The University of Texas at Arlington
College of Science
June 2018
Jones awarded $750K Department of Energy grant for 5-year project studying neutrinos
Ben Jones
The U.S. Depart-ment of Energy has awarded UTA assistant professor of physics Benjamin Jones $750,000 to develop a sensor for particle experiments that focus on the neutrino, a subatomic particle that may offer an answer to the lingering mystery of the universe’s matter-antimatter imbalance.
    Jones was among 84 young scientists from leading national research institutions who received the award in 2018. These DOE awards support outstanding scientists early in their careers and stimulate research careers in the disciplines supported by the DOE Office of Science.
    “My research focuses on the search for neutrinoless double beta decay – a hypothetical nuclear process, which, if discovered, would prove that neutrino particles are their own anti-particles, and illuminate the origin of their extremely small mass,” Jones said. “It is a great honor to receive this award to further this research over the next five years.”
    Read more of this story here.
Card receives NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship to study limb loss in lizards

Daren Card

A recent UTA doctoral graduate in biology has received a prestigious grant from the National Science Foundation to pursue postdoctoral research focusing on limb loss in a group of Australian lizards.
    Daren Card, who received his Ph.D. in Quantitative Biology this summer, was awarded the NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology, a three-year grant worth $207,000. His main advisor will be Scott Edwards, a professor of zoology at Harvard University, curator of ornithology in the university’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
    “I was obviously very excited when I found out about the award,” Card said. “Dr. Edwards had already told me he could support me coming to Harvard regardless of the award, but getting this fellowship gives us a lot more flexibility with the project and is a great accomplishment in itself. Given my career goal of being a tenure-track faculty member, having this type of award can be helpful for getting a job and certainly sets me up well to pursue a project that others will likely find interesting.”
    Read the full story here.
Mate earns first place in research poster session at UTeach National Conference

Sara Mate with David Sparks, UTA assistant professor in the College of Education and Mate’s faculty mentor.

Sara Mate, a UTA senior in biology and UTeach Arlington student, received the top prize in the research poster competition at the 12th Annual UTeach National Conference, held May 22-24 in Austin.
    Mate’s poster was titled “To STEM or NOT to STEM: Why African-American and African International Students Choose (Or Do Not Choose) STEM Fields". Her research explored some of the reasons for low participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields by black students, and offered some possible solutions for improving on those numbers.
    “When I won the award, I was shocked and a little in awe of the achievement,” she said. “I did not necessarily enter the poster session in hopes of winning, but more so in hopes of evoking provocative questions in people and challenging them to come up with ways in which to better include African-Americans in STEM-related fields of study and possibly implementing a plan of some sort to deliver that.
    Read the full story here.
Jorgensen using NSF grant to boost students’ math proficiency and exposure to geoscience
Theresa Jorgensen
A UTA mathematician is leading a project to improve students’ mathematics proficiency while also increasing students’ exposure to and interest in the geosciences.
    Theresa Jorgensen, associate professor of mathematics, is principal investigator of the three-year study, titled “Integrating Geoscience to Engage Majors with Mathematics: iGEM2”. The project is being funded with a $158,479 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Division of Integrative and Collaborative Education and Research (ICER).
    The impetus for the project came from a problem faced by universities nationwide – students’ struggles with mathematics courses leading to calculus. These struggles present difficult hurdles for large numbers pf students intending to major in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and technology) fields.
    The other focus of the project involves introducing first and second year UTA students to the geosciences and related career paths before they decide on a major, with the goal of increasing the number and diversity of students who choose to major in the geosciences.
    Read more of this story here.
UTA physicists play vital role in design of prototypes for DUNE particle detector

Aluminum electric field cage at the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva, Switzerland. Photo courtesy of CERN.

Physics researchers at The University of Texas at Arlington have built prototypes for an aluminum electric field cage inside a particle detector for an international physics experiment conducted at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland.
    “UTA’s key role in the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment prototype developments in Switzerland demonstrates the high regard in which we are held by the international physics community,” said Duane Dimos, UTA vice president for research. “High energy physics is a research key area for UTA where we have invested in having one of the largest and best-regarded experimental physics groups in the country.”
    Last year, UTA had research expenditures of $3.5 million carrying out leading roles in the world’s most prestigious new particle physics experiments in the United States and around the world. Total grants over the next decade are expected to surpass $35 million.
    “UTA is participating in all the important projects — upgrades to the Large Hadron Collider’s ATLAS experiment, the International Linear Collider in Japan, DUNE with the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois and the IceCube experiment in the South Pole,” said Kaushik De, UTA physics professor and director of the UTA Center for Excellence in High Energy Physics. “As a result, we are able to offer our students first-hand experience on international projects at the highest level.”
    Read more of this story here.
Math, engineering doctoral students create ‘STe2M’ educational program for children
LaTasha Taylor Starr, left, and Ariel Bowman
Two UTA doctoral students have developed the ESTe²M Builders educational program to help young students gain knowledge and self-esteem through hands-on activities in science, technology, engineering, entrepreneurship and mathematics, or STe²M.
    “We feel it is important to introduce entrepreneurial concepts alongside traditional STEM principles to enable students to gain all the necessary technical, communication and confidence skills they will need in the future workforce,” said LaTasha Taylor Starr, a UTA industrial systems and manufacturing engineering doctoral student who developed the program.
    Starr and UTA mathematics doctoral student Ariel Bowman have also developed an ESTe²M Builders kit, which includes straws, toothpicks, popsicle sticks, rubber band, pipe cleaners and tape.
    ESTe²M Builders won second prize at the Pitch UTA competition in February 2018, where Bowman and Starr presented a first prototype of their idea and product, and then first runner up at the UTA College of Business pitch competition MavsChallenge, with a prize of $2,000.
    Read more of this story here.
COS students honored with scholarships, awards, named to Spring 2018 Dean’s List
College of Science students were recently honored for their superior achievements in the classroom and laboratory with departmental and college awards for the 2017-18 academic year and scholarships for the 2018-19 year. The College also honored those students who achieved the highest in academic excellence for the Spring 2018 semester with inclusion to the Spring 2018 Dean’s List.
    See a list of award and scholarship recipients here.See the Spring 2018 Dean’s List here.
Gatchel co-edits new edition of handbook on psychological methods of handling pain
Robert Gatchel
Robert Gatchel, the Nancy P. & John G. Penson Endowed Professor of Clinical Health Psychology, is co-editor of a newly published book, Psychological Approaches to Pain Management, Third Edition: A Practitioner's Handbook.
    The book, which was significantly revised with more than 50 percent new material, introduces practitioners and students to the latest in psychological interventions for managing pain. Gatchel’s co-editor is Dennis Turk, a professor of anesthesiology and pain research at the University of Washington School of Medicine.
    The book includes reviews by leading experts of the most effective treatment approaches for enhancing patients’ coping and self-efficacy and reducing pain-related disability, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, biofeedback, clinical hypnosis, group therapy, and more.
    The book was published by Guilford Press. It can be ordered online here.
COS Alumni

Alumni Spotlight
Rene McCormick

Rene McCormick has spent her career working to improve K-12 science and mathematics education. While hurdles remain, she’s optimistic about the future. McCormick, a two-time UTA alumna, College of Science Advisory Council member and a consultant with the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI), says she feels better about the state of science and math education in public schools now than she did a decade ago. “Thanks to additional funding for AP (Advanced Placement) science workshops for teachers, much progress has been made in training teachers in innovative classroom technologies, along with electronic homework systems that provide immediate feedback to students,” she said. “Additionally, I and other educators have embraced the use of recorded screencasts and videos as a way to give students a ‘do-over’ or second dose of material they may have difficulty embracing. The key to learning the complex is to embrace the power of repetition!” Inspired by her high school biology teachers, Deborah Lee and Betty McNallen, McCormick knew early on that she wanted to make science education the focus of her career. Born in Grand Prairie, she attended school there through 10th grade, then transferred to Arlington Bowie High School for her final two years. She followed in her father’s footsteps and enrolled at UTA in 1978 — her father, Thomas Lee Dunn, USAF, Retired, attended Arlington State College (now UTA) from 1962-64 before being called to active duty in the Air Force. She majored in biology, but also developed a passion for chemistry and physics. After earning a B.S. in 1983, she taught AP classes at Grand Prairie High School for a decade, and for five straight years was named by graduating seniors as the teacher who most impacted their academic careers. She then joined Carroll High School in Southlake, where she helped create an AP Chemistry program and helped the district achieve stellar results in improving its science curriculum. At Carroll she was one of only a small number of teachers nationwide teaching three AP disciplines simultaneously (Biology, Chemistry, and Physics). In 2000 she received the prestigious Siemens National AP Teacher of the Year Award, as well as the Radio Shack National Teachers Award for use of technology in the science classroom, and the Advanced Placement Special Recognition Award by the southwest region of the College Board. The following year, she was recruited to join Advanced Placement Strategies (APS), a nonprofit which works to improve enrollment and success in AP science classes in Texas public high schools. In 2007 she became director of the science division of NMSI, which was created to do on a national scale the same thing McCormick was already doing in Texas schools. That same year, she and her daughter, Miranda, both received degrees from UTA — McCormick an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Science and her daughter a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies. McCormick joined the COS Advisory Council a year later and in December 2009 was guest speaker for the COS commencement ceremony. In 2013 she was invited to speak at a program focusing on the legacy of Sally Ride, the first American woman in space. The program, titled “Sally Ride: How Her Historic Space Mission Opened Doors for Women in Science”, was held at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Like Ride, who founded an organization to promote learning and STEM careers, McCormick is optimistic about the future of science education. When asked what she would say to students enrolling in the UTA College of Science today, she replied, “You’ve made a wise choice. You’ve selected a path that is not at all an easy one, however it will make a bold statement about your character, determination and ability to set goals and accomplish them.”
Birthplace: Grand Prairie; graduated from Arlington Bowie High School
Years at UTA: 1978-83, B.S. in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Education; 2007, M.A. in Interdisciplinary Science
Favorite professor: “Richard Timmons, professor emeritus in chemistry (“I learned so very much from him.”) and Robert Neill, professor emeritus in biology (“He did amazing bird calls.”)
Advice for students: “Read the textbook before attending lecture!”

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Nu ñez

Hello, I'm Dr. Ignacio Nunez, 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 Eckler, LMSW, CFRE, at 817-272-1497 or cmeckler@uta.edu.

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Calendar of events

Monday, June 4
First day of classes for Summer 2018, 11-week session
Thursday, July 5
Last day to drop classes for Summer 2018, 14-week session
Thursday, July 19
Last day to drop classes for Summer 2018, 11-week session
Thursday, August 9
Final day of classes for Summer 2018, all sessions
Monday-Tuesday, August 13-14
Finals exams for Summer 2018 semester
Wednesday, August 22
First day of classes for Fall 2018 semester

Planetarium at UTA

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. 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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