MAVERICK SCIENCE E-News
The University of Texas at Arlington
College of Science
August 2017
 
Lopez, Mydlarz among 5 UTA recipients of UT Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards
Ramon Lopez, left, and Laura Mydlarz
Two College of Science faculty members are among five University of Texas at Arlington educators honored with 2017 UT System Regents' Outstanding Teaching Awards for excellence in the classroom.
Ramon Lopez, professor of physics, and Laura Mydlarz, associate professor of biology, were among five UTA faculty members who were named recipients of the 2017 award. The 2017 honorees were recognized at a dinner on August 23 in Austin.
Lopez is a highly regarded space physicist and a passionate advocate for enhancing the quality of K-12 science education and increasing diversity in STEM fields. He is co-director of UTA's UTeach Arlington secondary science and mathematics teacher preparation program.
Mydlarz received the 2016 UTA President's Award for Excellence in Teaching and is a recipient of the Fort Worth Tech Titans Award, given to an outstanding university program that promotes STEM education in North Texas. She helped establish COREEF (Community Outreach for Enhancing Ecological Fundamental) to encourage students to present to and engage K-12 students in learning about the importance of the world's oceans and the threats to marine environments.
Read more of this story here.
Dasgupta awarded 2017 Talanta Medal for his contributions to analytical chemistry

Purnendu “Sandy” Dasgupta

Purnendu "Sandy" Dasgupta, the Hamish Small Chair of Ion Analysis in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Texas at Arlington, has been named recipient of the 2017 Talanta Medal, an international award that recognizes world leaders in the analytical chemistry field.
“This is a tremendous achievement and great recognition of the impact of Dr. Dasgupta's work and the esteem in which he is held by the professional community,” UTA President Vistasp Karbhari said. “I am proud that he is a colleague and on the faculty at UTA and remain deeply thankful for the wonderful way in which he engages with our students and our faculty ensuring that the thrill of discovery permeates each of us.”
The Talanta Medal was initiated in 1961 by Pergamon Press, which was later acquired by multinational publishing group Elsevier, as a prestigious award of a gold medal for outstanding contributions to analytical chemistry. Dasgupta is the fourth American academic to win the award and the first of Indian origin. A special issue of Talanta, an acclaimed international journal devoted to analytical chemistry, will be published to coincide with the award ceremony, to commemorate this occasion.
Read more of this story here.
Pierce receives $419K NSF grant to study structural factors of biological oxidations
Brad Pierce
A chemist at The University of Texas at Arlington will use a National Science Foundation grant to investigate the relevant structural factors influencing the extent of biological oxidations catalyzed by a widespread class of iron-containing enzymes
Brad Pierce, an associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, received a three-year, $419,400 grant from the NSF Division of Chemistry for his project, titled "Monooxygenase/arylamine N-oxygenase activity within a single non-heme diiron enzyme (MiaE)".
The project provides an opportunity to better understand structural factors driving biological oxidations and thus provide a framework for the rational design of biologically-inspired or bioengineered oxidation catalysts, Pierce said.
“The practical aspects of this work are that we are establishing what features regulate how much 'work' can be performed by an enzyme of this class,” he said.
Read more of this story here.
Alvarez honored with awards from MAA, Texas Council of Teachers in Mathematics
James Alvarez
A mathematics professor at The University of Texas at Arlington has received a pair of awards for his contributions to mathematics education at the state and national levels.
James Alvarez, associate professor and distinguished teaching professor of mathematics, received the 2017 E. Glenadine Gibb Achievement Award from the Texas Council of Teachers of Mathematics (TCTM) in July. He also received a Certificate of Meritorious Service Award from the Mathematical Association of America during the MAA's 2017 MathFest conference, held July 26-29 in Chicago. TCTM is a professional organization that encourages an active interest in mathematics.
“I was very honored to receive the Texas Council of Teachers of Mathematics' (TCTM) E. Glenadine Gibb chievement Award for my contributions to the improvement of mathematics education at the state and national level,” Alvarez said. “This award is particularly meaningful for me because the TCTM leadership consists of many very deserving and prominent mathematics educators; I am honored and humbled that the TCTM Board has recognized my contributions among such a distinguished group.”
Read more of the story here.
Gatchel receives 2017 Gold Medal Award from American Psychological Foundation

Robert Gatchel

A UTA psychologist who has completed groundbreaking work in health psychology— particularly in the causes, assessment and treatment of chronic pain behavior — has been named recipient of one of the highest honors in psychology.
Robert J. Gatchel, Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Nancy P. & John G. Penson Endowed Professor of Clinical Health Psychology, has been awarded the American Psychological Foundation's 2017 Gold Medal Award for Life Achievement in the Application of Psychology. He also is the director of the Center of Excellence for the Study of Health and Chronic Illnesses.
The award recognizes a distinguished career and enduring contribution to advancing the application of psychology through methods, research and/or application of psychological techniques to important practical problems, according to the APF's website.
Gatchel received the award during the 125th Annual American Psychological Association Convention in Washington, D.C. on August 4. APF President Terence Keane presented the award at the convention.
Read more of the story here.
Association for Women in Mathematics honors UTA student chapter with national award
From left, Elizabeth Stephenson, past president of UTA’s AWM chapter; Christin Milman, UTA’s AWM chapter president; and Theresa Jorgensen, associate professor of mathematics and AWM faculty sponsor.
The Association for Women in Mathematics honored The University of Texas at Arlington’s AWM student chapter with its inaugural national award for fundraising and sustainability. AWM is one of the leading organizations in the United States dedicated to promoting equal opportunity for women and girls in math.
Senior math major and UTA’s AWM chapter president Christin Milman attended the Mathematical Association of America MathFest in Chicago, where she accepted the award on July 28. The award was bestowed for the innovative funding model developed by the chapter’s approximately 50 members.
“I think it is important for a university like UTA to encourage girls and women to pursue mathematics because universities often provide the impetus for social change,” said Elizabeth Stephenson, a UTA senior and past president of the AWM student chapter. “Historically, females have been discouraged from entering STEM fields, and in the interest of building a strong, innovative scientific community founded on interdisciplinary collaborative learning, it is necessary to provide equal opportunities for all individuals.”
Read more of this story here.
Rajeshwar receives honorary doctoral degree from University of Szeged in

Krishnan Rajeshwar

Krishnan Rajeshwar, distinguished professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Texas at Arlington, has been named Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Szeged in Hungary, in recognition for his outstanding achievements in support of the mission of the University.
“It is a great honor to be awarded an honorary degree from such an outstanding internationally ranked university,” Rajeshwar said. “All of my collaborators at the University of Szeged have been top-tier researchers and we have been able to achieve international recognition for our work.”
Rajeshwar started collaborating with the University of Szeged more than five years ago through Csaba Janaky, then an assistant professor of chemistry, who worked in his UTA laboratory between 2011 and 2013 under a Marie Curie Fellowship.
Since then, their partnership has flourished, with more than 25 joint publications in international journals, including extensive review articles such as the cover article in ChemElectroChem in February 2016 on new high-performance materials for solar fuel generation.
Read more of this story here.
Nestell presented with Honorary Life Membership by SEPM Permian Basin Section

Merlynd Nestell

A geologist at The University of Texas at Arlington has been honored for his contributions to geological sciences in the Permian Basin of West Texas.
Merlynd Nestell, professor of earth and environmental sciences, was named an Honorary Life Member of the Permian Basin Section of the Society for Sedimentary Geology (commonly known as SEPM, the acronym for its former name, the Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists). The award has been given annually since 1960.
Nestell received the award during the monthly meeting of the West Texas Permian Basin Section of the SEPM on May 16 in Midland. Three of his former master's students — Johnathon Bogacz, Robert Nail and Michael Sweat — were in attendance.
“I was surprised that this happened; there are some very well-known geologists and paleontologists that have received this honor,” Nestell said. “It's very nice to be recognized by your peers, and I'm honored to receive this award.”
Read more of this story here.
Large crowd at UTA Planetarium joins rest of United States in viewing solar eclipse

UTA students and people of all ages came to the UTA Planetarium to watch the solar eclipse on August 21.

Hundreds of UTA students, faculty and staff members, and members of the general public came to the UTA Planetarium on August 21 to watch an eagerly anticipated event — a solar eclipse.
The eclipse was the first total solar eclipse to be visible in the United States since 1979. In North Texas, about 75 percent of totality was visible, and people of all ages came out to see the rare occurrence. The Planetarium presented a special show, “101 Astronomy: Solar Eclipse Explained”, prior to the eclipse. Levent Gurdemir, Planetarium director, said it was the biggest crowd he had seen for any of the Planetarium’s special events.
Ramon Lopez, professor of physics, conducted a Q&A session on Facebook Live a week before the eclipse. He discussed eclipses from historical perspectives and their importance in civilizations from ancient times through the present day, and answered viewers’ questions.
Lopez was also quoted in an August 14 article in Atlas Obscura titled, “How to Predict an Eclipse Without a Computer.” Humans have been making calendars for millennia, the article states. “Every organized, agriculturally based civilization develops a calendar, because that’s what you need to determine planting times,” Lopez says in the article. “You don’t need a heliocentric model, you just need to know rising and setting times of various models in the sky.”
Read the Atlas Obscura article here.
Amphibian and Reptile Diversity Center receives donation of 50,000 specimens

Carl Franklin examines one of the specimens delivered to UTA’s Amphibian and Reptile Diversity Research Center on August 22. Credit: NBC 5 TV screen grab

UTA’s Amphibian and Reptile Diversity Research Center received a substantial addition to its renowned collection of amphibian and reptile specimens last month.
The University of Louisiana-Monroe was forced to donate its collection of plants and animals due to funding cuts. More than 50,000 lizards, snakes and frogs went to UTA, while more than 470,000 dry plants went to the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) in Fort Worth.
Carl Franklin, ARDRC herpetology collections manager, said in an August 22 report by NBC Channel 5 TV that the specimens — some of which are over 100 years old but are perfectly preserved in alcohol — are a priceless resource for science. Some of the creatures are now extinct. He added that even today, tissue samples can be taken from the specimens, regardless of their age.
The reptile and amphibian specimens were collected from 90 countries. The addition puts UTA’s collection at well over 200,000 specimens, making it the largest of its kind in Texas and one of the largest in the world, said Jonathan Campbell, professor of biology and curator of the ARDRC.
Watch the NBC Channel 5 report here. See a report by WFAA Channel 8 here and a report by CBS Channel 11 here.

COS Alumni

Alumni Spotlight
Alvin Anene




Dr. Alvin Anene, M.D., is a vascular and interventional radiologist and is a partner at Radiology Associates of North Texas in Fort Worth, the largest privately owned radiology practice in the nation. He was born in Fort Worth and grew up in the Arlington and Mansfield areas. He came to UTA in 2001 and participated in undergraduate research while working toward a B.S. in Biology. He graduated summa cum laude from the Honors College with a minor in chemistry in 2004. After graduating, he assisted in starting a home health business with his parents while studying or the MCAT. He then began medical school at UT Southwestern in Dallas, graduating in 2009. He also did his residency at UTSW, focusing on diagnostic radiology and completing his residency in 2014. He followed that with a one-year fellowship at UTSW in 2015, where he was a clinical instructor with a subspecialty of vascular and interventional radiology. During his time at UTSW, he published six peer-reviewed articles and has presented his research at multiple national meetings. Dr. Anene is a member of multiple professional medical societies including the Society of Interventional Radiology, the Society of Neurointerventional Surgery, and the Radiological Society of North America, among others. He and his wife, Gabriela — who is also a UTA graduate — have four children.
Birthplace: Fort Worth
Years at UTA: 2001-04
Favorite professors: Greg Hale, Organic Chemistry. “He always had a knack for seeing nuances that normally you’d only expect the top graduate students to see,” Hale said. “I remember he was always very involved on campus, in leadership roles in student organizations. It seemed like everybody knew Alvin. He was a brilliant student; I’d say one of the top two I ever had in all my years of teaching Organic Chemistry.”
Advice for students: “Delayed gratification is a concept I adhered to during my college years. Perseverance pays off. Pay attention to small details. Stay balanced.”

UT Arlington Alumni Relations

We invite you to become involved with the College


Nuñez
Hello, I'm Dr. Ignacio Nuñez, chair of the College of Science Advisory Council and a proud UTA alumnus (B.S. in Biology, 1975). I would love to help get you involved on campus again. I was a first-generation college student, and UTA made it possible for me to attend medical school and create a life vastly different than that of my parents. Did UTA change your life too? Let's work together to help the next generation of Mavericks. To learn more, please contact College of Science Director of Development Christie Mosley-Eckler at817-272-1497 or cmeckler@uta.edu.

COS Students

Student Spotlight
Christin Milman




Christin Milman loves math, and she wants to help young students understand it better so they can appreciate it and possibly love it, too. ilman is a senior mathematics major and is also a member of UTeach Arlington, UTA’s secondary science and math teacher preparatory program. She plans to graduate in Spring 2018 with a mathematics degree as well as a Math Teaching Certification for grades 7-12. “After a of couple months of tutoring high school students, I had seen so many who were struggling with math, and even some misconceptions about foundational concepts that were leading them to more pitfalls,” she said. “I really wanted to help them at the classroom level and catch those misconceptions and set them up for success, rather than trying to rewire years of bad practice.” Milman says when she heard about UTeach and talked to program advisor Erin Gonzales, it sounded like the perfect scenario. “I would have a very versatile degree and a deeper understanding about math, as well as the option to teach students and hopefully inspire them to love math as much as I do.” She has excelled in her studies and has received various awards, including the UTA President Charter Scholarship, the UTeach Sophomore Scholarship, the R. Kannan Memorial Scholarship, and the NSF Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship. This semester she began serving as president of UTA’s chapter of the Association for Women in Mathematics, which this summer was named the top AWM chapter in the nation for fundraising and sustainability, and Milman traveled to the Mathematical Association of America MathFest conference in Chicago in July to accept the award for the chapter. She spent part of the summer learning Chinese in a Study Abroad program in China (she’s minoring in Chinese). After graduating in May, she plans to apply for internships and hopes to save up enough money to spend a year or two with Youth With A Mission (YWAM), a nonprofit Christian missionary organization.
Birthplace: Singapore; grew up in Brighton, Colorado
Major: Mathematics
Current status: Senior
Favorite professorsr/instructor: Christopher Kribs, professor of mathematics, and Richard Chandler, graduate teaching assistant. “When Dr. Kribs taught my Calculus 3 class, his explanations were always so detailed and thorough, and I could really picture the concepts. Not to mention his 3D drawings were like art. As for Dr. Chandler, I appreciated the way he brought life to Elementary Number Theory and made difficult concepts so much more manageable. Ideas were made concise and to the point.”
Where she hopes to be in 5 years: “In 5 years, I see myself in my cute little classroom, with lots of collaborative, bright, young minds working together to understand mathematics."

COS Spring 2017 Dean’s List
UTA student organizations

Calendar of events

Monday, September 4
Labor Day holiday
Friday, September 8
COS Welcome Back Ice Cream Social
11:30-1 p.m., Life Sciences Building lobby
Start the Fall 2017 semester off with a make-it-yourself ice cream sundae!
Friday, October 6
COS Fall 2017 Faculty & Staff Meeting
3:30-5 p.m., Central Library
6th floor atrium
All COS faculty and staff are invited. Dean Khaledi and the department chairs will present updates on COS matters. Refreshments will be served.

Planetarium at UTA

Planetarium
The Planetarium at UTA, one of the finest facilities in the nation, is equipped with a state of the art Digistar 5 DLP Projection system. The facility hosts shows, school field trips, special events and private functions. The Spring schedule runs through May 28. For show schedule, tickets, reservations and more, visit The Planetarium at UT Arlington and plan your trip to the stars today!

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