had since its creation in 2010.
Keynote speaker for the event was Dr. Bernard Harris, a medical doctor, former NASA astronaut and the first African-American to walk in space. In 1998, he founded the Harris Foundation, a Houston-based non-profit organization whose mission is to invest in community-based initiatives to support education and health. Among them is the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp, a two-week camp for underrepresented middle school students which is held at universities around the nation each summer. UTA has hosted the camp several times and will again in July.
The first 100 UTeach Arlington graduates have already gone on to make a difference in science and math education in schools around the Metroplex and beyond. Administrators from Irving High School have been so impressed with the program that they have hired 10 UTeach Arlington graduates in the past two years.
Learn more about UTeach Arlington here. See more photos from the reception on the COS Facebook page here.
Peng, Chiao find new way to alleviate pain through electrical stimulation of deep brain
Yuan Bo Peng
Abuse of prescription opioid medicines used to treat chronic pain has reached epidemic proportions, so much that the White House has announced new efforts to combat addiction and prevent the thousands of overdose-related deaths reported in the U.S. each year..
But a University of Texas at Arlington research team has been working on an alternative solution: electrical stimulation of a deep, middle brain structure that blocks pain signals at the spinal cord level without drug intervention. The process also triggers the release of beneficial dopamine, which may reduce the emotional distress associated with long-term pain, researchers said.
“This is the first study to use a wireless electrical device to alleviate pain by directly stimulating the ventral tegmental area of the brain,” said Yuan Bo Peng, UTA psychology professor. “While still under laboratory testing, this new method does provide hope that in the future we will be able to alleviate chronic pain without the side effects of medications.”
Peng and J.-C. Chiao, a UTA electrical engineering professor, detail their discoveries in a new paper published in the leading neuroscience journal Experimental Brain Research.
Read more on this story here.
Khaledi devises safer, greener, less costly system for synthesis of organic compounds
College of Science Dean Morteza Khaledi
Chemists at The University of Texas at Arlington have devised a safer, more environmentally friendly, less expensive and more efficient water-based system for the synthesis of organic compounds typically used in pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, cosmetics, plastics, textiles and household chemicals.
Most organic synthesis depends heavily on volatile organic solvents, which typically pose significant environmental and health hazards and also are costly.
“Our new system could facilitate cheaper, safer and more efficient industrial reactions across a variety of sectors dependent on synthesis of organic compounds,” said Morteza Khaledi, dean of UTA’s College of Science and co-investigator of the project. “Using water as a solvent is ideal as it is benign, plentiful, cheap and not harmful to the environment.”
The new medium, 80-90 percent water with fluoroalcohol, supports the synthetic reaction of organic compounds and even produces considerably higher yields of product than pure organic solvents.
The system also demonstrates the additional advantage that the mixture forms two separate phases during the reaction, which means that the resulting products can be easily separated and centrifuged out of the mixture. Typically, additional organic solvents are used to facilitate the separation and extraction of product.
Read more on this story here.
Research by Gagne finds link in influences such as parenting to toddlers’ self-control
Jeffrey Gagne
University of Texas at Arlington researchers led by Jeffrey Gagne, an assistant professor of psychology, have found that by age 3 environmental influences such as parenting are relevant factors in the development of toddlers’ self-control when they are asked not to do something they want to do, such as run into the street or eat a forbidden snack..
“Understanding the development of self-control mechanisms is vital as individuals with low levels of inhibitory control develop more cognitive and socio-emotional development issues, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD,” said Gagne, co-author of the study.
“Currently, most developmental issues are diagnosed after the child enters school,” Gagne said. “If we could identify and intervene with problems earlier, we could improve their responses before they reach school and their outcomes once they get there and beyond, even through adolescence.”
Gagne and his co-author Kimberly Saudino, professor of psychological and brain sciences at Boston University, published their findings in the leading child development journal Developmental Psychology, in an article titled The Development of Inhibitory Control in Early Childhood: A Twin Study from 2-3 years.
Read more on this story here.
STEM faculty training network that includes UTA welcomes 25 new member universities
James Grover
The Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL) Network, which includes The University of Texas at Arlington, recently completed its third expansion, welcoming 25 new members to bring the network to 46 research universities across the United States and Canada.
The CIRTL Network is a group of doctoral-granting universities united in the effort to develop a national STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) faculty committed to implementing and advancing effective teaching practices for diverse student audiences as part of successful professional careers. The goal of CIRTL is to improve the STEM learning of all students at every college and university, and thereby to increase the diversity in STEM fields and the STEM literacy of the nation.
“As the CIRTL Network expands, we at UTA look forward to working with our new partners on the important task of preparing a highly skilled and diverse next generation of faculty for American higher education,” said James Grover, College of Science associate dean for research and graduate studies and professor of biology. Grover serves as project director of CIRTL UTA operations.
Read more on this story here.
College of Science students claim 20 awards for their research at 2016 ACES symposium
  Poster presentations are a big part of ACES.
College of Science students came away with 20 awards - by far the most of any college - during UTA’s 2016 Annual Celebration of Excellence by Students (ACES) symposium on March 23.
ACES is a university-wide, daylong event that showcases the best of students' research and creativity. Undergraduate and graduate students work with faculty mentors to write and submit abstracts for the competition. The approved abstracts are then turned into poster or oral presentations to be presented at the symposium. Monetary awards are given in graduate and undergraduate categories. ACES attracts an audience from a range of academic fields. Students and judges come from all disciplines, educational levels, and backgrounds.
“Our students are doing great work every day, as evidenced by the number of awards they received at this year’s ACES symposium,” College of Science Dean Morteza Khaledi said. “They are involved in cutting-edge research in a wide variety of fields, all of which fall within the key initiatives as outlined in the University’s Strategic Plan 2020. I’m very proud of all our students who presented at the symposium and am inspired by their achievements.
“I also want to congratulate all of the faculty members who helped our students succeed. These awards are a testament to the high quality of mentorship provided by our faculty.”
Read more on this story here.
Gatchel to deliver presentations, is named
co-chair of pain prevention work group
Robert Gatchel, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, will deliver a research presentation at the 35th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Pain Society, being held May 11-14 in Austin. He will also give a plenary lecture at the 8th World Congress of the World Institute of Pain, being held May 20-23 in New York City.
Gatchel also has been selected by the National Institutes of Health and the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee to serve as co-chair of a work group on the prevention of pain. The group also includes many other nationally-known pain experts.
“The group’s major goal is to develop a set of recommendations for future research in this area,” Gatchel said. “This is the result of the earlier Institute of Medicine Report and the Affordable Care Act, which both highlighted that pain is a significant public health problem, and that more clinical research is needed. The outcome of my work group will result in the generation of RFAs addressing the important issue of pain prevention.”
Learn more about the American Pain Society meeting here and more about the World Institute of Pain meeting here.
Paulus research about effectiveness of team brainstorming is featured in online blog
A pair of studies about team brainstorming co-authored by Paul Paulus, Distinguished University Professor of Psychology, were the focus of the March 15 edition of Minds for Business, the online blog of the Association for Psychological Science.
The blog noted that Paulus’ research found that while group interactions such as brainstorming are often used as a way to generate new ideas, the activity doesn’t work as well as many people think. Bringing team members together isn’t useless though, Paulus and his colleagues found.
“Brainwriting,” in which team members share ideas through writing them down instead of verbalizing them, has the potential to increase productivity in comparison to face-to-face meetings, Paulus and his coauthors said.
Read the Minds for Business blog entry here.
Postdoctoral student Pham wins APS travel award for space weather project in Brazil
Kevin Pham, a postdoctoral student in the lab of professor of physics Ramon Lopez, received a prestigious travel award from the American Physical Society to work on a collaborative project on space weather with researchers in Brazil.
Pham and Lopez are working with colleagues at INPE (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais) in São José dos Campos, Brazil. They traveled to Brazil in late February, where Pham helped the new Brazilian Space Weather Center compile computer models and helped them develop the expertise to do long-duration simulations of the space environment, something in which Lopez’s lab has expertise.
“Having the capability to use multiple models and run long-duration studies, essential for studying space climate, will be a big boost to the Brazilian space weather research effort,” Lopez said.
Pham earned a Ph.D. in Physics from UTA in 2014.
Learn more about the INPE here.
Seven COS students among selections for McNair Scholars summer research program
Seven College of Science students are among 14 students selected to participate in the McNair Scholars Program this summer.
The new COS scholars and their majors include Jaclyn Bazaldua, biology and microbiology; Gene Cairo, psychology; Sydney Cox, psychology; Jessica McCammon, chemistry; Micalah Spenrath, earth and environmental sciences; Bernadette Washington, psychology; and Katie Williams, microbiology.
The McNair Scholars program is designed to prepare qualified UT Arlington undergraduates for graduate study culminating in the Ph.D. The program thus provides many benefits to assist scholars to become more competitive in the graduate school application process, leading to their admission to top-ranked programs and facilitating a smooth integration into graduate-level work.
Among the benefits of participating in the program are participation in the McNair Summer Research Internship, under the supervision of a faculty mentor, during the summer prior to graduation.
Learn more about the McNair Scholars program here.
Alumna, Blinn College math professor Olson receives 2016 NISOD Excellence Award
UTA alumna Sally Olson, a mathematics professor at Blinn College, was among those receiving a 2016 National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence Award in recognition of her dedication to student success.
Olson has been a math instructor at Blinn since 2006. Prior to that she worked at Bryan and Arlington Lamar high schools. She is a member of the Mathematical Association of America and the Texas Community College Teachers Association. She earned a B.A. in Mathematics and her Master of Education in teaching at UTA.
Created in 1978, NISOD is a consortium of community and technical colleges that share a philosophical commitment to support excellence in teaching, learning and leadership. NISOD member institutions receive weekly professional development materials and are eligible to nominate outstanding faculty, staff and administrators for the annual Excellence Awards program. The award winners will be recognized in May at the annual NISOD conference in Austin.
Learn more about NISOD here.
Alumna Malcolm featured in N.Y. newspaper article profiling clinical psychologists
UTA alumna Kenya Malcolm was featured in the “Hot Jobs” column of the March 19 edition of the Democrat and Chronicle, the hometown newspaper of Rochester, N.Y.
Malcolm, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UTA, is a licensed clinical psychologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center. She received a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Arkansas.
She recently closed a private practice to devote more time to her work at the medical center, where she is supervising the expansion of a pediatric behavioral health service at Strong Memorial Hospital, the article said. She also supervises interns, fellows and licensed mental health counselors, and occasionally teaches courses at Monroe Community College.
The story says that job growth for clinical psychologists is expected to surge by almost 8 percent between now and 2020 in the central New York region.
Read the profile of Malcolm here.
College of Science Spring 2016 graduation ceremony will honor newest UTA alumni
The College of Science will celebrate its newest graduates during the Spring 2016 Commencement ceremony at 3 p.m. Friday, May 13 at College Park Center.
Commencement is a special time of celebration when family and friends can come together and cheer on students whose hard work and dedication have earned them bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees.
Guest speaker for the ceremony will be Dr. Franklyn Alexander, a dentist who has practiced in Arlington for over 30 years. He is a member of the UT Arlington Development Board and a longtime friend of the College of Science and the University. He also generously funded an annual scholarship for a Ph.D. student in bioengineering.
Dr. Alexander has been named among America’s Top Dentists, Tarrant County Top Doc, and a Texas Super Dentist. He is a director of Arlington Big Brothers and Big Sisters and a director for the Arlington Boys and Girls Clubs. He has been the team dentist for the Texas Rangers since 2005. He received his B.A. in Microbiology from UT Austin and his D.D.S. from Baylor University College of Dentistry.
Find complete details about the College of Science Spring 2016 Commencement here.
Dean’s office hosts lunch for retired faculty and staff members to celebrate COS’ 50th
COS Dean Morteza Khaledi addresses guests at the retirees’ luncheon.
The College of Science dean’s office hosted a luncheon for retired faculty and staff members at the E.H. Hereford University Center on April 19.
Dean Morteza Khaledi welcomed the guests and gave an overview of the state of the College as it celebrates its 50th anniversary. Next the chairs of each department provided updates on the latest happenings from their respective units.
The retired faculty and staff members, many of whom were accompanied by their spouses, represent decades of service to the College and University. Some were working at UTA when the College of Science was established in 1965-66. Prior to that, the six departments in the College of Science had been part of the School of Arts and Sciences. The reorganization coincided with UTA’s arrival in the UT System..
Roy West, former UTA professor and chair of Department of Physics, dies at age 77
Roy Neil West, a longtime professor and department chair in physics at The University of Texas at Arlington and a pioneer in the field of experimental condensed matter physics, died on March 19 at age 77.
A native of England, Dr. West came to UTA in 1987 from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England to chair the UTA physics department. He served in that capacity until 1999 and continued on as a professor at UTA until his retirement in 2004.
“Dr. West served our department with distinction and played a major role in the growth and progress of the department,” said Alex Weiss, professor and current chair of physics at UTA. “His leadership helped initiate a sustained period of growth of research activity and external funding for the Physics Department that has continued to the present day.”
Dr. West was born on March 27, 1938 in Croydon, South London. He received a B.Sc. in Physics from the University of London in 1961 and went on to earn a Ph.D. in Experimental Physics from Birkbeck College, University of London, in 1966. He then took a faculty position at the University of East Anglia (UEA), where he became involved in experimental studies of electronic structure and positron states in metals and alloys using angular correlation and lifetime spectroscopies. He made pioneering contributions in the field, including becoming the first to apply twodimensional medical imaging detector technology in the study of Fermi surfaces and electron momentum distribution in solids using Angular Correlation of Annihilation Radiation (ACAR).
In 1974, Dr. West published his authoritative book, Positron Studies of Condensed Matter, which is still quoted regularly in research papers.
By the time he came to UTA, Dr. West had already established a reputation as a world leader in the area of experimental condensed matter physics, Weiss said. At UTA, Dr. West continued to be highly active in research, setting up one of the world’s most advanced ACAR apparatuses in the basement of Science Hall. He used this device to make some of the first positron measurements of the Fermi surface of high temperature (High TC) superconductors.
Among the awards he received was the UTA Award for Outstanding Research Achievement or Creative Accomplishment in 1992. During his tenure as physics chair, he oversaw the addition of eight faculty members to the department, and he initiated a campaign that led UTA to fund a new High Energy Physics program, which has played a significant role in projects at Fermilab outside Chicago and the ATLAS experiment at CERN.
He is survived by his wife, Victoria Gillette; sons Simon, Daniel and Michael; stepchildren Natalie, Barron and Carter; and six grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Dr. West’s name to the Alzheimer's Society. A memorial service was held March 26 at Sparkman Hillcrest Funeral Home & Memorial Park in Dallas.

For Alumni

Alumni Relations
You can help the next generation of Mavericks


Did the University of Texas at Arlington change your life? Do you want to help a future Maverick? Call Dr. Ignacio Nuñez, the chair of the College of Science Advisory Council. He’d love to help get you involved on campus again. The Advisory Council is issuing a challenge to each alumnus and to each member of our North Texas community who believes in our mission. The challenge: Give one day a year and $1,000 annually (that’s just $83.33 a month) to benefit the students of UT Arlington. Dr. Nuñez was a first-generation college student, and UT Arlington made it possible for him to attend medical school and create a life vastly different than that of his parents. Did UT Arlington change your life too? Let’s work together to help the next generation. To learn more, please contact College of Science Director of Development Christie Mosley-Eckler at 817-272-1497 or

Memorial fund created
to honor Truman Black

Andrew Baum
A special fund has been created to honor the memory of Dr. Truman Black, professor of physics and beloved member of the UT Arlington family, who died on Sept. 12, 2012.
Donations to the fund may be mailed to:
Truman D. Black Scholarship Fund at The University of Texas at Arlington
Office of Development
P.O. Box 19198
Arlington, TX 76019-0198

Calendar of events

Tuesday, May 3
COS Spring Faculty Meeting, 3:30 p.m., University Center Red River and Concho Rooms

Friday, May 6
Last day of classes for Spring 2016 semester
May 7, 9-13
Final exams for Spring 2016 semester

Friday, May 13
College of Science Spring 2016 Commencement ceremony, 3 p.m., College Park Center. Find full details here.

Wednesday, May 18
First day of classes for Summer 14-week session

Monday, June 6
First day of classes for first Summer 5-week session and 11-week session

Thursday, July 7
Last day of classes for first Summer 5-week session

Tuesday, July 12
First day of classes for second Summer 5-week session

Thursday, August 11
Last day of classes for Summer 14-week session, 11-week session and sec-ond 5-week session

Planetarium offering exciting Spring lineup

Check out The Planetarium at UT Arlington’s lineup of fun and exciting shows for the Spring semester, including our newest show, Dark. The Spring 2016 schedule runs now through May 29.
6:00 pm - From Earth to the Universe
6:00 pm - Dark
1:00 pm - Cosmic Colors
2:30 pm - From earth to the Universe
5:30 pm - Dark
7:00 pm - Pink Floyd
1:30 pm - Astronaut
3:00 pm - Spacepark 360: Infinity

For tickets, reservations or further information, please contact The Planetarium at UT Arlington.
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